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Synopsis

This book contains the record of the life and thoughts upon Art of Giovanni Duprè, one of the most eminent sculptors of the present century in Italy. It was written by him from time to time, during the latter years of his life, in the intervals of work in his studio, and given to the public about three years before his death. Those three years, of which it contains no account, were assiduously devoted to his art. Every day had its work, and it was done faithfully and joyously even to the last. "Nulla dies sine linea." Within these years, among other works of less importance, he successively executed a basso-relievo of the Baptism of our Lord, a portrait statue of Pius IX. for the Cathedral of Piacenza, one of Victor Emmanuel for the public square at Trapani, one of Raimondo Lullo for a chapel in the island of Majorca, and one of St Francis of Assisi which now adorns the front of the Cathedral at Assisi. This was the last statue which he ever made. The model he had completed in clay and cast in plaster, and had somewhat advanced in executing it in marble, when death arrested his hand. It was finished by his daughter Amalia, who had for years been his loving and faithful pupil, and who had already won distinction for herself as a sculptor. In this his last work he found a peculiar attractiveness, and his heart and hand were earnestly given to it. "I am most happy," he says in his reply to the authorities of Assisi, who gave him this order, "that the Commission has thought of me,—not so much on account of what little talent I may possess, as for the love I bear to religious art." The statue itself is very simple, and informed by a deep religious sentiment. It is clothed in the dress of the order which St Francis founded, the hands crossed over the breast, the cowl falling behind, the head bent, and the eyes cast down in an attitude of submission and devotion.

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