By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Great Artists, Vol 1. - Raphael, Rubens, Murillo, and Durer
Author: Keysor, Jennie Ellis
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 "Great Artists, Vol 1. - Raphael, Rubens, Murillo, and Durer" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


    _"Art manifests whatever is most exalted, and
    it manifests it to all!"_--TAINE



    _Author of "Sketches of American Authors"_





The following brief sketches are presented in fear and in hope--in
fear lest they prove in no wise adequate for so glorious a subject; in
the hope that they may encourage not only the pupil, but the teacher,
to study the lives and the works of the great artists and to make
every possible effort to have copies of masterpieces ever before them
to study and to love.

The field of art study is a wonderful one from which to draw for
language work. A double purpose is thus served. Interesting subjects
are secured and pupils are given a start in acquiring a knowledge of
the beautiful that fortifies them for the sorrows and cares of life;
and, what is even better, prevents their own life from being

Would the teacher wish to study further, a list of valuable reference
books is appended to each sketch, any one of which will greatly assist
in acquiring a more extended knowledge of the subject.

In the study of an artist, take care to have a liberal supply of
reproductions of his pictures at hand. These may be photographs,
half-tones, like the illustrations in this book, or engravings. Good
work cannot be done without such pictures.

Above all, work to cultivate a love for good pictures, not to fill
young minds with uninspiring facts.      J. E. K.

[Illustration: SISTINE MADONNA.      _Raphael._]



We are about to study Raphael, the most generally praised, the most
beautiful, and certainly the most loved of all the painters of the
world. When all these delightful things can be truthfully said of one
man, surely we may look forward with pleasure to a detailed study of
his life and works.

Often in examining the lives of great men we are compelled to pass
over some events which, to say the least, are not creditable. Of
Raphael this was not true. He was gifted with all admirable qualities,
and so many-sided was his genius that, while we think of him first as
a painter, we must not forget that he also carved statues, wrote
poems, played musical instruments, and planned great buildings.

So much was he endeared to his pupils that, after he grew to be
famous, he never went on the streets unless he was followed by an
admiring throng of these students, ever ready to do his bidding or to
defend his art from any possible attack by malicious critics. He lived
at a time when artists were fiercely jealous of each other, and yet
wherever he went harmony, like a good angel, walked unseen beside him,
making whatever assembly he entered the abode of peace and good-will.
It is a beautiful thing that such a strong, lovable man should have
had for his name that of the chief of the archangels, Raphael, a name
beautiful of sound and ever suggestive of beauty and loveliness.

There seemed to have been special preparation for the birth of this
unique character. Not only were his parents of the ideal sort, loving
the best things of life and thinking ever of how best to rear the
little son that God had given them, but the very country into which he
was born was fitted to still further develop his natural tenderness
and sweetness of disposition.

Webmo, the birthplace of Raphael, is a secluded mountain town on a
cliff on the east slope of the Apennines directly east of Florence. It
is in the division known as Umbria, a section noted for its gently
broken landscape, such as in later years the artist loved to paint as
background for his most beautiful Madonnas. Here the people were shut
off from much of the excitement known to commercial towns. They were
slower to take up new things than the people in the coast cities where
men live by the exchange of goods and, incidentally, of customs. The
inhabitants led simple, religious lives. We must remember, too, that
hardly fifty miles away was the village of Assisi, where Saint
Francis, the purest of men, had lived and labored and where, after his
death, a double church had been built to his memory.

To this day there is a spirit of reverence that inspires the visitor
to this region. No wonder that, in Raphael's time when this spirit was
fresh and strong, it gave a character of piety and sweetness to the
works of all the painters of Umbria. From these two causes, the
secluded position of the region and the influence of Saint Francis,
arose what is called the Umbrian school of painting. All painters
belonging to this school made pictures very beautiful and full of fine
religious feeling.

One April morning in 1483, to the home of Giovanni Santi, the painter,
and his wife Magia, a dear little boy came, as millions of boys and
girls have since come, to cheer and to bless. The father and mother
were very proud of their little son, and feeling perhaps that a more
than ordinary child had been given them, they gave him the name of
Raphael, as one of good omen.

If we were to visit, in Urbino, the house where Raphael was born, we
would be shown a faded fresco of a Madonna and Child painted by
Giovanni and said to be Magia and the child Raphael.

From the earliest years the child was carefully tended. When he was
only eight, the fond mother died and left the father to care for his
boy alone. In due time a step-mother was brought home. She was a kind
woman and loved and cared for the beautiful lad as if he were really
her own child. Later when the father died, leaving the boy Raphael and
his little half-sister, no one could have been more solicitous for the
boy's rights than his step-mother. She and his uncle together managed
his affairs most wisely.

We have no record that, like Titian, the boy Raphael used the juice of
flowers with which to paint pictures of his childish fancies, but we
do know that very early he became greatly interested in his father's
studio and went in regularly to assist. Now, it must be remembered
that, at this time, when a boy, wishing to learn to paint, went to the
studio of a master he did not at once begin to use colors, brushes,
and canvas. Instead, he usually served a long apprenticeship, sweeping
out the studio, cleaning the brushes, grinding colors, and performing
other common duties. Raphael's assistance to his father must have been
largely of this humble sort. We can imagine, however, that his fond
father did not make his hours long, and that there were pleasant
ramblings in the woods nearby, and that many a bunch of flowers was
gathered for the mother at home. There were happy hours, too, when the
father and his son read together great books of poetry in which tales
of love and knightly encounters were interesting parts. And then, I am
sure, there were other happy hours when, tuning their instruments
together, they filled the time with music's sweetest discourse.

  [Illustration: RAPHAEL.]

This was indeed a happy childhood, a fit beginning for an ideal life.
Meanwhile the boy grew strong, and his beauty, too, increased. The
dark hair lay lightly upon his shoulders, and a certain dreaminess in
his eyes deepened,--he was about to feel a great sorrow, for the
father, so devoted, so exemplary, died when his boy was but eleven
years old. We cannot help wishing that he might have lived to see at
least one great picture painted by his son. We can easily imagine his
smile of joy "at the first stroke that surpassed what he could do."

Just what to do with the boy on the death of his father was an
important matter for the step-mother and uncle to decide. They showed
wisdom by their decision. Now, the greatest of all the Umbrian
painters, before Raphael, was a queer little miserly man named
Perugino, who at that time had a studio in Perugia, an Umbrian town
not far distant from Urbino. Although he was of mean appearance and
ignoble character, he had an unmistakable power in painting mild-eyed
Madonnas and spotless saints against delicate landscape back-grounds.
People disliked the man, but they could not help seeing the beauty of
his art, and so his studio was crowded. Hither was sent the boy
Raphael and when Perugino noted the lad and some of his work, he said,
"Let him be my pupil: he will soon become my master." As nearly as we
can learn, he remained in this studio nine years, from 1495 to 1504.

Perugino's style of painting greatly pleased Raphael. He was naturally
teachable and this, with his admiration for Perugino's pictures, made
his first work in the studio very much like his master's. Indeed it is
almost impossible to tell some of his earliest pictures from those of
his teacher. Let me tell you about one. It is called "_The Marriage of
the Virgin_"; and you would have to go to the Brera gallery in Milan
to see it.

The legend runs thus: The beautiful Mary had many lovers all wishing
to marry her. Now here was a difficulty indeed, and so the suitors
were required to put by their rough staves for a night. The promise
was that in the morning one would be in blossom, and its owner should
have Mary for his wife. We can imagine that these lovers were anxious
for day to dawn, and that all but one was sad indeed at the result. In
the morning there were the rods, all save one, brown and rough and
bare, but that one lay there alive with delicate buds and flowers,
and all the air was full of fragrance. This was Joseph's, and he went
away glad and brought his young bride. This first great picture of
Raphael's represented this marriage taking place at the foot of the
Temple steps. The disappointed lovers are present and, I am sorry to
say, one of them is showing his anger by breaking his barren rod even
while the marriage is taking place.

The first and the last work of a great man are always interesting,
and that is why I have told you so much about this picture. You
will be still more interested in Raphael's last picture, "_The

While in the studio he made many friends. With one he went to Siena to
assist him in some fresco painting he had to do there. Of course you
know that fresco is painting on wet plaster so that the colors dry in
with the mortar.

The conversation of the studio was often of art and artists, and so
the beautiful city of Florence must often have been an engaging
subject. Think of what Florence was at this time, and how an artist
must have thrilled at its very name! Beautiful as a flower, with her
marble palaces, her fine churches, her lily-like bell-tower! What a
charm was added when within her walls Leonardo da Vinci was painting,
Michael Angelo carving, Savonarola preaching. In the early years of
Raphael's apprenticeship, the voice of the preacher had been silenced,
but still, "with the ineffable left hand," Da Vinci painted, and still
the marble chips dropped from Angelo's chisel as a _David_ grew to
majesty beneath his touch.

To Raphael, with his love of the beautiful, with his zeal to learn,
Florence was the city of all others that he longed to see. At last his
dream was to be realized. A noble woman of Urbino gave him a letter to
the Governor of Florence, expressing the wish that the young artist
might be allowed to see all the art treasures of the city. The first
day of the year 1505 greeted Raphael in Florence, the art center of
Italy. We can only guess at his joy in seeing the works here and in
greeting his fellow artists.

Angelo and Da Vinci had just finished their cartoons for the town
hall, "_The Bathing Soldiers_," and "_The Battle of the Standard_,"
and they were on exhibition. All Florence was studying them, and of
this throng we may be sure Raphael was an enthusiastic member. While
here he painted several pictures. Among them was the "_Granduca
Madonna_," the simplest of all his Madonnas--just a lovely young
mother holding her babe. It is still in Florence, and to this day
people look at it and say the Grand Duke, who would go nowhere
without this gem of pictures, knew what was beautiful.

  [Illustration: RAPHAEL IN HIS STUDIO.]

Raphael did not stay long in Florence at this time, but soon returned
to Perugia. His next visit to Florence was of greater length. During
these years, 1506 to 1508, he painted many of his best known pictures.
In studying the works of Raphael you must never tire of the beautiful
Madonna, for it is said that he painted a hundred of these, so much
did he love the subject and so successful was he in representing the
child Jesus and the lovely mother. Some of his finest Madonnas belong
to this time. Let us look at a few of them.

One, called "_The Madonna of the Goldfinch_," shows Mary seated with
the Child Jesus at her knee and the young John presenting him with a
finch, which he caresses gently. The Madonna has the drooping eyes,
the exquisitely rounded face that always charm us, and the boys are
real live children ready for a frolic. Another, called "_The Madonna
of the Meadow_," represents the Virgin in the foreground of a gently
broken landscape with the two children playing beside her. We must not
forget, either, as belonging to this time, the very beautiful "_La
Belle Jardiniere_," or the "_Madonna of the Garden_" which now hangs
in the Louvre, the art gallery of Paris.

Like all his great Madonnas, the Virgin and Children are of surpassing
loveliness. It is finished in such a soft, melting style that to see
it in its exquisite coloring, one could easily imagine it vanishing
imperceptibly into the blaze of some splendid sunset. While we are
talking of Raphael's color it may be interesting to call your
attention to a very remarkable fact about his paintings. He lays the
color on the canvas so thin that sometimes one can trace through it
the lines of the drawing, and yet his color is so pure and beautiful
that he is considered one of the greatest colorists of the world. The
next time you see an oil painting, notice how thick or how thin the
paint is laid on, and then think of what I have told you of Raphael's
method of using color.

  [Illustration: LA BELLE JARDINIERE.      _Raphael._]

Now while Raphael was painting these drooping-eyed, mild-faced
Madonnas and learning great lessons from the masters of Florence, a
wonderful honor came to him. He was called to Rome by the Pope and
given some of the apartments of the Vatican to decorate in any way he

The Pope at this time was Julius II. and he was a very interesting
man. He was a warrior and had spent many years fighting to gain lands
and cities for the Church. When peace returned he was still anxious to
do honor to the Church and so, wherever he heard of a great architect,
painter, or sculptor, he at once invited him to Rome to do beautiful
work for the Church. Already he had set Michael Angelo to work on a
grand tomb for him. Bramante, a relative of Raphael's, was working
hard to make St. Peter's the most wonderful Church in all the world.
Now the young Raphael was to beautify still further the buildings
belonging to the church.

Julius did not pretend to be an artist or a scholar, and yet by his
patronage he greatly encouraged art and literature. The story is told
that when Angelo was making a statue of the Pope for the town of
Bologna, the artist asked Julius if he should place a book in the
statue's extended left hand, and the Pope retorted, almost in anger,
"What book? Rather a sword--I am no reader!"

In earlier years Florence had been a glorious sight to our artist and
now in 1508, standing in the "Eternal City," he was more awed than
when first he beheld the city of the Arno. Here the court of Julius,
gorgeous and powerful, together with the works of art, like St.
Peter's, in process of construction, were but a part of the wonders to
be seen. In addition, the remains of ancient Rome were scattered all
about--here a row of columns, the only remains of a grand temple,
there a broken statue of some god or goddess, long lost to sight, and
all the earth about so filled with these treasures that one had only
to dig to find some hidden work of art. The Roman people, too, were
awake to the fact that they were not only living out a marvelous
present, but that they were likewise, in their every day life, walking
ever in the presence of a still more wonderful past. I wish, while you
are thinking about this, that you would get a picture of the Roman
Forum and notice its groups of columns, its triumphal arches, its
ruined walls. You will then certainly appreciate more fully what
Raphael felt as he went about this city of historic ruins.

  [Illustration: MADONNA OF THE FISH.      _Raphael._]

The Pope received the young artist cordially and at once gave him the
vast commission of painting in fresco three large rooms, or _stanze_,
of the Vatican. In addition, he was to decorate the gallery, or
corridor, called the _loggia_, leading to these apartments from the
stairway. With the painting of these walls Raphael and his pupils were
more or less busy during the remainder of the artist's short life. A
great many religious and historic subjects were used, besides some
invented by Raphael himself, as when he represented _Poetry_ by Mount
Parnassus inhabited by all the great poets past and present. In these
rooms some of his best work is done. Every year thousands of people go
to see these pictures and come away more than ever enraptured with
Raphael and his work.

In the loggia are the paintings known collectively as Raphael's Bible.
Of the fifty-two pictures in the thirteen arcades of this corridor all
but four represent Old Testament scenes. The others are taken from the
New Testament. Although Raphael's pupils assisted largely in these
frescoes they are very beautiful and will always rank high among the
art works of the time.

Raphael's works seem almost perfect even from the beginning, yet he
was always studying to get the great points in the work of others and
to perfect his own. Perhaps this is the best lesson we may learn from
his intellectual life--the lesson of unending study and assimilation.
He was greatly interested in the ruins of Rome and we know that he
studied them deeply and carefully. This is very evident in the
Madonnas of his Roman period. They have a strength and a power to
make one think great thoughts that is not so marked in the pictures of
his Florentine period.

  [Illustration: THE ARCHANGEL. Detail from _Madonna of the Fish_.

The "_Madonna of the Fish_" is one of the most beautiful of this time.
It was painted originally for a chapel in Naples where the blind
prayed for sight, and where, legend relates, they were often
miraculously answered. The divine Mother, a little older than
Raphael's virgins of earlier years, is seated on a throne with the
ever beautiful child in her arms. The babe gives his attention to the
surpassingly lovely angel, Raphael, who brings the young Tobias with
his fish into the presence of the Virgin, of whom he would beg the
healing of his father who is blind. On the other side he points to a
passage in the book held by the venerable St. Jerome. This is
doubtless the book of Tobit wherein the story of Tobias is related,
and which Tobias translated. Whatever the real purpose of the artist
was in introducing St. Jerome, a very beautiful result was attained in
contrasting youth and age. Like a human being of note, this picture
has had an eventful history. It was stolen from Naples and carried to
Madrid and then, in the French wars, it was taken to Paris. It has
since been restored to the Prado of Madrid, and there to-day we may
feast our eyes on its almost unearthly loveliness. In it the divine
painter showed that he knew the heart of a mother and the love of a
son; that he appreciated the majesty of age and the heavenly beauty of
the angels.

Hardly less beautiful is the "_Madonna Foligno_," so named from the
distant view of the town of Foligno seen under a rainbow in the
central part of the picture. In the upper portion, surrounded by angel
heads, is the Madonna holding out her child to us. Below is the scene
already referred to, the portrait of the donor of the picture, some
saints, and a beautiful boy angel. The latter is holding a tablet
which is to be inscribed, for this is one of that large class of
pictures in Italian Art called _votive_--that is, given to the church
by an individual in return for some great deliverance. In this case
the donor had escaped, as by a miracle, from a stroke of lightning.

In this short sketch there is time to mention only a few of Raphael's
great pictures, but I trust you will be so interested that you will
look up about others that are passed over here. There are many very
interesting books about Raphael in which you can find descriptions of
all of his pictures.

Among other paintings, Raphael made many fine portraits. An excellent
likeness of Julius was so well done that, skillfully placed and
lighted, it deceived some of the Pope's friends into thinking it the
living Julius.

The painting of portraits was not the only departure of our artist
from his favorite Madonna or historic subjects. We find him also
interested in mythology. Out of this interest grew his "_Galatea_,"
which he painted for a wealthy nobleman of his acquaintance. In this
picture Galatea sails over the sea in her shell-boat drawn by
dolphins. She gazes into heaven and seems unconscious of the nymphs
sporting about her.

  [Illustration: GALATEA.      _Raphael._]

Speaking of Raphael's use of mythological subjects, though not quite
in the order of time, we may here mention his frescos illustrating the
story of Cupid and Psyche, painted on the walls and ceiling of the
same nobleman's palace, the Chigi palace. The drawings for these
pictures were made by Raphael, but most of the painting was done by
his pupils. As we study these pictures of the joys and sorrows of this
beautiful pair, we are interested, but we regret that our
angel-painter was willing, even for a short time, to leave his own
proper subjects, the religious. We feel like saying, "Let men who know
not the depth of religious feeling, as did Raphael, paint for us the
myth and the secular story, but let us save from any earthly touch our
painter of sacred things."

In 1513 the great Julius died, and Leo X., a member of the famous
Medici family of Florence, succeeded to his place. Raphael was in the
midst of his paintings in the Vatican, and for a time it was uncertain
what the new Pope would think of continuing these expensive
decorations. Though lacking the energy of Julius, Leo continued the
warrior-pope's policy regarding art works. So Raphael went on
unmolested in his work, with now and then a great commission added.

During the life of Leo the power of the Church sunk to a low level,
and yet the angel-painter of the Vatican pursued in peace the
composition and painting of his lovely works.

The "_St. Cecilia_" was a very important work painted about the time
of Julius' death. It was painted for a wealthy woman of Bologna to
adorn a chapel which she had built to St. Cecilia, the patroness of
music. She had built this chapel because she thought she heard angels
telling her to do it; in other words she had obeyed a vision.

In the picture the saint stands in the centre of a group made up of
St. John, St. Paul, St. Augustine, and Mary Magdalene. She holds
carelessly in her hands an organ from which the reeds are slipping.
What charms can even her favorite instrument have for her when streams
of heaven's own music are reaching her from the angel choir above?
Every line of face and figure shows her rapt attention to the
celestial singers. The instruments of earthly music lie scattered
carelessly about.

While our attention is held most of all by the figure of St. Cecilia,
the other persons represented interest us too, especially St. Paul,
leaning on his naked sword. (See illustration.) His massive head and
furrowed brow show man at his noblest occupation--_thinking_. In
delightful contrast is the ever beautiful St. John, the embodiment of
youth and love.

  [Illustration: ST. CECILIA.      _Raphael._]

When the picture was completed Raphael sent it to his old friend
Francia, the artist of Bologna. It is related that Francia, on
seeing the wonderful perfection of the picture, died of despair,
feeling how poorly he could paint as compared with Raphael. Whether
this story be true or not, it is certain that the people of Bologna
were much excited over the arrival of the picture and gloried in
possessing the vision of St. Cecilia. The picture is still to be seen
in Bologna, where it retains its brilliant coloring, slightly mellowed
by the passing years.

The Sistine Chapel was the most beautiful apartment in the Vatican.
Its walls were covered with choicest frescos. Its ceiling, done by the
wonder-working hand of Michael Angelo, was a marvel. To add still more
to the beauty of this Chapel, Leo ordered Raphael to draw cartoons for
ten tapestries to be hung below the lowest tier of paintings. Now you
know that cartoons are the large paper drawings made previous to
frescos and tapestries to serve as patterns.

Raphael selected ten subjects from the Acts of the Apostles. His
designs were accepted and sent to Arras in Flanders where the most
beautiful tapestries were manufactured. The cartoons were cut into
strips that they might be more conveniently used. In 1518 the
tapestries, woven of silk, wool, and gold, were finished and brought
to Rome, where they were greatly admired.

  [Illustration: MIRACULOUS DRAUGHT OF FISHES.      _Raphael._]

In 1527, Rome was sacked by savage soldiers and many of her choicest
things carried away. Among them were these tapestries. They were
sold and then restolen by Jews, who thought to separate the gold by
burning them. They tried this with one and found that the quantity of
gold was so small that it was not worth the trouble, and so the others
were spared and sold to a merchant of Genoa. They were finally
recovered in a faded condition and are now in the Vatican.

Meanwhile the cartoons were forgotten and three of them lost. The
Flemish artist, Rubens, came across those remaining, however, and
recommended Charles I. of England to purchase them for his palace at
Whitehall. Later Cromwell bought them for the nation, and today we may
see them pasted together and carefully mounted in South Kensington
Museum, London. "_The Miraculous Draught of Fishes_," (see opposite
page,) is one of the best known of the series. All are bold and strong
in drawing, and several are very beautiful, as "_Paul and John at the
Beautiful Gate_." One critic, in speaking of the cartoons, says they
mark the climax of Raphael's art.

We must not forget that all these years, while Raphael was making
these wonderful cartoons and pictures, the work on the rooms of the
Vatican was going steadily forward. He certainly was a busy man!

Probably the best known of Raphael's Madonnas is "_The Madonna della
Sedia_," so called because the mother sits in a chair. A delightful
story is told of the painting of this picture. It runs something like
this: Many years ago there lived in a quiet valley in Italy a hermit
who was greatly loved by all the people round about, for he taught
them and he helped them in sickness and in trouble. His hut was near a
giant oak tree that sheltered him from the sun of summer and the
biting winds of winter. In the constant waving of its branches, too,
it seemed to converse with him, and so he said he had two intimate
friends, one that could talk, and one that was mute. By the one that
could talk he meant the vine-dresser's daughter who lived near by and
who was very kind to him. By the mute one he meant this sheltering

Now, one winter a great storm arose, and when the hermit saw that his
hut was unsafe, his mute friend seemed to beckon him to come up among
the branches. Gathering a few crusts, he went up into the tree where,
with hundreds of bird companions, his life was saved, though his hut
was destroyed. Just as he thought he should die of hunger, Mary, the
vine-dresser's daughter, came to see her old friend and took him to
her home. Then the pious hermit, Benardo, prayed that his two friends
might be glorified together in some way.

  [Illustration: MADONNA DELLA SEDIA.      _Raphael._]

Time wore on. The hermit died, the oak tree was cut down and converted
into wine casks, and the lovely Mary married and was the mother of
two boys. One day as she sat with her children, a young man passed by.
His eyes were restless, and one might have known him for a poet or a
painter in whose mind a celestial vision was floating. Suddenly he saw
the young mother and her two children. The painter, for it was
Raphael, now beheld his vision made flesh and blood. But he had only a
pencil. On what could he draw the beautiful group? He seized the clean
cover of a wine cask near by and drew upon it the lines to guide him
in his painting. He went home and filled out his sketch in loveliest
color, and ever since the world has been his debtor for giving it his
heavenly vision. So the hermit's prayer was answered. His two friends
were glorified together.

Other honors, besides those coming from his paintings, were showered
upon Raphael at this time. He was now rich, and the Cardinal Bibbiena
offered him his niece Maria in marriage. It was considered a great
thing in those times to be allied by marriage to a church dignitary,
but Raphael had higher honors, and so, while he accepted the offer
rather than offend the cardinal, he put off the wedding until Maria
died. His heart was not in this contract because for years he had
loved a humble but beautiful girl, Margherita, who was probably the
model of some of his sweetest Madonnas.

Speaking of the honors thrust upon Raphael, we must not forget that
the Pope made him architect-in-chief of St. Peter's on the death of
Bramante. He was also appointed to make drawings of the ancient city
of Rome, in order that the digging for buried remains might be carried
on more intelligently.

In every Madonna we have described, we have had to use freely the
words _lovely_, _great_, _beautiful_, but one there remains which,
more than any other, merits all these titles and others in addition.
It is the "_Sistine Madonna_" in the Dresden Gallery. It was the last
picture painted wholly by Raphael's hand. It was painted originally as
a banner for the monks of St. Sixtus at Piacenza, but it was used as
an altar-piece. In 1754, the Elector of Saxony bought it for $40,000
and it was brought to Dresden with great pomp. People who know about
pictures generally agree that this is the greatest picture in the

  [Illustration: ST. PAUL. Detail from _St. Cecilia_.      _Raphael._]

Let us see some of the things which it contains--no one can ever tell
you all, for as the years increase and your lives are enlarged by joy
and by sorrow, you will ever see more and more in this divine picture
and feel more than you see. Two green curtains are drawn aside and
there, floating on the clouds, is the Virgin full length, presenting
the Holy Child to the world. It is far more than a mother and child,
for one sees in the Madonna a look suggesting that she sees vaguely
the darkness of Calvary and the glory of the resurrection. This is no
ordinary child, either, that she holds, for He sees beyond this world
into eternity and that His is no common destiny;--at least, one feels
these things as we gaze at the lovely apparition on its background of
clouds and innumerable angel heads. St. Sixtus on one side would know
more of this mystery, while St. Barbara on the other is dazzled by the
vision and turns aside her lovely face. Below are the two cherubs, the
final touch of love, as it were, to this marvellous picture.

It is said that the picture was completed at first without these
cherubs and that they were afterwards added when Raphael found two
little boys resting their arms on a balustrade, gazing intently up at
his picture.

This painting has a room to itself in the Dresden Gallery, where the
most frivolous forget to chat and the thoughtful sit for hours in
quiet meditation under its magic spell. One man says, "I could spend
an hour every day for years looking at this picture and on the last
day of the last year discover some new beauty and a new joy."

There was now great division of opinion in Rome as to whether Angelo
or Raphael were the greater painter. Cardinal de Medici ordered two
pictures for the Cathedral of Narbonne, in France, one by Raphael and
one by Sebastian Piombo, a favorite pupil of Angelo's. People knew
that Angelo would never openly compete with Raphael, but they also
felt sure that he would assist his pupil. The subject chosen by
Raphael was "_The Transfiguration_." But suddenly, even before this
latest commission was completed, that magic hand had been stopped by
death. The picture, though finished by Raphael's pupils, is a great
work. The ascending Lord is the point of greatest interest in the
upper, or celestial part, while the father with his demoniac child,
holds our attention in the lower, or terrestrial portion. At his
funeral this unfinished picture hung above the dead painter, and his
sorrowing friends must have felt, as Longfellow wrote of Hawthorne
when he lay dead with an unfinished story on his bier,--

    "Ah, who shall lift that wand of magic power,
     And the lost clew regain?
     The unfinished window in Aladdin's tower
     Unfinished must remain."

  [Illustration: TRANSFIGURATION.      _Raphael._]

Raphael died suddenly on his birthday in 1520, from a fever contracted
while searching for remains among the ruins of Rome. He realized from
the first that his sickness was fatal, and he immediately set about
disposing of his property. His works of art he gave to his pupils, his
palace to Cardinal Bibbiena, and his other property was distributed
among his relatives, and to his sweetheart, Margherita. He was
buried with honors in the Pantheon at Rome, beside Maria Bibbiena.

For many years there was exhibited at St. Luke's Academy, in Rome, a
so-called skull of Raphael. In 1833 some scholars declared that they
did not believe this to be the skull of the artist. They urged the
authorities to open the grave to prove their position. After five days
of careful digging the coffin was reached and there lay the artist's
skeleton complete. For many days it was exposed to view in a glass
case. A cast was taken of the right hand and of the skull, and then,
with splendid ceremonies, they buried the artist a second time.

Mention has often been made of Raphael's personal beauty. Only
thirty-seven when he died, his seraphic beauty was never marred
by age.

In his palace he lived the life of a prince, and when he walked
abroad, he had a retinue of devoted followers. He had for friends
princes and prelates, artists and poets, while the common people loved
him for the fine spirit they knew him to be.

Judged by the moral standard of his time, he was absolutely spotless.
Seldom, in any man, have all good qualities joined with a versatile
genius to the extent that they did in Raphael. No wonder that his
friends caused to be inscribed on his tomb these words--"_This is that
Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and to
die when he died._"


    Life of Raphael by Bell.

    Life of Raphael by Sweetster.

    Life of Raphael by Vasari.

    Schools and Masters of Painting by Radcliffe.

    History of Art by Luebke.

    History of Art by Mrs. Heaton.

    Great Artists by Mrs. Shedd.

    The Fine Arts by Symonds.

    Early Italian Painters by Mrs. Jameson.


     1. The Boy Raphael at Home.

     2. My Favorite Madonna.

     3. Stories of St. Francis of Assisi.

     4. What I know of Fresco Painting.

     5. Looking for Buried Treasures in Rome.

     6. A Day in the Roman Forum.

     7. A Day with the Boy Raphael.

     8. The Legend of the _Madonna della Sedia_.

     9. Raphael and His Friends.

    10. Raphael the Student.

[Illustration: COURT IN THE ALCAZAR.]


    "Velazquez is in art an eagle; Murillo is an angel. One admires
    Velazquez and adores Murillo. By his canvasses we know him as if
    he had lived among us. He was handsome, good and virtuous. Envy
    knew not where to attack him; around his crown of glory he bore
    a halo of love. He was born to paint the sky."
    --DE AMICIS.

    "Murillo could paint the sacred fervor of the devotee, or the
    ecstasy of the religious enthusiast, as well as the raggedness
    of the mendicant, or the abject suffering of Job."

[Illustration: MURILLO.]


Spain was not blessed as Italy was with one generation after another
of artists so great that all the world knows them even at this distant
day. Spain has only two unquestionably great painters that stand out
as world-artists. They are Velazquez and Murillo. The former painted
with unrivalled skill the world of noblemen among whom he lived. The
other, not surrounded by courtiers, looked into his own pure,
religious soul, and into the sky above, and gave us visions of
heaven--its saints and its angels.

It is impossible to study either of these men apart from the other, or
apart from the art records of Spain. To understand either, we must
know the land, teeming with rich and unique cities, we must have
glimpses of its history, and we must know something of the rules laid
down by the church to guide the painter in his work.

The climate of Spain, except in the south, is rigorous. Elevated
plains, rounded by snow-capped mountains, and swept during a large
part of the year by chilling winds, are not adapted to inspire men to
produce great works of art. On such a plain Madrid is situated, and
chilly indeed are its nature pictures, even though they are
over-arched by the bluest of skies and the most transparent of
atmospheres! In Andalusia, however, things were different. Here were
the olive, the orange, and the cypress, and here a sunny climate
encouraged the houseless beggar no less than the aspiring artist.

  [Illustration: Velasquez de Silva.]

In speaking of Spain as a home of painting, we must not forget,
either, how very devoted the people were to their religion, for this,
perhaps more than anything else, gave a peculiar character to the art
of Spain. The doctrines of Luther, found no willing listeners in
Spain. Indeed, the Spaniards clung all the closer to the Church when
they knew that there were those who wished to change it, and so their
paintings are full of sad-faced, suffering saints, and rejoicing, holy
men and women who gave their lives to religion. In connection with
this extreme religious zeal, the Church found it necessary to impose
rules on the artists who would paint these holy personages. The
Virgin, whom all profoundly reverenced, should, according to
tradition, have fair hair and blue eyes. Her robes must be of pure
white and azure blue, and under no circumstances should her feet be
exposed. She should stand on the crescent moon with its horns pointing
downward. Many other similar rules were at that time thought
necessary, and they greatly limited the artists in their work, for
however good a churchman a man may be, it is impossible for him to
properly prescribe colors and forms for the artist, who, if he is any
thing at all, is the _see-er_ of his age. We want such things as the
artist sees them. We shall see how nearly Murillo got into trouble by
breaking some of these prescribed rules.

If we study the kings of Spain, Charles V. and the Philips, we shall
see two things that greatly influenced the art of Spain. First, they
were fond of art and spent great sums of money in buying fine
paintings by Italian and Flemish masters. Both Titian and Rubens were
favorites in Spain, and many of their pictures were painted expressly
for Spanish monarchs. Then, these rulers were vain and had a great
liking for having their portraits painted. This vanity extended to the
Courtiers and even to the dwarfs, several of whom were usually
connected with the court as a source of amusement. There are portraits
of some of these diminutive creatures so skillfully painted that we
cannot help wishing that more worthy subjects had been used. Thus the
vanity of monarchs and their courtiers gave a direction to Spanish
art which can be accounted for in no other way--their greatest artists
are always great portrait painters. So we see that, while genius in
artists is indispensable, yet is this same genius largely influenced
by climate, by religious enthusiasm, and even by the whims of kings
and queens.

  [Illustration: ÆSOP.      _Velazquez._]

Although Murillo stands out a superlatively great and beautiful
artist, yet we must not forget that Velazquez, only eighteen years his
senior, and like himself a native of Seville, lived during the greater
part of Murillo's lifetime and divided honors with him. As has already
been indicated, Velazquez's art was of a very different sort from
Murillo's. He was born into a home of plenty, and very soon went to
Madrid as court painter. We know how he gained renown for all time by
the accuracy of the portraits he painted of various members of the
court of Philip IV.--the king, the minister, Count Olivarez, the
princes, the dwarfs, and the buffoons. We remember, too, how he
thought that very ordinary personage, "_The Water-Carrier of
Seville_," with his wrinkles, his joy, and his beggarly customers, a
subject worth painting. Then we recall a goodly list of other
commonplace subjects which he treated so truthfully that they will
always stand among the great pictures of the world,--"_The Spinners_,"
where women labor in a dingy room, "_The Topers_," "_The Lances_,"
representing the great surrender of Breda, and the "_The Maids of
Honor_." Nor can we forget his ideal portrait of "_Æsop_," with his
book under his arm. How well we know that book of fables! The rugged,
good-natured face, homely as can be, holds us, as by a spell, and if
we have not already done so, we read his book because we _must_, after
looking into that dear old face.

One of the loveliest things we remember of Velazquez was his kindness
to Murillo when he came to Madrid, a poor art student. Although
Velazquez was rich and his pictures in demand, he took a keen interest
in the young Murillo, who should one day stand beside him--they two
the greatest artists of Spain. By the duties of his office, he was
obliged to take an active part in the festivities attending the
marriage of Louis XIV. and the Infanta, Maria Theresa, in 1660. The
fatigue and exposure caused his death. We are reasonable in presuming
that thus was Spain robbed of ten years of a strong artist's life and
work. Incomparable loss when we think of what his countrymen gained in
watching a passing pageant.


Spain is a land of unique cities. Perhaps this is because in so many
of them the works of Christianity were grafted on to works originally
built or begun by the Moors. As we study the wonderful buildings of
Spain, we cannot forget, however much we may abhor the religion of
the Arabs, that they were marvellous builders and profound scholars.
When the Spaniards sent them from their country, after they had lived
there for seven hundred years, they lost their best citizens, and the
most beautiful and highly cultivated part of Spain was henceforth to
be comparatively desolate. On all the great section of Andalusia, the
most southern part of Spain, the Moors left marks in buildings and in
cultivation, that it will take centuries yet to sweep away.

Of all the cities of this division, and it includes a goodly number of
Spain's most important towns, Seville, "the pearl of cities," the
birthplace of both Velazquez and Murillo, appeals most strongly to
everyone. Many superlative adjectives rise to our lips as we think of
its whiteness, of its sunny vineyard slopes, its orange and olive
groves, its salubrious climate, and its ancient associations. We think
of its wondrous cathedral, next in size to St. Peter's, of its storied
bell-tower, the Giralda, of that fairy palace, the home of generations
of Moorish kings, the Alcazar, of the Golden Tower by the river's
edge, where Christian rulers stored their treasure. And then to our
vision of Seville the beautiful, we add the silver Guadalquivir which
divides, and yet encloses this dream city of Andalusia. If we are not
interested in art, still must we be enthusiastic over Seville, for
its bewitching little women with their lustrous eyes, their glossy
dark hair, held by the ever present single rose. If it be
entertainment we seek, then Seville will furnish us the national
bull-fight in all its perfection. If the more refined delights of
music attract us, still more is this our chosen city, for here is the
scene of, Mozart's "_Don Juan_" and "_Figaro_," of Bizet's "_Carmen_,"
and many are the shops that claim to have belonged to the "_Barber of

It is most pleasing to our sense of appropriateness that out of this
beautiful white city of Andalusia, should have come, at about the same
time, the two greatest Spanish painters, the one to give us real
scenes and people, the other to give us ideals of loftiest type.

Here in the closing days of 1617, Murillo was born. His father and
mother were poor people. The house they lived in had formerly belonged
to a convent, and it was rented to them for a very small sum, on
condition that they would keep up the repairs. Even this Murillo's
father found to be a heavy burden. He was a mechanic and his income
very small.

  [Illustration: THE GRAPE EATERS.      _Murillo._]

Our artist's full name was Bartolome Esteban Murillo. His last name
seems to have come from his father's family, though it was even more
common in those days to take the mother's name for a surname, as in
the case of Velazquez. We know almost nothing of his early years
except that he was left an orphan before he was eleven, under the
guardianship of an uncle. Perhaps we should mention that Murillo early
showed his inclination to make pictures by scribbling the margin of
his school books with designs that in no wise illustrated the text
therein. With this as a guide his guardian early apprenticed him to
Juan del Castillo, another uncle, and an artist of some repute. Here
he learned to mix colors, to clean brushes, and to draw with great

When Murillo was about twenty-two, Castillo removed to Cadiz, down the
river from Seville, and the young artist was thrown wholly on his own
resources. Life with him in those days was merely a struggle for
existence. He took the method very generally taken by young artists.
He painted for the _Feria_ or weekly market. Here all sorts of
producers and hucksters gathered with their wares. We can imagine that
men of this sort were not very particular about the art objects they
purchased. They demanded two things--bright colors and striking
figures. Murillo, in common with other struggling artists, turned out
great numbers of these little bits of painted canvas. Some of them
have been discovered in Spanish America, whither they were undoubtedly
taken to assist in religious teaching.

If there was hardship in this _painting for the feria_, as people
slightingly spoke of such work, there were also immense advantages. As
he painted he could observe the people who came to buy and the people
who came to sell, and, mayhap, that other numerous class in Seville
who neither buy nor sell, but beg instead. From this very observation
of character must have come largely that skill which is so marked in
his pictures of beggar boys, who, with a few coppers, or a melon, or
some grapes, are kings of their surroundings. Then the demand for
striking figures cultivated a broad style in the artist which added
greatly to his later work.

A fellow pupil of Murillo's had joined the army in Flanders. When he
returned he told such wonderful stories of the country and its art
works, that Murillo was more than ever inspired to go abroad to Rome
or to Flanders. He at once set about earning a little money to assist
him in the journey. Again he painted a great number of saints and
bright landscapes on small squares of linen, and sold them to eager
customers. Thus he provided himself with scant means for the journey.
He placed his sister in the care of a relative, and then started off
afoot across the Sierras to Madrid, without having told anyone of his
intentions. His little stock of money was soon exhausted, and he
arrived in Madrid exhausted and desperately lonesome. He at once
searched out Velazquez, his townsman, who was then rich, and honored
in the position of court painter to Philip IV. Velazquez received him
kindly, and after some inquiry about mutual acquaintances, he talked
of the young painter's plans for himself. Murillo spoke freely of his
ambition to be a great painter, and of his desire to visit Rome and

Velazquez took the young painter to his own house, and procured for
him the privilege of copying in the great galleries of the capitol and
in the Escurial. He advised him to copy carefully the masterpieces in
his own country. There were pictures by Titian, Van Dyck, and Rubens,
and Murillo began the work of copying them at once. When Velazquez
returned after long absence, he was surprised at the improvement in
Murillo's work. He now advised the young painter to go to Rome, but he
had been away from Seville for three years, and he longed to be again
at home in his beautiful native city. During his absence he had
learned much in art and in the ways of the world. He had met many
distinguished artists and statesmen in Velazquez's home.

  [Illustration: FRUIT VENDERS.      _Murillo._]

The first three years after his return to Seville, he busied himself
with a series of pictures for a small Franciscan convent near by.
Although he did the work without pay, the monks were loath to give him
the commission because he was an unknown artist. There were eleven
in the series, scenes from the life of St. Francis. They were
admirably done, and though the artist received no pay for them, they
did him a greater service than money could have bought--they
established his reputation, so that he no longer wanted for such work
as he desired.

Among his earliest and best known pictures are those charming studies
of the beggar boys and flower girls of Seville. Several of the best of
these are in the gallery at Munich where they are justly prized. Here
are some of the names he gives these pictures, "_The Melon Eaters_,"
"_The Gamesters_," "_The Grape Eaters_," "_The Fruit Venders_," "_The
Flower Girl_." They are true to life--the happiest, most interesting,
and self-sufficient set of young beggars one could well imagine.
Notice, too, the beauty of the faces, especially in "_The Fruit
Venders_," reproduced in this sketch. There are other interesting
things in this picture. With what eagerness the day's earnings are
counted! There is a motherliness in the girl's face that makes us sure
that she is at once mother and sister to the boy. What luscious
grapes--what a back-ground, unkempt like themselves, but thoroughly in
keeping with the rest of the picture! In his works of this sort what
broad sympathy he shows! so broad, indeed, that they prove him as
belonging to no particular nation, but to the world.

From the painting of these scenes from real life, he passed gradually
to the painting of things purely imaginary--to those visible only to
his own mind.

A dainty picture which belongs half and half to each of these classes
of pictures, represents the Virgin a little girl, sweet and quaint as
she must have been, standing by St. Anne's knee, apparently learning a
lesson from the open book. Both figures are beautiful in themselves
and, besides, they present the always interesting contrast of age and
youth. This was one of the pictures that well-nigh brought trouble on
Murillo from some zealous churchmen before referred to. They thought
that the Virgin was gifted with learning from her birth and never had
to be taught. They merely criticized the treatment of the subject,
however. It was an innovation in church painting.

  [Illustration: THE MELON EATERS.      _Murillo._]

By this time Murillo was wealthy. He had numerous commissions and, in
society, he mingled with the best in the land. He was now in a
position to marry, which he did in 1648. There is a story told of
Murillo's marriage which one likes to repeat. He was painting an
altar-piece for the church in Pilas, a town near by; while he was
working, wrapt in thoughts of his subject, a lovely woman came into
the church to pray. From his canvas, the artist's eyes wandered to the
worshipper. He was deeply impressed with her beauty and her
devotion. Wanting just then an angel to complete his picture, he
sketched the face and the form of the unsuspecting lady. By a pleasant
coincidence he afterwards made her the angel of his home--his good
wife. The painter doubtless proved the truth of Wordsworth's beautiful

    "I saw her upon nearer view
     A spirit yet a Woman too!
           *       *       *
    "A countenance in which did meet
     Sweet records, promises as sweet;
     A creature not too bright and good
     For human nature's daily food.
           *       *       *
    "A perfect woman nobly planned,
     To warn, to comfort, and command;
     And yet a spirit still, and bright
     With something of angelic light."

However this may be, we know that she is often painted as the Virgin
in Murillo's great pictures. Her liquid eyes and dark hair inspired
him to forget the rigid rules laid down regarding the Virgin's having
blue eyes and fair hair or, at all events, to disregard them. We shall
see the Mary in some of his loveliest pictures with the dark hair and
eyes of his countrymen. Three children were born into Murillo's home,
two boys and one girl. One boy for a time practised the art of his
father, but he later became a clergyman. The other son came to
America, while the daughter devoted herself to religion and entered
a convent.

After Murillo's marriage, his house was the gathering place for the
most distinguished people of Seville. What a change was this from
Murillo's early condition, when he toiled at the weekly markets for
bread and shelter! His power in his work increased, so that every
new picture was an additional pledge of his greatness.

  [Illustration: THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION.      _Murillo._]

It was in middle life that Murillo began painting the subject that
more than any other distinguished him. It was to glorify a beautiful
idea, that Mary was as pure and spotless as her divine son. It is
called the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and so much did it
appeal to Murillo that he painted it over and over again. He has left
us at least twenty different pictures embodying this doctrine. The one
most familiar is perhaps the greatest. It is the one that now graces
the gem-room of the Louvre. I so name this room, for in it, within a
few feet of one another, are pictures by Raphael, Da Vinci, Correggio,
Rembrandt, Veronese, in short, by the foremost masters of the world.
Among all these the vision of Murillo takes an equal rank. To many,
the idea which the picture represents is of secondary importance, save
perhaps as giving a reason for the name it bears. But all can see the
exquisite loveliness of this young woman in her blue mantle and her
white robe, with her feet concealed by the voluminous folds of her
drapery, and with the crescent moon, the symbol of all things earthly,
in the midst of a throng of child-angels "hovering in the sunny air,
reposing on clouds, or sporting among their silvery folds"--"the
apotheosis of womanhood." It is as if an unseen hand had suddenly
drawn aside an invisible curtain and we, the children of earth, were
for a moment permitted to view the interior of heaven itself. In this
vision of a poet, so masterfully painted, the lover of pictures

How did the Louvre come by this magnificent monument of Spanish art
when so much that is glorious has been kept within the boundaries of
Spain? We have but to turn to the wars of Napoleon and the campaigns
in the Spanish peninsula, when the marshals of the mighty warrior
swept everything before them. One of these, Marshal Soult, brought
back, after his victorious invasion, pictures enough to enrich a Czar.
One of these stolen treasures was the picture we are studying. In
1852, the French government bought it of him for more than $120,000.
There is but one mitigating thought regarding this rapine of the
French, and that is that many art treasures, heretofore virtually
locked to the public, were opened to the world--were made easily

From this fair vision of womanhood let us turn to another, fairer
still, where a little child is the central figure, "_St. Anthony of
Padua_." Although he did not repeat this subject so often as he did
the Conception, yet he has left us several representations of this
beautiful and much adored saint.


In the life of Raphael we saw how great an influence was exerted on
art by St. Francis of Assisi. His most devoted follower was St.
Anthony of Padua, from whose lips sweet words fell like drops of
honey, and whose ready hands ever dispensed deeds of love. Any man
whose life abounds in such acts must be devout. Such was the character
of St. Anthony, and he added to this a vivid imagination. Many were
the beautiful visions that rewarded and encouraged his deeds of mercy
and kindness. One of the loveliest is the one Murillo caught from the
depths of his own pure soul, and held long enough to transfer it to
canvas to delight the people of his own day, and us of this later time
who no longer see visions. It is still in the cathedral of Seville for
which it was painted. It is merely called "_St. Anthony of Padua_."
Never was a more soul-thrilling vision sent to man to illumine his
earthly pathway. There is the kneeling saint with outstretched arms
reaching forward to embrace the Christ child, who comes sliding down
through the nebulous light from among a host of joyous angels. From
the ecstatic look on St. Anthony's face we know that the Child of God
has been drawn to earth by the prayerful love in the saint's heart. We
feel certain that the open book on the table near by is none other
than the best of all good books. The vision has come to Saint Anthony
on the earth, for that is common daylight that streams in through the
open door, and those are perishable lilies in the vase there by the
open book. By the painting of this picture Murillo gained for himself
the title of "The Painter of Heaven." The picture has always been
highly prized, and even the hardships of war did not tempt the men of
the Cathedral to accept the Duke of Wellington's offer to literally
cover the canvas with gold to be given in exchange for the precious
picture. The English general was obliged to keep his money, and in the
cathedral still we may view Murillo's masterpiece. Treasures tempt
thieves even when they are in the form of pictures. In 1874, the
figure of the Christ Child was cut from this painting. It was brought
to New York, where the thief, in trying to dispose of it, was caught.
The figure was returned to Seville, and carefully inserted in the
injured painting.

It may not be out of place to stop here and notice the wonderful
variety of holy children that Murillo has given us. His Madonnas
invariably hold very beautiful children, not so heavenly, perhaps, as
Raphael's in the Sistine Madonna, but nevertheless, children that
charm us into loving them. From the holy babe, with all his lovely
qualities, let us turn to that dear little boy of older growth, that
Joseph and Mary hold so tenderly by either hand in the picture of the
"_Holy Family_" in the National Gallery in London, or to those other
boys, "_The Divine Shepherd_" and "_St John_." Better than all,
however, are those beautiful children known as "_The Children of the
Shell_," where the little Christ offers to his playfellow, John, the
cooling draught from a conch shell they have picked up in their play.
They are children drawn from the sky quite as much as the Jesus in the
famous St. Anthony picture.

Among his children there are little girls, too. We have already
noticed the Virgin as a child, and there is that other, led by the
guardian angel sure and safe along life's uncertain way. Even in our
practical time we all have more or less faith in the guardian spirit
that watches over every little child. If by some miracle these
children could all come to life, what a joyous yet thoughtful assembly
it would be! Difficult indeed would it be to select the one beyond all
others precious. No more certain proof exists of Murillo's high
appreciation of spiritual things, of the simplicity and purity of his
own life and thought than this selfsame throng of little children that
he has given us.

  [Illustration: ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA.      _Murillo._]

Murillo had always thought that a public academy of painting was very
much needed in Seville. In his youth he had greatly felt the need of
such an institution. Finally, in 1660, the year of Velazquez's death,
several of the artists united with Murillo in starting an academy. It
lived only as long as its founder and never produced a great artist.

In 1671 our artist seemed in the very prime of his power. In that year
he began the wonderful series of pictures for the Charity Hospital of
Seville. It was an old institution of the city, but it had been
neglected until it was almost in ruins. In Murillo's time a wealthy
and pious citizen set about restoring it. For the beautifying of the
restored hospital Murillo was commissioned to paint eleven works. They
are among his very best. Two of them we must notice in particular,
"_Moses Striking the Rock_" and "_Elizabeth of Hungary Tending the

In the first of these the artist shows himself in a new capacity, that
of illustrator. Nothing could better express the thirst of that vast
assembly in the wilderness than this picture. From a mighty, towering
rock the coveted water gushes forth in a generous, crystal stream, by
its very abundance making a pool beneath. All degrees of thirst are
represented in man and beast, from that which is not pressing to that
which, in its intensity, makes a mother seize the cup from the babe
in her arms.

In the "_St. Elizabeth_" we admire the composition of the work, but
the subject rather repels than holds us. With the diadem of a queen
upon her head, with the delicate hands of a gentlewoman, and from a
costly basin St. Elizabeth bathes the scrofulous head of a beggar. Her
ladies-in-waiting turn from the loathsome object of her care, while
other patients await their turn. In the distance is the court feast
that goes on joyously in the palace while Elizabeth, the mistress of
the feast, serves the diseased beggars at the portal.

I have said that we could not stop to notice more than two of this
notable series. Yet, as I run my photographs over, I cannot refrain
from the mention of one other, the noble and wonderfully beautiful
"_Liberation of St. Peter_." It is simply a magnificent angel
awakening Peter who languishes in prison. The suddenly aroused
prisoner, the broken fetters, and above all, that glorious angel,
extending a helping hand--his presence making a light in that dark
cell--tell in no uncertain accents of the power of our beloved

  [Illustration: MADONNA.      _Murillo._]

Thus might we go on from picture to picture, and from year to year,
for the list ever strengthens as it lengthens. Two more, at least,
should claim our attention before this sketch is closed. They are
"_St. Thomas_ _giving Alms_" and "_The Madonna of the Napkin_." The
St. Thomas is rightly the companion of that other great charity
picture, "_St. Elizabeth_." The one represents the abnegation of self
in woman's way--she gives service. The other represents man's way--he
gives money. At the portal of the church stands the pale-faced,
spiritual St. Thomas, dispensing his alms to beggars and cripples. In
composition and drawing this is one of Murillo's greatest works. We
are interested to know that it was his own favorite among his

"_The Madonna of the Napkin_" is both beautiful and curious. While
Murillo was painting a series of pictures for a Capuchin convent of
Seville, the cook became very much attached to him. When his work was
done and he was about to leave the convent, the cook begged a memento.
But how could he paint even a small picture with no canvas at hand?
The cook, bent on obtaining his wish, presented him with a table
napkin and begged him to use that instead of canvas. With his usual
good nature, the artist complied, and before evening he produced a
beautiful Virgin holding the infant Christ. Though done thus hastily,
this Madonna is one of his best in design and coloring. His other
Madonnas we know well, the one holding a rosary, and the other marked
by nothing but its own surpassing grace and beauty, and known simply
as Murillo's Madonna.

According to the subject he was painting, Murillo used three distinct
styles of work, known as the _cold_, the _warm_, and the _aerial_. The
first, in which the line or drawing is marked by strength, he used in
his studies of peasant life. The second he used in his visions, while
the third he reserved for his Conceptions--his heavenly effects. So
fine a colorist was he, however, and so indispensable a part of his
art did he consider the coloring that even the pictures classed as
_cold_ are radiant with his lovely, mellow colors.

  [Illustration: VIRGIN OF THE MIRROR.      _Murillo._]

Through the greater part of Murillo's life he painted for his
beautiful Seville. In 1680, however, he went to Cadiz to paint
pictures for the Capuchins at that place. He began on the largest one
of the number. It was to represent the marriage of St. Catherine, a
favorite subject of the time. Events proved that this was to be his
last picture, for, while trying to reach the upper part of it, he fell
from the scaffolding, receiving injuries from which he died two years
later. Gradually his physical power deserted him until he did not
attempt to paint at all. Then he spent much of his time in religious
thought. In the church of Santa Cruz near by his home, was a picture
of the "_Descent from the Cross_" by Campana. Before this picture he
spent many hours, so much did he admire it. One evening he remained
later than usual. The Angelus had sounded, and the Sacristan wished to
close the church. He asked the painter why he lingered so long. He
responded, "I am waiting until those men have brought the body of our
blessed Lord down the ladder." When Murillo died he was buried,
according to his wish, immediately under this picture.

He died in April, 1682. His funeral was of the sort that draws all
classes--a beloved man and a profound genius had passed away. His
grave was covered with a stone slab on which were carved but few words
beside his name. The church was destroyed during the French wars, and
the Plaza of Santa Cruz occupies its place. In later years a statue of
bronze was erected in one of the squares of the city in honor of
Murillo; there it stands, through all changes, the very master spirit
of the city.

If this sketch has implied anything, it has emphasized over and over
again the sweet and lovable character of Murillo. His religious zeal
was great, yet no one could ever justly write fanatic beside his name.
There was too much love in his soul for that. His pictures are
indisputable proof of the never-dying love that permeated his life.

He left a great number of pictures, and his habit of not signing them
made it easy to impose on unwary seekers after his paintings. Passing
by all the work the authorship of which is uncertain, yet is there
enough left to make us marvel at his productiveness.


     1. Seville, the City of Music.

     2. A Day in Seville.

     3. Some Stories of the Alcazar.

     4. The Giralda--Its History and Its Architecture.

     5. The Children of Murillo's Paintings.

     6. Murillo and Velazquez.

     7. Some Spanish Portraits.

     8. My Favorite Picture by Murillo.

     9. Some Visions Seen by Murillo.

    10. The Escurial--Its History.


    De Amicis      Spain.

    Hoppin         Murillo.

    Minor          Murillo.

    Stirling       Annals of Spanish Art.

    Stowe          Velazquez.

    Washburn       Early Spanish Masters.



[Illustration: PETER PAUL RUBENS]



In our study of Raphael, we had a glimpse of the golden age of art in
Italy. In our work on Murillo, we saw what Spain was able to produce
in pictures when the whole of Europe seemed to be trying its hand at
painting. Moving north, we are to see in this sketch what the little
country now known as Belgium produced in the same lines. For this we
need hardly take more than the one name, Peter Paul Rubens, for he
represented very completely the art of Flanders or Belgium, as we call
it to-day.

If we love to read of happy, fortunate people, as I am sure we do, we
shall be more than pleased in learning about Rubens. You know there is
an old story, that by the side of every cradle stand a good and an
evil fairy, who by their gifts make up the life of the little babe
within. The good fairy gives him a wonderful blessing, perhaps it is
the power to write poems or paint pictures. Then the bad fairy, ugly
little sprite that he is, adds a portion of evil, perhaps it is envy
that eats the soul like a canker. And so they alternate, the good and
evil, until the sum of a human life is made up, and the child grows up
to live out his years, marked by joy and sorrow as every life must be.

As we look at the men and women about us we feel, often, that one or
the other of these fairies must have slept while distributing their
gifts and so lost a turn or two in casting in the good or ill upon the
babe, so happy are some lives, so sorrowful are others. At Rubens'
cradle the evil fairy must well nigh have forgotten his task, for the
babe grew up one of the most fortunate of men.

In order to understand as we should any great man, we must always
study his country and his time. No man can be great enough not to be
like the nation that produced him, or the time when he came into the
world. For these reasons we love to study a man's time and country,
and, indeed, find it quite necessary if we would understand him

It is impossible to think of Rubens without associating him with
Flanders and with Antwerp, his home city. Here, then, is just a little
about the history of this most interesting country: One of the richest
possessions of Spain in the sixteenth century was known as the
Netherlands. When the doctrines of Luther began to spread many of the
Netherlanders accepted them. Philip II., the terrible and gloomy king
of Spain, seized this opportunity to persecute them cruelly. Many of
them resisted, and then Philip sent his unscrupulous agent, the Duke
of Alva, to make the people submit. This he partially accomplished by
the greatest cruelty. The northern provinces, which we know as
Holland, declared their independence. The southern, of which Flanders
was the most flourishing province, longed so for peace and the
prosperity that accompanies it, that they submitted to Spain. The
people then grew rich as weavers, merchants and traders. Splendid
cities like Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp became the seats of commerce and
their artists and workmen of all sorts were known throughout Europe
for their thrift and the excellence of their workmanship. We recall
how Raphael's cartoons were sent to Flanders to be copied in tapestry
the finest in the world.

  [Illustration: RUBENS' MOTHER      _Rubens_]

Of all the cities dear to Flemish hearts Antwerp was, perhaps, the
most beautiful and the most prosperous. It was situated on the river
Scheldt about twenty miles from the sea. In the time of its greatness
one might count almost at any time twenty-five hundred ships and boats
riding at anchor in front of the city, and within her walls, two
hundred thousand people lived in plenty. There were marble palaces,
beautiful churches, a magnificent town hall (Hotel de Ville); and the
houses of the humble showed by their cleanlines and comfortable
surroundings that enjoyment of life was restricted to no one class.

This matter of religious faith, however, was bound to come up again
and bring, as it proved, ruin upon the city. A body of people who
thought it wrong to have pictures and statues of saints, and of Mary
and her Son, gathered together and for four days went from one Flemish
town to another and destroyed everything of the sort to be found in
the churches. Four hundred places of worship were desecrated, many of
them within the city of Antwerp. Because of their zeal against the use
of so-called _images_ they were called _Iconoclasts_.

If formerly they had been punished for _thinking_ things against the
established religion of the State, what now could be expected when
they had _done_ such sacrilegious things?

    "Again the whiskered Spaniard all the land with terror smote;
    And again the wild alarum sounded from the tocsin's throat."

  [Illustration: RUBENS AND HIS FIRST WIFE      _Rubens_]

Our imagination cannot picture things so terrible as were perpetrated
upon the inhabitants of Antwerp for their part in the destruction of
the "images." This terrible event is known in history as _The
Spanish Fury_. Thousands of her people were killed, most of her
palaces were burned, and the treasure of her wealthy citizens was
stolen. Property was confiscated to the Spanish Government. Death and
terror, theft and rapine reigned in the beautiful city of the Scheldt.
When the dead were buried, the charred ruins of buildings removed, and
the Spanish soldiery withdrawn, the mist-beclouded Netherland sun
shone out on a dead city which even to-day bears marks of the
Spaniard's fury. Grass grew in what had been its busiest streets,
trade almost ceased, and thousands of weavers and other artisans went
to England where they could pursue their vocations unmolested.

Philip was apparently satisfied with the chastisement he had
inflicted. He began to restore the confiscated property to its
rightful owners, and to encourage the industry he had so cruelly
destroyed. He even made Flanders an independent province under the
Archduke Albert and the Infanta Isabella. Although peace had returned
and a degree of prosperity again prevailed, yet many other things were
irretrievably gone, and the people lived every day in the sight of
painful reminders of their former greatness.

In art, too, these low country provinces had made much progress. There
had been Hubert and Jan Van Eyck who had painted with minute skill
devout pictures. They had, moreover, given to the world the process of
painting in oils. This discovery, worked out with the extreme care
natural to the Netherlanders, changed the whole character of painting,
and made it possible to have such colorists as Titian, Raphael and
Rubens. We must remember that the colors used in fresco painting were
mixed with a sort of "size" and that they had none of the richness of
oil colors. There had been other artists of note besides the Van
Eycks. Hans Memling, with the spirit of a real poet, had painted his
sweet visions, and to-day it is not for the opulent merchants who
added fame and wealth to their city in their time, but for this
poet-painter, Memling, that we venerate the ancient and stately city
of Bruges. Quentin Matsys, the brawny blacksmith, who, for love of an
artist's daughter, became a painter, comes to our minds as a name of
no mean fame in the early records of Flemish painting.


The guild system, where every class of artisans was organized for
protection and for the production of good work, touched even the fine
arts. No man could set up for a good painter who had not served his
apprenticeship, and whose work was not satisfactory to experts. When
Rubens was born he came as the heir of all that had been accomplished
before him. He only carried on what his predecessors had begun, but
he carried it on in a matchless way so that he was able to leave to
succeeding painters not only all he had inherited, but a goodly legacy
besides--the legacy of a pure life, a glowing, natural, vigorous art.
It seems to me that right here is a lesson for us. May we not add our
mite, tiny though it be, to the ever-growing volume of truth? I like
this quotation in this connection, and I hope you may see its beauty
too--"The vases of truth are passed on from hand to hand, and the
golden dust must be gathered into them, grain by grain, from the
infinite shore."

Rubens' birth took place in 1577, the year following the Spanish Fury.
When he was only seven, William the Silent, the saviour and protector
of the northern provinces, was assassinated at the instance of Philip
II. When he was eleven, the Spanish _Armada_, the proudest fleet that
ever sailed the seas, sent to invade England and punish Queen
Elizabeth, was scattered by wind and wave and dashed to pieces on
alien rocks. The Reformation was well established in England and
Holland, while France, led by Henry IV., was yet uncertain whether or
not to accept the new doctrines. Such were some of the portentous
events that marked the advent and early years of the greatest of
Flemish painters.

The family of Rubens' father had lived for years in Antwerp, but when
Luther's doctrines were put forward Jan Rubens, the father of our
artist, believed in them. For this reason he was compelled to flee
from the city, and his property was confiscated. He went to the little
village of Siegen, in western Germany, where his illustrious son was
born on June 29th, 1577. His birth was on the day dedicated to the
saints, Peter and Paul, and so his parents gave the child their names.
After the residence of a year in this little town, the family removed
to Cologne, where they lived for ten years, until the death of the

Jan Rubens was a lawyer and a learned man, and he took pains that his
sons should be thoroughly educated. In addition to his heretical views
regarding religion he had grievously offended William the Silent and
so was doubly exiled. His wife remained with him, and by her efforts
kept him from prison, and added cheer to his life of exile. This was
the admirable Marie Pypeling, the mother so revered by Rubens, and so
deserving the respect of all who know of her. A portrait of her by her
son is given in this sketch. To her he owed his handsome face, his
strong physique, his shrewdness and his love of order.

  [Illustration: RUBENS' DAUGHTER      _Rubens_]

Immediately after the death of her husband, Marie Pypeling and her
family, now consisting of two sons and a daughter, returned to
Antwerp. Her property, which had been confiscated in those wild days
at Antwerp, was restored to her in the general restitution with which
Philip tried to compensate the citizens for their losses in the
Spanish Fury. From this time Rubens was an adherent of the Catholic

The education of Peter Paul, which was so carefully begun by his
father, was continued by his mother, in a Jesuit College at Antwerp.
He was an apt student and soon attained the elements from which he
became a very learned man. He knew seven languages, was interested and
learned in science and politics. All through his life he devoted some
part of each day, however busy he was with his painting, to general
reading. This, perhaps more than his early studies, accounts for his
elegant scholarship.

His mother was quite determined that this son should be, like his
father, a lawyer. His own tastes, however, and a power to use the
brush early displayed, decided otherwise. It very soon became evident
that he was to be a painter--good or bad--who could tell in those
early days?

In accordance with a custom of the time, he was placed as a page in
the house of a nobleman of Antwerp. To the talented and restless boy
this life was intolerable, and he soon induced his mother to allow
him to enter the studio of Van der Haeght, a resident artist of some
repute and a close follower of Italian Art. He was only thirteen at
this time. Here he learned to draw skillfully and, through the
influence of his teacher, he acquired a love of landscape art which
never left him.

From Van der Haeght and his mild but correct art, Rubens, feeling his
weakness in figure work, went to the studio of the irascible and
forcible painter Van Noort, about whom critics have delighted to tell
stories of brutality. However true these may be, Rubens stayed with
him four years and never ceased to speak in praise of his master's
work. Here he became acquainted with Jordaens, who used often to paint
the animals in Rubens' landscapes.

From Van Noort's studio the restless Rubens went to study with Van
Veen, who afterwards became court-painter. When the Archduke Albert
and Isabella entered Antwerp in 1594, it was Van Veen who decorated
the triumphal arches used on the occasion. We may judge that he did
the work well, for he was shortly selected to serve the new rulers as
court painter. Rubens' experience with Van Veen closed a ten years'
apprenticeship in the studios of Antwerp, and now he determined to go
to Italy, where he could study the masters at first hand.

  [Illustration: RUBENS' TWO SONS      _Rubens_]

As a sort of parting work and, perhaps, because he wished to impress
more vividly on his mind those dear, strong features of his mother, he
painted that portrait of her which we so much admire both for its
subject and its art. This image of his mother was an effectual charm
to carry with him in his travels--a charm to save him perhaps, from
some of the stumbling places into which a handsome young man away from
home might wander.

In May of 1600, after making all needful preparation, our artist set
out on his journey. It was natural that he should direct his steps
first to Venice. Titian had but recently completed his productive life
of nearly a century. His misty atmosphere, his intense interest in
human life and, above all, his glowing color touched a kindred cord in
Rubens' nature. Then there were Tintoretto and Veronese, almost as
interesting to our painter.

The Duke of Mantua, a most liberal and discerning patron of art, was
in Venice when Rubens reached that city. One of the Duke's suite
happened to be in the house with Rubens. He took notice of the
painter's courtly bearing, his fine physique, and his ability to
paint, and introduced him to the Duke. Never did our painter's
handsome face and fine presence so quickly win a patron. He was at
once attached to the Duke's court and began copying for him the
masterpieces of Italy--the pictures of Titian, Correggio, Veronese,
leading all others. He also studied carefully the work of Julio
Romano, Raphael's famous pupil. He accompanied the Duke to Milan,
where he copied Leonardo's great picture, "_The Last Supper_," besides
doing some original work.

The Duke had observed Rubens' courtly manner and his keen mind. He
decided that the painter was just the person to send in charge of some
presents to the King of Spain, whose favor he was anxious to gain. The
gifts were made up of fine horses, beautiful pictures, rare jewels and
vases. Early in 1603, the painter set out with his cavalcade, and
after a stormy journey of about three months they reached the Court of
Spain. He was cordially received and the gifts were delivered,
although the pictures had been somewhat damaged by the rains which
marked the last days of their trip. He was asked to paint several
portraits of eminent personages of the court and he complied

He returned to Italy after somewhat more than a year's absence. For
some time he remained at Mantua to paint an altar-piece for the chapel
where the Duke's mother was buried.

  [Illustration: HOLY FAMILY      _Rubens_
                 (Pette Gallery, Florence)]

Later he went to Rome where he studied carefully the works of Michael
Angelo. In turn he visited all the great art cities of Italy except
Naples. He stopped for some time at Florence, Bologna, and Genoa. At
the last place he received so many orders for his work that he could
not attend to them all. Everywhere he went the fame of "the Fleming,"
as he was called in Italy, had gone before him. In many of the cities
he made lengthy sojourns, copying the masterpieces that pleased him,
and painting originals highly prized to-day in the galleries of Italy.

He had been in Italy eight years, when one day from over the Alps came
a courier in hot haste bearing to Rubens the sad news that his mother
lay at home very ill. Not even waiting for permission from his patron,
the Duke, Rubens started north with a heavy heart, for he felt sure
that he should never see his mother again. Although he rode with all
haste, as he neared his home city of Antwerp, he received the sad
tidings he had so much dreaded. Marie Pypeling had died nine days
before he left Italy. As was the custom in his country, he secluded
himself for four months in a convent attached to the church where his
mother was buried.

The profound sorrow for his mother, and the sudden change from the
life he had so recently led made him melancholy. He longed for the
skies, the pictures, and the society of Italy. When he came forth from
his retirement, his countrymen could not bear the thought of their
now illustrous artist returning to Italy. They wanted him among them
to glorify with his splendid brush the now reviving city of the

The rulers of the city, Albert and Isabella, made him court painter
and gave him a good salary. He accepted the office on condition that
he should not have to live at the court. It was with some regret that
he gave up returning to Italy, but the natural ties that bound him to
Antwerp were stronger. He hoped that he might yet one day visit Italy.
This part of his life-plan, however, he never carried out.

  [Illustration: INFANT CHRIST, ST. JOHN AND ANGELS      _Rubens_]

He was now thirty-two years old, respected of all men not only for his
power as a painter, but for his sterling worth as a man. He had
studied carefully the best art that the world could show, and he had
absorbed into his own characteristic style what was best for him--his
style of painting was now definitely formed. His fame as a painter was
established from the Mediterranean to the Zuyder Zee. He was
overwhelmed with orders for his pictures, so that he had plenty of
money at his command. He had the confidence of princes, and was
attached to one of the richest courts of Europe. A crowd of anxious
art students awaited the choice privilege of entering his studio when
he should open one. It would seem that there was little left for this
man to desire in earthly things. The two he lacked he speedily
procured, a good wife and a happy home, both destined to live always
on the canvasses of this most fortunate of painters.

In 1610, he married the lovely and beautiful Isabella Brandt, the
daughter of the Secretary of Antwerp. Happy indeed were the fifteen
years of their life together, and often do we find the wife and their
two boys painted by the gifted husband and father. We reproduce a
picture of the two boys.

He bought a house on Meir Square, one of the noted locations in
Antwerp. He re-modelled it at great expense in the style of the
Italians. In changing the house he took care that there should be a
choice place to keep and display his already fine collection of
pictures, statues, cameos, agates and jewels. For this purpose he made
a circular room, lighted from above, covered by a dome somewhat
similar to that of the Pantheon at Rome. This room connected the two
main parts of the house and was, with its precious contents, a
constant joy to Rubens and his friends. The master of this palace, for
such it certainly was, lived a frugal and abstemious life, a most
remarkable thing in an age of great extravagance in eating and
drinking. Here is the record of one of his days in summer: At four
o'clock he arose, and for a short time gave himself up to religious
exercises. After a simple breakfast he began painting. While he
painted he had some one read to him from some classical writer, and if
his work was not too laborious, he received visitors and talked to
them while he painted. He stopped work an hour before dinner and
devoted himself to conversation or to examining some newly acquired
treasure in his collection. At dinner he ate sparingly of the simplest
things and drank little wine. In the afternoon he again began his work
at his easel, which he continued until evening. After an hour or so on
a spirited Andalusian horse, of which he was always passionately fond,
and of which he always had one or more fine specimens in his stables,
he spent the remainder of the evening conversing with friends. A
varied assembly of visitors loitered in this hospitable home. There
were scholars, politicians, old friends--perhaps former fellow-pupils
in Antwerp studios. Occasionally the princess Isabella came among the
others, and Albert himself felt honored to stand as god-father to
Rubens' son. Surely the wicked fairy _did_ forget some of the evil he
was to have mixed with this life!

  [Illustration: PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG WOMAN      _Rubens_
                 (Hermitage, St. Petersburg)]

It was in connection with the building of this house that the best
known and perhaps the greatest work of Rubens was painted: "_The
Descent from the Cross_," now in Antwerp Cathedral. It is said that in
excavating for the foundation to some of the new parts of Rubens'
house, the workmen unintentionally trespassed on some adjoining
ground belonging to the gunsmiths' guild. In settlement for this
Rubens was requested to paint a picture of St. Christopher, the
Christ-Bearer, as they called him. Rubens complied with the request
and painted what to us to-day would seem a very strange picture--a
"triptych," that is a middle panel over which two narrow side panels,
hinged to the middle one, could be closed. He interpreted the request
of the guild rather strangely too--he thought it would please them to
represent in the several spaces of the triptych all who had ever
carried Christ in their arms. In the middle panel we have the men
removing the dead Christ from the cross, with the three Marys below,
one of whom, the Magdalen, is, perhaps, the most beautiful woman
Rubens ever painted. The light is wonderful, coming, as it does, from
the great white cloth in which they would wrap our Lord. The form of
the dead Christ in its difficult position is a piece of masterly
drawing. This panel is, of course, the principal part of the
altar-piece. On one side of this was painted the Virgin visiting St.
Anne, and on the other we have the aged St. Simeon presenting the
Christ-Child in the temple. If we close these side panels over the
middle one we find a space as large as the center panel. On this
Rubens painted St. Christopher with the child and accompanied by a
hermit carrying his lantern. Surely it was a good-natured artist and
a glowing and generous soul who painted so much in response to a
request for a St. Christopher!

There were, however, trials for this fortunate man. There were those
who were jealous of his fame and who said unkind things of him. In
answer to their jealousies he only said, "Do well and you will make
others envious; do better and you will master them."

He was called away from the home he loved so well. In 1619, when the
truce, under which Antwerp had regained somewhat of her former
greatness, was about to expire, Rubens was sent to Spain to renew it.
He had hardly returned to Antwerp before Marie de Medicis, the wife of
Henry IV. of France--the Henry of Navarre, of historic fame--sent for
the artist to adorn her palace of the Luxemburg in Paris. He was to
paint twenty-one pictures for this purpose. They were to describe the
life of the queen. We give one of the series. He accomplished this
entire work in glowing allegorical fashion in which mythological and
historical personages are sadly confused at times. If there was
occasionally this confusion, there were also present the artist's
strongest characteristics as a painter--rich color and vigorous human

  [Illustration: ELEVATION OF THE CROSS      _Rubens_]

While in Paris he became intimately acquainted with the Duke of
Buckingham, the favorite of Charles I. of England. This nobleman
visited Rubens at his home in Antwerp and he was so pleased with the
artist's collection that he offered him ten thousand pounds sterling
for it complete. Rubens hesitated, for in the collection there were
nineteen pictures by Titian, thirteen by Veronese, three by Leonardo,
and three by Raphael, besides many of his own best works. The artist,
however, was always thrifty, and he felt sure he could soon gather
another collection, so he accepted the offer.

In 1626, his lovely wife died. He mourned her deeply, saying "she had
none of the faults of her sex." To beguile his time he accepted
another diplomatic mission to Spain. This time he was to secure a
strong ally for Spain against the powerful Richelieu who then held
France in his hand as it were. Incidentally he painted much while at
Madrid. Among other work he copied the Titians which were likely to be
taken out of the country at the marriage of the Infanta. At this time,
too, he undoubtedly met Velazquez, the able and high-souled court
painter of Philip IV. This was certainly one of the most notable
meetings in the history of artists.

  [Illustration: DESCENT FROM THE CROSS      _Rubens_]

It was while at the court of Madrid at this time that Jean of
Braganza, afterward King of Portugal, invited the artist to visit him
at his hunting-lodge, and Rubens set out with several of his
followers, as was usual with travellers of note in those days.
Before he reached the lodge Jean, hearing of so many attendants, and
dismayed at the expense of entertaining them, departed suddenly for
Lisbon. He wrote Rubens a courteous letter telling him that _state
business_ detained him and begged him to accept some money to defray
the expenses so far incurred on the journey. Rubens replied in like
courteous manner and returned the money, saying that they had brought
twenty times the amount with which to pay their expenses.

  [Illustration: MARIE DE MEDICIS      _Rubens_
                 (Museum, Madrid)]

An interesting story is related of their return. Overtaken by dark
night in the open country they took shelter in a monastery. The next
morning Rubens, with an eye always quick to see rare and interesting
things, scanned the place carefully looking for something which might
interest him. He was about to give up the search as hopeless, when he
discovered in a dark corner a grand picture. It represented in more
than mortal fashion the beautiful things that a dead young man,
painted in the foreground, had renounced. Rubens called the prior to
him and begged to know the name of the artist of so masterly a work.
The prior, an old, bowed man, refused saying, "He died to the world
long ago. I cannot disclose his name." Then the artist said, "It is
Peter Paul Rubens who begs to know." The prior started, for even in
the remoteness of the isolated monastery the fame of that name had
gone, and fell in a dead faint at the artist's feet. The attendants
lifted the prior gently but he had ceased to live. Through the ashy
pallor they saw the features of the young man in the picture yonder.
They instinctively turned to look that they might more carefully
compare the faces, and lo! like some cloud-vision, the picture had
disappeared. Then they knew that the dead monk there had painted the
canvas from the depth of his own experience.

From Madrid, Rubens was sent to England in the interest of Spain. Here
he was most kindly received by Charles I., who made him a knight and
presented him with his own jeweled sword and a diamond ring. He also
gave him a hat-band set with precious stones which was valued at two
thousand pounds sterling. From London he went to Cambridge where the
ancient university conferred on him its highest degree. In London he
painted almost constantly. Among other commissions he was given that
of decorating the dining room in Whitehall palace with nine pictures
representing the life of James I. To make the person or events of this
king's life attractive must have been an immense task even for so
supreme a genius as Rubens.

As he sat painting one day a courtier entered and exclaimed, "Ah, his
Majesty's Ambassador occasionally amuses himself with painting." "On
the contrary," responded Rubens who was always proud of his art, "the
painter occasionally amuses himself by trying to be a courtier."

The influence of Rubens' visit to London must be counted rather as
artistic than political. It really was the beginning of that desire
for collecting pictures and other things of the sort which has ever
since distinguished the English nobility. On the Continent the price
of pictures rose on account of England's demand. For Charles I.,
Rubens bought the entire collection of the Duke of Mantua which he
knew so well.

  [Illustration: MADONNA AND CHILD WITH ST. FRANCIS      _Rubens_]

Rubens was tired of the almost fruitless mission at various courts and
was glad to give up the business of an ambassador and return to
Antwerp and to the life of a private gentleman. We must not forget
that all these years Rubens was painting a great number of pictures in
his ripest style. There was hardly a class of subjects or size of
canvas which he could not skillfully use, although he always
maintained that he could do his best work on large surfaces. There
were religious pictures of Madonnas and saints all crowded with
numerous figures and filled with vigorous human action. There were
portraits such as those of his wives, of Elizabeth of France, or "_The
Girl with a Straw Hat_," which rank among the best of the world. There
were wonderful animal pictures--hunting scenes, the excitement of
which even to-day makes the cheek glow. There were historical scenes
mingled with allegory. There were most beautiful children whose fat
and agile bodies and whose laughing faces make us want to hug them.
There were enchanting angels, and there were huge fauns and satyrs.
There were placid landscapes where, it may be, the artist's soul,
teeming with the life of all time, took its rest and recreation
sporting with the nymphs of the woodland streams or with the frisky
dryads of the trees.

In 1630, at the age of fifty-three, he married his second wife, Helen
Fourmont, only sixteen years old. Like his first wife she was very
beautiful, as his numerous portraits indicate. Five children came to
them and the felicity of his early years with Isabella Brandt
continued with his second wife.

The health of our painter gradually gave way. For many years he had
suffered intensely from repeated attacks of gout. As he aged, these
became more and more frequent and severe. Often the disease, working
in his fingers, kept him from painting. "_The Death of St. Peter_" was
painted for Cologne Cathedral in 1635. It seems as if in his last
years his heart turned affectionately to the city of his boyhood home
and he would thus commemorate it. Another picture belongs to these
last years. It was a family picture which he called "_St. George_."
It represented four generations of the painter's family and included
both his first and his second wife. He himself figured as the Saint,
clad in shining armor and triumphant over his late enemy, the deadly
dragon. Rubens was too great to be conceited, but he stood at the end
of a most successful life. If ever a man had conquered the dragon of
disappointment, that lies crouching at the door of every life, Rubens
had. He did well to represent himself as St. George. In both of these
last pictures the painter shows at his very strongest.

He died May 30th, 1640, and was buried in the church beside his mother
and his first wife. All the city attended his funeral, for in three
capacities they mourned their illustrious citizen--as an artist, as a
diplomat and scholar, and as a man of noble character. Two years after
his death the picture "_St. George_" was hung above his tomb where it
is found to-day.

He left great wealth which was largely represented by his collection
of pictures and jewels. There were three hundred and nineteen
paintings, all masterpieces. The collection sold for what would be in
our money about half a million dollars. This is a large sum at any
time but in Rubens' day it was well nigh fabulous.

  [Illustration: SATYRS      _Rubens_]

Rubens has left us more than fifteen hundred pictures bearing his
name. That any man could leave so many can be accounted for only by
reckoning many of them as largely executed by his pupils. He used to
make small sketches in color and hand them over to his pupils for
enlargement. He was always at hand to make corrections and, at the
end, to give the finishing touches. He used to charge for his pictures
according to the time he used in painting them, and he valued his time
at fifty dollars a day.

He shows none of the mystical visionary feeling of the Spaniards even
in his religious pictures. He was too much in love with life for that,
and so, sometimes, we are offended by stout Flemish Saints and
Madonnas too healthy to accord with our notions of their abstemious
lives. In his pictures there is spirited action, almost excess of
life, and rich unfading color in which the reds largely prevail. His
lights are fine but the deep, expressive shadows that made Rembrandt
famous are entirely lacking. The softly flowing way in which the color
leaves his brush is, perhaps, the most inimitable part of his art. On
this account someone has said, who evidently has great reverence for
both Velazquez and Rubens, that we will see another Velazquez before
another Rubens.

Considering the qualities of his art, the number of his pictures, his
scholarship, his eminence as a diplomat and his pure and honorable
life, we must place Rubens among the very greatest men who ever
wielded a brush.


    Rubens was _par excellence_ the painter of the group that
    included the heroes of the Dutch Republic; and, like many of his
    contemporaries, whilst excelling in his own line, he was, in
    other respects also, a great man, in a time of and among great
    men.--CHAS. W. KETT.

    I cannot sufficiently admire his personal appearance nor praise
    his uprightness, his virtue, his erudition and wonderful
    knowledge of antiquities, his skill and celerity of pencil, and
    the charm of his manner.--A CONTEMPORARY.

    His eye is the most marvellous prism that has ever been given us
    of the light and color of objects, of true and magnificent


     1. A Day in Rubens' Studio.

     2. An Evening with Rubens.

     3. Rubens at the Monastery.

     4. A Day with Rubens in London.

     5. Rubens as a Diplomat.

     6. Antwerp, the Home City of Rubens.

     7. Rubens and His Friends.

     8. The Women Rubens Loved.

     9. My Favorite Picture by Rubens.

    10. The Masters of Rubens.



    "Of a truth this man would have surpassed us all if he had had
    the master-pieces of art constantly before him."

    "Hardly any master has scattered with so lavish a hand all that
    the soul has conceived of fervid feeling or pathos, all that
    thought has grasped of what is strong or sublime, all that the
    imagination has conceived of poetic wealth; in no one has the
    depth and power of the German genius been so gloriously revealed
    as in him."

    "He was content to be a precious corner-stone in the edifice of
    German Art, the future grandeur of which he could only foresee."

[Illustration: DURER]



In our study of the great artists so far, we have found that each
glorified some particular city and that, whatever other treasures that
city may have had in the past, it is the recollections of its great
artist that hallow it most deeply today. Thus, to think of Antwerp is
to think instantly of Rubens. Leyden and Amsterdam as quickly recall
to our minds the name of Rembrandt. Seville without Murillo would lose
its chief charm, while Urbino _is_ Raphael and, without the revered
name of the painter, would seldom draw the visitor to its secluded

To the quaintest of European cities the name of Albrecht Durer
instinctively carries us--to Nuremberg.

    "That ancient, free, imperial town,
     Forever fair and young."

Were we to study Durer without first viewing his venerable city which
he so deeply loved all his life that no promise of gain from gorgeous
Venetian court or from wealthy Antwerp burgers could detain him long
from home, we should leave untouched a delightful subject and one
deeply inwoven in the life and thought of the artist. Were we to omit
a brief consideration of his time and the way the German mind looked
at things and naturally represented them in words and in pictures, we
should come away from Durer impressed only with his great homely
figures and faces and wondering why, in every list of the great
artists of the world, Durer's name should stand so high.

Having these things in mind, it will not then seem so far away to
speak of Nuremberg and Luther before we rehearse the things which make
up the life of Albrecht Durer.

Nuremberg does not boast a very early date, for she began her
existence just after the year one thousand when men, finding out
surely that the end of the world was not come, took as it were a new
lease of life. The thing she does boast is that her character as a
mediæval town has been almost perfectly preserved up to the present

There were many things which made Nuremberg an important city in early
times. She was conveniently located for traders who shipped vast
amounts of merchandise from Venice to the great trade centers in the
Netherlands. For many years she was a favorite city of the Emperor and
here were kept the crown jewels which were displayed with great pomp
once a year.

The country immediately about Nuremberg was sandy but carefully
cultivated. There were also large banks of clay very useful to the
citizens in the manufacture of pottery. Like the salt of Venice, it
was a natural source of wealth to the citizens. Very early we find a
paper mill here, and here, too, were set up some of the earliest
printing presses. Perhaps the most interesting of the early wares of
this enterprising city were the watches. The first made in the world
were manufactured here and from their shape they were called
"Nuremberg Eggs." We have a story that Charles V. had a watchmaker
brought in a sedan chair all the way from Nuremberg that he might have
his watch repaired. Here was manufactured the first gun-lock, and here
was invented the valued metallic compound known as brass.

From all these sources the citizens grew rich, but their wealth did
not make them forget their city. A little more than fifty years before
Durer's birth, the Emperor being very much in need of money, they
bought their freedom. For this they paid what would be, in our money,
about a million of dollars. It was a goodly price, but they gave it
freely. Then they destroyed the house where their governor or Burgrave
had lived and they were henceforth ruled by a council selected from
their own number.

The city lies on both sides of the river Pegnitz which divides it into
two almost equal parts. The northern side is named from its great
church, St. Sebald's, and the southern for that of St. Lawrence.
Originally the city was enclosed by splendid ramparts. Three hundred
and sixty-five towers broke the monotony of the extensive walls. Of
these one hundred are still standing today. In days gone by, a moat
thirty-five feet wide encircled the wall, but since peace has taken
the place of war and security has come instead of hourly danger, the
moat has been drained and thrifty kitchen gardens fill the space.

    In the church of sainted Sebald sleeps enshrined his holy dust,
    And in bronze the Twelve Apostles guard from age to age their

Within the city are some of the most beautiful buildings both private
and public. Here, too, sculpture, which the Germans cultivated before
they did painting, has left rare monuments. Among these last we must
notice the wonderful shrine of St. Sebald in the church of the same
name. For thirteen years Peter Vischer and his five sons labored on
this work. Long it was to toil and vexing were the questions which
arose in the progress of the work; but the result was a master-piece
which stands alone among the art works of the world. Nor can we forget
the foamy ciborium of the Church of St Lawrence. For sixty-five feet
this miracle of snowy marble rises in the air, growing more lacey at
every step until, in its terminal portions, so delicate does it
become that it seems like the very clouds in fleeciness.


Church doorways are carved with beautiful and fantastic forms by men
whose names were long ago forgotten. Common dwellings are adorned with
picturesque dormer windows. Even the narrow crooked streets hold their
share of beauty, for here are fountains so exquisite in their
workmanship that their like is not to be found elsewhere. Here it is
the Beautiful Fountain, gay with sculptures of heroes and saints, and
there it is the Little Gooseman's Fountain where humor is added to
beauty. Through all the years stands the little man with a goose
under either arm, patiently receiving his daily drenching. Still two
other fountains known to fame send up their crystal waters to greet
the light.


If we seek for more modern things we are also rewarded, for here in
Durer Square stands Rauch's great statue of the artist, copied from
Durer's portrait of himself in Vienna. We note the custom house, one
of the oldest buildings, the town hall and the burg or castle, which
for many years was the favorite residence of the Emperor.

    Everywhere I see around me rise the wondrous world of art;
    Fountains wrought with richest sculpture standing in the
          common mart.--_Longfellow_]

Here, too, are many fine old houses which used to belong to noblemen
of the city. It is not these residences that we seek, however, if
we are visiting Nuremberg. We ask rather for the house of Hans Sachs,
the cobbler poet, of John Palm, the fearless patriot, who gave his
life for the privilege of beating Napoleon, and above all we seek that
quaint house where Durer lived and worked. In choosing these as
objects of our special attention we feel like Charles I., who said,
when he compelled a reluctant courtier to hold Durer's ladder, "Man
can make a nobleman, but only God can make an artist."

In our search for interesting things in old Nuremberg, we come
suddenly upon a house bearing a tablet on which are these words,
"Pilate's House." At first we are mystified, for was not Pilate's
house in Jerusalem? But at once we recall that this is the house of
the pious Jacob Ketzet who twice visited the Holy Land that he might
measure exactly the distance from Pilate's house to Calvary. When he
was satisfied with his measurements he returned to Nuremberg and
commissioned the great sculptor, Adam Kraft, to carve "stations," as
he called them, between his home and St. John's Cemetery to the
northwest of the city. These "stations," which are merely stone
pillars on which are carved in relief scenes from the sufferings of
our Lord just before his death, are still standing, and if we go to
Durer's grave, as I am sure we should wish to do, we shall pass them
on our way.


The Nurembergers have long taken pride in the quaint appearance of
their city, so that many of the newer houses are built in the old
style with their gables to the street. As we note the patriotic spirit
of the people and recount the beauties of the old city, we feel that
Durer was warranted "in the deep love and affection that I have borne
that venerable city, my fatherland," as he expressed it.

  [Illustration: ERASMUS]

As to the time when Durer came into the world, it was truly a
wonderful age in which to live! Less than twenty-five years after his
birth, Columbus found a vast new world. People were already much
agitated over the evil practices in the old established church. Durer
knew and loved Luther and Melancthon but he was quite as much attached
to the scholarly Erasmus, who wished not to break away from the old
church, but merely to correct its abuses. In short Durer belonged to
the Conservative class which found it possible to accept the food in
the new doctrines and retain the pure from the old without revolution.
Such were the citizens of Nuremberg and thus did the ancient city as
easily accept the new doctrines as she did the morning sunshine
pouring in at her storied windows. Thus, too, were preserved the
ancient buildings and institutions, which, through the wisdom of her
citizens, were not called upon to withstand sieges and other military

Durer was above everything a true representative of the German people,
and so we ought to take note of some of the qualities of the German
mind. As Goethe, their greatest poet, says, one of their strongest
characteristics is that of wishing to learn and to do rather than to
enjoy. The Germans love truth and they do not stop short in their
imaginings when they wish to drive it home. So in German art, the
toiling man or woman is often accompanied by angels and demons, the
equal of which were never pictured by any other people. The greatest
extremes of beauty and ugliness have these people given in their art.
In either extreme, however, thoughts on the deepest questions of human
life are at the foundation.

    And above cathedral doorways saints and bishops carved in stone,
    By a former age commissioned as apostles to our own.--_Longfellow_]

On a summer's day in 1455, there wandered into the far-famed city of
Nuremberg a young goldsmith from Hungary. The ramparts of the city
with their towers and gateways, the splendid buildings enclosed, were
like miracles to the youth. It was a fête day in celebration of the
marriage of the son of a prominent citizen, Pirkheimer by name.
Albrecht Durer, for that was the youth's name, long studied the gay
throng, little thinking how in the future the name of his son and that
of the bridegroom there would together be known to fame, the one as
the greatest artist, the other as the most learned man of Nuremberg.
The wandering youth was the father of our artist and the bridegroom
was the father of Wilibald Pirkheimer, Durer's life long friend and

The young goldsmith loved the city at once and, encouraged by the
business activity of the place, he made it his permanent abode. He
found employment with Hieronymus Holper, and soon married his master's
comely daughter, Barbara. They resided in a little house which was a
sort of appendage to the great house of Pirkheimer. A few months after
a much longed for son came to bless the Pirkheimers, a little boy was
born in the goldsmith's house whom they named, for his father,
Albrecht Durer. As the years went by, seventeen other children came to
the Durer home. Three only of all these children grew to maturity.

With such a family to support we can easily imagine that the father's
life was a hard one. He was a pious and industrious man whom his
illustrious son never tires of praising. In one place he says of him,
"He had a great reputation with many who knew him, for he led an
honorable Christian life, was a patient man, gentle, in peace with
everyone and always thankful to God. He had no desire for worldly
pleasures, was of few words, did not go into society and was a
God-fearing man. Thus my dear father was most anxious to bring up his
children to honor God. His highest wish was that his children should
be pleasing to God and man; therefore he used to tell us every day
that we should love God and be true to our neighbors."

Durer sorrowed deeply when his father died in 1502. On his death-bed
he commended the mother to her son. Durer was faithful to his trust
and cared tenderly for his mother until her death, several years
later. Never did boy or man more faithfully keep the command, "Honor
thy father and mother," than did our artist.

For many reasons Albrecht seemed to be his father's favorite child. We
find him, in spite of numerous other cares, taking great pains with
the boy's education. He taught him to read and write well and must
have given him instruction in Latin. These were years when thirst for
learning was abroad in the land. Free Latin schools were established
to meet the needs. Durer's father was filled with this spirit and he
communicated it to his son.

    On the square the oriel window, where in old heroic days,
    Sat the poet Melchoir singing Kaiser Maximilian's praise.

As was customary at the time, the son was trained to follow his
father's trade and so he learned the goldsmith's art in his father's
shop. It is said that in his tender years he engraved, on silver,
events from Christ's passage to Calvary. Albrecht's drawing was
superior to that usually done in a goldsmith's shop. In his free
hours he drew to entertain his companions. After a while he began to
feel that he might paint pictures instead of merely drawing designs
for metal work. He loved the work and so had the courage to tell his
father of his wish to become a painter. The elder Durer was patient
with the boy, regretting only that he had lost so much time learning
the goldsmith's trade. Albrecht, then only sixteen, was surely young
enough to begin his life work! His father put him to study with
Wolgemut, the foremost painter of the city, which is not high praise,
for the art of painting was then new in the prosperous city of the
Pegnitz. Wolgemut was, however, a good engraver on wood and so perhaps
was able to direct the young apprentice in quite as valuable a line as

Here Durer remained for three years, until 1490. He was now but
nineteen, full of hope and perhaps conscious, to a certain extent,
that his was no ordinary skill of hand. He was now ready, according to
the custom of his countrymen, for his "wanderschaft" or journeyman
period, when he should complete his art education by going abroad to
other towns to see their ways and thus improve his own method. For
four years he traveled among neighboring towns. The evidence is strong
that the last year was spent in Venice. We have little certain
knowledge of where he spent these years but we feel quite sure that
one of the places he visited was Colmar, where he became acquainted
with the artist, Martin Schougauer.

He was called home rather suddenly in 1494 by his father, who had
arranged what he thought was an acceptable marriage for his son. A
short time before Durer had sent his father a portrait of himself in
which he figured as a remarkably handsome and well-dressed young man.
It is supposed that the father sent for this portrait to help him
along in his arrangements for the marriage of his son. However
Albrecht may have felt about the matter of making his marriage merely
a business affair, he never expressed himself, but was married shortly
after his return to Nuremberg.

  [Illustration: ST. JOHN AND ST. PETER      _Durer_]

  [Illustration: ST. MARK AND ST. PAUL       _Durer_]

Agnes Frey, the woman selected by Durer's father, was a handsome woman
of good family with a small fortune of her own. She has come down to
us with a most unenviable record as a scold who made life almost
unendurable for her husband. It is now quite certain, however, that
for all these years she has been grossly misrepresented, simply
because her husband's friend Pirkheimer, for small reason, became
offended with her. It seems that in his lifetime Durer, who had
collected many curious and valuable things, had gathered together some
remarkably fine stag-horns. One pair of these especially pleased
Pirkheimer. The widow, without knowing Pirkheimer's desire for
these, sold them for a small sum and thus brought upon herself the
anger of her husband's choleric friend, who wrote a most unkind letter
concerning her which has been quoted from that day to this to show how
Albrecht Durer suffered in his home. The truth seems really to be that
Agnes Durer was as sweet-tempered as the average woman, fond of her
husband and a good housekeeper.

The earlier works of Durer are largely wood-cuts, the art which more
than any other was the artist's very own. The discussions of the times
regarding religious matters made a demand for books even at great
cost. It was a time when written and spoken words held people's
attention, but when, in addition, the text was illustrated by strong
pictures the power and reach of the books were increased ten-fold. A
place thus seemed waiting for Albrecht Durer, the master

His first great series was the _Apocalypse_--pictures to illustrate
the book of Revelations. Such a subject gave Durer ample scope for the
use of his imagination. Then came the story of Christ's agony twice
engraved in small and large size. These were followed by still another
series illustrating the life of Mary. This series was especially
popular, for it glorified family life--the family life of the Germans,
so worthy, so respected. To be sure, Mary is represented as a German
woman tending a dear German child. The kings who come to adore could
be found any day on the streets of Nuremberg. The castles and churches
that figure in the backgrounds are those of mediæval and renaissance
Germany. But this was Durer's method of truth speaking and it appealed
strongly to the people of his time as it must to us of to-day.

In 1506, when the last series was not quite completed, Durer went to
Venice, perhaps to look after the sale of some of his prints, but more
likely because the artist wished to work in the sunshine and art
atmosphere of the island city. While away he wrote regularly to his
friend Pirkheimer. His letters are exceedingly interesting, as we
learn from them much about the art society of the time. Durer was
looked upon with favor by the Venetian government but most of the
native artists were jealous of the foreigner and not friendly. They
complained that his art was like nothing set down as "correct" or
"classical" but still they admired it and copied it, too, on the sly.

  [Illustration: DURER IN VENICE      _Theobald von Oer_]

Gentile Bellini, the founder of the Venetian School, was then a very
old man. He was fond of Durer and showed him many kindnesses, not the
least of which was praising him to the Venetian nobles. There is a
charming story told of Bellini's admiration of Durer's skill in
painting hair: One day, after examining carefully the beard of one of
the saints in a picture by Durer, he begged him to allow him to use
the brush that had done such wonderful work. Durer gladly laid his
brushes before Bellini and indicated the one he had used. The Venetian
picked it up, made the attempt to use it but failed to produce
anything unusual, whereupon Durer took the brush wet with Bellini's
own color and painted a lock of woman's hair in so marvelous a way
that the old artist declared he would not believe it had he not seen
it done.

The most important picture Durer painted while in Venice was the
"_Madonna of the Rose Garlands_." It was painted for the artist's
countrymen and is now in a monastery near Prague. Durer evidently
valued it highly himself for he writes of it to Pirkheimer, "My panel
would give a ducat for you to see it; it is good and beautiful in
color. I have got much praise and little profit by it. I have silenced
all the painters who said that I was good at engraving but could not
manage color. Now everyone says that they have never seen better

After little more than a year's sojourn in Venice, he returned to
Nuremberg. He had been sorely tempted by an offer from the Venetian
Council of a permanent pension if he would but remain in their city.
But the ties of affection which bound him to his home city drew him
back to Nuremberg, even though he had written while in Venice, "How
cold I shall be after this sun! Here I am a gentleman," referring
indirectly to the smaller place he would occupy at home.

Although Durer studied and enjoyed the works of the Italian masters,
there is hardly a trace of the influence of this study in his own
works. His mind was too strongly bent in its own direction to be
easily turned even by so powerful an influence as Venetian painting.
We are grateful indeed for the steadfast purpose of Durer that kept
his art pure German instead of diluting it with Italian style so
little adapted to harmonize with German thought and method.

  [Illustration: PRAYING HANDS      _Durer_]

On Durer's return to Nuremberg he did some of his best work. He
painted one of his greatest pictures at this time, "_All Saints_." It
is crowded with richly dressed figures, while the air above is filled
with an angelic host which no one can count. In the center is the
Cross on which hangs our suffering Lord. Below, in one corner, is
Durer's unmistakable signature, which in this case consists of a full
length miniature of himself holding up a tablet on which is this
inscription, "Albertus Durer of Nuremberg did it in 1511." After this
follows the renowned monogram used by the artist in signing his works
after 1496, the "D" enclosed in a large "A" something after this
style. He then designed a very beautiful and elaborate frame for this
picture to be carved from wood. It was adorned with figures in relief,
beautiful vine traceries and architectural ornaments which showed our
artist master of still another national art--wood-carving.


It is interesting, too, to know that about this time Durer, finding
painting not so lucrative as he had hoped, turned his attention to
engraving on all sorts of hard materials, such as ivory and
hone-stone. To this period belongs that tiny triumph of his art, the
"_Degennoph_," or gold plate, which contains in a circle of little
more than an inch in diameter the whole scene of the Crucifixion
carefully represented.

Through his indefatigable labors Durer's circumstances were now
greatly improved and so he planned to publish his works, a matter of
large expense. Instead of going to some large publishing house, as we
to-day do, Durer had a press set up in his own house. We delight in
illustrated books to-day, indeed we will hardly have a book without
pictures. Imagine then the joy that must have been felt in this time
of the scarcity of even printed books to have those that were
illustrated. There was ready sale for all the books Durer could print.

Some prints came into Raphael's hands. He wrote a friendly letter to
the artist and sent him several of his own drawings. In return Durer
sent his own portrait, life size, which Raphael greatly prized and at
his death bequeathed to his favorite pupil, Julio Romano.

Durer's prosperity continuing, he purchased the house now known to
fame as "Albrecht Durer's House." It is still very much as it was in
the artist's lifetime. Here one may study at his leisure the kitchen
and living-room which seem as if Durer had just left them.

The artist's reputation was now fully established. In 1509, he was
made a member of the Council that governed the city and he was granted
the important commission of painting two pictures for the relic
chamber in Nuremberg. In this room, which was in a citizen's house,
the crown jewels were kept on Easter night, the time of their annual
exhibition to the public. _Sigismund_ and _Charlemagne_ were the
subjects selected, the former probably because it was he who first
gave to Nuremberg the custody of the precious jewels, and the latter
because Charlemagne was a favorite hero with the Germans. The
_Charlemagne_ is here reproduced. In wonderful jeweled coronation
robes, with the coat of arms of France on one side and that of Germany
on the other, he is a fine figure well suited to make us feel Durer's
power as a painter.

  [Illustration: CHARLEMAGNE      _Durer_]

In 1512, there came to Nuremberg a royal visitor, no less a personage
than the Emperor Maximilian. This was of greatest importance to Durer
to whom two important commissions came as the result of this visit.
The Emperor had no settled abode, so his travels were important, at
least to himself. He was fond of dictating poems and descriptions of
these travels. Durer was asked to make wood-cuts for a book of the
Emperor's travels to consist of two parts, the one called _The
Triumphal Arch_ and the other _The Triumphal Car_.

The wood-cuts for the first were made on ninety-two separate blocks
which, when put together, formed one immense cut ten and a half feet
high by nine feet wide. For this Durer made all the designs which were
cut by a skilled workman of the city, Hieronymus Andræ. It was while
this work was going forward that the well-known saying, "A cat may
look at a king," arose. The Emperor was often at the workshop watching
the progress of the work and he was frequently entertained by the pet
cats of the wood-cutter who would come in to be with their master.

The designs for _The Triumphal Car_ were of the same general style. In
these Durer was assisted by other engravers of the city. One
expression of Durer's regarding the ornamentation of the car shows him
skilled in the language of the courtier as well as in that of the
citizen. He says, "It is adorned, not with gold and precious stones,
which are the property of the good and bad alike, but with the virtues
which only the really noble possess."

The noted _Prayer Book of Maximilian_ was the other work done for the
Emperor. Only three of these are in existence and of course they are
almost priceless in value. The text was illustrated by Durer on the
margin in pen and ink drawings in different colored inks. Sometimes
the artist's fancy is expressed in twining vines and flying birds and
butterflies, again it is the kneeling Psalmist listening in rapt
attention to some heavenly harpist, or it may be that the crafty fox
beguiles the unsuspecting fowls with music from a stolen flute. Thus
through almost endless variety of subjects stray the artist's thought
and hand.

We have also a fine likeness of Maximilian drawn in strong free lines
by Durer at this same time. Seeing how deft the artist was with his
crayons, Maximilian took up some pieces which broke in his hand. When
asked why it did not do so in the fingers of the artist, Durer made
the well known reply, "Gracious Emperor, I would not have your majesty
draw as well as myself. I have practised the art and it is my kingdom.
Your majesty has other and more difficult work to do."

  [Illustration: HEAD OF AN OLD MAN      _Durer_]

For all this wonderful work Durer's compensation was little more than
the remission of certain taxes by the Nuremberg Council and the
promise of a small annual pension. Maximilian's death made it doubtful
whether the pension would be paid. Durer in common with others sought
out the new Emperor, Charles V., to have the favors granted by his
predecessor confirmed.

With this in view, in 1520, the artist with his wife and maid set out
for the Netherlands. They were gone something more than a year and a
half, during which time Durer kept a strict account of his expenses
and of his experiences and impressions throughout the journey.
Everywhere he was received with the most marked attention. He was
invited to splendid feasts, and was the recipient of all sorts of
gifts. In return he gave freely of his own precious works.

He made his headquarters at Antwerp and here he witnessed the entry of
the new monarch. The magnificence of the four hundred two-storied
arches erected for the occasion impressed Durer deeply. Of the many
and varied experiences of the Nuremberger, not the least interesting
was his attempt to see a whale that had been cast ashore in Zealand.
He made all haste to see this unusual sight and was nearly
ship-wrecked in the attempt. The exposure, too, to which he was
subjected gave rise to ills which eventually caused his death.

After all his trouble he was disappointed at his journey's end for
the whale had been washed away before he arrived. He finally
accomplished the object for which he went to the Netherlands. His
pension was confirmed and in addition he was named court painter.
Ladened with all sorts of curious things which he had collected and
with a generous supply of presents for his friends and their wives, he
started home where he arrived in due time.

There were but seven years of life left to our painter and these were
burdened with broken health. To this period, however, belong some of
his most wonderful and characteristic works. The very year of his
return he engraved that marvellous "_Head of an Old Man_," now in
Vienna. Never were the striking qualities of age more beautifully put
together than in this head.

  [Illustration: MELANCHOLY      _Durer_]

With about the same time we associate "_The Praying Hands_," now also
in Vienna. How an artist can make hands express the inmost wish of the
soul as these do will always remain a mystery even to the most acute.
We have the story that they were the clasped hands of Durer's boyhood
friend who toiled for years to equal or rival his friend in their
chosen work. When, in a test agreed upon, to Durer was given the
prize, then Hans, for that was the friend's name, prayed fervently to
be resigned to a second place. Durer caught sight of the clasped
hands and drew them so well that wherever the name and fame of
Albrecht goes there also must go the praying hands of his friend.
Whether the story be true we cannot say, but in the hands we have a
master work to love.

At this time the new religious doctrine formed the subject of thought
everywhere. There was the most minute searching for truth that the
world has ever known. Durer, deeply moved by the thought of the time,
put its very essence into his works. He was a philosopher and a
student of men. He saw how the varied temperaments of men led them to
think differently on the great questions of the time. Feeling this
keenly, he set to work to represent these various temperaments in
pictured forms, a most difficult thing to do as we can easily imagine.
Perhaps his own diseased condition led him to select as the first of
these "_Melancholy_," that great brooding shadow that hovers
constantly above man, waiting only for the moment when discouragement
comes to fall upon and destroy its victim.

How does Durer represent this insidious and fatal enemy? A powerful
winged woman sits in despair in the midst of the useless implements of
the art of Science. The compass in her nerveless fingers can no longer
measure, nor even time in his ceaseless flow explain, the mysteries
which crowd upon this well-nigh distraught woman, who it seems must
stand for human reason. The sun itself is darkened by the uncanny bat
which possibly may stand for doubt and unbelief. Perhaps no one can
explain accurately the meaning of this great engraving and therein
lies the greatness, which allows each person to interpret it to please

In painting he attempted the same difficult subject of the
temperaments, in his four apostles, St. Paul and Mark, St. John and
Peter. He painted these without charge as a sort of memorial of
himself in his native town. Two saints are painted on each panel. No
figures in art are more beautiful than the leading one on each panel,
the St. Paul on the one and the St. John on the other. If we interpret
these as regards temperament, John is the type of the melancholy,
Peter of the phlegmatic, Paul of the choleric and Mark of the

In 1526, Durer sent these pictures as a gift to the Council of
Nuremberg. It was the artist's wish that they should always remain in
the Council hall. Notwithstanding this, only copies are now to be seen
in Nuremberg, while the originals are in Munich, carried there by the
Elector of Bavaria, who paid a good price for them.

  [Illustration: THE KNIGHT, DEATH AND THE DEVIL      _Durer_]

One other of Durer's pictures should be spoken of, though it hardly
belongs last in order of time. It is really the summing up of much
that he had done from time to time all through his busy life time.
This picture, called "_The Knight, Death and the Devil_," is an
engraving on copper. The stern, intelligent men of the time, who were
ready to face any danger in order to bear themselves according to
their notions of right, are well represented in this splendid mounted
knight. What though Death reminds him by the uplifted hourglass that
his life is nearly ended? or that Satan himself stands ready to claim
the Knight's soul? There is that in this grand horseman's face that
tells of unflinching purpose and indomitable courage to carry it out
against the odds of earth and the dark regions besides. One of our
greatest art critics says of this work, "I believe I do not exaggerate
when I particularize this point as the most important work which the
fantastic spirit of German Art has produced." A reading of Fouqué's
"Sintram" inspires us anew with the true spirit of Durer's great work.

  [Illustration: ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON      _Durer_]

The gift to his natal city was Durer's last work of note. The sickness
that had been growing upon him, which was none other than consumption,
gradually absorbed his energies and in April, 1528, he died. He was
buried in St. John's Cemetery in the lot belonging to the Frey family.
On the flat gravestone was let in a little bronze tablet on which was
a simple inscription written by his friend Pirkheimer. A century and
a half later Sandrart, the historian of German painters, visited the
tomb, then in ruins. He caused it to be repaired and added another
inscription which has been translated into English:--

    "Rest here, thou Prince of Painters! thou who wast better
          than great,
     In many arts unequaled in the old time or the late.
     Earth thou didst paint and garnish, and now in thy new abode
     Thou paintest the holy things overhead in the city of God.
     And we, as our patron saint, look up to thee, ever will,
     And crown with laurel the dust here left with us still."

Durer's character was one of the purest to be found on the honor-list
of the world. He bore heavy burdens with patience and was true to his
country and to himself in the most distracting of times. He was the
father of popular illustration and the originator of illustrated
books. He was as many-sided in his genius as Da Vinci and as prolific
as Raphael, though along a different line. That he was architect,
sculptor, painter, engraver, author and civil engineer proves the
former point, while the fact that he left a great number of signed
works satisfies us regarding the latter comparison. One who knew him
wrote of him in these words,--"If there were in this man anything
approaching to a fault it was simply the endless industry and
self-criticism which he indulged in, often even to injustice."


In closing this sketch, nothing can so delightfully summarize the
beauty of the old town of Nuremberg and the character of its great
artist as a part of Longfellow's poem, _Nuremberg_:[A]

  In the valley of the Pegnitz, where across broad meadow-lands,
  Rise the blue Franconian mountains, Nuremberg the ancient stands.

  Quaint old town of toil and traffic, quaint old town of art and song,
  Memories haunt thy pointed gables like the rooks that round them

  Memories of the Middle Ages, when the Emperors, rough and bold,
  Had their dwelling in thy castle, time defying, centuries old;

  And thy brave and thrifty burghers boasted, in their uncouth rhyme,
  That their great imperial city stretched its hand thro' every clime.

  In the court-yard of the castle, bound with many an iron band,
  Stands the mighty linden planted by Queen Cunigunde's hand;

  On the square the oriel window, where in old heroic days,
  Sat the poet Melchoir singing Kaiser Maximilian's praise.

  Everywhere I see around me rise the wondrous world of art;
  Fountains wrought with richest sculpture standing in the common mart;

  And above cathedral doorways saints and bishops carved in stone,
  By a former age commissioned as apostles to our own.

  In the church of sainted Sebald sleeps enshrined his holy dust,
  And in bronze the Twelve Apostles guard from age to age their trust;

  In the church of sainted Lawrence stands a pix of sculpture rare,
  Like the foamy sheaf of fountains rising through the painted air.

  Here, when Art was still religion, with a simple, reverent heart
  Lived and labored Albrecht Durer, the Evangelist of Art;

  Hence in silence and in sorrow, toiling still with busy hand,
  Like an emigrant he wandered seeking for the Better Land.

  _Emigravit_ is the inscription on the tomb-stone where he lies;
  Dead he is not, but departed--for the artist never dies.

  Fairer seems the ancient city and the sunshine seems more fair,
  That he once has trod its pavement, that he once has breathed its air!

[A] These stanzas are here reproduced by the courtesy of
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., the regular publishers of Longfellow's


     1. A Day in Ancient Nuremberg.

     2. The Churches of Nuremberg.

     3. With Durer at Antwerp.

     4. Durer and His Friends.

     5. Durer and His Wife.

     6. Durer's Stay in Venice.

     7. Maximilian and the Artist.

     8. Stories about Durer.

     9. The Art of Wood Engraving.

    10. The Fountains of Nuremberg.

    11. Some Stories about St. Sebald.


    "Life of Durer" by Heath.

    "Life of Durer" by Heaton.

    "Life of Durer" by Thansing.

    "Life of Durer" by Sweetser.

    "Art and Artists" by Clement.

    "Durer" by Gurnsey in _Harper's Magazine_, Vol. 40.

  | Transcriber's Note:                                          |
  |                                                              |
  | Page 105 "cleanlines" might be a typographical error for     |
  | "clean lines" or "cleanliness".                              |
  |                                                              |
  | Inconsistencies in the use of the words background(s)/       |
  | back-ground(s); masterpiece(s)/master-piece(s); and          |
  | today/to-day have been retained as in the original book.     |                       |
  |                                                              |
  | The following changes have been made to the original:        |
  |   Page  16 which he carresses gently changed to              |
  |            "caresses"                                        |
  |   Page  75 Mary in some of his lovliest pictures changed to  |
  |            "loveliest"                                       |
  |   Page 105 for their part in the distruction changed to      |
  |            "destruction"                                     |
  |   Page 144 dissapointment, that lies crouching changed to    |
  |            "disappointment"                                  |
  |   Page 187 whole scene of the Crucifiixon changed to         |
  |            "Crucifixion"                                     |
  |   Page 195 magnifience of the four hundred changed to        |
  |            "magnificence"                                    |

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Great Artists, Vol 1. - Raphael, Rubens, Murillo, and Durer" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.