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Prudhon was as kilful painter, ofa gentle disposition, possessing an excellent heart, and from the constant troubles which he experienced, it would appear as if nature had endowed him with a genius to compensate the ills he was to suffer. Peter Paul Prudhon was born at Cluny, April 6, 176o; he was the thirthenth child ofa mason who died soon after the birth of this boy, without leaving any thing to suppor the family.The mother of our youth obtained from the monks of Cluny, that he should participate in the gratuitous instruction given at the Abbey. The taste of young Prudhon soon began to show itself in many ways, he was alternately a draughtsman, a sculptor, and a painter. His exercise books were covered with sketches drawn with a pen; with his knife and some soap he used to cut figures; and from herbs and flowers he would make colours. Such excellent inclinations were remarked, and our young painter was introduced to M. Moreau, the bishop of Mâcon, who granted him his protection, and sent him to study under M. Desvoges at Dijon. His progress was rapid, but an irreparable misfortune awaited him. He possessed a very susceptible heart, and having felt a passion for an object little worthy of his attention, he considered, contrary to the advice of all those who interested themselves in his talent and fortune, that he was bound to marry her, though he foresaw the inconve
niences of such an alliance, which embittered the best years of his life.
II HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL NOTICE
Although married, Prudhon felt the necessity of continuing his studies : he came to Paris, in 178o. It is curious to see what M. de Joursanvault, one of his patrons, already thought ofhim at that time,when writing to M.Wille and recommanding him to that gentleman. «He has received from nature a fire and genius which make him seize an idea instantaneously; he possesses a great facility of execution, and a skill not very common.» Three years after, he competed for the prize given by the States ofBurgundy to study at Rome. He was working with ardour; when from the lodge adjoining his own, he heard a brother artist lamenting the inadequacy of his talent; his heart was moved, and, without considering the injury that might accrue to himself, he finished his rival's picture, which ultimately obtained the prize. The young man however, struck with the generosity of Prudhon, and feeling that he was about to enjoy a favour that he did not merit, declared to whom he owed hissuccess, and the pension was given to him who had · really gained it. Prudhon has been condemned for not studying the antique whilst at Rome, and more particularly for not having imitated it in his designing; but to this reproach he used to answer, « I neither can, nor will, see with the eyes of others; their optics do not suit me; I observe nature, and endeavour to imitate her. Is it not fettering talent to give the same pattern for all productions of the Fine Arts ? » At this period, Prudhon became acquainted with Canova, and a strong friendship united them during the remainder of their lives, which both ended the same year. Notwithstanding their intimacy Prudhon, contrary to the wish of his friend, left Italy and returned to his own country. Upon his return to Paris, in 1789, he lived poor and unknown; he there painted miniatures, and executed some drawings, which began to make his reputation; no doubt our readers will remember his Ceres, Love brougth to reason, and its