( Originally Published Early 1900's )
I shall now proceed to take a slight view of the paintings of some of the churches of Bologna, beginning with the Cathedral. The exterior of this edifice, which is not of ancient date, is not recommended by any particular merit, and has a dome according to the French manner, to me most offensive; but the architecture within, of Corinthian pilasters, with a frieze and deep cornice, is good, and the whole rich, light, and elegant. In the sanctuary, there is an Annunciation, a fresco painting by L. Caracci; interesting only as being his last work, this having been finished immediately before his death. Nothing is more remarkable than the various degrees of merit exhibited at different times in the works of the same master. The artist has his happy moments of inspiration, exciting the mind to the highest excellence; but these, even in the first class of talent, must have their ebb and flow.
The Repentance of St Peter, by Aretino, of the Florentine school;—the colouring of this painting is bad, but the drawing very fine. St Peter is represented amidst the twelve Apostles, receiving the keys; the composition good, and colouring powerful, but the draperies rather heavy and ungraceful, and the sky cold. In one of the side chapels there is a very excellent picture by Graziani. The subject the Baptism of St John. The composition is well conceived, and the colouring beautiful; but the expression of the whole is injured by a certain mythological cast, observable in many of the works of the period. The Evangelist is surrounded by innumerable little fluttering angels, which greatly spoil the dignity and solemnity of a christian scene. Such representations should be distinguished by a noble chaste simplicity, true to feeling and to nature.