MEDIEVAL AND MODERN.
By Prof. Anton Springer.
Rome as mistress of the World became the centre of contempora-
neous culture. Art had found with her a new term: and Greece as
fìtting tribute to the conqueror laid at her feet the accumulated
wealth of ages — the treasures of her art, which long had embodied
the loftiest conception of the beautiful.
Her supremacy secured, Rome became the chief resort of artists,
and their liberal patron. She dictated the tone, alike in taste and
fashion, and determined the destinies of art. Down to mediseval
times Rome continued to receive the proud title of 'Caput mundi'.
Presently, however, she laid claim to supremacy in another realm
than that of art; and this latter, as the ancient traditions were
gradually outlived, finally fell into neglect. In more recent, as
in former times Rome has failed to create for herself, as the out-
come of her individuality, an art peculiar to and a part of herself.
Her destiny seems to have been to gather from external sources
the wealth in which she revelled, with the difference that while
ancient Rome furnished nothing beyond a magnificent arena for
the art of her day, in later times the artist found in Rome herself
his sources of inspiration, compelled as he was to contemplate
perfection reflected in the dazzling mirror of antique art. Ten
centuries, however, elapsed ere Rome resumed this proud pre-
eminence. A glance may now be directed to the interval between
the fall of old Rome and the period when, animated jwith a new
life, Rome drew to herself the foremost representatives of the
Renaissance, to whom she afforded inspiration for their grandest
efforts. It is not, however, the"16th century, not the glories of
the Renaissance, that give to the Rome of our day her distinctive
character, but rather the new and imposing exterior which she re-
ceived at the hand of her architects in the 17th century. The mind
must be disenchanted before the veil can be penetrated and the
Rome of antiquity adequately comprehended.
The protracted suspension of ali activity in art makes it appar-
ent that Roman art has a history distinct from Italian art. For
several centuries the towns of Tuscany were the principal abodes of
a national art life. But just as in Rome Italian art achieved its