His voice still had a bitter edge, but there was a touch of musing in it now.
He now began to fulfil the promise of his "Cimabue," and by such pictures as "Paolo e Francesca," "The Star of Bethlehem," "Jezebel and Ahab taking Possession of Naboth's Vineyard," "Michael Angelo musing over his Dying Servant," "A Girl feeding Peacocks," and "The Odalisque," all exhibited in 1861-1863, rose rapidly to the head of his profession.
The most beautiful of his few pictures of this kind was the "David musing on the Housetop" (1865).
There was no quiet time of musing.
" It was at Rome, on the 15th of October 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the barefooted friars were singing vespers in the temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the city first started to my mind."