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Title: Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 04 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Painters
Author: Hubbard, Elbert, 1856-1915
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 04 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Painters" ***

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Little Journeys To the Homes of the Great, Volume 4 (of 14)

Little Journeys To The Homes Of Eminent Painters

Elbert Hubbard

Memorial Edition

Printed and made into a Book by The Roycrofters,
who are in East Aurora, Erie County, New York

New York

1916



CONTENTS


    MICHELANGELO                     3
    REMBRANDT                       39
    RUBENS                          79
    MEISSONIER                     117
    TITIAN                         145
    ANTHONY VAN DYCK               171
    FORTUNY                        199
    ARY SCHEFFER                   223
    FRANCOIS MILLET                257
    JOSHUA REYNOLDS                285
    LANDSEER                       309
    GUSTAVE DORE                   327



MICHELANGELO

    How can that be, lady, which all men learn
    By long experience? Shapes that seem alive,
    Wrought in hard mountain marble, will survive
    Their maker, whom the years to dust return!
    Thus to effect, cause yields. Art hath her turn,
    And triumphs over Nature. I, who strive with sculpture,
    Know this well: her wonders live
    In spite of time and death, those tyrants stern.
    So I can give long life to both of us
    In either way, by color or by stone,
    Making the semblance of thy face and mine.
    Centuries hence when both are buried,
    Thus thy beauty and my sadness shall be shown,
    And men shall say, "For her 'twas wise to pine."

                      --_Sonnets of Michelangelo_

[Illustration: MICHELANGELO]


"Call me by my pet name," wrote Elizabeth Barrett Browning, in one of
those incomparable sonnets of which the Portuguese never heard. And the
task yet remains for some psychologist to tell us why, when we wish to
bestow the highest honor, coupled with familiar affection, we call the
individual by a given name.

Young men and maidens will understand my allusion; and I hope this book
will not suffer the dire fate of falling into the hands of any one who
has forgotten the days of his youth.

In addressing the one we truly revere, we drop all prefix and titles.
Soldiers marching under the banner of a beloved leader ever have for him
a name of their own. What honor and trust were once compressed into the
diminutive, "Little Corporal" or Kipling's "Bobs"; or, to come down to
something even more familiar to us, say, "Old Abe" and "Little Phil"!

The earth is a vast graveyard where untold millions of men lie buried,
but out of the myriads who pass into forgetfulness every decade, the race
holds a few names embalmed in undying amber.

Lovers of art, the round world over, carry in their minds one character,
so harmoniously developed on every side of his nature that we say twenty
centuries have never produced his equal. We call him "Leonardo"--the one
ideal man. Leonardo da Vinci was painter, poet, sculptor, architect,
mathematician, politician, musician, man of science, and courtier. His
disposition was so joyous, his manner so captivating, his form and
countenance so beautiful, that wherever he went all things were his. And
he was so well ballasted with brains, and so acute in judgment, that
flattery spoiled him not. His untiring industry and transcendent talent
brought him large sums of money, and he spent them like a king. So potent
was his personality that wherever he made his home there naturally grew
up around him a Court of Learning, and his pupils and followers were
counted by the score. To the last of his long life he carried with him
the bright, expectant animation of youth; and to all who knew him he was
"Leonardo--the only Leonardo."

But great as was Leonardo, we call the time in which he lived, the age of
Michelangelo.

When Leonardo was forty, and at the very height of his power, Michel
Agnola Buonarroti, aged twenty, liberated from the block a marble Cupid
that was so exquisite in its proportions that it passed for an antique,
and men who looked upon it exclaimed, "Phidias!"

Michel Agnola became Michelangelo, that is to say, "Michel the Angel," in
a day. The name thrown at him by an unknown admirer stuck, and in his
later years when all the world called him "Angelo" he cast off the name
his parents had given him and accepted the affectionate pet name that
clung like the love of woman.

Michelangelo was born in a shabby little village but a few miles from
Florence. In another village near by was born Leonardo. "Great men never
come singly," says Emerson. And yet Angelo and Leonardo exercised no
influence upon each other that we can trace. The younger man never came
under the spell of the older one, but moved straight on to his destiny,
showing not the slightest arc in his orbit in deference to the great
luminary of his time.

The handsome Leonardo was social: he loved women, and music, and
festivals, and gorgeous attire, and magnificent equipage. His life was
full of color and sweeping, joyous, rainbow tints.

Michelangelo was homely in feature, and the aspect of his countenance was
mutilated by a crashing blow from a rival student's mallet that flattened
his nose to his face. Torrigiano lives in history for this act alone,
thus proving that there are more ways than one to gain immortality.

Angelo was proud, self-centered, independent, and he sometimes lashed the
critics into a buzzing, bluebottle fury by his sarcastic speech. "He
affronted polite society, conformed to no one's dictates, lived like an
ascetic and worked like a packmule," says a contemporary.

Vasari, who among his many other accomplishments seems to have been the
Boswell of his time, compares Leonardo and Michelangelo. He says, "Angelo
can do everything that Leonardo can, although he does it differently."
Further, he adds, "Angelo is painter, sculptor, engineer, architect and
poet." "But," adds this versatile Italian Samuel Pepys, somewhat
sorrowfully, "he is not a gentleman."

It is to be regretted that Signor Vasari did not follow up his remarks
with his definition of the term "gentleman."

Leonardo was more of a painter than a sculptor. His pictures are full of
rollicking mirth, and the smile on the faces of his women is handed down
by imitation even to this day. The joyous freedom of animal life beckons
from every Leonardo canvas; and the backgrounds fade off into fleecy
clouds and shadowy, dreamy, opiate odor of violets.

Michelangelo, however, is true to his own life as Leonardo was to
his--for at the last the artist only reproduces himself. He never painted
a laugh, for life to him was serious and full of sober purpose. We can
not call his work somber--it does not depress--for it carries with it a
poise and a strength that is sufficient unto itself. It is all heroic,
and there is in it a subtle quality that exorcises fear and bids care
begone.

No man ever portrayed the human figure with the same fidelity that Angelo
has. The naked Adam, when the finger of the Almighty touched him into
life, gives one a thrill of health to look upon, even after these four
hundred years have struggled to obliterate the lines.

His figures of women shocked the artistic sense of his time, for instead
of the Greek idealization of beauty he carved the swelling muscles and
revealed the articulations of form as no artist before him had ever
dared. His women are never young, foolish, timid girls--they are Amazons;
and his men are the kind that lead nations out of captivity. The soft,
the pretty, the yielding, were far from him. There is never a suggestion
of taint or double meaning; all is frank, open, generous, honest and
fearless. His figures are nude, but never naked.

He began his artistic work when fourteen years old, and he lived to be
eighty-nine; and his years did not outlast his zeal and zest. He was
above the medium size, an athlete in his lean and sinewy strength, and
the whipcord quality of his body mirrored the silken strength of his
will.

In his old age the King arose when Michelangelo entered the
Council-Chamber, and would not sit until he was seated at the right hand
of the throne; the Pope would not allow him to kneel before him; when he
walked through the streets of Rome the people removed their hats as he
passed; and today we who gaze upon his work in the Eternal City stand
uncovered.

       *       *       *       *       *

Michelangelo was the firstborn in a large family. Simone Buonarroti, his
father, belonged to an ebbtide branch of the nobility that had lost
everything but the memory of great ancestors turned to dust. This father
had ambitions for his boy; ambitions in the line of the army or a snug
office under the wing of the State, where he might, by following closely
the beck and nod of the prince in power, become a magistrate or a keeper
of customs.

But no boy ever disappointed a proud father more.

When great men in gilt and gold braid, with scarlet sashes across their
breasts, and dangling swords that clicked and clanged on the stone
pavement, strode by, rusty, dusty little Michel refused to take off his
cap and wish them "Long life and God's favor," as his father ordered.
Instead, he hid behind his mother's gown and made faces. His father used
to say he was about as homely as he could be without making faces, and if
he didn't watch out he would get his face crooked some day and couldn't
get it back.

Simone Buonarroti had qualities very Micawber-like mixed in his clay, and
the way he cringed and crawled may have had something to do with setting
the son on the other tack.

The mother was only nineteen when Michel was born, and although the
moralists talk much about woman's vanity and extravagance, the theory
gets no backing from this quarter. She was a plain woman in appearance,
quiet and self-contained, with no nerves to speak of, a sturdy, physical
endowment, and commonsense enough for two. When scarcely out of dresses
the boy began to draw pictures. He drew with charcoal on the walls, or
with a stick in the sand, and shaped curious things out of mud in the
gutters.

It was an age of creative art, and most of the work being in the churches
the common people had their part in it. In fact, the common people were
the artists. And when Simone Buonarroti found his twelve-year-old boy
haunting the churches to watch the workmen, and also discovered that he
was consorting with the youths who studied drawing in the atelier of
Ghirlandajo, he was displeased.

Painters, to this erstwhile nobleman, were simply men in blue blouses who
worked for low wages on high scaffolds, and occasionally spattered color
on the good clothes of ladies and gentlemen who were beneath. He didn't
really hate painters, he simply waived them; and to his mind there was no
difference between an artisan and an artist.

The mother, however, took a secret pride in her boy's drawings, as
mothers always do in a son's accomplishments. Doubtless she knew
something of the art of decoration, too, for she had brothers who worked
as day laborers on high scaffolds. Yet she didn't say much about it, for
women then didn't have so much to say about anything as now.

But I can imagine that this good woman, as she went daily to church to
pray, the year before her first child was born, watched the work of the
men on the scaffolds, and observed that day by day the pictures grew; and
as she looked, the sun streamed through stained windows and revealed to
her the miracles of form and color, and the impressions of "The
Annunciation," "Mary's Visit to Elizabeth" and "The Babe in the Manger"
filled her wondering soul with thoughts and feelings too great for
speech. To his mother was Michelangelo indebted for his leaning toward
art. His father opposed such a plebeian bent vigorously:

"Bah! to love beautiful things is all right, but to wish to devote all of
one's time to making them, just for others--ouch! it hurts me to think of
it!"

The mother was lenient and said, "But if our child can not be anything
more than a painter--why, we must be content, and God willing, let us
hope he will be a good one."

Ghirlandajo's was practically a school where, for a consideration, boys
were taught the secrets of fresco. The master always had contracts of his
own on hand and by using 'prentice talent made both ends meet. Young
Michel made it his lounging-place and when he strayed from home his
mother always knew where to find him.

The master looked upon him as a possible pupil, and instead of ordering
him away, smiled indulgently and gave him tasks of mixing colors and
making simple lines. And the boy showed such zest and comprehension that
in a short time he could draw freehand with a confidence that set the
brightest scholar in the background. Such a pupil, so alert, so willing,
so anxious, is the joy of a teacher's heart. Ghirlandajo must have
him--he would inspire the whole school!

So the master went to the father, but the father demurred, and his
scruples were only overcome when Ghirlandajo offered to reverse the rule,
and pay the father the sum that parents usually paid the master. A cash
payment down caused pater to capitulate, and the boy went to work--aged
fourteen.

The terms of his apprenticeship called for three years, but after he had
been at work a year, the ability of the youth made such an impression on
the master that he took him to Lorenzo, Lorenzo the Magnificent, who then
ruled over Florence.

Lorenzo had him draw a few sketches, and he was admitted to the Academy.
This "Academy" was situated in the palace of Lorenzo, and in the gardens
was a rich collection of antique marbles: busts, columns, and valuable
fragments that had come down from the days when Pericles did for Athens
what Lorenzo was then doing for Florence. The march of commerce has
overrun the garden, but in the Uffizi Gallery are to be seen today most
of the curios that Lorenzo collected.

By introducing the lad to Lorenzo, Ghirlandajo lost his best helper, but
so unselfish was this excellent master that he seemed quite willing to
forego his own profit that the boy might have the best possible
advantages. And I never think of Ghirlandajo without mentally lifting my
hat.

At the Academy, Michelangelo ceased to paint and draw, and devoted all
his energies to modeling in clay. So intent was his application that in a
few weeks he had mastered technicalities that took others years to
comprehend.

One day the father came and found the boy in a blouse at work with mallet
and chisel on a block of marble. "And is it a stone-mason you want to
make of my heir and firstborn?" asked the fond father.

It was explained that there were stone-masons and stone-masons. A
stone-mason of transcendent skill is a sculptor, just as a painter who
can produce a beautiful picture is an artist.

Simone Buonarroti acknowledged he had never looked at it just in that
way, but still he would not allow his son to remain at the trade
unless--unless he himself had an office under the government.

Lorenzo gave him the desired office, and took the young stone-mason as
one of the Medici family, and there the boy lived in the Palace, and
Lorenzo acted toward him as though he were his son.

The favor with which he was treated excited the envy of some of the
other pupils, and thus it was that in sudden wrath Torrigiano struck him
that murderous blow with the mallet. Torrigiano paid for his fierce
temper, not only by expulsion from the Academy, but by banishment from
Florence.

Michelangelo was the brightest of the hundred young men who worked and
studied at the Medici palace.

But when this head scholar was eighteen Lorenzo died. The son of Lorenzo
continued his father's work in a feeble way, for Piero de Medici was a
good example of the fact that great men seldom reproduce themselves after
the flesh. Piero had about as much comprehension of the beautiful as the
elder Buonarroti. He thought that all these young men who were being
educated at the Academy would eventually be valuable adjuncts to the
State, and as such it was a good scheme to give each a trade--besides, it
kept them off the street; and then the work was amusing, a diversion to
the nobility when time hung heavy.

Once there came a heavy snowstorm, and snow being an unusual thing in
Florence, Piero called a lot of his friends together in the gardens, and
summoning Michelangelo, ordered him to make a snow image for the
amusement of the guests, just as Piero at other times had a dog jump
through a hoop.

"What shall it be?" asked Michelangelo.

"Oh, anything you please," replied Piero; "only don't keep us waiting
here in the cold all day!"

Young Angelo cast one proud look of contempt toward the group and set to
work making a statue. In ten minutes he had formed a satyr that bore such
a close resemblance to Piero that the guests roared with laughter. "That
will do," called Piero; "like Deity, you make things in your own image."
Some of the company tossed silver coin at the young man, but he let the
money lie where it fell.

Michel at this time was applying himself to the study of anatomy, and
giving his attention to literature under the tutorship of the famous poet
and scholar, Poliziano, who resided at the court.

So filled was the young man's mind with his work that he was blind to the
discontent arising in the State. To the young, governments and
institutions are imperishable. Piero by his selfish whims had been
digging the grave of the Medici. From sovereignty they were flung into
exile. The palace was sacked, the beautiful gardens destroyed, and
Michelangelo, being regarded as one of the family, was obliged to flee
for his life. He arrived in Bologna penniless and friendless, and applied
to a sculptor for work. "What can you do?" the old sculptor asked. For
answer, Michelangelo silently took a crayon and sketched a human hand on
the wall. Marvelous were the lines! The master put his arms around the
boy and kissed his cheek.

This new-found friend took him into his house, and placed him at his own
table. Michelangelo was led into the library and workrooms, and told
that all was his to use as he liked.

The two years he remained at Bologna were a great benefit to the young
man. The close contact with cultured minds, and the encouragement he
received, spurred his spirit to increased endeavor. It was here that he
began that exquisite statue of a Cupid that passed for an antique, and
found its way into the cabinet of the Duchess of Mantua.

Before long the discovery was made that the work was done by a young man
only a little past twenty, and Cardinal San Giorgio sent a message
inviting him to Rome.

       *       *       *       *       *

Rome had long been the Mecca of the boy's ambitions, and he joyously
accepted the invitation. At Rome he was lodged in the Vatican, and
surrounded by that world of the beautiful, he went seriously about his
life's work. The Church must have the credit for being the mother of
modern art. Not only did she furnish the incentive, but she supplied the
means. She gave security from the eternal grind of material wants and
offered men undying fame as reward for noble effort.

The letter of religion was nothing to Michelangelo, but the eternal
spirit of truth that broods over and beyond all forms and ceremonies
touched his soul. His heart was filled with the poetry of pagan times.
The gods of ancient Greece on high Olympus for him still sang and
feasted, still lived and loved.

But to the art of the Church he devoted his time and talents. He
considered himself a priest and servant to the cause of Christ.

Established at Rome in the palace of the Pope, Michelangelo felt secure.
He knew his power. He knew he could do work that would for generations
move men to tears, and in his prophetic soul was a feeling that his name
would be inseparably linked with Rome. His wanderings and buffetings were
things of the past--he was necessary to the Church, and his position was
now secure and safe. The favor of princes lasts but for a day, but the
Church is eternal. The Church should be his bride; to her and to her
alone would he give his passionate soul. Thus mused Michelangelo, aged
twenty-two. His first work at Rome was a statue of Bacchus, done it seems
for an exercise to give Cardinal Giorgio a taste of his quality, just as
he had drawn the human hand on the wall for his Bologna protector; for
this fine and lofty pride in his power was a thing that clung to
Michelangelo from rosy youth to hoary age.

The "Bacchus," which is now in the National Museum at Florence, added to
his reputation; and the little world of art, whose orbit was the Vatican,
anxiously awaited a more serious attempt, just as we crane our necks when
the great violinist about to play awakens expectation by a few
preliminary flourishes.

His first great work at Rome was the "Pieta." We see it today in Saint
Peter's at the first chapel to the right as we enter, in a long row of
commonplace marbles, in all its splendid beauty and strength. It
represents the Mother of Christ, supporting in her arms the dead body
just after it was lowered from the cross. In most of Michelangelo's work
there is a heroic quality in the figures and a muscular strength that in
a degree detracts from the spirit of sympathy that might otherwise come
over us. It is admiration that seizes us, not sympathy. But this early
work is the flower of Michelangelo's genius, round and full and complete.
The later work may be different, but it is not better.

When this group was unveiled in Fourteen Hundred Ninety-eight it was the
sensation of the year. Old and young, rich and poor, learned and
unlearned, flocked to see it, and the impression it made was most
profound. If the Catholic Church has figured on the influence of statuary
and painting on the superstitious, as has been tauntingly said, she has
reckoned well. The story of steadfast love and loyalty is masterly told
in that first great work of Michelangelo. The artist himself often
mingled with the crowds that surrounded his speaking marble, and the
people who knelt before it assured him by their reverence that his hand
had wrought well. And once he heard two able doctors disputing as to who
the artist was. They were lavish in their praise, and one insisted that
the work was done by the great sculptor at Bologna, and he named the
master who had befriended Michelangelo. The artist stood by and heard the
argument put forth that no mere youth could conceive such a work, much
less execute it.

That night he stole into the church and by the wan light of a lantern
carved his name deep on the girdle of the Virgin, and there do we read it
today. The pride of the artist, however, afterward took another turn, for
he never thereafter placed his name on a piece. "My work is unlike any
other--no lover of the beautiful can mistake it," he proudly said.

He worked away with untiring industry and the Church paid him well. But
many of his pieces have been carried from Rome, and as they were not
signed and scores of imitations sprang up, it can not always be
determined now what is his work and what not. He toiled alone, and
allowed no 'prentice hand to use the chisel, and unlike the sculptors of
our day, did not work from a clay model, but fell upon the block direct.
"I caught sight of Michelangelo at work, but could not approach for the
shower of chips," writes a visitor at Rome in the year Fifteen Hundred
One.

       *       *       *       *       *

Perfect peace is what Michelangelo expected to find in the palace of the
Pope. Later he came to know that life is unrest, and its passage at best
a zigzag course, that only straightens to a direct line when viewed
across the years. If a man does better work than his fellows he must pay
the penalty. Personality is an offense.

In Rome there was a small army of painters and sculptors, each eager and
anxious for the sole favor of the powers. They quibbled, quarreled,
bribed, cajoled, and even fair women used their influence with cardinals
and bishops in favor of this artist or that.

Michelangelo was never a favorite in society; simpering beauty peeked at
him from behind feather fans and made jokes concerning his appearance.
Yet Walter Pater thought he found evidence that at this time Michelangelo
was beloved by a woman, and that the artist reproduced her face and form,
and indirectly pictured her in poems. In feature she was as plain as he;
but her mind matched his, and was of a cast too high and excellent to
allow him to swerve from his high ideals. Yet the love ended unhappily,
and in some mysterious way gave a tinge of melancholy and a secret spring
of sorrow to the whole long life of the artist.

Jealous competitors made their influence felt. Michelangelo found his
work relegated to corners and his supplies cut short.

At this time an invitation came from Florence for him to come and make
use of a gigantic block of marble that had lain there at the city gate,
blackening in the dirt, for a century.

The Florence that had banished him, now begged him to come back.

"Those who once leave Florence always sigh to return," says Dante. He
returned, and at once began work on the "David." The result was the
heroic statue that stood for three hundred years at the entrance to the
Palazzo Vecchio, only a hundred feet from where Savonarola was hanged and
burned. The "David" is now in the Belle d' Arte, and if the custodian
will allow you to climb up on a ladder you will see that the top of the
head shows the rough unfinished slab, just as it was taken from the
quarry. Any one but a master would have finished the work.

This magnificent statue took nearly two years to complete. As a study of
growing youth, boldly recognizing all that is awkward and immature, it
has never ceased to cause wordy warfare to reign in the camp of the
critics. "The feet, hands and head are all too large," the Athenians say.
But linger around the "old swimmin'-hole" any summer day, and you will
see tough, bony, muscular boys that might have served as a model for the
"David."

The heads of statues made by the Greeks are small in proportion to the
body. The "Gladiator" wears a Number Six hat, and the "Discobolus" one
size smaller; yet the figures represent men weighing one hundred eighty
pounds each. The Greeks aimed to satisfy the eye, and as the man is
usually seen clothed, they reduced the size of the head when they showed
the nude figure.

But Michelangelo was true to Nature, and the severest criticism ever
brought against him is that he is absolutely loyal to truth. He was the
first man ever to paint or model the slim, slender form of a child that
has left its round baby shape behind and is shooting up like a
lily-stalk. A nude, hardy boy six years old reveals ankle-bones, kneecap,
sharp hips, ribs, collar-bone and shoulder-blade with startling fidelity.
And why, being Nature's work, it is any less lovely than a condition of
soft, cushioned adipose, we must let the critics tell, but Michelangelo
thought it wasn't.

From Fourteen Hundred Ninety-six, when Michelangelo first arrived in
Rome, to Fifteen Hundred Four, he worked at nothing but sculpture. But
now a change came over his restless spirit, for an invitation had come
from the Gonfaloniere of Florence to decorate one of the rooms of the
Town Hall, in competition with Leonardo da Vinci--the only Leonardo.

He painted that strong composition showing Florentine soldiers bathing in
the Arno. The scene depicts the surprise of the warriors as a trumpet
sounds, calling them to battle with the enemy that is near at hand. The
subject was chosen because it gave opportunity for exploiting the
artist's marvelous knowledge of anatomy. Thirty figures are shown in
various attitudes. Nearly all are nude, and as they scramble up the bank,
buckling on their armor as they rush forward, eager for the fight, we see
the wild, splendid swell of muscle and warm, tense, pulsing flesh. As an
example of Michelangelo's consummate knowledge of form it was believed to
be his finest work.

But it did not last long; the jealous Bandinelli made a strong bid for
fame by destroying it. And thus do Bandinelli and Torrigiano go
clattering down the corridors of time hand in hand. Yet we know what the
picture was, for various men who saw it recorded their impressions; but
although many of the younger artists of Italy flocked to Florence to see
it, and many copied it, only one copy has come down to us--the one in the
collection of the Earl of Leicester, at Holkham.

So even beautiful Florence could not treat her gifted son with
impartiality, and when a call came from Pope Julius the Second, who had
been elected in Fifteen Hundred Three, to return to Rome, the summons was
promptly obeyed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Julius was one of the most active and vigorous rulers the earth has
known. He had positive ideas on many subjects and like Napoleon "could do
the thinking for a world."

The first work he laid out for Michelangelo was a tomb, three stories
high, with walls eighteen feet thick at the base, surrounded with
numerous bas-reliefs and thirty heroic statues. It was to be a monument
on the order of those worked out by the great Rameses, only incorporating
the talent of Greece with that of ancient and modern Rome.

Michelangelo spent nearly a year at the Carrara quarries, getting out
materials and making plans for forwarding the scheme. But gradually it
came over him that the question of economy, which was deeply rooted in
the mind of Julius, forbade the completion of such a gigantic and costly
work. Had Julius given Michelangelo "carte-blanche" orders on the
treasury, and not meddled with the plans, this surpassing piece of
architecture might have found form. But the fiery Julius, aged
seventy-four, was influenced by the architect Bramante to demand from
Michelangelo a bill of expense and definite explanation as to details.

Very shortly after, Michelangelo quit work and sent a note to the Pope to
the effect that the tomb was in the mountain of Carrara, with many
beautiful statues, and if he wanted them he had better look for some one
to get them out. As for himself, his address was Florence.

The Pope sent couriers after him, one after another until five had been
dispatched, but neither pleading, bribes nor threats could induce him to
return.

As the scientist constructs the extinct animal from a thigh-bone, so we
can guess the grandeur of what the tomb might have been from the single
sample that has come down to us. The one piece of work that was completed
for this tomb is the statue of "Moses." If the reputation of Michelangelo
rested upon nothing else than this statue, it would be sufficient for
undying fame. The "Moses" probably is better known than any other piece
of Michelangelo's work. Copies of it exist in all important galleries;
there are casts of it in fifty different museums in America, and pictures
of it are numberless. There it stands in the otherwise obscure church of
Saint Pietro in Vincolo today, one hand grasping the flowing beard, and
the other sustaining the tables of the law--majesty, strength, wisdom
beaming in every line. As Mr. Symonds has said, "It reveals the power of
Pope Julius and Michelangelo fused into a Jove."

And so the messengers and messages were in vain, and even when the Pope
sent an order to the Gonfaloniere Soderini, the actual ruler of Florence,
to return the artist on pain of displeasure, the matter still
rested--Michelangelo said he was neither culprit nor slave, and would
live where he wished.

At length the matter got so serious that it threatened the political
peace of Florence, and in the goodly company of cardinals, bishops and
chief citizens, Michelangelo was induced to go to Bologna and make peace
with the Pope.

His first task now was a bronze statue of Julius, made, it is stated, as
a partial reproduction of the "Moses." Descriptions of it declare it was
even finer than the "Moses," but alas! it only endured four years, for a
mob evolved it into a cannon to shoot stones, and at the same time ousted
Julius from Bologna.

Michelangelo very naturally seconded the anathematization of the
Bolognese by Julius, not so much for the insult to the Pope as for the
wretched lack of taste they had shown in destroying a work of art. Had
they left the beautiful statue there on its pedestal, Bologna would now
on that account alone be a place of pilgrimage. The cannon they made is
lost and forgotten--buried deep in the sand by its own weight--for Mein
Herr Krupp can make cannon; but, woe betide us! who can make a statue
such as Michelangelo made?

Michelangelo now followed the Pope to Rome and began a work that none
other dare attempt, but which today excites the jealous admiration of
every artist soul who views it--the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Ghirlandajo, Perugino, Botticelli and Luca Signorelli had worked on the
walls with good effect, but to lie on one's back and paint overhead so as
to bring out a masterly effect when viewed from seventy feet below was
something they dare not attempt. Michelangelo put up his scaffolds, drew
designs, and employed the best fresco artists in Italy to fill in the
color. But as they used their brushes he saw that the designs became
enfeebled under their attempts--they did not grasp the conception--and in
wrath he discharged them all. He then obliterated all they had done, and
shutting out the ceiling from every one but himself, worked alone. Often
for days he would not leave the building, for fear some one would meddle
with the work. He drew up food by a string and slept on the scaffold
without changing his clothes.

After a year of intense application, no one but the artist had viewed the
work. The Pope now demanded that he should be allowed to see it. A part
of the scaffolding was struck, and the delight of the old Pope was
unbounded. This was in Fifteen Hundred Nine, but the completed work was
not shown to the public until All Souls' Day, Fifteen Hundred Twelve.

The guides at the Vatican tell us this ceiling was painted in twenty-two
months, but the letters of Michelangelo, recently published, show that he
worked on it over four years.

It contains over three hundred figures, all larger than life, and some
are fifteen feet long. A complete description of the work Michelangelo
did in this private chapel of the Pope would require a book, and in fact
several books have been written with this ceiling as a subject. The
technical obstacles to overcome in painting scenes and figures on an
overhead surface can only be appreciated by those who have tried it. We
can better appreciate the difficulties when we think that, in order even
to view the decorations with satisfaction, large mirrors must be used, or
one must lie prone on his back. In the ability to foreshorten and give
harmonious perspective--supplying the effect of motion, distance, upright
movement, coming toward you or moving away--all was worked out in this
historic chapel in a way that has excited the wondering admiration of
artists for three hundred years.

When the scaffolding was at last removed, the artist thought for a time
he had done his last work. The unnatural positions he had been obliged to
take had so strained the muscles of his neck that on the street he had
often to look straight up at the sky to rest himself, and things on a
straight line in front he could not distinguish. Eyes, muscles, hands,
refused to act normally.

"My life is there on the ceiling of the Chapel of Sixtus," he said.

He was then thirty-nine years old.

Fifty eventful years of life and work were yet before him.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Pope Julius died, in Fifteen Hundred Thirteen, Leo the Tenth, a son
of Lorenzo the Magnificent, was called to take his place. We might
suppose that Leo would have remembered with pride the fact that it was
his father who gave Michelangelo his first start in life, and have
treated the great artist in the way Lorenzo would, were he then alive.
But the retiring, abstemious habits of Michelangelo did not appeal to
Leo. The handsome and gracious Raphael was his favorite, and at the
expense of Michelangelo, Raphael was petted, feted and advanced. Hence
arose that envious rivalry between these two great men, which reveals
each in a light far from pleasant--just as if Rome were not big enough
for both. The pontificate of Leo the Tenth lasted just ten years. On
account of the lack of encouragement Michelangelo received, it seems the
most fruitless season of his whole life.

Clement the Seventh, another member of the Medici family, succeeded Leo.
Clement was too sensible of Michelangelo's merit to allow him to rust out
his powers in petty tasks. He conceived the idea of erecting a chapel to
be attached to the church of San Lorenzo, at Florence, to be the final
resting-place of the great members of the Medici family. Michelangelo
planned and built the chapel and for it wrought six great pieces of art.
These are the statues of Lorenzo de Medici, father of Catherine de Medici
(who was such a large, black blot on the page of history); a statue of
Giuliano de Medici (whose name lives now principally because Michelangelo
made this statue); and the four colossal reclining figures known as
"Night," "Morning," "Dawn" and "Twilight." This chapel is now open to the
public, and no visitor at Florence should miss seeing it.

The statue of Lorenzo must ever rank as one of the world's masterpieces.
The Italians call it "Il Pensiero." The sullen strength of the attitude
gives one a vague ominous impulse to get away. Some one has said that it
fulfils Milton's conception of Satan brooding over his plans for the ruin
of mankind.

In Fifteen Hundred Twenty-seven, while Michelangelo was working on the
chapel, Florence was attacked and sacked by the Constable de Bourbon. The
Medici family was again expelled, and from the leisurely decoration of a
church in honor of the gentle Christ, the artist was called upon to build
barricades to protect his native city. His ingenuity as an engineer was
as consummate as his exquisite idea of harmony, and for nine months the
city was defended.

Through treachery the enemy was then allowed to enter and Michelangelo
fled. Riots and wars seem as natural as thunderstorms to the Latin
people; but after a year the clouds rolled by, Michelangelo was pardoned,
and went back to his work of beautifying the chapel of San Lorenzo.

In Fifteen Hundred Thirty-four, Pope Clement was succeeded by Paul the
Third. Paul was seventy years old, but the vigor of his mind was very
much like that of the great Julius. His first desire was to complete the
decoration of the Sistine Chapel, so that the entire interior should
match the magnificence of the ceiling, and to the task he summoned
Michelangelo.

The great artist hesitated. The ceiling was his supreme work as a
painter, and he knew down deep in his heart that he could not hope to
surpass it, and the risk of not equaling it was too great for him to run.
The matter was too delicately personal to explain--only an artist could
understand.

Michelangelo made excuses to the Pope and declared he had forgotten how
to use a brush, that his eyesight was bad, and that the only thing he
could do was to carve.

But Paul was not to be turned aside, and reluctantly Michelangelo went
back to the Sistine, that he had left over twenty years before.

Then it was that he painted "The Last Judgment" on the wall of the upper
end of the chapel. Hamerton calls this the grandest picture ever
executed, at the same time acknowledging its faults in taste. But it must
be explained that the design was the conception of Julius, endorsed by
Pope Paul, and it surely mirrors the spiritual qualities (or lack of
them) in these men better than any biography possibly could.

The merciful Redeemer is shown as a muscular athlete, full of anger and
the spirit of revenge--proud, haughty, fierce. The condemned are ranged
before him--a confused mass of naked figures, suspended in all attitudes
of agony and terrible foreboding. The "saved" are ranged on one side, and
do not seem to be of much better intellectual and spiritual quality than
the damned; very naturally they are quite pleased to think that it is the
others who are damned, and not they. The entire conception reveals that
masterly ability to portray the human figure in every attitude of fear or
passion. A hundred years after the picture was painted, some dignitary
took it into his head that portions of the work were too "daring"; and a
painter was set at work robing the figures. His fussy attempts are quite
apparent.

Michelangelo's next work was to decorate the Paolina Chapel. As in his
last work on the Sistine, he was constantly interrupted and advised and
criticized. As he worked, cardinals, bishops and young artists watched
and suggested, but still the "Conversion of Saint Paul" and the
"Crucifixion of Saint Peter," in the Paolina, must ever rank as masterly
art.

The frescoes in the Paolina Chapel occupied seven years and ended the
great artist's career as a painter. He was seventy-three years old.

Pope Paul then made him Chief Architect of Saint Peter's. Michelangelo
knew the difficulties to be encountered--the bickerings, jealousies and
criticisms that were inseparable from the work--and was only moved to
accept the place on Pope Paul's declaration that no one else could do as
well, and that it was the will of God. Michelangelo looked upon the
performance as a duty and accepted the task, refusing to take any
recompense for his services. He continued to discharge the duties of the
office under the direction of Popes Paul, Pius the Fourth and Pius the
Fifth. In all he worked under the pontificates of seven different popes.

The dome of Saint Peter's, soaring to the skies, is his finest monument.
The self-sustaining, airy quality in this stupendous structure hushes the
beholder into silence; and yet that same quality of poise, strength and
sufficiency marks all of the work of this colossus, whether it be
painting, architecture or sculpture. America has paid tribute to
Michelangelo's genius by reproducing the dome of Saint Peter's over the
Capitol at Washington.

Michelangelo died at Rome, aged eighty-nine, working and planning to the
last. His sturdy frame showed health in every part, and he ceased to
breathe just as a clock runs down. His remains were secretly taken to
Florence and buried in the church of Santa Croce. A fine bust marks the
spot, but the visitor can not help feeling a regret that the dust of this
marvelous man does not rest beneath the zenith of the dome of Saint
Peter's at Rome.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sitting calmly in this quiet corner, and with closed eyes, viewing
Michelangelo's life as a whole, the impression is one of heroic strength,
battling with fierce passions, and becoming victor over them by working
them up into art. The mold of the man was masculine, and the subdued
sorrow that flavors his whole career never degenerates into sickly
sentimentality or repining.

The sonnets of Michelangelo, recently given to the world, were written
when he was nearly seventy years old. Several of the sonnets are directly
addressed to Vittoria Colonna, and no doubt she inspired the whole
volume. A writer of the time has mentioned his accidentally finding
Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna seated side by side in the dim twilight
of a deserted church, "talking soft and low." Deserted churches have ever
been favorite trysting-places for lovers; and one is glad for this little
glimpse of quiet and peace in the tossing, troubled life-journey of this
tireless man. In fact, the few years of warm friendship with Vittoria
Colonna is a charmed and temperate space, without which the struggle and
unrest would be so ceaseless as to be appalling. Sweet, gentle and
helpful was their mutual friendship. At this period of Michelangelo's
life we know that the vehemence of his emotions subsided, and tranquility
and peace were his for the rest of his life, such as he had never known
before.

The woman who stepped out of high society and won the love of this stern
yet gentle old man must have been of a mental and spiritual quality to
command our highest praise. The world loves Vittoria Colonna because she
loved Michelangelo, and led him away from strife and rivalry and toil.



REMBRANDT

     The eyes and the mouth are the supremely significant features of
     the human face. In Rembrandt's portraits the eye is the center
     wherein life, in its infinity of aspect, is most manifest. Not
     only was his fidelity absolute, but there is a certain mysterious
     limpidity of gaze that reveals the soul of the sitter. A
     "Rembrandt" does not give up its beauties to the casual
     observer--it takes time to know it, but once known, it is yours
     forever.

    --_Emile Michel_

[Illustration: REMBRANDT]


Swimming uneasily in my ink-bottle is a small preachment concerning
names, and the way they have been evolved, and lost, or added to. Some
day I will fish this effusion out and give it to a waiting world. Those
of us whose ancestors landed at Plymouth or Jamestown are very proud of
our family names, and even if we trace quite easily to Castle Garden we
do not always discard the patronymic.

Harmen Gerritsz was a young man who lived in the city of Leyden, Holland,
in the latter part of the Sixteenth Century. The letters "sz" at the end
of his name stood for "szoon" and signified that he was the szoon of
Mynheer Gerrit.

Now Harmen Gerritsz duly served an apprenticeship with a miller, and when
his time expired, being of an ambitious nature, he rented a mill on the
city wall, and started business for himself. Shortly after he very
naturally married the daughter of a baker.

All of Mr. Harmen Gerritsz's customers called him Harmen, and when they
wished to be exact they spoke of him as Harmen van Ryn--that is to say,
Harmen of the Rhine, for his mill was near the river. "Out West," even
now, if you call a man Mister, he will probably inquire what it is you
have against him.

Mr. and Mrs. Harmen lived in the mill, and as years went by were blessed
with a nice little family of six children. The fifth child is the only
one that especially interests us. They named him Rembrandt.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Ryn, he called himself when he entered at the
grammar-school at Leyden, aged fourteen. His father's first name being
Harmen, he simply took that, and discarded the Gerrit entirely, according
to the custom of the time. In fact, all our Johnsons are the sons of
John, and the names Peterson, Thompson and Wilson, in feudal times, had
their due and proper significance. Then when we find names with a final
ending of "s," such as Robbins, Larkins and Perkins, we are to understand
that the owner is the son of his father. And so we find Rembrandt
Harmenszoon in his later years writing his name Harmensz and then simply
Harmens.

Mynheer Harmen Gerritszoon's windmill ground exceeding small, and the
product found a ready market. There were no servants in the miller's
family--everybody worked at the business. In Holland people are
industrious. The leisurely ways of the Dutch can, I think, safely be
ascribed to their environment, and here is an argument Buckle might have
inserted in his great book, but did not, and so I will write it down.

There are windmills in Holland (I trust the fact need not longer be
concealed) and these windmills are used for every possible mechanical
purpose. Now the wind blows only a part of the time--except in
Chicago--and there may be whole days when not a windmill turns in all
Holland. The men go out in the morning and take due note of the wind, and
if there is an absolute calm many of them go back to bed. I have known
the wind to die down during the day and the whole force of a windmill
troop off to a picnic, as a matter of course. So the elements in Holland
set man the example--he will not rush himself to death when not even the
wind does.

Then another thing: Holland has many canals. Farmers load their hay on
canal-boats and take it to the barn, women go to market in boats, lovers
sail, seemingly, right across the fields--canals everywhere.

Traveling by canal is not rapid transit. So the people of Holland have
plenty of precedent for moving at a moderate speed. There are no
mountains in Holland, so water never runs; it may move, but the law of
gravitation there only acts to keep things quiet. The Dutch never run
footraces--neither do they scorch.

In Amsterdam I have seen a man sit still for an hour, and this with a
glass of beer before him, gazing off into space, not once winking, not
even thinking. You can not do that in America, where trolley-cars whiz
and blizzards blow--there is no precedent for it in things animate or
inanimate. In the United States everything is on the jump, art included.

Rembrandt Harmens worked in his father's mill, but never strained his
back. He was healthy, needlessly healthy, and was as smart as his
brothers and sisters, but no smarter, and no better looking. He was
exceedingly self-contained, and would sit and dream at his desk in the
grammar-school, looking out straight in front of him--just at nothing.

The master tried flogging, and the next day found a picture of himself on
the blackboard, his face portrayed as anything but lovely. Young
Rembrandt was sent home to fetch his father. The father came.

"Look at that!" said the irate teacher; "see what your son did; look at
that!"

Mynheer Harmen sat down and looked at the picture in his deliberate Dutch
way, and after about fifteen minutes said, "Well, it does look like you!"

Then he explained to the schoolmaster that the lad was sent to school
because he would not do much around the mill but draw pictures in the
dust, and it was hoped that the schoolmaster could teach him something.

The schoolmaster decided that it was a hopeless case, and the miller went
home to report to the boy's mother.

Now, whenever a Dutchman is confronted by a problem too big to solve, or
a task too unpleasant for him to undertake, he shows his good sense by
turning it over to his wife. "You are his mother, anyway," said Harmen
van Ryn, reproachfully.

The mother simply waived the taunt and asked, "Do you tell me the
schoolmaster says he will not do anything but draw pictures?"

"Not a tap will he do but make pictures--he can not multiply two by one."

"Well," said the mother, "if he will not do anything but draw pictures, I
think we'd better let him draw pictures."

       *       *       *       *       *

At that early age I do not think Rembrandt was ambitious to be a painter.
Good healthy boys of fourteen are not hampered and harassed by
ambition--ambition, like love, camps hot upon our trail later. Ambition
is the concomitant of rivalry, and sex is its chief promoter--it is a
secondary sex manifestation.

The boy simply had a little intuitive skill in drawing, and the exercise
of the talent was a gratification. It pleased him to see the semblance of
face or form unfold before him. It was a kind of play, a working off of
surplus energy.

Had the lad's mind at that time been forcibly diverted to books or
business, it is very probable that today the catalogs would be without
the name of Rembrandt.

But mothers have ambitions, even if boys have not--they wish to see their
children do things that other women's children can not do. Among wild
animals the mother kills, when she can, all offspring but her own. Darwin
refers to mother-love as, "that instinct in the mind of the female which
causes her to exaggerate the importance of her offspring--often
protecting them to the death." Through this instinct of protection is the
species preserved. In human beings mother-love is well flavored with
pride, prejudice, jealousy and ambition. This is because the mother is a
woman. And this is well--God made it all, and did He not look upon His
work and pronounce it good?

The mother of Rembrandt knew that in Leyden there were men who painted
beautiful pictures. She had seen these pictures at the University, and in
the Town Hall and in the churches; and she had overheard men discussing
and criticizing the work. She herself was poor and uneducated, her
husband was only a miller, with no recreation beyond the beer-garden and
a clicking reluctantly off to church in his wooden shoes on Sunday. They
had no influential friends, no learned patrons--the men at the University
never so much as nodded to millers. Her lot was lowly, mean, obscure, and
filled with drudgery and pettiness. And now some one was saying her boy
Rembrandt was lazy; he would neither work nor study. The taunt stung her
mother-pride--"He will do nothing but make pictures!"

Ah! a great throb came to her heart. Her face flushed, she saw it
all--all in prophetic vision stood out like an etching on the blankness
of the future. "He will do nothing but draw pictures? Very well then, he
shall draw pictures! He will draw so well that they shall adorn the
churches of Leyden, and the Town Hall, and yes! even the churches of
Amsterdam. Holland shall be proud of my boy! He will teach other men to
draw, his pictures will command fabulous prices, and his name shall be
honored everywhere! Yes, my boy shall draw pictures! This day will I take
him to Mynheer Jacob van Swanenburch, who was a pupil of the great
Rubens, and who has scholars even from Antwerpen. I will take him to the
Master, and I will say: 'Mynheer, I am only a poor woman, the daughter of
an honest baker. My husband is a miller. This is my son. He will do
nothing but draw pictures. Here is a bag of gold--not much, but it is all
good gold; there are no bad coins in this bag; I've been ten years in
saving them. Take this bag--it is yours--now teach my son to paint. Teach
him as you taught Valderschoon and those others--my memory is bad, I can
not remember the names--I'm only a poor woman. Show my boy how to paint.
And when I am dead, and you are dead, men will come to your grave and
say, "It is here that he rests, here--the man who first taught Rembrandt
Harmenszoon to use a brush!" Do you hear, Mynheer Van Swanenburch? The
gold--it is yours--and this is my boy!'"

       *       *       *       *       *

The Van Swanenburches were one of the most aristocratic families of
Leyden. Jacob van Swanenburch's father had been burgomaster, and he
himself occupied from time to time offices of importance. He was not a
great painter, although several specimens of his work still adorn the
Town Hall of his native city.

Rembrandt was not very anxious to attend Swanenburch's classes. He was a
hesitating, awkward youth, and on this account was regarded as unsocial.
For a year the boy looked on, listened, and made straight marks and
curves and all that. He did not read, and the world of art was a thing
unknown to him.

There are two kinds of people to be found in all studios: those who talk
about art, and the fellows who paint the pictures.

However, Rembrandt was an exception, and for a time would do neither. He
would not paint, because he said he could not--anyway he would not; but
no doubt he did a deal of thinking. This habit of reticence kept him in
the background, and even the master had suspicions that he was too beefy
to hold a clear mental conception.

The error of the Swanenburch atelier lay in the fact that quiet folks are
not necessarily stupid. It is doubtless true, however, that stupid men by
remaining quiet may often pass for men of wisdom: this is because no man
can really talk as wisely as he can look.

Young Rembrandt was handicapped by a full-moon face, and small gray eyes
that gave no glint, and his hair was so tousled and unruly that he could
not wear a hat.

So the sons of aristocrats who cracked sly jokes at the miller's boy had
their fun.

Rembrandt usually came in late, after the master had begun his little
morning lecture. The lad was barefoot, having left his wooden shoon in
the hallway "so as not to wear out the floor." He would bow awkwardly to
the professor, fall over a chair or two that had been slyly pushed in his
way, and taking his seat chew the butt end of a brush.

"Why are you always late?" asked the master one day.

"Oh, I was working at home and forgot the time."

"And what are you working at?"

"Me? I'm--I'm drawing a little," and he colored vermilion to the back of
his neck.

"Well, bring your work here so we can profit by it," exclaimed a joker,
and the class guffawed.

The next morning the lad brought his picture--a woman's face--a picture
of a face, homely, wrinkled, weather-beaten, but with a look of love and
patience and loyalty beaming out of the quiet eyes.

"Who did this?" demanded the teacher.

Rembrandt hesitated, stuttered, stammered, and then confessed that he did
it himself--he could not tell a lie.

He was sure the picture would be criticized and ridiculed, but he had
decided to face it out. It was a picture of his mother, and he had
sketched her just as she looked. He would let them laugh, and then at
noon he would wait outside the door and smash the boy who laughed loudest
over the head with a wooden shoe--and let it go at that.

But the scholars did not laugh, for Jacob van Swanenburch took the boy by
the hand and leading him out before the class told those young men to
look upon their master.

From that time forth Rembrandt was regarded by the little art world of
Leyden as a prodigy.

Like William Cullen Bryant, who wrote "Thanatopsis" when scarcely
eighteen, and writing for sixty years thereafter never equaled it, or
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who wrote "The Blessed Damozel" at the same age,
Rembrandt sprang into life full-armed.

It is probably true that he could not then have produced an elaborate
composition, but his faces were Rembrandtesque from the very first.

Rembrandt is the king of light and shade. You never mistake his work. As
the years passed, around him clustered a goodly company of pupils,
hundreds in all, who diligently worked to catch the trick, but Rembrandt
stands alone. "He is the only artist who could ever paint a wrinkle,"
says Ruskin. All his portraits have the warts on. And the thought has
often come to me that only a Rembrandt--the only Rembrandt--could have
portrayed the face of Lincoln. Plain, homely, awkward, eyes not mates,
sunken cheeks, leathery skin, moles, uncombed hair, neckcloth askew; but
over and above and beyond all a look of power--and the soul! that look of
haunting sorrow and the great, gentle, compassionate soul within!

And so there is a picture of Rembrandt's mother which this son painted
that must ever stand out as one of the world's masterpieces. Let who
will, declare that the portrait by Richter in the Gallery at Cologne, of
Queen Louise, is the handsomest portrait ever painted; yet the depth of
feeling, the dignity and love in the homely old mother's face, pale not
in comparison, but are things to which the proud and beautiful Queen
herself paid homage.

Rembrandt painted nearly a hundred pictures of his mother that we can
trace. In most of them she holds in her hands a little Bible, and thus
did the son pay tribute to her devoted piety. She was a model of which he
never tired. He painted her in court dress, and various other fantastic
garbs, that she surely never wore. He painted her as a nun, as a queen, a
court beauty, a plain peasant, a musician; and in various large pictures
her face and form are introduced. And most of these pictures of his
mother are plainly signed with his monogram. He also painted his sister
as the Madonna, and this is signed; but although he doubtless painted his
father's face, yet he did not sign such pictures, so their authenticity
is a hazard. This fact gives a clue to his affections which each can work
out for himself.

Rembrandt remained with Swanenburch for three years, and the master
proved his faithful friend. He gave him an introduction into the
aristocratic art world which otherwise might have barred its doors
against so profound a genius, as aristocracy has done time and again.

The best artists are not necessarily the best teachers. If a man has too
much skill along a certain line he will overpower and kill the
individuality in his pupil. There are teachers who smother a pupil with
their own personality, and thus it often happens that the strongest men
are not the most useful as instructors. The ideal teacher is not the one
who bends all minds to match his own; but the one who is able to bring
out and develop the good that is in the pupil--him we will crown with
laurel.

Swanenburch was pretty nearly the ideal teacher. His good nature, the
feminine quality of sympathy in his character, his freedom from all
petty, quibbling prejudice, and his sublime patience all worked to burst
the tough husk, and develop that shy and sensitive, yet uncouth and
silent youth, bringing out the best that was in him. A wrong environment
in those early years might easily have shaped Rembrandt into a morose and
resentful dullard: the good in his nature, thrown back upon itself, would
have been turned to gall.

       *       *       *       *       *

The little business on the city wall had prospered, and Harmen van Ryn
moved, with his family, out of the old mill into a goodly residence
across the street. He was carrying his head higher, and the fact that his
son Rembrandt was being invited to the homes of the professors at the
University was incidentally thrown off, until the patrons at the
beer-garden grew aweary and rapped their glasses on the table as a signal
for silence.

Swanenburch had given a public exhibition of the work of his pupils, at
which young Rembrandt had been pushed forward as an example of what right
methods in pedagogics could do.

"Well, why can not all your scholars draw like that, then?" asked a
broad-beamed Dutchman.

"They certainly could, if they would follow the principles I lay down,"
answered the master severely.

But admiration did not spoil Rembrandt. His temperature was too low for
ebullition--he took it all quite as a matter of course. His work was done
with such ease that he was not aware it was extraordinary in quality; and
when Swanenburch sold several of his sketches at goodly prices and put
the silver in the lad's hand, he asked who the blockheads were who had
invested.

Swanenburch taught his pupils the miracle of spreading a thin coat of wax
on a brass plate, and drawing a picture in the wax with a sharp graver;
then acid was poured over it and the acid ate into the brass so as to
make a plate from which you could print. Etching was a delight to
Rembrandt. Expert illustrators of books were in demand at Leyden, for it
was then the bookmaking center of Northern Europe. The Elzevirs were
pushing the Plantins of Antwerp hard for first place.

So skilfully did Rembrandt sketch, that one of the great printers made a
proposition to his father to take the boy until he was twenty-one, and
pay the father a thousand florins a year for the lad's services as an
illustrator. The father accepted the proposition; and the next day
brought around another Harmenszoon, who he declared was just as good. But
the bookmaker was stubborn and insisted on having a certain one or none.
So the bargain fell through.

It was getting near four years since Swanenburch had taken Rembrandt into
his keeping, and now he went to the boy's parents and said: "I have given
all I have to offer to your son. He can do all I can, and more. There is
only one man who can benefit him and that is Pieter Lastman, of
Amsterdam. He must go and study with the great Lastman--I myself will
take him."

Lastman had spent four years in Italy, and had come back full to
overflowing with classic ideas. His family was one of the most
aristocratic in Amsterdam, and whatever he said concerning art was quoted
as final. He was the court of last appeal. His rooms were filled with
classic fragments, and on his public days visitors flocked to hear what
he might have to say about the wonders of Venice, Florence and Rome. For
in those days men seldom traveled out of their own countries, and those
who did had strange tales to tell the eager listeners when they returned.

Lastman was handsome, dashing, popular. His pictures were in demand,
principally because they were Lastman's. Proud ladies came from afar and
begged the privilege of sitting as his model. In Italy, Lastman had found
that many painters employed 'prentice talent. The great man would sketch
out the pictures, and the boys would fill in the color. Lastman would go
off about his business, and perhaps drop in occasionally during the day
to see how the boys got on, adding a few touches here and there, and
gently rebuking those who showed too much genius. Lastman believed in
genius, of course; but only his own genius filled his ideal. As a
consequence all of Lastman's pictures are alike--they are all equally
bad. They represent neither the Italian school nor the Dutch, being
hybrids: Italian skies and Holland backgrounds; Dutchmen dressed as
dagoes.

Lastman was putting money in his purse. He closely studied public tastes,
and conformed thereto. He was popular, and there is in America today a
countryman of his, of like temperament, who is making much moneys out of
literature by similar methods.

Into Lastman's keeping came the young man, Rembrandt Harmens. Lastman
received him cordially, and set him to work.

But the boy proved hard to manage: he had his own ideas about how
portraits should be painted.

Lastman tried to unlearn him. The master was patient, and endeavored hard
to make the young man paint as he should--that is, as Lastman did; but
the result was not a success. The Lastman intellect felt sure that
Rembrandt had no talent worth encouraging.

Lastman produced a great number of pictures, and his name can be found in
the catalogs of the galleries of Amsterdam, Munich, Berlin and Antwerp;
and his canvases are in many of the old castles and palaces of Germany.
In recent years they have been enjoying a vogue, simply because it was
possible that Rembrandt had worked on them. All the "Lastmans" have been
gotten out and thoroughly dusted by the connoisseurs, in a frantic search
for earmarks.

The perfect willingness of Lastman to paint a picture on any desired
subject, and have it ready Saturday night, all in the colors the patron
desired, with a guarantee that it would give satisfaction, filled the
heart of Rembrandt with loathing.

At the end of six months, when he signified a wish to leave, it was a
glad relief to the master. Lastman had tried to correct Rembrandt's
vagaries as to chiaroscuro, but without success. So he wrote an ambiguous
letter certifying to the pupil's "having all his future before him," gave
him a present of ten florins in jingling silver, and sent him back to his
folks.

       *       *       *       *       *

Rembrandt had been disillusioned by his stay in the fashionable art-world
of Amsterdam. Some of his idols had crumbled, and there came into his
spirit a goodly dash of pessimism. His father was disappointed and
suggested that he get a place as illustrator at the bookmakers, before
some one else stepped in and got the job.

But Rembrandt was not ambitious. He decided he would not give up
painting, at least not yet--he would keep at it and he would paint as he
pleased. He had lost faith in teachers. He moped around the town, and
made the acquaintance of the painter Engelbrechtsz and his talented
pupil, Lucas van Leyden. Their work impressed him greatly, and he studied
out every detail on the canvases until he had absorbed the very spirit of
the artist. Then, when he painted, he very naturally took their designs,
and treated them in his own way. Indeed, the paucity in invention of
those early days must ever impress the student of art.

In visiting the galleries of Europe, I made it my business to secure a
photograph of every "Madonna and Babe" of note that I could find. My
collection now numbers over one hundred copies, with no two alike.

The Madonna, of course, is the extreme example; but there are dozens of
"The Last Supper," "Abraham's Sacrifice," "The Final Judgment," "The
Brazen Serpent," "Raising of Lazarus," "The Annunciation," "Rebekah at
the Well" and so on.

If one painter produced a notable picture, all the other artists in the
vicinity felt it their duty to treat the same subject; in fact, their
honor was at stake--they just had to, in order to satisfy the clamor of
their friends, and meet the challenges of detractors.

This "progressive sketching" was kept up, each man improving, or trying
to improve, on the attempts of the former, until a Leonardo struck twelve
and painted his "Last Supper," or a Rubens did his "Descent From the
Cross"--then competitors grew pale, and tried their talent on a lesser
theme.

One of the most curious examples of the tendency to follow a bellwether
is found in the various pictures called "The Anatomy Lesson." When Venice
was at its height, in the year Fourteen Hundred Ninety-two--a date we can
easily remember--an unknown individual drew a picture of a professor of
anatomy; on a table in the center is a naked human corpse, while all
around are ranged the great doctor's pupils. Dissection had just been
introduced into Venice at that time, and in a treatise on the subject by
Andrea Vesali, I find that it became quite the fad. The lecture-rooms
were open to the public, and places were set apart for women visitors and
the nobility, while all around the back were benches for the plain
people. On the walls were skeletons, and in cases were arranged saws,
scalpels, needles, sponges and various other implements connected with
the cheerful art.

The Unknown's picture of this scene made a sensation. And straightway
other painters tried their hands at it, the unclothed form of the corpse
affording a fine opportunity for the "classic touch." Paul Veronese tried
it, and so did the Bellinis--Titian also.

Then a century passed, as centuries do, and the glory of Venice drifted
to Amsterdam--commercially and artistically. Amsterdam painters used
every design that the Venetians had, and some of their efforts were sorry
attempts. In Sixteen Hundred Twenty, following Venetian precedent,
dissection became a fad in Leyden and Amsterdam. Swanenburch engraved a
picture of the Leyden dissecting-room, with a brace of gallant doctors
showing some fair ladies the beauties of the place. The Dutch were
ambitious--the young men, Rembrandt included, drew pictures entitled,
"The Lesson in Anatomy." Doctors who were getting on in the world gave
orders for portraits, showing themselves as about to begin work on a
subject. One physician, with intent to get even with his rival, had the
artist picture the rival in the background as a pupil. Then the rival
ordered a picture of himself, proud and beautiful, giving a lesson in
anatomy, armed and equipped for business, and the cadaver was--the other
doctor.

At the Chicago Fair, in Eighteen Hundred Ninety-three, there was shown a
most striking "Anatomy Lesson" from the brush of a young New York artist.
It pictures the professor removing the sheet from the face of the
corpse, and we behold the features of a beautiful young woman.

Some day I intend to write a book entitled, "The Evolution and
Possibilities of the Anatomy Lesson." Keep your eye on the subject--we
are not yet through with it.

Swanenburch offered to give Rembrandt a room in his own house, but he
preferred the old mill, and a wheat-bin was fitted up for a private
studio. The fittings of the studio must have cost fully two dollars,
according to all accounts; there were a three-legged stool, an easel, a
wooden chest, and a straw bed in the corner. Only one window admitted the
light, and this was so high up that the occupant was not troubled by
visitors looking in.

Our best discoveries are the result of accident.

This single window, eight feet from the ground, allowed the rays of light
to enter in a stream. On cloudy days and early in the mornings or in the
evenings, Rembrandt noted that when the light fell on the face of the
visitor the rest of the body was wholly lost in the shadow. He placed a
curtain over the window with a varying aperture cut in it, and with his
mother as model made numerous experiments in the effects of light and
shade. He seems to have been the very first artist who could draw a part
of the form, leaving all the rest in absolute blackness, and yet give the
impression to the casual onlooker that he sees the figure complete. Plain
people with no interest in the technique of art will look upon a
"Rembrandt," and go away and describe things in the picture that are not
there. They will declare to you that they saw them--those obvious things
which one fills in at once with his inward eye. For instance, there is a
portrait of a soldier, by Rembrandt, in the Louvre, and above the
soldier's head you see a tall cockade. You assume at once that this
cockade is in the soldier's hat, but no hat is shown--not the semblance
nor the outline of a hat. There is a slight line that might be the rim of
a hat, or it might not. But not one person out of a thousand, looking
upon the picture, but would go away and describe the hat, and be
affronted if you should tell them there is no hat in the picture. Given a
cockade, we assume a hat.

By the use of shadows Rembrandt threw the faces into relief; he showed
the things he wished to show and emphasized one thing by leaving all else
out. The success of art depends upon what you omit from your canvas. This
masterly effect of illusion made the son of the miller stand out in the
Leyden art-world like one of his own etchings.

Curiously enough, the effect of a new model made Rembrandt lose his
cunning; with strangers he was self-conscious and ill at ease. His mother
was his most patient model; his father and sisters took their turn; and
then there was another model who stood Rembrandt in good stead. And that
was himself. We have all seen children stand before a mirror and make
faces. Rembrandt very early contracted this habit, and it evidently
clung to him through life. He has painted his own portrait with
expressions of hate, fear, pride, mirth, indifference, hope and wrath
shown on his plastic features.

There is also an old man with full white beard and white hair that
Rembrandt has pictured again and again.

This old man poses for "Lot," "Abraham," "Moses," "A Beggar," "A King,"
and once he even figures as "The Almighty." Who he was we do not know,
and surely he did not realize the honor done him, or he would have
written a proud word of explanation to be carved on his tomb.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the Stuttgart Museum is a picture entitled, "Saint Paul in Prison,"
signed by Rembrandt, with the date Sixteen Hundred Twenty-seven. "The
Money-Changers" in the Berlin Gallery bears the same signature and date.
Rembrandt was then twenty years of age, and we see that he was doing good
work. We also know that there was a certain market for his wares.

When twenty-two years of age his marvelous effects of light and shade
attracted people who were anxious to learn how to do it. According to
report he had sixteen pupils in Sixteen Hundred Twenty-eight, each of
whom paid him the fixed sum of one hundred florins. This was not much,
but it gave him an income equal to that of his father, and tended to
confirm his faith in his own powers.

His energy was a surprise to all who had known him, for besides teaching
his classes he painted, sketched and etched. Most of his etchings were of
his own face--not intended as portraits, for they are often purposely
disguised. It seemed to be the intent of the artist to run the whole
gamut of the passions, portraying them on the human face. Six different
etchings done in the year Sixteen Hundred Twenty-eight are to be seen in
the British Museum.

His most intimate friend at this time was Jan Lievens. The bond that
united them was a mutual contempt for Lastman of Amsterdam. In fact, they
organized a club, the single qualification required of each candidate for
admittance being a hatred for Lastman. This club met weekly at a
beer-hall, and each member had to relate an incident derogatory to the
Lastman school. At the close of each story, all solemnly drank eternal
perdition to Lastman and his ilk. Finally, Lastman was invited to join;
and in reply he wrote a gracious letter of acceptance. This surely shows
that Lastman was pretty good quality, after all.

Rembrandt was making money. His pupils spread his praise, and so many new
ones came that he took the old quarters of Swanenburch.

In Sixteen Hundred Thirty-one, there came to him a young man who was to
build a deathless name for himself--Gerard Dou. Then to complete the
circle came Joris van Vliet, whose reputation as an engraver must ever
take a first rank. Van Vliet engraved many of Rembrandt's pictures, and
did it so faithfully and with such loving care that copies today command
fabulous prices among the collectors. Indeed, we owe to Van Vliet a debt
for preserving many of Rembrandt's pictures, the originals of which have
disappeared. With the help of Van Vliet the Elzevirs accomplished their
wishes, and so made use of the talent of Rembrandt.

Rembrandt lived among the poor, as a matter of artistic policy, mingling
with them on an absolute equality. He considered their attitudes simpler,
more natural, and their conduct less artificial, than the manners of
those in higher walks.

About Sixteen Hundred Twenty-nine, there came into his hands a set of
Callot's engravings, and the work produced on his mind a profound
impression. Callot's specialty was beggardom. He pictured decrepit
beggars, young beggars, handsome girl-beggars, and gallant old beggars
who wore their fluttering rags with easy grace.

The man who could give the phlegmatic Rembrandt a list to starboard must
have carried considerable ballast. Straightway on making Callot's
acquaintance he went forth with bags of coppers and made the acquaintance
of beggars. He did not have to travel far--"the Greeks were at his door."
The news spread, and each morning, the truthful Orles has told us, "there
were over four hundred beggars blocking the street that led to his
study," all willing to enlist in the cause of art. For six months
Rembrandt painted little beside "the ragged gentry." But he gradually
settled down on about ten separate and distinct types of abject
picturesqueness.

Ten years later, when he pictured the "Healing Christ," he introduced the
Leyden beggars, and these fixed types that he carried hidden in the cells
of his brain he introduced again and again in various pictures. In this
respect he was like all good illustrators: he had his properties, and by
new combinations made new pictures. Who has not noticed that every
painter carries in his kit his own distinct types--sealed, certified to,
and copyrighted by popular favor as his own personal property?

Can you mistake Kemble's "coons," Denslow's dandies, Remington's horses,
Giannini's Indians, or Gibson's "Summer Girl"? These men may not be
Rembrandts, but when we view the zigzag course art has taken, who dare
prophesy that this man's name is writ in water and that man's carved in
the granite of a mountain-side! Contemporary judgments usually have been
wrong. Did the chief citizens of Leyden in the year Sixteen Hundred
Thirty regard Rembrandt's beggars as immortal? Not exactly!

       *       *       *       *       *

In Sixteen Hundred Thirty-one, Rembrandt concluded that his reputation in
the art-world of Holland was sufficient for him to go to Amsterdam and
boldly pit himself against De Keyser, Hals, Lastman and the rest. He had
put forth his "Lesson in Anatomy," and the critics and connoisseurs who
had come from the metropolis to see it were lavish in their praise. Later
we find him painting the subject again with another doctor handling the
tweezers and scalpel.

Rembrandt started for Amsterdam the second time--this time as a teacher,
not as a scholar. He rented an old warehouse on the canal for a studio.
It was nearly as outlandish a place as his former quarters in the mill at
Leyden. But it gave him plenty of room, was secluded, and afforded good
opportunity for experiments in light and shade.

He seemed to have gotten over his nervousness in working with strange
models; for new faces now begin to appear. One of these is that of a
woman, and it would have been well for his art had he never met her. We
see her face quite often, and in the "Diana Bathing" we behold her
altogether.

Rembrandt shows small trace of the classic instinct, for classic art is
founded on poetic imagination. Rembrandt painted what he saw; the Greeks
portrayed that which they felt; and when Rembrandt paints a Dutch wench
and calls her "Diana," he unconsciously illustrates the difference
between the naked and the nude. Rembrandt painted this same woman,
wearing no clothes to speak of, lolling on a couch; and evidently
considering the subject a little risky, thought to give it dignity by a
Biblical title: "Potiphar's Wife." One good look at this picture, and the
precipitate flight of Joseph is fully understood. We feel like following
his example.

Rembrandt had simply haunted the dissecting-rooms of the University at
Leyden a little too long.

The study of these viragos scales down our rating of the master. Still, I
suppose every artist has to go through this period--the period when he
thinks he is called upon to portray the feminine form divine--it is like
the mumps and the measles.

After a year of groping for he knew not what, with money gone, and not
much progress made, Rembrandt took a reef in his pride and settled down
to paint portraits, and to do a little good honest teaching.

Scholars came to him, and commissions for portraits began to arrive. He
renounced the freaks of costume, illumination and attitude, and painted
the customer in plain, simple Dutch dress. He let "Diana" go, and went
soberly to work to make his fortune.

Holland was prosperous. Her ships sailed every sea, and brought rich
treasures home. The prosperous can afford to be generous. Philanthropy
became the fad. Charity was in the air, and hospitals, orphanages and
homes for the aged were established. The rich merchants felt it an honor
to serve on the board of managers of these institutions.

In each of the guildhalls were parlors set apart for deliberative
gatherings; and it became the fashion to embellish these rooms with
portraits of the managers, trustees and donors.

Rembrandt's portraits were finding their way to the guilds. They
attracted much attention, and orders came--orders for more work than the
artist could do. He doubled his prices in the hope of discouraging
applicants.

Studio gossip and society chatter seemed to pall on young Rembrandt. It
is said that when a 'bus-driver has a holiday he always goes and rides
with the man who is taking his place; but when Rembrandt had a holiday he
went away from the studio, not towards it. He would walk alone, off
across the meadows, and along the canals, and once we find him tramping
thirty miles to visit cousins who were fishermen on the seacoast. Happy
fisher-folk!

But Rembrandt took few play-spells; he broke off entirely from his tavern
companions and lived the life of an ascetic and recluse, seeing no
society except the society that came to his studio. His heart was in his
art, and he was intent on working while it was called the day.

About this time there came to him Cornelis Sylvius, the eminent preacher,
to sit for a picture that was to adorn the Seaman's Orphanage, of which
Sylvius was director.

It took a good many sittings to bring out a Rembrandt portrait. On one of
his visits the clergyman was accompanied by a young woman--his ward--by
name, Saskia van Ulenburgh.

The girl was bright, animated and intelligent, and as she sat in the
corner the painter sort of divided his attention between her and the
clergyman. Then the girl got up, walked about a bit, looking at the
studio properties, and finally stood behind the young painter, watching
him work. This was one of the things Rembrandt could never, never endure.
It paralyzed his hand, and threw all his ideas into a jumble. It was the
law of his studio that no one should watch him paint--he had secrets of
technique that had cost him great labor.

"You do not mind my watching you work?" asked the ingenuous girl.

"Oh, not in the least!"

"You are quite sure my presence will not make you nervous, then?"

Rembrandt said something to the effect that he rather liked to have some
one watch him when he worked; it depended, of course, on who it was--and
asked the sitter to elevate his chin a little and not look so cross.

Next day Saskia came again to watch the transfer of the good uncle's
features to canvas.

The young artist was first among the portrait-painters of Amsterdam, and
had a long waiting-list on his calendar, but we find he managed to paint
a portrait of Saskia about that time. We have the picture now and we also
have four or five other pictures of her that Rembrandt produced that
year. He painted her as a queen, as a court lady and as a flower-girl.
The features may be disguised a little, but it is the same fine, bright,
charming, petite young woman.

Before six months had passed he painted several more portraits of Saskia;
and in one of these she has a sprig of rosemary--the emblem of
betrothal--held against her heart.

And then we find an entry at the Register's to the effect that they were
married on June Twenty-fourth, Sixteen Hundred Thirty-four.

Rembrandt's was a masterly nature: strong, original and unyielding. But
the young woman had no wish that was not his, and her one desire was to
make her lover happy. She was not a great woman, but she was good, which
is better, and she filled her husband's heart to the brim. Those first
few years of their married life read like a fairy-tale.

He bought her jewels, laces, elegant costumes, and began to fill their
charming home with many rare objects of art. All was for Saskia--his
life, his fortune, his work, his all.

As the years go by we shall see that it would have been better had he
saved his money and builded against the coming of the storm; but even
though Saskia protested mildly against his extravagance, the master
would have his way.

His was a tireless nature: he found his rest in change. He usually had
some large compositions on hand and turned to this for pastime when
portraits failed. Then Saskia was ever present, and if there was a
holiday he painted her as the "Jewish Bride," "The Gypsy Queen," or in
some other fantastic garb.

We have seen that in those early years at Leyden he painted himself, but
now it was only Saskia--she was his other self. All those numerous
pictures of himself were drawn before he knew Saskia--or after she had
gone.

Their paradise continued nine years--and then Saskia died.

Rembrandt was not yet forty when desolation settled down upon him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Saskia was the mother of five children; four of them had died, and the
babe she left, Titus by name, was only eight months old when she passed
away.

For six months we find that Rembrandt did very little. He was stunned,
and his brain and hand refused to co-operate.

The first commission he undertook was the portrait of the wife of one of
the rich merchants of the city. When the work was done, the picture
resembled the dead Saskia so much more than it did the sitter that the
patron refused to accept it. The artist saw only Saskia and continued to
portray her.

But work gave him rest, and he began a series of Biblical
studies--serious, sober scenes fitted to his mood. His hand had not lost
its cunning, for there is a sureness and individuality shown in his work
during the next few years that stamps him as the Master.

But his rivals raised a great clamor against his style. They declared
that he trampled on all precedent and scorned the laws on which true art
is built. However, he had friends, and they, to help him, went forth and
secured the commission--the famous "Night-Watch," now in the Ryks Museum
at Amsterdam.

The production of this fine picture resulted in a comedy of errors, that
shaded off into a tragedy for poor Rembrandt. The original commission for
this picture came from thirty-seven prominent citizens, who were to
share the expense equally among them. The order was for the portraits of
the eminent men to appear on one canvas, the subjects to be grouped in an
artistic way according to the artist's own conceit.

Rembrandt studied hard over the matter, as he was not content to execute
a picture of a mass of men doing nothing but pose.

It took a year to complete the picture. The canvas shows a band of armed
men, marching forth to the defense of the city in response to a sudden
night alarm. Two brave men lead the throng and the others shade off into
mere Rembrandt shadows, and you only know there are men there by the
nodding plumes, banners and spearheads that glisten in the pale light of
the torches.

When the picture was unveiled, the rich donors looked for themselves on
the canvas, and some looked in vain. Only two men were satisfied, and
these were the two who marched in the vanguard.

"Where am I?" demanded a wealthy shipowner of Rembrandt as the canvas was
scanned in a vain search for his proud features.

"You see the palace there in the picture, do you not?" asked the artist
petulantly.

"Yes, I see that," was the answer.

"Well, you are behind that palace."

The company turned on Rembrandt, and forbade the hanging of any more of
his pictures in the municipal buildings.

Rembrandt shrugged his shoulders. But as the year passed and orders
dropped away, he found how unwise a thing it is to affront the public.
Men who owed him refused to pay, and those whom he owed demanded their
money.

He continued doggedly on his course.

Some years before he had bought a large house and borrowed money to pay
for it, and had further given his note at hand to various merchants and
dealers in curios. As long as he was making money no one cared for more
than the interest, but now the principal was demanded. So sure had
Rembrandt been of his powers that he did not conceive that his income
could drop from thirty thousand florins a year to scarcely a fifth of
that.

Then his relations with Hendrickje Stoffels had displeased society. She
was his housekeeper, servant and model--a woman without education or
refinement, we are told. But she was loyal, more than loyal, to
Rembrandt: she lived but to serve him and sought to protect his interests
in every way. When summoned before the elders of the church to answer for
her conduct, she appeared, pleaded guilty and shocked the company by
declaring, "I would rather go to Hell with Rembrandt Harmens than play a
harp in Heaven, surrounded by such as you!"

The remark was bruited throughout the city and did Rembrandt no good. His
rivals combined to shut his work out of all exhibitions, and several made
it their business to buy up the overdue claims against him.

Then officers came and took possession of his house, and his splendid
collections of jewels, laces, furniture, curios and pictures were sold at
auction. The fine dresses that once belonged to Saskia were seized: they
even took her wedding-gown: and wanton women bid against the nobility for
the possession of these things. Rembrandt was stripped of his sketches,
and these were sold in bundles--the very sweat of his brain for years.
Then he was turned into the streets.

But Hendrickje Stoffels still clung to him, his only friend. Rembrandt's
proud heart was broken. He found companionship at the taverns; and to get
a needful loaf of bread for Hendrickje and his boy, made sketches and
hawked them from house to house.

Fashions change and art is often only a whim. People wondered why they
had ever bought those dark, shadowy things made by that Leyden artist,
What's-his-name! One man utilized the frames which contained "Rembrandts"
by putting other canvases right over in front of them.

Rembrandt's son Titus tried his skill at art, but with indifferent
success. He died while yet a youth. Then Hendrickje passed away, and
Rembrandt was alone--a battered derelict on the sea of life. He lost his
identity under an assumed name, and sketched with chalk on tavern-walls
and pavement for the amusement of the crowd.

He died in Sixteen Hundred Sixty-nine, and the expense of his burial was
paid by the hands of charity.

The cost of the funeral was seven dollars and fifty cents.

In Eighteen Hundred Ninety-seven, there was sold in London a small
portrait by Rembrandt for a sum equal to a trifle more than thirty-one
thousand dollars. But even this does not represent the true value of one
of his pictures--for connoisseurs regard a painting by Rembrandt as
priceless.

There is a law in Holland forbidding any one on serious penalty to remove
a "Rembrandt" from the country. If any one of the men who combined to
work his ruin is mentioned in history, it is only to say, "He lived in
the age of Rembrandt."



RUBENS

     I was admitted to the Duke of Lerma's presence, and took part in
     the embassy. The Duke exhibited great satisfaction at the
     excellence and number of the pictures, which surely have acquired
     a certain fair appearance of antiquity (by means of my
     retouching), in spite even of the damage they had undergone. They
     are held and accepted by the King and Queen as originals, without
     there being any doubt on their side, or assertion on ours, to
     make them believe them to be such.

           --_Letter From Rubens at Madrid, to Chieppo, Secretary of
                  the Duke of Mantua_

[Illustration: RUBENS]


The father of Peter Paul Rubens was a lawyer, a man of varied attainments
and marked personality. In statecraft he showed much skill, and by his
ability in business management served William the Silent, Prince of
Orange, in good stead.

But Jan Rubens had a bad habit of thinking for himself. The habit grew
upon him until the whisper was passed from this one to that, that he was
becoming decidedly atheistic.

Spain held a strong hand upon Antwerp, and the policy of Philip the
Second was to crush opposition in the bud. Jan Rubens had criticized
Spanish rule, and given it as his opinion that the Latin race would not
always push its domination upon the people of the North.

At this time Spain was so strong that she deemed herself omnipotent, and
was looking with lustful eyes towards England. Drake and Frobisher and
Walter Raleigh were learning their lessons in seafaring; Elizabeth was
Queen; while up at Warwickshire a barefoot boy named William Shakespeare
was playing in the meadows, and romping in the lanes and alleys of
Stratford.

All this was taking place at the time when Jan Rubens was doing a little
thinking on his own account. On reading the history of Europe, Flanders
seems to one to have been a battle-ground from the dawn of history up to
the night of June Eighteenth, Eighteen Hundred Fifteen, with a few
incidental skirmishes since, for it is difficult to stop short. And it
surely was meet that Napoleon should have gone up there to receive his
Waterloo, and charge his cavalry into a sunken roadway, making a bridge
across with a mingled mass of men and horses; upon which site now is a
huge mound thrown up by the English, surmounted by a gigantic bronze lion
cast from the captured cannon of the French.

Napoleon belonged to the Latin race: he pushed his rule north into
Flanders, and there his prowess ended--there at the same place where
Spanish rule had been throttled and turned back upon itself. "Thus far,
and no farther." Jan Rubens was right. But he paid dearly for his
prophecy.

When William the Silent was away on his many warfaring expeditions, the
man who had charge of certain of his affairs was Jan Rubens. Naturally
this brought Rubens into an acquaintanceship with the wife of the silent
prince. Rubens was a handsome man, ready in speech, and of the kind that
makes friends easily. And if the wife of the Prince of Orange liked the
vivacious Rubens better than the silent warrior (who won his sobriquet,
they do say, through density of emotion and lack of ideas), why, who can
blame her!

But Rubens had a wife of his own, to whom he was fondly attached; and
this wife was also the close and trusted friend of the woman whose
husband was off to the wars. And yet when this dense and silent man came
back from one of his expeditions, it was only publicly to affront and
disgrace his wife, and to cast Jan Rubens into a dungeon. No doubt the
Prince was jealous of the courtly Rubens--and the Iagos are a numerous
tribe. But Othello's limit had been reached. He damned the innocent woman
to the lowest pit, and visited his wrath on the man.

Of course I know full well that all Northern Europe once rang with shrill
gossip over the affair, and as usual the woman was declared the guilty
party. Even yet, when topics for scandal in Belgium run short, this old
tale is revived and gone over--sides being taken. I've gone over it, too,
and although I may be in the minority, just as I possibly am as to the
"guilt" of Eve, yet I stand firm on the side of the woman. I give the
facts just as they appear, having canvassed the whole subject, possibly a
little more than was good for me.

Republics may be ungrateful, but the favor of princes is fickle as the
East Wind.

We make a fine hullabaloo nowadays because France or Russia occasionally
tries and sentences a man without giving him an opportunity of defense;
but in the Sixteenth Century the donjon-keeps of hundreds of castles in
Europe were filled with prisoners whose offense consisted in being feared
or disliked by some whimsical local ruler.

Jan Rubens was sent on an official errand to Dillenburg, and arriving
there was seized and thrown into prison, without trial or the privilege
of communicating with his friends.

Months of agonizing search on the part of his wife failed to find him,
and the Prince only broke the silence long enough to usurp a woman's
privilege by telling a lie, and declaring he did not know where Rubens
was, "but I believe he has committed suicide through remorse."

The distracted wife made her way alone from prison to prison, and
finally, by bribing an official, found her husband was in an underground
cell in the fortress at Dillenburg. It was a year before she was allowed
to communicate with or see him. But Maria Rubens was a true diplomat. You
move a man not by going to him direct, but by finding out who it is that
has a rope tied to his foot. She secured the help of the discarded wife
of the Prince, and these two managed to interest a worthy bishop, who
brought his influence to bear on Count John of Nassau. This man had
jurisdiction of the district in which the fortress where Rubens was
confined was located; and he agreed to release the prisoner on parole on
condition that a deposit of six thousand thalers be left with him, and an
agreement signed by the prisoner that he would give himself up when
requested; and also, further, that he would acknowledge before witnesses
that he was guilty of the charges made against him.

The latter clause was to justify the Prince of Orange in his actions
toward him.

Rubens refused to plead guilty, even for the sake of sweet liberty, on
account of the smirch to the name of the Princess.

But on the earnest request of both his wife and the "co-respondent," he
finally accepted the terms in the same manner that Galileo declared the
earth stood still. Rubens got his liberty, was loyal to his parole, but
John of Nassau kept the six thousand thalers for "expenses."

So much for the honor of princes; but in passing it is worthy of recall
that Jan Rubens pleaded guilty of disloyalty to his wife, on request of
said wife, in order that he might enjoy the society of said wife--and
cast a cloud on the good name of another woman on said woman's request.

So here is a plot for a play: a tale of self-sacrifice and loyalty on the
part of two women that puts to shame much small talk we hear from small
men concerning the fickleness and selfishness of woman's love. "Brief as
woman's love!" said Hamlet--but then, Hamlet was crazy.

Jan Rubens died in Cologne, March Eighteenth, Fifteen Hundred
Eighty-seven, and lies buried in the Church of Saint Peter. Above the
grave is a slab containing this inscription: "Sacred to the Memory of Jan
Rubens, of Antwerp, who went into voluntary exile and retired with his
family to Cologne, where he abode for nineteen years with his wife Maria,
who was the mother of his seven children. With this his only wife Maria
he lived happily for twenty-six years without any quarrel. This monument
is erected by said Maria Pypelings Rubens to her sweetest and
well-deserved husband."

Of course, no one knew then that one of the seven--the youngest son of
Jan and Maria--was to win deathless fame, or that might have been carved
on the slab, too, even if something else had to be omitted.

But Maria need not have added that last clause, stating who it was that
placed the tablet: as it stands we should all have known that it was she
who dictated the inscription. Epitaphs are proverbially untruthful; hence
arose the saying, "He lies like an epitaph." The woman who can not evolve
a good lie in defense of the man she loves is unworthy of the name of
wife.

The lie is the weapon of defense that kind Providence provides for the
protection of the oppressed. "Women are great liars," said Mahomet;
"Allah in his wisdom made them so."

Hail, Maria Rubens! turned to dust these three hundred years, what star
do you now inhabit? or does your avatar live somewhere here in this
world? At the thought of your unselfish loyalty and precious fibbing, an
army of valiant, ghostly knights will arise from their graves, and rusty
swords leap from their scabbards if aught but good be said against thee.

"Ho, ho! and wasn't your husband really guilty, and didn't you know it
all the time?" I'll fling my glove full in the face of any man who dare
ask you such a question.

Beloved and loving wife for six-and-twenty years, and mother of seven,
looking the world squarely in the eye and telling a large and beautiful
untruth, carving it in marble to protect your husband's name, I kiss my
hand to you!

       *       *       *       *       *

In the doorpost of a queer little stone house in Cologne is carved an
inscription to the effect that Peter Paul Rubens was born there on June
Twenty-ninth, Fifteen Hundred Seventy-seven. It is probably true that the
parents of Rubens lived there, but Peter Paul was born at Siegen, under
the shadow of a prison from which his father was paroled.

After a few years the discipline relaxed, for there were new prisoners
coming along, and Maria and Jan were given permission to move to Cologne.

Peter Paul was ten years of age when his father died. The next year the
widow moved with her little brood back to Antwerp, back to the city from
which her husband had been exiled just twenty years before. Five years
previous the Prince of Orange, who had exiled her husband, was himself
sent on a journey, via the dagger of an assassin. As the chief enemy of
Jan Rubens was dead, it was the hope of the widow to recover their
property that had been confiscated.

Maria Rubens was a good Catholic; and she succeeded in making the
authorities believe that her husband had been, too, for the home that
Royalty had confiscated was returned to her.

The mother of Peter Paul loved the dim twilight mysteries of the Church,
and accepted every dogma and edict as the literal word of God. It is
easier and certainly safer to leave such matters to the specialists.

She was a born diplomat. She recognized the power of the Church and knew
that to win one must go with the current, not against it. To have doubts,
when the Church is willing to bear the whole burden, she thought very
foolish. Had she been a man she would have been a leader among the
Jesuits. The folly of opposition had been shown her most vividly in her
husband's career. What could he not have been had he been wise and
patient and ta'en the tide at its flood! And this was the spirit that she
inculcated in the minds of her children.

Little Peter Paul was a handsome lad--handsome as his father--with big,
dark brown eyes and clustering curls. He was bright, intelligent, and
blessed with a cheerful, obliging disposition. He came into the world a
welcome child, carrying the beauty of the morning in his face, and form,
and spirit.

No wonder is it that the Countess de Lalaing desired the boy for a page
as soon as she saw him. His mother embraced the opportunity to let her
favorite child see court life, and so at the early age of twelve, at a
plunge, he began that career in polite diplomacy that was to continue for
half a century.

The Countess called herself his "other mother," and lavished upon him all
the attention that a childless woman had to bestow. The mornings were
sacred to his lessons, which were looked after by a Jesuit priest; and in
the afternoon, another priest came to give the ladies lessons in the
languages, and at these circles young Peter Paul was always present as
one of the class.

Indeed, the earliest accomplishment of Peter Paul was his polyglot
ability. When he arrived at Antwerp, a mere child, he spoke German,
Flemish and French.

Such a favorite did little Peter Paul become with his "other mother," and
her ladies of the court, that his sure-enough mother grew a bit jealous,
and feared they would make a hothouse plant of her boy, and so she took
him away.

The question was, for what profession should he be educated? That he
should serve the Church and State was already a settled fact in the
mother's mind: to get on in the world you must cultivate and wisely serve
those who are in power--that is, those who have power to bestow. Priests
were plentiful as blackberries, and politicians were on every corner, and
many of the priests and officeseekers had no special talent to recommend
them. They were simply timeservers. Maria knew this: To get on you must
have several talents, otherwise people will tire of you.

In Cologne, Maria Rubens had met returned pilgrims from Rome and they had
told her of that trinity of giants, Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo;
and how these men had been the peers of prince and pope, because they had
the ability to execute marvelous works of beauty.

This extraordinary talent called attention to themselves, so they were
summoned out of the crowd and became the companions and friends of the
greatest names of their time.

And then, how better can one glorify his Maker than by covering the
sacred walls of temples with rich ornament!

The boy entered into the project, and the mother's ambition that he
should retrieve his father's fortune fired his heart. Thus does the
failure in life of a parent often give incentive to the genius of a son.

Tobias Verhaecht was the man who taught Rubens the elements of drawing,
and inculcated in him that love of Nature which was to be his lifelong
heritage. The word "landscape" is Flemish, and it was the Dutch who
carried the term and the art into England. Verhaecht was among the very
first of landscape-painters. He was a specialist: he could draw trees and
clouds, and a winding river, but could not portray faces. And so he used
to call in a worthy portrait-painter, by the name of Franck, to assist
him whenever he had a canvas on the easel that demanded the human form.
Then when Franck wanted background and perspective, Verhaecht would go
over with a brush and a few pots of paint and help him out.

At fifteen, the keen, intuitive mind of Rubens had fathomed the talents
of those two worthies, Verhaecht and Franck. His mind was essentially
feminine: he absorbed ideas in the mass. Soon he prided himself on being
able to paint alone as good a picture as the two collaborators could
together. Yet he was too wise to affront them by the boast. The bent of
his talent he thought was toward historical painting; and more than this,
he knew that only epic art would open the churches for a painter. And so
he next became a pupil under Adam van Noort. This man was a rugged old
character, who worked out things in his own way and pushed the standard
of painting full ten points to the front. His work shows a marked advance
over that of his contemporaries and over the race of painters that
preceded him. Every great artist is the lingering representative of an
age that is dead, or else he is the prophet and forerunner of a golden
age to come.

When I visited the Church of Saint Jaques in Antwerp, where Rubens lies
buried, the good old priest who acted as guide called my attention to a
picture by Van Noort, showing Peter finding the money in the mouth of the
fish. "A close study of that picture will reveal to you the germ of the
Rubens touch," said the priest, and he was surely right: its boldness of
drawing, the strong, bright colors and the dexterity in handling all say,
"Rubens." Rubens builded on the work of Van Noort.

Twenty years after Rubens had left the studio of Van Noort he paid
tribute to his old master by saying, "Had Van Noort visited Italy and
caught the spirit of the classicists, his name would stand first among
Flemish artists."

Rubens worked four years with Van Noort and then entered the studio of
Otto van Veen. This man was not a better painter than Van Noort, but he
occupied a much higher social position, and Peter Paul was intent on
advancing his skirmish-line. He never lost ground. Van Veen was Court
Painter, and on friendly terms with the Archduke Albert, and Isabella,
his wife, daughter of Philip the Second, King of Spain.

Van Veen took very few pupils--only those who had the ability to aid him
in completing his designs. To have worked with this master was an
introduction at once into the charmed circle of royalty.

Rubens was in no haste to branch out on his own account: he was quite
content to know that he was gaining ground, making head upon the whole.
He won the confidence of Van Veen at once by his skill, his cheerful
presence, and ability to further the interests of his master and patrons.
In Fifteen Hundred Ninety-nine, when Rubens was twenty-two, he was
enrolled as a free master at the Guild of Saint Luke on the nomination of
Van Veen, who also about this time introduced the young artist to Albert
and Isabella.

But the best service that Van Veen did for Rubens was in taking him into
his home and giving him free access to the finest collection of Italian
art in the Netherlands. These things filled the heart of Rubens with a
desire to visit Italy, and there to dive deeply into the art spirit of
that land from which all our art has sprung.

To go abroad then and gain access to the art treasures of the world was
not a mere matter of asking for a passport, handing out a visiting-card,
and paying your way.

Young men who wished to go abroad to study were required to pass a stiff
examination. If it was believed that they could not represent their own
country with honor, their passports were withheld. And to travel without
a passport was to run the risk of being arrested as an absconder.

But Rubens' place in society was already secure. Instead of applying for
his passports personally and undergoing the usual catechization, his
desires were explained to Van Veen, and all technicalities were waived,
as they always are when you strike the right man. Not only were the
passports forthcoming, but Albert and Isabella wrote a personal note to
Viccuzo Gonzaga, the Duke of Mantua, commending the young painter to the
Duke's good offices.

Van Veen further explained to Rubens that to know the Duke of Mantua
might mean either humiliation or crowning success. To attain the latter
through the Duke of Mantua, it was necessary to make a good impression on
Annibale Chieppo, the Duke's Minister of State. Chieppo had the keeping
of the ducal conscience as well as the key to the strong-box.

The Duke of Mantua was one of those strange loaded dice that Fate
occasionally flings upon this checkerboard of time: one of those
characters whose feverish faculties border on madness, yet who do the
world great good by breaking up its balances, preventing social
ankylosis, and eventually forcing upon mankind a new deal. But in the
train of these vagrant stars famine and pestilence follow.

The Duke of Mantua was brother in spirit to the man who made
Versailles--and making Versailles undid France.

Versailles is a dream: no language that the most enthusiastic lovers of
the beautiful may utter, can exaggerate the wonders of those acres of
palaces and miles of gardens. The magnificence of the place makes the
ready writer put up his pencil, and go away whipped, subdued and
crestfallen to think that here are creations that no one pen can even
catalog. Louis the Grand, we are told, had thirty-six thousand men and
six thousand horses at work here at one time. No wonder Madame De
Maintenon was oppressed by the treasures that were beyond the capacity of
man to contemplate; and so off in the woods was built that lover's
retreat, "The Trianon." And out there today, hidden in the forest, we
behold the second Trianon, built by Marie Antoinette, and we also see
those straw-thatched huts where the ladies of her Court played at peasant
life.

Louis the Fourteenth builded so well that he discouraged his successor
from doing anything but play keep-house, and so extensively that France
was rent in twain, and so mightily that even Napoleon Bonaparte was
staggered at the thought of maintaining Versailles.

"It's too much for any man to enjoy--I give it up!" said the Little Man,
perplexed, and ordered every door locked and every window tightly
shuttered. Then he placed a thousand men to guard the place and went
about his business.

But today Versailles belongs to the people of France; more, it belongs to
the people of earth: all is free and you may carry away all the beauty of
the place that your soul can absorb.

Now, who shall say that Louis the Fourteenth has not enriched the world?

The Duke of Mantua was sumptuous in his tastes, liberal, chivalrous,
voluptuous, extravagant. At the same time he had a cultivated mind, an
eye for proportion, and an ear for harmony. He was even pious at times,
and like all debauchees had periods of asceticism. He was much given to
gallantry, and his pension-list of beautiful women was not small. He was
a poet and wrote some very good sonnets; he was a composer who sang, from
his own compositions, after the wine had gone round; he was an orator who
committed to memory and made his own the speeches that his secretary
wrote.

He traveled much, and in great state, with a retinue of servants, armed
guards, outriders and guides. Wherever he went he summoned the local
poet, or painter, or musician, and made a speech to him, showing that he
was familiar with his work by humming a tune or quoting a stanza. Then he
put a chain of gold around the poor embarrassed fellow's neck, and a
purse in his hands, and the people cheered.

When he visited a town, cavalcades met him afar out, and as he
approached, little girls in white and boys dressed in velvet ran before
and strewed flowers in front of his carriage.

Oh, the Duke of Mantua was a great man!

In his retinue was a troop of comedians, a court fool, two dwarfs for
luck, seven cooks, three alchemists and an astrologer. Like the old woman
who lived in a shoe, he had so many children he didn't know what to do.
One of his sons married a princess of the House of Saxony, another son
was a cardinal, and a daughter married into the House of Lorraine. He had
alliances and close relations with every reigning family of Europe. The
sister of his wife, Marie de Medici, became "King of France," as
Talleyrand avers, and had a mad, glad, sad, bad, jolly time of it.

Wherever the Duke of Mantua went, there too went Annibale Chieppo, the
Minister of State. This man had a calm eye, a quiet pulse, and could
locate any man or woman in his numerous retinue at any hour of the day or
night. He was a diplomat, a soldier, a financier.

You could not reach the Duke until you had got past Chieppo.

And the Duke of Mantua had much commonsense--for in spite of envy and
calumny and threat he never lost faith in Annibale Chieppo.

No success in life is possible without a capable first mate. Chieppo was
king of first mates.

He was subtle as Richelieu and as wise as Wolsey.

When Peter Paul Rubens, aged twenty-three, arrived at Venice, the Duke of
Mantua and his train were there. Rubens presented his credentials to
Chieppo, and the Minister of State read them, looked upon the handsome
person of the young man, proved for himself he had decided talent as a
painter, put him through a civil-service examination--and took him into
favor. Such a young man as this, so bright, so courtly, so talented, must
be secured. He would give the entire Court a new thrill.

"Tomorrow," said the Minister of State, "tomorrow you shall be received
by the Duke of Mantua and his court!"

       *       *       *       *       *

The ducal party remained at Venice for several weeks, and when it
returned to Mantua, Rubens went along quite as a matter of course. From
letters that he wrote to his brother Philip, as well as from many other
sources, we know that the art collection belonging to the Duke of Mantua
was very rich. It included works by the Bellinis, Correggio, Leonardo da
Vinci, Andrea del Sarto, Tintoretto, Titian, Paoli Veronese, and various
others whose names have faded away like their colors.

Rubens had long been accustomed to the ways of polite society. The
magnificence of his manner, and the fine egotism he showed in his work,
captivated the Court. The Duke was proud of his ward and paraded him
before his artistic friends as the coming man, incidentally explaining
that it was the Duke of Mantua who had made him and not he himself.

It was then the custom of those who owned masterpieces to have copies
made and present them to various other lovers of the beautiful. If an
honored guest was looking through your gallery, and expressed great
pleasure in a certain canvas, the correct thing was to say, "I'll have my
best painter make a copy of it, and send it to you"--and a memorandum was
made on an ivory tablet. This gracious custom seems to have come down
from the time when the owners of precious books constantly employed
scribes and expert illuminators in making copies for distribution. The
work done in the scriptoriums of the monasteries, we know, was sent away
as presents, or in exchange for other volumes.

Rubens set diligently to work copying in the galleries of Mantua; and
whether the Duke was happier because he had discovered Rubens than Rubens
was because he had found the Duke, we do not know. Anyway, all that the
young painter had hoped and prayed for had been sent him.

Here was work from the very hands of the masters he had long worshiped
from afar. His ambition was high and his strong animal spirits and
tireless energy were a surprise to the easy-going Italians. The galleries
were his without let or hindrance, save that he allow the ladies of the
Court to come every afternoon and watch him work. This probably did not
disturb him; but we find the experienced Duke giving the young Fleming
some good advice, thus: "You must admire all these ladies in equal
portion. Should you show favoritism for one, the rest will turn upon you;
and to marry any one of them would be fatal to your art."

Rubens wrote the advice home to his mother, and the good mother viseed it
and sent it back.

After six months of diligent work at Mantua we find Rubens starting for
Rome with letters from the Duke to Cardinal Montalto, highly recommending
him to the good graces of the Cardinal, and requesting, "that you will be
graciously so good as to allow our Fleming to execute and make copies
for us of such paintings as he may deem worthy."

Cardinal Montalto was a nephew of Pope Sixtus, and the strongest man,
save the Pope, in Rome. He had immense wealth, great learning, and rare
good sense in matters of art. He was a close friend of the Duke of
Mantua; and to come into personal relations with such a man was a piece
of rare good fortune for any man. The art world of Rome now belonged to
Rubens--all doors opened at his touch. "Our Fleming" knew the value of
his privileges. "If I do not succeed," he writes to his mother, "it will
be because I have not improved my opportunities." The word fail was not
in his lexicon. His industry never relaxed. In Walpole's "Anecdotes of
Painting," an account is given of a sketchbook compiled by Rubens at this
time. The original was in the possession of Maurice Johnson, of Spalding,
England, in Eighteen Hundred Forty-five, at which time it was exhibited
in London and attracted much attention.

I have seen a copy of the book with its hundred or more sketches of the
very figures that we now see and admire in the Uffizi and Pitti galleries
and in the Vatican. Eight generations of men have come and gone since
Rubens sketched from the Old Masters, but there today stand the chiseled
shapes, which were then centuries old, and there today are the "Titians"
and the "Raphaellos" just as the exuberant Fleming saw them. Surely this
must show us how short are the days of man! "Open then the door; you
know how little while we have to stay!"

The two figures that seemed to impress Rubens most, as shown in the
sketchbook, are the Farnese "Hercules" and Michelangelo's "David." He
shows the foot of the "Hercules," and the hand of the "David," and gives
front, back and side views with comments and criticisms. Then after a few
pages have been covered by other matter he goes back again to the
"Hercules"--the subject fascinates him.

When we view "The Crucifixion," in the Cathedral at Antwerp, we conclude
that he admired the "Hercules" not wisely but too well, for the muscles
stand out on all the figures, even of the Savior, in pure Farnese style.
Two years after that picture was painted, he did his masterpiece, "The
Descent From the Cross," and we behold with relief the change that had
come over the spirit of his dreams. Mere pride in performing a difficult
feat had given place to a higher motive. There is no reason to suppose
that the Apostles had trained to perform the twelve labors of Hercules,
or that the two Marys were Amazons. But the burly Roman forms went back
to Flanders, and for many years staid citizens were slipped into classic
attitudes to do duty as Disciples, Elders, Angels--all with swelling
biceps, knotted muscles, and necks like the Emperor Vespasian.

The Mantuan Envoy at Rome had private orders from Chieppo to see that the
Fleming was well treated. The Envoy was further requested to report to
the Secretary how the painter spent his time, and also how he was
regarded by Cardinal Montalto. Thus we see the wily Secretary set one
servant watching another, and kept in close touch with all.

The reports, however, all confirmed the Secretary in his belief that the
Fleming was a genius, and, moreover, worthy of all the encouragement that
was bestowed upon him. The Secretary sent funds from time to time to the
painter, with gentle hints that he should pay due attention to his
behavior, and also to his raiment, for the apparel oft doth proclaim the
man.

The Duke of Mantua seems to have regarded Rubens as his own private
property, and Rubens had too much sense to do anything by word or deed
that might displease his patron.

When he had gotten all that Italy could give, or more properly all he
could absorb, his intent was to follow his heart and go straight back to
Flanders.

Three years had passed since Rubens had arrived in Venice--years of
profit to both spirit and purse. He had painted pictures that placed him
in the rank of acknowledged artists, and the Duke of Mantua had dropped
all patronizing airs. With the ducal party Rubens had visited Verona,
Florence, Pisa and Padua. His fame was more than local. The painter
hinted to Chieppo that he would like to return to Antwerp, but the
Secretary objected--he had important work for him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Rubens was from Flanders, and Flanders was a Spanish possession: then the
Fleming knew the daughter of the King of Spain. No man was so well fitted
to go on a delicate diplomatic mission to Spain as the Flemish painter.
"You are my heart's jewel," said the Duke of Mantua to the Prime
Minister, when the Minister suggested it.

The Duke wished private information as to certain things Spanish, and was
also preparing the way to ask for sundry favors. The Court at Madrid was
artistic in instinct; so was the Mantuan Court. To recognize the esthetic
side of your friend's nature, when your friend is secretly not quite sure
but that he is more worldly than spiritual, is a stroke of diplomacy.
Spain was not really artistic, but there were stirrings being felt, and
Velasquez and Murillo were soon to appear.

The Duke of Mantua wished to present the King of Spain with certain
pictures; his mind was filled with a lively sense of anticipation of
future favors to be received--which feeling we are told is gratitude. The
entire ceremony must be carried out appropriately--the poetic unities
being fully preserved. Therefore a skilful painter must be sent with the
pictures, in order to see that they were safely transported, properly
unpacked, and rightly hung.

Instructions were given to Peter Paul Rubens, the artistic ambassador, at
great length, as to how he should proceed. He was to make himself
agreeable to the King, and to one greater than the King--the man behind
the throne--the Duke of Lerma; and to several fair ladies as well.

The pictures were copies of the masters--"Titians," "Raphaellos,"
"Tintorettos" and "Leonardos." They were copied with great fidelity, even
to the signature and private marks of the original artist. In fact, so
well was the work done that if the recipient inclined to accept them as
originals, his mind must not be disabused. Further, the envoy was not
supposed to know whether they were originals or not (even though he had
painted them), and if worse came to worst he must say, "Well, surely they
are just as good as the originals, if not better."

Presents were taken for a dozen or more persons. Those who were not so
very artistic were to have gifts of guns, swords and precious stones. The
ambassador was to travel in a new carriage, drawn by six horses and
followed by wagons carrying the art treasures. All this so as to make the
right impression and prove to Madrid that Mantua was both rich and
generous. And as a capsheaf to it all, the painter must choose an
opportune moment and present his beautiful carriage and horses to the
King, for the belief was rife that the King of Spain was really more
horsey than artistic.

The pictures were selected with great care, and the finest horses to be
found were secured, regardless of cost. Several weeks were consumed in
preparations, and at last the cavalcade started away, with Rubens in the
carriage and eleven velvet suits in his chest, as he himself has told us.
It was a long, hard journey to Madrid. There were encounters with
rapacious landlords, and hairbreadth escapes in the imminent deadly
custom-house. But in a month the chromatic diplomat arrived and entered
Madrid at the head of his company, wearing one of the velvet suits, and
riding a milk-white charger.

Rubens followed orders and wrote Signor Chieppo at great length, giving a
minute account of every incident and detail of the journey and of his
reception at Madrid. While at the Court he kept a daily record of
happenings, which was also forwarded to the Secretary.

These many letters have recently been given to the public. They are in
Italian, with a sprinkling here and there of good honest Dutch. All is
most sincere, grave and explicit. Rubens deserved great credit for all
these letters, for surely they were written with sweat and lamp-smoke.
The work of the toiler is over all, but we must remember that at that
time he had been studying Italian only about a year.

The literary style of Rubens was Johnsonese all his life, and he made his
meaning plain only by repetitions and many rhetorical flounderings. Like
the average sixteen-year-old boy who sits himself down and takes his pen
in hand, all his sprightliness of imagination vanished at sight of an
ink-bottle. With a brush his feelings were fluid, and in a company grace
dwelt upon his lips; but when asked to write it out he gripped the pen as
though it were a crowbar instead of a crow's-quill.

But Chieppo received his reports; and we know the embassy was a
success--a great success. The debonair Fleming surprised the King by
saying, "Your Majesty, it is like this"--and then with a few bold strokes
drew a picture.

He modestly explained that he was not much of a painter--"merely used a
brush for his own amusement"--and then made a portrait for the Minister
of State that exaggerated all of that man's good points, and ignored all
his failings. There was a cast in the Minister's eye, but Rubens waived
it. The Minister was delighted, and so was the King. He then made a
portrait of the King that was as flattering as portraits should be that
are painted for monarchs.

Among his other accomplishments the Fleming was a skilful horseman; he
rode with such grace and dash that the King took him on his drives,
Rubens riding by the side of the carriage, gaily conversing as they rode.

And so with the aid of his many talents he won the confidence of the King
and Court and was initiated into the inner life of Spanish royalty in a
way that Iberta, the Mantuan Resident, never had been. The King liked
Rubens, and so did the Man behind the Throne.

Mortals do not merely like each other because they like each other; such
a bond is tenuous as a spider's thread. I love you because you love the
things that I love. One woman won my heart by her subtle appreciation of
"The Dipsy Chanty." Men meet on a horse basis, a book basis, a religious
basis, or some other mutual leaning; sometimes we find them uniting on a
mutual dislike for something. For instance, I have a friend to whom I am
bound by the tie of oneness because we dislike olives, and have a mutual
indifference to the pretended claims of the unpronounceable Pole who
wrote "Quo Vadis." The discovery was accidentally made in a hotel
dining-room: we clasped hands across the board, and since then have been
as brothers.

The more points at which you touch humanity the more friends you
have--the greater your influence. Rubens was an artist, a horseman, a
musician, a politician and a gourmet. When conceptions in the kitchen
were vague, he would send for the cook and explain to him how to do it.
He possessed a most discriminating palate and a fine appreciation of
things drinkable. These accomplishments secured him a well-defined case
of gout while yet a young man. He taught the Spanish Court how to smoke,
having himself been initiated by an Englishman, who was a companion of
Sir Walter Raleigh, and showed them how to roll a cigarette while engaged
in ardent conversation. And the Spaniards have not yet lost the art, for
once in Cadiz I saw a horse running away, and the driver rolled and
lighted a cigarette before trying to stop the mad flight of the frantic
brute.

In the Royal Gallery at Madrid are several large paintings by Rubens that
were doubtless done at this time. They are religious subjects; but worked
in, after the manner of a true diplomat, are various portraits of brave
men and handsome women. To pose a worthy senator as Saint Paul, and a
dashing lady of the Court as the Holy Virgin, was most gratifying to the
phrenological development of approbativeness of the said senator and
lady. Then, as the painter had pictured one, he must do as much for
others, so there could be no accusation of favoritism.

Thus the months passed rapidly. The Duke of Lerma writes to Chieppo, "We
desire your gracious permission to keep the Fleming another month, as
very special portraits are required from his brush."

The extra month extended itself to three; and when at last Rubens started
back for Mantua it was after a full year's absence.

The embassy was a most complete success. The diplomat well masked his
true errand with the artist's garb: and who of all men was ever so well
fitted by Nature to play the part as Rubens?

Yet he came near overdoing the part at least once. It was in this wise:
he really was not sure that the honors paid him were on account of his
being a painter or a courtier. But like comedians who think their forte
is tragedy, so the part of courtier was more pleasing to Rubens than
that of painter, because it was more difficult. He painted with such ease
that he set small store on the talent: it was only a makeshift for
advancement.

Don John, Duke of Braganza, afterward King of Portugal, was a lover of
art, and desired to make the acquaintance of the painter. So he wrote to
Rubens at Madrid, inviting him to Villa Vitiosa, his place of residence.

Rubens knew how the Duke of Mantua did these things--he decided to follow
suit.

With a numerous train, made up from the fringe of the Madrid Court, with
hired horsemen going before, and many servants behind, the retinue
started away. Coming within five miles of the villa of Don John, word was
sent that Rubens and his retinue awaited his embassy.

Now Don John was a sure-enough duke and could muster quite a retinue of
his own on occasion, yet he had small taste for tinsel parades. Men who
have a real good bank-balance do not have to wear fashionable clothes.
Don John was a plain, blunt man who liked books and pictures. He wanted
to see the painter, not a courtier: and when he heard of the style in
which the artist was coming, he just put a boy on a donkey and sent word
out that he was not at home. And further, to show the proud painter his
place, he sent along a small purse of silver to pay the artist for the
trouble to which he had been. The rebuke was so delicate that it was
altogether lost on Rubens--he was simply enraged.

       *       *       *       *       *

In all, Rubens spent eight years in the service of the Duke of Mantua. He
had visited the chief cities of Italy, and was familiar with all the art
of the golden ages that had gone before. When he left Italy he had to
take advantage of the fact that the Duke was in France, for every time
before, when he had suggested going, he was questioned thus: "Why, have
you not all you wish? What more can be done for you? Name your desire and
you shall have it."

But Rubens wanted home: Antwerp, his mother, brothers, sister, the broad
River Scheldt, and the good old Flemish tongue.

Soon after arriving in Antwerp he was named as Court Painter by Albert
and Isabella. Thus he was the successor of his old master, Van Veen.

He was now aged thirty-two, in possession of an income from the State,
and a fame and name to be envied. He was rich in money, jewels and art
treasures brought from Italy, for he had the thrifty instincts of a true
Dutchman.

And it was a gala day for all Antwerp when the bells rang and the great
organ in the Cathedral played the wedding-march when Peter Paul Rubens
and Isabella Brandt were married, on the Thirteenth of October, Sixteen
Hundred Nine. Never was there a happier mating.

That fine picture at Munich of Rubens and his wife tells of the sweet
comradeship that was to be theirs for many years. He opened a school, and
pupils flocked to him from all Europe; commissions for work came and
orders for altar-pieces from various churches.

An order was issued by the Archduke that he should not leave Holland, and
a copy of the order was sent to the Duke of Mantua, to shut off his
importunities.

Among the pupils of Rubens we find the name of Jordaens (whom he had
first known in Italy), De Crayer, Anthony Van Dyck, Franz Snyder and many
others who achieved distinction. Rubens was a positive leader; so
animated was his manner that his ambition was infectious. All his young
men painted just as he did. His will was theirs. From now on, out of the
thousands of pictures signed "P. P. Rubens," we can not pick out a single
picture and say, "Rubens did this." He drew outlines and added the
finishing touches; and surely would not have signed a canvas of which he
did not approve. In his great studio at Antwerp, at various times, fully
a hundred men worked to produce the pictures we call "Rubens."

Those glowing canvases in the "Rubens Gallery" of the Louvre, showing the
history and apotheosis of Marie de Medici, were painted at Antwerp. The
joyous, exuberant touch of Rubens is over all, even though the work was
done by 'prentice hands.

Peaceful lives make dull biographies, and in prosperity is small
romance.

We may search long before finding a life so full to overflowing of
material good things as that of Rubens. All he touched turned to gold.
From the time he returned to Antwerp in Sixteen Hundred Eight to his
death in Sixteen Hundred Forty, his life-journey was one grand triumphal
march. His many diplomatic missions were simply repetitions of his first
Spanish embassy, with the Don John incident left out, for Don John seems
to have been the only man who was not at home to the gracious Rubens.

Mr. Ruskin has said: "Rubens was a great painter, but he lacked that last
undefinable something which makes heart speak to heart. You admire, but
you never adore. No real sorrow ever entered his life."

Perhaps we get a valuable clue in that last line. Great art is born of
feeling, and the heart of Rubens was never touched by tragedy, nor the
rocky fastnesses of his tears broken in upon by grief. In many ways his
was the spirit of a child: he had troubles, but not sufficient to prevent
refreshing sleep, and when he awoke in the morning the trials of
yesterday were gone.

Even when the helpful, faithful and loving Isabella Brandt was taken away
from him by death, there soon came other joys to take the place of those
that were lost.

We have full fifty pictures of his second wife: she looks down at
us--smiling, buxom, content--from every gallery-wall in Europe. Rubens
was fifty-three and she was sixteen when they were married; and were it
not for a twinge of gout now and then, he would have been as young as
she.

When Rubens went to England on "an artistic commission," we see that he
captured Charles the First just as he captured the court of Spain. He
painted five portraits of the King that we can trace. The mild-mannered
Charles was greatly pleased with the fine portrait of himself bestriding
the prancing cream-colored charger.

Several notable artists, Sir Joshua Reynolds among them, have
complimented the picture by taking the horse, background and pose, and
placing another man in the saddle--or more properly, taking off the head
of Charles the First and putting on the head of any bold patron who would
furnish the price. In looking through the galleries of Europe, keep your
eye out for equestrian portraits, and you will be surprised to see on
your tab, when you have made the rounds, how many painters have borrowed
that long-maned, yellow horse that still rears in the National Gallery in
London, smelling the battle afar off--as Charles himself preferred to
smell it.

Rubens had a good time in England, although his patience was severely
tried by being kept at painting for months, awaiting an opportune time to
give King Charles some good advice on matters political.

English ways were very different from those of the Continent, but Rubens
soon spoke the language with fluency, even if not with precision.

Rubens spoke seven languages, and to speak seven languages is to speak no
one well. On this point we have a little comment from high authority.
Said Charles the First, writing to Buckingham, "The Fleming painter
prides himself on being able to pass for an Englishman, but his English
is so larded with French, Dutch and Italian that we think he must have
been employed on the Tower of Babel."

While painting the ceiling of the banqueting-room at Whitehall (where a
Dutchman was later to be crowned King of England), he discussed politics
with the Duke of Buckingham and the King, from the scaffold. Some years
after we find Buckingham visiting Rubens at his home in Antwerp,
dickering for his fine collection of curios and paintings.

The Duke afterwards bought the collection and paid Rubens ten thousand
pounds in gold for it.

Every one complimented Rubens on his shrewdness in getting so much money
for the wares, and Rubens gave a banquet to his friends in token of the
great sale to the Britisher. It was a lot of money, to be sure, but the
Englishman realized the worth of the collection better than did Rubens.
We have a catalog of the collection. It includes nineteen Titians,
thirteen Paul Veroneses, seventeen Tintorettos, three Leonardos, three
Raphaels and thirteen pictures by Rubens himself.

A single one of the Titians, if sold at auction today, would bring more
than the Duke paid for the entire collection.

James McNeil Whistler has said, "There may be a doubt about Rubens having
been a Great Artist; but he surely was an Industrious Person."

There is barely enough truth in Mr. Whistler's remark, taken with its
dash of wit, to save it; but Philip Gilbert Hamerton's sober estimate is
of more value: "The influence of Rubens for good can not be
overestimated. He gave inspiration to all he met, and his example of
industry, vivid imagination, good-cheer and good taste have had an
incalculable influence on art. We have more canvases from his hand than
from the hand of any other master. And these pictures are a quarry to
which every artist of today, consciously or unconsciously, is indebted."



MEISSONIER

     I never hesitate about scraping out the work of days, and
     beginning afresh, so as to satisfy myself, and try to do better.
     Ah! that "better" which one feels in one's soul, and without
     which no true artist is ever content!

     Others may approve and admire; but that counts for nothing,
     compared with one's own feeling of what ought to be.

    --_Meissonier's Conversations_

[Illustration: MEISSONIER]


Life in this world is a collecting, and all the men and women in it are
collectors.

The question is, What will you collect? Most men are intent on collecting
dollars. Their waking-hours are taken up with inventing plans, methods,
schemes, whereby they may secure dollars from other men. To gather as
many dollars as possible, and to give out as few, is the desideratum. But
when you collect one thing you always incidentally collect others. The
fisherman who casts his net for shad usually secures a few other fish,
and once in a while a turtle, which enlarges the mesh to suit, and gives
sweet liberty to the shad. To focus exclusively on dollars is to secure
jealousy, fear, vanity, and a vaulting ambition that may claw its way
through the mesh and let your dollars slip into the yeasty deep.

Ragged Haggard and his colleague, Cave-of-the-Winds, collect bacteria;
while the fashionable young men of the day, with a few exceptions, are
collecting headaches, regrets, weak nerves, tremens, paresis--death. Of
course we shall all die (I will admit that), and further, we may be a
long time dead (I will admit that), and moreover, we may be going through
the world for the last time--as to that I do not know; but while we are
here it seems the part of reason to devote our energies to collecting
that which brings as much quiet joy to ourselves, and as little annoyance
to others, as possible.

My heart goes out to the collector. In the soul of the collector of old
books, swords, pistols, brocades, prints, clocks and bookplates, there is
only truth. If he gives you his friendship, it is because you love the
things that he loves; he has no selfish wish to use your good name to
further his own petty plans--he only asks that you shall behold, and
beholding, your eye shall glow, and your heart warm within you.

Inasmuch as we live in the age of the specialist, one man often collects
books on only one subject, Dante for instance; another, nothing but
volumes printed at Venice; another, works concerning the stage; and still
another devotes all his spare time to securing tobacco-pipes. And I am
well aware that the man who for a quarter of a century industriously
collects snuffboxes has a supreme contempt for the man who collects both
snuffboxes and clocks. And in this does the specialist reveal that his
normal propensity to collect has degenerated. That is to say, it has
refined itself into an abnormality, and from the innocent desire to
collect, has shifted off into a selfish wish to outrival.

The man who collects many things, with easy, natural leanings toward,
say, spoons, is pure in heart and free from guile; but when his soul
centers on spoons exclusively, he has fallen from his high estate and is
simply possessed of a lust for ownership--he wants to own more peculiar
spoons than any other man on earth. Such a one stirs up wrath and
rivalry, and is the butt and byword of all others who collect spoons.

Prosperous, practical, busy people sometimes wonder why other folks build
cabinets with glass fronts and strong locks and therein store
postage-stamps, bits of old silks, autographs and books that are very
precious only when their leaves are uncut; and so I will here endeavor to
explain. At the same time I despair of making my words intelligible to
any but those who are collectors, or mayhap to those others who are in
the varioloid stage.

Then possibly you say I had better not waste good paper and ink by
recording the information, since collectors know already, and those who
are without the pale have neither eyes to see nor hearts to incline. But
the simple fact is, the proposition that you comprehend on first hearing
was yours already; for how can you recognize a thing as soon as it comes
into view if you have never before seen it? You have thought my thought
yourself, or else your heart would not beat fast and your lips say, "Yes,
yes!" when I voice it. Truth is in the air, and when your head gets up
into the right stratum of atmosphere you breathe it in. You may not know
that you have breathed it in until I come along and write it out on this
blank sheet, and then you read it and say, "Yes--your hand! that is
surely so; I knew it all along!"

And so then if I tell you a thing you already know, I confer on you the
great blessing of introducing you to yourself and of giving you the
consciousness that you know.

And to know you know is power. And to feel the sense of power is to feel
a sense of oneness with the Source of Power.

Let's see--what was it, then, that we were talking about? Oh, yes!
collectors and collecting.

Men collect things because these things stir imagination and link them
with the people who once possessed and used these things. Thus, through
imagination, is the dead past made again to live and throb and pulse with
life. Man is not the lonely creature that those folks with bad digestions
sometimes try to have us believe.

We are brothers not only to all who live, but to all who have gone
before.

And so we collect the trifles that once were valuables for other men, and
by the possession of these trifles are we bounden to them. These things
stimulate imagination, stir the sympathies, and help us forget the
cramping bounds of time and space that so often hedge us close around.

The people near us may be sordid, stupid, mean; or more likely they are
weary and worn with the battle for mere food, shelter and raiment; or
they are depressed by that undefined brooding fear which civilization
exacts as payment for benefits forgot--so their better selves are
subdued.

But through fancy's flight we can pick our companions out of the company
of saints and sinners who have long turned to dust. I have the bookplates
of Holbein and Hogarth, and I have a book once owned by Rembrandt, and so
I do not say Holbein and Hogarth and Rembrandt were--I say they are.

And thus the collector confuses the glorious dead and the living in one
fairy company; and although he may detect varying degrees of excellence,
for none does he hold contempt, of none is he jealous, none does he envy.
From them he asks nothing, upon him they make no demands. In the
collector's cast of mind there is something very childlike and ingenuous.

My little girl has a small box of bright bits of silk thread that she
hoards very closely; then she possesses certain pieces of calico, nails,
curtain-rings, buttons, spools and fragments of china--all of which are
very dear to her heart. And why should they not be? For with them she
creates a fairy world, wherein are only joy, and peace, and harmony, and
light--quite an improvement on this! Yes, dearie, quite.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ernest Meissonier, the artist, began collecting very early. He has told
us that he remembers, when five years of age, of going with his mother to
market and collecting rabbits' ears and feet, which he would take home,
and carefully nail up on the wall of the garret. And it may not be amiss
to explain here that the rabbit's foot as an object of superstitious
veneration has no real place outside of the United States of America, and
this only south of Mason and Dixon's line.

The Meissonier lad's collection of rabbits' ears increased until he had
nearly colors enough to run the chromatic scale. Then he collected
pigeons' wings in like manner, and if you have ever haunted French
market-places you know how natural a thing this would be for a child. The
boy's mother took quite an interest in his amusements, and helped him to
spread the wings out and arrange the tails fan-shape on the walls. They
had long strings of buttons and boxes of spools in partnership; and when
they would go up the Seine on little excursions on Sunday afternoons,
they would bring back rich spoils in the way of swan feathers,
butterflies, "snake-feeders" and tiny shells. Then once they found a
bird's nest, and as the mother bird had deserted it, they carried it
home. That was a red-letter day, for the garret collection had increased
to such an extent that a partition was made across the corner of a room
by hanging up a strip of cloth. And all the things in that corner
belonged to Ernest--his mother said so. Ernest's mother seems to have had
a fine, joyous, childlike nature, so she fully entered into the life of
her boy. He wanted no other companion. In fact, this mother was little
better herself than a child in years--she was only sixteen when she bore
him. They lived at Lyons then, but three years later moved to Paris. Her
temperament was poetic, religious, and her spirit had in it a touch of
superstition--which is the case with all really excellent women.

But this sweet playtime was not for long--the mother died in Eighteen
Hundred Twenty-five, aged twenty-four years.

I suppose there is no greater calamity that can befall a child than to
lose his mother. Still, Nature is very kind, and for Ernest Meissonier
there always remained firm, clear-cut memories of a slight, fair-haired
woman, with large, open, gray eyes, who held him in her arms, sang to
him, and rocked him to sleep each night as the darkness gathered. He
lived over and over again those few sunshiny excursions up the river; and
he knew all the reeds and flowers and birds she liked best, and the
places where they had landed from the boat and lunched together were
forever to him sacred spots.

But the death of his mother put a stop for a time to his collecting. The
sturdy housekeeper who came to take the mother's place, speedily cleared
"the truck" out of the corner, and forbade the bringing of any more
feathers and rabbits' feet into her house--well, I guess so! The birds'
nests, long grasses, reeds, shells and pigeons' wings were tossed
straightway into the fireplace, and went soaring up the chimney in smoke.

The destruction of the collection didn't kill the propensity to collect,
however, any more than you can change a man's opinions by burning his
library. It only dampened the desire for a time. It broke out again after
a few years and continued for considerably more than half a century.
There was a house at Poissy "full to the roof-tiles" of books, marbles,
bronzes and innumerable curios, gathered from every corner of the earth;
and a palace at Paris filled in like manner, for which Ernest Meissonier
had expended more than a million francs.

In the palace at Paris, when the owner was near his threescore years and
ten, he took from a locker a morocco case, and opening it, showed his
friend, Dumas, a long curl of yellow hair; and then he brought out a
curious old white-silk dress, and said to the silent Dumas, "This curl
was cut from my mother's head after her death, and this dress was her
wedding-gown."

A few days after this Meissonier wrote these words in his journal: "It is
the Twentieth of February--the morning of my seventieth birthday. What a
long time to look back upon! This morning, at the hour when my mother
gave me birth, I wished my first thoughts to be of her. Dear Mother, how
often have the tears risen to my eyes at the remembrance of you! It was
your absence--the longing I had for you--that made you so dear to me. The
love of my heart goes out to you! Do you hear me, Mother, calling and
crying for you? How sweet it must be to have a mother, I say to myself."

       *       *       *       *       *

"I would have every man rich," said Emerson, "that he might know the
worthlessness of riches."

Every man should have a college education, in order to show him how
little the thing is really worth. The intellectual kings of the earth
have seldom been college-bred. Napoleon ever regretted the lack of
instruction in his early years; and in the minds of such men as Abraham
Lincoln and Ernest Meissonier there usually lingers the suspicion that
they have dropped something out of their lives.

"I'm not a college man--ask Seward," said Lincoln, when some one
questioned him as to the population of Alaska. The remark was merry jest,
of course, but as in all jest there lurks a grain of truth, so did there
here.

At the height of Meissonier's success, when a canvas from his hand
commanded a larger price than the work of any other living artist, he
exclaimed, "Oh, if only I had been given the advantages of a college
training!"

If he had, it is quite probable that he never would have painted better
than his teacher. Discipline might have reduced his daring genius to
neutral salts, and taken all that fine audacity from his brush.

He was a natural artist: he saw things clearly and in detail; he had the
heart to feel, and he longed for the skill to express that which he saw
and felt. And when the desire is strong enough it brings the thing--and
thus is prayer answered.

Meissonier while but a child set to work making pictures--he declared he
would be an artist. And in spite of his father's attempts to shame him
out of his whim, and to starve him into a more practical career, his
resolution stuck.

He worked in a drugstore and drew on the wrapping-paper; then with this
artist a few days, and then with that. He tried illustrating, and finally
a bold stand was made and a little community formed that decided on
storming the Salon.

There is something pathetic in that brotherhood of six young men, binding
themselves together, swearing they would stand together and aid each
other in producing great art.

The dead seriousness of the scheme has a peculiar sophomore quality.
There were Steinheil, Trimolet, Daumier, Daubigny, Deschaumaes and
Meissonier, all aged about twenty, strong, sturdy, sincere and innocently
ignorant--all bound they would be artists.

Two of these young men were sign-painters, the others did odd jobs
illustrating, and filled in the time at anything which chance offered.
When one got an invitation out to dinner he would go, and furtively drop
biscuit and slices of meat into his lap, and then slyly transfer them to
his waistcoat-pockets, so as to take them to his less fortunate brethren.

They haunted the galleries, made themselves familiar with catalogs,
criticized without stint, knew all about current prices, and were able
to point out the great artists of Paris when they passed proudly up the
street.

They sketched eternally, formed small wax models, and made great
preparations for masterpieces.

The reason they did not produce the masterpieces was because they did not
have money to buy brushes, paints and canvas. Neither did they have funds
to purchase food to last until the thing was done; and it is difficult to
produce great art on half-rations. So they formed the brotherhood, and
one midnight swore eternal fealty. They were to draw lots: the lucky
member was to paint and the other five were to support him for a month.
He was to be supplied his painting outfit and to be absolutely free from
all responsibility as to the bread-and-butter question for a whole month.

Trimolet was the first lucky man.

He set diligently to work, and dined each evening on a smoking
mutton-chop with a bottle of wine, at a respectable restaurant. The five
stood outside and watched him through the window--they dined when and
where they could.

His picture grew apace, and in three weeks was completed. It was
entitled, "Sisters of Charity Giving Out Soup to the Poor." The work was
of a good machine-made quality, not good enough to praise nor bad enough
to condemn: it was like Tomlinson of Berkeley Square.

On account of the peculiar subject with which it dealt, it found favor
with a worthy priest, who bought it and presented it to a convent.

This so inflated Trimolet that he suggested it would be a good plan to
keep right on with the arrangement, but the five objected.

Steinheil was next appointed to feed the vestal fire. His picture was
so-so, but would not sell.

Daubigny came next, and lived so high that inspiration got clogged, fatty
degeneration of the cerebrum set in, and after a week he ceased to
paint--doing nothing but dream.

When the turn of the fourth man came, Meissonier had concluded that the
race must be won by one and one, and his belief in individualism was
further strengthened by an order for a group of family portraits, with a
goodly retainer in advance.

Straightway he married Steinheil's sister, with whom he had been some
weeks in love, and the others feeling aggrieved that an extra mouth to
feed, with danger of more, had been added to the "Commune," declared the
compact void.

Trimolet still thought well of the arrangement, though, and agreed, if
Meissonier would support him, to secure fame and fortune for them both.

Meissonier declined the offer with thanks, and struck boldly out on his
own account.

The woman who had so recklessly agreed to share his poverty must surely
have had faith in him--or are very young people who marry incapable of
either faith or reason? Never mind; she did not hold the impulsive young
man back.

She couldn't--nothing but death could have stayed such ambition. His will
was unbending and his ambition never tired.

He was an athlete in strength, and was fully conscious that to be a good
animal is the first requisite. He swam, rowed, walked, and could tire out
any of his colleagues at swordplay or skittles.

But material things were scarce those first few years of married life,
and once when the table had bread, but no meat nor butter, he took the
entire proceeds of a picture and purchased a suit of clothing of the time
of Louis the Grand: not to wear, of course--simply to put in the
"collection."

Small wonder is it that, for some months after, when he would walk out
alone the fond wife would caution him thus: "Now Ernest, do not go
through that old-clothes market--you know your weakness."

"I have no money, so you need not worry," he would gaily reply.

Of those times of pinching want he has written, "As to happiness--is it
possible to be wretched at twenty, when one has health, a passion for
art, free passes for the Louvre, an eye to see, a heart to feel, and
sunshine gratis?"

But poverty did not last long. Pictures such as this young man produced
must attract attention anywhere.

He belonged to no school, but simply worked away after his own fashion;
what he was bound to do was to produce a faithful picture--sure, clear,
strong, vivid. He saw things clearly and his sympathies were acute, as is
shown in every canvas he produced.

Meissonier had the true artistic conscience--he was incapable of putting
out an average, unobjectionable picture--it must have positive
excellence. "There is a difference," said he, "between a successful
effort and a work of love." He painted only in the loving mood.

No greater blessing than the artistic conscience can come to any worker
in art, be he sculptor, writer, singer or painter. Hold fast to it, and
it shall be your compass in time when the sun is darkened. To please the
public is little, but to satisfy your Other Self, that self that leans
over your shoulder and watches your every thought and deed, is much. No
artistic success worth having is possible unless you satisfy that Other
Self.

But like the moral conscience it can be dallied with until the grieved
spirit turns away, and the wretch is left to his fate.

Meissonier never hesitated to erase a whole picture when it did not
satisfy his inward sense--customers might praise and connoisseurs offer
to buy, it made no difference. "I have some one who is more difficult to
please than you," he would say; "I must satisfy myself."

The fine intoxication that follows good artistic work is the highest joy
that mortals ever know. But once let a creative artist lower his
standard and give the world the mere product of his brain, with heart
left out, that man will hate himself for a year and a day. He has sold
his soul for a price: joy has flown, and bitterness is his portion.
Meissonier never trifled with his compass. To the last he headed for the
polestar.

       *       *       *       *       *

The early domestic affairs of Meissonier can best be guessed from his
oft-repeated assertion that the artist should never marry. "To produce
great work, Art must be your mistress," he said. "You must be married to
your work. A wife demands unswerving loyalty as her right, and a portion
of her husband's time she considers her own. This is proper with every
profession but that of Art. The artist must not be restrained, nor should
even a wife come between him and his Art. The artist must not be judged
by the same standards that are made for other men. Why? Simply because
when you begin to tether him you cramp his imagination and paralyze his
hand. The priest and artist must not marry, for it is too much to expect
any woman to follow them in their flight, and they have no moral right to
tie themselves to a woman and then ask her to stay behind."

From this and many similar passages in the "Conversations" it is clear
that Meissonier had no conception of the fact that a woman may possibly
keep step with her mate. He simply never considered such a thing.

A man's opinions concerning womankind are based upon the knowledge of the
women he knows best.

We can not apply Hamerton's remark concerning Turner to Meissonier.
Hamerton said that throughout Turner's long life he was lamentably
unfortunate in that he never came under the influence of a strong and
good woman.

Meissonier associated with good women, but he never knew one with a
spread of spiritual wing sufficient to fit her to be his companion. There
is a minor key of loneliness and heart hunger running through his whole
career. Possibly, in the wisdom of Providence, this was just what he
needed to urge him on to higher and nobler ends. He never knew peace, and
the rest for which he sighed slipped him at the very last. "I'm tired, so
tired," he sighed again and again in those later years, when he had
reached the highest pinnacle.

And still he worked--it was his only rest! Meissonier painted very few
pictures of women, and in some miraculous way skipped that stage in
esthetic evolution wherein most artists affect the nude. In his whole
career he never produced a single "Diana," nor a "Susanna at the Bath."
He had no artistic sympathy with "Leda and the Swan," and once when
Delaroche chided him for painting no pictures of women, he was so
ungallant as to say, "My dear fellow, men are much more beautiful than
women!"

During the last decade of his life Meissonier painted but one portrait of
a woman, and to America belongs the honor. The sitter was Mrs. J. W.
Mackay, of California.

As all the world knows, Mrs. Mackay refused to accept the canvas. She
declared the picture was no likeness, and further, she would not have it
for a gift.

"So you do not care for the picture?" asked the great artist.

"Me? Well, I guess not--not that picture!"

"Very well, Madam. I think--I think I'll keep it for myself. I'll place
it on exhibition!" And the great artist looked out of the window in an
absent-minded way, and hummed a tune.

This put another phase on the matter. Mrs. Mackay winced, and paid the
price, which rumor says was somewhere between ten and twenty-five
thousand dollars. She took the little canvas in her carriage and drove
away with it, and what became of the only portrait of a woman painted by
Meissonier during his later years, nobody knew but Mrs. Mackay, and Mrs.
Mackay never told.

Meissonier once explained to a friend that his offense consisted in
producing a faithful likeness of the customer.

The Mackay incident did not end when the lady paid the coin and accepted
the goods. Meissonier, by the haughtiness of his manner, his artistic
independence, and most of all, by his unpardonable success, had been
sowing dragons' teeth for half a century. And now armed enemies sprang
up, and sided with the woman from California. They made it an
international episode: less excuses have involved nations in war in days
agone. But the enemies of Meissonier did not belong alone to America,
although here every arm was braced and every tongue wagged to vindicate
the cause of our countrywoman.

In Paris the whole art world was divided into those who sided with
Meissonier and those who were against him. Cafes echoed with the sounds
of wordy warfare; the columns of all magazines and newspapers bulged with
heated argument; newsboys cried extras on the street, and bands of
students paraded the boulevards singing songs in praise of Mrs. Mackay
and in dishonor of Meissonier, "the pretender." The assertion was made
again and again that Meissonier had fed sham art upon the public, and by
means of preposterous prices and noisy puffing had hypnotized a world.
They called him the artist of the Infinitely Little, King of Lilliput,
and challenged any one to show where he had thrown heart and high emotion
into his work. Studies of coachmen, smokers, readers, soldiers,
housemaids, chess-players, cavaliers and serenaders were not enough upon
which to base an art reputation--the man must show that he had moved men
to high endeavor, said the detractors. A fund was started to purchase the
Mackay portrait, so as to do the very thing that Meissonier had
threatened to do, but dare not: place the picture on exhibition. To show
the picture, the enemy said, would be to prove the artist's commonplace
quality, and not only this, but it would prove the man a rogue. They
declared he was incapable of perceiving the good qualities in a sitter,
and had consented for a price to portray a person whom he disliked; and
as a result, of course, had produced a caricature; and then had
blackmailed his patron into paying an outrageous sum to keep the picture
from the public.

The argument sounded plausible. And so the battle raged, just as it has
since in reference to Zola.

The tide of Meissonier's prosperity began to ebb: prospective buyers kept
away; those who had given commissions canceled them.

Meissonier's friends saw that something must be done. They inaugurated a
"Meissonier Vindication," by making an exhibition of one hundred
fifty-five "Meissoniers"--and the public was invited to come and be the
jury. Art-lovers from England went in bodies, and all Paris filed through
the gallery, as well as a goodly portion of provincial France. By the
side of each canvas stood a gendarme to protect it from a possible
fanatic whose artistic hate could not be restrained.

To a great degree this exhibition brought feeling to a normal condition.
Meissonier was still a great artist, yet he was human and his effects
were now believed to be gotten by natural methods. But there was a lull
in the mad rush to secure his wares. The Vanderbilts grew lukewarm;
titled connoisseurs from England were not so anxious; and Mrs. Mackay sat
back and smiled through her tears.

Meissonier had expended over a million francs on his house in the
Boulevard Malesherbes in Paris, and nearly as much on the country-seat at
Poissy. These places were kingly in their appointments and such as only
the State should attempt to maintain. For a single man, by the work of
his right hand, to keep them up was too much to expect.

Meissonier's success had been too great. As a collector he had overdone
the thing. Only poor men, or those of moderate incomes, should be
collectors, for then the joy of sacrifice is theirs. Charles Lamb's
covetous looking on the book when it was red, daily for months, meanwhile
hoarding his pay, and at last one Saturday night swooping down and
carrying the volume home to Bridget in triumph, is the true type.

But money had come to Meissonier by hundreds of thousands of francs, and
often sums were forced upon him as advance payments. He lived royally and
never imagined that his hand and brain could lose their cunning, or the
public be fickle.

The fact that a "vindication" had been necessary was galling: the great
man grew irritable and his mood showed itself in his work: his colors
grew hard and metallic, and there were angles in his lines where there
should have been joyous curves.

Debts began to press. He painted less and busied his mind with
reminiscence--the solace of old age.

And then it was that he dictated to his wife the "Conversations." The
book reveals the quality of his mind with rare fidelity--and shows the
power of this second wife fully to comprehend him. Thus did she disprove
some of the unkind philosophy given to the world by her liege. But the
talk in the "Conversations" is of an old man in whose heart was a tinge
of bitterness. Yet the thought is often lofty and the comment clear and
full of flashing insight. It is the book of Ecclesiastes over again,
written in a minor key, with a little harmless gossip added for filling.
Meissonier died in Paris on the Twenty-first of January, Eighteen Hundred
Ninety-one, aged seventy-six years.

       *       *       *       *       *

The canvas known as "Eighteen Hundred Seven," which is regarded as
Meissonier's masterpiece, has a permanent home in the Metropolitan Museum
of Art in New York. The central figure is Napoleon, at whose shrine the
great artist loved to linger. The "Eighteen Hundred Seven" occupied the
artist's time and talent for fifteen years, and was purchased by A. T.
Stewart for sixty thousand dollars. After Mr. Stewart's death his art
treasures were sold at auction, and this canvas was bought by Judge Henry
Hilton and presented to the city of New York.

There are in all about seventy-five pictures by Meissonier owned in
America. Several of his pieces are in the Vanderbilt collection, others
are owned by collectors in Chicago, Cleveland and Saint Louis.

There are various glib sayings to the effect that the work of great men
is not appreciated until after they are dead. This may be so and it may
not. It depends upon the man and the age. Meissonier enjoyed full half a
century of the highest and most complete success that was ever bestowed
upon an artist.

The strong intellect and marked personality of the man won him friends
wherever he chose to make them; and it probably would have been better
for his art if a degree of public indifference had been his portion in
those earlier years. His success was too great: the calm judgment of
posterity can never quite endorse the plaudits paid the living man. He
is one of the greatest artists the Nineteenth Century has produced, but
that his name can rank among the great artists of all time is not at all
probable.

William Michael Rossetti has summed the matter up well by saying:
"Perfection is so rare in this world that when we find it we must pause
and pay it the tribute of our silent admiration. It is very easy to say
that Meissonier should have put in this and omitted that. Had he painted
differently he would have been some one else. The work is faultless, and
such genius as he showed must ever command the homage of those who know
by experience the supreme difficulty of having the hand materialize the
conceptions of the mind. And yet Meissonier's conceptions outmatched his
brush: he was greater than his work. He was a great artist, and better
still, a great man--proud, frank, fearless and conscientious."



TITIAN

     Titian by a few strokes of the brush knew how to make the general
     image and character of whatever object he attempted. His great
     care was to preserve the masses of light and of shade, and to
     give by opposition the idea of that solidity which is inseparable
     from natural objects. He was the greatest of the Venetians, and
     deserves to rank with Raphael and Michelangelo.

    --_Sir Joshua Reynolds_

[Illustration: TITIAN]


The march of progress and the rage for improvement make small impression
on Venice. The cabmen have not protested against horsecars as they did in
Rome, tearing up the tracks, mobbing the drivers, and threatening the
passengers; neither has the cable superseded horses as a motor power, and
the trolley then rendered the cable obsolete.

In short, there never was a horse in Venice, save those bronze ones over
the entrance to Saint Mark's, and the one Napoleon rode to the top of the
Campanile. But there are lions in Venice--stone lions--you see them at
every turn. "Did you ever see a live horse?" asked a ten-year-old boy of
me, in Saint Mark's Square.

"Yes," said I; "several times."

"Are they fierce?" he asked after a thoughtful pause. And then I
explained that a thousand times as many men are killed by horses every
year as by lions.

Four hundred years have made no change in the style of gondolas, or
anything else in Venice. The prow of the Venetian gondola made today is
of the same height as that prescribed by Tommaso Mocenigo, Doge in the
year Fourteen Hundred. The regulated height of the prow is to insure
protection for the passengers when going under bridges, but its peculiar
halberd shape is a thing not one of the five thousand gondoliers in
Venice can explain. If you ask your gondolier he will swear a pious oath,
shrug his fine shoulders, and say, "Mon Dieu, Signore! how should I
know?--it has always been so." The ignorance and superstition of the
picturesque gondolier, with his fluttering blue hatband and gorgeous
sash, are most enchanting. His lack of knowledge is like the ignorance of
childhood, when life has neither beginning nor end; when ways and means
present no vexatious problems; when if food is not to be had for the
simple asking, it can surely be secured by coaxing; when the day is for
frolic and play, and the night for dreams and sleep.

But although your gondolier may not be able to read or write, he yet has
his preferences in music and art, and possesses definite ideas as to the
eternal fitness of things. In Italy, many of the best paintings being in
churches, and all the galleries being free on certain days, the common
people absorb a goodly modicum of art education without being aware of
it. I have heard market-women compare the merits of Tintoretto and Paul
Veronese, and stupid indeed is the boat "hooker" in Venice who would not
know a "Titian" on sight.

But the chronology of art is all a jumble to this indolent, careless,
happy people. These paintings were in the churches when their fathers and
mothers were alive, they are here now, and no church has been built in
Venice for three hundred years.

The history of Venice is nothing to a gondolier. "Why, Signore! how
should I know? Venice always has been," explained Enrico, when I asked
him how old the city was.

When I hired Enrico I thought he was a youth. He wore such a dandy suit
of pure white, and his hatband so exactly matched his sash, that I felt
certain I was close upon some tender romance, for surely it was some
dark-eyed lacemaker who had embroidered this impossible hatband and
evolved the improbable sash!

The exercise of rowing a gondola is of the sort that gives a splendid
muscular development. Men who pull oars have round shoulders, but the
gondolier does not pull an oar, he pushes it, and as a result has a flat
back and brawny chest. Enrico had these, and as he had no nerves to speak
of, the passing years had taken small toll. Enrico was sixty. Once he ran
alongside another gondola and introduced me to the gondolier, who was his
son. They were both of one age. Then one day I went with Enrico to his
home--two whitewashed rooms away up under the roof of an old palace on
the Rialto--and there met his wife.

Mona Lisa showed age more than Enrico. She had crouched over a little
wooden frame making one pattern of lace for thirty years, so her form was
bent and her eyesight faulty. Yet she proudly explained that years and
years ago she was a model for a painter, and in the Della Salute I could
see her picture, posed as Magdalen. She got fourteen cents a day for her
work, and had been at it so long she had no desire to quit. She took
great pride in Enrico's white-duck suits and explained to me that she
never let him wear one suit more than two days without its being washed
and starched; and she always pipeclayed his shoes and carefully inspected
him each morning before sending him forth to his day's work. "Men are so
careless, you know," she added by way of apology.

There was no furniture in the rooms worth mentioning--Italians do not
burden themselves with things--but on the wall I caught sight of a
bright-colored unfinished sketch of the Bridge of Sighs. It was little
more than an outline, and probably did not represent ten minutes' work,
but the lines seemed so firm and sure that I at once asked who did it.

"An American did it, Signore, an American painter; he comes here every
year; our son is his gondolier and shows him all the best places to
paint, and takes him there when the light is good and keeps the people
back so the artist can work--you understand? A shower came up just as his
Excellency, the American, began on this, and it got wet and so he gave it
to my son and he gave it to me."

"What is the painter's name?" I asked. Enrico could not remember, but
Mona Lisa said his name was Signore Hopsmithiziano, or something like
that.

There were several little plaster images on the walls, and through the
open door that led to the adjoining room I saw a sort of an improvised
shrine, with various little votive offerings grouped about an unframed
canvas. The picture was a crude attempt at copying that grand figure in
Titian's "Assumption."

"And who painted that?" I asked.

Enrico crossed himself in silence, and Mona Lisa's subdued voice
answered: "Our other son did that. He was only nineteen. He was a
mosaicist and was studying to be a painter; he was drowned at the Lido."

The old woman made the sign of the cross, her lips moved, and a single
big tear stood on her leathery cheek. I changed the painful subject, and
soon found excuse to slip away. That evening as the darkness gathered and
twinkling lights began to appear like fireflies, up and down the Grand
Canal, I sat in a little balcony of my hotel watching the scene. A
serenading party, backing their boats out into the stream, had formed a
small blockade, and in the group of gondolas that awaited the unraveling
of the tangle I spied Enrico. He had a single passenger, a lady in the
inevitable black mantilla, holding in her hands the inevitable fan. A
second glance at the lady--and sure enough! it was Mona Lisa. I ran
downstairs, stepped out across the moored line of gondolas, took up a
hook, and reaching over gently pulled Enrico's gondola over so I could
step aboard.

Mona Lisa was crooning a plaintive love-song and her gondolier was coming
in occasionally with bars of melodious bass. I felt guilty for being
about to break in upon such a sentimental little scene, and was going to
retreat, but Enrico and Mona Lisa spied me and both gave a little cry of
surprise and delight.

"Where have you been?" I asked--"you fine old lovers!"

And then they explained that it was a Holy Day and they had been over to
the Church of San Giorgio, and were now on their way to Santa Maria de'
Frari.

"It is a very special mass, by torchlight, and is for the repose of the
soul of Titian, who is buried there. You may never have an opportunity to
see such a sight again--come with us," and Enrico held out his strong
brown hand.

I stepped aboard, the boats opened out to the left and to the right, and
we passed with that peculiar rippling sound, across the water that
reflected the lights as of a myriad stars.

       *       *       *       *       *

Titian was born one hundred years before Rubens, and died just six months
before Rubens' birth.

On the one hundred twenty-second anniversary of the birth of Titian,
Rubens knelt at his grave, there in the church of Santa Maria de' Frari,
and vowed he would follow in the footsteps of the illustrious master. And
the next day he wrote to his mother describing the incident. Thousands of
other sentimental and impulsive youth have stood before that little slab
of black marble on which is carved the simple legend, "Tiziano Vecellio,"
and vowed as Rubens did, but out of the throng not one rendered such
honor to the master as did the brilliant Fleming. The example of Titian
was a lifelong inspiration to Rubens; and to all his pupils he held up
Titian as the painter par excellence. In the Rubens studio Titian was the
standard by which all art was gauged.

When Rubens returned to Flanders from Italy he carried with him
twenty-one pictures done by the hand of the master.

Titian was born at the little village of Cadore, a few miles north of
Venice. When ten years of age his father took him down to the city and
apprenticed him to a worker in mosaic, the intent of the fond parent
probably being to get the youngster out of the way, more than anything
else.

The setting together of the little bits of colored glass, according to a
pattern supplied, is a task so simple that children can do it about as
well as grown folks. They do the work there today just exactly as they
did four hundred years ago, when little Tiziano Vecellio came down from
Cadore and worked, getting his ears pinched when he got sleepy, or
carelessly put in the red glass when he should have used the blue.

An inscription on a tomb at Beni Hassan, dating from the reign of
Osortasen the First, who lived three thousand years before Christ,
represents Theban glassblowers at work. I told Enrico of this one day
when we were on our way to a glass-factory.

"That's nothing," said Enrico; "it was the glassblowers of Venice who
taught them how," and not a ghost of a smile came across his fine,
burnt-umber face.

There is a story by Pliny about certain Phenician mariners landing on the
shores of a small river in Palestine and making a fire to cook their
food, and afterward discovering that the soda and sand under their pots
had fused into glass. No one now seriously considers that the first
discovery of glass, and for all I know Enrico may be right in his flat
statement that the first glass was made at Venice, "for Venice always
was."

The art of glassmaking surely goes back to the morning of the world. The
glassblower is a classic, like the sower who goes forth to sow, the
potter at his wheel, and the grinding of grain with mortar and pestle.
Thus, too, the art of the mosaicist--who places bright bits of stone and
glass in certain positions so as to form a picture--goes back to the
dawn. The exquisite work in mosaic at Pompeii is the first thing that
impresses the visitor to that silent city. Much of the work there was
done long before the Christian era, and must have then been practised
many centuries to bring it to such perfection.

Young Tiziano from Cadore did not like the mere following of a set
pattern--he introduced variations of his own, and got his nose tweaked
for trying to improve on a good thing. Altogether he seemed to have had a
hard time of it there at Messer Zuccato's mosaic-shop.

The painter's art, then as now, preceded the art of the mosaicist, for
the picture or design to be made in mosaic is first carefully drawn on
paper, and then colored, and the worker in mosaic is supposed simply to
follow copy. When you visit the glass-factories of Venice today, you see
the painted picture tacked up on the wall before the workmen, who with
deft fingers stick the bits of glass into their beds of putty. This
scheme of painting a pattern is in order that cheap help can be employed;
when it began we do not know, but we do know there was a time when the
great artist in mosaic had his design in his head, and materialized it by
rightly placing the bits of glass with his own hands, experimenting,
selecting and rejecting until the thing was right. But this was before
the time of Titian, for when Titian came down to Venice there were
painters employed in the shop of Sebastian Zuccato who made the designs
for the dunderheads to follow. That is not just the word the painters
used to designate the boys and women who placed the bits of glass in
position, but it meant the same thing.

The painters thought themselves great folks, and used to make the others
wait on them and run errands, serving them as "fags."

But the Vecellio boy did not worship at the shrine of the painters who
made the designs. He said he could make as good pictures himself, and
still continued to make changes in the designs when he thought they
should be made; and once in a dispute between the boy and the maker of a
design, the master took sides with the boy. This inflated the lad with
his own importance so, that shortly after he applied for the position of
the quarrelsome designer.

The fine audacity of the youngster so pleased the master that he allowed
him to try his hand with the painters a few hours each day. He was
getting no wages anyway, only his board, and the kind of board did not
cost much, so it did not make much difference.

In Venice at that time there were two painters by the name of
Bellini--Gentile and Giovanni, sons of the painter Jacob Bellini, who had
brought his boys up in the way they should go. Gian, as the Venetians
called the younger brother, was the more noted of the two. Occasionally
he made designs for the mosaicists, and this sometimes brought him to
the shop where young Titian worked.

The boy got on speaking terms with the great painter, and ran errands
back and forth from his studio. When twelve years of age we find him duly
installed as a helper at Gian Bellini's studio, with an easel and box of
paints all his own.

       *       *       *       *       *

The brightest scholar in the studio of Gian Bellini was a young man by
the name of Giorgio, but they called him Giorgione, which being
interpreted means George the Great. He was about the age of Titian, and
the two became firm friends.

Giorgione was nearly twenty when we first hear of him. He was a handsome
fellow--tall, slender, with an olive complexion and dreamy brown eyes.
There was a becoming flavor of melancholy in his manner, and more than
one gracious dame sought to lure him back to earth, away from his
sadness, out of the dream-world in which he lived.

Giorgione was a musician and a poet. He sang his own pieces, playing the
accompaniment on a harp. Vasari says he sang his songs, playing his own
accompaniment on a flute, but I think this is a mistake.

Into all his work Giorgione infused his own soul--and do you know what
the power to do that is? It is genius. To be able to make a statue is
little, but to breathe into its nostrils the breath of life--ah! that is
something else! The last elusive, undefinable stroke of the brush, that
something uniting the spirit of the beholder with the spirit of the
artist, so that you feel as he felt when he wrought--that is art.
Burne-Jones is the avatar of Giorgione. He subdues you into silence, and
you wait, expecting that one of his tall, soulful dream-women will speak,
if you are but worthy--holding your soul in tune.

Giorgione never wrought so well as Burne-Jones, because he lived in a
different age--all art is an evolution. Painting is a form of expression,
just as language is a form of expression. Every man who writes English is
debtor to Shakespeare. Every man who paints and expresses something of
that which his soul feels is debtor to Giorgione and Botticelli. But to
judge of the greatness of an artist--mind this--you must compare him with
his contemporaries, not with those who were before or those who came
after. The old masters are valuable, not necessarily for beauty, but
because they reveal the evolution of art.

Between Burne-Jones and Giorgione came Botticelli. Now, Botticelli
builded on Giorgione, while Burne-Jones builded on Botticelli. Aubrey
Beardsley, dead at the age at which Keats died, builded on both, but he
perverted their art and put a leer where Burne-Jones placed faith and
abiding trust. Aubrey Beardsley got the cue for his hothouse art from one
figure in Botticelli's "Spring," I need not state which figure: a glance
at the picture and you behold sulphur fumes about the face of one of the
women.

Did Aubrey Beardsley infuse his own spirit into his work? Yes, I think he
did. Mrs. Jameson says, "There are no successful imitations of Giorgione,
neither can there be, for the spirit of the man is in every face he drew,
and the people who try to draw like him always leave that out."

There are various pictures in the Louvre, the National Gallery, and the
Pinacothek at Munich, signed with Giorgione's name, but Mrs. Jameson
declares they are not his, "because they do not speak to your soul with
that mild, beseeching look of pity," Possibly we should make allowance
for Mrs. Jameson's warm praise--other women talked like that when
Giorgione was alive.

Giorgione was one of those bright luminaries that dart across our plane
of vision and then go out quickly in hopeless night, leaving only the
memory of a blinding light. He died at thirty-three, which Disraeli
declares is the age at which the world's saviors have usually died--and
he names the Redeemer first in a list of twenty who passed out at the age
of three-and-thirty. Disraeli does not say that all those in his list
were saviors, for the second name he records is that of Alexander the
Great, the list ending with Shelley.

Giorgione died of a broken heart.

The girl he loved eloped with his friend, Morta del Feltri, to whom he
had proudly introduced her a short time before. It is an old story--it
has been played again and again to its Da Rimini finish. The friend
introduces the friend, and the lauded virtues of this friend inflames
imagination, until love strikes a spark; then soon instead of three we
find one--one groping blindly, alone, dazed, stunned, bereft.

The handsome Giorgione pined away, refusing to be comforted. And soon his
proud, melancholy soul took its flight from an environment with which he
was ever at war, and from a world which he never loved. And Titian was
sent for to complete the pictures which he had begun.

Surely, disembodied spirits have no control over mortals, or the soul of
Giorgione would have come back and smitten the hand of Titian with palsy.

For a full year before he died Giorgione had not spoken to Titian,
although he had seen him daily.

Giorgione had surpassed all artists in Venice. He had a careless, easy,
limpid style. But there was decision and surety in his swinging lines,
and best of all, a depth of tenderness and pity in his faces that gave to
the whole a rich, full and melting harmony.

Giorgione's head touched heaven, and his feet were not always on earth.
Titian's feet were always on earth, and his head sometimes touched
heaven. Titian was healthy and in love with this old, happy, cruel,
sensuous world. He was willing to take his chances anywhere. He had no
quarrel with his environment, for did he not stay here a hundred years
(lacking half a year), and then die through accident? Of course he liked
it. One woman, for him, could make a paradise in which a thousand
nightingales sang. And if one particular woman liked some one else
better, he just consoled himself with the thought that "there is just as
good fish," etc. I will not quote Walt Whitman and say his feet were
tenoned and mortised in granite, but they were well planted on the
soil--and sometimes mired in clay.

Titian admired Giorgione; he admired him so much that he painted exactly
like him--or as nearly as he could.

Titian was a good-looking young man, but he was not handsome like
Giorgione. Yet Titian did his best; he patronized Giorgione's tailor,
imitated his dreamy, far-away look, used a brush with his left hand, and
painted with his thumb. His coloring was the same, and when he got a
commission to fresco the ceiling of a church he did it as nearly like
Giorgione frescoes as he could.

This kind of thing is not necessarily servile imitation--it is only
admiration tipped to t' other side. It is found everywhere in aspiring
youth and in every budding artist.

As in the animal kingdom, genius has its prototype. In the National
Gallery at London you will see in the Turner Room a "Claude Lorraine" and
a "Turner" hung side by side, as provided for in Turner's will. You would
swear, were the pictures not labeled, that one hand did them both. When
thirty, Turner admired Claude to a slavish degree; but we know there came
a time when he bravely set sail on a chartless sea, and left the great
Claude Lorraine far astern.

Titian loved Giorgione so well that he even imitated his faults. At first
this high compliment was pleasing to Giorgione; then he became
indifferent, and finally disgusted. The very sight of Titian gave him a
pain.

He avoided his society. He ceased to speak to him when they met, and
forbade his friends to mention the name "Titian" in his presence.

It was about this time that Giorgione's ladylove won fame by discarding
him in that foolish, fishwife fashion. He called his attendants and
instructed them thus: "Do not allow that painter from Cadore--never mind
his name--to attend my funeral--you understand?"

Then he turned his face to the wall and died.

In his studio were various pictures partly completed, for it seems to
have been his habit to get rest by turning from one piece of work to
another. His executors looked at these unfinished canvases in despair.
There was only one man in all Venice who could complete them, and that
was Titian.

Titian was sent for.

He came, completed the pictures, signed them with the dead man's name,
and gave them to the world.

"And," says the veracious Vasari, "they were done just as well, if not
better than Giorgione himself could have done them, had he been alive!"

It was absurd of Giorgione to die of a broken heart and let Titian come
in, making free with everything in his studio, and complete his work. It
was very absurd.

Time is the great avenger--let us wait. Morta del Feltri, the perfidious
friend, grew tired of his mistress: their love was so warm it shortly
burned itself to ashes--ashes of roses.

Morta deserted the girl, fled from Venice, joined the army, and a javelin
plunged through his liver at the battle of Zara ended his career.

The unhappy young woman, twice a widow, fought off hungry wolves by
finding work in a glass-factory, making mosaics at fourteen cents a day.
When she was seventy, Titian, aged seventy-five, painted her picture as a
beggar-woman.

       *       *       *       *       *

The quality of sentiment that clings about the life of Giorgione seems to
forbid a cool, critical view of his work. Byron indited a fine poem to
him; and poetic criticism seems for him the proper kind. The glamour of
sentiment conceals the real man from our sight. And anyway, it is hardly
good manners to approach a saint closely and examine his halo to see
whether it be genuine or not. Halos are much more beautiful when seen
through the soft, mellow light of distance.

Giorgione's work was mostly in fresco, so but little of it has survived.
But of his canvases several surely have that tender, beseeching touch of
spirit which stamps the work as great art.

Whether Mrs. Jameson is right in her assumption that all canvases bearing
Giorgione's name are spurious which lack that look of pity, is a
question. I think that Mrs. Jameson is more kind than critical, although
my hope is that Renan is correct in his gratuitous statement, "At the
Last Great Day men will be judged by women, and the Almighty will merely
vise the verdict." If this be true, all who, like Giorgione, have died
for the love of woman will come off lightly.

But the fact is, no man is great all the time. Genius is an exceptional
mood even in a genius, and happy is the genius who, like Tennyson, builds
a high wall about his house, so he is seen but seldom, and destroys most
of his commonplace work.

Ruskin has printed more rubbish than literature--ten times over. I have
his complete works, and am sorry to say that, instead of confining myself
to "Sesame and Lilies," I have foolishly read all the dreary stuff,
including statistics, letters to Hobbs and Nobbs, with hot arguments as
to who fished the murex up, and long, scathing tirades against the old
legal shark who did him out of a hundred pounds. Surely, to be swindled
by a lawyer is not so unusual a thing that it is worth recording!

But Ruskin wrote about it, had it put in print, read the proof, and
printed the stuff, so no one, no matter how charitably disposed, can
arise and zealously declare that this only is genuine, and that spurious.
It's all genuine--rubbish, bosh and all.

Titian painted some dreary, commonplace pictures, and he also painted
others that must ever be reckoned as among the examples of sublime art
that have made the world stronger in its day and generation and proud of
what has been.

Titian was essentially a pagan. When he painted Christian subjects he
introduced a goodly flavor of the old Greek love of life. Indeed, there
is a strong doubt whether the real essence of Christianity was ever known
at Venice, except in rare individual cases.

It was the spirit of the sea-kings, and not the gentle, loving Christ,
that inspired her artists and men of learning.

The sensuous glamour of the Orient steeped the walls of San Marco in
their rainbow tints, and gave that careless, happy habit to all the
Venetian folk. In Titian's time, as today, gay gallants knelt in the
churches, and dark, dreamy eyes peeked out from behind mantillas, and the
fan spoke a language which all lovers knew. Outside was the strong smell
of the sea, and never could a sash be flung open to the azure but there
would come floating in on the breeze the gentle tinkle of a guitar.

But Titian, too, as well as Giorgione, infused into his work at times the
very breath of life.

At the Belle d' Arte at Venice is that grand picture, "The Assumption,"
which for more than two hundred years was in the Church of Santa Maria
de' Frari. When Napoleon appointed a commission to select the paintings
in Venice that were considered best worth preserving and protecting, and
take them to the Belle d' Arte, this picture was included in the list. It
was then removed from its place, where it had so long hung, above the
grave of the man who executed it.

I have several large photographs of this picture, showing different
portions of it. One of these pictures reveals simply the form of the
Virgin. She rises from the earth, caught up in the clouds, the drapery
streaming in soft folds, and on the upturned face is a look of love and
tenderness and trust, combined with womanly strength, that hushes us into
tears.

Surely there is an upward law of gravitation as well as a gravitation
that pulls things down. Titian has shown us this. And as he drew over and
over again in his pictures the forms and faces of the men and women he
knew, so I imagine that this woman was a woman he knew and loved. She is
not a far-off, tenuous creature, born of dreams: she is a woman who has
lived, suffered, felt, mayhap erred, and now turns to a Power, not
herself, eternal in the heavens. Into this picture the artist infused his
own exalted spirit, for the mood we behold manifest in others is usually
but the reflection of our own spirit.

In some far-off eon, ere this earth-journey began, some woman looked at
me that way once, just as Titian has this woman look, with the same
melting eyes and half-parted lips, and it made an impression on my soul
that subsequent incarnations have not effaced.

I bought the photograph in Venice, at Ongania's, and paid three dollars
for it. Then I framed it in simple, unplaned, unstained cedar, and it
hangs over my desk now as I write.

When I am tired and things go wrong, and the round blocks all seem to be
getting into the square holes, and remembrances of the lawyer who cheated
me out of a hundred pounds come stealing like a blight over my spirit, I
look up at the face of this woman who is not only angelic but human. I
behold the steady upward flight and the tender look of pity, and my soul
reaches out, grasping the hem of the garment of Her who we are told was
the Mother of God, and with Her I leave the old sordid earth far beneath
and go on, and on, and up, and up, and up, until my soaring spirit
mingles and communes with the great Infinite.



ANTHONY VAN DYCK

    His pieces so with live objects strive,
    That both or pictures seem, or both alive.
    Nature herself, amaz'd, does doubting stand,
    Which is her own and which the painter's hand,
    And does attempt the like with less success,
    When her own work in twins she would express.
    His all-resembling pencil did outpass
    The magic imagery of looking-glass.
    Nor was his life less perfect than his art.
    Nor was his hand less erring than his heart.
    There was no false or fading color there,
    The figures sweet and well-proportioned were.

    --_Cowley's "Elegy on Sir Anthony Van Dyck"_

[Illustration: ANTHONY VAN DYCK]


The most common name in Holland is Van Dyck. Its simple inference is that
the man lives on the dyke, or near it. In the good old days when
villagers never wandered far from home, the appellation was sufficient,
and even now, at this late day, it is not especially inconsistent.

In Holland you are quite safe in addressing any man you meet as Van Dyck.

The ancient Brotherhood of Saint Luke, of Antwerp, was always an
exclusive affair, but during the years between Fifteen Hundred
Ninety-seven and Sixteen Hundred Twenty-three there were twenty-seven
artists by the name of Van Dyck upon its membership register. Out of
these two dozen and three names, but one interests us.

Anthony Van Dyck was the son of a rich merchant. He was born in the year
Fifteen Hundred Ninety-nine--just twenty-two years after the birth of
Rubens. Before Anthony was ten years old the name and fame of Rubens
illumined all Antwerp, and made it a place of pilgrimage for the faithful
lovers of art of Northern Europe.

The success of Rubens fired the ambition of young Van Dyck. His parents
fostered his desires, and after he had served an apprenticeship with the
artist Van Balen, a place was secured for him in the Rubens studio. For a
full year the ambitious Rubens took small notice of the Van Dyck lad, and
possibly would not have selected him then as a favorite pupil but for an
accident.

Rubens reduced his work to a system. While in his studio he was the
incarnation of fire and energy. But at four o'clock each day he dismissed
his pupils, locked the doors, and mounting his horse, rode off into the
country, five miles and back.

One afternoon, when the master had gone for his usual ride, several of
the pupils returned to the studio, wishing to examine a certain picture,
and by hook or by crook gained admittance. On an easel was a partly
finished canvas, the paint fresh from the hands of the master. The boys
examined the work and then began to scuffle--boys of sixteen or seventeen
always scuffle when left to themselves. They scuffled so successfully
that the easel was upset, and young Van Dyck fell backwards upon the wet
canvas, so that the design was transferred to his trousers.

The picture was ruined.

The young men looked upon their work aghast. It meant disgrace for them
all.

In despair Van Dyck righted the easel, seized a brush, and began to
replace the picture ere it could fade from his memory. His partners in
crime looked on with special personal interest and encouraged him with
words of lavish praise. He worked to within ten minutes of the time the
master was due; and then all made their escape by the window through
which they had entered.

The next day, when the class assembled, the pupils were ordered to stand
up in line. Then they were catechized individually as to who had replaced
the master's picture with one of his own.

All pleaded ignorance until the master reached the blond-haired Van Dyck.
The boy made a clean breast of it all, save that he refused to reveal the
names of his accomplices.

"Then you painted the picture alone?"

"Yes," came the firm answer that betokened the offender was resolved on
standing the consequences.

The master relieved the strained tension by a laugh, and declared that he
had only discovered the work was not his own by perceiving that it was a
little better than he could do. Accidents are not always unlucky--this
advanced young Van Dyck at once to the place of first assistant to Peter
Paul Rubens.

       *       *       *       *       *

Commissions were pouring in on Rubens. With him the tide was at flood. He
had been down to Paris and had returned in high spirits with orders to
complete that extensive set of pictures for Marie de Medici; he also had
commissions from various churches; and would-be sitters for portraits
waited in his parlors, quarreling about which should have first place.

Van Dyck, his trusted first lieutenant, lived in his house. The younger
man had all the dash, energy and ambition of the older one. He caught the
spirit of the master, and so great was his skill that he painted in a way
that thoroughly deceived the patrons; they could not tell whether Rubens
or Van Dyck had done the work.

This was very pleasing to Rubens. But when Van Dyck began sending out
pictures on his own account, properly signed, and people said they were
equal to those of Rubens, if not better, Rubens shrugged his shoulders.

There was as little jealousy in the composition of Peter Paul Rubens as
in any artistic man we can name; but to declare that he was incapable of
jealousy, as a few of his o'er-zealous defenders did, is to apply the
whitewash. The artistic temperament is essentially feminine, and jealousy
is one of its inherent attributes. Of course there are all degrees of
jealousy, but the woman who can sit serenely by and behold her charms
ignored for those of another, by one who yesterday sat at her feet making
ballad to her eyebrow and sighing like a furnace, does not exist on the
planet called Earth.

The artist, in any line, craves praise, and demands applause as his
lawful right; and the pupil who in excellence approaches him, pays him a
compliment that warms the cockles of his heart. But let a pupil once
equal him and the pupil's name is anathema. I can not conceive of any man
born of woman who would not detest another man who looked like him, acted
like him, and did difficult things just as well. Such a one robs us of
our personality, and personality is all there is of us.

The germ of jealousy in Rubens' nature had never been developed. He
dallied with no "culture-beds," and the thought that any one could ever
really equal him had never entered his mind. His conscious sense of power
kept his head high above the miasma of fear.

But now a contract for certain portraits that were to come from the
Rubens studio had been drawn up by the Jesuit Brothers, and in the
contract was inserted a clause to the effect that Van Dyck should work on
each one of the pictures.

"Pray you," said Rubens, "to which Van Dyck do you refer? There are many
of the name in Antwerp."

The jealousy germ had begun to develop.

And about this time Van Dyck was busying himself as understudy, by making
love to Rubens' wife. Rubens was a score of years older than his pupil,
and Isabella was somewhere between the two--say ten years older than Van
Dyck, but that is nothing! These first fierce flames that burn in the
heart of youth are very apt to be for some fair dame much older than
himself. No psychologist has ever yet just fathomed the problem, and I am
sure it is too deep for me--I give it up. And yet the fact remains, for
how about Doctor Samuel Johnson--and did not our own Robert Louis fall
desperately in love with a woman sixteen years his senior? Aye, and
married her, too, first asking her husband's consent, and furtherance
also being supplied by the ex-husband giving the bride away at the altar.
At least, we have been told so.

Were this sketch a catalog, a dozen notable instances could be given in
which very young men have been struck hard by women old enough to have
nursed them as babes.

Van Dyck loved Isabella Rubens ardently. He grew restless, feverish, lost
appetite and sighed at her with lack-luster eye across the dinner-table.
Rubens knew of it all, and smiled a grim, sickly smile.

"I, too, love every woman who sits to me for a portrait. He'll get over
it," said the master. "It all began when I allowed him to paint her
picture."

Busy men of forty, with ambitions, are not troubled by Anthony Hope's
interrogation. They glibly answer, "No, no, love is not all--it's only a
small part of life--simply incidental!"

But Van Dyck continued to sigh, and all of his spare time was taken up in
painting pictures of the matronly Isabella. He managed to work even in
spite of loss of appetite; and sitters sometimes called at the studio and
asked for "Master Van Dyck," whereas before there was only one master in
the whole domain.

Rubens grew aweary.

He was too generous to think of crushing Van Dyck, and too wise to
attempt it. To cast him out and recognize him openly as a rival would be
to acknowledge his power. A man with less sense would have kicked the
lovesick swain into the street. Rubens was a true diplomat. He decided to
get rid of Van Dyck and do it in a way that would cause no scandal, and
at the same time be for the good of the young man.

He took Van Dyck into his private office and counseled with him calmly,
explaining to him how hopeless must be his love for Isabella. He further
succeeded in convincing the youth that a few years in Italy would add the
capsheaf to his talent. Without Italy he could not hope to win all; with
Italy all doors would open at his touch.

Then he led him to his stable and presented him with his best
saddle-horse, and urged immediate departure for a wider field and
pastures new.

A few days later the handsome Van Dyck--with a goodly purse of gold,
passports complete, and saddlebags well filled with various letters of
introduction to Rubens' Italian friends--followed by a cart filled with
his belongings, started gaily away, bound for the land where art had its
birth.

"With Italy--with Italy I can win all!" he kept repeating to himself as
he turned his horse's head to the South.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first day's ride took the artistic traveler to the little village of
Saventhem, five miles from Brussels. Here he turned aside long enough to
say good-by to a fair young lady, Anna Van Ophem by name, whom he had met
a few months before at Antwerp.

He rode across the broad pasture, entered the long lane lined with
poplars, and followed on to the spacious old stone mansion in the grove
of trees.

Anna herself saw him coming and came out to meet him. They had not been
so very well acquainted, but the warmth of a greeting all depends upon
where it takes place. It was lonely for the beautiful girl there in the
country: she welcomed the handsome young painter-man as though he were a
long-lost brother, and proudly introduced him to her parents.

Instead of a mere call he was urged to put up his horse and remain
overnight; and a servant was sent out to find the man who drove the cart
with the painter's belongings, and make him comfortable.

The painter decided that he would remain overnight and make an early
start on the morrow.

And it was so agreed.

There was music in the evening, and pleasant converse until a late hour,
for the guest must sit up and see the moon rise across the meadow--it
would make such a charming subject for a picture!

So they sat up to see the moon rise across the meadow.

At breakfast the next morning there was a little banter on the subject of
painting. Could not the distinguished painter remain over one day and
give his hosts a taste of his quality?

"I surely will if the fair Anna will sit for her portrait!" he
courteously replied.

The fair Anna consented.

The servant who drove the cart had gotten on good terms with the servants
of the household, and was being initiated into the mysteries of making
Dutch cheese.

Meanwhile the master had improvised a studio and was painting the
portrait of the charming Anna.

After working two whole days he destroyed the canvas because the picture
was not keyed right, and started afresh. The picture was fairish good,
but his desire now was to paint the beautiful Anna as the Madonna.

Van Dyck's affections having been ruthlessly uprooted but a few days
before, the tendrils very naturally clung to the first object that
presented itself--and this of course was the intelligent and patient
sitter, aged nineteen last June.

If Rubens could not paint the picture of a lady without falling in love
with her, what should be expected of his best pupil, Van Dyck?

Pygmalion loved into life the cold marble which his hand had shaped, and
thus did Van Dyck love his pictures into being. All portrait-painters are
sociable--they have to be in order to get acquainted with the subject.
The best portrait-painter in America talks like a windmill as he works,
and tries a whole set round of little jokes, and dry asides and trite
aphorisms on the sitter, meanwhile cautiously noting the effect. For of
course so long as a sitter is coldly self-conscious, and fully mindful
that he is "being took," his countenance is as stiff, awkward, and
constrained as that of a farmer at a dinner-party.

Hence the task devolves upon the portrait-artist to bring out, by the
magic of his presence, the nature of the subject. "In order to paint a
truly correct likeness, you must know your sitter thoroughly," said Van
Dyck.

The gracious Rubens prided himself on his ability in this line. He would
often spend half an hour busily mending a brush or mixing paints, talking
the while, but only waiting for the icy mood of the sitter to thaw. Then
he would arrange the raiment of his patron, sometimes redress the hair,
especially of his lady patrons, and once we know he kissed the cheek of
the Duchess of Mantua, "so as to dispel her distant look." I know a
portrait-artist in Albany who is said to occasionally salute his lady
customers by the same token, and if they protest he simply explains to
them that it was all in the interest of art--in other words, artifice for
art's sake.

After three days at the charming old country-seat at Saventhem, Van Dyck
called his servant and told him to take the shoes off of the
saddle-horse, and turn it and the cart-horse loose in the pasture. He
had decided to remain and paint a picture for the village church.

And it was so done.

The pictures that Van Dyck then painted are there now in the same old
ivy-grown, moss-covered church at Saventhem. The next time you are in
Brussels it will pay you to walk out and see them.

One of the pictures is called "Saint Martin Dividing His Cloak With Two
Beggars." The Saint is modestly represented by Van Dyck himself, seated
astride the beautiful horse that Rubens gave him.

The other picture is "The Holy Family," in which the fair Anna posed for
the Virgin, and her parents and kinsmen are grouped around her as the
Magi and attendants.

Both pictures reveal the true Van Dyck touch, and are highly prized by
the people of the village and the good priests of the church. Each night
a priest carries in a cot and sleeps in the chancel to see that these
priceless works of art are protected from harm. When you go there to see
them, give the cowled attendant a franc and he will unfold the tale, not
just as I have written it, but substantially. He will tell you that Van
Dyck stopped here on his way to Italy and painted these pictures as a
pious offering to God, and what boots it after all!

More than once have the village peasants collected, armed with scythes,
hoes and pitchforks, to protect these sacred pictures from vandalism on
the part of lustful collectors or marauding bands of soldiers.

In Eighteen Hundred Fourteen, a detachment of French soldiers killed a
dozen of the villagers, and a priest fell fighting for these treasures on
the sacred threshold, stabbed to his death. Then the vandals tramped over
the dead bodies, entered the church, and cut from its frame Van Dyck's
"Holy Family" and carried the picture off to Paris. But after Napoleon
had gotten his Waterloo (only an hour's horseback ride from Saventhem),
the picture was restored to the villagers on order of the Convention.

Rubens waited expectantly, thinking to have news from his brilliant pupil
in Italy. He waited a month. Two months passed, and still no word. After
three months a citizen reported that the day before he had seen Van Dyck,
aided by a young woman, putting up a picture in the village church at
Saventhem.

Rubens saddled his horse and rode down there. He found Van Dyck and his
lady-love sitting hand in hand on a mossy bank, in a leafy grove,
listening to the song of a titmouse. Rubens did not chide the young man;
he merely took him one side and told him that he had stayed long enough,
and "beyond the Alps lies Italy." He also suggested that Anthony Van Dyck
could not afford to follow the example of his illustrious Roman namesake
who went down into Egypt and found things there so softly luxurious that
he forgot home, friends, country--all! To remain at Saventhem would be
death to his art--he must have before him the example of the masters.

Van Dyck said he would think about it; and Rubens took a look at his old
saddle-horse rolling in the pasture or wading knee-deep in clover, and
rode back home.

In a few days he sent Chevalier Nanni down to the country-seat at
Saventhem, to tell Van Dyck that he was on his way to Italy and that Van
Dyck had better accompany him.

Van Dyck concluded to go. He made tearful promises to his beautiful Anna
that he would return for her in a year.

And so the servant, who had become an expert in the making of Dutch
cheese, caught the horses out of the pasture, and having rebroken them,
the cavalcade started southward in good sooth.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was four years before Van Dyck returned. He visited Milan, Florence,
Verona, Mantua, Venice and Rome, and made himself familiar with the works
of the masters. Everywhere he was showered with attention, and the fact
that he was the friend and protege of Rubens won him admittance into the
palaces of the nobles.

The four years in Italy widened his outlook and transformed him from a
merely handsome youth into a man of dignity and poise.

Great was his relief when he returned to Antwerp to hear that the pretty
Anna Van Ophem of Saventhem had been married three years before to a
worthy wine merchant of Brussels, and was now the proud mother of two
handsome boys.

Great was the welcome that Van Dyck received at Antwerp; and in it all
the gracious Rubens joined. But there was one face the returned traveler
missed: Isabella had died the year before.

The mere fact that a man has been away for several years studying his
profession gives him a decided prestige when he returns. Van Dyck, fresh
from Italy, exuberant with life and energy, became at once the vogue.

He opened a studio, following the same lines that Rubens had, and several
churches gave him orders for extensive altarpieces.

Antwerp prided herself on being an artistic center. Buyers from England
now and then appeared, and several of Rubens' pictures had been taken to
London to decorate the houses and halls of royalty.

Portrait-painting is the first form of art that appeals to a rude and
uncultivated people. To reproduce the image of a living man in stone, or
to show a likeness of his face in paint, is calculated to give a thrill
even to a savage. There is something mysterious in the art, and the
desire to catch the shadow ere the substance fades is strong in the human
heart. One reason that sacred art was so well encouraged in the Middle
Ages was because the faces portrayed were reproductions of living men and
women. This lent an intense personal interest in the work, and insured
its fostering care. Callous indeed was the noble who would not pay good
coin to have himself shown as Saint Paul, or his enemy as Judas. In fact,
"Judas Receiving the Thirty Pieces of Silver" was a very common subject,
and the "Judas" shown was usually some politician who had given offense.

In Sixteen Hundred Twenty-eight, England had not yet developed an
art-school of her own. All her art was an importation, for although some
fine pictures had been produced in England, they were all the work of
foreigners--men who had been brought over from the Continent.

Henry the Eighth had offered Raphael a princely sum if he would come to
London and work for a single year. Raphael, however, could not be spared
from Italy to do work for "the barbarians," and so he sent his pupil,
Luca Penni. Bluff old Hans Holbein also abode in England and drew a
goodly pension from the State.

During the reign of Mary and her Spanish husband, Philip, several
pictures by Titian arrived in London, via Madrid. Then, too, there were
various copies of pictures by Paul Veronese, Murillo and Velasquez that
long passed for original, because the copyist had faithfully placed the
great artist's trademark in the proper place.

Queen Elizabeth held averages good by encouraging neither art nor
matrimony--whereas her father had set her the example of being a liberal
patron of both. If Elizabeth never discovered Shakespeare, how could she
be expected to know Raphael?

About Sixteen Hundred Twenty, the year the "Mayflower" sailed, Paul
Vensomer, Cornelis Jannsen and Daniel Mytens went over to England from
the Netherlands and quickly made fortunes by painting portraits for the
nobility. This was the first of that peculiar rage for having a hall
filled with ancestors. The artists just named painted pictures of people
long gone hence, simply from verbal descriptions, and warranted the
likeness to give satisfaction.

Oh, the Dutch are a thrifty folk!

James the First had no special eye for beauty--no more than Elizabeth
had--but a few of his nobles were intent on providing posterity with
handsome ancestors, and so the portrait-painter flourished.

An important move in the cause of literature was made by King James when
he placed Sir Walter Raleigh in the Tower; for Raleigh's best
contributions to letters were made during those thirteen years when he
was alone, with the world locked out. And when his mind began to lose its
flash, the King wisely put a quietus on all danger of an impaired output
by cutting off the author's head.

Still, there was no general public interest in art until the generous
Charles appeared upon the scene. Charles was an elegant scholar and
prided himself on being able to turn a sonnet or paint a picture; and the
only reason, he explained, why he did not devote all his time to
literature and art was because the State must be preserved. He could hire
men to paint, but where could one be found who could govern?

Charles had purchased several of Rubens' pieces, and these had attracted
much attention in London. Receptions were given where crowds surged and
clamored and fought, just to get a look at the marvelous painting of the
wonderful Fleming. Such gorgeous skill in color had never before been
seen in England.

Charles knighted Rubens and did his best to make him a permanent attache
of his Court; but Rubens had too many interests of a financial and
political nature at home to allow himself to be drawn away from his
beloved Antwerp.

But now he had a rival--the only real rival he had ever known. Van Dyck
was making head. The rival was younger, handsomer, and had such a
blandishing tongue and silken manner that the crowd began to call his
name and declare he was greater than Cæsar.

Yet Rubens showed not a sign of displeasure on his fine face--he bowed
and smiled and agreed with the garrulous critics when they smote the
table and declared that all of Van Dyck's Madonnas really winked.

He bided his time.

And it soon came, for the agent of Lord Arundel, that great Mæcenas of
the polite arts, came over to Flanders to secure treasures, and of course
called on Rubens.

And Rubens talked only of Van Dyck--the marvelous Van Dyck.

The agent secured several copies of Van Dyck's work, and went back to
England, telling of all that Rubens had told him, with a little
additional coloring washed in by his own warm imagination.

To discover a genius is next to being one yourself. Lord Arundel felt
that all he had heard of Van Dyck must be true, and when he went to the
King and told him of the prodigy he had found, the King's zeal was warm
as that of the agent, for does not the "messianic instinct" always live?

This man must be secured at any cost. They had failed to secure Rubens,
but the younger man had no family ties, no special property interests,
neither was he pledged to his home government as was Rubens.

Straightway the King of England dispatched a messenger urging Anthony Van
Dyck to come over to England. The promised rewards and honors were too
great for the proud and ambitious painter to refuse. He started for
England.

       *       *       *       *       *

In stature Van Dyck was short, but of a very compact build. He carried
the crown of his head high, his chin in, and his chest out. His name is
another added to that list of big-little men who had personality plus,
and whose presence filled a room. Cæsar, Napoleon, Lord Macaulay, Aaron
Burr and that other little man with whom Burr's name is inseparably
linked, belong to the same type. These little men with such dynamic force
that they can do the thinking for a race are those who have swerved the
old world out of her ruts--whether for good or ill is not the question
here.

When you find one of these big-little men, if he does not stalk through
society a conquering Don Juan it is because we still live in an age of
miracles.

Women fed on Van Dyck's smile, and pined when he did not deign to notice
them. He was royal in all his tastes--his manner was regal, and so proud
was his step that when he passed forbidden lines, sentinels and servants
saluted and made way, never daring to ask him for card, passport or
countersign.

He gloried in his power and worked it to its farthest limit.

Unlike Rembrandt, he never painted beggars; nor did he ever stoop as
Titian did when he pictured his old mother as a peasant woman at market,
in that gem of the Belle d' Arte at Venice; nor did he ever reveal on his
canvas wrinkled, weather-worn old sailors, as did Velasquez.

He pictured only royalty, and managed, in all his portraits, to put a
look of leisure and culture and quiet good-breeding into the face,
whether it was in the original or not. In fact, he fused into every
picture that he painted a goodly modicum of his own spirit. You can
always tell a Van Dyck portrait; there is in the face a self-sufficiency,
a something that speaks of "divine right"--not of arrogance, for
arrogance and assumption reveal a truth which man is trying to hide, and
that is that his position is a new acquirement. Van Dyck's people are all
to the manner born.

He was thirty-three years old when he arrived in England.

King Charles furnished the painter a house at Blackfriars, fronting the
Thames, to insure a good light, and gave him a summer residence in Kent.
All his expenses were paid by the State, and as his tastes were regal the
demands on the public exchequer were not small. His title was, "Principal
Painter in Ordinary to the King and Queen of England."

Van Dyck had worked so long with Rubens that he knew how to use 'prentice
talent. He studied by a system and turned off a prodigious number of
canvases. The expert can at once tell a picture painted by Van Dyck
during his career in England: it lacks the care and finish that was shown
in his earlier years. Yet there is a subtle sweep and strength in it all
that reveals the personality of the artist.

Twenty-two pictures he painted of King Charles that we can trace. These
were usually sent away as presents. And it is believed that in the seven
years Van Dyck lived in England he painted nearly one thousand portraits.

The courtly manner and chivalrous refinement of the Fleming made him a
prime favorite of Charles. He was even more kingly than the King.

In less than three months after he arrived in England Charles publicly
knighted him, and placed about his neck a chain of gold to which was
attached a locket, set with diamonds, containing a picture of the King.

A record of Van Dyck's affairs of the heart would fill a book. His old
habit of falling in love with every lady patron grew upon him. His
reputation went abroad, and his custom of thawing the social ice by
talking soft nonsense to the lady on the sitter's throne, while it
repelled some allured others.

At last Charles grew nettled and said that to paint Lady Digby as "The
Virgin" might be all right, and even to turn around and picture her as
"Susanna at the Bath" was not necessarily out of place, but to show
Margaret Lemon, Anne Carlisle and Catherine Wotton as "The Three Graces"
was surely bad taste. And furthermore, when these same women were shown
as "Psyche," "Diana" and the "Madonna"--just as it happened--it was
really too much!

In fact, the painter must get married; and the King and Queen selected
for him a wife in the person of a Scottish beauty, Maria Ruthven.

Had this proposition come a few years before, the proud painter would
have flouted it. But things were changed. Twinges of gout and sharp
touches of sciatica backed up the King's argument that to reform were the
part of wisdom. Van Dyck's manly shape was tending to embonpoint: he had
evolved a double chin, the hair on his head was rather seldom, and he
could no longer run upstairs three steps at a time. Yes, he would get
married, live the life of a staid, respectable citizen, and paint only
religious subjects. Society was nothing to him--he would give it up
entirely.

And so Sir Anthony Van Dyck was married to Maria Ruthven, at Saint Paul's
Cathedral, and the King gave the bride away, ceremonially and in fact.

Sir Anthony's gout grew worse, and after some months the rheumatism took
an inflammatory turn. Other complications entered, which we would now
call Bright's Disease--that peculiar complaint of which poor men stand in
little danger.

The King offered the Royal Physician a bonus of five hundred pounds if he
would cure Van Dyck: but if he had threatened to kill the doctor if the
patient died, just as did the Greek friends of Byron, when the poet was
ill at Rome, it would have made no difference.

A year after his marriage, and on the day that Maria Ruthven gave birth
to a child, Anthony Van Dyck died, aged forty years. Rubens had died but
a few months before.

The fair Scottish wife did not care to retain her illustrious name at the
expense of loneliness, and so shortly married again. Whom she married
matters little, since it would require a search-warrant to unearth even
the man's name, so dead is he. But inasmuch as the brilliant Helena
Fourment, second wife of Rubens, whose picture was so often painted by
her artist-husband, married again, why shouldn't Madame Van Dyck follow
the example?

It is barely possible that Charles Lamb was right when he declared that
no woman married to a genius ever believed her husband to be one. We know
that the wife of Edmund Spenser became the Faerie Queene of another soon
after his demise, and whenever Spenser was praised in her presence she
put on a look that plainly said, "I could a tale unfold."

My own opinion is that a genius makes a very bad husband. And further, I
have no faith in that specious plea, "A woman who marries a second time
confers upon her first husband the highest compliment, for her action
implies that she was so happy in her first love that she is more than
willing to try it again."

I think the reverse is more apt to be the truth, and that the woman who
has been sorely disappointed in her first marriage is anxious to try the
great experiment over again, in order if possible to secure that bliss
which every daughter of Eve feels is her rightful due.

Maria Ruthven lived to rear a goodly brood of children, and Samuel Pepys
records that she used to send a sort o' creepy feeling down the backs of
callers by innocently introducing her children thus: "This is my eldest
daughter, whose father was Sir Anthony Van Dyck, of whom you have
doubtless heard; and these others are my children by my present husband,
Sergeant Nobody." Van Dyck's remains are buried in Saint Paul's
Cathedral. A very fine monument, near the grave of Turner, marks the
spot; but his best monument is in the examples of his work that are to be
found in every great art-gallery of the world.



FORTUNY

     I think I knew Fortuny as well as any one did. He was surcharged
     with energy, animation and good-cheer; and the sunshine he worked
     into every canvas he attempted, was only a reflection of the
     sparkling, gem-like radiance of his own nature. He absorbed from
     earth, air, sky, the waters and men, and transmuted all dross
     into gold. To him all things were good.

    --_Letter From Regnault_

[Illustration: FORTUNY]


Now, once upon a day there was a swart, stubby boy by the name of Mariano
Fortuny. He was ten years old, going on 'leven, and lived with his
grandfather away up and up four flights of rickety stairs in an old house
at the village of Reus, in Spain. Mariano's father had died some years
before--died mysteriously in a drunken fight at a fair, where he ran a
Punch and Judy show. Some said the Devil had come and carried him off,
just as he nightly did Mr. Punch.

Frowsy, little, shock-headed Mariano didn't feel so awfully bad when his
father died, because his father used to make him turn the hand-organ all
day, and half the night, and take up the collections; and the fond parent
used to cuff him when there were less than ten coppers in the tambourine.
They traveled around from place to place, with a big yellow dog and a
little blue wagon that contained the show. They hitched their wagon to a
dog. At night they would sleep in some shed back of a tavern, or under a
table at a market, and Mariano would pillow his head on the yellow dog
and curl up in a ball trying to keep warm.

When the father died, a tall man, who carried a sword and wore spurs, and
had two rows of brass buttons down the front of his coat, took the dog
and the wagon and the Punch and Judy show and sold 'em all--so as to get
money to pay the funeral expenses of the dead man.

The tall man with the sword might have sold little Mariano, too, or
thrown him in with the lot for good measure, but nobody seemed to want
the boy--they all had more boys than they really needed already.

A fat market-woman gave the lad a cake, and another one gave him two
oranges, and still another market-woman, fatter than the rest, blew her
nose violently on her check apron and said it was too bad a boy like that
didn't have a mother.

Mariano never had a mother--at least none that he knew of, and it really
seemed as if it didn't make much difference, but now he began to cry,
and, since the fat woman had suggested it, really wished he had a mother,
after all.

There was an old priest standing by in the group. Mariano had not noticed
him. But when the priest said, "But God is both our father and our
mother, so no harm can come to us!" Mariano looked up in his face and
felt better.

The priest's name was Father Gonzales; Mariano knew, because this is what
the market-woman called him. The fat market-woman talked with the priest,
and the priest talked with the man with the dangling sword, and then
Father Gonzales took the boy by the hand and led him away, and Mariano
trotted along by his side, quite content, save for a stifled wish that
the big yellow dog might go too. And it is a gross error to suppose that
a yellow dog is necessarily nothing but a canine whose capillary covering
is highly charged with ocherish pigment.

Where they were going made no difference. "God is our father and our
mother"--Father Gonzales said so--and, faith! he ought to know.

And by and by they came to the tall old tenement-house, and climbed up
the stairs to where Mariano's old "grandfather" lived. Perhaps he wasn't
Mariano's sure-enough grandfather, but he was just as good as if he had
been.

       *       *       *       *       *

But now it was an awfully long time ago since little Mariano and Father
Gonzales had first climbed the stairs to where Grandfather Fortuny lived.
The old grandfather and Mariano worked very hard, but they were quite
content and happy. They had enough to eat, and each had a straw bed and
warm blankets to cover him at night, and when the weather was very cold
they made a fire of charcoal in a brazier and sat before it with
spread-out hands, very thankful that God had given them such a good home
and so many comforts.

The grandfather made images out of white plaster, flowers sometimes, and
curious emblems that people bought for votive offerings. Little Mariano's
share in the work was to color the figures with blue and red paint, and
give a lifelike tint to the fruit and bouquets that the grandfather cast
from the white plaster.

Father Gonzales was their best customer, and used often to come up and
watch Mariano paint an image of the Virgin, just as he ordered it.
Mariano was very proud to receive Father Gonzales' approval; and when the
image was complete he would sometimes get a copper extra for delivering
the work to some stricken person that the priest wished especially to
remember. For one of Father Gonzales' peculiarities was that although he
bought lots of things he always gave them away.

Mariano used often to carry letters and packages for Father Gonzales.

One day the good priest came up the stairs quite out of breath. He
carried a letter in his hand.

"Here, Mariano, my boy, you can run, while my poor old legs are full of
rheumatism. Here, take this letter down to the Diligence Office and tell
them to send it tonight, sure. It is for the Bishop at Barcelona and it
must be in his hands before tomorrow. Run now, for the last post closes
very soon."

Mariano took the letter, dived hatless out of the door and, sitting on
the first stair, shot to the bottom like the slide to doom.

Grandfather Fortuny and the gentle old priest leaned out over the stone
window-sill and laughed to see the boy scurry down the street.

Then the priest went his way.

Grandfather Fortuny waited, looking out of the window, for the boy to
come back. The boy did not come.

He waited.

Lights began to flicker in the windows across the way.

A big red star came up in the West. The wind blew fresh and cool.

The old man shut down the sash, and looked at the untasted supper of
brown bread and goat's milk and fresh fruit.

He took his hat from the peg and his cane from the corner and hobbled
down the stairs. He went to the Diligence Office. No one there remembered
seeing the boy--how can busy officials be expected to remember
everything?

Grandfather Fortuny made his way to the house of Father Gonzales. The
priest had been called away to attend a man sick unto death--he would not
be back for an hour.

The old man waited--waited one hour--two.

Father Gonzales came, and listened calmly to the troubled tale of the old
man. Then together they made their way over to the tall tenement and up
the creaky stairway.

There was the flicker of a candle to be seen under the door.

They entered, and there at the table sat Mariano munching silently on his
midnight supper.

"Where have you been?" was the surprised question of both old men,
speaking as one person.

"Me? I've been to Barcelona to give the letter to the Bishop--the last
diligence had gone," said the boy with his mouth full of bread.

"To Barcelona--ten miles, and back?"

"Me? Yes."

"Did you walk?"

"No, I ran."

Father Gonzales looked at Grandfather Fortuny, and Grandfather Fortuny
looked at Father Gonzales; then they both burst out laughing. Mariano
placed an extra plate on the table, and the three drew up chairs.

       *       *       *       *       *

Business was looking up with Grandfather Fortuny and Mariano. All the
images they made were quickly taken. People said they liked the way the
cheeks and noses of the Apostles were colored; and when Father Gonzales
brought in a sailor who had been shipwrecked, and the sailorman left ten
pesetas for a plaster-of-Paris ship to be placed as a votive offering in
the Chapel of Saint Dominic, their cup was full.

Mariano made the ship himself, and painted it, adding the yellow pennant
of Spain to the mainmast.

This piece of work caused a quarrel between Grandfather Fortuny and
Father Gonzales. The priest declared that a boy like that shouldn't waste
his youth in the shabby, tumble-down village of Reus--he should go to
Barcelona and receive instruction in art.

The grandfather cried and protested that the boy was all he had to love
in the wide world; he himself was growing feeble, and without the lad's
help at the business nothing could be done--starvation would be the end.

Besides, it would take much money to send Mariano to the Academy--it
would take all their savings, and more! Do not inflate the child with
foolish notions of making a fortune and winning fame! The world is cruel,
men are unkind, and the strife of trying to win leads only to
disappointment and vain regret at the last. Did not the artist Salvio
commit suicide? Mariano had now a trade--who in Reus could make an image
of the Virgin and color it in green, red and yellow so it would sell on
sight for two pesetas?

Father Gonzales smiled and said something about images at two pesetas
each as compared with the work of Murillo and Velasquez. He laughed at
the old man's fears of starvation, and defied him to name a single case
where any one had ever starved. And as for expenses, why, he had thought
it all out: he would pay Mariano's expenses himself!

"Should we two old men, about ready to die, stand in the way of the
success of that boy?" exclaimed the priest. "Why, he will be an artist
yet, do you hear?--an artist!"

They compromised on the Grammar-School, with three lessons a week by a
drawing-master.

Grandfather Fortuny did not starve. Mariano was a regular steam-engine
for work. He made more images evenings, and better ones, than they had
ever made before during the day.

Finally Father Gonzales' wishes prevailed and Mariano was sent to the
Academy at Barcelona. Out of his own scanty income the old priest set
aside a sum equal to eight dollars a month for Mariano; and when the
grandfather's sight grew too feeble for him to work at his trade he moved
over to the rectory.

For a year, Father Gonzales sent the eight dollars on the first of each
month. And then there came to him a brusk notification from Claudio
Lorenzale, the Director of the Academy, to the effect that certain sums
had been provided by the City of Barcelona to pay the expenses of four of
the most worthy pupils at the Academy, and Mariano Fortuny had been voted
as one who should receive the benefit of the endowment.

Father Gonzales read the notice to Grandfather Fortuny, and then they
sent out for a fowl, and a bottle and a loaf of bread two feet long; and
together the two old men made merry.

The grandfather had now fully come to the belief that the lad would some
day be a great artist.

We do not know much concerning the details of Mariano's life at
Barcelona, save from scraps of information he now and then gave out to
his friends Regnault and Lorenzo Valles, and which they in turn have
given to us.

Yet we know he won the love of his teachers, and that Federico Madrazo
picked out his work and especially recommended it.

Madrazo, I believe, is living now--at least he was a few years ago. He
was born and bred an artist. His father, Joseph, had been a pupil under
David, and was an artist of more than national renown. He served the
Court at Madrid in various diplomatic relations, and won wealth and a
noble name.

Federico Madrazo used to spend a portion of his time at the Academy of
Barcelona as instructor and adviser to the Director. I do not know his
official position, if he had one, but I know he afterward became the
Director of the Museum of Art at Madrid.

Madrazo had two sons, who are now celebrated in the art world. One of
them, Raimonde Madrazo, is well known in Paris, and, in Eighteen Hundred
Ninety-three, had several pictures on exhibition at the Chicago
Exposition; while another son, Rivera, is a noted sculptor and a painter
of no small repute.

And so it was that Mariano Fortuny at Barcelona attracted the attention
of Federico Madrazo, the artist patrician.

I can not find that Mariano's work at this time had any very special
merit. It merely showed the patient, painstaking, conscientious workman.
But the bright, strong, eager young man was the sort that every teacher
must love. He knew what he was at school for, and did his best.

Madrazo said, "He's a manly fellow, and if he does not succeed he is now
doing more--he deserves success." So Mariano Fortuny and the great
Madrazo, pupil and teacher, became firm friends.

And we know that, in Eighteen Hundred Fifty-seven, Mariano was voted the
"Prize of Rome." Each year this prize was awarded to the scholar who on
vote of the teachers and scholars was deemed most deserving. It meant two
years of study at Rome with five hundred dollars a year for expenses. And
the only obligation was that the pupil should each year send home two
paintings: one an original and the other a copy of some old masterpiece.

The sum of two hundred fifty dollars was advanced to Mariano at once. He
straightway sent one-half of the amount down to his grandfather, with
particulars of the good news.

"What did I tell you?" said the grandfather. "It was I who first taught
him to use a brush. I used to caution him about running his reds into his
greens, and told him to do as I said and he would be a great artist yet."

Father Gonzales and Grandfather Fortuny went out and bought two fowls,
three bottles, and a loaf of bread a yard long.

Mariano made all preparations to start for Rome. But the night before the
journey was to begin, conscription officers came to his lodging and told
him to consider himself under arrest--he must serve the State as a
soldier.

It seems that the laws of Spain are such that any citizen can be called
on to carry arms at any moment; and there are officials who do little but
lie in wait for those who can pay, but have no time to fight. These
officials are more intent on bleeding their countrymen than the enemy.

Mariano applied to his friend Madrazo for advice as to what to do, and
Madrazo simply cut the Gordian knot by paying out of his own purse three
hundred dollars to secure the release of the young artist.

And so Mariano started gaily away, carrying with him the heart's love of
two old men, and the admiring affection of a whole school.

The grandfather died three months afterward--went babbling down into the
Valley, making prophecies to the last to the effect that Mariano Fortuny
would yet win deathless fame.

And Father Gonzales lived to see these prophecies fulfilled.

       *       *       *       *       *

Then, at twenty-two, Fortuny was ordered by the city of Barcelona to
accompany General Prim on his Algerian expedition, it was a milepost on
his highway of success.

Nominally he was secretary to the General. Who it was secured his
appointment he never knew; but we have reason to suppose it was Federico
Madrazo.

Fortuny's two years in Rome had just expired; his Barcelona friends knew
that the time had been well spent, and the opportunities improved, and a
further transplantation they believed would result in an increased
blossoming.

"Enter into life! Enter into life!" was the call of a prophet long ago.
In barbaric Africa, Fortuny entered into life with the same fine, free,
eager, receptive spirit that he had elsewhere shown. General Prim,
soldier and scholar, saw that his secretary was capable of doing
something more than keeping accounts, and so a substitute was hired and
Fortuny was sent here and there as messenger, but in reality, so that he
could see as many sides of old Moorish life as possible.

Staid old General Prim loved the young man just as Madrazo had. Fortuny
was not much of a soldier, for war did not interest him, save from its
picturesque side. "War is transient, but Beauty is eternal," he once
said.

Even the fact that the Spanish Army was now on the soil of her ancient
enemy, the Moor, did not stir his patriotism.

He sketched with feverish industry, fearing the war would end too soon,
and he would have to go back with empty sketchbooks. The long stretches
of white sands, the glaring sunshine, the paradox of riotous riches and
ragged poverty, the veiled women, blinking camels, long rifles with butts
inlaid with silver, swords whose hilts are set with precious stones, gray
Arab horses with tails sweeping the ground, and everywhere the flutter of
rags--these things bore in on his artist-nature and filled his heart.

He hastily painted in a few of his sketches and sent them as presents to
his friends in Barcelona.

The very haste of the work, the meager outline and simple colors--glaring
whites and limpid blues, with here and there a dash of red to indicate a
scarf or sash--astonished his old teachers. Here were pictures painted in
an hour that outmatched any of the carefully worked out, methodical
attempts of the Academy! It was all life, life, life--palpitating life.

The sketches were shown, the men in power interviewed, and the city of
Barcelona ordered Fortuny to paint one large picture to be eventually
placed in the Parliament House to commemorate the victory of General
Prim.

As an earnest of good faith a remittance of five hundred dollars
accompanied the order.

The war was short. At the battle of Wad Ras the enemy was routed after a
pitched fight where marked dash and spirit were shown on both sides.

And so this was to be the scene of Fortuny's great painting. Hundreds of
sketches were made, including portraits of General Prim and various
officers. Fortuny set about the work as a duty to his patrons who had so
generously paved the way for all the good fortune that was his. The
painting was to be a world-beater; and Fortuny, young, strong,
ambitious--knowing no such word as fail--went at the task.

Fortuny had associated with many artists at Rome and he had heard of that
wonderful performance of Horace Vernet's, the "Taking of the Smalah of
Abd-el-Kader." This picture of Vernet's, up to that time, was the largest
picture ever held in a single frame. It is seventy-one feet long and
sixteen feet high. To describe that picture of Vernet's with its thousand
figures, charging cavalry, flashing sabers, dust-clouds, fleeing cattle,
stampeding buffalos, riderless horses, overturned tents, and
fear-stricken, beautiful women would require a book.

In passing, it is well to say that this picture of Vernet's is the parent
of all the panorama pictures that have added to the ready cash of certain
enterprising citizens of Chicago, and that Vernet is the father of the
modern "military school."

If you have seen Vernet's painting you can never forget it, and if there
were nothing else to see at Versailles but this one picture you would be
repaid, and amply repaid, for going out from Paris to view it.

Before beginning his great canvas Fortuny was advised to go to Versailles
and see the Vernet masterpiece.

He went and spent three days studying it in detail.

He turned away discouraged. To know too much of what other men have said
is death to a writer; for an artist to be too familiar with the best in
art is to have inspiration ooze out at every pore.

Fortuny took a week to think it over. He was not discouraged--not he--but
he decided to postpone work on the masterpiece and busy himself for a
while with simpler themes. He remained at Paris and made his thumb-nail
sketches: a Moor in spotless white robe with red cap, leaning against a
wall; a camel-driver at rest; a solitary horseman with long spear, a
trellis with climbing vines, and a veiled beauty looking out from behind,
etc.

And in all these pictures is dazzling sunshine and living life. The joy
of them, the ease, the grace, the beauty, are matchless.

Goupil and Company, the art-dealers, contracted to take all the work he
could turn out. And Fortuny did not make the mistake of doing too much.
He possessed the artistic conscience, and nothing left his studio that
did not satisfy his heart and head.

Trips had been taken to Florence, Venice and the beloved Morocco, and the
poise and grace and limpid beauty of Fortuny's pictures seemed to
increase.

Three years had passed, and now came a letter from the authorities at
Barcelona asking for their great battle picture, and a remittance was
sent "to meet expenses."

Fortuny promised, and made an effort at the work.

Another year went by and another letter of importunity came. Barcelona
did not comprehend how her gifted son was now being counted among the
very ablest artists in Paris--that world center of art. Artists should
struggle for recognition, be rebuffed, live on a crust in dingy garrets,
cultivate a gaunt and haggard look, and wear suits shiny at the elbows!

How could the old professors down at Barcelona understand that this mere
youth was pressed with commissions from rich Americans, and in receipt of
a princely income?

Fortuny returned all the money that Barcelona had sent him, regarding it
all as a mere loan, and promised to complete the battle picture whenever
he could bring his mind to bear upon it so that the work would satisfy
himself.

The next year he visited Spain and was received at Madrid and Barcelona
as a prince. Decorations and ceremonials greeted him at Madrid; and at
Barcelona there were arches of triumph built over the streets, and a
hundred students drew his carriage from the steamboat-landing up to the
old Academy where he used to draw angles and curves from a copy all day
long.

And it was not so many moons after this little visit to Barcelona that
wedding-bells were sent a-swing, and Mariano Fortuny was married to
Cecilia, daughter of Federico Madrazo.

Their honeymoon of a year was spent at the Alhambra Palace amid the
scenes made famous by our own Washington Irving. And it was from Granada
that he sent a picture to America to be sold for the benefit of the
sufferers in the Chicago fire.

But there were no idle days. The artist worked with diligence, dipping
deep into the old Moorish life, and catching the queer angles of old
ruins and more queer humanity upon his palette. His noble wife proved his
mate in very deed, and much of his best work is traceable to her loving
criticism and inspiration.

Paris, Granada and Rome were their home, each in turn. The prices Fortuny
realized were even greater than Meissonier commanded. Some of his best
pieces are owned in America, through the efforts of W. H. Stewart of
Philadelphia. At the A. T. Stewart sale, in New York, the "Fortunys"
brought higher prices than anything else in the collection, save, I
believe, the "1807" of Meissonier. In fact, there are more "Fortunys"
owned in New York than there are in either Barcelona or Madrid.

Indeed, there is a marked similarity between the style of Fortuny and
that of Meissonier. When some busybody informed Meissonier that Fortuny
was imitating him, Meissonier replied, "To have such a genius as Mariano
Fortuny imitate me would be the greatest happiness of my whole career."

Fortuny's life is mirrored in his name: his whole career was one
triumphant march to fortune, fame, love and honor.

He avoided society, as he was jealous of the fleeting hours, and his
close friends were few; but those who knew him loved him to a point just
this side of idolatry.

Fortuny died at Rome on November Twenty-second, Eighteen Hundred
Seventy-two, of brain rupture--an instant and painless death. In his
short life of thirty-six years he accomplished remarkable results, but
all this splendid work he regarded as merely in the line of preparation
for a greater work yet to come.

For some weeks before he died he had been troubled with a slight fever,
contracted, he thought, from painting in a damp church; but the day of
his death he took up his brush again and, as he worked, gaily talked with
his wife of their plans for the future.

It is very pleasant to recall, however, that before death claimed him,
Fortuny had completed the great picture of "The Battle of Wad Ras." The
canvas is now hanging on the wall of the Parliament House at Barcelona,
and the picture is justly the pride of the city that showed itself such a
wise and loving mother to the motherless boy, Mariano Fortuny.

       *       *       *       *       *

Italy and Spain are sisters, and not merely first cousins, as Mr.
Whistler once remarked. Their history to a great degree is
contemporaneous. They have seen dynasties arise, grow old, and die; and
schools of art, once the pride of the people, sink into blank
forgetfulness: for schools, like dynasties and men, live their day and go
tottering to their rest.

Italy, as the elder sister, has set the fashion for the younger. The
manners, habits and customs of the people have been the same.

To a great extent all art is controlled by fad and fashion; and all the
fashions in the polite arts easily drifted from Italy into Spain. The
works of Titian carried to Madrid produced a swarm of imitators, some of
whom, like Velasquez, Zurbaran, Ribera and Murillo, having spun their
cocoons, passed through the chrysalis stage, developed wings, and soared
to high heaven. But the generations of imitators who followed these have
usually done little better than gape.

And although Spain has been a kind mother to art for four hundred years,
yet the modern school of Spanish art shows no "apostolic succession" from
the past. It is a thing separate and alone: gorgeous, dazzling, strong,
and rarely beautiful. Totally unlike the art of the old masters, it takes
its scenes from Nature and actual living life--depending not on myth,
legend or fable. It discards pure imagination, and by holding a mirror up
to Nature has done the world the untold blessing of introducing it to
itself.

The average man sees things in the mass, and therefore sees nothing;
everything, to his vision, is run together in hopeless jumble: all is
discord, confusion--inextricable confusion worse confounded.

But the artist who is also a scientist (whether he knows it or not)
discovers that in the seeming confusion, order, method and law yet reign
supreme. And to prove his point he lifts from the tangle of things one
simple, single scene and shows this, and this alone, in all its full and
rounded completeness--beautiful as a snow-crystal on the slide of a
microscope.

All art consists in this: to show the harmony of a part. And having seen
the harmony of a part we pass on to a point where we can guess the
harmony of the whole. Whether you be painter, sculptor, musician or
writer, all your endeavors are toward lifting from the mass of things a
scene, a form, a harmony, a truth, and, relieving it from all that
distracts, catch it in immortal amber.

The writer merely unearths truth: truth has always existed: he lifts it
out of the mass, and holding it up where others can see it, the
discerning cry, "Yes, yes--we recognize it!" The musician takes the sound
he needs from the winds blowing through the forest branches, constructs a
harp strung with Apollo's golden hair, and behold, we have a symphony!
The wrongs of a race in bondage never touched the hearts of men until a
woman lifted out a single, solitary black man and showed us the stripes
upon the quivering back of Uncle Tom. One human being nailed to a cross
reveals the concentrated woes of earth; and as we gaze upon the picture,
into our hard hearts there comes creeping a desire to lessen the sorrows
of the world by an increased love; and a gentleness and sympathy are ours
such as we have never before known.

Fortuny is king of the modern school of Spanish painters. His genius made
an epoch, and worked a revolution in the art of his country--and, some
have said, in the art of the time.

As a nation it may be that Spain is crumbling into dust, but her rotting
ruins will yet fertilize many a bank of violets. Certain it is that no
modern art surpasses the art of Spain; and for once Italy must go to
Spain for her pattern.



ARY SCHEFFER

     The artistic tastes of the Princess, the lofty range of her
     understanding, her liberality, and the sterling benevolence of
     her mind all combined to engender a coldness and lack of sympathy
     between herself and the persons composing the Court.

     In the heart of the Princess dwelt a deep religious faith, such
     as becomes a noble, womanly heart. Nevertheless, her ardent mind
     sought to penetrate every mystery, so she was often accused of
     being a doubter--when the reverse was really true.

    --_Ary Scheffer to His Brother Arnola_

[Illustration: ARY SCHEFFER]


The artistic evolution of Ary Scheffer was brought about mainly through
the influence of three women. In the love of these women he was bathed,
nourished and refreshed; their approbation gave direction to his efforts;
for them he lived and worked; while a fourth woman, by her inability to
comprehend the necessities of such a genius, clipped his wings, so that
he fell to earth and his feet mired in the clay.

The first factor in the evolution of Scheffer, in point of both time and
importance, was his mother. She was the flint upon which he tried his
steel: his teacher, adviser, critic, friend. She was a singularly strong
and capable woman, seemingly slight and fragile, but with a deal of
whipcord, sinewy strength in both her physical and mental fiber.

No one can study the lives of eminent artists without being impressed
with the fact that the artist is essentially the child of his mother. The
sympathy demanded to hold a clear, mental conception--the imagination
that sees the whole, even when the first straight line is made--is the
gift of mother to son. She gives him of her spirit, and he is heir to her
love of color, her desire for harmony and her hunger for sympathy. These,
plus his masculine strength, may allow him to accomplish that which was
to her only a dream.

If a mother is satisfied with her surroundings, happy in her environment,
and therefore without "a noble discontent," her children will probably be
quite willing to have a good time on the "unearned increment" that is
their material portion. Her virtue and passive excellence die with her,
and she leaves a brood of mediocrities.

Were this miraculous scheme of adjustment lacking in the Eternal Plan,
wealth, achievement and talent could be passed along in a direct line and
the good things of earth be corraled by a single family.

But Nature knows no law of entail; she does, however, have her Law of
Compensation, and this is the law which holds in order the balance of
things. If a man accumulates a vast fortune, he probably also breeds
spendthrifts who speedily distribute his riches; if he has great talent,
the talent dies with him, for he only inspires those who are not of his
blood; and if a woman is deprived of the environment for which her soul
yearns, quite often her children adjust the average by working out an
answer to her prayer.

When twenty-eight years of age we find Madame Scheffer a widow, with
three sons: by name, Ariel, Henri and Arnold.

Madame Scheffer had a little money--not much, but enough to afford her a
small, living income.

She might have married again, or she could have kept her little "dot"
intact and added interest to principal by going and living with kinsmen
who were quite willing to care for her and adopt her children.

But no; she decided to leave the sleepy little Dutch village where they
lived in Holland, and go down to Paris.

And so she thrust her frail bark boldly out upon the tide, hoping and
expecting that somewhere and sometime the Friendly Islands would be
reached. She would spend her last sou in educating her boys, and she
knew, she said, that when that was gone, God would give them the power
and inclination to care for her and provide for themselves. In short, she
tumbled her whole basket of bread upon the waters, fully confident that
it would come back buttered. Her object in moving to Paris was that her
boys could acquire French, the language of learning, and also that they
might be taught art.

And so they moved to the great, strange world of Paris--Paris the gay,
Paris the magnificent, Paris that laughs and leers and sees men and women
go down to death, and still laughs on.

They lived, away up and up in a tenement-house, in two little rooms.
There was no servant, and the boys took hold cheerfully to do the
housekeeping, for the mother wasn't so very strong.

The first thing was to acquire the French language, and if you live in
Paris the task is easy. You just have to--that's all.

Madame Scheffer was an artist of some little local repute in the village
where they had lived, and she taught her boys the rudiments of drawing.

Ariel was always called Ary. When he grew to manhood he adopted this pet
name his mother had playfully given him. He used to call her "Little
Mother." Shortly after reaching Paris, Ary was placed in the studio of M.
Guerin. Arnold showed a liking for the Oriental languages, and was
therefore allowed to follow the bent of his mind. Henry waxed fat on the
crumbs of learning that Ary brought home.

And so they lived and worked and studied; very happy, with only now and
then twinges of fear for the future, for it would look a little black at
times, do all they could to laugh away the clouds. It was a little
democracy of four, with high hopes and lofty ideals. Mutual tasks and
mutual hardships bound them together in a love that was as strong as it
was tender and sweet.

Two years of Paris life had gone by, and the little fund that had not
been augmented by a single franc in way of income had dwindled sadly.

In six months it was gone.

They were penniless.

The mother sold her wedding-ring and the brooch her husband had given her
before they were married.

Then the furniture went to the pawnbroker's, piece by piece.

One day Ary came bounding up the stairs, three steps at a time. He burst
into the room and tossed into his mother's lap fifty francs.

When he got his breath he explained that he had sold his first picture.

Ary, the elder boy, was eighteen; Henri, the younger, was thirteen. "It
was just like a play, you see," said Ary Scheffer, long years afterward.
"When things get desperate enough they have to mend--they must. The
pictures I painted were pretty bad, but I really believe they were equal
to many that commanded large prices, and I succeeded in bringing a few
buyers around to my views. Genius may starve in a garret, if alone; but
the genius that would let its best friends starve, too, being too modest
to press its claims, is a little lacking somewhere."

Young Scheffer worked away at any subject he thought would sell. He
painted just as his teacher, Guerin, told him, and Guerin painted just
like his idol, David, or as nearly as he could.

Art had gotten into a fixed groove; laws had been laid down as to what
was classic and what not. Conservatism was at the helm.

Art, literature, philosophy, science, even religion, have their periods
of infancy, youth, manhood and decay. And there comes a time to every
school, and every sect, when it ceases to progress. When it says, "There
now, this is perfection, and he who seeks to improve on it is anathema,"
it is dead, and should be buried. But schools and sects and creeds die
hard. Creeds never can be changed: they simply become obsolete and are
forgotten; they turn to dust and are blown away on the free winds of
heaven.

The art of the great David had passed into the hands of imitators. It had
become a thing of metes and bounds and measurements and geometric
theorems. Its colors were made by mixing this with that according to
certain fixed formulas.

About this time a young playwright by the name of Victor Hugo was making
much din, and the classics as a consequence were making mighty dole and
endeavoring to hiss him down. The Censor had forbidden a certain drama of
Hugo's to be played until it had been cut and trimmed and filed and
polished, and made just like all other plays.

Victor Hugo was the acknowledged leader of the spirit of protest; in
lyric music Rossini led; and Delacroix raised the standard of revolt in
painting. With this new school, which called itself "Romanticism," Madame
Scheffer and her sons sincerely sympathized. The term "Romanticism" of
itself means little, or nothing, or everything, but the thing itself is
the eternal plea for the right of the individual--a cry for the privilege
to live your own life and express the truth as you feel it, all in your
own way. It is a revolution that has come a thousand times, and must and
will come again and again. When custom gets greater than man it must be
broken. The ankylosis of artistic smugness is no new thing. In heart and
taste and ambition Ary and the Little Mother were one. Madame Scheffer
rejoiced in the revolt she saw in the air against the old and outgrown.
She was a Republican in all her opinions and ideals; and these feelings
she shared with her boys. They discussed politics and art and religion
over the teacups; and this brave and gentle woman kept intellectual pace
with her sons, who in merry frolic often carried her about in their arms.
Only yesterday, it seemed to her, she had carried them, and felt upon her
face the soft caress of baby hands. And now one of these sons stood a
foot higher than she.

Ary Scheffer was tall, slender, with a thoughtful, handsome face. The
habit of close study, and the early realization of responsibilities had
hastened his maturity. Necessity had sharpened his business sense and
given a practical side to his nature, so he deferred enough to the old
world to secure from it the living that is every man's due.

His pictures sold--sold for all they were worth. The prices were not
large, but there was enough money so that the gaunt wolf that once
scratched and sniffed at the door was no longer to be seen nor heard.

They had all they needed. The Little Mother was the banker, and we may
safely guess that nothing was wasted.

Pupils now came to Ary Scheffer--dull fellows from the schools, who
wished to be coached. Sitters in search of good portraits, cheap for
cash, occasionally climbed the stairway. The Little Mother dusted about
and fixed up the studio so as to make it look prosperous.

One fine lady came in a carriage to sit for her portrait. She gave her
wraps into the keeping of the Little Mother at the door, with an
admonitory, "Take care of these, mind you, or I'll report you to your
master."

The Little Mother bowed low and promised.

That night when she told at the supper-table how the fine lady had
mistaken her for a servant, Henri said, "Well, just charge the fine lady
fifty francs extra in the bill for that."

But Ary would not consent to let the blunder go so cheaply. When the fine
lady came for her next sitting, the Little Mother was called and advised
with at length as to pose and color-scheme.

Neither was the advising sham, for Ary deferred to his mother's judgment
in many ways, and no important step was taken without her approval. They
were more like lovers than mother and son. His treatment of her was more
than affectionate--it was courteous and deferential, after the manner of
men who had ancestors who were knights of the olden time.

The desire to sit on a divan and be waited upon is the distinguishing
feature of the heartless mistress of fortune. Like the jeweled necklace
and bands of gold at wrist and waist, which symbol a time when slavery
was rife and these gauds had a practical meaning, so does the woman who
in bringing men to her feet by beck and nod tell of animality too coarse
for speech.

But the woman with the great, tender and loving heart gives her all and
asks no idolatrous homage. Her delight is in serving, and willingly and
more than willingly, for without thought she breaks the vase of precious
ointment and wipes the feet of the beloved with the hairs of her head.

Madame Scheffer sought in all ways to serve her sons, and so we find
there was always a gentle rivalry between Ary and his mother as to who
could love most.

She kept his studio in order, cleaned his brushes and prepared the
canvas. In the middle of the forenoon she would enter his workroom with
tea and toast or other little delicacies that he liked, and putting the
tray down, would kiss the forehead of the busy worker and gently tiptoe
out.

When the day's work was done she intelligently criticized and encouraged;
and often she would copy the picture herself and show how it could be
changed for the better here or there.

And all this fine, frank, loving companionship so filled Ary's heart that
he put far behind him all thought of a love for another with its closer
tie. He lived and worked for the Little Mother. They were very happy, for
they were succeeding. They had met the great, cruel world, the world of
Paris that romps and dances and laughs, and sees struggling and sad-eyed
women and men go down to their death, and still laughs on; they had met
the world in fair fight and they had won.

The Little Mother had given all for Ary; on his genius and ability she
had staked her fortune and her life.

And now, although he was not twenty-one, she saw all that she had given
in perfect faith, coming back with interest ten times compounded.

The art world of Paris had both recognized and acknowledged the genius of
her boy--with that she was content.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the year Eighteen Hundred Eighteen, we find General Lafayette writing
to Lady Morgan in reference to a proposed visit to the Chateau de la
Grange. He says: "I do not think you will find it dull here. Among others
of our household is a talented young painter by the name of Scheffer."

Later, Lady Morgan writes to friends in England from La Grange, "Ary
Scheffer, a talented artist, is a member of our company here at the
chateau. He is quite young, but is already a person of note. He is making
a portrait of the General, and giving lessons to the young ladies in
drawing, and I, too, am availing myself of his tutorship."

Through his strong Republican tendencies Scheffer had very naturally
drifted into the company of those who knew Lafayette. The artist knew the
history of the great man and was familiar with his American career.
Scheffer was interested in America, for the radicals with whom he
associated were well aware that there might come a time when they would
have to seek hastily some hospitable clime where to think was not a
crime. And indeed, it is but natural that those with a penchant for
heresy should locate a friendly shore, just as professional criminals
study the extradition laws.

Lafayette, Franklin and Washington had long been to Scheffer a trinity of
familiar names, and when an opportunity came to be introduced to the
great Franco-American patriot he gladly took advantage of it.

Lafayette was sixty-one; Scheffer was twenty-three, but there at once
sprang up a warm friendship between them. Not long after their first
meeting Scheffer was invited to come to La Grange and make it his home as
long as he cared to.

The Little Mother urged the acceptance of such an invitation. To
associate for a time with the aristocratic world would give the young man
an insight into society and broaden his horizon.

In the family of Lafayette, Scheffer mingled on an equality with the
guests. His conversation was earnest, serious and elevated; and his
manner so gracious and courtly that he won the respect of all he met.
Lady Morgan intimates that his simplicity of manner tempted the young
ladies who were members of his class in drawing to cut various innocent
capers in his presence, and indulge in sly jokes which never would have
been perpetrated had the tutor been more of a man of the world.

It has happened more than once that men of the highest spirituality have
had small respect for religion, as it is popularly manifested. The
machinery of religion and religion itself are things that are often
widely separated; and Ary Scheffer was too high-minded and noble to
worship the letter and relinquish the spirit that maketh alive. He was of
that type that often goes through the world scourged by a yearning for
peace, and like the dove sent out from the Ark finding no place to rest.
All about he beheld greed, selfishness, hypocrisy and pretense. He longed
for simplicity and absolute honesty, and was met by craft and diplomacy.
He asked for religion, and was given a creed.

And so into the hearts of such as he there comes creeping a spirit of
revolt. Instead of accepting this topsy-turvy old world and making the
best of it, their eyes are fixed upon an ideal that Heaven alone can
realize.

The home of Lafayette was the rendezvous of the discontented. Art,
literature, politics and religion were all represented in the parlors of
La Grange. Where Franklin had discoursed Poor Richard philosophy, there
now gathered each Sunday night a company in which "the greatest of the
Americans" would have delighted. For this company, no question was too
sacred for frank and free discussion.

It was at the home of Lafayette that Scheffer met Augustin Thierry, and
between these two there grew a friendship that only death was to divide.

But there was one other person Scheffer met at La Grange who was to
exercise a profound influence on his life: this was the Duchess of
Orleans. The quiet manliness of the young artist impressed the future
Queen of France, and he was invited to Neuilly to copy certain portraits.

In the year Eighteen Hundred Twenty-six, we find Scheffer regularly
established in the household of the Duke and Duchess of Orleans, with
commissions to paint portraits of all the members of the family, and
incidentally to give lessons in drawing and mathematics to the Princess
Marie.

The Princess had been a sore trial to her parents, in that she had failed
to fit into the conventional ways of polite society. Once she had shocked
all Neuilly by donning man's attire and riding horseback astride. A
worthy priest who had been her tutor had found her tongue too sharp for
his comfort, and had resigned his post in dismay. The Princess argued
religion with the Bishop and discussed politics with visitors in such a
radical way that her father often turned pale. For the diversions of
society she had a profound contempt that did not fail to manifest itself
in sharp sallies against the smug hypocrisy of the times. She had read
widely, knew history, was familiar with the poets, and had dived into the
classics to a degree equaled by few women in France. So keen was her wit
that, when pompous dignitaries dined at Neuilly, her father and mother
perspired freely, not knowing what was coming next. In her character were
traits that surely did not belie her Louis Quatorze ancestry.

And yet this father and mother had a certain secret pride in the
accomplishments of their daughter. Parents always do. Her independence
sort of kept them vibrating between ecstasies of joy and chills of fear.

The Princess was plain in feature but finely formed, and had attracted
the favorable attention of various worthy young men, but no man had ever
dared to make love to her except by post or proxy. Several lovers had
pressed their claims, making appeal through her father; but the Duke of
Orleans, strong as he was, never had cared to intimate to his daughter a
suggestion as to whom she should wed. Love to her was a high and holy
sacrament, and a marriage of convenience or diplomacy was to the mind of
the Princess immoral and abhorrent.

The father knew her views and respected them.

But happiness is not a matter of intellect. And in spite of her
brilliant, daring mind the Princess of Orleans was fretting her soul out
against the bars of environment: she lacked employment; she longed to do,
to act, to be.

She had ambitions in the line of art, and believed she had talent that
was worth cultivating.

And so it was that Ary Scheffer, the acknowledged man of talent, was
invited to Neuilly.

He came.

He was twenty-nine years of age; the Princess was twenty-five.

The ennui of unused powers and corroding heart-hunger had made the
Princess old before her time. Scheffer's fight with adversity had long
before robbed him of his youth.

These two eyed each other curiously.

The gentle, mild-voiced artist knew his place and did not presume on
terms of equality with the Princess who traced a direct pedigree to Louis
the Great. He thought to wait and allow her gradually to show her
quality.

She tried her caustic wit upon him, and he looked at her out of mild blue
eyes and made no reply. He had no intention of competing with her on her
own preserve; and he had a pride in his profession that equaled her pride
of birth.

He looked at her--just looked at her in silence. And this spoilt child,
before whom all others quailed, turned scarlet, stammered and made
apology.

In good sooth, she had played tierce and thrust with every man she had
met, and had come off without a scar; but here was a man of pride and
poise, and yet far beneath her in a social way, and he had rebuked her
haughty spirit by a simple look.

A London lawyer has recently put in a defense for wife-beating, on the
grounds that there are women who should be chastised for their own good.
I do not go quite this far, but from the time Scheffer rebuked the
Princess of Orleans by refusing to reply to her saucy tongue there was a
perfect understanding between them. The young woman listened respectfully
if he spoke, and when he painted followed his work with eager eyes.

At last she had met one who was not intent on truckling for place and
pelf. His ideals were as high and excellent as her own--his mind more
sincere. Life was more to him than to her, because he was working his
energies up into art, and she was only allowing her powers to rust.

She followed him dumbly, devotedly.

He wished to treat her as an honored pupil and with the deference that
was her due, but she insisted that they should study and work as equals.

Instead of giving the young woman lessons to learn, they studied
together. Her task as pupil was to read to him two hours daily as he
worked, and things she did not fully understand he explained.

The Princess made small progress as a painter, probably because her
teacher was so much beyond her that she was discouraged at thought of
equaling him; and feeling that in so many other ways they were equals,
she lost heart in trying to follow him in this.

At length, weary of attempts at indifferent drawing, the Princess begged
her tutor to suggest some occupation for her where they could start
afresh and work out problems together. Scheffer suggested modeling in
clay, and the subject was taken up with avidity.

The Princess developed a regular passion for the work, and group after
group was done. Among other figures she attempted was an equestrian
statue of Joan of Arc.

This work was cast in bronze and now occupies an honored place at
Versailles.

So thoroughly did the young woman enter into the spirit of sculpture that
she soon surpassed Scheffer in this particular line; but to him she gave
all credit.

Her success was a delight to her parents, who saw with relief that the
carping spirit of cynicism was gone from her mind, and instead had come a
kindly graciousness that won all hearts.

In the ability to think and act with independence there was something
decidedly masculine in the spirit of the Princess Marie; and, as I have
shown, Scheffer possessed a sympathy and gentleness that was essentially
feminine (which is quite a different thing from being effeminate). These
two souls complemented each other, and their thoughts being fixed on
similar ideals, how can we wonder that a very firm affection blossomed
into being?

But the secret of their love has never been written, and base would be
the pen that would attempt to picture it in detail.

Take off thy shoes, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

The Duke and Duchess admired Scheffer, but never quite forgot that he was
in their employ, and all their attempts to treat him as an equal revealed
the effort. It was as though they had said: "You are lowly bred, and work
with your hands, and receive a weekly wage, but these things are nothing
to us. We will not think less of you, for see, do we not invite you to
our board?"

The aristocracy of birth is very seldom willing to acknowledge the
aristocracy of brain. And the man of brains, if lowly born, has a
mild indifference, at least, for all the gilt and gaud of royalty. The
Prince of Wales does not recognize the nobility of Israel Zangwill; and
Israel Zangwill asks in bored indifference, "Who--who is this man you
call H. R. H.?"

But love is greater than man-made titles, and when was there ever a
difference in station able to separate hearts that throbbed only for each
other?

Possibly even the stern old Duke might have relented and given his
blessing were it not that events of mighty importance came seething
across the face of France, and duties to his country outweighed the
duties to his daughter.

On the Thirtieth day of July, Eighteen Hundred Thirty, Ary Scheffer was
at the house of his mother in Paris. A hurried knock came at the door,
and Ary answered it in person. There on the threshold stood M. Thiers.

"Oh, Scheffer! it is you, how fortunate! you are a member of the
household of Orleans, and I have a most important message for the Duke.
You must go with me and deliver it to him."

"I see," said Scheffer; "the Convention has named the Duke as King of
France, and we are to notify him."

"Exactly so," said Thiers.

Horses were at the door: they mounted and rode away. The streets were
barricaded, so carriages were out of the question, but Scheffer and
Thiers leaped the barricades, and after several minor mishaps found
themselves safely out of Paris.

The call was not entirely unexpected on the part of the Duke. Scheffer
addressed him as "Le Roi," and this told all.

The Duke hesitated, but finally decided to accept the mission, fraught
with such mighty import. He started in disguise for Paris that night on
foot.

At the back entrance of the Palais Royal stood Ary Scheffer, and saw
Louis Philippe mingle with the crowd, unrecognized--then pass into the
palace--this palace that was his birthplace.

The next day Louis appeared with Lafayette on a balcony of the Hotel de
Ville, and these two embraced each other in sight of the multitude.

It is not for me to write a history of those troublous times, but suffice
it to say that the "Citizen King" ruled France probably as well as any
other man could have done. His task was a most difficult one, for he had
to be both king and citizen--to please Royalist and Populist alike.

This sudden turn of the political kaleidoscope was a pivotal point in the
life of Ary Scheffer. So long as the Duke of Orleans was a simple country
gentleman, Scheffer was the intimate friend of the family, but how could
the King of France admit into his family circle a mere low-born painter?
Certainly not they who are descended from kings!

Orders were issued by the government to Scheffer to paint certain
pictures, and vouchers reached him from official sources, but he was
made to understand that friendship with the household of a king was not
for him. Possibly he had been too much mixed up with the people in a
political way! The favor of the populace is a thing monarchs jealously
note, as mariners on a lee shore watch the wind.

The father of Louis Philippe was descended from a brother of Louis the
Great, while on his mother's side he was a direct descendant of the great
monarch and Madame de Montespan. Such an inbred claim to royalty was
something of which to boast, but at the same time Louis Philippe was
painfully sensitive as to the blot on the 'scutcheon.

The Princess Marie knew the slender tenure by which her father held his
place, and although her heart was wrung by the separation from her lover,
she was loyal to duty as she saw it, and made no sign that might
embarrass the Citizen King.

Arnold and Henri Scheffer were each married, and working out careers. Ary
and his mother lived together, loving and devoted. And into the keeping
of this mother had come a grandchild--a beautiful girl-baby. They called
her name Cornelie. About the mother of Cornelie the grandmother was not
curious. It was enough to know that the child was the child of her son,
and upon the babe she lavished all the loving tenderness of her great,
welling, mother heart. She had no words but those of gentleness and love
for the son that had brought this charge to her. And did she guess that
this child would be the sustaining prop for her son when she, herself,
was gone?

All this time the poor Princess Marie was practically a prisoner in the
great palace, wearing out her heart, a slave to what she considered duty.
She grew ill, and all efforts of her physicians to arouse her from her
melancholy were in vain.

Her death was a severe shock to poor Scheffer. For some months friends
feared for his sanity, for he would only busy his brush with scenes from
Faust, or religious subjects that bordered on morbidity. Again and again
he painted "Marguerite in Prison," "Marguerite Waiting," "Marguerite in
Paradise" and "Mignon." Into all of his work he infused that depth of
tenderness which has given the critics their cue for accusing him of
"sentimentality gone mad." And in fact no one can look upon any of the
works of Scheffer, done after Eighteen Hundred Thirty, without being
profoundly impressed with the brooding sadness that covers all as with a
garment.

From the time he met the Princess of Orleans there came a decided
evolution in his art; but it was not until she had passed away that one
could pick out an unsigned canvas and say positively, "This is
Scheffer's!"

In all his work you see that look of soul, and in his best you behold a
use of the blue background that rivals the blue of heaven. No other
painter that I can recall has gotten such effects from colors so simple.

But Scheffer's life was not all sadness. For even when the Little Mother
had passed away, Ary Scheffer wrote calmly to his friend August Thierry:
"I yet have my daughter Cornelie, and were it not for her I fear my work
would be a thing of the past; but with her I still feel that God exists.
My life is filled with love and light."

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a curious circumstance that Ary Scheffer, who conducted the
Citizen King to Paris, was to lead him away.

Scheffer was a Captain in the National Guard, and when the stormy times
of Eighteen Hundred Forty-eight came, he put away his brushes, locked his
studio, and joined his regiment.

Louis Philippe had begun as a "citizen"--one of the people--and following
the usual course had developed into a monarch with a monarch's
indifference to the good of the individual.

The people clamored for a republic, and agitation soon developed into
revolution. On the morning of the Twenty-fourth of February, Eighteen
Hundred Forty-eight, Scheffer met the son of Lafayette, who was also an
officer in the National Guard.

"How curious," said Lafayette, "that we should be protecting a King for
whom we have so little respect!"

"Still, we will do our duty," answered Scheffer.

They made their way to the Tuileries, and posted themselves on the
terrace beneath the windows of the King's private apartments. As they sat
on the steps in the wan light of breaking day. Scheffer heard some one
softly calling his name. He listened and the call was repeated.

"Who wants me?" answered Scheffer.

"'Tis I, the Queen!" came the answer.

Scheffer looked up and at the lattice of the window saw the white face of
the woman he had known so well and intimately for a full score of years.

The terror of the occasion did away with all courtly etiquette.

"Who is with you?" asked the Queen.

"Only Lafayette," was the answer.

"Come in at once, both of you. The King has abdicated and you must
conduct us to a place of safety."

Scheffer and his companion ran up the steps, the Queen unbolted the door
with her own hands, and they entered. Inside the hallway they found Louis
Philippe dressed as for a journey, with no sign of kingly trappings. With
them were their sons and several grandchildren.

They filed out of the palace, through the garden, and into the Place de
la Concorde--that spot of ghastly memories.

The King looked about nervously. Some of the mob recognized him.

Scheffer concluded that a bold way was the best, and stepping ahead of
Louis Philippe, called in a voice of authority, "Make way--make way for
the King!"

The crowd parted dumb with incredulity at the strange sight.

By the fountain in the square stood a public carriage, and into this
shabby vehicle of the night the royal passengers were packed.

Dumas, who had followed the procession, mounted the box.

Scheffer gave a quick whispered order to the driver, closed the door with
a slam, lifted his hat, and the vehicle rumbled away towards the Quai.

When Scheffer got back to the Tuileries the mob had broken in the iron
gates at the front of the gardens, and was surging through the palace in
wild disorder.

Scheffer hastened home to tell Cornelie the news of the night.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the Little Mother died, a daughter of Henri Scheffer came to join
the household of Ary Scheffer. The name of this niece was also Cornelie.

The fact of there being two young women in the house by one name has led
to confusion among the biographers. And thus it happens that at least
four encyclopedias record that Ernest Renan married the daughter of Ary
Scheffer. Renan married the niece, and the fact that they named their
first child Ary helped, possibly, to confirm the error of the
biographers.

Scheffer's life was devoted to providing for and educating these young
women. He himself gave them lessons in the languages, in music, painting
and sculpture. The daughter was a handsome girl; and in point of
intellect kept her artist-father very busy to keep one lesson in advance.
Together they painted and modeled in clay, and the happiness that came to
Scheffer as he saw her powers unfold was the sweetest experience he had
ever known.

The coldness between himself and the King had increased. But Louis
Philippe did not forget him, for commissions came, one after another, for
work to cover the walls of the palace at Versailles. With the Queen his
relations were friendly--even intimate. Several times she came to his
house. Her interest in Cornelie was tender and strong, and when Scheffer
painted a "Mignon" and took Cornelie for a model, the Queen insisted on
having the picture and paying her own price--a figure quite beyond what
the artist asked.

This picture, which represents so vividly the profound pathos and depth
of soul which Ary Scheffer could put upon a canvas, can now be seen in
the Louvre. But the best collection of Scheffer's portraits and
historical pictures is at Versailles.

In the gentle companionship of his beloved daughter, Scheffer found the
meed of joy that was his due. With her he lived over the days that had
gone forever, and those other days that might have been.

And when the inevitable came and this daughter loved a worthy and
suitable young man, Scheffer bowed his head, and fighting hard to keep
back the tears gave the pair his blessing.

The marriage of Doctor Marjolin and Cornelie Scheffer was a happy mating;
and both honored the gifted father and ministered to him in every kindly
way.

But so susceptible was Scheffer's nature that when his daughter had given
her whole heart to another, the fine edge of his art was dulled and
blunted. He painted through habit, and the work had merit, but only at
rare intervals was there in it that undefinable something which all can
recognize, but none analyze, that stamps the product as great art.

       *       *       *       *       *

When, in the year Eighteen Hundred Fifty, Scheffer married, it was the
death of his art.

The artist does business on a very small margin of inspiration. Do you
understand me? The man of genius is not a genius all the time. Usually he
is only a very ordinary individual. There may be days or weeks that are
fallow, and sometimes even years that are years of famine. He can not
conquer the mood of depression that is holding him to earth.

But some day the clouds suddenly clear away, the sun bursts out, and the
soul of the man is alive with divine fervor. Sublime thoughts crowd upon
him, great waves of emotion sweep over his soul, and as Webster said of
his Hayne speech, "The air was full of reasons, and all I had to do was
to reach up and seize them."

All great music and all deathless poems are written in a fever of
ecstasy; all paintings that move men to tears are painted in tears.

But it is easy to break in upon the sublime mood and drag the genius back
to earth. Certain country cousins who occasionally visited the family of
Ralph Waldo Emerson cut all mental work off short; the philosopher laid
down his pen when the cousins came a-cousining and literally took to the
woods. An uncongenial caller would instantly unhorse Carlyle, and
Tennyson had a hatred of all lion-hunters--not merely because they were
lion-hunters, but because they broke in upon his paradise and snapped the
thread of inspiration.

Mrs. Grote tells us that Scheffer's wife was intelligent and devoted--in
fact, she was too devoted. She would bring her sewing and watch the
artist at his work. If the great man grew oblivious of her presence she
gently chided him for it; she was jealous of his brothers, jealous of his
daughter, even jealous of his art. She insisted not only that he should
love her, but demanded that he should love nothing else. And yet all the
time she was putting forth violent efforts to make him happy. As a result
she put him in a mood where he loved nothing and nobody. She clipped his
wings, and instead of a soaring genius we find a whimsical, commonplace
man with occupation gone.

Wives demand the society of their husbands as their lawful right, and I
suppose it is expecting too much to suppose that any woman, short of a
saint, could fit into the bachelor ways of a dreamer of dreams, aged
fifty-five.

Before he met the widow of General Beaudrand, Scheffer was happy, with a
sweet, sad happiness in the memories of the love of his youth--the love
that was lost, and being lost still lived and filled his heart.

But the society of the widow was agreeable, her conversation vivacious.
He decided that this being so it might be better still to have her by him
all the time. And this was what the lady desired, for it was she who did
the courting.

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "Because I like an occasional pinch of
salt is no reason why you should immerse me in brine," but Ary Scheffer,
the mild, gentle and guileless, did not reason quite so far.

The vivacious Sophie took him captive, and he was shorn of his strength.
And no doubt the ex-widow was as much disappointed as he; there really
was no good reason why he should not paint better than ever, when here he
wouldn't work at all! Lawks-a-daisy!

His spirit beat itself out against the bars, health declined, and
although he occasionally made groggy efforts to shake himself back into
form, his heart was not in his work.

Seven years went dragging by, and one morning there came word from London
that the Duchess of Orleans, the mother of the beloved Marie, was dying.
Scheffer was ill, but he braced himself for the effort, and hastily
started away alone, leaving a note for Cornelie.

He arrived in England in time to attend the funeral of his lifelong
friend, and then he himself was seized with a deadly illness.

His daughter was sent for, and when she came the sick man's longing
desire was to get back to France. If he was to die, he wanted to die at
home. "To die at home at last," is the prayer of every wanderer. Ary
Scheffer's prayer was answered. He expired in the arms of his beloved
daughter on June Fifteenth, Eighteen Hundred Fifty-eight, aged
sixty-three years.



FRANCOIS MILLET

     When I meet a laborer on the edge of a field, I stop and look at
     the man: born amid the grain where he will be reaped, and turning
     up with his plow the ground of his tomb, mixing his burning sweat
     with the icy rain of Autumn. The furrow he has just turned is a
     monument that will outlive him. I have seen the pyramids of
     Egypt, and the forgotten furrows of our heather: both alike bear
     witness to the work of man and the shortness of his days.

    --_Chateaubriand_

[Illustration: FRANCOIS MILLET]


Jean Francois Millet is to art what Wagner is to music, or what Whitman
is to poetry. These men, one a Frenchman, another a German, the third an
American, taught the same gospel at the same time, using different
languages, and each quite unaware of the existence of the others. They
were all revolutionaries; and success came so tardily to them that
flattery did not taint their native genius.

"Great men never come singly," says Emerson.

Richard Wagner was born in the year Eighteen Hundred Thirteen, Millet in
Eighteen Hundred Fourteen, and Whitman in Eighteen Hundred Nineteen.
"Tannhauser" was first produced in Eighteen Hundred Forty-five; the
"Sower" was exhibited in Eighteen Hundred Fifty; and in Eighteen Hundred
Fifty-five "Leaves of Grass" appeared.

The reception accorded to each masterpiece was about the same; and all
would have fallen flat had it not been for the gibes and jeers and
laughter which the work called forth.

Wagner was arrested for being an alleged rioter; Whitman was ejected from
his clerkship and his book looked after by the Attorney-General of
Massachusetts; Millet was hooted by his fellow-students and dubbed the
Wild-Man-of-the-Woods.

In a letter to Pelloquet, Millet says, "The creations that I depict must
have the air of being native to their situation, so that no one looking
on them shall imagine they are anything else than what they are."

In his first preface to "Leaves of Grass," Whitman writes: "The art of
arts, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters is
simplicity. * * * To speak in literature with the perfect rectitude and
insouciance of the movement of animals and the unimpeachableness of the
sentiment of trees in the woods and grass by the roadside, is the flawless
triumph of art."

Wagner wrote in an Essay on Art:

"The Greek, proceeding from the bosom of Nature, attained to Art when he
had made himself independent of the immediate influences of Nature.

"We, violently debarred from Nature, and proceeding from the dull ground
of a Heaven-rid and juristic civilization, first reach Art when we
completely turn our backs on such a civilization, and once more cast
ourselves, with conscious bent, into the arms of Nature."

Men high in power, deceived by the "lack of form," the innocent naivete
as of childhood, the simple homeliness of expression, the absence of
effort, declared again and again that Millet's work was not art, nor
Wagner's "recurring theme" true music, nor Whitman's rhymeless lines
poetry. The critics refused to recognize that which was not labored:
where no violence of direction was shown they saw no art. To follow close
to Nature is to be considered rude by some--it indicates a lack of
"culture."

Millet, Wagner and Whitman lived in the open air; with towns and cities
they had small sympathy; they felt themselves no better and no wiser than
common folks; they associated with working men and toiling women; they
had no definite ideas as to who were "bad" and who "good."

They are frank, primitive, simple. They are masculine--and in their
actions you never get a trace of coyness, hesitancy, affectation or
trifling coquetry. They have nothing to conceal: they look at you out of
frank, open eyes. They know the pains of earth too well to dance nimbly
through life and laugh the hours away. They are sober, serious, earnest,
but not grim. Their faces are bronzed by sun and wind; their hands are
not concealed by gloves; their shirts are open to the breast, as though
they wanted room to breathe deeply and full; the boots they wear are
coarse and thick-soled, as if the wearer had come from afar and yet had
many long miles to go. But the two things that impress you most are: they
are in no haste; and they are unafraid.

All can approach such men as these. Possibly the smug and self-satisfied
do not care to; but men in distress--those who are worn, or old, or
misunderstood--children, outcasts, those far from home and who long to
get back, silently slip weak hands in theirs and ask, "May we go your
way?"

Can you read "Captain, My Captain," or listen to the "Pilgrims' Chorus,"
or look upon "The Man With the Hoe" without tears?

And so we will continue our little journey.

       *       *       *       *       *

Charles Warren Stoddard relates that in one of the far-off islands of the
South Sea, he found savages so untouched by civilization that they did
not know enough to tell a lie. It was somewhat such a savage as this with
whom we have to deal.

He was nineteen years old, six feet high, weighed one hundred sixty
pounds, and as he had never shaved, had a downy beard all over his face.
His great shock of brown hair tumbled to his shoulders. His face was
bronzed, his hands big and bony, and his dark gray eyes looked out of
their calm depths straight into yours--eyes that did not blink, eyes of
love and patience, eyes like the eyes of an animal that does not know
enough to fear.

He was the son of a peasant, and the descendant of a long line of
peasants, who lived on the coast of Normandy--plain, toiling peasants
whose lives were deeply rooted into the rocky soil that gave them scanty
sustenance. If they ever journeyed it was as sailors--going out with the
tide--and if they did not come back it was only because those who go down
to the sea in ships sometimes never do.

And now this first-born of the peasant flock was going to leave his
native village of Gruchy.

He was clad in a new suit of clothes, spun, woven, cut and sewed by the
hands of his grandmother.

He was going away, and his belongings were all packed in a sailor's
canvas bag; but he was not going to sea.

Great had been the preparations for this journey.

The family was very poor: the father a day-laborer and farmer; the mother
worked in the fields, and as the children grew up they too worked in the
fields; and after a high tide the whole family hurried to the seashore to
gather up the "varech," and carry it home for fertilizer, so that the
rocky hillside might next Summer laugh a harvest.

And while the father and the mother toiled in the fields, or gathered the
varech, or fished for shrimps, the old grandmother looked after the
children at home. The grandmother in such homes is the real mother of the
flock: the mother who bore the children has no time to manifest
mother-love; it is the grandmother who nurses the stone-bruises, picks
out the slivers, kisses away the sorrows, gladdens young hearts by her
simple stories, and rocks in her strong, old arms the babe, as she croons
and quavers a song of love and duty.

And so the old grandmother had seen "her baby" grow to a man, and with
her own hands she had made his clothes, and all the savings of her years
had been sewed into a belt and given to the boy.

And now he was going away.

He was going away--going because she and she alone had urged it. She had
argued and pleaded, and when she won the village priest over to her side,
and Father Lebrisseau in his turn had won several influential men--why,
it must be!

The boy could draw: he could draw so well that he some day would be a
great artist--Langlois, the drawing-master at Cherbourg, ten miles away,
said so.

What if they were only poor peasants and there never had been a painter
in the family! There would be now. So the priest had contributed from his
own purse; and the Councilmen of Cherbourg had promised to help; and the
grandmother had some silver of her own.

Jean Francois Millet was going to Paris to study to be an artist.

Tears rained down the wrinkled, leathery cheeks of the old grandmother;
the mother stood by dazed and dumb, nursing a six-months-old babe;
children of various ages hung to the skirts of mother and grandmother,
tearful and mystified; the father leaned on the gate, smoking a pipe,
displaying a stolidity he did not feel.

The diligence swung around the corner and came rattling down the single,
stony, narrow street of the little village. The driver hardly deigned to
stop for such common folks as these; but the grandmother waved her apron,
and then, as if jealous of a service some one else might render, she
seized one end of the canvas bag and helped the brown young man pass it
up to the top of the diligence. Jean Francois climbed up after, carrying
a little prayer-book that had been thrust into his hands--a final parting
gift of the grandmother.

The driver cracked his whip and away they went.

As the diligence passed the rectory, Father Lebrisseau came out and held
up a crucifix; the young man took off his cap and bowed his head.

The group of watchers moved out into the roadway. They strained their
eyes in the direction of the receding vehicle.

       *       *       *       *       *

After a three days' ride, Jean Francois was in Paris. The early winter
night was settling down, and the air was full of fog and sleet.

The young man was sore from the long jolting. His bones ached, and the
damp and cold had hunted out every part of his sturdy frame.

The crowds that surged through the street hurrying for home and fireside
after the day's work were impatient.

"Don't block the way, Johnny Crapaud!" called a girl with a shawl over
her head; and with the combined shove and push of those behind, the
sabot-shod young man was shouldered into the street.

There he stood dazed and bereft, with the sailor's bag on his back.

"Where do you wish to go?" asked a gendarme, not unkindly.

"Back to Gruchy," came the answer.

And the young man went into the diligence office and asked when the next
stage started.

It did not go until the following morning. He would have to stay
somewhere all night.

The policeman outside the door directed him to a modest tavern.

Next morning things looked a little better. The sun had come out and the
air was crisp. The crowds in the street did not look quite so cold and
mean.

After hunger had been satisfied, "Johnny Crapaud" concluded to stay long
enough to catch a glimpse of the Louvre, that marvel of marvels! The
Louvre had been glowingly described to him by his old drawing-master at
Cherbourg. Visions of the Louvre had been in his mind for weeks and
months, and now his hopes were soon to be realized. In an hour perhaps he
would stand and look upon a canvas painted by Rubens, the immortal
Rubens!

His enthusiasm grew warm.

The girl who had served him with coffee stood near and was looking at him
with a sort of silent admiration, such as she might bestow upon a curious
animal.

He looked up; their eyes met.

"Is it true--is it true that there are pictures by Rubens in the Louvre?"
asked the young man.

The oddity of the question from such a being and the queer Normandy
accent amused the girl, and she burst out laughing. She did not answer
the question, but going over to a man seated at another table whispered
to him. Then they both looked at the queer youth and laughed.

The young countryman did not know what they were laughing at--probably
they did not, either--but he flushed scarlet, and soon made his way out
into the street, his luggage on his back. He wanted to go to the Louvre,
but dare not ask the way--he did not care to be laughed at.

And so he wandered forth.

The shops were very marvelous, and now and again he lingered long before
some window where colored prints and paintings were displayed. He
wondered if the places were artists' studios; and at one place as he
looked at a series of sketches the thought came to him that he himself
could do better.

This gave him courage, and stepping inside the door he set down his bag
and told the astonished shopkeeper that the pictures in the window were
very bad--he could paint better ones--would the proprietor not hire him
to paint pictures? He would work cheap, and labor faithfully.

He was hastily hustled out into the street--to harbor lunatics was
dangerous.

So he trudged on--looking for the Louvre.

Night came and the search was without reward.

Seeing a sign of "Apartments for single gentlemen," he applied and was
shown a modest room that seemed within his means. The landlady was very
kind; in fact, she knew people at Gruchy and had often been to
Cherbourg--her uncle lived there.

Jean Francois felt relieved to find that even in busy, bustling,
frivolous Paris there were friendly people; and when the kind lady
suggested that pickpockets in the streets were numerous, and that he had
better give his money over to her for safekeeping, he handed out his
store of three hundred francs without question.

He never saw his money again.

The next day he still sought the Louvre--not caring to reveal his
ignorance by asking the way.

It was several days before Fate led him along the Seine and he found
himself on the Pont Neuf. The palace stretching out before him had a
familiar look. He stopped and stared. There were the palaces where
history had been made. He knew the Tuileries and he knew the Louvre--he
had seen pictures of both.

He walked out across the Place de la Concorde, and seeing others enter,
made his way through the gates of the sacred precinct.

He was in the Palace of the Louvre; he had found the way, unaided and
alone.

His deep religious nature was moved, and taking off his cap he crossed
himself in a silent prayer of gratitude.

What his sensations were he partially pictured to his friend Sensier
thirty years after: "It seemed as though I had at last attained,
achieved. My feelings were too great for words, and I closed my eyes,
lest I be dazzled by the sight and then dare not open them lest I should
find it all a dream. And if I ever reach Paradise I know my joy will be
no greater than it was that first morning when I realized that I stood
within the Louvre Palace."

For a week Millet visited the Louvre every day.

When the doors were unlocked each morning he was waiting on the steps;
and he did not leave in the afternoon until the attendant warned him it
was time to go.

He lingered long before the "Raffaellos" and stood in the "Rubens
Gallery" dumb with wonder and admiration.

There were various people copying pictures here and there. He watched
them furtively, and after seeing one young man working at an easel in a
certain place for a week, he approached and talked with him.

Jean Francois told his history and the young man listened patiently. He
advised that it would be foolish to go back to Gruchy at once. The youth
should go to some master and show what he could do--remain and study for
a little while at least; in fact, he himself would take him to Delaroche.
Things looked brighter; and arrangements were made to meet on the morrow
and go interview the master.

Delaroche was found and proved kindly. He examined the two sketches that
Jean Francois submitted, asked a few questions, and graciously led the
new applicant into the atelier, where a score of young men were
sketching, and set him to work.

The letter written by Jean to the good old grandmother that night hinted
at great plans for the future, and told of love, and of hope that was
dauntless.

       *       *       *       *       *

Twelve years were spent by Jean Francois in Paris--years of biting
poverty and grim endurance: the sport and prey of Fate: the butt and
byword of the fashionable, artistic world.

Jean Francois did not belong in Paris: how can robins build nests in
omnibuses?

He was at war with his environment; and the stern Puritan bias of his
nature refused to conform to the free and easy ways of the gay
metropolis. He sighed for a sight of the sea, and longed for the fields
and homely companionship that Normandy held in store.

So we find him renouncing Paris life and going back to his own.

The grandmother greeted him as one who had won, but his father and
mother, and he, himself, called it failure.

He started to work in the fields and fell fainting to the earth.

"He has been starved," said the village doctor. But when hunger had been
appeased and strength came back, ambition, too, returned.

He would be an artist yet.

A commission for a group of family portraits came from a rich family at
Cherbourg. Gladly he hastened thence to do the work.

While in Cherbourg he found lodgings in the household of a widow who had
a daughter. The widow courted the fine young painter-man--courted him for
the daughter. The daughter married him. A strong, simple man, unversed
in the sophistry of society, loves the first woman he meets, provided, of
course, she shows toward him a bit of soft, feminine sympathy. This
accounts for the ease with which very young men so often fall in love
with middle-aged women. The woman does the courting; the man idealizes,
and endows the woman with all the virtues his imagination can conjure
forth. Love is a matter of propinquity.

The wife of Jean Francois was neutral salts. She desired, no doubt, to do
what was right and best, but she had no insight into her husband's needs,
and was incapable of guessing his latent genius.

As for the new wife's mother and kinsmen, they regarded Jean Francois as
simply lazy, and thought to crowd him into useful industry. He could
paint houses or wagons, and, then, didn't the shipyard folks employ
painters?

Well, I guess so.

Jean Francois still dreamed of art.

He longed to express himself--to picture on canvas the emotions that
surged through his soul.

Disillusionment had come, and he now saw that his wife was his mate only
because the Church and State said so. But his sense of duty was firm, and
the thought of leaving her behind never came to him.

The portraits were painted--the money in his pocket; and to escape the
importunities and jeers of his wife's relatives he decided to try Paris
once more.

The wife was willing. Paris was the gateway to pleasure and ambition.

But the gaiety of Paris was not for her. On a scanty allowance of bread
one can not be so very gay--and often there was no fuel.

Jean Francois copied pictures in the Louvre and hawked them among the
dealers, selling for anything that was offered.

Delaroche sent for him. "Why do you no longer come to my atelier?" said
the master.

"I have no money to pay tuition," was the answer.

"Never mind; I'll be honored to have you work here."

So Jean Francois worked with the students of Delaroche; and a few
respected his work and tried to help market his wares. But connoisseurs
shook their heads, and dealers smiled at "the eccentricities of genius,"
and bought only conventional copies of masterpieces or studies of the
nude.

Meantime the way did not open, and Paris was far from being the place the
wife supposed. She would have gone back to Cherbourg, but there was no
money to send her, and pride prevented her from writing the truth to her
friends at home. She prayed for death, and death came. The students at
Delaroche's contributed to meet the expenses of her funeral. Jean
Francois still struggled on.

Delaroche and others declared his work was great, but how could they make
people buy it?

A time of peculiar pinching hardship came, and Jean Francois again bade
Paris adieu and made his way back to Gruchy. There he could work in the
fields, gather varech on the seashore, and possibly paint portraits now
and then--just for amusement.

And thus he would live out the measure of his days.

The visit of Jean Francois to his boyhood's home proved a repetition of
the first.

Another woman married him.

Catherine Lemaire was not a brilliant woman, but she had a profound
belief in her husband's genius.

Possibly she did not understand him when he talked his best, but she made
a brave show of listening, and did not cross him with any little
whimsical philosophies of her own.

She was sturdy and strong of heart; privation was nothing to her; she
could endure all that Jean Francois could, and count it a joy to be with
him.

She was the consoler, not he; and when the mocking indifference of the
world passed the work of Jean Francois by, she said, "Who cares, so long
as we know 't is good?" and measured the stocking on her nose and made
merry music with the flying needles.

Soon the truth forced itself on Jean Francois and Catherine that no man
is thought much of by his kinsmen and boyhood acquaintances. No one at
Gruchy believed in the genius of Jean Francois--no one but the old
grandmother, who daily hobbled to mass and prayed the Blessed Virgin not
to forget her boy. Jean Francois and his wife studied the matter out and
talked it over at length, and they decided that to stay in Gruchy would
be to forfeit all hope of winning fame and fortune.

Gruchy held nothing for them; possibly Paris did.

And anyway, to go down in a struggle for better things was not so
ignominious an end as to allow one's powers to rust out, held back only
through fear of failure.

They started for Paris.

Yes, Paris remembered Jean Francois. How could Paris forget him--he was
so preposterous and his work so impossible!

It was still a struggle for bread.

Marriages and births have a fixed relation to the price of corn, the
sociologists say. Perhaps they are right; but not in this case.

The babies came along with the years, and all brought love with them.

The devotion of Jean Francois to his wife and children had a deep, sober,
religious quality, such as we associate with Abraham and Jacob and the
other patriarchs of old.

The heart of Millet was often wrung by the thought of the privation and
hardships his wife and children had to undergo. He blamed himself for
their lack of creature comforts, and the salt tears rained down his beard
when he had to go home and report that he had tramped the streets all day
with a picture under his arm, looking for a buyer, but no buyer could be
found.

But all this time the old grandmother up in Normandy waited and watched
for news from her boy.

Now and again during the years she saw his name mentioned in connection
with the Salon; and once she heard a medal had been granted him, and at
another time an "Honorable Mention."

Her heart throbbed in pride and she wrote congratulations, and thanked
the good God for answering her prayers. Little did she know of the times
when bread was cut in tiny bits and parceled out to each hungry mouth, or
the days when there was no fuel and the children kept to their beds to
prevent freezing.

But the few friends of Jean Francois who had forced the "Honorable
Mention" and secured the medal, now got something more tangible; they
induced the Government Director of Fine Arts to order from Jean Francois
Millet a picture for which the artist was to receive two thousand francs;
two hundred francs were paid on account and the balance was to be paid on
delivery of the picture.

Jean Francois hurried home with the order in his trembling fingers.
Catherine read the order with misty eyes. She was not unduly elated--she
knew that success must come some time. And husband and wife then and
there decided that when the eighteen hundred francs were paid over to
them they would move out of Paris.

They would make a home in the country. People do without things in the
country, but they do not starve. You can raise vegetables, and even
though the garden be small and the folks poor, God is good and the
sunshine and showers come and things grow. And for fuel one can gather
fagots if they are near a wood.

They would go to Barbizon--Barbizon, that tiny village on the edge of the
Forest of Fontainebleau. Several artists who had been there in the Summer
sketching had told them of it. The city was gradually smothering Jean
Francois. He prayed for a sight of the great open stretches of pasture,
and green woods and winding river.

And now it was all so near.

He set to work feverishly to paint the great picture that was to bring
deliverance.

At last the picture was done and sent to the Director's.

Days of anxious waiting followed.

The picture was accepted and paid for.

Jean Francois and Catherine cried and laughed for joy, as they tumbled
their belongings into bags and bundles. The grocer who had trusted them
took some of their furniture for pay, and a baker and a shoemaker
compromised by accepting a picture apiece. They were going to
Barbizon--going to the country--going to freedom! And so the father and
the mother and the queer-looking, yellow children were perched on the top
of the diligence with their bundles, bound for Barbizon. They looked into
each other's faces and their joy was too great for speech.

       *       *       *       *       *

Living at the village of Barbizon, or near it, were Theodore Rousseau,
Hughes Martin, Louis LeRoy and Clerge.

These men were artists, and their peasant neighbors recognized them as
separate and apart from themselves. They were Summer boarders. But Millet
was a peasant in thought and feeling and sympathy, and mingled with the
people on an absolute equality. He was peasant--and more than peasant;
for the majesty of the woods, the broken rocks, the sublime stretches of
meadow-lands with their sights, odors and colors intoxicated him with
their beauty. He felt as if he had never before looked upon God's
beautiful world.

And yet Paris was only a day's journey away! There he could find a market
for his work. To be near a great city is a satisfaction to every
intellectual worker, but, if he is wise, his visits to the city are far
apart. All he needs is the thought that he can go if he chooses.

Millet was thirty-four years of age when he reached Barbizon. There he
was to remain for the remaining twenty-seven years of his life--to live
in the one house--years of toil, and not lacking in poverty, pain and
anxiety, but years of freedom, for he worked as he wished and called no
man master.

It is quite the custom to paint the life of Millet at Barbizon as one of
misery and black unrest; but those who do this are the people who read
pain into his pictures: they do not comprehend the simplicity and
sublimity and quiet joy that were possible in this man's nature, and in
the nature of the people he pictured.

From the time he reached Barbizon there came into his work a largeness, a
majesty and an elevation that is unique in the history of art. Millet's
heart went out to humanity--the humanity that springs from the soil,
lives out its day, and returns to earth. His pictures form an epic of
country life, as he tells of its pains, its anxieties, its
privations--yes, of its peace and abiding faith, and the joy and health
and strength that comes to those who live near to Nature's heart.

Walt Whitman catalogues the workers and toilers, and lists their
occupations in pages that will live; Millet shows us wood-gatherers,
charcoal-burners, shepherds, gleaners, washerwomen, diggers, quarrymen,
road laborers, men at the plow, and women at the loom. Then he shows the
noon-hour, the moments of devotion, the joys of motherhood, the silent
pride of the father, the love of brother and sister and of husband and
wife. And again in the dusk of a winter night we see black-lined against
the sky the bent figure of an old woman, bearing her burden of fagots;
and again we are shown the plain, homely interior of a cottage where the
family watches by the bedside of a dying child.

And always the picture is not quite complete--the faces are never
distinct--no expression of feature is there, but the soul worked up into
the canvas conveys its silent message to all those who have eyes to see
and hearts to feel.

Only a love and sympathy as wide as the world could have produced the
"Gleaners," the "Sower" and the "Angelus."

Millet was what he was on account of what he had endured. All art is at
last autobiography.

The laborer's cottage that he took at Barbizon had but three small, low
rooms. These served as studio, kitchen and bedchamber. When the family
had increased to eleven, other rooms were added, and the studio was
transferred to the barn, there at the end of the garden.

Millet had two occupations, and two recreations, he once said. In the
mornings he worked in his garden, digging, sowing, planting, reaping. In
the afternoons he painted--painted until the sun got too low to afford
the necessary light; then he went for his daily solitary walk through the
woods and fields, coming back at dark. After supper he helped his wife
with the housework, put the children to bed, and then sat and read until
the clock struck midnight.

This was his simple life. Very slowly, recognition came that way.
Theodore Rousseau, himself a great artist, and a man too great for
jealousy, spread his fame, and the faithful Sensier in Paris lost no
opportunity to aid his friend by the use of a commercial shrewdness in
which Millet was woefully lacking.

Then came Corot, Daubigny, Diaz and others of giant stature, to Barbizon,
and when they went back to Paris they told of Millet and his work. And
then we find Meissonier, the proud, knocking at the gate of Le Grand
Rustique.

It is pleasant to recall that Americans were among the first to recognize
the value of Millet's art. His "Sower" is the chief gem of the Vanderbilt
collection; and the "Angelus" has been thought much more of in France
since America so unreservedly set her seal upon it.

Millet died in Eighteen Hundred Seventy-five.

It was only during the last ten years of his life that he felt
financially free, and even then he was far from passing rich. After his
death his fame increased, and pictures he had sold for twenty dollars,
soon changed hands for as many hundred.

Englishmen say that America grew Millet-mad, and it may be true that our
admiration tipped a bit to t' other side; yet the fabulous prices were
not always paid by Americans--the rich men of earth vied with each other
for the possession of a "Millet."

The "Gleaners" was bought by the French Government for three hundred
thousand francs, and is now in the Louvre "in perpetuity." This sum paid
for this one picture represents a larger amount of money than passed
through the hands of Millet during his entire life; and yet it is not
one-half what another "Millet" brought. The "Angelus" was sold for the
sum of eight hundred thousand francs--a larger amount than was ever
before paid for a single canvas.

It is idle to say that no picture is worth such a sum. Anything is worth
what some one else will pay for it.

The number of "Millets," it may be explained, is limited, and with men in
America who have incomes of ten million dollars or more a year, no sane
man dare prophesy what price the "Sower" may yet command.

Millet himself, were he here, would be aghast at the prices paid for his
work, and he would turn, too, with disfavor from the lavish adulation
bestowed upon his name.

This homely, simple artist was a profound thinker; a sympathetic dreamer;
a noble-hearted, generous man; so truthful and lovable that his virtues
have been counted a weakness; and so they are--for the planet Earth.



JOSHUA REYNOLDS

     To make it people's interest to advance you, by showing that
     their business will be better done by you than by any other
     person, is the only solid foundation of success; the rest is
     accident.

    --_Reynolds to His Nephew_

[Illustration: JOSHUA REYNOLDS]


On the curious little river Plym, five miles from Plymouth, is the hamlet
of Plympton. It is getting on towards two hundred years since Joshua
Reynolds was born there. The place has not changed so very much with the
centuries: there still stand the quaint stone houses, built on arches
over the sidewalk, and there, too, is the old Norman church with its high
mullioned windows. Chester shows the best example of that very early
architecture, and Plympton is Chester done in pigmy.

The birthplace of Reynolds is one of these houses in the "Row"; a
greengrocer now has the lower floor of the house for his shop, while his
numerous family live upstairs.

The Reverend Samuel Reynolds also had a numerous family--there being
eleven children--so the present occupation is a realistic restoration of
a previous condition.

The grocer has a leaning toward art, for his walls are well papered with
chromos and posters; and as he sold a cabbage to a good housewife he
nipped off a leaf for a pen of rabbits that stood in the doorway, and
talked to me glibly of Reynolds and Gainsborough. The grocer considers
Gainsborough the greater artist, and surely his fame is wide, like unto
the hat--hated by theater-goers--that his name has rendered deathless,
and which certain unkind ones declare has given him immortality. Joshua
was the seventh child in the brood of five boys and six girls. The fond
parents set him apart for the Church, and to that end he was placed in
the Plympton Grammar-School, and made to "do" fifty lines of Ovid a day.

The old belief that to translate Latin with facility was the true test of
genius has fallen somewhat into desuetude, yet there are a few who still
hold to the idea that to reason, imagine and invent are not the tests of
a man's powers; he must conjugate, decline and derive. But Grant Allen,
possessor of three college degrees, avers that a man may not even be able
to read and write, and yet have a very firm mental grasp on the eternal
verities.

Anyway, Joshua Reynolds did not like Latin. He hated the set task of
fifty lines, and hated the system that imposed a fine of twenty lines for
a failure to fulfil the first.

The fines piled up until young Joshua, aged twelve, goin' on thirteen,
went into such hopeless bankruptcy that he could not pay tuppence on the
pound.

We have a sheet of this Latin done at that time, in a cramped, schoolboy
hand, starting very bold and plain, and running off into a tired blot and
scrawl. On the bottom of the page is a picture, and under this is a line
written by the father: "This is drawn by Joshua in school out of pure
idleness." The Reverend Samuel had no idea that his own name would live
in history simply because he was the father of this idle boy.

Still, the clergyman showed that he was a man of good sense, for he
acceded to the lad's request to let the Latin slide. This conclusion no
doubt was the easier arrived at after the master of the school had
explained that the proper education of such a youth was quite hopeless.

All the Reynolds children drew pictures and most of them drew better than
Joshua. But Joshua did not get along well at school, and so he felt the
necessity of doing something.

It is a great blessing to be born into a family where strict economy of
time and money is necessary. The idea that nothing shall be wasted, and
that each child must carve out for himself a career, is a thrice-blessed
heritage.

Rich parents are an awful handicap to youth, and few indeed there be who
have the strength to stand prosperity; especially is this true when
prosperity is not achieved, but thrust upon them.

Joshua got hold of a copy of Richardson's "Theory of Painting," and found
therein that the author prophesied the rise of a great school of English
painters.

Joshua thought about it, talked with his brothers and sisters about it,
and surprised his mother by asking her if she knew that there was soon
to be a distinct school of British Art.

About this time there came to the village a strolling artist by the name
of Warmell. This man opened up a studio on the porch of the tavern and
offered to make your picture while you wait. He did a thriving business
in silhouettes, and patrons who were in a hurry could have their profiles
cut out of black paper with shears and pasted on a white background in a
jiffy--price, sixpence.

Joshua struck up quite a friendship with this man and was taught all the
tricks of the trade--even to the warning that in drawing the portrait of
a homely man it is not good policy to make a really homely picture.

The best-paying pewholder in the Reverend Samuel Reynolds' church was a
Mr. Craunch, whose picture had been made by the joint efforts of the
strolling artist Warmell and young Reynolds. 'T was a very beautiful
picture, although it is not on record that Mr. Craunch was a handsome
man.

Warmell refused to take pay for Craunch's picture, claiming that he felt
it was pay enough to have the honor of such a great man sitting to him.
This remark proved to Craunch that Warmell was a discerning person and
they were very soon on intimate terms of friendship. Mr. Craunch gave Mr.
Warmell orders to paint pictures of the Craunch family. One day Warmell
called the great man's attention to the fact that young Reynolds, his
volunteer assistant, had ambitions in an art way that could not be
gratified unless some great and good man stepped in and played the part
of a Mæcenas.

In fact, Joshua wanted to go to London and study with Hudson, the
son-in-law and pupil of Richardson, the eminent author who wrote the
"Theory of Painting." Warmell felt sure that after a few months, with his
help, young Reynolds could get the technique and the color-scheme, and a'
that, and the firm of Warmell and Reynolds could open a studio in
Plymouth or Portsmouth and secure many good orders.

Craunch listened with patience and advised with the boy's parents.

The next week he took the lad up to London and entered him as a pupil
with the great Hudson, who could not paint much of a picture himself, but
for a consideration was willing to show others how.

Rumor has it that Warmell got a certain sum in English gold for all
pupils he sent to Hudson's studio, but I take no stock in such
insinuations.

Warmell here disappears from mortal view, like one of those stage
trapdoor vanishings of Mephisto--only Mephisto usually comes back, but
Warmell never did.

Reynolds was very happy at Hudson's studio. He was only seventeen years
old when he arrived there, fresh from the country. London was a marvel of
delight to Joshua; the shops, theaters, galleries and exhibitions were a
never-ending source of joy. He worked with diligence, and probably got
more for his money than any one of Hudson's fifty pupils. Hudson was
well-to-do, dignified and kind. His place was full of casts and classic
fragments, and when he had set his pupils to copying these he considered
his day's work done.

Joshua wrote glowing letters home, telling of all he did. "While I am at
work I am the happiest creature alive," he said. Hudson set Joshua to
copying Guercino's works, and kept the lad at it so steadily that he was
really never able to draw from Nature correctly thereafter.

After a year, Craunch came up from the country to see how his ward was
getting along. Joshua showed him the lions of the city; and painted his
picture, making so fine a portrait that when Mr. Craunch got back home he
threw away the one made by Warmell.

Once at an exhibition Joshua met Alexander Pope, whom he had seen several
times at Hudson's studio. Pope remembered him and shook hands. Joshua was
so inflated by the honor that he hastened home to write a letter to his
mother and tell her all about it.

According to the terms of agreement with Hudson, Joshua was bound to stay
four years; but now two years had passed, and one fine day in sudden
wrath Hudson told him to pack up his kit and go.

The trouble was that Joshua could paint better than Hudson--every pupil
in the school knew it. When the scholars wanted advice they went to
Reynolds, and some of them, being sons of rich men, paid Reynolds for
helping them.

Then Reynolds had painted a few portraits on his own account and had kept
the money, as he had a perfect right to do. Hudson said he hadn't, for he
was bound as an apprentice to him.

"But only during working-hours," replied young Reynolds. We can hardly
blame Hudson for sending him away--no master wants a pupil around who
sees all over, above and beyond him, and who can do better work than he.
It's confusing, and tends to rob the master of the deification that is
his due.

Reynolds had remained long enough--it was time for him to go.

He went back to Devonshire, and Craunch, the biggest man in Plympton,
took him over to Lord Edgecumbe, the biggest man in Plymouth.

Craunch carried along the portrait of himself that Joshua had made, and
asked milord if he didn't want one just like it. Edgecumbe said he surely
did, and asked Joshua if he painted the picture all alone by himself.

Joshua smiled.

Lord Edgecumbe had a beautiful house, and to have a good picture of
himself, and a few choice old ancestors on the walls, he thought would be
very fine.

Joshua took up his abode in the Edgecumbe mansion, the better to do his
work.

He was a handsome youth, nearly twenty years old, with bright, beaming
eyes, a slight but compact form, and brown curls that came to his
shoulders. His London life had given him a confidence in himself, and in
his manner there was a grace and poise flavored with a becoming
diffidence.

A man who can do things well should assume a modesty, even if he has it
not. If you can write well, do not talk--leave that to the man who can do
nothing else. If you can paint, let your work speak for you.

Joshua Reynolds was young, but he was an artist in diplomacy. His talent,
his modesty, his youth, his beauty, won the hearts of the entire
Edgecumbe household.

He painted portraits of all the family; and of course all the visitors
were called upon to admire, not only the pictures, but the painter as
well.

A studio was opened in one of Lord Edgecumbe's buildings at Plymouth, and
he painted portraits of all the great folks thereabout.

On Christmas-Day, Seventeen Hundred Forty-six, the Reverend Samuel
Reynolds died, but before his death he fully realized that one of his
children was well on the way to fame and fortune.

The care of the broken family now devolved on Joshua, but his income was
several times as much as his father had ever earned, and his
responsibilities were carried lightly.

While at the house of Lord Edgecumbe, Reynolds had met young Commodore
Keppel. In Seventeen Hundred Forty-nine, Keppel was placed in command of
the Mediterranean fleet, with orders to clear the seas of the Barbary
pirates. Keppel invited Reynolds to join him on board the "Centurion" as
his guest.

Gladly he accepted, and they sailed away for the Orient with a cabin
stocked with good things, and enough brushes, paints, canvases and easels
to last several painters a lifetime.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was three years before Reynolds came back to Plymouth. He had visited
Lisbon, Cadiz, Gibraltar, Port Mahon and Minorca. At the two last-named
places there were British garrisons, and Reynolds set to work making
portraits of the officers. For this he was so well paid that he decided
to visit Italy instead of voyaging farther with his friend Keppel.

He then journeyed on to Naples, Rome, Venice, Pisa and Florence, stopping
in each city for several months, immersing himself in the art atmosphere
of the place. Returning to Rome, he remained there two years, studying
and copying the works of Raphael, Angelo, Titian and other masters.

Occasionally, he sold his copies of masterpieces, and by practising
strict economy managed to live in a fair degree of comfort.

Rome is the hottest place in Summer and the coldest in Winter of which I
know. The average Italian house has a damp and chill in Winter which
clutches the tourist and makes him long for home and native land. Imagine
a New England farmhouse in March with only a small dish-pan of coals to
warm it, and you have Rome in Winter.

Rome, with its fever in Summer and rheumatism and pneumonia in Winter,
has sent many an artist to limbus. Joshua Reynolds escaped the damp of
the Vatican with nothing worse than a deafness that caused him to carry
an ear-trumpet for the rest of his life.

But now he was back at Plymouth. Lord Edgcumbe looked over the work he
had brought and called into the ear-trumpet that a man who could paint
like that was a fool to remain in a country town: he should go to London
and vanquish all such alleged artists as Hudson.

Keppel had gotten back to England, and he and Edgcumbe had arranged that
Reynolds should pitch his tent in the heart of artistic London. So a
handsome suite of apartments was secured in Saint Martin's Lane.

The first work undertaken seems to have been that full-length portrait of
Commodore Keppel. The picture shows the Commodore standing on a rocky
shore, issuing orders to unseen hosts. There is an energy, dash and
heroism pictured in the work that at once caught the eye of the public.

"Have you seen Keppel's portrait?" asked Edgcumbe of every one he met.

Invitations were sent out to call at Joshua Reynold's studio and see
"Keppel." There were a good many pictures displayed there, but "Keppel"
was placed in a small room, set apart, rightly focused, properly draped,
and lighted only by candles, that stood in silver candle-sticks, and
which were solemnly snuffed by a detailed marine, six foot three, in a
red coat, with a formidable hanger at his side. Only a few persons were
admitted at a time and on entering the room all you saw was the valiant
form of the doughty Commodore, the sea-mist in his face and the wild
winds blowing his locks. The big marine on guard in the shadow added the
last realistic touch, and the gentlemen visitors removed their hats and
the ladies talked in whispers--they all expected Keppel to speak, and
they wished to hear what he would say.

It is a great thing to paint a beautiful picture, but 't is a more
difficult feat to hypnotize the public into accepting the fact.

The live Keppel was pointed out on the street as the man who had had his
picture taken.

Now, people do not have portraits painted simply because they want
portraits painted: they want these portraits shown and admired.

To have Reynolds paint your portrait might prove a repetition of the
Keppel--who knows!

Sitters came and a secretary in livery took their names and made
appointments, as is done today in the office of a prosperous dentist.

Joshua Reynolds was young and strong, and he worked while it was called
the day. He worked from sunrise until sunset.

That first year in London he produced one hundred twenty portraits,
besides painting various other pictures. This he could not have done
without the assistance of a most loyal helper.

This helper was Giuseppe Marchi.

There are a half-dozen biographies of Reynolds, and from Boswell,
Walpole and Burney, Gossips-in-Ordinary, we have vivid glimpses into his
life and habits. Then we have his own journal, and hundreds of letters;
but nowhere do we get a frank statement of the assistance rendered him by
Giuseppe Marchi.

When Reynolds was in Rome, aged twenty-one, he fell in with a
tatterdemalion, who proffered his service as guide. Rome is full of such
specimens, and the type is one that has not changed in five hundred
years.

Reynolds tossed the lad a copper, and the ragged one showed his fine
white teeth in a gladsome grin and proffered information. He clung to the
visitor all that afternoon, and the next morning when Reynolds started
out with his sketching-outfit, the youngster was sitting on his doorstep.
So they fared forth, Giuseppe carrying the kit.

Reynolds knew but little Italian--the boy taught him more. The boy knew
every corner of Rome, and was deep in the history of the Eternal
City--all he knew was Rome.

Joshua taught the youngster to sketch, and after the first few days there
in Rome. Joshua rigged Giuseppe up an easel, and where went Joshua there
also went Giuseppe.

Joshua got a bit ashamed of his partner's attire and bought him better
raiment.

When Reynolds left Rome on his homeward march, there, too, tagged the
faithful Giuseppe.

After several months they reached Lyons, and Joshua counted his money.
There was only enough to pay his fare by the diligence to Paris, with a
few francs over for food. He told Giuseppe that he could not take him
farther, and emptying his pockets of all his coppers, and giving him his
best silk handkerchief and a sketching-outfit, they cried down each
other's backs, kissed each other on both cheeks in the Italian fashion,
and parted.

It took eight days to reach Paris by the diligence, and Joshua only got
through by stopping one day and bartering a picture for sundry loaves of
necessary bread.

But he had friends in Paris, influential friends. And when he reached the
home of these influential friends, there on the curbstone sat Giuseppe,
awaiting his coming, with the silk handkerchief knotted loosely about his
neck!

Giuseppe had thrown away the painting-kit and walked the three hundred
miles in eight days, begging or stealing by the way the food he needed.

When Joshua Reynolds opened his studio in Saint Martin's Lane, his
faithful helper was Giuseppe Marchi. Giuseppe painted just as Joshua did,
and just as well.

When sitters came, Giuseppe was only a valet: he cleaned the brushes,
polished the knives, ran for water and hovered near to do his master's
bidding. He was the only person allowed in the model-room, and all the
time he was there his keen eyes made a correct and proper estimate of the
sitter. Listening to no conversation, seeing nothing, he yet heard
everything and nothing escaped his glance.

When the sitting, which occupied an hour, was over, Giuseppe took the
picture into another room, and filled in the background and drapery just
as he knew it should be.

"Marchi does not sign and date the portraits, but he does all the rest,"
said Garrick. And "Little Burney," treading on thinner ice, once
remarked, "If Sir Joshua ever embraces a fair sitter and imprints upon
her forehead a chaste kiss, I am sure that Giuseppe Marchi will never
tell."

It is too late to accuse Sir Joshua Reynolds of ingratitude towards
Giuseppe; he was grateful, and once referred to Marchi as "an angel sent
from God to help me do my work." But he paid Marchi valet's wages and
treated him like a servant. Possibly this was the part of expedience, for
had Marchi ever gotten it into his head that he could paint as well as
Sir Joshua he would have been worthless as a helper.

For forty years they were never separated.

Cotton disposes of Giuseppe Marchi by saying, "He was a clever colorist,
but incapable of doing independent work." Cotton might, however, have
told the whole simple truth, and that was that Marchi was hands, feet,
eyes and ears for his master--certain it is that without his help Sir
Joshua could never have attained the fame and fortune he did.

       *       *       *       *       *

In selecting his time for a career, Joshua Reynolds showed good judgment.
He went into public favor on a high tide. England was prosperous, and
there was in the air a taste for the polite arts. Literature was becoming
a fad.

Within a short time there had appeared Gray's "Elegy," Smollett's
"Peregrine Pickle," Fielding's "Amelia" and Richardson's "Clarissa
Harlowe." Here was menu to fit most palates, and the bill-of-fare was
duly discussed in all social gatherings of the upper circles. The
afflicted ones fed on Gray; the repentant quoted Richardson; while
Smollett and Fielding were read aloud in parlor gatherings where fair
ladies threatened to leave the room--but didn't. Out at Strawberry Hill,
his country home, Horace Walpole was running that little printing-shop,
making books that are now priceless, and writing long, gossipy letters
that body forth the spirit of the time, its form and pressure. The
Dilettante Society, composed of young noblemen devoted to high art and
good-fellowship, was discussing a scheme for a National Academy. Garrick
was at the height of his fame; Hogarth was doing for art what Smollett
did for literature; while two young Irishmen, Burke and Goldsmith, were
getting ready to make English letters illustrious; Hudson was painting
portraits with a stencil; Gainsborough was immortalizing a hat; Doctor
Johnson was waiting in the entry of Lord Chesterfield's mansion with the
prospectus of a dictionary; and pretty Kitty Fisher had kicked the hat
off the head of the Prince of Wales on a wager.

And so into this atmosphere of seething life came Joshua Reynolds, the
handsome, gracious, silent, diplomatic Reynolds. Fresh from Italy and the
far-off islands of the Southern seas where Ulysses sailed, he came--his
name and fame heralded as the Raphael of England.

To have your portrait painted by Reynolds was considered a proper
"entree" into the "bon ton." To attempt to give the names of royalty who
sat to him would be to present a transcript of Burke's Peerage.

Unlike Van Dyck, at whose shrine Reynolds worshiped, Reynolds was coldly
diplomatic in his relations with his sitters. He talked but little,
because he could not hear, and to hold an ear-trumpet and paint with both
hands is rather difficult. On the moment when the sitting was over, the
patron was bowed out. The good ladies who lay in wait with love's lariat
never found an opportunity to make the throw.

Reynolds' specialty was women and children. No man has ever pictured them
better, and with him all women were kind. Not only were they good, but
good-looking; and when arms lacked contour, or busts departed from the
ideal, Kitty Fisher or Nelly O'Brien came at the call of Marchi and lent
their charms to complete the canvas.

Reynolds gradually raised his prices until he received fifteen guineas
for a head, one hundred for a half-length, and one hundred and fifty for
a full-length. And so rapidly did he work that often a picture was
completed in four hours.

Usually, success is a zigzag journey, but it was not so with Reynolds.
From Seventeen Hundred Fifty-seven to Seventeen Hundred Eighty-eight, his
income was never less than thirty thousand dollars a year, and his
popularity knew no eclipse.

About the time the American Stamp Act was being pushed through
Parliament, Reynolds' studio was the neutral stamping-ground for both
parties.

Copley, the Boston artist, gave Reynolds a bias in favor of truth; and
when Townshend, the man who introduced the Stamp Act in Parliament, sat
to Sir Joshua, the artist and sitter forgot their business and wrangled
over politics. Soon afterward Sir Joshua made a bet with Townshend, a
thousand pounds against five, that George Washington would never enter
Reynolds' studio. This was in response to the boast that Washington would
soon be brought to England a captive, and Townshend would conduct him to
Reynolds to have his picture taken.

The bet made a sensation and Reynolds offered to repeat it to all comers;
and a score or more of sincere men paid over five pounds into the hands
of Sir Joshua, and took his note for one thousand pounds, payable when
Washington landed in England a prisoner.

Old Ursa Major had small patience with Reynolds' political prophecies;
he called America a land of pirates and half-breed cutthroats, and would
have bet Sir Joshua to a standstill--only he had conscientious scruples
about betting, and besides, hadn't any money.

Goldsmith and Burke, of course, sided with Reynolds in his American
sympathies, and Garrick referred to them as "My friends, the three Irish
Gentlemen."

A frequent visitor at the studio at this time was Angelica Kauffman, who
deserves a volume instead of a mere mention. She came up from
Switzerland, unknown, and made her way to the highest artistic circles in
London. She had wit and beauty, and painted so well that Reynolds
admitted she taught him a few tricks in the use of color. She produced
several portraits of Reynolds, and Reynolds painted several of her; and
the daughter of Thackeray wrote a novel which turns on the assumption
that they were lovers.

There certainly was a fine comradeship existing between them; but whether
Reynolds was ever capable of an all-absorbing passion there is much
doubt. He was married to his work.

Reynolds had many intimate friends among women: Peg Woffington, Mrs.
Clive, Mrs. Thrale, Hannah More, Fanny Burney and others. With them all
there went the same high, chivalrous and generous disinterestedness. He
was a friend to each in very fact.

When the Royal Academy was formed in Seventeen Hundred Sixty-eight,
Reynolds was made its president, and this office he held until the close
of his life. He was not one of the chief promoters of the Academy at the
beginning, and the presidency was half forced upon him. He might have
declined the honor then had the King not made him a knight, and showed
that it was his wish that Reynolds should accept. Sir Joshua, however,
had more ballast in his character than any other painter of his time, and
it was plain that without his name at the head the Academy would be a
thing for smiles and quiet jokes.

The thirty-four charter members included the names of two Americans,
Copley and West, and of one woman, Angelica Kauffman.

And it is here worthy of note that although the Methodist Church still
refuses to allow women to sit as delegates in its General Conference,
yet, in Seventeen Hundred Sixty-eight, no dissent was made when Joshua
Reynolds suggested the name of a woman as a member of the Royal Academy.

Sir Joshua did not forget his friends at the time honors were given out,
for he secured the King's permission to add several honorary members to
the Academy--men who couldn't paint, but who still expressed themselves
well in other ways.

Doctor Johnson was made Professor of Ancient Literature; Oliver
Goldsmith, Professor of Ancient History; and Richard Dalton, Librarian.

In this case the office did not seek the man: the man was duly measured,
and the office manufactured to fit him.

When Sir Joshua died, in February, Seventeen Hundred Ninety-two, it was
the close of a success so uninterrupted that it seems unequaled in the
history of art. He left a fortune equal to considerably more than half a
million dollars; he had contributed valuable matter to the cause of
literature; he had been the earnest friend of all workers in the cause of
letters, music and art; and had also been the intimate adviser and
confidant of royalty. He was generous and affectionate, wise and sincere;
a cheerful and tireless worker--one in whom the elements were so well
mixed that all the world might say, This was a man!



LANDSEER

     The man behind his work was seen through it--sensitive, variously
     gifted, manly, genial, tender-hearted, simple and unaffected; a
     lover of animals, children and humanity; and if any one wishes to
     see at a glance nearly all we have written, let him look at
     Landseer's portrait, painted by himself, with a canine
     connoisseur on either side.

    --_Monkhouse_

[Illustration: LANDSEER]


Happy lives make dull biographies. Young women with ambitions should be
very cautious lest mayhap they be caught in the soft, silken mesh of a
happy marriage, and go down to oblivion, dead to the world.

"Miss Pott--the beautiful Miss Pott," they called her. The biographers
didn't take time to give her first name, nor recount her pedigree, so
rapt were they with her personality. They only say, "She was tall,
willowy and lissome; and Sir Joshua Reynolds painted her picture as a
peasant beauty, bearing on her well-poised head a sheaf of corn."

It was at the house of Macklin, the rich publisher, that John Landseer,
the engraver, met Miss Pott. She was artistic in all her instincts; and
as she knew the work of the brilliant engraver and named his best pieces
without hesitation he grew interested. Men grow interested when you know
and appreciate their work; sometimes they grow more interested, at which
time they are also interesting.

And so it came about that they were married, the beautiful Miss Pott and
John Landseer, and it can also be truthfully added that they were happy
ever afterward.

But that was the last of Miss Pott. Her husband was so strong, so
self-centered, so capable, that he protected her from every fierce wind,
and gratified her every wish. She believed in him thoroughly and
conformed her life to his. Her personality was lost in him. The
biographer scarcely refers to her, save when he is obliged to,
indirectly, to record that she became the mother of three fine girls, and
the same number of boys, equally fine, by name, Thomas, Charles and
Edwin.

Thomas and Charles grew to be strong, learned and useful men, so
accomplished in literature and art that their names would shine bright on
history's page, were they not thrown into the shadow by the youngest
brother.

Before Edwin Landseer was twenty years of age he was known throughout the
United Kingdom as "Landseer." John Landseer was known as "the father of
Landseer," and the others were "the brothers of Landseer."

And when once in Piccadilly, the beautiful Miss Pott (that was) was
pointed out as "the mother of Landseer," the words warmed the heart of
the good woman like wine. To be the wife of a great man, and the mother
of a greater was career enough--she was very happy.

Queen Anne Street, near Cavendish Square, is a shabby district, with long
lines of plain brick houses built for revenue only.

But Queen Anne Street is immortal to all lovers of art because it was the
home of Turner; and within its dark, dull and narrow confines were
painted the most dazzlingly beautiful canvases that the world has ever
seen. And yet again the street has another claim on our grateful
remembrance, for at Number Eighty-three was born, on March Seventh,
Eighteen Hundred Two, Edwin Landseer.

The father of Landseer was an enthusiastic lover of art. He had sprung
from a long line of artistic workers in precious metals; and to use a
pencil with skill he regarded as the chief end of man.

Long before his children knew their letters, they were taught to make
pictures. Indeed, all children can make pictures before they can write.
For a play-spell, each day John Landseer and his boys tramped across
Hampstead Heath to where there were donkeys, sheep, goats and cows
grazing; then all four would sit down on the grass before some chosen
subject and sketch the patient model.

Edwin Landseer's first loving recollections of his father went back to
these little excursions across the Heath. And for each boy to take back
to his mother and sisters a picture of something they had seen was a
great joy.

"Well, boys, what shall we draw today?" the father would ask at
breakfast-time.

And then they would all vote on it, and arguments in favor of goat or
donkey were eloquently and skilfully set forth.

I said that a very young child could draw pictures: standing by my chair
as I write this line is a chubby little girl, just four years old, in a
check dress, with two funny little braids down her back. She is begging
me for this pencil that she may "make a pussy-cat for Mamma to put in a
frame."

What boots it that the little girl's "pussy-cat" has five or six legs and
three tails--these are all inferior details.

The evolution of the individual mirrors the evolution of the race, and
long before races began to write or reason they made pictures.

Art education had better begin young, for then it is a sort of play; and
good artistic work, Robert Louis Stevenson once said, is only useful
play.

Probably Edwin Landseer's education began a hundred years before he was
born; but his technical instruction in art began when he was three years
old, when his father would take him out on the Heath and placing him on
the grass, put pencil and paper in his hand and let him make a picture of
a goat nibbling the grass.

Then the boy noted for himself that a goat had a short tail, a cow a
switch-tail, and horses had no horns, and that a ram's horns were unlike
those of a goat.

He had begun to differentiate and compare--and not yet four years old!

When five years of age he could sketch a sleeping dog as it lay on the
floor better than could Thomas, his brother, who was seven years older.

We know the deep personal interest that John Landseer felt in the boy,
for he preserved his work, and today in the South Kensington Museum we
can see a series of sketches made by Edwin Landseer, running from his
fifth year to manhood.

Thus do we trace the unfolding of his genius.

That young Landseer's drawing was a sort of play there is no doubt.
People who set very young children at tasks of grubbing out cold facts
from books come plainly within the province of the Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and should be looked after, but to do
things with one's hands for fun is only a giving direction to the natural
energies.

Before Edwin Landseer was eight years of age his father had taught him
the process of etching, and we see that even then the lad had a vivid
insight into the character of animals. He drew pictures of pointers,
mastiffs, spaniels and bulldogs, and gave to each the right expression.

The Landseers owned several dogs, and what they did not own they
borrowed; and once we know that Charles and Thomas "borrowed" a mastiff
without the owner's consent.

All children go through the scissors age, when they cut out of magazines,
newspapers or books all the pictures they can find, so as to add to the
"collection." Often these youthful collectors have specialties: one will
collect pictures of animals, another of machinery, and still another of
houses. But usually it is animals that attract.

Scissors were forbidden in the Landseer household, and if the boys wanted
pictures they had to make them.

And they made them.

They drew horses, sheep, donkeys, cattle, dogs; and when their father
took them to the Zoological Garden it was only that they might bring back
trophies in the way of lions and tigers.

Then we find that there was once a curiosity exhibited in Fleet Street in
the way of a lion-cub that had been caught in Africa and mothered by a
Newfoundland dog. The old mother-dog thought just as much of the orphan
that was placed among her brood as of her sure-enough children. The owner
had never allowed the two animals to be separated, and when the lion had
grown to be twice the size of his foster-mother there still existed
between the two a fine affection.

The stepmother exercised a stepmother's rights, and occasionally
chastised, for his own good, her overgrown charge, and the big brute
would whimper and whine like a lubberly boy.

This curious pair of animals made a great impression on the Landseers.
The father and three boys sketched them in various attitudes, and
engravings of Edwin's sketch are still to be had.

And so wherever in London animals were to be found, there, too, were the
Landseers with pencils and brushes, and pads and palettes.

In the back yard of the house where the Landseers lived were sundry pens
of pet rabbits; in the attic were pigeons, and dogs of various breeds lay
on the doorstep sleeping in the sun, or barked at you out of the windows.

It is reported that John Landseer once contemplated a change of
residence; he selected the house he wanted, bargained with the landlord,
agreed as to terms and handed out his card preparatory to signing a
lease.

The real-estate agent looked at the name, stuttered, stammered, and
finally said: "You must excuse me, Sir, but they say as how you are a
dealer in dogs, and your boys are dog-catchers! You'll excuse me--but--I
just now 'appened to think the 'ouse is already took!"

       *       *       *       *       *

The Landseers moved from Queen Anne Street to Foley Street, near
Burlington House. This was a neighborhood of artists, and for neighbors
they had West, Mulready, Northcote, Constable, Flaxman and our own
picturesque Allston, of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Elgin Marbles were then kept at Burlington House, and these were a
great source of inspiration to the Landseer boys. It gave them a true
taste of the Grecian, and knowing a little about Greece, they wanted to
know more. Greece became the theme--they talked it at breakfast, dinner
and supper. The father and mother told them all they knew, and guessed at
a few things more, and to keep at least one lesson ahead of the children
the parents "crammed for examination."

Edwin sketched that world-famous horse's head from the Parthenon, and the
figures of horses and animals in bas-relief that formed the frieze; and
the boys figured out in their minds why horses and men were all the same
height.

Gradually it dawned upon the father and the brothers that Edwin was their
master so far as drawing was concerned. They could sketch a Newfoundland
dog that would pass for anybody's Newfoundland, but Edwin's was a certain
identical dog, and none other.

Edwin Landseer really discovered the dog.

He discovered that dogs of one breed may be very different in temper and
disposition; and going further he found that dogs have character and
personality. He struck an untouched lode and worked it out to his own
delight and the delight of great numbers of others.

His pictures were not mystical, profound or problematic--simply dogs, but
dogs with feelings, affections, jealousies, prejudices. In short, he
showed that dogs, after all, are very much like folks; and from this,
people with a turn for psychology reasoned that the source of life in the
dog was the same as the source of life in man.

Plain people who owned a dog beloved by the whole household, as household
dogs always are, became interested in Landseer's dogs. They could not buy
a painting by Landseer, but they could spare a few shillings for an
engraving.

And so John Landseer began to reproduce the pictures of Edwin's dogs.

The demand grew, and Thomas now ceased to sketch and devoted all his time
to etching and engraving his brother's work.

Every one knew of Landseer, even people who cared nothing for art: they
wanted a picture of one of his dogs to hang over the chimney, because the
dog looked like one they used to own.

Then rich people came and wanted Edwin to paint a portrait of their dog,
and a studio was opened where the principal sitters were dogs. From a
position where close economy must be practised, the Landseers found
themselves with more money than they knew what to do with.

Edwin was barely twenty, but had exhibited at several Royal Academy
Exhibitions and his name was on every tongue. He gave no attention to
marketing his wares--his father and brothers did all that--he simply
sketched and had a good time. He was healthy, strong, active, and could
walk thirty miles a day; but now that riches had come that way he bought
a horse and rode.

Then other horses were presented to him, and he began to picture horses,
too. That he knew horses and loved them is evidenced in many a picture.
In every village or crossroads town of America can be found copies of his
"Shoeing," where stands the sleek bay mare, the sober, serious donkey,
and the big dog.

No painter who ever lived is so universally known as Landseer, and this
is because his father and brothers made it their life-business to
reproduce his work by engraving.

Occasionally, rich ladies would want their own portraits painted with a
favorite dog at their feet, or men wanted themselves portrayed on
horseback, and so Landseer found himself with more orders than he could
well care for. People put their names, or the name of their dog, on his
waiting-list, and some of the dogs died of old age before the name was
reached.

"I hear," said a lady to Sydney Smith at a dinner party--"I hear you are
to have your portrait painted by Landseer."

"Is thy servant a dog that he should do this thing?" answered the wit.
The story went the rounds, and Mulready once congratulated the clergyman
on the repartee.

"I never made the reply," said Sydney Smith; "but I wish I had."

Sydney Smith was once visiting the Landseer studio, and his eye chanced
to light on the picture of a very peculiar-looking dog.

"Yes, it's a queer picture of a queer dog. The drawing is bad enough, and
never pleased me!" And Landseer picked up the picture and gave it a toss
out of the window. "You may have it if you care to go get it," he
carelessly remarked to the visitor. Smith made haste to run downstairs
and out of the house to secure his prize. He found it lodged in the
branches of a tree.

In telling the tale years afterward, Smith remarked that, whereas many
men had climbed trees to evade dogs, yet he alone of all men had once
climbed a tree to secure one.

Sir Walter Scott saw Landseer's picture of "The Cat's Paw," and was so
charmed with it that he hunted out the young artist, and soon after
invited him to Abbotsford.

Leslie, the American artist, was at that time at Scott's home painting
the novelist's portrait. This portrait, by the way, became the property
of the Ticknor family of Boston, and was exhibited a few years ago at the
Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Landseer, Leslie and Scott made a choice trio of congenial spirits. They
were all "outdoor men," strong, sturdy, good-natured, and fond of boyish
romp and frolic. Many were the long tramps they took across mountain,
heath and heather. They visited the Highland district together, fished in
Loch Lomond, paddled the entire length of Loch Katrine, and hunted deer
on the preserve of Lord Gwydr.

On one hunting excursion, Landseer was stationed on a runway, gun in
hand, with a gillie in attendance. The dogs started a fine buck, which
ran close to them, but instead of leveling his gun, Landseer shoved the
weapon into the hands of the astonished gillie with the hurried whispered
request, "Here, you, hold this for me!" and seizing his pencil, made a
hasty sketch of the gallant buck ere the vision could fade from memory.

In fact, both Landseer and Leslie proved poor sportsmen--they had no
heart for killing things.

A beautiful live deer was a deal more pleasing to Landseer than a dead
one; and he might truthfully have expressed the thought of his mind by
saying, "A bird in the bush is worth two on a woman's bonnet." And indeed
he did anticipate Thoreau by saying, "To shoot a bird is to lose it."

The idea of following deer with dogs and guns, simply for the sport of
killing them, was repugnant to the soul of this sensitive, tender-hearted
man.

In the faces of his deer he put a look of mingled grandeur and pain--a
half-pathos, as if foreshadowing their fate.

In picturing the dogs and donkeys, he was full of jest and merriment; but
the kings of moor and forest called forth deeper and sadder sentiments.

That wild animals instinctively flee in frenzied alarm at man's approach
is comment enough on our treatment of them.

The deer, so gentle and so graceful, so innocent and so beautiful, are
never followed by man except as a destroyer; and the idea of looking down
a rifle-barrel into the wide-open, soulful eyes of a deer made Landseer
sick at heart.

       *       *       *       *       *

To Landseer must be given the honor of first opening a friendly
communication between the present royal family and the artistic and
literary world.

Wild-eyed poets and rusty-looking, impecunious painters were firmly
warned away from Balmoral. The thought that all poets and painters were
anarchistic and dangerous--certainly disagreeable--was firmly fixed in
the heart of the young Queen and her attendants.

The barrier had first been raised to Landseer. He was requested to visit
the palace and paint a picture of one of the Queen's deerhounds. It was
found that the man was not hirsute, untamed or eccentric. He was a
gentleman in manner and education--quite self-contained and manly.

He was introduced to the Queen; they shook hands and talked about dogs
and horses and things, just like old acquaintances. They loved the same
things, and so were friends at once. It was not long before Landseer's
near neighbors at Saint John's Wood were stricken speechless at the
spectacle of Queen Victoria on horseback waiting at the door of
Landseer's house, while the artist ran in to change his coat. When he
came out he mounted one of the groom's horses for a gallop across the
park with the Queen of England, on whose possessions the sun never sets.

These rides with royalty were, however, largely a matter of professional
study; for he not only painted a picture of the Queen on horseback, but
of Albert as well. And at Windsor there can now be seen many pictures of
dogs and horses painted by Landseer, with nobility incidentally
introduced, or vice versa, if you prefer.

It was in Eighteen Hundred Thirty-five that Landseer began to paint the
pets of the royal family, and the friendly intimacy then begun continued
up to the time of his death in Eighteen Hundred Seventy-three.

In the National Academy are sixty-seven canvases by Landseer; and for the
Queen, personally, he completed over one hundred pictures, for which he
received a sum equal to a quarter of a million dollars.

Landseer's career was one of continuous prosperity. In his life there was
neither tragedy nor disappointment. His horses and dogs filled his
bachelor heart, and when Tray, Blanche and Sweetheart bayed and barked
him a welcome to that home in Saint John's Wood where he lived for just
fifty years, he was supremely content.

His fortune of three hundred thousand pounds was distributed at his
death, as he requested, among various servants, friends and needy
kinsmen.

Landseer had no enemies, and no detractors worth mentioning. That his
great popularity was owing to his deference to the spirit of the age goes
without saying. He never affronted popular prejudices, and was ever alert
to reflect the taste of his patrons. The influence of passing events was
strong upon him: the subtlety of Turner, the spiritual vision of Fra
Angelico, the sublime quality of soul (that scorned present reward and
dedicated its work to time) of Michelangelo were all far from him.

That he at times attempted to be humorous by dressing dogs in coats and
trousers with pipe in mouth is to be regretted. A dog so clothed is not
funny--the artist is.

The point has also been made that in Landseer's work there was no
progression--no evolution. His pictures of mountain scenery done in
Scotland before he was thirty mark high tide. To him never again came the
same sweep of joyous spirit or surge of feeling.

Bank-accounts, safety and satisfaction are not the things that stir the
emotions and sound the soul-depths. Landseer never knew the blessing of a
noble discontent. But he contributed to the quiet joy of a million homes;
and it is not for us to say, "It is beautiful; but is it art?" Neither
need we ask whether the name of Landseer will endure with those of
Raphael and Leonardo. Edwin Landseer did a great work, and the world is
better for his having lived; for his message was one of gentleness,
kindness and beauty.



GUSTAVE DORE

     Lacroix told Dore one day, early in his life in Paris, that he
     should illustrate a new edition of his works in four volumes, and
     he sent them to him. In a week Lacroix said to Dore, who had
     called, "Well, have you begun to read my story?" "Oh! I mastered
     that in no time; the blocks are all ready"; and while Lacroix
     looked on stupefied, the boy dived into his pockets and piled
     many of them on the table, saying, "The others are in a basket at
     the door; there are three hundred in all!"

    --_Blanche Roosevelt_

[Illustration: GUSTAVE DORE]


It was at the Cafe de l'Horloge in Paris. Mr. Whistler sat leaning on his
cane, looking off into space, dreamily and wearily.

He roused enough to answer the question: "Dore--Gustave Dore--an artist?
Why, the name sounds familiar! Oh, yes, an illustrator. Ah, now I
understand; but there is a difference between an artist and an
illustrator, you know, my boy. Dore--yes, I knew him--he had bats in his
belfry!"

And Mr. Whistler dismissed the subject by calling for a match, and then
smoked his cigarette in grim silence, blowing the smoke through his nose.

Not liking a man, it is easy to shelve him with a joke, or to waive his
work with a shrug and toss of the head, but not always will the ghost
down at our bidding.

In the realm of art nothing is more strange than this: genius does not
recognize genius. Still, the word is much abused, and the man who is a
genius to some is never so to others. In defining a genius it is easiest
to work by the rule of elimination and show what he is not.

For instance, neither Reynolds, Landseer nor Meissonier was a genius.
These men were strong, sane, well poised--filled with energy and life.
They were receptive and quick to grasp a suggestion or hint that could be
turned to their advantage--to further the immediate plans they had in
hand. They had ambition and the ability to concentrate on a thing and do
it. Just what they focused their attention upon was largely a matter of
accident. They had in them the capacity for success--they could have
succeeded at anything they undertook, and they were too sensible to
undertake a thing at which they could not succeed. They always saw light
through at the other end.

"I have success tied to the leg of my easel by a blue ribbon," said
Meissonier.

They succeeded by mathematical calculation, and the fame, name and gold
they won was through a conscious laying hold upon the laws that bring
these things to pass.

They chose to paint pictures, and the entire energy of their natures was
concentrated upon this one thing. Practising the art, day after day,
month after month, year after year, they acquired a wonderful facility.
They knew the history of art--its failures, pitfalls and successes. They
knew the human heart--they knew what the people wanted and what they
didn't. They set themselves to supply a demand. And all this keenness,
combined with good taste and tireless energy, would have brought a like
success in any one of a dozen different professions.

And these are the men who give plausibility to that stern half-truth: a
man can succeed in anything he undertakes--it is all a matter of will.

But you can not count Gustave Dore in any such category. He stands alone:
he had no predecessors, and he left no successors. We say that the artist
has his prototype; but every rule has its exception--even this one.

Gustave Dore drew pictures because he could do nothing else. He never had
a lesson in his life, never drew from a model, could not sketch from
Nature; accepted no one's advice; never retouched or considered his work
after it was done; never cudgeled his brains for a subject; could read a
book by turning the leaves; grasped all knowledge; knew all languages;
found an immediate market for his wares and often earned a thousand
dollars before breakfast; lived fifty years and produced over one hundred
thousand sketches--an average of six a day; made two million dollars by
the labor of his own hands; was knighted, flattered, proclaimed, adored,
lauded, scorned, scoffed, hooted, maligned, and died broken-hearted.

Surely you can not dispose of a man like this with a "bon mot"!

Comets may be good or ill, but wise men nevertheless make note of them,
and the fact that they once flashed their blinding light upon us must
live in the history of things that were.

       *       *       *       *       *

An Alsatian by birth, and a Parisian by environment, Dore is spoken of as
of the French School, but if ever an artist belonged to no "school" it
was Gustave Dore.

His early years were spent in Strassburg, within the shadow of the
cathedral. His father was a civil engineer--methodical, calculating,
prosperous. The lad was the second of three sons: strong, bright,
intelligent boys.

In his travels up and down the Rhine the father often took little Gustave
with him, and the lad came to know each wild crag, and crowning fortress,
and bend in the river where strong men with spears and bows and arrows
used to lie in wait. In imagination Gustave repeopled the ruins and
filled the weird forests with curious, haunting shapes. The Rhine reeks
with history that merges off into misty song and fable; and this folklore
of the storied river filled the day-dreams and night-dreams of this
curious boy.

But all children have a vivid imagination, and the chief problem of
modern education is how to conserve and direct it. As yet no scheme or
plan or method has been devised that shows results, and the men of
imagination seem to be those who have succeeded in spite of school. In
Gustave Dore we have the curious spectacle of Nature keeping bright and
fresh in the man all those strange conceptions of the child, and
multiplying them by a man's strength.

The wild imaginings of Gustave only served his father and mother with
food for laughter; and his erratic absurdities in making pictures
supplied the neighbors' fun.

But actions that are funny in a child become disturbing in a man; he's
cute when little, but "sassy" when older.

Gustave, however, did not put away childish things. When he had reached
the age of indiscretion--was fourteen, and had a frog in his throat, and
was conscious of being barefoot--he still imagined things and made
pictures of them. His father was distressed, and sought by bribes to get
him to quit scrawling with pencil and turn his attention to logarithms
and other useful things; but with only partial success.

When fifteen he accompanied his father and older brother to Paris, where
the older boy was to be installed in the Ecole Polytechnique. It was the
hope of the father that, once in Paris, Gustave would consent to remain
with his brother, and thus, by a change of base, a reform in his tastes
would come about and he would leave the Rhine with its foolish old-woman
tales and cease the detestable habit of picturing them.

It was the first time Gustave had ever been to Paris--the first time he
had ever visited a large city. He was fascinated, captivated, enthralled.
Paris was fairyland and paradise. He announced to his father and brother
that he would not return to Alsace, neither would he go to the
Polytechnique. They told him he must do either one or the other; and as
the father was going back home in two days, Gustave could have just
forty-eight hours in which to decide his destiny.

Passing by the office of the "Journal pour Rire," the father and son
gaping in all the windows like true rustics, they saw announced an
illustrated edition of "The Labors of Hercules." Some of the
illustrations were shown in the window with the hope of tempting possible
buyers. Gustave looked upon these illustrations with critical eye, and
his face flushed scarlet--but he said nothing.

He knew the book; aye, every tale in it, with all its possible
variations, had long been to him a bit of true history. To him Hercules
lived yesterday, and, confusing hearsay with memory, he was almost ready
to swear that he was present and used a shovel when the strong man
cleaned the Augean stables.

The next morning, when his father and brother were ready to go to visit
the Polytechnique, Gustave pleaded illness and was allowed to lie abed.
But no sooner was he alone than he seized pencil and paper and began to
make pictures illustrating "The Labors of Hercules."

In two hours he had half a dozen pictures done, and fearing the return of
his father he hurried with his pictures to Monsieur Philipon, director of
the "Journal pour Rire." He shouldered past the attendants, pushed his
way into the office of the great man, and spreading his pictures out on
the desk cried, "Look here, sir! that is the way 'The Labors of
Hercules' should be illustrated!"

It was the action of one absorbed and lost in an idea. Had he taken
thought he would have hesitated, been abashed, self-conscious--and
probably been repulsed by the flunkies--before seeing Monsieur Philipon.
It was all the sublime effrontery and conceit--or naturalness, if you
please--of a country bumpkin who did not know his place.

Philipon glanced at the pictures and then looked at the boy. Then he
looked at the pictures. He called to another man in an adjoining room and
they both looked at the pictures. Then they consulted in an undertone. It
was suggested that the boy draw another illustration right there and
then. They wished to make sure that he himself did the work, and they
wanted to see how long it took.

Gustave sat down and drew another picture.

Philipon refused to let the lad leave the office, and dispatched a
messenger for his father. When the father arrived, a contract was drawn
up and signed, whereby it was provided that the "infant" should remain
with Philipon for three years, on a yearly salary of five thousand
francs, with the proviso that the lad should attend the school, Lycee
Charlemagne, for four hours every day.

Thus, while yet a child, without discipline or the friendly instruction
that wisdom might have lent, he was launched on the tossing tide of
commercial life.

His "Hercules" was immediately published and made a most decided hit--a
palpable hit. Paris wanted more, and Philipon wished to supply the
demand. The new artist's pictures in the "Journal pour Rire" boomed the
circulation, and more illustrations were in demand. Philipon suggested
that the four hours a day at school was unnecessary--Gustave knew more
already than the teachers.

Gustave agreed with him, and his pay was doubled. More work rushed in,
and Gustave illustrated serial after serial with ease and surety, giving
to every picture a wildness and weirdness and awful comicality. The work
was unlike anything ever before seen in Paris: every one was saying,
"What next!" and to add to the interest, Philipon, from time to time,
wrote articles for various publications concerning "the child
illustrator" and "the artistic prodigy of the 'Journal pour Rire.'"

With such an entree into life, how was it possible that he should ever
become a master? His advantages were his disadvantages, and all his
faults sprang naturally as a result of his marvelous genius. He was the
victim of facility.

Everything in this world happens because something else has happened
before. Had the thing that happened first been different, the thing that
followed would not be what it is.

Had Gustave Dore entered the art world of Paris in the conventional way,
the master might have toned down his exuberance, taught him reserve, and
gradually led him along until his tastes were formed and character
developed. And then, when he had found his gait and come to know his
strength, the name of Paul Gustave Dore might have stood out alone as a
bright star in the firmament--the one truly great modern.

Or, on the other hand, would the ossified discipline and set rules of a
school have shamed him into smirking mediocrity and reduced his native
genius to neutral salts?

Who will be presumptuous enough to say what would have occurred had not
this happened and that first taken place?

       *       *       *       *       *

Before Gustave Dore had been in Paris a year his father died. Shortly
after, the Strassburg home was broken up, and Madame Dore followed her
son to Paris. Gustave's tireless pencil was bringing him a better income
than his father had ever made; and the mother and three sons lived in
comfort.

The mother admonished Gustave to apply himself to pure art, and not be
influenced by Philipon and the others who were making fortunes by his
genius. And this advice he intended to follow--not yet, but very soon.
There were "Rabelais" and Balzac's "Contes Drolatiques" to illustrate.
These done, he would then enter the atelier of one of the masters and
take his time in doing the highest work.

But before the books were done, others came, with retainers in advance.
Then a larger work was begun, to illustrate the Crimean War, in five
hundred battle-scenes.

And so he worked--worked like a steam-engine--worked without ceasing. He
illustrated Shakespeare's "Tempest" as only Dore could; then came
Coleridge, Moore, Hood, Milton, Dante, Hugo, Gautier, and great plans
were being laid to illustrate the Bible.

The years were slipping past. His brothers had found snug places in the
army, and he and his mother lived together in affluence. Between them
there was an affection that was very loverlike. They were comrades in
everything--all his hopes, plans and ambitions were rehearsed to her. The
love that he might have bestowed on a wife was reserved for his mother,
and, fortunately, she had a mind strong enough to comprehend him.

In the corner of the large, sunny apartment that was set apart for his
mother's room, he partitioned off a little room for himself, where he
slept on an iron cot. He wished to be near her, so that each night he
could tell her of what he had done during the day, and each morning
rehearse his plans for the coming hours. By telling her, things shaped
themselves, and as he described the pictures he would draw, others came
to him.

The confessional seems a crying need of every human heart--we wish to
tell some one. And without this confessional, where one soul can outpour
to another that fully sympathizes and understands, marriage is a hollow,
whited mockery, full of dead men's bones.

There is a desire of the heart that makes us long to impart our joy to
another. Corot once caught the sunset on his canvas as the great orb
sank, a golden ball, behind the hills of Barbizon. He wished to show the
picture to some one--to tell some one, and looking around saw only a
cottage on the edge of the wood a quarter of a mile away, and thither he
ran, crying to the astonished farmer, "I've got it! I've got it!"

When Dore did a particularly good piece of work, in the first
intoxication of joy he would run home, kiss his mother on both cheeks,
and picking her up in his strong arms run with her about the rooms.

At other times he would play leap-frog over the chairs, vault over the
piano, and jump across the table. And this wild joy that comes after work
well done he knew for many years. In the evening, after a particularly
good day, he would play the violin and sing entire scenes from some
opera, his mother turning the leaves.

As to his skill as a musician, is this testimonial on the back of a fine
photograph I once had the pleasure of handling: "As a souvenir of tender
friendship, presented to Gustave Dore, who joins with his genius as a
painter the talents of a distinguished violinist and charming tenor.--G.
Rossini."

The illustrations for Dante's "Inferno" were done in Dore's twenty-second
year, and for this work he was decorated with the Cross of the Legion of
Honor. He never did better work, and at this time his hand and brain
seemed at their best.

Every great writer and every great artist makes vigorous use of his
childhood impressions. Childhood does not know it is storing up for the
days to come, but its memories sink deep into the soul, and when called
upon to express, the man reaches out and prints from the plates that are
bitten deep; and these are the pictures of his early youth--or else they
tell of a time when he loved a woman.

The first named are the more reliable, for sex and love have been made
forbidden subjects, until self-consciousness, affectation and untruth
creep easily into their accounting. All literature and all art are
secondary sex manifestations, just as surely as the song of birds or the
color and perfume of flowers are sex qualities. And so it happens that
all art and all literature is a confession; and it occurs, too, that
childhood does not stand out sharp and clear on memory's chart until it
is past and adolescence lies between. Then maturity gives back to the man
the childhood that is gone forever.

Many of the world's best specimens of literature are built on the
impressions of childhood. Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, and I'll name you
another--James Whitcomb Riley--have written immortal books with the
autobiography of childhood for both warp and woof.

Gustave Dore's best work is a reproduction of his childhood's thoughts,
feelings and experiences--all well colored with the stuff that dreams are
made of.

The background of every good Dore picture is a deep wood or mountain-pass
or dark ravine. The wild, romantic passes of the Vosges, and the sullen
crags, topped with dark mazes of wilderness, were ever in his mind, just
as he saw them yesterday when he clutched his father's hand and held his
breath to hear the singing of the wood-nymphs 'mong the branches.

His tracery of bark and branch, and drooping bough held down with weight
of dew, are startlingly true. The great roots of giant trees, denuded by
storm and flood, lie exposed to view; and deep vistas are given of
shadowy glade and swift-running mountain torrent. All is somber,
terrible, and tells of forces that tossed these mountain-tops like bowls,
and of a Power immense, immeasurable, incomprehensible, eternal in the
heavens.

Dore's first exhibition in the Salon was made when he was eighteen, and a
few years later, when he was presented with the Cross of the Legion of
Honor, the decoration made his work exempt from jury examination. And so
every year he sent some large painting to the Salon.

His work was the wonder of Paris, and on every hand his illustrations
were in demand, but his canvases were too large in size and too terrible
in subject to fit private residences.

Patrons were cautious.

To own a "Dore" was proof of a high appreciation of art, or else a lack
of it--buyers did not know which.

They were afraid of being laughed at.

His competitors began to hoot and jeer. Not being able to make pictures
that would compete with his, they wrote him down in the magazines.

His name became a jest.

Various of his illustrations for the Bible were enlarged into immense
canvases, some of which were twenty feet long and twelve feet high. All
who looked upon these pictures were amazed by the fecundity in invention
and the skill shown in drawing; but the most telling criticism against
them was their defect in coloring. Dore could draw, but could not color,
and the report was abroad that he was color-blind.

The only buyers for his pictures came from England and America. Paris
loved art for art's sake, and the Bible was not popular enough to make
its illustration worth while. "What is this book you are working on?"
asked a caller.

It was different in London, where Spurgeon preached every Sunday to three
thousand people. The "Dores" taken to London attracted much
attention--"mostly from the size of the canvases," Parisians said. But
the particular subject was the real attraction. Instead of reading their
daily "chapter," hard-working, tired people went to see a Dore Bible
picture where it was exposed in some vacant storeroom and tuppence
entrance-fee charged.

It occurred to certain capitalists that if people would go to see one
Dore, why would not a Dore gallery pay?

A company was formed, agents were sent to Paris and negotiations begun.
Finally, on payment of three hundred thousand dollars, forty large
canvases were secured, with a promise of more to come.

Dore took the money, and, the agents being gone, ran home to tell his
mother. She was at dinner with a little company of invited guests.
Gustave vaulted over the piano, played leap-frog among the chairs, and
turning a handspring across the table, incidentally sent his heels into
a thousand-dollar chandelier that came toppling down, smashing every dish
upon the table, and frightening the guests into hysterics.

"It's nothing," said Madame Dore; "it's nothing--Gustave has merely done
a good day's work!"

The "Dore Gallery" in London proved a great success. Spurgeon advised his
flock to see it, that they might the better comprehend Bible history; the
Reverend Doctor Parker spoke of the painter as "one inspired by God";
Sunday-schools made excursions thither; men in hobnailed shoes knelt
before the pictures, believing they were in the presence of a vision.

And all these things were duly advertised, just as we have been told of
the old soldier who visited the Gettysburg Cyclorama at Chicago and
looking upon the picture, he suddenly cried to his companion, "Down,
Bill, down! by t' Lord, there's a feller sightin' his gun on us!"

Barnum offered the owners twice what they paid for the "Dore Gallery,"
with intent to move the pictures to America, but they were too wise to
accept.

Twenty-eight of the canvases were eventually sold, however, for a sum
greater than was paid for the lot, yet enough remained to make a most
representative display; and no American in London misses seeing the Dore
Gallery, any more than we omit Madame Tussaud's Wax-Works.

In Eighteen Hundred Seventy-three, Dore visited England and was welcomed
as a conquering hero. The Prince of Wales and the nobility generally paid
him every honor. He was presented to the Queen, and Victoria thanked him
for the great work he had done, and asked him to inscribe for her a copy
of the "Dore Bible."

More than this, the Queen directed that several Dore pictures be
purchased and placed in Windsor Castle.

Of course, all Paris knew of Dore's success in England. Paris laughed.
"What did I tell you?" said Berand. And Paris reasoned that what England
and America gushed over must necessarily be very bad. The directors of
the Salon made excuses for not hanging his pictures.

Dore had become rich, but his own Paris--the Paris that had been a
foster-mother to him--refused to accredit him the honor which he felt was
his due.

In Eighteen Hundred Seventy-eight, smarting under the continued gibes and
geers of artistic France, he modeled a statue which he entitled "Glory."
It represents a woman holding fast in affectionate embrace a beautiful
youth, whose name we are informed is Genius. The woman has in one hand a
laurel-wreath; hidden in the leaves of this wreath is a dagger with which
she is about to deal the victim a fatal blow.

Dore grew dispirited, and in vain did his mother and near friends seek to
rally him out of the despondency that was settling down upon him. They
said, "You are only a little over forty, and many a good man has never
been recognized at all until after that--see Millet!"

But he shook his head.

When his mother died, in Eighteen Hundred Eighty-one, it seemed to snap
his last earthly tie. Of course he exaggerated the indifference there was
towards him; he had many friends who loved him as a man and respected him
as an artist.

But after the death of his mother he had nothing to live for, and
thinking thus, he soon followed her. He died in Eighteen Hundred
Eighty-three, aged fifty years.

       *       *       *       *       *

SO HERE ENDETH "LITTLE JOURNEYS TO THE HOMES OF EMINENT PAINTERS," BEING
VOLUME FOUR OF THE SERIES, AS WRITTEN BY ELBERT HUBBARD: EDITED AND
ARRANGED BY FRED BANN; BORDERS AND INITIALS BY ROYCROFT ARTISTS, AND
PRODUCED BY THE ROYCROFTERS, AT THEIR SHOPS, WHICH ARE IN EAST AURORA,
ERIE COUNTY, NEW YORK, MCMXXII



[Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistencies in the original (e.g., Arnola/Arnold; Edgcumbe/Edgecumbe;
geers/jeers) have been retained in this etext.]





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