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ITALIAN SCHOOL. 000000-6 RAFFAELLE. 00000000 VATICAN GALLERY.
THE ALLOCUTION OF CONSTANTINE.
The hall of Constantine is the first of the chambers of the Vatican; it leads to the galleria delle Loggie, where are seen some Arabesques, painted by Raffaelle. Its name is derived from the subjects represented in it, and wbich all relate to the history of that emperor. This painting is to the left, on entering : it represents an event which took place when Constantine, returning from England, crossed Gaul, in 311 or 312. Whilst marching at the head of his army, he perceived, below the sun, a luminous cross with this inscription : EN TOT T12 NIKA : Thou shalt conquer through this sign. It is easy to understaud, that this is the motive of the allocution, which is composed in the antique taste.
We may, however, feel some astonishment, to find in it, a figure so ridiculous, as that of the dwarf, who is endeavouring to put on a helmet. The two figures of the young men in the fore-ground on the left, are equally ill-placed, but they are thought not to be of Raffaelle's invention; at least they are not in that master's design, which has successively past through the hands of the painters Lely and Flinck, and has since been in the duke of Devonshire's cabinet. It is presumable that Giulio Romano, when painting this fresco, added those personages to please the cardinal Hippolytus de Medicis, both these young men forming part of that prince's retinue. It is also an excentric idea lo have imitated a tapestry, the two ends of wbich roll on themselves.
Width, 21 feet 3 inches; height, 15 feet u inches.