Sargent to Mrs Austin, March 1874
15, Via Magenta, Florence,
March 22nd, 1874
Dear Mrs. Austin,
I thank you very much for your kind letter and your kindness in taking the trouble to get me these photographs, which I have always regretted not having brought while I was in Dresden.
According to your letter, I send back the two little ones, with a thaler note, and beg you to get me three of the ten groschen size. No. 78 is the Adoration which I particularly desire, but the other one, No. 82, is almost as beautiful, so, if you please, I shall have them both, and another picture also by Paul Veronese [Paolo Veronese (1528-1588) Italian painter --Venice], the finding of Moses; this is, if I remember rightly in the third large Italian room, on the left and perhaps opposite the Correggios. You will know it by the very fine figure of the princess, leaning on another woman. These three at gr will make a thaler exactly, unless the Thaler has changed its value of 30 gr. Since we were in Dresden.
I am sorry to hear that the magnificent Tintoretto has not been photographed, for I remember it being very fine, but I must content myself with a little outline of the principal female figure in one of my Dresden Sketchbooks.
Since seeing that picture I have learned to admire Tintoretto immensely and to consider him second only to Michael Angelo and Titian, whose beauties it was his aim to unite. If my artist cousin Mary would like to read about Tintoretto, and know the opinion his contemporaries had of him, before his pictures had blackened and faded, and before the great pictures on the ceiling of San Rocco in Venice were used as sieves for rain water which was collected in buckets on the floor, she may find in the royal library an old Italian book entitled “Le Maraviglie dell’ Arte, ovvero Vite delgli Illustri pittori Veneti e dello Stato” by Ridolfi. This book contains detailed biographical sketches of Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto besides other Venetian painters, and expresses the then current belief that Tintoretto was rarely equaled and never surpassed by Paul Vernonese. I hope Mary keeps up her drawing and frequents the “Sammlung der Gipsabgusse” where she will find no end of models in heads and statues. Thanking you again for your kindness I remain, with much love from all to all,
Your affect. cousin,
John S. Sargent
(Letter to Mrs Austin from JSS 4/25/74, printed in Charteris' book, p. 18)