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consented to a peace. At length the death of Sixtus IV. freed him from an adversary who never ceased to bear him ill-will; and he was able to secure himself a friend in his successor Innocent VIII. He conducted the republic of Florence to a degree of tranquillity and prosperity which it had scarcely ever known before; and by procuring the institution of a deliberative body, of the nature of a senate, he corrected the democratical part of his constitution.
Lorenzo distinguished himself beyond any of his predecessors in the encouragement of literature and the arts : and his own productions are distinguished by a vigour of imagination, an accuracy of judgment, and an elegance of style, which afforded the first great example of improvement, and entitle him, almost exclusively, to the honourable appellation of the “ restorer of Italian literature.” His compositions are sonnets, canzoni, and other lyric pieces, some longer works in stanzas, some comic satires, and jocose carnival songs, and various sacred poems, the latter as serious as many of the former are licentious. Some of these pieces, especially those of the lighter kind, in which he imitated the rustic dialect, became extremely popular. His regard to literature, in general, was testified by the extraordinary attention which he paid to the augmentation of the Laurentian library. Although the ancestors of Lorenzo laid the foundation of the immense collection of MSS. contained in this library, he may claim the honour of having raised the superstructure. If there was any pursuit in which he engaged more ardently and persevered in more diligently than the rest, it was that of enlarging his collection of books and antiquities : for this purpose he employed the services of learned men, in different parts of Italy, and especially of bis intimate friend and companion Politian, who took several journeys in order to discover and purchase the valuable remains of antiquity. “I wisb," said Lorenzo to him as he was proceeding on one of these expeditions, " that the diligence of Picus and yourself would afford me such opportunities of purchasing books that I should be obliged even to pledge my furniture to possess them.” Two journeys, undertaken at the instance of Lorenzo, into the east, by John Lascar, produced a great number of rare and valuable works. On his return from his second expedition, he brought with him two hundred copies, many of which he had procured
from a monastery at mount Athos; but this treasure did not arrive till after the death of Lorenzo, who, in bis last moments, expressed to Politian and Picus his regret that he could not live to complete the collection which he was forming for their accommodation. On the discovery of the invaluable art of printing, Lorenzo was solicitous to avail himself of its advantages in procuring editions of the best works of antiquity corrected by the ablest scholars, whose labours were rewarded by his munificence. When the capture of Constantinople by the Turks caused the dispersion of many learned Greeks, he took advantage of the circumstance, to promote the study of the Greek language in Italy. It was now at Florence that this tongue was inculcated under the sanction of a public institution, either by native Greeks, or learned Italians, wbo were their powerful competitors, whose services were procured by the diligence of Lorenzo de Medici, and repaid by his bounty. “ Hence,” says Mr. Roscoe, “succeeding scholars have been profuse of their acknowledgments to their great patron, who first formed that establishment, from which, to use their own classical figure, as from the Trojan horse, many illustrious champions have sprung, and by means of which the knowledge of the Greek tongue was extended, not only through all Italy, but through France, Spain, Germany, and England; from all which countries numerous pupils attended at Florence, who diffused the learning they had there acquired throughout the rest of Europe.
The services of Lorenzo to the fine arts were not less conspicuous than those which he rendered to letters, by augmenting his father's collection of the remains of antient taste and skill. It is not, however, on this account only that he is entitled to the esteem of the professors and admirers of the arts. He determined to excite, among his countrymen, a good taste, and, by proposing to their imitation the remains of the ancient masters, to elevate their views beyond the forms of common life, to the contemplation of that ideal beauty which alone distinguishes works of art from mere mechanical productions. With this view he appropriated his gardens in Florence to the establishment of an academy for the study of the antique, which he furnished with a profusion of statues, busts, and other relics of art, the most perfect in their 'kind that he could procure. The
attention of the higher rank of his fellow-citizens was incited to these pursuits by the example of Lorenzo ; that of the lower class by his liberality. To the latter he not only allowed competent stipends, while they attended to their studies, but appointed considerable premiums as rewards of their proficiency. To this institution, more than any other circumstance, Mr. Roscoe ascribes the sudden and astonishing proficiency which, towards the close of the 15th century, was evidently made in the arts, and which, commencing at Florence, extended itself to the rest of Europe. In 1488, his domestic comfort was much impaired by the loss of his wife; and after that his constitution appears to have given way, and in April 1492, he sunk under the debilitating power of a slow fever, and expired in the fortyfourth year of his age. For his general character, as well as the history of his age, we must refer to the very interesting work from which this brief account has been taken. ?
MEDINA (Sir John), a portrait-painter, was the son of Medina de l'Asturias, a Spanish captain, who had settled at Brussels, where this son was born in 1659, and was instructed in painting by Du Chatel.
He married young, and came into England in 1686, where he drew portraits for several years. The earl of Leven encouraged him to go to Scotland, and procured him a subscription of five hundred pounds worth of business. He accepted the otfer, and, according to Walpole, carried with him a large number of bodies and postures, to which he painted heads. He returned to England for a short time, but went again to Scotland, where he died in 1711, aged fifty-two, and was buried in the Grey Friars church-yard. knighted by the duke of Queensbury, lord bigh commissioner, being the last instance of that honour conferred in Scotland while a separate kingdom. He painted most of the Scotch nobility; but was not rich, having twenty children. The portraits of the professors in the Surgeons'ball at Edinburgh were painted by him. Walpole notices other portraits by him in England, and adds, that he was capable both of history and landscape. The duke of Gordon presented bis portrait to the grand duke of 'Tuscany, who placed it in the gallery at Florence, among the series of eminent artists painted by themselves. The prints in
* Roscoe's Life of Lorenzo, abridged in Rees's Cyclopædia.
an octavo edition of Milton were designed by him, but Mr. Walpole does not tell us of what date. Sir John's grandson, John Medina, the last of the family, died at Edinburgh in 1796. He practised painting in some measure, although all we have heard specified is the repair he gave to the series of Scottish kings in Holyrood-house, which are well known to be imaginary portraits.
MEERMAN (GERARD), a very learned lawyer and pensionary of Rotterdam was born at Leyden in 1722; of his early history, pursuits, &c. our authorities give no account, nor have the bibliographers of this country, to whom he is so well known, supplied this deficiency. All we know is, that he died December 15, 1771, in the forty-ninth year of his age, after a life spent in learned research and labour, which produced the following works: 1. “ De rebus mancipi et nec mancipi.” Leyden, 1741, 4to. 2. “Specimen calculi fuxionalis," ibid. 1742, 4to. 3. “ Specimen animadversionum in Cazi institutiones,” Mantuæ Car. petunorum (i.e. Madrid), reprinted with additions by the author, at Paris, 1747, 8vo. 4. “ Conspectus novi the. sauri juris civilis et canonici,” Hague, 1751, 8vo. This conspectus was immediately followed by the work itself. 5. “Novus Thesaurus juris civilis," &c. 1751-1753, 7 vols. folio; a book of high reputation, to which his son John added an eighth volume, in 1780. 6. “ Conspectus Originum Typographicarum proxime in lucem edendarum," 1761, 8vo. This
very scarce, as the author printed but a very few copies : it is however in demand with collectors, as containing some things which he did not insert in the work itself. The abbé Gouget published a French translation, with some additions, in 1762. The entire work appeared in 1765, under the title of, 7. “ Origines Typographicæ," Hague, 2 vols. 4to. An analysis of this valuable work was drawn up by Mr. Bowyer, and printed in “ The Origin of Printing, in two Essays, 1. The substance of Dr. Middleton's Dissertation on the origin of printing in England. 2. Mr. Meerman's account of the first invention of the art,” 1774, 8vo. This volume was the joint composition of Messrs. Bowyer and Nichols. Meerman's partiality to Haerlem, as the origin of printing, was attacked with much severity by Heinecken, who being a German, betrayed as much partiality to Mentz
! Walpole's Anecdotes.-Edwards's Continuation.
and Strasburgh. It seems, however, now to be agreed among typographical antiquaries, that Heinecken paid too little attention to the claims of Haerlem, and Meerman infivitely too much. The dissertation of the latter, however, has very recently been reprinted in France, by Mons. Jansen, with useful notes, and a catalogue of all the books published in the Low Countries during the fifteenth century."
MEHEGAN (WILLIAM ALEXANDER), a French historian, of Irish extraction, as his name sufficiently denotes, was born in 1721 at Salle in the Cévennes. He addicted himself very early to letters, and the bistory of his life is only the history of his publications. He produced in 1752, 1. “ The origin of the Guebres, or natural religion put into action.” This book has too much of the cast of modern philosophy to deserve recommendation, and has now become very scarce. 2. In 1755 he published “ Considerations on the Revolutions of Arts,” a work more easily to be found; and, 3. A small volume of “Fugitive Pieces” in verse, far inferior to his prose.
In the ensuing year appeared, 4. His “ Memoirs of the Marchioness de Terville, with the Letters of Aspasia,” 12mo. The style of these memoirs is considered as affected, which, indeed, is the general fault prevalent in his works. In his person also he is said to have been affected and finical; with very ready elocution, but a mode of choosing both his thoughts and expressions that was rather brilliant than natural. His style, however, improved as he advanced in life.
In 1759 he gave the world a treatise on, 5. “ The origin, progress, and decline of Idolatry,” 12mo; a production in which this improvement in his mode of writing is very
evident. It is still more so in his, 6. “ Picture of modern History,” “Tableau de l'Histoire moderne," which was published in 1766, in 3 vols. 12mo. His chief faults are those of ill-regulated genius, wbich is very strongly apparent in this work; it is eloquent, full of those graces of elocution, and richness of imagination, wbich are said to have made his conversation so peculiar: but it becomes fatiguing from an excessive ambition to paint every thing in brilliant colours. He speaks of every thing in the present tense, and he embellishes every subject with images
1 Dict, Hist.--Bowyer and Nichols's “ Origin of Printing."-Dibdin's Biblio. mania and Typographical Antiquities.-Saxii Onomast.