Table of contents
I. Some authors state that Columbus in his youth instead of indulging in juvenile sports with other boys, spent his leisure hours in study and meditation. He generally preferred to roam on the seashore: this is the subject of the following picture, which is beautiful but entirely imaginary.
1. CONCONI, (MAURO.) THE YOUTH COLUMBUS. Exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1867, and belonging to the collection of M. Marozzi, of Pavia.
II. Very little is known about the life of the future Discoverer, before he entered the service of the Catholic Kings. Only some dry facts obscured by many legends and fables have come down to us. It is known that if it be true that he left Genoa in 1470, he certainly returned there in 1472, and soon left his country forever. He then settled at Lisbon, where he married a lady of noble birth, Felipa Moñiz, by whom he had at least, one son, Don Diego, the second Admiral. He made several sea voyages and went as far north as Iceland, as far west as the Azores, and as far south as the coast of Guinea, and also during this time, he entered into correspondence with the famous astronomer, Paolo [page 134] Toscanelli, who confirmed his idea of the possibility of going to the East by taking a westward course. It is also said that at this period Columbus submitted his plans for carrying out his great projects to the Republics of Venice and Genoa: there is not the slightest proof for this assertion, yet a distinguished artist three centuries ago, depicted one of these apocryphal episodes. The pictures referring to this period, are:
2. PICKERSGILL, (FREDERICK R.,) COLUMBUS AT LISBON, (1875.)
3. ELMORE, (ALFRED,) COLUMBUS AT PORTO SANTO, (1878.)
4. TAVARONE, (LAZZARO,) COLUMBUS EXPLAINING HIS PLANS OF DISCOVERY TO THE DOGE OF VEnICE. Painted in the XVIth century and now in a private palace at Genoa.
Like all paintings from the brush of Tavarone, the design and coloring of this picture are beautiful: the accessories are strictly historical, but Italian and not Spanish, and the head of Columbus is entirely imaginary.
III. It is not possible to accurately fix the date when Columbus arrived in Spain, but according to critical researches, it must have been about 1484. He spent some time in Andalusia trying to obtain the help of some of the grandees, and lived,as Bernaldez who was his personal friend, says,by peddling printed books and by drawing maps. In Seville, he called upon the Duke of Medina-Sidonia, and at the Puerto of Santa Maria, on the Duke of Medina-Celi, with whom he remained two years, and from whom he obtained letters of introduction to the Queen, and to many important personages connected with the Court. Among them was Cardinal Mendoza, who obtained for him an audience with the Queen, and subsequently he had other audiences with the Kings, but they differed in their opinions as to the feasibility of his plans. The following pictures refer to this event:
5. TAVARONE, (LAZZARO.) COLUMBUS IN THE PRESENCE OF FERDINAND AND ISABELLA. Painted in the XVIth century; in a private palace at Genoa.
From the notices which I have read regarding this picture, it seems that it possesses great merit and is still well preserved, but I have been unable to find any description of it.
6. CRESPO.PRESENTATION OF COLUMBUS TO THE CATHOLIC KINGS.
This picture which is one of the best of the modern Spanish School, has in it only five figures: they are Queen Isabella seated on a throne, having on her right hand the Marchioness de Moya, and on the other side, her husband, King Fernando, who is standing. In front of the throne stands Cardinal Mendoza presenting Columbus, who is poorly clad, to the Catholic Kings.
[page 135] The figures of the King and Queen are copied from well-known portraits, and that of the Admiral looks very much like the one in the Naval Museum. The dresses of all, as well as the accessories, are strictly accurate.
8. LEUTZE, (EMANUEL.) COLUMBUS BEFORE THE QUEEN. In the Düsseldorf Gallery.
9. COLLIN, (ALEXANDER.) FIRST ARRIVAL OF COLUMBUS IN SPAIN, (1857.)
10. ROTHERMEL, (PETER F.) COLUMBUS BEFORE ISABELLA, (1858.)
11. ROBERT-FLEURY, (JOSEPH N.) CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS RECEIVED AT THE COURT OF SPAIN. (1848.)
IV. Ferdinand never looked favorably on the projects of Columbus, but Isabella, more enthusiastic and sanguine than her covetous husband, interested herself in the undertaking of the bold navigator in the threadbare cloak and ordered a consultation to be held shortly after, for the purpose of investigating and reporting to her on his project.
Unfortunately this conference was presided over by a man who, after the first interview with Columbus, became one of his bitterest enemies, and who always opposed the Admiral apparently without reason. He was no less a man than the favorite confessor of the Queen, and a man of great influence and integrity, Fray Hernando de Talavera, who was subsequently the first Archbishop of Granada. The meetings were held at Cordova, and on the return of the Court to that city, an unfavorable report was made to the Kings. The Queen did not act as Talavera and Ferdinand desired, and instead of discarding Columbus entirely, she gave him evasive answers, putting off a positiye decision for a future day.
But Columbus did not give up his plans: in the meantime, he had made a host of influential and enthusiastic friends, who had decided to assist him in the carrying out of his great undertaking, and as the Queen really favored him, thanks to the untiring zeal of his patrons, another commission was appointed, and fortunately for him on this occasion, the president was one of his most intimate friends, Fray Diego de Deza, tutor of the heir to the crown, and the other members were the professors of the University of Salamanca, the centre of learning in Spain.
An error of the author of the Historie has led nearly all later writers to confound the Junta presided over by the Prior of Prado, Hernando de Tala- [page 137] vera at Cordova, and the conferences which took place at Salamanca, in the church of the Dominican Convent, then called San Esteban. The first Junta was composed of Councillors to the Crown and some cosmographers: the second was composed of Dominican friars and the professors at the University of Salamanca. The author of the Historie only mentions one Junta and adds that "the persons appointed by the Prior of Prado were ignorant," a remark which he would not have made of the Faculty of Salamanca, but Ulloa's version of Fernando's book is so full of corruptions and interpolations, either by Ulloa himself or by others, that at present the work which Irving once called "the corner-stone of the history of the Discovery," carries little weight as an authority. These events are illustrated in the following series of paintings:
12. LEUTZE, (EMANUEL.) COLUMBUS BEFORE THE COUNCIL OF SALAMANCA.
This painting was in the Düsseldorf Gallery, but I do not know its present whereabouts. (1841.)
13. ROTTING, (JULIUS.) COLUMBUS BEFORE THE COUNCIL OF SALAMANCA. (1851.) Dresden Gallery.
14. PLÜDDEMANN, (HERMANN.) COLUMBUS DISPUTING WITH THE JUNTA AT SALAMANCA.
15. BARABINO, (NICCOLO.) COLUMBUS BEFORE THE COUNCIL OF SALAMANCA.
This is perhaps, the most beautiful picture ever painted, referring to the history of Columbus, but it is so large that the reductions I have ordered made of it are not satisfactory. I have therefore, only taken from it the magnificent figure of Columbus, which I have reproduced on p. 41 of this work under No. 23, and on p. 40 I have given a full description of the whole picture.
18. MERINO, (IGNACIO.) COLUMBUS BEFORE THE FACULTY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF SALAMANCA.
This is a noble picture and accurate in its smallest details. Barabino misled by the Historie of Fernando Colombo, made the confusion already mentioned and in his grand canvas depicted Columbus in the presence of a number of ignorant and prejudiced monks. The better informed Peruvian artist showed the future Discoverer before an assemblage of more or less prejudiced men, but possessing all the learning and science of the times. They do not laugh at him, they wonder, they doubt, and think deeply over the new theories propounded by the energetic and eloquent stranger who is trying to eradicate from their minds long cherished ideas. The faces of all of his hearers express the deepest interest. They are carefully consulting books, maps and globes and are discussing the feasibility of his plans. It is almost possible to distinguish those who espouse his theories from those who are opposed to them. The figure of Columbus in the centre has all his well-known characteristics, and is really splendid. The grouping cannot be improved and all the details of the picture are of the greatest excellence. I have read that the portraits of Cardinal Jimenez de Cisneros and Fray Diego de Deza, and other distinguished ecclesiastics of the time are found in the picture. Cardinal Jimenez de Cisneros is the only one I have been able to identify, but as I am not familiar with the portraits of the other persons, I have been unable to find them.
The engraving which I have is so large that I cannot reproduce it, as the reduction to the size of these pages is very indistinct.
V. The result of the conferences at Salamanca was very different from that of the Junta at Cordova, as after the latter Columbus became a member of the royal retinue, and received from time to time certain sums of money for his maintenance. The Queen was well disposed towards him, and endeavored to come to some agreement with him, but the pretensions of the Admiral were so unreasonable, that finally in 1492, the Queen positively rejected his proposals. Columbus then left the Court and went to Huelva with his younger son, Diego, probably with the intention of leaving the boy with a brother-in-law named Muliar, who resided there, when by chance or because he had heard of the geographical knowledge of Fray Juan Perez, the Prior of the Franciscan Convent at La Rábida, near Huelva, who had been confessor of the Queen, he
stopped at the Convent, asking bread and water for his child. The Prior saw him, asked him who he was and whence he came, and Columbus explained his projects and disappointments to him at length. Struck by the appearance and conversation of the stranger, the good father offered him an asylum, and sent for some friends who resided at Palos, among them the physician Garci-Fernandez and the pilot Sebastian Rodriguez, to whom he introduced the Genoese. After long consultations, they decided to send Sebastian Rodriguez bearing a letter from Fray Juan Perez to the Queen warmly recommending the enterprise.
While waiting the return of Rodriguez with a reply from Isabella, many conferences were held at La Rábida, at which the brothers Pinzon and other mariners of Palos were present by invitation of the Prior.
The messenger returned quickly bringing with him a sum of money for Columbus, to enable him to buy a horse and appear at the Court suitably dressed. The future Admiral then returned to the camp before Granada, where the Catholic Kings were holding their Court.
Painters and poets have portrayed on canvas and immortalized in verse, this episode in the life of Columbus, but unfortunately historians, desiring to lend a poetical coloring to these events, have chronicled them in such manner that this portion of the biography of Columbus is filled with innumerable contradictions.
The paintings describing this incident in the life of the Admiral, will be found under the following numbers.
19. COLUMBUS DEMANDING BREAD AND WATER FOR HIS SON AT THE CONVENT OF LA RÁBIDA.
This event is supposed to have taken place in 1491, after the Queen had declined any further negotiations with Columbus, and the despairing and broken-hearted man had decided to pass to France or England. In the fore ground are Columbus and Fray Juan Perez, engaged in earnest conversation: the former is represented with white hair and holds a chart in his hand. In the back ground, is a monk serving the boy with bread and water.
The painting is in the Convent of La Rábida and is the work of an unknown artist.
20. HURLSTONE, (F. Y.) COLUMBUS DEMANDING ALMS.
21. LEUTZE, (EMANUEL) COLUMBUS AT THE GATE OF THE MONASTERY OF LA RÁBIDA, (1844.)
22. MERCADÉ, (BENITO.) COLUMBUS BEGGING FOR BREAD AT THE GATE OF THE CONVENT OF LA RÁBIDA.
24. LANGSE. COLUMBU_ AT LA RÁBIDA,
This painting was exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1867, and was much admired: it was bought at a high price for au English gentleman. I have not been able to obtain any further particulars regarding it.
25. PLÜDEMANN, (HERMANN.) COLUMBUS AT LA RÁBIDA, (1845.)
26. LUCY, (CHARLES.) COLUMBUS AT LA RÁBIDA, (1875.)
27. GUTERBOCK, (LEOPOLD.) COLUMBUS AT LA RÁBIDA.
28. DEHOHENOQ, (E. A.) COLUMBUS AT THE CONVENT OF LA RÁBIDA, (1864.)
29. MASÓ, (FELIPE.) COLUMBUS AT LA RÁBIDA, (1884.)
30. COLUMBUS EXPLAINING HIS PLANS TO THE MONKS AT LA RÁBIDA.
In this picture Columbus is represented in a room at La Rábida explaining his plans to Fray Juan Perez and the two Pinzons. He stands at a table holding a globe to which he is pointing. Behind him his son is listening and in the background are two monks standing on a balcony probably discussing the [page 143] matter. The painter of this picture is also unknown, but it is like the first in the Convent of La R´bida.
31. MERINO, (IGNACIO.) COLUMBUS AT LA RÁBIDA.
This beautiful painting was exhibited at the Paris Exposition, in 1855, and was greatly admired. I am told that it is now in a private gallery in the United States, but I have not been able to ascertain the name of the owner.
VI. On his return to Court Columbus was heartily welcomed and negotiations were far advanced when his extravagant pretensions again prevented an agreement being made. He left the camp and went to Cordova with the intention of taking his other son and departing for France or England. But the efforts of his friends at last prevailed with the Queen and she sent a messenger after Columbus, who overtook him at Puente de Pinos, a long distance from the camp, and with the assurance that his conditions were accepted, he returned to Santa Fe. This event is graphically portrayed in the following painting.
33. HEATON, (A. G.) RECALL OF COLUMBUS.
This picture is in the Capitol at Washington, and has been reproduced in the new issue of Columbian stamps. It is a beautiful, but entirely imaginary work.
VII. The agreement was signed, Columbus obtaining all the honors, dignities and interest for which he had asked. The funds of the Spanish Treasury had been entirely exhausted by the protracted wars which resulted in the expulsion of the Moors, and Luis de Santángel, the treasurer of Aragon, offered to advance the sum required to the Queen. There is no painting commemorating this event, but in the great monument at Barcelona, his statue and the inscription do him ample justice. By a perversion of this fact an anecdote was Invented many years afterwards which relates that the Queen offered to pawn her jewels in order to raise the money required for the enterprise, but the eminent American critic Harrisse, has proven that such an offer was never made, the Queen's jewels being already in the hands of the money-lenders, and Mendez Duro, a very distinguished Spanish naval officer and the greatest apologist of Isabella, has published a pamphlet showing that [page 144] the whole story is false. Nothwithstanding this, there is a beautiful painting representing this apocryphal event by an eminent Spanish artist and the United States government has made a great mistake in perpetuating a proven falsehood by the issue of a one dollar stamp commemorating the alleged incident: thus showing on the part of the officials who ordered the said issue, either ignorance or far more love for art than for historical truth.
34. MUÑOZ-DEGRAIN, (ANTONIO.) ISABELLA OFFERING HER JEWELS IN AID OF THE ENTERPRISE OF COLUMBUS.
This picture is a really beautiful one and is strictly accurate in the minutest details. It is, however, much to be regretted that so much talent has been squandered in the depiction of an event which never took place, thus helping to falsify history.
VIII. Columbus having obtained what he desired, then started for Palos, with authority to impress two caravels and the crews for the enterprise. The following picture depicts the issuing of the edict calling for men for the expedition.
35. PUBLICATION OF THE ROYAL EDICT AT PALOS, RELATIVE TO THE ARMAMENT OF THE CARAVELS.
This painting is also in the Convent of La Rábida, and appears to be by the same hand as the two preceding ones. The scene is laid in the church of the Convent. In the foreground, his face radiant with joy stands Columbus amid a group of his friends and patrons. In the pulpit, the messenger from the Catholic Kings is reading the edict for the armament of the caravels and the impressment of the crews.
IX. The Kings had agreed to place two-thirds of the sum required to defray the expenses of the undertaking at the disposal of Columbus, and he was to raise the other third. Fortunately for him, his guardian angel, the good Prior of La Rábida, had paved his way by introducing him to the brothers Pinzon, three rich and influential shipowners and navigators of Palos. They entered energetically into the plans of Columbus, looking upon it as a very risky but profitable commercial venture, and they obtained the vessels, the men and the money required, upon conditions which have not been handed down to posterity. The expedition was fitted out by them in the best style of the time, and with vessels well adapted to their purpose. On the 3rd day of August, 1492, they sailed from the port of Palos, after having duly confessed and partaken of the Holy Communion, and bidden a sad farewell to their families. The parting was more touching as many of the members of the expedition had been impressed, and also because they sailed on a Friday and did not expect to return home safely, as it is considered a day of bad omen by sailors. This departure from Palos has been a source of inspiration for many eminent artists as will be seen by the following paintings:
36. SEGNI. DEPARTURE OF COLUMBUS, PELOSO GALLERY, GENOA.
This old picture is mentioned in a guide book of the city of Genoa, but without any description or notice whatever.
37. BALACA, (RICARDO.) COLUMBUS TAKING LEAVE OF THE PRIOR.
This graphic representation of Columbus bidding farewell to his friend, Fray Juan Perez, at Palos, is full of life and pathos. In the immediate foreground, is a group of the relatives of the crews and their friends. There is a weeping wife and a little boy taking leave of the husband and father, while directly behind this group is the central figure, Columbus, clasping the hand of Fray Juan Perez. His boat is at the wharf, waiting to convey him to the Santa Maria, which with the other caravels, is in the background with their sails set in readiness to depart on their eventful expedition. The painting is the work of the Spanish artist, R. Balaca, and was painted by order of the late Duke of Montpensier, who married a sister of Isabella, ex-Queen of Spain. The composition and grouping are admirable. (Cut No. 84.)
38. THE EMBARKATION AT PALOS.
In the foreground, stands Columbus in his boat, taking farewell of his stanch friend, Fray Juan Perez. In the background, are the caravels, the shore, and a number of friends of the departing adventurers and the Convent of La Rábida.
This painting appears to be from the same brush as the three others in the Convent of La Rábida, but none of them have any merit either historic or artistic.
39. MERINO, (IGNACIO.) COLUMBUS BIDDING FAREWELL TO HIS SONS.
The distinguished Peruvian artist, Merino, painted this beautiful picture which obtained a prize in the Paris Salon (1861), and was warmly commended by the Press. Unluckily, I have not been able to find any detailed description of it, but in view of the other works of Merino referring to American history, I am inclined to believe that he has been as accurate in this as in his other works.
41. LEUTZE, (EMANUEL.) DEPARTURE OF COLUMBUS FROM PALOS, (two with some slight variations,) (1853.)
42. ROTHERMEL, (PETER F.) EMBARKATION OF COLUMBUS, (1870.) Pennsylvania Academy.
X. The expedition started for the Canaries on the 3rd day of August, 1492. After touching at these Islands on the 6th of September, they steered a direct westerly course. I think it proper to introduce here the two allegorical engravings published by the famous artist, De Bry, and two paintings referring to the voyage.
45. COLIN, (ALEXANDER.) FIRST VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.
In the catalogue of the Paris Exposition of 1855, this picture is mentioned but without any further particulars.
46. MASÓ, (FELIPE) COLUMBUS AT SEA, (1884 )
This picture was sold to one of the South American Republics, but to which one I am unable to say.
XI. At length in the early dawn of October 12th, 1492, land was sighted. I have found the following paintings of this momentous event.
47. PILOTY, (KARL VON.) THE DISOOVERY OF AMERICA BY COLUMBUS. (1865 )
This painting which, notwitstanding its theatrical and sensational character, possesses remarkable merit, is in the possession of Count von Schaack, at Munich.
It has the vigorous coloring and perfect design, so characteristic of the [page 151] eminent artist. It is,to be regretted that so prominent a painter as Piloty should not have taken the trouble to render his painting historically accurate. All the figures, dresses and accessories, though admirable from an artistic point of view, are enthely imaginary. It was painted in 1866.
48. POWELL, (WILLIAM H.) COLUMBUS IN SIGHT OF LAND.
I have never seen anything but a very small and indifferent cut of this picture, but I take it for granted that it may possess some merit, since it has been reproduced in the series of Columbian stamps issued by the government of the United States.
49. JOLLIVET, (PIERRE JULES.) CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS DISCOVERING AMERICA, (1833 ).
50. ESPALTER Y RULL, (JOAQUIN.) DISCOVERY OF AMERICA, (1877.)
51. RUBEN, (CHRISTIAN.) COLUMBUS DISCOVERING LAND, (1843.) Prague Gallery.
52. PLÜDEMANN, (HERMANN.) COLUMBUS DISCOVERING LAND, (1836.) National Gallery, Berlin. Columbus leaning against a mast, raising his eyes to heaven, while the officers and crew prostrate themselves before him, and the sailors greet the land with passionate gestures.
XII. On the morning of the 12th of October, 1492, the navigators landed on an island which Columbus named San Salvador, and which was called by the natives Guanahani. The determination of the exact location of this island has caused the expenditure of much money, brains and labor on the part of investigators. The number of books, pamphlets, reviews, articles, etc., on this subject is astonishing. I believe that the very first critical historian who undertook to fix its exact position on the map, the eminent author of the Historia del Nuevo Mundo, Juan Bautista Muñoz, determined it accurately, declaring that Guanahani was Watling's Island. Further researches by well known authors, especially those of Captain Becher and Rudolph Cronau, seem to confirm this assertion conclusively. The latter has explained all the discrepancies in the log-book of Columbus, by showing that the Admiral landed on the western coast of the island, having been carried by the currents beyond its northern side, where he probably saw the light to which he refers, shortly before midnight on October 11th, 1492.
Many paintings have been made representing the first landing, and I will describe those which are known to me.
53. SOLIMENE, (FRANCESCO.) THE LANDING OF COLUMBUS ON AMERICAN SOIL.
The famous Neapolitan artist Solimene, painted this work at the beginning [page 153] of the last century in the palace of the Doge. It was unfortunately destroyed in a fire in 1779. The sketches had been preserved, and Carlo Giuseppe Ratti, a disciple of Mengs, was chosen at the suggestion of his master to reproduce it, which he did in the most perfect manner, even reproducing the anachronisms in the original Solimene. It is a semicircular picture, in which Columbus is represented in the act of planting the Standard of the Cross, and taking possession of the land in the name of the Kings of Spain. The figure of Faith encompassed by clouds and surrounded by angels, stands at the head of the picture, and at the sides are graceful groups of figures which, though they may charm the eye of the artist, would not be appreciated by the historian, as not only the scenery, but the figures, costumes, animals and all the accessories are entirely imaginary.
54. CARLONE, (GIAMBATTISTA.) COLUMBUS PLANTING THE CROSS ON THE FIRST LAND DISCOVERED.
Fresco painted in 1665 in the chapel of the Ducal Palace at Genoa.
The design is excellent: Columbus is in the foreground sustaining a large wooden cross, while his followers are planting it firmly by means of wedges driven into the ground. On the left of the background, are the caravels, depicted as Genoese vessels of the XVIIth century. On the right, are stone altars, human remains, tents and soldiers. The types and attire of Columbus and his soldiers are fairly accurate, and the powerful head of the Admiral is beautiful and has a grand expression. According to my information this fresco is still in good preservation and its colors are fairly fresh.
57. HAMMAN, (EDOUARD L.) LANDING OF COLUMBUS.
This picture was exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1855, but I have been unable to ascertain its present whereabouts.
58. CLOSS, (G. ADOLF.) LANDING OF COLUMBUS AT GUANAHANI.
This painting is in the Gallery at Stuttgart; I have an engraving of it. The artistic treatment is good, but the painter unfortunately paid no attention to history or details of dress and other essential accessories.
59. BIERSTADT, (ALBERT.) LANDING OF COLUMBUS.
This picture was exhibited at the Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia, in 1876, but I know nothing further regarding it.
60. LEUTZE, (EMNUEL) FIRST LANDING OF COLUMBUS IN AMERICA, (1863.)
61. DIETHE, (ALFRED.) LANDING OF COLUMBUS AT SAN SALVADOR.
XIII. Columbus continued his voyage discovering some of the small islands in the Bahamas, next Cuba, and then steering eastward he reached Santo Domingo. Pinzon had abandoned him with the Pinta, and on the night of December 24th, the Admiral went to bed. The helmsman had left the rudder in charge of a young sailor who fell asleep, when of a sudden, the vessel carried by the currents struck on a rock near Cape Haytien. The Admiral was soon on deck and tried to save his ship, but the panic-stricken sailors abandoned it, and in a short time it was totally wrecked. This event is portrayed in the following picture.
62. CLOSS, (G. ADOLF.) SHIPWRECK OF THE SANTA MARIA.
This picture is very effective and well-drawn. The bright, sunlit sky, the [page 157] sea, the rock, the shore, sea-fowl and vegetation of Santo Domingo, are well rendered. The Santa Maria is accurately painted, but the scene is lighted by brilliant sunshine, and it is well-known that the ship was wrecked and abandoned shortly after midnight.
XIV. It is not my intention to follow Columbus step by step. I will there fore proceed to the next important event depicted by painters, viz., his arrival at the Court of the Kings, and his reception by them at Barcelona. I will not describe his hazardous return voyage, his arrival at Palos, nor his triumphal progress through Spain. I will simply refer my readers, if they are fond of glowing descriptions, to the splendid but highly colored one given by Washington Irving in his now somewhat antiquated Life of Columbus. Oviedo, who was present at the reception, says briefly that "Columbus was very kindly and graciously received by 1he Kings."
Artists have given full scope to their imaginations in the portrayal of this event, as will be seen by the following paintings:
63. PELAGIO, (PELAGI.) THE RETURN OF COLUMBUS.
By order of the Peloso family, this celebrated artist painted the fresco which can yet be seen at the Peloso Gallery in their palace at Genoa; it is still in very good condition and has great merit as a work of art.
64. RECEPTION OF COLUMBUS AT BARCELONA.
In the palace of L'Annunziata, Genoa, which formerly belonged to the Ferrari family but which has often changed hands and is now known as the Coen, there is a hall solely dedicated to the memory of Columbus. The finest of its paintings is the reception of Columbus at Barcelona, but unfortunately I have not been able to ascertain the name of the artist. It is full of life and move ment, but the costumes in general are inaccurate. The fauna and flora of the New World are, however, well portrayed by the artist, although he has not confined himself to tho regions discovered by Columbus, but has depicted the whole natural kingdom from Greenland to Tierra del Fuego. As a work of art, it is much admired.
60. GANDOLFI. RECEPTION OF COLUMBUS AT BARCELONA.
Council Hall at Genoa.
This is a very dramatic but untruthful picture. In the Court of the Palace at Barcelona, a large graded platform has been erected specially for the occasion. On the left, in the background, are the Kings seated on chairs of state: in front of them, in the center, is Columbus standing before a chair in a very dramatic attitude, describing his voyage: in the extreme background, are buildings, ships and a large concourse of people, greeting Columbus by [page 159] waving hands and handkerchiefs, (handkerchiefs were not known at that time.) Behind the Admiral and in front of him in the foreground are the courtiers and attendant ladies, and even a Moor in full costume. The grouping is excellent: pages are presenting fruits, birds and other products of the lands discovered to the Kings, but there are no Indians present. The people, dresses, ornaments, etc., are anything but Spanish, yet the picture is celebrated for its artistic merit.
67. ANCKErMAN, (RICARDO.) RECEPTION OF COLUMBUS AT BARCELONA.
The Admiral appears in the center of the picture, kneeling on the steps of the throne and kissing the hand of Isabella, while Ferdinand stands by her side. She is surrounded by her ladies of honor. In the background of the picture to the right are a number of courtiers and military men. In the foreground on the right are seven Indians of both sexes, in different positions wondering at the splendor of the Court.
It is not only a beautiful painting, but it is correct in the details of types, attire, ornaments and architecture. The face of Columbus is very similar to [page 160] that in the Naval Museum at Madrid and the lineaments of the King and Queen are the same as in their well-known portraits. The distribution of the groups is very effective, and even the number of Indians, seven, is strictly accurate historically.
68. GREGORI, (LUIGI.) COLUMBUS PRESENTING THE NATIVES TO THE QUEEN.
This picture is at the University of Notre DameSouth Bend, Indiana.
69. GONZALEZ DE RIBERA, (ANTONIO.) COLUMBUS OFFERING A NEW WORLD TO THE CATHOLIC KINGS.
This large fresco is painted on the ceiling of Hall No. 21, in the Royal Palace at Madrid. I have examined guide-books of Madrid, and have questioned many of my friends who have resided there, in regard to this picture, but to my great regret I have not been able to obtain any more information about it than the simple notice found in one of the guide-books. However, as the painter was a talented artist, I suppose it deserves more than a passing notice.
70. COLIN, (ALEXANDRE MARIE.) RECEPTION OF COLUMBUS BY THE CATHOLIC KINGS.
This picture apears in the Catalogue of the Paris Salon of 1861.
71. DEVERIA, (EUGÈNE.) RECEPTION OF COLUMBUS BY FERDINAND AND ISABELLA. (Paris Salon, 1861.)
72. PLUDDEMANN, (HERMANN.) ENTRY OF COLUMBUS INTO BARCELONA. (1842. )
73. LEUTZE, (EMANUEL.) RECEPTION OF COLUMBUS ON HIS FIRST RETURN FROM AMERICA. (1847; in the Düsseldorf Gallery.)
XV. The famous engraver, Theodore de Bry, published in his Collection of Voyages, an apocryphal story which has been widely circulated. He avers that after Columbus returned from his first voyage, he was generously entertained by some of his friends. One of them, Cardinal Mendoza, gave a banquet in his honor and some of the grandees at the table murmured at Columbus occupying the place of honor, as he was not a man of noble birth, and went so far as to declare that any man present would have discovered the Indies just as Columbus had done. The Admiral took an egg and asked if any of the guests could stand it upright on the table. All tried to do it but without success. Then Columbus slightly broke the top of the egg and stood it on the table, observing that he had discovered the Indies just as he had found a way of standing the egg on end. This anecdote, which was first related by de Bry, was the origin of the following engraving and paintings.
75. HOGARTH, (WILLIAM.) COLUMBUS AND THE EGG. This picture represents a man with a full beard, holding an egg in his hand and in the act of making some explanation. The features are of the Montanus type, but the painting is entirely imaginary. Notwithstanding the usual [page 162] accuracy of Hogarth in all his works, in this instance he did not pay the slightest attention to the descriptions of Columbus that have been handed down to posterity by his contemporaries. It has great artistic merit, but historically, it is absolutely worthless, as all the figures portrayed in it are of the most common-place and burlesque type.
XVI. The saddest and most dramatic episode is his imprisonment and return to Spain in chains by order of the brutal Bobadilla. This was on his return from the third voyage. As a criminal, heavily ironed, he crossed for the sixth time, that Sea of Darkness which his genius had opened to his contemporaries. Poets and painters have vied with each other in depicting this sad event. I will describe the most important pictures relating to it.
76. DUVAL, (CHARLES.) IMPRISONMENT OF COLUMBUS. (Paris Salon, 1861.)
77. MENOCAL, (ARMANDO.) THE FALL OF COLUMBUS.
I have only a very indifferent photograph of this painting. Aside from some short notices in the Havana papers, I have read three articles regarding it. One is from the pen of one of the most gifted sons of Cuba, the eloquent orator and eminent writer, Manuel Sanguily: another by the accomplished art critic of Havana, Aniceto Valdivia, widely known under his nom de plume, "Conde Kostia," and the last by an anonymous but very able writer on the staff of the Union Constitucional, a journal published in Havana. From these articles I will endeavor to give a short description of the picture, and the writers' opinions regarding it. I must add that it will be exhibited at the Chicago World's Fair.
I will commence by stating that Menocal, although still a very young artist, has attained a prominent rank in his profession, as he follows the established traditions of the old Spanish School and is a hard worker.
The picture represents Columbus in the act of stepping into the boat, ready to take him to the ship in which he is to sail for Spain, as a prisoner, by order of his brutal foe, Bobadilla. He is fettered, and Captain Vallejo, in armor, holds his hand, aiding him to enter the boat, in which there are already three sailors and two guards: behind the Admiral, are his two brothers, also fettered and surrounded by a strong guard. In the center of the foreground, is a priest with folded hands, looking sadly at the pathetic scene. Other passengers are taking leave of their friends, and some of the onlookers seem to deplore the disgraceful proceeding. On the sea in the background the vessel is lying at anchor which is to carry the Admiral. On the other side is a tropical landscape. The grouping is excellent and all the accessories are strictly historical.
[page 163] According to the above-mentioned critics, the coloring is superb, and the sea, the sky and the land are as beautiful as can be depicted by the painter's brush.
Sanguily says: "The light is astonishing and wonderful. ...,.it seems impossible to achieve such a marvel with the brush. .... it must be seen. .... It is necessary to stand before that colossal canvas in order to understand the deep pathos resulting from the happy conception of the artist, the dazzling and wonderful richness of coloring of the Cuban painter. Perhaps some may find fault with the picturethat may mean that it is not perfectGrantedbut place yourself before it in a proper position, and then deny, if you can, that you are looking at something perfect."
Valdivia says: "Everyone who has seen it has been surprised at the marvelous coloring and the wonderful execution of the painting. It is impossible to crown misfortune with more greatness..... all the figures on shore are in motion. .... the portion of the picture showing the bark is of the first order... the sea breaking against the reefs... the foam raised by the restless sea. .... the moving horizon form a really wonderful painting."
The anonymous writer says: At a glance, it shows that Menocal is a master in painting the human form. The Christopher Columbus that he has painted, tall, thin, old, bent by misfortunes, is the ideal type of the Discoverer of America. .... Menocal studied at Madrid the works of the great masters, and has returned to Havana possessing an original style, and versed in all the secrets and resources of the Spanish School, which he knows how to skilfully employ. This picture is admirable in color and design, in relief and in the life of its subjects. Menocal is destined to be a glory to Spain and to Cuba.'
I take pleasure in acknowledging that I am indebted for these notices and a photograph of the picture, as well as for almost all the details and reproductions of monuments and paintings in Cuba, to the kindness of a prominent Cuban lawyer, Mr. Carlos I. Párraga, of Havana.
78. PLÜDDEMANN, (HERMANN). COLUMBUS IN CHAINS LANDING AT CADIZ.
80. MURATON, (ALPHONSE.) COLUMBUS IN CHAINS.
My friend, the distinguished artist, Mr. Juan Peoli, has shown me the valuable original sketch of this picture, which was presented to him by the artist. It represents Columbus in chains on board of a ship, and in the back ground are seen some Indians, who are being sent to Spain as prisoners. Columbus is standing; he wears a scarlet coat and a cap of the same color; the features and the dress are strictly historical.
I saw the finished picture in this city some years ago, but I cannot remember in what collection. I have also seen an engraving of it, but have not been able to obtain a copy.
81. PORTMAN, (CHRISTIAN J. L.) COLUMBUS IN CHAINS SENT TO EUROPE. (1840.)
82. LEUTZE, (EMANUEL.) THIRD RETURN OF COLUMBUS FROM AMERICA. (1842.) Providence, R. I.
83. WAPPERS, (GUSTAAF.) COLUMBUS IN IRONS.
This is a beautiful picture. I have reproduced the most important part, the portrait of Columbus, in cut 24, page 42, where I state my reason for not having reproduced the entire picture.
84. MARÉCHAL, (CHARLES L.) COLUMBUS BROUGHT BACK IN CHAINS.
This magnificent water-color was formerly in the collection of Prince Napoleon. Years ago I saw a beautiful engraving of it, but have never been able to find another. The description by the eminent critic Maxime du Camp, says among other things: "All the suffering that human nature can bear is imprinted upon that thoughtful face resting on the contracted hand. It is the desperation of a man of genius who apparently begins to doubt the existence of a God. There are many paintings 100 feet square which do not contain the burning pathos and the great drama shown in this water color, the most beautiful that I have ever seen. Mr. Marechal has given a sublime reality to a popular tradition." (1851.)
XVII. The brutal conduct of Bobadilla to' Columbus greatly displeased the Catholic Kings. Immediately after the arrival of the Admiral they gave orders for his release, sent him a large sum of money, and ordered him to appear at once before them. When he reached the Court he was received with [page 167] the highest marks of favor, and was reinstated in all his honors and titles. At another audience he had an opportunity to give a detailed account of his third voyage. A great and well-known Spanish painter and a distinguished German painter have portrayed these events in the following paintings.
86. LEUTZE, (EMANUEL.) KING FERDINAND REMOVING THE CHAINS FROM COLUMBUS. (1843.)
87. JOVER, (FRANCISCO.) COLUMBUS REINSTATED IN HIS HONORS.
XVIII. The last days of Columbus aud his death form the subject for the two pictures now to be described.
88. (JACQUAND, (CLAUDIUS.) COLUMBUS ON HIS DEATH-BED, SHOWING HIS CHAINS TO HIS SON. (1870.)
89. EDWARD, (MAY.) LAST DAYS OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, OR COLUMBUS MAKING HIS WILL. Paris Salon, 1861.
90. WAPPERS, (GUSTAAF.) DEATH OF COLUMBUS.
This is a very dramatic picture. Columbus blesses his son who is kneeling by his side, The chains are seen over a large chest. There is a beautiful engraving of it by Devachez.
91. PLÜDDEMANN, (HERMANN.) DEATH 0F COLUMBUS. 1840.
XIX. The following are allegorical pictures referring to Columbus and his discoveries.
94. ALEU, (RAFAEL.) THE APOTHEOSIS 0F COLUMBUS.
The celebrated Spanish artist Aleu, in painting this picture now at Madrid, has availed himself of a sketch which is supposed to have been drawn by Columbus, now in the City Hall at Genoa, and in which the Admiral depicts his own apotheosis. I have already described and reproduced this drawing. The painter has not closely followed the original idea.
In the foreground Europe, Asia and Africa gaze wonderingly at the scene before them, listening to the trumpet blast of an allegorical figure of Fame. In another part of the picture, and above a cloud, is a group of Red Indians contemplating Columbus with astonishment. He appears enveloped in clouds, and radiant with dignity and majesty, seated in a golden car in the shape of a shell, symbolical of the frail caravels, which is driven by a figure representing Providence. In the background are two angels placing the crown of Viceroy of the Indies on the head of the Admiral, and a throng of illustrious men is seen through the mist applauding the great deeds ofthe Discoverer. On the border of the picture are the portraits of Isabella, Fernando, Fray Antonio Marchena, Juan de la Cosa, Martin Alonzo Pinzon and Juan Perez. At the head of the picture is the coat of arms of Spain, at the foot is that of Columbus, while at the sides are those of eight of the most important cities where the principal events in the life of the Admiral Occurred, viz: Genoa, Huelva, Granada, Salamanca, Barcelona, Seville, Cadiz and Valladolid.
95. CHENAVARD, (PAUL J.) CONQUEST OF THE NEW WORLD.
Théophile Gautier gives the following description of this magnificent com- [page 171] position which was intended for a fresco in the Pantheon. "The Admiral's vessel, commanded by Columbus, is seen standing crosswise in the foreground, which is formed by the breaking waves. In the high castle on the poop, built after the singular fashion of the naval constructions of those times, Christopher Columbus stands, surrounded by his Spaniards and some Indian captives; the sailors and the slaves are loading the ship, which lies off the land, with lumps of virgin gold, strange idols, feather mattresses, birds, parrots of brilliant plumage, and all that European research was able to plunder from that world, unveiled as the Eldorado of adventurers."
There is an admirable engraving of this cartoon by Hanf Staengl.
96. HUNT, (WILLIAM MORRIS.)
In the American Art Review I find an article by Mr. F. P. Vinton, in which he describes a picture by the American artist, William Morris Hunt, representing the Discoverer. Columbus is in a barque, steered by Fortune and three allegorical female figures representing Hope, Science and Faith accompany him. The opinion of Mr. Vinton is not very favorable to the painting, of which I have seen only a very indifferent engraving. The picture is in the new Capitol at Albany.
97. HAMILTON, (JAMES.) VISION OF COLUMBUS. In the possession of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Philadelphia, Pa.
XX. The celebration of the first mass on the New Continent and in the city of Havana, are commemorated in the following pictures.
98. THE FIRST MASS IN AMERICA.
This splendid work is from the brush of a young Cuban artist, José Arburu y Morell, who was born at Havana, in 1864, and died in Paris, in 1889, before he was 25 years of age. He first studied at the Academy of San Alejandro, Havana, under Melero, and afterwards at the Academy of San Fernando, Madrid, under the direction of Dominguez. He was also a distinguished sculptor, and was awarded the first prize for his painting, "The First Mass in America," in a competition opened in 1888 by La Ilustracion Española y Americana, of Madrid. The picture was warmly commended by such eminent artists as Pradilla and Plasencia, and in the opinion of painters should have been on a canvas of 20x25 feet in length, but the painter had not the necessary funds for such a large work.
I am indebted for these notes and a description of this splendid picture, written by Julian Casal, to the kindness of my friend, Mr. José Ramírez de Arellano, of Havana, who also sent me a photograph and an engraving, from which it is impossible to take a satisfactory copy: [page 172] "Under a light-blue sky dotted with rose, amber and violet-colored clouds, is seen the calm, blue surface of the ocean, flecked with snowy foam. The dim gray line of the horizon is merged in the vastness of the sea. On the shore, to the left of the spectators, a large canopy has been raised, and the wind is rustling the folds of the canvas, under which, on a crimson carpet, and against a gigantic tree, stands an altar. A priest with a long beard, robed in a white cassock fringed with gold, and attended by a fair-haired acolyte, celebrates mass, and is represented in the act of blessing his congregation, the members of which are grouped on the right, some standing and some kneeling. In front of them and closer to the altar, saluting with his sword, and holding a standard in his left hand is the venerable figure of the Admiral, his gray hair shining under the rays of the sun. That austere face furrowed by grief and misfortune, beams with benevolence and modesty. He appears to be deaf to the cheers of one of the most enthusiastic of his followers who stands behind him, and devoting his entire attention to the religious ceremony.
Near the great Genoese is a Dominican friar with his cowl thrown back and praying fervently. The persons assembled in the background are in various positions, and the expressions on their faces are different. The grouping is splendid. On the left are a number of copper-colored Indians with bristling hair, half-naked and crouched near the altar, showing in their large black eyes, wonder or indifference. The whole composition which, but for the genius of the artist would have bordered on the theatrical, is heroic, grand and touching."
99. VERMAY, (JUAN B.) FIRST MASS IN AMERICA.
In the Templete at Havana, there is a picture representing the first mass celebrated in America, on the spot where Havana was first founded, on the southern coast of Cuba. It was said by one of the priests who accompanied Columbus on his second expedition, and it is supposed that the Admiral was present on the occasion. I last saw this picture about thirty years ago, and have entirely forgotten its details. Perhaps, it did not attract my attention on account of the bad light in which it is placed; yet as this picture and the two others in the same building are from the brush of the distinguished French painter, Juan B. Vermay, I suppose that they must possess considerable merit.
XXI. The following five pictures I cannot properly include in any particular series, for the reason that all I know about them is that I have seen them mentioned in various catalogues, but with no description. I do not even know whether they are portraits or paintings, but as they are all the works of distinguished artists, I have thought proper to at least mention them.
100. HARTE, (S. A.) COLUMBUS AND THE CHILD.
101. KEYSER,. (NICAISE DE.) COLUMBUS WITH HIS SON LEAVING BARCELONA.
102. MASÓ, (FELIPE.) COLUMBUS AND HIS SON. (1875.) Valparaiso Museum.
103. COLIN, (ALEXANDER.) CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS. (1846.)
104. HAMMAN, (EDOUARD JEAN.) CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS. (1869.)
To this long list I must add that there is a very large number of pictures, both in private and public galleries, which are entirely unknown to me, and many others which have been destroyed by fire, shipwreck or other accidents. I have read that about the middle of the sixteenth century, il Fiazello, otherwise called il Sarzana, painted a number of large canvases illustrating the history of Columbus for the Ducal Chapel at Genoa, and that they were destroyed in a terrible conflagration in the following century. I have also read that two pictures illustrating events in the life of Columbus, were destroyed by the Communists at the Tuileries, in Paris, and that in the Durazzo and Santi palaces at Genoa there are beautiful pictures referring to Columbus; also that Scaramuzza painted by order of the Faragiano family some splendid pictures in the Acquaverde palace, and that in the Hall of Deputies at Madrid there are some other paintings relating to the discovery of America. I can only mention them, as I have been unable to obtain any further information or any descriptions of these pictures.