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Author: Tytler, Sarah, 1827-1914
Title: The Old Masters and Their Pictures For the Use of Schools and Learners in Art
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): painter; michael angelo; raphael; dyck; angelo; rubens; titian; holbein; painters; national gallery; albrecht duerer; painted; florence; michael; portrait; rome; gian bellini; painting; virgin; quintin matsys; nicolas poussin; gallery
Contributor(s): Gilfillan, George, 1813-1878 [Editor]
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Size: 78,198 words (short) Grade range: 13-16 (college) Readability score: 46 (average)
Identifier: etext19863
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Title: The Old Masters and Their Pictures
       For the Use of Schools and Learners in Art

Author: Sarah Tytler

Release Date: November 19, 2006 [EBook #19863]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


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_For the Use of Schools and Learners in Art_




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[_The Right of Translation is Reserved_]




I wish to say, in a very few words, that this book is intended to be a
simple account of the great Old Masters in painting of every age and
country, with descriptions of their most famous works, for the use of
learners and outsiders in art. The book is not, and could not well be,
exhaustive in its nature. I have avoided definitions of schools,
considering that these should form a later and more elaborate portion of
art education, and preferring to group my 'painters' according to what I
hold to be the primitive arrangements of time, country, and rank in


The restrictions with regard to space under which the little volume
called "The Old Masters" was originally written, caused me to omit, to
my regret, many names great, though not first, in art. The circulation
which the book has attained induces me to do what I can to remedy the
defect, and render the volume more useful by adding two chapters--the
one on Italian and the other on German, Dutch, and Flemish masters.
These chapters consist almost entirely of condensed notes taken from two
trustworthy sources, to which I have been already much indebted--Sir C,
and Lady Eastlake's version of Kugler's "Handbook of Italian Art," and
Dr. Waagen's "Handbook,"--remodelled from Kugler--of German, Dutch, and
Flemish art, revised by J.A. Crowe. I have purposely given numerous
records of those Dutch painters whose art has been specially popular in
England and who are in some cases better represented in our country than
in their own.


1280-1345--ORCAGNA, 1315-1376--GHIBERTI, 1381-1455--MASACCIO, 1402-1428
_OR_ 1429--FRA ANGELICO, 1387-1455 1

1470-1532--MEMLING, _ABOUT_ 1478-1499--QUINTIN MATSYS, 1460-1530 OR 31

1431-1506--GHIRLANDAJO, 1449-1498--- IL FRANCIA, 1450-1518--FRA
BARTOLOMMEO, 1469-1517--ANDREA DEL SARTO, 1488-1530 53

1483-1520--TITIAN, 1477-1566 83


1493-1534--TINTORETTO, 1512-1594--VERONESE, 1530-1588 181

1581-1641--SALVATOR ROSA, 1615-1673 212

1608-1669--TENIERS, FATHER AND SON, 1582-1694--WOUVVERMAN,
1620-1668--CUYP, 1605; _STILL LIVING_, 1638--PAUL POTTER,
1625-1654--CORNELIUS DE HEEM, 1630 225

IX. SPANISH ART--VELASQUEZ, 1599-1660--MURILLO, 1618-1682 260

1600-1682--CHARLES LE BRUN, 1619-1690--WATTEAU, 1684-1721--GREUZE,
1726-1805 286

1599-1641--LELY, 1618-1680--CANALETTO, 1697-1768--KNELLER, 1646-1723 309

1530--PALMA, ABOUT 1480-1528--PARDENONE, 1483-1538--LO SPAGNA, DATE OF
1500-1570--IL PARMIGIANINO, 1503-1540--BAROCCIO, 1528-1612--CARAVAGGIO,
1569-1609--LO SPAGNOLETTO, 1593-1656--GUERCINO, 1592-1666--ALBANO,
1578-1660--SASSOFERRATO, 1605-1615--VASARI, 1512-1574--SOFONISBA
ANGUISCIOLA, 1535, ABOUT 1626--LAVINIA FONTANA, 1552-1614 364

1366-1442--VAN LEYDEN, 1494-1533--VAN SOMER, 1570-1624--SNYDERS,
1579-1657--G. HONTHORST, 1592-1662--JAN STEEN, 1626-1679--GERARD DOW,
1610-1685--MAAS, 1632-1693--METZU, 1615. STILL ALIVE IN 1667--TERBURG,
1608-1681--NETCHER, 1639-1684--BOL, 1611-1680--VAN DER HELST,
1613-1670--RUYSDAEL, 1625 (?)-1682--HOBBEMA, 1638-1709--BERCHEM,
1620-1683--BOTH 1600 (?)-1650(?) DU JARDIN, 1625-1678--ADRIAN VAN DE
VELDE, 1639-1672--VAN DER HEYDEN, 1637-1712--DE WITTE, 1607-1692--VAN
1633-1707--BACKHUYSEN, 1631-1708--VAN DE CAPELLA, ABOUT
1653--HONDECOETER, 1636-1695--JAN WEENIX, 1644-1719--PATER SEGERS,
1590-1661--VAN HUYSUM, 1682-1749--VAN DER WERFF, 1659-1722--MENGS,
1728-1774 391

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


1315-1376 GHIBERTI, 1381-1455--MASACCIO, 1402-1428 OR 1429--FRA
ANGELICO, 1387-1455.

A pencil and paper, a box of colours, and a scrap-book, form so often a
child's favourite toys that one might expect that a very large portion
of men and women would prove painters. But, as we grow in years and
knowledge, the discrepancy between nature and our attempts to copy
nature, strike us more and more, until we turn in dissatisfaction and
disgust from the vain effort.

There was only one old woman in an Esquimaux tribe who could be called
forward to draw with a stick on the sand a sufficiently graphic likeness
of the Erebus and the Terror. It is only a few groups of men belonging
to different countries, throughout the centuries, who have been able to
give us paintings to which we turn in wonder and admiration, and say
that these are in their degree fair exponents of nature. The old
painter's half-haughty, half-humble protest was true--it is 'God
Almighty,' who in raising here and there men above their fellows, 'makes

But let us be thankful that the old propensity to delight in a
facsimile, or in an idealized version of nature, survives in the very
common satisfaction and joy--whether cultivated or uncultivated---
derived from looking at pictures, thinking over their details, striving
to understand the meaning of the painters, and proceeding farther to
consider the lives and times which throw light on works of genius. Music
itself is not more universally and gladly listened and responded to,
than pictures are looked at and remembered.

Thus I have no fear of failing to interest you, my readers, in my
subject if I can only treat it sympathetically,--enter at a humble
distance into the spirit of the painters and of their paintings, and
place before you some of the paintings by reverent and loving
word-painting such as others have achieved, and such as I may strive to
attain to, that you may be in a sort early familiar with these
paintings, before you see them in engravings and photographs, and on
canvas and in fresco, as I trust you may be privileged to see many of
them, when you may hail them not only for what they are, the glories of
art, but for what they have been to you in thoughts of beauty and high

Of the old Greek paintings, of which there are left isolated specimens
dug up in Herculaneum and Pompeii, I cannot afford to say anything, and
of the more modern Greek art which was spread over Europe after the fall
of Constantinople I need on Europe the birth-place of painting as of
other arts, that Greek painting which illustrated early Christianity,
was painting in its decline and decay, borrowing not only superstitious
conventionalities, but barbaric attributes of gilding and blazoning to
hide its infirmity and poverty. Virgins of the same weak and meaningless
type, between attenuated saints or angels, and doll-like child-Christs
in the one invariable attitude holding up two fingers of a baby hand to
bless the spectator and worshippers, were for ever repeated. In a
similar manner the instances of rude or meagre contemporary paintings
with which the early Christians adorned their places of worship and the
sepulchres of their dead in the basilicas and catacombs of Rome, are
very curious and interesting for their antiquity and their associations,
and as illustrations of faith; but they present no intrinsic beauty or
worth. They are not only clumsy and childish designs ill executed, but
they are rendered unintelligible to all save the initiated in such
hieroglyphics, by offering an elaborate ground-work of type, antitype,
and symbol, on which the artist probably spent a large part of his
strength. Lambs and lilies, serpents, vines, fishes, dolphins,
phoenixes, cocks, anchors, and javelins played nearly as conspicuous a
part in this art as did the dead believer, or his or her patron saint,
who might have been supposed to form the principal figure in the

Italian art existed in these small beginnings, in the gorgeous but
quaintly formal or fantastic devices of illuminated missals, and in the
stiff spasmodic efforts of here and there an artist spirit such as the
old Florentine Cimabue's, when a great man heralded a great epoch. But
first I should like to mention the means by which art then worked.
Painting on board and on plastered walls, the second styled painting in
fresco, preceded painting on canvas. Colours were mixed with water or
with size, egg, or fig-juice--the latter practices termed _tempera_ (in
English in distemper) before oil was used to mix colours. But painters
did not confine themselves then to painting with pencil or brush, else
they might have attained technical excellence sooner. It has been well
said that the poems of the middle ages were written in stone; so the
earlier painters painted in stone, in that mosaic work which one of them
called--referring to its durability--'painting for eternity;' and in
metals. Many of them were the sons of jewellers or jewellers themselves;
they worked in iron as well as in gold and silver, and they were
sculptors and architects as well as painters; engineers also, so far as
engineering in the construction of roads, bridges, and canals, was known
in those days. The Greek knowledge of anatomy was well-nigh lost, so
that drawing was incorrect and form bad. The idea of showing degrees of
distance, and the management of light and shade, were feebly developed.
Even the fore-shortening of figures was so difficult to the old Italian
painters that they could not carry it into the extremities, and men and
women seem as though standing on the points of their toes.
Landscape-painting did not exist farther than that a rock or a bush, or
a few blue lines, with fishes out of proportion prominently interposed,
indicated, as on the old stage, that a desert, a forest, or a sea, was
to play its part in the story of the picture. So also portrait-painting
was not thought of, unless it occurred in the likeness of a great man
belonging to the time and place of the painter, who was the donor of
some picture to chapel or monastery, or of the painter himself, alike
introduced into sacred groups and scenes; for pictures were uniformly of
a religious character, until a little later, when they merged into
allegorical representations, just as one remembers that miracle plays
passed into moral plays before ordinary human life was reproduced. Until
this period, what we call dramatic expression in making a striking
situation, or even in bringing the look of joy or sorrow, pleasure or
pain, into a face, had hardly been attained.

Perhaps you will ask, what merit had the old paintings of the middle
ages to compensate for so many great disadvantages and incongruities?
Certainly before the time I have reached, they have, with rare
exceptions, little merit, save that fascination of pathos, half-comic,
half-tragic, which belongs to the struggling dawn of all great
endeavours, and especially of all endeavours in art. But just at this
epoch, art, in one man, took a great stride, began, as I shall try to
show, to exert an influence so true, deep, and high that it extends, in
the noblest forms, to the present day, and much more than compensates to
the thoughtful and poetic for a protracted train of technical blunders
and deficiencies.

Giotto, known also as Magister Joctus, was born in 1276 near Florence. I
dare say many have heard one legend of him, and I mean to tell the
legends of the painters, because even when they are most doubtful they
give the most striking indications of the times and the light in which
painters and their paintings were regarded by the world of artists, and
by the world at large; but so far as I have heard this legend of Giotto
has not been disproven. The only objection which can be urged against
it, is that it is found preserved in various countries, of very
different individuals--a crowning objection also to the legend of
William Tell. Giotto was a shepherd boy keeping his father's sheep and
amusing himself by drawing with chalk on a stone the favourites of the
flock, when his drawings attracted the attention of a traveller passing
from the heights into the valley. This traveller was the well-born and
highly-esteemed painter Cimabue, who was so delighted with the little
lad's rough outlines, that getting the consent of Giotto's father,
Cimabue adopted the boy, carried him off to the city of Florence,
introduced him to his studio, and so far as man could supplement the
work of God, made a painter of the youthful genius. I may add here a
later legend of Giotto. Pope Boniface VIII, requested specimens of skill
from various artists with the view to the appointment of a painter to
decorate St Peter's. Giotto, either in impatient disdain, or to show a
careless triumph of skill, with one flourish of his hand, without the
aid of compass, executed a perfect circle in red chalk, and sent the
circle as his contribution to the specimens required by the Pope. The
audacious specimen was accepted as the most conclusive, Giotto was
chosen as the Pope's painter for the occasion, and from the incident
arose the Italian proverb 'round as the o of Giotto.' Giotto was the
friend of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, especially of Dante, to whom
the grandeur of some of the painter's designs has been vaguely enough
attributed. The poet of the 'Inferno' wrote of his friend:

                   '......... Cimabue thought
    To lord it over painting's field; and now
    The cry is Giotto's, and his name eclipsed.'

Petrarch bequeathed in his will a Madonna by Giotto and mentioned it as
a rare treasure of art. Boccaccio wrote a merry anecdote of his comrade
the painter's wit, in the course of which he referred with notable
plain-speaking to Giotto's 'flat currish' plainness of face.

The impression handed down of Giotto's character is that of an
independent, high-spirited man, full of invention, full of imagination,
and also, by a precious combination, full of shrewdness and common
sense; a man genial, given to repartee, and at the same time not
deficient in the tact which deprives repartee of its sting. While he was
working to King Robert of Naples, the king, who was watching the painter
on a very hot day, said, with a shrug, 'If I were you, Giotto, I would
leave off work and rest myself this fine day, 'And so would I, sire, if
I were _you_,' replied the wag.

I need scarcely add that Giotto was a man highly esteemed and very
prosperous in his day; one account reports him as the head and the
father of four sons and four daughters. I have purposely written first
of the fame, the reputed character, and the circumstances of Giotto
before I proceed to his work. This great work was, in brief, to breathe
into painting the living soul which had till then--in mediaeval
times--been largely absent. Giotto went to Nature for his inspiration,
and not content with the immense innovation of superseding by the actual
representation of men and women in outline, tint, and attitude, the
rigid traditions of his predecessors, he put men's passions in their
faces--the melancholy looked sad, the gay glad. This result, to us so
simple, filled Giotto's lively countrymen, who had seldom seen it, with
astonishment and delight. They cried out as at a marvel when he made the
commonest deed even coarsely lifelike, as in the case of a sailor in a
boat, who turned round with his hand before his face and spat into the
sea; and when he illustrated the deed with the corresponding expression,
as in the thrill of eagerness that perceptibly pervaded the whole figure
of a thirsty man who stooped down to drink. But Giotto was no mere
realist though he was a great realist; he was also in the highest light
an idealist. His sense of harmony and beauty was true and noble; he rose
above the real into 'the things unseen and eternal,' of which the real
is but a rough manifestation. He was the first to paint a crucifixion
robbed of the horrible triumph of physical power, and of the agony which
is at its bidding, and invested with the divinity of awe and love.

Giotto's work did not end with himself; he was the founder of the
earliest worthy school of Italian art, so worthy in this very glorious
idealism, that, as I have already said, the men whose praise is most to
be coveted, have learned to turn back to Giotto and his immediate
successors, and, forgetting and forgiving all their ignorance,
crudeness, quaintness, to dwell never wearied, and extol without measure
these oldest masters' dignity of spirit, the earnestness of their
originality, the solemnity and heedfulness of their labour. It would
seem as if skill and polish, with the amount of attention which they
appropriate, with their elevation of manner over matter, and thence
their lowered standard, are apt to rob from or blur in men these highest
qualifications of genius, for it is true that judges miss even in the
Lionardo, Michael Angelo, and Raphael of a later and much more
accomplished generation, and, to a far greater extent, in the Rubens of
another and still later day, the perfect simplicity, the unalloyed
fervour, the purity of tenderness in Giotto, Orcagna, Fra Angelico, and
in their Flemish brethren, the Van Eycks and Mabuse.

The difference between the two classes of painters in not so wide as
that between the smooth and brilliant epigrammatic poets of Anne's and
the ruggedly rich dramatists of Elizabeth's reign, neither was there the
unmistakable preponderance of such a mighty genius as that of
Shakespeare granted to the first decade, still the distinction was the
same in kind.[1]

I wish you, my readers, to note it in the very commencement, and to
learn, like the thoughtful students of painting, to put aside any
half-childish over-estimate of the absurdity of a blue stroke
transfixing a huge flounder-like fish as a likeness of a sea, (which you
have been accustomed to see translucid, in breakers and foam, in modern
marine pictures,) or your quick sense of the ugliness of straight
figures with long hands, wooden feet, and clinging draperies, while your
eyes have been familiar with well-modelled frames and limbs and flowing
lines. But we must look deeper if we would not be slaves to superficial
prettiness, or even superficial correctness; we must try to go into the
spirit of a painting and value it more in proportion as it teaches art's
noblest lesson--the divinity of the divine, the serenity of utmost
strength, the single-heartedness of passion.

I have only space to tell you of three or four of the famous works of
Giotto. First, his allegories in the great church, in honour of St
Francis, at Assisi, in relation to which, writing of its German
architect, an author says: 'He built boldly against the mountain, piling
one church upon another; the upper vast, lofty, and admitting through
its broad windows the bright rays of the sun: the lower as if in the
bowels of the earth--low, solemn, and almost shutting out the light of
day. Around the lofty edifice grew the convent, a vast building, resting
upon a long line of arches clinging to the hill-sides. As the evening
draws nigh, casting its deep shadows across the valley, the traveller
beneath gazes upwards with feelings of wonder and delight at this
graceful arcade supporting the massy convent; the ancient towers and
walls of the silent town gathering around, and the purple rocks rising
high above--all still glowing in the lingering sunbeams--a scene
scarcely to be surpassed in any clime for its sublime beauty.' The
upper church contains frescoes wonderfully fresh, by Cimabue, of
Scriptural subjects, and frescoes of scenes from the life vowed to
poverty of St Francis. In the lower church, over the tomb of St Francis,
are the four masterpieces with which we have to do. These are the three
vows of the order figuratively represented. Mark the fitness and
grandeur of two of the figures, the suggestion of which has been
attributed to Dante, the woman Chastity seated beyond assault in her
rocky fortress, and Obedience bowing the neck to curb and yoke. The
fourth fresco pictures the saint who died, 'covered by another's cloak
cast over his wasted body eaten with sores,' enthroned and glorified
amidst the host of Heaven.

I have chosen the second example of the art of Giotto because you may
with comparative ease see it for yourselves. It is in the National
Gallery, London, having belonged to the collection of the late Samuel
Rogers. It is a fragment of an old fresco which had been part of a
series illustrating the life of John the Baptist in the church of the
Carmine, Florence, a church which was destroyed by fire in 1771. The
fragment in the National Gallery has two fine heads of apostles bending
sorrowfully over the body of St John. Though it is not necessary to do
it, in strict justice, because good work rises superior to all accidents
of comparison as well as accidents of circumstance, one must remember in
regarding this, the stilted and frozen figures and faces, which, before
Giotto broke their bonds and inspired them, had professed to tell the
Bible's stories.

The third instance I have chosen to quote is Giotto's portrait of Dante
which was so strangely lost for many years. The portrait occurs in a
painting, the first recorded performance of Giotto's, in which he was
said to have introduced the likeness of many of his contemporaries, on
the wall of the Palazzo dell' Podesta or Council Chamber of Florence.
During the banishment of Dante the wall was plastered or white-washed
over, through the influence of his enemies, and though believed to
exist, the picture was hidden down to 1840, when, after various futile
efforts to recover it, the figures were again brought to light.

This portrait of Dante is altogether removed from the later portraits of
the indignant and weary man, of whom the Italian market-women said that
he had been in Hell as well as in exile. Giotto's Dante on the walls of
the Council Chamber is a noble young man of thirty, full of ambitious
hope and early distinction. The face is slightly pointed, with broad
forehead, hazel eyes, straight brows and nose, mouth and chin a little
projecting. The close cloak or vest with sleeves, and cap in folds
hanging down on the shoulder, the hand holding the triple fruit, in
prognostication of the harvest of virtue and renown which was to be so
bitter as well as so glorious, are all in keeping and have a majesty of
their own. The picture is probably known by engravings to many of my

The last example of Giotto's, is the one which of all his works is most
potent and patent in its beauty, and has struck, and, in so far as we
can tell, will for ages strike, with its greatness multitudes of widely
different degrees of cultivation whose intellectual capacity is as far
apart as their critical faculty. I mean the matchless Campanile or
bell-tower 'towering over the Dome of Brunelleschi' at Florence, formed
of coloured marbles--for which Giotto framed the designs, and even
executed with his own hands the models for the sculpture. With this
lovely sight Dean Alford's description is more in keeping than the
prosaic saying of Charles V., that 'the Campanile ought to be kept under
glass.' Dean Alford's enthusiasm thus expresses itself:

     'A mass of varied light written on the cloudless sky of
     unfathomed blue; varied but blended, as never in any other
     building that we had seen; the warm yellow of the lighter marbles
     separated but not disunited by the ever-recurring bands of dark;
     or glowing into red where the kisses of the sun had been hottest;
     or fading again into white where the shadows mostly haunted, or
     where the renovating hand had been waging conflict with decay.'

It is known that Giotto, together with his friend Dante, died before
this--Giotto's last great work--was finally constructed by Giotto's
pupil, Taddeo Gaddi, and that therefore neither of the friends could
have really looked on 'Giotto's Tower,' though Italian Ciceroni point
out, and strangers love to contemplate, the very stone on which 'Grim
Dante' sat and gazed with admiration in the calm light of evening on the
enduring memorial of the painter.

Giotto died in the year 1336 or 1337, his biographer adds, 'no less a
good Christian than an excellent painter,' and in token of his faith he
painted one crucifixion in which he introduced his own figure 'kneeling
in an attitude of deep devotion and contrition at the foot of the
Cross.' The good taste of such an act has been questioned, so has been
the practice which painted the Virgin Mother now as a brown Italian, now
as a red and white Fleming, and again as a flaxen-haired German or as a
swarthy Spaniard, and draped her and all the minor figures in the
grandest drama the world ever saw--as well as the characters in older
Scripture histories, in the Florentine, Venetian, and Antwerp fashions
of the day. The defence of the practice is, that the Bible is for
universal time, that its Virgin Mother, its apostles and saints, were
types of other mothers and of other heroes running down the stream of
history; that even the one central and holy figure, if He may be
represented at all, as the Divine brother of all humanity, may be clad
not inaptly in the garments of all. It appears to me that there is
reason in this answer, and that viewed in its light the criticism which
constantly demands historic fidelity is both carping and narrow. I do
not mean, however, to underrate historic accuracy in itself, or to
depreciate that longing for completeness in every particular, which
drives our modern painters to the East to study patiently for months the
aspects of nature under its Oriental climate, with its peculiar people
and animals, its ancient costumes and architecture.

Giotto was buried with suitable honours by a city which, like the rest
of the nation, has magnified its painters amongst its great men, in the
church of Santa Maria del Fiore, where his master Cimabue had been
buried. Lorenzo de' Medici afterwards placed over Giotto's tomb his
effigy in marble.

In chronicling ancient art I must here diverge a little. I have already
mentioned how closely painting was in the beginning allied with working
in metals as well as with sculpture and architecture. It is thus
necessary to write of a magnificent work in metal, the study and
admiration of generations of painters, begun in the life of Giotto, and
completed in two divisions, extending over a period of nearly a hundred
years. We shall proceed to deal with the first division, and recur to
the second a little later.

The old Italian cities. They were then the great merchant cities of the
world, more or less republican in their constitution. They stood to the
citizens, who rarely left their walls, at once as peculiar possessions
and as native countries rather than as cities alone, while they excited
all the patriotism, pride, and love that were elsewhere expended on a
whole country--which after all was held as belonging largely to its king
and nobles. The old Italian merchant guilds, and wealthy merchants as
individuals, vied with each other in signalizing their good citizenship
by presenting--as gifts identified with their names--to their cities,
those palace buildings, chapels, paintings, gates, which are the delight
of the world to this day. It was a merchant guild which thought happily
of giving to Florence the bronze gates to the baptistery of San Giovanni
or St John the Baptist, attached to the Cathedral. After some
competition the gates were intrusted to Andrea Pisano, one of a great
group of painters, sculptors, and architects linked together and named,
as so often happened in Italy, for their place of birth, Pisa. Andrea
executed a series of beautiful reliefs from the life of John the
Baptist, which were cast in 1330, gilt, and placed in the centre
door-way. I shall leave the rest of the gates, still more exquisitely
wrought, till their proper time, only observing that the Pisani group of
carvers and founders are supposed to have attained their extraordinary
superiority in skill and grace, even over such a painter as Giotto, in
consequence of one of them, Nicola Pisano, having given his attention to
the study of some ancient Greek sarcophagi preserved at Pisa.

Passing for a while from the gates of St John of Florence, we come back
to painting and a painter, and with them to another monument--in itself
very noble and curious in its mouldering age, of the old Italians' love
to their cities. Andrea Orcagna, otherwise known as Andrea di Cione, one
of a brotherhood of painters, was born in Florence about 1315. His
greatest works are in the Campo Santa of Pisa.

This wonderful 'holy field' is a grand legacy, so far as dilapidation,
alas, will let it be, of the old painters. Originally a place of burial,
though no longer used as such, it is enclosed by high walls and an
arcade, something like the cloisters of a cathedral or college running
round, and having on the north and east sides chapels where masses for
the dead were celebrated. The space in the centre was filled with earth
brought from the Holy Land by the merchant ships of Pisa. It is covered
with turf, having tall cypress-trees at the corners, and a little cross
in the centre. The arcade is pierced with sixty-two windows, and
contains on its marble pavement hundreds of monuments--among them the
Greek sarcophagi studied by Nicola Pisano. But the great distinction of
the Campo Santa (of which there are many photographs) are the walls
opposite the windows of the arcade painted with Scriptural subjects by
artists of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, for the decoration of
the walls was continued at intervals, during two hundred years. The
havoc wrought by time and damp has been terrible; not only are the
pictures faded and discoloured, but of the earliest only mutilated
fragments, 'here an arm and there a head,' remain. Giotto's
illustrations of the book of Job have thus perished. Still Orcagna's
work has partially escaped, and left us indications of what it was in
his and its youth, when Michael Angelo and Raphael did not disdain to
borrow from it in design and arrangement. Dean Alford has thus described
Orcagna's mournful, thoughtful 'Triumph of Death:'

'The picture is one of crowded action, and contains very many
personages. The action may be supposed to begin in the lower corner on
the right hand. There we see what appears to be a wedding-party seated
in festivity under a grove of orange-trees laden with fruit. Over two of
them a pair entertaining them with merry strains. But close to them on
the left comes swooping down on bats' wings, and armed with the
inevitable scythe, the genius of Death. Her wild hair streams in the
wind, her bosom is invulnerable, being closed in a trellised armour of
steel. Beneath her, on the ground, are a heap of corpses, shown by their
attire to be the great and wealthy of the world. Three winged figures,
two fiends and one angel, are drawing souls, in the form of children,
out of the mouths of three of these corpses. Above, the air is full of
flying spirits, angels and demons: the former beautiful and saintly, the
latter hideous and bestial. Some are dragging, or bearing upwards, human
souls: others are on their way to fetch them from the heaps of dead:
others, again, are flying about apparently without aim. Further yet to
the left, a company of wretched ones, lame and in rags, are invoking
Death with outstretched arms to come to their relief; but she sweeps by
and heeds them not.

'Dividing one half of the picture from the other, is a high range of
rocks, terminating in a fiery mountain, into which the demons are
casting the unhappy souls which they have carried off. Beyond that seems
to be a repetition of the same lesson respecting Death in another form.
A party of knights and dames are issuing on horseback from a mountain
pass. In the left hand of the picture there lie in their path three
corpses in coffins, with coronets on their heads. One is newly dead; on
the second, decay has begun its work; the third is reduced to a
grinning skeleton. The impression produced on the gay party by the sight
is very various. Some look on carelessly; one holds his nose in disgust;
one, a lady jewelled and crowned, leans her head on her hand in solemn
thought. Above, on a rising ground, an aged monk (it is said, Saint
Macarius) is holding a scroll, and pointing out to passengers the moral
of the sight which meets them. The path winds up a hill crowned with a
church, and by its side at various points are hermits sitting in calm
security, or following peaceful occupations. One of them is milking a
doe; another is reading; a third is calmly contemplating from a distance
the valley of Death. About them are various animals and birds. The idea
evidently intended to be conveyed is that deliverance from the fear of
death is to be found not in gaiety and dissipation, but in contemplation
and communion with God.

'Such is the wonderful fresco, and the execution is as wonderful as the
conception. Belonging as the painter did to a rude and early period of
art, he yet had the power of endowing his figures with both majesty and
tenderness of expression.'

The Last Judgment is no less solemn and sad, with hope tempering its
sadness. Mrs Jameson's note of it is: 'Above, in the centre, Christ and
the Virgin are throned in separate glories. He turns to the left,
towards the condemned, while he uncovers the wound in his side, and
raises his right arm with a menacing gesture, his countenance full of
majestic wrath. The Virgin, on the right of her Son, is the picture of
heavenly mercy, and, as if terrified at the words of eternal
condemnation, she turns away. On either side are ranged the Prophets of
the Old Testament, the Apostles and other saints, severe, solemn,
dignified figures. Angels, holding the instruments of the Passion, hover
over Christ and the Virgin; under them is a group of archangels. The
archangel Michael stands in the midst holding a scroll in each hand;
immediately before him another archangel, supposed to represent Raphael,
the guardian angel of humanity, cowers down, shuddering, while two
others sound the awful trumpets of doom. Lower down is the earth where
men are seen rising from their graves; armed angels direct them to the
right and left. Here is seen King Solomon, who, whilst he rises, seems
doubtful to which side he should turn; here a hypocritical monk, whom an
angel draws back by the hair from the host of the youth in a gay and
rich costume, whom another angel leads away to Paradise. There is
wonderful and even terrible power of expression in some of the heads;
and it is said that among them are many portraits of contemporaries, but
unfortunately no circumstantial traditions as to particular figures have
reached us.'

One of Orcagna's altar-pieces, that of 'the coronation of the Virgin,'
containing upwards of a hundred figures, and with the colouring still
rich, is in our National Gallery. As an architect, Orcagna designed the
famous Loggia de' Lanzi of the grand ducal palace at Florence.

Now I must take you back to the bronze gates of the Baptistery in their
triumphant completion nearly a hundred years after the first gate was
executed by Andrea Pisano. I should have liked, but for our limits, to
tell in full the legend of the election of Lorenzo Ghiberti, the
step-son of a goldsmith, and skilled in chasing and enamelling, to
design the second gate; when yet a lad of twenty-three, how he and two
other young men, one of them still younger than Ghiberti, were declared
the most promising competitors in the trial for the work; how the last
two voluntarily withdrew from the contest, magnanimously proclaiming
Lorenzo Ghiberti their superior; how all the three lived to be famous,
the one as a founder in metal, the others as an architect and a
sculptor, and remained sworn brothers in art till death.

Lorenzo Ghiberti has left us an expression of the feeling with which he
set about his task, an expression so suggestive that, even had we no
other indication, it is enough to stamp the true and tender nature of
the man. He prepared for his achievement 'with infinite diligence and
love'--the words deserve to be pondered over. He took at least
twenty-two years to his work, receiving for it eleven hundred florins.
He chose his subjects from the life and death of the Lord, working them
out in twenty panels, ten on each side of the folding doors, and below
these were eight panels containing full-length figures of the four
evangelists and four doctors of the Latin Church, with a complete border
of fruit and foliage, having heads of prophets and sibyls interspersed.
So entire was the satisfaction the superb gate gave, that Lorenzo was
not merely loaded with praise, he received a commission to design and
cast a third and central gate which should surpass the others, that were
thenceforth to be the side entrances.

For his second gate Lorenzo Ghiberti repaired to the Old Testament for
subjects, beginning with the creation and ending with the meeting of
Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and represented them in ten compartments
enclosed in a rich border of fruit and foliage, with twenty-four
full-length figures of the Hebrew heroes and prophets, clearly and
delicately designed and finished, occupying corresponding niches. This
crowning gate engaged the founder upwards of eighteen years--forty-nine
years are given as the term of the work of both the gates.

The single defect which is found in those marvellous gates--left to us
as a testimony of what the life-long devotion of genius could
produce--is that they abound floridly both in ornament and action, in
place of being severely simple and restrained according to the classical

Michael Angelo called these gates 'worthy to be the gates of Paradise,'
and they are still one of the glories of Florence. Casts of the gates
are to be found in the School for Art at Kensington, and at the Crystal

A young village boy learned to draw and model from Ghiberti's gates. He
in his turn was to create in the Brancacci Chapel of the Church of the
Carmine at Florence a school of painters scarcely less renowned and
powerful in its effects than that produced by the works in the Campo
Santa. You will find the Italian painters not unfrequently known by
nicknames, quite as often by their father's trades as by their father's
surnames, and still oftener by the town which was their place of birth
or nurture. This Tom village birth-place, was commonly called Masaccio,
short for Tomasaccio, 'hulking Tom,' as I have heard it translated, on
account of his indifferent, slovenly habits. I think there is a
tradition that he entered a studio in Florence as a colour boy, and
electrified the painter and his scholars, by _brownie_ like freaks of
painting at their unfinished work, in their absence, better than any of
his masters, and by the dexterity with which he perpetrated the frolic
of putting the facsimile of a fly on one of the faces on the easels. His
end was a tragic conclusion to such light comedy. At the age of
twenty-six, he quitted Florence for Rome so suddenly that he left his
finest frescoes unfinished. It was said that he was summoned thither by
the Pope. At Rome, where little or nothing of Masaccio's life is known,
he died shortly afterwards, not without a suspicion of his having been

A curious anecdote exists of the identification of the time when he
forsook Florence to meet his death in Rome. Just as we have read, that
the period of the death of Massinger the dramatist has been settled by
an entry in an old parish register, 'died, Philip Massinger a stranger,'
so there has been found some quaint equivalent to a modern tax-paper
which had been delivered at the dwelling of Masaccio when the word
'gone' was written down.

There is a further tradition--not very probable under the
circumstances--that Masaccio is buried, without name or stone, under the
Brancacci Chapel. Be that as it may, he very early rose to eminence,
surpassing all his predecessors in drawing and colouring, and he
combined with those acquirements such animation and variety of
expression in his characters, that it was said of him 'he painted souls
as well as bodies,' while his invention was not less bold and fresh.

It is difficult to indicate Masaccio's pictures because some of them
have been repainted and destroyed. As to those in the Brancacci Chapel
from the life of St Peter, (with the exception of two,) considerable
confusion has arisen as to which are Masaccio's, and which belong to
his scholar Filippino Lippi. The fresco which Masaccio left unfinished,
that of the Apostles Peter and Paul raising a dead youth (from
traditional history), was finished by Lippi. In the fresco of Peter
baptizing the converts, generally attributed to Masaccio, there is a lad
who has thrown off his garments, and stands shivering with cold, whose
figure, according to authority, formed an epoch in art. Lionardo da
Vinci, Michael Angelo, Andrea del Sarto, Fra Bartolommeo, all studied
their art in this chapel. Raphael borrowed the grand figure of St Paul
preaching at Athens in one of the cartoons, from one of Masaccio's or
Filippo Lippi's frescoes. Masaccio's excellence as an artist, reached at
an immature age, is very remarkable.

I have come to the last and probably the best appreciated among modems
of the early Italian painters. Fra Angelico da Fiesole, the gentle
devout monk whom Italians called '_Il Beato_,' the Blessed, and who
probably did receive the distinction of beatification, a distinction
only second in the Roman Catholic Church to that of canonization. He was
born at the lovely little mountain-town of Fiesole near Florence, 1387,
and his worldly name, which he bore only till his twenty-first year, was
Guido Petri de Mugello. In his youth, with his gift already recognized,
so that he might well have won ease and honour in the world, he entered
the Dominican Convent of St Mark, Florence, for what he deemed the good
and peace of his soul. He seldom afterwards left it, and that only as
directed by his convent superior, or summoned by the Pope. He was a man
devoid of personal ambition, pure, humble, and meek. When offered the
Archbishopric of Florence as a tribute to his sanctity, he declined it
on account of his unworthiness for the office. He would not work for
money, and only painted at the command of his prior. He began his
painting with fasting and work, he steadfastly refused to make any
alteration in the originals. It is said that he was found dead at his
easel with a completed picture before him. It is not wonderful, that
from such a man should come one side of the perfection of that idealism
which Giotto had begun. Fra Angelico's angels, saints, Saviour, and
Virgin are more divinely calm, pure, sweet, endowed with a more exulting
saintliness, a more immortal youth and joy, and a more utter
self-abnegation and sympathetic tenderness than are to be found in the
saints and the angels, the Saviour and the Virgin of other painters.
Neither is it surprising that Fra Angelico's defects, besides that of
the bad drawing which shows more in his large than in his small
pictures, are those of a want of human knowledge, power, and freedom.
His wicked--even his more earthly-souled characters, are weak and faulty
in action. What should the reverent and guileless dreamer know, unless
indeed by inspiration of the rude conflicts, the fire and fury of human
passions intensified in the malice and anguish of devils? But Fra
Angelico's singular successes far transcend his failures. In addition to
the sublime serenity and positive radiance of expression which he could
impart to his heads, his notions of grouping and draping were full of
grace, sometimes of splendour and magnificence. In harmony with his
happy temperament and fortunes, he was fond of gay yet delicate colours
'like spring flowers,' and used a profusion of gold ornaments which do
not seem out of keeping in his pictures. The most of Fra Angelico's
pictures are in Florence--the best in his own old convent of St Mark,
where he lovingly adorned not only chapter-hall and court, but the cells
of his brother friars. A crucifix with adoring saints worshipping their
crucified Saviour is regarded as his masterpiece in St Mark's. A famous
coronation of the Virgin, which Fra Angelico painted for a church in his
native town, and which is now in the Louvre, Paris, is thus described by
Mrs Jameson: 'It represents a throne under a rich Gothic canopy, to
which there is an ascent of nine steps; on the highest kneels the
Virgin, veiled, her hands crossed on her bosom. She is clothed in a red
tunic, a blue robe over it, and a royal mantle with a rich border
flowing down behind. The features are most delicately lovely, and the
expression of the face full of humility and adoration. Christ, seated on
the throne, bends forward, and is in the act of placing the crown on her
head; on each side are twelve angels, who are playing a heavenly concert
with guitars, tambourines, trumpets, viols, and other musical
instruments; lower than these, on each side, are forty holy personages
of the Old and New Testament; and at the foot of the throne kneel
several saints, male and female, among them St Catherine with her wheel,
St Agnes with her lamb, and St Cecilia crowned with flowers. Beneath the
principal picture there is a row of seven small ones, forming a border,
and representing various incidents in the life of St Dominic.'


OR 31.

In the Low Countries painting had very much the same history that it had
in Italy, but the dates are later, and there may be a longer interval
given to each stage of development. Religious painting, profuse in
symbolism, with masses of details elaborately worked in, meets us in the
first place. This style of painting reached its culmination, in which it
included (as it did not include in its representation in the Italian
pictures) many and varied excellencies, among them the establishment of
painting in oil in the pictures of the Flemish family of painters--the
Van Eycks.

Before going into the little that is known of the family history of the
Van Eycks, I should like to call attention to the numerous painter
families in the middle ages. What a union, and repose, and happy
sympathy of art-life it indicates, which we appear to restlessness and
separate interests of modern life. The Van Eycks consisted of no less
than four members of a family, three brothers, Hubert, John, and
Lambert, and one sister, Margaret, devoted, like her brothers, to her
art. There is a suggestion that they belonged to a small village of
Limburg called Eyck, and repaired to Bruges in order to pursue their
art. Hubert was thirty years older than John, and it is said that he was
a serious-minded man as well as an ardent painter, and belonged to the
religious fraternity of our Lady of Ghent. He died in 1426. John, though
of so much consideration in his profession as to be believed to be 'the
Flemish Painter' sent by Duke Philip the Good of Flanders and Burgundy
with a mission to Portugal to solicit the hand of a princess in
marriage, is reported to have died very poor in 1449, and has the
suspicion attached to him of having been a lover of pleasure and a
spendthrift. Of Lambert, the third brother, almost nothing is known;
indeed, the fact of his existence has only lately come to light.
Margaret lived and died unmarried, and belonged, like her brother
Hubert, to the religious society of our Lady of Ghent. She died about

The invention of painting in oil, for which the Van Eycks are commonly
known, was not literally that of mixing colours with oil, which was
occasionally done before their day. It was the combining oil with resin,
so as to produce at once a good varnish, and avoid the necessity of
drying pictures in the sun, a bright thought, which may stand in the
same rank with the construction, by James Watt, of that valve which
rendered practicable the application of steam to machinery. The thought,
occasioned by the cracking of a picture in tempera exposed to the sun,
is due to Hubert Van Eyck.

The great picture of the Van Eycks, which was worked at for a number of
years by both Hubert and John, and, as some reckon, touched by the whole
family, is the 'Adoration of the Lamb,' at St Bavon's, Ghent. I should
like to give a faint idea of this extraordinary picture, which was
painted for a burgomaster of Ghent and his wife in order to adorn their
mortuary chapel in the cathedral. It was an altar piece on separate
panels, now broken up and dispersed, only a portion of it being retained
in Ghent.

It may strike some as strange that a picture should be on panels, but
those of the old pictures which were not on plastered walls were
commonly on panels, many of them on the lids and sides of chests and
presses which were used to hold sacred vessels and priestly raiment.

When the wings of the Van Eycks' altar-piece of the 'Adoration of the
Lamb' were opened on festivals, the subjects of the upper central
picture were seen, consisting of the Triune God, a majestic figure, and
at his side in stately calm the Virgin and the Baptist. On the inside of
the wings were angels, at the two extremities Adam and Eve. The lower
central picture shows the Lamb of the Revelation, whose blood flows into
a cup; over it is the dove of the Holy Spirit. Angels, who hold the
instruments of the Passion, worship the Lamb. Four groups of many
persons advance from the sides, these are the holy martyrs, men and
women, priests and laymen. In the foreground is the fountain of life; in
the distance are the towers of the heavenly Jerusalem. On the wings
other groups are coming up to adore the Lamb; on the left those who have
laboured for the Kingdom of the Lord by worldly deeds--the soldiers of
Christ led by St George, St Sebastian, and St Michael, the patron saints
of the old Flemish guilds, followed by emperors and kings--a goodly
company. Beyond the soldiers and princes, on the left, are the righteous
judges, also on horseback. In front of them, on a splendidly caparisoned
gray, rides a mild, benevolent old man in blue velvet trimmed with fur.
This is the likeness of Hubert Van Eyck, painted after his death by his
brother John, and John himself is in the group, clothed in black, with a
shrewd, sharp countenance. On the self-renunciation have served the Lamb
in the spirit, hermits and pilgrims, among them St Christopher, St
Anthony, St Paul the hermit, Mary Magdalene, and St Mary of Egypt. A
compartment underneath, which represented hell, finished the whole--yet
only the whole on one side, for the wings when closed presented another
series of finely thought-out and finished pictures--the Annunciation;
figures of Micah and Zechariah; statues of the two St Johns, with the
likenesses of the donors who gave to the world so great a work of art,
kneeling humbly side by side, the burgomaster somewhat mean-looking in
such company in spite of the proof of his liberality, but his wife noble
enough in feature and expression to have been the originator of this
glory of early Flemish painting. The upper part of the picture is
painted on a gold ground, round the central figure of the Lamb is vivid
green grass with masses of trees and flowers--indeed there is much
lovely landscape no longer indicated by a rock or a bush, but betokening
close observation of nature, whether in a fruitful valley, or a rocky
defile, or mountain ridges with fleecy clouds overhead. The expression
of the immense number of figures is as varied and characteristic as
their grouping.[2]

Hubert Van Eyck died while this work was in progress, and it was
finished by his brother John six years after Hubert's death. When one
thinks of the intense application and devotion which such a work costs,
and recalls the bronze gates of St John that occupied Lorenzo Ghiberti
49 years, and when we read, as we shall read a few chapters farther on,
of large paintings which were begun and ended in so many days--even so
many hours, one can better understand what is the essential difference
between the works of the early and the later painters, a difference
which no skill, no power even can bridge over. John Van Eyck, who had
lived late enough to have departed from the painting of sacred pictures
alone, so that he left portraits and an otter hunt among his works, is
three times represented in our National Gallery, in three greatly
esteemed portraits, one a double portrait, believed to be the likenesses
of the painter and his wife, standing hand in hand with a terrier dog
at their feet.

Gossaert, called de Mabuse from his native town of Mabeuze, sometimes
signing his name Joannes Malbodius, followed in the steps of the Van
Eycks, particularly in his great picture of the 'Adoration of the
Kings,' which is at Castle Howard, the seat of the Earl of Carlisle.
Mabuse was in England and painted the children of Henry VII, in a
picture, which is at Hampton Court. There is a picture in the palace of
Holyrood, Edinburgh, which has been attributed to Mabuse. It represents
on the sides of a triptych or diptych (somewhat like a folding screen)
James III. and his queen with attendants. The fur on the queen's dress
displays already that marvellous technical skill for which Flemish
painting is so celebrated.

Hans Memling belonged to Bruges. There is a tradition of him, which is
to a certain extent disproven, that he was a poor soldier relieved by
the hospital of St John, Bruges, and that in gratitude he executed for
the hospital the well-known reliquary of St Ursula. However it might
have originated, this is the most noted work of a painter, who was
distinguished frequently by his minute missal-like painting (he was also
an illuminator of missals), in which he would introduce fifteen hundred
small figures in a picture two feet eight inches, by six feet five
inches in size, and work out every detail with the utmost niceness and
care. The reliquary, or 'chasse,' is a wooden coffer or shrine about
four feet in length, its style and form those of a rich Gothic church,
its purpose to hold an arm of the saint. The whole exterior is covered
with miniatures by Memling, nearly the whole of them giving incidents in
the legendary history of St Ursula, a 'virgin princess of Brittany,' or
of England, who, setting out with eleven thousand companions, her lover,
and an escort of knights on a pilgrimage to Rome, was, with her whole
company, met and murdered, by a horde of heathen Huns, when they had
reached Cologne, on their return. My readers may be aware that the
supposed bones of the virgins and St Ursula form the ghastly adornment
of the church founded in her honour at Cologne. It is absolutely filled
with bones, built into the walls, stowed under the pavement, ranged in
glass cases about the choir. Hans Memling's is a pleasanter
commemoration of St Ursula.

Quintin Matsys, the blacksmith of Antwerp, was born at Louvain about
1460. Though he worked first as a smith he is said by Kugler to have
belonged to a family of painters, which somewhat takes from the romance,
though it adds to the probability of his story. Another painter in
Antwerp having offered the hand and dowry of his daughter--beloved by
Quintin Matsys--as a prize to the painter who should paint the best
picture in a competition for her hand, the doughty smith took up the
art, entered the lists, and carried off the maiden and her portion from
all his more experienced rivals. The vitality of the legend is indicated
by the inscription on a tablet to the memory of Quintin Matsys in the
Cathedral, Antwerp. The Latin inscription reads thus in English:

    'Twas love connubial taught the smith to paint,'

Quintin Matsys lived and died a respected burgher of Antwerp, a member
of the great Antwerp painters' guild of St Luke. He was twice married,
and had thirteen children.

Whatever might have been his source of inspiration, Quintin Matsys was
an apt scholar. His 'Descent from the Cross,' now in the Museum,
Antwerp, was _the_ 'Descent from the Cross,' and _the_ picture in the
Cathedral, until superseded by Rubens' masterpiece on the same subject.
Still Quintin Matsys version remains, and is in some respects an
unsurpassed picture. There is a traditional grouping of this Divine
tragedy, and Quintin Matsys has followed the tradition. The body of the
Lord is supported by two venerable old men--Joseph of Arimathea and
Nicodemus--while the holy women anoint the wounds of the Saviour; the
Virgin swooning with grief is supported by St John. The figures are full
of individuality, and their action is instinct with pathos. For this
picture Quintin Matsys--popular painter as he was--got only three
hundred florins, equivalent to twenty-five pounds (although, of course,
the value of money was much greater in those days). The Joiners'
Company, for whom he painted the 'Descent from the Cross,' sold the
picture to the City of Antwerp for five times the original amount, and
it is said Queen Elizabeth offered the City nearly twenty times the
first sum for it, in vain.

Quintin Matsys painted frequently half-length figures of the Virgin and
Child, an example of which is in the National Gallery. He excelled in
the 'figure painting' of familiar subjects, then just beginning to be
established, affording a token of the direction which the future
eminence of the Flemish painters would take. One of his famous pictures
of this kind is 'The Misers,' in the Queen's collection at Windsor. Two
figures in the Flemish costume of the time, are seated at a table;
before them are a heap of money and a book, in which one is writing with
his right hand, while he tells down the money with his left. The faces
express craft and cupidity. The details of the ink-horn on the table,
and the bird on its perch behind, have the Flemish graphic exactness.


1431-1506--GHIRLANDAJO, 1449-1498--IL FRANCIA, 1450-1518--FRA
BARTOLOMMEO, 1469-1517--ANDREA DEL SARTO, 1488-1530.

I have come to the period when Italian art is divided into many
schools--Paduan, Venetian, Umbrian, Florentine, Roman, Bolognese, etc.,
etc. With the schools and their definitions I do not mean to meddle,
except it may be to mention to which school a great painter belonged.
Another difficulty meets me here. I have been trying so far as I could
to give the representative painters in the order of time. I can no
longer follow this rule strictly, and the grouping of this chapter is
made on the principle of leading my readers up by some of the
predecessors who linked the older to the later Italian painters, and by
some of the contemporaries of these later painters, to that central
four, Lionardo da Vinci, Michael Angelo, Raphael, and Titian, who
occupy so great a place in the history of art.

In the brothers Bellini and their native Venice, we must first deal with
that excellence of colouring for which the Venetian painters were
signally noted, while they comparatively neglected and underrated
drawing. A somewhat fanciful theory has been started, that as Venice,
Holland, and England have been distinguished for colour in art, and as
all those States are by the sea, so a sea atmosphere has something to do
with a passion for colour. Within more reasonable bounds, in reference
to the Venetians, is the consideration that no colouring is richer,
mellower, more exquisitely tinted than that which belongs to the blue
Italian sky over the blue Adriatic, with those merged shades of violet,
green, and amber, and that magical soft haze which has to do with a
moist climate.

The two brothers Gentile and Gian or John Bellini, the latter the more
famous of the two, were the sons of an old Venetian painter, with regard
to whom the worthy speech is preserved, that he said it was like the
Tuscans for son to beat father, and he hoped, in God's name, that
Giovanni or Gian would outstrip him, and Gentile, the elder, outstrip
both. The brothers worked together and were true and affectionate
brothers, encouraging and appreciating each other.

Gentile was sent by the Doge at the request of the Sultan--either
Mahommed II, or Bajazet II., to Constantinople, where Gentile Bellini
painted the portrait of the Sultan and the Sultana his mother, now in
the British Museum. The painter also painted the head of John the
Baptist in a charger as an offering--only too suitable--from him to the
Grand Turk. The legend goes on to tell that in the course of the
presentation of the gift, an incident occurred which induced Gentile
Bellini to quit the Ottoman Court with all haste. The Sultan had
criticized the appearance of the neck in John the Baptist's severed
head, and when Gentile ventured to defend his work, the Sultan proceeded
to prove the correctness of his criticism, by drawing his scimitar and
cutting off at a stroke the head of a kneeling slave, and pointing to
the spouting blood and the shrinking muscle, gave the horrified painter
a lesson in practical anatomy. On Gentile's return from the East, he was
pensioned by his State, and lived on painting, till he was eighty years
of age, dying in 1501.

Gian Bellini is said to have obtained by a piece of deceit, which is not
in keeping with his manly and honourable character, the secret,
naturally coveted by a Venetian, of mixing colours with resin and oil. A
Venetian painter had brought the secret from Flanders, and communicated
it to a friend, who, in turn, communicated it to a third painter, and
was murdered by that third painter for his pains, so greedy and criminal
was the craving, not only to possess, but to be as far as possible the
sole possessor of, the grand discovery. Gian Bellini was much less
guilty, if he were really guilty. Disguised as a Venetian nobleman, he
proposed to sit for his portrait to that Antonella who first brought the
secret from Flanders, and while Antonella worked with unsuspicious
openness, Gian Bellini watched the process and stole the secret.

Gian Bellini lived to the age of ninety, and had among his admirers the
poet Ariosto and Albrecht Duerer. The latter saw Gian Bellini in his age,
and said of him, when foolish mockers had risen up to scout at the old
man, and his art now become classic, 'He is very old, but he is still
the best of our painters.' Gian Bellini had illustrious pupils,
including in their number Titian and Giorgione.

The portraits of Gentile and Gian, which are preserved in a painting by
Gian, show Gentile fair-complexioned and red-haired, and Gian with dark

Gian Bellini is considered to have been less gifted with imagination
than some of his great brother artists; but he has proved himself a man
of high moral sense, and while he stopped short at the boundary between
the seen and the unseen, it is certain he must still have painted with
much of 'the divine patience' and devout consecration of all his powers,
and of every part of his work, which are the attributes of the earliest
Italian painters. When he and his brother began to paint, Venetian art
had already taken its distinctive character for open-air effects, rich
scenic details in architecture, furniture and dress (said to be
conspicuous in commercial communities), and a growing tendency to
portraiture. Gian went with the tide, but he guided it to noble results.
His simplicity and good sense, with his purity and dignity of mind, were
always present. He introduced into his pictures 'singing boys, dancing
cherubs, glittering thrones, and dewy flowers,' pressing the outer world
into his service and that of religious art. It is said also that his
Madonnas seem 'amiable beings imbued with a lofty grace;' while his
saints are 'powerful and noble forms.' But he never descended to the
paltry or the vulgar. He knew from the depths of his own soul how to
invest a face with moral grandeur. Especially in his representations of
our Saviour Gian Bellini 'displays a perception of moral power and
grandeur seldom equalled in the history of art.' The example given is
that of the single figure of the Lord in the Dresden Gallery, where the
Son of God, without nimbus, or glory, stands forth as the 'ideal of
elevated humanity.'

The greater portion of Gian Bellini's pictures remain in the churches
and galleries of Venice. But the first great work at which the two
brothers in their youth worked in company--the painting of the Hall of
Council in the palace of the Doge, with a series of historical and
legendary pictures of the Venetian wars with the Emperor Frederick
Barbarossa (1177), including the Doge Ziani's receiving from the Pope
the gold ring with which the Doge espoused the Adriatic, in token of
perpetual dominion over the sea--was unfortunately destroyed by fire in
1577. Giovanni Bellini's greatest work, now at St Salvatore, is Christ
at Emmaus, with Venetian senators and a Turkish dragoman introduced as
spectators of the risen Lord.

Of another great work at Vicenza, painted in Gian Bellini's old age,
when neither his skill nor his strength was abated, 'The Baptism of
Christ,' Dean Alford writes thus:

     'Let us remain long and look earnestly, for there is indeed much
     to be seen. That central figure, standing with hands folded on
     His bosom, so gentle, so majestic, so perfect in blameless
     humanity, oh what labour of reverent thought; what toil of
     ceaseless meditation; what changes of fair purpose, oscillating
     into clearest vision of ideal truth, must it have cost the great
     painter, before he put forth that which we see now! It is as
     impossible to find aught but love and majesty in the Divine
     countenance, as it is to discover a blemish on the complexion of
     that body, which seems to give forth light from itself, as He
     stands in obedience, fulfilling all righteousness.

    'And even on the accessories to this figure, we see the same
    loving and reverent toil bestowed. The cincture, where alone the
    body is hidden from view, is no web of man's weaving; or, if it
    were, it is of hers whose heart was full of divine thoughts as
    she wove: so bright and clear is the tint, so exquisitely
    careful and delicate every fold where light may play or colour
    vary. And look under the sacred feet, on the ground blessed by
    their pressure; no dash of hurrying brush has been there: less
    than a long day's light, eve, did not suffice to give in
    individual shape and shade every minutest pebble and mote of
    that shore of Jordan. Every one of them was worth painting, for
    we are viewing them as in the light of His presence who made
    them all and knew them all.

    'And now let us pass to the other figures: to that living and
    glowing angelic group in the left hand of the picture. Three of
    the heavenly host are present, variously affected by that which
    they behold. The first, next the spectator, in the corner of the
    picture, is standing in silent adoration, tender and gentle in
    expression, the hands together, but only the points of the
    fingers touching, his very reverence being chastened by angelic
    modesty; the second turns on that which he sees a look of
    earnest inquiry, but kneels as he looks; and indeed that which
    he sees is one of the things which angels desire to look into.
    The third, a majestic herald-like figure, stands, as one
    speaking, looking to the spectator, with his right hand on his
    garment, and his left out as in demonstration, unmistakeably
    saying to us who look on, "Behold what love is here!" Then,
    hardly noticing what might well be much noticed, the grand dark
    figure of the Baptist on the right, let us observe how
    beautifully and accurately all the features of the landscape are

Of the same work another critic records: 'The attendant angels in this
work (signed by the artist) are of special interest, instinct with an
indefinable purity and depth of reverential tenderness elsewhere hardly
rivalled. But the picture, like that in S. Giovanni Crisostomo, with
which it is nearly contemporary, is almost more interesting from the
astonishing truth and beauty of its landscape portions. _These_ form
here a feature more important, perhaps, than in any work of that period;
the stratification and form of the rocks in the foreground, the palms
and other trees relieved against the lucid distance, and the
mountain-ranges of tender blue beyond, are as much beyond praise for
their beauty and their truth, as they have been beyond imitation from
the solidity and transparent strength of their execution! The minute
finish is Nature's, and the colouring more gem-like than gems.'

No praise can exceed that bestowed on Gian Bellini's colouring for its
intensity and transparency. 'Many of his draperies are like crystal of
the clearest and deepest colour,' declares an authority; and another
states' his best works have a clear jewel brightness, an internal
gem-like fire such as warms a summer twilight. The shadows are intense
and yet transparent, like the Adriatic waves when they lie out of the
sun under the palace bridges.'

Portrait-painting, just beginning, was established in Venice, its later
stronghold, by Gian Bellini. His truthful portrait of the Doge Loredano,
one of the earliest of that series of Doges' portraits which once hung
in state in the ducal palace, is now in our National Gallery.

Of Gentile Bellini, whose work was softer, but less vigorous than his
brother's, the best painting extant is that at Milan of St Mark
preaching at Alexandria, in which the painter showed how he had profited
by his residence at Constantinople in the introduction of much rich
Turkish costume, and of an animal unknown to Europe at the time--a

Andrea Mantegna was born near Padua. He was the son of a farmer. His
early history, according to tradition, is very similar to that of
Giotto. Just as Cimabue adopted Giotto, Squarcione, a painter who had
travelled in Italy and Greece, and made a great collection of antiques,
from which he taught in a famous school of painters, adopted Andrea
Mantegna at the early age of ten years. It was long believed that
Mantegna, in the end, forfeited the favour of his master by marrying
Nicolosa Bellini, the sister of Gentile and Gian Bellini, whose father
was the great rival of Squarcione; and farther, that Mantegna's style of
painting had been considered Bellini. Modern researches, which have
substituted another surname for that of Bellini as the surname of Andrea
Mantegna's wife, contradict this story.

Andrea Mantegna, a man of much energy and fancy, entered young into the
service of the Gonzaga lords of Mantua, receiving from them a salary of
thirty pounds a year and a piece of land, on which the painter built a
house, and painted it within and without--the latter one of the first
examples of artistic waste, followed later by Tintoret and Veronese,
regardless of the fact that painting could not survive in the open air
of Northern Italy.

Andrea Mantegna had his home at Mantua, except when he was called to
Rome to paint for the Pope, Innocent VIII. An anecdote is told by Mrs
Jameson of this commission. It seems the Pope's payments were irregular;
and one day when he visited his painter at work, and his Holiness asked
the meaning of a certain allegorical female figure in the design, Andrea
answered, with somewhat audacious point, that he was trying to
represent _Patience_. The Pope, understanding the allusion, paid the
painter in his own coin, by remarking in reply, 'If you would place
Patience in fitting company, you would paint Discretion at her side.'
Andrea took the hint, said no more, and when his work was finished not
only received his money, but was munificently rewarded.

Andrea Mantegna had two sons and a daughter. One of his sons painted
with his father, and, after Andrea Mantegna's death, completed some of
his pictures.

Andrea Mantegna's early study of antique sculpture moulded his whole
life's work. He took great delight in modelling, in perspective, of
which he made himself a master, and in chiaroscuro, or light and shade.
Had his powers of invention and grace not kept pace with his skill, he
would have been a stiff and formal worker; as it was, he carried the
austerity of sculpture into painting, and his greatest work, the
'Triumph of Julius Caesar,' would have been better suited for the
chiselled frieze of a temple than it is for the painted frieze of the
hall of a palace. Yet he was a great leader and teacher in art, and the
true proportions of his drawing are grand, if his colouring is harsh. I
am happy to say that Mantegna's 'Triumph of Julius Caesar' is in England
at Hampton Court, having been bought from the Duke of Mantua by Charles
I. These cartoons, nine in number, are sketches in water-colour or
distemper on paper fixed on cloth. They are faded and dilapidated, as
they well may be, considering the slightness of the materials and their
age, about four hundred years. At the same time, they are, after the
cartoons of Raphael (which formed part of the same art collection of
Charles I.), perhaps the most valuable and interesting relic of art in

The series of the 'Triumph' contain the different parts, originally
separated by pillars, of a long and splendid procession. There are
trumpeters and standard bearers, the statues of the gods borne aloft,
battering-rams and heaps of glittering armour, trophies of conquest in
huge vases filled with coin, garlanded oxen, and elephants. The second
last of the series, presents the ranks of captives forming part of the
show, rebellious men, submissive women, and unconscious children--a
moving picture. In the last of the series comes the great conqueror in
his chariot, a youth in the crowd following him, carrying his banner, on
which is inscribed Caesar's notable despatch, 'Veni, vidi, vici;' 'I
came, I saw, I conquered.'

Another of Mantegna's best pictures is in distemper--in which, and on
fresco, Mantegna chiefly painted,--and is in the Louvre, Paris. It is
the Madonna of Victory, so called from its being painted to commemorate
the deliverance of Italy from the French army under Charles VIII., a
name which has acquired a sardonic meaning from the ultimate destination
of the picture. This picture--which represents the Virgin and Child on a
throne, in an arbour of fruit and flowers, between the archangels,
Michael and St Maurice, in complete armour, with the patron saints of
Mantua and the infant St John in the front, and the Marquis Ludovico of
Mantua and his wife, Isabella D'Este, kneeling to return thanks--was
painted by Mantegna at the age of seventy years; and, as if the art of
the man had mellowed with time, it is the softest and tenderest of his
pictures in execution. A beautiful Madonna of Mantegna's, still later in
time, is in the National Gallery.

When Mantegna was sixty years old he took up the art of engraving, and
prosecuted it with zeal and success, being one of the earliest painters
who engraved his own pictures, and this accomplishment spread them
abroad a hundredfold.

Domenico Ghirlandajo was properly Domenico Bicordi, but inherited from
his father, a goldsmith in Florence,[3] the by-name of Ghirlandajo or
Garland-maker--a distinctive appellation said to have been acquired by
the elder man from his skill in making silver garlands for the heads of
Florentine women and children. Domenico Ghirlandajo worked at his
father's craft till he was twenty-four years of age, when, having in the
mean time evinced great cleverness in taking the likenesses of the
frequenters of Ghirlandajo the elder's shop, the future painter
abandoned the goldsmith's trade for art pure and simple. He soon
vindicated the wisdom of the step which he had taken by giving proofs of
something of the strength of Masaccio, united with a reflection of the
feeling of Fra Angelico.

Ghirlandajo was summoned soon to Rome to paint in the Sistine Chapel,
afterwards to be so glorious; but his greatest works were done in the
prime of his manhood, in his native city, Florence, where he was chosen
as the teacher of Michael Angelo, who was apprenticed to Ghirlandajo for
three years.

While still in the flower of his age and crowned with golden opinions,
being, it is said with effusion, 'the delight of his city,' Ghirlandajo
died after a short illness, in Ghirlandajo's time Florence had reached
her meridian, and her citizens outvied each other in the magnificence of
their gifts to their fair mother city. Ghirlandajo was fitted to be
their painter; himself a generous-spirited artist, in the exuberance of
life and power, he wished that his fellow-citizens would give him all
the walls of the city to cover with frescoes. He was content with the
specified sum for his painting, desiring more the approbation of his
employers than additional crowns. His genius lying largely in the
direction of portrait painting, he introduced frequently the portraits
of contemporaries, causing them to figure as spectators of his sacred
scenes. One of these contemporaries thus presented, was Amerigo
Vespucci, who was to give his name to a continent. Another was a
Florentine beauty, a woman of rank, Ginevra de Benci.

Ghirlandajo was lavish in his employment of rich Florentine costumes and
architecture. He even made the legends of the saints and the histories
of the Bible appear as if they had happened under the shadow of
Brunelleschi's duomo and Giotto's campanile, and within sound of the
flow of the Arno. In the peculiar colouring used in fresco painting
Ghirlandajo excelled.

He painted a chapel for a Florentine citizen, Francesco Sasetti, in the
church of the Trinita, Florence, with scenes from the life of St
Francis. Of these, the death of St Francis, surrounded by the sorrowing
monks of his order, with the figures of Francesco Sasetti and his wife,
Madonna Nera, on one side of the picture, is considered the best. As a
curious illustration of the modernizing practice of Ghirlandajo, he has
painted an old priest at the foot of the bier, chanting the litanies for
the dying, with spectacles on his nose, the earliest known
representation of these useful instruments.

Ghirlandajo painted during four years the choir of the church of Santa
Maria Novella, Florence, for one of the great Florentine benefactors,
Giovanni Tornabuone, and there are to be seen some of Ghirlandajo's
finest frescoes from the history of John the Baptist and the Virgin.

A Madonna and Child with angels in the National Gallery is attributed to

Francesco Francia, or Il Francia, was born at Bologna, and was the son
of a carpenter, whose surname was Raibaloni, but Francesco assumed the
name of his master, a goldsmith, and worked himself at a goldsmith's
trade till he was forty years of age. Indeed he may be said never to
have relinquished his connection with the trade, and certainly he was no
more ashamed of it than of his calling as a painter, for he signed
himself indiscriminately 'goldsmith' and 'painter,' and sometimes
whimsically put 'goldsmith' to his paintings and 'painter' to his
jewellery. He was a famous designer of dies for coins and medals, and it
is quite probable, as a countryman of his own has sought to prove, that
he was the celebrated type-cutter, known as 'Francesco da Bologna.' But
it is with Francesco '_pictor_' that we have to do.

Though he only began to prosecute the painter's art in middle age, he
rose with remarkable rapidity to eminence, was the great painter of
Lombardy in his day, rivalling Squarcione, Mantegna's teacher in his
school, which numbered two hundred scholars, and becoming the founder of
the early Bolognese school of painters.

Francia is said to have been very handsome in person, with a kindly
disposition and an agreeable manner. He was on terms of cordial
friendship with Raphael, then in his youth, and thirty years Il
Francia's junior. Il Francia addressed an enthusiastic sonnet to
Raphael, and there is extant a letter of Raphael's to Il Francia,
excusing himself for not sending his friend Raphael's portrait, and
making an exchange of sketches, that of his 'Nativity' for the drawing
of Il Francia's 'Judith;' while it was to Il Francia's care that Raphael
committed his picture of St Cecilia, when it was first sent to Bologna.
These relations between the men and their characters throw discredit on
the tradition that Il Francia died from jealous grief caused by the
sight of Raphael's 'St Cecilia.' As Il Francia was seventy years of age
at the time of his death, one may well attribute it to physical causes.
Il Francia had at least one son, and another kinsman, painters, whose
paintings were so good as to be occasionally confounded with those of Il

Il Francia is thought to have united, in his works, a certain calm
sedateness and frank sincerity to the dreamy imaginativeness of some of
his contemporaries. His finest works are considered to be the frescoes
from the life of St Cecilia in the church of St Cecilia at Bologna.

Of a Madonna and Child, by Francia, at Bologna, I shall write down
another of Dean Alford's descriptions,--many of which I have given for
this, among other reasons, that these descriptions are not technical or
professional, but the expression of the ardent admiration and grateful
comprehension of a sympathetic spectator. 'He,' speaking of the Divine
Child, 'is lying in simple nakedness on a rich red carpet, and is
supported by a white pillar, over which the carpet passes. Of these
accessories every thread is most delicately and carefully painted; no
slovenly washes of meretricious colour where He is to be served, before
whom all things are open; no perfunctory sparing of toil in serving Him
who has given us all that is best. On his right hand kneels the Virgin
Mother in adoration, her very face a magnificat--praise, lowliness,
confidence; next to her, Joseph, telling by his looks the wonderful
story, deeply but simply. Two beautiful angels kneel, one on either
side--hereafter, perhaps, to kneel in like manner in the tomb. Their
faces seemed to me notable for that which I have no doubt the painter
intended to express,--the pure abstraction of reverent adoration,
unmingled with human sympathies. The face and figure of the Divine
Infant are full of majesty, as he holds his hands in blessing towards
the spectator, who symbolizes the world which He has come to save. Close
to him on the ground, on his right branch in trustful repose; on his
left springs a plant of the meadow-trefoil. Thus lightly and reverently
has the master touched the mystery of the Blessed Trinity: the goldfinch
symbolizing by its colours, the trefoil by the form of its leaf.'

In our own National Gallery is a picture by Il Francia of the enthroned
Virgin and Child and her mother, St Anne, who is presenting a peach to
the infant Christ; at the foot of the throne is the little St John; to
the right and left are St Paul with the sword, St Sebastian bound to a
pillar and pierced with arrows, and St Lawrence with the emblematical
grid-iron, etc. etc. Opposite this picture hangs, what once formed part
of it, a solemn, sorrowful Pieta, as the Italians call a picture
representing the dead Redeemer mourned over by the Virgin and by the
other holy women. These pictures were bought by our Government from the
Duke of Lucca for three thousand five hundred pounds.

Fra Bartolommeo. We come to a second gentle monk, not unlike Fra
Angelico in his nature, but far less happy than Fra Angelico, in having
been born in stormy times. Fra Bartolommeo, called also Baccio della
Porta, or Bartholomew of the gate, from the situation of his lodgings
when a young man, but scarcely known in Italy by any other name than
that of Il Frate, or the Friar, was born near Florence, and trained from
his boyhood to be a painter. In his youth, however, a terrible public
event convulsed Florence, and revolutionized Baccio della Porta's life.
He had been employed to paint in that notable Dominican convent of St
Mark, where Savonarola, its devoted friar, was denouncing the sins of
the times, including the profligate luxury of the nobles and the
degradation of the representatives of the Church. Carried away by the
fervour and sincerity of the speaker, Baccio joined the enthusiasts who
cast into a burning pile the instruments of pride, vanity, and godless
intellect denounced by the preacher. Baccio's sacrifice to the flaming
heap of splendid furniture and dress, and worldly books, was all his
designs from profane subjects and studies of the undraped figure. A
little later Savonarola was excommunicated by the Pope and perished as
a martyr; and Baccio, timid from his natural temper, distracted by
doubt, and altogether horror-stricken, took a monk's vows, and entered
the same convent of St Mark, where for four years he never touched a

At the request of his superior Fra Bartolommeo painted again, and when
Raphael visited Florence, and came with all his conquering sweetness and
graciousness to greet the monk in his cell, something of Il Frate's old
love for his art, and delight in its exercise, returned. He even visited
Rome, but there his health failed him, and the great works of Lionardo,
Michael Angelo, and Raphael, when he compared his own with theirs,
seemed to crush and overwhelm him. But he painted better for his visit
to Rome, even as he had painted better for his intimacy with Raphael.
Nay, it is said Raphael himself painted better on account of his
brotherly regard for, and confidence in, Fra Bartolommeo.

Fra Bartolommeo died aged forty-eight years. Among his best pupils was a
nun of St Catherine's, known as Suor Plautilla.

To Il Frate, as a painter, is attributed great softness and harmony, and
even majesty, though, like Fra Angelico, he was often deficient in
strength. He was great in the management of draperies, for the better
study of which he is said to have invented the lay figure. He indulged
in the introduction into his pictures of rich architecture. He was fond
of painting boy-angels--in which he excelled--playing frequently on
musical instruments, or holding a canopy over the Virgin. Very few of
his works are out of Italy; the most are in Florence, especially in the
Pitti Palace. His two greatest works are the Madonna della Misericordia,
or the Madonna of Mercy, at Lucca, where the Virgin stands with
outstretched arms pleading for the suppliants, whom she shelters under
the canopy, and who look to her as she looks to her Son,--and the grand
single figure of St Mark, with his Gospel in his hand, in the Pitti
Palace, Florence. Sir David Wilkie said of the Madonna of Mercy, 'that
it contained the merits of Raphael, of Titian, of Rembrandt, and of

Andrea Vanucchi, commonly called Andrea del Sarto, from the occupation
of his father, who was a tailor (in Italian, _sarto_), was born at
Florence in 1488. He was first a goldsmith, but soon turned painter,
winning early the commendatory title of 'Andrea senza errori,' or
'Andrea the Faultless.' His life is a miserable and tragic history. In
the early flush of his genius and industry, with its just crown of fame
and success, he conceived a passion for a beautiful but worthless woman,
whom, in spite of the opposition of his friends, he married. She
rendered his home degraded and wretched, and his friends and scholars
fell off from him. In disgust he quitted Florence, and entered the
service of Francis I, of France; but his wife, for whom his regard was a
desperate infatuation, imperiously summoned him back to Florence, to
which he returned, bringing with him a large sum of money, entrusted to
him by the king for the purchase of works of art. Instigated by his
wife, Andrea del Sarto used this money for his, or rather her, purposes,
and dared not return to France. Even in his native Florence he was
loaded with reproach and shame. He died of the plague at the age of
fifty-five years, according to tradition, plundered and abandoned in his
extremity by the base woman for whom he had sacrificed principle and
honour. We may read the grievous story of Andrea del Sarto, written by
one of the greatest of England's modern poets.

As may be imagined, Andrea del Sarto's excellence lay in the charm of
his execution. His works were deficient in earnestness and high feeling,
and some will have it, that, evilly haunted as he was, he perpetually
painted in his Madonnas the beautiful but base-souled face of the woman
who ruined him. Andrea del Sarto's best works are in Florence,
particularly in the cloisters of the convent of the Annunziata. In the
court of the same convent is his famous Riposo (or rest of the Holy
Family on their way to Egypt), which is known as the 'Madonna of the
Sack,' from the circumstance of Joseph in the picture leaning against a
sack. This picture has held a high place in art for hundreds of years.


1483-1520--TITIAN, 1477-1566.

We have arrived at the triumph of art, not, indeed, in unconsciousness
and devotion, but in fulness and completeness, as shown in the works of
four of the greatest painters and men whom the world ever saw. Of the
first, Lionardo da Vinci, born at Vinci in the neighbourhood of
Florence, 1452, it may be said that the many-sidedness which
characterized Italians--above all Italians of his day--reached its
height in him. Not only was he a painter, a sculptor, an architect, and
engineer, but also one of the boldest speculators of the generation
which gave birth to Columbus, and was not less original and ingenious
than he was universally accomplished--an Admirable Crichton among
painters. There is a theory that this many-sidedness is a proof of the
greatest men, indicating a man who might have been great in any way,
who, had his destiny not found and left him a painter, would have been
equally great as a philosopher, a man of science, a poet, or a
statesman. It may be so; but the life of Lionardo tends also to
illustrate the disadvantage of too wide a grasp and diffusion of genius.
Beginning much and finishing little, not because he was idle or fickle,
but because his schemes were so colossal and his aims so high, he spent
his time in preparation for the attainment of perfect excellence, which
eluded him. Lionardo was the pioneer, the teacher of others, rather than
the complete fulfiller of his own dreams; and the life of the proud,
passionate man was, to him self mortification. This result might, in a
sense, have been avoided; but Lionardo, great as he was, proved also one
of those unfortunate men whose noblest efforts are met and marred by
calamities which could have hardly been foreseen or prevented.

Lionardo da Vinci was the son of a notary, and early showed a taste for
painting as well as for arithmetic and mathematics. He was apprenticed
to a painter, but he also sedulously studied physics. He is said,
indeed, to have made marvellous guesses at truth, in chemistry, botany,
astronomy, and particularly, as helping him in his art, anatomy. He was,
according to other accounts, a man of noble person, like Ghirlandajo.
And one can scarcely doubt this who looks at Lionardo's portrait painted
by himself, or at any engraving from it, and remarks the grand presence
of the man in his cap and furred cloak; his piercing wistful eyes;
stately outline of nose; and sensitive mouth, unshaded by his
magnificent flowing beard.

He was endowed with surprising bodily strength, and was skilled in the
knightly exercises of riding, fencing, and dancing. He was a lover of
social pleasure, and inclined to indulge in expensive habits. While a
lad he amused himself by inventing machines for swimming, diving, and
flying, as well as a compass, a hygrometer, etc. etc. In a combination
from the attributes of the toads, lizards, bats, etc. etc., with which
his studies in natural history had made him familiar, he painted a
nondescript monster, which he showed suddenly to his father, whom it
filled with horror. But the horror did not prevent the old lawyer
selling the wild phantasmagoria for a large sum of money. As something
beyond amusement, Lionardo planned a canal to unite Florence with Pisa
(while he executed other canals in the course of his life), and
suggested the daring but not impossible idea of raising _en masse_, by
means of levers, the old church of San Giovanni, Florence, till it
should stand several feet above its original level, and so get rid of
the half-sunken appearance which destroyed the effect of the fine old
building. He visited the most frequented places, carrying always with
him his sketch-book, in which to note down his observations; he followed
criminals to execution in order to witness the pangs of despair; he
invited peasants to his house and told them laughable stories, that he
might pick up from their faces the essence of comic expression.[4] A
mania for truth--alike in great and little things--possessed him.

Lionardo entered young into the service of the Gonzaga family of Milan,
being, according to one statement, chosen for the office which he was to
fill, as the first singer in _improvisatore_ of his time (among his
other inventions he devised a peculiar kind of lyre). He showed no want
of confidence in asserting his claims to be elected, for after declaring
the various works he would undertake, he added with regard to
painting--'I can do what can be done, as well as any man, be he who he
may.' He received from the Duke a salary of five hundred crowns a year.
He was fourteen years at the court of Milan, where, among other works,
he painted his 'Cenacolo,' or 'Last Supper,' one of the grandest
pictures ever produced. He painted it, contrary to the usual practice,
in oils upon the plastered walls of the refectory of the Dominican
convent, Milan. The situation was damp, and the material used proved so
unsuitable for work on plaster, that, even before it was exposed to the
reverses which in the course of a French occupation of Milan converted
the refectory into a stable, the colours had altogether faded, and the
very substance of the picture was crumbling into ruin.

The equestrian statue of the old Duke of Milan by Lionardo excited so
much delight in its first freshness, that it was carried in triumph
through the city, and during the progress it was accidentally broken.
Lionardo began another, but funds failed for its completion, and
afterwards the French used the original clay model as a target for their

Lionardo returned to Florence, and found his great rival, Michael
Angelo, already in the field. Both of the men, conscious of mighty
gifts, were intolerant of rivalry. To Lionardo especially, as being much
the elder man, the originator and promoter of many of the new views in
art which his opponent had adopted, the competition was very
distasteful, and to Michael Angelo he used the bitter sarcasm which has
been handed down to us, 'I was famous before you were born.'

Nevertheless Lionardo consented to compete with Michael Angelo for the
painting in fresco of one side of the council-hall, by the order of the
gonfaloniere for the year. Lionardo chose for his subject a victory of
the Florentines over the Milanese, while Michael Angelo took a scene
from the Pisan campaigns. Not only was the work never done (some say
partly because Lionardo _would_ delay in order to make experiments in
oils) on account of political troubles, but the very cartoons of the two
masters, which all the artists of the day flocked to see, have been
broken up, dispersed, and lost; and of one only, that of Michael Angelo,
a small copy remains, while but a fragment from Lionardo's was preserved
in a copy made by Rubens.

Lionardo went to Rome in the pontificate of Leo X., but there his
quarrel with Michael Angelo broke out more violently than ever. The Pope
too, who loved better a gentler, more accommodating spirit, seemed to
slight Lionardo, and the great painter not only quitted Rome in disgust,
but withdrew his services altogether from ungrateful Italy.

At Pavia Lionardo was presented to Francis I, of France, who, zealous
in patronizing art, engaged the painter to follow Francis's fortunes at
a salary of seven hundred crowns a year. Lionardo spent the remainder of
his life in France. His health had long been declining before he died,
aged sixty-seven years, at Cloux, near Amboise. He had risen high in the
favour of Francis. From this circumstance, and the generous, chivalrous
nature of the king, there doubtless arose the tradition that Francis
visited Lionardo on his death-bed; and that, while in the act of gently
assisting him to raise himself, the painter died in the king's arms.
Court chronicles do their best to demolish this story, by proving
Francis to have been at St Germain on the day when Lionardo died at

Lionardo was never married, and he left what worldly goods he possessed
to a favourite scholar. Besides his greater works, he filled many MS.
volumes, some with singularly accurate studies and sketches, maps, plans
for machines, scores for music (three volumes of these are in the Royal
Library at Windsor), and some with writing, which is written--probably
to serve as a sort of cipher--from right to left, instead of from left
to right. One of his writings is a valuable 'Treatise' on painting;
other writings are on scientific and philosophic subjects, and in these
Lionardo is believed to have anticipated some of the discoveries which
were reached by lines of close reasoning centuries later.

Lionardo's genius as a painter was expressed by his uniting, in the very
highest degree, truth and imagination. He was the shrewdest observer of
ordinary life, and he could also realize the higher mysteries and
profounder feelings of human nature. He drew exceedingly well. Of
transparent lights and shadows, or chiaroscuro, he was the greatest
master; but he was not a good colourist. His works are very rare, and
many which are attributed to him are the pictures of his scholars, for
he founded one of the great schools of Milan or Lombardy. There is a
tradition that he was, as Holbein was once believed to be, ambidextrous,
or capable of using his left hand as well as his right, and that he
painted with two brushes--one in each hand. Thus more than fully armed,
Lionardo da Vinci looms out on us like a Titan through the mists of
centuries, and he preaches to us the simple homily, that not even a
Titan can command worldly success; that such men must look to ends as
the reward of their travail, and before undertaking it they must count
the cost, and be prepared to renounce the luxurious tastes which clung
to Lionardo, and which were not for him or for such men as he was.

Lionardo's great painting was his 'Last Supper,' of which, happily, good
copies exist, as well as the wreck of the picture itself. The original
is now, after it is too late, carefully guarded and protected in its old
place in the Dominican convent of the Madonna della Grazia, Milan. The
assembled company sit at a long table, Christ being seated in the
middle, the disciples forming two separate groups on each side of the
Saviour. The gradations of age are preserved, from the tender youth of
John to the grey hairs of Simon; and all the varied emotions of mind,
from the deepest sorrow and anxiety to the eager desire of revenge, are
here portrayed. The well-known words of Christ, 'One of you shall betray
me,' have caused the liveliest emotion. The two groups to the left of
Christ are full of impassioned excitement, the figures in the first
turning to the Saviour, those in the second speaking to each
other,--horror, astonishment, suspicion, doubt, alternating in the
various expressions. On the other hand, stillness, low whispers,
indirect observations, are the prevailing expressions in the groups on
the right. In the middle of the first group sits the betrayer; a
cunning, sharp profile, he looks up hastily to Christ, as if speaking
the words, 'Master, is it I?' while, true to the Scriptural account, his
left hand and Christ's right hand approach, as if unconsciously, the
dish that stands before them.[5]

A sketch of the head of Christ for the original picture, which has been
preserved on a torn and soiled piece of paper at Brera, expresses the
most elevated seriousness, together with Divine gentleness pain on
account of the faithless disciple, a full presentiment of his own death,
and resignation to the will of the Father. It gives a faint idea of what
the master may have accomplished in the finished picture.

During his stay at Florence Lionardo painted a portrait of that Ginevra
Benci already mentioned as painted by Ghirlandajo; and a still more
famous portrait by Lionardo was that of Mona Lisa, the wife of his
friend Giocondo. This picture is also known as 'La Jaconde.' I wish to
call attention to it because it is the first of four surpassingly
beautiful portraits of women which four great painters gave in
succession to the world. The others, to be spoken of afterwards, are
Raphael's 'Fornarina,' Titian's 'Bella Donna,' and Rubens' 'Straw Hat.'
About the original of 'La Jaconde' there never has been a mystery such
as there has been about the others. At this portrait the unsatisfied
painter worked at intervals for four years, and when he left it he
pronounced it still unfinished. 'La Jaconde' is now in the Louvre in
nearly ruined condition, yet a judge says of it that even now 'there is
something in this wonderful head of the ripest southern beauty, with its
airy background of a rocky landscape, which exercises a peculiar
fascination over the mind.'

There is a painting of the Madonna and Child Christ said to be by
Lionardo, and probably, at least, by one of his school, and which
belongs, I think, to the Duke of Buccleuch, and was exhibited lately
among the works of the old masters. The group has at once something
touching and exalted in its treatment. The Divine Child in the Mother's
arms is strangely attracted by the sight of a cross, and turns towards
it with ineffable longing, while the Virgin Mother, with a pang of
foreboding, clasping the child in her arms, seeks to draw him back.

The fragment of the cartoon in which Lionardo competed with Michael
Angelo, may be held to survive in the fine painting by Rubens called
'the Battle of the Standard.' Of a famous Madonna and St Anne, by
Lionardo, the original cartoon in black chalk is preserved under glass
in our Royal Academy.[6]

Michael Angelo Buonarroti, born at Castel Caprese near Tuscany, 1475, is
the next of these universal geniuses, a term which we are accustomed to
hold in contempt, because we have only seen it exemplified in parody.
After Lionardo, indeed, Michael Angelo, though he was also painter,
sculptor, architect, engineer, poet, musician, might almost be regarded
as restricted in his pursuits, yet still so manifold was he, that men
have loved to make a play upon his name and call him 'Michael the
angel,' and to speak of him as of a king among men.

Michael Angelo was of noble descent, and though his ancient house had
fallen into comparative poverty, his father was mayor or podesta of
Chiusi, and governor of the castle of Chiusi and Caprese. Michael Angelo
was destined for the profession of the law, but so early vindicated his
taste for art, that at the age of thirteen years he was apprenticed to
Ghirlandajo. Lorenzo the Magnificent was then ruling Florence, and he
had made a collection of antique models in his palace and gardens, and
constituted it an academy for young artists. In this academy Michael
Angelo developed a strong bias for sculpture, and won the direct
patronage of the Medici.

To this period of his life belong two characteristic anecdotes. In a
struggle with a fellow-student, Michael Angelo received a blow from a
mallet in his face, which, breaking bone and cartilage, lent to his nose
the rugged bend,

    'The bar of Michael Angelo.'

An ill-advised member of the Medician house, while entertaining a party
of guests during a snowstorm, sent out the indignant artist to make a
snow man within sight of the palace windows. These anecdotes bear
indirectly on the ruling qualities of Michael Angelo--qualities so
integral that they are wrought into his marble and painted on his
canvas--proud independence and energy.

Before going farther I wish to guard against a common misapprehension of
Michael Angelo--that he was a haughty, arrogant man, absolutely narrow
in his half-idolatrous, half-human worship of art. Michael Angelo was
severe in place of being sweet; he was impatient of contradiction; he
was careless and scornful of ceremony; and in his very wrath at flattery
and hypocrisy, he was liable to sin against his own honesty and
sincerity. But he was a man with a lofty sense of duty and a profound
reverence for God. He was, unlike Lionardo, consistently simple, frugal,
and temperate, throughout his long life. If he held up a high standard
to others, and enforced it on them with hardness, he held up a higher
standard to himself, and enforced it on himself more hardly still. He
was a thoroughly unworldly man, and actions which had their root in
unworldliness have been ascribed unjustly to a kind of Lucifer pride.
Greed, and the meanness of greed, were unknown to him. He worked for the
last ten years of his life (under no less than five different Popes) at
his designs for St Peter's, steadfastly refusing pay for the work,
saying that he did it for the honour of God and his own honour. He made
many enemies and suffered from their enmity, but I cannot learn that,
except in one instance, he was guilty of dealing an unworthy blow at
his opponents. He was generous to his scholars, and without jealousy of
them, suffering them to use his designs for their own purposes. He said,
'I have no friends, I need none, I wish for none;' but that was in
feeling himself 'alone before Heaven;' and of the friends whom he did
possess, he loved them all the more devotedly and faithfully, because
they were few in number.

One need only be told of his love for his old servant Urbino, whom he
presented with two thousand crowns to render him independent of service;
and when the servant was seized with his last illness Michael Angelo
nursed him tenderly, sleeping in his clothes on a couch that he might be
ready to attend his patient. When his cares were ended, Michael Angelo
wrote to a correspondent--'My Urbino is dead--to my infinite grief and
sorrow. Living, he served me truly; and in his death he taught me how to
die. Of Michael Angelo's more equal friendship with Vittoria Colonna I
hope my readers will read at leisure for themselves. No nobler, truer
friendship ever existed. It began when the high-born and beautiful,
gifted, and devout Marchesa de Pescara--most loyal of wives and widows,
was forty-eight, and Michael Angelo sixty-four years of age. After a few
years of privileged intercourse and correspondence, which were the
happiest years in Michael Angelo's life, it ended for this world when he
stood mourning by her lifeless clay. 'I was born a rough model, and it
was for thee to reform and re-make me,' the great painter had written
humbly of himself to his liege lady.[7]

Italy, in Michael Angelo's time, as Germany in Albert Duerer's, was all
quickened and astir with the new wave of religious thought which brought
about the Reformation. Ochino and Peter Martyr, treading in the
footsteps of Savonarola, had preached to eager listeners, but 'in Italy
men did not adopt Lutheranism, though they approached it;' and in all
the crowd of great Italian artists of the day, Michael Angelo shows
deepest traces of the conflict--of its trouble, its seriousness, its
nobleness. He only, among his brethren, acted out his belief that the
things of the world sank into insignificance before those thoughts of
God and immortality which were alone fully worthy of the soul. And it
was, as to a religious work for which he was fitted, that he at last
gave himself up to the raising of St Peter's. We shall have next in
order the life of a man who had all the winning qualities which Michael
Angelo wanted, but we shall hardly, through the whole range of history,
find a nobler man than Michael Angelo.

After his first visit to Rome, 1496, Michael Angelo executed his
colossal statue of David. In 1503 he entered into the competition with
Lionardo for the painting of one end of the Council-hall, in Florence,
which has been already mentioned. For this object he drew as his
cartoon, 'Pisan soldiers surprised while bathing by a sudden trumpet
call to arms.' The grand cartoon, of which only a small copy exists, was
said to have been torn to pieces as an act of revenge by a
fellow-sculptor, whom Michael Angelo had offended.

Michael Angelo was invited to Rome by Julius II. in 1504 to aid in
erecting the unapproachable monument which the Pope projected raising
for himself. Then commenced a series of contentions and struggles
between the imperious and petulant Pope and the haughty, uncompromising
painter, in which the latter certainly had the best of it. At one time
in the course of the quarrel, Michael Angelo departed from Rome without
permission or apology, and stoutly refused to return, though followed
hotly by no less than five different couriers, armed with threats and
promises, and urged to make the reparation by his own gonfaloniere. At
last a meeting and a reconciliation between Michael Angelo and the Pope
were effected at Bologna. Michael Angelo designed for Pope Julius II,
not only the statue of Pope Julius at Bologna, which was finally
converted into a cannon, and turned against the very man whose effigy it
had originally presented, but also for that tomb which was never
completed, the famous figure of Moses seated, grasping his beard with
one hand.

While employed at the tomb, Michael Angelo, then in his fortieth year,
was desired by the Pope to undertake the decoration of the ceiling of
the Sistine Chapel. Here, again, the hand of an enemy is said to have
been at work. Michael Angelo, with the first place as a sculptor, was
inexperienced in fresco painting; while Raphael, who was taking the
place of Lionardo as Michael Angelo's most formidable rival (yet whom it
is said Michael Angelo pointed out as the fittest painter of the
ceiling), and who was then engaged in painting the Vatican chambers, had
already achieved the utmost renown. It was anticipated by secret
hostility, so records tradition, that Michael Angelo would fail signally
in the unaccustomed work, and that his merit as an artist would pale
altogether before that of Raphael's. I need hardly write how entirely
malice was balked in the verdict to which posterity has set its seal.

Michael Angelo brought artists from Florence to help him in his great
undertaking, for over the chapel, whose walls had already been painted
by older artists--among them Ghirlandajo, was an enormous vault of 150
feet in length by 50 in breadth, which Michael Angelo was required to
cover with designs representing the Fall and Redemption of Man. But the
painter was unable to bear what seemed to him the bungling attempts of
his assistants; so dismissing them all and destroying their work, he
shut himself up, and working in solitude and secrecy, set himself to
evolve from his own inner consciousness the gigantic scenes of a
tremendous drama. In 22 months (or, as Kugler holds, in three years,
including the time spent on the designs) he finished gloriously the
work, the magnitude of which one must see to comprehend. On All Saints'
Day, 1512, the ceiling was uncovered, and Michael Angelo was hailed,
little though he cared for such clamorous hailing, as a painter indeed.
For this piece of work Michael Angelo received 3000 crowns.

Pope Julius died, and was succeeded by Leo X. of the Medician house,
but, in spite of early associations as well as of mother country,
Michael Angelo was no more acceptable to the Pope--a brilliantly
polished, easy-tempered man of the world, who filled the chair of St
Peter's, than Lionardo had been. Leo X, greatly preferred Raphael, to
whom all manner of pleasantness as well as of courteous deference was
natural, to the two others. At the same time, Leo employed Michael
Angelo, though it was more as an architect than as a painter, and rather
at Florence than at Rome. At Florence Michael Angelo executed for Pope
Clement VII., another Medici, the mortuary chapel of San Lorenzo, with
its six great statues, those of the cousins Lorenzo de Medici and
Giuliano de Medici, the first called by the Florentines 'Il Pensiero,'
or 'Pensive Thought,' with the four colossal recumbent figures named
respectively the Night, the Morning, the Dawn, and the Twilight.

In 1537 Michael Angelo was employed by his fellow citizens to fortify
his native city against the return of his old patrons the Medici, and
the city held out for nine months.

Pope Paul III., an old man when elected to the popedom, but bent on
signalizing his pontificate with as splendid works of art as those
which had rendered the reigns of his predecessors illustrious, summoned
another man, grown elderly, Michael Angelo, upwards of sixty years,
reluctant to accept the commission, to finish the decoration of the
Sistine Chapel; and Michael Angelo painted on the wall, at the upper
end, his painting, 'The Last Judgment.' The picture is forty-seven feet
high by forty-three wide, and it occupied the painter eight years. It
was during its progress that Michael Angelo entered on his friendship
with Vittoria Colonna.

For the chapel called the Paolina or Pauline Chapel Michael Angelo also
painted less-known frescoes, but from that time he devoted his life to
St Peter's. He had said that he would take the old Pantheon and 'suspend
it in air,' and he did what he said, though he did not live to see the
great cathedral completed. His sovereign, the Grand Duke of Florence,
endeavoured in vain with magnificent offers to lure the painter back to
his native city. Michael Angelo protested that to leave Rome then would
be 'a sin and a shame, and the ruin of the greatest religious monument
in Christian Europe.' Michael Angelo, like Lionardo, did not marry; he
died at Rome in 1563, in his eighty-ninth year.

His nephew and principal heir,[8] by the orders of the Grand Duke of
Florence, and it is believed according to Michael Angelo's own wish,
removed the painter's body to Florence, where it was buried with all
honours in the church of Santa Croce there.

The traits which recall Michael Angelo personally to us, are the
prominent arch of the nose, the shaggy brows, the tangled beard, the
gaunt grandeur of a figure like that of one of his prophets.

While Michael Angelo lived, one Pope rose on his approach, and seated
the painter on his right hand, and another Pope declined to sit down in
his painter's presence; but the reason given for the last condescension,
is that the Pope feared that the painter would follow his example. And
if the Grand Duke Cosmo uncovered before Michael Angelo, and stood hat
in hand while speaking to him, we may have the explanation in another
assertion, that 'sovereigns asked Michael Angelo to put on his cap,
because the painter would do it unasked.'

The solitary instance in which Michael Angelo is represented as taking
an unfair advantage of an antagonist, is in connection with the
painter's rivalry in his art with Raphael. Michael Angelo undervalued
the genius of Raphael, and was disgusted by what the older man
considered the immoderate admiration bestowed on the younger. A
favourite pupil of Michael Angelo's was Sebastian Del Piombo, who being
a Venetian by birth was an excellent colourist. For one of his
pictures--the very 'Raising of Lazarus' now in the National Gallery,
which the Pope had ordered at the same time that he had ordered
Raphael's 'Transfiguration'--it is rumoured that Michael Angelo gave the
designs and even drew the figures, leaving Sebastian the credit, and
trusting that without Michael Angelo's name appearing in the work, by
the help of his drawing in addition to Sebastian's superb colouring,
Raphael would be eclipsed, and that by a painter comparatively obscure.

The unwarrantable inference that the whole work was that of one painter,
constituted a stratagem altogether unworthy of Michael Angelo, and if it
had any existence, its getting wind disappointed and foiled its authors.
When the story was repeated to Raphael, his sole protest is said to have
been to the effect that he was glad that Michael Angelo esteemed him so
highly as to enter the lists with him.

We can judge of Michael Angelo's attainments as a poet, even without
having recourse to the original Italian, by Wordsworth's translations of
some of the Italian master's sonnets, and by Mr John Edward Taylor's
translations of selections from Michael Angelo's poems.

Michael Angelo was greater as an architect and a sculptor than as a
painter, because his power and delight lay in the mastery of form, and
in the assertion, through that mastery, of the idealism of genius. It is
not necessary to speak here of the mighty harmonies and the ineffable
dignity of simplicity, somewhat marred by the departure from Michael
Angelo's designs, in St Peter's. It has been the fashion to praise them
to the skies, and it has been a later fashion to decry them, in awarding
a preference to the solemn shades and the dim rich dreaminess of Gothic
architecture. Both fashions come to this, after all, that beauty, like
these great men of genius of old, is many-sided.

In Michael Angelo's works of sculpture a weird charm attaches to his
monuments in honour of the Medici in the chapel of San Lorenzo,
Florence. Perhaps something of this weirdness has to do with the tragic
history of the men, and with a certain mystery which has always shrouded
the sculptor's meaning in these monuments.

Mrs Jameson quotes an account of Michael Angelo at work. An eye-witness
has left us a very graphic description of the energy with which, even in
old age, Michael Angelo handled his chisel:--"I can say that I have
seen Michael Angelo at the age of sixty, and, with a body announcing
weakness, make more chips of marble fly about in a quarter of an hour
than would three of the strongest young sculptors in an hour,--a thing
almost incredible to him who has not beheld it. He went to work with
such impetuosity and fury of manner, that I feared almost every moment
to see the block split into pieces. It would seem as if, inflamed by the
idea of greatness which inspired him, this great man attacked with a

In painting Michael Angelo regarded colouring as of secondary
importance. He is not known to have executed one painting in oil, and he
treated oil and easel-painting generally as work only fit for women or
idle men. While he approached the sublime in his painting, it was by no
means faultless. Even in form his efforts were apt to tend to heaviness
and exaggeration, and the fascination which robust muscular delineation
had for him, betrayed him into materialism. Fuseli's criticism of
Michael Angelo's work, that Michael Angelo's women were female men, and
his children diminutive giants, is judged correct. Incomparably the
greatest painting of Michael Angelo's is his ceiling of the Sistine
Chapel. It includes upwards of 200 figures, the greater part colossal,
as they were to be looked at, in the distance, from below.

    'The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel contains the most perfect
    works done by Michael Angelo in his long and active life. Here
    his great spirit appears in noblest dignity, in its highest
    purity; here the attention is not disturbed by that arbitrary
    display to which his great power not unfrequently seduced him in
    other works. The ceiling forms a flattened arch in its section;
    the central portion, which is a plain surface, contains a series
    of large and small pictures, representing the most important
    events recorded in the book of Genesis--the Creation and Fall of
    Man, with its immediate consequences. In the large triangular
    compartments at the springing of the vault are sitting figures
    of the Prophets and Sibyls, as the foretellers of the coming
    Saviour. In the soffits of the recesses between these
    compartments, and in the arches underneath, immediately above
    the windows, are the ancestors of the Virgin, the series leading
    the mind directly to the Saviour. The external of these numerous
    representations is formed by an architectural frame-work of
    peculiar composition, which encloses the single subjects, tends
    to make the principal masses conspicuous, and gives to the whole
    an appearance of that solidity and support so necessary, but so
    seldom attended to in soffit decorations, which may be
    considered as if suspended. A great number of figures are also
    connected with the frame-work; those in unimportant situations
    are executed in the colour of stone or bronze; in the more
    important, in natural colours. These serve to support the
    architectural forms, to fill up and to connect the whole. They
    may be best described as the living and embodied _genii_ of
    architecture. It required the unlimited power of an architect,
    sculptor, and painter, to conceive a structural whole of so much
    grandeur, to design the decorative figures with the significant
    repose required by the sculpturesque character, and yet to
    preserve their subordination to the principal subjects, and to
    keep the latter in the proportions and relations best adapted to
    the space to be filled.'--_Kugler_.

The pictures from the Old Testament, beginning from the altar, are:--

     1. The Separation of Light and Darkness.
     2. The Creation of the Sun and Moon.
     3. The Creation of Trees and Plants.
     4. The Creation of Adam.
     5. The Creation of Eve.
     6. The Fall and the Expulsion from Paradise.
     7. The Sacrifice of Noah.
     8. The Deluge.
     9. The Intoxication of Noah.

     'The scenes from Genesis are the most sublime representations of
     these subjects;--the Creating Spirit is unveiled before us. The
     peculiar type which the painter has here given of the form of the
     Father has been frequently imitated by his followers, and even by
     Raphael, but has been surpassed by none. Michael Angelo has
     represented him in majestic flight, sweeping through the air,
     surrounded by _genii_, partly supporting, partly borne along with
     him, covered by his floating drapery; they are the distinct
     syllables, the separate virtues of his creating word. In the
     first (large) compartment we see him with extended hands,
     assigning to the sun and moon their respective paths. In the
     second, he awakens the first man to life. Adam lies stretched on
     the verge of the earth in the act of raising himself; the Creator
     touches him with the point of his finger, and appears thus to
     endow him with feeling and life. This picture displays a
     wonderful depth of thought in the composition, and the utmost
     elevation and majesty in the general treatment and execution. The
     third subject is not less important, representing the Fall of
     Man, and his Expulsion from Paradise. The tree of knowledge
     stands in the midst; the serpent (the upper part of the body
     being that of a woman) is twined around the
     stem; she bends down towards the guilty pair, who are in the act
     of plucking the forbidden fruit. The figures are nobly graceful,
     particularly that of Eve. Close to the serpent hovers the angel
     with the sword, ready to drive the fallen beings out of Paradise.
     In this double action, this union of two separate moments, there
     is something peculiarly poetic and significant: it is guilt and
     punishment in one picture. The sudden and lightning-like
     appearance of the avenging angel behind the demon of darkness has
     a most impressive effect.'--_Kugler_.

The lower portion of the ceiling is divided into triangles, occupied by
the Prophets and Sibyls in solemn contemplation, accompanied by angels
and genii. Beginning from the left of the entrance their order is--

      1. Joel.
      2. Sibylla Erythraea.
      3. Ezekiel.
      4. Sibylla Persica.
      5. Jonah.
      6. Sibylla Libyca.
      7. Daniel.
      8. Sibylla Cumaea.
      9. Isaiah.
     10. Sibylla Delphica.

    'The prophets and sibyls in the triangular compartments of the
    curved portion of the ceiling are the largest figures in the
    whole work; these, too, are among the most wonderful forms that
    modern art has called into life. They are all represented
    seated, employed with books or rolled manuscripts; genii stand
    near or behind them. These mighty beings sit before us pensive,
    meditative, inquiring, or looking upwards with inspired
    countenances. Their forms and movements, indicated by the grand
    lines and masses of the drapery, are majestic and dignified. We
    see in them beings, who, while they feel and bear the sorrows of
    a corrupt and sinful world, have power to look for consolation
    into the secrets of the future. Yet the greatest variety
    prevails in the attitudes and expression: each figure is full of
    individuality. Zacharias is an aged man, busied in calm and
    circumspect investigation; Jeremiah is bowed down, absorbed in
    thought, the thought of deep and bitter grief; Ezekiel turns
    with hasty movements to the genius next to him, who points
    upwards with joyful expectation, etc. The sibyls are equally
    characteristic: the Persian, a lofty, majestic woman, very aged;
    the Erythraean, full of power, like the warrior goddess of
    wisdom; the Delphic, like Cassandra, youthfully soft and
    graceful, but with strength to bear the awful seriousness of

     'The belief of the Roman Catholic Church in the testimony of the
     sibyl is shown by the well-known hymn, said to have been composed
     by Pope Innocent III, at the close of the thirteenth century,
     beginning with the verse--

                "Dies irae, dies illa,
                Solvet saeclum in favilla
                Teste David cum Sibylla."

     It may be inferred that this hymn, admitted into the liturgy of
     the Roman Church, gave sanction to the adoption of the sibyls
     into Christian art. They are seen from this time accompanying the
     prophets and apostles, in the cyclical decorations of the
     church.... But the highest honour that art has rendered to the
     sibyls has been by the hand of Michael Angelo,
     on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Here in the conception of a
     mysterious order of women, placed above and without all
     considerations of the graceful or the individual, the great
     master was peculiarly in his element. They exactly fitted his
     standard, of art, not always sympathetic, nor comprehensible to
     the average human mind, of which the grand in form and the
     abstract in expression were the first and last conditions. In
     this respect, the sibyls on the Sistine Chapel ceiling are more
     Michael Angelesque than their companions the prophets. For these,
     while types of the highest monumental treatment, are yet men,
     while the sibyls belong to a distinct class of beings, who convey
     the impression of the very obscurity in which their history is
     wrapt--creatures who have lived far from the abodes of men, who
     are alike devoid of the expression of feminine sweetness, human
     sympathy, or sacramental beauty; who are neither Christians nor
     Jewesses, Witches nor Graces, yet living, grand, beautiful, and
     true, according to laws revealed to the great Florentine genius

     Thus their figures may be said to be unique, as the offspring of
     a peculiar sympathy between the master's mind and his subject. To
     this sympathy may be ascribed the prominence and size given them,
     both prophets and sibyls, as compared to their usual relation to
     the subjects they environ. They sit here on twelve throne-like
     niches, more like presiding deities, each wrapt in
     self-contemplation, than as tributary witnesses to the truth and
     omnipotence of Him they are intended to announce. Thus they form
     a gigantic frame-work round the subjects of the Creation, of
     which the birth of Eve, as the type of the Nativity, is the
     intentional centre. For some reason, the twelve figures are not
     prophets and sibyls alternately--there being only five sibyls to
     seven prophets,--so that the prophets come together at one angle.
     Books and scrolls are given indiscriminately to them.

'The Sibylla Persica, supposed to be the oldest of the sisterhood, holds
the book close to her eyes, as if from dimness of sight, which fact,
contradicted as it is by a frame of obviously Herculean strength, gives
a mysterious intentness to the action.

'The Sibylla Libyca, of equally powerful proportions, but less closely
draped, is grandly wringing herself to lift a massive volume from a
height above her head on to her knees.

'The Sibylla Cumana, also aged, and with her head covered, is reading
with her volume at a distance from her eyes.

'The Sibylla Delphica, with waving hair escaping from her turban, is a
beautiful young being, the most human of all, gazing into vacancy or
futurity. She holds a scroll.

'The Sibylla Erythraea, grand, bare-headed creature, sits reading
intently with crossed legs, about to turn over her book.

'The prophets are equally grand in structure, and though, as we have
said, not more than men, yet they are the only men that could well bear
the juxtaposition with their stupendous female colleagues. Ezekiel,
between Erythraea and Persica, has a scroll in his hand that hangs by his
side, just cast down, as he turns eagerly to listen to some voice.

'Jeremiah, a magnificent figure, with elbow on knee and head on hand,
wrapt in meditation appropriate to one called to utter lamentation and
woe. He has neither book nor scroll.

'Jonah is also without either. His position is strained and ungraceful,
looking upwards, and apparently remonstrating with the Almighty upon the
destruction of the gourd, a few leaves of which are seen above him. His
hands are placed together with a strange and trivial action, supposed to
denote the counting on his fingers the number of days he was in the
fish's belly. A formless marine monster is seen at his side.

'Daniel has a book on his lap, with one hand on it. He is young, and a
piece of lion's skin seems to allude to his history.'[9]

In the recesses between the prophets and sibyls are a series of lovely
family groups, representing the genealogy of the Virgin, and expressive
of calm expectation of the future. The four corners of the ceiling
contain groups illustrative of the power of the Lord displayed in the
especial deliverances of his chosen people. Near the altar are:

Right, The Deliverance of the Israelites by the Brazen Serpent.

Left, The Execution of Haman.

Near the entrance are:

Right, Judith and Holofernes.

Left, David and Goliath.[10]

Michael Angelo was thirty-nine years of age when he painted the ceiling
of the Sistine. When he began to paint the 'Day of Judgment' he was
above sixty years of age, and his great rival, Raphael, had already been
dead thirteen years.

The picture of the 'Day of Judgment,' with much that renders it
marvellous and awful, has a certain coarseness of conception and
execution. The moment chosen is that in which the Lord says, 'Depart
from me, ye cursed,' and the idea and even attributes of the principal
figure are taken from Orcagna's old painting in the Campo Santo. But
with all Michael Angelo's advantages, he has by no means improved on the
original idea. He has robbed the figure of the Lord of its transcendant
majesty; he has not been able to impart to the ranks of the blessed the
look of blessedness which 'Il Beato' himself might have conveyed. The
chief excellence of the picture is in the ranks of the condemned, who
writhe and rebel against their agonies. No wonder that the picture is
sombre and dreadful.

Of the allegorical figures of 'Night' and 'Morning' in the chapel of San
Lorenzo, there are casts at the Crystal Palace.

A comparison and a contrast have been instituted between Michael Angelo
and Milton, and Raphael and Shakespeare. There may be something in them,
but, as in the case of broken metaphors, they will not bear being pushed
to a logical conclusion or picked to pieces. The very transparent
comparison which matches Michael Angelo with his own countryman, Dante,
is after all more felicitous and truer. Michael Angelo with Lionardo are
the great chiefs of the Florentine School.

Raphael Sanzio, or Santi of Urbino, the head of the Roman School, was
one of those very exceptional men who seem born to happiness, to inspire
love and only love, to pass through the world making friends and
disarming enemies, who are fully armed to confer pleasure while almost
incapable of either inflicting or receiving pain. To this day his
exceptional fortune stands Raphael's memory in good stead, since for one
man or woman who yearns after the austere righteousness and priceless
tenderness of Michael Angelo, there are ten who yield with all their
hearts to the gay, sweet gentleness and generosity of Raphael. No doubt
it was also in his favour as a painter, that though a man of highly
cultivated tastes, 'in close intimacy and correspondence with most of
the celebrated men of his time, and interested in all that was going
forward,' he did not, especially in his youth, spend his strength on a
variety of studies, but devoted himself to painting. While he thus
vindicated his share of the breadth of genius of his country and time,
by giving to the world the loveliest Madonnas and Child-Christs, the
most dramatic of battle-pieces, the finest of portraits, his noble and
graceful fertility of invention and matchless skill of execution were
confined to and concentrated on painting. He did not diverge long or far
into the sister arts of architecture and sculpture, though his classic
researches in the excavations of Rome were keen and zealous; a heap of
ruins having given to the world in 1504 the group of the
that a writer of his day could record that 'Raphael had sought and found
in Rome another Rome.'

Raphael was born in the town of Urbino, and was the son of a painter of
the Umbrian School, who very early destined the boy to his future
career, and promoted his destination by all the efforts in Giovanni
Santi's power, including the intention of sending away and apprenticing
the little lad to the best master of his time, Perugino, so called from
the town where he resided, Perugia. Raphael's mother died when he was
only eight years of age, and his father died when he was no more than
eleven years, before the plans for his education were put into action.
But no stroke of outward calamity, or loss--however severe, could annul
Raphael's birthright of universal favour. His step-mother, the uncles
who were his guardians, his clever, perverse, unscrupulous master, all
joined in a common love of Raphael and determination to promote his

Raphael at the age of twelve years went to Perugia to work under
Perugino, and remained with his master till he was nearly twenty years
of age. In that interval he painted industriously, making constant
progress, always in the somewhat hard, but finished, style of Perugino,
while already showing a predilection for what was to prove Raphael's
favourite subject, the Madonna and Child. At this period he painted his
famous _Lo Sposalizio_ or the 'Espousals,' the marriage of the Virgin
Mary with Joseph, now at Milan. In 1504 he visited Florence, remaining
only for a short time, but making the acquaintance of Fra Bartolommeo
and Ghirlandajo, seeing the cartoons of Lionardo and Michael Angelo, and
from that time displaying a marked improvement in drawing. Indeed
nothing is more conspicuous in Raphael's genius in contra-distinction to
Michael Angelo's, than the receptive character of Raphael's mind, his
power of catching up an impression from without, and the candour and
humility with which he availed himself unhesitatingly of the assistance
lent him by others.

Returning soon to Florence, Raphael remained there till 1508, when he
was twenty-five years, drawing closer the valuable friendships he had
already formed, and advancing with rapid strides in his art, until his
renown was spread all over Italy, and with reason, since already, while
still young, he had painted his 'Madonna of the Goldfinch,' in the
Florentine Gallery, and his 'La Belle Jardiniere,' or Madonna in a
garden among flowers, now in the Louvre.

In his twenty-fifth year Raphael was summoned to Rome to paint for Pope
Julius II. My readers will remember that Michael Angelo in the abrupt
severity of his prime of manhood, was soon to paint the ceiling of the
Sistine Chapel for the same despotic and art-loving Pope, who had
brought Raphael hardly more than a stripling to paint the '_Camere_' or
'_Stanze_' chambers of the Vatican.

The first of the halls which Raphael painted (though not the first in
order) is called the Camera della Segnatura (in English, signature), and
represents Theology, Poetry, Philosophy, with the Sciences, Arts, and
Jurisprudence. The second is the 'Stanza d'Eliodoro,' or the room of
Heliodorus, and contains the grandest painting of all, in the expulsion
of Heliodorus from the Temple of Jerusalem (taken from Maccabees), the
Miracle of Bolsena, Attila, king of the Huns, terrified by the
apparition of St Peter and St Paul, and St Peter delivered from prison.
The third stanza painted by Raphael is the 'Stanza dell' Incendio' (the
conflagration), so called from the extinguishing of the fire in the
Borgo by a supposed miracle, being the most conspicuous scene in
representations of events taken from the lives of Popes Leo III, and
IV.; and the fourth chamber, which was left unfinished by Raphael, and
completed by his scholars, is the 'Sala di Constantino,' and contains
incidents from the life of the Emperor Constantine, including the
splendid battle-piece between Constantine and Maxentius. At these
chambers, or at the designs for them, during the popedoms of Julius II.,
who died in the course of the painting of the Camere, and Leo X., for a
period of twelve years, till Raphael's death in 1520, after which the
'Sala di Constantino' was completed by his scholars.

Raphael has also left in the Vatican a series of small pictures from the
Old Testament, known as Raphael's Bible. This series decorates the
thirteen cupolas of the 'Loggie,' or open galleries, running round three
sides of an open court. Another work undertaken by Raphael should have
still more interest for us. Leo X., resolving to substitute woven for
painted tapestry round the lower walls of the interior of the Sistine
Chapel, commanded Raphael to furnish drawings to the Flemish weavers,
and thence arose eleven cartoons, seven of which have been preserved,
have become the property of England, and are the glory of the Kensington
Museum. The subjects of the cartoons in the seven which have been saved,
are 'The Death of Ananias,' 'Elymas the Sorcerer struck with Blindness,'
'The Healing of the Lame Man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple,' 'The
Miraculous Draught of Fishes,' 'Paul and Barnabas at Lystra,' 'St Paul
Preaching at Athens,' and 'The Charge to St Peter.' The four cartoons
which are lost, were 'The Stoning of St Stephen,' 'The Conversion of St
Paul,' 'Paul in Prison,' and 'The Coronation of the Virgin.'

In those cartoons figures above life-size were drawn with chalk upon
strong paper, and coloured in distemper, and Raphael received for his
work four hundred and thirty gold ducats (about _L650_), while the
Flemish weavers received for their work in wools, silk, and gold, fifty
thousand gold ducats. The designs were cut up in strips for the
weavers' use, and while some strips were destroyed, the rest lay in a
warehouse at Arras, till Rubens became aware of their existence, and
advised Charles I, to buy the set, to be employed in the tapestry
manufactory established by James I. at Mortlake. Brought to this country
in the slips which the weavers had copied, the fate of the cartoons was
still precarious. Cromwell bought them in Charles I.'s art collection,
and Louis XIV, sought, but failed, to re-buy them. They fell into
farther neglect, and were well-nigh forgotten, when Sir Godfrey Kneller
recalled them to notice, and induced William III, to have the slips
pasted together, and stretched upon linen, and put in a room set apart
for them at Hampton Court, whence they were transferred, within the last
ten years, for the greater advantage of artists and the public, to
Kensington Museum.

The woven tapestries for which the cartoons were designed had quite as
chequered a career. In the two sacks of Rome by French soldiers, the
tapestries were seized, carried off, and two of them burnt for the
bullion in the thread. At last they were restored to the Vatican, where
they hang in their faded magnificence, a monument of Leo X, and of
Raphael. An additional set of ten tapestry cartoons were supplied to the
Vatican by Raphael's scholars.

Raphael painted for the Chigi family in their palace, which is now the
Villa Farnesina, scenes from the history of Cupid and Psyche, and the
Triumph of Galatea, subjects which show how the passion for classical
mythology that distinguishes the next generation, was beginning to work.
To these last years belong his 'Madonna di San Sisto,' so named from its
having been painted for the convent of St Sixtus at Piacenza, and his
last picture, the 'Transfiguration,' with which he was still engaged
when death met him unexpectedly.

Raphael, as the Italians say, lived more like a '_principe_' (prince)
than a '_pittore_' (painter). He had a house in Rome, and a villa in the
neighbourhood, and on his death left a considerable fortune to his
heirs. There has not been wanting a rumour that his life of a principe
was a dissipated and prodigal life; but this ugly rumour, even if it had
more evidence to support it, is abundantly disproven by the nature of
Raphael's work, and by the enormous amount of that work, granting him
the utmost assistance from his crowd of scholars. He had innumerable
commissions, and retained an immense school from all parts of Italy, the
members of which adored their master. Raphael had the additional
advantage of having many of his pictures well engraved by a contemporary
engraver named Raimondi.

Like Giotto, Raphael was the friend of the most distinguished Italians
of his day, including Count Castiglione, and the poet Ariosto. He was
notably the warm friend of his fellow-painters both at home and abroad,
with the exception of Michael Angelo. A drawing of his own, which
Raphael sent, in his kindly interchange of such sketches, to Albert
Duerer, is, I think, preserved at Nueremberg. The sovereign princes of
Italy, above all Leo X., were not contented with being munificent
patrons to Raphael, they treated him with the most marked consideration.
The Cardinal Bibbiena proposed the painter's marriage with his niece,
ensuring her a dowry of three thousand gold crowns, but Maria di
Bibbiena died young, ere the marriage could be accomplished; and
Raphael, who was said to be little disposed to the match, did not long
survive her. He caught cold, as some report, from his engrossing
personal superintendence of the Roman excavations; and, as others
declare, from his courtly assiduity in keeping an appointment with the
Pope, was attacked by fever, and died on his birth-day, April 6th, 1520,
having completed his thirty-seventh year.

All Rome and Italy mourned for him. When his body lay in state, to be
looked at and wept over by multitudes, his great unfinished picture of
the 'Transfiguration' was hung above the bed. He was buried in a spot
chosen by himself in his lifetime, and, as it happened, not far from the
resting-place of his promised bride. Doubts having been raised as to
Raphael's grave, search was made, and his body was exhumed in 1833, and
re-buried with great pomp. Raphael's life and that of Rubens form the
ideal painter's life--bountiful, splendid, unclouded, and terminating
ere it sees eclipse or decay--to all in whom the artistic temperament is
united to a genial, sensuous, pleasure-loving nature.

Raphael was not above the middle height, and slightly made. He was
sallow in colour, with brown eyes, and a full yet delicate mouth; but
his beautiful face, like that of our English Shakespeare, is familiar to
most of us. With regard to Raphael's face, the amount of womanliness in
it is a striking characteristic. One hears sometimes that no man's
character is complete without its share of womanliness: surely Raphael
had a double share, for womanliness is the most distinctive quality in
his face, along with that vague shade of pensiveness which we find not
infrequently, but strangely enough, in those faces which have been
associated with the happiest spirits and the brightest fortunes.

Raphael and his scholars painted and drew about nine hundred pictures
and sketches, including a hundred and twenty Madonnas, eight of which
are in private collections in England. Of Raphael's greatness, Kugler
writes that 'it is not so much in kind as in degree. No master left
behind _so many_ really excellent works as he, whose days were so early
numbered; in none has there been observed so little that is unpleasant.'
All authorities agree in ascribing much of Raphael's power to his purely
unselfish nature and aim. His excellence seems to lie in the nearly
perfect expression of material beauty and harmony, together with
grandeur of design and noble working out of thought. We shall see that
this devotion to material beauty has been made something of a reproach
to Raphael, as it certainly degenerated into a snare in the hands of his
followers, while unquestionably the universal appreciation of Raphael's
work, distinguished from the partial appreciation bestowed on the great
works of others, proceeds from this evident material beauty which is
open to all.

Then, again, Raphael, far more than Andrea del Sarto, deserved to be
called 'faultless;' and this general absence of defects and equality of
excellence is a great element of Raphael's wide popularity; for, as one
can observe for one's self, in regarding a work of art, there is always
a large proportion of the spectators who will seize on an error, dwell
on it, and be incapable of shaking off its influence, and rising into
the higher rank of critics, who discover and ponder over beauties. I
would have it considered also, that this equality of excellence does not
necessarily proceed always from a higher aim, but may arise rather from
an unconsciously lower aim.

The single reproach brought against Raphael as a painter is
that--according to some witnesses only, for most deny the
implication--Raphael so delighted in material beauty that he became
enslaved by it, till it diminished his spiritual insight. It is an
incontestable truth that in Raphael, as in all the great Italian
painters of his century, there was a falling away from the simple
earnestness, the exceeding reverence, the endless patience, the
self-abstraction, and self-devotion of the earliest Italian and Flemish
painters. Therefore there has been within the last fifty or sixty years
that movement in modern art, which is called Pre-raphaelitism, and which
is, in fact, a revolt against subjection to Raphael, and his supposed
undue exaltation of material beauty, and subjection of truth to
beauty--so called. But we must not fall into the grave mistake of
imagining that there was any want of vigour and variety in Raphael's
grace and tenderness, or that he could not in his greatest works rise
into a grandeur in keeping with his subject. Tire as we may of hearing
Raphael called the king of painters, as the Greeks tired of hearing
Aristides called 'the just,' this fact remains: no painter has left
behind him such a mass of surpassingly good work; in no other work is
there the same charm of greatest beauty and harmony.

It is hard for me to give you an idea in so short a space of Raphael's
work. I must content myself with quoting descriptions of two of his
Stanze, those of the Heliodorus and the Segnatura. 'Heliodorus driven
out of the Temple (2 Maccabees iii.). In the background Onias the
priest is represented praying for Divine interposition;--in the
foreground Heliodorus, pursued by two avenging angels, is endeavouring
to bear away the treasures of the temple. Amid the group on the left is
seen Julius II., in his chair of state, attended by his secretaries. One
of the bearers in front is Marc-Antonio Raimondi, the engraver of
Raphael's designs. The man with the inscription, "Jo Petro de Folicariis
Cremonen," was secretary of briefs to Pope Julius. Here you may fancy
you hear the thundering approach of the heavenly warrior, and the
neighing of his steed; while in the different groups who are plundering
the treasures of the temple, and in those who gaze intently on the
sudden consternation of Heliodorus, without being able to divine its
cause, we see the expression of terror, amazement, joy, humility, and
every passion to which human nature is exposed.'[11]

'The Stanza della Segnatura is so called from a judicial assembly once
held here. The frescoes in this chamber are illustrative of the Virtues
of Theology, Philosophy, Poetry, and Jurisprudence, who are represented
on the ceiling by Raphael, in the midst of arabesques by _Sodoma_. The
square pictures by Raphael refer:--the Fall of Man to Theology; the
Study of the Globe to Philosophy; the Flaying of Marsyas to Poetry; and
the Judgment of Solomon to Jurisprudence.

'_Entrance Wall_.--"The School of Athens." Raphael consulted Ariosto as
to the arrangement of its 52 figures. In the centre, on the steps of a
portico, are seen Plato and Aristotle, Plato pointing to heaven and
Aristotle to earth. On the left is Socrates conversing with his pupils,
amongst whom is a young warrior, probably Alcibiades. Lying upon the
steps in front is Diogenes. To his left, Pythagoras is writing on his
knee, and near him, with ink and pen, is Empedocles. The white mantle is
Francesco Maria della Rovere, nephew of Julius II. On the right is
Archimedes drawing a geometrical problem upon the floor. The young man
near him with uplifted hands is Federigo II., Duke of Mantua. Behind
these are Zoroaster, Ptolemy, one with a terrestrial, the other with a
celestial globe, addressing two figures, which represent Raphael and his
master Perugino. The drawing in brown upon the socle beneath this
fresco, is by _Pierino del Vaga_, and represents the death of

'_Right Wall_.--"Parnassus." Apollo surrounded by the Muses; on his
right, Homer, Virgil, and Dante. Below on the right, Sappho, supposed to
be addressing Corinna, Petrarch, Propertius, and Anacreon; on the left
Pindar and Horace, Sannazzaro, Boccaccio, and others. Beneath this, in
grisaille, are,--Alexander placing the poems of Homer in the tomb of
Achilles, and Augustus preventing the burning of Virgil's AEneid.

'_Left Wall_.--Above the window are Prudence, Fortitude, and Temperance.
On the left, Justinian delivers the Pandects to Tribonian. On the right,
Gregory IX. (with the features of Julius II.) delivers the Decretals to
a jurist;--Cardinal de' Medici, afterwards Leo X., Cardinal Farnese,
afterwards Paul III., and Cardinal del Monte, are represented near the
Pope. In the socle beneath is Solon addressing the people of Athens.

'_Wall of Egress_.--"The Disputa." So called from an impression that it
represents a Dispute upon the Sacrament. In the upper part of the
composition the heavenly host are present; Christ between the Virgin and
St John the Baptist; on the left, St Peter, Adam, St John, David, St
Stephen, and another; and on the right, St Paul, Abraham, St James,
Moses, St Lawrence, and St George. Below is an altar surrounded by the
Latin fathers, Gregory, Jerome, Ambrose, and Augustine. Near St
Augustine stand St Thomas Aquinas, St Anacletus, with the palm of a
martyr, and Cardinal Buenaventura reading. Those in front are Innocent
III., and in the background, Dante, near whom a monk in a black hood is
pointed out as Savonarola. The Dominican on the extreme left is supposed
to be Fra Angelico. The other figures are uncertain.' ...

'Raphael commenced his work in the Vatican by painting the ceiling and
the four walls in the room called _della Segnatura_, on the surface of
which he had to represent four great compositions, which embraced the
principal divisions of the encyclopedia of that period; namely,
Theology, Philosophy, Poetry, and Jurisprudence.

'It will be conceived, that to an artist imbued with the traditions of
the Umbrian School, the first of these subjects was an unparalleled
piece of good fortune: and Raphael, long familiar with the allegorical
treatment of religious compositions, turned it here to the most
admirable account; and, not content with the suggestions of his own
genius, he availed himself of all the instruction he could derive from
the intelligence of others. From these combined inspirations resulted,
to the eternal glory of the Catholic faith and of Christian art, a
composition without a rival in the history of painting, and, we may also
add, without a name; for to call it lyric or epic is not enough, unless,
indeed, we mean, by using these expressions, to compare it with the
allegorical epic of Dante, alone worthy to be ranked with this
marvellous production of the pencil of Raphael.

'Let no one consider this praise as idle and groundless, for it is
Raphael himself who forces the comparison upon us, by placing the figure
of Dante among the favourite sons of the Muses; and, what is still more
striking, by draping the allegorical figure of Theology in the very
colours in which Dante has represented Beatrice; namely, the white veil,
the red tunic, and the green mantle, while on her head he has placed the
olive crown.

'Of the four allegorical figures which occupy the compartments of the
ceiling, and which were all painted immediately after Raphael's arrival
in Rome, Theology and Poetry are incontestably the most remarkable. The
latter would be easily distinguished by the calm inspiration of her
glance, even were she without her wings, her starry crown, and her azure
robe, all having allusion to the elevated region towards which it is her
privilege to soar. The figure of Theology is quite as admirably suited
to the subject she personifies; she points to the upper part of the
grand composition, which takes its name from her, and in which the
artist has provided inexhaustible food for the sagacity and enthusiasm
of the spectator.

'This work consists of two grand divisions,--Heaven and Earth--which are
united to one another by that mystical bond, the Sacrament of the
Eucharist. The personages whom the Church has most honoured for learning
and holiness, are ranged in picturesque and animated groups on either
side of the altar, on which the consecrated wafer is exposed. St
Augustine dictates his thoughts to one of his disciples; St Gregory, in
his pontifical robes, seems absorbed in contemplation of celestial
glory; St Ambrose, in a slightly different attitude, appears to be
chanting the Te Deum; while St Jerome, seated, rests his hands on a
large book, which he holds on his knees. Pietro Lombardo, Duns Scotus,
St Thomas Aquinas, Pope Anacletus, St Buenaventura, and Innocent III.,
are no less happily characterized; while, behind all these illustrious
men, whom the Church and succeeding generations have agreed to honour,
Raphael has ventured to introduce Dante with his laurel crown, and, with
still greater boldness, the monk Savonarola, publicly burnt ten years
before as a heretic.

'In the glory, which forms the upper part of the picture, the Three
Persons of the Trinity are represented, surrounded by patriarchs,
apostles, and saints: it may, in fact, be considered in some sort as a
_resume_ of all the favourite compositions produced during the last
hundred years by the Umbrian School. A great number of the types, and
particularly those of Christ and the Virgin, are to be found in the
earlier works of Raphael himself. The Umbrian artists, from having so
long exclusively employed themselves on mystical subjects, had certainly
attained to a marvellous perfection in the representation of celestial
beatitude, and of those ineffable things of which it has been said that
the heart of man cannot conceive them, far less, therefore, the pencil
of man portray; and Raphael, surpassing them in all, and even in this
instance, while surpassing himself, appears to have fixed the limits,
beyond which Christian art, properly so called, has never since been
able to advance.'[12]

Of Raphael's Madonnas, I should like to speak of three. The Madonna di
San Sisto: 'It represents the Virgin standing in a majestic attitude;
the infant Saviour _enthroned_ in her arms; and around her head a glory
of innumerable cherubs melting into light. Kneeling before her we see on
one side St Sixtus, on the other St Barbara, and beneath her feet two
heavenly cherubs gaze up in adoration. In execution, as in design, this
is probably the most perfect picture in the world. It is painted
throughout by Raphael's own hand; and as no sketch or study of any part
of it was ever known to exist, and as the execution must have been, from
the thinness and delicacy of the colours, wonderfully rapid, it is
supposed that he painted it at once on the canvas--a _creation_ rather
than a picture. In the beginning of the last century the Elector of
Saxony, Augustus III., purchased this picture from the monks of the
convent for the sum of sixty thousand florins (about L6000), and it now
forms the chief boast and ornament of the Dresden Gallery'[13]

The Madonna del Cardellino (our Lady of the Goldfinch): 'The Virgin is
sitting on a rock, in a flowery meadow. Behind are the usual light and
feathery trees, growing on the bank of a stream, which passes off to the
left in a rocky bend, and is crossed by a bridge of a single arch. To
the right, the opposite bank slopes upward in a gentle glade, across
which is a village, backed by two distant mountain-peaks.

'In front of the sitting matronly figure of the Virgin are the holy
children, our Lord and the Baptist, one on either side of her right
knee. She has been reading, and the approach of St John has caused her
to look off her book (which is open in her left hand) at the new comer,
which she does with a look of holy love and gentleness, at the same
time caressingly drawing him to her with her right hand, which touches
his little body under the right arm. In both hands, which rest across
the Virgin's knee, he holds a captive goldfinch, which he has brought,
with childish glee, as an offering to the Holy Child. The infant Jesus,
standing between his mother's knees, with one foot placed on her foot,
and her hand, with the open book, close above his shoulder, regards the
Baptist with an upward look of gentle solemnity, at the same time that
he holds his bent hand over the head of the bird.

'So much for mere description. The inner feeling of the picture, the
motive which has prompted it, has surely hardly ever been surpassed. The
Blessed Virgin, in casting her arm round the infant St John, looks down
on him with a holy complacency for the testimony which he is to bear to
her Son. Notice the human boyish glee with which the Baptist presents
the captured goldfinch, and, on the other hand, the divine look, even of
majesty and creative love, with which the infant Jesus, laying his hand
on the head of the bird, half reproves St John, as it were saying, "Love
them and hurt them not." Notice, too, the unfrightened calm of the bird
itself, passive under the hand of its loving Creator. All these are
features of the very highest power of human art.

'Again, in accompaniments, all is as it should be. The Virgin, modestly
and beautifully draped; St John, girt about the loins, not only in
accord with his well-known prophetic costume, but also as partaking of
sinful humanity, and therefore needing such cincture: the Child
Redeemer, with a slight cincture, just to suggest motherly care, but not
over the part usually concealed, as indeed it never ought to be, seeing
that in Him was no sin, and that it is this spotless purity which is
ever the leading idea in representations of Him as an infant. Notice,
too, his foot, beautifully resting on that of his mother; the unity
between them being thus wonderfully though slightly kept up. Her eye has
just been dwelling on the book of the Prophecies open in her hand; and
thus the spectator's thought is ruled in accordance with the high
mission of the Holy One of God, and thrown forward into the grand and
blessed future. It is a holy and wonderful picture; I had not seen any
in Italy which had struck or refreshed me more.'[14]

And allow me to write two or three words with regard to the 'Madonna
della Sedia,' or our Lady of the Chair, an engraving of which used to
charm me when a child. The Virgin, very young and simple-looking in her
loveliness, is seated on a low chair, clasping the Divine Child, who is
leaning in weariness on her breast. In the original picture, St John
with his cross is standing--a boy at the Virgin's knee, but he is absent
from the old engraving. The meek adoring tenderness in the face of the
mother, the holy ingenuousness in that of the child, are expressions to
be long studied.

Of Raphael's cartoons, which, so many of us can see for ourselves, I
cannot trust myself to do more than to repeat what strikes me as a
singularly apt phrase of Hazlitt's, given by Mrs Jameson, that the
cartoons are instances in which 'the corruptible has put on
incorruption.' That from the very slightness of the materials employed,
and the very injuries which the cartoons have sustained, we have the
greatest triumph of art, where 'the sense of power supersedes the
appearance of effort,' and where the result is the more majestic for
being in ruins. 'All other pictures look like oil and varnish, we are
stopped and attracted by the colouring, the penciling, the finishing,
the instrumentality of art; but the on the canvas.... There is nothing
between us and the subject; we look through a frame and see Scripture
histories, and amidst the wreck of colour and the mouldering of material
beauty, nothing is left but a universe of thought, or the broad imminent
shadows of calm contemplation and majestic pains.'

And that Raphael did not neglect the minutest details in these sketches,
will be seen by the accompanying note: 'The foreground of Raphael's two
cartoons, "The Miraculous Draught of Fishes," and "The Charge to
Peter," are covered with plants of the common sea cole-wort, of which
the sinuated leaves and clustered blossoms would have exhausted the
patience of any other artist; but have appeared worthy of prolonged and
thoughtful labour to the great mind of Raphael.'--_Ruskin_.

Whole clusters of anecdotes gather round the cartoons, which, as they
have to do with the work and not the worker, I leave untouched, with
regret. But I must forewarn my readers by mentioning some of the refuted
criticisms which have been applied to the cartoons. Reading the
criticisms and their answers ought to render us modest and wary in
'picking holes' in great pictures, as forward and flippant critics, old
and young, are tempted to pick them. With regard to the 'Miraculous
Draught of Fishes,' a great outcry was once set up that Raphael had made
the boat too little to hold the figures he has placed in it. But Raphael
made the boat little advisedly; if he had not done so, the picture would
have been 'all boat,' a contingency scarcely to be desired; on the
other hand, if Raphael had diminished the figures to suit the size of
the boat, these figures would not have suited those of the other
cartoons, and the cartoon would have lost greatly in dignity and effect.

In the cartoon of the 'Death of Ananias,' carping objectors were ready
to suggest that Raphael had committed an error in time by introducing
Sapphira in the background counting her ill-gotten gains, at the moment
when her no less guilty husband has fallen down in the agonies of death.
It was hours afterwards that Sapphira entered into the presence of the
apostles. But we must know that time and space do not exist for
painters, who have to tell their story at one stroke, as it were.

In the treating of the 'Lame Man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple,'
some authorities have found fault with Raphael for breaking the
composition into parts by the introduction of pillars, and, farther,
that the shafts are not straight. Yet by this treatment Raphael has
concentrated the principal action in a sort of frame, and thus has been
enabled to give more freedom of action to the remaining figures in the
other divisions of the picture. 'It is evident, moreover, that had the
shafts been perfectly straight, according to the severest law of good
taste in architecture, the effect would have been extremely disagreeable
to the eye; by their winding form they harmonize with the manifold forms
of the moving figures around, and they illustrate, by their elaborate
elegance, the Scripture phrase, "the gate which is called
Beautiful."'--_Mrs Jameson_.

Of Raphael's portraits I must mention that wonderful portrait of Leo X.,
often reckoned the best portrait in the world for truth of likeness and
excellence of painting, and those of the so-called 'Fornarina,' or
'baker'. Two Fornarinas are at Rome and one at Florence. There is a
story that the original of the first two pictures was a girl of the
people to whom Raphael was attached; and there is this to be said for
the tradition, that there is an acknowledged coarseness in the very
beauty of the half-draped Fornarina of the Barberini Palace. The
'Fornarina' of Florence is the portrait of a noble woman, holding the
fur-trimming of her mantle with her right hand, and it is said that the
picture can hardly represent the same individual as that twice
represented in Rome. According to one guess the last 'Fornarina' is
Vittoria Colonna, the Marchesa de Pescara, painted by Seba Piombo,
instead of by Raphael; and according to another, the Roman 'Fornarina'
is no Fornarina beloved by Raphael, but Beatrice Pio, a celebrated
improvisatrice of the time.

An 'innovation of modern times is to spell Raphael's name in England as
the modern Italians spelt it, _Raffaelle_, a word of four syllables, and
yet to pronounce this Italian word as if it were English, as _Raphael_.
Vasari wrote Raffaello; he himself wrote Raphael on his pictures, and
has signed the only autograph letter we have of his, Raphaello.'[15]

Titian, or Tiziano Vecelli, the greatest painter of the Venetian
School, reckoned worthy to be named with Lionardo, Michael Angelo and
Raphael, was born of good family at Capo del Cadore in the Venetian
State, in 1477. There is a tradition that while other painters made
their first essays in art with chalk or charcoal, the boy Titian, who
lived to be a glorious colourist, made his earliest trials in painting
with the juice of flowers. Titian studied in Venice under the Bellini,
and had Giorgione, who was born in the same year, for his
fellow-scholar, at first his friend, later his rival. When a young man
Titian spent some time in Ferrara; there he painted his 'Bacchus and
Ariadne,' and a portrait of Lucrezia Borgia. In 1512, when Titian was
thirty-five years of age, he was commissioned by the Venetians to
continue the works in the great council-hall, which the advanced age of
Gian Bellini kept him from finishing. Along with this commission Titian
was appointed in 1516 to the office of la Sanseria, which gave him the
duty and privilege of painting the portraits of the Doges as long as he
held the office; coupled with the office was a salary of one hundred
and twenty crowns a year. Titian lived to paint five Doges; two others,
his age, equal to that of Gian Bellini, prevented him from painting.

In 1516, Titian painted his greatest sacred picture, the 'Assumption of
the Virgin.' In the same year he painted the poet Ariosto, who mentions
the painter with high honour in his verse.

In 1530, Titian, a man of fifty-three years, was at Bologna, where there
was a meeting between Charles V, and Pope Clement VII., when he was
presented to both princes.

Charles V, and Philip II, became afterwards great patrons and admirers
of Titian, and it is of Charles V. and Titian that a legend, to which I
have already referred, is told. The Emperor, visiting the painter while
he was at work, stooped down and picked up a pencil, which Titian had
let fall, to the confusion and distress of the painter, when Charles
paid the princely compliment, 'Titian is worthy of being served by
Caesar.' Titian painted many portraits of Charles V., and of the members
of his house. As Maximilian had created Albrecht Duerer a noble of the
Empire, Charles V, created Titian a Count Palatine, and a Knight of the
Order of St Iago, with a pension, which was continued by Philip II., of
four hundred crowns a year. It is doubtful whether Titian ever visited
the Spain of his patrons, but Madrid possesses forty-three of his
pictures, among them some of his finest works.

Titian went to Rome in his later years, but declined to abandon for Rome
the painter's native Venice, which had lavished her favours on her son.
He lived in great splendour, paying annual summer visits to his
birth-place of Cadore, and occasionally dwelling again for a time at
Ferrara, Urbino, Bologna. In two instances he joined the Emperor at
Augsburgh. When Henry III, of France landed at Venice, he was
entertained _en grand seigneur_ by Titian, then a very old man; and when
the king asked the price of some pictures which pleased him, Titian at
once presented them as a gift to his royal guest.

Titian married, as has been recently ascertained, and had three
children,--two sons, the elder a worthless and scandalous priest; the
second a good son and accomplished painter; and a daughter, the
beautiful Lavinia, so often painted by her father, and whose name will
live with his. Titian survived his wife thirty-six years; and his
daughter, who had married, and was the mother of several children, six
years. His second son and fellow-painter died of the same plague which
struck down Titian, in 1566, at the ripe age of eighty-nine years.

Titian is said to have been a man of irritable and passionate temper.
The hatred between him and the painter, Pordenone, was so bitter, that
the latter thought his life in danger, and painted with his shield and
poniard lying ready to his hand. Titian grasped with imperious tenacity
his supremacy as a painter, sedulously kept the secrets of his skill,
and was most unmagnanimously jealous of the attainments of his scholars.
No defect of temper, however, kept Titian from having two inseparable
convivial companions--one of them the architect, Sansovino, and the
other the profligate wit, Aretino, who was pleased to style himself the
'friend of Titian and the scourge of princes.' Though Titian is said, in
the panic of the great plague, to have died not only neglected, but
plundered before his eyes, still Venice prized him so highly, that she
made in his favour the single exception of a public funeral, during the
appalling devastation wrought by the pestilence.

From an engraving of a portrait of Titian by himself, which is before
me, I can give the best idea of his person. He looks like one of the
merchant princes, whom he painted so often and so well, in richly furred
gown, massive chain, and small cap, far off his broad forehead: a
stately figure, with a face--in its aquiline nose and keen eyes, full of
sagacity and fire, which no years could tame.

Towards the close of Titian's life, there was none who even approached
the old Venetian painter in the art which he practised freely to the
last. Painting in Italy was everywhere losing its pre-eminence. It had
become, even when it was not so nominally, thoroughly secularized;--and
with reason, for the painters by their art-creed and by their lives were
fitter to represent gods and goddesses, in whom no man believed, than to
give earnest expression to a living faith. Even Titian, great as he was,
proved a better painter of heathen mythology than of sacred subjects.

But within certain limits and in certain directions, Titian stands
unequalled. He has a high place for composition and for drawing, and his
colouring was, beyond comparison, grand and true. He was great as a
landscape painter, and he was the best portrait painter whom the world
ever saw. In his painting is seen, not, indeed, the life of the spirit,
but the life of the senses 'in its fullest power,' and in Titian there
was such large mastery of this life, that in his freedom there was no
violence, but the calmness of supreme strength, the serenity of perfect
satisfaction. His painting was a reflection of the old Greek idea of the
life of humanity as a joyous existence, so long as the sun of youth,
maturity, health, and good fortune shone, without even that strain of
foreboding pain, and desperate closing with fate, which troubled the
bliss of ancient poet or sculptor. A large proportion of Titian's
principal pictures are at Venice and Madrid.

Among Titian's finest sacred pictures, are his 'Assumption of the
Virgin,' now in the Academy, Venice, where 'the Madonna, a powerful
figure, is borne rapidly upwards, as if divinely impelled; ..,
fascinating groups of infant angels surround her, beneath stand the
apostles, looking up with solemn gestures;' and his 'Entombment of
Christ,' a picture which is also in Venice. Titian's Madonnas were not
so numerous as his Venuses, many of which are judged excellent examples
of the master. His 'Bacchus and Ariadne,' in the National Gallery, is
described by Mrs Jameson, 'as presenting, on a small scale, an epitome
of all the beauties which characterize Titian, in the rich, picturesque,
animated composition, in the ardour of Bacchus, who flings himself from
his car to pursue Ariadne; the dancing bacchanals, the frantic grace of
the bacchante, and the little joyous satyr in front, trailing the head of
the sacrifice.'

Titian's landscapes are the noble backgrounds to many of his pictures.
These landscapes were not only free, but full. 'The great masters of
Italy, almost without exception, and Titian, perhaps, more than any
other (for he had the highest knowledge of landscape), are in the
constant habit of rendering every detail of their foregrounds with the
most laborious botanical fidelity; witness the Bacchus and Ariadne, in
which the foreground is occupied by the common blue iris, the aquilegia,
and the wild rose; _every stamen_ of which latter is given, while the
blossoms and leaves of the columbine (a difficult flower to draw) have
been studied with the most exquisite accuracy.'--_Ruskin_.

In portraits, Titian conveyed to the sitters and transferred to his
canvas, not only a life-likeness, but a positively noble dignity in that
likeness. What in Van Dyck and Sir Joshua Reynolds was the bestowing of
high breeding and dainty refinement, became under Titian's brush
dignity, pure and simple, very quiet, and wonderfully real. There is
this peculiarity in connection with the number of portraits which Titian
executed, that many of them have descended to us without further titles
than those of 'A Venetian Senator,' 'A Lady,' etc., etc., yet of the
individual life of the originals no one can doubt. With regard to
Titian's portraits of women, I have already referred to those of his
beautiful daughter, Lavinia. In one portrait, in the Berlin Museum, she
is holding a plate of fruit; in another, in England, the plate of fruit
is changed into a casket of jewels; in a third, at Madrid, Lavinia is
Herodias, and bears a charger with the head of John the Baptist. A
'Violante'--as some say, the daughter of Titian's scholar, Palma, though
dates disprove this--sat frequently to Titian, and is said to have been
loved by him.

I have written, in connection with Lionardo's 'Jaconde' and Raphael's
'Fornarina,' of Titian's 'Bella Donna.' He has various 'Bellas,' but, as
far as I know, this is _the_ 'Bella Donna,'--'a splendid, serious
beauty, in a red and blue silk dress,' in the Sciarra Gallery, Rome.

I have read that critics were at one time puzzled by the singular
yellow, almost straw colour, appearing profusely in the hair of the
women of the Venetian painters of this time, and that it was only by
consulting contemporary records that it was learnt that the Venetian
women indulged in the weak and false vanity of dyeing their black hair a
pale yellow--a process, in the course of which the women drew the hair
through the crown of a broad-brimmed hat, and spreading it over the
brim, submitted patiently to bleaching the hair in a southern sun.

Among Titian's portraits of men, those of the 'Emperor Charles V.' and
the 'Duke of Alva' are among the most famous.

Titian painted, and painted wonderfully, to the very last. He was
eighty-one when he painted the 'Martyrdom of St Lawrence,' one of his
largest and grandest compositions, and in the last year of his life he
painted--leaving it not quite completed,--a 'Pieta;' showing that his
hand owned the weight of years,[16] but the conception of the subject is
still animated and striking, the colours still glowing; while,
Titian-like, the light still flows around the mighty group in every
gradation of tone.



Albrecht Duerer carries us to a different country and a different race.
And he who has been called the father of German painting is thoroughly
German, not only in his Saxon honesty, sedateness, and strength, but in
the curious mixture of simplicity, subtlety, homeliness, and
fantasticalness, which are still found side by side in German genius.

Albrecht Duerer was born at that fittest birth-place for the great German
painter, quaint old Nuremberg, in 1471. He was the son of a goldsmith,
and one of a family of eighteen children; a home school in which he may
have learnt early the noble, manly lessons of self-denial and endurance,
which he practised long and well. He was trained to his father's trade
until the lad's bent became so unmistakable that he was wisely
transferred to the studio of a painter to serve his apprenticeship to

When the Nuremberg apprenticeship was completed, Albrecht followed the
German custom, very valuable to him, of serving another and a 'wandering
apprenticeship,' which carried him betimes through Germany, the
Netherlands, and Italy, painting and studying as he went. He painted his
own portrait about this time, showing himself a comely, pleasant, and
pleased young fellow, in a curious holiday suit of plaited low-bodied
shirt, jerkin, and mantle across the shoulder, with a profusion of long
fair curls, of which he was said to have been vain, arranged elaborately
on each side, the blue eyes looking with frank confidence out of the
blonde face. He painted himself a little later with the brave kindly
face grown mature, and the wisdom of the spirit shining in the eyes, and
weighing on the brows.

On his return from his travels, Albrecht Duerer's father arranged his
son's marriage with the daughter of a musician in Nuremberg. The
inducement to the marriage seems to have been, on the father's part, the
dowry, and on the son's the beauty of the bride. How unhappy the union
proved, without any fault of Albrecht's, has been the theme of so many
stories, that I am half inclined to think that some of us must be more
familiar with Albrecht Duerer's wedded life than with any other part of
his history. It seems to me, that there is considerable exaggeration in
these stories, for granted that Agnes Duerer was a shrew and a miser, was
Albrecht Duerer the man to be entirely, or greatly, at such a woman's
mercy? Taking matters at their worst, dishonour and disgrace did not
come near the great painter. He was esteemed, as he deserved to be; he
had a true friend in his comrade Pirkheimer; he had his art; he had the
peace of a good conscience; he had the highest of all consolations in
his faith in Heaven. Certainly it is not from Albrecht himself that the
tale of his domestic wretchedness has come. He was as manfully patient
and silent as one might have expected in a man upright, firm, and
self-reliant as he was tender. I do not think it is good for men, and
especially for women, to indulge in egotistical sentimentality, and to
believe that such a woman as Agnes Duerer could utterly thwart and wreck
the life of a man like Albrecht. It is not true to life, in the first
place; and it is dishonouring to the man, in the second; for although,
doubtless, there are men who are driven to destruction or heart-broken
by even the follies of women, these men have not the stout hearts, the
loyal spirits, the manly mould of Albrecht Duerer.

But making every allowance for the high colours with which a tale that
has grown stale is apt to be daubed, I am forced to admit the inference
that a mean, sordid, contentious woman probably did as much as was in
her power to harass and fret one of the best men in Germany, or in the
world. Luckily for himself, Albrecht was a severe student, had much
engrossing work which carried him abroad, and travelled once at least
far away from the harassing and galling home discipline. For anything
further, I believe that Albrecht loved his greedy, scolding wife, whose
fair face he painted frequently in his pictures, and whom he left at
last well and carefully provided for, as he bore with her to the end.

In 1506 Albrecht Duerer re-visited Italy alone, making a stay of eight
months in Venice, where he formed his friendship with the old Gian
Bellini, and where Albrecht had the misfortune to show the proofs and
plans of his engravings to the Italian engraver, Raimondi, who engraved
Raphael's paintings, and who proved himself base enough to steal and
make use of Albrecht Duerer's designs to the German's serious loss and

A little later Albrecht Duerer, accompanied by his wife, visited the
Netherlands. The Emperor Maximilian treated the painter with great
favour, and a legend survives of their relations:--Duerer was painting so
large a subject that he required steps to reach it. The Emperor, who was
present, required a nobleman of his suite to steady the steps for the
painter, an employment which the nobleman declined as unworthy of his
rank, when the Emperor himself stepped forward and supplied the
necessary aid, remarking, 'Sir, understand that I can make Albrecht a
noble like and above you' (Maximilian had just raised Albrecht Duerer to
the rank of noble of the empire), 'but neither I nor any one else can
make an artist like him.' We may compare this story with a similar and
later story of Holbein and Henry VIII., and with another earlier story,
having a slight variation, of Titian and Charles V. The universality of
the story shakes one's belief in its individual application, but at
least the legend, with different names, remains as an indication of
popular homage to genius.

While executing a large amount of work for the great towns and sovereign
princes of Germany, some of whom were said to consult the painter on
their military operations, relying on his knowledge of mathematics, and
his being able to apply it to military engineering and fortification,
Albrecht Duerer was constantly improving and advancing in his art, laying
down his prejudices, and acquiring fresh ideas, as well as fresh
information, according to the slow but sure process of the true German
mind, till his last work was incomparably his best.

Germany was then in the terrible throes of the Reformation, and Albrecht
Duerer, who has left us the portraits of several of the great Reformers,
is believed to have been no uninterested spectator of the struggle, and
to have held, like his fellow-painter, Lucas Cranach--though in Albrecht
Duerer's case the change was never openly professed--the doctrines of the

There is a portrait of Albrecht Duerer, painted by himself, in his later
years. (By the way, Albrecht was not averse to painting his own portrait
as well as that of his friend Pirkheimer, and of making the fullest
claim to his work by introducing into his religious and historical
pictures his own figure holding a flag or tablet, inscribed with his
name in the quiet self-assertion of a man who was neither ashamed of
himself, nor of anything he did.) In that last portrait, Albrecht is a
thoughtful, care-worn man, with his fair locks shorn. Some will
attribute the change to Agnes Duerer, but I imagine it proceeds simply
from the noble scars of work and time; and that when Albrecht Duerer died
in his fifty-seventh year, if it were in sourness and bitterness of
spirit, as some of his biographers have stated, that sourness and
bitterness were quite as much owing to the grievous troubles of his time
and country, which so large-minded a man was sure to lay to heart, as to
any domestic trouble. Albrecht Duerer was greatly beloved by his own city
of Nuremberg, where his memory continues to be cherished. His quaint
house still stands, and his tomb bears the motto 'Emigravit,'

    'For the great painter never dies.'

Albrecht Duerer's name ranks with the names of the first painters of any
time or country, though his work as a painter was, as in the case of
William Hogarth, subservient to his work as an engraver. With the
knowledge of a later generation to that of the earliest Italian and
Flemish painters, Albrecht Duerer had much of their singleness of
purpose, assiduity of application, and profound feeling. He had to
labour against a tendency to uncouthness in stiff lines and angular
figures; to petty elaboration of details; and to that grotesqueness
which, while it suited in some respects his allegorical engravings,
marred his historical paintings, so that he was known to regret the
wasted fantastic crowding and confusion of his earlier work. From the
Italians and Flemings he learnt simplicity, and a more correct sense of
material beauty. The purity, truth, and depth of the man's spirit, from
which ideal beauty proceeds, no man could add to.

Among Albrecht Duerer's greatest paintings are his 'Adoration of the
Trinity' at Vienna, his 'Adam and Eve' at Florence, and that last
picture of 'The Apostles,' presented by Albrecht Duerer to his native
city, 'in remembrance of his career as an artist, and at the same time
as conveying to his fellow-citizens an earnest and lasting exhortation
suited to that stormy period.' The prominence given to the Bible in the
picture, points to it as the last appeal in the great spiritual
struggle. With regard to this noble masterly picture, Kugler has
written, 'Well might the artist now close his eyes. He had in this
picture attained the summit of art; here he stands side by side with the
greatest masters known in history.'

But I prefer to say something of Albrecht Duerer's engravings, which are
more characteristic of him and far more widely known than his paintings;
and to speak first of those two wonderful and beautiful allegories,
'Knight, Death, and the Devil,' and 'Melancolia.' In the first, which is
an embodiment of weird German romance as well as of high Christian
faith, the solitary Knight, with his furrowed face and battered armour,
rides steadfastly on through the dark glen, unmoved by his grisly
companions, skeleton Death on the lame horse, and the foul Fiend in
person. Contrast this sketch and its thoughtful touching meaning with
the hollow ghastliness of Holbein's 'Dance of Death.'

In 'Melancolia' a grand winged woman sits absorbed in sorrowful thought,
while surrounded by all the appliances of philosophy, science, art,
mechanics, all the discoveries made before and in Albrecht Duerer's day,
in the book, the chart, the lever, the crystal, the crucible, the plane,
the hammer. The intention of this picture has been disputed, but the
best explanation of it is that which regards the woman as pondering on
the humanly unsolved and insoluble mystery of the sin and sorrow of

In three large series of woodcuts, known as the Greater and the Lesser
Passion of the Lord, and the Life of the Virgin, and taken partly from
sacred history and partly from tradition, Albrecht Duerer exceeded
himself in true beauty, simple majesty, and pathos. Photographs have
spread widely these fine woodcuts, and there is, at least, one which I
think my readers may have seen, 'The Bearing of the Cross,' in which the
blessed Saviour sinks under his burden. In the series of the Life of the
Virgin there is a 'Repose in Egypt,' which has a naive homeliness in its
grace and serenity. The woodcut represents a courtyard with a dwelling
built in the ruins of an ancient palace. The Virgin sits spinning with
a distaff and spindle beside the Holy Child's cradle, by which beautiful
angels worship. Joseph is busy at his carpenter's work, and a number of
little angels, in merry sport, assist him with his labours.[17]

I shall mention only one more work of Albrecht Duerer's, that which is
known as the Emperor Maximilian's Prayer Book. This is pen-and-ink
sketches for the borders of a book (as the old missals were
illuminated), which are now preserved in the Royal Library, Munich. In
these little drawings the fancy of the great artist held high revel, by
no means confining itself to serious subjects, such as apostles, monks,
or even men in armour, but indulging in the most whimsical vagaries,
with regard to little German old women, imps, piping squirrels, with
cocks and hens hurrying to listen to the melody.


1493-1534--TINTORETTO, 1512-1574--VERONESE, 1530-1588.

Giorgio Barbarelli, known as 'Giorgione,--in Italian, 'big,' or, as I
have heard it better translated, 'strapping George'--was born at
Castelfranco, in Treviso, about 1477, the same year in which Titian was
born. Nothing is known of his youth before he came to Venice and studied
in the school of Gian Bellini along with Titian.

The two men were friends in those days, but soon quarrelled, and
Giorgione's early death completed their separation. Titian was impatient
and arrogant; Giorgione seems to have been one of those proud, shy,
sensitive men--possibly morbidly sensitive, with whom it is always
difficult to deal; but it is recorded of him, as it is not recorded of
his great compeer, that Giorgione was frank and friendly as an artist,
however moody and fitful he might be as a man.

Giorgione soon became known. According to one account, he painted the
facade of the house which he dwelt in, for an advertisement of his
abilities as a painter, a device which was entirely successful in
procuring him commissions; but unfortunately for posterity, these were
frequently to paint other facades, sometimes in company with Titian;
grand work, which has inevitably perished, if not by fire, by time and
by the sea-damp of Venice, for to Venice Giorgione belonged, and there
is no sign that he ever left it.

He had no school, and his love of music and society--the last taste
found not seldom, an apparent anomaly, in silent, brooding
natures--might tend to withdraw him from his art. He has left a trace of
his love for music in his pictures of 'Concerts' and of 'Pastorals,' in
which musical performances are made prominent. In Giorgione, with his
romantic, idealizing temperament, genre[18] pictures took this form,
while he is known to have painted from Ovid and from the Italian tales
of his time. He was employed frequently to paint scenes on panels, for
the richly ornamented Venetian furniture. Giorgione was not without a
bent to realism in his very idealism, and is said to have been the first
Italian painter who 'imitated the real texture of stuffs and painted
draperies from the actual material.'

Giorgione died at the early age of thirty-three years, in 1511. One
account represents him as dying of the plague, others attribute his
death to a sadder cause. He is said to have had a friend and
fellow-painter who betrayed their friendship, and carried off the girl
whom Giorgione loved. Stung to the quick by the double falsehood, the
tradition goes on to state that Giorgione fell into despair with life
and all it held, and so died.

A portrait of Giorgione is in the Munich Gallery; it is that of a very
handsome beardless lad, 'with a peculiar melancholy in the dark glowing

Giorgione was, like Titian, grand and free in drawing and composition,
and superb in colour.[19] Mrs Jameson has drawn a nice distinction
between the two painters as colourists. That the colours of Giorgione
'appear as if lighted from within, and those of Titian from without;'
that 'the epithet glowing applies best to Giorgione, that of golden to

Giorgione's historic pictures are rare, his sacred pictures rarer still;
among the last is a 'Finding of Moses,' now in Milan, thus described by
Mrs Jameson: 'In the centre sits the princess under a tree; she looks
with surprise and tenderness on the child, which is brought to her by
one of her attendants; the squire, or seneschal, of the princess, with
knights and ladies, stand around; on one side two lovers are seated on
the grass; on the other are musicians and singers, pages with dogs. All
the figures are in the Venetian costume; the colouring is splendid, and
the grace and harmony of the whole composition is even the more
enchanting from the naivete of the conception. This picture, like many
others of the same age and style, reminds us of those poems and tales
of the middle ages, in which David and Jonathan figure as _preux
chevaliers_, and Sir Alexander of Macedon and Sir Paris of Troy fight
tournaments in honour of ladies' eyes and the "blessed Virgin." They
must be tried by their own aim and standard, not by the severity of
antiquarian criticism.'

In portraits Giorgione has only been exceeded by Titian. In the National
Gallery there is an unimportant 'St Peter the Martyr,' and a finer
'Maestro di Capella giving a music lesson,' which Kugler assigns to
Giorgione, though it has been given elsewhere to Titian. The 'refined
voluptuousness and impassioned sombreness' of Giorgione's painting have
instituted a comparison between him and Lord Byron as a poet.

Correggio's real name was Antonio Allegri, and he has his popular name
from his birth-place of Correggio, now called Reggio; although at one
time there existed an impression that Correggio meant 'correct,' from
the painter's exceedingly clever feats of fore-shortening.

His father is believed to have been a well-to-do tradesman, and the lad
is said to have had an uncle a painter, who probably influenced his
nephew. But Correggio had a greater master, though but for a very short
time, in Andrea Mantegna, who died when Correggio was still a young boy.
Mantegna's son kept on his father's school, and from him Correggio might
have received more regular instruction. He early attained excellence,
and in the teeth of the legends which lingered in Parma for a full
century, his genius received prompt notice and patronage. He married
young, and from records which have come to light, he received a
considerable portion with his wife.

The year after his marriage, when he was no more than six-and-twenty,
Correggio was appointed to paint in fresco the cupola of the church of
San Giovanni at Parma, and chose for his subject the 'Ascension of
Christ;' for this work and that of the 'Coronation of the Virgin,'
painted over the high altar, Correggio got five hundred gold crowns,
equivalent to L1500. He was invited to Mantua, where he painted from the
mythology for the Duke of Mantua. Indeed, so far and wide had the
preference for mythological subjects penetrated, that one of Correggio's
earliest works was 'Diana returning from the Chase;' painted for the
decoration of the parlour of the Abbess of the convent of San Paulo,

Correggio was a second time called upon to paint a great religious work
in Parma--this time in the cathedral, for which he selected 'The
Assumption of the Virgin.' A few of the cartoons for these frescoes were
discovered thirty or forty years ago, rolled up and lying forgotten in a
garret in Parma; they, are now in the British Museum.

In 1533, Correggio, then residing in his native town, was one of the
witnesses to the marriage of his sovereign, the Lord of Correggio. In
the following year the painter had engaged to paint an altar-piece for
an employer, who paid Correggio in advance twenty-five gold crowns, but
the latter dying very soon afterwards, in the forty-first year of his
age, 1534, his father, who was still alive, was in circumstances to
repay the advance on the picture, which had not been painted.

Correggio is said to have been modest and retiring in disposition, and
this, together with the fact that, like Giorgione, he did not have a
school, has been suggested as the source of the traditions which
prevailed so long in Italy. These traditions described the painter as a
man born in indigent circumstances, living obscurely in spite of his
genius (there is a picture of Correggio's in England, which was said to
have been given in payment for his entertainment at an inn), and leading
to the end a life of such ill-requited labour, that having been paid for
his last picture in copper money, and being under the necessity of
carrying it home in order to relieve the destitution of his family, he
broke down under the burden, and overcome by heat and weariness, drank a
rash draught of water, which caused fever and death.

The story, disproven as it is, is often alluded to still, and remains as
a foil to those flattering and courtly anecdotes which I have been
repeating of royal and imperial homage paid to Duerer, Titian, and
Holbein. I fancy the last-mentioned stories may have grown from small
beginnings, and circulated purely in the artist world; but that the
former is an utterance of the engrained persuasion of the great world
without, that art as a means of livelihood is essentially
non-remunerative in the sense of money-getting.

Modest as Correggio may have been, he was not without pride in his art.
After looking for the first time on the St Cecilia of Raphael, Correggio
is reported to have exclaimed with exultation, 'And I too am a painter.'

He left behind him on his death a son and a daughter, the former living
to be a painter of no great name. In the picture of Correggio in the
attitude of painting, painted by himself, we see him a handsome spare
man with something of a romantic cavalier air, engaged in his chosen

Correggio's pictures go to prove that under his seemingly quiet exterior
he was a man of the liveliest sensibilities and the keenest perceptions,
His pictures, unlike Titian's in their repose, are full of motion and
excitement. Correggio is spoken of as a painter who delighted 'in the
buoyance of childish glee, the bliss of earthly, the fervour of heavenly
love,' whose radiant sphere of art sorrow rarely clouded; but when
sorrow did enter, it borrowed from the painter's own quivering heart the
very sharpness of anguish. The same authority tells us of Correggio,
that he has painted 'the very heart-throbs of humanity.' But it seems as
if such a nature, with its self-conscious veil of forced stillness, must
have had a tendency to vehemence and excess; and so we hear that
Correggio's fore-shortening was sometimes violent, and the energy of his
actors spasmodic; thus the cruelly smart contemporary criticism was
pronounced on his frescoes of the 'Assumption of the Virgin,' in which
legs and arms in wild play are chiefly conspicuous from below, that
Correggio had prepared for the Parmese 'a fricassee of frogs.' In
addition, the great modern critic, Mr Ruskin, has boldly accused
Correggio 'both of weakness and meretriciousness,' and there is this to
be said of a nature so highly strung as Correggio's was strung, that it
was not a healthily balanced nature.

But if the painter were really inferior in his sense of form and
expression to his great predecessors, he was so great in one department,
that in it he was held worthy, not only to found the school of Parma,
but to be classed with the first four painters of Italy.

That chiarascuro, or treatment of light and shade, in which Lionardo and
Andrea Mantegna were no mean proficients, was brought to such perfection
by Correggio, that, as Mrs Jameson has sought to illustrate technical
expressions, 'you seem to look through. Correggio's shadows, and to see
beyond them the genuine texture of the flesh.' In undulating grace of
motion, in melting softness of outline, fixed on a canvas, he surpassed
all rivals, including Raphael; and this widely attractive quality
('luscious refinement,' Mr Ruskin terms it) in connection with
Correggio's ardent, if undisciplined sensibility, has rendered him one
of the most valued of painters; his best paintings being highly prized
and costly as the easel pictures attributed to Raphael. Sir W. Stirling
Maxwell writes that an old Duke of Modena was suspected of having caused
Correggio's 'Notte' to be stolen from a church at Reggio, and that the
princes of Este were wont to carry 'The Magdalene Reading' with them on
their journeys, while the king of Poland kept it under lock and key in a
frame of jewelled silver.

Among Correggio's masterpieces, besides his frescoes, there is at Parma
his picture called 'Day,' from the broad flood of daylight in the
picture (and doubtless in contrast to his famous 'Notte' or 'Night,' in
the Dresden Gallery). Here is a Virgin and Child, with St Jerome
presenting to them his translation of the Scriptures, and the Magdalene
bending to kiss in adoration the feet of the infant Saviour.

In the Dresden Gallery in addition to the 'Notte' are five pictures, one
of the marriage of St Catherine as the Church--the bride, espoused with
a ring to the infant Saviour, a favourite subject of Italian painters,
and a specially favourite subject with Correggio; and another, the
Magdalene reading, half shrouded with her flowing hair, so well known
by engravings. I must say a few more words of the 'Notte,'--it is a
nativity illuminated entirely by the unearthly glory shining from the
Child Christ. Virgin and Child are bathed and half lost in the fair
radiance, which falls softly on a shepherd and maiden, leaving the rest
of the figures, the stalled beasts, and the surroundings of the stable,
in dim shadow.

In our National Gallery there are fine specimens of Correggio. There is
an 'Ecce Homo': Christ crowned with thorns, holding out his bound hands,
with a Roman soldier softening into pity, Pilate hardening in
indifference, and the Virgin fainting with sorrow. There are also 'the
Virgin with the Basket,' so named from the little basket in front of the
picture; and 'a Holy Family;' and there is a highly-esteemed picture
from a mythological subject, 'Mercury teaching Cupid to read in the
presence of Venus.'

We must return to the Venice of Titian, and see how his successors, with
much more of the true painter in them than the fast degenerating
scholars of other Italian schools, were mere men, if great men, matched
with Titian.

Tintoretto is only Tintoretto or Tintoret because his father was a dyer,
and 'Il Tintoretto' is in Italian, 'the little dyer.' Tintoretto's real
name was one more in keeping with his pretensions, Jacopo Robusti. He
was born in Venice, in 1512, and early fore-shadowed his future career
by drawing all kinds of objects on the walls of his father's dye-house,
an exercise which did not offend or dismay the elder Robusti, but, on
the contrary, induced him to put the boy into the school of Titian,
where Tintoretto only remained a short time. Titian did not choose to
impart what could be imparted of his art to his scholars, and, in all
probability, Tintoretto was no deferential and submissive scholar. There
is a tradition that Titian expelled this scholar from his academy,
saying of the dyer's son, that 'he would never be anything but a

Tintoret was not to be daunted. He lived to be a bold-tempered, dashing
man, and he must have been defiant, even in his boyhood, as he was
swaggering in his youth, when he set up an academy of his own, and
inscribed above the door, 'The drawing of Michael Angelo and the
colouring of Titian.' He had studied and taught himself from casts and
theories since he left the school of Titian, and then, with worldly
wisdom equal to his daring, he commenced his artistic career by
accepting every commission, good or bad, and taking what pay he could
get for his work; but, unfortunately for him and for the world, he
executed his work, as might have been expected, in the same headlong,
indiscriminate spirit, acquiring the name of 'Il Furioso' from the
rapidity and recklessness of his manner of painting. Often he did not
even give himself the trouble of making any sketch or design of his
pictures beforehand, but composed as he painted.

Self-confident to presumption, he took for his inspirations the merest
impulses, and considerably marred the effect of his unquestionably grand
genius by gross haste and carelessness. He was a successful man in his
day, as so energetic and unscrupulous a man was likely enough to be, and
his fellow-citizens, who saw principally on the surface,[20] were
charmed beyond measure by his tremendous capacity for invention, his
dramatic vigour, his gorgeous, rampant richness and glare; or, by
contrast, his dead dulness of ornament and colouring; and were not too
greatly offended by his occasional untruthfulness in drawing and
colouring, and the inequality of his careless, slovenly, powerful
achievements. Yet even Tintoret's fascinated contemporaries said of him
that he 'used three pencils: one gold, one silver, one lead.'

Naturally Tintoretto painted an immense number of pictures, to only
three of which, however, he appended his name. These were, 'The
Crucifixion,' and 'The Miracle of the Slave,' two of fifty-seven
pictures which he painted for the school of St Roch alone, in Venice;
the other was the 'Marriage at Cana,' in the church of Santa Maria
della Saluto, Venice.

There is an authentic story told of Tintoretto in his age, which is in
touching contrast to what is otherwise known of the man. Dominico, who
was a painter, Tintoret had a daughter, Marietta, very dear to him, who
was also a painter--indeed, so gifted a portrait painter, as to have
been repeatedly invited to foreign courts to practise her art,
invitations which she declined, because she would not be parted from her
father. To Tintoret's great grief, this daughter died as she was thirty
years of age, and her father was in his seventy-eighth year. When her
end was unmistakably near, the old man took brush and canvas and
struggled desperately to preserve a last impression of the beloved
child's face, over which death was casting its shadow.

Tintoretto died four years later, in 1594. His portrait is that of a man
who holds his head high and resolutely; he has, strange to say, a
somewhat commonplace face, with its massive nose, full eye, short curly
beard and hail. The forehead is not very broad, but the head is 'long,'
as Scotch people say, and they count long-headedness not only an
indication of self-esteem, but of practical shrewdness. Tintoret's power
was native, and had received little training; it is a proof of the
strength of that power that he could not quench it. His faults, as a
painter, I have already had to chronicle in the sketch of the man. He
was greatest on large canvases, where his recklessness was lost in his
strength; and in portraits, where his quickness in seizing striking
traits more than equalled that rapidity of conclusion in realizing, and
still more notably in classifying, character, which, to say the least,
is liable to error.

Even before Tintoretto lived sacred subjects and art had entirely
changed places. In the days of Fra Angelico and the Van Eycks, art was
the means by which painters brought before men sacred subjects, to whose
design painters looked with more or less of conviction and feeling. By
the time that Tintoret painted, sacred subjects were the means by which
painters showed their art; means, the design of which was largely lost
sight of, and which might be freely tortured and twisted, falsified,
well-nigh burlesqued, if, by so doing, painters could better display
their originality, skill, and mastery of technicalities. Sacred subjects
had become more and more human in the lower sense, and less and less
divine. A man who had so little reverence as Tintoret showed for his own
higher self, his fellow-men, and his art, would scarcely seem well
qualified to take up sacred subjects. But criticism is entirely and
hopelessly divided on the question, for while some authorities hold that
he made of the awful scene of the Crucifixion a merely historical and
decidedly theatrical procession, other authorities maintain that he
preserved in that 'great composition' 'repose and dignity, solemnity and

Here is M. Charles Blanc, the French art critic's opinion of Tintoret's
largest work, seventy-four feet in length and thirty feet in height: The
Glory of Paradise, in the great hall or throne-room of the Doge's

'If the shadows had not become so black, such a picture would have had
something of sublimity; but that sky, without transparency, the lights
of which, even, are of a burnt and baked colour, has rather the air of a
lit-up Erebus than of a Paradise. Four hundred figures are in motion in
this vast enclosure, some naked, others draped, but draped uniformly in
a staring red or a hard blue, which form as many spots, in some sort
symmetrical. The manner is quick; a little loose, but confident. The
models are neither taken from nature nor from the ideal, they are drawn
from practice, and are in general only turns of the head, without beauty
and without delicacy. The angels are agitated like demons; and the
whole--coarse enough in execution as in thought, is imposing
nevertheless by mass, movement, and number. It is the striking image of
a multitude in the air, a rout in the heavens, or rather in purgatory.'

Here, again, is Mr Ruskin's unequalled estimate of Tintoret's works: 'I
should exhaust the patience of the reader if Ion the various stupendous
developments of the imagination of Tintoret in the Scuola di San Rocco
alone. I would fain join awhile in that solemn pause of the journey into
Egypt, where the silver boughs of the shadowy trees lace with their
tremulous lines the alternate folds of fair cloud, flushed by faint
crimson light, and lie across the streams of blue between those rosy
islands like the white wakes of wandering ships; or watch beside the
sleep of the disciples among those mossy leaves that lie so heavily on
the dead of the night beneath the descent of the angel of the agony, and
toss fearfully above the motion of the torches as the troop of the
betrayer emerges out of the hollows of the olives; or wait through the
hour of accusing beside the judgment-seat of Pilate, where all is
unseen, unfelt, except the one figure that stands with its head bowed
down, pale like the pillar of moonlight, half bathed in the glory of the
Godhead, half wrapt in the whiteness of the shroud. Of these and all
other thoughts of indescribable power that are now fading from the walls
of those neglected chambers, I may perhaps endeavour at a future time to
preserve some image and shadow more faithfully than by words; but I
shall at present terminate our series of illustrations by reference to a
work of less touching, but more tremendous appeal; the Last Judgment in
the church of Santa Maria dell' Orto.'

'By Tintoret only has this unimaginable event been grappled with in its
verity; not typically, nor symbolically, but as they may see it who
shall not sleep, but be changed. Only one traditional circumstance he
has received with Dante and Michael Angelo, the Boat of the Condemned;
but the impetuosity of his mind bursts out even in the adoption of this
image; he has not stopped at the scowling ferryman of the one, nor at
the sweeping blow and demon-dragging of the other; but, seized
Hylas-like by the limbs, and tearing up the earth in his agony, the
victim is dashed into his destruction; nor is it the sluggish Lethe, nor
the fiery lake, that bears the cursed vessel, but the oceans of the
earth and the waters of the firmament gathered into one white, ghastly
cataract; the river of the wrath of God, roaring down into the gulf
where the world has melted with its fervent heat, choked with the ruin
of nations, and the limbs of its corpses tossed out of its whirling like
water-wheels. Bat-like, out of the holes, and caverns, and shadows of
the earth, the bones gather, and the clay-heaps heave, rattling and
adhering into half-kneaded anatomies, that crawl, and startle, and
struggle up among the putrid weeds, with the clay clinging to their
clotted hair, and their heavy eyes sealed by the earth darkness yet,
like his of old who went his way unseeing to the Siloam pool; shaking
off one by one the dreams of the prison-house, hardly hearing the
clangour of the trumpets of the armies of God; blinded yet more, as they
awake, by the white light of the new heaven, until the great vortex of
the four winds bears up their bodies to the judgment-seat; the Firmament
is all full of them, a very dust of human souls, that drifts, and
floats, and falls in the interminable, inevitable light; the bright
clouds are darkened with them as with thick snow; currents of atom life
in the arteries of heaven, now soaring up slowly, and higher and higher
still, till the eye and thought can follow no farther, borne up,
wingless, by their inward faith, and by the angel powers invisible, now
hurled in countless drifts of horror before the breath of their

There is only one little work, of small consequence, by Tintoretto in
the National Gallery, but there are nearly a dozen in the Royal
Galleries, as Charles I. was an admirer and buyer of 'Tintorettos.' Two
Tintorettos which belonged to King Charles I, are at Hampton Court; the
one is 'Esther fainting before Ahasuerus,' and the other the 'Nine
Muses.' With another 'Esther' I have been familiar from childhood by an
old engraving. In the congenial to Tintoret, and he has certainly
revelled in the sumptuousness of the mighty Eastern tyrant, in royal
mantle and ermine tippet, seated on his throne, and stretching his
jewelled sceptre to Esther, who is in the rich costume of a Venetian
lady of the period, and sinking into the arms of her watchful maids,
with a fair baby face, and little helpless hands, having dainty frills
round the wrists, which scarcely answer to our notion of the attributes
of the magnanimous, if meek, Jewish heroine.

Paul Cagliari of Verona is far better known as Paul Veronese. He was
born in Verona in 1530, and was the son of a sculptor. He was taught by
his father to draw and model, but abandoned sculpture for the sister art
of painting, which was more akin to his tastes, and which he followed in
the studio of an uncle who was a fair painter.

Quitting Verona, Paul Veronese repaired to Venice, studying the works of
Titian and Tintoret, and settling in their city, finding no want of
patronage even in a field so fully appropriated before he came to take
his place there. His first great work was the painting of the church of
St Sebastian, with scenes from the history of Esther. Whether he chose
the subject or whether it was assigned to him, it belonged even more to
him than to Tintoret, for Veronese was the most magnificent of the
magnificent Venetian painters. From that date he was kept in constant
employment by the wealthy and luxurious Venetians. He visited Rome in
the suite of the Venetian ambassador in 1563, when he was in his
thirty-fourth year, and he was invited to Spain to assist in the
decoration of the Escurial by Philip II., but refused the invitation.

Veronese is said to have been a man of kindly spirit, generous and
devout. In painting for churches and convents, he would consent to
receive the smallest remuneration, sometimes not more than the price of
his colours and canvas. For his fine picture now in the Louvre, the
'Marriage of Cana,' he is believed not to have had more than forty
pounds in our money. He died when he was but fifty-eight years of age,
in 1588. He had married and left sons who were painters, and worked with
their father. He had a brother, Benedotto, who was also a painter, and
who is thought to have painted many of the architectural backgrounds to
Veronese's pictures.

Veronese's portrait, which he has left us, gives the idea of a more
earnest and impressionable man than Tintoret. A man in middle age,
bald-headed, with a furrowed brow, cheeks a little hollowed, head
slightly thrown back, and a somewhat anxious as well as intent
expression of face; what of the dress is seen, being a plain doublet
with turned-over collar, and a cloak arranged in a fold across the
breast, and hanging over the right shoulder like a shepherd's 'maud' or
plaid. Looking at the engraving, and hearing of Paul Veronese's
amiability and piety, one has little difficulty in thinking of the
magnificent painter, as a single-hearted, simple-minded man, neither
vain nor boastful, nor masterful save by the gift of genius.

I have called Paul Veronese a magnificent painter, and magnificence is
the great attribute of his style; but before going farther into his
merits and defects, I should like to quote to you a passage from Mr
Ruskin, the most eloquent and dogmatic of art critics, prefacing the
passage with the statement that the true lesson which it teaches is
particularly needful for women, who, if they love art at all, are apt to
regard it chiefly for its sentiment, and to undervalue such proper
painter's work, such breadth and affluence and glory of handling, as are
to be met with on the canvases of painters like Veronese and Rubens.
'But I perceive a tendency among some of the more thoughtful critics of
the day to forget the business of a painter is _to paint_, and so
altogether to despise those men, Veronese and Rubens for instance, who
were painters, _par excellence_, and in whom the expressional qualities
are subordinate. Now it is well, when we have strong moral or poetical
feeling manifested in painting, to mark this as the best part of the
work; but it is not well to consider as a thing of small account the
painter's language in which that feeling is conveyed; for if that
language be not good and lovely, the man may indeed be a just moralist
or a great poet, but he is not a _painter_, and it was wrong of him to

It was said of Paul Veronese, that while he had not 'the brilliance and
depth of Titian' or the 'prodigious facility' of Tintoret, yet, in some
respects, Veronese surpassed both. But he was certainly deficient in a
sense of suitability and probability. He, of all painters, carried to an
outrageous extent the practice, which I have defended in some degree, of
painting sacred and historical subjects as if they had happened in his
own day and city. He violated taste and even reason in painting every
scene, lofty or humble, sacred or profane, alike, with the pomp of
splendour and richness of ornament which were the fashion of the time;
but he had a vivid perception of character, and a certain greatness of
mind which redeemed his plethora of gorgeousness from monotony or

Veronese is reported to have been far more correct and careful in
drawing than was Tintoret, while Veronese's prodigality of colour was a
mellowed version of Tintoret's glare or deadness. One of Veronese's best
pictures is the 'Marriage of Cana,' painted originally for the refectory
of the convent of San Giorgio, Venice, and now in the Louvre. 'It is not
less than thirty feet long and twenty feet high, and contains about one
hundred and thirty figures, life size. The Marriage Feast of the
Galilean citizen is represented with a pomp worthy of "Ormuz or of Ind."
A sumptuous hall of the richest architecture; lofty columns, long lines
of marble balustrades rising against the sky; a crowd of guests
splendidly attired, some wearing orders of knighthood, are seated at
tables covered with gorgeous vases of gold and silver, attended by
slaves, jesters, pages, and musicians. In the midst of all this dazzling
pomp, this display of festive enjoyment, these moving figures, these
lavish colours in glowing approximation, we begin after a while to
distinguish the principal personages, our Saviour, the Virgin Mary, the
twelve Apostles, mingled with Venetian senators and ladies, clothed in
the rich costume of the sixteenth century; monks, friars, poets,
artists, all portraits of personages existing in his own time; while in
a group of musicians he has introduced himself and Tintoretto playing
the violoncello, while Titian plays the bass. The bride in this picture
is said to be the portrait of Eleanor of Austria, the sister of Charles
V, and second wife of Francis I.'[21]

Though Veronese is not greatly esteemed as a portrait painter, it so
happens that the highly-prized picture of his in our National Gallery,
called 'The Family of Darius before Alexander,' is understood to be
family portraits of the Pisani family in the characters of Alexander,
the Persian queen, etc., etc. Another of Veronese's pictures in the
National Gallery is 'The Consecration of St Nicholas, Bishop of Myra.'


CARRACCI, 1555-1609--GUIDO RENI, 1575-1642--DOMENICHINO,
1581-1641--SALVATOR ROSA, 1615-1673.

In the falling away of the schools of Italy, and especially of the
followers of Michael Angelo and Raphael, into mannerism and
exaggeration, fitly expressed in delineation of heathen gods and
goddesses, there arose a cluster of painters in the North of Italy who
had considerable influence on art.

The Carracci included a group of painters, the founders of the later
Bolognese School. Lodovico, the elder of the three, was born at Bologna,
1555. He was educated as a painter, and was so slow in his education,
that he received from his fellow-scholars the nickname of 'Il Bue' (the
ox). But his perseverance surmounted every obstacle. He visited the
different Italian towns, and studied the works of art which contained,
arriving at the conclusion that he might acquire and combine the
excellences of each. This combination, which could only be a splendid
patch-work without unity, was the great aim of his life, and was the
origin of the term _eclectic_ applied to his school. Its whole tendency
was to technical excellence, and in this tendency, however it might
achieve its end, painting showed a marked decline. As an example of the
motives and objects supplied by the school, I must borrow some lines
from a sonnet of the period written by Agostino Carracci:

    'Let him, who a good painter would be,
    Acquire the drawing of Rome,
    Venetian action, and Venetian shadow,
    And the dignified colouring of Lombardy,
    The terrible manner of Michael Angelo,
    Titian's truth and nature,
    The sovereign purity of Correggio's style,
    And the true symmetry of Raphael;

           *       *       *       *       *

    And a little of Parmegiano'a grace,
    But without so much study and toil,
    Let him only apply himself to imitate the works
    Which our Niccolino has left us here.'

Lodovico opened a school of painting at Bologna, in which he was for a
time largely assisted by his cousins. He died 1619.

Agostino Carracci, cousin of Lodovico, was born at Bologna in 1559. His
father was a tailor, and Agostino himself began life as a jeweller. He
became a painter and an engraver in turn, devoting himself chiefly to
engraving. Towards the beginning of the seventeenth century he was with
his more famous brother, Annibale, at Rome, where he assisted in
painting the Farnese Gallery, designing and executing the two frescoes
of Galatea and Aurora with such success, according to his
contemporaries, that it was popularly said that 'the engraver had
surpassed the painter in the Farnese.' Jealousy arose between the
brothers in consequence, and they separated, not before Annibale had
perpetrated upon Agostino a small, but malicious, practical joke, which
has been handed down to us. Agostino was fond of the society of people
of rank, and Annibale, aware of his brother's weakness, took the
opportunity, when Agostino was surrounded by some of his aristocratic
friends, to present him with a caricature of the two brothers' father
and mother, engaged in their tailoring work.

Agostino died at Parma when he was a little over forty, and was buried
in the cathedral there, in 1602.

Annibale, Agostino's younger brother, was born in 1560. It was intended
by his parents that he should follow their trade and be a tailor, but he
was persuaded by his cousin Lodovico to become a painter. After visiting
Parma, Venice, and Bologna, he worked with his cousin and teacher for
ten years. Annibale was invited to Rome by the Cardinal Odoardo Farnese,
to decorate the great hall of his palace in the Piazza Farnese, with
scenes from the heathen mythology, for which work he received a monthly
salary of ten scudi, about two guineas, with maintenance for himself and
two servants, and a farther gift of five hundred scudi. It was a
parsimonious payment, and the parsimony is said to have preyed on the
mind and affected the health of Annibale, and a visit to Naples, where
he, in common with not a few artists, suffered from the jealous
persecutions of the Neapolitan painters, completed the breaking up of
his constitution. He painted, with the assistance of Albani, the
frescoes in the chapel of San Diego in San Giacomo degli Spagnole, and
pressed upon his assistant more than half of his pay. Annibale's health
had already given way, and after a long illness he died, when forty-nine
years of age, at Rome, 1609, and was buried near Raphael in the

The merit of the Carracci lay in their power of execution, and in a
certain 'bold naturalism, or rather animalism,' which they added to
their able imitations, for their pictures are not so much their own, as
'After Titian,' 'After Correggio,' etc. In this intent regard to style,
and this perfecting of means to an end, thought and in a manner
neglected. Yet to the Carracci, and their school, is owing a certain
studied air of solemnity and sadness in 'Ecce Homos,' and 'Pietas,'
which, in proportion to its art, has a powerful effect on many
beholders, who prefer conventionality to freedom; or rather, who fail to
distinguish conventionality in its traces. Annibale was the most
original while the least learned of the Carracci; yet, even of Annibale,
it could be said that he lacked enthusiasm in his subjects. His best
productions are his mythological subjects in the Farnese Palace. A
celebrated picture of his, that of the 'Three Marys' (a dead Christ, the
Madonna, and the two other Marys), is at Castle Howard, and has been
exhibited at Manchester, and I think also at Leeds. At Manchester it
attracted the greatest attention and admiration. I believe this was not
only because Annibale Carracci in the 'Three Marys' does attain to a
most piteous mournfulness of sentiment, but because such work as that of
the Carracci finds readiest acceptance from a general public, which
delights in striking, superficial effects. The same reason, in
conjunction with the decline of Italian art, may account for the great
number of the Carracci school and followers.

Annibale Carracci was one of the first who practised landscape painting
and genre pictures, such as 'The Greedy Eater,' as separate branches of
art. Two of Annibale's landscapes are in the National Gallery.

Guido Reni, commonly called 'Guido,' was born at Bologna, 1575. His
father was a musician, and Guido was intended for the same calling, but
finally became a painter and student in the school of the Carracci. He
followed Annibale Carracci to Rome, and dwelt there for twenty years. He
obtained great repute and favour, but taking offence at some supposed
injustice, he left Rome, and settled at last in Bologna, where he
established a large school. Though he made great sums of money, which
might have enabled him to live in the splendour which he coveted, on
account of his addiction to gambling and his grossly extravagant habits,
he was constantly in debt, and driven to tax his genius to the utmost,
and to sell its fruits for what they would bring, irrespective of what
he owed to himself, his art, and to the giver of all good gifts. He died
at Bologna, and was buried with much pomp in the church of San Dominico,

Of Guido we hear that he had three styles: the first, after the vigorous
manner of Michael Angelo; the second, in the prevailing ornamental taste
of the Rome of his day and the Carracci. This is considered Guido's best
style, and is distinguished by its subtle management of light and shade.
His third, which is called his 'silvery style,' from its greys,
degenerated into insipidity, with little wonder, seeing that at this
stage he sold his time at so much per hour to picture-dealers, who stood
over him, watch in hand, to see that he fulfilled his bargain, and
carried away the saints he manufactured wet from the easel. Such
manufactory took him only three hours, sometimes less. His charges had
risen from five guineas for a head, and twenty guineas for a whole
figure, to twenty times that amount. He painted few portraits, but many
'fancy' heads of saints. Nearly three hundred pictures by Guido are
believed to be in existence. Guido's individual distinction was his
refined sense of beauty, but it was over-ruled by 'cold calculation,'
and developed into a mere abstract conception of 'empty grace' without
heart or soul.

His finest work is the large painting of 'Phoebus and Aurora' in a
pavilion of the Rospigliosi Palace at Rome. In our National Gallery
there are nine specimens of Guido's works, including one of his best
'Ecce Homos,' which belonged to the collection of Samuel Rogers.

Domenico Zampieri, commonly called Domenichino, was another Bolognese
painter, and another eminent scholar of the Carracci. He was born in
1581, and, after studying under a Flemish painter, passed into the
school of the Carracci. While yet a very young man, Domenichino was
invited to Rome, where he soon earned a high reputation, competing
successfully with his former fellow-scholar, Guido. Domenichino's
'Flagellation of St Andrew,' and 'Communion of St Jerome,' in payment of
which he only received about five guineas; his 'Martyrdom of St
Sebastian,' and his 'Four Evangelists,' which are among his
masterpieces, were all painted in Rome, and remain in Rome.

Domenichino is said to have excited the extreme hostility of rival
painters, and to have suffered especially from the malice of the
Neapolitans, when he was invited to work among them. After a cruel
struggle Domenichino died in Naples, not without a horrible suspicion of
having being poisoned, at the age of sixty, in 1641. One of his
enemies--a Roman on this occasion--destroyed what was left of
Domenichino's work in Naples.

The painter's fate was a miserable one, and by a coincidence between his
fortune and his taste in subjects, he has identified his name with
terrible representations of martyrdoms. Kugler writes that martyrdom as
a subject for painting, which had been sparingly used by Raphael and his
scholars, had come into fashion in Domenichino's time, for 'painters and
poets sought for passionate emotion, and these subjects (martyrdoms)
supplied them with plentiful food.' Sensationalism is the florid hectic
of art's decay, whether in painting or in literature.

Domenichino is accredited with more taste than fancy. He made free use
of the compositions of even contemporary artists, while he
individualized these compositions. His good and bad qualities are those
of his school, already quoted, and perhaps it is in keeping with these
qualities that the excellence of Domenichino's works lies in subordinate
parts and subordinate characters. There are examples of Domenichino in
the National Gallery.

I shall close my long list of the great Italian painters of the past
with one who was quite apart from and opposed to the Carracci school,
and whose triumphs and failures were essentially his own. Salvator Rosa,
born in 1615 near Naples, was the son of an architect. In opposition to
his father Salvator Rosa became a painter. Having succeeded in selling
his sketches to a celebrated buyer, the bold young Neapolitan started
for Rome at the age of twenty years; and Rome, 'the Jerusalem of
Painters,' became thenceforth Salvator Rosa's head-quarters, though the
character of the man was such as to force him to change his quarters not
once or twice only in his life, and thus he stayed some time, in turn,
at Naples, Viterbo, Volterra, and Florence. At Volterra the aggressive
nature of the painter broke forth in a series of written satires on a
medley of subjects--music, poetry (both of which Salvator himself
cultivated), painting, war, Babylon, and envy. These incongruous satires
excited the violent indignation of the individuals against whom
Salvator's wit was aimed, and their efforts at revenge, together with
his own turbulent spirit, drove him from place to place.

Salvator Rosa was at Naples 1647, and took part in the riots, so famous
in song and story, which made Masaniello, the young fisherman, for a
time Captain-General and Master of Naples, when it was, according to
law, a Spanish dependency governed by a viceroy. Salvator was in the
Compagnia della Morte commanded by Falcone, a battle painter, during the
troubles, a wild enough post to please the wild painter, even had he not
been in addition a personal adherent of the ruling spirit Masaniello,
whom Salvator Rosa painted more than once. After so eventful a life,
the painter died peaceably enough in his fifty-ninth year, of dropsy, at
Rome, and left a considerable fortune to his only son.

Salvator Rosa was the incarnation of the arrogant, fickle, fierce
Neapolitan spirit, and he carried it out sufficiently in an
undisciplined, stormy life, without the addition of the popular legend
that he had at one time joined a troop of banditti, and indulged in
their excesses. The legend seems to have a familiarity with mountain
passes, and his love of peopling them appropriately with banditti in
action. Salvator Rosa was a dashing battle painter, a mediocre
historical painter, and an excellent portrait painter as well as
landscape painter. But it is chiefly by the savage grandeur of his
mountain or forest landscapes, with their fitting _dramatis personae_,
that he has won his renown. Mr Ruskin, while he allows Salvator's gift
of imagination, denounces him for the reckless carelessness and
untruthfulness to nature of his painting. Many of Salvator Rosa's
pictures are in the Pitti Palace in Florence, and many are in England.


RUBENS, 1577-1640--REMBRANDT, 1606 OR 1608-1669--TENIERS, FATHER AND
SON, 1582-1694--WOUVERMAN, 1620-1668--CUYP, 1605; STILL LIVING,
1638--PAUL POTTER, 1625-1654--CORNELIUS DE HEEM, 1630.

A long interval elapsed between the Van Eycks and Quintin Matsys, and
Rubens; but if Flemish art was slow of growth and was only developed
after long pauses, it made up for its slowness and delays by the burst
of triumph into which Flemish and Dutch art broke forth in Rubens and
his school, in Rembrandt and Cuyp and Ruysdael.

Peter Paul Rubens was born at Siegen in Westphalia, on the day of St
Peter and St Paul, 1577. But though Rubens was born out of Antwerp, he
was a citizen of Antwerp by descent as well as by so many later
associations. His father, John Rubens, a lawyer, an imprudent,
thriftless man in character and habits, had been compelled to leave
Antwerp in consequence of religious disturbances which broke out there
about the time that the northern provinces, more at one and more decided
in their union than the southern provinces, established their
independence. Rubens spent his early boyhood at Cologne, but on the
death of his father when he was ten years of age, his mother, a good and
'discreet' woman, to whom the painter owed much, and confessed his debt,
returned with her family to Antwerp. His mother had destined him for his
father's profession, but did not oppose her son's preference for art.

After studying under two different artists, and becoming a master in the
guild of St Luke, Rubens went to Italy in 1600, when he was a young man
of three-and-twenty years of age. He was eight years absent, entering
the service of the ducal sovereign of Mantua, being sent by him on a
diplomatic mission to Madrid to Philip III, of Spain, visiting on his
own account Rome, where he found the Carracci and Guido[22] at the
height of their fame, Venice and Genoa, 'leaving portraits where he

With Genoa, its architecture, and its situation, Rubens was specially
charmed, but he quitted it in haste, being summoned home to attend the
death-bed of his mother, from whom he had parted eight years before; and
arriving too late to see her in life. A man of strong feelings in sorrow
as in joy, he withdrew into retirement, and resided for his season of
mourning in a religious house.

Loving Italy with a painter's enthusiasm, so that to the latest day of
his life he generally wrote in Italian, and loved to sign his name
'Pietro Paolo Rubens,' he had intended to return and settle in Mantua,
but having been named court painter to the Governess of the Netherlands,
Clara Eugenia, and her husband Albert, Rubens had sufficient patriotism
and sufficient worldly foresight to induce him to relinquish his idea,
and establish himself in his native Antwerp. He was already a man of
eminence in his profession, and a man of mark out of it. Go where he
would he made friends, and he so recommended himself to his royal
patrons by his natural suavity, tact, and sagacity, that he was not only
in the utmost favour with them as a right courtly painter, but was
employed by them, once and again, on delicate, difficult, private
embassies. But it was not only to his patrons that Rubens was endeared,
he was emphatically what men call 'a good fellow,' alike to superiors,
equals, and inferiors; a frank, honest, bountiful, and generous man. His
love of courts and their splendour was the chivalrous homage which a man
of his cast of mind paid to the dignity and picturesqueness of high

He married a year after his mother's death, when he was in his
thirty-third year. His first wife, Isabella Brant, was a connection of
his own (and so was his second wife). He built and painted, in fresco, a
fine house in Antwerp, and laid out a pleasant garden, which contained a
rotunda, filled with his collection of pictures by the Italian masters,
antique gems, etc. etc., already gathered abroad. He set himself to keep
house in a liberal fashion, to dispense benefits, and to entertain
friends--above all, to paint with might and main in company with his
great school, the members of which, like those of Raphael's school where
Raphael was concerned, were, for the most part, Rubens' devoted
comrades. Counting his work not only as the great object, but the great
zest of his life, never did painter receive such sweeping and
accumulating commissions, and never, even by Tintoret, were commissions
executed with such undaunted, unhesitating expedition.

Withal Rubens frequently left his studio and went abroad, either to act
as an unofficial ambassador, or to paint at the special request of some
foreign sovereign. Thus he was residing in Paris in 1620, planning for
Marie de Medici the series of remarkable pictures which commemorated her
marriage with Henry IV. (When I was a little girl, I went occasionally
to a country house, the show place of the neighbourhood, where there
were copies of this series of Rubens' pictures. I can remember yet
looking at them with utter bewilderment, caused by the dubious taste
that impelled Rubens to indulge in the oddest mixture of royal
personages, high church dignitaries, patron saints, and gods and
goddesses.) In 1628 Rubens was in Spain on a mission from his sovereign
to her kinsman, Philip IV.; in the following year he was in England, on
a service of a similar description to Charles I., from whom, even as
Rubens had already received it from King Philip, the painter had the
honour of knighthood.

In the mean time Rubens' first wife died, after a union of seventeen
years, in 1626; and four years later, in 1630, the painter, when he was
a man of fifty years, re-married another connection of his own, Helena
Fourment, a girl only in her sixteenth year. Both of his wives were
handsome, fair, full-formed Flemish beauties. Elizabeth (in Spanish,
Isabella) Brant's beauty was of a finer order than that of her
successor, expressing larger capacity of affection and intellect. But on
Helena Fourment Rubens doted, while to both women he seems to have been
affectionately attached. He has painted them so often, that the face of
no painter's wife is so familiar to the art world, and even to the
greater world without, as are the faces of these two women, and above
all, that of Helena Fourment. He had seven children, who frequently
figure in their mothers' portraits. He has left notable portraits of his
two sons by his first wife, of his eldest daughter, Clara Eugenia, when
eight years of age, and of his daughter Elizabeth, a buxom baby, dressed
in velvet and point lace, playing with toys.

After a life of unbroken success and the highest honours, the last
distinction conferred on Rubens was, that he was chosen to arrange the
gala, and to be the right-hand man who should conduct the Cardinal
Infant, the successor of Clara Eugenia, on his first entrance into
Antwerp. But the hand of premature disease and death, which not even he
could resist, was already on the great painter; his constitution had
been undermined by repeated attacks of gout, and he died at the age of
sixty years, in 1640. He was the possessor of great wealth at the time
of his death, and only a part of his collection, which was then sold,
brought so large a sum in those days, as twenty thousand pounds. Rubens'
second wife, Helena Fourment, to whom he had been married ten years,
survived him, a widow at twenty-six years of age Rubens' portrait is
even better known than those of his wives, for, as I have said of
Raphael in his popularity, Rubens in his life is the beau-ideal of a
painter to the many. The portrait is worthy of the man, with something
gallant in the manliness, and with thought tempering what might have
been too much of bravado and too much of debonnairete in the traits. His
features are handsome in their Flemish fulness, and match well with
hazel eyes, chestnut hair, and a ruddy complexion; his long moustache is
turned up, and he wears the pointed beard which we see so often in the
portraits by Rubens' scholar, Van Dyck. The great flapping hat, worn
alike by men and women, slightly cocked to one side, is the perfection
of picturesque head gear. Equally picturesque, and not in the slightest
degree effeminate on a man like Rubens, is the falling collar of pointed
mechlin, just seen above the cloak draped in large folds.

In his own day Rubens was without a rival as a painter. In a much later
day Sir Joshua Reynolds pronounced Rubens 'perhaps the greatest master
in the mechanical part of the art, _the best workman with his tools_
that ever exercised a pencil.' His consummate excellence lay in his
execution and colouring. It is brought as a reproach against his
painting, that his noblest characters, even his sacred characters, were
but big, brawny, red and white Flemings. His imagination only reached a
certain height, and yet, if it were a very earthly Flemish imagination,
it could be grandly, as it was always vigorously, earthly and Flemish.
At the same time he could be deficient where proportion, and even where
all the laws of art, are concerned.

It is right that I should, with regret and shame, say this of Rubens,
whose geniality bordered on joviality, and whose age was a grosser age
than our own, that he debased his genius by some foul and revolting

Of the general distinction between Rubens and some of his predecessors I
should like to quote Mr Ruskin's passage in his defence:

    'A man long trained to love the monk's vision of Fra Angelico,
    turns in proud and ineffable disgust from the first work of
    Rubens, which he encounters on his return across the Alps. But
    is he right in his indignation? He has forgotten that, while
    Angelico prayed and wept in his _olive shade_, there was
    different work doing in the dank fields of Flanders:--wild seas
    to be banked out; endless canals to be dug, and boundless
    marshes to be drained; hard ploughing and harrowing of the
    frosty clay; careful breeding of the stout horses and cattle;
    close setting of brick-walls against cold winds and snow; much
    hardening of hands, and gross stoutening of bodies in all this;
    gross jovialities of harvest homes, and Christmas feasts, which
    were to be the reward of it; rough affections, and sluggish
    imaginations; fleshy, substantial, iron-shod humanities, but
    humanities still,--humanities which God had his eye upon, and
    which won perhaps, here and there, as much favour in His sight
    as the wasted aspects of the whispering monks of Florence
    (Heaven forbid that it should not be so, since the most of us
    cannot be monks, but must be ploughmen and reapers still). And
    are we to suppose there is no nobility in Rubens' masculine and
    universal sympathy with all this, and with his large human
    rendering of it, gentleman though he was by birth, and feeling,
    and education, and place, and, when he chose, lordly in
    conception also? He had his faults--perhaps great and lamentable
    faults,--though more those of his time and his country than his
    own; he has neither cloister-breeding nor boudoir-breeding, and
    is very unfit to paint either in missals or annuals; but he has
    an open sky and wide-world breeding in him that we may not be
    offended with, fit alike for king's court, knight's camp, or
    peasants cottage.'

Rubens' works are very many, nearly four thousand pictures and sketches
being attributed to him and his scholars. Many are still at Antwerp,
many at Madrid, but most are at Munich, where, in one great saloon and
cabinet, there are ninety-five pictures by Rubens. In England, at
Blenheim, there are fifteen pictures by Rubens, as the great Duchess of
Marlborough would give any price for his works. I can only indicate a
very few examples in the different branches of art which he made his

First, of his 'Descent from the Cross:' it is a single large group,
distinguished by luminous colouring and correct drawing, and with regard
to which the mass of white sheet against which the body of Christ is in
relief in the picture, has been regarded as a bold artistic venture. An
enthusiastic admirer has called it 'a most wonderful monument of the
daring genius of the painter. The grandest picture in the world for
composition, drawing, and colouring.' Its defects are held to be 'the
bustle of the incidents and the dreadfully true delineation of merely
physical agony--too terrible, real, picturesque, but not sublime--- an
earthly tragedy, not a divine mystery.'

    'Remit the anguish of that lighted stare;
     Close those wan lips! let that thorn-wounded brow
     Stream not with blood.'

There is a tradition that an accident happened to the picture while
Rubens was painting it, and that Van Dyck remedied the accident by
re-painting the cheek and chin of the Virgin and the arm of the

With regard to another picture of Rubens at Antwerp, 'The Assumption of
the Virgin,' it is said that he painted it in sixteen days, for sixteen
hundred florins, his usual terms being a hundred florins a-day.

'The Virgin and Serpent' (from the 12th chapter of Revelation) in the
Munich gallery is very splendid. The Virgin with the new-born Saviour in
her arms is mounting on the wings of an eagle, surrounded by a flood of
light. The serpent, encircling the moon on which she stands, is writhing
beneath her feet. God the Father is extending his protecting sceptre
over her from above. The archangel, clothed in armour, is in fearful
combat with the seven-headed dragon, which is endeavouring to devour the
child. Although struck by lightning, the dragon is striving to twist his
tail round the legs of the angel, and seizes the cloak of the Virgin
with one of his hands. Other infernal monsters are writhing with
impotent rage, and falling with the dragon into the abyss.'

'Nothing was more characteristic of Rubens than his choice of subjects
from the mythology of the Greeks and the works of the ancient poets; and
in nothing did he display more freedom, originality, and poetry.' Among
his most famous mythological pictures is the 'Battle of the Amazons,'
now at Munich. 'The women are driven back by the Greeks over the river
Thermodon; two horses are in savage combat on the bridge; one Amazon is
torn from her horse; a second is dragged along by a sable steed, and
falling headlong into the river, where others are swimming and
struggling. No other battle-piece, save that of the Amazons, can compare
with Raphael's "Battle of Constantine."'

Another great picture is The 'Carrying off of Proserpine.' 'Pluto in his
car is driven by fiery brown steeds, and is bearing away the goddess,
resisting and struggling. The picture absolutely glows with genial fire.
The forms in it are more slender than is general with Rubens. Among the
companions of Proserpine the figure of Diana is conspicuous for grace
and beauty. The victorious god of love hovers before the chariot, and
the blue ocean, warmly tinted with the sunbeams, forms a splendid

Rubens was famous for the loveliness and grace of his paintings of
children. Perhaps the most beautiful is that of 'The Infant Jesus and
John playing with a Lamb.'

Rubens was a great animal painter. One of his celebrated animal pictures
is 'Daniel in the Lions' Den,' now at Hamilton Palace, in which each
lion is a king of beasts checked in his fiercest have been painted by
Rubens in a fit of pique at a false report which had been circulated
that he could not paint animals, and that those in his pictures were
supplied by the animal-painter, his friend and scholar, Schneyders.

Rubens' landscapes are not the least renowned of his pictures. He gave
to his own rich but prosaic Flanders, all the breadth and breeziness and
matchless aerial effects of a master of painting, and a true lover of
nature under every aspect, who can indeed distinguish, under the most
ordinary aspect, those hidden treasures which all but a lover and a man
of genius would pass by. His 'Prairie of Laacken,' 'with the sun of
Flanders piercing the dense yellow clouds with the force of fire,' is of
great repute.

Among his famous portraits I shall mention that called 'The Four
Philosophers' (Justus Lepsius, Hugo Grotius, Rubens, and his brother),
with peaked beards and moustaches, in turned-over collars, ruffs and
fur-trimmed robes, having books and pens, a dog, and a classic bust as
accessories. The open pillared door is wreathed with a spray from
without, and there is a landscape in the background. This portrait is
full of power, freedom, and splendid painting.

Another portrait contains that sweetest of Rubens' not often sweet
faces, called 'the Lady in the Straw Hat.' Rubens himself did not name
the picture otherwise in his catalogue. Tradition says the original was
Mdlle Lundens, the beauty of the seventeen provinces, and that she died
young and unmarried. Connoisseurs value the picture because of the
triumph of skill by which Rubens has painted brilliantly a face so much
in the shade; to those who are not connoisseurs I imagine the picture
must speak for itself, in its graceful, tender beauty. Forming part of
the collection of the late Sir Robert Peel (I think he gave three
thousand pounds for 'the Lady in the Straw Hat'), which has been bought
for the country, this beautiful portrait is now in the National Gallery.

And now I must speak of the picture of the Arundel Family. But first, a
word about Thomas, Earl of Arundel. It is impossible to write an English
work on art and omit a brief account of one of England's greatest art
benefactors. Thomas, Earl of Arundel, representing in his day the great
house of Howard, had a love of art which approached to a mania; and
without being so outrageously vain as Sir Kenelm Digby, there is no
doubt that the Earl counted on his art collection as a source of
personal distinction. James I., himself an art collector, so far
humoured the Earl in his taste as to present him with Lord Somerset's
forfeited collection, valued at a thousand pounds. But Charles I, and
the Earl became rival collectors, and little love was lost between them.
The Earl of Arundel impairing even his great revenues in the pursuit,
employed agents and ambassadors--notably Petty and Evelyn--all over
Europe, to obtain for him drawings, pictures, ancient marbles, gems,
etc., etc. When the civil wars broke out, Lord Arundel conveyed his
priceless collection for safety to Antwerp and Padua. Eventually it was
divided among his sons and scattered far and wide. The only portion of
it which fell to the nation, in the course of another generation, was
the Greek Marbles, known as the Arundel Marbles, which were finally
presented to the University of Oxford. But in Rubens' day all this grand
collection was intact, and displayed in galleries at Arundel House,
which the mob thought fit to nickname 'Tart Hall;' and through these
galleries Rubens was conducted by the Earl.

Lord Arundel desired to have an Arundel family portrait painted for him
by Rubens. The Earl was rather given to having Arundel family portraits,
for there are no less than three in which he figures. One by Van Somer,
in which the hero is pointing somewhat comically with his truncheon to
the statues of his collection in the background, and the last one
projected by Van Dyck, but executed by an inferior artist, in which
various family pieces of armour, swords, and shields, worn at Flodden,
or belonging to the poet Earl of Surrey, are introduced in the hands of
the sons of the family.

But it is with Rubens' 'Arundel Family,' which, we must remember, ranks
second in English family pictures, that we have to do. Thomas, Earl of
Arundel, and the Lady Alathea,[24] are under a portico with twisted
columns, like those in Raphael's cartoons; a rich curtain, and a
landscape with a large mansion are seen beyond. The Countess is seated
in a chair of state, with one hand on the head of a white greyhound; she
wears a black satin gown, laced ruff, gold bracelets, and pearl
necklace. Her hair is light, and decked with pearls and plumes. The Earl
stands behind with a hand on her chair. His head is uncovered, the short
hair inclining to grey; the whiskers and beard pointed. His vest is
olive-coloured, and he has a brown mantle lined with crimson over the
shoulders beneath his ruff. There is a little boy--Earl Thomas's
grandson, Philip Howard, afterwards Cardinal Howard, in crimson velvet,
trimmed with gold lace, and a dwarf on the other side of the dog, with
one hand on its back.

Among other masterpieces of Rubens, including the 'Straw Hat,' which
are in the National Gallery, there are the 'Rape of the Sabines,' and
the landscape 'Autumn,' which has a view of his country chateau, de
Stein, near Mechlin. In Dulwich Gallery there is an interesting portrait
by Rubens of an elderly lady in a great Spanish ruff, which is believed
to be the portrait of his mother.

Rembrandt Van Rhyn is said to have been born near Leyden about 1606 or
1608, for there is a doubt as to the exact date. His father was a miller
or maltster, and there is a theory that Rembrandt acquired some of his
effects of light and shade from the impressions made upon him during his
life in the mill. He was a pupil at the Latin school of Leyden, and a
scholar in studios both at Leyden and Amsterdam.

In 1630, when Rembrandt was a mere lad, he seems to have settled in
Amsterdam, and married there in 1634, when he was six or eight and
twenty years of age, a young Dutchwoman possessed of a considerable
fortune, which, in case of her death and of Rembrandt's re-marriage, was
to pass to her children, a provision that in the end wrought Rembrandt's
ruin. The troubles of his country in the painter's time rendered his
prices comparatively small and precarious, and Rembrandt, like Rubens,
without Rubens' wealth, was eager in making an art collection and
surrounding himself with those very forms of beauty in the great Italian
masters' works, in the appreciation of which the Dutch master--judged by
his own works--might have been reckoned deficient.

Rembrandt's wife died after eight years of marriage, and left him with
one surviving son, Titus, and Rembrandt, having re-married, was called
upon to give up the lad's inheritance. This call, together with the
expenditure of the sums which Rembrandt had lavished on his collection,
was too heavy upon funds never very ample, and the painter, after
struggling with his difficulties, became a bankrupt in 1656. His son
took possession of Rembrandt's house, and from the sale of the
painter's art collection and other resources eventually recovered his
mother's fortune, but Rembrandt himself never rose above the misery,
degradation, and poverty of this period. He lived thirteen years longer,
but it was in obscurity--out of which the only records which reach us,
are stories of miserly habits acquired too late to serve their purpose,
a desperate resort to low company dating from his first wife's death,
and his gradual downfall.

Rubens and Rembrandt have been sometimes contrasted as the painters of
light and of darkness; the contrast extended to their lives.

It will read like a humorous anti-climax after so sad a history, when I
add that no other painter painted his own likeness so often as Rembrandt
painted his. In the engraving before me the face is heavy and
stolid-seeming enough to be that of a typical Dutchman. The eye-brows
are slightly knit over the broad nose; the full lips are scantily shaded
by a moustache; there is no hair on the well-fleshed cheeks and double
chin. Rembrandt wears a flat cap and ear-rings. He has two rows of a
chain across his doublet, and one hand thrust beneath the cloak hanging
across his breast.

Rembrandt's great merits were his strong truthfulness, and his almost
equally powerful sense of a peculiar kind of picturesqueness. It seems
as if the German weirdness perceptible in Albrecht Duerer had in
Rembrandt taken a homelier, but a more comprehensible and effective
Dutch form. Kugler argues, that the long winter, with its short dark
days, of Northern Europe produces in its inhabitants instinctive delight
in hearth-warmth and light, and that the pleasure in looking at
Rembrandt's pictures is traceable to this influence. It is in scenes by
fire-light, camp-light, torch-light, that he triumphs, and his somewhat
grim but very real romance owes its origin to the endless suggestions of
the deep black shadows which belong to these artificial lights. There is
this objection to be urged to the theory, that Rembrandt was also a good
painter of his own flat Dutch landscape, painting it, however, rather
under the sombre dimness of clouds and tempests than in the brightness
of sunshine. But whatever its source, there is a charm so widely felt in
that wonderfully perfect surrounding of uncertainty, suspicion, and
alarm, with which Rembrandt has encompassed so many of his otherwise
prosaic, coarse, and sometimes vulgar Dutch men and women, that we have
coined a new word to express the charm, and speak of groups and
incidents being _Rembrandtesque_, as we speak of their being

Rembrandt did not always leave the vague thrill of doubt, terror, or
even horror, which he sought to produce, to imagination working in the
mysterious depths of his shadows. A very famous picture of his is 'Dr
Deeman (an anatomist) demonstrating from a dead subject.' In another
picture a man stealing from the gloom is in the act of stabbing in the
back the unconscious man in the foreground.[25] Rembrandt's originality
is as undoubted as his ability, and he was as great in etching as in
painting. His defect as a painter was the frequent absence of any
evidence in his work of a sense of refinement, grace, or even beauty;
this can be said of him who spent means not his own on gathering
together images of beauty and grace produced by the pencils and brushes
of others. Many of Rembrandt's pictures are in the galleries of
Amsterdam and the Hague, and we have many in London. The National
Gallery has several examples, including two of Rembrandt's portraits.

Passing over Van Dyck, whom I reserve, as I have reserved Holbein, to
class among the foreign painters resident in or closely connected with
England, I come to the Teniers--father and son. David the elder was born
at Antwerp in 1582, and David the younger also at Antwerp, in 1610.
David the younger is decidedly the more eminent painter, though the
works of the father are often mistaken for those of the son. The two
Teniers' class of subjects was the same, being ordinarily 'fairs,
markets, peasants' merry-makings, beer-houses, guard rooms.'

David the younger had great popularity, was court painter to the
Archduke of Austria, and earned such an independence, that he bought for
himself a chateau at the village of Perck, not very far from the Chateau
de Stein of Rubens, with whom David Teniers was on terms of friendly
intimacy. There Teniers, like his great associate, lived in the utmost
state and bounty, entertaining the noblest of the land. David Teniers
married twice, his first wife being the daughter of one of a family of
Flemish painters, who were known, according to their respective
proclivities in art, by the names of Peasant Breughel, Velvet Breughel,
and Hell Breughel. Teniers had many children.

The elder Teniers died at Antwerp in 1649; the younger died at Brussels,
and was buried at Perck, in 1694.

The distinction of the Teniers was the extreme fidelity and cleverness
with which they copied (but did not explain) the life they knew--the
homeliest, humblest aspect of life. They brought out with marvellous
accuracy all its traits, except, indeed, the underlying strain of
poetry, which, while it redeems plainness, sordidness, and even
coarseness, is as true to life as is its veriest prose. With those who
ask a literal copy of life, whether high or low, and ask no more, the
Teniers and their school must always be in the highest favour; and to
those who are wearied and sceptical of blunders and failures in seeking
that underlying strain of life, the mere rugged genuineness of the
Teniers' work recommends itself, and is not without its own pathos;
while to very many superficial observers the simple homeliness of the
life which the Teniers chose to represent, prevents the observers from
missing what should be present in every life. Men and women are only
conscious of the defect when the painters wander, now and then, into
higher spheres and into sacred subjects, and there is the unavoidable
recoil from gross blindness. I have taken the Teniers as the
representatives of a numerous school of Flemish and Dutch artists, whose
works abound in this country. David Teniers the younger appears at his
best, several times, in Dulwich Gallery and the National Gallery.

Philip Wouverman was born at Haarlem in 1620. He was the son of a
painter, able, but unrecognized in his own day. Philip Wouverman found
few patrons, disposed of his pictures by hard bargains to dealers, was
tempted by his want of success to abjure his art, and even went so far,
according to tradition, as to burn his studies and sketches, in order to
prevent his son pursuing the career which had been to him a career of
bitter disappointment. He died at Haarlem, 1668, when he was no more
than forty-eight years of age. Yet some nine hundred paintings bear
(many of them falsely) Wouverman's name.

With all the truth and excellent execution of his contemporaries and
countrymen', Philip Wouverman, who had, as he thought, missed his mark,
had something which those successful men lacked--he had not only a
feeling for grace, but a touch of sentiment. His scenes are commonly
'road-side inns, hunts, fights;' but along with an inclination to adopt
a higher class of actors--knights and ladies, instead of peasants--there
is a more refined treatment and a dash of tenderness and melancholy--the
last possibly born of his own disastrous fortunes. In his love of horses
and dogs, as adjuncts to his groups, he had as great a fondness for a
special white horse, as Paul Potter had for black and white cattle.

Albert Cuyp was born at Dort in 1605. He was a brewer by trade, and only
painted as an amateur. In spite of this, he was a great landscape
painter, and has given delight to thousands by his power of expressing
his own love of nature. Little is known of Cuyp's life, and the date of
his death is uncertain, farther than it was later than 1638.

In affected enthusiasm, Cuyp has been called the Dutch Claude, but in
reality, Cuyp surpassed, Claude in some respects. The distinction, which
Mr Ruskin draws between them, is that, while Claude, in the sense of
beauty, is the superior to Cuyp, in the sense of truth Claude is the
inferior. Besides Cuyp's landscapes, he painted portraits, and what is
called 'still life' (dead game, fruit or flower pieces, etc.), but Cuyp's
triumph was found in his skies, with their 'clearness and coolness,' and
in 'expressions of yellow sunlight.' Mr Ruskin admits, while he is
proceeding to censure Cuyp, parts might be chosen out of the good
pictures of Cuyp which have never been equalled in art.' On another
occasion, Mr Ruskin has this passage full of dry humour in reference to

'Again, look at the large Cuyp in Dulwich Gallery, which Mr Hazlitt
considers "finest in the world," and of which he very complimentarily
says, "the tender green of the valleys, the gleaming lake, the purple
light of the hills" have an effect ought to have apologized before now
for not having studied sufficiently in Covent Garden to be provided with
terms of correct and classical criticism. One of my friends begged me to
observe, the other day, that Claude was "pulpy;" another added the yet
more gratifying information that he was "juicy;" and it is now happily
discovered that Cuyp is "downy." Now I dare say that the sky of this
first-rate Cuyp is very like an unripe nectarine: all that I have to say
about it is, that it is exceedingly unlike a sky. We may see for
ourselves Cuyp's lovely landscapes both in the National Gallery and at

Paul Potter was born at Enkhuysen, in North Holland, in 1625, and was
the son of a painter. Paul Potter settled, while still very young, at
the Hague as an animal painter, and died in his thirtieth year, in 1654.
His career, which was thus brief, had promised to be very successful,
and he had established his fame, while no more than twenty-two years of
age, by painting for Prince Maurice of Nassau that which continues his
most renowned, though probably not his best picture, his 'Young Bull,'
for some time in the Louvre, now restored to the painter's native
country, and placed in the Museum at the Hague. This picture is
considered nearly faultless as a vigorous, if somewhat coarse,
representation of animal life in the main figure; but Paul Potter's
later pictures, especially his smaller pictures of pastures with cattle
feeding, having fine colouring and fine treatment of light, are now
regarded as equally good in their essential excellences, and of wider
scope. Paul Potter etched as well as painted. There is no example of
Paul Potter in the National Gallery.

Jan David de Heem[26] and his son Cornelius, the father born in 1603,
the son in 1630, and Maria Von Oesterwyck, the elder man's pupil, were
eminent Flemish and Dutch flower and fruit painters. The gorgeous bloom
and mellow ripeness in some of the flower and fruit pieces of Flemish
and Dutch painters, like those I have mentioned, are beyond description.
I would have you look at them for yourselves, where they are well
represented, in the Dulwich Gallery; I would have you notice also how,
as travellers declare of the splendour of tropical flowers, that they
are deficient in the tender sweetness and grace of our more sober-tinted
and less lavishly-blossoming English flowers; so these Flemish and Dutch
full blown flower pieces have not a trace of the sentiment which modern
flower painters cannot help seeking, with good result or bad result, to
introduce into every tuft of primroses or of violets, if not into every
cluster of grapes and bunch of cherries.

From a fact which I have already mentioned, that so many Flemish and
Dutch pictures, which we may often come across, are in England, I am
sorry that my space will not suffer me to give a few special words to
other famous painters of these schools or school, for they merge into
one, to Snyders, Jan Steen, Gerard Dow, Ruysdael, Hobbema, Van de Velde,
etc., etc.


SPANISH ART--VELASQUEZ, 1599-1660--MURILLO, 1618-1682.

Spanish art, from its dawn to the time of Velasquez, had been of a
'severely devotional character,' austere and formal; and although one
man did not work a revolution by his independent example, he did
something to humanize and widen art. In the rich city of Seville in
1599, Diego Rodriguez, de Silva y Velasquez,--and not, as he is
incorrectly called, Diego Velasquez de Silva, was born, and, according
to an Andalusian fashion, took his mother's name of Velasquez, while his
father was of the Portuguese house de Silva. Velasquez was gently born,
though his father was in no higher position than that of a lawyer in

The painter was well educated, though, according to his English
biographer (Sir W. Stirling Maxwell), 'he was still more diligent in
drawing on his grammars and copybooks than in turning them to their
legitimate use.' The lad's evident bent induced his father to painter.
He studied in two different Spanish studios, and married the daughter of
his second master, whom the talents, assiduity, and good qualities of
Velasquez had already strongly attached to the young painter.

From the first, Velasquez struck out what was then a new line in Spanish
art. He gave himself up to the materialistic studies, to which the
Flemish and Dutch painters were prone, painting diligently 'still life'
in every form, taking his living subjects from the streets and
way-sides, and keeping a peasant lad as an apprentice, 'who served him
for a study in different actions and postures (sometimes crying,
sometimes laughing), till Velasquez had grappled with every variety of
expression.' The result of those studies was Velasquez's famous picture
of the 'Aguador,' or water-carrier of Seville, which was carried off by
Joseph Buonaparte in his flight from Spain, taken in his carriage at
Vittoria, and finally presented by Ferdinand VII, of Spain, as a
grateful offering to the Duke of Wellington, in whose gallery at Apsley
House the picture remains. 'It is a composition of three figures,' Sir
W. Stirling Maxwell writes; 'a sunburnt way-worn seller of water,
dressed in a tattered brown jerkin, with his huge earthen jars, and two
lads, one of whom receives a sparkling glass of the pure element, whilst
his companion quenches his thirst from a pipkin. The execution of the
heads and all the details is perfect; and the ragged trader dispensing a
few maravidi's worth of his simple stock, maintains, during the
transaction, a grave dignity of deportment, highly Spanish and
characteristic, and worthy of an emperor pledging a great vassal in

Just such a group may still be seen, or was to be seen till very lately,
in the quaint streets of Seville. I have read an anecdote of Velasquez
and this picture, which is quite probable, though I cannot vouch for
its accuracy. It is said that, while painting the water-carrier day
after day, when he had been engaged with his work for several hours,
Velasquez found himself vexed by perceiving, as it were, the effect of a
shadow cast by some of the drapery. Small flaw as it might have been, it
appeared to him to interfere with and spoil the picture. Again and
again, in endeavouring to do away with this 'shadow,' Velasquez undid
portions of his work, and had to repeat them next day, but always,
towards the end of his task, the invidious shadow stole upon his vision.
At last a friend, who was present and full of admiration for the
picture, heard Velasquez exclaim, 'That shadow again!' and saw him seize
a brush and prepare to dash it across the canvas. The friend
remonstrated, besought, and by main force held back the painter, and at
last induced him to leave the picture untouched till next day, when
Velasquez discovered, to his great relief, that the shadow had been in
his own wearied young eyes, and not in his admirable representation of
the 'Water-carrier.'

Velasquez was in Madrid in 1623, when he was in his twenty-fifth year,
and having been introduced by the Prime Minister, Olivares, to the King
of Spain, Philip IV., a king who was only known to smile once or twice
in his lifetime, whose government was careless and blundering, but who
had the reputation of being a man of some intelligence and very
considerable taste,--Velasquez was received into the king's service with
a monthly salary of twenty ducats, and employed to paint the royal

From the time that he became court painter, Velasquez was largely
occupied in painting portraits of members of the royal family, with
special repetitions of the likeness of his most Catholic Majesty. With
Velasquez's first portrait of Philip in armour, mounted on an Andalusian
charger, the king was so pleased, that he permitted the picture to be
publicly exhibited, amidst the plaudits of the spectators, in front of
the church of San Felipe el Real in Madrid. Nor was the exhibition a
barren honour to the painter, for the king not only 'talked of
collecting and in future Velasquez should have the monopoly of the royal
countenance,' he paid three hundred ducats for the picture.

About this time our own Charles I., then Prince of Wales, went in his
incognito of Charles Smith to Madrid on his romantic adventure of
seeking to woo and win, personally, the Infanta of Spain, and Velasquez
is said to have gained Charles's notice, and to have at least begun a
portrait of him. If it were ever completed it has been lost, a
misfortune which has caused spurious pictures, purporting to be the real
work, to be offered to the public. Sir W. Stirling Maxwell holds, with
great show of truth, that this visit of Charles to Madrid, when its
altars were 'glowing' with the pictures of Titian, confirmed the unhappy
king's taste for art.

In 1628 Rubens came to Madrid as an envoy from the governess of the
Netherlands, and the two painters, who had many points in common, and
who had already corresponded, became fast friends. By the advice of
Rubens, Velasquez was induced to put into execution his cherished
desire of visiting Italy, the king granting his favourite painter leave
of absence, the continuance of his salary, and a special sum for his

Velasquez went to Venice first, and afterwards to Rome, where he was
offered, and declined, a suite of apartments in the Vatican, asking only
free access to the papal galleries. There he copied many portions of
Michael Angelo's 'Last Judgment'--not a hundred years old, and 'yet
undimmed by the morning and evening incense of centuries,' and portions
of the frescoes of Raphael. At Rome Velasquez found there before him,
Domenichino, Guido Reni, alternating 'between the excitements of the
gaming table and the sweet creations of his smooth flowing pencil;'
'Nicolas Poussin, an adventurer fresh from his Norman village; and
Claude Gelee, a pastry-cook's runaway apprentice from Lorraine.'[27]
Velasquez remained a year in Rome. Besides his studies he painted three
original pictures, one of them, 'Joseph's Coat,' well known among the
painter's comparatively rare religious works, and now in the Escurial.
In this picture his biographer acknowledges, that 'choosing rather to
display his unrivalled skill in delineating vulgar forms than to risk
his reputation in the pursuit of a more refined and idealized style,'
Velasquez's 'Hebrew patriarchs are swineherds of Estramadura or
shepherds of the Sierra Morena.'

From Rome Velasquez proceeded to Naples, where he was enabled by his
prudence and forbearance to face without injury the disgraceful 'reign
of terror' which the Neapolitan artists had established in the south of
Italy. The Neapolitan artists more than any other Italian artists are
believed to have influenced Velasquez's style.

In 1639 Velasquez painted his principal religious work, 'The
Crucifixion,' for the nunnery of San Placido in Madrid, a painting in
which his power has triumphed successfully over his halting imagination.

With regard to the many court groups which Velasquez was constantly
taking, I may quote Sir W. Stirling Maxwell's amusing paragraph about a
curious variety of human beings in the Court Gallery. 'The Alcazar of
Madrid abounded with dwarfs in the days of Philip IV., who was very fond
of having them about him, and collected curious specimens of the race,
like other rarities. The Queen of Spain's gallery is, in consequence,
rich in portraits of these little monsters, executed by Velasquez. They
are, for the most part, very ugly, displaying, sometimes in an extreme
degree, the deformities peculiar to their stunted growth. Maria Barbola,
immortalized by a place in one of Velasquez's most celebrated pictures,
was a little dame about three feet and a half in height, with the head
and shoulders of a large woman, and a countenance much underjawed, and
almost ferocious in expression. Her companion, Nicolasito Pertusano,
although better proportioned than the lady, and of a more amicable
aspect, was very inferior in elegance as a royal plaything to his
contemporary, the valiant Sir Geoffrey Hudson; or his successor in the
next reign, the pretty Luisillo of Queen Louisa of Orleans. Velasquez
painted many portraits of these little creatures, generally seated on
the ground; and there is a large picture in the Louvre representing two
of them leading by a cord a great spotted hound, to which they bear the
same proportion that men of the usual size bear to a horse.'

In 1648 Velasquez again visited Italy, sent by the king this time to
collect works of art for the royal galleries and the academy about to be
founded. Velasquez went by Genoa, Milan, Venice (buying there chiefly
the works of Tintoret), and Parma, to Rome and Naples, returning to
Rome. At Rome Velasquez painted his splendidly characteristic portrait
of the Pope Innocent X., 'a man of coarse features and surly expression,
and perhaps the ugliest of all the successors of St Peter.'

Back at Madrid, Philip continued to load Velasquez and his family with
favours, appointing the painter Quarter-Master-General of the king's
household with a salary of three thousand ducats a year, and the right
of carrying at his girdle a key which opened every lock in the palace.

Philip is said to have raised Velasquez to knighthood in a manner as
gracious as the manner of Charles V, when he lifted up Titian's pencil.
In painting one of his most renowned pictures, to which I shall refer
again, 'The Maids of Honour,' Velasquez included himself at work on a
large picture of the royal family. The painter represented himself with
the key of his office at his girdle, and on his breast the red cross of
the Order of Santiago. Philip, who came every day to see the progress of
this picture, remarked in reference to the figure of the artist, that
'one thing was yet wanting, and taking up the brush painted the knightly
insignia with his own royal fingers, thus conferring the accolade with a
weapon not recognized in chivalry.'

As it is believed, Velasquez's court office, with all its prestige and
influence, helped in causing his death. King Philip went in June, 1660,
to the Isle of Pheasants in the river Bidassa, where, on ground which
was neither Spanish nor French, the Spanish and French courts were to
meet and celebrate with the greatest magnificence the marriage of the
Grand Monarque and the Infanta Maria Teresa. One of Velasquez's
official duties was to prepare lodgings for the king on his journeys,
and in this instance the lodging included not only the decoration of the
castle of Fuenterrabia, but the erection of a sumptuous pavilion in
which the interviews of the assembled kings and queens and their
revelries were to be held. Velasquez did his part of the preparations,
and doubtless shared in the royal festivities, but returned to Madrid so
worn out by his undertaking, and by constant attendance on his master,
that he was seized with tertian fever, of which he died a few days
later, while but in his sixty-first year, to the great grief of his
countrymen, and above all of his king. Velasquez's wife, Dona Juana,
died eight days after her husband, and was buried in his grave. The
couple left one surviving child, a daughter, married to a painter.

In one picture, now at Vienna, Velasquez gives a glimpse of his family
life at a time when it would seem that he had four sons and two
daughters, so that the fortunate painter's home had not been free from
one shadow--that of death, which must have robbed him of five of his
children. In this pleasant picture, 'his wife dressed in a brown tunic
over a red petticoat, sits in the foreground of a large room, with a
pretty little girl leaning on her knees, and the rest of her children
grouped around her; behind are the men in deep shadow, one of them,
perhaps, being Mazo, the lover or the husband of the eldest daughter,
and a nurse with a child; and in an alcove Velasquez himself appears,
standing before his easel, at work on a portrait of Philip IV. This is
one of the most important works of the master out of the Peninsula; the
faces of the family sparkle on the sober background like gems. As a
piece of easy actual life, the composition has never been surpassed, and
perhaps it excels even "The Meninas," inasmuch as the hoops and dwarfs
of the palace have not intruded upon the domestic privacy of the
painter's home, in the northern gallery.'[28]

Velasquez seems to have been a man of honour and amiability. He filled
a difficult office at the most jealous court in Europe with credit. He
was true to his friends, and helpful to his brother artists. His
biographer writes of Velasquez as handsome in person, and describes his
costume when he appeared for the last time with his king in the galas at
Pheasants' Isle:--'over a dress richly laced with silver he wore the
usual Castilian ruff, and a short cloak embroidered with the red cross
of Santiago; the badge of the order, sparkling with brilliants, was
suspended from his neck by a gold chain; and the scabbard and hilt of
his sword were of silver, exquisitely chased, and of Italian
workmanship.' In the likeness of Velasquez, which is the frontispiece of
Sir W. Stirling Maxwell's 'Life,' the painter appears as a man of
swarthy complexion, with a long compressed upper lip, unconcealed by his
long, elaborately trimmed moustache; his hair, or wig, is arranged in
two large frizzed bunches on each side of a face which is inclined to be
lantern-jawed. He wears a dark doublet with a 'standing white collar.'

Velasquez's excellence as a painter was to be found, like that of
Rembrandt, in his truth to nature; but the field of truth presented to
the stately Spaniard, while it had its own ample share of humour, was a
widely different field from that which offered itself to the Dutch
burgher. Together with absolute truth, Velasquez had the ease and
facility in expressing truth which are only acquired by a great master.
Like Rubens, Velasquez made essays in many branches of painting. In
sacred art, if we except his 'Crucifixion,' he did not attain a high
place. With regard to his landscapes, Sir David Wilkie bore
witness:--'Titian seems his model, but he has also the breadth and
picturesque effect for which Claude and Salvator Rosa are remarkable;'
and Sir David added of those landscapes, 'they have the very same sun we
see, and the air we breathe, the very soul and spirit of nature.'

Velasquez's _genre_ pictures, to which I shall refer by and by, are
excellent, but the fate was kind which confined him largely to portrait
painting. It was brought as a reproach against Velasquez in his
lifetime, that he could paint a head and nothing else, to which he
replied with mingled spirit, sense, and good nature, that his detractors
flattered him, 'for he knew nobody of whom it could be said that he
painted a head thoroughly well.'

Sir W. Stirling Maxwell asserts of Velasquez's portrait painting, that
no artist 'ever followed nature with more catholic fidelity; his
cavaliers are as natural as his boors; he neither refined the vulgar,
nor vulgarized the refined,' and goes on to quote this among other
criticism:--'his portraits baffle description and praise; he drew the
minds of men; they live, breathe, and are ready to walk out of the
frames.' Sir William winds up with the enthusiastic declaration, 'Such
pictures as these are real history; we know the persons of Philip IV,
and Olivares, as familiarly as if we had paced the avenues of the Pardo
with Digby and Howell, and perhaps we think more favourably of their

I shall borrow still further from Sir W. Stirling Maxwell's graphic and
entertaining book, descriptions of two of Velasquez's _genre_ pictures,
'The Maids of Honour,' and the more celebrated 'Spinners,' both at
Madrid. 'The scene (of the first) is a long room in a quarter of the old
palace which was called the prince's quarter, and the subject, Velasquez
at work on a large picture of the royal family. To the extreme right of
the composition is seen the back of the easel and the canvas on which he
is engaged; and beyond it spalette, pausing to converse, and to observe
the effect of his performance. In the centre stands the little Infanta
Maria Margarita, taking a cup of water from a salver which Dona Maria
Augustina Sarmiento, maid of honour to the queen, presents kneeling. To
the left, Dona Isabel de Velasco, another menina, seems to be dropping a
courtesy; and the dwarfs, Maria Barbolo and Nicolas Pertusano, stand in
the foreground, the little man putting his foot on the quarters of a
great tawny hound, which despises the aggression, and continues in a
state of solemn repose. Some paces behind these figures, Dona Marcela de
Ulloa, a lady of honour in nun-like weeds, and a _guardadimas,_ are seen
in conversation; at the far end of the room an open door gives a view of
a staircase, up which Don Josef Nieto, queen's apasentador, is retiring;
and near this door there hangs on the wall a mirror, which, reflecting
the countenance of the king and queen, shows that they form part of the
principal group, although placed beyond the bounds of the picture. The
room is hung with paintings which Palomino assures us are works of
Rubens; and it is lighted by three windows in the left wall, and by the
open door at the end, an arrangement of which an artist will at once
comprehend the difficulties. The perfection of art which conceals art,
was never better attained than in this picture. Velasquez seems to have
anticipated the discovery of Daguerre, and taking a real room, and real
chance grouped people, to have fixed them, as it were by magic, for all
time on his canvas. The little fair-haired Infanta is a pleasing study
of childhood; with the hanging-lip and full cheek of the Austrian
family, she has a fresh complexion and lovely blue eyes, and gives a
promise of beauty which as empress she never fulfilled. Her young
attendants, girls of thirteen or fourteen, contrast agreeably with the
ill-favoured dwarf beside them; they are very pretty, especially Dona
Isabel de Velasco, who died a reigning beauty, and their hands are
painted with peculiar delicacy. Their dresses are highly absurd, their
figures being concealed by long stiff corsets and prodigious hoops; for
these were the days when the mode was--

    "Supporters, pooters, fardingales, above the loynes to weare;"

and the _guardainfante_, the oval hoop peculiar to Spain, was in full
blow; and the robes of a dowager might have curtained the tun of
Heidelberg, and the powers of Velasquez were baffled by the perverse
fancy of "Fribble, the woman's tailor." The gentle and majestic hound,
stretching himself and winking drowsily, is admirably painted, and seems
a descendant of the royal breed immortalized by Titian in portraits of
the Emperor Charles and his son.'

'The Spinners:' 'The scene is a large weaving-room, in which an old
woman and young one sit, the first at her spinning-wheel, and the
second winding yarn, with three girls beside them, one of whom plays
with a cat. In the background, standing within an alcove filled with the
light from an unseen window, are two other women displaying a large
piece of tapestry to a lady customer, whose graceful figure recalls that
which has given its name to Terburg's picture of "The Satin Gown." Of
the composition, the painter Mengs observed, "it seemed as if the hand
had no part in it, and it had been the work of pure thought."'
Velasquez, who must have seen many a bull fight, has left the world a
fine example of field sports in 'The Boar Hunt,' in our National
Gallery, a picture which was bought for two thousand two hundred pounds
from Lord Cowley. When ambassador at the Court of Spain, it was given to
him by Ferdinand VII. In a circular pen in the Pardo, 'Philip IV. and a
party of cavaliers display their skill in slaying boars, to a few
ladies, who sit secure in heavy old-fashioned blue coaches,' while
motley groups of courtiers and peasants, huntsmen and hounds, postilions
and their mules fill the foreground. Sir Edwin Landseer remarked of
this picture that he had never before seen 'so much large art on so
small a scale.'

Bartolome Estevan Murillo was born at Seville in 1618, and was therefore
nearly twenty years younger than his great countryman Velasquez. Murillo
seems to have been of obscure origin, and to have begun his life in
humble circumstances. There are traditions of his being self-taught, of
his studying ragged boys, himself little more than a boy, in the gypsy
quarter of Triana in Seville; of his painting in the marketplace, where
he probably found the originals of the heads of saints and Madonnas (by
which he made a little money in selling them for South America) in the
peasants who came to Seville with their fruit and vegetables. In 1642,
Murillo, then twenty-four years of age, visited Madrid, and was kindly
received, and aided in his art by his senior and fellow artist, the
court painter, Velasquez. It had been Murillo's intention to proceed to
England to study under Van Dyck, but the death of the latter put a stop
to the project. Murillo was prevented from making the painter's
pilgrimage to Italy by want of means, but the loss of culture was so far
supplied by the instructions given to him by Velasquez.

In 1645, when Murillo was twenty-seven years of age, he returned to
Seville, and settled there, becoming as successful as he deserved; and
being acknowledged as the head of the school of Seville, where he
established the Academy of Art, and was its first president. Murillo
married, in 1648, a lady of some fortune, and was accustomed to
entertain at his house the most exclusive society of Seville.

In 1682, Murillo was at Cadiz painting a picture of the marriage of St
Catherine in the church of the Capuchins there, when, in consequence of
the accidental fall of the scaffolding, he received so severe an injury,
that he was forced to leave his work incomplete, and to return to
Seville, where he died within a few weeks, aged sixty-four years. He had
two sons, and an only daughter, who was a nun, having taken the veil
eight years before her father's death.

Murillo appears to have been in character a gentle, enthusiastic man,
not without a touch of fun and frolic. He would remain for hours in the
sacristy of the cathedral of Seville before 'the solemn awful picture of
the 'Deposition from the Cross,' by Pedro de Campana. When Murillo was
asked by the sacristan why he stood thus gazing there, the painter
answered, 'I am waiting till these holy men have finished their work.'
By his own desire, Murillo was buried before this picture. Before
another 'too truthful picture of Las dos Cadaveres' in the small church
of the hospital of the Caridad, Murillo used to hold his nose. One of
Murillo's pictures has the odd name of 'La Virgen Sarvilleta,' or the
Virgin of the Napkin. Murillo was working at the Convento de la Merced,
which is almost filled with his works, when the cook of the convent
begged a memorial of him, offering as the canvas a napkin, on which
Murillo at once painted a 'brilliant glowing Madonna,' with a child,
'which seems quite to bound forward out of the picture.'[29]

Murillo's portrait by himself represents him in a dark doublet having
wide sleeves and a square collar closed in front. His thumb is in his
pallet, and the other hand, with fingers taper and delicate as those of
a hand by Van Dyck, holds one of his brushes. The smooth face, with
regular features, is pale and thoughtful, and with the womanliness of
the aspect increased from the dark hair, which is divided slightly to
one side, being allowed to fall down in long wavy curls on the

In spite of the naturalistic studies of his early youth, and even of the
naturalistic treatment which he gave to his first religious work,
Murillo was possessed of greater and higher imagination than Velasquez
could claim, and the longer Murillo lived and worked the more refined
and exalted his ideas became. Unlike Velasquez, Murillo was a great
religious painter, and during the last years of his life he painted
sacred subjects almost exclusively. But, like Velasquez, Murillo was
eminently a Spanish painter--his virgins are dark-eyed,
olive-complexioned maidens, and even his Holy Child is a Spanish babe.

Without the elevation and the training of the best Italian painters,
Murillo has left abundant proofs of great original genius. The painter's
works are widely circulated, but the chief are still in Seville. Six are
in the church of the Caridad, and these six include his famous 'Moses
striking the Rock,' and his 'Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes;' seven
'Murillos' are in the Convento de la Merced, among them Murillo's own
favourite picture, which he called 'Mi Cicadro' of 'St Thomas of
Villaneuva.' 'St Thomas was the favourite preacher of Charles V., and
was created Archbishop of Valencia, where he seemed to spend the whole
of his revenues in charity, yet never contracted any debt, so that his
people used to believe that angels must minister to his temporal wants.
He is represented at his cathedral door, distributing alms, robed in
black, with a white mitre. A poor cripple kneels at his feet, and other
mendicants are grouped around.'

In the cathedral, Seville, is Murillo's 'Angel de la Guarda,' 'in which
a glorious seraph, with spreading wings, leads a little trustful child
by the hand, and directs him to look beyond earth into the heavenly
light;' and his 'St Antonio.' 'The saint is represented kneeling in a
cell, of which all the poor details are faithfully given, while the long
arcade of the cloister can be seen through the half-open door. Above, in
a transparent light, which grows from himself, the Child Jesus appears,
and descends, floating through wreaths of angels, drawn down by the
power of prayer.'[30]

Another of Murillo's renowned pictures is that of the patron saints of
Seville, 'Santa Rufina and Santa Justina,' who were stoned to death for
refusing to bow down to the image of Venus.

With regard to Murillo's pictures of flower-girls and beggar-boys, I
think my readers are sure to have seen an engraving of one of the
former, '_The_ Flower-Girl,' as it is called, with a face as fresh and
radiant as her flowers. In the National Gallery there is a large Holy
Family of Murillo's, and in Dulwich Gallery there is a laughing boy, an
irresistible specimen of brown-cheeked, white-teethed drollery.


LE BRUN, 1619-1690--WATTEAU, 1684-1721--GREUZE, 1726-1805.

Nicolas Poussin was born at Andely in Normandy in 1594. Of his parentage
little seems to have been ascertained, but it is believed that he was
well educated, and his classical learning in after life was reckoned
great. He was regularly trained to be a painter under a master in his
native town, and afterwards in Paris.

Dissatisfied with the patronage which he received in Paris, Poussin went
to Rome when he was about thirty years of age. In Rome he is said to
have lived on familiar terms with a sculptor whose devotion to antique
art influenced his taste, and lent it the strong classical bent which it
retained. Poussin studied regularly in the school of Domenichino. After
some delay in attracting public notice, 'The Death of Germanicus,' and
'The Capture of Jerusalem,' which Poussin painted for Cardinal
Barberini, won general approval. In 1629, when Nicolas Poussin was in
his thirty-fifth year, he married the sister of his pupil, Gaspar
Dughet, who took Poussin's name, and is known as a painter, inferior to
his master, by the name of Gaspar Poussin.

Nicolas Poussin returned to Paris when he was a middle-aged man, was
presented to the king, Louis XIII., by Cardinal Richelieu, and offered
apartments in the Tuileries, with the title of painter in ordinary, and
a salary of a hundred and twenty pounds a year. Poussin agreed to settle
in Paris, but on his going back to Rome to fetch his wife, and on the
King of France's dying, the attractions of the Eternal City proved too
great for the painter, and in place of removing his home to his native
country, he lived for the rest of his years in Rome, and died there in
1665, when he was seventy-one years of age. Except what can be judged of
him from his work, I do not know that much has been gathered of the
private character and life of Nicolas Poussin, notwithstanding that
there was a biography written of him fifty years ago by Lady Calcott,
and that his letters have been published in Paris. In the absence of
conclusive testimony one may conclude with some probability that he was
'quiet,' like his best paintings; a man who minded his own business, and
did not trouble the world by astonishing actions, good or bad.[32]

In painting his own picture, from which an engraving has been taken,
Poussin's classical preferences seem to have passed into the likeness,
for in the dress of the seventeenth century, the cloak (not unlike a
toga), the massive hand with the heavy signet-ring resting on what looks
like a closed portfolio, the painter has something of the severe air and
haughty expression of an old Roman; still more, perhaps, of the
French-Romans, if I may call them so, of whom revolutionary times
nearly two centuries later, afforded so many examples. This is a
handsome, dignified face, with austerity in its pride. The slightly
curled hair is thrown back with a certain consciousness from the knit
brow, and from the shoulders. There is only the faintest shadow of a
moustache over the cleanly cut, firmly closed mouth.

Poussin painted largely, and his pictures have been often engraved. With
harmonious composition, good drawing and colouring, his pictures alike
profited and suffered from the classical atmosphere in which they had
their being. They gained in that correctness which in its highest form
becomes noble truthfulness, but they lost in freedom. The figures in the
pictures had frequently the statuesqueness which in sculpture suits the
material, but in painting is stiffness.

Nicolas Poussin had an exceptional reputation for a historical painter
in his day. As a landscape painter, Mr Ruskin, while waging war with
Nicolas Poussin's brother-in-law and assumed namesake, Gaspar, notably
excepts Nicolas from his severest strictures, and treats his efforts in
landscape painting with marked respect. At the same time, however, the
critic censures the painter for a want of thorough acquaintance with
nature, and the laws of nature, ignorance not uncommon in any day, and
nearly universal in Nicolas Poussin's day. 'The great master of elevated
ideal landscape,' Mr Ruskin calls Nicolas Poussin, and illustrates his
excellence in one respect, after contrasting it with the slovenliness of
Sir Joshua Reynolds, by describing the vine in Poussin's 'Nursing of
Jupiter,' in the Dulwich Gallery, thus:--

'Every vine-leaf, drawn with consummate skill and untiring diligence,
produces not only a true group of the most perfect grace and beauty, but
one which in its pure and simple truth belongs to every age of nature,
and adapts itself to the history of all time.' 'One of the finest
landscapes that ancient art has produced, the work of a really great
mind,' Mr Ruskin distinguishes the 'Phocian' of Nicolas Poussin in the
National Gallery, before proceeding to point out its faults.

Again, Mr Ruskin, writing of the street in the centre of another
landscape by Nicolas Poussin, indicates it with emphasis:--'the street
in the centre of the really great landscape of Poussin (great in
feeling, at least) marked 260 in the Dulwich Gallery,' The criticism
with which Mr Ruskin follows up this praise is so perfect a bit of
word-painting, that I cannot refrain from writing it down here. 'The
houses are dead square masses, with a light side and a dark side, and
black touches for windows. There is no suggestion of anything in any of
the spaces, the light wall is dead grey, the dark wall dead grey, and
the windows dead black. How differently would nature have treated us.
She would have let us see the Indian corn hanging on the walls, and the
image of the Virgin of the tiled eaves, and the deep ribbed tiles with
the doves upon them, and the carved Roman capital built into the wall,
and the white and blue stripes of the mattresses stuffed out of the
windows, and the flapping corners of the neat blinds. All would have
been there; not as such, not like the corn, nor blinds, nor tiles, not
to be comprehended nor understood, but a confusion of yellow and black
spots and strokes, carried far too fine for the eye to follow;
microscopic in its minuteness, and filling every atom and space with
mystery, out of which would have arranged itself the general impression
of truth and life.' Once more, Mr Ruskin freely admits that 'all the
landscape of Nicolas Poussin is imagination.'

Mr Ruskin's first definition of ideal landscape is in this manner. Every
different tree and leaf, every bud, has a perfect form, which, were it
not for disease or accident, it would have attained; just as every
individual human face has an ideal form, which but for sin and suffering
it would present: and the ideal landscape-painter has realized the
perfect form, and offers it to the world, and that in a sense quite
distinct from the fallacy of improving nature.

But I wish to take my readers further into imaginative landscape, and to
show it to them, if possible, under additional lights. I despair of
succeeding if I cannot do it by one or two simple examples. In passing
through a gallery we may stop before a picture to be struck, almost
startled, by the exact copy which it presents of some scene in nature;
how like the clouds in the sky, the leaves on the trees, the very
plumage of the birds! But pass on to another picture which may or may
not have the same exact likeness, and we are possessed with quite
another feeling; instead of being merely surprised by the cleverness of
the imitation, we feel a thrill of delight at a reproduction of nature.
In this picture there are not only the clouds we remember, but we can
almost feel the shadows which they cast, and the air which stirs them.
These tree-leaves are not only green, or yellow, or russet, they are
tender, or crisp living leaves. One half expects to see the birds'
throats swell, and hear the sweetness or the shrillness of their songs.

The first picture, with all its correctness, brightness, richness, or
delicacy it may be, remains bare, hard, and barren, compared to the
second. I cannot explain to my readers the cause of the difference, I
can Only show it to them as they may see it for themselves, and say
that I suppose it proceeds from this--that the second painter has seen
farther into the heart of nature than the first, and has been able by
subtler touches to make us see with his eyes.

But imaginative landscape is much more than this vivid feeling and
expression of nature; there is not a cloud, or leaf, or bird too many or
out of keeping with the place and the hour. The clouds are the very
clouds of sunset, or sunrise, or high noon--clouds differing widely from
each other, as you have no doubt observed. The trees are the beeches, or
chestnuts, or pines, which would grow on the conformation of rocks, in
the sheltered nook, or on the breezy upland; the birds are the linnets
or the larks, the thrushes or the lapwings, which frequent these special
trees, and may be seen and heard at this particular hour.

Again, landscape often tells a story, and tells it inimitably. My
readers have heard of the ballad of the 'Two Corbies,' which the writer
of the ballad has made to meet and tell gruesomely where and on what
carrion their feast has been. Suppose the writer of the ballad had been
a painter, he might have painted the story as intelligibly by the lone
hill-side, the bleaching bones of the faithful hound and gallant grey,
the two loathly blue-black birds satiated with their prey. There is a
significant old Scotch song with a ballad ring, by Lady Nairne, two
verses of which form each a complete picture not only of different
seasons, but of different phases of feeling--happiness and misery.

    'Bonnie ran the burnie down,
    Wandering and winding;
    Sweetly sang the birds aboon,
    Care never minding.

    'But now the burn comes down apace,
    Roaring and reaming,
    And for the wee birdies' sang
    Wild howlets screaming.'

Imagine these two verses painted, and the painter, from a lack of
comprehension, introducing the 'wild howlets screaming' _beside the
burnie_, 'wandering and winding,' and the 'wee birdies' foolishly and
inconsequently singing with their feeble song drowned in the rush of the
burn (no longer a burnie), 'roaring and reaming,' when the 'spate' is
spreading desolation on every side. Don't you see how the picture would
be spoilt, and the story of complete contrast left untold? I have taken
advisedly an extreme and, therefore an unlikely case of halting
imagination. But in imaginative landscape every 'white flower with its
purple stain,' every crushed butterfly, is made to play its part in the
whole, and at the same time due proportion is never lost sight of, and
the less is always kept subordinate to the greater.

I have already had occasion to mention examples of Nicolas Poussin in
the National Gallery and in Dulwich Gallery.

Claude Gelee, better known as Claude Lorraine, was a native of Lorraine,
and was born at Chateau de Chamagne in the Vosges, in 1600. His parents
were in humble life, and apprenticed Claude to a baker and pastry-cook.
According to some biographers the cooks of Lorraine were in such request
that they occasionally repaired to Rome with their apprentices in their
train to serve the successor of St Peter, and Claude was thus carried,
in the way of trade, to the city which might well have been the goal of
his ambition. According to other writers of art histories, Claude
abandoned the kneading-trough and the oven; and it was as a runaway
apprentice that by some occult means he reached Rome. And when he had
arrived he entered into the service of a landscape painter of good
repute, to whom he was colour-boy as well as cook. The last is the
account, so far, which Claude gave of himself to a friend, and it is
hardly likely either that he misrepresented his history, or that his
friend invented such details, though lately French authorities have
questioned the authenticity of the narrative. Claude remained for nearly
the entire remainder of a long life in Rome. He only once re-visited
France, while he was yet a young man, under thirty years of age, in 1625
or 1627. He is supposed to have painted his earliest pictures and
executed his etchings about this time, 1630 and to have painted his best
pictures fifteen years later, when he was in the maturity of his life
and powers. He was counted successful during his life time, as a
landscape painter, but did not amass a larger fortune than about two
thousand pounds.[33] He was a slow and careful painter (working a
fortnight at a picture with little apparent progress); his painstaking
work, and his custom of keeping a book, in which he verified his
pictures, are about the most that I can tell you of the habits of one of
the foreign painters, who has been most fully represented in England,
and was long in the highest favour with English lovers of art. Claude
Lorraine died at Rome in the eighty-third year of his age, in 1682.

Claude Lorraine's name has become a very vexed name with art critics.
There was a time when he had an unsurpassed reputation as a landscape
painter. The possession of a Claude was enough to confer art glory on a
country-house, and possibly for this reason England, in public and
private collections, has more 'Claudes' than are held by any other
country. But Claude's admirers, among whom Sir George Beaumont, the
great art critic of his generation, took the lead, have had their day,
and, if they have not by any means passed away, are on the wane.

The wrathful indignation of the English landscape painter, Turner, at
the praise which was so glibly lavished on Claude--an indignation that
caused Turner to bequeath two of his own landscape paintings to the
trustees of the National Gallery, on the caustic condition that they
should always be placed between the two celebrated 'Claudes,' known as
'The Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca' and 'The Embarkation of the Queen of
Sheba'--helped to shake the English art world's faith in its former
idol. Mr Ruskin's adoption and proclamation of Turner's opinion shook
the old faith still further. This reversal of a verdict with regard to
Claude is peculiar; it is by no means uncommon for the decision of
contemporaries to be set aside, and we shall hear of an instance
presently, in the case of the painter Le Brun. In fact, it is often
ominous with regard to a man's future fame, when he is 'cried up to the
skies' in his own day. The probability may be that his easy success has
been won by something superficial and fleeting. But Claude's great
popularity has been in another generation, and with another nation.
English taste may have been in fault; or another explanation seems
preferable--that Claude's sense of beauty was great, with all its faults
of expression, and he gave such glimpses of a beautiful world as the
gazers on his pictures were capable of receiving, which to them proved

While Claude adopted an original style as a landscape painter, so far as
his contemporaries were concerned, he was to such a degree self taught,
and only partially taught, that it is said he never learnt to paint
figures--those in his pictures were painted by other painters, and that
Claude even painted animals badly.

Mr Ruskin has been hard on Claude, whether justly or unjustly, I cannot
pretend to say.

The critic denies the painter not only a sense of truth in art, but all
imagination as a landscape painter 'Of men of name,' Mr Ruskin writes,
'Perhaps Claude is the best instance of a want of imagination, nearly
total, borne out by painful but untaught study of nature, and much
feeling for abstract beauty of form, with none whatever for harmony of
expression.' Mr Ruskin condemns in the strongest terms 'the mourning and
murky olive browns and verdigris greens, in which Claude, with the
industry and intelligence of a Sevres china painter, drags the laborious
bramble leaves over his childish foreground.' But Mr Ruskin himself
acknowledges, with a reservation, Claude's charm in foliage, and
pronounces more conditionally his power, when it was at its best, in
skies--a region in which the greater, as well as the less, Poussin was
declared to fail signally; 'a perfectly genuine and untouched sky of
Claude,' Mr Ruskin writes, 'is indeed most perfect, and beyond praise,
in all qualities of air; though even with him I often feel rather that
there is a great deal of pleasant air between me and the firmament, than
that the firmament itself is only air.'

When all has been said that can be said, let us look at a mellow or a
sunny Claude on any wall where it may hang, and judge for ourselves of
the satisfaction it is calculated to give.

Claude was fond of painting scenes on the Tiber and in the Roman
Campagna, but while he tried to reproduce the hills and woodlands of
Italy, he did not seek to paint the mountain landscapes of the

Besides Claude's numerous works in England and scattered through other
countries, some of his finest paintings are in the Doria and Sciarra
palaces in Rome. He rarely put his name to his works; when he did so he
signed it frequently 'Claudio,' sometimes 'Claudius.' I have spoken of
his book of sketches, in which he had been wont to note on the back of
the sketch the date of the completed picture, and to whom sold. This
book he called the 'Libro di Verita,' or, Book of Truth, and its
apparent use was to check the sale of spurious paintings in Claude's
name, even during his lifetime. The 'Book of Truth' is in possession of
the Duke of Devonshire, and has been employed in recent years with
reference to the end for which it seemed designed, so woe to that
country-house which has long pride that 'Claude' does not happen to have
a place in the 'Book of Truth,' though I do not know that it is at all
certain that Claude took the precaution of inscribing _every_ painting
which he painted after a certain date in the 'Book of Truth.'

Claude Lorraine is well represented in the National Gallery. Engravings
of his pictures are common.

Charles le Brun was born in Paris, in 1619. He was trained to be a
painter, and went young to Rome, studying there for six years under the
guidance of Nicolas Poussin. Le Brun returned to Paris, and, through the
patronage of the Chancellor Segnier, was introduced to the court, and
got the most favourable opportunities of practising his profession with
worldly success. He speedily acquired a great name, and was appointed
painter to the King, Louis XIV. Le Brun had enough influence with his
royal master, and with the great minister Colbert, to succeed in
establishing, while the painter was yet a young man, the Royal Academy
of Art, of which he was the first member, and virtually the head,
holding, in his own person, the directorship of the Gobelin tapestry
works, which was to be the privilege of a member of the Academy. Le Brun
continued in the utmost favour with the King, who, not content with
employing the painter largely at Fontainebleau and in Versailles,
invested him with the order of St Michael, bestowed on him letters of
nobility, and visited him frequently at his work, occasions when there
were not wanting adroit courtiers to liken the Grand Monarque to the
Emperor Charles V., and Le Brun to Titian.

Le Brun seems to have been a man of energy, confidence, and industry,
neither mentally before nor after his time, and by no means too
retiring, meditative, or original, to fail to profit by his outward good
fortune. He wrote, as well as painted, artistic treatises, which were
received as oracular utterances, and entirely deferred to in the schools
of his day. He died at Paris in 1690, when he was in his seventieth

Le Brun's real merits as a painter were limited to respectable abilities
and acquirements, together with florid quickness and ease, and such an
eye to what was splendid and scenic as suited admirably a decorator of
palaces in an age which prized sumptuousness, and an exaggeration of
dramatic effect, over every other quality. Nicolas Poussin's quiet
refinement of style became in Le Brun what is called academic
(conventionally learned), pompous, and grandiose, and men decidedly
preferred the degeneration. But later critics, who have not the natural
partiality of the French to the old master, return to their first loves,
and condemn Le Brun's swelling violence, both in the tints and poses of
his figures. Among his most famous works, which have been magnificently
engraved, are his 'Battles of Alexander.'

Antoine Watteau was born at Valenciennes in 1684. A very different
painter from Le Brun, he was yet as characteristic of French art in the
reign of Louis XIV. I think my readers must be familiar with his name,
and I dare say they associate it, as I do, not only with the fans which
were painted largely after his designs, but with mock pastorals and
Sevres china. I don't know if his birth-place at Valenciennes, with its
chief product of dainty lace, had anything to do with it, but the other
items of poor Watteau's history are considerably removed from the very
artificial grace which one connects with his name. He was the son of a
carpenter, and struggled up, by the hard instrumentality of third-rate
masters and of picture-dealers, to the rank which he attained among
artists, taking his stand from the first, however, as the painter of
well-bred, well-apparelled people--the frequenters of _bals masques,_
and _fetes champetres,_ who were only playing at shepherds and

Watteau was elected an Academician in 1717, when he was thirty-three
years of age, and he afterwards came to England, but did not remain
there. He died of consumption at Nogent-sur-Marne in 1721, when he was
thirty-six years of age.[34] Watteau's gifts were his grace and
brilliance on a small scale. He did not draw well; as to design, his
composition may be said to be suited to such a work as the collection of
'fashionable figures,' which he engraved and left behind him. Yet, if we
were to see at this moment some of his exquisite groups of ladies in
sacques and Watteau hats, and cavaliers in flowing wigs and lace,
cravats, I have no doubt that the most of us would admire them much, for
they are exceedingly pretty, and exceeding prettiness is attractive,
particularly to women. But I would have my readers to remember that this
art is a finical and soulless art, after all. I would fain have them
take this as their maxim, 'That the art is greatest which conveys to the
mind of the spectator, by any means whatsoever, the greatest number of
the greatest ideas.'

Jean Baptiste Greuze was born at Tournus in Burgundy in 1726. He studied
painting from his youth in the studios of artists at Lyons, Paris, and
Rome, and his studies resulted in his being a celebrated genre painter.
He only painted one historical picture, but, with the touchy vanity
which seemed natural to the man, he ranked his genre pictures as high
art; and when he was placed in the ordinary list of genre painters on
his election as a member of the French Academy of Painting, Greuze
resented the imputation, and withdrew from the Academy. He died in 1805,
aged seventy-nine years. Greuze was a showy, clever, but neither earnest
nor truthful painter of domestic subjects and family pictures. His
pictures of women and heads of girls, the expression in some of which
has been severely condemned, are among his best known works, and by
these he is represented in the National Gallery.[35]


HOLBEIN, 1494-1543--VAN DYCK, 1599-1641--LELY, 1618-1680--CANALETTO,
1697-1768--KNELLER, 1646-1723.

Hans Holbein, sometimes entitled Hans the Younger, was born at Augsburg
about 1494 or 1495. He was the son of a painter, and belonged to a
family of painters, one or more of whom had preceded Hans Holbein in
leaving Augsburg, and taking up his residence at Basle. There Holbein
was under the patronage of, and on terms of friendly intercourse with,
the great scholar Erasmus. One bad result proceeded from this friendly
familiarity, that of establishing or originating the charge that
Holbein, as a young man, at least, was coarse and dissipated in his
habits. The evidence is sufficiently curious. There is still in
existence the copy of a Latin book, called the 'Praise of Folly,'
written by Erasmus, which Holbein, not being a scholar, could not have
read for himself, but which, according to tradition, Erasmus himself,
or some other friend, read to him, while Holbein was so delighted with
the satire that he covered the margin of the book with illustrative
sketches. (The sketches remain, and are unmistakably Holbein's.)
Opposite a passage, recording the want of common sense and energy in
many learned men, Holbein had drawn the figure of a student, and written
below, '_Erasmus_.' The book coming again into the hands of Erasmus, he
was offended with the liberty taken by the painter., and sought to
retaliate in kind by writing below the sketch of a rude boor drinking,
'_Holbein_.' In spite of the rough jesting, the friendship between
scholar and painter was not interrupted.

In these early days Holbein sometimes practised painting on glass, after
the example of some of his kinsmen. At Basle, Holbein painted what is
considered his finest work, the 'Meier Madonna,' now at Darmstadt, with
a copy in the Dresden Gallery, and there he executed the designs for his
series of woodcuts of the 'Dance of Death.'

At Basle Holbein married, while still a young man. The presumption that
the painter's marriage, like that of his countryman, Albert Duerer, was
unhappy, has rested on the foundation that he left his wife and her
children behind when he repaired to England, and that although he
re-visited Basle, and saw his wife and family, they did not return with
him to England. A fancied confirmation to the unhappiness of the
marriage is found in the expression of the wife in a portrait which
Holbein painted of her and his children when he was at Basle.
'Cross-looking and red-eyed,' one critic calls the unlucky woman;
another describes her as 'a plain, coarse-looking, middle-aged woman,'
with an expression 'certainly mysterious and unpleasant.' Holbein's
latest biographer[36] has proved that the forsaken wife, Elssbeth
Schmid, was a widow with one son when Holbein married her, and has
conjectured that she was probably not only older than Holbein, but in
circumstances which rendered her independent of her husband. So far the
critic has done something to clear Hans Holbein from the miserable
accusation often brought against him, that he abandoned his wife and
children to starve at Basle, while he sunned himself in such court
favour as could be found in England. But, indeed, while Hans Holbein may
have been honest and humane enough to have been above such base
suspicions, there is no trace of him which survives that goes to
disprove the probability that he was a self-willed, not over-scrupulous
man, if he was also a vigorous and thorough worker.

Holbein came to England about 1526 or 1527, when he must have been
thirty-one or thirty-two years of age, and repaired to Chelsea to the
house of Sir Thomas More, to whom the painter brought a letter of
introduction, and still better credentials in the present, from Erasmus
to More, of the portrait of Erasmus, painted by Hans Holbein. There are
so many portraits and copies of portraits of Erasmus, not only by
Holbein, but by other painters--for Erasmus was painted by Albert Duerer
and Quintin Matsys,--that this special portrait, like the true Holbein
family portrait of the More family, remains very much a subject of
speculation. Most of us must be well acquainted with the delightful
account which Erasmus gave of Sir Thomas More's country-house at
Chelsea, and the life of its occupants. It has been cited hundreds of
times as an example of what an English family has been, and what it may
be in dutiful discipline, simple industry, and high cultivation, when
Sir Thomas's young daughters repeated psalms in Latin to beguile the
time in the drudging process of churning the butter. During Holbein's
residence in or visits to the Mores' house at Chelsea, he sketched or
painted the original of the More family picture.

Holbein was introduced to Henry VIII, by Sir Thomas More, and was
immediately taken into favour by the king, and received into his
service, with a lodging in the palace, a general salary of thirty pounds
a year, and separate payment for his paintings. According to Horace
Walpole, Holbein's palace lodging was probably 'the little study called
the new library' of square glazed bricks of different colours, designed
by the painter at Whitehall. (This gateway, with the porch at Wilton,
were the painter's chief architectural achievements.) By another
statement, Holbein's house was on London Bridge, where it was destroyed
in the great fire.

I have already alluded to the anecdote of the value which Henry VIII,
put on Holbein. It was to this effect: that when an aggrieved courtier
complained to the king that the painter had taken precedence of him--a
nobleman, the king replied, 'I have many noblemen, but I have only one
Hans Holbein.' In fact, Holbein received nothing save kindness from
Henry VIII.; and for that matter, there seemed to be something in common
between bluff King Hal and the equally bluff German Hans. But on one
occasion Hans Holbein was said to have run the risk of forfeiting his
imperious master's favour by the too favourable miniature which the
painter was accused of painting of Anne of Cleves.

At Henry's court Holbein painted many a member of the royal family,
noble and knight, and English gentleman and lady. His fortune had made
him a portrait painter, but he was fully equal to other branches of art,
as shown by his 'Meier Madonna,' and still more by the designs which
have been preserved of his famous allegory of 'the Triumphs of Riches
and Poverty,' painted for the hall of the Easterling Steelyard, the
quarters of the merchants of Allemagne, then traders in London. In
addition to painting portraits Holbein designed dagger hilts, clasps,
cups, as some say after a study of the goldsmith's work of Cellini.

For a long time it was believed that Hans Holbein died after Mary Tudor
succeeded to the English throne; indeed, some said that his death had
been occasioned or hastened by that change in the affairs of men, which
compelled him to quit his lodgings in the palace to make room for 'the
new painter,' Sir Antony More, who came in the suite of Mary's
well-beloved husband, Philip of Spain. There was even a theory,
creditable to Hans Holbein, drawn from this conclusion, that he might
have adopted the Protestant views of his late gracious master, and have
stood by them stoutly, and so far forfeited all recognition from the
bitter Catholic Mary. But, unfortunately for the tradition and theory,
and for the later pictures attributed to Hans Holbein, his will has been
discovered, and that quite recently, proving, from the date of its
administration, his death of the plague (so far only the tradition had
been right), when yet only in his forty-eighth year, as early as 1543,
four years before the death of Henry VIII. In spite of court patronage
Holbein did not die a rich man, and there is an impression that he was
recklessly improvident in his habits.

Holbein had re-visited Basle several times, and the council had settled
on him a pension of fifty florins a year, provided he would return and
reside in Basle within two years, while his wife was to receive a
pension of forty florins a year during Holbein's two years' absence.
Holbein did not comply with the terms of the settlement. About the time
of his death his son Philip, then a lad of eighteen, was a goldsmith in
Paris. Of Hans Holbein's portraits I have two to draw from; one,
painted in his youth at Basle, shows the painter in an open doublet, and
curious stomacher-like shirt, and having on his head a great flapping
hat. His face is broad and smooth-skinned, with little hair seen, and
the features, the eyes especially, rather small for such an expanse of
cheek and chin. The other picture of Holbein to which I have referred
belongs certainly to a considerably later period of his life, and
represents him with short but bushy hair, and short bushy beard and
moustache, a man having a broad stout person with a mixture of
dauntlessness and _bonhommie_ in his massive face.

Mr Ruskin says of Holbein, as a painter, that he was complete in
intellect; what he saw he saw with his whole soul, and what he painted
he painted with his whole might.

In deep and reverential feeling Holbein was far behind his countryman
Albert Duerer, but Holbein was far more fully furnished than Duerer
(unless indeed as Albrecht Duerer showed himself in that last picture of
'the Apostles') in the means of his art; he was a better draughtsman in
the maturity of his powers, and a far better colourist. For Hans Holbein
was not more famous for the living truthfulness of his likenesses ('a
man very excellent in making physiognomies'), than for the 'inimitable
bloom' that he imparted to his pictures, which 'he touched, till not a
touch became discernible.' Yet beneath this bloom, along with his
truthfulness, there was a dryness and hardness in Holbein's treatment of
his subjects, and he is far below Titian, Rubens, and even Rembrandt as
a portrait painter.

Holbein was in the habit of painting his larger portraits on a peculiar
green, and his miniatures on a blue background. He drew his portrait
sketches with black and red chalk on a paper tinted flesh-colour. It is
said, that with the exception, of Philip Wouwermann, no painter has been
so unfortunate in having the works of other painters attributed to him
as Hans Holbein has been, and 'that three out of every four pictures
ascribed to him are misnamed.'[37]

The 'Meier, or Meyer Madonna,' is otherwise called 'the Meier Family
adoring the infant Christ in the arms of the Virgin.' The subject is
understood to prove that it must have been painted in Holbein's youth,
before Protestantism was triumphant at Basle. The figures are the
Burgomaster Meier and his wife, whom Holbein painted twice; their son,
with a little boy _nude_ beside him; another woman, elderly, conjectured
to be a grandmother of the family, and beside her the young daughter of
the house. In the centre on a turkey carpet stands the Madonna, holding
in her arms an infant stretching out its left hand to the group of
worshippers. In course of time, and in its transfer from hand to hand, a
doubt has arisen with regard to the subject of this picture. Some
critics have regarded it as a votive picture dedicated in a private
chapel to commemorate the recovery from sickness or the death of a
child. This conjecture seems to rest mainly on the fact, that the child
in the Dresden copy (it is said to be otherwise in the Darmstadt
picture) is of an aspect so sickly, as to have given rise to the
impression that it represented an ailing, or even a dead child, and no
glorious child Christ. Critics have gone still farther, and imagined
that the child is a figure of the soul of a dead child (souls were
sometimes painted by the old painters as new-born children), or of the
soul of the elder and somewhat muffled-up woman who might have been
recently dead. Mr Ruskin regards the picture as an offering for the
recovery of a sick child, and thus illustrates it:

     'The received tradition respecting the Holbein Madonna is
     beautiful, and I believe the interpretation to be true. A father
     and a mother have prayed to her for the life of their sick child.
     She appears to them, her own child Christ in her arms; she puts
     down her child beside them, takes their child into her arms
     instead; it lies down upon her bosom, and stretches its hand to
     its father and mother, saying farewell.'

Yet another much more prosaic and less attractive interpretation of the
picture has been suggested by Holbein's biographer, that the two
children may represent the same child. The child standing by his brother
may be the boy restored to health, the feeble child in the arms of the
Virgin may indicate the same child in its sickness, while the extended
arm may point to the seat of the disease in an arm broken or injured.
After all, the child may simply be a child Christ, marred in execution.
I have given this dispute at length, because I think it is interesting,
and, so far as I know, unique in reference to such a picture. By an odd
enough mistake this very picture was once said to be the famous More
Family picture.

The idea of the 'Dance of Death' did not originate with Holbein, neither
is he supposed to have done more than touch, if he did touch, the
paintings called the 'Dance of Death,' on the wall of the Dominican
burial-ground, Basle, painted long before Holbein's day, by the order of
the council after the plague visited Basle, and considered to have for
its meaning simply a warning of the universality of death. But Holbein
certainly availed himself of the older painting, to draw from it the
grim satire of his woodcuts. Of these there are thirty-seven designs,
the first, 'The Creation;' the second, 'Adam and Eve in Paradise;' the
third, 'The Expulsion from Paradise;' the fourth, 'Adam Tilling the
Earth;' the fifth, 'The Bones of all People;' till the dance really
begins in the sixth. Death, a skeleton, as seen through the rest of the
designs, sometimes playing on a guitar or lute, sometimes carrying a
drum, bagpipes, a dulcimer, or a fiddle, now appearing with mitre on
head and crozier in hand to summon the Abbot; then marching before the
parson with bell, book, and candle; again crowned with ivy, when he
seizes the Duke, claims his partners, beginning with the Pope, going
down impartially through Emperor of Francis I., nobleman, advocate,
physician, ploughman, countess, old woman, little child, etc., etc., and
leading each unwilling or willing victim in turn to the terrible dance.
One woman meets her doom by Death in the character of a robber in a
wood. Another, the Duchess, sits up in bed fully dressed, roused from
her sleep by two skeletons, one of them playing a fiddle.

Granting the grotesqueness, freedom, variety, and wonderful precision of
these woodcuts, I beg my readers to contrast their spirit with that of
Albrecht Duerer's 'The Knight, Death, and the Devil,' or Orcagna's
'Triumph of Death.' In Holbein's designs there is no noble consoling
faith; there is but a fierce defiance and wild mockery of inevitable
fate, such as goes beyond the levity with which the Venetians in the
time of the plague retired to their country-houses and danced, sung, and
told tales, till the pestilence was upon them. It has a closer
resemblance to the piteous madness with which the condemned prisoners
during the French Reign of Terror rehearsed the falling of the
guillotine, or the terrible pageant with which the same French, as
represented by their Parisian brethren, professed to hail the arrival of
the cholera.

Of the 'More Family' there are so many duplicates or versions, that, as
in the case of Erasmus's picture, it is hard to say which is the
original picture, or whether Holbein did more than sketch the original,
or merely sketch the various heads to be afterwards put together by an
inferior artist. A singular distribution of the light in the best
authenticated picture has been supposed to favour this conjecture. But
under any supposition, this, the second of the three noted English
family pictures, is of the greatest interest. I shall record a minute
and curious description given of this 'More Family,' which is still in
the possession of a descendant of the Mores and Ropers.

'The room which is here represented seemed to be a large dining-room. At
the upper end of it stands a chamber-organ on a cupboard, with a curtain
drawn before it. On each end of the cupboard, which is covered with a
carpet of tapestry, stands a flower-pot of flowers, and on the cupboard
are laid a lute, a base-viol, a pint pot or ewer covered in part with a
cloth folded several times, and _Boetius de Consolatione Philosophiae_,
with two other books upon it. By this cupboard stands a daughter of Sir
Thomas More's, putting on her right-hand glove, and having under her arm
a book bound in red Turkey leather and gilt, with this inscription round
the outside of the cover--_Epistolica Senecae_. Over her head is written
in Latin, _Elizabeth Dancy_, daughter of Sir Thomas More, aged 21.

'Behind her stands a woman holding a book open with both her hands, over
whose head is written _Spouse of John Clements_.[38]

'Next to Mrs Dancy is Sir John More in his robes as one of the justices
of the King's Bench, and by him Sir Thomas in his chancellor's robes,
and collar of SS, with a rose pendant before. They are both sitting on a
sort of tressel or armed bench, one of the arms and legs and one of the
tassels of the cushion appear on the left side of Sir Thomas. At the
feet of Sir John lies a cur-dog, and at Sir Thomas's a Bologna shock.
Over Sir John's head is written, _John More, father, aged_ 76. Over Sir
Thomas's, _Thomas More, aged_ 50. Between them, behind, stands the wife
of John More, Sir Thomas's son, over whose head is written _Anne
Cresacre, wife of John More, aged_ 15. Behind Sir Thomas, on his left
hand stands his only son, John More, pictured with a very foolish
aspect, and looking earnestly in a book which he holds open with both
his hands. Over his head is written, _John, son of Thomas More, aged_
19.' (The only and witless son of the family, on whom Sir Thomas made
the comment to his wife:--'You long wished for a boy, and you have got
one--for all his life.')

'A little to the left of Sir Thomas are sitting on low stools his two
daughters, Cecilia and Margaret. Next him is Cecilia, who has a boot in
her lap, clasped. By her side sits her sister Margaret, who has likewise
a book on her lap, but wide open, in which is written, _L. An.
Senecae--Oedipus--Fata si liceat mihi fingere arbitrio meo, temperem
zephyro levi_. On Cecilia's petticoat is written, _Cecilia Heron,
daughter of Thomas More, aged_ 20, and on Margaret's, _Margaret Roper_,
_daughter of Thomas More, aged_ 22.' (The best beloved, most
amiable, and most learned of Sir Thomas's daughters, who visited
him in the Tower and encouraged him to remain true to his
convictions, while her step-mother urged him to abjure his faith.
Margaret Roper intercepted her father on his return to the Tower
after his trial, and penetrating the circle of the Guards, hung on
his neck and bade him farewell. There is a tradition that she
caused her father's head to be stolen from the spike of the bridge
on which it was exposed, and, getting it preserved, kept it in a
casket. She and her husband, William Roper, wrote together the
biography of her father, Sir Thomas More.)

'Just by Mrs Roper sits Sir Thomas's lady in an elbow-chair (?), holding
a book open in her hands. About her neck she has a gold chain, with a
cross hanging to it before. On her left hand is a monkey chained, and
holding part of it with one paw and part of it with the other. Over her
head is written '_spouse of Thomas More, aged_ 57.'

(Dame Alice More, the second wife of Sir Thomas More, a foolish and
mean-spirited woman.)

'Behind her is a large arched window, in which is placed a flower-pot (a
vase) of flowers, and a couple of oranges. Behind the two ladies stands
Sir Thomas's fool, who, it seems, was bereft of his judgment by
distraction. He has his cap on, and in it are stuck a red and white
rose, and on the brim of it is a shield with a red cross on it, and a
sort of seal pendant. About his neck he wears a black string with a
cross hanging before him, and his left thumb is stuck in a broad
leathern girdle clasp'd about him. Over his head is written _Henry
Pattison, servant_ of Thomas More. At the entrance of the room where Sir
Thomas and his family are, stands a man in the portal who has in his
left hand a roll of papers or parchments with two seals appendant, as if
he was some way belonging to Sir Thomas as Lord Chancellor. Over his
head is written _Joannes Heresius, Thomae Mori famulus_. In another room
at some distance is seen through the door-case a man standing at a large
sleeved gown of a sea-green colour, and under it a garment of a
blossom-colour, holding a book open in his hands written or printed
in the black letter, and reading very earnestly in it. About the
middle of the room, over against Sir Thomas, hangs a clock with
strings and leaden weights without any case.'[39]

It is notable that not one of Sir Thomas's sons-in-law is in this
picture, neither is there a grandchild, though one or more is known to
have been born at the date.

The miniature of Anne of Cleves, if it ever existed, is lost; it is
probable that what was really referred to was the portrait of Anne by
Holbein in the Louvre, where she appears 'as a kindly and comely woman
in spite of her broad nose and swarthy complexion, but by no means such
a painted Venus as might have deceived King Hal.'[40]

A well-known portrait by Holbein is that of a 'Cornish Gentleman,' with
reddish hair and beard. I saw this portrait not long ago, as it was
exhibited among the works of the Old Masters, and so much did it look
as though the figure would step from the frame, that it was hard to
believe that more than three hundred years had passed since the original
walked the earth.[41]

Doubtless the last of Holbein's portrait pieces, which it is reported he
left uncompleted when he died, is that of the 'Barber Surgeons,' painted
on the occasion of the united company receiving their charter from the
king, and including the king's portrait. This picture still hangs in the
old company's hall.

I have only to say a few more words of those sketches which survive the
destruction of the picture--Holbein's allegory of the 'Triumph of
Riches,' and the 'Triumph of Poverty,' and of his portrait sketches. In
the 'Triumph of Riches,' Plutus, an old man bent double, drives in a
car, drawn by four white horses; before him, Fortune, blind, scatters
money. The car is followed by Croesus, Midas, and other noted misers and
spendthrifts--for Cleopatra, the only woman present, is included in the
group. In the 'Triumph of Poverty,' Poverty is an old woman in squalor
and rags, who is seated in a shattered vehicle, drawn by asses and oxen,
and guided by Hope and Diligence. The designs are large and bold. In the
first, a resemblance to Henry VIII, is found in Croesus. If the
resemblance were intentional on Holbein's part, it showed the same want
of tact and feeling which the painter early betrayed in his caricature
of Erasmus.

But the best of Holbein's drawings are his portrait sketches with
chalks, on flesh-tinted paper. These sketches have a history of their
own, subsequent to their execution by Holbein. After being in the
possession of the art-loving Earl of Arundel, and carried to France,
they were lost sight of altogether for the space of a century, until
they were discovered by Queen Caroline, wife of George II., in a bureau
at Kensington. You will hear a little later that the finest collection
of miniatures in England went through the same process of disappearance
and recovery.[42] These original sketches, in addition to their great
artistic merit, form a wonderful collection of speaking likenesses,
belonging to the court of Henry VIII.,--likenesses which had been
happily identified in time by Sir John Cheke (in the reign of
Elizabeth), since the names of the originals have been inscribed on the
back of each drawing, as it is believed, by Sir John Cheke's hand. The
collection is now in the Queen's library, Windsor, with photographs at
Kensington Museum. There are one or two of Holbein's reputed portraits
at Hampton Court.

I must pass over some painters as not being sufficiently represented for
my purpose. Among these is Sir Antony More, Philip II, of Spain's
friend. It is recorded that Philip having rested his hand on the
shoulder of More while at work, the bold painter turned round, and
daubed the royal hand with vermilion. This gave rise to the
courtier-saying that Philip 'made slaves of his friends, and friends of
his painters.' Another is Zucchero, one of the painters who was
requested by Queen Elizabeth to paint her picture without shade, the
result being 'a woman with a Roman nose, a huge ruff and farthingale,
and a bushel of pearls.' There are also Van Somer,--Janssens, who
painted Lady Bowyer, named for her exquisite beauty, 'The star of the
East,' and Susanna Lister, the most beautiful woman at court, when
presented in marriage to Sir Geoffrey Thornhurst by James I, in
person,[43]--and Daniel Myttens, all foreigners, Flemish or Dutch, whom
we must thus briefly dismiss. And now we come to Van Dyck.

Antony Van Dyck was born at Antwerp, in 1599. His father was a merchant;
his mother was famous for painting flowers in small, and for needlework
in silk. The fashion of painting 'in small' had prevailed for some time.
Horace Walpole mentions that the mother of Lucas de Heere, a Flemish
painter, born in 1534, could paint with such 'diminutive neatness' that
she had executed 'a landscape with a windmill, miller, a cart and horse,
and passengers,' which half a grain of corn could cover. At ten years of
age, Van Dyck began to study as a painter, and he soon became a pupil,
and afterwards a favourite pupil, of Rubens. In 1618, when Van Dyck was
but a lad of seventeen years, he was admitted as a master into the
painters' guild of St Luke. Two years later, he was still working with
Rubens, who, seeing his lameness of invention, counselled him to abide
by portrait painting, and to visit Italy. A year later, in 1621, when
Van Dyck was twenty years of age, he came to London, already becoming a
resort of Flemish painters, and lodging with a countryman of his own,
worked for a short time in the service of James I.

On Van Dyck's return to Flanders, and on the death of his father, he was
able to take Rubens' advice, and in 1623, when Van Dyck was still only
twenty-two years of age, he set out for Venice, the Rome of the Flemish
painters. Before quitting Antwerp, Van Dyck, in proof of the friendship
which existed between the painters, presented Rubens with several of the
former's pictures, among them his famous portrait of 'Rubens' wife.' As
a pendant to this generosity, when Van Dyck came back to Antwerp, and
complained to Rubens that he--Van Dyck--could not live on the profits of
his painting, Rubens went next day and bought every picture of Van
Dyck's which was for sale.

Van Dyck spent five years in Italy, visiting Venice, Florence, Rome, and
Palermo, but residing principally at Genoa. In Italy, he began to
indulge in his love of splendid extravagance, and in the fastidious
fickleness which belonged to the evil side of his character. At Rome he
was called 'the cavalier painter,' yet his first complaint on his return
to Antwerp was, that he could not live on the profits of his painting!
He avoided the society of his homelier countrymen.

At Palermo, Van Dyck knew, and according to some accounts, painted the
portrait of Sophonisba Anguisciola, who claimed to be the most eminent
portrait painter among women. She was then about ninety years of age,
and blind, but she still delighted in having in her house a kind of
academy of painting, to which all the painters visiting Palermo
resorted. Van Dyck asserted that he owed more to her conversation than
to the teaching of all the schools. A book of his sketches, which was
recovered, showed many drawings 'after Sophonisba Anguisciola.' She is
said to have been born at Cremona, was invited at the age of twenty-six
by Philip II, to Spain, and was presented by him with a Spanish don for
a husband, and a pension of a thousand crowns a-year from the customs of

The plague drove Van Dyck from Italy back to Flanders, where he painted
for a time, and presented his picture of the 'Crucifixion' to the
Dominicans as a memorial gift in honour of his father, but in Flanders
Rubens' fame overshadowed that of every other painter, and Van Dyck,
recalling an invitation which he had received from the Countess of
Arundel while still in Italy, came a second time to England, in 1630,
when he was about thirty years of age, and lodged again with a
fellow-countryman and painter named Gildorp. But his sensitive vanity
was wounded by his not at once receiving an introduction to the king, or
the countenance which the painter considered his due, and the
restlessness, which was a prominent feature in his character, being
re-awakened, he withdrew once more from England, and returned to the Low
Countries in 1631. At last, a year later, in 1632, Van Dyck's pride was
propitiated by receiving a formal invitation from Charles I., through
Sir Kenelm Digby, to visit England, and this time the painter had no
cause to complain of an unworthy reception. He was lodged by the king
among his artists at Blackfriars, having no intercourse with the city,
save by water. He had the king, with his wife and children, to sit to
him, and was granted a pension of two hundred a-year, with the
distinction of being named painter to his Majesty.

A year later Van Dyck was knighted. Royal and noble commissions flowed
upon him, and the king, who had a hereditary love of art, visited the
painter continually, and spent some of the happiest and most innocent
hours of his brief and clouded life in Van Dyck's company. Thus began
Van Dyck's success in England.

To give you an example of how often, and in how many different manners,
Van Dyck painted the king and royal family, I shall quote from a list of
his pictures--

     'King Charles in coronation robes.'

     'King Charles in armour' (twice).

     'King Charles in white satin, with his hat on, just
     descended from his horse; in the distance, view of the
     Isle of Wight.'

     'King Charles in armour, on a white horse; Monsieur
     de St Antoine, his equerry, holding the king's

     'The King and Queen sitting; Prince Charles,
     very young, standing at the King's side; the Duke of
     York, an infant, on the Queen's knee.'

     'The King and Queen holding a crown of laurel
     between them.'

     'The Queen in white.'

     'Prince Charles in armour' (two or three times).

     'King, Queen, Prince Charles, and Princess Mary.'

     'Queen with her five children.'

     'Queen with dwarfs,[44] Sir Geoffrey Hudson having
     a monkey on his shoulder.'

Van Dyck had several great patrons, after the king. For the Earl of
Arundel, in addition to portraits of the Earl and Countess, the painter
designed a second Arundel family picture, which was painted by
Fruitiers. For George, Duke of Buckingham, Van Dyck painted one of his
finest double portraits of the Duke's two sons, when children. For the
Northumberland family Van Dyck painted, besides portraits of Henry and
Algernon, Earls of Northumberland, another famous picture, that of the
two beautiful sisters, Lady Dorothy Percy, afterwards Countess of
Leicester, and her sister, Lady Lucy Percy, afterwards Countess of
Carlisle, whose charms figure frequently in the memoirs of her time.
William and Philip, Earls of Pembroke, were also among his patrons, and
for the second he painted his great family picture, 'The Wilton
Family.' Sir Kenelm Digby, too, whose wife Venitia was more frequently
painted than any woman of her day, and was not more distinguished for
her beauty than for her lack of nobler qualities. Van Dyck alone painted
her several times, the last after her sudden death, for her vain and
eccentric, if gallant, husband, who in the end was no friend to Van

But these high names by no means exhaust the list of patrons of a
painter who, among various contradictory qualities, was indefatigably
industrious. His work is widely distributed among the Scotch as well as
the English descendants of the nobility whom he painted, so that the
possession of at least one ancestral 'Van Dyck' accompanies very many
patents of nobility, and is equivalent to a warrant of gentle birth.

The Earl of Clarendon, in the next reign, had a great partiality for Van
Dyck's pictures, and was said to be courted by gifts of them until his
apartments at Cornbury were furnished with full-length 'Van Dycks.' A
third of his collection went to Kitty Hyde, Duchess of Queensberry, one
of the Earl's three co-heiresses. Through the Rich family many of these
'Van Dycks' passed to Taymouth Castle, where by a coincidence they were
lodged in the company of numerous works of George Jamieson of Aberdeen,
who is said to have been for a short time a fellow-pupil of Van Dyck's
under Rubens, who has been called 'the Scotch Van Dyck,' and who is
certainly the first native painter who deserves honourable mention.
Since the death of the last Marquis of Breadalbane these travelled 'Van
Dycks' have gone back to the English representative of the Rich family.

Van Dyck had forty pounds for a half, and sixty pounds for a
whole-length picture;--for a large piece of the King, Queen, and their
children, he had a hundred pounds. For the Wilton family picture he had
five hundred and twenty-five pounds. But Van Dyck soon impaired his
fortune. He was not content with having a country-house at Eltham in
Kent, where he spent a portion of each summer; he would emulate in his
expenditure the most spendthrift noble of that reign. 'He always went
magnific so good a table in his apartment that few princes were more
visited and better served.' His marriage was not calculated to teach him
moderation. In his thirty-ninth year the King gave him the hand of Marie
Ruthven, who was nearly related to the unhappy Earl of Gowrie. She was
his niece, her father having been the scarcely less unhappy younger
brother Patrick, a physician, who, apprehended when a young man on the
charge of being concerned in the treason of his elder brothers, spent
his manhood in the Tower. He was kept a prisoner there from 1584 to
1619, nearly forty years, and was only released in his age and infirmity
when his mind was giving way. Patrick Ruthven's infant daughter had been
adopted, either through charity or perversity, by Anne of Denmark, and
brought up first at the court of Anne, and afterwards at that of
Henrietta Maria. The assertion that Marie Ruthven was a very beautiful
woman has been contradicted. It was said that 'she was bestowed in
marriage on Sir Antony Van Dyck as much to humble further the already
humbled and still detested family of Ruthven, as to honour the painter;
but this does not seem consistent with King Charles's known favour for
Van Dyck. Yet such a view might have been entertained by Marie Ruthven
herself, who, according to tradition, held herself degraded by the
marriage, and never forgave the degradation. She was not a loving wife
to a man who could hardly have been a very loving or loyal husband. And
certainly the marriage did not unite the painter closer to the king.

With his professional industry, Van Dyck combined an equally
unquenchable love of pleasure, which, with his luxurious and sedentary
habits, induced paroxysms of gout, from which Rubens also suffered
severely. This must have ultimately disqualified him for good work, and
when his debts accumulated in greater proportion even than his receipts,
in place of having recourse, like Rubens, to his painting-room, Van Dyck
tried a shorter road to get rich, by following the idle example of Sir
Kenelm Digby in his pursuit of alchemy and the philosopher's stone.

In the year of his marriage, Van Dyck re-visited Flanders, in company
with his wife, and then repaired to France, it is understood with the
intention of settling there. He was instigated to the step by his wife,
and his own ambition of rivalling Rubens' triumphs at the Luxembourg;
but the preference which the French gave to the works of their
countryman, Nicolas Poussin, roused his latent jealousy, and so
mortified him as to induce him to renounce his intention. He determined
to return to England, and was, to his credit, confirmed in his
resolution by the threatening civil war which was to shake his royal
master's throne to the foundation, rather than deterred from it.

Again in England, Van Dyck employed Sir Kenelm Digby to make an offer on
the painter's part that for eight hundred pounds he would paint the
history, and a procession of the Knights of the Garter on the walls of
the Knights' banqueting-room at Whitehall--that palace which was to
have surpassed the Louvre, the Tuileries, and the Escurial, and from one
of the windows of which Charles stepped out on his scaffold. But the
proposal was rejected, and immediately afterwards the civil war broke
out, and was speedily followed by the death of Van Dyck, about a year
after his marriage, when he was a little over forty years old, at
Blackfriars, in 1641. He was buried in old St Paul's, near the tomb of
John of Gaunt. His daughter, Justiniana, was born a short time--some say
only eight days--before her father died, and was baptized on the day of
his death. Van Dyck left effects and sums due to him to the amount of
twenty thousand pounds; but the greater part of the debts were found
beyond recovery at the close of the civil war. His daughter grew up, and
married a Mr Stepney, 'who rode in King Charles's life guards.' His
widow re-married; her second husband was a Welsh knight.

Van Dyck's contradictory elements. He was actuated by opposite motives
which are hard to analyze, and which in their instability have within
themselves, whatever their outward advantages, the doom of failure in
the highest excellence. He was a proud man, dissatisfied both with
himself and his calling, resenting, with less reason than Hans Holbein
showed, that he should be condemned to portrait painting, yet by no
means undervaluing or slurring over his work. He 'would detain the
persons who sat to him to dinner for an opportunity of studying their
countenances and re-touching their pictures,' 'would have a sitter,
sitting to him seven entire days, mornings and evenings, and would not
once let the man see the picture till it pleased the painter.' Van Dyck
appears to have been a man with the possibilities in him of greater
things than he attained, possibilities which were baffled by his
weakness and self-indulgence, leaving him with such a sense of this as
spoiled his greatest successes.

I have the varying indications of two pictures of Van Dyck from which to
get an impression of his personal appearance. The first picture is that
of a youthful face, soft, smiling, with dark eyes, finely-formed nose,
a slightly open mouth, having a full-cleft under lip, the hair profuse
and slightly curled, but short, and no beard or moustache. The dress is
an open doublet, without a collar, a lace cravat, and one arm half bare.
The second is the picture of Van Dyck in the Louvre, which is judged the
best likeness of the painter. In this his person is slender, his
complexion fair, his eyes grey, his hair chestnut brown, his beard and
whiskers red. He wears a vest of green velvet, with a plain collar.

In his art, Van Dyck, with something of the glow of Rubens, and with a
delicacy peculiarly his own, was decidedly inferior to his great master,
both in power and in fertility of genius. In the superficial refinement
which was so essential a part of Van Dyck, he had the capacity of
conferring on his sitters a reflection of his own outward stateliness
and grace. When he painted at his best his portraits were solid, true,
and masterly, but he has been reproached with sacrificing truth to the
refining process which he practised. Even in the case of Charles I.,
whose portraits are our most familiar examples of Van Dyck, and who thus
lives in the imagination of most people as the very personification of a
noble and handsome cavalier, there have not been wanting critics who
have maintained that Charles,--the son of a plain uncouth father, and of
a mother rather floridly buxom than delicately handsome, and who was in
his childhood a sickly rickety child,--was by no means so well endowed
in the matter of manly beauty as we have supposed. These students of old
gossip and close investigation, have alleged that Charles was long and
lanky, after he had ceased to be Baby Charles; that his nose was too
large, and, alas! apt to redden; that his eyes were vacillating; and his
mouth, the loosely hung mouth of a man who begins by being irresolute,
and ends by being obstinate.[45] Again, in the hands of a sitter, which
Van Dyck was supposed to paint with special care and elegance, it has
been argued that he copied always the same hand, probably his own, in
ignorance, or in defiance of the fact that hands have nearly as much and
as varying character as a painter can discover in faces. Though Van Dyck
painted many beautiful women, he did not excel in rendering them
beautiful on canvas, so that succeeding generations, in gazing on Van
Dyck's versions of Venitia, Lady Digby, and Dorothy Sydney--Waller's
Sacharissa,--have wondered how Sir Kenelm, Waller, and their
contemporaries, could find these ladies so beautiful.

Van Dyck certainly owed something of the charm of his pictures to the
dress of the period, with regard to which he received this credit that
'Van Dyck was the first painter who e'er put ladies' dress into a
careless romance.' But in reality never was costume better suited for a
painter like Van Dyck.

The hair in the men was allowed to flow to the shoulders or gathered in
a love knot, while the whiskers and beard formed a point. In the women
the hair was crisped in curls round the face. The ruff in men and women
had yielded to the broad, rich, falling collar, with deep scallops of
point lace. Vest and cloak were of the richest velvet or satin, or else,
on the breaking out of the civil war, men appeared in armour. The man's
hat was broad and flapping, usually turned up at one side, and having an
ostrich feather in the band; his long wide boots were of Spanish
leather, and he wore gauntlet gloves, and rich ruffles at his wrists.
The women wore hoods and mantles, short bodices, ample trains, and wide
sleeves terminating in loose ruffles at the elbow, which left half of
the arm bare. Pearl necklaces and bracelets, round feather fans, and
'knots of flowers,' were the almost universal ornaments of women.
Another ornament of both men and women, which belonged to the day, and
was very common in the quarters I have been referring to, was a
miniature enclosed in a small case of ivory or ebony, carved like a
rose, and worn on the left side in token of betrothal.[46] Van Dyck,
along with the appreciation of black draperies which he held in common
with Rubens, was specially fond of painting white or blue satin. He is
said to have used a brown preparation of pounded peach-stones for
glazing the hair in his pictures.

In the end, with all the aids that critics may have given him, and all
the faults they may find in him, Van Dyck was a great, and in the main
an earnest portrait painter. Perhaps 'Charles in white satin, just
descended from his horse,' is the best of the single portraits which
were held to be Van Dyck's forte.

I must try to give my readers some idea of Van Dyck's 'Wilton Family.'
It has been so praised, that some have said 'it might have been covered
with gold as a price to obtain it;' on the other hand, it has not
escaped censure. One critic asserts that there is no common action
uniting the figures, and that the faces are so different in
complexion--one yellow-faced boy appearing either jaundiced or burnt by
a tropical sun, that the family might have lived in different climates.

This is the story of the picture. 'Earl Philip of Pembroke having
caused his family to meet, informs them with great emotion of the
necessity of his eldest son Charles, Lord Herbert, going into the army
of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, there to acquire military honour and
experience, notwithstanding his having just married Mary, daughter of
George, Duke of Buckingham. Lord Herbert is receiving the news with
ardour, the young bride is turning aside her fair face to hide her
tears. (Charles Lord Herbert was married Christmas, 1634, went to
Florence, and died there of small pox, January, 1636.)

'In the Pembroke picture (or "Wilton Family") there are ten figures. The
Earl and Countess are seated on a dais, under a coat of arms. He wears a
great lace collar, an order on his breast, a key at his girdle, and has
great shoes with roses. She has flowing curls, hanging sleeves, arms
crossed, necklace on the bare neck. (The Countess of Pembroke was the
Earl's second wife, Anne Clifford, daughter of George, Earl of
Cumberland, the brave lady who defied Cromwell, and was fond of signing
her name with the long string of titles derived from her two husbands,
"Anne Dorset, Pembroke, Montgomery.") Robert Dormer, Earl of Carnarvon,
is introduced with his wife, Lady Anne Sophia Herbert, daughter of Earl
Philip; they are on the Countess's left hand. The daughter-in-law, about
to be parted from her husband, stands on the lowest step of the dais;
she is elegantly dressed, with hanging sleeves knotted with bows from
shoulder to elbow. Two young men, the bridegroom and his brother, are at
their father's right hand; they wear great falling collars and cloaks.
There are three half-grown boys in tunics without collars, and great
roses in their shoes, with a dare three daughters of the family who died
in infancy.'

Van Dyck's finest sacred pictures were his early 'Crucifixion,' and a
Pieta, at Antwerp. In these he gave a promise of nobler and deeper
pathos than he afterwards fulfilled. His pictures are to be found
freely, as I have written, in old English mansions, such as Arundel and
Alnwick Castles, Knowsley, Knole, Petworth, etc. A head said to be by
Van Dyck is in the National Gallery.

Van Dyck had few pupils: one, an Englishman named Dobson, earned an
honourable reputation as a painter.

From Sir Antony More's time down to that of Leily and Kneller, the rage
for portraits was continually increasing, and took largely the form of
miniatures, which were painted chiefly by foreigners; notably by
Hilliard and two Olivers or Oliviers, a father and son of French
extraction, and by a Swiss named Petitot. A collection of miniatures by
the Oliviers, including no less than six of Venitia, Lady Digby, had a
similar fate to that of Holbein's drawings. The miniatures had been
packed in a wainscot box and conveyed to the country-house in Wales of
Mr Watkin Williams, who was a descendant of the Digby family. In course
of time the box with its contents, doubtless forgotten, had been
transferred to a garret, where it had lain undiscovered for, it has been
supposed, fully a hundred years. It was two hundred years after the
date of the painting of the miniatures, that on some turning over of the
lumber in the garret, the exquisite miniatures, fresh as on the day when
they were painted, were accidentally brought to light.[47]

Sir Peter Lely was born in Westphalia in 1618. His real name was Vander
Facs, and his father was a 'Captain of Foot,' who, having chanced to be
born in rooms over a perfumer's shop which bore the sign of a lily, took
fantastically enough the name of Du Lys, or Lely, which he transmitted
to his son. Sir Peter Lely, after studying in a studio at Haarlem, came
to England when he was twenty-three years of age, in 1641, and set
himself to copy the pictures of Van Dyck, who died in the year of Lely's
arrival in England, and whom he succeeded as court painter. Lely was
knighted by Charles II., married an English woman, and had a son and a
daughter, who died young. He made a large fortune, dying at last of
apoplexy, with which he was seized as he was painting the Duchess of
Somerset, when he was sixty-two years of age, in 1680.

With regard to Lely's character, we may safely judge from his works that
he was such a man as Samuel Pepys, 'of easy virtue,' a man holding a low
enough standard by which to measure himself and others. Mr Palgrave
quotes from Mr Leslie the following characteristic anecdote of Lely,
which seems to prove that he was aware of, and coolly accepted, the
decline of art in his generation and person. A nobleman said to Lely,
'How is it that you have so great a reputation, when you know, as well
as I do, that you are no painter?' 'True, but I am the best you have,'
was the answer. Lely's punishment followed him into his art, for
beginning by copying Van Dyck, it is said of Lely that he degenerated in
his work till it bore the very 'stamp of the depravity of the age.'

Lely's sitters were mostly women. Among them was one who deserved a
fitter painter, Mistress Anne Killigrew, Dryden's--

    'Youngest virgin daughter of the skies.'

In Lely's portrait of her, she is a neat, slightly prim, delicate
beauty, with very fine features, and such sleepy eyes, as were probably
the gift of Lely, since he has bestowed them generally on the women whom
he painted. Mistress Anne Killigrew's hair is in curls, piled up in
front, but hanging down loosely behind. Her bodice is gathered together
by a brooch, and she has another brooch on one shoulder. She wears a
light pearl necklace, and 'drops' shaped like shamrocks in her ears.

Lely painted both Charles I, and Cromwell, who desired his painters to
omit 'no pimple or wart,' but to paint his face as they saw it.

Among less notable personages Lely painted Monk, Duke of Albemarle, and
his rough Duchess, once a camp follower, according to popular rumour,
and named familiarly by the contemptuous wits of the day 'Nan Clarges.'
It is with not more honourable originals than poor 'Nan Clarges' that
Lely's name as a painter is chiefly associated. We know what an evil
time the years after the Restoration proved in England, and it was to
immortalize, as far as he could, the vain, light women of the
generation that Lely lent what skill he possessed. There their pictures
hang in what has been called 'the Beauty Room' at Hampton Court, and no
good man or woman can look at them without holding such beauty

At Hampton Court also there are several of the eleven portraits of
Admirals whom Lely painted for James II, when Duke of York.

Antonio Canal, called Canaletto, incorrectly Canaletti, was born at
Venice in 1697. He was the son of a scene painter at the theatre. In his
youth he worked under his father; a little later he went to Rome, and
studied for some time there. Then he came to England, where he remained
only for two years. I have hesitated about placing his name among those
of the foreign painters resident in England, but so many of his works
are in this country that he seems to belong to it in an additional
sense. He is said to have 'made many pictures and much money.' He died
at Venice when he was seventy years of age, in 1768. As a painter he
was famous for his correctness of perspective and precision of outline
(in which it is alleged he aided himself by the use of the camera),
qualities specially valuable in the architectural subjects of which he
was fond, drawing them principally from his native Venice. But his very
excellence was mechanical, and he showed so little originality or, for
that matter, fidelity of genius, that he painted his landscapes in
invariable sunshine.

       *       *       *       *       *

The great wood-carver Grinling Gibbons deserves mention among the
artists of this date. He was a native of Rotterdam, where he was born in
1648. He came to London with other carvers the year after the great fire
of London, and was introduced by Evelyn to Charles II., who took him
into his employment. 'Gibbons was appointed master carver in wood to
George I., with a salary of eighteen-pence a day.' He died at his house
in Bow Street in the sixty-third year of his age, in 1721. It is said
that no man before Gibbons 'gave to wood the lightness of flowers.' For
the great houses of Burghley, Petworth, and Chatsworth, Gibbons carved
exquisite work, in festoons for screens, and chimney-pieces, and panels
for pictures, of fruit, flowers, shells, and birds.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir Godfrey Kneller was born at Luebeck in 1646, and was the son of an
architect. He is said to have studied under Rembrandt; but if this be
true, it must have been in Kneller's early youth. It is more certain
that he travelled in Italy and returned to settle in Hamburg, but
changing his plans, he came to England, when he was about thirty years
of age, in 1675. London became his home. There he painted portraits with
great success; his prices being fifteen guineas for a head, twenty if
with one hand, thirty for a half, and sixty for a whole-length portrait.
Charles II, sat at the same time to Kneller and to Lely. Not Titian
himself painted more crowned heads than it fell to the lot of Kneller to
paint--not less than six reigning kings and queens of England, and, in
addition, Louis XIV. of France, Charles VI, of Spain, and the Czar Peter
of Russia.

William III, created Kneller a knight, and George I, raised the
painter's rank to that of a baronet. Sir Godfrey was notorious for his
conceit, irritability, and eccentricity, and for the wit which sparkled
more in his conversation than in any originality of observation
displayed in his painting. Walpole attributes to Kneller the opposite
qualities of great negligence and great love of money. The negligence or
slovenliness, whether in the man or the artist, did not interfere with
an immense capacity for work, such as it was, but if Horace Walpole be
right, that Kneller employed many Flemish painters under him to
undertake the wigs, draperies, etc. etc., the amount of work in portrait
painting which Sir Godfrey Kneller accomplished is so far explained. He
attained the end of being a very rich man, and married an English woman,
but left no family to succeed to his wealth and his country-seat of
Whitton, when he died at his house in London in his seventy-eighth year,
in 1723.

As a painter Sir Godfrey Kneller showed considerable talent in drawing,
and a certain cumbrous dignity of design, but he had much more industry
of a certain kind than artistic feeling or taste. When he and Lely
painted Charles II, together, Kneller's application and rapidity of
execution were so far before those of Lely, who was technically the
better painter of the two, that Kneller's picture was finished when
Lely's was dead-coloured only. Kneller was highly praised by Dryden,
Addison, Prior, and Steele. Apropos of these writers, among the most
famous works of Kneller are the forty-three portraits, painted
originally for Tonson, the bookseller, of the members of the Kit Cat
club, the social and literary club of the day, which got its name from
the chance of its holding its meetings in a house the owner of which
bore the unique name of Christopher Cat. Another series of portraits by
Kneller are what ought to be, in their designation, the Hampton Court
Beauties. These are still, like the other 'Beauties,' at Hampton. The
second series was proposed by William's Queen Mary, and included
herself, Sarah Jennings, Duchess of Marlborough, and Mary Bentinck. To
Sarah Jennings men did award the palm of beauty, but poor Queen Mary,
who had a modest, simple, comely, English face as a princess, had lost
her fresh youthful charm by the time she became Queen of England, and
was still further disfigured by the swelling of the face to which she
was liable. Her proposal to substitute the worthier women of her court
for the unworthy beauties of her uncle King Charles' court was not
relished, and helped to render Mary unpopular--among the women, at
least, of her nobility. Neither was Sir Godfrey Kneller qualified to
enhance the attractions of Mary's maids of honour and ladies in waiting,
who, to complete their disadvantages, lived at a period when it had
become the fashion for women to crown their persons by an erection on
their natural heads of artificial 'edifices of three heads.'

To Kneller, as I have already written, we owe the preservation of
Raphael's cartoons.


1524--BOTTICELLI, 1447-1515--PERUGINO, 1446-1522--CARPACCIO, DATE AND
HAVE DIED ABOUT 1530--PALMA, ABOUT 1480-1528--PARDENONE, 1483-1538--LO
1528-1612--CARAVAGGIO, 1569-1609--LO SPAGNOLETTO, 1593-1656--GUERCINO,
1592-1666--ALBANO, 1578-1660--SASSOFERRATO, 1605-1685--VASARI,

Taddeo Gaddi, the most important of Giotto's scholars, was born in 1300,
and was held at the baptismal font by Giotto himself. Gaddi rather went
back on earlier traditions and faults. His excellence lay in his purity
and simplicity of feeling. His finest pictures are from the life of the
Virgin, in S. Croce, Florence. He was, like his master, a great
architect as well as painter. He furnished the plans for the Ponte
Vecchio and Campanile, Florence, after Giotto's death. He was possessed
of great activity and industry. He is supposed to have died in 1366, and
rests in the scene of his labours, since he was buried in the cloisters
of S. Croce.

Fra Filippo, 1412-1469, a Carmelite friar. The romantic, scandalous
life, including his slavery in Barbary, attributed to him by Vasari, the
great biographer of the early Italian painters, has received no
corroboration from modern researches. It is rather refuted. He always
signed his pictures 'Frater Filippus,' and his death is entered in the
register of the Carmine convent as that of 'Frater Filippus.' In all
probability he was from first to last a monk, and not a disreputable
one. He describes himself as the poorest friar in Florence, with six
marriageable nieces dependent on him, and he is said to have been
involved in debt.

His colouring was 'golden and broad,' in anticipation of that of Titian;
his draperies were fine. He was wanting in the ideal, but full of human
feeling, which was apt to get rude and boisterous; his angels were 'like
great high-spirited boys.' Withal, his style of composition was stately.
Among the best examples of his work are scenes from the life of St John
the Baptist in frescoes in the choir of the Duomo at Prato. His panel
pictures are rather numerous. There are two lunette[49] pictures by Fra
Filippo in the National Gallery.

Benozzo Gozzoli, 1424-1496, a scholar of Fra Angelico, but resembling
him only in light and cheerful colouring. He is said to have been the
first Italian painter smitten with the beauty of the natural world. He
was the first to create rich landscape backgrounds, and he enlivened
his landscapes with animals. He displayed a fine fancy for architectural
effects, introducing into his pictures open porticoes, arcades,
balconies, and galleries. He liked to have subsidiary groups and circles
of spectators about his principal figures. In these groups he introduced
portraits of his contemporaries, true to nature and full of expression
and delicate feeling. His best work is in the Campo Santo, Pisa, scenes
from the history of the Old Testament, ranging from Noah to the Queen of
Sheba. The Pisans were so pleased with his work as to present him, in
1478, with a sarcophagus intended to contain his remains when they
should be deposited in the Campo Santo. He survived the gift eighteen
years, dying in 1496. His easel pictures are rare, and do not offer good
representations of the master. There is one in the National Gallery--a
Virgin and Child, with saints and angels.

Luca d'Egidio di Ventura, called also Luca 'da Cortona,' from his
birth-place, and Luca Signorelli, 1441, supposed to have died about
1524. His is a great name in the Tuscan School. He played an important
part in the painting of the Sistine Chapel, though he is only
represented by one wall picture, the History of Moses. At his best he
anticipated Michael Angelo in power and grandeur, but he was given to
exaggeration. His fame rests principally on his frescoes at Orvieto,
where, by a strange chance, he was appointed, after an interval of time,
to continue and complete the work begun by Fra Angelico, the master most
opposed to Signorelli in style. Luca added the great dramatic scenes
which include the history of Antichrist, executed with a grandeur which
'only Lionardo among the painters sharing a realistic tendency could
have surpassed.' These scenes, which contain The Resurrection, Hell, and
Paradise, bear a strong resemblance to the work of Michael Angelo. In
his fine drawing of the human figure Signorelli may be known by 'the
squareness of his forms in joints and extremities.' A conspicuous detail
in his pictures is frequently a bright-coloured Roman scarf. His work is
rarely seen north of the Alps.

Sandro Filipepi, called Botticelli, 1447-1515. He was an apprentice to
a goldsmith, and then became a scholar of Filippo Lipi's. Botticelli was
vehement and impetuous, full of passion and poetry, seeking to express
movement. He was the most dramatic painter of his school. Occasionally
he rises to a grandeur that allies him to Signorelli and Michael Angelo.
His circular pictures of the Madonna and Child, with angels, are
numerous. Like Fra Filippo, Botticelli's angels are noble youths, some
of them belonging to the great families of the time. They are prone to
be ecstatic with joy or frantic with grief. There is a grand Coronation
of the Virgin, by Botticelli at Hamilton Palace, and a beautiful
Nativity by the old master belongs to Mr Fuller Maitland. His Madonna
and Child are grand and tragic figures always. Botticelli's noble
frescoes in the Sistine Chapel are apt to be overlooked because of
Michael Angelo's 'sublime work' on the ceiling. There has been a revival
of Botticelli's renown within late years, partly due to the new
interest in the earlier Italian painters which Mr Browning has done
something to stimulate.

I quote some thoughtful remarks on Botticelli by W.C. Lefroy in
_Macmillan's Magazine_: 'Mr Ruskin, we know, divides Italian art into
the art of faith, beginning with Giotto, and lasting rather more than
200 years, and the art of unbelief, or at least of cold and inoperative
faith, beginning in the middle of Raphael's life. But whatever division
we adopt, we must remember that the revival of Paganism, as a matter of
fact, affected men in different ways. Right across the schools this new
spirit draws its line, but the line is not a hard and sharp one. Some
men lie wholly on one side of it, with Giotto, Angelico, and Orcagna;
some wholly upon the other, with Titian and Correggio, but there are
some on whom it seems to fall as a rainbow falls upon a hill-side. Such,
for instance, is Botticelli. Now he tries to paint as men painted in the
old days of unpolluted faith, and then again he breaks away and paints
like a very heathen.

'The interest which this artist has excited in the present generation
has been exaggerated into something like a fashion, and recent criticism
has delighted to find or imagine in him the idiosyncrasies of recent
thought. To us it may be he does in truth say more than he or his
contemporaries dreamed of, but while true criticism will sternly refuse
to help us to see in his pictures that which is purely subjective, it
will, I think, recognise the fact that a day like ours is capable of
reading in the subtle suggestions of ancient art thoughts which have
only now come to be frankly defined or exquisitely analysed. To us,
moreover, Botticelli presents not only the poem of the apparition of the
young and beautiful manhood of humanism before the brooding and
entranced, yet half expectant, maidenhood of mediaevalism, but also the
poem of the painter's own peculiar relation to that crisis. For us there
is the poetry of the thing itself, and also the poetry of Botticelli's
attempt to express it. The work of Botticelli does not supply a
universal utterance for mankind like Shakespeare's plays, but when we
stand before the screen on which his "Nativity" is hung, or contemplate
in the adjoining room his two perplexed conceptions of "Aphrodite," we
are face to face with a genuine outcome of that memorable meeting,
mediaevalism, humanism, and Savonarola, which no generation can afford to
ignore, and our own especially delights to contemplate. There has been
much dispute about the date of Botticelli's "Nativity," and some
defenders of Savonarola have hoped to read 1511 in the strange character
of its inscription, so that this beautiful picture, standing forth as
the work of one for many years under the influence of "the Frate," may
refute the common calumny that that influence was unfriendly to art. Our
catalogue, indeed, unhesitatingly asserts of Botticelli, that "he became
a follower of Savonarola and no doubt suffered from it;" but though
there seems to be really little doubt that the "Nativity" was painted in
1500, the inscription, with its mystic allusion to the Apocalypse, and
the whole character of the picture, afford unmistakable evidence of the
influence of Savonarola.'

Pietro Perugino, 1446, died of the plague at Frontignano in 1522.
Perugino is another painter who has been indebted to the last
Renaissance. His fame, in this country rested chiefly on the
circumstance that he was Raphael's master, whom the generous prince of
painters delighted to honour, till the tide of fashion in art rose
suddenly and floated old Pietro once more to the front. At his best he
had luminous colour, grace, softness, and enthusiastic earnestness,
especially in his young heads. His defects were monotony, and formality,
together with comparative ignorance of the principles of his art. His
conception of his calling in its true dignity was not high. His attempts
at expressing ardour degenerated into mannerism, and he acquired habits
and tricks of arrangement and style, among which figured his favourite
upturned heads, that in the end were ill drawn, and, like every other
affectation, became wearisome. In the process of falling off as an
artist, when mere manual dexterity took the place of earnest devotion
and honest pains, Perugino had a large studio where many pupils executed
his commissions, and where, working for gain instead of excellence in
art, he had the satisfaction, doubtless, of amassing a large fortune.
Among his finest works is the picture of an enthroned Madonna and Child
in the gallery of the Uffizi. Another fine Madonna with Saints is at
Cremona. His frescoes in the Sala del Campio at Perugia are among his
best works. The subjects of these frescoes are partly scriptural; partly
mythological. In the execution there is excellence alike in drawing,
colouring, and the disposal of drapery. A _chef d'oeuvre_ by the master
is the Madonna of the Certosa at Pavia, now in, the National Gallery.
Yet it is said to have been painted at the very period when Michael
Angelo ridiculed Perugino's work as 'absurd and antiquated.' Vittore
Carpaccio, date and place of birth unknown, though he is said to have
been a native of Istria. He was a historical painter of the early
Venetian School and a follower of the Bellini. His romantic _genre_
pictures show the daily life of the Venice of his time, and are
furnished with landscape and architectural backgrounds. His masterly and
rich work is mostly in Venice. He introduces animals freely and well in
his designs.

Carlo Crivelli was another master of the fifteenth century who deserves
notice. He had strong individuality, yet was influenced by the Paduan
and Venetian Schools. He displayed an old-fashioned preference for
painting in tempera. Sometimes his drawing approaches that of Mantegna,
while he has a gorgeousness of colouring all his own. His pictures
occasionally show dignity of composition in combination with grace and
daintiness; but he could be guilty of exaggerated vehemence of
expression. He frequently introduced fruit, flowers, and birds in his
work. He is fully represented in the National Gallery, his works there
ranging from 'small tender pictures of the dead Christ with angels, to a
sumptuous altar-piece in numerous compartments.'

Filippino Lipi was an adopted son and probably a relation of Fra
Filippo's, though a scholar's use of his master's name was not uncommon.
The date of his birth is earlier than 1460. Filippino was also a pupil
of Botticelli's, while there was a higher sense of beauty and grace in
the pupil than in the teacher. Among his last works is the Vision of St
Bernard, an easel picture in the Badia at Florence. The apparition of
the Madonna in this picture is said to be 'full of charm.' In his larger
works he is one of the greatest historical painters of his country.
Roman antiquities had the same keen interest for him which they held for
the greatest of his contemporaries, and he made free use of them in the
architecture of his pictures. He has fine work in the Carmelite Church,
Florence, and in S. Maria Sopra Minerva, Rome. Much of some of his
pictures is painted over. The National Gallery has a picture of
Filippino's 'of grand execution,' though almost colourless--the Madonna
and Child, with St Jerome and St Francis.

Antonella da Messina was the Neapolitan painter who brought the practice
of painting in oils from the Netherlands into Italy, though it is now
believed, from stubborn discrepancies in dates, that the story of his
great friendship with Jan Van Eyck, as given by Vasari, is apochryphal.
Very likely Hans Memling, called also 'John of Bruges,' was the real
friend and leader of Antonella. His best work consisted of portraits. He
is believed to have died at Venice in 1496.

Benvenuto Tisio, surnamed from the place of his birth Garofalo, was born
in 1481, and died in 1559. He passed from the early school of Ferrara to
that of Raphael. His conception was apt to be fantastic, while his
colouring was vivid to abruptness, and he was deficient in charm of
expression. He fell into the fault of monotonous ideality. At the same
time his heads are beautiful, and his drapery is classic. His finest
work is an 'Entombment' in the Borghese Palace, Rome. There is an
altar-piece by Garofalo, a Madonna and Child with angels, in the
National Gallery.

Bernardo Luini, who stands foremost among the scholars of Lionardo da
Vinci, was born by the Lago Maggiore, the date unknown, came to Milan in
1500, was elderly in 1525, and is supposed to have died not long after
1530. His work is chiefly found in Milan. His great merit has been only
lately acknowledged. He is not 'very powerful or original,' but for
'purity, grace, and spiritual expression,' he ranks very high. He unites
the earnestness of the older masters with the prevailing feeling for
beauty of the great masters of Italian Art. His pictures were long
mistaken for those of his master, Lionardo, though it is said that when
the difference between them is once pointed out, it is easily
recognised; indeed, the resemblance is confined to a smiling beatific
expression in the countenances, which abounds more in Luini's pictures.
His heads of women, children, and angels present every degree of
serenity, sweet cheerfulness and happiness, up to ecstatic rapture.
'Christ Disputing with the Doctors,' in the National Gallery, formerly
called a Lionardo, is now known to be a Luini. He painted much, whether
in tempera, fresco, or oil. His favourite subjects in oil were the
Madonna and Child, with St John and the Lamb, and the Marriage of St
Catherine. Probable he appears to greatest advantage in frescoes. He is
said to have reached his highest perfection in the figure of St John in
a Crucifixion in the Monasterio Maggiore, Milan.

Jacopo Palma, called Il Palma Vecchio, was born about 1480 near Bergamo,
and died in 1528. He is believed to have studied under Giovanni Bellini,
while he is also the chief follower of Giorgione. His characteristics
are ample forms and gorgeous breadth of drapery. His female saints, with
their large rounded figures, have a soft yet commanding expression. He
had an enchanting feeling for landscape, which seems to have been the
birthright of the Venetian painters. To Palma is owing what are called
'Santa Conversazione,' where there are numerous groups round the Virgin
and Child, as if they are holding a court in a retired and beautiful
country nook. Palma rivalled Giorgione and Titian as a painter of
women's portraits. Among these is that of his daughter Violante,
believed to have been loved by Titian. 'Palma's three Daughters,' in the
Dresden Gallery, is a masterpiece of 'fair, full-blown beauty.' The hair
of the women is of the curiously bleached yellow tint affected then by
the Venetian ladies. Palma painted many pictures, leaving at his death
forty-our unfinished.

Giovanni Antonio da Pardenone, born 1483, died 1538. He had many names,
'Pardenone' from his birth-place, 'Corticellis' from that of his father,
and he is believed to have assumed the name 'Regillo' after he received
knighthood from the King of Hungary. He was Venetian in his artistic
qualities. Many of his works are in his native Pardetowns near. All have
suffered and some are now hidden by whitewash. His chief strength lay in
fresco. His scenes from the Passion in the cathedral, Cremona, are
greatly damaged and wretchedly restored, but they still reveal the
painter as a great master. They have 'fine drawing, action, excellent
colouring, grand management of light and shade, with freedom of hand and
dignity of conception.' In the prophets and sibyls around the cupola of
the Madonna di Campagna, Piacenza, Pardenone's power is fully proven.
His immense works in fresco account for the rarity of his oil pictures
and their comparative inferiority. There is only one picture, and that a
portrait, indisputably assigned to Pardenone in England, in the Baring

Giovanni di Pietro, known as Lo Spagna (the Spaniard), was a
contemporary of Raphael's, a fellow-pupil of his under Perugino. There
is no record of the time and place of Lo Spagna's birth. He died in
1533. He was a careful, conscientious follower of Perugino and Raphael,
doing finished and delicate work; an 'Assumption' in a church at Trevi
is a fine example of his qualities. His best picture was painted in
1516, and is at Assisi. It represents the Madonna enthroned with three
saints on each side. In his later works he betrayed feebleness. Pictures
by Lo Spagna are often attributed to Raphael.

Giulio Pippi, surnamed Romano, born in 1492, died in 1546, was a very
different painter, while he was the most celebrated of Raphael's
scholars. He had a vigorous, daring spirit, with a free hand and a bold
fancy. So long as he painted under Raphael, Giulio followed his master
closely, especially in his study of the antique, but he lacked the
purity and grace of his teacher, on whose death, the pupil leaving Rome,
pursued his own coarser, more vehement impulses. The frescoes in the
Villa Modama, Rome, are good examples of his style, so is the
altar-piece of the Martyrdom of St Stephen in S. Stefano, Genoa. Giulio
Romano was the architect who designed the rebuilding of half Mantua.
His best easel picture in England is the 'Education of Jupiter by Nymphs
and Corybantes,' in the National Gallery. In Raphael's lifetime his
principal scholar was accustomed to work on the master's pictures, and
on his death Giulio, together with another pupil, Gianfrancesco Penni,
were left executors of Raphael's will and heirs of his designs.

Paris Bordone was born at Treviso in 1500 and died in 1570. He was
educated in the Venetian School, and remained remarkable for delicate
rosy colour in his flesh tints and for purple, crimson, and shot hues in
his draperies, which were usually small and in crumpled folds. His _chef
d'oeuvre_ is in the Venetian Academy. It is a fisherman presenting a ring
to the Doge, and is a large and fine picture with many figures. He dealt
frequently in mythological or poetic subjects. There is an example of
the first in the National Gallery. He was great in single female
subjects and women's portraits. There is a portrait by Bordone of a
lovely woman of nineteen belonging to the Brignole family, in the
National Gallery. He had often fine landscape and grand architecture in
his pictures.

Il Parmigianino, born 1503, died 1540, was a follower of Correggio's. In
Parmigianino's case the danger of the master's peculiarities became
apparent by the lapse into affectation and frivolity. 'His Madonnas are
empty and condescending, his female saints like ladies in waiting.'
Still there were certain indestructible beauties of the master which yet
clung to the scholar. He had clear warm colouring, decision, and good
conception of human life. He was highly successful in portraits. There
is a splendid portrait by Parmigianino, said to be Columbus, in Naples.
Among his celebrated pictures is 'The Madonna with the Long Neck,' in
the Pitti Palace. An altar-piece in the National Gallery, which
represents a Madonna in the clouds with St John the Baptist appearing
to St Jerome, is a good example of Parmigianino. It is said that he was
engrossed with this picture during the siege of Rome in 1527. The
soldiers entered the studio intent on pillage, but surprising the
master at his work, respected his enthusiasm and protected him.

Federigo Baroccio, of Urbino, born in 1528, died in 1612, was also a
follower of Correggio's, and made a stand against the decline of art in
his day. He was tender and idyllic, though apt in his turn to be
affected and sentimental. When painting in the Vatican, Rome, his rivals
sought to take his life by poison. The attempt caused Baroccio to return
to Urbino, where he established himself and executed his commissions.

Amirighi da Caravaggio was born at Caravaggio in 1569, and died at Porto
Ercole in 1609. He was chief of the naturalistic school, the members of
which painted common nature and violent passions in bitter opposition to
the eclectics, especially the Caracci. The feud was sometimes carried on
appositely enough on the side of the naturalistic painters by poison and
dagger. Caravaggio was distinguished by his wild temper and stormy life,
in keeping with his pictures. He resided principally in Rome, but dwelt
also in Naples. He is vulgar but striking, even pathetic in some of his
pictures. The 'Beheading of John the Baptist,' in the Cathedral, Malta,
is one of his masterpieces. His Holy Families now and then resemble
gipsy _menages_.

Guiseppe Ribiera, a Spaniard, and so called Lo Spagnoletto, was born
1593 and died 1656. He followed Caravaggio, while he retained
reminiscences of the Spanish School and of the Venetian masters. Some of
his best pictures, such as 'the Pieta with the Marys and the Disciples,'
and his 'Last Supper,' are in Naples. He had a wild fancy with a
preference for horrible subjects--executions, tortures--in this respect
resembling Domenichino. Lo Spagnoletto is said to be particularly
unpleasant in his mythological scenes. Many of his pictures have
blackened with time. His 'Mary of Egypt standing by her open Grave' is a
remarkable picture in the Dresden Gallery.

Giovanni Francesco Barbiera, surnamed Guercino da Cinto, approached the
school of the Caracci. In his art he resembled Guido Reni, with the same
sweetness, greater liveliness, and fine chiaroscuro. 'Dido's Last
Moments' and 'St Peter raising Tabitha' in Rome and in the Pitti Palace
are fine examples of Guercino's work. His later pictures, like Guido's,
are fascinating in softness, delicate colouring and tender sentiment,
degenerating, however, into mannerism and insipidity, while his
colouring becomes at last pale and washy.

Albano, born 1578, died 1660. He had elegance and cheerfulness which
hardly rose to grace. He painted mostly scenes from ancient mythology,
such as 'Venus and her Companions.' Religious subjects were
comparatively rare with him; one, however, often repeated was the
'Infant Christ sleeping on the Cross.'

Giovanni Battista Salvi, surnamed from his birth-place Sassoferrato, was
born in 1605 and died in 1685. He followed the scholars of the Caracci,
but with some independence, returning to older and greater masters. His
art was distinguished by a peculiar but slightly affected gentleness of
conception, pleasing and sweet--with the sweetness verging on weakness.
He finished with minute care. He gave constant representations of the
Madonna and Child and Holy Families in a domestic character. In one of
his pictures in Naples the Madonna is engaged in sewing. His most
celebrated, 'Madonna del Rosario,' is in S. Sabina, Rome. The Madonna
bending in ecstatic worship over an infant Christ lying on a cushion is
in the Dresden Gallery.

Giorgio Vasari was born at Arezzo in 1512 and died at Florence in 1574.
He was an architect, or jeweller, and a historical painter of heavy
crowded pictures. His lives of the early Italian painters and sculptors
up to his own time, the sixteenth century, though full of traditional
gossip, are invaluable as graphic chronicles of much interesting
information which would otherwise have been lost.

Sofonisba Anguisciola, born 1535, died about 1620, was a pupil of
Bernardino Campi about the close of the sixteenth century at Cremona.
She is justly praised by Vasari. Though her works are rare there are a
few in England and Scotland. Three of her pictures which are mentioned
with high commendation by Dr. Waagen are, 'a nun in the white robes of
her order, nobly conceived and delicately coloured,' in Lord
Yarborough's collection; in Mr Harcourt's collection, 'her own
portrait, still very youthful, delicate, charming, and clear;' and in
the collection of the late Sir W. Stirling Maxwell, 'another portrait of
herself at an easel painting the Virgin and Child on wood, delicately
conceived, clear in colour, and very careful.'

Lavinia Fontana, born in 1552, died 1614, was a daughter of Prospero
Fontana, who belonged to the fast degenerating Bolognese artists at the
close of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth century. She was
a better artist than her fellow painters, worked cleverly and boldly,
and showed truth to nature. She has left excellent portraits. In the
late Sir W. Stirling Maxwell's collection there is a picture by her,
'Two girls in a boat with a youth rowing,' on wood, 'of very graceful
motive and careful treatment.'


LEYDEN, 1494-1533--VAN SOMER, 1570-1624--SNYDERS, 1579-1657--G.
HONTHORST, 1592-1662--JAN STEEN, 1626-1679--GERARD DOW, 1613-1680--DE
1632-1693--METZU, 1615, STILL ALIVE IN 1667--TERBURG,
1608-1681--NETCHER, 1639-1684--BOL, 1611-1680--VAN DER HELST,
1613-1670--RUYSDAEL, 1625 (?)-1682--HOBBEMA, 1638-1709--BERCHEM,
1620-1683--BOTH, 1610 (?)-1650 (?)--DU JARDIN, 1625-1678--ADRIAN VAN DE
VELDE, 1639-1672--VAN DER HEYDEN, 1637-1712--DE WITTE, 1607-1692--VAN
1633-1707--BACKHUYSEN, 1631-1708--VAN DE CAPELLA, ABOUT
1653--HONDECOETER, 1636-1695--JAN WEENIX, 1644-1719--PATER SEGERS,
1590-1661--VAN HUYSUM, 1682-1749--VAN DER WERFF, 1659-1722--MENGS,

Roger van der Weyden was a contemporary of the Van Eycks, born at
Tournai. His early pictures in Brussels are lost. He visited Italy in
1439, and was treated with distinction at Ferrara. His Flemish realistic
cast of mind and artistic power remained utterly unaffected by the grand
Italian pictures with which he came in contact; so did his profound
earnestness, which must have been great indeed, since its effects are
felt through all impediments down to the present day. His expressive
realism chose subjects in which the sentiments of grief and pity could
be most fitly shown. He sternly rejected any suggestion to idealise the
human form, and paint heads, hands, or feet different from those in
ordinary life. 'It is the simplicity with which he gives expression by
large and melancholy eyes, thought by projections of the forehead, grief
by contracted muscles, and suffering by attenuation of the flesh which
touches us.' The deadly earnestness of the man impresses the spectator
at this distant date. 'There is no smile in any of his faces, but there
is many a face wrung with agony, and there is many a tear.' He objected
to shadow in every form, and filled his pictures with an invariable
atmosphere and light--those which belong to dawn before sunrise. Among
his finer works are a triptych[51] belonging to the Duke of Westminster,
a 'Last Judgment' in the Hospital at Bearne, and a large 'Descent from
the Cross' in Madrid. In the triptych in the centre is Christ with black
hair, which is unusual, in his left hand the globe. On his right is the
Virgin Mary, on his left St John the Evangelist; on the right wing is
St John the Baptist, on his left the Magdalene.

Lucas Van Leyden was born in 1494 and died in 1533. He painted both
scriptural subjects and everyday scenes, being a man of varied powers.
He worked admirably for his time, and added to his art that of an
engraver. He followed the Van Eycks, but lowered their treatment of
sacred subjects. In incidents taken from common life he showed himself
full of observation, and possessed of some humour. His pictures are
rare. A 'Last Judgment,' in the Town House, Leyden, is a striking but
unpleasant example of Lucas Van Leyden's work.

Paul Van Somer was born at Antwerp in 1570, and died in 1624. He worked
for many years in England, where his best works--portraits--remain. He
was truthful, a good colourist, and finished carefully. His portraits of
Lord Bacon at Panshanger and of the Earl and Countess of Arundel at
Arundel Castle are well known.

Frans Snyders was born in 1579, and died, at Antwerp in 1657. After
Rubens, Snyders was the greatest Flemish animal painter. He painted
along with Rubens often, Snyders supplying the animals and Rubens the
figures. Frans Snyders paid a visit to Italy and Rome, from which he
seems to have profited, judging by his skill in arrangement. This skill
he displayed also in his kitchen-pieces (magnificent shows of fruit,
vegetables, game, fish, etc.), which, like his animal pictures, are
numerous. In one of these kitchen-pieces in the Dresden Gallery, Rubens
and his second wife are said to figure as the cooks. Princes and nobles
bade for Snyders' pictures. There is a famous 'Boar Hunt' in the Louvre,
in Munich 'Lionesses Pursuing a Roebuck,' in Vienna 'Boar attacked by
Nine Dogs.' Snyders' animal pictures are full of energetic action and
fierce passion. To these qualities is frequently added hideous realism
in detail. There are many Snyders in English galleries.

Gerard Honthorst was born at Utrecht in 1592, and died in 1662. He was a
follower of Caravaggio. He visited Italy and found favour in Rome, where
he got from his night-pieces Correggio's name, 'Della Notte.' Honthorst
was summoned to England by Charles I., for whom he painted several
pictures. He entered the service of Prince Frederick Henry of Orange,
and painted also for the King of Denmark. He left an extraordinary
number of works, sacred, mythological, historical, and latterly many
portraits. He drew well and painted powerfully, but was coarsely
realistic in his treatment. At Hampton Court there are two of his best
portraits, those of the unfortunate Queen of Bohemia and the Duke of
Buckingham and his family. Gerard Honthorst's younger brother, William,
was a portrait painter not unlike the elder brother in style.

Jan Steen was born at Leyden in 1626, and died in 1679. He was great as
a _genre_ painter. He is said to have been, after Rembrandt, the most
humorous of Dutch painters, full of animal spirits and fun. At his best,
composition, colouring, and execution were all in excellent keeping. At
his worst, he was vulgar and repulsive in his heads, and careless and
faulty in his work. He was very rarely either kindly or reverent in his
subjects, though, in spite of what is known to have been his riotous
life, he is comparatively free from the grossness which is often the
shame of Flemish and Dutch art. Jan Steen succeeded his father as a
brewer and tavern-keeper at Delft. He renounced the brewery, in which he
did not succeed, and joined the Painters' Guild, Haarlem; but his
position as a tavern-keeper is reflected in his pictures, of which
eating and drinking, card-playing, etc., are frequently the _motifs_.
His family relations were not conducive to higher principles and tastes.
He is said to have been so lost to common feeling as to have painted his
first wife when she was in a state of intoxication.[52] His second wife
may have been a worthier woman, but she was drawn from the lowest class,
and had been accustomed to sell sheeps' heads and trotters in the
butchers' market. Without doubt Jan Steen had extraordinary genius
coexisting with his coarse, careless nature and jovial habits, and he
must have worked with great facility, since, in spite of his idleness
and comparatively early death, he left as many as two hundred pictures,
rendered him extremely popular. Besides his favourite subjects, such as
'The Family Jollification,' 'The Feast of the Bean King,' 'Game of
Skittles,' he has pictures in a slightly higher atmosphere, such as 'A
Pastor Visiting a Young Girl,' 'The Parrot,' 'Schoolmaster with
Unmanageable Boys,' 'The Pursuit of Alchemy.' Among the latter a good
example is 'The Music Master' in the National Gallery.

Gerard Dow was born in 1613 and died in 1680. He was a _genre_ painter
of great merit. He belonged to Leyden, and was a pupil of Rembrandt. He
began with portraiture, often painting his own face, and went on to
scenes from low and middle-class life, but rarely attempted to represent
high society. Compared to Jan Steen, however, he is refined. He had a
curious fondness for painting hermits. The lighting of his pictures is
frequently by lantern or candle. They are mostly small, and without
animated action, but are full of picturesqueness. He was a good
colourist, 'with a rare truth to nature and a marvellous distinctness of
eye and precision of hand.' Minute as his execution was, his touch was
'free and soft.' His best pictures are 'like nature's self seen through
the camera obscura.' An instance often given of his exquisite finish is
that of a broom in the corner of one of his pictures. Some contemporary
had remarked how careful and elaborate was the labour bestowed on it,
when the painter answered that he was still to give it several hours'
work. He must have been exceedingly industrious as well as painstaking,
since he left two hundred pictures as his contribution to Dutch art.
Among his finer pictures are 'An Old Woman reading the Bible to her
Husband,' in the Louvre; 'The Poulterer's Shop,' in the National
Gallery. His _chef d'oeuvre_, 'The Woman Sick of the Dropsy,' is in the
Louvre. His candlelight is the finest rendered by any master. There is a
good example of it in 'The Evening School,' in the Amsterdam Gallery.

Peter de Hooch--spelt often, De Hooge--was the _genre_ painter of full,
clear sunlight. The dates of his birth and death can only be guessed by
those of his pictures, which extend from 1656 to 1670. His groups are
generally playing cards, smoking, drinking, or engaged in domestic
occupations--almost always in the open air. No other _genre_ painter can
compare with him in reproducing the effects of sunlight. His prevailing
colour is red, varied and repeated with great delicacy. English lovers
of art brought De Hooch into favour, and many of his pictures are in
England. There are fine examples--'The Court of a Dutch House' and 'A
Courtyard'--in the National Gallery.

Adrian van Ostade was born at Haarlem in 1610 and died in his native
town in 1685. He has been called 'the Rembrandt of _genre_ painters,'
and, like Rembrandt, he was without the sense of human beauty and grace,
for even his children are ugly; yet it is the purer, happier side of
national life which he constantly represents, and he had great feeling
for nature, with picturesqueness and harmony of design and colouring, as
well as mastery of the technique of his art. He suffered many hardships
in his youth, and grew up a quiet, industrious, family man. He left a
very large number of pictures, nearly four hundred, many of them good,
and not a few in England. 'The Alchemist'[53] is in the National

Maas, born in 1632, died in 1693, is a much-prized _genre_ painter,
whose pictures are rare. He was a pupil of Rembrandt. He is said to have
treated 'very simple subjects with naive homeliness and kindly humour.'
His pictures are 'well lit, with deep warm harmony, and a vigorous
touch.' 'The Idle Servant-maid,' in the National Gallery, is a

Metzu, like Terburg, is _par excellence_ one of the two painters of
Dutch high life. Metzu was born in 1615, and is known to have been alive
in 1667. He painted both on a large and a small scale, and occasionally
departed from his peculiar province to represent market-scenes, etc. He
is the most refined and picturesque of _genre_ painters on a small
scale. Among his _chefs d'oeuvre_ are a 'Lady holding a Glass of Wine and
receiving an Officer,' in the Louvre; and a 'Girl writing, a Gentleman
leaning on her chair and another girl opposite playing the Lute,' in the
Hague Gallery. The fine 'Duet,' and the 'Music Lesson' are both in the
National Gallery.

Gerard Terburg was born at Zwol, in 1608, and died in 1681. He visited
Germany and Italy in his youth. His small groups and single figures,
taken from the wealthier classes, with their luxurious surroundings, are
'given with exquisite delicacy and refinement.' Included in his
masterpieces are a 'Girl in white satin (a texture which he rendered
marvellously) washing her hands in a basin held before her by a
maid-servant,' in the Dresden Gallery; an 'Officer in confidential talk
with a Young Girl, and a Trumpeter who has brought him a Letter,' in the
Hague Gallery; a 'Young Lady in white satin sitting playing the Lute,'
in the Chateau of Wilhelmshoee, at Cassell. There are twenty-three
Terburgs in England and Scotland.

Caspar Netcher, born in 1639, died in 1684. He formed himself upon Metzu
and Terburg. He is the great Dutch painter of childhood. His finest
works are in the Dresden Gallery. In the National Gallery is his
'Children blowing Bubbles.'

Ferdinand Bol was born at Dordrecht in 1611, and died at Amsterdam in
1680. He was a student of Rembrandt's, and distinguished himself in
sacred and historical pictures, and especially in portraits. He followed
his master in his youth, fell off in his art in middle life, but became
again excellent in his later years. Among his fine pictures are 'David's
Charge to Solomon,' in the Dublin National Gallery; and 'Joseph
presenting his father Jacob to Pharaoh,' in the Dresden Gallery. His
last portraits are considered very fine. They are taken in the fullest
light, and have a surprising amount of animation. Such a portrait,
called 'The Astronomer,' is in the National Gallery.[54]

Jacob Ruysdael was born in 1625(?) at Haarlem. In 1668 he was in
Amsterdam, and acted as witness to the marriage of Hobbema, whose lack
of worldly prosperity Ruysdael shared. He himself was unmarried, and
maintained his father in his old age. In the prime of life Jacob
Ruysdael in turn fell into extreme poverty, and died an inmate of the
Haarlem Almshouse in 1682--a sad record of Holland's greatest landscape
painter, for 'beyond dispute' Ruysdael is the first of the famous Dutch
landscape painters.

'In no other is there the feeling for the poetry of Northern nature
united with perfect execution, admirable drawing, great knowledge of
chiaroscuro, powerful colouring, and a mastery of the brush which ranged
from the minutest touch to broad, free execution.' His prevailing tone
of colour is a full, decided green, though age has given many of his
pictures a brown tone. A considerable number of his pictures are in a
greyish, clear, cool tone (good examples of the last are to be seen in
the Dresden Gallery). He generally painted the flat Dutch country in
tranquil repose. He dealt usually in heavy clouded skies which told of
showers past and coming, and dark sheets of water overshadowed by
trees, lending a melancholy sentiment to the picture. He was fond of
wide expanses of land and water, fond also of introducing the spires of
his native Haarlem, touching the horizon line. He has left a few
sea-pieces, always with cloudy heavens and heaving or raging seas;[55]
where he has given sketches of sea, and shore, the aerial perspective is
rendered in tender gradations 'full of pathos.' He has other pictures
representing hilly, even mountainous, landscapes. In these foaming
waterfalls form a prominent feature. Ruysdael was weak in his drawing of
men and animals, in which he was occasionally assisted by
fellow-artists, such as Berchem and Van de Velde. Among his finest
pictures are 'A View of the Country round Haarlem,' in the Museum of the
Hague; 'A flat country, with a road leading to a village and fields with
wheat sheaves,' in the Dresden Gallery; 'A hilly bare country through
which a river runs; the horseman and beggar on a bridge, by
Wouvermans,' in the Louvre. His most remarkable waterfall is in the
Hague Museum. In the Dresden Gallery there is 'A Jewish Cemetery,' 'full
of melancholy.' Three of Ruysdael's fine waterfalls are in the National
Gallery. Of two very grand storms which he painted one is in the Louvre,
the other in the collection of the Marquis of Lansdowne at Bowood. There
are many of Ruysdael's pictures in England. In the great landscape
painter, as in the other renowned Dutch artists of the seventeenth
century, the influence of Rembrandt is marked.

Meindert Hobbema was born in 1638, married in 1638, and died in poverty
at Amsterdam in 1709. His works, which were neglected in his lifetime,
now fetch much more than their weight in gold. Sums as large as four
thousand pounds have been paid more than once for a Hobbema, yet his
name was not found in any dictionary of art or artists for more than a
century after his death. The English were the first to acknowledge
Hobbema's merit, and nine-tenths of his works are in England, where he
is the most popular Dutch landscape painter. But he is said by judges to
have less invention and less poetic sensibility than his contemporary
and friend Ruysdael. Hobbema's subjects are usually villages surrounded
by trees like those in Guelderland, water-mills, a slightly broken
country, with groups of trees, wheatfields, meadows, and small pools,
more rarely portions of towns, and still more seldom old castles and
stately mansions.[56] He has all the lifelike truthfulness of the Dutch
artists. In tone he is as warm and golden as Ruysdael is cool in his
greens. In the National Gallery there are excellent specimens of
Hobbema, such as 'The Avenue Middelharnis' and 'A Landscape in Showery

Nicolas Berchem, often spelt Berghem, was born at Haarlem in 1620, and
died at Amsterdam in 1683. He was an excellent Dutch landscape painter.
He had evidently visited Italy, and displayed great fondness for
Italian subjects. His pictures show 'varied composition, good drawing,
fine aerial effects, freedom, playfulness, and spirit.' As a colourist he
was unequal, being often warm and harmonious, but at other times heavy
and cold. It is clear that he was no student of life, from the monotony
of his shepherds and shepherdesses and the sameness of his animals. He
was naturally industrious, and was spurred on, as a still greater artist
is said to have been, by the greed of his wife. He painted upwards of
four hundred pictures, besides doing figures and animals for other
painters. The great northern European galleries are rich in his works.
One of his best pictures, 'A Shepherdess driving her cattle through a
ford in a rocky landscape,' where the cool tone of the landscape is
contrasted with the golden tone of the cattle, is in the Louvre. Another
fine picture, 'Crossing the Ford,' is in the National Gallery.

Jan Both, born in 1610 (?), died in 1650 (?), was another Dutch
landscape painter still more spellbound by Italy,[57] which he visited,
and where he fell under the influence of Claude Lorraine. Both devoted
himself thenceforth to Italian landscape to a greater degree than was
practised by any other Dutch painter. He was excellent in drawing and
skilful in rendering the golden glories of Italian sunsets. He painted
freely and with solidity. The figures of men and animals in his pictures
were often introduced by his brother Andreas. Jan Both excelled both in
large and small pictures, but he was most uninterestingly uniform in
design. He had generally a foreground of lofty trees, and for a
background a range of mountains rising step by step, with a wide plain
at their feet. Sometimes he introduced a waterfall or a lake. He rarely
painted particular points in a landscape. His life was not a long one,
so that his pictures do not number more than a hundred and fifty.
Occasionally his warm tone of colouring degenerates to a foxy red. One
of Both's best pictures--a landscape in which the fresh light of
morning is apparent--is in the National Gallery.

Karil du Jardin, born in 1625, died in 1678, is a third great Dutch
landscape painter, whose fancy Italy laid hold of, so that he settled in
the country, dying at Venice. He was, it is said, a pupil of Berchem's,
from whom he may have first drawn his Italian proclivities. He has more
truth and feeling for animated nature than Berchem. Indeed, in this
respect Du Jardin followed Paul Potter. According to contemporary
accounts, Du Jardin, who had his share of the national humour, wasted
his time in the pursuit of pleasure, and did not leave more pictures
behind him than Both left. Du Jardin's best works are in the Louvre, but
there are also many of his pictures in England. Among his masterpieces,
'Cattle of all kinds in a meadow surrounded by rocks, and watered by a
cascade; a horseman giving alms to a peasant boy;' and his celebrated
'Charlatan,' full of observation and humour, are in the Louvre. A fine
picture, 'Figures of Animals under the shade of a Tree,' is in the
National Gallery.

Adrian Van de Velde, born in 1639, died in 1672, the younger brother of
a great marine painter, ranks almost as high as Paul Potter in cattle
painting. If 'inferior in modelling and solidity' to his rival, Adrian
Van de Velde is superior in variety, taste, and feeling. Like the great
English animal painter, Landseer, Van de Velde was a distinguished
artist when a mere boy of fourteen. Like his compatriot, Paul Potter,
Van de Velde died young, at the age of thirty-two. He generally disposed
of his cattle among broken ground with trees and pools of water.
Sometimes he has a herdsman or a shepherdess, sometimes there is a
hunting party passing. His scenery is reckoned masterly. It is mostly
taken from the coast of Scheveningen. He often painted in men, horses,
and dogs for other painters. He must have been very industrious, with
great facility in his work, since, in spite of his premature death, he
had painted nearly two hundred pictures. 'A brown cow grazing and a
grey cow resting,' which is in the Berlin Museum, was done at the age of
sixteen, yet it is full of observation, delicacy, and execution. 'Cattle
grazing before a peasant's cottage,' which is in the Dresden Gallery, is
considered very fine. A fine 'Winter Landscape,' and a 'Farm Cottage,'
are in the National Gallery. Some of Adrian Van de Velde's best work, as
well as his brother's, is in England.

Jan Van der Heyden, 'the Gerard Dow of architectural painters,' was born
in 1637 and died in 1712. He combined an unspeakable minuteness of
detail with the closest observation of nature. His subjects, which he
selected with great taste, were chiefly well-known buildings, palaces,
churches, and canal banks in Holland and Belgium. He painted in a warm
transparent tone, with close application of the laws of perspective. The
figures in his pictures, in excellent keeping, were often introduced by
Adrian Van de Velde. Van der Heyden's productiveness as a painter was
lessened by the circumstance that his mechanical talent led him to make
an invention by which the construction of the fire-engines of his day
was greatly improved. In consequence he was placed by the magistrates of
Amsterdam at the head of their fire-engine establishment, which had thus
many claims on his time. A beautiful 'Street in Cologne' is in the
National Gallery.

Emanuel De Witte, born in 1607, died in 1692, was great in architectural
interiors, especially in churches of Italian architecture. He stood to
this branch of Dutch art in the same relation that Ruysdael did to
landscape and William Van de Velde to seascape.

Aart Van der Neer was born in 1619(?), died in 1683. He is famous for
his canal banks by moonlight, and fine disposal of broad masses of
shadow. After his moonlights come his sunsets, conflagrations, and
winter scenes. He rarely painted full daylight. He sometimes painted on
the same Van der Neer in the National Gallery. Many of his works are in

William Van de Velde the younger, the elder brother of Adrian Van de
Velde, the cattle painter, was born at Amsterdam in 1633, and died at
Greenwich in 1707. His early life was spent in Holland. He followed his
father, William Van de Velde, a painter also, to England, where, under
the patronage of Charles II, and James II., William the younger painted
the naval victories of the English over the Dutch, just as in Holland he
had already painted the naval victories of the Dutch over the English.
He was a greater and more consistent artist than he was a patriot.
Without question he is the first marine painter of the Dutch School. He
was untiring in his study of nature, so that his perfect knowledge of
perspective and the incomparable mastery of technical qualities which he
inherited from his school, enabled him to render sea and sky under every
aspect. His vessels 'were drawn with a knowledge which extended to every
rope.' He has been an exceedingly popular painter both with the Dutch
and the English. Of upwards of three hundred pictures left by him many
are in Holland and still more in England, where in his lifetime he was
largely employed by the English nobility and gentry. William Van de
Velde has a great picture in the Amsterdam Museum, where the English
flag-ship, the _Princess Royal_, is represented as striking her colours
to the Dutch fleet in 1666. In the companion picture, also by Van de
Velde, 'Four English men-of-war brought in as prizes,' the painter
introduces himself in the small boat from which he witnessed the fight.
William Van de Velde's triumphs in calm seas are seen especially in his
pictures at the Hague and in Munich. Some of Van de Velde's best works
are in the National Gallery.

Backhuysen born in 1631, died at Amsterdam in 1708, was another
admirable marine painter. He did not study painting till he had followed
a trade up to the age of eighteen years; he then gave himself with
ardour to art, making many studies of skies, coasts, and vessels. He was
inferior to William Van de Velde in his colouring, which was heavy, with
a cold effect. But he had in full a Dutch painter's truthfulness, while
his 'stormy waves and rent clouds' are given with poetic feeling. He was
an industrious and successful man, painting nearly two hundred pictures,
and receiving many commissions from the King of Prussia, Grand Duke of
Tuscany, etc. One of his finest works, 'A View of the River from the
Landing-place called the Mosselsteiger,' is in Amsterdam Museum. In the
Louvre is 'A view of the Mouth of the Texel, with ten Men-of-war Sailing
before a Fresh Wind.' 'Dutch Shipping' is in the National Gallery.

Van de Capella is another capital marine painter, though little is known
of him. He was a native of Amsterdam about 1653. His favourite subject
is a quiet sea in sunny weather. His work bears some resemblance to that
of Cuyp. His best pictures are in England. 'A Calm at Low Water' is in
the National Gallery.

Melchior de Hondecoeter, born in 1636, died in 1695, chose the feathered
tribe for his subjects. He has been called 'the Raphael of bird
painters.' He painted especially poultry, peacocks, turkeys, and
pigeons, which he usually represented alive, and treated with great
truthfulness and picturesque feeling. Among his best pictures are 'The
Floating Feather,' a feather given with singular lightness drifting in a
pool, with different birds on the water and the shore--a pelican
prominent--in Amsterdam Museum, and 'A Hen defending her Chickens
against the attacks of a Pea-hen, with a Peacock, a Pigeon, a Cassowary,
and a Crane,' also in Amsterdam.

Jan Weenix, born in 1644, died in 1719. He was a painter of 'still
life,' and was especially famous for his dead hares, 'which in form and
colour, down to the rendering of every hair, are marvels of execution.'
He painted sometimes, though rarely, a living dog in his pieces. A fine
Weenix sometimes painted flower pieces.[58]

Pater Segers, so called because he was a Father in a Jesuit convent,
which he entered at twenty-four years of age. He was born in 1590, and
died in the Jesuit convent, Antwerp, 1661. He was a famous flower
painter, but did not paint flowers by themselves; he painted them in
conjunction with the historical and sacred subjects of other painters.
He added many a wreath to the Virgin and Child. He worked in this
fashion with Rubens, but painted more frequently along with painters of
a lower rank in art. Pater Segers' flowers are finely drawn and
tastefully arranged. The red of his roses has remained unchanged by
years, while the roses of other painters have become violet or faded
altogether. He had endless royal commissions. There are six of his
pictures of much merit in the Dresden Gallery.

Besides the elder and younger De Heem and Maria Von Oesterwyck mentioned
at page 258, Jan Van Huysum, 1682-1749, was great in flower painting,
choosing flowers rather than fruit for his brush. If De Heem has been
called the Titian, Van Huysum has been defined as the Correggio, of
flowers and fruit. He reversed the ordinary course of artists by
beginning in a broad style, and progressing into an execution of the
finest details. In masterly drawing and truthfulness he was not inferior
to De Heem, though hardly reckoned his equal in other respects. Even in
Van Huysum's lifetime there was an eager demand for his pictures, of
which he left more than a hundred. There is an excellent fruit and
flower piece by him in Dulwich Gallery, and a masterpiece, 'A Vase with
Flowers,' is in the National Gallery.

Andrian Van der Werff was born in 1659, and died in 1722. He is
honourably distinguished for his pursuit of the ideal, in which he stood
alone among the Dutch artists of his day. He showed much sense of beauty
and elegance of form with great finish, but he had more than
counterbalancing faults. His grouping was artificial, his heads
monotonous, his colouring 'cold and heavy,' with 'a frosty feeling' in
his pictures. His flesh tints resembled ivory, yet his elegance was so
highly prized that he had many royal and noble patrons, for whom he
executed sculptural and mythological pieces. Many of his pictures are in
the Munich Gallery.

Anton Raphael Mengs was born in Bohemia 1728, and died in Rome 1774. His
father was a distinguished miniature painter, and gave his son a careful
education, training him to copy the masterpieces of Michael Angelo and
Raphael from his twelfth year. Unfortunately he remained a copyist and
an eclectic. He drew well, learnt chiaroscuro from studying Correggio,
and colouring from analysing Titian. He was acquainted with the best
technical processes in oil and fresco. All that teaching could do for a
man was done, and to a great extent in vain. For though he worked with
great conscientiousness, fancy and feeling were either originally
lacking, or they were overlaid and stifled by his excess of culture and
severe education. The most successful of his works are portraits, in
which masterly treatment makes up to some extent for the absence of
originality and subtle sympathy. But in his day, and with some reason,
Raphael Mengs was greatly prized, since he figured among a host of
ignorant, careless, and conceited painters. At the age of seventeen he
was appointed court painter to King Augustus of Saxony. He was summoned
to Spain by Charles III., who gave him a high salary. Among his good
works is an 'Assumption' on the high altar of the Catholic Church,
Dresden. An allegorical subject in fresco on the ceiling of the Camera
de Papini in the Vatican has 'beauty of form, delicate observation, and
masterly modelling.' Mengs wrote well on art, though in his writing also
his eclecticism comes out.


     'I have been told that I have not done justice to Lionardo in
     this short sketch. I give in an abridged form the accurate
     appreciative analysis of the man and his work in Sir C, and Lady
     Eastlake.'--KUGLER. It is stated that the versatility of
     Lionardo was against him. He attempted too much for one man and
     one life. An additional impediment was produced by his
     temperament, 'dreamy, perfidious, procrastinating,' withal
     desirous of shining in society. His ideal of the Lord's head is
     the highest that art has realised. The apostles' heads are among
     the truest and noblest. The countenances of his Madonnas are full
     of ineffable sweetness and pathos. 'At the same time he analysed
     the monstrous and misshapen, and has left us caricatures in which
     he seems to have gloated over hideousness half human, half
     brute. He altered and retouched without ceasing, always deferring
     the conclusion of the task which he executed with untiring labour
     and ceaseless dissatisfaction.' The wonder is not that he should
     have left so little, but that he left enough to prove the
     transcendent nature of his art. 'There is nothing stranger in
     history than the fact that his great fame rests on one single
     picture--long reduced to a shadow--on half-a-dozen pictures for
     which his hand is alternately claimed and denied, and on
     unfinished fragments which he himself condemned.' Lionardo was
     too universal to be of any school.



     Albino                     387
     Angelico, Fra               36
     Anguisciola                388
     Backhuysen                 415
     Baroccio                   385
     Bartolommeo, Fra            77
     Bellini, The                54
     Berchem                    407
     Bol                        402
     Bordone                    393
     Both                       418
     Botticelli                 369
     Canaletto                  358
     Capella, Van de            416
     Caravaggio                 385
     Carpaccio                  375
     Carracci, The              212
     Cellini                     69
     Claude Loraine             296
     Correggio                  185
     Crivelli                   375
     Cuyp                       255
     Domenichino                220
     Dow                        398
     Du Jardin                  410
     Duerer                      169
     Eycks, The Van              41
     Filippo, Fra               365
     Fontana                    389
     Francia, Il                 73
     Gaddi                      374
     Garofalo                   377
     Ghiberti                    31
     Ghirlandajo                 69
     Gibbons, Grinling          359
     Giorgione                  181
     Giotto                       8
     Gozzoli                    366
     Greuze                     307
     Guercino                   386
     Guido                      218
     Heem, De                   258
     Helst, Van der             403
     Heyden, Van der            412
     Hobbema                    406
     Holbein                    309
     Hondecoeter                416
     Honthorst                  395
     Hooch                      399
     Huysum, Van                418
     Kneller                    359
     Le Brun                    303
     Lely                       355
     Leyden, Van                393
     Lionardo da Vinci           83
     Lipi                       376
     Luini                      378
     Maas                       401
     Mabuse                      48
     Mantegna                    64
     Masaccio                    34
     Matsys                      50
     Memling                     48
     Mengs                      420
     Messina, Da                377
     Metzu                 259, 401
     Michael Angelo              96
     Murillo                    280
     Netcher                    402
     Orcagna                     24
     Ostade, Van                400
     Palma                      379
     Pardenone                  380
     Parmigianino               384
     Perugino                   373
     Pisano                      23
     Potter                     257
     Poussin                    286
     Raphael                    125
     Rembrandt                  245
     Romano                     382
     Rubens                     225
     Ruysdael                   403
     Salvator Rosa              222
     Sarto, Del                  81
     Sassa errato               387
     Segers                     418
     Signorelli                 367
     Snyders                    394
     Somer, Van                 394
     Spagna                     381
     Spagnoletto                386
     Steen                      396
     Teniers, Father and Son    251
     Terburg               259, 402
     Tintoretto                 194
     Titian                     157
     Van Dyck                   333
     Vasari                     388
     Velasquez                  360
     Velde, Van de              411
     Velde, Van de, The Younger 414
     Veronese                   205
     Watteau                    305
     Wouvermans                 253


[1] It is in their unconsciousness and earnestness that a parallel is
drawn between the first Italian painters and the Elizabethean poets. In
other respects the comparison may be reversed, for the early Italian
painters, from their restriction to religious painting, with even that
treated according to tradition, were as destitute of the breadth of
scope and fancy attained by their successors, as the Elizabethean poets
were distinguished by the exuberant freedom which failed in the more
formal scholars of Anne's reign.

[2] Kugler's Handbook of Art.

[3] While writing of goldsmiths that became painters, I may say a word
of a goldsmith who, without quitting his trade, was an unrivalled artist
in his line. I mean Benvenuto Cellini, 1500--1571, a man of violent
passions and little principle, who led a wild troubled life, of which he
has left an account as shameless as his character, in an autobiography.
Cellini was the most distinguished worker in gold and silver of his day,
and his richly chased dishes, goblets, and salt cellars, are still in
great repute.

[4] Kugler's _Handbook of Painting_.

[5] Kugler's _Handbook of Painting_.

[6] See note, page 422.

[7] Mrs Roscoe's _Life of Vittoria Colonna_

[8] Michael Angelo's will was very simple. 'I bequeath my soul to God,
my body to the earth, and my possessions to my nearest relations.'

[9] Lady Eastlake, _History of Our Lord_.

[10] Hare, _Walks in Rome_.

[11] Lanzi, in Hare's _Walks in Rome_.

[12] Rio. _Poetry of Christian Art_, in Hare's _Walks in Rome._

[13] Mrs Jameson.

[14] Dean Alford.

[15] _Imperial Biographical Dictionary_.

[16] Titian's age is variously given; some authorities make it
ninety-nine years, placing the date of his death in 1570 or 7.

[17] Kugler.

[18] The term originated in the French expression, '_du genre bas_.'

[19] He had a peculiar fondness for blue and bronze hues.

[20] It is due to Tintoret to say, that there are modern critics, who
look below the surface, and are at this date deeply enamoured of his
pictures. Tintoret's name now stands very high in art.

[21] Mrs Jameson.

[22] Guido said of Rubens: 'Does this painter mix blood with his

[23] _Life of Rubens_.

[24] If I mistake not, this is the same Countess of Arundel who, in her
widowhood, resided in Italy in order to be near her young sons then at
Padua. Having provoked the suspicion of the Doge and Council of Venice,
she was arrested by them on a charge of treason, and brought before the
tribunal, where she successfully pled her own cause, and obtained her
release, the only woman who ever braved triumphantly the terrible 'ten.'

[25] Here is the description of a very different Rembrandt which appears
in this year's Exhibition of the Works by Old Masters: 'There is no
portrait here which equals Rembrandt's picture, from Windsor, "A Lady
Opening a Casement;" a not particularly appropriate name, because the
picture represents no such action. The lady is simply looking from an
open window, her left hand raised and resting at the side of the
opening. We believe there is nothing left to tell who this lady was,
with the grave, sad eyes, and lips that seem to quiver with a trouble
hardly yet assuaged collar, almost a tippet, for it falls below her
shoulders, together with lace cuffs. A triple band of large pearls goes
about her neck, and she has similar ornaments round each wrist. She
wears a mourning robe and black jewellery.... This picture, which
resembles in most of its qualities a pair, of somewhat larger size,
which were here last year, and also came from the Royal collection, is
signed and dated "Rembrandt, F. 1671." It is, therefore, a late work of
his. What wonderful harmony is here, of light, of colour, of tone. How
nearly perfect is the keeping of the whole picture; as a whole, and also
in respect of part to part. Could anything be truer than the breadth of
the chiaroscuro? Notice how beautifully, and with what subtle
gradations, the light reflected from her white collar strikes on her
slightly faded cheek; how tenderly it seems to play among the soft
tangles of the hair that time has thinned.'--_Athenaeum_.

[26] He had been called the Titian of flower and fruit painters. He
preferred fruit for his subject. His works are not common in England.
His masterpiece, 'The Chalice of the Sacrament,' crowned with a stately
wreath, and sheaves of corn and bunches of grapes among the flowers, is
at Vienna.

[27] Sir W. Stirling Maxwell.

[28] Sir W. Stirling Maxwell.

[29] Hare, _Wanderings in Spain_.

[30] Hare's _Wanderings in Spain_.

[31] The spelling is an English corruption of the French Claude.

[32] Poussin had a villa near Ponte Molle, and the road by which he used
to go to it is still called in Rome 'Poussin's walk.'

[33] Claude's summer villa is still pointed out near Rome.

[34] _Imperial Biographical Dictionary_.

[35] Madame Le Brun, whose maiden name was Vigee, born 1755, died 1842,
was an excellent portrait painter.

[36] Wornum.

[37] Wornum.

[38] Supposed to be a niece of Sir Thomas More's.

[39] Rev. J. Lewis, 1731.

[40] Wornum.

[41] A still more famous picture by Holbein is that called 'The Two
Ambassadors,' and believed to represent Sir Thomas Wyatt and his

[42] Walpole.

[43] Walpole.

[44] Dwarfs figured at Charles's court, as at the court of Philip IV. of

[45] The notion that Van Dyck sacrificed truth to grace is absolutely
contradicted by certain critics, who bring forward as a proof of their
contradiction what they consider the 'over-true' picture of the Queen
Henrietta Maria, shown at the last exhibition of the works of Old
Masters. The picture seems hardly to warrant the strong opinion of the

[46] Walpole.

[47] Walpole.

[48] Lady Eastlake and Dr. Waagen's works on Italian, Flemish, and Dutch
Art, modelled on Kugler.

[49] A lunette is a small picture, generally semicircular, surmounting
the main picture in an altar-piece.

[50] The Dutch still more than the Italian artists belonged largely to
families of artists bearing the same surnames.

[51] A picture with one door of two panels is called a diptych, with two
doors of three panels a triptych, with many doors and panels a

[52] Fairholt's 'Homes and Haunts of Foreign Artists.'

[53] Alchemists, like hermits, still existed in the seventeenth century.

[54] Bartholomew Van der Helst, 1613-1670, was another great Dutch
portrait painter. His portrait pieces with many figures are famous. An
'Archery Festival,' commemorating the Peace of Westphalia, includes
twenty-four figures full of individuality and finely drawn and coloured.
One of his best works is 'In the Workhouse,' at Amsterdam. Two women and
two men are conversing together in the foreground. There is a man with a
book, and a preacher delivering a sermon in the background.

[55] It may be that Ruysdael's straggling life was reflected in his
lowering skies and stormy seas.

[56] Other eminent painters, such as Van de Velde, Wouvermans, and
Berchem often supplied cattle and figures to Hobbema's landscapes.

[57] Was the apparently greater success of these partly denaturalised
Dutch landscape painters, as contrasted with the adversity of Ruysdael
and Hobbema, due to the classic mania?

[58] Peter Gysels was another painter of 'still life.' His butterflies
are said to have been rendered with 'exquisite finish.'

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