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Title: Rembrandt and His Works - Comprising a Short Account of His Life; with a Critical Examination into His Principles and Practice of Design, Light, Shade, and Colour. Illustrated by Examples from the Etchings of Rembrandt.
Author: Burnet, John
Language: English
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Comprising a Short Account of His Life;
with a Critical Examination into His Principles and Practice
of Design, Light, Shade, and Colour.

Illustrated by Examples from the Etchings of Rembrandt.



Author of "Practical Hints on Painting."

[Illustration: HEAD OF REMBRANDT]

David Bogue, 86, Fleet Street.

                           THE EARL OF ELLESMERE,
                                 THIS WORK

                             BY HIS OBLIGED, HUMBLE SERVANT,
                                                JOHN BURNET.


The high estimation in which I have ever held the works of Rembrandt
has been greatly increased by my going through this examination of his
various excellencies, and such will ever be the case when the emanations
of genius are investigated; like the lustre of precious stones, their
luminous colour shines from the centre, not from the surface. With such
a mine of rich ore as the works of Rembrandt contain, it is necessary
to apologise for the paucity of examples offered, for in a work of this
kind I have been obliged to confine myself to a certain brevity and
a limited number of illustrations; still I must do my publisher the
justice to say, he has not grudged any expense that would be the means
of doing credit to the great artist, the enlightened patron, or my
own reputation. Another circumstance has been elicited in preparing
this work for publication--the great interest that all have shown in
this humble attempt to make Rembrandt and his works more generally
appreciated. His genius and productions seem to be congenial to the
English taste. As a colourist he will ultimately lay the foundation of
the British School of Painting, and prove the justice of Du Fresnoy's

  "He who colours well must colour bright;
   Think not that praise to gain by sickly white."

Had it been possible, I would have given some examples of his colour as
well as of his chiaro-scuro; but I found his great charm consists more
in the tone of his colouring than its arrangement. I have mentioned in
the body of the work that Sir Joshua, certainly the greatest master of
colour we have yet had in England, frequently speaks ambiguously of many
of Rembrandt's pictures. I am therefore bound to quote a remark that he
makes to his praise. In his Memoranda he says--"I considered myself as
playing a great game; and instead of beginning to save money, I laid it
out faster than I got it, in purchasing the best examples of art that
could be procured, for I even borrowed money for this purpose. The
possession of pictures by Titian, Vandyke, Rembrandt, &c., I considered
as the best kind of wealth."

With these remarks I must now launch the result of my labours, having
had constantly in mind that feeling which an advocate has in a good
cause, not to expect, by all his exertions, to increase the reputation
of his client, but an anxiety not to damage it by his weakness. Before
concluding I must again revert to the interest that all my friends
have taken in the success of this publication; and though it may
appear invidious to particularise any, I cannot omit mention of that
enthusiastic admirer of Rembrandt, my young friend Mr. E. W. Cooke;
the Messrs. Smith, of Lisle-street, the connoisseurs and extensive
dealers in his Etchings; Mr. Carpenter, the keeper of the prints in
the British Museum; and, lastly, my young literary friend, Mr. Peter
Cunningham, who has, from the beginning, entered heartily into the
cause of "Rembrandt and his Works."

BROMPTON, November 4th, 1848.


   1. HEAD OF REMBRANDT                          _Facing Title-page._
   3. EXTERIOR OF THE SAME                                          2
   4. REMBRANDT'S HOUSE AT AMSTERDAM                                6
   5. FAC-SIMILE OF A LETTER OF REMBRANDT'S                        14
   6. CHRIST AND HIS DISCIPLES AT EMMAUS                           24
   7. THE ENTOMBMENT                                               26
   8. THE RETURN FROM JERUSALEM                                    26
   9. THE NATIVITY                                                 32
  10. DOCTOR FAUSTUS                                               38
  11. BURGOMASTER SIX                                              40
  12. PORTRAIT OF VAN TOLLING                                      44
  13. SIX'S BRIDGE                                                 46
  14. REMBRANDT'S MILL                                             48
  16. PORTRAIT OF REMBRANDT'S MOTHER                               74
  17. PORTRAITS OF REMBRANDT AND HIS WIFE                          74
  18. VIEW OF AMSTERDAM                                            80
  19. COTTAGE WITH WHITE PALINGS                                   80


In commencing an account of the life of Rembrandt Van Rhÿn and his
works, I feel both a pleasure and a certain degree of confidence, as,
from my first using a pencil, his pictures have been my delight and
gratification, which have continued to increase through a long life of
investigation. Though I cannot expect to enhance the high estimation
in which Rembrandt is held by all persons competent to appreciate his
extraordinary powers, nevertheless, the publication of the results of
my study may tend to spread a knowledge of his principles and practice,
which may be advantageous to similar branches in other schools; for,
notwithstanding that his style is in the greatest degree original and
peculiar to himself, yet it is founded upon those effects existing in
nature which are to be discovered, more or less, in the works of all the
great masters of colouring and chiaro-scuro. Of his early life little
is known; for, unless cradled in the higher circles of society, the
early lives of eminent men frequently remain shrouded in obscurity.
The development of their genius alone draws attention to their history,
which is generally progressive; hence a retrospective view is ambiguous.
Little is known either of Rembrandt's birth or the place of his death;
what is known has already been related, from Houbraken to Bryan, and
from Bryan to Nieuwenhuys, and anecdotes have accumulated, for something
new must be said. It is, however, fortunate that in searching into
the source from which this extraordinary artist drew his knowledge,
we have only to look into the great book of Nature, which existed at
the time of Apelles and Raffaelle; and, notwithstanding the diversity of
styles adopted by all succeeding painters, beauties and peculiarities
are still left sufficient to establish the highest reputation for any
one who has the genius to perceive them, and the industry to make them
apparent. This was the cause of Rembrandt's captivating excellence;
neither a combination of Coreggio and Titian, nor of Murillo and
Velasquez, but as if all the great principles of chiaro-scuro and colour
were steeped and harmonized in the softening shades of twilight; and
this we perceive in nature, producing the most soothing and bewitching
results. These digressions may, however, come more properly into notice
when Rembrandt's principles of colour come under review.

Rembrandt Van Rhÿn, the subject of this memoir, was born in the year
1606, between Leydendorp and Koukerk, in the neighbourhood of Leyden, on
the Rhÿn, but certainly not in a mill, as there is no habitable dwelling
in the one now known as his father's. My excellent young friend, Mr. E.
W. Cooke, whose works breathe the true spirit of the best of the Dutch
school, in a letter upon this subject, says--


    "I send you another sketch of the mill; the picture, including the
    doorzigte, or view out of the window, I painted on the spot, and
    that picture is now in the possession of the King of Holland, having
    taken it back with me to show him. The mill was a magazine for powder
    during the Spanish invasion; it was soon after converted into a corn
    mill, and was in the possession of Hernan Geritz Van Rhÿn when his
    son Rembrandt was born; it is situated at Koukerk, on the old Rhÿn,
    near Leyden. I hope you will correct the vulgar error that Rembrandt
    was born IN a mill. There are often dwelling houses attached to
    water-mills, such as we have in England; but in Holland, not such a
    structure as a water-mill, with water-power; the water-mills there
    are only _draining mills_, such as we have in Lincolnshire, Norfolk,
    &c. Surely the noise and movement of a windmill would ill accord with
    the confinement of any lady, especially the mother of so glorious a
    fellow as _Rembrandt_. For the honour of such association I hope you
    will not omit my name in the work, for I painted three pictures of
    that precious relic.

    "Yours, &c.

    "E. W. COOKE."


[Illustration: EXTERIOR OF THE SAME]

The mill now known as the one possessed by Rembrandt's father is built
of stone, with an inscription, and "_Rembrandt_," in gold letters, over
the door. The one etched by his eminent son is a wooden structure, which
must have long since fallen into decay. As they are both interesting,
from association of ideas, I have given etchings of them.

The mother of Rembrandt was Neeltje Willems Van Zuitbroek, whose
portrait he has etched. As he was an only child, his parents were
anxious to give him a good education, and therefore sent him to the
Latin school at Leyden, in order to bring him up to the profession of
the law; but, like our own inimitable Shakspere, he picked up "small
Latin and less Greek." Having shown an early inclination for painting,
they placed him under the tuition of Jacob Van Zwaanenburg, a painter
unmentioned by any biographer; he afterwards entered the studio of Peter
Lastman, and finally received instruction from Jacob Pinas. The two
last had visited Rome, but, notwithstanding, could have given little
instruction to Rembrandt, as their works show no proof of their having
studied the Italian school to much purpose. After receiving a knowledge
of a few rules, such as they could communicate, he returned home, and
commenced painting from nature, when he laid the foundation of a style
in art unapproached either before his time or since. In 1627 he is said,
by Houbraken, to have visited the Hague, when, by the price he received
for one of his pictures, he discovered his value as an artist. The
neighbourhood of the Rhine was now given up for the city of Amsterdam,
where he set up his easel in the year 1628, under the patronage of the
Burgomaster Six, and other wealthy admirers of the fine arts.

Rembrandt's first works, like all the early works of eminent artists,
were carefully finished; the work that raised him to the greatest
notice, in the first instance, is Professor Tulpius giving an Anatomical
Lecture on a dead Body,[1] and is dated 1632. Reynolds, in his Tour
through Flanders, speaking of this picture, says:--"The Professor
Tulpius dissecting a corpse which lies on the table, by Rembrandt. To
avoid making it an object disagreeable to look at, the figure is just
cut at the wrist. There are seven other portraits, coloured like nature
itself; fresh, and highly finished. One of the figures behind has a
paper in his hand, on which are written the names of the rest. Rembrandt
has also added his own name, with the date 1632. The dead body is
perfectly well drawn, (a little foreshortened,) and seems to have been
just washed; nothing can be more truly the colour of dead flesh. The
legs and feet, which are nearest the eye, are in shadow; the principal
light, which is on the body, is by that means preserved of a compact
form; all these figures are dressed in black." He further adds--"Above
stairs is another Rembrandt, of the same kind of subject: Professor
Nieman, standing by a dead body, which is so much foreshortened that the
hands and feet almost touch each other; the dead man lies on his back,
with his feet towards the spectator. There is something sublime in the
character of the head, which reminds one of Michael Angelo; the whole is
finely painted,--the colouring much like Titian."

Simeon in the Temple, in the Museum of the Hague, painted in 1631, is in
his first manner; as are The Salutation, in the Gallery of the Marquis
of Westminster, painted in 1640; and The Woman taken in Adultery, in the
National Gallery, painted in 1644, all on panel, and finished with the
care and minuteness of Gerhard Dow. His most successful career may be
taken from 1630 to 1656. About the year 1645 he married Miss Saskia Van
Uylenburg, by whom he had an only son, named Titus, the inheritor of the
little wealth left after his father's embarrassments, but, though bred
to the arts, inheriting little of his father's genius. In what part of
Amsterdam he resided at this time we have no record, nor is the house
now shown as Rembrandt's, and which was the subject of a mortgage,
sufficiently authenticated to prove its identity; he may have lived in
it, but it could not at any time have been sufficiently capacious to
contain all the effects given in the catalogue extracted from the
register by Mr. Nieuwenhuys.

The late Sir David Wilkie, in a letter to his sister, says:--"At the
Hague we were delayed with rain, which continued nearly the whole of our
way through Leyden, Haarlem, and Amsterdam. Wherever we went, our great
subject of interest was seeing the native places of the great Dutch
painters, and the models and materials which they have immortalized.
At Amsterdam we sallied forth in the evening, in search of the house
of Rembrandt; it is in what is now the Jews' quarter, and is, in short,
a Jew's old china shop; it is well built, four stories high, but it
greatly disappointed me. The shop is high in the ceiling, but all the
other rooms are low and little, and, compared with the houses of Titian
at Venice, of Claude at Rome, and of Rubens at Antwerp, is quite
unworthy the house of the great master of the school of Holland. Even if
stuffed, as it is now, with every description of the pottery of Canton,
it could not have held even a sixth part of the inventory Nieuwenhuys
found, as the distrained effects of Rembrandt, and the only solution is,
that he may have once lived there; but as his will, still extant, is
dated in another street, and as several of the pictures he painted could
not be contained in the rooms we were in, we must conclude that, like
the shell which encloses the caterpillar, it was only a temporary abode
for the winged genius to whom art owes so much of its brilliancy."

As the place of his residence is veiled in obscurity, so is the place of
his demise, which is supposed to have taken place in 1664, as Mr. Smith,
in a note to his Life of Rembrandt, says--"that no picture is recorded
bearing a later date than 1664, and the balance of his property was paid
over to his son in 1665."

Mr. Woodburn, in a Catalogue of his Drawings, says:--"It is uncertain
what became of him after his bankruptcy, or where he died; a search has
been made among the burials at Amsterdam, until the year 1674, but his
name does not occur; probably Baldinucci is correct in stating that he
died at Stockholm, in 1670;" others have mentioned Hull, and some give
a credence to his having fled to Yarmouth, during his troubles, and
mention two pictures, a lawyer and his wife, said to have been painted
there; they are whole lengths, and certainly in his later manner, but
I could not gather any authentic account to build conjecture upon, as
the intercourse between Amsterdam and Yarmouth has been kept up from
olden time, and a Dutch fair held every three years on the shore. The
ancestors of the family in whose possession they still are, may have
visited Holland; but, amongst such conflicting opinions, it is useless
to attempt elucidation of the truth of this. We may rest certain that
his works will be appreciated in proportion as a knowledge of their
excellence is extended.


[Sidenote: _Extract from the Book of Sureties of Real Estates remaining
at the Secretary's Office of the City of Amsterdam, fol. 89, &c._]


  Good for Gls. 6952--9.
  the 29.7bre--Willem Muilm.

  I the undersigned acknowledge to have
  received of the said Commissaries
  the undermentioned six thousand nine
  hundred and fifty-two Guldens nine
  Stuivers, the 5th November, 1665.

Received the contents, TITUS VAN RYN.

      Before the undersigned Magistrates appeared Titus Van Ryn,
      the only surviving son of Rembrandt Van Ryn and of Saskia
      Van Uylenburg (having obtained his veniam ætatis), as
      principal,--Abraham Fransz, merchant, living in the Angelier
      Straat, and Bartholomeus Van Benningen, woollen-draper, in
      the Liesdel, as guarantees. And jointly, and each of them
      separately, promised to re-deliver into the hands of the
      Commissaries of the Insolvent Estates, when called upon,
      the said six thousand nine hundred fifty-two Guldens and
      nine Stuivers, which the said Titus Van Ryn shall receive
      of and from the before-mentioned Commissaries, the money
      arising from the house and ground in the Anthonis bree
      Straat, A.º 1658, which was sold under execution, and from
      the personal estate of Saskia Van Uylenburg and Rembrandt
      Van Ryn aforesaid; hereby binding all their goods, moveables,
      and immoveables, present and future, in order to recover the
      said sum and costs. Therefore the before-mentioned principal
      promised to indemnify his said sureties under a similar
      obligation as above written.--Actum, the 9th September, 1665.

                                A. J. J. HINLOPEN AND ARNOUT HOOFT.
                                H. V. BRONCHORST.

  2207: a 3:3    6952:1
  (Stamp)             8
               6952   9

_The following Catalogue is extracted from the Register Lª R. fol. 29
to 39 inclusive, of the Inventory of the Effects of_ REMBRANDT VAN RHYN,
_deposited in the Office of the Administration of Insolvent Estates at
Amsterdam, Anno 1656._



A Picture, representing The Gingerbread
  Baker                                                By _Brauwer_.

A ditto, The Gamblers                                  _Ditto_.

A ditto, A Woman and Child                             _Rembrandt_.

A ditto, The Interior of an Artist's Painting Room     _Brauwer_.

A ditto, The Interior of a Kitchen                     _Ditto_.

A Statue of a Woman, in plaster.

Two Children, in plaster.

A Sleeping Child, in plaster.

A Landscape                                            By _Rembrandt_.

A ditto                                                _Ditto_.

A Woman represented standing                           _Ditto_.

A Christmas Night Piece                                _Jean Lievensz_.

St. Jerome                                             _Rembrandt_.

Dead Hares, a small picture                            _Ditto_.

A small picture of a Pig                               _Ditto_.

A small Landscape                                      _Hercules Segers_.

A Landscape                                            _Jean Lievensz_.

A ditto                                                _Ditto_.

A ditto                                                _Rembrandt_.

A Combat of Lions                                      _Ditto_.

A Landscape, by moonlight                              _Jean Lievensz_.

A Head                                                 _Rembrandt_.

A ditto                                                _Ditto_.

A picture of Still Life, objects retouched             _Ditto_.

A Soldier, clad in armour                              By _Rembrandt_.

A Skull, and other objects, styled a Vanitas,
  retouched                                            _Ditto_.

A ditto, ditto, retouched                              _Ditto_.

A Sea Piece                                            _Hendrick Antonisz_.

Four Spanish Chairs, covered with leather.

Two ditto, ditto in black.

A Plank of Wood.


A small picture of the Samaritan, retouched            By _Rembrandt_.

The Rich Man                                           _Palma Vecchio_.
  (The half of this picture belongs to _Peter
   de la Tombe_).

A View of the Back of a House                          By _Rembrandt_.

Two Sporting Dogs, done after nature                   _Ditto_.

The Descent from the Cross, a large picture,
  in a gilt frame                                      _Ditto_.

The Raising of Lazarus                                 _Ditto_.

A Courtesan Dressing                                   _Ditto_.

A Woody Scene                                          _Hercules Segers_.

Tobias, &c.                                            _Lastman_.

The Raising of Lazarus                                 _Jean Lievensz_.

A Landscape, representing a mountainous country        _Rembrandt_.

A small Landscape                                      By _Govert Jansz_.

Two Heads                                              _Rembrandt_.

A Picture, _en grisaille_                              _Jean Lievensz_.

A ditto, _ditto_                                       _Parcelles_.

A Head                                                 _Rembrandt_.

A ditto                                                _Brauwer_.

A View of the Dutch Coast                              _Parcelles_.

A ditto of the same, smaller                           _Ditto_.

A Hermit                                               _Jean Lievensz_.

Two Small Heads                                        _Lucas Van

A Camp on Fire                                         _The elder Rassan_.

A Quack Doctor                                         _After Brauwer_.

Two Heads                                              By _Jan Pinas_.

A perspective View                                     _Lucas Van Leyden_.

A Priest                                               _Jean Lievensz_.

A Model                                                _Rembrandt_.

A Flock of Sheep                                       _Ditto_.

A Drawing                                              _Ditto_.

The Flagellation of our Lord                           _Ditto_.

A Picture, done _en grisaille_                         _Parcelles_.

A ditto, ditto                                         _Simon de Vlieger_.

A small Landscape                                      _Rembrandt_.

A Head of a Woman, after Nature                        _Ditto_.

A Head                                                 _Rafaelle Urbino_.

A View of Buildings, after Nature                      _Rembrandt_.

A Landscape, after Nature                              _Ditto_.

A View of Buildings                                    _Hercules Segers_.

The Goddess Juno                                       _Jacob Pinas_.

A Looking Glass, in a black ebony frame.

An ebony Frame.

A Wine Cooler, in marble.

A Table of walnut tree, covered with a carpet.

Seven Spanish Chairs, with green velvet cushion.


A Picture                                              By _Pietro Testa_.

A Woman with a Child                                   _Rembrandt_.

Christ on the Cross, a model                           _Ditto_.

A Naked Woman                                          _Ditto_.

A Copy, after a picture                                _Annibal Caracci_.

Two Half Figures                                       _Brauwer_.

A Copy, after a picture                                _Annibal Caracci_.

A Sea View                                             _Parcelles_.

The Head of an Old Woman                               _Van Dyck_.

A Portrait of a deceased Person                        _Abraham Vink_.

The Resurrection                                       _A. Van Leyden_.

A Sketch                                               _Rembrandt_.

Two Heads, after Nature                                _Ditto_.

The Consecration of Solomon's Temple,
  done _en grisaille_                                  _Ditto_.

The Circumcision, a copy                               After _Ditto_.

Two small Landscapes                                   By _Hercules

A gilt Frame.

A small Oak Table.

Four Shades for engraving.

A Clothes Press.

Four old Chairs.

Four green Chair Cushions.

A Copper Kettle.

A Portmanteau.


A Woody Scene                                          By _An Unknown

An Old Man's Head                                      _Rembrandt_.

A large Landscape                                      _Hercules Segers_.

A Portrait of a Woman                                  _Rembrandt_.

An Allegory of the Union of the Country                _Ditto_.

  This is probably the picture now in the Collection
  of Samuel Rogers, Esq.

A View in a Village                                    By _Govert Jansz_.

A Young Ox, after Nature                               _Rembrandt_.

The Samaritan Woman, a large picture, attributed
  to _Giorgione_, the half of which belongs to
  _Peter de la Tombe_.

Three antique Statues.

A Sketch of the Entombment                             By _Rembrandt_.

The Incredulity of St. Peter                           _Aertje Van

The Resurrection of our Lord                           _Rembrandt_.

The Virgin Mary                                        _Rafaelle Urbino_.

A Head of Christ                                       _Rembrandt_.

A Winter Scene                                         _Grimaer_.

The Crucifixion. Probably intended for _Novellari_     _Lely of

A Head of Christ                                       _Rembrandt_.

A young Bull or Ox                                     _Lastman_.

A Vanitas, retouched                                   _Rembrandt_.

An Ecce Homo, _en grisaille_                           _Ditto_.

Abraham Offering up his Son                            _Jean Lievensz_.

A Vanitas, retouched                                   _Rembrandt_.

A Landscape, _en grisaille_                            _Hercules Segers_.

An Evening Scene                                       _Rembrandt_.

A large Looking Glass.

Six Chairs, with blue cushions.

An oak Table.

A Table Cloth.

A Napkin Press.

A Wardrobe, or Armoir.

A Bed and a Bolster.

Two Pillows.

Two Coverlids.

Blue Hangings of a Bed.

A Chair.

A Stove.


A pair of Globes.

A Box, containing minerals.

A small Architectural Column.

A Tin Pot.

The Figure of an Infant.

Two pieces of Indian Jadd.

A Japan or Chinese Cup.

A Bust of an Empress.

An Indian Powder Box.

A Bust of the Emperor Augustus.

An Indian Cup.

A Bust of the Emperor Tiberius.

An Indian Work-Box, for a lady.

A Bust of Caius.

A pair of Roman Leggins.

Two Porcelain Figures.

A Bust of Heraclitus.

Two Porcelain Figures.

A Bust of Nero.

Two Iron Helmets.

An Indian Helmet.

An ancient Helmet.

A Bust of a Roman Emperor.

A Negro, cast from Nature.

A Bust of Socrates.

A Bust of Homer.

A ditto of Aristotle.

An antique Head, done in brown.

A Faustina.

A Coat of Armour, and a Helmet.

A Bust of the Emperor Galba.

A ditto of the Emperor Otho.

A ditto of the Emperor Vitellius.

A ditto of the Emperor Vespasian.

A ditto of the Emperor Titus Vespasian.

A ditto of the Emperor Domitian.

A ditto of Silius Brutus.

Forty-seven specimens of Botany.

Twenty-three ditto of Land and Marine Animals.

A Hammock, and two Calabashes.

Eight various objects, in plaster, done from Nature.


A quantity of Shells, Marine Plants, and sundry curious objects, in
plaster, done from Nature.

An antique Statue of Cupid.

A small Fuzil, and a Pistol.

A steel Shield, richly embossed with Figures, by Quintin Matsys, very
curious and rare.

An antique Powder-horn.

A ditto; Turkish.

A Box, containing Medals.

A Shield of curious workmanship.

Two Naked Figures.

A Cast from the face of Prince Maurice, taken after his death.

A Lion and a Bull, in plaster, after Nature.

A number of Walking Sticks.

A long Bow.


A Book, containing Sketches by _Rembrandt_.

A ditto, containing Prints engraved in wood by _Lucas Van Leyden_.

A ditto ditto, by _Wael and others_.

A ditto, containing Etchings by _Baroccio and Vanni_.

A ditto, containing Prints after _Rafaelle Urbino_.

A gilt Model of a French Bed, by _Verhulst_.

A Book full of Engravings, many of which are double impressions, by
_Lucas Van Leyden_.

A ditto, containing a great number of Drawings by the best masters.

A ditto, containing a number of fine Drawings by _Andrea Mantegna_.

A ditto, containing Drawings by various masters, and some Prints.

A ditto, larger, full of Drawings and Prints.

A ditto, containing a number of Miniatures, Wood-cuts, and Copper-plate
Prints, of the various costumes of countries.

A Book, full of Prints by _Old Breughel_.

A ditto, containing Prints after _Rafaelle Urbino_.

A ditto, containing valuable Prints, after the same.

A ditto, full of Prints by _Tempesta_.

A ditto, containing Wood-cuts and Engravings by _Lucas Cranach_.

A ditto, containing Prints after the _Caracci_ and _Guido_, and

A ditto, containing Engravings and Etchings by _Tempesta_.

A large Folio of ditto ditto, by _Ditto_.

A ditto ditto, various.

A Book, containing Prints by _Goltius_ and _Müller_.

A ditto, containing Prints after _Rafaelle Urbino_, very fine

A Book, containing Drawings by _Brauwer_.

A Folio, containing a great number of Prints after _Titian_.

A number of curious Jars and Venetian Glasses.

An old Book, containing a number of Sketches by _Rembrandt_.

A ditto ditto.

A large Folio of Sketches by _Rembrandt_.

An empty Folio.

A Backgammon Board.

An antique Chair.

A Book, containing Chinese Drawings in miniature.

A large Cluster of White Coral.

A Book full of Prints of Statues.

A ditto full of Prints, a complete work by _Heemskirk_.

A ditto, full of Sketches by _Rubens_, _Van Dyck_, and other masters.

A ditto, containing the Works of _Michael Angelo Buonarotti_.

Two small Baskets.

A Book, containing Prints of free Subjects, after _Rafaelle_, _Roest_,
_Annibal Caracci_, and _Giulio Romano_.

A ditto, full of Landscapes by the most distinguished masters.

A Book, containing Views of Buildings in Turkey, by _Melchoir Lowick_,
_Hendrick Van Helst_, and others; and also the Costumes of that Country.

An Indian Basket, containing various Engravings by _Rembrandt_,
_Hollar_, _Cocq_, and others.

A Book, bound in black leather, containing a selection of Etchings by

A paper Box, full of Prints by _Hupe Martin_, _Holbein_, _Hans Broemer_,
and _Israel Mentz_.

A Book, containing a complete set of Etchings by _Rembrandt_.

A Folio, containing Academical Drawings of Men and Women, by

A Book, containing Drawings of celebrated Buildings in Rome, and other
Views, by the best masters.

A Chinese Basket, full of various Ornaments.

A Folio.

A ditto.

A ditto, containing Landscapes after Nature by _Rembrandt_.

A Book, containing a selection of Proof Prints after _Rubens_ and
_Jacques Jordaens_.

A ditto, full of Drawings by _Miervelt_, _Titian_, and others.

A Chinese Basket.

A ditto ditto, containing Prints of Architectural Subjects.

A ditto, containing Drawings of various Animals from Nature by

A ditto, full of Prints after _Frans Floris_, _Bruitwael_, _Goltius_,
and _Abraham Bloemart_.

A quantity of Drawings from the Antique, by _Rembrandt_.

Five Books, in quarto, containing Drawings by _Rembrandt_.

A Book full of Prints of Architectural Views.

The Medea, a Tragedy, by _Jan Six_.

A quantity of Prints, by _Jacques Callot_.

A Book, bound in parchment, containing Drawings of Landscapes, after
Nature, by _Rembrandt_.

A ditto, full of Sketches of Figures by _Rembrandt_.

A ditto, various.

A small Box, with wood divisions.

A Book, containing Views drawn by _Rembrandt_.

A ditto, containing fine Sketches.

A ditto, containing Statues after Nature by _Rembrandt_.

A ditto, various.

A ditto, containing pen Sketches by _Peter Lastman_.

A ditto, containing Drawings in red chalk by _Ditto_.

A ditto, containing Sketches drawn with the pen by _Rembrandt_.

A ditto, various.

A ditto, ditto.

A Book, various.

A ditto, ditto.

A ditto, ditto.

A Folio of large Drawings of Views in the Tyrol, by _Roeland Savery_.

A ditto, full of Drawings by celebrated masters.

A Book, in quarto, containing Sketches by _Rembrandt_.

A Book of Wood-cuts of the proportions of the Human Figure, by _Albert

A Book, containing Engravings by _Jean Lievensz_ and _Ferdinand Bol_.

Several parcels of Sketches by _Rembrandt_ and others.

A quantity of Paper, of a large size.

A Box, containing Prints by _Van Vliet_, after Pictures by _Rembrandt_.

A Screen, covered with cloth.

A steel Gorget.

A Drawer, containing a Bird of Paradise, and six Forms of divers

A German Book, containing Prints of Warriors.

A ditto, with Wood-cuts.

Flavius Josephus, in German, illustrated with Engravings by _Tobias

An ancient Bible.

A marble Inkstand.

A Cast, in Plaster, of Prince Maurice.


St. Joseph                                             By _Aertje Van

Three Prints, in frames.

The Salutation.

A Landscape after Nature                               _Rembrandt_.

A Landscape                                            _Hercules Segers._

The Descent from the Cross                             _Rembrandt_.

A Head after Nature.

A Skull                                                Retouched by

A Model, in plaster, of the Bath of Diana              By _Adam Van

A Model from Nature                                    _Rembrandt_.

A Picture of Three Puppies, after Nature               _Titus Van Ryn_.

A ditto of a Book                                      _Ditto_.

A Head of the Virgin                                   _Ditto_.

The Flagellation                                       A Copy after

A Landscape by Moonlight                               Retouched by

A Naked Woman, a Model from Nature                     By _Ditto_.

An unfinished Landscape from Nature                    _Ditto_.

A Horse painted from Nature                            By _Rembrandt_.

A small Picture                                        _Young Hals_.

A Fish, after Nature.

A Model, in plaster, of a Bason, adorned with Figures, by _Adam Van

An old Chest.

Four Chairs, with black leather seats.

A Table.


Thirty-three pieces of Armour and Musical Instruments.

Sixty pieces of Indian Armour, and several Bows, Arrows, and Darts.

Thirteen bamboo Pipes, and several Flutes.

Thirteen objects, consisting of Bows, Arrows, Shields, &c.

A number of Heads and Hands, moulded from Nature, together with a Harp,
and a Turkish Bow.

Seventeen Hands and Arms, moulded from Nature.

Some Stag Horns.

Five ancient Casques.

Four long Bows, and cross Bows.

Nine Gourds and Bottles.

Two modelled Busts of Bartholt Been and his Wife.

A plaster Cast from a Grecian Antique.

A Bust of the Emperor Agrippa.

A ditto of the Emperor Aurelius.

A Head of Christ, of the size of Life.

A Head of a Satyr.

A Sibil--Antique.

The Laocoon--Ditto.

A large Marine Vegetable.

A Vitellius.

A Seneca.

Three or four antique Heads of Women.

A metal Cannon.

A quantity of Fragments of antique Dresses, of divers colours.

Seven Musical stringed Instruments.

Two small Pictures by _Rembrandt_.



Twenty Objects, consisting of Halberds and Swords of various kinds.

Dresses of an Indian Man and Woman.

Five Cuirasses.

A wooden Trumpet.

A Picture of Two Negroes by _Rembrandt_.

A Child by _Michael Angelo Buonarotti_.


The Skins of a Lion and a Lioness, and two Birds.

A large Piece, representing Diana.

A Bittern, done from Nature, by _Rembrandt_.


Ten Paintings, of various sizes, by _Rembrandt_.

A Bed.


A pewter Pot.

Several Pots and Pans.

A small Table.

A Cupboard.

Several old Chairs.

Two Chair Cushions.


Nine Plates.

Two earthen Dishes.


Three Shirts.

Six Pocket Handkerchiefs.

Twelve Napkins.

Three Table Cloths.

Some Collars and Wristbands.

The preceding Inventory was made on the 25th and 26th of July, 1656.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Free Translation of the Autograph Letter on the opposite page._


    It is, your Honour, with reluctance, that I am about to trouble
    you with a letter, and that, because on applying to the receiver
    Utenbogaert, (to whom I have entrusted the management of my money
    matters,) as to how the treasurer Volberger acquits himself of the
    yearly 4 per cent. interest, the said Utenbogaert, on Wednesday
    last, replied,--that Volberger has every half year received the
    interest on this annuity, and has done so up to the present time;
    so that now, at the annuity office, more than 4000 florins being
    owing, and this being the exact and true statement, I beg of you,
    my kind-natured Sir, that the exact sum of money at my disposal may
    be at once made clear, in order that I may at last receive the sum
    of 1244 florins, long since due; as I shall always strive to
    recompense such by reciprocal services, and with lasting friendship;
    so that with my most cordial greetings, and the prayer that God may
    long keep you in good health, and grant you bliss hereafter,

      I remain,
        Your Honour's
          Obedient and devoted Servant,


    I am living on the Binnen Aemstel, at the Confectioner's.

    10th Oct.

    Counsellor and Secretary to his Highness in the Hague.

    _Per post._

We cannot reflect upon the foregoing Catalogue without regretting that
Rembrandt, in his old age, should have, like our own Milton,

                      "Fall'n on evil days,
  On evil days though fall'n and evil tongues."

The troubles existing at that time pervaded the whole of Europe, and
works, both of poetry and painting, produced little emolument to the
possessors; consequently the whole of this rich assemblage of works of
art, the accumulation of years, fell a sacrifice to the hammer of the
auctioneer, producing little more than four thousand nine hundred
guilders. By its list, however, we are enabled to refute the assertion
of many of his biographers, that he neglected the antique, and the works
of the great masters of the Italian school, the catalogue including
casts from ancient sculpture, and drawings and prints after Michael
Angelo, Raffaelle, and Titian, which at that time were rare and of great
value. We find by a memorandum on the back of one of Rembrandt's proofs,
on India paper, of his etching of "Christ Healing the Sick," which now
goes by the name of "The Hundred Guilder Print," that, "wishing to
possess a print of the Plague, by Mark Antonio, after Raffaelle, valued
by the dealer Van Zomers at a hundred florins, he gave the proof in
exchange;" and further, "that such proofs were never sold, but given as
presents to his friends." We may perceive by this the anxiety he had to
collect works that were excellent. As we do not discover amongst the
various articles enumerated, either palette or brushes, we may infer
that on quitting Amsterdam he carried off all his working apparatus.

With this short notice of his life, and these few remarks, I must now
enter into what is more properly the subject of this work, a critical
examination into his principles and practice.

[Footnote 1: Mr. Nieuwenhuys, in a note in his Life of Rembrandt,
mentions that the Directors of the Anatomical Theatre resolved to sell
this picture by auction, for the purpose of augmenting the funds for
supporting the widows of members, and in consequence the sale was
announced for Monday the 4th of August, 1828. Since the year 1632, until
this period, it had always remained in that establishment, as a gift
from Professor N. Tulp, who presented it as a remembrance of himself and
colleagues. Mr. N. had no sooner heard that the piece in question was to
be sold, than he went to Amsterdam, with the intention of purchasing
it; but, upon arriving, was informed that his Majesty, the King of the
Netherlands, had opposed the sale, and given orders to the Minister for
the Home Department to obtain it for the sum of 32,000 guldens, and
caused it to be placed in the Museum at the Hague, where it remains.
The picture is on canvas: height 64-1/2 inches, width 83-1/2 inches.]


The early pictures, in all ages, either merely indicate the character
of bas-reliefs or single statues,--a cold continuity of outline, and
an absence of foreshortening. The first move in advance, and that
which constitutes their pictorial character, in contradistinction to
sculpture, is an assemblage of figures, repeating the various forms
contained in the principal ones, and thus rendering them less harsh by
extension and doubling of the various shapes, as we often perceive in a
first sketch of a work, where the eye of the spectator chooses, out of
the multiplicity of outlines, those forms most agreeable to his taste.
The next step to improvement, and giving the work a more natural
appearance, is the influence of shadow, so as to make the outlines of
the prominent more distinct, and those in the background less harsh
and cutting, and consequently more retiring. The application of shadow,
however, not only renders works of art more natural, by giving the
appearance of advancing and retiring to objects represented upon a flat
surface--thus keeping them in their several situations, according to the
laws of aërial perspective--but enables the artist to draw attention to
the principal points of the story, and likewise to preserve the whole in
agreeable form, by losing and pronouncing individual parts. Coreggio was
the first who carried out this principle to any great extent; but it was
reserved for Rembrandt, by his boldness and genius, to put a limit to
its further application. Breadth, the constituent character of this mode
of treatment, cannot be extended; indeed, it is said that Rembrandt
himself extended it too far; for, absorbing seven-eighths in obscurity
and softness, though it renders the remaining portion more brilliant,
yet costs too much. This principle, however, contains the greatest
poetry of the art, in contradistinction to the severe outline and harsh
colouring of the great historical style.


To arrive at a true knowledge of the inventions and compositions of
Rembrandt, it is necessary, in the first instance, to examine those
of Albert Durer, the Leonardo da Vinci of Germany. The inventions of
this extraordinary man are replete with the finest feelings of art,
notwithstanding the Gothic dryness and fantastic forms of his figures.
The folds of his draperies are more like creased pieces of paper than
cloth, and his representation of the naked is either bloated and
coarse, or dry and meagre. His backgrounds have all the extravagant
characteristics of a German romance, and are totally destitute of aërial
perspective; yet, with the exception of the character of the people and
scenery of Nuremburg, he is not more extravagant in his forms than the
founder of the Florentine school, and had he been educated in Italy, he
in all probability would have rivalled Raffaelle in the purity of his
design. In his journal, which he kept when he travelled into the
Netherlands, he mentions some prints he sent to Rome, in exchange for
those he expected in return, and it is mentioned that Raffaelle admired
his works highly. The multitude of his engravings, both on copper and
wood, which were spread over Germany, influenced, in a great degree,
the style of composition of those artists who came after him, and
accordingly we see many points of coincidence in the compositions of
Rembrandt. A century, however, had opened up a greater insight into the
mysteries of painting than either Leonardo da Vinci or Albert Durer ever
thought of; one alone,--viz. aërial perspective, seems to mark the line
between the ancient and modern school; for though Durer invented several
instruments for perfecting lineal perspective, his works exhibit no
attempt at giving the indistinctness of distant objects. To Rubens,
Germany and Holland were indebted for this essential part of the art, so
necessary to a true representation of Nature. This great genius, in his
contemplation of the works of Titian and others, both at Venice and in
Madrid, soon emancipated the art of his country from the Gothic hardness
of Lucas Cranach, Van Eyck, and Albert Durer; but notwithstanding his
taste and knowledge of what constituted the higher qualities of the
Italian school, the irregular combinations and multitudinous assemblage
of figures found in the early German compositions remained with him to
the last. His works are like a melodrama, filled with actors who have
no settled action or expression allotted them, while in the works of
Raffaelle, and other great composers, the persons introduced are limited
to the smallest number necessary to explain the story. This condensing
of the interest, if I may use the expression, was borrowed originally
from the Greeks, of whose sculptures the Romans availed themselves to a
great degree. On the other hand, this looseness of arrangement, and what
may be termed ornamental, not only spread through Germany, but infected
the schools of Venice; witness the works of Tintoret and Paul Veronese,
in which the expression of the countenance absolutely goes for nothing,
and the whole arrangement is drawn out in a picturesque point of view,
merely to amuse and gratify the eye of the spectator.

Now, with all these infectious examples before him, Rembrandt has done
much to concentrate the action, and reduce the number drawn out on the
canvas to the mere personages who figure in the history. Witness his
"Salutation of the Virgin," in the Marquis of Westminster's collection,
which is evidently engendered from the idea contained in the design of
Albert Durer. His strict application to nature, while it enabled him
to destroy the unmeaning combinations of his predecessors, led him
into many errors, by the simple fact of drawing from the people in his
presence. But are not others chargeable with some incongruities? Are the
Madonnas of Murillo anything but a transcript of the women of Andalusia?
The women of Venice figure in the historical compositions of Titian and
Paul Veronese, and the Fornarina of Raffaelle is present in his most
sacred subjects; those, therefore, who accuse Rembrandt of vulgarity
of form, might with equal justice draw an invidious comparison between
classic Italian and high Dutch. In many of his compositions he has
embodied the highest feeling and sentiment, and in his study of natural
simplicity approaches Raffaelle nearer than any of the Flemish or Dutch
painters. Of course, as a colourist and master of light and shade, he
is all powerful; but I allude, at present, to the mere conception and
embodying of his subjects on this head.

Fuseli says,--"Rembrandt was, in my opinion, a genius of the first
class in whatever relates not to form. In spite of the most portentous
deformity, and without considering the spell of his _chiaro-scuro_, such
were his powers of nature, such the grandeur, pathos, or simplicity of
his composition, from the most elevated or extensive arrangement to
the meanest and most homely, that the best cultivated eye, the purest
sensibility, and the most refined taste, dwell on them equally
enthralled. Shakspere alone excepted, no one combined with so much
transcendent excellence so many, in all other men unpardonable,
faults,--and reconciled us to them. He possessed the full empire of
light and shade, and of all the tints that float between them; he tinged
his pencil with equal success in the cool of dawn, in the noon-day ray,
in the livid flash, in evanescent twilight, and rendered darkness
visible. Though made to bend a steadfast eye on the bolder phenomena of
nature, yet he knew how to follow her into her calmest abodes, gave
interest to insipidity and baldness, and plucked a flower in every
desert. None ever, like Rembrandt, knew how to improve an accident into
a beauty, or give importance to a trifle. If ever he had a master, he
had no followers; Holland was not made to comprehend his power."

And in another lecture, speaking of the advantage of a low horizon, he
says:--"What gives sublimity to Rembrandt's Ecce Homo more than this
principle? a composition which, though complete, hides in its grandeur
the limits of its scenery. Its form is a pyramid, whose top is lost in
the sky, as its base in tumultuous murky waves. From the fluctuating
crowds who inundate the base of the tribunal, we rise to Pilate,
surrounded and perplexed by the varied ferocity of the sanguinary
synod to whose remorseless gripe he surrenders his wand, and from
him we ascend to the sublime resignation of innocence in Christ, and,
regardless of the roar, securely repose on his countenance. Such is the
grandeur of a conception, which in its blaze absorbs the abominable
detail of materials too vulgar to be mentioned. Had the materials been
equal to the conception and composition, the Ecce Homo of Rembrandt,
even unsupported by the magic of its light and shade, or his spell of
colours, would have been an assemblage of superhuman powers."

Reynolds, in his Eighth Discourse, speaking of the annoyance the mind
feels at the display of too much variety and contrast, proceeds to
say:--"To apply these general observations, which belong equally to all
arts, to ours in particular. In a composition, where the objects are
scattered and divided into many equal parts, the eye is perplexed and
fatigued, from not knowing where to find the principal action, or which
is the principal figure; for where all are making equal pretensions to
notice, all are in equal danger of neglect. The expression which is used
very often on these occasions is, the piece wants repose--a word which
perfectly expresses a relief of the mind from that state of hurry and
anxiety which it suffers when looking at a work of this character. On
the other hand, absolute unity, that is, a large work consisting of one
group or mass of light only, would be as defective as an heroic poem
without episode, or any collateral incidents to recreate the mind with
that variety which it requires. An instance occurs to me of two painters
(Rembrandt and Poussin) of characters totally opposite to each other in
every respect, but in nothing more than in their mode of composition and
management of light and shadow. Rembrandt's manner is absolute unity; he
often has but one group, and exhibits little more than one spot of light
in the midst of a large quantity of shadow: if he has a second mass that
second bears no proportion to the principal. Poussin, on the contrary,
has scarcely any principle mass of light at all, and his figures are
often too much dispersed, without sufficient attention to place them in
groups. The conduct of these two painters is entirely the reverse of
what might be expected from their general style and character, the works
of Poussin being as much distinguished for simplicity as those of
Rembrandt for combination. Even this conduct of Poussin might proceed
from too great affection to simplicity of another kind, too great a
desire to avoid the ostentation of art with regard to light and shadow,
on which Rembrandt so much wished to draw the attention; however, each
of them ran into contrary extremes, and it is difficult to determine
which is the most reprehensible, both being equally distant from the
demands of nature and the purposes of art."

This unity is observable in the composition of Rembrandt; even where
a multiplicity of figures are employed, they are so grouped that the
masses of light and shade are interrupted as little as possible; and it
is only in his earlier works, such as those now in the Munich Gallery,
where this isolated light is carried to extravagance. In many of his
later pictures, we have not only subordinate groups, but a repetition
of the principal lights; also a greater breadth of half-tint.
"Composition," says Reynolds, "which is the principal part of the
invention of a painter, is by far the greatest difficulty he has to
encounter. Every man that can paint at all, can execute individual
parts; but to keep these parts in due subordination as relative to a
whole, requires a comprehensive view of the art, that more strongly
implies genius than perhaps any other quality whatever." Now Rembrandt
possessed this power in an eminent degree. At the revival of painting
in Italy, the compositions consisted entirely of subjects taken from
Sacred Writ--subjects that imposed a purity of thought and a primitive
simplicity upon the artists; these qualities were, however, in a great
measure lost in passing through the Venetian and German schools, where
either the love for pictorial effect or the introduction of catholic
ceremonies took precedence of every other arrangement. The prolific
genius of Rubens spread this infectious mode of treatment through
Flanders and Holland, till at length, in the hands of the painters of
smoking and drinking scenes, historical subjects, even of a sacred
character, became quite ridiculous. Yet, with all these examples of bad
and vulgar taste around him, we find many compositions of Rembrandt less
degraded by mean representation than many of the best of the works of
the Venetian and Flemish painters. Take, for example, his design of
Christ and his Disciples at Emmaus, the principal figure in which is
certainly more refined than the Christ either in the pictures of Titian
or Rubens of the same subject; in fact, the idea of it is taken from the
Last Supper, by Raffaelle, (the Mark Antonio print of which he must have
had.) Raffaelle is indebted for the figure to Leonardo da Vinci; and if
we were to trace back, I have no doubt we should find that the Milanese
borrowed it from an earlier master; indeed, we perceive in the progress
of painting much of the primitive simplicity and uniformity preserved
in the best works of the Italian school. It was only when composition
passed through the prolific minds of such artists as Paul Veronese,
Tintoret, and Rubens, that it was made subservient to the bustle,
animation, and picturesque effect of their works. When we find,
therefore, any remains revived in the pictures of Rembrandt, who was
surrounded by compositions of a vulgar and low cast, we can only ascribe
it to the taste and genius of this great painter. In the design just
mentioned, the idea of the Disciples, as if struck with astonishment
and awe at the bursting forth of the divinity of Christ, is admirably
conceived. As the heads are taken from the people of his country, they
of necessity partake of the character of the people. This cannot be
justified, though it is excusable. Reynolds, on this head, speaking
of the ennobling of the characters in an historical picture, says,
"How much the great style exacts from its professors to conceive and
represent their subjects in a poetical manner, not confined to mere
matter of fact, may be seen in the Cartoons of Raffaelle. In all the
pictures in which the painter has represented the apostles, he has
drawn them with great nobleness; he has given them as much dignity as
the human figure is capable of receiving. Yet we are expressly told in
Scripture they had no such respectable appearance; and of St. Paul
in particular we are told by himself that his _bodily_ presence was
_mean_. In conformity to custom, I call this part of the art History
Painting: it ought to be called Poetical, as in reality it is." He
further adds, "The painter has no other means of giving an idea of the
mind but by that external appearance which grandeur of thought does
generally, though not always, impress on the countenance, and by that
correspondence of figure to sentiment and situation which all men wish,
but cannot command." As I cannot defend the mean appearance of the
disciples, neither shall I exculpate our great artist from blame in
introducing a dog into so grand a subject; we can only excuse him on
the plea of following the practice of his predecessors. Titian, in his
celebrated picture, has not only introduced a dog, but a cat also, which
is quarrelling with the former for a bone under the table. To this love
for the introduction of animals into their compositions, for the sake of
picturesque variety, many of the greatest painters must plead guilty;
and though the incongruity has been pointed out over and over again by
the writers on art, it is still clung to as means of contrast with the
human figure. In one of the sketches by the late Sir D. Wilkie for his
picture of "Finding the Body of Tippoo Saib," he had introduced two
dogs, and only obliterated them when informed that dogs were considered
unclean by the people of the east, and therefore it was an impossibility
for them to be in the palace of Seringapatam. While I am upon this
subject, it may not be amiss to refer to one of the authorities who
censures this practice. Fresnoy says, in his poem on the "Art of

  "Nec quod inane, nihil facit ad rem sive videtur
   Improprium miniméque urgens potiora tenebit
   Ornamenta operis."

  "Nor paint conspicuous on the foremost plain,
   Whate'er is false, impertinent, or vain."



On this rule, Reynolds remarks--"This precept, so obvious to common
sense, appears superfluous till we recollect that some of the greatest
painters have been guilty of a breach of it; for--not to mention Paul
Veronese or Rubens, whose principles as ornamental painters would allow
great latitude in introducing animals, or whatever they might think
necessary to contrast or make the composition more picturesque--we can
no longer wonder why the poet has thought it worth setting a guard
against this impropriety, when we find that such men as Raffaelle and
the Caracci, in their greatest and most serious works, have introduced
on the foreground mean and frivolous circumstances. Such improprieties,
to do justice to the more modern painters, are seldom found in their
works. The only excuse that can be made for those great artists, is
their living in an age when it was the custom to mix the ludicrous with
the serious, and when poetry as well as painting gave in to this

Many of the compositions of Rembrandt indicate not only a refined
taste, but the greatest sensibility and feeling. For example, the small
etchings of the "Burial of Christ," and the "Return from Jerusalem;"
these, from their slightness, may lay me under the same category as the
old Greek, who, having a house to sell, carried in his pocket one of the
bricks as a sample; yet, being his own indications, I have given them.
It is worth while to compare the "Entombment" with the same subject by
Raffaelle, in the Crozat Collection. The whole arrangement is treated in
the finest taste of the Italian school. The other design has been always
a favourite with the admirers of Rembrandt. The feeling character of the
youthful Saviour is admirably portrayed. Holding his mother's hand, he
is cheering her on her tiring journey, looking in her face with an
expression of affection and solace; while she is represented with
downcast eyes, fatigued and "pondering in her mind" the import of the
words he had addressed to her, "How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not
that I must be about my Father's business?" And even here we can almost
excuse the introduction of the little dog, who, running before the
group, is looking back, giving a bark of joy at their having found the
object of their solicitude. The background is conceived in the finest
spirit of Titian.

These are the touches of nature that, like the expressions of our own
immortal Shakspere, however slight, and though dressed in modern garb or
familiar language, reach the innermost sensibilities of the human heart.

[Illustration: THE ENTOMBMENT]


The character and costume of the people, as well as the scenery of those
subjects taken from Holy Writ, have been a matter of investigation both
by artists and writers upon art; for although the events related in the
New Testament are not of so ancient a date as those of the heathen
writers, yet the mind seems to require that the style should be neither
classic nor too strictly local. Hence, though the costume represented in
the Venetian pictures is no doubt nearer the truth than that made use of
by Raffaelle and other Italians, it fails to carry us back to ancient
and primitive simplicity. The early pictures delineating Christian
subjects are modelled upon Greek forms and dresses, and having been
made the foundation of those works afterwards produced by the great
restorers of painting, have gained a hold upon our ideas, which, if not
impossible, is yet difficult to throw off. As the late Sir David Wilkie
travelled into the East with the express purpose of painting the
subjects mentioned in Scripture in more strict accordance with the
people and their habits, it may be of advantage to give the student his
opinions. In his Journal, he says--"After seeing with great attention
the city of Jerusalem and the district of Syria that extends from Jaffa
to the river Jordan, I am satisfied it still presents a new field for
the genius of Scripture painting to work upon. It is true the great
Italian painters have created an art, the highest of its kind, peculiar
to the subjects of sacred history; and in some of their examples,
whether from facility of inquiry or from imagination, have come very
near all the view of Syria could supply. The Venetians, (perhaps
from their intercourse with Cyprus and the Levant,) Titian, Paul
Veronese, and Sebastian del Piombo, have in their pictures given
the nearest appearance to a Syrian people. Michael Angelo, too, from
his generalizing style, has brought some of his prophets and sybils
to resemble the old Jews about the streets of the Holy City; but in
general, though the aspect of Nature will sometimes recall the finest
ideas of Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaelle, yet these masters still want
much that could be supplied here, and have a great deal of matters quite
contrary to what the country could furnish. These contrarieties, indeed,
are so great, that in discussions with the learned here, I find a
disposition to that kind of change that would soon set aside the whole
system of Italian and European art; but as these changes go too much
upon the supposition that the manners of Scripture are precisely
represented by the present race in Syria, it is too sweeping to be borne
out by what we actually know. At the same time, there are so many
objects in this country so perfectly described, so incapable of change,
and that give such an air of truth to the local allusions of Sacred
Writ, that one can scarcely imagine that these, had they been known to
the painters of Italy, would not have added to the impressive power of
their works. Without trying to take from the grand impression produced
by the reading of the Sacred Writings, it may be said that from its
nature many things must be confined to narrative, to description, to
precept--and these are no doubt so strong as to supply to a pious mind
everything that can be desired; but if these are to be represented, as
certainly they have been, by those of an art who have not seen Syria, it
is clear some other country, Italy, Spain, or Flanders, will be drawn
upon to supply this, and the reader of Scripture and the admirer of art
will be alike deluded by the representation of a strange country in the
place of that so selected and so identified as the Land of Promise--so
well known and so graphically described from the first to the last of
the inspired writers."

These remarks are certainly applicable, but only in a degree. What
is quoted from Reynolds, in a former part, shows that a licence is
indispensable; and yet, without destroying the apparent truth of the
subject, many things are now established that, without their being
facts, have taken such hold of our ideas that they cannot with safety be
departed from. I may instance the countenances of our Saviour and the
Virgin, as given by Raffaelle and Coreggio--we recognise them as if they
had been painted from the persons themselves; I may also add the heads
of the Apostles. With regard to the scenery, many circumstances may
certainly be taken advantage of, always guarding against a topographical
appearance that, by its locality, may prevent the work leading the
spectator back into distant periods of time. Before quitting this part
of the subject, which refers to Rembrandt's powers of composition, I may
notice one or two of his designs, which stamp him as a great genius in
this department of the art--viz., his "Christ Healing the Sick," "Haman
and Mordecai," the "Ecce Homo," "Christ Preaching," and the "Death of
the Virgin."


From the position we are now placed in, surrounded by the accumulated
talent of many centuries, it is easy to take a retrospective view of
the progress of art; and it is only by so doing that we can arrive at
a just estimate of the great artists who advanced it beyond the age
in which they lived, and this seems mainly to have been achieved by
a close observance of nature. As in philosophy the genius of Bacon,
by investigating the phenomena of visible objects, put to flight
and dissipated the learned dogmas of the school of Aristotle, so in
sculpture the purity and simplicity of the forms of Phidias established
a line of demarcation between his own works and those of the formal,
symmetrical, and dry sculpture of his predecessors. Sculpture, till
then, lay fettered and bound up in the severity of Egyptian
Hieroglyphics. Likewise we perceive the genius of Michael Angelo and
Raffaelle setting aside the stiffness and profile character existing
in the works of Signorelli and Masaccio. In Venice, Titian emancipated
the arts from the grasp of Giovanni Bellini. In Germany, Rubens must
be considered the great translator of art out of a dead language into
a living one, to use a metaphor, and into one that, like music, is
universal. Previous to Rembrandt, the pupils of Rubens had thrown off
every affinity not only to Gothic stiffness, but even to that degree
of regularity of composition which all classes of historical subjects
require. Independent of Rubens and his pupils, we find Rembrandt was
aware of the great advances made in natural representations of objects
by Adrian Brauwer, (several of whose works, by the catalogue given of
his effects, were in his possession;) therefore, as far as transparency
and richness, with a truthfulness of tint, are concerned, Brauwer had
set an example. But in the works of Rembrandt we perceive a peculiarity
entirely his own--that of enveloping parts in beautiful obscurity, and
the light again emerging from the shadow, like the softness of moonlight
partially seen through demi-transparent clouds, and leaving large
masses of undefined objects in darkness. This principle he applied to
compositions of even a complicated character, and their bustle and noise
were swallowed up in the stillness of shadow. If breadth constitutes
grandeur, Rembrandt's works are exemplifications of mysterious sublimity
to the fullest extent. This "darkness visible," as Milton expresses it,
belongs to the great founder of the school of Holland, and to him alone.
Flinck, Dietricy, De Guelder, and others his pupils, give no idea of it;
their works are warm, but they are without redeeming cool tints; they
are yellow without pearly tones; and in place of leading the eye of the
spectator into the depths of aërial perspective, the whole work appears
on the surface of the panel. There are none of those shadows "hanging
in mid air," which constitute so captivating a charm in the great
magician of chiaro-scuro; not only are objects of solidity surrounded
by softening obscurity, but the contiguous atmosphere gives indications
of the influence of the light and shade. To these principles the art
is indebted for breadth and fulness of effect, which constitute the
distinct characteristics between the early state and its maturity--and
to Rembrandt we owe the perfection of this fascinating quality.

We must, nevertheless, always look back with wonder at what was
achieved by Coreggio. Even when painting flourished under the guidance
of Leonardo da Vinci and Giorgione, Reynolds, speaking of this quality
in contradistinction to that of relief, says, "This favourite quality
of giving objects relief, and which De Piles and all the critics have
considered as a requisite of the greatest importance, was not one of
those objects which much engaged the attention of Titian. Painters of an
inferior rank have far exceeded him in producing this effect. This was a
great object of attention when art was in its infant state, as it is at
present with the vulgar and ignorant, who feel the highest satisfaction
in seeing a figure which, as they say, looks as if they could walk round
it. But however low I might rate this pleasure of deception, I should
not oppose it, did it not oppose itself to a quality of a much higher
kind, by counteracting entirely that fulness of manner which is so
difficult to express in words, but which is found in perfection in the
best works of Coreggio, and, we may add, of Rembrandt. This effect is
produced by melting and losing the shadows in a ground still darker
than those shadows; whereas that relief is produced by opposing and
separating the ground from the figure, either by light, or shadow,
or colour. This conduct of inlaying, as it may be called, figures on
their ground, in order to produce relief, was the practice of the old
painters, such as Andrea Mantegna, Pietro Perugino, and Albert Durer,
and to these we may add the first manner of Leonardo da Vinci,
Giorgione, and even Coreggio; but these three were among the first
who began to correct themselves in dryness of style, by no longer
considering relief as a principal object. As those two qualities,
relief and fulness of effect, can hardly exist together, it is not
very difficult to determine to which we ought to give the preference.
An artist is obliged for ever to hold a balance in his hand, by which
he must determine the value of different qualities, that when some fault
must be committed, he may choose the least. Those painters who have
best understood the art of producing a good effect have adopted one
principle that seems perfectly conformable to reason--that a part may be
sacrificed for the good of the whole. Thus, whether the masses consist
of light or shadow, it is necessary that they should be compact and
of a pleasing shape; to this end, some parts may be made darker and
some lighter, and reflections stronger than nature would warrant. Paul
Veronese took great liberties of this kind. It is said, that being once
asked why certain figures were painted in shade, as no cause was seen in
the picture itself, he turned off the inquiry by answering, 'Una nuevola
che passa,'--a cloud is passing, which has overshadowed them."

Before entering more minutely into an investigation of the principles
of Rembrandt with regard to chiaro-scuro, I must again revert to those
of Coreggio. Opie, speaking of the method of this great artist, says,
"To describe his practice will be in a great degree to repeat my
observations on chiaro-scuro in its enlarged sense. By classing his
colours, and judiciously dividing them into few and large masses of
bright and obscure, gently rounding off his light, and passing, by
almost imperceptible degrees, through pellucid demi-tints and warm
reflections into broad, deep, and transparent shade, he artfully
connected the finest extremes of light and shadow, harmonized the most
intense opposition of colours, and combined the greatest possible effect
with the sweetest and softest repose imaginable." Further on, he
remarks--"The turn of his thoughts, also, in regard to particular
subjects, was often in the highest degree poetical and uncommon, of
which it will be sufficient to give as an instance his celebrated
_Notte_, or painting of the 'Nativity of Christ,' in which his making
all the light of the picture emanate from the child, striking upwards
on the beautiful face of the mother, and in all directions on the
surrounding objects, may challenge comparison with any invention in the
whole circle of art, both for the splendour and sweetness of effect,
which nothing can exceed, and for its happy appropriation to the person
of Him who was born to dispel the clouds of ignorance, and diffuse the
light of truth over a darkened world!" Now, this work Rembrandt must
have seen, or at least a copy from it, as his treatment of the same
subject, in the National Gallery, indicates; but the poetry is lost, for
it would be impossible to imitate it without a direct plagiarism. It
may, however, have given a turn to his thoughts, in representing many of
his subjects under the influence of night in place of day, such as his
"Taking down from the Cross," by torch light; his "Flight into Egypt,"
with the lantern; the "Burial of Christ," &c. While other men were
painting daylight, he turned the day into night, which is one of the
paths that sublimity travels through. The general idea most people have
of Rembrandt is, that he is one of the dark masters: but his shadows
are not black, they are filled with transparency. The backgrounds to his
portraits are less dark than many of either Titian or Tintoret. His
landscapes are not black, they are the soft emanations of twilight; and
when he leads you through the shadows of night, you see the path, even
in the deepest obscurity. As colour forms a constituent part of
chiaro-scuro, I must, in this division, confine myself more particularly
to black and white, both in giving examples from his etchings, and
explaining the various changes he made upon them in order to heighten
the effect. The etching I have here given is the "Nativity," in the
darkest state; in the British Museum there are no less than seven
varieties, and the first state is the lightest. But in order to render
his mode of proceeding more intelligible, I shall explain the progress
of his working. His first etchings are often bit in with the aquafortis,
when the shadows have but few ways crossed with the etching point: these
are often strongly bit in, that, when covered over with finer lines, the
first may shine through, and give transparency. In the next process he
seems to have taken off the etching ground, and laid over the plate a
transparent ground, (that is to say, one not darkened by the smoke of a
candle;) upon this he worked up his effect by a multiplicity of fresh
lines, often altering his forms, and adding new objects, as the idea
seemed to rise in his mind. After which, when the plate was again
subjected to the operation of the acid, the etching ground was removed,
and the whole worked up with the greatest delicacy and softness by means
of the dry needle, to the scratches of which the aquafortis is never
applied. This process it is that gives what is termed the _burr_, and
renders the etchings of Rembrandt different from all others. Now this
_burr_ is produced, not by the ink going into the lines, but by the
printer being obstructed in wiping it off by the raised edge which the
dry point has forced up; for when these lines run through deep shadows,
we often see that they print white, from the ink being wiped off the
top of the ridge.

[Illustration: THE NATIVITY]

This is the foundation of what is called mezzotint engraving, which
I shall notice in another place. By keeping these remarks in mind,
we shall easily perceive how it is that so many variations occur in
impressions from his plates, depending entirely on the direction in
which the printer wiped off the ink--whether across the ridges, or in
the same direction as the lines. Varieties have also arisen from these
ridges wearing away by the friction of the hand; and as Rembrandt's
copper plates, judging from those I have examined, were soft, they soon
wore down. We also find this dark effect given in many of his varieties
by merely leaving the surface partially wiped, and touching out the high
lights with his finger, or a piece of leather. These impressions must
have been taken by himself, or, at least, under his superintendence.
Several of his plates are worked on with the graver, such as his "Taking
down from the Cross;" but that evidently is by the hand of an engraver.
We see the same in several of the etchings of Vandyke, but their value
decreases as the finishing extends.

While we are upon the subject of his etchings, it will, perhaps, be of
use to confine the conduct of his chiaro-scuro to his etchings alone, as
his treatment is very different to what he adopted when he had colour
to deal with; and in this respect he must have been influenced by the
example of Rubens and Vandyke, proofs of all the engravings after whose
pictures we perceive he had in his possession. In order that we may
more clearly understand the reason of many of his etchings remaining
unfinished in parts, while other portions are worked up with the
greatest care, I shall give an extract from the Journal of Sir Joshua
Reynolds, when in Flanders. In describing a picture in the Church of the
Recollets, at Antwerp, he says:--"Over the altar of the choir is the
famous 'Crucifixion of Christ between two Thieves,' by Rubens. To give
animation to this subject, he has chosen the point of time when an
executioner is piercing the side of Christ, whilst another, with a bar
of iron, is breaking the limbs of one of the malefactors, who, in his
convulsive agony, which his body admirably expresses, has torn one of
his feet from the tree to which it was nailed. The expression in the
action of this figure is wonderful. The attitude of the other is more
composed, and he looks at the dying Christ with a countenance perfectly
expressive of his penitence. This figure is likewise admirable. The
Virgin, St. John, and Mary the wife of Cleophas, are standing by, with
great expression of grief and resignation; whilst the Magdalen, who is
at the feet of Christ, and may be supposed to have been kissing his
feet, looks at the horseman with the spear with a countenance of great
horror. As the expression carries with it no grimace or contortion of
the features, the beauty is not destroyed. This is by far the most
beautiful profile I ever saw of Rubens, or, I think, of any other
painter. The excellence of its colouring is beyond expression. To say
that she may be supposed to have been kissing Christ's feet, may be
thought too refined a criticism; but Rubens certainly intended to convey
that idea, as appears by the disposition of her hands, for they are
stretched out towards the executioner, and one of them is before and one
behind the cross, which gives an idea of their having been round it. And
it must be remembered that she is generally represented as kissing the
feet of Christ: it is her place and employment in those subjects. The
good Centurion ought not to be forgotten--who is leaning forward, one
hand on the other, resting on the mane of his horse, while he looks at
Christ with great earnestness. The genius of Rubens nowhere appears to
more advantage than here; it is the most carefully finished picture of
all his works. The whole is conducted with the most consummate art.
The composition is bold and uncommon, with circumstances which no other
painter had ever before thought of--such as the breaking of the limbs,
and the expression of the Magdalen; to which we may add the disposition
of the three crosses, which are placed perspectively, in a very
picturesque manner--the nearest bears the thief whose limbs they are
breaking; the next the Christ, whose figure is straighter than ordinary,
as a contrast to the others; and the furthermost the penitent thief.
This produces a most interesting effect, but it is what few but such a
daring genius as Rubens would have attempted. It is here, and in such
compositions, that we properly see Rubens, and not in little pictures of
Madonnas and Bambinos. It appears that Rubens made some changes in this
picture after Bolswert had engraved it. The horseman who is in the act
of piercing the side of Christ holds the spear, according to the print,
in a very tame manner, with the back of the hand over the spear,
grasping it with only three fingers, the forefinger lying straight over
the spear; whereas, in the picture, the back of the hand comes _under_
the spear, and he grasps it with his whole force. The other defect,
which is remedied in the picture, is the action of the executioner who
breaks the legs of the criminal: in the print, both of his hands are
over the bar of iron, which makes a false action; in the picture, the
whole disposition is altered to the natural manner in which every person
holds a weapon which requires both hands--the right is placed over, and
the left under it. This print was undoubtedly done under the inspection
of Rubens himself. It may be worth observing, that the keeping of the
masses of light in the print differs much from the picture; this change
is not from inattention, but design; a different conduct is required in
a composition with colours from what ought to be followed _when it is in
black and white only_. We have here the authority of this great master
of light and shadow, that a print requires more and larger masses of
light than a picture. In this picture, the principal and the strongest
light is the body of Christ, which is of a remarkably clear and bright
colour. This is strongly opposed by the very brown complexion of the
thieves, (perhaps the opposition here is too violent,) who make no great
effect as to light; the Virgin's outer drapery is dark blue, and the
inner a dark purple, and St. John is in dark strong red. No part of
these two figures is light in the picture but the head and hands of the
Virgin, but in the print, they make the principal mass of light of the
whole composition. The engraver has certainly produced a fine effect,
and I suspect it is as certain that if this change had not been made,
it would have appeared a black and heavy print. When Rubens thought it
necessary, in the print, to make a mass of light of the drapery of the
Virgin and St. John, it was likewise necessary that it should be of a
beautiful shape, and be kept compact; it therefore became necessary to
darken the whole figure of the Magdalen, which in the picture is at
least as light as the body of Christ; her head, linen, arms, hair,
and the feet of Christ, make a mass as light as the body of Christ.
It appears, therefore, that some parts are to be darkened, as well as
other parts made lighter. This, consequently, is a science which an
engraver ought well to understand before he can presume to venture on any
alteration from the picture he means to represent. The same thing may be
remarked in many other prints by those engravers who were employed by
Rubens and Vandyke; they always gave more light than they were warranted
by the picture--a circumstance which may merit the attention of

As most of these engravings were made from studies in black and white,
perhaps reduced from the picture by the engraver, but certainly touched
on afterwards by the painters themselves, they form a school for the
study of light and shade when deprived of colour. In the etchings of
Rembrandt, therefore, we ought to bear in mind that splendour of effect
was what he aimed at, and the means adopted by Rubens and Vandyke were
carried still further by the fearless master of chiaro-scuro. Now
that the eye has been accustomed to engravings where the local colour
is rendered, when we look over a folio of the works of Bolswert,
Soutman, Pontius, and others of the Flemish engravers, they appear,
notwithstanding their overpowering depth and brilliancy, unfinished,
from the lights of the several coloured draperies and the flesh tones
being left white. They also occasionally look spotty in effect, from the
extreme strength of the shadows and black draperies. In Rembrandt's
works these defects are avoided, by finishing his darks with the
greatest care and softness, while the figures in the light masses are
often left in mere outline: the lights are also reduced in size as they
enter the shade; while the darks in the light portions of his prints are
circumscribed to a mere point, for the purpose of giving a balance and
solidity. The shadows of the several objects likewise assume a greater
delicacy as they enter into the masses of light. In these respects, the
Hundred Guilder print is a striking example.

As we are now considering light and shade when unaccompanied by colour,
I may notice that those portions where the dark and light masses come in
contact are the places where both the rounding of the objects by making
out the forms, and also the patching down the half-tint with visible
lines, may be followed out with the greatest success, as it prevents the
work being heavy in effect, and also assists the passage of the light
into the shadow. The quality of the lights and darks is flatness. The
Flemish engravers seem to have been very particular in the method of
producing their shadow, both with regard to the direction of the lines,
and also their repetition; their object seems to have been intenseness
of dark with transparency of execution. In a conversation with Sir
Thomas Lawrence upon the subject of shadows, his ideas were that they
ought to be as still as possible, and that all the little sparkling
produced by the crossing of the lines ought to be extinguished, or
softened down. In painting, his notions were that they ought to be kept
cool. Without presuming to differ with so excellent an artist, it is but
proper to mention that all the best engravers, from the time of Bolswert
to our own, are of a contrary opinion; and our best colourists, from
Coreggio to Rembrandt, and from Rembrandt to Wilkie, were diametrically
opposite in their practice. As far as engraving is concerned, it is but
fair to notice that Lawrence had Rembrandt on his side, of whose works
he was a great admirer.

[Illustration: DOCTOR FAUSTUS]

I may appear to have dwelt too long upon this subject of engraving,
but as the etchings of Rembrandt form so large a portion of his
popularity, we cannot enter too minutely into the various sources of
their excellence. I shall now proceed to describe the etching of "Doctor
Faustus," a copy of which I have given. Some think that it represents
Fust, the partner of Guttenburg, who, by his publication of Bibles in
Paris, was looked upon by the people as a dealer in the black art. The
papers hung up by the side of the window look like the sheets of his
letter-press, and the diagram that attracts his attention, and rouses
him from his desk, indicates by words and symbols a connexion with Holy
Writ. But the general opinion is, that it is Dr. John Faustus, a German
physician, in his study. This Dr. Faustus was supposed to have dealings
with familiar spirits, one of which has raised this cabalistic vision,
that enters the window with overwhelming splendour, like the bursting
of a shell, communicating its radiance to the head and breast of the
figure, and, descending by his variegated garment, is extended in a
spread of light over the whole lower part of the composition. The light
of the window being surrounded by a mass of dark, receives intense
importance, and is carried as far as the art can go. It is also, I may
observe, rendered less harsh and cutting by its shining through the
papers at the side, and by the interruption of the rays of the diagram.
The light passing behind the figure, and partially thrown upon a skull,
gives an awe-striking appearance to the whole; while the flat breadth of
light below is left intentionally with the objects in mere outline. This
etching seems never to have been touched on from the first impressions
to the last--the first state is dark with excess of burr; the last is
merely the burr worn off.

Before quitting this subject, I wish to make a few remarks. It has been
said by some of Rembrandt's biographers, that he made alterations in his
prints for the sake of enhancing their value; but we know by experience
that every alteration he made, however it might be for the better,
struck off a certain portion of its money value. I believe his desire
to better the effect was the only incitement. Many were improved by his
working upon them after the first proofs, and many were deteriorated in
effect; but every additional line at the least struck off a guilder.
I have mentioned that in this etching the brilliancy of the light in the
window is enhanced by its being surrounded by a mass of dark; but the
same advantage would have accrued from its extension by a mass of half
light, as it would then have had a greater breadth of soft light. This
subject was a great favourite with the late Sir David Wilkie, and he
introduced this window in his picture of "The School;" but this being
a light composition, he treated it in the way I have mentioned above.
It was a common practice with Wilkie to adopt some part of a celebrated
work as a point to work from, and carry out his design upon this
suggestion. The spectator, by this means, was drawn into a
predisposition of its excellence, without knowing whence it had arisen.
Thus, in his "John Knox Preaching," there are many points of similarity
with the "St. Paul Preaching," by Raffaelle. I may also mention here
what we often perceive in the works of Rembrandt--in place of having the
light hemmed in by a dark boundary, it is spread out into a mass of
half-light; and the same treatment is adopted with regard to his extreme
darks, they communicate their properties to the surrounding ground.
These qualities are the foundation of breadth and softness of effect.

These observations may appear iterations of what has been mentioned
before--but truths get strengthened by being placed in new positions.
In dividing a work of this kind into portions, it is difficult to give
a preference to any department, especially with such an artist as
Rembrandt, who was equally celebrated in all--and I have only given
a priority to historical subjects as they hold a higher rank than
portraiture. But his portraits are those productions of his pencil
which are most peculiar to himself.

[Illustration: BURGOMASTER SIX]


This is the most finished and perfect of all the etchings of Rembrandt;
and as it was done expressly for his friend and patron, we can easily
imagine that the painter exerted himself to the utmost, so as to render
it worthy of the subject. I have been at some trouble to get an account
of the family of Jan Six, but have gleaned little from those books
connected with the history of Holland. During the war with England, in
the reign of Charles the Second, he was Secretary of State to the City
of Amsterdam, and his family was afterwards connected with some of their
most celebrated men. But what has rendered his name more famous than
intermarrying with the families of Van Tromp or De Ruyter, is his
patronage of Rembrandt--in the same way that Lord Southampton's name
is ennobled by his patronage of Shakspere. We know he was devoted to
literature as well as the fine arts, having left a tragedy on the story
of Medea, a copy of which is mentioned in the catalogue of Rembrandt's
effects, and an etching by the artist was prefixed to the work--viz.,
the "Marriage of Jason and Creusa;" the rare states of this print are
before the quotation of the Dutch verses underneath--also the statue of
Juno is without the diadem, which was afterwards added. I have mentioned
that this portrait was a private plate; in fact, the copper is still
in the possession of the family. In a sale which took place in 1734,
for a division of the property among the various branches, fourteen
impressions were sold, but brought comparatively small prices, from the
number to be contended for. Two proofs, however, on India paper are
still in the portfolio of his descendants, which in five years will, it
is said, be brought to the hammer, as by that time the parties will be
of age. These proofs will in all probability realize two hundred guineas
each. The ease and natural attitude of the figure in this work are
admirable: the intensity of the light, with the delicacy and truth of
the reflected lights, are rendered with the strong stamp of genius; the
diffusion of the light also, by means of the papers on the chair, and
the few sparkling touches in the shadow, completely take this etching
out of the catalogue of common portraiture. The only work I can at
present think of that can be brought into competition with it, is the
full-length portrait of Charles the First, by Vandyke, in the Queen's
Collection, and which is rendered so familiar by Strange's admirable

In entering into an examination of the execution of this print, it is
evident the whole effect is produced by means of the dry point, which
must have been a work of great labour. The best impressions are on India
paper; and I perceive, by referring to Gersaint's catalogue, that at the
sale of the Burgomaster's property, they only brought about eighteen
florins. The next portrait amongst his etchings that at all approaches
to the Burgomaster, is that of "Old Haring," which has always struck
me as one of the foundations for the style of Sir Joshua Reynolds in
portraiture. A fine impression of this work, on India paper, is more
like Sir Joshua than many prints after his own pictures; and with all
the high veneration I have for Reynolds, I cannot omit noticing how
very ambiguously he frequently speaks of this great genius. We know
his master, Hudson, had an excellent collection of Rembrandt's works,
and therefore he must have been early imbued with their merits and
peculiarities. This, however, we shall have a better opportunity of
noticing when we come to the treatment of colour. The next etching
in excellence I should mention is the "Portrait of John Lutma, the
Goldsmith," with the light background; this was afterwards softened
down by the introduction of a window. And here I must observe, that
though he often had light backgrounds to his prints, yet in his finished
pictures they were generally the reverse. The etching of "Ephraim Bonus,
the Jewish Physician," is also one of his most effective works; the
introduction of the balustrade, on which he leans descending the
staircase, removes it from the ordinary level of mere portraiture.
On the hand that rests upon the balustrade, is a ring, which in the
very rare impressions, from its being done with the dry point, prints
dark from the burr. These are invaluable, as in that state the whole
work has the fulness and richness of a picture. A very large sum was
given for the impression of the print in this state--now in the British
Museum--in fact, one hundred and sixty pounds; though at the Verstolke
sale, where this print was purchased, the commission given amounted to
two hundred and fifty pounds: but when we consider that the collection
in the British Museum is now the finest in existence, no extra price
should be spared to complete the collection, especially as these works
are foundations for the sure improvement of the fine arts in the
country. The crown jewels are exhibited as a necessary appendage to the
rank of the nation--but there the value stops; now the works of art in
this country are not only valuable, but intrinsically beneficial. We
know that Charles the Second pawned the crown pearls to the Dutch for a
few thousands; but our collection of Rembrandts would realize in Holland
at least ten thousand pounds. This, of course, is a digression, and is
merely mentioned here to show how absurd the hue and cry is, that the
country is wasting money in purchasing a few specimens of fine art.
The "Portrait of Utenbogardus" is also excellent; and I may here notice
the large book, which Rembrandt was so fond of introducing, as a means
of a breadth of light and employment for his portraits. Now, to these
circumstances we are indebted for some of the finest works of both
Reynolds and Lawrence: amongst many, I might mention the large ledger in
Lawrence's "Portraits of the Baring Family," and Sir Joshua's picture of
the "Dilettante Society," and others. No doubt we find these means of
making up a picture both in Raffaelle and Titian; but it is rendered
more applicable to our own purposes when it is brought nearer to our own
times, especially when translated by so great a genius as Rembrandt.
The next fine work amongst his etchings is the "Portrait of Cornelius
Silvius," the head of which, being delicately finished with the dry
needle, is seldom seen very fine. This also has a book, and the hand
extended beyond the frame of the oval opening, upon which it casts its
shadow. This practice of representing objects nearer the eye than the
frame is certainly to be observed in some of the prints after Rubens and
others, and has descended to several common prints in our own time, but
ought not to be adopted, as bordering too much upon that art which may
be designated as a sort of _ad captandum vulgus_ display. As we shall
speak more particularly of Rembrandt's portraits when colour is
investigated, these works are merely mentioned as excellent specimens of
composition and chiaro-scuro. I must not omit, however, to notice here
the great Coppenol, the writing-master to the city of Amsterdam: he
holds a pen and a sheet of paper in his hand, and is looking at the
spectator with a look of intelligent observation. The head and figure of
this work were perfected, in the first instance, before the background
was put in, and in this state is exceedingly rare--the one in the
British Museum is valued at five hundred guineas, and was left, amongst
other rare works in his collection, by the Rev. Mr. Cracherode, to the
public. And here we ought to bear in mind, when individuals contribute
so largely by their bequests to the country, it is our bounden duty
to carry out their views by perfecting the various collections as
opportunities offer in the course of time, which to them was impossible.
In one of the impressions in the Museum, in a finished state, is
written, in a large ornamental hand, a commendation by Coppenol himself,
wherein he says he does so to unite his name with that of the great
artist, Rembrandt Van Ryn, as by that means he knows he shall secure
immortality to himself. The portrait, however, that is the most
powerful, as well as the most rare, is Van Tolling the Advocate. The
effect, both from the reflected light on the face, and the fearless
masses of burr, is more like a picture than a print, and renders every
other etching comparatively tame. From the chemical bottles at the side,
and from the character of the gown in which he is dressed, I am of
opinion that he was a physician. The excellence of this work, added to
its rarity, has at all times produced large prices. There are two states
of this print--the first with an irregular beard, the second with the
beard cut square, also some additional work on the drapery, &c.; but,
what is worthy of remark is, in both states it is exceedingly scarce;
in fact, there are but seven impressions known--viz., two in the
British Museum, one in Mr. Holford's collection, one in Mr. Hawkins',
in Amsterdam one, in Paris one, and one in the collection of Mr. Rudge.
I ought here to notice that the Van Tolling is one of the prints
bequeathed to the nation by the Rev. Mr. Cracherode, and that at the
sale of the Hon. Pole Carew's prints, in 1835, this valuable etching
was purchased for the late Baron Verstolke, for two hundred and twenty


       *       *       *       *       *

I shall now enter upon an investigation of the LANDSCAPES OF REMBRANDT,
which, equally with his portraits, are quite peculiar to himself, but
differing from all others not from any eccentricity of manner, but from
their giving the real essence and character of the scene, when denuded
of any trifling and extraneous matters. Whatever Rembrandt touched was
impressed with the peculiar characteristics of his genius; hence it is
that the smallest stroke in his etchings is pregnant with truth. Though
painting belongs exclusively to no country, but represents the natural
appearance of each, still it is reserved for genius alone to be able to
perceive and place on canvas the essence, as it were, or great leading
features of the subject. I am now more particularly speaking of
landscape scenery. In all countries and climates there are peculiarities
of effect, which, however interesting to the traveller, or a source of
investigation to the philosopher or man of science, yet are necessarily
excluded from the recording pencil of the artist; his appeal is to
mankind at large, not to the isolated few who observe but one side of
the subject. The true artist looks upon nature as the chameleon, capable
of giving out any variety, and yet all equally true; hence it is that
the skies, for example, of Claude, Salvator Rosa, and Gaspar Poussin are
universally subordinate to the general effect of the picture. These men,
living in Italy, were quite aware of the various prismatic effects
observable in sunset, but were also convinced of the necessity of making
the sky subservient, at least conducive to, the breadth and harmony of
the picture. It may be said that Titian and Tintoret embodied the deep
and intense blues of the Venetian atmosphere, but we may remark that
their skies are always held in check by the deep reds and browns of the
draperies of their figures. Let us now, however, turn our remarks more
immediately to Rembrandt, and the scenery and effects observable in
Holland. Any one conversant with the pictures of the Dutch school must
have observed peculiar features in the skies of Backhuysen, Cuyp, and
Rembrandt, arising entirely from the localities of the scenes of their
several pictures. My young friend, E. W. Cooke, long a resident in
Holland, and a keen and observing artist, remarked that the skies in the
pictures of Backhuysen, though dark and inky, were precisely what we see
now--the deep Zuyder Sea swallowing up any refraction of light which
would otherwise have illuminated the clouds; while the skies of Cuyp,
receiving the coruscations arising from the meeting of the two rivers,
the Meuse and the Waal, the scenes of most of his pictures, exhibit
that luminous reflection and unsteady appearance peculiar to his works.
I mention these matters, not to prove that these great observers of
nature followed implicitly what was presented to their observation,
but to show that when even copying the peculiar character of natural
phenomena, it was done with a strict reference to the harmony of their
works, and made subservient to one great broad principle. In a flat
country like Holland, especially where a low horizontal line is chosen,
we perceive a peculiar feature takes precedence of everything else--that
is, the quick diminution of those lines which run to the point of sight,
whilst the lines running parallel with the base line of the picture
retain their length in a greater degree; hence the accumulation of these
lines, such as the division of fields, &c., gradually shade down the
distant parts of the landscape, while the foreshortened lines assume
the appearance of so many spots, or dark touches. In Rembrandt we
perceive this character faithfully rendered, and also, assisted by his
judicious management, the lines, such as the banks of canals or roads,
as they reach the foreground, are strongly pronounced, by either
bringing them in contact with strong light, or giving them breadth and
force by enriching them with broken ground, reeds, or dark herbage. The
objects that stand up, such as trees, &c., are enlarged and darkened
as they approach the eye; thus not only enabling them to keep their
situation, but also to assist the perspective effect in the highest
degree. His small landscape etchings illustrate these remarks, and are
full of the touches of truth and nature; and where objects are wanting
to give variety and interest, he introduces masses of shadow, or dark
clumps of trees, leaving other parts in mere outline. The love of his
art caused him to be always provided with the materials for drawing and
etching, so that we have these transcripts of nature fresh from the
fountain head. We know this from an anecdote mentioned by Daulby. In
describing the etching of "Six's Bridge," in his catalogue, he says,
"This plate was produced by an incident which deserves to be related.
Rembrandt lived in great intimacy with the Burgomaster Six, and was
frequently at his country seat. One day, when they were there together,
the servant came to acquaint them that dinner was ready, but as they
were sitting down to table, they perceived that mustard was wanting.
The Burgomaster immediately ordered his servant to go into the village
to buy some. Rembrandt, who knew the sluggishness of the Dutch servants,
and when they answer _austons_ (a-coming) they are half an hour before
they appear, offered the Burgomaster a wager that he would etch a plate
before his man returned with the mustard. Six accepted the wager, and
Rembrandt, who had always plates at hand ready varnished, immediately
took one up, and etched upon it the landscape which appeared from the
window of the parlour in which they were sitting. The plate was finished
before the servant returned, and Rembrandt won his wager. The etching is
slight, but it is a wonderful performance, considering the circumstance
that produced it." It is not wonderful on account of the rapidity with
which it was done, but the genius and science that pervade every touch,
not only in the general arrangement, but in the judicious management of
the smallest darks; they are all in the most effective situations. When
the plate was bit in, the name was left out; it was afterwards added
with the dry point; also a little shading was given to the hat of one
of the figures on the bridge, which in the rare state is white. I may
notice here that it was also Rembrandt's practice to sketch with the dry
point alone, as several of his landscapes show; this has a very rich
and full effect. His most finished and striking landscape is perhaps the
etching of the "Three Trees." What I have said respecting his giving
force to those parts nearest the eye, may be seen in the strong dark
under the platform of the mill--which etching I have given, as it has
always been considered the mill in which he was born; but I believe it
is merely a mill of a picturesque character, which he consequently
etched. In the rare impressions, the sky is much stained on the plate
towards the house and mill, and I believe intentionally so, as it
enables the subject to melt more softly into the background, by the
outline being less harsh; at least, I found in my copy, when the person
employed to clean the margin of the plate cleaned the stains in the sky
also, that I had to restore them. As it will be necessary to go over the
ground again with regard to Rembrandt's landscapes, when we enter upon
an investigation of his principles of colour, I shall now commence upon
that department, fully conscious how high he stands as an artist in that
difficult branch of the art, at the same time aware how feeble words
must be to express adequately the deep-toned richness of Rembrandt's

[Illustration: SIX'S BRIDGE]

[Illustration: REMBRANDT'S MILL]


Perhaps, if we can comprehend a species of coloured chiaro-scuro, or
the addition of colour to the broad and soft principles of light and
shade, we shall be able to form a clear perception of the effects of
Rembrandt's colouring. Indistinctness of tint, such as colours assume
under the influence of twilight, is a strong characteristic of his
manner--the shadows never so dark that a black or blue cannot tell
firmly in the midst of them; with the total absence of all harshness,
from the outlines of objects melting into their adjacent grounds,
or assuming an importance after emerging from a mass of indefinite
corresponding hues. As he has a mass of shadow with a mass of light, so
he has an accumulation of warm colours in opposition to a congregation
of cold--every combination introduced conducing to the great principles
of breadth. When such is the plan upon which a work is laid down, we can
easily perceive how powerfully the smallest touch of positive colour
will tell--as in the midst of stillness a pin falling to the ground
will be heard. Cuyp has this quality in a high degree, only on another
scale--a uniformity of unbroken tone, and in masses of half-tint
only, like a few sparkles of light touches, dealt out with the most
parsimonious pencil, producing a glitter like so many diamonds. This
it is that prevents a work from being heavy, for by their fewness they
require not the aid of black grounds to give them consequence, and by
their being touched upon colours of the same quality, they avoid the
appearance of harshness; in fact, the principles of these two great
artists were the same; only from the general tone of Cuyp's pictures
being light, his strong darks tell with great power, and Rembrandt's
half tints being of a low tone, his high lights become more forcible.
I may here mention not only the breadth of Rembrandt's shadows,
but their peculiar transparency and clearness, loose in the handling,
and filled with air and space, whereas his lights are solid and
firm--possessing not only the characteristics of nature in
distinctiveness, but also in variety; and though we see always, on a
general principle, light upon light and dark on a dark ground, yet we
perceive inroads made upon each by their several antagonists; hot and
cold colours darting into each other's provinces. This practice is also
conducive to breadth, for tints of different hues may be interspersed
both in the darks and lights, provided they are of equal strength
with those adjoining them. We may observe in Rembrandt--that those
colours introduced into the shadows are more under the influence of
indistinctness, while those in the light are brighter; this is quite
a deviation from the Roman school, where the colours are pronounced
so harshly as to set the influence of chiaro-scuro at defiance.

Barry, in his sixth lecture, speaking of colours, says--"The happy
effects of those sure and infallible principles of light and colour
which Rubens had so successfully disseminated in the Netherlands, were
soon found in every department of art. Landscapes, portraits, drolls,
and even the dullest and most uninteresting objects of still life,
possess irresistible charms and fascination from the magic of those
principles. Rembrandt, who, it is said, was never at Venice, might,
notwithstanding, have seen, without going out of his country, many
pictures of the Venetian school. Besides, he was about thirty years
younger than Rubens, whose works were a general object of study when
Rembrandt was forming himself. But, however it be, there is no doubt,
for the colouring and chiaro-scuro, Rembrandt is one of the most able
artists that ever lived. Nothing can exceed the beauty, freshness, and
vigour of his tints. They have the same truth, high relish, and sapidity
as those of Titian. Indeed, they have the closest resemblance to the
hues of Titian when he had Giorgione most in view. There is identically
the same attention to the relievo and force obtained by his strong
shadows and low deep tones; and his chiaro-scuro, though sometimes
too artificial, is yet often (particularly in contrasted subjects)
productive of the most fascinating effects. In the tones of Rembrandt,
though we recognise the same richness and depth as in Giorgione and
Titian, yet there is a suppleness and lifelike character in his flesh
unlike either, both from his manner of handling, and also his hot and
cold tints being less blended."

The late Sir David Wilkie, in one of his letters, speaking of the death
of Sir Thomas Lawrence, says--"I do not wonder at the impression made
among you in Rome by the death of Sir Thomas Lawrence; here, it
engrossed for a time every other pursuit. One of the last remarks he
made to me indicated his extreme admiration of Sir Joshua Reynolds, who,
he thought, had, with Rembrandt, carried the imitation of nature, in
regard to colours, further than any of the old masters." In many of the
higher qualities of colour and chiaro-scuro, Reynolds comes nearer to
Rembrandt than any other artist who has succeeded him.

Reynolds, in his lectures, speaking of Gainsborough, observes--"We
must not forget, whilst we are on this subject, to make some remarks
on his custom of painting by night, which confirms what I have already
mentioned--his great affection to his art, since he could not amuse
himself in the evening by any other means so agreeable to himself. I am,
indeed, much inclined to believe that it is a practice very advantageous
and improving to an artist, for by this means he will acquire a new
and higher perception of what is great and beautiful in nature. By
candlelight, not only objects appear more beautiful, but from their
being in a greater breadth of light and shadow, as well as having a
greater breadth and uniformity of colour, nature appears in a higher
style, and even the flesh seems to take a higher and richer tone of
colour. Judgment is to direct us in the use to be made of this method of
study; but the method itself is, I am very sure, advantageous. I have
often imagined that the two great colourists, Titian and Coreggio,
though I do not know that they painted by night, formed their high
ideas of colouring from the effects of objects by this artificial light.
But I am more assured that whoever attentively studies the first and
best manner of Guercino will be convinced that he either painted by this
light, or formed his manner on this conception."

How far Coreggio may have formed his principles upon the effects of
lamplight it is impossible to decide, seeing that, though his shadows
have great breadth, yet his lights have more of a phosphorescent
character, tinged, as it were, with the coolness of moonlight; but
Titian has all the glow of this property, or, as Reynolds remarks, "as
if he painted with the sun shining into the room." The Italian pictures
of Vandyke have much of this phosphorescent character--whereas many of
those he painted in England have more of a daylight appearance. With
regard to Rembrandt, he seems to have regulated the entire scheme both
of his chiaro-scuro and colour, on this foundation: his many paintings,
drawings, and etchings of candlelight subjects, show how much his taste
led to this class of art; and his daylight pictures, from the warmth of
colour and breadth of shadow, proclaim the source from which he derived
the cause of their brilliancy and force. From the light being tinged
with yellow, the half-tone partakes of the same warmth, which gives a
greenish tint even to his grey tones. This conduct conveys an emanation
of the principal light passing over the more delicate shadows. In his
daylight subjects it is not so; the light being often comparatively
cool, is allowed to extend its influence to the secondary lights, and
then, as it subsides into the shadow, is led in by the dark being
lighted up by touches of red and brown; thus the light touches in the
dark are warm, though the high light and secondary are cool. In Coreggio
we often find the shadows more hot than even in Rembrandt, from his
principal light and secondary being more cool. Rembrandt never allows
his lights, even though comparatively cool, to pass into the shadow
without a few touches of warm colour; this was the practice of Rubens,
to enrich, as it were, "the debateable land." When this principle of
painting candlelight subjects fell into the hands of his pupils, the
harmony and colouring of the whole were lost or changed. For example,
Hoogstraten, his pupil, instructed Schalcken, as did also Gerard Dow;
but the candlelight pieces of Schalcken are hot and foxy, without any
redeeming grey tones. When he painted by candlelight, he placed his
sitter in a dark room, with a light, while he painted in another
apartment, having a hole cut through the door to communicate with his
sitter; the consequence was, the effect gave exactly what we see in
such cases--a red, dull treatment of colour. We know these facts by an
anecdote told of William the Third. When Schalcken was over in England,
the King wished to sit to him for his portrait, and hearing of his
celebrity in candlelight pieces, wished it painted under that effect.
The painter placed a light in his Majesty's hand, and retired into the
outer room; the candle guttering, kept dropping on the King's hand,
but being unwilling to disturb the artist, the King held on, while the
painter, intent on his work, proceeded without noticing it. Many of our
English artists paint by gaslight; but the tones of the flesh are not
benefited, gas shedding a white cool light compared with lamplight.

The practice of painting by candlelight originated neither with
Rembrandt nor Gainsborough; in fact, we find that all academies, from
the time of Bacio Bandinelli to our own, were always opened at night,
both for the purposes of drawing and painting. But these effects
generally remain where they originated, and are seldom taken advantage
of without the walls, the figure alone being considered, without
reference to the background. Tintoret was one of the first to apply the
principles to his practice. Fuseli, speaking of chiaro-scuro, says--"The
nocturnal studies of Tintoret, from models and artificial groups, have
been celebrated; those prepared in wax or clay he arranged, raised,
suspended, to produce masses, foreshortening, and effect. It was thence
he acquired that decision of chiaro-scuro, unknown to more expanded
daylight, by which he divided his bodies, and those wings of obscurity
and light by which he separated the groups of his composition;
though the mellowness of his eye nearly always instructed him to
connect the two extremes by something that partook of both, as the
extremes themselves by the reflexes with the background or the
scenery. The general rapidity of his process, by which he baffled his
competitors, and often overwhelmed himself, did not, indeed, always
permit him to attend deliberately to this principle, and often hurried
him into an abuse of practice which in the lights turned breadth into
mannered or insipid flatness; and in the shadows into a total extinction
of parts. Of all this he has in the schools of San Rollo and Marco given
the most unquestionable instances--'The Resurrection of Christ,' and
'The Massacre of the Innocents,' comprehend every charm by which
chiaro-scuro fascinates its votaries. In the vision, dewy dawn melts
into deep but pellucid shade, itself sent or reflected by celestial
splendour and angelic hues; whilst in the infant massacre of Bethlehem,
alternate sheets of stormy light and agitated gloom dash horror on the
astonished eye."

Rembrandt, like Tintoret, never destroyed the effective character
of his chiaro-scuro by the addition of his colour, but made it a
main contributor to the general character of the subject; hence that
undisturbed and engulphing breadth which pervades his works. Fuseli,
in the same lecture, defends the Venetian school from being considered
as the "ornamental school." After selecting several of the pictures of
Titian, as proofs of his grand and solemn specimens of colour, he thus
proceeds--"But perhaps it is not to Titian, but to Tintoret and Paul
Cagliari, that the debaucheries of colour, and blind submission to
fascinating tints, the rage of scattering flowers to no purpose,
are ascribed. Let us select from Tintoret's most extensive work
in the Scuola of San Rocco, the most extensive composition, and his
acknowledged masterpiece--'The Crucifixion,' and compare its tone with
that of Rubens and Rembrandt of the same subject. What impression feels
he who for the first time casts a glance over the immense scenery of
that work? a whole whose numberless parts are connected by a lowering,
mournful, minacious tone. A general fearful silence hushes all around
the central figure of the Saviour suspended on the cross, his fainting
mother, and a group of male and female mourners at its foot--a group of
colours that less imitate than rival nature, and tinged by grief itself;
a scale of tones for which even Titian offers me no parallel--yet all
equally overcast by the lurid tone that stains the whole, and like a
meteor hangs in the sickly air. Whatever inequality or dereliction of
feeling, whatever improprieties of commonplace, of local and antique
costume, the master's rapidity admitted to fill his space, and they
are great, all vanish in the power which compresses them into a single
point, and we do not detect them till we recover from our terror."

The picture of Rubens which we oppose to Tintoret was painted for the
Church of St. Walburgha, at Antwerp, after his return from Italy, and
has been minutely described and as exquisitely criticised by Reynolds:
"Christ," he says, "is nailed to the cross, with a number of figures
exerting themselves to raise it. The invention of throwing the cross
obliquely from one corner of the picture to the other, is finely
conceived, something in the manner of Tintoret." So far Reynolds. "In
Tintoret," says Fuseli, "it is the cross of one of the criminals they
attempt to raise, who casts his eye on Christ, already raised. The body
of Christ is the grandest, in my opinion, that Rubens ever painted;
it seems to be imitated from the Torso of Apollonius, and that of the
Laocoon. How far it be characteristic of Christ, or correspondent with
the situation, I shall not here inquire; my object is the ruling tone of
the whole--and of this the criticism quoted says not a word, though much
of local colour, and grey and ochry balance. Would so great a master of
tone as Reynolds have forgot this master-key if he had found it in the
picture? The fact is, the picture has no other than the painter's usual
tone. Rubens came to his work with gay, technic exultation, and by the
magic of his pencil changed the horrors of Golgotha to an enchanted
garden and clusters of flowers. Rembrandt, though on a smaller scale
of size and composition, concentrated the tremendous moment in one flash
of pallid light. It breaks on the body of Christ, shivers down his
limbs, and vanishes on the armour of a crucifix--the rest is gloom."

This is given with all the eloquence Fuseli was so well able to utter;
but it displays, also, a severe castigation on those who would class
Tintoret and Paul Veronese in the catalogue of ornamental painters.
The observations which seem to have kindled his wrath are to be found
in Sir Joshua's fourth lecture, in which he says--"Tintoret, Paul
Veronese, and others of the Venetian school, seem to have painted with
no other purpose than to be admired for their skill and experience in
the mechanism of painting, and to make a parade of that art which, as I
before observed, the higher style requires its followers to conceal."
But, to understand the matter, the whole lecture must be read. With
regard to the two pictures Fuseli brings into comparison with the
Venetian, both are described in Reynolds' Tour to Flanders and Holland.
Sir Joshua certainly criticizes the Rubens correctly with regard to
colouring; but sentiment it has none. The Rembrandt is now in the Munich
Gallery, and though one of his early pictures, it is very grand and
striking. Of it Reynolds remarks--"There are likewise in this room eight
Rembrandts, the chief merit of which consists in his peculiarity of
manner--of admitting but little light, and giving to that little a
wonderful brilliancy. The colouring of Christ in the elevation of the
cross cannot be exceeded--it is exactly the tint of Vandyke's 'Susanna,'
in the other room; but whether the ground of this picture has been
repainted, or the white horse, which was certainly intended to make the
mass of light broader, has lost its brightness, at present the Christ
makes a disagreeable mass of light."

In bringing the opinions of these two great artists in contact, the
truth is elicited, that the tone of colour has much to do in conveying
the sentiment and pathos of the picture, and Rembrandt possessed this
quality in a very high degree. In the infancy of the arts, when
practised by rude nations, we find harsh and bright colours predominate
in a very strong scale--in fact, the brighter the more effective on the
uneducated eye; and it is only when the arts advance towards perfection
that a subdued tone of colour is demanded as most compatible with
refinement. Colour, both as an imitative quality, and also as an adjunct
towards assisting the character of his subject, seems always to have
been uppermost in Rembrandt's mind. His drawing, it is true, is open to
censure, but his colour will stand the most searching investigation, and
will always appear more transcendent the more it is examined. Reynolds,
in his Journey through Holland, mentions a picture by Rembrandt, in
the collection of the Prince of Orange--"a study of a Susanna, for the
picture by Rembrandt which is in my possession: it is nearly the same
action, except that she is here sitting. This is the third study I
have seen for this figure--I have one myself, and the third was in the
possession of the late Mr. Blackwood. In the drawing which he made for
this picture, which I have, she is likewise sitting; in the picture,
she is on her legs, but leaning forward. It appears extraordinary that
Rembrandt should have taken so much pains, and have made at last so
very ugly and ill-favoured a figure; but his attention was principally
directed to the colouring and effect, in which it must be acknowledged
he has attained the highest degree of excellence." The small picture
in the National Gallery is a study of the same figure. Colour was the
ruling principle with Rembrandt, the Alpha and Omega, in the same way
that Richard Wilson designated the three qualifications for landscape
painting, as contained in one--viz., _breadth_. The tones of colour with
which Rembrandt clothed his subjects are always in the highest degree
appropriate and conducive to the sentiment, whether within the "solemn
temples," or the personification of some great supernatural event. As
most of his historical subjects are from Sacred Writ, he never loses
sight of those qualities which take them out of the page of every-day
occurrences. I shall mention two, though one is sufficient for a
master-key to them all. In the picture of "The Adoration of the Magi
and Kings," in the Queen's Collection, the solemnity is carried to the
utmost extent, like the mysterious leaf of a sybil's book; the only
light shed over the scene seems to descend from the lurid rays of the
star that stood over the place of the nativity, and guided them to the
spot. To acquire the greatest breadth, he has placed the Virgin and
child in the corner of the picture, and low down at the base, with the
same feeling that impelled Shakspere, in his Constance, to utter, "Here
is my throne, bid kings come bow to it." The presentation of incense
and precious perfumes, of diadems and jewels, by crowned heads and
venerable magi, not only removes the attendants to the background, but
even Joseph is represented as wrapt in thought, and viewing from the
shade the solemnity of the scene. The whole colouring of this work is in
accordance with this feeling--subdued, except in the smallest portions
of each hue, and these shine out like sparkling of jewels in a dark

The other work I would particularize is, "The Salutation of the Virgin,"
in the collection of the Marquis of Westminster. This picture, though
of small dimensions, yet exemplifies the peculiarity of Rembrandt's mode
of treatment. Being less decided in the chiaro-scuro and tone of colour
than the Wise Men's Offering, it is more difficult to describe; this
also arises from the exquisite weaving in of the hot and cold colours.
Having had it under my eye for a couple of months, I can easily recall
it on the least effort of the memory; but to bring it before the
spectator who has not seen it, and by no other art than the medium of
words, is as difficult as it would be to bring an harmonious arrangement
of music by a different means--one must be seen and the other heard to
render an explanation evident, which even then can only be understood
by connoisseurs in painting and music. I must therefore avail myself of
technicalities, which may seem out of place, where we are investigating
the general hue of the picture. It is divided into hot and cold colours,
which are brought in contact in the centre--Elizabeth being clothed in
red and yellow, the Virgin in blue, white, and cool grey. The hot colour
is carried across by the red sleeve of Elizabeth, and part of her
yellow shawl, and descends to the petticoat of a Negress who is removing
the grey mantle from the Virgin, and is further extended by a few
warm-coloured stones and touches in the pavement. The cool colour is
carried past the warm tone of Zacharias and the porch above him by means
of a grey green pillar, a peacock, and a few touches of cool colour on a
bush at one corner of the warm side of the picture. The general tone of
the work is of a low, deep hue, so that even the cool tints are not cold
or raw, but a deep-toned brightness pervades the whole. Through the dark
grey sky, that seems to descend to overshadow the group, a gleam of
light darts upon the scene, as a connecting link between heaven and
earth, and giving force and truth to the expression of Elizabeth, when
she pronounces the words, "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is
the fruit of thy womb." The light that shoots through the gloom has
roused a pea-hen and chicks, who shake off their sleep as if it was the
dawn of day.

This is a very imperfect description, but will, nevertheless, serve
to show the fine feeling and deep intent of the genius of Rembrandt.
To extend this investigation further would be perhaps superfluous,
did we not know that, even in our own time, doubts are entertained of
the proper introduction of pictorial arrangements of chiaro-scuro and
colour; but the grand style, like all other modes of portraying a work,
must be made subservient to affecting the feelings of the spectator. I
shall only bring two pictures in contrast to elucidate this principle
still further--"The Burning of the Books at Ephesus," by Sebastian
Bourdon; and "The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence," by Titian. As Bourdon has
been considered the French Raffaelle, it is but fair that he should be
taken as a follower of that school, devoted to composition and correct
drawing, to the absence of all inferior qualities; the consequence is,
he has represented the scene in mid-day, where the flames are red
without extending their influence to surrounding objects; consequently,
they are not luminous, nor conveying the idea of destruction. Titian,
on the contrary, has chosen the darkness of night to represent the
horrors of the martyrdom--the red burning light of the living coal
conveys a tenfold force to the torments of the saint, and the very
reality of the colour gives a corresponding truth to the scene, which
takes it completely out of the regions of apocrypha, and stamps it with
the character of Holy Writ. The descent of the cool light from heaven
upon the scorching body of St. Lawrence is like a rush of water to
counteract his sufferings, and give him a confidence in his future
reward, which the spectator fully enters into. These are the triumphs
that appropriate chiaro-scuro and colour achieve for their introduction
into historical works.

That we may more clearly perceive the rank which Rembrandt holds as a
colourist, I shall endeavour to investigate the peculiar qualities that
characterise the several manners of Titian, Rembrandt, and Reynolds--the
one living before, the other after our artist, and of course confining
the investigation to portraiture alone. I have selected Titian in
preference to Vandyke, not that I consider him, in this branch,
superior; on the contrary, I agree with Sir Joshua, in mentioning
Vandyke as the greatest portrait painter that ever existed, all things
considered--but I wish to confine myself exclusively to colour, and
in this branch it is evident that these three great artists are more
similar in their works than any other painters; but Titian, by the
concurrent testimony of his contemporaries and all succeeding judges
upon the subject, is the highest authority on the great leading
principles of colour. Besides, his works are in many instances uninjured
by the rough usage of uneducated men. With regard to the works of
Rembrandt, which are in comparison as of yesterday, many of them remain
in the same frames and on the same walls on which they were first hung.
The works of Reynolds, though of a more recent date, have suffered more,
not from the ruthless hand of the picture-cleaner, but from his making
use of more perishable materials. Still, from the variety of his
vehicles, changed from an anxiety to get a nearer approach to the look
and appearance of nature, many of his pictures are sufficiently perfect
to build an investigation upon. Previous to the appearance of Giorgione
and Titian, this branch of the art differed but little from the
treatment the several heads received in historical pictures generally;
only with this exception, that when introduced as the component parts
of a work where a story had to be told, they were imbued with action
and expression; but when treated as simple portraiture, the higher
qualities were left out, and a quiet map of the face, to use a familiar
expression, was all that was desired to be transferred to the canvas.
Neither did the head receive that superiority over every other
subordinate part of the work which science and a long line of celebrated
examples seem now so imperatively to demand.

In drawing a comparison between the three great portrait painters, it
is necessary, in the first instance, to refer to the several characters
of their models, or sitters. The nobility of Venice were, at the time
of Titian, men of long descent, dignified, and holding high rank in
a city at that time the emporium of the merchandize of the East, and
distributors of rich manufactures to the whole of civilized Europe;
hence that "senatorial dignity" which characterises his works, and
the style and richness of costume so necessary to grandeur, and the
historical air in his portraits. His sitters also possessed countenance
and figure well calculated to engender and support the noblest character
of painting. The sitters of Reynolds, notwithstanding the pomatumed
pyramids of the female hair, or the stiff, formal curls of the male,
which set every attempt to beautify the features at defiance, either
by extension of the forms or harmonizing the several parts of the
countenance, (serious obstacles to pictorial beauty,) were still in
possession of that bland and fascinating look which distinguishes people
of high breeding. In contrast with these we have to array the models of
Rembrandt's painting-room--fat burgomasters, florid in complexion and
common in feature; Jews and attornies; shipbuilders, and hard
harsh-featured master mechanics. Independent of the models themselves,
there is a congenial feeling created in the artist who associates with
and has to represent them; we imperceptibly imbibe the manners of those
we are in contact with, either advantageously or injuriously. From these
few remarks we may perceive that the dignified attitude, the broad
general tone of the countenance, though deep, yet rendered bright
and luminous by the jetty blackness of the hair and beard, were all
conducive to the creation of the style of Titian--a style that swallows
up the varieties of minute tints in a general breadth. So in Reynolds,
the absence of everything strong in expression or harsh in colour gave
a refinement to the heads of his men, and a beauty to the faces of his
females; and to this treatment all his sitters were subjected--so that
even those heads, however deficient in the originals, came off his
easel ladies and gentlemen. A subdued delicacy of expression and
colour removes them from the common look of familiar life. Now, on
the contrary, the very character and colour of Rembrandt's heads
are pronounced with the strong stamp of flesh and blood--an exact
representation of nature in an unsophisticated state. His handling, his
manner of leaving the various tints, and the marking of minute parts,
all conspire to give his works that appearance of truth unfettered
with the attempt to elevate the general character at the expense of

The peculiarity of Titian's portraits, independent of the high character
and simple and dignified attitude of the figure, is a careful and
distinct modelling of the features, with the half-shadows, though
not dark, yet never slurred over--which in other hands would produce
heaviness; but Titian counteracts this by the intense darkness of his
dresses and backgrounds, so that the features, often modelled with
the firmness of sculpture, are rendered comparatively gentle by the
treatment of the other parts of the picture. The portraits of Sir Joshua
have this peculiarity, that however loaded and enriched in every part of
the work, the head is kept smooth, and often thinly painted. The
whole-length of "The Marquis of Granby," and "The Portrait of Mrs.
Siddons," two of his finest pictures, are examples of this mode of
treating the head. This has given rise to an anecdote, that Mrs.
Siddons, looking at the picture when unfinished, begged Sir Joshua not
to touch the head any more--and having promised her, he refrained,
notwithstanding the richness and depth of the fearless glazings would
seem to demand a corresponding force in the head. The truth is, that
Reynolds seems always to have depended upon the small dark shadows
to give solidity to his heads, without clogging them with colour or
dark half-tints. The importance of thus refining upon the head may be
perceived in the portrait of himself, painted _con amore_, and presented
to the Dilettante Society, of which he was a member. The features, and,
indeed, the whole head, depend upon the extreme darks; the judicious
arrangement of these shadows not only gives a pictorial dignity to the
work, from the stamp of science, but also, where the features in nature
are either blunt or mean in themselves, draws off the attention of the
spectator to higher qualities. Shadows are never mean, but are the
stamps of truth rendered beautiful by taste and feeling. Independent
of the advantage of dark touches giving delicacy to the features that
produce them, there is a motion and life given by the vivacity and
freedom of the handling, which cannot with safety be taken with the
features themselves. This quality seems very early to have been Sir
Joshua's greatest anxiety to acquire. In a remark respecting the
pictures of a rival, John Stephen Liotard, whose only merit was a
strong likeness, with great neatness of finish, Reynolds says--"The
high-finished manner of painting would be chosen if it were possible
with it to have that spirit and expression which infallibly fly off when
the artist labours; but there are transient beauties which last less
than a moment, and must be painted in as little time; besides, in poring
long the imagination is fatigued, and loses its vigour. You will find
nature in the first manner--but it will be nature stupid, and without
action. The portraits of Holbein are of this high-finished manner; and
for colouring and similitude what was ever beyond them? But then you see
fixed countenances, and all the features seem to remain immoveable."

Northcote observes, "Of mere likeness in portraiture Reynolds thought
very little, and used to say that he could instruct any boy that chance
might throw in his way to paint a likeness in a portrait in half a
year's time; but to give an impressive and a just expression and
character to a picture, or paint it like Velasquez, was another thing.
What we are all," he said, "attempting to do with great labour, he does
at once."

Barry, speaking of Reynolds as a portrait painter, mentions the wretched
state the art was in before his time, and how elevated it became from
the manner Sir Joshua treated it. In continuation, he says--"In many of
Titian's portraits the head and hands are mere staring, lightish spots,
unconnected with either the drapery or background, which are sometimes
too dark, and mere obscure nothings; and in Lely, and even in Vandyke,
we sometimes meet with the other extreme of too little solidity, too
much flickering and washiness. Sir Joshua's object appears to have been
to obtain the vigour and solidity of the one, with the bustle and spirit
of the other, without the excess of either; and in by far the greatest
number of his portraits he has admirably succeeded. His portrait of
Mrs. Siddons is, both for the ideal and the executive, the finest
portrait of the kind perhaps in the world; indeed, it is something more
than a portrait, and may serve to give an excellent idea of what an
enthusiastic mind is apt to conceive of those pictures of confined
history for which Apelles was so celebrated by the ancient writers.
But this picture of 'Mrs. Siddons, or the Tragic Muse,' was painted not
long since, when much of his attention had been turned to history; and
it is highly probable that the picture of Lord Heathfield, the glorious
defender of Gibraltar, would have been of equal importance, had it been
a whole length; but even as it is--only a bust--there is great animation
and spirit, happily adapted to the indications of the tremendous scene
around him; and to the admirable circumstance of the key of the
fortress, firmly grasped in his hand, than which imagination cannot
conceive anything more ingenious and heroically characteristic. It
is, perhaps, owing to the Academy, and to his situation in it, to
the discourses which he biennially made to the pupils upon the great
principles of historical art, and the generous ardour of his own mind
to realize what he advised, that we are indebted for a few expansive
efforts of colouring and chiaro-scuro which would do honour to the first
names in the records of art." And speaking of the large historical work
he painted for the Empress of Russia, he adds--"Nothing can exceed the
brilliancy of light--the force and vigorous effect of his picture of
'The Infant Hercules strangling the Serpent;' it possesses all that we
look for and are accustomed to admire in the works of Rembrandt, united
to beautiful forms and an elevation of mind to which Rembrandt had no
pretensions. The prophetical agitation of Tiresias and Juno, enveloped
in clouds, hanging over the scene like a black pestilence, can never be
too much admired, and are, indeed, truly sublime."

After such commendations, and from so high an authority, we might feel
a diffidence in bringing forward the great founder of the Dutch school
in competition with such artists as Titian and Reynolds, did we not
know that the qualities of the chiaro-scuro and colour of Reynolds are
founded on the deep tones of Rembrandt, who, as a colourist, takes his
proper place between the two heads of the Venetian and English schools.
How far Rembrandt was indebted for his principles of colour to the works
of Titian, it is impossible to say; but many of his pictures bear a
greater affinity to the last style of this great colourist than to any
other painter. We perceive by the catalogue of his effects, that folios
containing drawings by Titian, also prints after him, were in his
possession. The luminous, rich tones of his flesh are more like Titian
than Rubens or Vandyke, whose works he must have been familiar with;
and while his backgrounds are less black and inky than those in the
portraits of Titian and Tintoret, they are also more broken, both in
colour and execution, which prevents heaviness. His handling--which
conveys from its dexterity and touch so lifelike an appearance--is not
unlike that of Frank Hals, of whom Reynolds speaks so highly:--"In the
works of Frank Hals, the portrait painter may observe the composition of
a face, the features well put together, as the painters express it, from
whence proceeds that strong, marked character of individual nature,
which is so remarkable in his portraits, and is not found in an equal
degree in any other painter. If he had joined to this most difficult
part of the art a patience in finishing what he so correctly planned,
he might justly have claimed the place which Vandyke, all things
considered, so justly holds, as the first of portrait painters." There
is, however, this difference in their works--independent of the flesh
of Rembrandt's being much richer in tone, it is produced by glazing and
fresh touches of transparent colour, whereas the tints of Hals seem
to have been mixed in the first instance on his palette; hence that
undisturbed dexterity of handling which gives so much the appearance
of life in his best works. The distinctive characteristics between a
portrait painter and a historical painter, is "that the one paints man
in general, the other a particular man;" hence, to ennoble the work, it
is necessary to make it conform, as much as can be done with safety to
the likeness, to the great principles that guide the highest branches
of the art--that is, by softening down those features that overstep the
boundary of general nature, and assisting those parts that fall short,
or are defective. Therefore, when Lawrence painted Mrs. Siddons, the
Duke of Wellington, or Lord Brougham, he chose a front view of the face,
that their peculiarities might not be too apparent. Now Sir Joshua
carried these generalizing principles to so great an extent at times
that his sitters did not recognise the striking likeness that some
people look for as paramount to all other considerations, which made his
pupil, Northcote, remark that there was a class of sitters who would not
be content "unless the house-dog barked at it as a sign of recognition."
Rembrandt, on the contrary, did not generalize enough; therefore, many
portraits were left on his hands, as it is said they were left on
Reynolds's. But see the result, those very pictures from the easel
of both painters bring higher prices than the more favoured of their
likenesses, from being intrinsically fine works of art. The number
of portraits Rembrandt painted of himself is a proof of the little
encouragement he received in painting the portraits of others. From Sir
Joshua's hand we have but two or three, while from Rembrandt's we have
nearly fifty. Yet, with all the deficiencies in the art of making up
a beautiful face, Rembrandt frequently produced portraits of great
feminine beauty: witness "The Lady with the Fan," in the collection of
the Marquis of Westminster, and "The Lady," in the Royal Collection. Had
he got the same models of female beauty that Titian and Reynolds had, he
would, in all probability, have transferred them to the canvas with the
same truth and intenseness of feeling that guided his pencil in other
matters. Rembrandt's style was that which would have suited Oliver
Cromwell, who, when he sat for his portrait, made it a _sine qua non_
that the painter should leave out neither warts nor wrinkles. The same
truth and verisimilitude that regulated his forms, guided his eye with
respect to colour. In his earlier pictures, such as "The Ship Builder,"
in the Royal Collection, there is a greater degree of hardness and
solidity of pigment than in his later works, which possess more the
suppleness of flesh. This is also to be observed in the later works of
Titian, Velasquez, and Reynolds, and in the later works of our Scottish
Velasquez--Raeburn. The portraits of Gainsborough possess this in a
high degree. What has been said with regard to Rembrandt laying on his
colours with the palette-knife, is very much exaggerated. Many of his
heads are as smooth as Reynolds's, and finished with great delicacy and
precision; in fact, the versatility of his genius, and the wonderful
command over his materials, from indefatigable practice, have given both
his pictures and prints that character of having been done in the best
style suited to accomplish his object. I have mentioned that Titian
keeps his backgrounds often dark, for the purpose of giving a delicacy
to his strong shadows in the face; both Vandyke and Rembrandt do this
by making the colour of the background amalgamate with the colour of
the hair, or dark shades of the head. Rubens, Reynolds, and Lawrence
often used a red curtain in contact with their flesh, to produce the
same result. The luminous character of the head is certainly better
preserved by its giving out rays or similarity of tone to the
surrounding background. It has been remarked that the luminous and
transparent character of the flesh is enhanced, as in several of
Vandyke's portraits, by bringing it in contact with an earthy, dull
tint. Vandyke, indeed, when his ground would not permit him, introduced
over the shoulders of his females a scarf of this colour. Rembrandt
often plunges from the dark shadows of his head into his ground, and
thus gives both a breadth and unity. This practice, where the shadows of
the face are produced by the same colour as the contiguous background,
is certainly the foundation of simplicity.

I think the money value of Rembrandt's portraits may be taken as a
criterion of their intrinsic worth as works of art; other masters'
decline in producing high prices, Rembrandt's increase--witness
the portrait sold the other day at the Duke of Buckingham's, at
Stowe;--though the half-length of a burgomaster whom few people ever
heard of, it realized seven hundred guineas and upwards. No nameless
portrait by Reynolds, under the same disadvantages, would produce an
equivalent sum. Sir Joshua's portraits are either branches of our
aristocracy, or celebrated public characters. As a knowledge of art
advances, works fall naturally into their proper stations. When
Reynolds's sister asked Sir Joshua the reason that we never see any of
the portraits by Jervas now, he replied, "Because, my dear, they are all
up in the garret." Yet this man drove his chariot and four, and received
the praises of Pope in verse. Sir Godfrey Kneller would sometimes
receive a sum of money and a couple of portraits by Vandyke as payment;
but now, a single portrait of the great founder of the Dutch school
would outweigh in true value a large number of Kneller's collected
talent: yet Rembrandt died insolvent, and Sir Godfrey accumulated
a large fortune. And such will be the fate of those who paint for
posterity, "and look beyond the ignorant present." The true statement
of this change, which of necessity takes place, is, that the man of
genius paints according to the high impulse that has been given him, as
paramount to every other consideration; the other panders to the caprice
and ignorance of those who employ him. This it was that made Reynolds's
master, Hudson, exclaim, after Sir Joshua's return from Italy, "Why,
Joshua, you don't paint so well as you did before you went abroad!" When
men of genius and high talent fall upon favourable times, the result
is the reverse, and the fine arts are esteemed, and their professors
rewarded according to their excellence. The age in which Titian lived
was famous for literary men, who had made the republic of Venice known
and honoured through the whole of Italy. The praises of Michael Angelo
bestowed on the works of the great Venetian, had adorned the name of
Titian with a halo of supernatural brightness; so much so, that whilst
painting the portrait of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, happening to
drop one of his pencils, Charles stooped and picked it up, observing,
"that a genius like Titian deserved to be waited on by emperors." Of
Reynolds we know that all the beauty and talent of the land flocked to
his painting-room, conscious of being handed down to posterity with
all the advantages that pictorial science could achieve. The grace
of Coreggio was grafted by this great master on the strong stem of
Rembrandt's colouring. In opposition to those advantages, we have to
remark that the people with whom Rembrandt came in contact were not
only of an inferior character, when measured by the standard of grace
and dignity, but the troubles of the times militated in a high degree
against that encouragement so necessary to the perfection of the art.
In spite of these inauspicious circumstances, the genius of Rembrandt
has produced works fraught with the highest principles of colour and
pictorial effect, and to his want of encouragement in the department
of mere common portraiture, we are indebted for many of the most
pictorial and splendid specimens of strong individual character in
familiar life.

Of all the works by Rembrandt, perhaps no picture has attracted so much
attention and observation as his "Night Watch," now in the Museum of
Amsterdam. As its dimensions are thirteen feet by fourteen, it secures
attention by its size; its effect, also, is striking in a high degree,
though Reynolds, in his "Tour to Holland and Flanders," says it
disappointed him, having heard so much respecting it. He remarks that
it had more of the appearance of Ferdinand Bol, from a prevalence of a
yellow, sickly colour. On the other hand, Wilkie says, "Had it been a
subject such as 'The Christ before Pilate,' which he has etched, it
would have been his finest and grandest work." Though painted in 1642,
it possesses all the force and high principles of colour to be found in
his later works. Nothing can exceed the firmness and truth of the two
figures advancing to the spectator--especially the officer in the light
dress--it is modelled with all the force of nature, and the background
figures being steeped in the deepest hues of subdued colour, give a
strength and richness which nothing can surpass. Of course, there is
a want of interest in the story, which is merely an assemblage of the
Militia of Amsterdam, on occasion of the expected visit of the Prince of
Orange and the daughter of Charles the First, whom he had espoused. The
principal pictures by other great masters receive a greater notoriety
from the interest of the subject--such as "The Transfiguration," by
Raffaelle; "The Peter Martyr," by Titian; "The Miracle of St. Mark," by
Tintoret; "The Martyrdom of St. George," by Paul Veronese; and "The St.
Jerome," by Coreggio. Nevertheless, "The Night Watch," by Rembrandt, may
safely be classed with the choicest productions of the great painters of
Italy and Venice. When we consider that his pictures extend to upwards
of six hundred and fifty, the reader will appreciate the difficulty
I have felt in describing the peculiar merit which has so indelibly
stamped most of them with the passport to posterity.


The landscapes by Rembrandt, unhappily few in number, possess the
strong mark of truth for which his works are so strikingly fascinating.
They are chiefly small, the largest not exceeding three feet. One of his
best is in the collection of the Marquis of Lansdowne, representing a
mill seen under the influence of an uncertain twilight; the warm light
of the western sky sheds its lustre on the sails of the mill, which
stands on high ground; but the other portions of the picture are of
dark half-tint, except a reflection of the light on the water towards
the foreground. It was exhibited in the British Gallery, in 1815, and
attracted great attention. Another picture peculiar to the genius of
Rembrandt is in the collection of Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bart.; it
represents a night scene on the skirts of a wood, with a group of
figures seated round a fire, the red gleam of which is reflected in a
stream that flows along the foreground. A few cattle are partially seen
in the obscure portions of the picture, with a peasant passing with a
lantern. Other smaller works are in the collections of Sir Robert Peel,
Samuel Rogers, Esq., Sir Abraham Hume, and the Marquis of Hertford. His
largest picture of this class was formerly in the Louvre, and is now in
the public gallery at Hesse-Cassel. In the landscapes of Rembrandt we
meet with the same breadth, and hues of a deep tone, without being black
or heavy; they are also painted with a full pencil, and rich juicy
vehicle. Rembrandt, like Titian, Rubens, and others who were historical
painters, seizes upon the great characteristics of nature without
entering into the painful fidelity of topographical littleness; the
same generalizing principles pervade every variety of subject. Fuseli,
speaking of portrait painting as mere likenesses, adds--"To portrait
painting thus circumstanced, we subjoin, as the last branch of
uninteresting subjects, that kind of landscape which is entirely
occupied with the tame delineation of a given spot--an enumeration of
hill and dale, clumps of trees, shrubs, water, meadows, cottages, and
houses--what is commonly called views. These, if not assisted by nature,
dictated by taste, or chosen for character, may delight the owner of the
acres they enclose, the inhabitants of the spot, perhaps the antiquary
or the traveller, but to any other eye, they are little more than
topography. The landscape of Titian, of Mola, of Salvator, of the
Poussins, Claude, Rubens, Elsheimer, Rembrandt, and Wilson, spurns all
relation with this kind of map-work. To them nature disclosed her bosom
in the varied light of rising, meridian, and setting suns--in twilight,
night, and dawn."



In looking over the numerous portfolios of drawings in public and
private libraries, we are struck with the accumulated mass of mediocre
talent. Many of them are often well composed, and even well drawn, but
they are completely destitute of what constitutes true merit--they
possess no distinguishing mark whereby we can discern one master from
another; they are struck off with wonderful dexterity, as far as the eye
or hand is concerned, but the mind is totally wanting; neither do they
possess the peculiar features of natural truth, whose lines are filled
with variety, sometimes sharp, sometimes round--in parts faint and
delicate, and in other places strong and cutting. On the other hand,
when the drawings of great painters are examined, the master mind shines
forth in every touch, and we recognise the works of Michael Angelo,
Raffaelle, Coreggio, and others, at a glance. The drawings of Rembrandt
possess this quality in a superlative degree, and the slightest
indication seems sufficient to mark the character and leading features
of the object represented. His drawings are generally in pen outline,
with a wash of bistre, or other warm colour; sometimes he makes use of
black and red chalk; they are seldom finished with colours, but have
often portions rendered lighter and broader by means of a wash of white.
From his great practice in using the point in etching, he not only
gives the greatest precision and certainty, but his outline assumes the
gentlest delicacy or overpowering boldness. Everything from his hand
seems to possess a largeness of form, and the greatest breadth of light
and shade that can be given; this it is that gives them the stamp of
truth, so that it is difficult to distinguish between those drawn
immediately from nature, and such as are emanations from his
imagination. On looking into the catalogue of his effects, we perceive
large folios of his drawings, which, though at the sale they produced
but small sums, are now marked with their true value. I may notice here
a small drawing of "The Death of the Virgin," that brought, at the sale
of the late Baron Verstolk, one hundred and sixty guineas. One cannot
but regret that the excellent collection of the drawings by Rembrandt
and other masters, selected by the late Sir Thomas Lawrence, with great
taste and at large sums, should have been lost to the country, though
offered in his will at comparatively a small price. Nevertheless, we
possess several fine specimens in the British Museum Print-room.


No painter has gained so much celebrity by his etchings as Rembrandt,
both on account of their number and excellence. Claude, Parmegiano,
Berghem, Paul Potter, Adrian Ostade, and others, have all been dextrous
in using the etching point. Rembrandt's performances have all the
interest and beauty of finished works; his making use of the dry point,
which was unknown before his application of it, gives his etchings that
richness and softness peculiar to himself, for the process in the
hands of others has never since been attended with the same triumphant
success. The etchings consist of three hundred and sixty-five plates,
accompanied by two hundred and thirty-seven variations. I can only here
give their titles and dates: the amateur is referred to the descriptive
catalogues of Gersaint, Daulby, Bartsch, Claussin, and Wilson. The
catalogue by the latter gentleman is the one adopted by the British
Museum; I have, however, numbered them according to the Catalogue
Raisonné of Rembrandt's Works by Smith, who made use of the arrangement
of the Chevalier Claussin. I have also marked those that are of the
greatest excellence with a star before the number.



Portraits of the Artist.

1. Portrait of Rembrandt when a young man, having frizzly hair.

2. Portrait of Rembrandt with moustaches, and wearing a bonnet put
sideways on his head.

3. Portrait of Rembrandt, represented with a falcon on his right hand.

4. Portrait of Rembrandt, with frizzly hair, and the head uncovered;
remarkable for thick lips and a large nose. Very rare.

5. Portrait of Rembrandt, seen in nearly a front view, with frizzled
hair, and the head uncovered.

6. Portrait of Rembrandt when a young man, wearing a fur cap and a black

7. Portrait of Rembrandt when young, seen in a front view, wearing a
slouched hat, and a mantle lined with fur. Dated 1631.

8. Portrait resembling Rembrandt, seen in nearly a front view, with
moustaches, short curling beard, and frizzled hair.

9. Portrait of Rembrandt when young, seen in a three-quarter view, with
the head uncovered and the hair frizzled.

10. Portrait of Rembrandt, seen in a front view, having an expression of

11. Portrait of Rembrandt, seen in nearly a front view, with a flat
bonnet on the head.

12. Portrait of Rembrandt when young, seen in a three-quarter view, with
head uncovered, and the hair frizzled. (Oval.)

13. Portrait of Rembrandt when young, with the mouth a little open, the
head uncovered, and the hair frizzled. Dated 1630.

14. Portrait of Rembrandt, seen in a front view, having a fur cap, and a
mantle bordered with fur. Dated 1631.

15. Portrait of Rembrandt, seen in a three-quarter view, with the head
uncovered, and the hair frizzled; he has on a mantle buttoned in front.
Dated 1631.

16. Portrait of Rembrandt, seen in a front view, wearing a fur cap of a
round form, and a mantle. Dated 1631.

17. Portrait of Rembrandt, seen in nearly a front view, having on a
bonnet of the usual shape, placed sideways on his head, and a kind of
scarf round his neck. Dated 1633.

18. Portrait of Rembrandt, seen in a front view, having on a
richly-ornamented cap or turban, and an embroidered robe. He holds a
drawn sabre in his hand. Dated 1634.

19. Portraits of Rembrandt and his Wife, on one plate. Dated 1636.

20. Portrait of Rembrandt. He has on a mezetin cap, decked with a
feather, and a rich mantle. Dated 1638.

*21. Portrait of Rembrandt, seen in a three-quarter view; he has long
curling hair and moustaches; a cap of the usual shape covers the head,
and a rich mantle the body. The left arm leans on some stone work. Dated

*22. Portrait of Rembrandt, seen in a front view, wearing a
narrow-brimmed hat, and a plain habit open in front; he is seated at a
table, holding a crayon in his hand. Dated 1648.

23. Portrait of Rembrandt, seen in a three-quarter view, with long
curling hair; he has on a cap with a small feather in front of it,
attached by a ribbon; his mantle is fastened in front by a clasp. Dated
1634. (Oval) (This is the cut plate of the celebrated sabre print.)

24. Portrait of Rembrandt, seen in nearly a front view, having on a fur
cap, which covers his forehead to the eyebrows; his curling hair falls
on his shoulders, and his robe is bordered with fur. Dated 1630.

25. Portrait of Rembrandt, with the left side of the face strongly
shadowed; his frizzled hair falls on the shoulders, and his habit is
a little open in front, and lined with fur. Dated 1631.

26. Portrait strongly resembling Rembrandt, seen in a front view, having
short frizzled hair, and the mouth a little compressed; he has on a cap,
and wears a mantle attached by a little ribbon.

27. Portrait of Rembrandt, closely resembling No. 1. The face is seen
in a front view, and the body in a three-quarter position; the hair is
frizzled, and a toupée is on the left side; the eyes and forehead are
in shadow.

28. Portrait of Rembrandt, seen in a three-quarter view, with a small
beard and mustacheos; a cap of the usual shape covers his frizzled hair,
and the dress is composed of a mantle bordered with fur. This is placed
by Bartsch and Gersaint among the fancy portraits.

29. Portrait resembling Rembrandt when young, seen in a front view, with
round face, large nose, the mouth a little open, short frizzled hair,
and a cap on the head; his mantle is attached by four buttons in front.
Dated 1630.

30. Portrait of Rembrandt (styled by some writers, "Titus, the Son of
the Artist.") It represents a young man, with ragged frizzled hair
falling on the shoulders. He is dressed in a habit with a collar. Dated

31. Portrait of Rembrandt, or very like him, when a young man; he has
frizzled hair, and wears a fur cap. (Octagon.) This is inserted by other
writers among the fancy heads.

32. Portrait closely resembling Rembrandt, seen in a front view, with a
cap on; the attitude is that of a person drawing. Engraved very lightly,
and almost without shadow, on a narrow plate.

33. Portrait closely resembling Rembrandt, seen in a front view, having
on a cap of the usual shape, the top of which is cut off by the edge of
the plate. Dated 1630. These figures are ill formed.

Subjects from the Old Testament.

34. Adam and Eve in Paradise; the latter has the forbidden fruit in her
hand, which she has received from the tempter, who is seen in the form
of a serpent in a tree, with an apple in his mouth. Dated 1638.

*35. Abraham entertaining the three angels at the door of his house.
Dated 1656.

36. Abraham offering up his Son. Dated 1655.

37. Abraham sending away Hagar and Ishmael. Dated 1637.

38. Abraham caressing his son Isaac.

39. Abraham with his son Isaac. The subject represents the moment when
the son asks his father, "Where is the sacrifice?" Dated 1645.

40. Four Subjects to illustrate a Spanish Book. These were originally
engraved on one plate, which was afterwards cut into four. They
represent as follows:--

Jacob's Dream on the plain of Padan Aran. Four angels are ascending and
descending the ladder. Dated 1655.

David preparing his Sling to attack Goliath. Dated 1655.

The Image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in his Dream. Dated 1655.

The vision of Ezekiel. Dated 1655.

41. Joseph relating his Dream to his Parents, in the presence of his
Brethren. Dated 1638.

42. Jacob lamenting the supposed Death of his Son Joseph.

43. Joseph and Potiphar's Wife. Dated 1634.

*44. The Triumph of Mordecai.

45. David on his knees in prayer. Dated 1652.

46. Blind Tobit leaning on a Staff, followed by his Dog. Dated 1651.

47. The Angel departing from Tobit and his Family. Dated 1641.

New Testament Subjects.

*48. The Angel appearing to the Shepherds, and announcing the Birth of
the Saviour. Dated 1634.

49. The Nativity of the Saviour.

*50. The Adoration of the Shepherds.

51. The Circumcision. Dated 1654.

52. The Circumcision, differently composed.

53. The Presentation in the Temple.

54. The Presentation in the Temple, differently composed.

55. The Presentation in the Temple, differing from the preceding. Dated

56. The Flight into Egypt. Dated 1633.

57. The Flight into Egypt, differently composed. No date.

58. The Flight into Egypt, differing from the preceding.

59. The Flight into Egypt, differing from the preceding. Dated 1651.

60. The Flight into Egypt, differing from the preceding.

61. A _Reposo_ of the Holy Family by night.

62. A _Reposo_ of the Holy Family. Dated 1645.

63. A _Reposo_ of the Holy Family, supposed to be unique.

*64. The Return from Jerusalem of the Holy Family. Dated 1654.

65. The Virgin, with the Infant Jesus in the Clouds. Dated 1641.

66. The Holy Family.

67. The Holy Family, differently composed. Dated 1654.

68. Jesus amidst the Doctors. Dated 1654.

69. Jesus disputing with the Doctors. Dated 1652.

70. Jesus amidst the Doctors, differently composed. Dated 1636.

*71. Christ preaching to the People.

72. The Tribute Money.

73. Christ driving the Money Changers out of the Temple. Dated 1635.

74. Christ with the Woman of Samaria. The third proof is dated 1658.

75. Christ with the Woman of Samaria, differently composed. Dated 1634.

*76. The Resurrection of Lazarus; styled the Little. Dated 1642.

77. The Resurrection of Lazarus; styled the Great. No date.

*78. Christ Healing the Sick. This beautiful print is known under the
appellation of "The Hundred Guilder Print." No date.

*79. Christ in the Garden of Olives. Dated 165. The last figure is

80. Christ before the People. Dated 1655.

81. Christ on the Cross between the two Thieves, styled "The Three
Crosses." Dated 1653.

*82. The _Ecce Homo_. Dated 1636.

*83. The Descent from the Cross. Dated 1633.

84. Christ on the Cross between the two Thieves.

85. Christ on the Cross.

86. The Descent from the Cross. Dated 1642.

*87. The Descent from the Cross; a night piece. Dated 1654.

*88. The Entombment.

89. The Virgin lamenting the Death of the Saviour.

90. Christ in the Tomb.

*91. Christ at the Table with the two Disciples of Emmaus. Dated 1654.

92. Christ at the Table with the two Disciples of Emmaus. Dated 1634.

93. Christ in the midst of his Disciples, and the incredulity of St.
Thomas. Dated 1650.

94. The Good Samaritan. Dated 1633.

95. The Return of the Prodigal Son. Dated 1636.

96. The Decollation of St. John. Dated 1640.

97. Peter and John at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. Dated 1659.

98. Peter and John at the Gate of the Temple, differently composed.

99. St. Peter on his Knees, with a Key in either hand. Dated 1645.

100. The Martyrdom of St. Stephen. Dated 1635.

101. The Baptism of the Eunuch. Dated 1641.

*102. The Death of the Virgin. Dated 1639.


103. St. Jerome seated at the foot of a tree. Dated 1634.

104. St. Jerome at his devotions. Dated 1632.

105. St. Jerome at his devotions, with a lion behind him. Dated 1634,
or 1635.

106. St. Jerome seated, with spectacles on, writing. Dated 1648.

107. St. Jerome seated, reading in a large book held with both hands.

108. St. Jerome seated at a table in a room. Dated 1642.

109. St. Jerome on his knees, meditating before a skull.

110. St. Francis on his knees at his devotions, with a crucifix and a
book before him. Dated 1657.

Historical, Allegorical and Fancy Subjects.

111. A Youth surprised by the Apparition of Death. Dated 1639.

112. An Allegorical subject, allusive to the demolition of a statue
offensive to the Low Countries. Dated 1659.

113. Fortune Reversed, an allegorical subject, allusive to some hero
upon whom Fortune has turned her back. Dated 1633.

*114. The Marriage of Jason and Creusa. Dated 1648.

115. The Star of the Kings, an ancient Dutch custom on the feast of the

116. A Lion Hunt; several huntsmen on horseback attacking a lion. Dated

117. A Lion Hunt, differently composed to the preceding.

118. A Lion Hunt, also differing from the above.

119. A Battle. The subject represents a group of horsemen advancing,
full speed, with swords, javelins, &c.

120. Three Figures in Oriental dresses, accompanied by a dog. Dated

121. The Blind Bagpiper amusing some cottagers.

122. The Spanish Gipsy.

123. The Rat Killer. Dated 1632.

124. The Rat Killer, differently composed.

125. The Goldsmith.

126. The Pancake Woman. Dated 1635.

127. The Game of Kolf. Dated 1654.

128. The Jews' Synagogue. Dated 1648.

129. The Schoolmaster. Dated 1641.

130. The Mountebank. Dated 1635.

131. The Draughtsman.

132. A Peasant with his Wife and Child.

133. A Jew wearing a high Cap. Dated 1639.

134. The Onion Woman. Dated 1631.

135. The Peasant with his hands behind him. Dated 1631.

136. The Card Players. Dated 1641.

137. The Blind Fiddler. Dated 1631.

138. A Man on Horseback.

139. The Polander, with his hands united.

140. The Polander, with his sword and staff.

141. The Polander, with a cane in his left hand. Dated 1631.

142. An old Man, standing with his back to the spectator.

143. A Peasant Man and a Woman walking together.

144. A Philosopher seated, with a pen in his hand.

145. A Man seated at a table, on which is an open book.

146. An old Man seated, resting his arm on a book.

147. An old Man without a beard. Dated 1631.

148. An old Man with a short beard, leaning on a staff.

149. An old Man with a long beard, in the dress of a Persian. Dated

150. The Blind Jew, standing with his back to the spectator, leaning on
a staff.

151. Two Figures in Venetian Dresses.

152. A Doctor feeling the Pulse of a Patient.

153. The Skater.

*154. The Hog with his Legs tied. Dated 1643.

155. A little Dog lying asleep.

156. A Shell, known under the appellation of "The Damier." Dated 1650.


157. A Beggar seated, with his hands united.

158. A Beggar and his Wife.

159. A Beggar standing, resting both hands on a staff.

160. A Beggar standing, holding a stick in his right hand.

161. A Beggar Man and a Woman, standing in conversation. Dated 1630.

162. A Beggar Man and a Woman by the side of a Bank.

163. A Beggar with a Stick in his right Hand. In the manner of Callot.

164. A Beggar in a slashed Cloak. Dated 1631.

165. A Beggar Woman, with a calebash hanging behind her.

166. A Beggar, wearing a fur cap, and resting both hands on a staff.

167. An old Beggar Woman asking Charity. Dated 1646.

168. Lazarus Klap, or the Dumb Beggar. Dated 1631.

169. A Beggar with a wooden Leg, standing with his hands behind him.

170. A Beggar sitting at the side of a Wall.

171. A Beggar sitting on a Bank. Dated 1630.

172. A Beggar sitting, with his Dog by his side. Dated 1651.

*173. Three Beggars at the Door of a House. Dated 1648.

174. A Beggar with one Hand in the Breast of his Jacket, in a cold day.
Dated 1634.

175. A Beggar with his Hands behind him.

176. A Beggar with a wooden Leg, and a stick in his hand.

177. A Peasant with his Hands behind him, and a basket at his feet.

178. A Peasant Woman with a Bottle attached to her Waist.

179. A Beggar. This is merely a sketch.

180. A Beggar Man and a Woman walking side by side.

181. A Beggar wrapped up in his Mantle.

182. A Sick Beggar lying on the ground.

Academical Subjects.

183. The French Bed. Dated 1646.

184. The Friar among the Corn.

185. The Flute Player and the Shepherdess. Dated 1642.

186. An old Man sleeping, and a couple caressing.

187. A pot-bellied Man, with a pack at his back, and a pouch by his
side. Dated 1630.

188. A Woman crouching under a Tree. Dated 1631.

189. A Painter drawing after a Model.

190. A naked Man, seated. Dated 1646.

191. Academical Figures of Men.

192. The Bathers. Dated 1631.

193. A Man sitting naked for a Model. Dated 1646.

194. A Woman sitting before a Dutch Stove.

195. A Woman sitting naked on a Bank.

196. A Woman at the Bath. Dated 1658.

197. A Woman sitting naked with her feet in the water. Dated 1558.

198. Venus in the Bath. She is seated at the foot of a tree, with her
feet in the stream.

*199. A Naked Woman sitting on a Bed, with an arrow in her hand. Dated

200. Antiope, Jupiter, and a Satyr. Dated 1659.

201. A Woman lying asleep on a Couch. A Satyr in the background.

202. A Negress lying on a Couch. Dated 1658.


203. A Landscape, in which is introduced a cow.

204. A Landscape, distinguished by a large tree growing by the side of a

205. A Landscape, with a bridge, styled "Six's Bridge." Dated 1645.

206. A View of Omval, near Amsterdam. Dated 1645.

*207. A View of Amsterdam.

[Illustration: VIEW OF AMSTERDAM]


208. A Landscape, with a huntsman on a road, followed by two dogs.

*209. A Landscape, known under the appellation of "The Three Trees."
Dated 1643.

*210. A Landscape, distinguished by a man carrying a yoke of pails.

211. A Landscape, with a canal, on the banks of which are two houses
embosomed in trees. Washed in bistre, or India ink.

212. A Landscape; the scene is remarkable for a coach passing along a
road in the centre of the view.

213. A Landscape, with a terrace, and a road over it in the centre.

*214. A Landscape, with a village situate near the high road. Dated

215. A View of the village of Randorp, remarkable for an old tower, of
a square form. Dated 1650.

216. A Landscape, in the foreground of which may be noticed a man
seated, drawing.

217. A Landscape, with a pond, on the bank of which sits a woman with a
child in her lap; a shepherd stands behind her. Dated 1644.

218. A View in Holland. Some cottages among trees are seen in the
centre, and a canal flows along the front.

219. A Landscape, representing a woody scene, with a vista on the right.
Dated 1652.

220. A Landscape, with an old tower rising above the roofs of some

*221. A Landscape distinguished by a road leading to a village, on which
is a shepherd with a flock of sheep. Dated 1636.

222. A Landscape, with a cottage and barn. Dated 1641.

223. A Landscape, with a large tree and a cottage on the left, and
divided obliquely by a canal. Dated 1641.

224. A Landscape, remarkable for an obelisk standing on the left, and a
village stretching along the distance.

225. A Landscape, with three houses on the left, backed by trees, and
near these is a woman followed by a dog; on the opposite side is a
canal, with a sailing vessel on it.

226. A Landscape, with a cluster of trees at the side of a road; a
second road divides the scene in the centre.

227. A Landscape, with a cottage on the left, and in the centre an alley
of trees; close to the front is a man with a stick on his shoulder.

228. A Landscape, with a large piece of water. The name and date are
inscribed at the foot of the trunk of a tree on the right. Dated 1645.

229. A Landscape, with a cottage near the middle, on either side of
which is a tree, and in front an enclosure of paling.

*230. A View, supposed to be that of the house in which the artist was
born, and the adjacent windmill. Dated 1641.

231. The Gold-weigher's Field. The scene is remarkable for a mansion
placed near the centre, and a wood stretching along the left of it; on
the right is seen the steeple of a church rising above some trees. Dated

232. A Landscape, distinguished by a canal, on which are two swans.
Dated 1650.

*233. A Landscape, with a canal, and a boat lying alongside the shore.
Dated 1650.

234. A Landscape, with a canal in front, at which a cow is drinking.

235. A View of a Village, remarkable for an old square tower. Dated

236. A Landscape, with a river on the left, on which is seen the half of
a boat.

237. A Landscape, in which may be noticed a little man, and in the
distance two windmills and a steeple.

238. A Landscape of an upright form, having a large tree in the middle,
and a man and a woman in front.

239. A Landscape, with a farm-house partly concealed by trees, and
surrounded by a wood fence.

240. A Landscape, with a river, on which are two sailing boats, and on
the left of the print is seen a man seated on a barge, angling.

241. A Landscape, traversed obliquely by a canal, on the bank of which
sits a man, angling.

242. A Landscape, distinguished by a low house built on the bank of a
canal, and above the roof of which rises the gable of a second house;
near these are some trees and a boarded fence.

243. A Landscape, in which may be noticed a house of two stories high,
a windmill, and a river with a sailing boat on it.

244. A Landscape, divided by a canal; in the centre rises a large tree,
near which is a cottage partly concealed by trees. Dated 1659.

245. A Landscape, with a barn filled with hay, adjacent to which is a
cottage with a fence in front of it, and a clump of trees.

246. A Landscape, with a canal in front, and a boat on it; the scene is
further distinguished by a large cottage, with the upper part of the
door open.

247. A Landscape, with a large house on the right, constructed of wood,
and having three chimneys; beyond this object are two hovels surrounded
by trees, at the foot of which flows a river.

248. A Landscape, on the left of which may be noticed a peasant drawing
water from a well, behind which grows a lofty tree. A dray-cart is also

249. A Landscape. This scene is distinguished by a château with eight
pointed towers. This is doubted by M. de Claussin.

250. A Landscape, with several trees in the distance, in addition to
which may be noticed a large trunk of a tree, and in front of it is a
bull attached by a cord.

251. A Village Scene. The view represents, on the right, two houses with
pointed roofs; above which rises a round tower.

252. This view exhibits a portion of a village, with six thatched
houses, only one of which is shadowed and finished. Dated 1659.

253. A Landscape, with a large canal extending throughout the scene, on
the banks of which are two men angling.

Portraits of Men.

254. Portrait of a Man, seen in nearly a front view, with his left hand
resting on a table. Dated 1642.

255. Portrait of a young Man, seated, with his right hand placed on his
thigh, and the left on his breast. Dated 1650.

256. Portrait of an old Man. He is in the act of raising the right hand
to his bonnet.

257. Portrait of an old Man, seen in nearly a front view. He appears to
be seated, and his attention is directed downwards.

258. Portrait of a Man, with long straight hair covered with a cap; a
chain is suspended round his neck, to which is attached a cross. Dated

259. An old Man with a long beard, having on a fur cap, and a large
mantle, sitting in an arm-chair.

260. A man with a short beard, represented in a front view, with a fur
cap on his head, and dressed in an embroidered mantle. Dated 1631.

261. Portrait of Jan Antonides Vander Linden. He wears a handsome robe,
and is represented in a garden, with a book in his hand.

262. An old Man, with a square-shaped beard, a fur cap on his head, and
the right hand placed on his belt. Dated 1640.

*263. Portrait of Janus Silvius. He is represented in nearly a front
view, dressed in a robe bordered with fur, a ruff, and a cap, and seated
at a table, with one hand placed on the other. Dated 1633.

264. An old Man with a long beard, seated at a table, with both hands on
a book.

265. A young Man seated at a table, on which are some books. He has on a
cap, and wears a robe lined with fur. Dated 1637.

266. Portrait of Manasseh Ben Israel. He is distinguished by a pointed
beard, and is seen in a front view, having on a broad-brimmed hat, and
a large collar. Dated 1636.

*267. Portrait of Dr. Faustus. This person is represented in a profile
view, having on a white cap and a robe, standing, with one hand on a
table, and the other on his chair.

268. Portrait of Renier Hanslo. He is seen in a front view, seated at a
table, on which is placed a large open book. Dated 1641.

269. Portrait of Clement de Jonge, a print dealer. He is seated in
nearly a front view, wearing a slouched hat, a mantle, and a small
collar; he wears gloves, and the right hand is placed in front. Dated

270. Portrait of Abraham France, an amateur of prints. He is seated in
an arm-chair examining a print which he holds in his right hand.

*271. Portrait of the elder Haaring. He is represented in a front view,
seated, resting both arms on the elbows of his chair, and the fingers of
his right appear to hold a pinch of snuff.

*272. Portrait of young Haaring, son of the preceding Burgomaster. He is
seen in a front view, apparently seated, with his right hand resting on
the elbow of his chair. Dated 1655.

*273. Portrait of young Lutma, a celebrated goldsmith. He is seated,
holding in his right hand a metal figure. Upon a table near him are a
silver tazza, and other objects relative to his occupation. Dated 1656.

274. Portrait of Jean Asselyn, surnamed Crabatje. He is represented
standing in a front view, having on a slouched hat; his body is
enveloped in a mantle, and his right hand rests on a table, on which are
a palette and several books.

*275. Portrait of Ephraim Bonus, a Jew doctor. He appears to be in the
act of descending some stairs, and his right hand is placed on the
baluster. His dress consists of a high-crowned hat, and a pendent frill.
Dated 1647.

276. Portrait of Utenbogardus, a Dutch minister. He is seen in a front
view, seated, holding with his right hand a book, which lies open on a
table. (_Oval._) Dated 1635.

*277. Portrait of Jean Silvius, a learned man and a minister. This print
is enclosed in an oval, around which is written, _Spes mea Christus_, &c.

*278. Portrait of Utenbogaerd, known under the appellation of the "Gold
Weigher." He is seated, holding a pen in his right hand, which rests on
a large book lying open on a table. His attention is directed to a youth,
to whom he is giving a bag of money. Dated 1639.

279. Portrait of Coppenol, a celebrated writing master, styled "The
Little Coppenol." He is seated at a table, holding a pen in his right
hand, which he rests on some paper, and the left is also placed on the
same sheet; a boy stands behind him, with his hat in his hand.

*280. Portrait of Coppenol, called "The Great," to distinguish it from
the preceding. He is also seated near a table, holding with both hands a
sheet of paper, and between the fingers of the right is a pen.

*281. Portrait of Tolling, a Lawyer. He is seen in a front view, seated
at a table, on which is a large book, resting both arms on the elbows of
his chair, and holding his spectacles in his hand; he has on a slouched

*282. Portrait of the Burgomaster, Jan Six, when twenty-nine years old.
He is represented full-length, standing near an open window, engaged in
reading a book, which he holds with both hands. This precious work of
Rembrandt is dated 1647.

Fancy Heads of Men.

283. A Head of an Asiatic, seen in a front view, having on a calotte.
The dress consists of a furred robe, adorned with a gold chain and a
medal. Signed, Rembrandt, Venitiis fecit. Dated 1635.

284. A Head of a similar person, seen in a profile view, having on a
turban, and a robe bordered with fur. Signed, Rembrandt, Venitiis fecit.

285. A third Head, Asiatic; he has a large beard, and is seen in a
profile view, having on a turban, decked in front with a feather.
Signed, Rembrandt, Venitiis fecit, 1635.

286. The Bust of a Man, with long hair, and a short frizzled beard, seen
in nearly a profile view, having on the usual shaped cap peculiar to the

287. The Bust of an old Man, with a long beard, seen in nearly a front
view. He has on a fur cap, and wears a mantle, attached in front by

288. The Bust of an old Man, with a long beard, and a bald head in
front; he is seen in a front view, bending a little forward, in such a
manner as to throw a shadow over the face.

289. An old Man, seen in a profile view, having a short beard and a bald
head. His dress consists of a robe bordered with fur. Dated 1630.

290. The Bust of an old Man without a beard, having a bald head, and
seen in a profile view.

291. The Bust of an old Man, seen in a profile view, with a bald head,
inclined a little forward. Dated 1630.

292. A small Bust of an old Man, with a bald head, which is bent
considerably forward; the face is seen in a three-quarter view.

293. The Bust of an old Man, with a beard and frizzled hair, seen in a
three-quarter view. Dated 1631.

294. The Bust of an old Man, with a bald head, which inclines forward,
and is turned a little to the right; the mouth is considerably open.
Dated 1631.

295. A small Bust of an aged Man without a beard; the face is turned
towards the right, and a large fur cap covers the head.

296. The Bust of an elderly Man, with a short frizzled beard. He is seen
in a three-quarter view, having on a turned-up cap; the mouth is open,
and he appears to be calling to some one.

297. A Head very similar to the preceding, but smaller in size, and
extremely rare.

298. A small Bust, the head of which partakes of the character of a
Turkish slave. He has on a large high cap, turned up. The body is
slightly sketched out.

299. A very small Bust of a Man, similar in character to the preceding;
seen in a profile view, having mustacheos. He has on a cap, the upper
part of which hangs over, and a frill surrounds the neck.

300. The Bust of a Man, seen in a front view, having on a cap in the
shape of a calotte, and a mantle bordered with carmine.

301. The Bust of a Man, with the head uncovered and seen in a front
view; his hair is frizzled, and his mouth a little on one side.

302. The Head of an old Man, with a short beard and a bald crown; his
neck is enveloped in fur. The shoulders are only slightly indicated.

303. The Bust of a Man, represented in a three-quarter view, with the
head bending forward. He has on a fur cap, and a robe bordered with fur,
which is open in front, and shows a vest under it. Dated 1631.

304. The Bust of a Man, seen in nearly a profile view, having a pouting
mouth, resembling a negro, and a short frizzled beard. He has on a
calotte, and a robe bordered with fur, attached in front with a single

305. A Bust of an old Man, with a grey beard and bald in front,
represented in a three-quarter view, with the head inclining. He has on
a hairy coat with a collar. Dated 1630.

306. A Half-figure of a young Man, represented in a profile view, having
short frizzled hair. He wears a large cravat enriched with lace, and a
coat with large sleeves and girt with a belt. Dated 164-**; the last
figure is omitted.

307. A Bust of a Man, seen in a three-quarter view, having mustacheos.
He has on a large hat with a broad brim, a coat buttoned in front, and a
pendent frill. Dated 1630.

308. A Bust of an old Man with a large beard, seen in nearly a front
view, with a fur cap on.

309. A Bust of an old Man, with a large square-shaped beard, seen in a
three-quarter view. He has a cap of the usual shape, and a robe bordered
with fur. Dated 1637.

310. A Bust of an old Man, with a similar beard to the last. The face is
represented in a three-quarter view, having on a large cap, and a robe
bordered with fur.

311. A Bust of an old Man with a pointed beard, seen in a three-quarter
view, with a bald front, and the eyes bent downwards; the body is
enveloped in a cloak.

312. A Bust of an old Man with a straight beard, seen in a profile view.
He has on a small pointed cap. Dated 1631.

313. A Philosopher, with a large square-shaped beard, seen in a profile
view, having on a large cap decked with fur; an hour-glass and a skull
are faintly introduced. Engraved on wood. This print is doubted by the
Chevalier Claussins.

314. An elderly Man, represented in a three-quarter view, apparently
seated; he has mustacheos, and a tuft of beard, and wears a large
high cap, and a robe bordered with white fur. Dated 1630.

315. A small Bust of a Man, seen in a front view, with the usual shaped
cap on his head, and the body enveloped in a mantle. Dated 1631.

316. A Bust of a Man, seen in a profile view, having on a cap with
pendent ear straps; the shoulders are covered with a mantle, relieved
by a small frill.

317. A Bust of a Man with a bald head, seen in a three-quarter view;
the shoulders are covered with a mantle bordered with fur. Dated 1631.

318. A Bust of an old Man, with a very large square-shaped beard, seen
in nearly a front view. The head inclines forward, and the eyes are
directed downwards. Dated 1630.

319. A very small Head, of a grotesque character, seen in a profile
view, having on a fur cap, surrounded by a band.

320. Another small Head, having the appearance of being that of a
beggar; the mouth is open, as if he were calling to some one; he has
on a pointed cap, and a coat attached by a single button.

321. A Bust of a young Man, the head only of which is finished. He has
on a large slouched hat.

322. A Bust of a young Man, with a hat on, of the same form as the

323. A Bust of a young Man, with a cap on, decked with feathers, and
represented at a window. M. Claussins thinks this to be of a doubtful

324. A Bust of a Man, with mustacheos, and frizzled hair, which falls on
the right shoulder.

325. A Bust of an old Man, with mustacheos, and a tuft of beard,
represented in a three-quarter view, having on a high fur cap, and
a fur cloak.

326. A Bust of an old Man, with a long beard, and a bald head in front,
seen in a profile view; a robe, bordered with fur, covers his shoulders.

327. A Bust of a Man, with a cap on, decked with feathers. He is seen in
a front view, having a beard and mustacheos, and wearing a frill round
the neck.

328. A Bust of an old Man, with a white beard, having on a turned-up
cap, and a mantle bordered with fur.

329. A Man, having the appearance of a negro, represented in nearly a
profile view. He has on a turban decked with a feather, and holds a cane
in the right hand.

Portraits of Women.

*330. Portrait of a Woman, styled, "The great Jewish Bride." She is
seated, resting her right hand on the elbow of her chair, and holding
a roll of papers in the left.

331. A Head, similar to that of the preceding print, and supposed by
some amateurs to have been a study for it, but M. Claussins, in his
catalogue, combats that opinion.

*332. Portrait of a Woman, styled, "The little Jewish Bride." Her face
is seen in a three-quarter view, and she appears to be standing, with
her hands crossed on her waist. Dated 1633.

333. An aged Woman, seated at a table, with her hands placed one on the
other; a black veil covers her head, and a mantle, bordered with fur,
envelopes her shoulders.

334. An aged Woman; she appears to be also seated, and is seen in a
three-quarter view, with a kind of bonnet on her head, and a veil over
it; her dress terminates in a frill.

335. Portrait of a young Woman, seen in nearly a profile view, seated
near a table, on which is a book; her right hand is concealed by her
robe, and the left placed on the book. Dated 1634.

336. An aged Woman meditating over a book. She is seated, having her
right hand under her robe, and the left on a book lying on a table.
A half-figure, looking to the left.

337. Portrait of a Woman, seen in a profile view. Her hair is tastefully
arranged, and decked with pearls; two rows of the same adorn her neck,
and the sleeves of her robe are open. Dated 1634.

338. Portrait of an elderly Woman, seen in a profile view. She is
seated, with the left hand placed on her breast, and the right on the
elbow of her chair. Dated 1631.

339. A Bust Portrait of the Mother of Rembrandt, represented in nearly
a front view, with a veil on her head. Her left hand is placed on her
breast. Dated 1631.

340. An elderly Woman sleeping. She appears to have been fatigued with
reading, and having removed her spectacles from her eyes, has fallen
asleep while resting her head on her hand.

341. An aged Woman, resembling the Mother of Rembrandt. She is seen in a
three-quarter view, with a linen covering over her head, which falls on
her shoulders. Dated 1633.

342. A Head of an elderly Woman, having also the resemblance of
Rembrandt's Mother. She is seen in a front view, with the mouth
compressed. She has on a cap of the usual form. Dated 1628.

343. A Bust of an elderly Woman, having the same character as the
preceding. She is seen in a three-quarter view, with a covering on the
head, turned up over the right ear, and falling on the left. Dated 1628.

344. A Bust of the Mother of Rembrandt. She is seen in a front view,
with the usual kind of cap on the head, and a robe bordered with fur,
which is only slightly sketched in.

345. An old Woman in a black veil. This bust represents the face in a
three-quarter view; the veil falls on the shoulders, and her robe is
turned up with fur. Dated 1631.

346. A young Woman, represented in nearly a profile view, with a basket
on her right arm, and a pouch suspended to the left. She has on a small
flat hat, and a tippet over her shoulders.

347. A Bust of a Moorish Woman, seen in nearly a profile view, having on
her head a scarf turned up in front, decked with a feather, and falling
behind her head.

348. A Bust of an aged Woman, lightly etched. She is seen in a
three-quarter view, with a bonnet on, in the form of a turban, and
lappets hanging on either side, and the dress consists of a fur robe.

349. A Bust of a Woman, seen in a three-quarter view, with the head
enveloped in a kerchief, the ends of which hang on either side. The body
is unfinished.

350. A Head of an elderly Woman, seen in a three-quarter view, with the
eyes bent downwards.

351. A Woman seated, resting her head on her hand, and turning over the
leaves of a book with the other.

352. An elderly Woman, seen in nearly a profile view, with spectacles
on, and holding with both hands a book, which she appears to be reading.

Studies of Heads and Other Objects.

353. A Head of Rembrandt, together with studies of old Men and Women,
and other objects, on the same plate.

354. A Study of a Horse, two Heads, a part of a House, and other
objects, on the same plate.

355. Rembrandt's Wife, and five other Heads, on the same plate. Dated

356. Five Heads of Men on one sheet,[2] one of which, placed on the
right, wears a square cap, and another, seen on the opposite side, has
on a fur cap.

357. Three Heads of Women on one sheet, one of them, occupying the
centre and top, is seen in a front view, with one hand raised to her

358. Three Heads of Women on one sheet. This print is distinguished by
one of the women resting her head on her hand, asleep. Dated 1637.

359. Two Women in separate Beds; several Heads, and studies of an old
Man and Woman, with sticks in their hands; on one sheet.

360. A Head of Rembrandt, and other studies, on the same sheet. Dated

*361. A Study of a Dog, the head only of which is finished.

362. A Sketch of a Tree, and other objects, on the same sheet.

363. Two small Figures, one of which, having on a high crowned cap, is
seen to the knees; the form of the other is but imperfectly traced, and
the other objects are still more indistinct.

364. Three Heads of old Men on one sheet. They are all seen in a profile
view, and placed in the same direction.

365. A Study of a Female Head, very lightly etched. She has on her head
a kind of mob cap, and the body is turned to the right.

[Footnote 2: This plate was afterwards cut into five, and the several
heads are arranged in their proper order.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Savill & Edwards, Printers, 4, Chandos Street, Covent Garden.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Rembrandt and His Works - Comprising a Short Account of His Life; with a Critical Examination into His Principles and Practice of Design, Light, Shade, and Colour. Illustrated by Examples from the Etchings of Rembrandt." ***

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