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Title: Six Centuries of Painting
Author: Davies, Randall, 1866-1946
Language: English
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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 "Six Centuries of Painting" ***

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SIX CENTURIES OF PAINTING

[Illustration; VITTORE PISANO

(CALLED PISANELLO)

ST ANTHONY AND ST GEORGE

_National Gallery, London_]



SIX CENTURIES OF

PAINTING

BY

RANDALL DAVIES

[Illustration]

LONDON: T. C. & E. C. JACK

67 LONG ACRE, W.C., AND EDINBURGH



CONTENTS


TUSCAN SCHOOLS--                                                    PAGE

I. GIOVANNI CIMABUE                                                    1

II. GIOTTO DI BONDONE                                                 10

III. THE EARLIER QUATTROCENTISTS                                      18

IV. THE LATER QUATTROCENTISTS                                         26

V. LEONARDO DA VINCI                                                  33

VI. MICHELANGELO BUONARROTI                                           40

VII. RAFFAELLO DI SANTI                                               47


VENETIAN SCHOOLS--

I. THE VIVARINI AND BELLINI                                           59

II. TIZIANO VECELLIO                                                  78

III. PAOLO VERONESE AND IL TINTORETTO                                 99


SPANISH SCHOOL                                                       109


FLEMISH SCHOOL--

I. HUBERT AND JAN VAN EYCK                                           121

II. PETER PAUL RUBENS                                                143

III. THE PUPILS OF RUBENS                                            157


DUTCH SCHOOL--

I. FRANS HALS                                                        165

II. REMBRANDT VAN RYN                                                171

III. PAINTERS OF _GENRE_                                             183

IV. PAINTERS OF ANIMALS                                              191

V. PAINTERS OF LANDSCAPE                                             202


GERMAN SCHOOLS                                                       211


FRENCH SCHOOL--

I. THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY                                           225

II. THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY                                           235


THE ENGLISH SCHOOL--

I. THE EARLY PORTRAIT PAINTERS                                       251

II. WILLIAM HOGARTH                                                  258

III. SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS AND THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH                     267

IV. THE CLOSE OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY                              295


THE NINETEENTH CENTURY--

I. THE SPIRIT OF REVOLT                                              305

II. EUGÈNE DELACROIX                                                 309

III. RUSKIN AGAINST THE PHILISTINES                                  313

IV. MANET AND WHISTLER AGAINST THE WORLD                             324

V. THE ROYAL ACADEMY                                                 329


INDEX                                                                335



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


VITTORE PISANO (called PISANELLO)--St Anthony
and St George                                            _Frontispiece_
National Gallery, London

PLATE                                                        FACING PAGE

I. FILIPPO LIPPI--The Annunciation                                    22
National Gallery, London

II. SANDRO BOTTICELLI(?)--The Virgin and Child                        26

National Gallery, London

III. SANDRO BOTTICELLI--Portrait of a Young Man                       28
National Gallery, London

IV. SANDRO BOTTICELLI--The Nativity                                   32
National Gallery, London

V. LEONARDO DA VINCI--The Virgin of the Rocks                         36
National Gallery, London

VI. PIETRO PERUGINO--Central Portion of Altar-Piece                   50
National Gallery, London

VII. RAPHAEL--The Ansidei Madonna                                     52
National Gallery, London

VIII. RAPHAEL--La Belle Jardinière                                    52
Louvre, Paris

IX. RAPHAEL--Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione                       56
Louvre, Paris

X. CORREGGIO--Mercury, Cupid, and Venus                               58
National Gallery, London

XI. ANDREA MANTEGNA--The Madonna della Vittoria                       68
Louvre, Paris

XII. GIOVANNI BELLINI--The Doge Loredano                              72
National Gallery, London

XIII. GIORGIONE--Venetian Pastoral                                    78
Louvre, Paris

XIV. TITIAN--Portrait said to be of Ariosto                           84
National Gallery, London

XV. TITIAN--The Holy Family                                           86
National Gallery, London

XVI. TITIAN--The Entombment                                           88
Louvre, Paris

XVII. TINTORETTO--St George and the Dragon                           102
National Gallery, London

XVIII. VELAZQUEZ--The Infante Philip Prosper                         112
Imperial Gallery, Vienna

XIX. VELAZQUEZ--The Rokeby Venus                                     118
National Gallery, London

XX. MURILLO--A Boy Drinking                                          120
National Gallery, London

XXI. JAN VAN EYCK--Jan Arnolfini and His Wife                        128
National Gallery, London

XXII. JAN VAN EYCK--Portrait of the Painter's Wife                   132
Town Gallery, Bruges

XXIII. JAN MABUSE--Portrait of Jean Carondelet                       136
Louvre, Paris

XXIV. SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS--Portrait of Hélène Fourment,
the Artist's Second Wife, and two of Her Children                    150
Louvre, Paris

XXV. FRANS HALS--Portrait of a Lady                                  168
Louvre, Paris

XXVI. REMBRANDT--Portrait of Hendrickje Stoffels                     176
Louvre, Paris

XXVII. REMBRANDT--Portrait of an Old Lady                            182
National Gallery, London

XXVIII. TERBORCH--The Concert                                        186
Louvre, Paris

XXIX. GABRIEL METSU--The Music Lesson                                188
National Gallery, London

XXX. PIETER DE HOOCH--Interior of a Dutch House                      190
National Gallery, London

XXXI. JAN VERMEER--The Lace Maker                                    192
Louvre, Paris

XXXII. "THE MASTER OF ST BARTHOLOMEW"--Two Saints                    212
National Gallery, London

XXXIII. HANS HOLBEIN--Portrait of Christina, Duchess of
Milan                                                                224
National Gallery, London

XXXIV. ANTOINE WATTEAU--L'Indifférent                                236
Louvre, Paris

XXXV. JEAN-BAPTISTE GREUZE--The Broken Pitcher                       244
Louvre, Paris

XXXVI. JEAN HONORÉ FRAGONARD--L'Étude                                248
Louvre, Paris

XXXVII. HANS HOLBEIN--Anne of Cleves                                 256
Louvre, Paris

XXXVIII. WILLIAM HOGARTH--The Shrimp Girl                            260
National Gallery, London

XXXIX. SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS--Lady Cockburn and Her Children           274
National Gallery, London

XL. SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS--The Age of Innocence                        284
National Gallery, London

XLI. THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH--The Market Cart                            290
National Gallery, London

XLII. GEORGE ROMNEY--The Parson's Daughter                           298
National Gallery, London

XLIII. GEORGE ROMNEY--Mrs Robinson--"Perdita"                        300
Hertford House, London

XLIV. JACQUES LOUIS DAVID--Portrait of Mme. Récamier                 306
Louvre, Paris

XLV. EUGÈNE DELACROIX--Dante and Virgil                              310
Louvre, Paris

XLVI. JOHN CONSTABLE--The Hay Wain                                   312
National Gallery, London

XLVII. J. M. W. TURNER--Crossing the Brook                           316
National Gallery of British Art, London

XLVIII. ÉDOUARD MANET--Olympia                                       326
Louvre, Paris

XLIX. J. M. WHISTLER--Lillie in Our Alley                            328
In the possession of John J. Cowan, Esq.



_INTRODUCTORY_


So far as it concerns pictures painted upon panel or canvas in tempera
or oils, the history of painting begins with Cimabue, who worked in
Florence during the latter half of the thirteenth century. That the art
was practised in much earlier times may readily be admitted, and the
life-like portraits in the vestibule at the National Gallery taken from
Greek tombs of the second or third century are sufficient proofs of it;
but for the origin of painting as we are now generally accustomed to
understand the term we need go no further back than to Cimabue and his
contemporaries, from whose time the art has uninterruptedly developed
throughout Europe until the present day.

Oddly enough it is to the Christian Church, whose early fathers put
their heaviest ban upon all forms of art, that this development is
almost wholly due. The reaction against paganism began to die out when
the Christian religion was more firmly established, and representations
of Christ and the Saints executed in mosaic became more and more to be
regarded as a necessary, or at any rate a regular embellishment of the
numerous churches which were built. For these mosaics panel paintings
began in time to be substituted; but it was long before any of the human
feeling of art was to be found in them. The influence of S. Francis of
Assisi was needed to prepare the way, and it was only towards the close
of the thirteenth century that the breath of life began to be infused
into these conventional representations, and painting became a living
art.

As it had begun in Italy, under the auspices of the Church, so it
chiefly developed in that country; at first in Florence and Siena, later
in Rome, whither its greatest masters were summoned by the Pope, and in
Venice, where, farther from the ecclesiastical influence, it flourished
more exuberantly, and so became more capable of being transplanted to
other countries. In Germany, however, and the Low Countries it had
appeared early enough to be considered almost as an independent growth,
though not till considerably later were the northern schools capable of
sustaining the reputation given them by the Van Eycks and Roger Van der
Weyden.

But for the effects of the Renaissance in Italy in the fifteenth century
it is questionable whether painting would ever have spread as it did in
the sixteenth and seventeenth to Spain and France. But by the close of
the fifteenth century such enormous progress had been made by the
Italian painters towards the realisation of human action and emotion in
pictures, that from being merely an accessory of religious
establishments, painting had become as much a part of the recognised
means of intellectual enjoyment of everyday life as music, sculpture, or
even the refinements of food and clothing.

Portraiture, in particular, had gradually advanced to a foremost place
in painting. Originally it was used exclusively for memorials of the
dead--as we have seen in the case of the paintings from the Greek
tombs--and on coins and medals. But gradually the practice arose, as
painters became more skilful in representing the appearance of the
model, of introducing the features and figures of actual personages into
religious pictures, in the character of "donors," and as these increased
in importance, the sacred personages were gradually relegated to the
background, and ultimately dispensed with altogether. At the beginning
of the sixteenth century we find Hans Holbein (as an example)
recommended by Erasmus to Sir Thomas More as a portrait painter who
wished to try his fortunes in England; and during the rest of his life
painting practically nothing but portraits.

By the end of the sixteenth century, if not earlier, painting had become
almost as much a business as an art, not only in Italy but in most other
countries in Europe, and was established in each country more or less
independently. So that making every allowance for the various foreign
influences that affected each different country, it is convenient to
trace the development of painting in each country separately, and we
arrange our chapters accordingly under the titles of Tuscan and Venetian
(the two main divisions of Italian painting), Spanish, Flemish, Dutch,
German, French, and British Schools. In each country, as might be
expected--and especially in Italy--there are subdivisions; but, broadly
speaking, the lover of pictures will be quite well enough equipped for
the enjoyment of them if he is able to recognise their country, and
roughly their period, without troubling about the particular district or
personal influence of their origin.

For while it is undoubtedly true that the more one knows about the
history of painting in general the greater will be the appreciation of
the various excellences which tend to perfection, it is absolutely
ridiculous to suppose that only the learned in such matters are capable
of deriving enjoyment from a beautiful picture, or of expressing an
opinion upon it. In the first place, the picture is intended for the
public, and the public have therefore the best right to say whether it
pleases them or not--and why. And it may be noted as a positive fact
that whenever the public, in any country, have a free choice in matters
of art, that choice generally turns out to be right, and is ultimately
endorsed by the best critics. Most of the vulgar art to be found in
advertisements and the illustrated papers is put there by ignorant and
vulgar providers, who imagine that the whole public are as ignorant and
vulgar as themselves; whereas whenever a better standard of taste is
given an opportunity, it never fails to find a welcome. Until Sir Henry
Wood inaugurated the present régime, the Promenade Concerts at Covent
Garden were popularly supposed to represent the national taste in music.
Until the Temple Classics and Every Man's Library were published it was
commonly supposed that the people at large cared for nothing but Bow
Bells, the Penny Novelette, or such unclassical if alluring provender.
In the domain of painting, the Royal Academy has such a firm and ancient
hold on the popular imagination of the English that its influence is
difficult to dispel; but there are many signs that its baneful
ascendency is at length on the decline; and it is well known that the
National Gallery is attracting more and more visitors and Burlington
House less and less as the years go on.

In the following attempt at a general survey of the history of
painting--imperfect or ill-proportioned as it may appear to this or that
specialist or lover of any particular school--I have thought it best to
assume a fair amount of ignorance of the subject on the part of the
reader, though without, I hope, taking any advantage of it, even if it
exists; and I have therefore drawn freely upon several old histories and
handbooks for both facts and opinions concerning the old masters and
their works. In some cases, I think, a dead lion is decidedly better
than a live dog.

R. D.

CHELSEA, 1914.



_TUSCAN SCHOOLS_



I

GIOVANNI CIMABUE


By the will of God, in the year 1240, we are told by Vasari, GIOVANNI
CIMABUE, of the noble family of that name, was born in the city of
Florence, to give the first light to the art of painting. Vasari's
"Lives of the Painters" was first published in Florence in 1550, and
with all its defects and all its inaccuracies, which have afforded so
much food for contention among modern critics, it is still the principal
source of our knowledge of the earlier history of painting as it was
revived in Italy in the thirteenth century.

Making proper allowance for Vasari's desire to glorify his own city, and
to make a dignified commencement to his work by attributing to Cimabue
more than was possibly his due, we need not be deterred by the very
latest dicta of the learned from accepting the outlines of his life of
Cimabue as an embodiment of the tradition of the time in which he
lived--two centuries and a quarter after Cimabue--and, until
contradicted by positive evidence, as worthy of general credence. In the
popular mind Cimabue still remains "The Father of modern painting," and
though his renown may have attracted more pictures and more legends to
his name than properly belong to him, it is certain that Dante, his
contemporary, wrote of him thus:--

    Credette Cimabue nella pintura
    Tener lo campo, ed ora ha Giotto il grido
    Si che la fama di colui s'oscura.

This is at least as important as anything written by a contemporary of
William Shakespeare; and even if we are required to believe that some of
his most important works are by another hand, his influence on the
history of art is beyond question. Let us then follow Vasari a little
further, and we shall find, at any rate, what is typical of the
development of genius.

"This youth," Vasari continues, "being considered by his father and
others to give proof of an acute judgment and a clear understanding, was
sent to Santa Maria Novella to study letters under a relation who was
then master in grammar to the novices of that convent. But Cimabue,
instead of devoting himself to letters, consumed the whole day in
drawing men, horses, houses, and other various fancies on his books and
different papers--an occupation to which he felt himself impelled by
nature."

This is exactly what is recorded of Reynolds, it may be noted, and very
much the same as in the case of Gainsborough, Benjamin West--and many a
modern painter.

"This natural inclination was favoured by fortune, for the governors of
the city had invited certain Greek (probably Byzantine) painters to
Florence, for the purpose of restoring the art of painting, which had
not merely degenerated but was altogether lost. These artists, among
other works, began to paint the chapel of the Gondi in Santa Maria
Novella, and Cimabue, often escaping from the school, and having
already made a commencement of the art he was so fond of, would stand
watching these masters at their work. His father, and the artists
themselves, therefore concluded that he must be well endowed for
painting, and thought that much might be expected from him if he devoted
himself to it. Giovanni was accordingly, much to his delight, placed
with these masters, whom he soon greatly surpassed both in design and
colouring. For they, caring little for the progress of art, executed
their works not in the excellent manner of the ancient Greeks, but in
the rude modern style of their own day. Wherefore, though Cimabue
imitated them, he very much improved the art, relieving it greatly from
their uncouth manner and doing honour to his country by the name that he
acquired and by the works which he performed. Of this we have evidence
in Florence from the pictures which he painted there--as for example the
front of the altar of Saint Cecilia and a picture of the Virgin, in
Santa Croce, which was and still is (_i.e._ in 1550) attached to one of
the pilasters on the right of the choir."

Unfortunately the very first example cited pulls us up short alongside
the official catalogue of the Uffizi Gallery (where the picture was
placed in 1841), in which it is catalogued (No. 20) as "Unknown ...
Vasari erroneously attributes it to Cimabue."

Tiresome as it may seem to be thus distracted, at the very outset, by
the question of authenticity, it is nevertheless desirable to start with
a clear understanding that in surveying in a general way the history and
development of painting, it will be quite hopeless to wait for the final
word on the supposed authorship of every picture mentioned. In this
instance, as it happens, there is no reason to question the modern
catalogue, though that is by no means the same thing as denying that
Cimabue painted the picture which existed in the church of S. Cecilia in
Vasari's time. Is it more likely, it may be asked, that Vasari, who is
accused of unduly glorifying Cimabue, would attribute to him a work not
worthy of his fame, or that during the three centuries since Vasari
wrote a substitution was effected? The other picture, the _Madonna and
Child Enthroned_, which found its way into our National Gallery in 1857,
is still officially catalogued as the work of Cimabue, and it is to be
hoped that this precious relic, together with the Madonnas in the
Louvre, the Florence Academy, and in the lower church at Assisi, may be
long spared to us by the authority of the critics as "genuine
productions" of the beloved master.

On the general question, however, let me reassure the reader by stating
that so far as possible I have avoided the mention of any pictures, in
the following pages, about which there is any grave doubt, save in a few
cases where tradition is so firmly established that it seems heartless
to disturb it until final judgment is entered--of which the following
examples of Cimabue's reputed work may be taken as types. The latest
criticism seeks to deprive him of every single existing picture he is
believed to have painted; those mentioned by Vasari which have perished
may be considered equally unauthentic, but, as before mentioned, his
account of them gives us as well as anything else the story of the
beginnings of the art.

Having afterwards undertaken, Vasari continues, to paint a large picture
in the Abbey of the Santa Trinità in Florence for the monks of
Vallombrosa, he made great efforts to justify the high opinion already
formed of him and showed greater powers of invention, especially in the
attitude of the Virgin, whom he depicted with the child in her arms and
numerous angels around her, on a gold ground. This is the picture now in
the Accademia in Florence. The frescoes next described are no longer in
existence:--

"Cimabue next painted in fresco at the hospital of the Porcellana at the
corner of the Via Nuova which leads into the Borgo Ogni Santi. On the
front of this building, which has the principal door in the centre, he
painted the Virgin receiving the Annunciation from the angel, on one
side, and Christ with Cleophas and Luke on the other, all the figures
the size of life. In this work he departed more decidedly from the dry
and formal manner of his instructors, giving more life and movement to
the draperies, vestments and other accessories, and rendering all more
flexible and natural than was common to the manner of those Greeks whose
work were full of hard lines and sharp angles as well in mosaic as in
painting. And this rude unskilful manner the Greeks had acquired not so
much from study or settled purpose as from having servilely followed
certain fixed rules and habits transmitted through a long series of
years by one painter to another, while none ever thought of the
amelioration of his design, the embellishment of his colouring, or the
improvement of his invention."

After describing Cimabue's activities at Pisa and Assisi with equal
circumstance, Vasari passes to the famous _Rucellai Madonna_, now
supposed to be by the hand of Duccio of Siena. However doubtful the
story may appear in the light of modern criticism, historical or
artistic, it certainly forms part of the history of painting--for its
spirit if not for its accuracy--and as such it can never be too often
quoted:--

"He afterwards painted the picture of the Virgin for the Church of
Santa Maria Novella, where it is suspended on high between the chapel of
the Rucellai family and that of the Bardi. This picture is of larger
size than any figure that had been painted down to those times, and the
angels surrounding it make it evident that although Cimabue still
retained the Greek manner, he was nevertheless gradually approaching the
mode of outline and general method of modern times. Thus it happened
that this work was an object of so much admiration to the people of that
day--they having never seen anything better--that it was carried in
solemn procession, with the sound of trumpets and other festal
demonstration, from the house of Cimabue to the Church, he himself being
highly rewarded and honoured for it. It is further reported, and may be
read in certain records of old painters, that while Cimabue was painting
this picture in a garden near the gate of S. Pietro, King Charles the
Elder of Anjou passed through Florence, and the authorities of the city,
among other marks of respect, conducted him to see the picture of
Cimabue. When this work was thus shown to the King, it had not before
been seen by anyone; wherefore all the men and women of Florence
hastened in great crowds to admire it, making all possible demonstration
of delight."

Now whether or not Vasari was right in crediting Cimabue with these
honours in Florence instead of Duccio in Siena, makes little difference
in the story of the origin and early development of the art of painting.
One may doubt the accuracy of the mosaic account of the Creation, the
authorship of the Fourth Gospel or the Shakespearean poems, or the list
of names of the Normans who are recorded to have fought with William the
Conqueror. But what if one may? The Creation, the poems and plays of
Shakespeare and the battle of Hastings are all of them historic facts,
and neither science, nor literature, nor history is a penny the worse
for the loose though perfectly understandable conditions under which
these facts have been handed down to us. When we come down to times
nearer to our own the accuracy of data is more easily ascertainable,
though the confusion arising out of them often obscures their real
significance; but in looking for origins we are content to ignore the
details, provided we can find enough general information on which to
form an idea of them. To these first chapters of Vasari, then, we need
not hesitate to resort for the main sources of the earlier history of
painting. Even so far as we have gone we have learnt several important
facts as to the nature of the foundations on which the glorious
structure was to be raised.

First of all, it is apparent that the practice of painting, though
strictly forbidden by the earliest Fathers of the Church, was used by
the faithful in the Eastern churches for purposes of decoration, and was
introduced into Italy--we may safely say Tuscany--for the same purpose.

Second, that being transplanted into this new soil, it put forth such
wonderful blossoms that it came to be cultivated with much more regard;
and from being merely a necessary or conventional ornament of certain
portions of the church, was soon accounted its greatest glory.

Third, that it was accorded popular acclamation.

Fourth, that its most attractive feature in the eyes of beholders was
its life-like representation of the human form and other natural
objects.

Prosaic as these considerations may appear, they are nevertheless the
fundamental principles that underlie the whole of the subsequent
development of painting; and unless every picture in the world were
destroyed, and the art of painting wholly lost for at least a thousand
years, there could not be another picture produced which would not refer
back through continuous tradition to one or every one of them. First,
the basis of religion. Second, the development peculiar to the soil.
Third, the imitation of nature. Fourth, the approbation of the
public--there we have the four cardinal points in the chart of painting.

It would be easy enough to contend that painting had nothing whatever to
do with religion--if only by reference to the godless efforts of some of
the modernists; but such a contention could only be based on the
imperfect recognition of what religion actually means. In Italy in the
thirteenth century, as in Spain in the seventeenth, it meant the Church
of Rome. In Germany of the sixteenth, as in England in the eighteenth,
it meant something totally different. To put it a little differently,
all painting that is worth so calling has been done to the glory of God;
and after making due allowance for human frailties of every variety, it
is hard to say that among all the hundreds of great and good painters
there has ever been one who was not a good man.

As for the influence of environment, or nationality, this is so
universally recognised that the term "school" more often means locality
than tuition. We talk generally of the French, English, or Dutch
schools, and more particularly of the Paduan, Venetian, or Florentine.
It is only when we hesitate to call our national treasure a Botticelli
or a Bellini that we add the words "school of" to the name of the master
who is fondly supposed to have inspired its author. The difference
between a wood block of the early eighteenth century executed in
England and Japan respectively may be cited as an extreme instance of
the effect of locality on idea, when the method is identical.

With reference to the imitation of nature, at the mere mention of which
modernists become so furious, it is worth recalling that the earliest
story about painting relates to Zeuxis, who is said to have painted a
bunch of grapes with such skill that the birds ignored the fruit and
pecked at the picture. In later times we hear of Rembrandt being the
butt of his pupils, who, knowing his love of money, used to paint coins
on the floor; and there are plenty of stories of people painting flies
and other objects so naturally as to deceive the unwary spectator.
Vasari is continually praising his compatriots for painting "like the
life."

Lastly, the approbation, or if possible the acclamation, of the public
has seldom if ever been unconsidered by the artist. Where it has, it has
only been the greatest genius that has been able to exist without it. A
man who has anything to say must have somebody to say it to; and though
a painter may seem to be wasting the best part of his life in trying to
make the people understand what he has to say in his language instead of
talking to them in their own common tongue, it is rarely that he fails
in the end, even if, alas for him, the understanding comes too late to
be of any benefit to himself.

Cimabue's last work is said to be a figure, which was left unfinished,
of S. John, in mosaic, for the Duomo at Pisa. This was in 1302, which is
supposed to be the date of his death, though Vasari puts it two years
earlier, at the time he was engaged with the architect Arnolfo Lapi in
superintending the building of the Duomo in Florence, where he is
buried.



II

GIOTTO DI BONDONE


While according all due honour, and probably more, to Cimabue as the
originator of modern painting, it is to his pupil, GIOTTO, that we are
accustomed to look for the first developments of its possibilities. Had
Cimabue's successors been as conservative as his instructors, we might
still be not very much better off than if he had never lived. For much
as there is to admire in Cimabue's painting, it is only the first flush
of the dawn which it heralded, and though containing the germ of the
future development of the art, is yet without any of the glory which in
the fulness of time was to result from it.

To Giotto, Vasari considers, "is due the gratitude which the masters in
painting owe to Nature, seeing that he alone succeeded in resuscitating
art and restoring her to a path that may be called the true one; and
that the art of design, of which his contemporaries had little if any
knowledge, was by his means effectually recalled to life." This seems to
detract in some degree from his eulogies of Cimabue; but it is to the
last sentence that our attention should be directed, which implies that
in profiting by the master's example he succeeded in extending the
possibilities of the new art beyond its first limits. Cimabue, we may
believe, drew his Virgins and Saints from living models, whereas his
predecessors had merely repeated formulas laid down for them by long
tradition. Giotto went further, and extended his scope to the world at
large. For the plain gold background he substituted the landscape, thus
breaking down, as it were, a great wall, and seeing beyond it. Nor was
this innovation merely a technical one--it was the man's nature that
effected it and made his art a living thing.

Giotto, who was born in 1276, was the son of a simple husbandman, who
lived at Vespignano, about fourteen miles from Florence. Cimabue chanced
upon the boy when he was only about ten years old, tending his father's
sheep, and was astonished to find that he was occupied in making a
drawing of one of them upon a smooth piece of rock with a sharp stone.
He was so pleased with this that he asked to be allowed to take him back
to Florence, and the boy proved so apt a pupil that before very long he
was regularly employed in painting.

His influence was not confined to Florence, or even to Tuscany, but the
whole of Italy was indebted to him for a new impulse in art, and he is
said to have followed Pope Clement V. to Avignon and executed many
pictures there. Giotto was not only a painter, but his name is also
famous in the history of architecture: the wonderful Campanile adjoining
the Duomo in Florence was designed by him, and the foundations laid and
the building erected under his instructions. On sculpture too he
exercised a considerable influence, as may be seen in the panels and
statues which adorn the lower part of the tower, suggested if not
actually designed by Giotto, and carved by Andrea Pisano.

Chief of the earlier works of Giotto are his frescoes in the under
church at Assisi, and in these may be seen the remarkable fertility of
invention with which he endowed his successors. Instead of the
conventional Madonna and Child, and groups of saints and angels, we have
here whole legends represented in a series of pictures of almost
dramatic character. In the four triangular compartments of the groined
vaulting are the three vows of the Franciscan Order, namely, Poverty,
Chastity, and Obedience, and in the fourth the glorification of the
saint. In the first, the Vow of Poverty, it is significant to find that
he has taken his subject from Dante. Poverty appears as a woman whom
Christ gives in marriage to S. Francis: she stands among thorns; in the
foreground are two youths mocking her, and on either side a group of
angels as witnesses of the holy union. On the left is a youth, attended
by an angel, giving his cloak to a poor man; on the right are the rich
and great, who are invited by an angel to approach, but turn scornfully
away. The other designs appear to be Giotto's own invention. Chastity,
as a young woman, sits in a fortress surrounded by walls, and angels pay
her devotion. On one side are laymen and churchmen led forward by S.
Francis, and on the other Penance, habited as a hermit, driving away
earthly love and impurity. S. Francis in glory is more conventional, as
might be expected from the nature of the subject.

In the ancient Basilica of S. Peter in Rome Giotto made the celebrated
mosaic of the _Navicella_, which is now in the vestibule of S. Peter's.
It represents a ship, in which are the disciples, on a stormy sea.
According to the early Christian symbolisation the ship denoted the
Church. In the foreground on the right the Saviour, walking on the
waves, rescues Peter. Opposite sits a fisherman in tranquil expectation,
typifying the confident hope of the simple believer. This mosaic has
frequently been moved, and has undergone so much restoration that only
the composition can be attributed to Giotto.

Of the paintings of scriptural history attributed to Giotto very few
remain, and the greater part of those have in recent times been
pronounced to be the work of his followers. Foremost, however, among the
undoubted examples are paintings in the Chapel of the Madonna dell'Arena
at Padua, which was erected in 1303. In thirty-eight pictures, extending
in three rows along the wall, is contained the life of the Virgin. The
ground of the vaulting is blue studded with gold stars, among which
appear the heads of Christ and the prophets, while above the arch of the
choir is the Saviour in a glory of angels. Combined with these sacred
scenes and personages are introduced fitting allusions to the moral
state of man, the lower part of the side walls containing, in medallions
painted in monochrome, allegorical figures of the virtues and vices--the
former feminine and ideal, the latter masculine and individual--while
the entrance wall is covered with the wonderful _Last Judgment_.

Here, as in his allegorical pieces, Giotto appears as a great innovator,
a number of situations suggested by the Scriptures being now either
represented for the first time or seen in a totally new form. Well-known
subjects are enriched with numerous subordinate figures, making the
picture more truthful and more intelligible; as in the Flight into
Egypt, where the Holy Family is accompanied by a servant, and three
other figures are introduced to complete the composition. In the Raising
of Lazarus, too, the disciples behind the Saviour on the one side and
the astonished multitude on the other form two choruses, an arrangement
which is followed, but with considerable modification, in Ouwater's
unique picture of the same subject now in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum at
Berlin. This approach to dramatic reality sometimes assumes a character
which, as Kugler puts it, oversteps the strict limits of the higher
ecclesiastical style. It is worth noting, however, that the early
Netherlandish school--as we shall see in a later chapter--developed this
characteristic to a far greater extent, continuing the tradition handed
down, quite independently of Giotto, through illuminated manuscripts,
and with less of that expression of the highest religious or moral
feeling which is so evident in Giotto.

The few existing altar-pieces of Giotto are less important than his
frescoes, inasmuch as they do not admit of the exhibition of his higher
and most original gifts. Two signed examples are a _Coronation of the
Virgin_ in Santa Croce at Florence, and a _Madonna_, with saints and
angels on the side panels, originally in S. Maria degli Angeli at
Bologna, and now in the Brera at Milan. The latter, however, is not now
recognised as his. The earliest authentic example is the so-called
Stefaneschi altar-piece, painted in 1298 for the same patron who
commissioned the _Navicella_. Giotto's highest merit consists especially
in the number of new subjects which he introduced, in the life-like and
spiritual expression with which he heightened all familiar occurrences
and scenes, and in the choice of the moment of representation. In all
these no earlier Christian painter can be compared with him. Another and
scarcely less important quality he possessed is in the power of
conveying truth of character. The faces introduced into some of his
compositions bear an inward guarantee of their lively resemblance to
some living model, and this characteristic seems to have been eagerly
seized upon by his immediate followers for emulation, as is noticeable
in two of the principal works--in the Bargello at Florence, and in the
church of the Incoronata at Naples--formerly attributed to him but now
relegated to his pupils. The portrait of Dante in a fresco on the wall
of the Bargello shows a deep and penetrating mind, and in the
_Sacraments_ at Naples we find heads copied from life with obvious
fidelity and such a natural conception of particular scenes as brings
them to the mind of the spectator with extraordinary distinctness.

Of Giotto's numerous followers in the fourteenth century it is
impossible in the present work to give any particular account, but of
his influence at large on the practice as on the treatment and
conception of painting at this stage of its development, one or two
examples may be cited as typical of the progress he urged, such as the
frescoes in the Campo Santo at Pisa. This wonderful cloister, which
measures four hundred feet in length and over a hundred in
width--traditionally the dimensions of Noah's ark--was founded by the
Archbishop Ubaldo, before 1200, on his return from Palestine bringing
fifty-three ships laden with earth from the Holy Land. On this soil it
was erected, and surrounded by high walls in 1278. The whole of these
walls were afterwards adorned with paintings, in two tiers.

So far as concerns the history of painting, the question of the
authorship of these frescoes--which are by several distinct hands--is
altogether subordinate to that of the subjects depicted and the manner
in which they are treated, and we shall learn more from a general survey
of them than by following out the fortunes of particular painters. The
earliest are those on the east side, near the chapel, but more important
are those on the north, of about the middle of the fourteenth century,
which show a decided advance, both in feeling and execution, beyond
Giotto. The first is _The Triumph of Death_, in which the supernatural
is tempered with representations of what is mortal to an extent that
already shows that painting was not to be confined to religious uses
alone. All the pleasures and sorrows of life are here represented, on
the earth; it is only in the sky that we see the demons and angels. On
one side is a festive company of ladies and cavaliers, with hawks and
dogs, seated under orange trees, with rich carpets at their feet, all
splendidly dressed. A troubadour and a singing girl amuse them with
songs, _amorini_ flutter around them and wave their torches. On the
other side is another group, also a hunting party, on splendidly
caparisoned horses, and accompanied by a train of attendants. On the
mountains in the background are several hermits, who in contrast to the
votaries of pleasure have attained in a life of contemplation and
abstinence the highest term of human existence. Many of the figures are
traditionally supposed to be portraits.

The centre foreground is devoted to the less fortunate on earth, the
beggars and cripples, and also corpses of the mighty; and with these we
may turn to the allegorical treatment of the subject. To the first group
descends the angel of death, swinging a scythe, and to her the
unfortunate are stretching out their arms in supplication for an end to
their sorrows. The second group, it will be seen, are tracing a path
which leads to three open coffins in which lie the bodies of three
princes in different stages of decay, while a monk on crutches--intended
for S. Macarius--is pointing to them. The air is filled with angels and
demons, some of whom receive the souls of the dead.

A second picture is _The Last Judgment_, and a third _Hell_, the
resemblance between which and the great altar-piece in the Strozzi
Chapel in Santa Maria Novella at Florence, painted by Andrea Orcagna in
1357, was formerly considered proof of the same authorship. They are
now attributed to an unknown disciple of Pietro Lorenzetti, who was
painting in Siena between 1306 and 1348, and is assumed to have been a
pupil of Duccio.

The fourth picture, apparently by another hand--possibly that of
Lorenzetti himself--is _The Life of the Hermits_ in the wilderness of
Thebais, composed of a number of single groups in which the calm life of
contemplation is represented in the most varied manner. In front flows
the Nile, and a number of hermits are seen on its banks still subjected
to earthly occupations; they catch fish, hew wood, carry burdens to the
city, etc. Higher up, in the mountains, they are more estranged from the
world, but the Tempter follows them in various disguises, sometimes
frightful, sometimes seducing. As a whole this composition is
constructed in the ancient manner--as in Byzantine art--several series
rising one above the other, each of equal size, and without any
pretension to perspective: the single groups, at the same time, are
executed with much grace and feeling.

Next to this are six pictures of the history of S. Ranieri, and as many
of the lives of S. Efeso and S. Potito. The latter are known to have
been painted in 1392 by Spinello of Arezzo, or Spinello Aretino as he is
called, of whose work we have some fragments in the National
Gallery--alas too few! Two of these fragments are from his large fresco
_The Fall of the Rebellious Angels_, painted for the church of S. Maria
degli Angeli at Arezzo, which after being whitewashed over were rescued
on the conversion of the church to secular uses. Vasari relates that
when Spinello had finished this work the devil appeared to him in the
night as horrible and deformed as in the picture, and asked him where he
had seen him in so frightful a form, and why he had treated him so
ignominiously. Spinello awoke from his dream with horror, fell into a
state of abstraction, and soon afterwards died.

On the third part of the south wall is represented the history of Job,
in a series of paintings which were formerly attributed to Giotto
himself, though it is now recognised that they cannot be of an earlier
date than about 1370.

The _Temptation of Job_ is by Taddeo Gaddi, and the others, painted in
1372, are probably by Francesco da Volterra--not to be confused with the
sixteenth century painter Daniele da Volterra.

The paintings on the west wall are of inferior workmanship, while those
on the north were the crowning achievement of Benozzo Gozzoli a century
later.



III

THE EARLIER QUATTROCENTISTS


COMING to the second period in the development of the new art--roughly,
that is to say, from 1400 to 1450--Vasari observes that even where there
is no great facility displayed, yet the works evince great care and
thought; the manner is more free and graceful, the colouring more varied
and pleasing; more figures are employed in the compositions, and the
drawing is more correct inasmuch as it is closer to nature. It was
Masaccio, he says, who during this period superseded the manner of
Giotto in regard to the painting of flesh, draperies, buildings, etc.,
and also restored the practice of foreshortening and brought to light
that modern manner which has been followed by all artists. More natural
attitudes, and more effectual expression of feeling in the gestures and
movements of the body resulted, as art seeking to approach the truth of
nature by more correct drawing and to exhibit so close a resemblance to
the face of the living person that each figure might at once be
recognised. _Thus these masters constantly endeavoured to reproduce what
they beheld in nature and no more; their works became consequently more
carefully considered and better understood._ This gave them courage to
lay down rules for perspective and to carry the foreshortenings
precisely to the point which gives an exact imitation of the relief
apparent in nature and the real form. Minute attention to the effects of
light and shade and to various technical difficulties ensued, and
efforts were made towards a better order of composition. Landscapes also
were attempted; tracts of country, trees, shrubs, flowers, clouds, the
air, and other natural objects were depicted with some resemblance to
the realities represented; insomuch that the art might be said not only
to have become ennobled, but to have attained to that flower of youth
from which the fruit afterwards to follow might reasonably be looked
for.

Foremost among the painters of this period was FRA ANGELICO, or to give
him his proper title, Frate Giovanni da Fiesole, who was born in 1387
not far from Florence, and died in 1455. When he was twenty years old he
joined the order of the preaching friars, and all his painting is
devoted to religious subjects. He was a man of the utmost simplicity,
and most holy in every act of his life. He disregarded all worldly
advantages. Kindly to all, and temperate in all his habits, he used to
say that he who practised the art of painting had need of quiet, and
should live without cares and anxious thoughts; adding that he who would
do the work of Christ should perpetually remain with Christ. He was most
humble and modest, and in his painting he gave evidence of piety and
devotion as well as of ability, and the saints that he painted have more
of the air of sanctity than have those of any other master.

It was the custom of Fra Angelico to abstain from retouching or
improving any painting once finished. He altered nothing, but left all
as it was done the first time, believing, as he said, that such was the
will of God. It is also affirmed that he would never take his brushes in
hand until he had first offered a prayer, and he is said never to have
painted a crucifix without tears streaming from his eyes, and in the
countenance and attitude of his figures it is easy to perceive proof of
his sincerity, his goodness, and the depth of his devotion to the
religion of Christ.

This is well seen in the picture of the _Coronation of the Virgin_,
which is now in the Louvre (No. 1290). "Superior to all his other
works," Vasari says of this masterpiece, "and one in which he surpassed
himself, is a picture in the Church of San Domenico at Fiesole; in this
work he proves the high quality of his powers as well as the profound
intelligence he possessed of the art he practised. The subject is the
Coronation of the Virgin by Jesus Christ; the principal figures are
surrounded by a choir of angels, among whom are a vast number of saints
and holy personages, male and female. These figures are so numerous, so
well executed in attitudes, so various, and with expressions of the head
so richly diversified, that one feels infinite pleasure and delight in
regarding them. Nay, one is convinced that those blessed spirits can
look no otherwise in heaven itself, or, to speak under correction, could
not if they had forms appear otherwise; for all the saints male and
female assembled here have not only life and expression most delicately
and truly rendered, but the colouring also of the whole work would seem
to have been given by the hand of a saint or of an angel like
themselves. It is not without sufficient reason therefore that this
excellent ecclesiastic is always called Frate Giovanni Angelico. The
stories from the life of Our Lady and of San Domenico which adorn the
predella, moreover, are in the same divine manner; and I for myself can
affirm with truth that I never see this work but it appears something
new, nor can I ever satisfy myself with the sight of it or have enough
of beholding it."

No less beautiful are the five compartments of the predella to the
altar-piece still in San Domenico at Fiesole--which were purchased for
the National Gallery in 1860 at the then alarming price of £3500--with
no less than two hundred and sixty little figures of saintly personages,
"so beautiful," as Vasari says, "that they appear to be truly beings of
Paradise."

FRA FILIPPO LIPPI, born in Florence about 1406, and dying there in 1469,
was the exact antithesis of Fra Angelico, both in his private life and
in the method of his painting. He was just as earthly in both respects
as Fra Angelico was heavenly. As a child he was put with the Carmelites,
and as he showed an inclination for drawing rather than for study, he
was allowed every facility for studying the newly painted chapel of the
Branacci, and followed the manner of Masaccio so closely that it was
said that the spirit of that master had entered into his body. It is
only fair to Masaccio to add that this means his artistic spirit, for
Filippo's moral character was by no means exemplary. The story of one of
his best-known works, _The Nativity_, which is now in the Louvre (No.
1343), is thus related by Vasari:--"Having received a commission from
the nuns of Santa Margherita, at Prato, to paint a picture for the high
altar of their church, he chanced one day to see the daughter of
Francesco Buti, a citizen of Florence, who had been sent to the convent
as a novice. Filippo, after a glance at Lucrezia--for that was her
name--was so taken with her beauty that he prevailed upon the nuns to
allow him to paint her as the Virgin. This resulted in his falling so
violently in love with her that he induced her to run away with him.
Resisting every effort of her father and of the nuns to make her leave
Filippo, she remained with him, and bore him a son who lived to be
almost as famous a painter as his father. He was called Filippino
Lippi."

The picture of S. John and six saints in the National Gallery (No. 677)
also recalls the story of his wildness, inasmuch as it came from the
Palazzo Medici, where Filippo worked for the great Cosimo di Medici. It
was well known that Filippo paid no attention to his work when he was
engaged in the pursuit of his pleasures, and so Cosimo shut him up in
the palace so that he might not waste his time in running about while
working for him. But Filippo after a couple of days' confinement made a
rope out of his bed clothes, and let himself down from the window, and
for several days gave himself up to his own amusements. When Cosimo
found that he had disappeared, he had search made for him, and at last
Filippo returned; after which Cosimo was afraid to shut him up again in
view of the risk he had run in descending from the window.

Vasari considers that Filippo excelled in his smaller pictures--"In
these he surpassed himself, imparting to them a grace and beauty than
which nothing finer could be imagined. Examples of this may be seen in
the predellas of all the works painted by him. He was indeed an

[Illustration: PLATE I.--FILIPPO LIPPI

THE ANNUNCIATION

_National Gallery, London_]

artist of such power that in his own time he was surpassed by none;
therefore it is that he has not only been always praised by
Michelangelo, but in many particulars has been imitated by him."

As a contributor to the progress of the art of painting he is credited
by Vasari with two innovations, which may be seen in his paintings in
the church of San Domenico at Prato, namely (1) the figures being larger
than life, and thereby forming an example to later artists for giving
true grandeur to large figures; and (2) certain figures clothed in
vestments but little used at that time, whereby the minds of other
artists were awakened and began to depart from that sameness which
should rather be called obsolete monotony than antique simplicity.

It is noticeable that despite his bad character--which is said to have
been the cause of his death by poison--all his work was in religious
subjects. He was painting the chapel in the Church of Our Lady at
Spoleto when, in 1469, he died.

PAOLO UCCELLO, as he was called, was born at Florence in 1397, and died
there in 1475. His real name was Paolo di Dono, but he was so fond of
painting animals and birds--especially the latter--that he officially
signed himself as Paolo Uccello. He devoted so much of his time,
however, to the study of perspective, that both his life and his work
suffered thereby. His wife used to relate that he would stand the whole
night through beside his writing table, and when she entreated him to
come to bed, would only say, "Oh, what a delightful thing is this
perspective!" Donatello, the sculptor, is said to have told him that in
his ceaseless study of perspective he was leaving the substance for the
shadow; but Donatello was not a painter.

Before his time the painters had not studied the question of
perspective scientifically. Giotto had made no attempt at it, and
Masaccio only came nearer to realising it by chance. Brunelleschi, the
architect, laid down its first principles, but it was Uccello who first
put these principles into practice in painting, and thereby paved the
way for his successors to walk firmly upon.

How he struggled with the difficulties of this vitally important subject
may be seen in the large battle-piece at the National Gallery, and
however crude and absurd this fine composition may seem at first sight
to those who are only accustomed to looking at modern pictures, it must
be remembered that Uccello is here struggling, as it were, with a savage
monster which to succeeding painters has, through his efforts, been a
submissive slave.

This picture is one of four panels executed for the Bartolini family.
One of the others is in the Louvre, and a third in the Uffizi.
Another--or indeed almost the only other--work of Uccello which is now
to be seen is the colossal painting in monochrome (_terra-verde_) on the
wall of the cathedral at Florence. Strangely enough, this equestrian
portrait commemorates an Englishman, Sir John Hawkwood, whose name is
Italianized in the inscription into Giovanni Acuto. He was born at Sible
Hedingham in Essex, the son of a tanner, and adventuring under Edward
III. into France, found his way to Florence, where he served the State
so well that they interred him, on his death in 1393, at the public
expense, and subsequently commissioned Uccello to execute his monument.

With all his devotion to science, the artist has committed the strange
mistake of making the horse stand on two legs on the same side, the
other two being lifted.

TO MASACCIO, born in or about 1400, and dying in 1443, we owe a great
step in art towards realism. It was he, says Vasari, who first attained
the clear perception that _painting is only the close imitation, by
drawing and colouring simply, of all the forms presented by nature
showing them as they are produced by her, and that whoever shall most
perfectly effect this may be said to have most nearly approached the
summit of excellence_. The conviction of this truth, he adds, was the
cause of Masaccio's attaining so much knowledge by means of perpetual
study that he may be accounted among the first by whom art was in a
measure delivered from rudeness and hardness; it was he who led the way
to the realisation of beautiful attitudes and movements which were never
exhibited by any painter before his day, while he also imparted a life
and force to his figures, with a certain roundness and relief which
render them truly characteristic and natural. Possessing great
correctness of judgment, Masaccio perceived that all figures not
sufficiently foreshortened to appear standing firmly on the plane
whereon they are placed, but reared up on the points of their feet, must
needs be deprived of all grace and excellence in the most important
essentials. It is true that Uccello, in his studies of perspective, had
helped to lessen this difficulty, but Masaccio managed his
foreshortenings with much greater skill (though doubtless with less
science) and succeeded better than any artist before him. Moreover, he
imparted extreme softness and harmony to his paintings, and was careful
to have the carnations of the heads and other nude parts in accordance
with the colours of the draperies, which he represented with few and
simple folds as they are seen in real life.

Masaccio's principal remaining works are his frescoes in the famous
Branacci Chapel at the Carmine convent in Florence. The work of
decorating the chapel was begun by Masolino, but finished by Masaccio
and Filippo Lippi. Vasari states it as a fact that all the most
celebrated sculptors and painters had become excellent and illustrious
by studying Masaccio's work in this chapel, and there is good reason to
believe that Michelangelo and Raphael profited by their studies there,
without mentioning all the names enumerated by Vasari. Seeing how
important the influence of Masaccio was destined to become, I have
ventured to italicise Vasari's opinions on the causes which operated in
creating the Florentine style and in raising the art of painting to
heights undreamt of by its earliest pioneers.



IV

THE LATER QUATTROCENTISTS


THREE names stand out conspicuously from the ranks of Florentine
painters in the latter half of the fifteenth century. But progress being
one of the essential characteristics of the art at this period, as in
all others, it is not surprising that the order of their fame coincides
(inversely) pretty nearly with that of their date. First, ANTONIO
POLLAIUOLO; second, SANDRO BOTTICELLI; and lastly, LEONARDO DA VINCI.

It is important to note that Pollaiuolo was first apprenticed to a
goldsmith, and attained such proficiency in that craft that he was
employed by Lorenzo Ghiberti in the carving of the gates of the
Baptistry, and subsequently set up a workshop for himself. In
competition with Finiguerra he "executed various stories," says Vasari,
"wherein he fully equalled his competitor in careful execution, while he
surpassed him in beauty of design. The guild of merchants, being
convinced

[Illustration: PLATE II.--SANDRO BOTTICELLI (?)

THE VIRGIN AND CHILD

_National Gallery, London_]

of his ability, resolved to employ him to execute certain stories in
silver for the altar of San Giovanni, and he performed them so
excellently that they were acknowledged to be the best of all those
previously executed by various masters.... In other churches also in
Florence and Rome, and other parts of Italy, his miraculous enamels are
to be seen."

Now whether or not Antonio, like others, continued to exercise this
craft, the account given by Vasari, as follows, of his learning to paint
is extremely significant as showing how painting was regarded in
relation to the kindred arts so widely practised in
Florence:--"Eventually, considering that this craft did not secure a
long life to the work of its masters, Antonio, desiring for his labours
a more enduring memory, resolved to devote himself to it no longer; and
his brother Piero being a painter, he joined himself to him for the
purpose of learning the modes of proceeding in painting. He then found
this to be an art so different from that of the goldsmith that he wished
he had never addressed himself to it. But being impelled by shame rather
than any advantage to be obtained, he acquired a knowledge of the
processes used in painting in the course of a few months, and became an
excellent master."

As early as 1460 he had painted the three large canvases of _Hercules_
for Lorenzo de'Medici, now no longer existing, but probably reflected in
the two small panels of the same subject in the Uffizi. These alone are
enough to mark him as one of the greatest artists of his time. The
magnificent _David_, at Berlin, soon followed, and the little _Daphne
and Apollo_ in our National Gallery. These were all accomplished
unaided, but a little later he worked in concert with his brother Piero,
to whom we are told to attribute parts of the painting of the large _S.
Sebastian_ in the National Gallery, painted in 1475 for Antonio Pucci,
from whose descendant it was purchased. "For the chapel of the Pucci in
the church of San Sebastian," says Vasari, "Antonio painted the
altar-piece--a remarkable and wonderfully executed work with numerous
horses, many nude figures, and singularly beautiful foreshortenings.
Also the portrait of S. Sebastian taken from life, that is to say, from
Gino di Ludovico Capponi. This picture has been more extolled than any
by Antonio. He has evidently copied nature to the utmost of his power,
as we see more especially in one of the archers, who, bending towards
the ground, and resting his bow against his breast, is employing all his
force to prepare it for action; the veins are swelling, the muscles
strained, and the man holds his breath as he applies all his strength to
the effort. All the other figures in the diversity of their attitudes
clearly prove the artist's ability and the labour he has bestowed on the
work."

It is in his superb rendering of the figure, especially in the nude,
that Antonio Pollaiuolo marks a decisive step in the progress of
painting, and is entitled to be regarded as "the first modern artist to
master expression of the human form, its spirit, and its action." But
for him we should miss much of the strength and vigour that
distinguishes the real from the false Botticelli.

"In the same time with the illustrious Lorenzo de Medici, the elder,"
Vasari writes, "which was truly an age of gold for men of talent, there
flourished a certain Alessandro, called after our custom Sandro, and
further named di Botticello, for a reason which we shall presently see.
His father, Mariano Filipepi, a Florentine citizen, brought him up with
care; but although the boy readily acquired whatever he had a mind to
learn,

[Illustration: PLATE III.--SANDRO BOTTICELLI

PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG MAN

_National Gallery, London_]

yet he was always discontented, nor would he take any pleasure in
reading, writing, or accounts; so that his father turned him over in
despair to a friend of his called Botticello, who was a goldsmith.

"There was at that time a close connection and almost constant
intercourse between the goldsmiths and the painters, wherefore Sandro,
who had remarkable talent and was strongly disposed to the arts of
design, became enamoured of painting and resolved to devote himself
entirely to that vocation. He acknowledged his purpose forthwith to his
father, who accordingly took him to Fra Filippo. Devoting himself
entirely to the vocation he had chosen, Sandro so closely followed the
directions and imitated the manner of his master, that Filippo conceived
a great love for him, and instructed him so effectually that Sandro
rapidly attained a degree in art that none could have predicted for
him."

The influence of the Giottesque tradition which was thus handed on to
the youthful Botticelli by Filippo Lippi is traceable in the beautiful
little _Adoration of the Magi_--the oblong, not the _tondo_--in the
National Gallery (No. 592). This was formerly attributed to Filippino
Lippi, but is now universally recognised as one of Sandro's very
earliest productions, when still under the immediate influence of
Filippo, and prior to the _Fortitude_, painted before 1470, which is now
in the Uffizi, and is the first picture mentioned by Vasari,
thus--"While still a youth he painted the figure of Fortitude among
those pictures of the virtues which Antonio and Pietro Pollaiuolo were
executing in the Mercatanzia or Tribunal of Commerce in Florence. In
Santo Spirito (Vasari continues, naming a picture which is probably _The
Virgin Enthroned_, now at Berlin (No. 106)), he painted a picture for
the Bardi family; this work he executed with great diligence, and
finished it very successfully, depicting the olive and palm trees with
extraordinary care."

The influence of Pollaiuolo is more evident in his two next productions,
the two small panels of _Holofernes_ and the _Portrait of a Man with a
Medal_, in the Uffizi, and again in the _S. Sebastian_ now at Berlin,
which was painted in 1473.

About 1476 the second _Adoration of the Magi_ in the National Gallery
was painted, and a year or two later the famous and more splendid
picture of the same subject which is in the Uffizi. With this he
established his reputation, showing himself unmistakably as an artist of
profound feeling and noble character besides being a skilful painter. It
was commissioned for the church of Santa Maria Novella. "In the face of
the oldest of the kings," says Vasari, "there is the most lively
expression of tenderness as he kisses the foot of the Saviour, and of
satisfaction at the attainment of the purpose for which he had
undertaken his long journey. This figure is the portrait of Cosimo
de'Medici, the most faithful and animated likeness of all now known of
him. The second of the kings is the portrait of Giuliano de' Medici,
father of Pope Clement VII., and he is presenting his gift with an
expression of the most devout sincerity. The third, who is likewise
kneeling, seems to be offering thanksgiving as well as adoration; this
is the likeness of Giovanni, the son of Cosimo.

"The beauty which Sandro has imparted to these heads cannot be
adequately described; all the figures are in different attitudes, some
seen full face, others in profile, some almost entirely turned away,
others bent down; and to all the artist has given an appropriate
expression, whether old or young, showing numerous peculiarities, which
prove the mastery he possessed over his art. He has even distinguished
the followers of each king, so that one can see which belong to one and
which to another. It is indeed a most wonderful work; the composition,
the colouring, and the design are so beautiful that every artist to-day
is amazed at it, and at the time it acquired so great a fame for Sandro
that Pope Sixtus IV. appointed him superintendent of the painting of the
chapel he had built in Rome."

The visit to Rome was in 1481, and meantime Botticelli had produced the
wayward _Primavera_, and the more stern and harsh _S. Augustine_ in the
church of Ognissanti. Of his frescoes in the Pope's chapel nearly all
have survived, including _Moses slaying the Egyptian_, _The Temptation_,
and _The Destruction of Korah's Company_, besides such of the heads of
the Popes as were not painted by Domenico Ghirlandaio and his other
assistants in the work.

Returning to Florence in 1482, he was for twenty years without a rival
in the city--after the departure of Leonardo to Milan--and he appears to
have been subjected to no new influences, but steadily to have developed
the immense forces within him. Before 1492 may be dated the two examples
in the National Gallery, the _Portrait of a Youth_ and the fascinating
_Mars and Venus_, which was probably intended as a decoration for some
large piece of furniture. The beautiful and extraordinarily life-like
frescoes in the Louvre (the only recognised works of the master in that
Gallery) from the Villa Lemmi, representing Giovanna Tornabuoni with
Venus and the Graces, and Lorenzo Tornabuoni with the Liberal Arts, are
assigned to 1486. Of this period are also the more familiar _Birth of
Venus_; _The Tondo of the Pomegranate_ and the _Annunciation_ in the
Uffizi, and the San Marco altar-piece, the _Coronation of the Virgin_
in the Florence Academy.

To the influence of Savonarola, however great or little that may have
been, is attributed the seriousness of his latest work. Professor Muther
characterises Botticelli as "the Jeremiah of the Renaissance," but
whether or not this is a rhetorical overstatement, the "tendency to
impassioned and feverish action, so evident in the famous _Calumny of
Apelles_, reflects, no doubt, the agitation of his spiritual stress."[1]

This is the latest of Sandro's works which are in public galleries, and
there is every probability that the last years of his life were not very
productive. "This master is said to have had an extraordinary love for
those whom he knew to be zealous students in art," Vasari tells us, "and
is affirmed to have gained considerable sums of money, but being a bad
manager and very careless, all came to nothing. Finally, having become
old, unfit for work, and helpless, he was obliged to go on crutches,
being unable to stand upright, and so died, after long illness and
decrepitude, in his seventy-eighth year. He was buried at Florence, in
the church of Ognissanti in the year 1510."

The large and beautiful _Assumption of the Virgin_, with the circles of
saints and angels, in the National Gallery, which has only of late years
been taken out of the catalogue of Botticelli's works, is now said to
have been executed by his early pupil FRANCESCO BOTTICINI (_c._
1446-1497) in 1470 or thereabouts. "In the church of San Pietro," Vasari
writes of Botticelli, "he executed a picture for Matteo Palmieri, with a
very large number of figures. The subject is the Assumption of our Lady,
and the zones or circles of heaven are

[Illustration: PLATE IV.--SANDRO BOTTICELLI

THE NATIVITY

_National Gallery, London_]

there painted in their order. The patriarchs, prophets, apostles,
evangelists, martyrs, confessors, doctors, virgins, and the hierarchies;
all of which was executed by Sandro according to the design furnished to
him by Matteo, who was a very learned and able man. The whole work was
conducted and finished with the most wonderful skill and care; at the
foot were the portraits of Matteo and his wife kneeling. But although
this picture is exceedingly beautiful, and ought to have put envy to
shame, yet there were certain malevolent and censorious persons who, not
being able to fix any other blame upon it, declared that Matteo and
Sandro had fallen into grievous heresy." It is apparent that the picture
has suffered intentional injury, and it is known that in consequence of
this supposed heresy the altar which it adorned was interdicted and the
picture covered up.

In view of all the circumstances it is certain that it was designed by
Botticelli, and very possibly executed under his immediate supervision
and with some assistance from him. If we do not see the real Botticelli
in it, we see his influence and his power far more clearly than in the
numerous _tondi_ of Madonna and Child that have been assigned to him in
less critical ages than our own. For the real Botticelli was something
very real indeed, and though it was easy enough to imitate his
mannerisms, neither the style nor the spirit of his work were ever
within reach of his closest followers.



V

LEONARDO DA VINCI


Twelve years younger than Botticelli was LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452-1520),
whose career as a painter commenced in the workshop of Andrea
Verrocchio, goldsmith, painter, and sculptor. That so extraordinary a
genius should have fixed upon painting for his means of expression
rather than any of his other natural gifts is the most telling evidence
of the pre-eminence earned for that art by the efforts of those whose
works we have been considering. For once we may go all the way with
Vasari, and accept his estimate of him as even moderate in comparison
with those of modern writers. "The richest gifts," he writes, "are
sometimes showered, as by celestial influence, on human creatures, and
we see beauty, grace, and talent so united in a single person that
whatever the man thus favoured may turn to, his every action is so
divine as to leave all other men far behind him, and to prove that he
has been specially endowed by the hand of God himself, and has not
obtained his pre-eminence by human teaching. This was seen and
acknowledged by all men in the case of Leonardo da Vinci, in whom, to
say nothing of the beauty of his person, which was such that it could
never be sufficiently extolled, there was a grace beyond expression
which was manifested without thought or effort in every act and deed,
and who besides had so rare a gift of talent and ability that to
whatever subject he turned, however difficult, he presently made himself
absolute master of it. Extraordinary strength was in him joined with
remarkable facility, a mind of regal boldness and magnanimous daring.
His gifts were such that his fame extended far and wide, and he was held
in the highest estimation not in his own time only, but also and even to
a greater extent after his death; and this will continue to be in all
succeeding ages. Truly wonderful indeed and divinely gifted was
Leonardo."

To his activities in directions other than painting, I need not allude
except to say that they account in a great measure for the scarcity of
the pictures he has left us, and to emphasise the significance of his
having painted at all. To a man of such supreme genius the circumstances
in which he found himself, rather than any particular technical
facility, determined the course of his career, and in another age and
another country he might have been a Pheidias or a Newton, a Shakespeare
or a Beethoven.

But if the pictures he has left us are few in number--according to the
present estimate not more than a dozen--they are altogether greater than
anything else in the realm of painting, and with their marvellous beauty
and subtlety have probably had a wider influence, both on painters and
on lovers of painting, than those of any other master. They seem to be
endowed with a spirit of something beyond painting itself, and in the
presence of _The Last Supper_ or the _Mona Lisa_ the babble of
conflicting opinions on questions of style, technique, and what not is
silenced.

Similarly, in writing of Leonardo's pictures, every one of which is a
masterpiece, it seems superfluous to say even a word about what the
whole world already knows so well. All that can be usefully added is a
little of the tradition, where it is sufficiently authenticated,
relating to the circumstances under which they came into existence, and
such of the circumstances of his life as concern their production.

When still quite a youth Leonardo was apprenticed to Andrea Verrocchio,
and the story goes that it was the marvellous painting of the angel, by
the pupil, in the master's _Baptism_ in the Academy at Florence, that
induced Verrocchio to abandon painting and devote himself entirely to
sculpture. This angel has been attributed to the hand of Leonardo from
the earliest times, but can hardly be taken, at any rate in its present
condition, as a decided proof of the genius that was to be displayed in
manhood. More certain are the _S. Jerome_ in the Vatican, and the
_Adoration of the Kings_ in the Uffizi, though neither is carried beyond
the earlier stages of "under-painting." A few finished portraits are now
assigned with tolerable certainty to his earlier years; but for his
famous masterpieces we must jump to the year 1482, when he left Florence
and went to Milan, where for the next sixteen years he was
intermittently engaged in the execution of the great equestrian statue,
which was destroyed by the French mercenaries before it was actually
completed.

It appears that he was recommended by Lorenzo de'Medici to Lodovico il
Moro, Duke of Milan, probably for the very purpose of executing this
statue. However that may be, it is now certain that in 1483 he was
commissioned by the Franciscan monks to paint a picture of the Virgin
and Child for their church of the Conception, and that between 1491 and
1494 Leonardo and his assistant, Ambrogio di Predis, petitioned the Duke
for an arbitration as to price. This was the famous _Virgin of the
Rocks_, now in the Louvre, and the similar, and though not precisely
identical, composition in our National Gallery is generally supposed to
be a replica, painted by Ambrogio under the supervision of, and possibly
with some assistance from, Leonardo himself.

Between 1495 and 1498 Leonardo was engaged on the painting of _The Last
Supper_. In the Forster Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum is a
notebook which contains his first memoranda for the wonderful design of
this masterpiece. At Windsor are studies for the heads of S. Matthew, S.
Philip, and

[Illustration: PLATE V.--LEONARDO DA VINCI

THE VIRGIN OF THE ROCKS

_National Gallery, London_]

Judas, and for the right arm of S. Peter. That of the head of the Christ
in the Brera at Milan has been so much "restored" that it can hardly be
regarded as Leonardo's work. Vasari's account of the delays in the
completion of the painting is better known, and probably less
trustworthy, than one or two notices of about the same date, quoted by
Mr H. P. Horne, in translating and commenting on Vasari. In June 1497,
when the work had been in progress over two years, Duke Lodovico wrote
to his secretary "to urge Leonardo, the Florentine, to finish the work
of the Refectory which he has begun, ... and that articles subscribed by
his hand shall be executed which shall oblige him to finish the work
within the time that shall be agreed upon." Matteo Bandello, in the
prologue to one of his _Novelle_, describes how he saw him actually at
work--"Leonardo, as I have more than once seen and observed him, used
often to go early in the morning and mount the scaffolding (for _The
Last Supper_ is somewhat raised above the ground), and from morning till
dusk never lay the brush out of his hand, but, oblivious of both eating
and drinking, paint without ceasing. After that, he would remain two,
three, or four days without touching it: yet he always stayed there,
sometimes for one or two hours, and only contemplated, considered, and
criticised, as he examined with himself the figures he had made."

Vasari's story of the Prior's head serving for that of Judas is related
with less colour, but probably more truth, in the Discourses of G. B.
Giraldi, who says that when Leonardo had finished the painting with the
exception of the head of Judas, the friars complained to the Duke that
he had left it in this state for more than a year. Leonardo replied that
for more than a year he had gone every morning and evening into the
Borghetto, where all the worst sort of people lived, yet he could never
find a head sufficiently evil to serve for the likeness of Judas: but he
added, "If perchance I shall not find one, I will put there the head of
this Father Prior who is now so troublesome to me, which will become him
mightily."

In 1500 Leonardo was back again in Florence, and his next important work
was the designing, though probably not the actual painting, of the
beautiful picture in the Louvre, _The Virgin and Child with S. Anne_,
the commission for which had been given to Filippino Lippi, but resigned
by him on Leonardo's return. In 1501 Isabella d'Este wrote to know
whether Leonardo was still in Florence, and what he was doing, as she
wished him to paint a picture for her in the palace at Mantua, and in
the reply of the Vicar-General of the Carmelites we have a valuable
account of the artist and his work. "As far as I can gather," he writes,
"the life of Leonardo is extremely variable and undetermined. Since his
arrival here he has only made a sketch in a cartoon. It represents a
Christ as a little child of about a year old, reaching forward out of
his mother's arms towards a lamb. The mother, half rising from the lap
of S. Anne, catches at the child as though to take it away from the
lamb, the animal of sacrifice signifying the Passion. S. Anne, also
rising a little from her seat, seems to wish to restrain her daughter
from separating the child from the lamb; which perhaps is intended to
signify the Church, that would not wish that the Passion of Christ
should be hindered. These figures are as large as life, but they are all
contained in a small cartoon, since all of them sit or are bent; the
figure of the Virgin is somewhat in front of the other, turned towards
the left. This sketch is not yet finished. He has not executed any
other work, except that his two assistants paint portraits and he, at
times, lends a hand to one or another of them. He gives profound study
to geometry, and grows most impatient of painting."

The history of this cartoon--as indeed of the Louvre picture--is
somewhat obscure, but it is certain that the beautiful cartoon of the
same subject in the possession of the Royal Academy is not the one above
described.

Lastly, there is the famous--or, may we say, now more famous than
ever--portrait of _Mona Lisa_. "Whoever wishes to know how far art can
imitate nature," Vasari writes, "may do so in this head, wherein every
detail that could be depicted by the brush has been faithfully
reproduced. The eyes have the lustrous brightness and watery sheen that
is seen in life, and around them are all those rosy and pearly tints
which, like the eyelashes too, can only be rendered by means of the
deepest subtlety; the eyebrows also are painted with the closest
exactitude, where fuller and where more thinly set, in a manner that
could not be more natural. The nose, with its beautiful and delicately
roseate nostrils, seems to be alive. The mouth, wonderful in its
outline, shows the lips perfectly uniting the rose tints of their colour
with that of the face, and the carnation of the cheek appears rather to
be flesh and blood than only painted. Looking at the pit of the throat
one can hardly believe that one cannot see the beating of the pulse, and
in truth it may be said that the whole work is painted in a manner well
calculated to make the boldest master tremble.

"Mona Lisa was exceedingly beautiful, and while Leonardo was painting
her portrait he kept someone constantly near her to sing or play, to
jest or otherwise amuse her, so that she might continue cheerful, and
keep away the melancholy that painters are apt to give to their
portraits. In this picture there is a smile so pleasing that the sight
of it is a thing that appears more divine than human, and it has ever
been considered a marvel that it is not actually alive."

It is worth observing that while these rapturous expressions of wonder
at the life-like qualities of the portrait may seem somewhat tame and
childish in comparison with the appreciation accorded to Leonardo's work
in these times--notably that of Walter Pater in this case--they are in
reality at the root of all criticism. If Vasari, as I have already
pointed out, pitches upon this quality of life-likeness and direct
imitation of nature for his particular admiration, it is only because
the first and foremost object of the earlier painters was in fact to
represent the life; and though in the rarefied atmosphere of modern talk
about art these naïve criticisms may seem out of date, it is significant
that between Vasari and ourselves there is little, if any, difference of
opinion as to which masters were the great ones, and which were not.
"Truly divine" is a phrase in which he sums up the impressions created
in his mind by the less material qualities of some of the greatest, but
before even the greatest could create such an impression they must have
learnt the rudiments of the art in the school of nature.



VI

MICHELANGELO BUONARROTI


IN the opening years of the sixteenth century the art of painting had
attained such a pitch of excellence that unless carried onward by a
supreme genius it could hardly hope to escape from the common lot of
all things in nature, and begin to decline. After Botticelli and
Leonardo, the works of Andrea del Sarto, "the perfect painter" as he has
been called, fall rather flat; and no less a prodigy than Michelangelo
was capable of excelling his marvellous predecessors, or than Raphael of
rivalling them.

Vasari prefaces his life to ANDREA DEL SARTO (1486-1531) with something
more definite than his usual rhetorical flourishes. "At length we have
come," he says, "after having written the lives of many artists
distinguished for colour, for design, or for invention, to that of the
truly excellent Andrea del Sarto, in whom art and nature combined to
show all that may be done in painting when design, colouring, and
invention unite in one and the same person. Had he possessed a somewhat
bolder and more elevated mind, had he been distinguished for higher
qualifications as he was for genius and depth of judgment in the art he
practised, he would beyond all doubt have been without an equal. But
there was in his nature a certain timidity of mind, a sort of diffidence
and want of strength, which prevented those evidences of ardour and
animation which are proper to the highest characters from ever appearing
in him which, could they have been added to his natural advantages,
would have made him truly a divine painter, so that his works are
wanting in that grandeur, richness, and force which are so conspicuous
in those of many other masters.

"His figures are well drawn, and entirely free from errors, and perfect
in all their proportions, and for the most part are simple and chaste.
His airs of heads are natural and graceful in women and children, while
both in youth and old men they are full of life and animation. His
draperies are marvellously beautiful. His nudes are admirably executed,
simple in drawing, exquisite in colouring--nay, they are truly divine."

And yet? Well, let us turn to Michelangelo.

"While the best and most industrious artists," says Vasari, "were
labouring by the light of Giotto and his followers to give the world
examples of such power as the benignity of their stars and the varied
character of their fantasies enabled them to command, and while desirous
of imitating the perfection of Nature by the excellence of Art, they
were struggling to attain that high comprehension which many call
intelligence, and were universally toiling, but for the most part in
vain, the Ruler of Heaven was pleased to turn the eyes of his clemency
towards earth, and perceiving the fruitlessness of so many labours, the
ardent studies pursued without any result, and the presumptuous
self-sufficiency of men which is farther from truth than is darkness
from light, he resolved, by way of delivering us from such great errors,
to send to the world a spirit endowed with universality of power in each
art, and in every profession, one capable of showing by himself alone
what is the perfection of art in the sketch, the outline, the shadows,
or the lights; one who could give relief to painting and with an upright
judgment could operate as perfectly in sculpture; nay, who was so highly
accomplished in architecture also, that he was able to render our
habitations secure and commodious, healthy and cheerful,
well-proportioned, and enriched with the varied ornaments of art."

A more prosaic passage follows presently, occasioned by the innuendoes
of Condivi as to Vasari's intimacy with Michelangelo and his knowledge
of the facts of his life at first hand. Vasari meets this accusation by
quoting the following document relating to the apprenticeship of
Michelangelo to Domenico Ghirlandaio when fourteen years old. "1488. I
acknowledge and record this first day of April that I, Lodovico di
Buonarroti, have engaged Michelangelo my son to Domenico and David di
Tommaso di Currado for the three years next to come, under the following
conditions: That the said Michelangelo shall remain with the above named
all the said time, to the end that they may teach him to paint and to
exercise their vocation, and that the above named shall have full
command over him paying him in the course of these three years
twenty-four florins as wages...."

Besides this teaching in his earliest youth, it is considered probable
that in 1494, when he visited Bologna, he came under influences which
resulted in the execution at about that time of the unfinished
_Entombment_ and the _Holy Family_, which are two of our greatest
treasures in the National Gallery. As he took to sculpture, however,
before he was out of Ghirlandaio's hands, there are few traces of any
activity in painting until 1506, when he was engaged on the designs for
the great battle-piece for the Council Hall at Florence. The one easel
picture of which Vasari makes any mention, the _tondo_ in the Uffizi, is
the only one besides those already noted which is known to exist. "The
Florentine citizen, Angelo Doni," Vasari says, "desired to have some
work from his hand as he was his friend; wherefore Michelangelo began a
circular painting of Our Lady for him. She is kneeling, and presents the
Divine Child to Joseph. Here the artist has finely expressed the delight
with which the Mother regards the beauty of her Son, as is clearly
manifest in the turn of her head and fixedness of her gaze; equally
evident is her wish that this contentment shall be shared by that pious
old man who receives the babe with infinite tenderness and reverence.
Nor was this enough for Michelangelo, since the better to display his
art he has grouped several undraped figures in the background, some
upright, some half recumbent, and others seated. The whole work is
executed with so much care and finish that of all his pictures, which
indeed are but few, this is considered the best."

After relating the story of the artist's quarrel with his friend over
the price of this masterpiece (for which he at first only asked sixty
ducats), Vasari goes on to describe the now lost cartoons for the great
fresco in the Council Hall at Florence, in substance as follows:--

"When Leonardo was painting in the great hall of the Council, Piero
Soderini, who was then Gonfaloniere, moved by the extraordinary ability
which he perceived in Michelangelo [he calls him in a letter a young man
who stands above all his calling in Italy; nay, in all the world],
caused him to be entrusted with a portion of the work, and our artist
began a very large cartoon representing the Battle of Pisa. It
represented a vast number of nude figures bathing in the Arno, as men do
on hot days, when suddenly the enemy is heard to be attacking the camp.
The soldiers spring forth in haste to arm themselves. One is an elderly
man, who to shelter himself from the heat has wreathed a garland of ivy
round his head, and, seated on the ground, is labouring to draw on his
hose, hindered by his limbs being wet. Hearing the sound of the drums
and the cries of the soldiers he struggles violently to get on one of
his stockings; the action of the muscles and distortion of the mouth
evince the zeal of his efforts. Drummers and others hasten to the camp
with their clothes in their arms, all in the most singular attitudes;
some standing, others kneeling or stooping; some falling, others
springing high into the air and exhibiting the most difficult
foreshortenings.... The artists were amazed as they realised that the
master had in this cartoon laid open to them the very highest resources
of art; nay, there are some who still declare that they have never seen
anything to equal it, either from his hand or any other, and they do not
believe that genius will ever more attain to such perfection. Nor is
this an exaggeration, for all who have designed from it and copied
it--as it was the habit for both natives and strangers to do--have
become excellent in art, amongst whom were Raphael, Andrea del Sarto,
Franciabigio, Pontormo, and Piero del Vaga."

In 1508 Michelangelo began to prepare the cartoons for the ceiling of
the Sistine Chapel. Space forbids me to attempt any description of
these, but the story of their completion as related by Vasari can hardly
be omitted. "When half of them were nearly finished," he says, "Pope
Julius, who had gone more than once to see the work--mounting the
ladders with the artist's help--insisted on having them opened to public
view without waiting till the last touches were given, and the chapel
was no sooner open than all Rome hastened thither, the Pope being first,
even before the dust caused by removing the scaffold had subsided. Then
it was that Raphael, who was very prompt in imitation, changed his
manner, and to give proof of his ability immediately executed the
frescoes with the Prophets and Sibyls in the church of the Pace.
Bramante (the architect) also laboured to convince the Pope that he
would do well to entrust the second half to Raphael.... But Julius, who
justly valued the ability of Michelangelo, commanded that he should
continue the work, judging from what he saw of the first half that he
would be able to improve the second. Michelangelo accordingly finished
the whole in twenty months, without help. It is true that he often
complained that he was prevented from giving it the finish he would have
liked owing to the Pope's impatience, and his constant inquiries as to
when it would be finished, and on one occasion he answered, "It will be
finished when I shall have done all that I believe necessary to satisfy
art." "And we command," replied Julius, "that you satisfy our wish to
have it done quickly," adding finally that if it were not at once
completed he would have Michelangelo thrown headlong from the
scaffolding. Hearing this, the artist, without taking time to add what
was wanting, took down the remainder of the scaffolding, to the great
satisfaction of the whole city, on All Saints' Day, when the Pope went
into his chapel to sing Mass."

Michelangelo had much wished to retouch some portions of the work _a
secco_, as had been done by the older masters who had painted the walls;
and to add a little ultramarine to some of the draperies, and gild other
parts, so as to give a richer and more striking effect. The Pope, too,
would now have liked these additions to be made, but as Michelangelo
thought it would take too long to re-erect the scaffolding, the pictures
remained as they were. The Pope would sometimes say to him, "Let the
chapel be enriched with gold and bright colours; it looks poor." To
which Michelangelo would reply, "Holy Father, the men of those days did
not adorn themselves with gold; those who are painted here less than
any; for they were none too rich. Besides, they were holy men, and must
have despised riches and ornaments."



VII

RAFFAELLO DI SANTI


The character and the influence of RAPHAEL are well expressed in the
following sentences with which Vasari concludes his biography:--"O happy
and blessed spirit! every one speaks with interest of thee; celebrates
thy deeds; admires thee in thy works! Well might Painting die when this
noble artist ceased to live; for when his eyes were closed she remained
in darkness. For us who survive him it remains to imitate the excellent
method which he has left for our guidance; and as his great qualities
deserve, and our duty bids us, to cherish his memory in our hearts, and
keep it alive in our discourse by speaking of him with the high respect
which is his due. For through him we have the art in all its extent
carried to a perfection which could hardly have been looked for; and in
this universality let no human being ever hope to surpass him. And,
beside this benefit which he conferred on Art as her true friend, he
neglected not to show us how every man should conduct himself in all the
relations of life. Among his rare gifts there is one which especially
excites my wonder; I mean, that Heaven should have granted him to infuse
a spirit among those who lived around him so contrary to that which is
prevalent among professional men. The painters--I do not allude to the
humble-minded only, but to those of an ambitious turn, and many of this
sort there are--the painters who worked in company with Raphael lived in
perfect harmony, as if all bad feelings were extinguished in his
presence, and every base, unworthy thought had passed from their minds.
This was because the artists were at once subdued by his obliging
manners and by his surpassing merit, but more than all by the spell of
his natural character, which was so full of affectionate kindness, that
not only men, but even the very brutes, respected him. He always had a
great number of artists employed for him, helping them and teaching them
with the kindness of a father to his children, rather than as a master
directing his scholars. For which reason it was observed he never went
to court without being accompanied from his very door by perhaps fifty
painters who took pleasure in thus attending him to do him honour. In
short, he lived more as a sovereign than as a painter. And thus, O Art
of Painting! thou too, then, could account thyself most happy, since an
artist was thine, who, by his skill and by his moral excellence exalted
thee to the highest heaven!"

Raphael was the son of Giovanni Sanzio, or di Santi, of Urbino. He
received his first education as an artist from his father, whom,
however, he lost in his eleventh year. As early as 1495 probably, he
entered the school of Pietro Perugino, at Perugia, where he remained
till about his twentieth year.

The "Umbrian School," in which Raphael received his first education, and
in which he is accordingly placed, is distinguished from the Florentine,
of which it may be said to have been an offshoot, by several
well-defined characteristics. Chief of these are, first, the more
sentimental expression of religious feeling, and second, the greater
attention paid to distance as compared with the principal figures; both
of which are explainable on the ground of local circumstances. They
reflect the difference between the bustling intellectual activity of
Florence and the dreamy existence but broader horizon of the dwellers
in the upper valley of the Tiber. In the beautiful _Nativity_ of PIERO
DELLA FRANCESCA (No. 908 in the National Gallery) we see something akin
to the Florentine pictures, and yet something more besides. Piero shared
with Paolo Uccello the eager desire to discover the secrets of
perspective; but in addition he seems to have been influenced by the
study of nature herself, in the open air, as Uccello never was. His
pupil, LUCA SIGNORELLI (1441-1523), was more formal and less
naturalistic, as may be seen by a comparison between the _Circumcision_
(No. 1128 in the National Gallery) and Piero's _Baptism of Christ_ on
the opposite wall. PIETRO PERUGINO (1446-1523)--his real name was
Vannucci--was influenced both by Signorelli and by Verrocchio. In the
studio of the latter he had probably worked with Leonardo and Lorenzo di
Credi, so that in estimating the influences which went to form the art
of Raphael we need not insist too strongly on the distinction between
"Umbrian" and "Florentine."

Raphael's first independent works (about 1500) are entirely in
Perugino's style. They bear the general stamp of the Umbrian School, but
in its highest beauty. His youthful efforts are essentially youthful,
and seem to contain the earnest of a high development. Two are in the
Berlin Museum. In the one (No. 141) called the _Madonna Solly_, the
Madonna reads in a book; the Child on her lap holds a goldfinch. The
other (No. 145), with heads of S. Francis and S. Jerome, is better.
Similar to it, but much more finished and developed, is a small round
picture, the _Madonna Casa Connestabile_, now at St. Petersburg.

A more important picture of this time is the _Coronation of the
Virgin_, painted for the church of S. Francesco at Perugia in 1503, but
now in the Vatican. In the upper part, Christ and the Madonna are
throned on clouds and surrounded by angels with musical instruments;
underneath, the disciples stand around the empty tomb. In this lower
part of the picture there is a very evident attempt to give the figures
more life, motion, and enthusiastic expression than was before attempted
in the school.

After this, Raphael appears to have quitted the school of Perugino, and
to have commenced an independent career: he executed at this time some
pictures in the neighbouring town of Città di Castello. With all the
features of the Umbrian School, they already show the freer impulse of
his own mind,--a decided effort to individualize. The most excellent of
these, and the most interesting example of this first period of
Raphael's development, is the _Marriage of the Virgin_ (Lo Sposalizio),
inscribed with his name and the date 1504, now in the Brera at Milan.
With much of the stiffness and constraint of the old school, the figures
are noble and dignified; the countenances, of the sweetest style of
beauty, are expressive of a tender, enthusiastic melancholy, which lends
a peculiar charm to this subject.

In 1504 Raphael painted the two little pictures in the Louvre, _S.
George_ and _S. Michael_ (Nos. 1501-2) for the Duke of Urbino. _The
Knight Dreaming_, a small picture, now in the National Gallery (No.
213), is supposed to have been painted a year earlier.

In the autumn of 1504 Raphael went to Florence. Tuscan art had now
attained its highest perfection, and the most celebrated artists were
there contending for the palm. From this period begins his
emancipation

[Illustration: PLATE VI.--PIETRO PERUGINO

CENTRAL PORTION OF ALTAR-PIECE

_National Gallery, London_]

from the confined manner of Perugino's school; the youth ripens into
manhood and acquires the free mastery of form.

To this time belong the celebrated _Madonna del Granduca_, now in the
Pitti Gallery, and another formerly belonging to the Duke of Terra
Nuova, and now at Berlin (No. 247a). In the next year we find him
employed on several large works in Perugia; these show for the first
time the influence of Florentine art in the purity, fullness, and
intelligent treatment of form; at the same time many of the motives of
the Peruginesque school are still apparent. The famous _Cowper Madonna_,
recently sold to an American for £140,000, also belongs to the year
1505, when the blending of the two influences resulted in a picture
which has been extolled by the sanest of critics as "the loveliest of
Raphael's Virgins." An altar-piece, executed for the church of the
Serviti at Perugia, inscribed with the date 1506, is the famous _Madonna
dei Ansidei_, purchased for the National Gallery from the Duke of
Marlborough. Besides the dreamy religious feeling of the School of
Perugia, we perceive here the aim at a greater freedom, founded on
deeper study.

Raphael was soon back in Florence, where he remained until 1508. The
early paintings of this period betray, as might be expected, many
reminiscences of the Peruginesque school, both in conception and
execution; the later ones follow in all essential respects the general
style of the Florentines.

One of the earliest is the _Virgin in the Meadow_, in the Belvedere
Gallery at Vienna. Two others show a close affinity with this
composition; one is the _Madonna del Cardellino_, in the Tribune of the
Uffizi, in which S. John presents a goldfinch to the infant Christ. The
other is the so-called _Belle Jardinière_, inscribed 1507, in the
Louvre.

It is interesting to observe Raphael's progress in the smaller pictures
which he painted in Florence--half-figures of the Madonna and Child.
Here again the earliest are characterised by the tenderest feeling,
while a freer and more cheerful enjoyment of life is apparent in the
later ones. The _Madonna della Casa Tempi_, at Munich, is the first of
this series. In the picture from the Colonna Palace at Rome, now in the
Berlin Museum (No. 248), the same childlike sportiveness, the same
maternal tenderness, are developed with more harmonious refinement. A
larger picture, belonging to the middle time of his Florentine period,
is in the Munich Gallery--the _Madonna Canignani_, which presents a
peculiar study of artificial grouping, in a pyramidal shape. Among the
best pictures of the latter part of this Florentine period are the _S.
Catherine_, now in the National Gallery, formerly in the Aldobrandini
Gallery at Rome, and two large altar-pieces. One of these is the
_Madonna del Baldacchino_, in the Pitti Gallery. The other, _The
Entombment_, painted for the church of S. Francesco at Perugia, is now
in the Borghese Gallery at Rome. This is the first of Raphael's
compositions in which an historical subject is dramatically developed;
but in this respect the task exceeded his powers. The composition lacks
repose and unity of effect; the movements are exaggerated and mannered;
but the figure of the Saviour is extremely beautiful, and may be placed
among the greatest of the master's creations.

About the middle of the year 1508, when only in his twenty-fifth year,
Raphael was invited by Pope

[Illustration: PLATE VII.--RAPHAEL

THE ANSIDEI MADONNA

_National Gallery, London_]

[Illustration: PLATE VIII.--RAPHAEL

LA BELLE JARDINIÈRE

_Louvre, Paris_]

Julius II. to decorate the state apartments in the Vatican. With these
works commences the third period of his development, and in these he
reached his highest perfection. The subjects, more important than any in
which he had hitherto been occupied, gave full scope to his powers; and
the proximity of Michelangelo, who at this time began the painting of
the Sistine Chapel, excited his emulation.

At this period, just before the Reformation, the Papal power had reached
its proudest elevation. To glorify this power--to represent Rome as the
centre of spiritual culture--were the objects of the paintings in the
Vatican. They cover the ceilings and walls of three chambers and a large
saloon, which now bear the name of the "Stanze of Raphael."

The execution of these paintings principally occupied Raphael to the
time of his death, and were only completed by his scholars.

In 1513 and 1514 Raphael also executed designs for the ten tapestries
intended to adorn the Sistine Chapel, representing events from the lives
of the apostles. Seven of these magnificent cartoons are now in the
South Kensington Museum.

Beside these important commissions executed for the Papal court, during
twelve years, many claims were made on him by private persons. Two
frescoes executed for Roman churches may be mentioned. One, in S. Maria
della Pace, represents four Sibyls surrounded by angels, which it is
interesting to compare with the Sibyls of Michelangelo. In each we find
the peculiar excellence of the two great masters; Michelangelo's figures
are grand, sublime, profound, while the fresco of the Pace exhibits
Raphael's serene and ingenious grace. In a second fresco, the prophet
Isaiah and two angels, in the church of S. Agostino at Rome, the
comparison is less favourable to Raphael, the effort to rival the
powerful style of Michelangelo being rather too obvious.

Like all other artists, Raphael is at his best when, undisturbed by
outside influences, he follows the free original impulse of his own
mind. His peculiar element was grace and beauty of form, in so far as
these are the expression of high moral purity.

The following works of his third period are especially deserving of
mention.

The _Aldobrandini Madonna_, now in the National Gallery--in which the
Madonna is sitting on a bench, and bends down to the little S. John, her
left arm round him. The _Madonna of the Duke of Alba_, in the Hermitage
at St. Petersburg. _La Vierge au voile_, in the Louvre; the Madonna is
seated in a kneeling position, lifting the veil from the sleeping Child
in order to show him to the little S. John. The _Madonna della
Seggiola_, in the Pitti at Florence (painted about 1516), a circular
picture. The _Madonna della Tenda_ at Munich; a composition similar to
the last, except that the Child is represented in more lively action,
and looking upwards.

A series of similar, but in some instances more copious compositions,
belong to a still later period; they are in a great measure the work of
his scholars, painted after his drawings, and only partly worked upon by
Raphael himself. Indeed many pictures of this class should perhaps be
considered altogether as the productions of his school, at a time when
that school was under his direct superintendence, and when it was
enabled to imitate his finer characteristics in a remarkable degree.

In this class are the _Madonna dell'Impannata_, in the Pitti, which
takes its name from the oiled-paper window in the background. The large
picture of a _Holy Family_ in the Louvre, painted in 1518, for Francis
I., is peculiarly excellent. The whole has a character of cheerfulness
and joy: an easy and delicate play of graceful lines, which unite in an
intelligible and harmonious whole. Giulio Romano assisted in the
execution.

With regard to the large altar-pieces of his later period in which
several Saints are assembled round the Madonna, it is to be observed
that Raphael has contrived to place them in reciprocal relation to each
other, and to establish a connection between them; while the earlier
masters either ranged them next to one another in simple symmetrical
repose, or disposed them with a view to picturesque effect.

Of these the _Madonna di Foligno_, in the Vatican, is the earliest. In
the upper part of the picture is the Madonna with the Child, enthroned
on the clouds in a glory, surrounded by angels. Underneath, on one side,
kneels the donor, behind him stands S. Jerome. On the other side is S.
Francis, kneeling, while he points with one hand out of the picture to
the people, for whom he entreats the protection of the Mother of Grace;
behind him is S. John the Baptist, who points to the Madonna, while he
looks at the spectator as if inviting him to worship her.

The second, the _Madonna del Pesce_ has much more repose and grandeur as
whole, and unites the sublime and abstract character of sacred beings
with the individuality of nature in the happiest manner. It is now in
Madrid, but was originally painted for S. Domenico at Naples, about
1513. It represents the Madonna and Child on a throne; on one side is
S. Jerome; on the other the guardian angel with the young Tobias who
carries a fish (whence the name of the picture). The artist has imparted
a wonderfully poetic character to the subject. S. Jerome, kneeling on
the steps of the throne, has been reading from a book to the Virgin and
Child, and appears to have been interrupted by the entrance of Tobias
and the Angel. The infant Christ turns towards them, but at the same
time lays his hand on the open book, as if to mark the place. The Virgin
turns towards the Angel, who introduces Tobias; while the latter
dropping on his knees, looks up meekly to the Divine Infant. S. Jerome
looks over the book to the new-comers, as if ready to proceed with his
occupation after the interruption.

But the most important is the famous _Madonna di San Sisto_, at Dresden.
Here the Madonna appears as the queen of the heavenly host, in a
brilliant glory of countless angel-heads, standing on the clouds, with
the eternal Son in her arms; S. Sixtus and S. Barbara kneel at the
sides. Both of them seem to connect the picture with the real
spectators. This is a rare example of a picture of Raphael's later time,
executed entirely by his own hand.

Two large altar pictures still claim our attention; they also belong to
Raphael's later period. One is the _Christ Bearing the Cross_, in
Madrid, known by the name of _Lo Spasimo di Sicilia_, from the convent
of Santa Maria dello Spasimo at Palermo, for which it was painted. Here,
as in the tapestries, we again find a finely conceived development of
the event, and an excellent composition. The other is the
_Transfiguration_, now in the Vatican, formerly in S. Pietro at
Montorio.

[Illustration: PLATE IX.--RAPHAEL

PORTRAIT OF BALDASSARE CASTIGLIONE

_Louvre, Paris_]

This was the last work of the master (left unfinished at his death); the
one which was suspended over his coffin, a trophy of his fame, for
public homage.

"I cannot believe myself in Rome," wrote Count Castiglione, on the death
of the master, "now that my poor Raphael is no longer here." Men
regarded his works with religious veneration as if God had revealed
himself through Raphael as in former days through the prophets. His
remains were publicly laid out on a splendid catafalque, while his last
work, the _Transfiguration_, was suspended over his head. He was buried
in the Pantheon, under an altar adorned by a statue of the Holy Virgin,
a consecration offering from Raphael himself. Doubts having been raised
as to the precise spot, a search was made in the Pantheon in 1833, and
Raphael's bones were found; the situation agreeing exactly with Vasari's
description of the place of interment. On the 18th of October, in the
same year, the relics were reinterred in the same spot with great
solemnities.

       *       *       *       *       *

The schools of Lombardy and the Emilia, which derive their
characteristics from Florentine rather than from Venetian influences,
may here be briefly mentioned before turning to the consideration of the
Venetian School. In 1482, it will be remembered, Leonardo went to Milan,
where he remained till the end of the century; and the extent of his
influence may be judged from many of the productions of BERNADINO LUINI
(1475-1532) and GIOVANNI ANTONIO BAZZI, known as SODOMA (1477-1549). Of
AMBROGIO DI PREDIS we have already heard in connection with the painting
of our version of Leonardo's _Virgin of the Rocks_. GIOVANNI ANTONIO
BOLTRAFFIO (1467-1516) was a pupil of VINCENZO FOPPA, but he soon
abandoned the manner of the old Lombard School, and came under the
influence of the great Florentine, of whom he became a most enthusiastic
disciple.

More independent--indeed, he is officially characterised as "an isolated
phenomenon in Italian Art"--was ANTONIO ALLEGRI, commonly called
CORREGGIO, from the place of his birth. In 1518 he settled at Parma,
where he remained till 1530, so that he is usually catalogued as of the
School of Parma, which for an isolated phenomenon serves as well as any
other. Of late years his popularity has been somewhat diminished by the
increasing demands of private collectors for works which are
purchasable, and most of Correggio's are in public galleries. At Dresden
are some of the most famous, notably the _Nativity_, called "La Notte,"
from its wonderful scheme of illumination, and two or three large
altar-pieces. The _Venus Mercury and Cupid_ in our National Gallery,
though sadly injured, is still one of his masterpieces. It was purchased
by Charles I. with the famous collection of the Duke of Mantua. Our
_Ecce Homo_ is entitled to rank with it, as is also the little _Madonna
of the Basket_.

[Illustration: PLATE X.--CORREGGIO

MERCURY, CUPID, AND VENUS

_National Gallery, London_]



_VENETIAN SCHOOLS_



I

THE VIVARINI AND BELLINI


In Venice the Byzantine style appears to have offered a more stubborn
resistance to the innovators than in Tuscany, or, in fact, in any other
part of Italy. Few, if any, of the allegorical subjects with which
Giotto and his scholars decorated whole buildings are to be found here,
and the altar pictures retain longer than anywhere else the gilt
canopied compartments and divisions, and the tranquil positions of
single figures. It was not until a century after the death of Cimabue
and Duccio that the real development of the Venetian School was
manifested, so that when things did begin to move the conditions were
not the same, and the results accordingly were something substantially
different.

The influence of the Byzantine style still hangs heavily over the work
of NICOLO SEMITECOLO, who was working in Venice in the middle of the
fourteenth century, as may be seen in the great altar-piece ascribed to
him in the Academy--the Coronation of the Virgin with fourteen scenes
from the life of Christ. In this work there is little of the general
advancement visible in other parts of Italy. It corresponds most nearly
with the work of Duccio of Siena, though without attaining his
excellence; while the gold hatchings and olive brown tones are still
Byzantine.

An altar-piece, by MICHELE GIAMBONO, also in the Academy, painted during
the first half of the fifteenth century, shows a more decided advance,
and even anticipates some of the later excellences of the Venetian
School. The drapery is in the long and easy lines which we see in the
Tuscan pictures of the period, and what is especially significant, in
view of the subsequent development of Venetian painting, the colouring
is rich, deep, and transparent, and the flesh tints unusually soft and
warm. This is signed by Giambono, and is one of his most important
works, as well as the most complete, as it exists in its original state
as an _ancona_ or altar-piece divided into compartments by canopies of
joiners' work. It is unusual in form, inasmuch as the central panel,
though slightly larger than the pair on either side, contains but a
single figure. This figure was generally supposed to be the Saviour, but
it has recently been pointed out that it is S. James the Great, the
others being SS. John the Evangelist, Philip Benizi, Michael, and Louis
of Toulouse. Some of Giambono's finest work was in mosaic, and the walls
and roof of the Cappella de'Mascoli in S. Mark's may be regarded as the
highest achievement in mosaic of the early Venetian School. While this
species of decoration had given place to fresco painting elsewhere, it
was here, in 1430, brought to a pitch of perfection by Giambono which
entitles this work to a prominent place in the history of painting.

But the two chief pioneers of the early fifteenth century were Giovanni,
or JOHANNES ALAMANUS, and ANTONIO DA MURANO. The former appears from his
surname to have been of German origin, the latter belonged to the family
of VIVARINI, and they used to work together on the same pictures. Two
excellent examples of this combination are in the Academy at Venice.
The one, dated 1440, is a Coronation of the Virgin, with many figures,
including several boys, and numerous saints seated. In the heads of the
saints we may trace the hand of Alamanus, in the Germanic type of
countenance which recalls the style of Stephen of Cologne. A repetition
of this, if it is not actually the original, is in S. Pantalone at
Venice. The other picture, dated 1446, of enormous dimensions,
represents the Virgin enthroned, beneath a canopy sustained by angels,
with the four Fathers of the Church at her side. The colouring is fully
as flowing and splendid as that of Giambono.

We do not recognise here, as Kugler rightly observes, the influence of
the school of Giotto, but rather the types of the Germanic style
gradually assuming a new character, possibly owing to the social
condition of Venice itself. There was something perhaps in the nature of
a rich commercial aristocracy of the middle ages calculated to encourage
that species of art which offered the greatest splendour and elegance to
the eye; and this also, if possible, in a portable form; thus preferring
the domestic altar or the dedication picture to wall decorations in
churches. The contemporary Flemish paintings, under similar conditions,
exhibit analogous results. With regard to colour, the depth and
transparency observable in the works of the old Venetian School had long
been a distinguishing feature in the Byzantine paintings on wood, and
may therefore be traceable to this source without assuming an influence
on the part of Padua, or from the north through Giovanni Alamanus.

The two side panels of an altar-piece, representing severally SS. Peter
and Jerome, and SS. Francis and Mark, now in the National Gallery (Nos.
768 and 1284), are ascribed to Antonio Vivarini alone, though the centre
panel, the Virgin and Child, now in the Poldi Pezzoli collection at
Milan is said to be the joint work of Alamanus and Antonio. However that
may be, there is no longer any dispute about the fascinating Adoration
of the Kings in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum at Berlin, formerly supposed
to be the work of Gentile da Fabriano, but now catalogued as that of
Antonio.

In 1450 the name of Alamanus disappears altogether, and that of
BARTOLOMMEO VIVARINI, Antonio's younger brother, replaces it in an
inscription upon the great altar-piece commissioned by Pope Nicholas V.
in commemoration of Cardinal Albergati, now in the Pinacoteca of
Bologna. The change is noticeable as introducing the Paduan influence of
Squarcione, under whom Bartolommeo had studied, instead of the northern
influence of Alamanus, into Antonio's workshop, and while this work of
1450, as might be supposed, bears a general resemblance to that of 1446,
the change of partnership is at least perceptible, and had a determining
influence on the development of the Venetian style.

A slightly earlier work of Bartolommeo alone is a Madonna and Child
belonging to Sir Hugh Lane, signed and dated 1448. An altar-piece in the
Venice Academy is dated 1464, a Madonna and Four Saints, in the Frari,
1482, and S. Barbara, in the Academy, 1490. Bartolommeo is supposed to
have died in 1499.

ALVISE, or LUIGI, VIVARINI was the son of Antonio, and though he worked
under him and his uncle Bartolommeo, as well as under Giovanni Bellini,
the Paduan influence is apparent in his work. He was born in 1447, and
his first dated work is an altar-piece at Montefiorentino, in 1475. In
the Academy at Venice is a Madonna dated 1480, and at Naples a Madonna
with SS. Francis and Bernard, 1485. Another Madonna at Vienna is dated
1489, and the large altar-piece in the Basilica at the Kaiser Friedrich
Museum in Berlin is assigned to about the same time. This is the first
of his works in which the influence of Bellini rather than that of his
family is traceable, while of the "Redentore" Madonna at Venice, of
about five years later, Mr Bernhard Bernson says that, "As a composition
no work of the kind by Giovanni Bellini even rivals it." In 1498 he had
advanced so far as to be spoken of as anticipating Giorgione and Titian,
in the effect of light and in the roundness and softness of the figures
of the _Resurrection_, at Bragora. His last work, the altar-piece at the
Frari, was completed after his death in 1504 by his pupil Basaiti.
Bartolommeo Montagna, Jacopo da Valenza and Lorenzo Lotto were the chief
of his other pupils.

In connection with the Vivarini must be mentioned CARLO CRIVELLI, who
studied with Bartolommeo under Antonio and Squarcione. But there was
something fierce and uncongenial about Crivelli which takes him out of
the main body of Venetian painters, and seems to have given him more
pride in being made a knight than in his pictorial achievements,
remarkable as they were. In his ornamentation of every detail with gold
and jewels he recalls the style of Antonio Vivarini, but while the
master used it as accessory merely, Crivelli positively revelled in it.
An inventory of the precious stones, ornaments, fruits and flowers, and
other detached items in the great "Demidoff Altar-Piece" in the National
Gallery would fill several pages. Of the eight examples in this gallery
the earliest is probably the _Dead Christ_, presumably painted in 1472.
The Demidoff altar-piece is dated 1476. The _Annunciation_ (No. 739),
which may be considered his masterpiece, was ten years later. In 1490
Crivelli was knighted by Prince Ferdinand of Capua, and from that date
onward he was careful to add to his signature the title _Miles_--as
appears in our _Madonna and Child Enthroned_, with SS. Jerome and
Sebastian--called the Madonna della Rondine:----

CAROLUS CRIVELLUS VENETUS MILES PINXIT. This was painted for the Odoni
Chapel in S. Francesco at Matelica, the coat of arms of the family being
painted on the step.

Our _Annunciation_ was executed for the convent of the Santissima
Annunziata at Ascoli, and is dated 1486. Three coats of arms on the
front of the step at the bottom of the picture are those of the Bishop
of Ascoli, Pope Innocent VII., the reigning Pontiff, and the City of
Ascoli. Between these are the words _Libertas Ecclesiastica_, in
allusion to the charter of self-government given in 1482 by the Pope to
the citizens of Ascoli. The patron saint of the city, S. Emidius, is
represented as a youth kneeling beside the Archangel, holding in his
hands a model of it. The Virgin is seen through the open door of a
house, and in an open loggia above are peacocks and other birds. Amid
all the rich detail, the significance of the group of figures at the top
of a flight of steps must not be missed, amongst which a child and a
poet are the only two who are represented as noticing the mystic event.

Another painter of the earlier half of the fourteenth century may be
mentioned here, though as he was more famous as a medallist his
influence on the main course of painting is not observable. VITTORE
PISANO, called PISANELLO, was born in Verona before 1400, and died in
1455. Of the few pictures attributed to him we are fortunate in having
two such beautiful examples as the _SS. Anthony and George_ and _The
Vision of S. Eustace_ in the National Gallery. Both exhibit his two most
noticeable characteristics, namely, the minute care and exquisite
feeling that made him the most famous of medallists, and his wonderful
drawing of animals. The latter, it is worth remarking, was attributed by
a former owner to Albert Dürer. The other is signed "Pisanus"; in the
frame are inserted casts of two of his medals, representing Leonello
d'Este, his patron, and a profile of himself.

Another very considerable factor in the development of Venetian painting
was the influence of GENTILE DA FABRIANO (_c._ 1360-1430), who settled
in Venice in the latter part of his life, and there formed the closest
intimacy with Antonio Vivarini. The remarkable _Adoration of the Kings_
in the Berlin Museum was until lately given to Gentile, though it is now
catalogued as the work of Antonio. Of Gentile's education little is
known, and of the numerous works which he executed at Fabriano, in Rome
and in Venice very few have survived. From those that exist, however, we
can form an estimate of his talents and of the difference between his
earlier and later styles. To the first belong a fresco of the Madonna in
the Cathedral at Orvieto, and the beautiful picture of the Madonna and
saints which is now in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum at Berlin. Also the
fine _Adoration of the Kings_, inscribed with his name and the date
1423, formerly in the sacristy of S. Trinità at Florence, and now in the
Accademia. This, his masterpiece, is one of the finest conceptions of
the subject as well as one of the most excellent productions of the
schools descended from Giotto. Of his later period the _Coronation of
the Virgin_ (called the _Quadro della Romita_) in the Brera gallery at
Milan is one of the finest. In many respects his work is like that of
Fra Angelico, and was aptly characterised by Michelangelo when he said
that "Gentile's pictures were like his name." Apart from the influence
of the Paduan School, which will next be noticed, the Venetian owed most
to Gentile da Fabriano, if only as the master of Jacopo Bellini, whose
son, Giovanni Bellini, may be regarded as the real head of the Venetian
School as developed by his pupils Giorgione and Titian at the opening of
the sixteenth century.

Whether or not Giotto left any actual pupils in Padua after completing
the frescoes in the chapel of the arena there, it must be admitted that
the older school of painting in Padua, which centred round the church
containing the body of S. Anthony, was an offshoot of the Florentine,
and that as Giotto was the great leader in Florence he must be
considered the same here; though his followers differ so much from each
other in style that beyond their indebtedness to their founder they have
no distinctive feature in common. But with the opening of the fifteenth
century one particular tendency was developed under the fostering
influence of FRANCESCO SQUARCIONE, born in 1394, which affected in a
very sensible degree the style of the great painters of the next
generation in Venice. This, in a word, was the cult of the antique.

Among the Florentines, as we have seen, the study of form was chiefly
pursued on the principle of direct reference to nature, the especial
object in view being an imitation in two dimensions of the actual
appearances and circumstances of life existing in three. In the Paduan
School it now came to be very differently developed, namely, by the
study of the masterpieces of antique sculpture, in which the common
forms of nature were already raised to a high ideal of beauty. This
school has consequently the merit, as Kugler points out, of applying the
rich results of an earlier, long-forgotten excellence in art to modern
practice. Of a real comprehension of the idealising principle of classic
art there does not appear any trace; what the Paduans borrowed from the
antique was limited primarily to mere outward beauty. Accordingly in the
earliest examples we find the drapery treated according to the antique
costume, and the general arrangement more resembling bas-relief than
rounded groups. The accessories display in like manner a special
attention to antique models, particularly in the architecture, and the
frequent introduction of festoons of fruit; while the exaggerated
sharpness in the marking of the forms due to the combined influence of
the study of the antique and the naturalising tendency of the time,
sometimes borders on excess.

The immediate cause of this almost sudden outbreak of the cult of the
antique--whatever natural forces were behind it--was the visit of
Squarcione to Greece, and Southern Italy, to collect specimens of the
remains of ancient art. On his return to Padua his collection soon
attracted a great number of pupils anxious to avail themselves of the
advantages it offered; and by these pupils, who poured in from all parts
of Italy, the manner of the school was afterwards spread throughout a
great portion of the country. Squarcione himself is better known as a
teacher than as an artist, the few of his remaining works being of no
great importance. There is no example in the National Gallery, but of
the work of his great pupil, Mantegna, we have as much, at any rate, as
will serve to commemorate the master.

ANDREA MANTEGNA was born at Vicenza in 1431, and when no more than ten
years old was inscribed in the guild of Padua as pupil and adopted son
of Squarcione. As early as 1448 he had painted an altar-piece for Santa
Sophia, now lost, and in 1452 the fresco in San Antonio. In 1455 he was
engaged with Nicolo Pizzolo (Donatello's assistant), and others, on the
six frescoes in the Eremitani Church at Padua. The whole of the left
side of the chapel of SS. James and Christopher--the life of S.
James--and the martyrdom of S. Christopher are his, and in these, his
earliest remaining works, we already see the result of pedantic
antiquarianism combined with his extraordinary individuality.

In 1460 he went to Mantua, where he remained for the greater part of his
life, visiting Florence in 1466 and Rome in 1488.

Among his earlier works are the small _Adoration of the Kings_ in the
Uffizi at Florence, the _Death of the Virgin_ and the _S. George_ in the
Venice Academy. From 1484 to 1494 he was intermittently engaged on the
nine great cartoons of _The Triumph of Cæsar_, which are now at Hampton
Court, having been acquired by Charles I. with many other gems from the
Duke of Mantua's collection. On the completion of these he painted the
celebrated _Madonna della Vittoria_, now in the Louvre--a large
altar-piece representing a Madonna surrounded by saints, with Francesco
Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, and his wife, kneeling at her feet. It is a
dedication picture for a victory obtained over Charles VIII. of France
in 1495. It is no less remarkable for its superb execution than for a
softer treatment of the flesh than is usual in Mantegna's work. Two
other pictures in the Louvre are, however, distinguished by similar
qualities--the _Parnassus_, painted in 1497, and the _Triumph of
Virtue_.

[Illustration: PLATE XI.--ANDREA MANTEGNA

THE MADONNA DELLA VITTORIA

_Louvre, Paris_]

In our own collection we have _The Agony in the Garden_, painted in
1459--to which I shall refer presently--two monochrome paintings (Nos.
1125 and 1145), the beautiful _Virgin and Child Enthroned_, with SS.
Mary Magdalen and John the Baptist, which is comparable with the more
famous Louvre _Madonna_, and, lastly, the _Triumph of Scipio_, in
monochrome, painted for Francesco Cornaro, a Venetian nobleman,
completed in 1506, only a few months before the painter's death. In this
we see that Mantegna's antiquarianism was not simply a youthful phase,
but lasted till the very end of his career. The subject is the reception
of the Phrygian mother of the gods among the recognised divinities of
the Roman State, as is indicated on the plinth by the inscription. In
the centre is Claudia Quinta about to kneel before the bust of the
goddess. Behind is Scipio, and in the background are monuments to his
family. The composition includes twenty-two figures. It is significant
that the subject and its treatment are so entirely classic as only to be
appreciated by references to Latin literature.

Another significance attaches to the _Agony in the Garden_ above
mentioned, which is one of the very earliest, as the _Scipio_ is the
very latest, of Mantegna's pictures, being painted before he left Padua
to go to Mantua. In this we find that the original suggestion for the
design appears to have been taken from a drawing in the sketch-book of
his father-in-law, Jacopo Bellini, which is now in the British Museum;
and the same design appears to have served Giovanni Bellini in the
composition of the picture in our gallery (No. 726). This takes us back
to Venice, and accounts for the Paduan influence traceable in the works
of the Bellini family and their pupils.

JACOPO BELLINI, whose considerable talents have been somewhat obscured
by the fame of his two sons, Gentile and Giovanni, was originally a
pupil of Gentile da Fabriano, after whom he named his eldest son. He was
working in Padua in the middle of the fifteenth century, in rivalry with
Squarcione, and in 1453 his daughter Nicolosia married Andrea Mantegna.
Thus it happened that both of his sons came under the influence of
Mantegna, and evidently, too, of the sculptor Donatello, when working at
Padua between 1450 and 1460.

Very few authentic pictures by Jacopo are known to us. _A Crucifixion_
(much repainted) was in the sacristy of the Episcopal Palace at Verona;
and another, which recalls the treatment of his master, Gentile da
Fabriano, at Lovere, near Bergamo. In the sketch-book above mentioned,
the contents of which consist of sacred subjects, and studies from the
antique, both in architecture and in costume, we see the peculiar
tendency of the Paduan School expressed in the most complete and
comprehensive manner. These drawings constitute the most remarkable link
of connection between Mantegna and the sons of Jacopo Bellini, all three
of whom must have studied from them. The book was inherited by Gentile
on his mother's death, and bequeathed by him to his brother on condition
that he should finish the picture of _S. Mark_, on which Gentile was
engaged at the time of his death.

GIOVANNI BELLINI was born in 1428 or 1430 and lived to 1516. Albert
Dürer, writing from Venice in 1506, says that "he is very old, but is
still the best in painting."

The greater number of Bellini's pictures are to be found in the
galleries and churches in Venice, all of those which are dated being
the work of his old age. Of his earlier pictures we are fortunate in
having two fine examples in the National Gallery, _Christ's Agony in the
Garden_ (No. 726) and _The Blood of the Redeemer_ (No. 1233). In both of
these the influence of his famous brother-in-law Andrea Mantegna, is
traceable,--the former being till lately attributed to him. Both
Giovanni and Gentile worked in Padua, where Mantegna was established, in
1460 or thereabouts, and where another influence, that of the sculptor
Donatello, must have had its effect on the young brothers. Similar in
character, and even more beautiful in some respects, is the _Redeemer_,
a single half figure in a landscape, recently acquired for the
Louvre--the first authentic example of the master in that collection.

In 1464, Giovanni had returned to Venice, and it was some years before
the severe Paduan influence melted before "the sensuous feeling of the
true Venetian temperament." In 1475, however, the arrival of Antonello
da Messina in Venice, bringing with him the practice of painting in oil,
effected a revolution, in which Giovanni, if not one of the foremost,
was certainly one of the most successful in adopting the new method. His
later works, so far from showing any diminution of power, may be said to
anticipate the Venetian style of the sixteenth century in the clearest
manner. One of the chief, dated 1488, is the large altar-piece in the
sacristy of S. Maria di Frari, a _Madonna Enthroned_ with two angels and
four saints. The two little angels are of the utmost beauty; the one is
playing on a lute, and listens with head inclined to hear whether the
instrument is in tune; the other is blowing a pipe. The whole is
perfectly finished and of a splendid effect of colour. To the year 1486
belongs a _Madonna Enthroned with Six Saints_, now in the Academy at
Venice. The famous head of the Doge Loredano in the National Gallery
must have been painted in or after 1501. In 1507, he completed the large
picture of _S. Mark Preaching at Alexandria_, now in the Brera Gallery
at Milan, begun by his brother Gentile. Within three years of his death,
namely in 1513, he could produce such a masterwork as the altar-piece in
S. Giovanni Crisostomo. His last work, the landscape in which was
finished by Titian, is dated 1514. This is the famous _Bacchanal_ now in
the collection of the Duke of Northumberland.

The influence of Bellini on the Venetian School was paramount, and his
noble example helped more than anything else to develop the excellences
observable in the works of Cimada Conegliano, Vincenzo Catena, Lorenzo
Lotto, Palma Vecchio and Basaiti, to say nothing of his great pupils
Titian and Giorgione. It is impossible to conjecture what course the
genius of this younger generation would have taken without his guidance,
but when we consider that in 1500 Bellini was seventy years old, and had
stored within his mind the experience of his early association with his
brother-in-law Andrea Mantegna in Padua, the introduction of the use of
oil paints by Antonello da Messina in 1475, since which date he had
sedulously developed the new practice; when we also take into account
the dignity and gravity of his own works, and the indication they afford
of the man himself, it is not difficult to judge how much his pupils and
successors owed to him.

The works of GENTILE BELLINI, the elder brother of Giovanni, are of less
importance, but of considerable interest, especially in view of his
journey to Constantinople in 1479 at the request of the Sultan, whose
portrait he painted there in the following year. A replica

[Illustration: PLATE XII.--GIOVANNI BELLINI

THE DOGE LOREDANO

_National Gallery, London_]

of this portrait has been bequeathed to the National Gallery by Sir
Henry Layard, and it is to be hoped that the difficulties raised by the
Italian government as to its removal from Venice will shortly be
overcome. The picture of _S. Mark Preaching at Alexandria_ already
mentioned as having been finished by Giovanni, is remarkable for the
Oriental costumes of all the figures in it. Gentile's pictures are often
ascribed to his brother; in two examples at the National Gallery (Nos.
808 and 1440) there is actually a false signature on a cartellino. In
the latter instance Messrs Ludwig and Molmenti are still of opinion that
the picture is the work of Giovanni.

VINCENZO CATENA (_c._ 1470-1530) is not known to have been a pupil of
Bellini, but he began by so modelling his style upon him that one of his
works in the National Gallery was until quite lately officially ascribed
to him, namely the _S. Jerome in his Study_. Another, a later work, _A
Warrior Adoring the Infant Christ_ was similarly ascribed to Giorgione.
This is a proof that Catena was very susceptible to various influences,
and was "an artist of extraordinary suppleness of mind, never too old to
learn or to appreciate new ideals and new sentiments." In a manner more
his own is the _Madonna with Four Saints_ in the Berlin Gallery (No.
19). The _S. Jerome_ and the _Warrior_ are among the most popular
pictures in the National Gallery--partly perhaps on account of their
supposed illustrious parentage, but by no means entirely. A painter who
could so absorb the characteristics of two such masters must needs be a
master himself.

CIMA DA CONEGLIANO, so called from his birthplace in Friuli--the rocky
height of which serves as a background in some of his pictures--settled
in Venice in 1490, when he was about thirty years old. The influence of
Bellini may be seen in the temperamental as well as the technical
qualities of his work, which is distinguished by sound drawing and
proportion, fine and brilliant colour, as well as by sympathetic types
of countenance. One of his best and earliest pictures is the _S. John
the Baptist_ with four other saints, in Santa Maria del Orto in Venice.
Another is the _Madonna with S. Jerome and S. Louis_, now in the Vienna
Gallery. A smaller but peculiarly attractive piece is the _S. Anianus of
Alexandria_ healing a shoemaker's wounded hand, at Berlin, distinguished
for its beautiful clear colours and the life-like character of the
heads.

ANDREA PREVITALI, born in Bergamo in 1480, came to Venice to study under
Bellini, whom he succeeded in imitating with remarkable success. _The
Mystic Marriage of S. Catherine_ (No. 1409) in the National Gallery was
formerly attributed to Bellini. If he had not the originality to carry
the art any farther, his pictures are nevertheless a decided and very
agreeable proof of the advance that was being made in it at the
beginning of the sixteenth century, before the full splendour of
Giorgione and Titian had unfolded.

MARCO BASAITI, though probably not a pupil of Bellini, nevertheless
acquired many of his characteristics. The picture in the National
Gallery known as _The Madonna of the Meadow_ was until lately assigned
to Bellini, and another of his, in the Giovanelli Palace at Venice,
which is identical in technique, tone, and general effect with this one,
is still so ascribed. Whether or not he learnt from Bellini, he was
certainly an assistant to Alvise Vivarini, on whose death he completed
the large altar-piece in the Church of S. Maria de Friari at Venice,
representing _S. Ambrose surrounded by Saints_. His _Christ on the Mount
of Olives_ and _The Calling of Zebedee_, both dated 1510, are now in the
Academy at Venice, and together with the _Portrait of a Man_, dated
1521, in the Bergamo Gallery, and _The Assumption_ in S. Pietro Martire
at Murano, may be considered his best performances.

More remote from Bellini, yet not so far as to be entirely free from his
influence in some of their more important compositions, was the school
formed by LAZZARO DI BASTIANI or SEBASTIANI, of which the chief ornament
was Vittore Carpaccio, and among the lesser ones Giovanni Mansueti and
Benedetto Diana. The history of this independent group of painters has
only of late years been elucidated; Kugler, after a page devoted to
Carpaccio, dismissed them with the remark that Mansueti and Bastiani
were both pupils of Carpaccio, and that Benedetto Diana was "less
distinguished." Our national collection was without any example until
1896, when Mansueti's _Symbolic representation of the Crucifixion_ was
purchased. In 1905 the National Art-Collections Fund secured Bastiani's
_Virgin and Child_, and in 1910 Sir Claude Phillips presented Diana's
_Christ Blessing_. Alas! that we are still without anything from the
hand of Vittore Carpaccio. Seven portraits by Moroni do not fill a gap
like this.

The name of Lazzaro de Bastiani first occurs in Venice as a witness to
his brother's will in 1449, and as early as 1460 he was painting an
altar-piece for the Church of San Samuele. Ten years later, the brothers
of the Scuolo di San Marco ordered a picture of the _Story of David_
from him, promising him the same payment as they gave to Jacobo Bellini,
who had been working for them with his two sons Gentile and Giovanni.
In 1474, another proof of his rank and repute as a painter is afforded
by a letter from a gentleman in Constantinople, asking for a picture by
him, but that Giovanni Bellini should paint it in the event of Bastiani
being already dead. He was thus, it would seem, preferred to Bellini,
though it will be remembered that five years later, when the Sultan
expressed the wish that a distinguished portrait-painter should be sent
him from Venice, it was Gentile Bellini who was nominated. All the same,
Gentile was a portrait-painter, and Bastiani was not; and it is fairly
evident that the latter was at least in the front rank. One of his
best-known pictures the _Vergine dai begli occhi_ in the Ducal Palace at
Venice used to be attributed to Giovanni Bellini; but though he appears
to have drawn inspiration for his larger and more important compositions
from Jacobo Bellini, his style was chiefly developed through that of
Giambono. His most important work is now in the Academy at Vienna--an
altar-piece painted for the Church of Corpus Domini, Venice, _S.
Veneranda Enthroned_. In the Imperial Gallery at Vienna are a _Last
Communion_ and _Funeral of S. Girolamo_. In the Academy at Venice are
_S. Anthony of Padua_, seated between the branches of a walnut-tree,
with Cardinal Bonaventura and Brother Leo on either side, a large
picture of a _Miracle of the Holy Cross_, and a remarkable rendering of
_The Madonna Kneeling_, the child being laid under an elaborate canopy.
An _Entombment_ in the Church of S. Antonino at Venice is reminiscent of
Giovanni Bellini at his best.

In 1508, the name of VITTORE CARPACCIO occurs with that of Bastiani in
connection with the frescoes of Giorgione upon the façade of the Fondaco
de Tedeschi, about which there was a dispute. To Carpaccio we are
indebted for the most vivid realization of the contemporary life of
Venice; for although his subjects were nominally taken from sacred
history or legend, they are treated in a thoroughly secular fashion,
giving the clearest idea of the buildings, people, and costume of the
Venice of his time, with the greatest variety and richest development.
His object is not only to represent single events, but a complete scene,
and while we observe this characteristic in one or two pictures by the
Bellini, Carpaccio not only shows it much oftener, but carries it to a
much fuller development--possibly influenced by the Netherlandish
masters.

Many of his works are in the Academy at Venice; eight large pictures,
painted between 1490 and 1495, represent the history of S. Ursula and
the eleven thousand virgins. Such a wealth of charming material might
have embarrassed a less capable painter, but "the monotonous incident
which forms the groundwork of many of them," as Kugler coldly puts it,
"is throughout varied and elevated by a free style of grouping and by
happy moral allusions." Another series is that of the _Miracles of the
Holy Cross_, among which may be especially noticed the cure of a man
possessed by a devil; the scene is laid in the loggia of a Venetian
palace, and is watched from below by a varied group of figures on the
Canal and its banks. Larger and broader treatment may be seen in the
_Presentation in the Temple_, painted in 1510, which is also in the
Academy, and in the altar-piece of _S. Vitale_, dated 1514. This last
brings Carpaccio into closer comparison with the later Venetian
painters, being in the nature of a _Santa Conversazione_, where the holy
personages are grouped in some definite relation to each other, and not
independent figures.

PALMA VECCHIO (1480-1528), so called to distinguish him from Giacomo
Palma the younger--Palma Giovane,--was so much influenced by Giorgione
and Titian that his indebtedness to Bellini appears to have been
comparatively slight. The beautiful _Portrait of a Poet_ in the National
Gallery has been attributed both to Giorgione and to Titian.

The number of pictures which are now permitted by the experts to be
called Giorgione's is so small, that we may learn more about him as an
influence on the work of other painters--especially Titian--than from
the meagre materials available for his own biography. The only
unquestioned examples of his work are three pictures at the Uffizi, _The
Trial of Moses_, _The Judgment of Solomon_, and _The Knight of Malta_;
the _Venus_ at Dresden; _The Three Philosophers_ at Vienna; and the
famous _Concert Champêtre_ in the Louvre. But until the critics deprive
him even of these, we are able to agree that "his capital achievement
was the invention of the modern spirit of lyrical passion and romance in
pictorial art, and his magical charm has never been equalled."



II

TIZIANO VECELLIO


TITIAN occupies almost, if not quite, as important a place in the
history of painting as does Shakespeare in that of literature. His fame,
his popularity, the wide range as well as the immense quantity of his
works, entitle him to be ranked with our poet, if only for the

[Illustration: PLATE XIII.--GIORGIONE

VENETIAN PASTORAL

_Louvre, Paris_]

enormous influence they have both exercised on posterity: and without
carrying the parallel farther than the limits imposed by the difference
of their circumstances and their method of expression, it may fairly be
said that Titian, in painting, stands for us to-day much as Shakespeare
stands for in letters. "Titian," says M. Caro Delvaille,[2] "is the
father of modern painting. As the blood of the patriarchs of old infused
the veins of a whole race, so the genius of the most productive of
painters was destined to infuse those of artists through all the ages
even to the present day. He bequeathed, in his enormous _oeuvre_, a
heritage in which generations of painters have participated."

Not only was he the father of modern painting, but he was himself the
first modern painter, just as Shakespeare was, to all present intents
and purposes, the first modern writer. Among a thousand readers of
Shakespeare, there is possibly not more than one who has ever read a
line of Chaucer, or who has ever heard of any of his other predecessors.
So it is with Titian. To the connoisseur, Titian is one of the latest
painters; to the public he is the earliest. "In certain of his
portraits," we read in the National Gallery Catalogue, "he ranks with
the supreme masters; in certain other aspects he is seen as the greatest
academician, as perhaps he was the first."

As it happens, too, Titian stands in much the same relation to Giorgione
as Shakespeare did to Marlowe. Giorgione was really the great innovator,
and Giorgione died young, leaving Titian to carry on the work. It has
always been supposed that Titian and Giorgione, like Marlowe and
Shakespeare, were born within the same year; but in this respect the
parallel is no longer admissible, as Mr Herbert Cook has shown to the
verge of actual proof that the story of Titian being born in 1577, and
having lived to be ninety-nine years old, is unworthy of acceptance. If
this were merely a question of biography, it would not be worth dwelling
upon; but as it seriously affects the whole study of early Venetian
painting, it is necessary to point out that the probability, according
to a critical study of all the evidence available, is that Titian was
not born till 1488 or 1489, and was thus really the pupil rather than
the contemporary of Giorgione, and therefore more slightly influenced by
Giovanni Bellini than has been generally supposed.

Without going into all the evidence adduced by Mr Cook (_Reviews and
Appreciations,_ Heinemann, 1913) it is nevertheless pretty evident that
in the account given by his friend and contemporary, Lodovico Dolce,
published in 1557, we have the most authentic story of Titian's early
years, and from this it is quite clear that Titian was considerably
younger than Giorgione. "Being born at Cadore," he writes, "of
honourable parents, he was sent, when a child of nine years old, by his
father to Venice, to the house of his father's brother, in order that he
might be put under some proper master to study painting; his father
having perceived in him even at that tender age strong marks of genius
towards the art.... His uncle directly carried the child to the house of
Sebastanio, father of the _gentilissimo_ Valerio and of Francesco
Zuccati (distinguished masters of the art of mosaic, ...) to learn the
principles of the art. From them he was removed to Gentile Bellini,
brother of Giovanni, but much inferior to him, who at that time was at
work with his brother in the Grand Council Chamber. But Titian, impelled
by nature to greater excellence and perfection in his art, could not
endure following the dry and laboured manner of Gentile, but designed
with boldness and expedition. Whereupon Gentile told him he would make
no progress in painting because he diverged so much from the old style.
Thereupon Titian left the stupid Gentile and found means to attach
himself to Giovanni Bellini; but not perfectly pleased with his manner,
he chose Giorgio da Castel Franco. Titian, then, drawing and painting
with Giorgione, as he was called, became in a short time so accomplished
in art that when Giorgione was painting (in 1507-8) the façade of the
Fondaco de'Tedeschi, or Exchange of the German merchants, which looks
towards the Grand Canal, Titian was allotted the other side which faces
the market place, being at the time scarcely twenty years old. Here he
represented a Judith of wonderful design and colour, so remarkable
indeed, that when the work came to be uncovered it was commonly thought
to be the work of Giorgione, and all the latter's friends congratulated
him (Giorgione) as being by far the best thing he had produced.
Whereupon Giorgione, in great displeasure, replied that the work was
from the hand of his pupil, who showed already how he could surpass his
master and (what is more) Giorgione shut himself up for some days at
home, as if in despair, seeing that a young (_i.e._ younger) man knew
more than he did."

Again, in speaking of the famous altar-piece--the _Assumption_, now in
the Academy at Venice--painted by Titian in 1516, Dolce mentions him
twice as "giovinetto." "Not long afterwards he was commissioned to paint
a large picture for the high altar of the Church of the Frate Minori,
where Titian, quite a young man, painted in oil the Virgin ascending to
Heaven.... This was the first public work which he painted in oil, and
he did it in a very short time, and while still a young man."

Vasari's account of Titian's early years is substantially the same, but
unfortunately opens with the statement that he was "born in the year
1480." This might easily have been a slip of the pen or a printer's
mistake for 1488 or 1489, and subsequent passages in the life bear out
this supposition. But partly because Titian was a Venetian and not a
Florentine, and partly, no doubt, because he was still alive, and had
been producing picture after picture for over sixty years at the time
Vasari published his second edition in 1568, the whole account is so
confused and inaccurate that its credit has been severely shaken by
modern critics, with the result that it is hardly nowadays considered
authentic in any respect. The following extracts, however, there seems
no reason to question:----

"About the year 1507, Giorgione not being satisfied [with the
old-fashioned methods of Bellini and others] began to give his works an
unwonted softness and relief, painting them in a very beautiful manner."
And a little later "Having seen the manner of Giorgione, Titian early
resolved to abandon that of Gian Bellino, although well grounded
therein. He now, therefore, devoted himself to this purpose, and in a
short time so closely imitated Giorgione that his pictures were
sometimes taken for those of this master, as will be related below.
Increasing in age, judgment and facility of hand, our young artist
executed numerous works in fresco.... At the time when he began to adopt
the manner of Giorgione, being then not more than eighteen, he took the
portrait of a gentleman of the Barberigo family, who was his friend, and
this was considered very beautiful, the colouring being true and
natural, the hair so distinctly painted that each one could be counted,
as might also the stitches in a satin doublet painted in the same work;
in a word, it was so well and carefully done that it would have been
taken for a work of Giorgione if Titian had not written his name on the
dark ground."

With this we may leave the question of Titian's birth date, and consider
the exceptional interest attaching to the question of this Barberigo
portrait. According to Mr. Cook, and also, under reserve, to several
other eminent authorities, it is no other than the so-called _Ariosto_,
which was purchased for the National Gallery in 1904. The chief
difficulties in deciding the question are, first, whether it is possible
that a youth of eighteen could have painted such a masterpiece, second,
that the signature _Titianus_ is supposed not to have been used by the
artist before about 1520, and lastly, that the head, at any rate, is
decidedly more in the manner of Giorgione than that of Titian. This
last, of course, did not trouble Vasari, and his testimony is therefore
all the more valuable; but all difficulties vanish if we accept Mr.
Cook's theory that the portrait was begun by Giorgione in 1508, was left
incomplete at his sudden death in 1510, and finished by Titian in 1520.
That is to say, the head and general design is that of Giorgione, the
marvellous finish of the sleeve and other parts that of Titian.

Of works left unfinished at a master's death and completed by a pupil
there are numerous instances; the famous _Bacchanal_ at Alnwick is one
which takes us a step further in Titian's career. This was begun by
Giovanni Bellini, and Titian was invited by the Duke of Ferrara, in
1516, to finish it. The landscape is entirely his. To complete the
decoration of the apartment in which the picture was hung, he was
called upon to paint two others of the same size, one the _Triumph of
Bacchus_, or as it is usually called _Bacchus and Ariadne_ (now in the
National Gallery) and the other a similar subject, the _Bacchanal_, now
in the Prado (No. 418, formerly 450).

Ridolfi, in his life of Titian characterises our picture as one to whose
unparalleled merits he is inadequate to do justice; "There is," he says,
"such a graceful expression in the figure of Ariadne, such beauty in the
children--so strongly marked both in the looks and attitudes is the
joyous character of the licentious votaries of Bacchus--the roundness
and correct drawing of the man entwined with snakes, the magnificence of
the sky and landscape, the sporting play of the leaves and branches of
the most vivid tints, and the detailed herbage on the ground tending to
enliven the scene, and the rich tone of colour throughout, form
altogether such a whole that hardly any other work of Titian can stand
in competition with it."

In the composition of the second picture, _The Bacchanal_ at Madrid, a
number of the votaries of Bacchus are assembled on the bank of a
rivulet, flowing with red wine from a hill in the distance; some of them
are distributing the liquor to their associates, while a nymph and two
men are dancing. The nymph is supposed to be a portrait of Violante,
Titan's mistress, as he has painted, in allusion to her name, a violet
on her breast and his own name round her arm. Her light drapery is
raised by the breeze, and discovers the beautiful form and _morbidezza_
of her limbs. In the foreground Ariadne lies asleep, her head resting on
a rich vase in place of a pillow.[3]

[Illustration: PLATE XIV.--TITIAN

PORTRAIT SAID TO BE OF ARIOSTO

_National Gallery, London_]

Cumberland says that Raphael Mengs, who lived long at Madrid at the time
when this picture was in the reception room of the New Palace, was of
opinion that Titian's superior taste was nowhere more strikingly
displayed, and remarks that he himself could never pass by it without
surprise and admiration, more particularly excited by the beauty of the
sleeping Ariadne in the foreground.

Respecting the merits of both pictures the testimony of Agostino
Carracci should not be omitted; when he viewed them in the possession of
the Duke of Ferrara he declared that he considered them the first in the
world, and that no one could say he was acquainted with the most
marvellous works of art without having seen them.

Commenting upon another picture of Titian's early period, Sir Joshua
Reynolds delivers himself of the following criticisms on Titian as
compared with Raphael, "It is to Titian that we must turn," he says, "to
find excellence in regard to colour, and light and shade in the highest
degree. He was both the first and the greatest master of this art; by a
few strokes he knew how to mark the general image and character of
whatever object he attempted, and produced by this alone a truer
representation of nature than his master, Giovanni Bellini, or any of
his predecessors, who finished every hair. His greatest object was to
express the general colour, to preserve the masses of light and shade,
and to give by opposition the idea of that solidity which is inseparable
from natural objects....

"Raphael and Titian seemed to have looked at nature for different
purposes; they both had the power of extending their view to the whole,
but one looked only at the general effect as produced by form, the
other as produced by colour. We cannot refuse Titian the merit of
attending to the general form of the object, as well as colour; but his
deficiency lay--a deficiency at least when he is compared with
Raphael--in not possessing the power, like him, of correcting the form
of his model by any general idea of beauty in his own mind. Of this his
_St. Sebastian with other Saints_ (in the Vatican) is a particular
instance. This figure appears to be a most exact representation both of
the form and colour of the model which he then happened to have before
him, and has all the force of nature, and the colouring of flesh itself;
but unluckily the model was of a bad form, especially the legs. Titian
has with much care preserved these defects, as he has imitated the
beauty and brilliancy of the colouring...."

Of the Sebastian, Vasari says very much the same as Reynolds. "He is
nude," he writes, "and has been exactly copied from the life without the
slightest admixture of art, no efforts for the sake of beauty have been
sought in any part--trunk or limbs; all is as nature left it, so that it
might seem to be a sort of cast from the life. It is nevertheless
considered very fine, and the figure of our Lady with the infant in her
arms, whom all the other figures are looking at, is also accounted most
beautiful."

Two more of the pictures of Titian's earliest period are in the National
Gallery--the _Christ appearing to Mary Magdalen_ (No. 270), and the
_Holy Family_ (No. 4). The former is ascribed to about the year 1514,
partly on the ground that the group of buildings in the landscape is
identical, line for line, with that in the Dresden _Venus_ painted by
Giorgione but completed by Titian after his death. The same landscape
also occurs in the beautiful little _Cupid_ in the Vienna

[Illustration: PLATE XV.--TITIAN

THE HOLY FAMILY

_National Gallery, London_]

Academy, and, as Mr Herbert Cook suggests, possibly represents some
cherished spot in Titian's memory connected with his mountain home at
Pieve di Cadore.

The _Holy Family_, above mentioned, is a most charming example of the
_sacra conversazione_ as developed by Titian from the somewhat formal
and austere conception of Bellini and his contemporaries into something
eminently characteristic of the secular side of his genius. The very
titles of two of his most beautiful and most famous pictures of this
sort proclaim the hold they have taken on the popular mind. The one is
the _Madonna of the Cherries_, in the Vienna Gallery. The other is the
_Madonna with the Rabbit_, in the Louvre. In our picture the
distinguishing feature is the kneeling shepherd, with his little
water-cask slung on his belt, who puts us at once in touch with the
whole scene by the simple appeal to our common human experience. Raphael
could move our religious feelings to revere the godhead in the child,
but could seldom, like Titian, stir our human emotions and bring home to
us that Christ was born on earth for our sakes.

If this particular characteristic of Titian were confined to the
pastoral setting of these Holy Conversations, it might be taken as
merely accidental, and without further significance than should be
accorded to a youthful fancy. But in the wonderful _Entombment_, now in
the Louvre, in which he displays "the full splendour of his early
maturity," the human element is such an important factor in the
presentment of the divine tragedy that even a painter, M.
Caro-Delvaille, must postpone his description of the picture to
sentences like these:--"Sur un ciel tourmenté," he writes, in phrases
which it is impossible to render adequately in English, "se profile le
groupe tragique. Aucun geste superflu; le drame est intérieur. La
Douleur plane dans l'air alourdi du crépuscule, comme une aile
fatale--Jésus est mort! Le grand cadavre livide, que les apôtres
angoissés soutiennent, n'a rien dans sa robustesse inerte de la
dépouille émaciée des Christs mystiques. Le fils de Dieu semble un
patriarche douloureusement frappé par le décret d'en haut.

"Une âpreté primitive, où les larmes se cachent comme une faiblesse,
communique a l'oeuvre un pathétique si poignant que le mystère de la
mort s'étend jusqu'à nous.

"La Vierge et la Madeleine sont là. Elle, la Mère, doute de la réalité,
tant elle souffre! Son regard fixe sur le corps chéri, elle ne peut
croire que tout est consommé. La pécheresse pitoyable la prend dans ses
bras pour essayer de l'arracher à l'horreur de cette vision.

"Drame humain et divin! ne sont-ce point des fils qui ramènent le
cadavre de leur père à la poussière? Tous ceux qui passèrent par ces
épreuves se souviennent de ce deuil qui semble se prolonger dans la
nature entière."

Titian's first period may be said to end in 1530, by which time he had
completed the famous _Peter Martyr_, which was destroyed by fire in
1867. In 1530, too, Titian's wife died. This event of itself need not be
supposed to have greatly influenced his career, as there is no evidence
of her having appealed to his artistic nature as did his daughter
Lavinia. As it happened, however, a more certain influence was nearly
coincident with this event--the arrival in Venice of the notorious
Aretine, who, chiefly as it appears, with an eye to business, entered
into the most intimate relations with Titian. The accession of the
sculptor

[Illustration: PLATE XVI.--TITIAN

THE ENTOMBMENT

_Louvre, Paris_]

Sansovino to the comradeship earned for the group the name of the
Triumvirate.

So far from Titian being corrupted by the society of Aretine, there is
direct evidence in one of the poet's letters to him that he was not.
"You must come to our feast to-night," he writes, "but I may as well
warn you that you had better leave early, as I know how particular you
are about certain things." Nor is there anything in the artist's works
of this next period--which we may roughly date from 1530 to 1550, that
betrays a more serious devotion to the sensual side of life than can be
accounted for by the demands of the high and mighty patrons that Aretine
was soon to find for him. As an artist he looked upon woman as a
beautiful creature, as a man he most probably never troubled about her,
or was troubled by her. There is no proof that any of his pictures are
rightly called "Titian's mistress," and we may conclude that he was as
good a husband and a father as was Rubens, who revelled in painting
woman, or Velasquez, who seems to have frankly disliked it. Like
Rowlandson, whom the general public only know as a caricaturist, but who
when he once got away from London was the most pure minded and poetical
artist, so Titian, when once dissociated from the demands of corrupt
patrons, like Philip II., never reveals himself as having fallen under
the influence of Aretine--if indeed at all. The _Danaë_ and the _Venus
and a Musician_ at the Prado are the only examples it is possible to
cite--unless it be the _Venus_, to which popular opinion would hardly
deny its place of honour in the Tribune at the Uffizi.

At the same time the difference in circumstances, the fuller, richer
life that he must have led in these years of patronage and prosperity,
accounts for a certain "shallowness and complacency" which
distinguishes his work during this period as sharply from that which
preceded as from that which followed it; and fine as is his
accomplishment during these years, especially in portraiture, it
includes fewer of those masterpieces which appeal to the heart as much
as to the eye.

To 1538 belongs the large and beautiful picture of the _Presentation of
the Virgin Mary in the Temple_, painted for the Scuola della Carità in
Venice, which is now occupied by the Academy, where it still hangs, as
is said, in its original place. It is twenty-two feet in length, and
contains several portraits, among which are those of his daughter
Lavinia (the Virgin, as is supposed), Andrea Franchescini, grand
chancellor of Venice, in a scarlet robe; next him, in black, Lazzaro
Crasso, a lawyer, and certain monks of the convent following them.

We now find Titian employed by the Duke of Urbino on some of the
principal works of this period. Among these were the Uffizi _Venus_,
said to be a portrait of the Duchess herself. The _Girl in a Fur Mantle_
at Vienna, portraits of the Duke and of the Duchess (1537), and the
so-called _La Bella_ at the Uffizi. The so-called _Duke of Norfolk_ at
the Pitti, supposed to represent the young Duke Guidobaldo of Urbino.
Also the _Isabella d'Este_ at Vienna, and somewhat earlier, the
_Cardinal Ippolito_ in Hungarian dress, at the Pitti; and the _Daughter
of Robert Strozzi_, at Berlin.

The large _Ecce Homo_ in the Vienna Gallery, dated 1543, measuring 11
ft. 3 in. by 7 ft. 7 in. was for some years in London, and with better
fortune might still be in this country if not in our national
collection. It was one of the nineteen pictures by Titian in the
wonderful collection of Rubens, which the Duke of Buckingham persuaded
him to sell to him for a fabulous price. The collection was shipped to
England in 1625, when the pictures were taken to York House in the
Strand, and the statues and gems to Chelsea. In 1649 a portion of the
collection was sold at Brussels, and the _Ecce Homo_ was purchased there
by the Archduke Leopold for his gallery at Prague, which now forms part
of that at Vienna. The Earl of Arundel offered the Duke of Buckingham
£7000 for it--an unheard of price, especially when we remember the
greater value of money at that time.

With another masterpiece--fortunately still preserved in the Prado,
though not entirely uninjured by fire--we may close the second period.
This is the magnificent equestrian portrait of _The Emperor Charles V._
which was painted at Augsburg in 1548. A few years later the Emperor
abdicated in favour of his egregious son, Philip II., of whom Titian
painted three portraits in succession. The second of these, now in the
Prado, has an especial interest for us, inasmuch as it was painted for
the benefit or the enticement of Queen Mary before her marriage to
Philip. As might be expected, it is a highly flattering likeness,--in
white and gold, in half armour. To quote M. Caro-Delvaille, this king of
_auto da fés_ and sunken galleys is here nothing more than a gallant
cavalier--neurasthenic but elegant. For England was also painted the
_Venus and Adonis_, in 1554; but unfortunately the original is now in
Madrid, and only a copy in our National Gallery. However, the remains of
Philip are there too, and not in Westminster Abbey!

A copy of another famous picture painted by Titian for the Emperor
Charles V. was also in the collection of the Duke of Buckingham, who
probably brought it with him when he returned from his madcap expedition
with Prince Charles to Madrid. It is described in his catalogue as "One
great Piece of the Emperor Charles, a copy called Titian's Glory, being
the principal in Spain, now in the Escurial." This was the great
_Paradise_, or Apotheosis of Charles V. which Charles took with him into
Spain at the time of his abdication and placed in the monastery of St.
Juste, in Estramadura, to which he retired. After his death it was
removed by Philip II. to Madrid.

Of the two versions of _The Crowning with Thorns_, the earlier one at
the Louvre, painted in 1560, is more familiar to, and probably more
popular with, the general public than the much later one at Munich
painted in 1571. But for the real merits of the two we need not hesitate
to accept M. Caro-Delvaille's judgment, since if he had any bias it
would be in favour of his own country's treasure. The former he
characterises as an incoherent composition, in which useless
gesticulation diminishes the dramatic effect, while striving to force
it; and adds that all the false romanticism of painting comes from this
sort of theatrical pathos. Of the other he writes "It was the picture at
the Louvre which shocked me with its violent declamation and its forced
blows that never hit anything. But here at Munich a mystery so profound
broods over the drama that the melodramatic element disappears. The
scene becomes tragic, lamentable, hopelessly sad. The great artist with
a brush that trembles in his aged hands paints but the sentiment of it,
to exhale from his work like a plaintive sigh. The veil of death
descends and spreads over life.... Titian might seem to have painted it
as an offering to Rembrandt when he, too, should feel the approach of
death."

Another of his latest pictures, the _Adam and Eve in Paradise_, is in
the Prado (No. 429, formerly 456). This was copied, or one might almost
say travestied, by Rubens when he was at Madrid in 1629, and his work
was hung in the same room with it. As the colouring is of a lower tone
than is usual with Titian, and the attitudes of the figures extremely
simple and natural, the contrast is all the more marked, and was well
expressed by Cumberland, who said that "when we contemplate Titian's
picture of Adam and Eve we are convinced they never wore clothes; turn
to the copy, and the same persons seem to have laid theirs aside."

A more generous comparison between these two painters is made by
Reynolds in a note on du Fresnoy's poem on Painting respecting the
qualities of regularity and uniformity. "An instance occurs to me where
those two qualities are separately exhibited by two great painters,
Rubens and Titian: the picture of Rubens is in the Church of S.
Augustine at Antwerp, the subject (if that may be called a subject where
no story is represented) is the Virgin and Infant Christ placed high in
the picture on a pedestal with many saints about them and as many below
them, with others on the steps to serve as a link to unite the upper and
lower part of the picture. The composition of this picture is perfect in
its kind; the artist has shown the greatest skill in composing and
contrasting more than twenty figures without confusion and without
crowding; the whole appearing as much animated and in motion as it is
possible where nothing is to be done.

"The picture of Titian which we would oppose to this is in the Church
of the S. Frari at Venice (the "Pesaro Madonna," where the two donors
kneel below the Virgin enthroned). One peculiar character of this piece
is grandeur and simplicity, which proceed in a great measure from the
regularity of the composition, two of the principal figures being
represented kneeling directly opposite to each other, and nearly in the
same attitude. This is what few painters would have had the courage to
venture; Rubens would certainly have rejected so unpicturesque a mode of
composition had it occurred to him. Both these pictures are excellent in
their kind, and may be said to characterize their respective authors.
There is a bustle and animation in the work of Rubens, a quiet solemn
majesty in that of Titian. The excellence of Rubens is the picturesque
effect he produces; the superior merit of Titian is in the appearance of
being above seeking after any such "artificial excellence."

The most important artist besides Titian who was a pupil of Giorgione
was SEBASTIANO DEL PIOMBO, as he was called--his father's name was
LUCIANI. But as two other notable influences determined his career, he
is not to be taken as typical of the Venetian School in general or that
of Giorgione in particular. Born in Venice about the year 1485, he first
studied under Giovanni Bellini, as appears from the signature as well as
from the style of a _Pietà_ by him in the Layard collection, which we
may hope soon to see in the National Gallery. Of his Giorgionesque
period there is only one important picture known to us, the beautiful
altar-piece in S. Giovanni Crisostomo in Venice, which is not far
removed from the richness of Titian's earlier work. The picture
represents the mild and dignified S. Chrysostom seated, reading aloud at
a desk in an open hall; S. John the Baptist leaning on his cross is
looking attentively at him; behind him are two male and on the left two
female saints listening devoutly, and in the foreground the Virgin
looking majestically out of the picture at the spectator--a splendid
type of the full and grand Venetian ideal of female beauty of that time.
The true expression of a _Santa Conversazione_ could not be more
worthily given than in the relation in which the listeners stand to the
reader, and in glow of colour this work is not inferior to the best of
Giorgione's or Titian's.

As early as 1510, however, he not only left Venice, but also his
Venetian manner. He was invited to Rome by the rich banker and patron of
the arts, Agostino Chigi, where he met Raphael, and with astonishing
versatility succeeded as well in emulating the excellences of that
master as he had those of Bellini and Giorgione. The half-length
_Daughter of Herodias_ bequeathed to the National Gallery by George
Salting is dated 1510, and in 1512 he painted the famous _Fornarina_ in
the Uffizi, which until the middle of the last century was supposed to
be a _chef d'oeuvre_ of Raphael. To this period also belongs the _S.
John in the Desert_, at the Louvre.

Within the next seven years a still mightier influence found him, that
of Michelangelo, and how far he was capable of responding to it may be
judged by our great _Raising of Lazarus_, painted at Rome in 1517-19 for
Giulio de'Medici, afterwards Pope Clement VII., to be placed with
Raphael's _Transfiguration_ in the Cathedral of Narbonne. Both pictures
were publicly exhibited in Rome, and by some people Sebastiano's was
preferred to Raphael's. According to Waagen the whole composition was
designed by Michelangelo, with whom Sebastiano had entered into the
closest intimacy; and Kugler states that the group of Lazarus and those
around him was actually drawn by the master. However that may be, we can
hardly fail to see how entirely the Venetian influence is obscured by
that of the great Florentine, and to recognise the extraordinary genius
of a painter who could do something more than imitate from such masters
as Bellini, Giorgione, Raphael and Michelangelo.

The last traces of the Vivarini influence are to be seen in the earlier
works of LORENZO LOTTO(1480-1556), who was a pupil of Alvise, though his
pictures after 1508, when he had left Venice, Treviso and Reccanti,
where he had been employed, show the effect of his changed surroundings.
To this date is assigned the _Portrait of a Young Man_, at Hampton
Court. At Rome in 1509 he was painting with Raphael in the Vatican, and
in his next dated work, the _Entombment_, at Jesi, the echoes of
Raphael's Disputation and the _School of Athens_ are clear. The Dresden
_Madonna and Child with S. John_ was probably painted at Bergamo in
1518, and the _Madonna and Saints_, lately bequeathed to the National
Gallery, is dated 1521.

At Madrid is a picture by him of _A Bride and Bridegroom_ dated 1523, to
which year probably belongs the _Family Group_ in the National Gallery.
These are early instances of the comparatively rare inclusion of more
than a single figure in a pure portrait. In our example the father and
mother and two children are composed into a delightful picture, in which
for once we may see the actual people of the time in something like
their natural surroundings, instead of being posed, however effectively,
to assist in the representation of some historic or legendary scene.

In 1527 Lotto was back again in Venice, and was probably influenced by
Palma Vecchio when he painted the superb portrait of the sculptor
_Odoni_, which is at Hampton Court. A little later the influence of
Titian is more visible. Two other portraits are in our National Gallery,
those of the Protonotary Juliano and of Agostino and Niccolo della
Torre.

BONIFAZIO DI PITATI (1487-1553), sometimes called Bonifazio Veronese or
Veneziano, was born at Verona, but studied in Venice under Palma
Vecchio. The influence of his native city distinguishes his work in some
degree from the pure Venetian, as it did that of the more famous Paolo
in later years; but the atmosphere created by Giorgione was so strong as
to cause Bonifazio's masterpiece (if we except the _Dives and Lazarus_
at the Academy in Venice) to be attributed until quite lately to
Giorgione. It is thus described by Kugler:--"A picture in the Brera in
Milan, very deserving of notice, is perhaps one of Giorgione's most
beautiful works; it is historic in subject, but romantic in conception.
The subject is the finding of Moses; all the figures are in the rich
costume of Giorgione's time. In the centre the princess sits under a
tree, and looks with surprise at the child who is brought to her by a
servant. The seneschal of the princess, with knights and ladies, stand
around. On one side are seated two lovers on the grass, on the other
side musicians and singers, pages with dogs, a dwarf with an ape, etc.
It is a picture in which the highest earthly splendour and enjoyment are
brought together, and the incident from Scripture only gives it a more
pleasing interest. The costume, however inappropriate to the story,
disturbs the effect as little as in other Venetian pictures of the same
period, since it refers more to a poetic than to a mere historic truth,
and the period itself was rich in poetry; its costume too assists the
display of a romantic splendour. This picture, with all its glow of
colour, is softer than the earlier works of the master, and reminds us
of Titian...."

The beautiful _Santa Conversazione_ in the National Gallery, again,
which was formerly in the Casa Terzi at Bergamo, was there attributed to
Palma Vecchio. Here the Virgin in a rose-coloured mantle is the centre
of the composition, with the Child on her knee, whose foot the little S.
John is bending to kiss. On the right is S. Catherine and on the left S.
James the Less and S. Jerome. In the landscape are seen a shepherd lying
beside his flock, while other shepherds are fleeing from a lion who has
seized their dog. A copy of this composition is in the Academy at
Venice.

Oddly enough it was a pupil of Bonifazio who employed the grand Venetian
manner in the humbler and more commonplace walks of life, and neglecting
alike the _Sacra Conversazione_ and the pompous scenes of festivity,
developed into the first Italian painter of _genre_. This was JACOPO DA
PONTE, called from his birthplace BASSANO, who was working in Venice
under Bonifazio as early as 1535. He afterwards returned to Bassano, and
selecting those scenes in which he could most extensively introduce
cottages, peasants, and animals, he connected them with events from
sacred history or mythology. A peculiar feature by which his pictures
may be known is the invariable and apparently intentional hiding of the
feet of his figures, for which purpose sheep and cattle and household
utensils are introduced. He confines himself to a bold, straightforward
imitation of familiar objects, united, however, with pleasing
composition, colour, and chiaroscuro. His colours, indeed, sparkle like
gems, particularly the greens, in which he displays a brilliancy quite
peculiar to himself. His lights are boldly infringed on the objects,
and are seldom introduced except on prominent parts of the figures. In
accordance with this treatment his handling is spirited and peculiar,
somewhat in the manner of Rembrandt; and what on close inspection
appears dark and confused, forms at a distance the very strength and
magic of his colouring. The picture of the _Good Samaritan_ in the
National Gallery is a good example, and was formerly in the collection
of Reynolds, who it is said always kept it in his studio. The _Portrait
of a Man_ (No. 173) is excelled by that of an _Old Man_ at Berlin.



III

PAOLO VERONESE AND IL TINTORETTO


It cannot be said that the Venetian artists of the second half of the
sixteenth century equalled in their collective excellence the great
masters of the first, but in single instances they are frequently
entitled to rank beside them. At the head of these is JACOPO ROBUSTI
(1518-1594), called IL TINTORETTO (the dyer), in allusion to his
father's trade. He was one of the most vigorous painters in all the
history of art; one who sought rather than avoided the greatest
difficulties, and who possessed a true feeling for animation and
grandeur. If his works do not always charm, it should be imputed to the
foreign and non-Venetian element which he adopted, but never completely
mastered; and also to the times in which he lived, when Venetian art had
fallen somewhat into the mistaken way of colossal and rapid
productiveness. His off-hand style, as Kugler calls it, is always full
of grand and significant detail, and with a few patches of colour he
sometimes achieves the liveliest forms and expressions. But he fails in
that artistic arrangement of the whole and in that nobility of motives
in the parts which are necessary exponents of a really high ideal. His
compositions are achieved less by finely studied degrees of
participation in the principal action than by great masses of light and
shade. Attitudes and movements are taken immediately from common life,
not chosen from the best models. With Titian the highest ideal of
earthly happiness in existence is expressed by beauty; with Tintoretto
in mere animal strength, sometimes of an almost rude character.

For a short time he was a pupil of Titian, but for some unknown reason
he soon left him, and struck out for himself. In the studio which he
occupied in his youth he had inscribed, as a definition of the style he
professed, "The drawing of Michelangelo, the colouring of Titian." He
copied the works of the latter, and also designed from casts of
Florentine and antique sculpture, particularly by lamplight--as did
Romney a couple of centuries later--to exercise himself in a more
forcible style of relief. He also made models for his works, which he
lighted artificially, or hung up in his room, in order to master
perspective. By these means he united great strength of shadow with the
Venetian colouring, which gives a peculiar character to his pictures,
and is very successful when limited to the direct imitation of nature.
But apart from the impossibility of combining two such totally different
excellences as the colouring of Titian and the drawing of Michelangelo,
it appears that Tintoretto's acquaintance with the works of the latter
only developed his tendency to a naturalistic style. That which with
Michelangelo was the symbol of a higher power in nature was adopted by
Tintoretto in its literal form. Most of his defects, it is probable,
arose from his indefatigable vigour, which earned for him the nickname
of _Il Furioso_. Sebastian del Piombo said that Tintoretto could paint
as much in two days as would occupy him two years. Other sayings were
that he had three brushes, one of gold, one of silver, and a third of
brass, and that if he was sometimes equal to Titian he was often
inferior to Tintoretto! In this last category Kugler puts two of his
earliest works, the enormous _Last Judgment_, and _The Golden Calf_, in
the church of S. Maria dell'Orto, while on his much later _Last Supper_
he is still more severe. "Nothing more utterly derogatory," he writes,
"both to the dignity of art and to the nature of the subject can be
imagined. S. John is seen with folded arms, fast asleep, while others of
the Apostles with the most burlesque gestures are asking, 'Lord, is it
I?' Another Apostle is uncovering a dish which stands on the floor
without remarking that a cat has stolen in and is eating from it. A
second is reaching towards a flask; a beggar sits by, eating. Attendants
fill up the picture. To judge from an overthrown chair the scene appears
to have been a revel of the lowest description. It is strange that a
painter should venture on such a representation of this subject scarcely
a hundred years after the creation of Leonardo da Vinci's _Last
Supper_."

It was in 1548, when but thirty years old, that Tintoretto first became
famous, with the large _Miracle of S. Mark_, now in the Venice Academy.
This is perhaps his finest as well as his most celebrated work; but the
greatest monument to his industry and general ability is the Scuola
di'San Rocco, where he began to work in 1560 under a contract to produce
three pictures a year for an annuity of a hundred ducats. In all there
are sixty-two of his pictures in this building, the greater part of
them very large, the figures throughout being of the size of life. _The
Crucifixion_, painted in 1565, is the most extensive of them, and on the
whole the most perfect. In 1590, four years before his death, he
completed the enormous _Paradise_ in the Sala del Gran Consiglio,
measuring seventy-four feet in length and thirty in height.

In the National Gallery we have three characteristic examples,
fortunately on a smaller scale, namely, the _S. George_ on a white
horse, which, with its greyish flesh tones and the blue of the
princess's mantle, is cooler in tone than the generality of his
pictures; _Christ washing the Disciples' Feet_, and the very beautiful
and radiant _Origin of the Milky Way_, purchased from Lord Darnley in
1890. At Hampton Court a still finer example, _The Nine Muses_, is so
discoloured by age and hung in such a difficult light that it is
impossible to enjoy its full beauty.

PAOLO CALIARI, better known as VERONESE, was born ten years later than
Tintoretto, and died six years before him (1528-1588). He studied in his
native city of Verona till he was twenty, and after working for some
time at Mantua he came to Venice in 1555, where he was quickly
recognised by Titian and by Sansovino, the sculptor and Director of
Public Buildings, and was commissioned in that year to paint a
_Coronation of the Virgin_ and other works in the church of S.
Sebastian. The _Martyrdom of S. Giustino_, now in the Uffizi, and the
_Madonna and Child_ in the Louvre are also among his earlier works. As
early as 1562 he was at work on the enormous _Feast at Cana_, now in the
Louvre, and a similar work at Dresden is of the same date. In 1564 he
went to Rome, where he studied the works of Raphael and Michelangelo. On
his return to Venice in

[Illustration: PLATE XVII.--TINTORETTO

ST GEORGE AND THE DRAGON

_National Gallery, London_]

1565--after visiting Verona, where he painted in his parish church, and
also married--he was employed to decorate the Ducal Palace, but much of
his best work there was destroyed by fire. Two of his most important
works completed before 1573 are in the Academy at Venice, _The Battle of
Lepanto_ and the _Feast in the House of Levi_. In this last he incurred
strictures from the Inquisition more severe than those of Kugler upon
Tintoretto's _Last Supper_, and possibly with as much reason, it being
objected that the introduction of German soldiery, buffoons, and a
parrot was "irreligious." His _Family of Darius_, now in the National
Gallery, was one of his latest works.

Veronese, even more than Titian, whom in colouring he sought to emulate,
and Tintoretto, whom in this respect he certainly excelled, expresses
the spirit of the Venetians of his time--a powerful and noble race of
human beings, as Kugler calls them, elate with the consciousness of
existence, and in full enjoyment of all that renders earth attractive.
By the splendour of his colour, assisted by rich draperies and other
materials, by a very clear and transparent treatment of the shadows, he
infused a magic into his great canvases which surpasses almost all the
other masters of the Venetian School. Never had the pomp of colour, on a
large scale, been so exalted and glorified as in his works. This, his
peculiar quality, is most decidedly and grandly developed in scenes of
worldly splendour; he loved to paint festive subjects for the
refectories of rich convents, suggested of course from particular
passages in the Scriptures, but treated with the greatest freedom,
especially as regards the costume, which is always of his own time.
Instead, therefore, of any religious sentiment, we are presented with a
display of the most cheerful human scenes and the richest worldly
splendour. That which distinguishes him from Tintoretto, and which in
his later period, after the death of Titian and Michelangelo, earned for
him the rank of the first living master, was that beautiful vitality,
that poetic feeling, which as far as it was possible he infused into a
declining period of art. At the same time it becomes more and more
evident, as our attention is turned to the deeper and nobler spirit of
the earlier masters in Venice, that the beauty of his figures is more
addressed to the senses than to the soul, and that his naturalistic
tendencies are often allowed to run wild.

The most celebrated, and as it happens the most historically
interesting, of his great pictures is the _Feast at Cana_, in the
Louvre, measuring thirty feet wide and twenty feet high. This was
formerly in the refectory of S. Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. The scene is
a brilliant atrium, surrounded by majestic pillars. The tables at which
the guests are seated form three sides of a parallelogram. The guests
are supposed to be almost entirely contemporary portraits, so that the
figures of Christ and His mother, of themselves insignificant enough,
lose even more in the general interest of the subject. Servants occupy
the foreground, while on the raised balustrades and the balconies of
distant houses are innumerable onlookers. The most remarkable feature of
the whole composition is a group of musicians in the centre of the
foreground, which are portraits of the artist himself and Tintoretto,
playing on violon-cellos, and Titian, in a red robe, with the
contra-bass.

_Christ in the House of Simon_, the Magdalen washing His feet, is
another scarcely less gigantic picture in the Louvre; but it is much
simpler in arrangement, and is distinguished by the fineness of the
heads, especially that of the Christ. An interesting piece of technical
criticism on the _Feast at Cana_ occurs in Reynolds's Eighth
Discourse:--

"Another instance occurs to me," he says, "where equal liberty may be
taken in regard to the management of light. Though the general practice
is to make a large mass about the middle of the picture surrounded by
shadow, the reverse may be practised, and the spirit of rule may still
be preserved.... In the great composition of Paul Veronese, the
_Marriage at Cana_, the figures are for the most part in half shadow;
the great light is in the sky; and indeed the general effect of this
picture, which is so striking, is no more than what we often see in
landscapes, in small pictures of fairs and country feasts; but those
principles of light and shadow, being transferred to a large scale, to a
space containing near a hundred figures as large as life, and conducted
to all appearance with as much facility and with an attention as
steadily fixed upon the _whole together_ as if it were a small picture
immediately under the eye, the work justly excites our admiration; the
difficulty being increased as the extent is enlarged."

       *       *       *       *       *

With the death of the great Venetians, Titian, Tintoretto, and Paul
Veronese, in the last quarter of the sixteenth century, the history of
Italian painting of the first rank comes to an end. In Florence, the
imitation of Michelangelo was the chief object striven after, and, as
might be expected, the attempt was not eminently successful. The greater
number of the Italian painters of the early seventeenth century who
attained any fame are known by the name of Eclectics, from their having
endeavoured, instead of imitating any one of their great predecessors,
to select and unite the best qualities of each, without, however,
excluding the direct study of nature. The fallacy of this aim, when
carried to an extreme, is, of course, that the greatness of the earlier
masters consisted really in their individual and peculiar qualities, and
to endeavour to unite characteristics essentially different involves a
contradiction.

The most important of the Eclectic schools was that of the Carracci, at
Bologna, which was founded by LODOVICO CARRACCI (_c_. 1555-1619), a
scholar of Prospero Fontana and Passignano at Florence. In his youth he
was nicknamed "the ox," partly from his slowness, but possibly also for
his study of long-forgotten methods, by which he arrived at the decision
that reform was necessary to counteract the independence of the
mannerists. He therefore obtained the assistance of his two nephews,
AGOSTINO and ANNIBALE CARRACCI, sons of a tailor, and in concert with
them opened an academy at Bologna in 1589. This he furnished with casts,
drawings, and engravings, and provided living models and gave
instruction in perspective, anatomy, etc. In spite of opposition this
academy became more and more popular, and before long all the other
schools of art in Bologna were closed.

The principles of their teaching was succinctly expressed in a sonnet
written by Agostino, in substance as follows:--"Let him who wishes to be
a good painter acquire the design of Rome, Venetian action and
chiaroscuro, the dignified colouring of Lombardy (that is to say, of
Leonardo da Vinci), the terrible manner of Michelangelo, Titian's truth
and nature, the sovereign purity of Correggio, and the perfect symmetry
of Raphael. The decorum and well-grounded study of Tibaldi, the
invention of the learned Primaticcio, and a _little_ of the grace of
Parmigiano."

This "patchwork ideal," as Kugler calls it, was, however, but a
transition step in the history of the Carracci and their art. In the
prime of their activity they threw off a great deal of their
eclecticism, and attained an independence of their own. The merit of
Lodovico is chiefly that of a reformer and a teacher, and the pictures
by Agostino are few and of no great account. But in Annibale we find
much more than imitation of the characteristics of great masters. In his
earlier works there are rather obvious traces of Correggio and Paul
Veronese, but under the influence of the works of Raphael and
Michelangelo and of the antique, as he understood it, he developed a
style of his own. Though in recent years he is a little out of fashion
with the public, there is no question about his having a place among the
greater artists. To show how opinion can change, I venture to quote a
passage from a letter written to me on the subject of Carracci's _The
Three Maries_, lately presented to the National Gallery by the Countess
of Carlisle:--"I saw the gallery at Castle Howard in 1850. _The Three
Maries_ was then still regarded as one of _the_ great pictures of the
world; and they told the story of how Lord Carlisle and Lord Ellesmere
and Lord----, who shared the Paris purchases [after the Peace of 1815]
between them, had to cast lots for this, because it was thought to be
worth more than all the rest of the spoil."

The most important, or at any rate one of the most popular, of the
pupils of Carracci was DOMENICO ZAMPIERI, commonly called DOMENICHINO
(1581-1641). If we are less enthusiastic about him at the present, it
may still be remembered that Constable particularly admired him, but it
is significant that the four examples in the National Gallery are
numbered 48, 75, 77 and 85--there is no more recent acquisition. He had
great facility, and his compositions--not always original--are treated
with great charm if with no real depth. His most famous picture, the
_Communion of S. Jerome_, now in the Vatican, is closely imitated from
Agostino Carracci's.

GUIDO RENI (1575-1642), even more popular in the eighteenth and early
nineteenth centuries than Domenichino, was as skilful in some respects,
but hardly as admirable. The _Ecce Homo_, bequeathed by Samuel Rogers to
the National Gallery, is an excellent example of his ability to charm
the sentimentalist, and if ever there should be a popular revival of
taste in the direction of the now neglected school of the Carracci, he
will possibly resume all the honour formerly paid to him. The same can
hardly be predicted for the far inferior Carlo Maratti, Guercino, and
Carlo Dolce.

Space forbids me more than the bare mention in these pages of the
brilliant revival of painting in Venice during the earlier part of the
eighteenth century by ANTONIO CANALE (1697-1768), GIOVANNI BATTISTA
TIEPOLO (1692-1769), PIETRO LONGHI (1702-1785), and FRANCESCO GUARDI
(1712-1793). Charming as their excellent accomplishments were, they must
give place to more important claims awaiting our attention in other
countries.



_SPANISH SCHOOL_


One of the sensations of the Exhibition of Spanish Old Masters at the
Grafton Gallery in the autumn of 1913 was an altar panel, dated 1250,
which was acquired by Mr Roger Fry in Paris, and catalogued as of the
"Early Catalan School." In view of the fact that this picture is
"certainly to be regarded as one of the very oldest of primitive
pictures painted on wood in any country ... a decade earlier than the
picture by Margaritone in the National Gallery," it seems somewhat
dogmatic to assert that while retaining a strongly Byzantine character
"the style is distinctly that of Catalonia." What was the style of
Catalonia?

So far as the history of the art is concerned, the chapter on Spain is,
with one exception, a very short and a singularly uninteresting one,
whether Mr Fry's panel was painted in Catalonia or whether it was not;
and in spite of every effort to find in this uncongenial country that
expansion of painting that might reasonably have been expected to flow
from Italy and moisten its barren soil for the production of so
wonderful a genius as Velasquez, there is positively nothing earlier
than Velasquez, and not very much after him, that has more than what we
may call a documentary interest. While in Italy or the Netherlands the
names of scores of painters earlier than the seventeenth century are
endeared to us by the recollection of the works they have left us, the
enumeration of those of the few Spaniards of whom we have any knowledge
awakens no such thrill, and if we have ever heard of them, their works
mean little more to us than their names. Only when we come within touch
of Velasquez does our interest awaken--as in the case of Ribera and
Zurbaran--and that is less because of them than because of Velasquez. El
Greco was not a Spaniard by birth, but a Cretan; and if he were ranged
with the Italians, to whom he more properly belongs, he would scarcely
be more famous than some Bolognese masters whose names are now--or
perhaps we ought to say, at the present moment--almost forgotten. The
announcement that one of his portraits has been sold to an American for
£30,000 is of commercial rather than of artistic interest.

If one had to sum up the career and the art of Velasquez in a sentence,
it might be done by calling him a Court painter who never flattered.
After recording his life from the time when he left his master Pacheco
to enter the service of Philip IV. to the day that he died in it, we
shall find that only a bare percentage of his work was not commissioned
by the king; and in all his pictures which were not simply portraits
there is little if anything to be found which is not as literal and
truthful a presentment of the model in front of him as the life-like
representations of Philip and those about his Court, of which the
supreme quality is that of living resemblance, or to put it in more
general terms, vivid realism. Gifted as he must have been with an
extraordinary vision and a still rarer, if not unique, ability to put
down on canvas what he saw, he confined himself entirely within the
limits of actuality, and thereby attained to heights which his great
contemporaries Rubens and Rembrandt in their noblest flights of
imagination never reached.

Velasquez was baptised on the 6th of June 1599, in the church of S.
Peter at Seville. He was the son of well-to-do parents; his father, a
native of Seville, was named Juan Rodriguez de Silva, his mother
Geronima Velasquez. At thirteen years old he had displayed so strong an
inclination towards painting that he was put to study under Francisco de
Herrera, then the most considerable painter in Spain (his son, also
Francisco, was the painter of the _Christ Disputing with the Doctors_,
in the National Gallery), but owing to Herrera's violent temper
Velasquez was shortly transferred to the studio of Francisco Pacheco,
whose daughter he eventually married.

Pacheco who was, besides being an accomplished artist, a man of literary
tastes, and much sought after in Seville by the more intellectual class
of society, was exceedingly proud of his pupil, and said of him that he
was induced to bestow the hand of his daughter upon him "by the
rectitude of his conduct, the purity of his morals, and his great
talents, and from the high expectation he entertained of his natural
abilities and transcendent genius," adding that the honour of having
been his instructor was far greater than that of being his
father-in-law, and that he felt it no demerit to be surpassed by so
brilliant a pupil.

In 1649 Pacheco published a book on painting, in which we are told that
the first attempts of Velasquez were studies in still life, or simple
compositions of actual figures, called _bodegones_ in Spanish, of which
we have a fair example at the National Gallery in the _Christ at the
House of Martha_. Sir Frederick Cook, at Richmond, has another, an _Old
Woman Frying Eggs_, and the Duke of Wellington two more, of which _The
Water Carrier of Seville_ is probably the summit of the young painter's
achievement before he left Seville, in 1623, and entered the service of
Philip IV. as Court painter.

His first portrait of the king was the magnificent whole length in the
Prado Gallery, now numbered 1182, standing in front of a table with a
letter in his right hand. No. 1183 is the head of the same portrait,
possibly done as a study for it. Philip was so pleased with this that he
ordered all existing portraits of himself to be removed from the palace,
and appointed Velasquez exclusively as his painter.

Another of his earliest successes at Court was the whole length portrait
of the king's brother, Don Carlos, holding a glove in his right hand;
and the picture now in the Museum at Rouen of _A Geographer_ is probably
of this date.

In 1628, when Velasquez was still quite young, and had fallen under no
influence save that of Pacheco and the school of Seville, he was charged
by the king to entertain Rubens, who came to the Spanish Court on a
diplomatic mission, and show him all the treasures in the palace. If any
one could influence Velasquez, we might suppose it would have been
Rubens, who was not only a great painter, but a man of the most
captivating manners and disposition, ever ready to help younger artists.
But not only did he have no perceptible effect on the style of
Velasquez, but in the picture of _The Topers_, which must have been
painted while Rubens was at Madrid, or very shortly after he left, we
can almost see a determination not to be influenced by him; for the
subject was a favourite one of Rubens's, and yet there is nothing in
this most realistic presentment of

[Illustration: PLATE XVIII.--VELAZQUEZ

THE INFANTE PHILIP PROSPER

_Imperial Gallery, Vienna_]

actual figures under the title of Bacchus and his votaries which has
anything at all in common with the florid and imaginative compositions
of the Flemish painter. Velasquez had begun as a realist, and a realist
he was to continue till the end of his days.

Shortly after painting this picture he left his native country for the
first time, and visited Venice and Rome. At Venice he made copies of
Tintoretto's _Last Supper_ and _Crucifixion_; but little if any of
Tintoretto's influence is to be seen in the two pictures he painted in
Rome--_The Forge of Vulcan_ and _Joseph's Coat_, both of which are still
as realistic as ever in treatment, though showing great advances in
technical skill. Soon after his return to Spain in 1631, he probably
painted the magnificent whole length _Philip IV._ in the National
Gallery, which compares so well, on examination with the more popular
and showy _Admiral Pulido Pareja_ purchased some years ago from Longford
Castle. Senor Beruete, who has studied the work of Velasquez more
closely and more intelligently than any one else, considers that whereas
there is not a single touch upon the former that is not from the brush
of Velasquez, the latter cannot be properly attributed to him at
all--any more than can another popular favourite, the _Alexandro del
Borro_ in the Berlin Gallery, now given to Bernard Strozzi.

To this period may be also assigned the _Christ at the Column_ in the
National Gallery, a picture which though not at first sight attractive,
is nevertheless as fine in technique, and in sentiment, as any other
picture in the Spanish room, and deserves far more attention than is
usually given to it. Its simple realism and its pathetic sweetness are
qualities which are wanting in many a more showy or sensational
composition, and the more it is studied the nearer we find we are
getting to the real excellences that distinguish Velasquez from any
painter who has ever lived. The _Crucifixion_ at the Prado is perhaps
more wonderful, but the familiar subject helps the imagination of the
spectator to admire it, whereas the unfamiliar setting of our picture is
apt at first sight to repel.

The most important composition undertaken by Velasquez in this middle
period of his career--that is to say between his two visits to Italy in
1629 and 1649--is the famous _Surrender of Breda_, or, as it is
sometimes called, _The Lances_. Soon after his arrival in Madrid he had
once painted an historical subject, _The Expulsion of the Moors_, in
competition with his rivals who had asserted that he could paint nothing
but heads. In this competition the prize was awarded to him, but as the
picture has perished we are unable to judge of its merits for ourselves.
But apart from this, and such unimportant groups of figures as we have
mentioned, he had been occupied wholly in painting single portraits, and
it is a marvellous proof of his genius that he should produce such a
masterpiece of composition as _The Lances_ with so little practice in
this branch of his art. Here, at least, we might have expected to trace
the influence of Rubens, but there is actually no sign of it; and if he
sought any inspiration at all from other painters, it was from what he
recalled of Tintoretto's work which he had seen and studied in Venice.

In the king's eldest boy, _Baltazar Carlos_, who was born in 1629,
Velasquez found a model for two or three of his most charming pictures.
One is at Castle Howard; a second the equestrian portrait, on a
galloping pony, at the Prado; and a third the full length hunting
portrait, also at the Prado, in which we see the little prince standing
under a tree, gun in hand, with an enormous dog lying beside him.
Another is at Vienna, representing him as of about eleven years old,
full length, with his hand resting on the back of a chair. All of these
owe some of their charm to the youth and attractive personality of the
subject; but if we want to see the power of Velasquez without any
outside element to help us to appreciate it, there is the portrait of
the sculptor _Martinez Montanes_ at the Prado. "The head is wonderful in
its colour and its modelling," writes Senor Beruete; "and what a lesson
in technique! The eyes, lightly touched with colour, are set deep in
their sockets, and surmounted by a strongly marked forehead. The high
lights are of a rich _impasto_, manipulated with extraordinary skill;
the greyer tones of the flesh, so true and so delicate, are painted in a
way that brings out with marvellous truth, both the soft parts of the
cheeks and the harder structure of the face, under which one can follow
the bones of the nose and forehead.... Everything in the picture is
spontaneous, and one can see that it is a pledge of friendship given by
one artist to another; there is nothing here of that artificial
arrangement that spoils commissioned portraits even when they are the
work of a painter as independent as Velasquez was. One feels here the
assurance of an artist who knows that his work will be understood by his
friend in the spirit in which it was executed." M. Lefort, the French
critic, is even more enthusiastic. "Ah! these redoubtable neighbours,"
he exclaims, seeing it surrounded by the works of other painters at the
Prado. "This canvas makes them look like mere imitations--dead
conventional likenesses. Van Dyck is dull, Rubens oily, Tintoret yellow;
it is Velasquez alone who can give us the illusion of life in all its
fulness!"

In 1649 Velasquez paid his second visit to Rome, where he painted the
famous portrait of His Holiness, _Pope Innocent X._ which is now in the
Doria palace. This is exceptional in treatment, inasmuch as it is the
only portrait by Velasquez in which the subject is seated--excepting of
course equestrian portraits--and instead of the usual quiet tones of
grey and brown which he was so fond of employing, the picture of the
Pope is a radiant harmony of rose red and white. In its realism it is
even more surprising than most of the other portraits, considering how
ugly the face had to be made to resemble nature, although the sitter was
of a still higher rank than Velasquez's royal master.

Returning to Madrid in 1651, Velasquez never again left Spain, and the
remaining twenty years of his life may be considered the third period of
his artistic development, inasmuch as no special influence was exerted
upon him outside the ordinary and somewhat tedious course of his
employment at the Court. To this period are assigned twenty-six
pictures--Senor Beruete only admits the authenticity of eighty-three in
all, it may be mentioned--twelve of which are royal portraits, seven
those of buffoons and dwarfs, three mythological and two sacred
subjects, and the two famous pieces of real life, _Las Meninas_ and _Las
Hilanderas_.

Of the royal portraits those of the _Infanta Margarita_ are among the
most fascinating, no less from their technical excellence than on
account of the youthful charm of the little Princess. The one at Vienna
represents her as about three years old, dressed in red, standing by a
little table. Of this, Senor Beruete says that it is "one of the most
beautiful inspirations of Velasquez, and perhaps one that reveals better
than any other his power as a colourist; it is a flower, perfumed with
every infantine grace." Another standing portrait, though only a half
length, when she was not many years older, is that in the Salon Carré at
the Louvre, which is more familiar to us being nearer home and more
often reproduced. M. de Wyczewa praises it thus:--"The perfect
_chefs-d'oeuvre_ collected in this glorious salon pale in the presence
of this child portrait; not one of them can bear comparison with this
simple yet powerful painting, which seems to aim only at external
resemblance and without other effort to attain a mysterious beauty of
form and colour." At Frankfort again is a charming picture of the little
Princess, whole length, at the age of six or seven--a replica of which
is at Vienna. She is dressed in greyish white with trimmings of black,
and her hoop skirt is so enormous that her arms have to be stretched out
straight to allow her hands to reach the edge of her coat.

Of the three mythological subjects two are in the Prado, namely the
_Mars_ and the _Mercury and Argus_, while the third and most beautiful
is the _Venus at the Mirror_ recently purchased for our national
collection. These were all of them painted for the decoration of the
royal palaces, and we may therefore suppose that the artist was not
entirely at liberty either in the choice of his subject or in his method
of treating it. Certainly he does not seem to have been fond of painting
the nude, unless with men, and it is noticeable that he has posed his
model in this case with more modesty and reserve than is to be observed
in the pictures of Rubens and Titian. The Holy Church was sternly averse
to this class of painting, in which, accordingly, none of the Spanish
school indulged; but at the same time the royal galleries did not
exclude the most exuberant fancies of Rubens, Titian, Tintoretto, and
others, and Velasquez was in all probability commissioned by Philip to
paint this Venus--and another which has perished--along with the Mars
and Mercury without regard to the ecclesiastical authorities. But it is
hardly surprising if Velasquez availed himself less fully of the
privilege than a Flemish or Italian painter would no doubt have done,
and has given us so chaste and beautiful a realisation of the goddess.
Having regard to the scepticism with which this masterpiece was received
in England at the time of its purchase for the nation it is worth
quoting Senor Beruete's remarks upon it in that connection. "The
authenticity of this work," he writes "has found numerous doubters in
Spain, less on account of its subject--being the only nude female figure
in the whole _oeuvre_ of Velasquez--than because so few people ever
suspected its existence; but after it was exhibited at Manchester in
1857 and in London in 1890, it was recognised that its attribution to
Velasquez was well founded. At the sight of the canvas all doubt
vanishes. There, indeed, is the style, the inimitable technique of
Velasquez."

This, from the connoisseur who has devoted years of study to the work of
the master, and who rejects such well established examples as the
Dulwich _Philip IV._ and the _Admiral Pulido Pareja_, is surely more
conclusive than the academic pedantry of ignorance masquerading as
authority.

       *       *       *       *       *

BARTOLOMÉ ESTÉBAN MURILLO (1617-1682) has always been accounted the most
popular of the Spanish painters, and it is only in recent times that his
popularity has faded into comparative insignificance on the fuller
recognition and understanding of the genius of Velasquez. The intensely
Anglican feeling in this country during the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries

[Illustration: PLATE XIX.--VELAZQUEZ

THE ROKEBY VENUS

_National Gallery, London_]

seems to have found peculiar relief in the sentimental aspirations of
the followers of Raphael in the rendering of religious subjects from the
Romish point of view. At the present time we are readier to estimate
Murillo's justly high place in the annals of painting by such a picture
as his own portrait, lent by Lord Spencer to the recent Exhibition, than
to allow it on the strength of our recollection of the Madonnas and Holy
Families, Immaculate Conceptions and Assumptions, of which there exist
so many copies in the dining rooms of country rectories. The _Boy
Drinking_, which is here reproduced, if it is the least "important" of
the four examples in the National Gallery, is certainly not the least
excellent.

From the miserable state into which Spain had fallen by the end of the
seventeenth century, it could hardly be expected that anything further
in the nature of art would result, and it was not until towards the end
of the eighteenth that another genius arose, in the person of FRANCISCO
GOYA (1746-1828). Of this extraordinary phenomenon in the firmament of
art it is impossible to say more than a very few words in this place.
Like a meteor, he is rather to be pointed at than talked about, when
there are so many stars and planets whose regular courses have to be
observed and recorded. He was like a sharp knife drawn across the face
of Spain, gashing it here and there, but for the most part just touching
it lightly enough to sting and to leave a mark. As a Court painter he
was an unqualified success, his salary under Charles IV. rising in ten
years from 15,000 to 50,000 reals; but his official productions are not
the less devoid of interest on that account, and are sometimes the more
satirical from the necessity for concealment. In his more outspoken
works, such as the _Disasters of War_, and the series of prints called
_Los Caprichos_ and _Tauromachia_, he is too brutal not to affect the
ordinary observer's judgment upon his artistic qualities. Velasquez
himself could scarcely stop short enough, when painting dwarfs and
idiots and cripples, to let us admire his genius unhampered by shivers
of repulsion. Goya, being exactly the opposite of Velasquez in
temperament, had no scruples about expressing the utmost of his subject;
and even in decorating a church was reproved for "falling short of the
standard of chastity" required. But between the extremes of brutality
and conventionalism there is such a wide expanse of pure joy of painting
that nothing can diminish the reputation of Goya, however much it is
likely to be enhanced. To the modern Spanish painter he is probably as
fixed a beacon as Velasquez.

[Illustration: PLATE XX.--MURILLO

A BOY DRINKING

_National Gallery, London_]



_FLEMISH SCHOOL_



I

HUBERT AND JAN VAN EYCK


In 1383, on the death of Louis de Maele, his son-in-law Philip the
Hardy, Duke of Burgundy, assumed the government of Flanders. In the same
year Philip founded the Carthusian Convent at Dijon and employed a
Flemish painter named Melchin Broederlam to embellish two great shrines
within it. To the strong-handed policy of Philip and his successors
during the ensuing century may be attributed the rise of Netherlandish
art which, though existing before their time, required their vigorous
repression of intestine feuds to give it an opportunity of developing.
Under Louis and his predecessors Flanders and its cities had risen to
great commercial importance, but its rulers had neither the strength nor
the prestige to keep the turbulent spirit of their subjects in due
bounds. The school of painting which now arose so rapidly to perfection
under the Dukes of Burgundy thus owed a portion of its progress to the
wealth and independence of the commercial classes. The taste, power, and
cultivation of a Court gave it an additional spur; and the clergy
throwing in their weight, added their support in aid of art.

Two wings of one of the Dijon shrines are still preserved in the museum
there, and in these Messrs Crowe and Cavalcaselle observe the
characteristics of much that was to follow:--"Although Melchior's style
was founded on the study of the painters of the Rhine, his composition
was similar to the later productions of the Flemish school. A tendency
to realism already marks this early Fleming, and is the distinctive
feature of a manner in which the painter strives to imitate nature in
its most material forms. Idealism and noble forms are lacking, but
Broederlam is a fair imitator of the truth. Distinctive combination and
choice of colours in draperies, and vigorous tone, characterise him as
they do the early works at Bruges and other cities of the Netherlands
which may be judged by his standard." And again, "the painter evidently
struggled between the desire to give a material imitation, and the
inspirations of graceful teachers like those of Cologne.... Penetrated
with similar ideas the early Flemings might under similar circumstances
have risen to a sweet and dignified conception of nature; and if we fail
to discover that they attained this aim we must attribute the failure to
causes peculiar to Flanders. Amongst these we may class the social
status of the Flemish painters, whose positions in the household of
princes subjected them perhaps to caprices unfavourable to the
development of high aspirations, or the contemplation and free communion
with self which are the soul of art."

It is interesting to compare these observations, so far as they refer to
the realism which characterises Netherlandish painting, with those of Dr
Waagen, who it will be seen explains it on the broader grounds of
national temperament. "Early Netherlandish painting," he contends, "in
its freedom from all foreign influence, exhibits the contrast between
the natural feeling of the Greek and the German races respectively in
the department of art--these two races being the chief representatives
of the cultivation of the ancient and the modern world. In this
circumstance consists the high significance of this school when
considered in reference to the general history of art. While it is
characteristic of the Greek feeling--from which was derived the
Italian--to idealise,--and to idealise, be it observed, not only the
conceptions of the ideal world but even such material objects as
portraits,--by the simplification of forms and the prominence given to
the more important parts of a work of art, the early Netherlanders, on
the other hand, conferred a portrait-like character upon the most ideal
personifications of the Virgin, the Apostles, Prophets, and Martyrs, and
in actual portraiture aimed at rendering even the most accidental
peculiarities of nature, like warts and wrinkles, with excruciating
fidelity.

"While the Greeks expressed the various features of outward nature--such
as rivers, fountains, hills, trees, etc.--under abstract human forms,
the Netherlanders endeavoured to express them as they had seen them in
nature, and with a truth which extended to the smallest details.

"In opposition to the ideal, and what may be called the personifying
tendency of the Greeks, the Netherlanders developed a purely realistic
and landscape school.

"In this respect the other Teutonic nations are found to approach them
most nearly, the Germans first, and then the English."

But whatever may have been the causes which produced the distinguishing
features of Netherlandish painting, we have still to enquire the origin
from which the practice of painting in northern Europe proceeded. For
in taking Melchior Broederlam as a starting-point we are only going as
far back--with the exception of certain rude wall paintings--as the
earliest examples take us; and having seen how in Italy the whole
history of the art is traceable to Cimabue, Duccio, and Giotto, through
the Byzantines, at least a century before Broederlam comes under our
notice, we might naturally conclude that it was from Italy that it
spread to Cologne, and from Cologne to the Netherlands. So far as is
known, however, this was not the case, and we must look elsewhere than
to Italy for the influences which formed this school. Nevertheless it
was a collateral branch of the same stock--Byzantine art--and the family
resemblance comes out none the less strongly from the two branches
having developed under different circumstances. In Italy, as we have
seen, the Byzantine seed, sown in such fertile soil, attained suddenly a
great luxuriance. In the north, transplanted by Charlemagne to
Aix-la-Chapelle in the ninth century, it grew slowly and more timidly,
but none the less surely, under the cover of Monasticism, in the
manuscripts illuminated with miniatures; and thus when it did burst
forth into fuller blossom, the boldness of the Italian masters, who
worked at large in fresco, was wanting, and a detailed and almost
meticulous realism was its chief characteristic. Another point worth
noticing is that though primarily introduced for religious purposes, as
in Italy, namely the decoration of the cathedral erected by Charlemagne
at Aix-la-Chapelle, the paintings in his palace showed forth events in
his own life, such as his campaigns in Spain, seiges of towns and feats
of arms by Frankish warriors. At Upper Ingelheim, likewise, his chapel
was adorned with scenes from the Old and New Testaments, while the
banqueting hall exhibited on one wall the deeds of great Pagan rulers,
such as Cyrus, Hannibal, and Alexander, and on the other those of
Constantine and Theodosius, the seizure of Acquitaine by Pepin, and
Charlemagne's own conquest over the Saxons and finally himself enthroned
as conqueror. Although no trace remains of these paintings, contemporary
manuscripts executed by his order are still in existence in the
libraries of Paris, Trèves, and elsewhere from which we can form some
idea of the style in which they were rendered and of the source from
which they were derived.

Of these we need only mention the Vulgate decorated by JOHN OF BRUGES,
painter to King Charles V. of France, in 1371, which contains a portrait
of the king in profile with a figure kneeling before him, and a few
small historical subjects. From these it is evident that the art of
painting, at any rate in little, had made considerable progress in the
Netherlands at that date, and the express designation of _pictor_
applied to John of Bruges, while the ordinary miniaturist was called
_illuminator_, shows the probability of his having painted pictures on a
larger scale. The high development of realistic feeling as it first
appears to us in the pictures of Hubert and Jan van Eyck is thus partly
accounted for, especially when we also consider the wholesale
destruction of larger works of art that took place in the disturbed
condition of the Netherlands in the sixteenth century. The main points,
however, to be borne in mind is that whereas Cimabue and Duccio started
painting on walls under the influence of Byzantine teachers, Hubert van
Eyck, a century later, began painting on wooden panels under that of
illuminators and painters in books.

To these, nevertheless, there must be added another scarcely less
important, namely, that the early Italians were ignorant of the use of
what we now call oil paints, and worked entirely in tempera--that is to
say, there was no admixture of oil or varnish with their pigments. To
Hubert van Eyck is attributed the invention of the modern practice, as
Vasari relates with more colour than historic truth in his life of
Antonello da Messina, who is supposed to have carried it into Italy. Be
that as it may, the works of the van Eycks and their successors are all
in oils, and there is no doubt that the employment of this medium from
the first considerably influenced the style, colour, and execution of
all the works of this school.

HUBERT VAN EYCK who according to the common acceptation was born in the
year 1366 at Maaseyck, a small town not far from Maestricht, must have
been settled before the year 1412 in Bruges, when we hear of him as a
member of the Brotherhood of the Virgin with Rays.

There can be little doubt that Hubert van Eyck was acquainted with the
work of this John of Bruges, and that it had a considerable influence on
him. But while on the one hand he carried the realistic tendencies of
such works to an extraordinary pitch of excellence, it is evident that
in many essential respects he was actuated by a more ideal feeling and
imparted to the realism of his contemporaries, by means of his far
richer powers of representation, greater distinctness, truth to nature,
and variety of expression. Throughout his works is seen an elevated and
highly energetic conception of the stern import of his labours in the
service of the Church.

The prevailing arrangement of his subjects is symmetrical, holding fast
to the earliest rules of ecclesiastical art. His heads appear to aim at
an ideal beauty and dignity only combined with actual truth to nature.
His draperies exhibit the purest taste and softness of folds, the
realistic principle being apparent in that greater attention to detail
which a delicate indication of the material of the drapery necessitates.
Nude figures are studied from nature with the utmost fidelity; undraped
portions of figures are also given with much truth, especially the
hands. But what is the principal distinguishing characteristic of his
art is the hitherto unprecedented power, depth, transparency and harmony
of his colouring. Whatever want of exact truth there may be in the story
as related by Vasari's story of the discovery of oil painting, there is
no doubt that Hubert Van Eyck succeeded in preparing so transparent a
varnish that he could apply it without disadvantage to all colours.

The chief work by Hubert Van Eyck is the large altar-piece painted for
the cathedral of S. Bavon at Ghent;--parts of this have been removed and
are now in the Berlin Gallery, and supplemented with excellent copies of
the rest, the whole of the wonderful composition may there be well
studied; a large photograph of the whole altar piece may also be seen in
the library at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which shows how the work
was originally designed. It was painted for Jodocus Vyts, Burgomaster of
Ghent, and his wife Elizabeth, for their mortuary chapel in the
cathedral.

The subject of the three central panels of the upper portion is the
Deity seated between _the Virgin and S. John the Baptist_. Underneath
these, of the same width, is the famous _Adoration of the Lamb_. These
together formed the back of the altar-piece, and were covered by wings
which opened out on hinges on either side.

The three large figures of the upper part are designed with all the
dignity and statuesque repose belonging to an earlier style, and they
are painted on a ground of gold and tapestry, as was constantly the
practice in earlier times: but united with the traditional type we
already find a successful representation of life and nature in all their
truth. They stand as it were on the frontier of two different styles,
and from the excellence of both form a wonderful and most impressive
whole. The Heavenly Father sits directly fronting the spectator, in all
the solemnity of ancient dignity, His right hand raised to give the
benediction to the Lamb and to all the multitude of figures below; in
His left hand is a crystal sceptre; on His head the triple crown, the
emblem of the Trinity. The features are such as are ascribed to Christ
by the traditions of the Church, but noble and well proportioned; the
expression is forcible, though passionless.

The tunic and the mantle of this figure are of a deep red, the latter
being fastened over the breast by a clasp, and falling down in ample
folds over the feet. Behind, as high as the head, is a hanging of green
tapestry which is ornamented with a golden pelican--a symbol of the
Redeemer. Behind the head the ground is gold, and on it in a semicircle
are three inscriptions describing the Trinity as almighty, all-good, and
all-bountiful. The figures of S. John and of the Virgin display equal
majesty; both are reading holy books, as they turn towards the centre
figure. The countenance of S. John expresses ascetic seriousness, but in
that of the Virgin we find a serene grace and a purity of form which
approach very nearly to the happier effects of Italian art.

The arrangement of the lower central picture, the worship of the Lamb,
is strictly symmetrical, as the mystic nature of the allegorical subject
might seem to

[Illustration: PLATE XXI.--JAN VAN EYCK

JAN ARNOLFINI AND HIS WIFE

_National Gallery, London_]

have demanded; but there is such beauty in the landscape, in the pure
atmosphere, in the bright green of the grass, in the masses of trees and
flowers--even in single figures which stand out from the four principal
groups--that we no longer perceive either hardness or severity in this
symmetry.

The landscape of this composition and that part of it containing the
patriarchs and prophets are generally supposed to have been completed by
JAN VAN EYCK (_c._ 1385-1441), whose name till within a comparatively
recent period had almost obscured that of Hubert. For although there is
little doubt that the elder brother was the first to develop the new
method of painting, yet the fame of it did not extend beyond Belgium and
across the Alps until after the death of Hubert, when the celebrity it
so speedily acquired throughout Europe was transferred to Jan Van Eyck.
Within fifteen years after his death, 1455, Jan was commemorated in
Italy as the greatest painter of the century, while the name of Hubert
was not even mentioned. It was Jan van Eyck to whom Antonello da Messina
is said by Vasari to have resorted in Bruges in order to learn the new
style of painting; he alone also is mentioned in Vasari's first edition
of 1550, Hubert not until the second edition in 1568, and then only
incidentally.

Fortunately there are in existence various authentic pictures by Jan Van
Eyck in which his original powers are more easily recognised than in the
part he took in the execution of the great altar-piece at Ghent, in
which he doubtless accommodated himself with proper fraternal piety both
to the composition and to the style of his elder brother--who was also
his master. In these we can see that he possessed neither the enthusiasm
for the rich imagery and symbolism of the ecclesiastical art of the
Middle Ages, nor that feeling for beauty in human forms or in drapery
which belonged to his elder brother. His feeling, on the other hand, led
him to the closest and truest conception of individual nature. Where he
had to paint portraits only--a task which was most congenial to the
tendency of his mind--he attained a life-like truth of form and
colouring in every part, extending even to the minutest details, such as
no other artist of his time could rival, and which art in general has
seldom produced. In his actual brush work he shows greater facility than
was ever attained by Hubert, by which he was enabled to render the
material of every substance with marvellous fidelity.

What little we know of the personal history of Jan Van Eyck is of
exceptional interest, inasmuch as we find him employed on diplomatic
errands to foreign countries, like his great successor Rubens; and as it
happens he landed in England, though not intentionally, in the course of
one of these voyages, being driven into Shoreham and Falmouth by adverse
weather. It was in 1425 that he was taken into the service of Philip
III., Duke of Burgundy, as painter and "varlet de chambre," shortly
after which he went to Lille. In the following year he was sent on a
pilgrimage as the Duke's proxy, and again on two secret missions. In
1428 he went with the Duke's Embassy to the King of Portugal which was
to sue for the hand of Isabella, the Portuguese princess. It was on this
occasion that he was driven on to our shores. Arriving at Lisbon he
painted two portraits of Isabella, one of which was sent home by sea and
the other overland. After a happy and successful career he died in 1441
at Bruges, where he had married and settled down on his return from
Portugal.

The most beautiful example of Jan Van Eyck's work in England is the
portrait of Jean Arnolfini and Jeanne de Chenany his wife, now in the
National Gallery (No. 186). This is dated with the charming inscription,
"Johannes de Eyck fuit hic 1434"--that is to say, instead of simply
signing the picture, he writes, "Jan Van Eyck was here, 1434." No other
picture shows so high a development of the master's extraordinary power
and charm. Besides every other quality peculiar to him, we observe here
a perfection of tone and of chiaroscuro which no other specimen of this
whole period affords. It is recorded that Princess Mary, sister of
Charles V. and Governess of the Netherlands, purchased this picture from
a barber to whom it belonged at the price of a post worth a hundred
gulden a year. Among its subsequent possessors were Don Diego de
Guevara, majordomo of Joan, Queen of Castile, by whom it was presented
to Margaret of Austria. In 1530 it was acquired by Mary of Hungary, and
later it returned to Spain. In 1789 it was in the palace at Madrid, and
soon after it was taken by one of the French Generals, in whose quarters
Major-General Hay found it after the battle of Waterloo.

Two other portraits in the National Gallery bear the signature of Jan
Van Eyck. No. 222, An elderly man, head and shoulders, on the frame of
which is the painter's motto, "als ich can," and his signature,
"Johannes de Eyck me fecit anno 1433, 21 Octobris." The other, No. 290,
is a younger man, half length, standing inside an open window, on the
sill of which is inscribed "[Greek: Timotheos]," and "Léal Souvenir,"
and below the date and signature, "Actum anno domini 1432, 10 die
Octobris a Iohanne de Eyck."

Among the Netherlandish scholars and followers of the Van Eycks of whom
any record has been preserved some appear to have been gifted with
considerable powers, though none attained the excellence of their great
precursors. Although a number of works representing this school still
exist in the various countries of Europe, yet compared with the actual
abundance of them at one time they constitute but a scanty remnant.

Though not actually a pupil of Jan Van Eyck, ROGER VAN DER WEYDEN
acquired after him the greatest celebrity. As early as 1436 he filled
the honourable post of official painter to the city of Brussels. The
chief work executed by him in this capacity was an altar-piece for the
Chamber of Justice in Hôtel de Ville. According to the custom of the
time, it set forth in the most realistic fashion examples of stern
observance of the law for the admonition of those placed in authority.
The principal picture showed how Herkenbald, a judge in the eleventh
century, executed his own nephew (convicted of a grave crime, but who
would otherwise have escaped the penalty of the law) with his own hands;
and how the sacramental wafer which, on the plea of murder, was denied
to him by the priest, reached the lips of the upright judge by means of
a miracle. The wings contained an example of the justice of the Emperor
Trajan. These pictures are unfortunately no longer in existence, having
probably been burned when Brussels was besieged in 1695.

In the Museum of the Hospital at Beaune is one of the most important of
his works still in existence, _The Last Judgment_, though in this it is
generally supposed he was assisted by Dirk Bouts and Hans Memling. It
contains several portraits, notably those of the Pope, Eugenius IV., who
stands behind the Apostles in the right wing, and next to him Philip the
Good. The crowned female in the opposite wing is probably Philip's

[Illustration: PLATE XXII.--JAN VAN EYCK

PORTRAIT OF THE PAINTER'S WIFE

_Town Gallery, Bruges_]

second wife, Isabella of Portugal, whose portrait Jan Van Eyck went to
Lisbon to paint before her marriage. On the outer sides are excellently
painted portraits of the founder of the Hospital, Nicolas Rolin, and his
wife. This work has been classed with the Van Eycks' _Adoration of the
Lamb_, and the _Adoration of the Shepherds_ by Hugo Van der Goes, as
crystallizing the finest expression of early northern painting.

In 1450 he visited Italy, where he painted the beautiful little
altar-piece which is now in the Städel Institute at Frankfort, for Piero
and Giovanni de'Medici.

Another very fine example of his work is the triptych, now in the Berlin
Museum, executed for Pierre Bladelin. In the centre is the Nativity,
with a portrait of Bladelin kneeling, and angels. On the one side is the
annunciation of the Redeemer to the ruler of the West--the Emperor
Augustus--by the agency of the Tiburtine Sibyl; on the other to those of
the East--the Three Kings--who are keeping watch on a mountain, where
the child appears to them in a star.

One of the largest as well as of the finest of the master's works is a
triptych in the Munich Gallery--the _Adoration of the Kings_, with the
_Annunciation_ and the _Presentation in the Temple_ in the wings. The
figure of the Virgin in the _Presentation_ is particularly pleasing for
its simple and unaffected realism. _S. Luke painting the Virgin_, also
in the Munich Gallery, is ascribed to Roger.

No painter of this school, the Van Eycks even not excepted, exercised so
great and widely extended an influence as Roger Van der Weyden. Not only
were Hans Memling--the greatest master of the next generation in
Belgium--and his own son, also named Roger, his pupils, but innumerable
works other than pictures were produced, such as miniatures,
block-books, and engravings, in which his form of art is recognisable.
It was under his auspices that the realistic tendency of the Van Eycks
pervaded all Germany; for it was only after the death of Jan Van Eyck,
in 1441, that the widespread fame of Roger Van der Weyden induced
Germans to visit his studio at Brussels. Martin Schongauer, one of the
greatest German masters of the sixteenth century, is known to have been
his pupil, and it is certain that there must have been many others.

It is in HANS MEMLING (_c._ 1435-1494), whom Vasari states to have been
the pupil of Roger, that the early Netherlandish School attains the
highest delicacy of artistic development. His poetical and profoundly
human qualities had a special attraction for the "Pre-Raphaelite
Brotherhood" inaugurated by Rossetti and Holman Hunt in the middle of
the nineteenth century. This unusual tenderness of feeling is probably
also the origin of the legend that Memling was taken into the Hospital
of S. John at Bruges--where he painted most of his masterpieces--as a
sick soldier after the battle of Nancy. In feeling for beauty and grace
he was more gifted than any painter except Hubert Van Eyck, and this
quality, conspicuous amid the somewhat ugly realism of most of his
contemporaries, has ensured him perhaps a little more popularity than is
rightly his share. Compared with the works of his master, Roger Van der
Weyden, his figures are certainly of better proportions and less
meagreness of form; his hands and feet truer to nature; the heads of his
women are sweeter, and those of his men less severe. His outlines are
softer, and in the modelling of his flesh parts more delicacy of half
tones is observable. His colours are still more luminous and
transparent. On the other hand he is inferior to Van der Weyden in the
carrying out of detail, such as the materials of his draperies or the
rendering of the full brilliancy of gold.

In 1467 Memling was a master painter at Bruges, and painted the portrait
of the medallist, Nicolas Spinelli, which is now in the Royal Museum at
Antwerp, and a small altar-piece now at Chatsworth. His most famous
works, those in the Hospital at Bruges, belong to a somewhat later date,
the _Shrine of S. Ursula_ not being completed till 1489. The _Adoration
of the Kings_ and the altar-piece were some ten years earlier. The
famous shrine of S. Ursula is about four feet in length, and the whole
of the outside is adorned with painting. On each side of the cover are
three medallions, a large one in the centre and two smaller at the
sides. The latter contain angels playing on musical instruments; in the
centre on one side is a Coronation of the Virgin, on the other the
Glorification of S. Ursula and her companions, with two figures of
Bishops. On the gable-ends are the Virgin and Child with two sisters of
the hospital kneeling before them, and S. Ursula with the arrow, the
instrument of her martyrdom, and virgins seeking protection under her
mantle. On the longer sides of the reliquary itself, in six rather
larger compartments, is painted the history of S. Ursula.

Of about the same period, possibly a little earlier, is the _Marriage of
S. Catherine_, which is also in S. John's Hospital at Bruges. The
central figure is that of the Virgin, seated under a porch, with
tapestry hanging down behind it; two angels hold a crown over her head:
beside her is S. Catherine kneeling, whose head is one of the finest
ever painted by Memling. Behind her is an angel playing on the organ,
and further back S. John the Baptist. On the other side kneels S.
Barbara, reading: behind her another angel holds a book to the Virgin,
and still further back is S. John the Evangelist, a figure of great
beauty, and of a singularly mild and thoughtful character. Through the
arcades of the porch we look out, on either side of the throne, on a
rich landscape, in which are represented scenes from the lives of the
two S. Johns. The panel on the right contains the beheading of the
Baptist, on the left the Evangelist in the Isle of Patmos, where the
vision of the Apocalypse appears to him--the Almighty on a throne in a
glory of dazzling light, encompassed with a rainbow.

The whole forms a work strikingly poetical and most impressive in
character; it is highly finished, both in drawing and composition.

IAN GOSSAERT (_c._ 1472-1535), called JAN VAN MABUSE from his native
town of Maubeuge, was the son of a bookbinder who worked for the Abbey
of Sainte-Aldegonde. It is possible therefore that he might have formed
an early acquaintance with illuminated manuscripts before studying the
art of painting in the studio of a master. Memling, Gerard, David, and
Quentin Massys have been suggested as his instructors, but it is not
known for certain that he was actually a pupil of any of them. In 1508
he went to Italy, where he appears to have been greatly influenced both
by the work of the Renaissance painters and by the antique. The
_Adoration of the Kings_, which was lately purchased from Castle Howard
for the National Gallery for £40,000, was painted before he went to
Italy.

Towards the end of the fifteenth century, in consequence of the transfer
of commerce from Bruges to Antwerp, this latter city first became and
long continued the centre of art, and especially of Netherlandish
painting. Here it is that we find QUENTIN MASSYS, the greatest Belgian
painter of this later time. He was born

[Illustration: PLATE XXIII.--JAN MABUSE

PORTRAIT OF JEAN CARONDELET

_Louvre, Paris_]

probably in 1466. His father is said to have been a blacksmith and
clockmaker, and there is a tradition that Quentin only forsook the
hammer for the brush at instigation of a tender passion for a beautiful
lady. Be that as it may, he is an important figure in the history of
Belgian art. He distinguishes, broadly speaking, the close of the last
period and the beginning of the next. A number of pictures representing
sacred subjects exhibit, with little feeling for real beauty of form,
such delicacy of features, beauty and earnestness of feeling, tenderness
and clearness of colouring and skill in finish, as worthily recall the
religious painting of the Middle Ages, though at the very end of them.
In his draperies, especially, we observe a charm which is peculiar to
Massys. At the same time, in the subordinate figures introduced into
sacred subjects, such as the executioners, etc., he seems to take
pleasure in coarse and tasteless caricatures.

In subjects taken from common life, such as money changers, loving
couples, or ugly old women, he uses his brush with evident zest, and
with great success. The pictures of his later period are also
distinguished from those of other painters by the large size of the
figures, which for the first time in his country are of three-quarters
or even actual life size.

Among his most original and attractive pictures are the half-length
figures of Christ and the Virgin. These must have been very popular in
his own time, for he has left several repetitions of them. Two heads of
this class are at Antwerp, and two others of equal beauty are in the
National Gallery in one frame (No. 295).

The most celebrated of his subject pictures is that known by the name of
_The Misers_, or _The Money Changers_, at Windsor Castle--of which there
are numerous copies, and this is not supposed to be the original. _The
Money Changer and His Wife_ at the Louvre is undoubtedly his.

LUCAS VAN LEYDEN, as he was called (his real name being Luc Jacobez),
was born in 1494, and died in 1533. He was a pupil of a little known
artist, Cornelis Engelbrechstein, who was a follower if not a pupil of
Memling. Lucas was an artist of multifarious powers and very early
development. He painted admirably--though his authenticated works are
very scarce--drew, and engraved. He pursued the path of realism in the
treatment of sacred subjects, but with less beauty or elevation of mind.
His heads are generally of a very ugly character. At the same time his
form of expression found sympathy in the feeling of the period, and by
the skill with which it was expressed, especially in his engravings,
attracted a number of followers. In scenes from common life he is full
of truth and delicate observation of nature, though showing now and then
a somewhat coarse sense of humour. One of his most important works is a
large composition of _The Last Judgment_, which is at Leyden.

Very early in the sixteenth century--beginning in fact, as we have seen,
with Jan Mabuse in 1508--the Netherlandish and German artists made it
the fashion to repair to Italy, attracted by the reputation of the great
masters; so that from this time onwards their work ceases to exhibit the
purely northern characteristics of their predecessors. For it appears
that precisely those qualities most opposed to their own native feeling
for art made the deepest impression on their minds; more especially such
general qualities as grandeur, beauty, simplicity of forms, drawing of
the nude, unrestrained freedom, boldness, and grace of movement--in
short, all that is comprised in art under the term "ideal."

But the attempt to appropriate all these qualities could lead to no
successful result. Being based on no inherent want on the part of their
own original feeling for art, it became only the outward imitation of
something foreign to themselves, and they never therefore succeeded in
mastering the complete understanding of form, or in adopting the true
feeling for beauty of line or grace of movement; and in aiming at them
they only degenerated into artificiality, exaggeration in drawing, and
violence in attitude. The pictures of this class, even of religious
subjects, have accordingly but little to attract the eye, and when they
selected scenes from ancient mythology, and allegories decked out with
an ostentation of learning, the result is positively disagreeable.

The most satisfactory productions of this period will be found in the
department of portrait painting, which, by its nature, threw the artist
upon the exercise of his own original feeling for art. As in every other
respect this epoch is far more important as a link in the chain of
history than from any pleasure arising from its own works, it will be
sufficient to mention only the more important painters and a few of
their principal pictures.

The first painter who deserted his native style of art was, as before
mentioned, Jan Mabuse. After the large _Adoration of the Kings_ in the
National Gallery the most important picture of his pre-Italian period is
the _Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane_ at Berlin. Nearly all his works
subsequent to 1512, by which time he had settled in Brussels, are
characterised by all the faults above mentioned. Their redeeming quality
is their masterly treatment. Among those of religious subjects the
smallest are as a rule the best. The _Ecce Homo_ at Antwerp, so
frequently copied by contemporary painters, is a specimen of masterly
modelling and vigorous colour. He is less successful with his life-size
_Adam and Eve_, of which there are repetitions at Brussels, Hatfield,
Hampton Court and Berlin. But his most unpleasing efforts are the
mythological subjects such as the _Danaë_ at Munich, and the _Neptune
and Amphitrite_ at Berlin. On the other hand, his portraits are
attractive both from being more original, and less influenced by his
acquired mannerisms of style Four of these are in the National Gallery,
and the _Girl weighing Gold Pieces_, in the Berlin gallery, is also
worthy of mention.

BERNARD VAN ORLEY, born at Brussels in 1471, is characterised in the
catalogue of the National Gallery as "taking his place after Massys and
Mabuse on the downward slope of Netherlandish painting." He has been
immortalised by the fine portrait head of him by Albert Dürer which is
now in the Dresden Gallery. He was Court painter to Margaret of Austria,
Governess of the Low Countries, and retained the same post under her
successor, Mary of Hungary. He is said to have visited Rome in 1509, and
there made the acquaintance of Raphael, whose influence is certainly
apparent, though hardly his inspiration, in the _Holy Family_ in the
Louvre. A more Netherlandish work, both in feeling and in treatment, is
the _Pietà_ in the Gallery at Brussels.

IAN SCOREL, born in 1495, was a pupil of Mabuse, and appears to have
been the first to introduce the Italian style into his native
country--Holland. When on a pilgrimage to Palestine he happened to pass
through Rome at the time his countryman was raised to the papal dignity
as Adrian VI., and after painting his portrait he was appointed overseer
of the art treasures of the Vatican. Returning to Utrecht, where he
died, he painted the picture of the _Virgin and Child_, with donors,
which is now in the Town Hall.

A fine portrait by Scorel of Cornelius Aerntz van der Dussen is in the
Berlin Gallery.

The decided and strongly realistic style in which Quentin Massys had
painted scenes from common life, as for instance the Misere or Money
Changers, became the model for various painters in their treatment of
similar subjects. First among these was his son, JAN MASSYS, born about
1500, who followed closely but rather clumsily in his father's
footsteps, and need only be mentioned for carrying on the tradition.
More interesting were the Breughels, namely, PIETER BREUGHEL the elder,
born about 1520, called Peasant Breughel, and his two sons Pieter and
Jan. Old Breughel is best studied at Vienna, where there are good
examples of his various subjects, notably a _Crucifixion_ and _The Tower
of Babel_--both dated 1563--and secular scenes like _A Peasant Wedding_
and a _Fight between Carnival and Lent_, which are full of clever and
droll invention.

His elder son, Pieter, was called Hell Breughel, from his choice of
subject. He is far inferior to his father or to his younger brother Jan,
called Velvet Breughel, born in 1568. Though more especially a landscape
painter, Jan also takes an important place in the development of subject
pictures, which, though seldom rising above a somewhat coarse reality,
are of a lively character, and worthy forerunners of the more
accomplished productions of Teniers, Ostade, and Brouwer.

It is in portrait painting, however, that the Netherlandish School
chiefly distinguished itself during its decline in the seventeenth
century, and had all its sons remained in the country to enhance its
glory, it is probable that the effect on the general practice of
painting would have been more than beneficial. But portrait painters
have not always been content to sit at home and wait for sitters to come
to them, especially when the state of society in which they happen to
find themselves makes waiting rather a long and tedious process. From
the Reformation onwards, for over two centuries, there was a steady
demand for portrait painters in England, and after the foundation of a
really English school of painting by Reynolds in the middle of the
eighteenth century, the stream of foreign, especially Netherlandish,
talent never entirely ceased to flow. But confining ourselves for the
present to the sixteenth century, we find that all the considerable
Netherlandish portrait painters were employed for the most part outside
their own country.

Typical of these is JOOS VAN CLEEF, of Antwerp, who died in 1540.
According to Vasari he visited Spain and painted portraits for the Court
of France. At all events it is certain that he worked for a time in
England, where the great success of Sir Antonio Mor is said to have
disordered his brain. The few pictures that can be assigned to him with
any certainty thoroughly justify the high reputation he enjoyed in his
time--the two male portraits for example at Berlin and Munich, the
portraits of himself and his wife at Windsor, and his own at Althorp.
His style may be classed as between that of Holbein and Antonio Mor. His
well-drawn forms are decided without being hard, and his warm and
transparent colouring recalls the great masters of the Venetian School.



II

PETER PAUL RUBENS


Dr Waagen thus summarises the history of painting in the Netherlands
during the interval of about a century and a half that elapsed between
the death of Jan van Eyck in 1440 and the birth of PETER PAUL RUBENS in
1577.

"The great school of the brothers van Eyck," he writes, "which united
with a profound and genuine enthusiasm for religious subjects a pure and
healthy feeling for nature, and a talent for portraying her minutest
details with truth and fidelity, had continued till the end of the
fifteenth century, and in some instances even later, to produce the most
admirable works, combining the utmost technical perfection in touch and
finish with most vivid and beautiful colouring. To this original school,
however, had succeeded a perverted rage for imitating the Italian
masters, which had been introduced into the Netherlands by a few
painters of talent, particularly by Jean Mabuse and Bernard van Orley.
To display their science by throwing their figures into forced and
difficult positions and strongly marking the muscles, by which they
thought to emulate the grandeur of Michel Angelo, and to exhibit their
learning by the choice of mythological and allegorical subjects, became
the aim of succeeding painters, and before these false and artificial
views of art, the spirit of religious enthusiasm and the pure, naïve
perception of the truth and beauty of nature gradually disappeared.

"In proportion as the Flemish painters lost the proper conception of
form, and the feeling for delicacy and beauty of outline, it followed
of course that they became more and more removed from nature in their
desire to rival each other in the forced attitudes of their figures, and
in the exhibition of nudity, until at last such disgusting caricatures
were produced as we find in the works of Martin Heemskirk or Franz
Floris, artists who were even deficient in good colouring, the old
inheritance of the school.

"Some few painters, however, whose feeling for truth and nature repelled
them instinctively from a path so far removed from both, took to
portraying scenes of real life with considerable humour and vivacity; or
they delineated nature in her commonest aspects with great minuteness of
detail; and thus _tableaux de genre_ and landscape originated. Although
a few isolated efforts to introduce a better state of things were
visible towards the end of the sixteenth century, it was reserved for a
mind of no common power to bring about a complete revolution."

That Rubens was possessed of a "mind of no common power" will be readily
admitted. He was an extraordinary person, in whom were combined such a
variety of excellent qualities that there seems to have been no room
left in him for any of the inferior ones which are usually necessary, as
one must almost admit, for an alloy that will harden the finer metal for
the practical purposes of success. With all his feeling for religion, he
was seldom prudish; his amazing vitality never led him into excess or
intemperance. His intense patriotism was all for peace; classical
learning never made him dry or bumptious, nor the favour of kings
servile. As fine a gentleman as Buckingham, he had no enemies.

Something more than temperament and natural ability, however, was
necessary to make Rubens exactly what he turned out to be, and that was
environment. Had he remained in Flanders all his life we should have
been deprived of much that is most characteristic in his art. He was too
big, that is to say, for the flower pot. He needed to be bedded out, so
that his exuberant natural genius might have the proper opportunities
for expanding under suitable conditions. It was in Venice and Mantua, in
Florence and Rome that he found himself, and took his measure from the
giants.

Rubens was born in 1577 at Cologne, where his father, a jurist of
considerable attainments, had taken refuge from the disturbances at
Antwerp in 1566. He was christened Peter Paul in honour of the saints on
whose festival his birthday fell--29th June. At the age of sixteen he
was placed as a page in the household of the widowed Countess of
Lalaing, but as he showed a remarkable love for drawing he was
apprenticed first to Tobias Verhaegt, a landscape painter, and then to
Adam Van Oort. The latter was so unsuitable a master, however, that
Rubens was soon committed to the care of Otto Vennius, at that time
Court painter to the Infanta Isabella and the Archduke Albert, her
husband; he prospered so well that in 1600 Vennius advised him to go to
Italy to finish his education as a painter.

Rubens was now in his twenty-third year, and besides being proficient in
painting he was so well grounded in the classics and in general
education and manners that he was recommended by the Archduke to
Vincenzio, Duke of Gonzaga, whose palace at Mantua was famous for
containing an immense collection of art treasures, a great part of which
within the next quarter of a century were purchased by King Charles, the
Duke of Buckingham, and the Earl of Arundel. The influence exerted on
the young painter by surroundings like these is exemplified in a note by
Waagen:--

"Rubens during his residence at Mantua was so pleased with the _Triumph
of Julius Cæsar_ by Mantegna (the large cartoons now at Hampton Court
Palace), that he made a free copy of one of them. His love for the
fantastic and pompous led him to choose that with the elephants carrying
the candelabra; but his ardent imagination, ever directed to the
dramatic, could not be contented with this. Instead of a harmless sheep,
which, in Mantegna, is walking by the side of the foremost elephant,
Rubens has introduced a lion and a lioness, which growl angrily at the
elephant. The latter is looking furiously round, and is on the point of
striking the lion a blow with his trunk."

That Rubens should have been so specially attracted by Mantegna may seem
a little surprising, until we remember that both were lovers and
students of classical antiquities--a fact that is often forgotten in
recalling only the principal achievements of either. But it is important
to know what sort of foundations underlie the most splendid erections if
we wish to understand how they came into existence and what their place
is in the history of the arts. A glance through Lemprière's _Dictionary_
may furnish a modern Academician with a subject for a popular
picture,--but that is stucco rather than foundation. The roots of tall
trees go deep. Rubens when he was in Rome studied the antiquities of the
place with the utmost diligence and zeal, as is evidenced by a book
published by his brother Philip in 1608.

It was in the autumn of this year that he received the news, when at
Genoa, of his mother's illness, which induced him to return to Antwerp
forthwith. On his arrival he found she had died before the messenger
had reached Genoa.

After four months of mourning he was ready to return to Flanders; his
sojourn of eight years in Italy had so far influenced him that he might
have remained there indefinitely had it not been for the Archduke and
the Infanta pressing him to remain at Brussels and attach himself to
their Court. Another circumstance may possibly have weighed with him;
for within a year we find him married to Elizabeth Brant, the daughter
of a magistrate of Antwerp, and it was not at Brussels, but at Antwerp,
that he took up his quarters. Here he proceeded to build a wonderful
house--said to have cost him 60,000 florins--after designs of his own in
the Italian style, which he filled with the treasures he had collected
in Italy.

Rubens's first pictures were nearly all of them religious subjects.
Before he went to Italy he had painted an _Adoration of the Kings_, a
_Holy Trinity_, and the _Dead Christ in the Arms of God the Father_,
which was engraved by Bolswert. When Vincenzio sent him to Rome to copy
pictures there for him, he found time to execute a commission which he
received from the Archduke Albert to paint three pictures for the Church
of Santa Croce di Gerusalamme, namely, the _Crowning with Thorns_, the
_Crucifixion_, and the _Finding of the Cross_. A year later--after
returning from a journey to Madrid--he painted the altar-piece for the
Church of Santa Maria in Vallicella, in which the influence of Paul
Veronese is conspicuous. At Genoa, he painted the Circumcision and S.
Ignatius for the church of the Jesuits.

One of the first pictures which he painted on his return to Antwerp was
an altar-piece for the private chapel of the Archduke Albert, of the
Holy Family. This picture was so much admired that the members of the
fraternity of S. Ildefonso, at the head of which was the Archduke
Albert, commissioned him to paint an altar-piece for the Chapel of the
Order of S. James near Brussels. This picture, which is now at Vienna,
represents the Virgin enthroned, surrounded by four female saints,
putting the Cloak of the Order on the shoulders of S. Ildefonso. On the
wings are the portraits of the Archduke and Isabella, with their patron
saints.

Thus we find that, like the earliest painters in his own country as well
as in Italy, the beginning of Rubens's art was under the influence of
the Church. Further, we find that the most celebrated work of his
earlier period, the _Descent from the Cross_, in the cathedral at
Antwerp, was undertaken in circumstances which abundantly show how
thoroughly he was imbued with the principles of the religion he
professed. The story is that when preparing the foundations of his new
house he had unwittingly trespassed upon a piece of ground belonging to
the Company of Arquebusiers at Antwerp. A lawsuit was threatened, and
Rubens, with all the vivacity of his nature, prepared measures of
resistance. But when his friend Rockox, a lawyer, had proved him that he
was in the wrong, he immediately drew back, and offered to paint a
picture by way of compensation. The offer was accepted, and the
Arquebusiers asked for a representation of their patron, S. Christopher,
to be placed in his chapel in the cathedral. In the magnificent spirit
which always distinguished the man, he presented to his adversaries not
merely the figure of the great Saint, but an elaborate and significant
illustration of his name (Christ-bearer). Thus, in the centre, the
disciples are lifting the Saviour from the Cross; in the wings the
Visitation--S. Simeon with Christ in his arms, S. Christopher with
Christ on his shoulders, and an old hermit bearing a light.

Among the earlier examples of secular pictures one of the most famous is
the portrait of himself and his bride, which is now in the Munich
Gallery. This was painted in 1609, when Rubens was over thirty years
old.

In 1627 Rubens went to Madrid on a diplomatic errand, but still as a
painter, as we shall see when discussing his relations with Velasquez.

Towards the end of the year 1629 he was sent on another diplomatic
mission, this time to England. The choice of an ambassador could not
have fallen on anyone better calculated to suit the personal character
of Charles I., who was a passionate lover of art and easily captivated
by men of cultivated intellect and refined manners. Rubens therefore, in
whom the most admirable and attractive qualities were united to the
rarest genius as an artist, soon succeeded in winning the attention and
regard of the king. At Paris, too, Rubens had made friends with
Buckingham, who had purchased his whole collection of statues,
paintings, and other works of art for about ten thousand pounds.

It was during his stay in London that he painted the picture now in the
National Gallery, called _Peace and War_ (No. 46). This was intended as
an allegory representing the blessings of peace and the horrors of war,
which he presented to the king as a tangible recommendation of the
pacific measures which he had come to propose. After the dispersion of
the Royal Collection during the Commonwealth this picture was acquired
by the Doria family at Genoa, where it was called, oddly enough,
_Rubens's Family_. As a matter of fact the children are those of
Balthazar Gerbier. He also painted the _S. George and the Dragon_,
which is now at Windsor Castle, and made the sketches for the nine
pictures on the ceiling of the Banqueting Hall--now the United Service
Institution Museum--in Whitehall. It was on this occasion, too, that he
received the honour of knighthood from Charles I., who is said to have
presented him with his own sword.

In the following year, 1630, Rubens married his second wife, Helena
Fourment, who was only sixteen years old--he was now fifty-two or
fifty-three. She belonged to one of the richest and most respectable
families in Antwerp, and was by no means unworthy of the compliment of
being painted in the character of the Virgin receiving instruction from
S. Anne, in the picture which is still at Antwerp.

In 1633 his painting was again interrupted by a diplomatic mission, this
time to Holland; and his remaining years were subject to more
distressing interruptions, from the gout, to which he finally succumbed
in 1640.

When we come to consider the English School of painting we shall see how
much of its revival in the middle of the eighteenth century was due to
the personality as well as to the genius of Sir Joshua Reynolds. In the
Netherlands, likewise, it was not merely a great painter that was
required to raise the art to life, but a great personality as well; and
to the influence of Rubens may be attributed much if not all of the
extraordinary fertility of the Flemish and Dutch Schools of the
seventeenth century. Making every allowance for the difference in the
times in which the Van Eycks and Rubens were working, there is no doubt
that the former lived in too rarefied an atmosphere ever to influence
their fellows, and with the exception of Hans Memling they left no

[Illustration: PLATE XXIV.--RUBENS

PORTRAIT OF HÉLÈNE FOURMENT, THE ARTIST'S SECOND WIFE, AND TWO CHILDREN

_Louvre, Paris_]

one worthy to carry on their tradition. Rubens showed his contemporaries
that art was a mistress who could be served in many ways that were yet
unthought of, and that she did not by any means disdain the tribute of
other than religious votaries. Beginning, as we have pointed out, with
sacred subjects, Rubens soon turned to the study of the classics, and
found in them not so much the classical severity that Mantegna had
sought for as the pagan spirit of fulness and freedom. "I am convinced
that to reach the highest perfection as a painter," he himself writes
"it is necessary, not only to be acquainted with the ancient statues,
but we must be inwardly imbued with the thorough comprehension of them.
An insight into the laws which pertain to them is necessary before they
can be turned to any real account in painting. This will prevent the
artist from transferring to the canvas that which in sculpture is
dependent on the material employed--marble, for instance. Many
inexperienced and indeed experienced painters do not distinguish the
material from the form which it expresses--the stone from the figure
which is carved in it; that which the artist forces from the dead
marble, from the universal laws of art which are independent of it.

"One leading rule may be laid down, that inasmuch as the best statues of
antiquity are of great value for the painter, the inferior ones are not
only worthless but mischievous: for while beginners fancy they can
perform wonders if they can borrow from these statues, and transfer
something hard, heavy, with sharp outlines and an exaggerated anatomy to
their canvas, this can only be done by outraging the truth of nature,
since instead of representing flesh with colours, they do but give
colour to marble.

"In studying even the best of the antique statues, the painter must
consider and avoid many things which are not connected with the art of
the sculptor, but solely with the material in which he worked. I may
mention particularly the difference in the shading. In nature, owing to
the transparency of the flesh, the skin, and the cartilages, the shading
of many parts is moderated, which in sculpture appear hard and abrupt,
for the shadows become doubled, as it were, owing to the natural and
unavoidable thickness of the stone. To this must be added that certain
less important parts which lie on the surface of the human body, as the
veins, folds of the skin, etc., which change their appearance with every
movement, and which owing to the pliancy of the skin become easily
extended or contracted, are not expressed at all in the works of
sculptors in general--though it is true that sculptors of high talent
have marked them in some degree. The painter, however, must never omit
to introduce them--with proper discretion.

"In the manner in which lights fall, too, statues are totally different
from nature; for the natural brilliancy of marble, and its own light,
throws out the surface far more strongly than in nature, and even
dazzles the eye."

I have quoted rather more of this passage (from Mrs Jameson's
translation) than I at first intended, because it discloses one of the
most important secrets of the successful painting of figures, by other
artists besides Rubens himself--George Romney for example. The
advantages of a "classical education" at our English public schools and
universities are questioned, and there can be no doubt that for the bulk
of the pupils they are questionable. But Rubens shows that the case is
exactly the same for painters studying classical art as for scholars
acquainting themselves with classical literature. A superficial study of
the antique, just because it is antique, is of no use at all, but rather
a hindrance. But if the study is properly undertaken, there is no surer
foundation, in art or literature, on which to build. It makes no
difference what is built; the foundation is there, beneath the surface,
and whatever is placed upon it will stand for all time.

The remarkable freedom and originality of Rubens's treatment of
classical subjects is thus accounted for. Under the surface is his
familiarity with the antique, but instead of carrying this above ground,
he builds on it a palace in accordance with the times and circumstances
in which he lived. The principles of classical art underlie the modern
structure. Among his numerous works of classical mythology the picture
at Munich of _Castor and Pollux_ carrying off the daughters of Leucippus
is worthy of being first mentioned. The Dioscuri mounted on spirited
steeds, one of which is wildly rearing, are in the act of capturing the
two damsels. The calm expression of strength in the male, and the
violent but fruitless resistance of the female figures, form a striking
contrast. Although the former are merely represented as two coarse and
powerful men, and the women have only common and rather redundant forms
and Flemish faces, yet the picture produces as a whole such a striking
effect, owing to the admirable manner in which the subject is conceived,
the power of imagination which it displays, and the exquisite colouring
and tone, that it would never occur to any unprejudiced spectator to
regret the absence of antique forms and character.

Two other pictures of this class are singled out for description by
Waagen as masterpieces. One is the _Rape of Proserpine_, at
Blenheim,--Pluto in his car, drawn by fiery brown steeds, is carrying
off the goddess, who is struggling in his arms. The other is the _Battle
of the Amazons_, in the Munich Gallery, which was painted by Rubens for
Van der Geest. With great judgment he has chosen the moment when the
Amazons are driven back by the Greeks over the river Thermodon: the
battle takes place upon a bridge, and thus the horror of the scene is
carried to the highest pitch.

Both in Flanders and in Italy Rubens had been brought into close contact
with all the magnificence and splendour which belonged to those gorgeous
times, and he delighted in representing the pomp of worldly state and
everything connected with it. Of all sacred subjects none afforded such
a rich field for display as the _Adoration of the Kings_; he has painted
this subject no less than twelve times, and his fancy appears quite
inexhaustible in the invention of the rich offerings of the eastern
sages. Among the subjects of a secular character the history of Marie
de'Medici, the triumph of the Emperor Charles V., and the Sultan at the
head of his Army, gave him abundant opportunities of portraying Oriental
and European pageantry, with rich arms and regalia, and all the pomp and
circumstance of war. Profusion--pouring forth of abundance, that was one
of Rubens's most salient characteristics. Exuberance, plenty, fatness.

As a painter of animals, again, Rubens opened out a new field for the
energy of his fellow-countrymen, which was tilled so industriously by
Frans Snyders and Jan Fyt, and in a lesser degree by the Dutchmen Jan
Weenix, father and son, and Hondecoeter. That the naïve instincts,
agility, and vivacity of animals must have had a great attraction for
Rubens is easily understood. Those which are remarkable for their
courage, strength, intelligence, swiftness--as lions, tigers, wild
boars, wolves, horses, dogs--particularly interested him. He paid
special attention to animals, seized every opportunity of studying them
from nature, and attained the most wonderful skill and facility in
painting them. It is related that he had a remarkably fine and powerful
lion brought to his house in order to study him in every variety of
attitude, and that on one occasion observing him yawn, he was so pleased
with the action that he wished to paint it. He therefore desired the
keeper to tickle the animal under the chin to make him repeatedly open
his jaws: at length the lion became savage at this treatment, and cast
such furious glances at his keeper, that Rubens attended to his warning
and had the beast removed. The keeper is said to have been torn to
pieces by the lion shortly afterwards: apparently the animal had never
forgotten the affront put upon him.

By such means--though it is to be hoped not always with such lamentable
results--Rubens succeeded in seizing and portraying the peculiar
character and instinct of animals--their quick movements and
manifestations of strength--with such perfect truth and energy that not
one among the modern painters has approached him in this
respect--certainly not Landseer, as Mrs Jameson would ask us to believe.

The celebrated _Wolf Hunt_, in the collection of Lord Ashburton, was one
of the earliest, painted in 1612 for the Spanish General Legranes only
three years after Rubens's return from Italy. In this picture, his bold
creative fancy and dramatic turn of mind are remarkably
conspicuous--even at this early stage in his career. Catherine Brant,
his first wife, on a brown horse, with a falcon in her hand, is near her
husband; a second huntsman on horseback, three on foot, another old
wolf and three young ones, with several dogs, complete the composition,
which is most carefully painted in a clear and powerful tone throughout.

Of scenes of peasant life, one of his earliest, and yet the most famous,
is the _Kermesse_, which is now in the Louvre. A boisterous, merry party
of about seventy persons are assembled in front of a country ale-house;
several are wildly dancing in a circle, others are drinking and
shouting; others, again, are making love.

_The Garden of Love_, equally famous, was one of Rubens's latest
pictures. Of this there are several versions in existence, of which
those at Dresden and Madrid may be considered as originals. Several
loving couples in familiar conversation are lingering before the
entrance of a grotto, the front of which is ornamented with a rustic
portico. Amongst them we recognise the portraits of Rubens and his
second wife, his pupil Van Dyck, and Simon de Vos.

As Rubens united to such great and various knowledge the disposition to
communicate it to others in the most friendly and candid manner, it was
natural that young painters of talent who were admitted into his atelier
should soon attain a high degree of skill and cultivation.

At "the House in the Wood," not far from the Hague, there is a salon
decorated entirely by the pupils of Rubens. The principal picture, which
is one of the largest oil paintings in the world, is by Jacob Jordaens,
and represents the triumph of Prince Frederick Henry--the object of the
whole scheme being the glorification of the House of Orange, in 1649.
Most of the other pictures are of Theodore van Thulden, who in these
works has emulated his illustrious master in the force and brilliance of
his colouring.

But it is not in any particular salon or palace that we must look for
the effects of Rubens' influence; it was far wider than to be able to be
contained within four walls. In portraiture he gave us Van Dyck; in
historical subjects, Jacob Jordaens; in animal painting and still life,
Frans Snyders, Jan Fyt, and the brothers Weenix. In pictures of everyday
life he gave us Adrian Brouwer and David Teniers; in landscape,
Everdingen, Ruisdael and Waterloo. "Thus was the art of painting in the
Netherlands remodelled in every department," says Waagen in the
concluding sentence of his memoir, "by the energies of a single great
and gifted mind. Thus was Rubens the originator of its second great
epoch, to which we are indebted for such numerous and masterly
performances in every branch of the art."



III

THE PUPILS OF RUBENS


DAVID TENIERS the elder, who was born at Antwerp in 1582, received the
first rudiments of his art from Rubens, who soon perceived in him the
happy advances towards excelling in his profession that raised him to
the head of his school. The prejudice in favour of his son, David
Teniers the younger, is so great that the father is generally esteemed
but a middling painter; and his pictures not worth the inquiry of a
collector. His hand is so little distinguished, however, that the
paintings of the father are often taken for those of the son. The father
was certainly the inventor of the manner, which the son, who was his
pupil, only improved with what little was wanting to perfection.

Rubens was astonished at his early success, and though he followed the
manner of Adrian Brouwer, looked on him as his most deserving pupil by
the brightness of genius that he showed. He soon saved enough money to
undertake the journey to Italy, and when at Rome he established himself
with Adam Elsheimer, who was then in great vogue. In Elsheimer's manner
he soon became a perfect master, without neglecting at the same time the
study of other and greater masters, endeavouring to penetrate into the
deepest mysteries of their practice. An abode of ten years in Italy, and
the influence of Elsheimer combined with that of Rubens, formed him into
what he became.

When he returned to his own country he employed himself entirely in
painting small pictures filled with figures of people drinking and
merry-making, and numbers of peasants and country women. He displayed so
much taste in these that the demand for them was universal. Even Rubens
thought them an ornament to his collection.

Teniers drew his own character in his pictures, and in the subjects he
usually expressed everything tends to joy and pleasure. Always employed
in copying after nature whatsoever presented itself, he taught his two
sons, David and Abraham, to follow his example, and accustomed them to
paint nothing but from that infallible model, by which means they both
became excellent painters. These were his only disciples, and he died at
Antwerp in 1649.

The only distinction between his works and those of his son, David
Teniers the younger, is that in the latter you discover a finer touch, a
fresher brush, a greater choice of attitudes, and a better disposition
of the figures. The father, too, retained something of the tone of
Italy in his colouring, which was stronger than his son's; but his
pictures have less harmony and union--though to tell the truth, when the
father took pains to finish his picture, he very nearly resembled his
son.

The latter, DAVID TENIERS the younger, was born in 1610. He was
nicknamed the Ape of painting, from his powers of imitation. The
Archduke Leopold William made him a gentleman of his bedchamber, and he
made copies of all his pictures. He came to England to buy several
Italian pictures for Count Fuensaldegna, who on his return heaped
favours upon him. Don John of Austria and the King of Spain set so great
a value upon his pictures that they built a gallery set apart to
preserve them--there are no less than fifty-two in the Prado Gallery
to-day.

His principal talent was landscape adorned with small figures. He
painted men drinking and smoking, alchemists, corps de garde,
temptations of S. Anthony, and country fairs and merry-makings. His
small pictures are superior to his large ones. His execution displays
the greatest ease; the leafing of his trees is light, his skies are
admirable: his small figures have an exquisite expression and a most
lively touch, and the characters are marked out with the greatest truth.
From the thinness of the colours his works seem to have been finished at
once; they are generally clear in all their parts, and Teniers had the
art, without dark shades, to relieve his lights by other lights, so well
managed as to produce the effect he wanted, an art which few besides
himself have attained. He died at Antwerp in 1694.

FRANS SNYDERS was born at Antwerp in the year 1587, ten years later,
that is to say, than Rubens. He received his first instruction in the
art of painting from Henry van Balen. His genius at first displayed
itself only in painting fruit. He afterwards attempted animals, in
which kind of study he succeeded so well that he surpassed all that had
ever excelled before him. He stayed for some time in Italy, and the
works he met with there by Castiglione proved a spur to his genius to
attempt outdoing him in painting animals. When he returned to Flanders
he fixed his ordinary abode at Brussels, where he was made painter to
the Archduke and Duchess, and became attached to the house of Spain.
Twenty-two of his pictures are in the Prado Gallery.

When Snyders required large figures in his compositions both Rubens and
Jordaens took pleasure in assisting him, and Rubens in turn borrowed the
assistance of Snyders to paint the ground of his pictures; thus they
mutually assisted each other in their labours, while Snyders' manly and
vigorous manner was quite able to hold its own even when joined with
that of the great master.

ANTHONY VAN DYCK was born at Antwerp in 1599, less than three months
before Velasquez at Seville. Both became so famous in their capacity of
Court painters that the rest of their achievement is popularly regarded
as little more than a bye-product.

In the case of Van Dyck there is the more excuse for the English public,
inasmuch as, like Holbein before him, he was exclusively employed while
in this country in the production of portraits; and as "his works are so
frequent in England," as Horace Walpole observes in the opening sentence
of his memoir in the "Anecdotes of Painting," "that the generality of
our people can scarce avoid thinking him their countryman," it is easy
enough to forget that he only spent the last nine years of his life
here.

Again, the insatiable craze of the English and American public for
portraits has helped to obscure the extent of Van Dyck's capabilities in
other directions, and while the National Gallery contains not a single
subject-piece from his hand, more and more thousands are continually
spent in the acquisition of more and more portraits. The bewitching
_Cupid and Psyche_ in Queen Mary's closet at Hampton Court, painted a
year before his death, is scarcely known to exist!

At the same time it would be useless to deny that Van Dyck's principal
claim to his place among the greatest masters rests chiefly upon
portraiture. The point I wish to make is that portrait painting never
yet made a great master, but that none but a great master ever became a
great portrait painter; and so long as we are only permitted to see the
particular achievement of the artist in our public galleries, so long is
it likely that we shall continue to be flooded with mediocre likenesses
of fashionable people by painters whose highest or whose only
achievement they constitute. Anyone can write a "short story" for the
cheaper sort of modern journal; only writers like Hardy, Stevenson, or
Kipling can give us a masterpiece in little.

It was said that Rubens advised Van Dyck to devote himself to
portraiture out of jealousy: but that is hardly in accordance with what
we know of his generous nature. If the advice was given at all we may be
sure that it was given in a friendly spirit. But there was something in
the temperament of Van Dyck which peculiarly fitted him for the Court,
apart from any question as to his excellence in any particular branch of
his art, and it is evident that the personality of Rubens, and his
connection with the rich and mighty of the earth, influenced him almost
as much as did his art. How much he owed to Rubens, and how much Rubens
owed to him in painting is a matter that is arguable. He had been
several years with Van Balen before he entered the studio of Rubens,
when eighteen years old, not as a pupil but as an assistant. Here he not
only had the practical task of painting Rubens's compositions for him,
in company with numerous others, but had also the advantage of studying
the works of Titian and other of the great Italian masters in Rubens's
famous collection. If the hand of Van Dyck is traceable in some of the
pictures of Rubens at this period, so the spirit of Rubens is very
obvious in those of Van Dyck. The chief thing to be remembered is that
in these early days he was not painting portraits. His earliest works,
in which the influence of Titian is perceptible as well as that of
Rubens, are the _Christ bearing the Cross_, in S. Paul's at Antwerp,
painted in 1618; the _S. Sebastian_ at Munich, and the _Christ Mocked_,
at Berlin. The familiar portrait of _Cornelius van der Geest_ in the
National Gallery, is one of his very earliest, probably before 1620.
Again, on his first visit to Genoa, in 1621, on the advice of Rubens,
his ambition was not to paint portraits, as on his second visit some
years later, but to rival Rubens in the composition of great historical
pieces. It was not until 1627, when he left behind him in Genoa the
superb series of Balbi, Brignole-Sala, Cattaneo, and Lomellini
portraits, and returned to Antwerp to undertake those such as the _Le
Roys_ at Hertford House, or the _Beatrice de Cusance_ at Windsor, that
he had really become a portrait painter. Even then, he was still
determined not to yield to Rubens at Antwerp, and painted, amongst other
subjects, the _Rinaldo and Armida_ for Charles I. It was only at the
solicitation of George Geldorp, a schemer as well as a painter, that he
consented at length, in 1632, to come to England; and it was only the
welcome afforded to him by Charles that induced him to settle here.

Two considerations of personal vanity may be suggested as actuating
Charles to be specially indulgent to Van Dyck--an indulgence of which
the results posterity should not omit to credit to the sad account of
the martyr--first, that his father had failed to retain the painter in
his service, and second, that Velasquez, who had made a sketch of him on
his mad visit to Madrid in 1623, was then immortalising Philip.
Velasquez being out of the question, why not Van Dyck! An excellent
idea! Especially when instead of dwarfs, buffoons, and idiots, the
English Court contained some exceedingly fine material besides the royal
family for the artist to exercise his talent upon.

After this, Flanders knew Van Dyck no more, save for a year or two's
sojourn from 1633-1635 when he painted one or two magnificent portraits,
and then returned to England, where he died in 1641. With the death of
Rubens the year before, Flemish painting had suffered another eclipse;
and though Snyders lived till 1657, and Jordaens and the younger Teniers
continued till late in the century, no fresh seedlings appeared, and the
soil again became barren. Rubens and Van Dyck were both too big for the
little garden--their growth overspread Europe.



_DUTCH SCHOOL_



I

Frans Hals


Meantime we must turn our attention to Holland, where FRANS HALS, who
was born only three years later than Rubens, namely in 1580, was the
forerunner of Rembrandt, Van der Helst, Bol, Lely, and a host more of
greater or less painters, who made their country as famous in the
seventeenth century for art as their fathers had made it in the
sixteenth for arms. Without going into the complications of the
political history of the Netherlands at this period, it is important
nevertheless to remember that while the Flemish provinces remained
Catholic under Spain, the northern states, after heroic struggles,
formed themselves into a Republic; so that while it is difficult to draw
a hard and fast line between what was Dutch and what was Flemish in
estimating the influence of one particular painter upon another, there
is no question at all as to vital difference between the conditions
which led to the production of the pictures of the two schools. The
Flemish pictures were for the Church and for the Court, the Dutch for
the house, the Guildhall, or the bourgeoisie. The former were
aristocratic, the latter democratic. Rubens and Van Dyck were
aristocrats, Hals and Rembrandt democrats. Rubens painted altar-pieces,
for the great churches or cathedrals or for the chapels of his patrons.
Rembrandt painted Bible stories for whoever would purchase them. Van
Dyck painted the portraits of kings and nobles. Hals painted the rough
soldiers and sailors, singly, or in the great groups into which they
formed themselves as Guilds. For the first time in the history of
painting, neither Church nor Court were its patrons.

In any age or under any circumstances Frans Hals would have seemed a
remarkable painter, but to measure his extraordinary genius to its full
height we must try to realise what those times and those circumstances
were. In Florence and Venice, as we have seen, there were great schools
of painting, and in Florence especially, the whole city existed in an
atmosphere of art. There was no escape from it. In Haarlem, where Hals
spent his youth (he was born in Antwerp), there was no such state of
affairs. There were no chapels to be decorated, no courtiers to be
flattered. The country was seething with the effects of war, and the
whole population were ready for it again at a moment's notice. There
were plenty of heroes--every man was one--but not of the romantic sort.
They were all bluff, hardy fellows, who wanted to get on with their
business. Who would have thought that they wanted to have their
portraits painted? And who, accordingly, could have induced them to do
so except a bluff, roystering genius like Hals, who slashed them down on
canvas before they had time to stop him? Once it got wind that Hals was
such a good fellow, and that he dashed off a portrait to the life in as
little time as it took to pass the time of day with him, he had plenty
of business, and from painting single portraits he was commissioned to
glorify the Guilds by depicting their banquets, which he did with
almost as much speed and considerably more fidelity than the limelight
man at a City dinner in these times. His first great group--_The Archers
of S. George_, at Haarlem--has all the appearance of being painted
instantaneously as the banqueters stood around the table before
dispersing.

When we think of the cultured Rubens, brought up in the atmosphere of
Courts, and studying for years among the finest paintings and painters
in Italy, and compare him with this low, ignorant fellow, who had never
been outside the Netherlands, do we not find his genius still more
amazing? Nowadays we see a portrait by Hals surrounded with the finest
works of the greatest painters in all times and in all lands, and see
how well it stands the comparison. But our admiration must be increased
a hundredfold, when we know that he was without any of the training or
tradition of a great artist, and that it must have been by sheer
character and genius alone that he forced his art upon his commercial,
though heroic public.

One thing especially it is interesting to notice about the Dutch
portraits of the early Republican period, namely, that they are
obviously inspired by the pleasure of having a living, speaking likeness
rather than by pride and ostentation. Bluff and swaggering as some of
Hals's portraits of men appear to be--notably _The Laughing Cavalier_,
at Hertford House--that is only because the subjects were bluff and
swaggering fellows--swaggering, that is to say, in the consciousness of
their ability and their readiness to defend their country and their
homes again, if need be, against the tyrant. But these swaggerers are
the exception, and the prevailing impression conveyed is that of
honest, if determined, bluffness. They are not posing, these jolly
Dutchmen, they are sitting or standing, for Hals to paint them just as
they would sit or stand to be measured for a suit of clothes. Look at
the heads of the man and the woman in the National Gallery. Could
anything be more natural and unassuming? Look at the _Laughing
Cavalier_, and ask if it is not the man himself, as Hals saw and knew
him, not a faked up hero? Hals caught him in his best clothes, that is
all. He did not put them on to be painted in--he was out on a jaunt.
Look at Hals's women, how pleased they are to be painted, just as they
are.

Poor Hals, he was a good, honest fellow, though sadly given to drink and
low company. But for sheer genius he has never had an equal. The vast
number of his paintings--many of which now only exist in copies--shows
that with every predilection to ease and comfort, he could not help
painting--it simply welled out of him. It was a natural gift which seems
to have needed no labour and no study.

It is certain that this fecundity was a very potent factor in the
development of the Dutch School of painting. Had Hals confined his
talent to painting the portraits of the highest in the land, which would
never have been seen by the public at large, it is improbable that such
a business-like community would have produced many painters. But Hals
must have popularised painting much more than we generally suppose. An
example occurs to me in the picture of _The Rommelpot Player_, of which
no less than thirteen versions are enumerated by De Groot, none of which
can claim to be the original. One is at Wilton, another in Sir Frederick
Cook's gallery at Richmond, and a third at Arthingworth Hall in
Northamptonshire.

[Illustration: PLATE XXV.--FRANS HALS

PORTRAIT OF A LADY

_Louvre, Paris_]

The subject is an old beggar man playing in front of the door of a
cottage on a ridiculous instrument consisting of an earthen pot covered
over like a jampot with a lid of parchment, on which he makes a rude
noise with a stick, to the intense delight of a group of children. A
picture like this, then, it is evident, instead of hanging in solitary
confinement in the house of a great person, was so widely popular that
it was copied on all sides, and must have been seen by thousands of
people.

Next to Hals, in point of time, was HENDRIK GERRITZ POT, who was born,
probably at Haarlem, in 1585. It is to him rather than to Ostade, who
was a quarter of a century later, that we must trace the origin of
smaller _genre_ pictures of the Dutch School which in later years became
its principal product. Pot's works are neither very important nor very
numerous, but as a portrait painter he is represented in the Louvre by a
portrait of Charles I., which was probably painted when he was in
England in 1631 or thereabouts; while at Hampton Court is a beautiful
little piece by him which is catalogued under the title of _A Startling
Introduction_. This belonged to Charles I., for his cypher is branded on
the back of the panel on which it is painted, and it was sold by the
Commonwealth as "a souldier making a strange posture to a Dutch lady by
Bott." The painter's monogram H.P. appears on the large chimney piece
before which the "soldier" is standing.

GERARD HONTHORST, born at Utrecht in 1590, can hardly be said to belong
to the Dutch School at all. When he was only twenty he went to Rome,
where his devotion to painting effects of candle-light earned him the
sobriquet of "Gherardo della Notte." In 1628 he was elected Dean of the
Guild of St. Luke at Utrecht, but he was in no sense a national painter,
and neither took nor gave anything in the way of national influence. He
was in England for a few months in 1628, to which chance we are indebted
for the picture of the Duke of Buckingham and his family which is in the
National Portrait Gallery, and another group of the Cavendish family
which is at Chatsworth. Pictures of the nobility, or of celebrities like
Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood, were more in his
line than those of his republican patriots, and consequently he plays no
part in the development of the school we are now considering.

BARTHOLOMEW VAN DER HELST, born in Amsterdam, 1613, died there 1670. He
is by far the most renowned of the Dutch portrait-painters of this
period. Although nothing is known as regards the master under whom he
studied, it is probable that if Hals was not actually his teacher, his
works were the models whence Van der Helst formed himself. We see this
in the portrait of Vice-Admiral Kortenaar at Amsterdam, where the
conception of forms, and the unscumbled character of the strokes of the
brush, recall Hals. The same may be observed in two larger pictures with
archers in the Town Hall at Haarlem, where the inartistic arrangement
and monotony of the otherwise warm flesh tones point to the earlier time
of the painter. By about the year 1640 his character was more fully
developed. His arrangement of portrait-pieces with numerous figures
became very artistic and easy, his tone excellent, and his drawing
masterly. This standard of excellence he retained till about 1660. The
following are principal pictures of this period:--A scene from the
Archery Guild of Amsterdam in 1639, including thirty figures. The
celebrated picture inscribed 1648, an Archery Festival commemorating the
Peace of Westphalia, and consisting of a party of twenty-four persons,
at Amsterdam. The chief charm of this work consists in the strong and
truthful individuality of every part, both in form and colour; in the
capital drawing, which is especially conspicuous in the hands; in the
powerful and clear colouring; and finally, in a kind of execution which
observes a happy medium between decision and softness. In 1657 he
executed the picture of the Archery Guild known by the name "het
Doelenstück" at Amsterdam Gallery. This work represents three of the
overseers of the Guild, with golden prize vases, and a fourth supposed
to be the painter himself. It is almost surpassed by a replica on a
smaller scale executed in the following year, which is now in the
Louvre. At all events, this picture is in better preservation, and
offers one of the most typical examples of portrait-painting that the
Dutch School produced.



II

REMBRANDT VAN RYN


But the greatest of all the Dutch painters, in some ways the greatest
painter that has ever lived, was REMBRANDT VAN RYN (1606-1669). Beside
him all the rest seem merely commonplace, and their works the product of
this or that demand, according to their different times and
circumstances, executed with more or less skill. For Rembrandt there
seems no place among them all--he must stand somewhere alone; and there
is no standard by which to judge his perfections and imperfections
except the man himself.

Perhaps the greatest difference between Rembrandt and any other painter
is that he never seems to have tried to please the public, but only
painted to please himself. It is for this reason, no doubt, that he was
never popular with the public, and is never likely to be; but just as
Beethoven is only understandable by the really musical soul, so
Rembrandt's appeal is to those who have the feeling for something in
painting beyond the mere representation of familiar or heroic scenes and
persons on canvas. For the public it is enough that one of his
landscapes should be sold for £100,000, and they all flock to see it;
but put a fine Rembrandt portrait in a shop-window without a name to it,
and there would be little fear of the pavement being blocked.

This failure of Rembrandt to please the public of his own day brings out
the truth that the practice of painting had up to then subsisted only so
long as it supplied a popular demand; and when we come to consider what
that demand was, we find that it is for nothing else but a pleasing
representation of natural objects, which may or may not embody some
sentimental or historical association, but must first and foremost be a
fair representation of more or less familiar things.

The oldest story about pictures is that of Zeuxis and the bunch of
grapes, which relates that he painted the fruit so like nature that the
birds came and pecked at the painting--some versions, I believe, adding
that the fruit itself was there but they preferred the painting. Similar
stories with innumerable variations are told of later artists. Rembrandt
himself is said to have been deceived by his pupils who, knowing he was
careful about collecting money in small quantities, however extravagant
he might be in spending it, painted coins on the floor of the studio,
and enjoyed the joke of seeing him stoop to pick them up. We have heard,
too, of flies painted with surprising skill in conspicuous places to
deceive the unwary. But apart from these little pleasantries, one has
only to remember how the earlier writers on painting have expressed
themselves to see how much importance, consciously or unconsciously, was
attached to life-like resemblance to the object painted. Vasari is
constantly using phrases in which he extols the painter for having made
a figure look like the life, as though that were the real thing to be
aimed at. We remember Ben Jonson's lines under Shakespeare's
portrait----

    "Wherein the graver had a strife
    With nature to outdo the life."

And though Ben Jonson was not a critic, and if he had been there was
little enough art in his time in England for him to criticize, still he
expresses the general feeling of the public for any work of art.

With the Dutch people this was most certainly the case, and the
popularity of the painters of scenes of everyday life is a proof of it.
That Hals, Brouwer, or Ostade were great painters was not half so
important to them, if indeed they thought of it all, as that they were
capable of turning out pictures which reflected their everyday life like
a mirror.

So long as Rembrandt painted portraits like those of the Pellicornes and
their offspring--the two pictures at Hertford House--or a plain
straightforward group like Dr Tulp's _Anatomy Lesson_ (though in this he
was already getting away from convention), he was tolerated. And it was
not so much his freedom in living and his extravagant notions of the
pleasures of life that brought about his downfall, as his failure to
realize that when he took the money subscribed for the group of Captain
Banning Cocq's Company, the subscribers expected something else for
their money than a picture (_The Night Watch_) which might be a
masterpiece according to the painter's notions, but was certainly not a
portrait group of the subscribers.

Here, then, for the first time in the history of painting, we find an
artist definitely at issue with the public. I do not say that this was
the first time that an artist had failed to please the public, but it is
the first occasion on which it was decided that if a painter was to
undertake commissions, he must consider the wishes of the patron, or
starve. It was something new for a painter of Rembrandt's repute to be
told that not he, but the persons who commissioned the work, were to be
the judges of whether or not it was satisfactory.

The consequences were important. For Rembrandt, instead of taking the
matter as a man of business, devoted the rest of his life to being an
artist, and leaving the business of painting to men like Backer, Helst,
and others, betook himself seriously to developing his art irrespective
of what the public might or might not think of it. As a result, we have
in the later work of Rembrandt something that the world--I mean the
artistic part of it--would be very sorry to do without. Now the meaning
of this is, not that Rembrandt was ill-advised in deserting his patrons,
or in suffering them to desert him, but that for the first time in the
history of painting an artist had the personality--I will not say the
conscious determination--to realize that his art was something quite
apart from the affairs of this world, and that what he could express on
canvas was _not_ merely a representation of natural objects designed to
please his contemporaries, but something more than human, something that
would appeal to humanity for all time. That many before him had felt
that of their art, to a lesser or greater degree, is unquestionable--but
none of them had ever realised it. Dürer, certainly, may be cited as an
exception, especially when contrasted with his phlegmatic and
business-like compatriot Holbein. But then Dürer, a century before, and
in totally different circumstances, was never assured of regular
patronage as was Rembrandt.

Rembrandt was the son of a miller named Harmann Geritz, who called
himself Van Ryn, from the hamlet on the arm of the Rhine which runs
through Leyden. His mother was the daughter of a baker. He was entered
as a student at the University of Leyden, his parents being comfortably
off; but he showed so little taste for the study of the law, for which
they intended him, that he was allowed to follow his own bent of
painting, in the studio of a now forgotten painter, Jacob van
Swanenburg. Here he studied for about three years, after which he went
to Amsterdam and was for a short time with another painter named
Lastman, who was a clever but superficial imitator of the Italian School
then flourishing in Rome.

Returning to Leyden, Rembrandt set up his easel and remained there
painting till 1631, when he went to Amsterdam. His works during this
first period are not very well known in this country, but at Windsor and
at Edinburgh are portraits of his mother, which must belong to it.

The next decade was the happiest and most prosperous in Rembrandt's
career. At Amsterdam he soon found favour with wealthy patrons, and his
happiness and success were completed by his marrying Saskia van
Ulenburgh, the sister of a wealthy connoisseur and art dealer, with whom
Rembrandt had formed an intimate friendship. To this period belong the
numerous portraits of himself and Saskia, alone or together, most of
which are characterized by a barbaric splendour of costume, utterly
different from the profusion of Rubens, but far more intense. Living
among the wealthiest Jews in Amsterdam, he seems to have been strongly
attracted by their orientalism, and while Rubens gloried in natural
abundance of every sort, and painted the bounty of nature in the full
sunlight, Rembrandt chose out the treasures of art, and painted costume
and jewels gleaming out of the darkness. The portraits of himself in a
cap at Hertford House (No. 52), and of the Old Lady in the National
Gallery (No. 775), both painted in 1634, are notable examples of this
period, though they have none of the orientalism to be seen in the
various portraits of Saskia, or in _The Turk_ at Munich. The two double
portraits at Hertford House of Jean Pellicorne and his wife with their
son and daughter respectively, were among the commissions which he
received after he set up at Amsterdam, and are therefore less
interesting as self-revelations. Prosperity is not always the best
condition under which to produce the highest work, and the temperament
of Rembrandt was so peculiar that there is little wonder that the prim
Dutchmen were not entirely captivated by his exuberant sensuality, or
that we ourselves reserve our admiration principally for the more sombre
and mysterious products of his later years after misfortune began to
fall upon him.

[Illustration: PLATE XXVI.--REMBRANDT

PORTRAIT OF HENDRICKJE STOFFELS

_Louvre, Paris_]

In 1642 the beloved Saskia died, leaving an only child, Titus, whose
features are familiar to us in the portrait at Hertford House. As though
this were not affliction enough, Rembrandt had the mortification of
offending his patrons over the commission to paint Captain Banning
Cocq's Company. From this time onward, as the world and Rembrandt
drifted farther and farther apart, his work becomes more and more
wonderful.

Dr Muther, in his _History of Painting_, observes that perhaps it is
only possible to understand Rembrandt by interpreting his pictures not
as paintings but as psychological documents. "A picture by Rembrandt in
the Dresden Gallery," he says, "represents _Samson Putting Riddles to
the Philistines_; and Rembrandt's entire activity, a riddle to the
philistines of his time, has remained puzzling to the present day.... As
no other man bore his name, so the artist, too, is something unique,
mocks every historical analysis, and remains what he was, a puzzling,
intangible, Hamlet nature--Rembrandt." The author's theory of the
psychological document is hardly a solution of the admitted puzzle,
though it is interesting to follow him in tracing it out in Rembrandt's
religious pictures, from the _Samson_ already mentioned to his last
dated work, in 1668, the Darmstadt _Crucifixion_. What distinguishes
Rembrandt from all painters up to, and considerably later than his time,
and in particular from those of his own school, is the mental, as
compared with the physical activity that his pictures represent. Perhaps
this is only another way of stating Dr Muther's theory of the
psychological documents, but it enables us to test that theory by
comparing his work with that of others. In technical skill Beruete
claims a far higher place for Velasquez, going so far as to say that
the _Lesson in Anatomy_ is not a lesson in painting. But the difference
between the two is not as great as that in technique, though infinitely
wider in the mental process which led to the production of a picture. A
reproduction of the _Portrait of an Old Pole_, at S. Petersburg, is in
front of me, as it happens, as I am writing; and I see in this no
inferiority in firmness and precision, in truth and vigour, to any
portrait by Velasquez.

In their technical ability to present the life-like portrait of a real
man, we can place Rembrandt, Velasquez, Hals, and Van Dyck on pretty
much of a level; if we had _Van der Geest_, _Montanes_, the _Old Pole_
and the _Laughing Cavalier_ all in a row, we should find there was not
much to choose between them for downright realization. But while in the
work of Velasquez we see the working of a fine and sensitive
appreciation of his friend's personality, and the most exquisite
realization of what was before him, in that of Rembrandt we seem to see
less of the Pole and more of Rembrandt himself. It is as though he were
singing softly to himself while he was painting, thinking his own
thoughts: while Velasquez was simply concerned with the appearance and
the thoughts of his model.

That Rembrandt's pictures are self-revelations, or psychological
documents, is certainly true; and a proof of it is in the extraordinary
number of portraits of himself. The famous Dresden picture of himself
with Saskia on his knee can only be regarded in that light, and that
brings into the category all the numerous pictures of Saskia and of
Hendrike Stoffels, who formed so great a part of his life. If to these
we add, with Dr Muther, his Biblical subjects, we find that there is
not so very much left, and when we turn to the life's work of Rubens,
Titian, Velasquez, or in fact any of the great painters, the difference
is at once apparent. So that in the pictures of Rembrandt we may expect
to find less of what we look for in those of others in the way of
display, but infinitely more of the qualities which, to whatever extent
they exist in other artists, are bound to be sacrificed to display. When
we are asked to a feast, we find the room brilliantly lit, and our host
the centre of an assemblage for whom he has felt it his duty to make a
display consistent with his means and his station. If we were to peep
into his house one night we might find him in a room illumined only with
his reading-lamp, absorbed in his favourite study; but instead of only
exchanging a few conventional phrases with him, and passing on to mingle
with his guests and to enjoy his hospitality, we might sit and talk with
him into the small hours. That is the difference between the success of
Hals with his _Feast of S. George_, and the failure of Rembrandt with
_The Night Watch_. Hals was at the feast, and of it. Rembrandt was
wrapped up in himself, and didn't enter into the spirit of the
company--he was carried away by his own. That is why his pictures are so
dark--not of deliberate technical purpose, like those of the
_Tenebrosi_, but because to him a subject was felt within him rather
than seen as a picture on so many square feet of canvas. When we call up
in our own minds the recollection of some event of more than usually
deep significance in our past, we only see the deathbed, the two
combatants, the face of the beloved, or whatever it may be; the
accessories are nothing, unless our imagination is stronger than the
sentiment evoked, and sets to work to supply them. It is this
characteristic which so sharply distinguishes the work of Rembrandt
from that of his closest imitators. There is a large picture in the
National Gallery, _Christ Blessing the Children_, catalogued as "School
of Rembrandt," in which we see as near an approach to his manner as to
justify the attribution, but that is all. I do not know why it has never
been suggested that this is the work of NICOLAS MAES, who was actually
his pupil, and who was one of the few Dutch artists to paint life-sized
groups, as he is known to have done in his earlier days when still under
the influence of Rembrandt. _The Card Players_, close beside it, has
marked affinities in style, and especially in the very natural
characterization of the faces, which is also apparent in that of the
child in the other picture, and another on the extreme left of the
picture. That it cannot be Rembrandt's is quite evident; the grouping
and the lighting of it proclaim the picture seen on the canvas, and not
felt within the artist's own consciousness.

The realistic tendency which, as has already been pointed out, was so
characteristic of the whole art of the Netherlands, showed the most
remarkable and original results in the work of an idealist like
Rembrandt. Sandrart, one of the earliest writers on painting, says that
Rembrandt "usually painted things of a simple and not thoughtful
character, but which were pleasing to the eyes, and
picturesque"--_schilderachtig_, as the Netherlanders called it. This
combination of realism and picturesqueness, assisted by his marvellous
technical power, put him far above and apart from all his compeers. In
the absence of any pictures by his masters Van Swanenburg and Pinas, it
is difficult to ascertain what, if anything, he learnt from them. From
Peter Lastman we may be sure he learnt nothing in the way of technique.
Kugler--who in these paragraphs is my principal authority--suggests that
it is highly probable that in this respect he formed himself from the
pictures of Frans Hals, with which he must have been early acquainted in
the neighbouring town of Haarlem. At all events unexampled freedom,
spirit, and breadth of his manner is comparable with that of no other
earlier Dutch master. But all these admirable qualities would offer no
sufficient compensation for the ugly and often vulgar character of his
heads and figures, and for the total subversion of all the traditional
rules of art in costume and accessory, and would fail to account for the
great admiration which his works enjoy, if he had not been possessed,
besides, of an intensely artistic individuality.

In his earliest pictures his touch is already masterly and free, but
still careful, while the colour of the flesh is warm and clear and the
light full. _Dr Tulp's Anatomy_, painted in 1632, is the most famous of
this period. In _The Night Watch_, at Amsterdam, dated 1642, the light
is already restricted, falling only on isolated objects; the local tone
of the flesh is more golden; the touch more spirited and distinct.
Later, that is to say from about 1654 onwards, the golden flesh tones
become still more intense, passing sometimes into a brown of less
transparency, and accompanied frequently with grey and blackish shadows
and sometimes with rather cool lights. The chief picture of this epoch,
dated 1661, is _The Syndics_, also at Amsterdam, a group of six men.
This, in the depth of the still transparent golden tone, in the
animation of the heads, and in body and breadth of handling, is a true
masterpiece.

With respect to his treatment of Biblical subjects, two older writers,
Kolloff and Guhl, accord him an honour which, as we shall see, Kugler
gives to Dürer a century earlier, namely that of being the painter of
the true spirit of the Reformed Church. Though it is certain, Kugler
admits, that no other school of painting in Rembrandt's time--neither
that of Rubens, nor that of the Carracci, nor the French nor Spanish
schools--rendered the spiritual import of Biblical subjects with the
purity and depth exhibited by the great Dutch master. Here the kindly
element of deep sentiment combines most happily with his feeling for
composition, as in the _Descent from the Cross_, at Munich, in _The Holy
Family_, in the Louvre, and above all in _The Woman taken in Adultery_,
in the National Gallery. In this last, a touching truthfulness and depth
of feeling, with every other grand quality peculiar to Rembrandt, are
seen in their highest perfection. Of hardly less excellence, also, is
our _Descent from the Cross_.

Endowed with so many admirable qualities, it follows that Rembrandt was
a portrait painter of the highest order, while his peculiar style of
lighting, his colouring and treatment, distinguish his portraits from
those by all other masters. Even the works of his most successful
pupils, who followed his style in this respect, are far behind him in
energy of conception and execution. The number of his admirable
portraits is so large that it is difficult to know which to mention as
most characteristic. No other artist ever painted his own portrait so
frequently, and some of these may first be mentioned. That in the
Louvre, dated 1633, represents him in youthful years, fresh and full of
hope. It is spiritedly painted in the bright tone of his earlier period.
Another in the same gallery, of the year 1660, painted with
extraordinary breadth and certainty of hand of that later period, shows
a man weighed down with the cares of life, with grey hair and deeply
furrowed forehead.

[Illustration: PLATE XXVII.--REMBRANDT

PORTRAIT OF AN OLD LADY

_National Gallery, London_]

The one at Hertford House, already mentioned, and two in the National
Gallery, fall between these extremes. Of other portraits we have already
mentioned the two Pellicorne groups in the Wallace Collection; and
another of this earliest period, the very popular _Old Woman_, in the
National Gallery, dated 1634. This is of greater interest as showing, if
anything does, whether it is fair to attribute any of his training to
the influence of Hals. At any rate this picture is a highly important
proof that at the early age of twenty-six, the painter was already in
the full possession of that energy and animation of conception, and of
that decision of the "broad and marrowy touch" which are so
characteristic of him. Of his later period--probably about 1657--a fine
example is _The Jewish Rabbi_, and of his latest the _Old Man_, both in
the National Gallery.



III

PAINTERS OF GENRE


The painters of _genre_, by the number, quality, and diversity of whose
pictures the Dutch School is specially distinguished, may be roughly
divided into three classes; namely, those who studied the upper, the
middle, and the lower classes respectively. But as Holland was a
republic, and the great stream of its art welled up from the earth and
was not showered upon it from above, it will be found convenient to
reverse the social order in considering them, and begin with the
immediate successors of Frans Hals, whose influence was without doubt a
very considerable factor in the development of Adrian Brouwer and Adrian
and Isaac Ostade.

ADRIAN BROUWER, now generally classed under the Flemish School, was
born at Oudenarde in 1606. But he went early to Haarlem, and it was not
until about 1630 that he settled at Antwerp, where he died in 1641. He
was a pupil of Frans Hals, and acquired from him not only his spirited
and free touch, but also a similar mode of life. His pictures, which for
the most part represent the lower orders eating and drinking, often in
furious strife, are extraordinary true and life-like in character, and
display a singularly delicate and harmonious colouring, which inclines
to the cool scale, an admirable individuality, and a _sfumato_ of
surface in which he is unrivalled; so that we can well understand the
high esteem in which Rubens held them. Owing to his mode of life, and to
its early close, the number of his works is not large, and they are now
seldom met with. No gallery is so rich in them as Munich, which
possesses nine, six of which are masterpieces. _A Party of Peasants at a
Game of Cards_, affords an example of the brightness and clearness of
those cool tones in which he evidently became the model of Teniers.
_Spanish Soldiers Throwing Dice_, is equally harmonious, in a subdued
brownish tone. _A Surgeon Removing the Plaster from the Arm of a
Peasant_ is not only most masterly and animated in expression, but is a
type of his bright, clear, and golden tone, and is singularly free and
light in touch. _Card-players Fighting_, is in every respect one of his
best pictures. The momentary action in each figure, all of them being
individualized with singular accuracy even as regards the kind of
complexion, is incomparable, the tenderness of the harmony astonishing,
and the execution of extraordinary delicacy. The only example in the
National Gallery is the _Three Boors Drinking_, bequeathed by George
Salting in 1910; and at Hertford House the _Boor Asleep_, though of
this we may without hesitation accept the description in the catalogue,
"our painting is of the highest quality, and in the audacity of its
realism rises almost to grandeur."

ADRIAN VAN OSTADE, said to have been born at Lubeck, was baptized in
1610 at Haarlem, where he studied under Frans Hals, and he formed a very
good taste in colouring. Nature guided his brush in everything he
undertook; he devoted himself almost entirely to painting peasants and
drunkards, whose gestures and most trifling actions were the subject of
his most serious meditation. The subjects of his little pictures are not
more elevated than those of Brouwer, and considerably less than those of
Teniers--they are nearly always alehouses or kitchens. He is perhaps one
of the Dutch masters who best understood chiaroscuro. His figures are
very lively, and he sometimes put them into the pictures of the best
painters among his countrymen. Nothing can excel his pictures of
stables, in which the light is spread so judiciously that all one could
wish is a lighter touch in his drawing, and a little more height in his
figures. Many of his brother Isaak's pictures are improperly attributed
to him, which, though painted in the same manner, are never of the real
excellence of Adrian's.

The _Interior with Peasants_ at Hertford House, and _The Alchymist_ at
the National Gallery are a characteristic pair of his pictures, which
were sold in the collection of M. de Jully in 1769 for £164, the former
being purchased by the third Marquess of Hertford and the latter passing
into the Peel Collection. _Buying Fish_, at Hertford House, dated
1669--when the artist was nearly sixty years old, is remarkable for its
breadth of effect and brilliancy of colour.

JAN STEEN, born at Leyden about the year 1626, died 1679. He first
received instruction under Nicolas Knupler; and afterwards it is said
worked with Jan van Goyen, whose daughter he married. An extraordinary
genius for painting was unfortunately co-existent in Jan Steen with
jovial habits of no moderate kind. The position of tavern-keeper in
which he was placed by his family, gave both the opportunity of
indulging his propensities and also that of depicting the pleasures of
eating and drinking, of song, card-playing and love-making directly from
nature. He must have worked with amazing facility, for in spite of the
time consumed in this mode of life, to which his comparatively early
death may be attributed, the number of his pictures is very great. His
favourite subjects were groups like the _Family Jollification_; the
_Feast of the Bean King_; and that form of diversion illustrating the
proverb, "_So wie die Alten sungen, so pfeifen auch die Jungen_"; fairs,
weddings, etc.; he also treated other scenes, such as the Doctor's
Visit, the Schoolmaster with a generally very unmanageable set of
boys--of which is a charming example at Dublin. The ludicrous ways of
children seem especially to have attracted him; accordingly, he depicts
with great zest the old Dutch custom on St. Nicholas's Day, September
3rd, of rewarding the good, and punishing the naughty child; or shows a
mischievous little urchin teasing the cat, or stealing money from the
pockets of their, alas!--drunken progenitors.

Jan Steen is the most genial painter of the whole Dutch School. His
humour has made him so popular with the English, that at least
two-thirds of his pictures are in their possession.

A peculiar cluster of masters, belonging to the Dutch

[Illustration: PLATE XXVIII.--TERBORCH

THE CONCERT

_Louvre, Paris_]

School, was formed by Gerard Dou. However careful in execution were such
painters as Terburg, Metsu, and Netscher, yet Gerard Dou and his
scholars and imitators surpassed them in the development of that
technical finish with which they rendered the smallest detail with
meticulous exactitude.

GERARD DOU was born at Leyden on the 7th April 1613, died there 1680. He
entered Rembrandt's school at fifteen years of age, and in three years
had attained the position of an independent artist. He devoted himself
at first to portraiture, and, like his master, made his own face
frequently his subject. Afterwards he treated scenes from the life
chiefly of the middle classes. He took particular pleasure in the
representation of hermits; he also painted scriptural events and
occasionally still life. His lighting is frequently that of lanterns and
candles. Most of his pictures contain only from one to three figures,
and do not exceed about 2 ft. high and 1 ft. 3 in. wide, being often
smaller. His pictures seldom attain even an animated moral import, and
may be said to be limited usually to a certain kindliness of sentiment.
On the other hand, he possessed a trace of his master's feeling for the
picturesque, and for chiaroscuro. Notwithstanding the incalculable
minuteness of his execution, the touch of his brush is free and soft,
and his best pictures look like Nature seen through the camera-obscura.
His works were so highly estimated in his own time, that the President
van Spiring, at the Hague, offered him 1000 florins a year for the right
of pre-emption of his pictures. Considering the time which such finish
required, and the early age at which he died, the number of his
pictures--Smith enumerates about 200--is remarkable. In the Louvre are
the following:--An old woman seated at a window, reading the Bible to
her husband; this is one of the best among the many representations by
Dou of a similar kind, being of warm sunny effect, and marvellous
finish. Also the _Woman with the Dropsy_, which is accounted his
_chef-d'oeuvre_.

Among the scholars of Gerard Dou, FRANS VAN MIERIS, born at Leyden 1635,
died 1681, takes the first place. In chiaroscuro, and in delicacy of
execution he is not inferior to his master. Although his pictures are
generally very small, yet with their extraordinary minuteness of
execution it is surprising that, in a life extended only to forty-six
years, he should have produced so many. The Munich Gallery has most,
then Dresden, Vienna, Florence, and St. Petersburg. The date, 1656, on a
picture in the Vienna Gallery, _The Doctor_, shows the painter to have
attained the summit of his art at twenty-one years of age. Another dated
1660, in the same gallery, executed for the Archduke Leopold, is one of
his best. The scene is a shop with a young woman showing a gentleman,
who has taken her by the chin, various handkerchiefs and stuffs. In the
Munich Gallery is _A Soldier_, dated 1662, of admirable transparency and
softness. Also _A Lady_ in a yellow satin dress fainting in the presence
of the doctor. In the Hague Gallery is _A Boy Blowing Soap-bubbles_,
dated 1663. This is a charming little picture of great depth of the
brownish tone. Also _The Painter and His Wife_, whose little shock dog
he is teasing; very naïve and lively in the heads, and most delicately
treated in a subdued but clear tone. In the Dresden Gallery are Mieris
again and his wife before her portrait. This is one of his most
successful pictures for chiaroscuro, tone, and spirited handling.

NICOLAS MAES, already mentioned, born at

[Illustration: PLATE XXIX.--GABRIEL METSU

THE MUSIC LESSON

_National Gallery, London_]

Dordrecht 1632, died 1693, was actually a pupil of Rembrandt. His much
prized and rare _genre_ pictures treat very simple subjects, and consist
seldom of more than two or three figures, generally of women. The
naïvete and homeliness of his feeling, with the addition sometimes of a
trait of kindly humour; the admirable lighting, and a touch resembling
Rembrandt in impasto and vigour, render his pictures very attractive. In
the National Gallery, besides _The Card Players_, are _The Cradle_, _The
Dutch Ménage_, dated 1655; and _The Idle Servant_: all these are
admirable, and the last-named a _chef-d'oeuvre_.

PETER DE HOOGH (1629-1677) decidedly belongs to the numerous artistic
posterity of Rembrandt, possibly through Karel Fabritius, and stands
nearer to Vermeer and to Maes, than to any other painter. His biography
can only be gathered from the occasional dates on his pictures,
extending from 1658 to 1670. Although he impresses the eye by the same
effects as Maes, yet he is also very different from him. He has not his
humour, and seldom his kindliness, and his figures, which are either
playing cards, smoking or drinking, or engaged in the transaction of
some household duty,--with faces that say but little--have generally
only the interest of a peaceful or jovial existence. If Maes takes the
lead in warm lighting, Peter de Hoogh may be considered _par excellence_
the painter of full and clear sunlight. If, again, Maes shows us his
figures almost exclusively in interiors, Peter de Hoogh places them most
frequently in the open air--in courtyards. In the representation of the
poetry of light, and in that marvellous brilliancy and clearness with
which he calls it forth in various distances till the background is
reached, which is generally illumined by a fresh beam, no other master
can compare with him. His prevailing local colour is red, repeated with
greater delicacy in various planes of distance. This colour fixes the
rest of the scale. His touch is of great delicacy; his impasto
admirable.

GERARD TERBURG, born at Zwol 1608, died 1681, learned painting under his
father, and when still young visited Germany and Italy, painting
numerous portraits on a small scale, and occasionally the size of life.
But his place in the history of art is owing principally to a number of
pictures, seldom representing more than three, and often only one
figure, taken from the wealthier classes, in which great elegance of
costume, and of all accompanying circumstances, is rendered with the
finest keeping, and with a highly delicate but by no means over-smooth
execution. He may be considered as the originator of this class of
pictures, in which, after his example, several other Dutch painters
distinguished themselves. With him the chief mass of light is generally
formed by the white satin dress of a lady, which gives the tone for the
prevailing cool harmony of the picture. Among his pictures we
occasionally find some which, taken successively, represent several
different moments of one scene. Thus in the Dresden Gallery, there are
two good pictures: the one of an officer writing a letter, while a
trumpter waits for it; the other of a girl in white satin washing her
hands in a basin held before her by a maid-servant; while at Munich, is
another fine work, in which the trumpeter is offering the young lady the
letter, who owing to the presence of the maid, who evidently
disapproves, is uncertain whether to take the missive. Finally, in the
Amsterdam Gallery, the celebrated picture known by the title of _Conseil
paternel_, furnishes

[Illustration: PLATE XXX.--PIETER DE HOOCH

INTERIOR OF A DUTCH HOUSE

_National Gallery, London_]

the closing scene. The maid has betrayed the affair to the father, and
he is delivering a lecture to the young lady, in whom by turning her
back on the spectator, the painter has happily expressed the feeling of
shame; good repetitions are in the Berlin Museum, and in the Bridgewater
Gallery. But Terburg's perfection as regards the clearness and harmony
of his silvery tone is shown in a picture at Cassel, representing a
young lady in white satin sitting playing the lute at a table.

JAN VERMEER OF DELFT (1632-1675) was certainly a pupil of Fabritius, and
thus "grandson" of Rembrandt. To class him with painters of _genre_
seems almost a profanation of the exquisite sense of beauty with which,
almost alone among the Dutch painters, he seems to have been endowed. It
is like classing Walter Pater with art critics. But as Vermeer had to
express himself in some form, it is perhaps fortunate that the school
had developed this kind of poetic portraiture, under Terburg, Metsu and
others, to a point where a genius like Vermeer could use it as the
vehicle of his fascinating self-revelations. In landscape we have the
_View of Delft_, at the Hague, which has shown the nineteenth century
painters more than they could ever see in their more famous
predecessors; but it is in the simple compositions like _The Letter
Reader_ at Amsterdam, _The Proposal_, at Dresden, or the _Lady at the
Virginals_, in the National Gallery, that he displays his greatest power
and charm.



IV

PAINTERS OF ANIMALS


As a link between the painters of _genre_ and the landscapists, we may
here mention some of the numerous artists who either made landscape the
background for groups of figures and animals, or peopled their
landscapes with groups--it matters not which way we put it. Among these
we shall find several of the most famous, or at any rate the most
popular artists of the Dutch School.

PHILIPS WOUVERMAN (1619-1668), whose reputation during the last century
was greater than that of almost any of the Dutch painters except
Rembrandt and Dou, is said to have studied under Hals, but it is more
certain that the master from whom he learnt most, if not all, was Jan
Wynants at Haarlem, whose whole manner in landscape he quickly succeeded
in acquiring, and surpassed him in his facility with horsemen and other
figures.

Wouverman's works have all the excellences that may be expected from
high finishing, correctness, agreeable composition and colouring. It
does not appear that he was ever in Italy, or even quitted the city of
Haarlem, though it would seem probable that his more elaborate
compositions owed something to other influences than those of Hals or
Wynants. In his earlier pictures there are no horses, but later in his
career he generally subordinated his landscapes to the groups or
subjects for which he is most famous. In the National Gallery, among
eleven examples, are a _Halt of Officers_, _Interior of a Stable_, _A
Battle_, _The Bohemians_, and _Shoeing a Horse_, all of which contain
numerous figures, mounted and unmounted--and there is nearly always a
white horse.

With all his success, he died a poor man, and it is related that in his
last hours he burned a box filled with his studies and drawings, saying,
"I have been so ill repaid for all my labours, that I would not have

[Illustration: PLATE XXXI.--JAN VERMEER

THE LACE MAKER

_Louvre, Paris_]

those designs engage my son to embrace so miserable a profession as
mine." This son followed his advice, and became a Chartreux friar. Peter
and Jan Wouverman were his brothers. The former painted hawking scenes,
and his horses, though well designed, were not equal to those of
Philips. The latter is represented in the National Gallery by a
landscape in which the spirit of Wynant's, rather than that of
Philips's, is discernible.

At Hertford House, out of seven examples, two are of more than usual
excellence, and well represent his earlier and later manners. _The
Afternoon Landscape with a White Horse_ (No. 226 in Room XIII), which
Smith (in his Catalogue Raisonné), characterizes as possessing unusual
freedom of pencilling, and powerful effect, dates from the transition
from the early to the middle period, and is a very effective picture, as
well as being very characteristic. The _Horse Fair_ (No. 65, in Room
XVI), is not only much larger than the other--it measures 25 x 35
inches--but is a really important picture. Lord Hertford paid £3200 for
it in 1854. It was engraved by Moyrean, for his series of a hundred
prints after Wouverman, under the title of _Le Grand Marché aux
Chevaux_. It is thus described by Smith:--"This very capital picture
exhibits an open country divided in the middle distance by a river whose
course is lost among the distant mountains. The principal scene of
activity is represented along the front and second grounds, on which may
be numbered about twenty-four horses, exhibiting that noble animal in
every variety of action, and nearly fifty persons. On the right of the
picture is a coach, drawn by four fine grey horses, and in front of this
object are a grey and a bay horse, on the latter of which are mounted a
man and a boy. In advance of them is a group of four horses and several
persons, among whom may be noticed a cavalier and a lady observing the
paces of a horse which a jockey and his master are showing off. A
gentleman on a black horse seems also to be watching the action of the
animal. Near this person is a mare lying down, and a foal standing by it
which a boy is approaching. On the opposite side of the picture is a
gentleman on a cream-coloured horse, near two spirited greys, one of
which is kicking, and a woman, a man and a boy are escaping from its
heels. From thence the eye looks over an open space occupied by men and
horses, receding in succession to the bank of the river, along which are
houses and tents concealed in part by trees. This picture is painted
throughout with great care and delicacy in what is termed the last
manner of the master, remarkable for the prevalent grey or silvery hues
of colouring."

ALBERT CUYP, born at Dortrecht 1620, died there about 1672. Of the life
of this great painter little more is known with any certainty than that
he was the scholar of his father, Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp. Cattle form a
prominent feature in many of his works, though never so highly finished
as in those of Paul Potter or Adrian van de Velde; indeed, in many of
Cuyp's pictures, they are quite subordinate. His favourite subjects, a
landscape with a river, with cattle lying or standing on its banks, and
landscapes with horsemen in the foreground, were suggested to him no
doubt by the country about Dortrecht and the river Maas: but he also
painted winter landscapes, and especially views of rivers where the
broad extent of water is animated by vessels. Sometimes, too, with great
perfection, fowls as large as life, hens, ducks, etc., and still life.
He also painted portraits, though less successfully. However great the
skill displayed in the composition of his works, their principal charm
lies in the beauty and truthfulness of their peculiar lighting. No other
painter, with the exception of Claude, has so well understood the cool
freshness of morning, the bright but misty light of a hot noon, or the
warm glow of a clear sunset. The effect of his pictures is further
enhanced by the skill with which he avails himself of the aid of
contrasts; as for example, dark, rich colours of the reposing cattle as
seen against the bright sky. In his own country no picture of his, till
the year 1750, ever sold for more than thirty florins. Indeed, Kugler
was informed by a Dutch friend, that in past times, when a picture found
no bidder, the auctioneer would offer to throw in "a little Cuyp" in
order to induce a sale. The merit of having first given him his due rank
belongs to the English, who as early as 1785, gave at the sale of Linden
van Slingelandt's collection at Dortrecht high prices for Cuyp's works;
About nine-tenths of his pictures are consequently to be found in
England.

One of his finest works is the landscape, in bright, warm, morning
light, with two cows reposing in the foreground, and a woman conversing
with a horseman, in the National Gallery (No. 53). The whole picture
breathes a cheerful and rural tranquillity. In his mature time, these
admirable qualities are seen in higher development. In the Louvre (No.
104), is another fine example--a scene with six cows, a shepherd blowing
the horn, and two children listening to him. This is admirably arranged,
of greater truthfulness as regards the form and colouring of the cattle
than usual, and with the warm lighting of the sky executed with equal
decision and softness. This picture is one of the master's chief
productions, being also about 4 ft. high by 6 ft. wide. Another with
three horsemen, and a servant carrying partridges, and in the centre a
meadow with cattle, is also in the Louvre. This is less attractive in
subject, but ranks equally high as a work of art. In Buckingham Palace
are two pictures, one with three cows reposing, and one standing by a
clear stream, near them a herdsman and a woman; other cows are in water
near the ruins of a castle. In this picture, we see Cuyp in every
respect at his culminating point of excellence. Not less fine, and of
singular force of colour, is the landscape, with a broad river running
through it, and a horseman under a tree in conversation with a
countryman.

PAUL POTTER, born at Enckhuysen 1625, died at Amsterdam 1654. Although
the scholar of his father, Pieter Potter, who was but a mediocre
painter, he made such astonishing progress as to rank at the age of 15
as a finished artist. He removed very early to the Hague, where his
talents met with universal recognition, including that of Prince Maurice
of Orange, and where he married. In the year 1652, however, he removed
to Amsterdam at the instance of one of his chief patrons, the
Burgomaster Tulp. Of the masters who have striven pre-eminently after
truth he is, beyond all question, one of the greatest that ever lived.
In order to succeed in this aim, he acquired a correctness of drawing, a
kind of modelling which imparts an almost plastic effect to his animals,
an extraordinary execution of detail in the most solid impasto, and a
truth of colouring which harmonises astonishingly with the time of day.
In his landscapes, which generally consist of a few willows in the
foreground, and of a wide view over meadows, the most delicate
graduation of aërial perspective is seen. With few exceptions, his
animals are small, and his pictures proportionately moderate in size. By
the year 1647 he had attained his full perfection. Of this date is the
celebrated group called _The Young Bull_, in the Hague Gallery. All the
figures in this are as large as life, and so extraordinarily true to
nature as not only to appear real at a certain distance, but even to
keep up the illusion when seen near.

A picture dated 1649, now in Buckingham Palace, of two cows and a young
bull in a pasture, combines with his customary fidelity to nature a more
than common power of effect, and breadth and freedom of treatment. To
the same year belongs also The _Farmyard_, formerly in the Cassel
Gallery, now in that of S. Petersburg, which, according to Smith, fully
deserves its celebrity both for the clearness and warmth of the sunset
effect, as well as for its masterly execution. To 1650 belongs the
picture of _Orpheus_, charming the animal world by the strains of his
lyre, in the Amsterdam Museum. Here we see that the master had also
studied wild animals. He is most successful in the bear. In the same
gallery is another _chef-d'oeuvre_ of the same year--a hilly landscape
with a shepherdess singing to her child, a shepherd playing on the
bagpipe, and oxen, sheep, and goats around.

The names of Weenix and Hondecoeter are so inseparably associated in the
popular mind as painters of birds, whose respective works are not
readily distinguishable moreover by the casual observer, that a short
excursion into their family histories is advisable, for the purpose of
showing how it was that this particular branch of the art was so
successfully practised by the two. Moreover, as there were three
Hondecoeters and two Weenixes who were painters, it is necessary to say
something about each of them.

MELCHIOR HONDECOETER, the best known, was of an ancient and noble
family. He was instructed till the age of seventeen by his father
Gysbert, who was a tolerable painter. Giles Hondecoeter, his
grandfather, painted live birds admirably, but chiefly cocks and hens in
the taste of Savery and Vincaboom. Melchior was born in 1636, and
studied for a time with his father; but meantime his aunt Josina had
married Jan Baptist Weenix, and a son was born to them, Jan Weenix, who
inherited from old Giles Hondecoeter, his grandfather, his talent for
painting poultry, and from his father, Jan Baptist Weenix, he acquired
the benefit of several influences which were not shared by his cousin
Melchior.

JAN BAPTIST WEENIX, who was nicknamed "Rattle," was born at Amsterdam
about 1621. His father was an architect, who bred his son up to that
profession, but he was afterwards put to study painting under Abraham
Bloemart. Soon after his marriage with Josina he was seized with the
desire to visit Italy, and he set off alone to Rome, promising to return
in four months. In Rome, however, he was so well received that he stayed
there four years, and Italianized himself to an extent that may be seen
in a picture in the Wallace Collection, a _Coast Scene with Classic
Ruins_, which he signs _Gio. Batta. Weenix_. Though he returned to
Holland and settled near Utrecht, his manner was sensibly modified by
his sojourn in Rome.

JAN WEENIX, who was born at Amsterdam in 1649, though he succeeded in so
far assimilating his father's style that his earlier works are often
confused with those of "Giovanni Battista," did not acquire the energy
or the dramatic force displayed by Melchior Hondecoeter in representing
live birds and animals, though he sometimes surpassed him in the finish
and the harmony of his decorative arrangements of dead game and still
life. Accordingly the one usually painted dead and the latter live
birds. In other respects there is not much to distinguish their works.

NICHOLAS BERCHEM was the only other pupil of Jan Baptist Weenix of whom
we know anything. Berchem had other masters, beginning with his father,
who was a painter of fish and tables covered with plates, china dishes,
and such like. Having given his son the first rudiments of his art he
found himself unequal to the task of cultivating the excellent
disposition he observed in him, and therefore placed him with Van Goyen,
Nicholas Moyaert, Peter Grebber, Jan Wils, and lastly with Jan Baptist
Weenix, all of whom had the honour of assisting to form so excellent a
painter. Indefatigable at his easel, Berchem acquired a manner both easy
and expeditious; to see him work, painting appeared a mere diversion to
him.

His wife was the daughter of his instructor, Jan Wils, and was so
avaricious that she allowed him no rest. Busy as he was by nature, she
used to sit under his studio, and when she neither heard him sing nor
stir, she struck upon the ceiling to rouse him. She got from him all the
money he earned by his labour, so that he was obliged to borrow from his
scholars when he wanted money to buy prints that were offered him, which
was the only pleasure he had. _The Musical Shepherdess_ at Hertford
House is a good example of his style, and the description of it in
Smith's catalogue shows in what estimation the artist was held in early
Victorian days:--"This beautiful pastoral scene represents a bold rocky
coast under the appearance of the close of day. The rustics have ended
their labours and are recreating with music and dancing. A group
composed of two peasants and a like number of women occupies the
foreground; one of the latter, attired in a blue mantle, is gaily
striking a tambourine, and dancing to the music; her companion in a
yellow dress sits near her; the shepherds also are seated, and one of
them appears to have just ceased playing a pipe which he holds. The
goats are browsing near them. Painted in the artist's most fascinating
style."

That Berchem had been to Italy is pretty certain, and though no
authentic account of his visit is recorded, there is a story that when
Jacob Ruisdael went to Rome as a young man, Nicholas Berchem was the
first acquaintance he met, and that their friendship was of long
standing. Their frequent walks round about Rome gave them the
opportunity of working together from Nature, and one day a cardinal
seeing them at work, inquired what they were doing. His eminence was
agreeably impressed with their drawings, and invited them to visit him
in Rome. The painters returned to their work, where they met with a
second _rencontre_ of a very different nature; a gang of thieves robbed
and stripped them of their clothes. They returned in their shirts to the
city, and called on the cardinal, who took pity upon them, ordered them
clothes, and afterwards employed them in several considerable works in
his palace.

Berchem at one time took up his abode in the Castle of Bentheim, and as
both he and Ruisdael have left several pictures of this castle it may be
inferred that they worked there together, as at Rome.

Apart from personal friendship there is nothing to connect Berchem with
Ruisdael, the popularity of the former being derived from qualities of a
totally different nature from those which raise Ruisdael far above any
of his contemporaries as a landscape painter.

JAN VAN HUYSUM was born at Amsterdam in 1682. His father, Justus Van
Huysum, who dealt in pictures, was himself a middling painter in most
kinds of painting. He taught his son to paint screens, figures and vases
on wood, landscape, and sometimes flowers; but the son being arrived at
a reasoning age perceived that to work in every branch of his art was
the way to excel in none, therefore he confined himself to flowers,
fruit, and landscape, and quitting his father's school set up for
himself.

No one before Van Huysum attained so perfect a manner of representing
the beauty of flowers and the down and bloom of fruit; for he painted
with greater freedom than Velvet Breughel and Mignon, with more
tenderness and nature than Mario di Fiori, Andrea Belvedere, Michel de
Campidoglio or Daniel Seghers; with more mellowness than de Heem, and
with more vigour of colouring than Baptist Monoyer.

His pictures of flowers and fruit pleasing an English gentleman, he
introduced them into his own country, where they came into vogue and
yielded a high price. To express the motions of the smallest insects
with justice he used to contemplate them through the microscope with
great attention. At the times of the year when the flowers were in
bloom, and the fruit in perfection, he used to design them in his own
garden, and the Sieur Gulet and Voorhelm sent him the most beautiful
productions in those kinds they could pick up.

His reputation rose to such a height that all the curious in painting
sought his works with great eagerness, which encouraged him to raise his
prices so high that his pictures at last grew out of the reach of any
but princes and men of the greatest fortune. He was the first flower
painter that ever thought of laying them on light grounds, which
requires much greater art than to paint them on dark ones.

Van Huysum died at Amsterdam in 1749. He never had any pupil but a young
woman named Haverman, and his brother Michael. Two other brothers have
distinguished themselves in painting, one named Justus, who painted
battles, and died at twenty-two years old, the other named James, who
ended his days in England in 1740. He copied the pictures of his brother
John so well as to deceive the connoisseurs: he had usually £20 for each
copy. For the originals, it may be noted, from a thousand to fourteen
hundred florins was paid.



V

PAINTERS OF LANDSCAPE


Coming now to the landscape painters we find that JAN VAN GOYEN, born at
Leyden in 1596, was destined to exert a really powerful influence,
inasmuch as he was the founder, as is generally acknowledged, of the
Dutch school of homely native landscape. Beginning with figure subjects,
he discovered in their landscape backgrounds his real _métier_, and
seems only to have realized his great gifts when he looked further into
nature than was possible when painting a foreground picture. He appears
to have been by nature or by inclination long-sighted, and he is never
so happy as when painting distance, either along the banks of a river or
looking out to sea. This extended gaze taught him something of
atmosphere that few painters beside himself ever acquired, and helped
him to the mastery of tone which appears to have influenced so many of
his followers, as for example Van de Velde in the painting of
sea-pieces.

JAN WYNANTS, born at Haarlem about 1620, and still living in 1677, was
the first master who applied all the developed qualities of the Dutch
School to the treatment of landscape painting. In general his prevailing
tone is clear and bright, more especially in the green of his trees and
plants, which in many cases, merges into blue. One of his
characteristics is a fallen tree trunk in the foreground, as may be seen
in three out of the six examples in the National Gallery. The
carefulness of his execution explains how it was that in so long a life
he only produced a moderate number of pictures. Smith's catalogue
contains about 214. These differ much according to their different
periods. In his first manner peasants' cottages or ruins play an
important part, and the view is more or less shut in by trees of a heavy
dark green, the execution solid and careful. In his middle time he
generally paints open views of a rather uneven country, diversified by
wood and water. That Wynants retained his full skill even in advanced
life is proved by a picture dated 1672, in the Munich Gallery,
representing a road leading to a fenced wood and a sandhill, near which
in the foreground are some cows (by Lingelbach) being driven along. In
his last manner a heavy uniformly brown tone is often observable.

It is his genuine feeling for nature that makes Wynant's pictures so
popular in England, where we meet with a considerable number of his best
works.

JACOB RUISDAEL (born at Haarlem 1628, died there 1682) is supposed to
have developed under the influence of a school there that was opposing
Van Goyen's tone treatment by local colour. Though not always the most
charming, Ruisdael is certainly the greatest and the most profound of
the Dutch landscape painters. His wide expanses of sky, earth or sea,
with their tender gradations of aërial perspective, diversified here and
there by alternations of sunshine and shadow, attract us as much by the
pathos as by the picturesqueness of their character. His scenes of
mountainous districts with foaming waterfalls; or bare piles of rock and
sombre lakes are imbued with a feeling of melancholy. Ruisdael's work
may be well studied in the six examples at Hertford House, and the
fourteen in the National Gallery. Among his finer works in Continental
collections the following are some of those selected by Kugler for
description. At the Hague is one of his wide expanses--a view of the
country around Haarlem, the town itself looking small on the horizon,
under a lofty expanse of cloudy sky in the foreground a bleaching-ground
and some houses reminding us, by the manner in which they are
introduced, of Hobbema. The prevailing tone is cool, the sky singularly
beautiful, and the execution wonderfully delicate. A flat country with a
road leading to a village, and fields with wheatsheaves, is in the
Dresden Gallery. This is temperate in colouring and beautifully lighted.
Equally fine is an extensive view over a hilly but bare country, through
which a river runs; in the Louvre. The horseman and beggar on a bridge
are by Wouvermans: here the grey-greenish harmony of the tone is in fine
accordance with the poetic grandeur of the subject. A hill covered with
oak woods, with a peasant hastening to a hut to escape the gathering
shower, is in the Munich Gallery. The golden warmth of the trees and
ground, and the contrast between the deep clear chiaroscuro and soft
rain-clouds, and the bright gleam of sunshine, render this picture one
of the finest by this master.

The peculiar charm which is seen in Holland by the combination of lofty
trees and calm water is fully represented in the following works:--_The
Chase_; in the Dresden Gallery. Here in the still water in the
foreground--through which a stag-hunt (by Adrian van de Velde) is
passing--clouds, warm with morning sunlight, appear reflected. In this
picture, remarkable as it is for size, being 3 ft. 10-1/2 in. high, by 5
ft. 2 in. wide, the sense even of the fresh morning is not without a
tinge of gentle melancholy. A noble wood of oaks, beeches and elms,
about the size of the last-mentioned picture, is in the Louvre. In the
centre, through an opening in the woods, are seen distant hills. The
cattle and figures upon a flooded road are by Berchem. In power, warmth,
and treatment, this is also nearly allied to the preceding work. Of his
waterfalls, the most remarkable are--A picture at the Hague, which is
particularly striking for its warm lighting, and careful execution.
Another with Bentheim Castle, so often repeated by Ruisdael, is at
Amsterdam. In the same collection is a landscape, with rocks, woods, and
a larger waterfall. This has a grandly poetic character which, with the
broad and solid handling, plainly shows the influence of Everdingen. The
same remark may be applied to the waterfall, No. 328, in the Munich
Gallery. Here the dark, rainy sky, enhances the sublime impression made
by the foaming torrent that rushes down the rocky masses. Another work
worthy to rank with the fore-going is _The Jewish Cemetry_, in the
Dresden Gallery: a pallid sunbeam lights up some of the tombstones,
between which a torrent impetuously flows.

The _Landscape with Waterfall_ at Hertford House is a good example; the
_Landscape with a Farm_ in the same collection is another, though in
this the figures and cattle are by Adrian Van der Velde. Ostade and
Wouverman are also said to have helped him with his figures, and it is
possible that one or other of them ought to have some of the credit for
the beautiful _View on the Shore at Scheveningen_ in the National
Gallery (No. 1390). The _Landscape with Ruins_ (No. 746) is perhaps the
finest of the others there.

WILLEM VAN DE VELDE, the younger, born at Amsterdam 1633, died at
Greenwich 1707. His first master was his father, Willem van de Velde the
elder, but his principal instructor was Simon de Vlieger. The earlier
part of his professional life was spent in Holland, where, besides
numerous pictures of the various aspects of marine scenery, he painted
several well-known sea-fights in which the Dutch had obtained the
victory over the English. He afterwards followed his father to England,
where he was greatly patronized by Charles II. and James II. for whom,
in turn, he painted the naval victories of the English over the Dutch.
He was also much employed by amateurs of art among the English nobility
and gentry. There is no question that Willem van de Velde the younger is
the greatest marine painter of the whole Dutch School. His perfect
knowledge of lineal and aërial perspective, and the incomparable
technique which he inherited from his school, enabled him to represent
the sea and the sky with the utmost truth of form, atmosphere and
colour, and to enliven the scene with the purest feeling for the
picturesque, with the most natural incidents of sea-faring life.

Two of his pictures at Amsterdam are particularly remarkable;
representing the English flagship _The Prince Royal_ striking her
colours in the fight with the Dutch fleet of 1666; and its companion,
four English men-of-war brought in as prizes at the same fight. Here the
painter has represented himself in a small boat, from which he actually
witnessed the battle. This accounts for the extraordinary truth with
which every particular of the scene is rendered in such small pictures,
which, combined with their delicate greyish tone, and the mastery of the
execution, render them two of his finest works. A view of the city of
Amsterdam, dated 1686, taken from the river, is an especially good
specimen of his large pictures. It is about 5 ft. high by 10 ft. wide.
The vessels in the river are arranged with great feeling for the
picturesque, and the treatment of details is admirable. His greatest
successes, however, are in the representation of calm seas, as may be
seen in a small picture at Munich. In the centre of the middle distance
is a frigate, and in the foreground smaller vessels. The fine silvery
tone in which the whole is kept finds a sufficient counter-balance of
colour in the yellowish sun-lit clouds, and in the brownish vessels and
their sails. Nothing can be more exquisite than the tender reflections
of these in the water. Of almost similar beauty is a picture of about
the same size, with four vessels, in the Cassel Gallery, which is signed
and dated 1653. As a contrast to this class of works, may be mentioned
_The Gathering Tempest_, in the Munich Gallery. This is brilliantly
lighted, and of great delicacy of tone in the distance, though the
foreground has somewhat darkened.

MEINDERT HOBBEMA (1638-1709) was a friend as well as a pupil of Jacob
Ruisdael. The fact that such distinguished painters as Adrian van de
Velde, Wouvermans, Berchem, and Lingelbach, executed the figures and
animals in his pictures proves the esteem in which he was held by his
contemporaries; nevertheless it is evident that the public was slow in
conceding to him the rank which he deserved, for his name is not found
for more than a century after his death in any even of the most
elaborate dictionaries of art, while the catalogues of the most
important picture sales in Holland make no mention of him at all up to
the year 1739; when a picture by him, although much extolled, was sold
for only 71 florins, and even in 1768 one of his masterpieces only
fetched 300 florins. The English were the first to discover his merits.

The peculiar characteristics of this master, who next to Ruisdael, is
confessedly at the head of landscape painters of the Dutch School, will
be best appreciated by comparing him with his rival. In two most
important qualities--fertility of inventive genius, and poetry of
feeling--he is decidedly inferior: the range of his subjects being far
narrower. His most frequent scenes are villages surrounded by trees,
such as are frequently met with in the districts of Guelderland, with
winding pathways leading from house to house. A water-mill occasionally
forms a prominent feature. Often, too, he represents a slightly uneven
country, diversified by groups or rows of trees, wheat-fields, meadows,
and small pools. Occasionally he gives us a view of part of a town, with
its gates, canals with sluices, and quays with houses; more rarely, the
ruins of an old castle, with an extensive view of a flat country, or
some stately residence. In the composition of all these pictures,
however, we do not find that elevated and picturesque taste which
characterises Ruisdael; on the contrary they have a thoroughly
portrait-like appearance, decidedly prosaic, but always surprizingly
truthful. The greater number of Hobbema's pictures are as much
characterized by a warm and golden tone as those of Ruisdael by the
reverse; his greens being yellowish in the lights and brownish in the
shadows--both of singular transparency. In pictures of this kind the
influence of Rembrandt is perhaps perceptible, and they are superior in
brilliancy to any work by Ruisdael. While these works chiefly present us
with the season of harvest and sunset-light, there are others in a cool,
silvery, morning lighting, and with the bright green of spring, that
surpass Ruisdael's in clearness. His woods also, owing to the various
lights that fall on them, are of greater transparency.

As almost all the galleries on the Continent were formed at a period
when the works of Hobbema were little prized (Ticcozzi's _Dictionary_,
in 1818, does not include his name), they either possess no specimens,
or some of an inferior class, so that no adequate idea can be formed of
him. The most characteristic example to be met with on the Continent is
a landscape in the Berlin Museum, No. 886, an oak wood, with scattered
lights, a calm piece of water in the foreground, and a sun-lit village
in the distance. Of the eight pictures in the National Gallery from his
hand, most are good, and one world-famous--_The Avenue, Middelharnis_,
which may be called his masterpiece. This was painted in 1689, when he
had reached the age of fifty. His diploma picture, painted in 1663, is
at Hertford House, together with four other interesting examples, all of
which repay careful study.



GERMAN SCHOOLS


The origins of the German Schools of painting are obscure, but it is
fairly certain that Cologne was the first place in which the art was
soonest established to any considerable extent. Here, as in the
Netherlands, we cannot find any traces of immediate Italian influences.
The first painter who can be identified with any certainty is WILHELM
VON HERLE, called MEISTER WILHELM, whose activity is not traceable
earlier than about 1358. Most of the pictures formerly attributed to him
have, however, been assigned to his pupil HERMANN WYNRICH VON WESEL, who
on the death of his master in 1378 married his widow and continued his
practice, until his death somewhere about 1414. His most important works
were six panels of the High Altar of the Cathedral, the so-called
_Madonna of the Pea Blossoms_ and two _Crucifixions_ at Cologne, and the
_S. Veronica_ at Munich, dated 1410.

More important was STEPHEN LOCHNER, who died at Cologne in 1451. His
influence was widespread and his school apparently numerous, until, in
1450, Roger van der Weyden, returning from Italy, stopped at Cologne and
painted his large triptych, which eclipsed Lochner. From this time
onwards the school of Cologne is represented by painters whose names are
not known, and who are accordingly distinguished by the subjects of
their works; such as _The Master of the Glorification of the Virgin_,
_The Master of S. Bartholomew_, etc., until we come to Bartel Bruyn
(_c._ 1493-1553), a portrait painter who is represented at Berlin, and
by a picture of Dr Fuchsius bequeathed to the National Gallery by George
Salting.

In other parts of Germany, particularly in Nuremberg, Ulm, Augsburg, and
Basle, various names of painters of the latter half of the fourteenth
century have survived, but their works are of little interest except to
the connoisseur as showing the influence under which the two great
artists of the sixteenth century, Albert Dürer and Hans Holbein, and one
or two lesser lights like Lucas Cranach, Albert Altdorfer, and Adam
Elsheimer, were formed.

In Germany the taste for the fantastic in art peculiar to the Middle
Ages, though it engendered clever and spirited works such as those of
Quentin Massys and Lucas van Leyden, was still unfavourable to the
cultivation of pure beauty, scenes from the Apocalypse, Dances of Death,
etc., being among the favourite subjects for art. On the other hand, the
pictorial treatment of antique literature, a world so suggestive of
beautiful forms, was so little comprehended by the German mind that they
only sought to express it through the medium of those fantastic ideas
with very childish and even tasteless results. We must also remember
that that average education of the various classes of society which the
fine arts require for their protection stood on a very low footing in
Germany. In Italy the favour with which works of art was regarded was
far more widely extended. This again gave rise to a more elevated
personal position on the part of the artist, which in Italy was not only
one of more consideration, but of incomparably greater independence. In
this latter respect Germany was so

[Illustration: PLATE XXXII.

"THE MASTER OF ST BARTHOLOMEW"

TWO SAINTS

_National Gallery, London_]

deficient that the genius of Albert Dürer and Holbein was miserably
cramped and hindered in development by the poverty and littleness of
surrounding circumstances. It is known that of all the German princes no
one but the Elector Frederick the Wise ever gave Albert Dürer a
commission for pictures, while a writing addressed by the great painter
to the magistracy of Nuremberg tells us that his native city never gave
him employment even to the value of 500 florins. At the same time his
pictures were so meanly paid, that for the means of subsistence, as he
says himself, he was compelled to devote himself to engraving. How far
more such a man as Dürer would have been appreciated in Italy or in the
Netherlands is further evidenced in the above-mentioned writing, where
he states that he was offered 200 ducats a year in Venice and 300
Philips-gulden in Antwerp, if he would settle in either of those cities.
And Holbein fared still worse: there is no evidence whatever that any
German prince ever troubled himself at all about the great painter while
at Basle, and his art was so little cared for that necessity compelled
him to go to England, where a genius fitted for the highest undertakings
of historical painting was limited to the sphere of portraiture. The
crowning impediments finally, which hindered the progress of German art,
and perverted it from its true aim, were the Reformation, which narrowed
the sphere of ecclesiastical works, and the pernicious imitation of the
great Italian masters which ensued.

LUCAS CRANACH, born in 1472, received his first instructions in art from
his father, his later teaching probably from Matthew Grunewald. In some
instances he attained to the expression of dignity, earnestness and
feeling, but generally his characteristics are a naïve and childlike
cheerfulness and a gentle and almost timid grace. The impression
produced by his style of representation reminds one of the "Volksbücher"
and "Volkslieder." Many of his church pictures have a very peculiar
significance: in these he stands forth properly speaking as the painter
of the Reformation. Intimate both with Luther and Melanchthon, he seizes
on the central aim of their doctrine, viz., the insufficiency of good
works and the sole efficacy of faith. His mythological subjects appeal
directly to the eye like real portraits; and sometimes also by means of
a certain grace and naïveté of motive. We may cite as an instance the
Diana seated on a stag in a small picture at Berlin, No. 564. _The
Fountain of Youth_, also at Berlin, No. 593, is a picture of peculiar
character; a large basin surrounded by steps and with a richly adorned
fountain forms the centre. On one side, where the country is stony and
barren, a multitude of old women are dragged forward on horses, waggons
or carriages, and with much trouble are got into the water. On the other
side of the fountain they appear as young maidens splashing about and
amusing themselves with all kinds of playful mischief; close by is a
large pavilion into which a herald courteously invites them to enter and
where they are arrayed in costly apparel. A feast is prepared in a
smiling meadow, which seems to be followed by a dance; the gay crowd
loses itself in a neighbouring grove. The men unfortunately have not
become young, and retain their grey beards. The picture is of the year
1546, the seventy-fourth of Cranach's age.

ALBERT ALTDORFER was born 1488 at Altdorf, near Landshuth, in Bavaria,
and settled at Ratisbon, where he died 1528. He invested the fantastic
tendency of the time with a poetic feeling--especially in
landscape--and he developed it so as to attain a perfection in this
sort of romantic painting that no other artist had reached. In his later
period he was strongly influenced by Italian art. Altdorfer's principal
work is in the Munich Gallery, and is thus described by Schlegel:--

"It represents the Victory of Alexander the Great over Darius; the
costume is that of the artist's own day, as it would be treated in the
chivalrous poems of the middle ages--man and horse are sheathed in plate
and mail, with surcoats of gold or embroidery; the chamfrons upon the
heads of the horses, the glittering lances and stirrups, and the variety
of the weapons, form altogether a scene of indescribable splendour and
richness.... It is, in truth, a little world on a few square feet of
canvas; the hosts of combatants who advance on all sides against each
other are innumerable, and the view into the background appears
interminable. In the distance is the ocean, with high rocks and a rugged
island between them; ships of war appear in the offing and a whole fleet
of vessels--on the left the moon is setting--on the right the sun
rising--both shining through the opening clouds--a clear and striking
image of the events represented. The armies are arranged in rank and
column without the strange attitudes, contrasts, and distortions
generally exhibited in so-called battle-pieces. How indeed would this
have been possible with such a vast multitude of figures? The whole is
in the plain and severe, or it may be the stiff manner of the old style.
At the same time the character and execution of these little figures is
most masterly and profound. And what variety, what expression there is,
not merely in the character of the single warriors and knights, but in
the hosts themselves! Here crowds of black archers rush down troop after
troop from the mountain with the rage of a foaming torrent; on the
other side high upon the rocks in the far distance a scattered crowd of
flying men are turning round in a defile. The point of the greatest
interest stands out brilliantly from the centre of the whole--Alexander
and Darius both in armour of burnished gold; Alexander on Bucephalus
with his lance in rest advances before his men and presses on the flying
Darius, whose charioteer has already fallen on his white horses, and who
looks back upon his conqueror with all the despair of a vanquished
monarch."

ALBERT DÜRER (1471-1528), by his overpowering genius, may be called the
sole representative of German art of his period. He was gifted with a
power of conception which traced nature through all her finest shades,
and with a lively sense, as well for the solemn and the sublime, as for
simple grace and tenderness; above all, he had an earnest and truthful
feeling in art united with a capacity for the most earnest study. These
qualities were sufficient to place him by the side of the greatest
artists whom the world has ever seen.

One of the earliest portraits by Albert Dürer known to us is that of his
father, Albert Dürer, the goldsmith, dated 1497, in our National
Gallery. In the year 1644, another version of this picture, which was
engraved by Hollar, was in the collection of the Earl of Arundel, and is
now in that of the Duke of Northumberland, at Syon House. Of about the
same time--that is to say, before 1500--are the portraits of Oswald
Krell, at Munich, of Frederick the Wise, at Berlin, and of himself, at
the Prado.

Several of Albert Dürer's pictures of the year 1500 are known to us. The
first and most important is his own portrait in the Munich Gallery,
which represents him full face with his hand laid on the fur trimming
of his robe.

His finest picture of the year 1504 is an _Adoration of the Kings_,
originally painted for Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony,
subsequently presented by the Elector Christian II. to the Emperor
Rudolph II., and finally, on the occasion of an exchange of pictures,
transferred from Vienna to Florence, where it now hangs in the Tribune
of the Uffizi. The heads are of thoroughly realistic treatment; the
Virgin a portrait from some model of no attractive character; the second
King a portrait of the painter himself. The landscape background exactly
resembles that in the well-known engraving of S. Eustace, the period of
which is thus pretty nearly defined. It is carefully painted in a fine
body of colour.

In 1505 Dürer made a second journey into Upper Italy, and remained a
considerable time at Venice. Of his occupations in this city the letters
written to his friend Wilibald Pirckheimer which have come down to us
give many interesting particulars. He there executed for the German
Company a picture known as _The Feast of Rose Garlands_, which brought
him great fame, and by its brilliant colouring silenced the assertion of
his envious adversaries "that he was a good engraver, but knew not how
to deal with colours." In the centre of a landscape is the Virgin seated
with the Child and crowned by two angels; on her right is a Pope with
priests kneeling; on her left the Emperor Maximilian I. with knights;
various members of the German Company are also kneeling; all are being
crowned with garlands of roses by the Virgin, the Child, S.
Dominick--who stands behind the Virgin--and by angels. The painter and
his friend Pirckheimer are seen standing in the background on the
right; the painter holds a tablet with the inscription, "Albertus Dürer
Germanus, MDVI." This picture, which is one of his largest and finest,
was purchased from the church at a high price by the Emperor Rudolph II.
for his gallery at Prague, where it remained until sold in 1782 by the
Emperor Joseph II. It then became the property of the Præmonstratensian
monastery of Stratow at Prague, where it still exists, though in very
injured condition and greatly over-painted. In the Imperial Gallery at
Vienna may be seen an old copy which conveys a better idea of the
picture than the original.

With these productions begins the zenith of this master's fame, in which
a great number of works follow one another within a short period. Of
these we first notice a picture of 1508, in the Imperial Gallery at
Vienna, painted for Duke Frederick of Saxony, and which afterwards
adorned the gallery of the Emperor Rudolph II. It represents _The
Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand Saints_. In the centre of the picture
stand the master and his friend Pirckheimer as spectators, both in black
dresses. Dürer has a mantle thrown over his shoulder in the Italian
fashion, and stands in a firm attitude. He folds his hands and holds a
small flag, on which is inscribed, "Iste faciebat anno domini 1508
Albertus Dürer Alemanus." There are a multitude of single groups
exhibiting every species of martyrdom, but there is a want of general
connection of the whole. The scenes in the background, where the
Christians are led naked up the rocks, and are precipitated down from
the top, are particularly excellent. The whole is very minute and
miniature-like; the colouring is beautifully brilliant, and it is
painted (the accessories particularly) with extraordinary care.

To 1511 belongs also one of his most celebrated pictures, _The Adoration
of the Trinity_, which is also at Vienna, painted for the chapel of the
Landauer Brüderhaus in Nuremberg. Above in the centre of the picture are
seen the First Person, who holds the Saviour in his arms, while the Holy
Spirit is seen above; some angels spread out the priestly mantle of the
Almighty, whilst others hover near with the instruments of Christ's
passion. On the left hand a little lower down is a choir of females with
the Virgin at their head; on the right are the male saints with St John
the Baptist. Below all these kneel a host of the blessed of all ranks
and nations extending over the whole of this part of the picture.
Underneath the whole is a beautiful landscape, and in a corner of the
picture the artist himself richly clothed in a fur mantle, with a tablet
next him with the words, "Albertus Dürer Noricus faciebat anno a
Virginis partu, 1511." It may be assumed beyond doubt that he held in
particular esteem those pictures into which he introduced his own
portrait.

In the Vienna Gallery is also a picture of the year 1512, the Virgin
holding the naked Child in her arms. She has a veil over her head and
blue drapery. Her face is of the form usual with Albert Dürer, but of a
soft and maidenly character; the Child is beautiful--the countenance
particularly so. It is painted with exceeding delicacy of finish.

Two altar-pieces of his earliest period must be mentioned. One is in the
Dresden Gallery, consisting of three pictures painted in tempera on
canvas, representing the Virgin, S. Anthony, and S. Sebastian
respectively. Although this is probably one of his very earliest works,
it is remarkable for the novelty of its treatment and its independence
of tradition.

The other, a little later, is in the Munich Gallery (Nos. 240-3),
painted at the request of the Paumgartner family, for S. Catherine's
Church at Nuremberg, was brought to Munich in 1612 by Maximilian I. The
subject of the middle picture is the Nativity; the Child is in the
centre, surrounded by little angels, whilst the Virgin and Joseph kneel
at the side. The wings contain portraits of the two donors under the
form of S. George and S. Eustace represented as knights in steel armour,
each with his standard, and the former holding the slain dragon.

The year 1526 was distinguished by the two pictures of the four
Apostles: John and Peter, Mark and Paul; the figures are the size of
life. These, which are the master's grandest work, and the last of
importance executed by him, are now in the Munich Gallery. We know with
certainty that they were presented by Albert Dürer himself to the
council of his native city in remembrance of his career as an artist,
and at the same time as conveying to his fellow-citizens an earnest and
lasting exhortation suited to that stormy period. In the year 1627,
however, the pictures were allowed to pass into the hands of the Elector
Maximilian I. of Bavaria. The inscriptions selected by the painter
himself might have given offence to a Catholic prince, and were
therefore cut off and joined to the copies by John Fischer, which were
intended to indemnify the city of Nuremberg for the loss of the
originals. These copies are still in the collection of the Landauer
Brüderhaus at Nuremberg.

These pictures are the fruit of the deepest thought which then stirred
the mind of Albert Dürer, and are executed with overpowering force.
Finished as they are, they form the first complete work of art produced
by Protestantism. As the inscription taken from the Gospels and
Epistles of the Apostles contains pressing warnings not to swerve from
the word of God, nor to believe in the doctrines of false prophets, so
the figures themselves represent the steadfast and faithful guardians of
that holy Scripture which they bear in their hands. There is also an old
tradition, handed down from the master's own times, that these figures
represent the four temperaments. This is confirmed by the pictures
themselves; and though at first sight it may appear to rest on a mere
accidental combination, it serves to carry out more completely the
artist's thought, and gives to the figures greater individuality. It
shows how every quality of the human mind may be called into the service
of the Divine Word. Thus in the first picture, we see the whole force of
the mind absorbed in contemplation, and we are taught that true
watchfulness in behalf of the Scripture must begin by devotion to its
study.

S. John stands in front, the open book in his hand; his high forehead
and his whole countenance bear the impress of earnest and deep thought.
This is the melancholic temperament, which does not shrink from the most
profound inquiry. Behind him S. Peter bends over the book, and gazes
earnestly at its contents--a hoary head, full of meditative repose. This
figure represents the phlegmatic temperament, which reviews its own
thoughts in tranquil reflection. The second picture shows the outward
operation of the conviction thus attained and its relation to daily
life. S. Mark in the background is the man of sanguine temperament; he
looks boldly round, and appears to speak to his hearers with animation,
earnestly urging them to share those advantages which he has himself
derived from the Holy Scriptures. S. Paul, on the contrary, in the
foreground, holds the book and sword in his hands; he looks angrily and
severely over his shoulder, ready to defend the Word, and to annihilate
the blasphemer with the sword of God's power. He is the representative
of the choleric temperament.

We know of no important work of a later date than that just described.
His portrait in a woodcut of the year 1527 represents him earnest and
serious in demeanour, as would naturally follow from his advancing age
and the pressure of eventful times. His head is no longer adorned with
those richly flowing locks, on which in his earlier days he had set so
high a value, as we learn from his pictures and from jests still
recorded of him. With the departure of Hans Holbein to England in 1528
and the death of Albert Dürer in the same year, that excellence to which
they had raised German art passed away, and centuries saw no sign of its
revival.

Of HANS HOLBEIN, born at Augsburg in 1498, we shall have more to say in
a later chapter, when considering the origins of English portraiture.
But as in the case of Van Dyck, and in fact of every great portrait
painter, his excellence in this particular branch of his art was but one
result of his being a born artist and first exercising his talents in a
much wider field. In Holbein the realistic tendency of the German School
attained its highest development, and he may, next to Dürer, be
pronounced the greatest master in it. While Dürer's art exhibits a close
affinity with the religious ideas of the Middle Ages, Holbein appears to
have been imbued with more modern and more material sentiments, and
accordingly we find him excelling Dürer in closeness and delicacy of
observation in the delineation of nature. A proof of this is afforded by
the evidence of Erasmus, who said that as regards the portraits painted
of him by both these artists, that by Holbein was the most like. In
feeling for beauty of form, also in grace of movement, in colouring, and
in the actual art of painting--in which his father had thoroughly
instructed him--Holbein is to be placed above Dürer. That he did not
rival the great Italians of his time in "historical" painting can only
be ascribed to the circumstances of his life in Germany, where such
subjects were not in fashion.

Of his pictures executed before he left his native country the greater
number are at Basle and Augsburg, and are therefore less familiar to the
general public than his later works. A notable exception is the famous
_Meyer Madonna_, the original of which is at Darmstadt, but a version
now relegated, somewhat harshly, to the "copyist" is in the Dresden
Gallery, and certainly exhibits as much of the spirit of the master as
will serve for an example of his powers. It represents the Virgin as
Queen of Heaven, standing in a niche, with the Child in her arms, and
with the family of the Burgomaster Jacob Meyer of Basle kneeling on
either side of her. With the utmost life and truth to nature, which
brings these kneeling figures actually into our presence, says Kugler,
there is combined in a most exquisite degree an expression of great
earnestness, as if the mind were fixed on some lofty object. This is
shown not merely by the introduction of divine beings into the circle of
human sympathies, but particularly in the relation so skilfully
indicated between the Holy Virgin and her worshippers, and in her
manifest desire to communicate to those who are around her the sacred
peace and tranquillity expressed in her own countenance and attitude,
and implied in the infantine grace of the Saviour. In the direct union
of the divine with the human, and in their reciprocal harmony, there is
involved a devout and earnest purity of feeling such as only the older
masters were capable of representing.

Another of his most beautiful pictures painted in Germany is the
portrait of Erasmus, dated 1523. This was sent by Erasmus to Sir Thomas
More, at Chelsea, with a letter recommending Holbein to his care, and as
it is still in this country--in the collection of the Earl of Radnor at
Longford Castle--it is not perhaps too much to hope that it may one of
these days find its way into the National Gallery--perhaps when the
alterations to the front entrance are completed. This picture has for a
very long time been regarded as one of Holbein's very finest portraits.
Mr W. Barclay Squire, in the sumptuous catalogue of the Radnor
collection compiled by him, quotes the opinion of Sir William Musgrave,
written in 1785, "I am not sure whether it is not the finest I have
seen"; and that of Dr Waagen, "Alone worth a pilgrimage to Longford.
Seldom has a painter so fully succeeded in bringing to view the whole
character of so original a mind as in this instance. In the mouth and
small eyes may be seen the unspeakable studies of a long life ... the
face also expresses the sagacity and knowledge of a life gained by long
experience ... the masterly and careful execution extends to every
portion ... yet the face surpasses everything else in delicacy of
modelling."

Cruel, indeed, was England to have transplanted the one artist who might
have saved Germany from the artistic destitution from which she has
suffered ever since!

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIII.--HANS HOLBEIN

PORTRAIT OF CHRISTINA, DUCHESS OF MILAN

_National Gallery, London_]



_FRENCH SCHOOL_



I

THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY


When we consider the peculiar beauty of the architecture and
ecclesiastical sculpture in France during the Middle Ages and the period
of the renaissance, and of the enamels, ivories, and other small works
of art, it is wrong to regret that painting was not also practised by
the French as assiduously as it was in Italy. For there can be no doubt
that in being confined to one channel the artistic impulses of a people
cut deeper than if dissipated in various directions. We may suppose,
indeed, that if those of the French had found their outlet in painting
alone, we should have pictures of wonderful beauty, of a beauty moreover
of a markedly different kind from that of the Italian or Spanish or
Netherlandish pictures. But on the other hand we should have perhaps
lost the amazing fascination of Chartres, and the delights of Limoges
enamel and ivories.

As it happens, the earliest mention to be made of painting in France is
the arrival of Leonardo da Vinci at Amboise in 1516, whither he had come
from Milan in the train of the young king François I. Unfortunately he
was by this time sixty-four years old, and in less than three years he
died. At about the same time there was a court painter in the employment
of François--under the official designation of _varlet de
chambre_--named JEHAN CLOUET, who is supposed to have been of Flemish
extraction. Nothing very definite is known about him or his work, but he
had a son FRANÇOIS CLOUET, who seems to have been born at about the time
of Leonardo's arrival, and who succeeded to his father's office. At the
funeral of François I. in 1547 he was ordered to make an _effige du dict
feu roy_, and he continued to be the official court painter to Henri II.
(whose posthumous portrait he was also ordered to paint), François II.,
and Charles IX. He died in 1572. Every portrait of this period is
attributed to him, just as was the case with Holbein in England. Neither
of the two examples at the National Gallery can be safely ascribed to
him. The little head of the Emperor Charles V., king of Spain, at
Hereford House, is identical in style and in dimensions with that of
Francis I., king of France, in the Museum at Lyons, which is attributed
to Jean Clouet. Both may have been painted when Charles V. passed
through Paris in 1539, but whether by Jean or one of his disciples
cannot be said with certainty.

Not until the very end of the sixteenth century were born Claude Gellée
and Nicholas Poussin, the only two Frenchmen who were painters of
considerable importance before the close of the seventeenth. Nor did
either of these two contribute anything to the glory of their country by
practice or by precept within its confines, both of them passing most of
their lives and painting their best works in Italy and under Italian
influence.

NICHOLAS POUSSIN was born at Villiers near Les Andelys on the banks of
the Seine, in 1594, where he studied for some time under Quentin Varin
till he was eighteen. After this he was in Paris, but in 1624 he went to
Rome where he lived with Du Quesnoy. His first success was obtained by
the execution of two historical pieces which were commissioned by
Cardinal Barberini on his return from an Embassy to France. These were
_The Death of Germanicus_ and _The Capture of Jerusalem_. His next works
were _The Martyrdom of S. Erasmus_, _The Plague at Ashdod_, of which a
replica is in the National Gallery, and _The Seven Sacraments_ now at
Belvoir Castle. By these he acquired such fame that on his return to
Paris in 1640, Louis XIII. appointed him royal painter, and in order to
keep him at home provided him with apartments in the Tuileries and a
salary of £120 a year. Within two years, however, Poussin was back in
Rome, and after twenty-three years' unbroken success died there in 1665
in his seventy-second year.

Poussin was a most conscientious painter, devoting himself seriously in
his earlier years to the study both of the antique and of practical
anatomy. Besides being the intimate friend of Du Quesnoy, he was a
devout pupil of Domenichino, for whom he had the greatest reverence. It
is not surprising therefore to find in his earlier works, such as the
_Plague at Ashdod_, a certain academic dulness and lack of spontaneity.
He was not the forerunner of a new epoch, but one of the last upholders
of the old. He was trying to arrest decay, to infuse a healthier spirit
into a declining art, so that he errs on the side of correctness. The
influence of Titian, however, was too strong for him to remain long
within the narrowest limits, as may be seen in the _Bacchanalian Dance_,
No. 62 in the National Gallery, which was probably one of a series
painted for Cardinal Richelieu during the short time that Poussin was in
Paris in 1641. In this and in No. 42, the _Bacchanalian Festival_ as
well as in _The Shepherds in Arcadia_, in the Louvre, we get a
surprisingly strong reminiscence of Titian, more especially in the
brown tones of the flesh and the deep blue of the sky.

As the result of conscientious study of the human body the figures in
these pictures are full of life--for correctness of drawing is the first
requisite of lively painting without which all the others are useless.
The fact that over two hundred prints have been engraved after his
pictures is a proof of his popularity at one time or another, and though
at the present time his reputation is not as widely recognised as in
former years, it is certainly as high among those whose judgment is
independent of passing fashions. As evidence of the soundness of his
principles, the following is perhaps worth quoting:--

"There are nine things in painting," Poussin wrote in a letter to M. de
Chambrai, the author of a treatise on painting, "which can never be
taught and which are essential to that art. To begin with, the subject
of it should be noble, and receive no quality from the person who treats
it; and to give opportunity to the painter to show his talents and his
industry it must be chosen as capable of receiving the most excellent
form. A painter should begin with disposition (or as we should say,
composition), the ornament should follow, their agreement of the parts,
beauty, grace, spirit, costume, regard to nature and probability; and
above all, judgment. This last must be in the painter himself and cannot
be taught. It is the golden bough of Virgil that no one can either find
or pluck unless his lucky star conducts him to it."

GASPAR POUSSIN, whose name was really Gaspard Dughet, was brother-in-law
of Nicholas, and acquired his name from being his pupil. He was nineteen
years his junior, and survived him by ten years. He was born in Rome of
French parents, and died there in 1675, and though he travelled a good
deal in Italy he never appears to have visited France. His Italian
landscapes are very beautiful, and we are fortunate in the possession of
one which is considered his best, No. 31 in the National Gallery,
_Landscape with Figures_, _Abraham and Isaac_. Scarcely less fine is the
_Calling of Abraham_, No. 1159, especially in the middle and far
distance. The sacred figures, it may as well be said, are of little
concern in the compositions, though useful for purposes of identifying
the pictures.

CLAUDE GELLÉE, nowadays usually spoken of as Claude, was born at
Chamagne in Lorraine in 1600. Accordingly he has been styled Claude
Lorraine, le Lorraine, de Lorrain, Lorrain, or Claudio Lorrenese with
wonderful persistency through the ages, though there was no mystery
about his surname and it would have served just as well. He was brought
up in his father's profession of pastrycook, and in that capacity he
went to Rome seeking for employment. As it happened he found it in the
house of a landscape painter, Agostino Tassi, who had been a pupil of
Paul Bril, and he not only cooked for him but mixed his colours as well,
and soon became his pupil. Later he was studying under a German painter,
Gottfried Wals, at Naples. A more important influence on him, however,
was that of Joachim Sandrart, one of the best of the later German
painters, whom he met in Rome.

Claude's earliest pictures of any importance were two which were painted
for Pope Urban VII. in 1639, when he was just upon forty years old.
These are the _Village Dance_ and the _Seaport_, now in the Louvre. The
_Seaport at Sunset_ and _Narcissus and Echo_ in the National Gallery
(Nos. 5 and 19) are dated 1644--the former on the canvas and the latter
on the sketch for it in the _Liber Veritatis_, where it is stated that
it was painted for an English patron.

The _Liber Veritatis_, it should be observed, is the title given to a
portfolio of over two hundred drawings in pen and bistre, or Indian ink,
which is now in the possession of the Duke of Devonshire. Most of these
were made from pictures which had been painted, not as sketches or
designs preparatory to painting them, and in some instances there are
notes on the back of them giving the date, purchaser, and other
particulars relating to them. So great was the vogue for Claude's
landscapes in England during the eighteenth century that as early as
1730 or 1740 a good many of his drawings, which had been collected by
Jonathan Richardson, Dr. Mead and others, were engraved by Arthur Pond
and John Knapton; and in 1777 a series of about two hundred of the Duke
of Devonshire's drawings was published by Alderman Boydell, which had
been etched and mezzotinted by Richard Earlom, under the title of _Liber
Veritatis_. This was the model on which Turner founded the publication
of his own sketches under the title of _Liber Studiorum_. Thus, if
Claude exerted little influence on the art of his own country, it can
hardly be said that he exerted none elsewhere, for Turner was by no
means the first Englishman to fall under his spell. Richard Wilson, the
first English landscape painter, was undoubtedly influenced by him, both
from an acquaintance with his drawings in English collections and from
the study of his works when in Rome.

In this connection we may consider the two landscapes, numbered 12 and
14 in the National Gallery Catalogue, as our most important examples by
this master, for Turner bequeathed to the nation his two most important
pictures _The Sun Rising Through a Vapour_ and _Dido Building Carthage_,
on condition that they should be hung between these two by Claude. The
Court of Chancery could annul the condition, but they could not nullify
the effect of Claude's influence on Turner or alter the judgment of
posterity with regard to the relations of the two painters to each other
and to art in general, and the Director has wisely observed the wishes
of Turner in still hanging the four pictures together, the Court of
Chancery notwithstanding. Both of Claude's are inscribed, besides being
signed and dated, as follows:

     No. 12. Mariage d'Isaac avec Rebeca, Claudio Gil. inv. Romae 1648.

     No. 14. La Reine de Saba va trover Salomon. Clavde Gil. inv. faict
     pour son altesse le duc de Buillon à Roma 1648.

Both pictures are familiar in various engravings of them, and though the
present fashion leads many people in other directions, there can be no
doubt that the appreciation of Claude in this country is never likely to
die out, and is only waiting for a turn of the wheel to revive with
increased vigour.

Meantime, however, France was not entirely destitute of painters, and
though without Claude, Poussin or Dughet, who preferred to exercise
their art in Rome, she anticipated England by over a century in that
most important step, the foundation of an Academy of Painting. Not many
of the names of its original members ever became famous--as may be said
in our own country--but among them was SEBASTIEN BOURDON (1616-1671),
whose work was so much admired by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Bourdon, also,
wandered away from France; within four years after the foundation of
the Academy, namely, in 1652, he went to Stockholm, and was appointed
principal painter to Queen Christina. On her abdication, however, in
1663, he returned to Paris, and enjoyed a great success in painting
landscapes, and historical subjects. _The Return of the Ark from
Captivity_, No. 64 in the National Gallery Catalogue, was presented by
that distinguished patron of the arts, Sir George Beaumont, to whom it
was bequeathed by Sir Joshua Reynolds, as being one of his most
treasured possessions. "I cannot quit this subject," he writes in the
fourteenth Discourse, alluding to poetry in landscape, "without
mentioning two examples, which occur to me at present, in which the
poetical style of landscape may be seen happily executed; the one is
_Jacob's Dream_, by Salvator Rosa, and the other, _The Return of the Ark
from Captivity_, by Sebastian Bourdon. With whatever dignity those
histories are presented to us in the language of scripture, this style
of painting possesses the same power of inspiring sentiments of grandeur
and sublimity, and is able to communicate them to subjects which appear
by no means adapted to receive them. A ladder against the sky has no
very promising appearance of possessing a capacity to excite any heroic
ideas, and the Ark in the hands of a second-rate master would have
little more effect than a common waggon on the highway; yet those
subjects are so poetically treated throughout, the parts have such a
correspondence with each other, and the whole and every part of the
scene is so visionary, that it is impossible to look at them without
feeling in some measure the enthusiasm which seems to have inspired the
painters."

EUSTACHE LE SUEUR, born in the same year as Sebastien Bourdon (1616),
was another of the original members of the Academy, and was employed by
the King at the Louvre. His most famous work was the decorations of the
cloister at the monastery of La Chartreuse (now in the Louvre) of which
Horace Walpole speaks so ecstatically in the preface to the last volume
of the _Anecdotes of Painting_. "The last scene of S. Bruno expiring"
(he writes) "in which are expressed all the stages of devotion from the
youngest mind impressed with fear to the composed resignation of the
Prior, is perhaps inferior to no single picture of the greatest master.
If Raphael died young, so did Le Sueur; the former had seen the antique,
the latter only prints from Raphael; yet in the Chartreuse, what airs of
heads! What harmony of colouring! What aërial perspective! How Grecian
the simplicity of architecture and drapery! How diversified a single
quadrangle though the life of a hermit be the only subject, and devotion
the only pathetic!"

PHILIPPE DE CHAMPAIGNE was another of the original members. He was born
at Brussels in 1602, and did not come to Paris till 1621, where he was
soon afterwards employed in the decoration of the Luxembourg Palace. But
he was chiefly a portrait painter, his principal works being the fine
full-length of Cardinal Richelieu, and another of his daughter as a nun
of Port Royal, both of which are in the Louvre. There are four in the
Wallace Collection, but perhaps the most familiar to the English public
is the canvas at the National Gallery (No. 798), painted for the Roman
sculptor Mocchi, to make a bust from, with a full face and two profiles
of Richelieu. As a portrait this is exceedingly interesting, the more so
from having an inscription over one of the heads, "de ces deux profiles
cecy est le meilleur." The full length of the Cardinal presented by Mr.
Charles Butler in 1895 (No. 1449), is a good example, which cannot
however but suffer by juxtaposition with more accomplished works.

But it was not until the close of the seventeenth century that portrait
painting in France became anything like a fine art, and even then it did
not get beyond being formal and magnificent. The two principal exponents
were HYACINTHE RIGAUD and NICOLAS LARGILLIÈRE, both of whose works have
a sort of grandeur but little subtlety or charm.

Rigaud was born in 1659, at Perpignan in the extreme south of France,
and studied at Montpelier in his youth, then at Lyons on his way to
Paris--much as a Scottish artist might have studied first at Glasgow,
then at Birmingham on his way to London. On the advice of Lebrun he
devoted himself specially to portrait painting, which he did with such
success that in 1700 he was elected a member of the Academy. He painted
Louis XIV. more often than Largillière or any other painter, and in his
later years (he lived till 1743) Louis XV. his great-grandson. He is
said to have shared with Kneller the distinction, such as it may be, of
having painted at least five monarchs.

Rigaud is best known in these days by the fine prints after his
portraits by the French engravers. Of his brushwork we are only able to
judge by the two doubtful versions at the National Gallery and the
Wallace Collection respectively, of the fine portrait at Versailles of
_Cardinal Fleury_. The group of _Lulli and the Musicians of the French
Court_, which was purchased for the National Gallery in 1906 is not by
him, and it is difficult to understand why the public money should have
been wasted on it, or at least on the inscription attributing it to
him.

Nicolas de Largillière was three years older than Rigaud and survived
him by another three. He was born in Paris in 1656 and died six months
before completing his ninetieth year. Early in life he went as a pupil
to Antwerp, under Antoine Goubeau, and he is said to have worked in
England as an assistant to Sir Peter Lely during the later years of that
master. On his return to France he was received into the Royal
Academy--in 1686.

In the Wallace Collection is an interesting example of his work, the
large group of the French Royal Family, in which four living generations
are portrayed and the bronze effigies of two more. Henri IV. and Louis
XIII., the grandfather and father of the reigning monarch, Louis XIV.,
the Dauphin his son, the Duc de Bourgogne his grandson, and the Duc
d'Anjou, his great-grandson--afterwards Louis XV., are all included in
this formal group, which is a useful lesson in history as well as in
painting.



II

THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY


ANTOINE WATTEAU was born at Valenciennes in 1684, and died near there
about thirty-seven years later of consumption. Valenciennes really
belonged to Flanders, and had only lately been annexed to France, so
that Watteau owed something of his art to Flemish rather than to French
sources. At the same time it cannot be said that his development would
have been the same if he had gone to Brussels or Antwerp instead of to
Paris to study, for though the works of Rubens and Van Dyck were from
his earliest years his chief attraction, the influence of the French
artist Claude Gillot, as well as that of Audran, the keeper of the
Luxembourg Palace, without doubt exerted a very decided help in
determining the future course of his work.

When living with Audran, Watteau had every opportunity for studying the
works of the older masters, especially those of Rubens, whose
decorations, executed for Marie de Medici, had not at that time been
removed to the Louvre. Besides copying from these older pictures,
Watteau was employed by Audran in the execution of designs for wall
decorations, etc.

Watteau's two earliest pictures still in existence are supposed to be
the _Départ de Troupe_ and the _Halte d'Armée_, which were the first of
a series of military pictures on a small scale. To an early period also
belong the _Accordée de Village_, at the Soane Museum in Lincoln's Inn
Fields, the _Mariée de Village_ at Potsdam, and the _Wedding
Festivities_ in the Dublin National Gallery.

In 1712 other influences began to work upon him. In this year he came
into contact with Crozat, the famous collector, in whose house he became
familiar with a fresh batch of the Flemish and Italian masterpieces. It
was at this time that he was approved by the Royal Academy, though he
took five years over his Diploma picture, "_Embarquement pour l'Île de
Cythère_," which is now in the Louvre. Meantime the influence of Rubens
and the Italian masters--especially the Venetians, had greatly widened
and deepened his art, and these influences, acting on his peculiarly
sensitive temperament and poetical spirit, had a magical effect,
transforming the actual scenes of Paris and Versailles, which he painted
into enchanted places in

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIV.--ANTOINE WATTEAU

L'INDIFFÉRENT

_Louvre, Paris_]

fairyland, as he transformed the formal actual painting of the period of
Louis XIV. into the romantic school of the eighteenth century in France.
The setting of the famous pictures in the Wallace Collection, catalogued
as _The Music-Party_ or _Les Charnes de la Vie_ (No. 410), is a view of
the Champs Elysées taken from the gallery of the Tuileries. Who would
have thought it? And what does it matter, except to show how entirely
Watteau revolutionized the pompous and prosaic methods of his time by
investing the actual with poetry and romance.

Two other pictures at Hertford House, Nos. 389 and 391, were painted in
the Champs Elysées, and the figures are, for the most part, the same in
both, all three of these pictures are fine examples of the artist's
power of broad and spirited treatment, combined with extreme delicacy
and refinement of conception.

Three other pictures at Hertford House are equally delightful examples
of another class of subject, namely groups of figures dressed in the
parts of actors in Italian comedy. From a note in the Catalogue we learn
that a company of Italian comedians were in Paris in the sixteenth
century, but were banished by Louis Quatorze in 1697 for a supposed
affront to Madame de Maintenon. In 1716, however, they were recalled by
the Regent, the Duc d'Orléans, and became once more the delight of
Paris. Several of the figures in the Italian comedy had already passed
into French popular drama, and in Watteau's time there seems to have
been a fluctuating company, according as one actor or actress or another
developed a part, and to Pantalone, Arlecchino, Dottore and Columbina
were now added Pierrot--or Gilles--Mezetin, a sort of double of Pierrot,
Scaramouche and Scapin. The vague web of courtship, dalliance, intrigue
and jealousy called up by these characters attracted Watteau to employ
them in his compositions, and to make them also the medium of the more
sincere sentiments of conjugal love and friendship,--as in _The Music
Lesson_, _Gilles and his Family_ and _Harlequin and Columbine_, at
Hertford House. All of these three were engraved in Watteau's life-time
or shortly after his death, and the verses sub-joined to the engravings
are a charming rendering of the sentiment underlying the pictures.

In _The Music Lesson_ we see the half length figures of a lady, seated,
reading a music book, and of a man playing a lute opposite to her.
Another man looks at the book over the lady's shoulder, and two little
children's faces appear at her knee. The verses are as follows:--

    Pour nous prouver que cette belle
    Trouve l'hymen un noeud fort doux
    Le peintre nous la peint fidelle
    À suivre le ton d'un Époux.

    Les enfants qui sont autour d'elle
    Sont les fruits de son tendre amour
    Dont ce beau joueur de prunelle
    Pouvait bien goûter quelque jour.

In _Gilles and his Family_ we have a three-quarter length full-face
portrait of le Sieur de Sirois, a friend of Watteau, with these verses
under the engraving:--

    Sous un habit de mezzetin
    Ce gros brun au riant visage
    Sur la guitarre avec sa main
    Fait un aimable badinage.

    Par les doux accords de sa voix
    Enfants d'une bouche vermeille
    Du beau sexe tant à la fois
    Il charme les yeux et l'oreille.

In the little _Lady at her Toilet_ (No. 439) we see the influence of
Paul Veronese, though it is probable that this was not painted until he
visited London in the later part of his short life. For there is a
similar piece called _La Toilette du Matin_ which was engraved by a
French artist who had settled in England, Philip Mercier, and on whose
work the influence of Watteau is very noticeable.

_Le Rendez-vous de Chasse_ (No. 416), which is of the same size, and in
character similar to _Les Amusements Champêtres_ (No. 391), is the last
by Watteau of which we have any certain knowledge. It was painted in
1720, the year before his death, when his health prevented him from
making any sustained effort. It is said to have been a commission from
his friends M. and Mme. de Julienne, in whose shooting-box at Saint
Maur, between the woods of Vincennes and the river, he went to repose
from time to time.

NICHOLAS LANCRET was only by six years Watteau's junior, so that he can
hardly be considered as a pupil or even a disciple, but only as an
imitator of Watteau. He was the pupil of Claude Gillot, and afterwards
his assistant, and it was not unnatural that a close friendship should
have been formed between Lancret and Watteau, or that it should have
been dissolved by the deliberate imitation by the former of the latter's
style--seeing how successful the imitation was. Two of the pictures by
Lancret at Hertford House, Nos. 422, _Conversation Galante_ and 440,
_Fête in a Wood_, are fair examples of how close, at one period of his
career, the imitation became. The latter is the _Bal dans un Bois_ which
was exhibited at the Place Dauphiné, and was complained of by Watteau on
account of its close resemblance to his own work.

Another in the Wallace Collection belongs to the same early period of
Watteau's influence. The _Italian Comedians by a Fountain_ (No. 465),
being attributed to Watteau in the sale, in 1853, at which it was bought
for Lord Hertford. His lordship was particularly anxious to secure this
picture, "Between _you_ and _I_," he writes, with the quaint
regardlessness of grammar peculiar to the Victorian nobility, "(and to
no other person but you should I make this _confidence_), I must have
the Lancret called Watteau in the Standish Collection. So I depend upon
you for _getting it for me_. I need not beg you not to mention a word
about this to _anybody_, either _before_ or _after_ the sale." And
again, "I _depend_ upon your getting the Lancret (Watteau in the
Catalogue) for me. I have no doubt it will sell for a good sum, most
likely more than it is worth, but we _must_ have it ... I leave it to
you, but I must have it, unless by some unheard of chance it was to go
beyond 3000 guineas." He was fortunate indeed in getting it for £735.

_Mademoiselle Camargo Dancing_ (No. 393), and _La Belle Grecque_ (No.
450), in the Wallace Collection, are good examples of the Comedian
motive treated with more actuality, yet with no less grace. The four
little allegorical pieces in the National Gallery, _The Four Ages of
Man_, are more lively if less romantic, being composed more for the
characters illustrating the subject than for poetical setting.

JEAN BAPTISE JOSEPH PATER was actually a pupil of Watteau. He was ten
years his junior, but was equally unhappy on account of his health, and
died at forty. Like Lancret, he incurred Watteau's displeasure for a
similar reason, though in his case it was rather the fear of what he
would do than what he did that was the cause of Watteau's displeasure.
At the same time, the names of both Lancret and Pater are inseparable
from that of Watteau in the history of painting, and, both in their
choice of subject and their treatment of it, they are hardly
distinguishable to the casual observer. Watteau, it need hardly be said,
was far above the other two, but it was fortunate indeed that his
romantic genius had two such gifted imitators as Lancret and Pater--or
to put it the other way, that they had such a master to imitate, without
whom neither their work nor their influence would have been nearly as
great as it was.

FRANÇOIS BOUCHER, though doubtless influenced by Watteau, more
especially at the outset of his brilliant career, was nevertheless
independent of him in carrying forward the art painting in his country,
choosing rather to revert to the patronage of the Court like his
predecessors Le Brun, Rigaud, and Largillière than to devote himself to
the expression of his own ideas and feelings. Being a pupil of François
Le Moine, whose principal work was the decoration of Versailles, it is
not unnatural that Boucher should have succumbed to the influence of
Royalty, especially when exerted in his favour by as charming and as
powerful an agent as Madame de Pompadour. Another early influence which
shaped his artistic tendencies as well as his fortunes was that of Carle
van Loo, in whose honour his countrymen coined the verb _vanlotiser_--to
frivol agreeably--- on account of the popularity which he achieved as a
painter of elegant trifles. There is a picture by Carle van Loo in the
Wallace Collection entitled _The Grand Turk giving a Concert to his
Mistress_ (No. 451), painted in 1737, which is a fair example of his
proficiency in this direction, and there are one or two portraits
scattered about the country which he painted when over here for a few
months towards the end of his life. He died in Paris on the 15th July
1765, and Boucher was immediately appointed his successor as principal
painter to Louis XV.

Madame de Pompadour was more than a patron to him, she was a matron! She
made an intimate friend and adviser of him, and it is to her that he
owed most of his advancement at Court, which continued after her death.
The full-length portrait of her at Hertford House (No. 418) was
commissioned by her in 1759, and remained in her possession till her
death in 1764. It was purchased by Lord Hertford in 1868 for 28,000
francs. In the Jones Collection at the South Kensington Museum is
another portrait of her, and a third in the National Gallery at
Edinburgh, not to mention those in private collections. The two
magnificent cartoons on the staircase at Hertford House, called the
_Rising and Setting of the Sun_, she begged from the king. These were
ordered in 1748 as designs to be executed in tapestry at the Manufacture
Royale des Gobelins, by Cozette and Audran, according to the catalogue
of the Salon in 1753 when they were exhibited. They are characterised by
the brothers de Goncourt as _le plus grand effort du peintre, les deux
grandes machines de son oeuvre_; and the writer of the catalogue of
Madame de Pompadour's pictures when they were sold in 1766 testifies
thus to the artist's own opinion of them: "J'ai entendu plusieurs fois
dire par l'auteur qu'ils étaient du nombre de ceux dont il était le plus
satisfait." They were then sold for 9800 livres, and Lord Hertford paid
20,200 francs for them in 1855.

Even without these _chefs d'oeuvre_ the Wallace Collection is richer
than any other gallery in the works of Boucher, with twenty-four
examples (in all), of which few if any are of inferior quality. But it
must be confessed that the abundance of Boucher's work does not enhance
its artistic value, and we have to think of him, in comparison with
Watteau and his school, rather as a great decorator than a great
painter. With all his skill and charm, that is to say, there is not one
of his canvases that we could place beside a picture by Watteau on
anything like equal terms. Superficially it may be equally or possibly
more attractive, but inwardly there is no comparison. Let us hear what
Sir Joshua Reynolds has to say of him:--

"Our neighbours, the French, are much in this practice of extempore
invention, and their dexterity is such as even to excite admiration, if
not envy; but how rarely can this praise be given to their finished
pictures! The late Director of their Academy, Boucher, was eminent in
this way. When I visited him some years since in France, I found him at
work on a very large picture without drawings or models of any kind. On
my remarking this particular circumstance, he said, when he was young,
studying his art, he found it necessary to use models, but he had left
them off for many years.... However, in justice, I cannot quit this
painter without adding that in the former part of his life, when he was
in the habit of having recourse to nature, he was not without a
considerable degree of merit--enough to make half the painters of his
country his imitators: he had often grace and beauty, and good skill in
composition, but I think all under the influence of a bad taste; his
imitators are, indeed, abominable."

Twenty-one years elapsed between the birth of Boucher and the next
painter of anything like his ability, namely, JEAN BAPTISTE GREUZE. He
was a native of Tournous, near Macon, and lived to see the century out,
dying in 1805, at the age of seventy-eight. His popularity is nowadays
due chiefly to his heads of young girls, which he painted in his later
life with admirable skill, but with a sentimentality that almost repels.
The famous example in the National Gallery is more free from the sickly
sweetness that spoils most of them, and reminds us that he could paint
more serious works, and paint them exceedingly well. He first came into
notice by pictures like _La Lecture du Bible_, _La Malédiction
Paternelle_, or _Le Fils Puni_, which are now to be seen--though
generally passed by--at the Louvre, and his style was imitated in later
years in England by Wheatley and others of that school with more or less
success. It was a great blow to him, and one which seriously affected
his career when the Academy censured his Diploma picture, _The Emperor
Severus reproaching Caracalla_. But for this we might have had more than
these sentimental young ladies from a hand that was undoubtedly worthy
of better things. However, as Lord Hertford admired them sufficiently to
include no less than twenty-one of them in his collection, we ought not
to be severe in criticising them, and we may quote the description of
_The Souvenir_ (No. 398) given by John Smith, in his Catalogue Raisonné
in 1837, as showing the esteem in which it was held.

"_The Souvenir._ An interesting female, about fifteen years of age,
pressing fondly to her bosom a little red and white spaniel dog; the pet
animal appears to remind her of some favourite object, for whose safety
and return she is breathing an earnest wish; her fair oval countenance
and melting eyes are directed upwards, and her ruby lips are slightly
open; her light hair falls negligently on her shoulder, and is
tastefully braided

[Illustration: PLATE XXXV.--JEAN-BAPTISTE GREUZE

THE BROKEN PITCHER

_Louvre, Paris_]

with a crimson riband and pearls. She is attired in a morning dress,
consisting of a loose gown and a brownish scarf, the latter of which
hangs across her arm. Upon a tree behind her is inscribed the name of
the painter. This beautiful production of art abounds in every
attractive charm which gives interest to the master's works."

Very different, and far superior to Greuze, was JEAN HONORÉ FRAGONARD,
born at Grasse, in the Alpes Maritimes, in 1732. In England his name was
almost unknown until within quite recent years, and the National Gallery
has only one picture by him, which was bequeathed by George Salting in
1910. Fortunately he is well represented in the Wallace Collection,
three at least of the nine examples being in his most brilliant manner.

Fragonard's father was a glover. In 1750 the family moved to Paris, and
the boy was put into a notary's office. The usual signs of
disinclination for office work and a passion for art having duly
appeared, he was sent to Boucher, who advised him to go and study under
Chardin. This he did for a short time, but finding it dull--for Chardin
was not as great a teacher as he was a painter--he went back to Boucher
as an assistant. In 1752 he won the Prix de Rome, although he had never
attended the Academy Schools, and in 1756 started for Italy.

Reynolds had just returned from Rome at the date of Fragonard's capture
of the opportunity of going there, and we know from the _Discourses_ how
he spent his time there and what direction his studies took. Fragonard
pursued an exactly opposite course, being advised thereto by Boucher,
who said to him, "If you take Michelangelo and Raphael seriously, you
are lost." Feeling that the advice was suitable to himself, if not
sound on general principles, Fragonard devoted himself to the lighter
and more sparkling works of Tiepolo and others of the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries. He also made a tour in South Italy and Sicily with
Hubert Robert, the landscape painter, and the Abbé Saint Non, the latter
of whom published a number of etchings he made after Fragonard's
drawings, under the title of _Voyages de Naples et de Sicile_.

On returning to Paris in 1761 his first success was the large
composition of _Callirhoé and Coresus_, which was exhibited at the Salon
in 1765, and is now in the Louvre. But he soon abandoned the grand
style, chiefly, it is probable, owing to the patronage of the idle or
industrious rich who showered commissions upon him, for smaller and more
sociable pictures with which to adorn and enliven their houses. The
beautiful, but exceedingly improper picture at Hertford House, called
_The Swing_--or in French, _Les Hazards heureux de l'Escarpolette_,
appears to have been commissioned by the Baron de St. Julien, within the
next year or two, for in the memoirs of Cotté a conversation is recorded
which shows that the Baron had asked another painter, Doyen, to paint
it. "Who would have believed," says the indignant Doyen, "that within a
few days of my picture of Ste. Geneviéve being exhibited at the Salon, a
nobleman would have sent for me to order a picture on a subject like
this." He then goes on to relate how the Baron explained to him exactly
what he required. We cannot entirely acquit Fragonard of all blame in
accepting such a commission, but he was a young man, just starting as a
professional artist, with the example of Boucher before him, and it
would hardly have seemed wise to begin his career by offending a noble
patron. The whole incident throws a glaring light on the conditions
under which the art of France flourished in the Louis Quinze period,
when Boucher was everybody and Chardin nobody.

For the real Fragonard we may turn to _Le Chiffre d'Amour_, or the "Lady
carving an initial," as the prosaic diction of the Wallace Collection
has it (No. 382). In this the equal delicacy of the sentiment and of the
painting combine to effect a little masterpiece of Louis Quinze art. It
is simple and natural, and entirely free from the besetting sins of so
slight a picture triviality, affectation, empty prettiness, or simply
silliness. In its way it is perfect, and for that perfection is for ever
reserved the popularity which we find temporarily accorded to pictures
like Frith's _Dolly Varden_ or Millais' _Bubbles_.

Another of the Hertford House examples, the portrait of a Boy as
Pierrot, is equally entitled to be popular for all time, and like
Reynolds's _Strawberry Girl_, might well be called "one of the
half-dozen original things" which no artist ever exceeded in his life's
work. A comparison between the two pictures, which were probably painted
within a few years of each other, will serve to show the difference
between the English and French Schools at this period. On the one
hand--to put it very shortly indeed--we see Fragonard influenced by
Tiepolo, France, and Louis XV.; on the other, Sir Joshua, influenced by
Michelangelo and Raphael, England, and George III.

The mention of JEAN BAPTISTE SIMEON CHARDIN among this brilliant and
frivolous galaxy seems almost out of place. "He is not so much an
eighteenth-century French artist," Lady Dilke says of him, "as a French
artist of pure race and type. Though he treated subjects of the
humblest and most unpretentious class, he brought to their rendering not
only deep feeling and a penetration which divined the innermost truths
of the simplest forms of life, but a perfection of workmanship by which
everything he handled was clothed with beauty." That the Wallace
Collection includes no work from his hand is perhaps regrettable, but
truly Chardin was someone apart from all the magnificence that dazzles
us there. His was the treasure of the humble.

The effects of the Revolution upon French painting were as surprising as
they were great. That the gay and frivolous art of Boucher and Fragonard
should have suddenly ceased might have been considered inevitable; but
whereas in Holland, when the Spanish yoke had been thrown off, and a
Republic proclaimed, a vigorous democratic school arose under Frans
Hals; and in England during the Commonwealth the artistic influence
which was beginning to be spread by Charles I. and Buckingham utterly
ceased; in France an artistic Dictator arose, as we may well call him,
in the person of JACQUES LOUIS DAVID, who not only made painting a part
of the revolutionary propaganda, but succeeded under the Emperor
Napoleon also in maintaining his position as painter to the Government,
and thereby imposing on his country a style of art which had a great
influence on the whole course of French painting for many years to come.
But the most remarkable thing was that it was to the classics that this
revolutioniser went for inspiration. The explanation is to be found in
the fact that he was bitterly aggrieved by the attitude of the Academy
to him as a young man, and in the accident of his famous picture of
Brutus synchronising with the events of 1789. He was at once hailed as a
deliverer, and made, as it were, painter to the Revolution.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVI.--FRAGONARD

L'ÉTUDE

_Louvre, Paris_]

But what was even more important in the influence he exerted at this
time was his actual appointment as President of the Convention, which
gave him the power to revenge himself upon the Academy, which he did by
extinguishing it in 1793, and to remove any inconvenient rivals by
indicting them as aristocrats. Of the older painters, Fragonard and
Greuze were the only important ones left, and as they could not under
the altered circumstances be considered as rivals to the classical
David, they both saw the century out. Fragonard simply ceased painting
for want of patrons, and David was good enough to procure him a post in
the Museum des Arts, or he would have starved. Unfortunately he
attempted to adapt himself to the new style, and was promptly ejected
from his post--ostensibly on his previous connection with royalty--and
was wise enough to fly to his native town in the south.

During the first quarter of the nineteenth century the dictatorship of
David was supreme. How it was finally overthrown we shall see in another
chapter.



_THE ENGLISH SCHOOL_



I

THE EARLY PORTRAIT PAINTERS


In the preface to the _Anecdotes of Painting_ written in 1762, Horace
Walpole observes that this country had not a single volume to show on
the works of its painters. "In truth," he continues, "it has very rarely
given birth to a genius in that profession. Flanders and Holland have
sent us the greatest men that we can boast. This very circumstance may
with reason prejudice the reader against a work, the chief business of
which must be to celebrate the art of a country which has produced so
few good artists. This objection is so striking, that instead of calling
it _The Lives of English Painters_, I have simply given it the title of
_Anecdotes of Painting in England_."

As Walpole's work was merely a compilation from the voluminous notes of
George Vertue, a painstaking antiquary who had collected every scrap of
information he could acquire in the early years of the eighteenth
century, his conclusions can hardly be questioned, and the foundation of
the English school of painting is therefore generally assumed to have
been effected by Reynolds. But as Wren's Cathedral replaced an older one
which was destroyed by the fire of London, and as that was reared on
the foundation of a Roman temple, so we find that the art of painting in
England was certainly practised in earlier times, and but for certain
circumstances much more of it would have survived than is now to be
found.

In other countries, as we have seen, the Church was in earlier times the
greatest if not the only patron of the arts, and there is plenty of
evidence to show that in England, too, from the reign of Henry III.
onwards till the Reformation, our churches were decorated with frescoes.
This evidence is of two kinds; first, entries in royal and other
accounts, directing payment for specified work; and secondly, the
remains of fresco painting in our cathedrals and churches. The former is
of little interest except to the antiquary. The latter has suffered so
much from neglect or actual destruction as to be considered unworthy of
the attention of either the artist in search of inspiration or the
critic in pursuit of anything to criticise; but when every
inconsiderable production in the little world of English art has had its
bulky quarto written upon it, it is curious that no one has yet
discovered what a splendid harvest awaits the investigation of these old
frescoes all over the country.

As it is, we have only to note that as religion was so important an
influence on painting in other countries so was it in England, only
unfortunately as a destroying and not a cherishing influence. Granting
the probability that there were few, if any, of our English frescoes
which would be comparable in artistic interest with those in Italy,
where the art was so sedulously cultivated, it must nevertheless be
remembered that only a fragment remains here and there out of all the
work which must have been produced, and that after the Reformation even
those works which did survive were treated with positive as well as
negative obloquy, so that where they have been preserved at all it is
only by having been whitewashed over or otherwise hidden and damaged.

Even worse than the Reformation in 1530, was the Puritan outburst a
century later, which not only destroyed works of art, but extinguished
all hope of their being created. Is it to be wondered at, then, that the
foundation of the English School of painting should have been postponed
for a century more?

At the same time it is interesting to note that the little painting
which did creep into England in the sixteenth century, was of the very
kind that formed the chief feature of the English School when it was
finally established, namely portraiture. Here again we see the influence
of religion; for to the reformed church, at least as interpreted by the
English temperament, the second commandment was and is still second only
in number, not in importance. To Protestant or Puritan the idea of a
picture in a church was anathema. As late as 1766, when Benjamin West
offered to decorate St. Paul's Cathedral with a painting of Moses
receiving the tables of the law on Mount Sinai, the Bishop exclaimed, "I
have heard of the proposition, and as I am head of the Cathedral of the
Metropolis, I will not suffer the doors to be opened to introduce
popery."

The painting of a portrait, however, was a very different matter, and
from the earliest times appears to have appealed with peculiar strength
to the vanity of Britons. Loudly as they protested against the iniquity
of bowing down to and worshipping the likeness of anything in heaven
above or in the earth beneath or in the waters under the earth, they
were never averse to giving others an opportunity of bowing down to and
worshipping the likenesses of themselves; and while religion fostered
the arts in other countries, self-importance kept them alive in this.
The portrait of Richard II. in Westminster Abbey, if not actually an
instance of this, certainly happens to seem like one.

With the exception of Jan de Mabuse, who is said to have been in England
for a short time during the reign of Henry VII., the first painter of
any importance in this country was Hans Holbein. Hearing that money was
to be made by painting portraits at the English Court, he forsook his
native town, his religious art, and his wife, and came to stay with Sir
Thomas More at Chelsea, with an introduction from Erasmus. Arriving in
1527, he started business by making a sketch in pen and ink of More's
entire family, with which marvellous work, still preserved in the Museum
at Basle, the history of modern English painting may fairly be said to
have begun; for though it was long before a native of England was
forthcoming who was of sufficient force to carry on the tradition, the
seed was sown, and in due course the plant appeared, and after many
vicissitudes, at last flourished.

The immediate effect may be noted by mentioning here the names of
GUILLIM STREETES, who was possibly English born, and JOHN BETTES who
certainly was. To the former is attributed the large whole-length
portrait at Hampton Court of Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, in a suit of
bright red. Another portrait of Howard belongs to the Duke of Norfolk,
having been presented to his ancestor by Sir Robert Walpole. Both were
exhibited at the Tudor Exhibition in 1892. Streetes was painter to King
Edward VI., and according to Stype he was paid fifty marks, in 1551,
"for recompense of three great tables whereof two were the pictures of
his Highness sent to Sir Thomas Hoby and Sir John Mason (ambassadors
abroad), the third a picture of the late Earl of Surrey attainted, and
by the Councils' commandment fetched from the said Guillim's house."
Horace Walpole was under the impression that this was the Duke of
Norfolk's picture, but the Hampton Court Catalogue claims the other one
as the work of Streetes.

In the National Gallery is a bust portrait of Edmund Butts, physician to
Henry VIII., which is inscribed _faict par Johan Bettes Anglois_, and
with the date 1545. In this the influence of Holbein is certainly
discernible, though not all pervading. There were two brothers, THOMAS
and JOHN BETTES who are mentioned by Meres with several other English
painters in _Palladis Tamia_, published in 1598--"As Greece had moreover
their painters, so in England we have also these, William and Francis
Segar, brethren, Thomas and John Bettes, Lockie, Lyne, Peake, Peter
Cole, Arnolde, Marcus (Mark Garrard)," etc. Walpole, quoting this, adds,
"I quote this passage to prove to those who learn one or two names by
rote that every old picture you see is not by Holbein." At the same time
it must be admitted that until some considerable fund of information
concerning these early days of painting is brought to light, there is
very little to be said about any one except Holbein till almost the end
of the sixteenth century.

That Holbein was "a wonderful artist," as More wrote to Erasmus, is not
to be denied. But in placing him among the very greatest, we must not
forget that his range was somewhat limited. We might nowadays call him a
specialist, for in England he painted nothing but portraits, and very
few of his pictures contained anything besides the single figure, or
head, of the subject. The famous exception is the large picture called
_The Ambassadors_, which was purchased at an enormous price from the
Longford Castle collection, and is now in the National Gallery.
Important and interesting as this is as showing us how Holbein could
fill a large canvas, there is no doubt that he is far happier in simple
portraiture, and that the £60,000 expended on _Christina Duchess of
Milan_ was, relatively, a better investment for the nation. In the
famous half-lengths like the _George Gisze_ at Berlin (which was painted
in London) and the _Man with the Hawk_, where the portrait is surrounded
by accessories, Holbein is perhaps at his very best; but it is as a
painter of heads, simply, that he influenced the English School, and set
an example which, alas! has never been attainable since.

For one thing, which is apart altogether from talent or genius,
Holbein's method was never followed in later times, namely, the practice
of making carefully finished drawings in crayon before painting a
portrait in oils. He was a wonderful draughtsman, and in the series of
over eighty drawings at Windsor we have even more life-like images of
the persons represented than their finished portraits. I am not aware
that any portrait drawings exists of Holbein's contemporaries or
successors in England earlier than one or two by Van Dyck. There are a
good many belonging to the seventeenth century, but with one or two
exceptions they are little more than sketches. And though sketches have
only survived by accident, as it were, not being intended for anything
more than the artist's own purposes, finished drawings would have been
kept, like Holbein's, with much greater care.

In a word, then, Holbein's first and chief business was in rendering the
likeness of the sitter. Being a

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVII.--HANS HOLBEIN

ANNE OF CLEVES

_Louvre, Paris_]

born genius, he accomplished far more than this; but it is important in
tracing the development of the English School of painting to remember
that its origin was not in the idealization of religious sentiment, but
in the realization of the human features. From the time of the first
great genius to that of the next, exactly a century later, there is
hardly a portrait in existence that is valued for anything but its
historic or personal interest. Between Holbein and Van Dyck is a great
gap, in which the only names of Englishmen are those of the
miniaturists, Hilliard and Oliver, who were veritably of the seed of
Holbein, but only in little.

Van Dyck struck deeper into the English soil, and loosened it
sufficiently for the growth of larger stuff, if still somewhat coarse,
like the work of William Dobson and Robert Walker. To Van Dyck succeeded
Peter Lely, who boldly and worthily assumed the mantle of Van Dyck, and
kept English portraiture alive throughout the dismal period of the
Commonwealth. After the Restoration he was still in power, and under him
flourished one or two painters of English birth, like Greenhill and
Riley, who in turn gave way to others under Kneller without ceding the
monopoly to foreigners. From these came Jervas, Richardson, and, most
important, Hudson, who was Reynolds's master, and so we arrive at the
beginning of what is now generally known as the English School.

Another source, however, must here be mentioned as joining the main
stream, and contributing a solid body of water to it, chiefly below the
surface, namely the art of WILLIAM HOGARTH. Being essentially English,
and without any artistic forefathers, it is not surprising that he left
less perceptible impressions on his immediate successors than the more
accomplished and educated Reynolds; but the solid force of his
character, as exemplified in his career and his works, is hardly a less
important factor in the development of the English School, while from
his outspoken opinions on the state of the arts in his time he is one of
the most valuable sources of its history.



II

WILLIAM HOGARTH


WILLIAM HOGARTH occupies a curious position in the history of English
painting. There was nothing ever quite like him in any country--except
Greuze in France; for though a comparison between two such opposites,
seems at first sight absurd, it must be remembered that French and
English painting in the middle of the eighteenth century were no less
far apart. Both Greuze and Hogarth, in their own fashion, tried to
preach moral lessons in paint, the one in the over-refined atmosphere of
French surroundings, the other in the coarse language of England in his
time.

Hogarth's chief characteristic was his blunt, honest, bull-dog
Englishness, which at the particular moment of his appearance on the
artistic stage was a quality which was eminently serviceable to English
painting. Though of humble parents, his honest and forceful character
won for him the daughter of Sir James Thornhill in marriage (by
elopement) and his sturdy talent in painting secured for him his
father-in-law's forgiveness and encouragement. Thornhill came of a good,
old Wiltshire family, and had been knighted by George I. for his
sterling merits as much as for his skill in painting and decorating the
royal palaces and the houses of noblemen. His place among English
artists is not a very high one, but he deserves the credit of having
stood out against the monopoly that was being established by foreigners
in this country in every department of artistic work, and in this sense
he is a still earlier forerunner of the great English painters, than his
more forcible son-in-law.

If Hogarth had been content to follow the beaten track of portraiture as
his main pursuit, and let the country's morals take care of themselves,
he would in all probability have attained much greater heights as a
painter. But his nature would not allow him to do this. His character
was too strong and his originality too uncontrollable. There is enough
evidence among the works which have survived him, especially in those
which were never finished, to show that his accomplishments in oil
painting were of a very high order indeed. I need only refer to the
famous head in the National Gallery known as _The Shrimp Girl_ to
explain what I mean. In this surprisingly vivacious and charming sketch
we see something that is not inferior to Hals, in its broad truth and
its quick seizure of the essentials of what had to be rendered. In
another unfinished piece, which is now in the South London Art Gallery
at Camberwell, we see the same powerful qualities differently exhibited,
for it is not a single head this time, but a sketch of a ballroom where
everybody is dancing, except one gentleman who is even more vivid than
the rest, in the act of mopping his head at the open window. There is
nothing grotesque in this picture, but it is all perfectly life-like and
wonderfully sketched in.

In his finished pictures Hogarth does not appear to such great
advantage--I mean as a painter; but it must be remembered that in his
day there was little example for him to follow in the higher departments
of his art. Nor had he ever been out of England to see fine pictures on
the Continent. Not only this, but as his work was intended especially to
appeal to ordinary people, it is hardly to be expected that he would
express himself in terms other than might most quickly appeal to them.
His most famous works, indeed, were executed as well as designed for the
engraver, namely _The Harlot's Progress_, _The Rake's Progress_,
_Marriage à la Mode_, and _The Election_, each of which consisted of a
series of several minutely finished pictures. In portraiture he showed
finer qualities, it is true; but even in these he was thinking more of
getting the most out of his model, according to his forcible character,
than of any technical refinements for which he might be handed down to
posterity as a great painter.

It was easy enough for Reynolds to sneer at Hogarth for his vulgarity,
when he was trying to impress upon his pupils the importance of painting
in the grand style. "As for the various departments of painting," he
says in his third Discourse, "which do not presume to make such high
pretensions, they are many. None of them are without their merit, though
none enter into competition with this universal presiding idea of the
art. The painters who have applied themselves more particularly to low
and vulgar characters, and who express with precision the various shades
of passion as they are exhibited by vulgar minds (such as we see in the
works of Hogarth), deserve great praise; but as their genius has been
employed on low and confined subjects, the praise which we must give
must be as limited as its object." And yet it was in following an
example set by Hogarth in portrait painting that Reynolds gained his

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVIII.--WILLIAM HOGARTH

THE SHRIMP GIRL

_National Gallery, London_]

first success in that art. I mean the full-length portrait of Captain
Keppel, painted in 1752. This originality and boldness in disregarding
the tame but universal convention in posing the sitter was peculiarly
Hogarth's own. With him it amounted almost to perverseness. He would not
let anybody "sit" to him, if he could help it. When he did, as in the
portraits of Quinn, the actor, and Hoadly, Bishop of Winchester, in the
National Gallery, the result is not the happiest; for, with all their
force, these portraits lack the grace that a conventional pose requires
to render it acceptable in the terms of its convention. If a man must
put on the accepted evening dress of his time, he must see that it
conforms in the spirit as well as in the letter of the fashion, or he
will only look like a dressed-up greengrocer. Hogarth was too sturdy and
too wilful to put on court clothes. If he had to, he struggled with
them.

Hogarth's father was a man of literary tastes, and a scholar. He had
written a supplement to Littleton's Latin Dictionary, but was unable to
get it published. "I saw the difficulties," writes the artist, "under
which my father laboured; the many inconveniences he endured from his
dependence, living chiefly on his pen, and the cruel treatment he met
with from booksellers and printers. I had before my eyes the precarious
situation of men of classical education; it was therefore conformable to
my wishes that I was taken from school and served a long apprenticeship
to a silver-plate engraver." This is printed in Allan Cunningham's _Life
of Hogarth_, together with many more extracts from autobiographical
memoranda, from which we may learn at first hand a great deal of
information bearing on the state of painting at this period, and the
circumstances under which it received such a stimulus from Hogarth,
before the sun had fully risen (in the person of Reynolds) to illumine
the whole period of British art.

"As I had naturally a good eye and fondness for drawing," Hogarth
continues, "_shows_ of all sorts gave me uncommon pleasure when young,
and mimicry, common to all children, was remarkable in me. An early
access to a neighbouring painter drew my attention from play, and I was
at every possible opportunity engaged in making drawings.... My
exercises at school were more remarkable for the ornaments which adorned
them than for the exercise itself. In the former I soon found that
blockheads with better memories would soon surpass me, but for the
latter I was particularly distinguished.

"The painting of St. Paul's and Greenwich Hospital, which were at that
time going on, ran in my head, and I determined that silver-plate
engraving should be followed no longer than necessity obliged me to it.
Engraving on copper was, at twenty years of age, my utmost ambition. To
attain that it was necessary that I should learn to draw objects
something like nature, instead of the monsters of heraldry, and the
common methods of study were much too tedious for one who loved his
pleasure and came so late to it.... This led me to consider whether a
shorter road than that usually travelled was not to be found.... I had
learned by practice to copy with tolerable correctness in the ordinary
way, but it occurred to me that there were many disadvantages attending
this method of study, as having faulty originals, etc.; and even when
the prints or pictures to be imitated were by the best masters, it was
little more than pouring water out of one vessel into another. Many
reasons led me to wish that I could find a shorter path--fix forms and
characters in my mind--and, instead of copying the lines, try to read
the language, and if possible find the grammar of the art, by bringing
into one focus the various observations I had made, and then trying by
my power on the canvas how far my plan enabled me to combine and apply
them to practice....

"I had one material advantage over my competitors, viz., the early habit
I acquired of retaining in my mind's eye, without coldly copying on the
spot, whatever I intended to imitate.... Instead of burdening the memory
with musty rules, or tiring the eye with copying dry or damaged
pictures, I have ever found studying from nature the shortest and safest
way of obtaining knowledge in my art...."

"I entertained some thoughts," he writes again, "of succeeding in what
the puffers in books call the great style of history painting, so that,
without having had a stroke of this grand business before, I quitted
small portraits and familiar conversations, and with a smile at my own
temerity commenced history painter, and on a great staircase at St.
Bartholomew's Hospital painted two Scripture stories, _The Pool of
Bethesda_ and _The Good Samaritan_, with figures seven feet high. These
I presented to the charity, and thought that they might serve as a
specimen to show that, were there an inclination in England for
encouraging historical pictures, such a first essay might prove the
painting them more easily attainable than is generally imagined. But as
Religion, the great promoter of this style in other countries, rejected
it in England, and I was unwilling to sink into a
portrait-manufacturer--and still ambitious of being singular, I soon
dropped all expectations of advantage from that source, and returned to
the pursuit of my former dealings with the public at large."

Few seemed disposed to recognise, in any of Hogarth's works, a higher
aim than that of raising a laugh. Somerville, the poet, dedicated his
_Rural Games_ to Hogarth in these words--"Permit me, Sir, to make choice
of you for my patron, being the greatest master in the burlesque way.
Your province is the town--leave me a small outride in the country, and
I shall be content." Fielding had a different opinion of his merits: "He
who would call the ingenious Hogarth a burlesque painter would in my
opinion do him very little honour, for sure it is much easier, much less
the subject of admiration, to paint a man with a nose, or any other
feature of a preposterous size, or to expose him in some absurd or
monstrous attitude, than to express the affections of man on canvas. It
hath been thought a vast commendation of a painter to say his figures
seem to breathe, but surely it is a much greater and nobler applause
that they appear to think."

In answer to criticism of his _Analysis of Beauty_, Hogarth writes:
"Among other crimes of which I am accused, it is asserted that I have
abused the 'Great Masters'; this is far from being just. So far from
attempting to lower the ancients, I have always thought, and it is
universally admitted, that they knew some fundamental principles in
nature which enabled them to produce works that have been the admiration
of succeeding ages; but I have not allowed this merit to those
leaden-headed imitators, who, having no consciousness of either symmetry
or propriety, have attempted to mend nature, and in their truly ideal
figures, gave similar proportions to a Mercury and a Hercules."

Another and a better spirit influenced him in the following passage--he
is proposing to seek the principles of beauty in nature instead of
looking for them in mere learning. His words are plain, direct, and
convincing. "Nature is simple, plain, and true in all her works, and
those who strictly adhere to her laws, and closely attend to her
appearances in their infinite varieties are guarded against any
prejudicial bias from truth; while those who have seen many things that
they cannot well understand, and read many books which they do not fully
comprehend, notwithstanding all their parade of knowledge, are apt to
wander about it and about it; perplexing themselves and their readers
with the various opinions of other men. As to those painters who have
written treatises on painting, they were in general too much taken up
with giving rules for the operative part of the art, to enter into
physical disquisitions on the nature of the objects."

After this it would be unfair to withhold the praise of Benjamin West
(who succeeded Reynolds as President of the Royal Academy)--a painter,
prudent in speech, and frugal in commendation. "I remember, when I was a
lad," says Smith, in his account of Nollekens, "asking the late
venerable President West what he thought of Hogarth's _Analysis of
Beauty_, and his answer was, 'It is a work of the highest value to
everyone studying the art. Hogarth was a strutting consequential little
man, and made himself many enemies by that book; but now that most of
them are dead, it is examined by disinterested readers, unbiassed by
personal animosities, and will be more and more read, studied and
understood.'"

In his memoranda respecting the establishment of an Academy of Art in
England, Hogarth writes well and wisely. Voltaire asserts that after
the establishment of the French Academy not one work of genius appeared,
for all the painters became mannerists and imitators. Hogarth agrees
with him, declaring that "the institution will serve to raise and
pension a few bustling and busy men, whose whole employment will be to
tell a few simple students when a leg is too long, or an arm too short.
More will flock to the study of art than genius sends; the hope of
profit, or the thirst of distinction, will induce parents to push their
offspring into the lecture-room, and many will appear and but few be
worthy. The paintings of Italy form a sort of ornamental fringe to their
gaudy religion, and Rome is the general storeshop of Europe. The arts
owe much to Popery, and Popery owes much of its universality to the
arts. The French have attained to a sort of foppish magnificence in art;
in Holland, selfishness is the ruling passion, and in England vanity is
united with selfishness. Portrait-painting, therefore, has succeeded,
and ever will succeed better in England than in any other country, and
the demand will continue as new faces come into the market.

"Portrait painting is one of the ministers of vanity, and vanity is a
munificent patroness; historical painting seeks to revive the memory of
the dead, and the dead are very indifferent paymasters. Paintings are
plentiful enough in England to keep us from the study of nature; but
students who confine their studies to the works of the dead, need never
hope to live themselves; they will learn little more than the names of
the painters: true painting can only be learnt in one school, and that
is kept by Nature."

Hogarth disliked a formal school, says Cunningham, because he was the
pupil of nature, and foresaw that students would flock to it from the
feeling of trade rather than the impulse of genius, and that it become a
manufactory for conventional forms and hereditary graces. Opulent
collectors were filling their galleries with the religious paintings of
the Romish Church, and vindicating their purchases by representing these
works as the only patterns of all that is noble in art and worthy of
imitation. Hogarth perceived that all this was not according to the
natural spirit of the nation; he well knew that our island had not yet
poured out its own original mind in art, as it had done in poetry; and
he felt assured that such a time would come, if native genius were not
overlaid systematically by mock patrons and false instructors.

"As a painter," says Walpole, "Hogarth has slender merit." "What is the
merit of a painter?" Cunningham concludes. "If it be to represent
life--to give us an image of man--to exhibit the workings of his
heart--to record the good and evil of his nature--to set in motion
before us the very beings with whom earth is peopled--to shake us with
mirth--to sadden us with woeful reflection--to please us with natural
grouping, vivid action, and vigorous colouring--Hogarth has done all
this--and if he that has done so be not a painter, who will show us
one?"



III

SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS AND THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH


Whether or not SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS is entitled to be ranked among the
very greatest painters, there can be no question that he has a place
among the most famous, not only on account of his actual painting, but
also because of the influence exerted by his whole-hearted devotion to
his art, and his strong character in forming, out of such unpromising
elements, a really vigorous school of painting in this country. The
example he set in the strenuous exercise of his profession, the precepts
he laid down for the guidance of students, and the dignity with which he
invested the whole practice of painting which, until he came, had
degenerated into a mere business, were of incalculable benefit to his
own and succeeding ages, and Edmund Burke was paying him no empty
compliment but only stating the bare truth when he said that Sir Joshua
Reynolds was the first Englishman who added the praise of the elegant
arts to the other glories of his country.

Joshua Reynolds was born at Plympton in Devonshire on the 16th July
1723; the son of the Rev. Samuel Reynolds and his wife Theophila Potter.
He was on every side connected with the Church, for both his father and
his grandfather were in holy orders, his mother was the daughter of a
clergyman, and his maternal grandmother also. His father's elder
brother, too, was a clergyman, a fellow of Eton College and Canon of St.
Peter's, Exeter. So that here, as in Italy, we start with a basis of
religion.

The young artist's first essays were made in copying several little
things done by his elder sisters, and he afterwards took great delight
in copying such prints as he met with in his father's books,
particularly those in Plutarch's _Lives_, and in Jacob Cats's _Book of
Emblems_, which his great-grandmother by his father's side, a Dutch
woman, had brought from Holland. When he was only eight years old he
read with great avidity a book called _The Jesuits Perspective_, an
architectural, not a religious work, and made himself so completely
master of it that he never afterwards had occasion to study any other
treatise on the subject. In fact, a drawing which he then made of
Plympton School so filled his father with wonder that he said to him,
"Now this exemplifies what the author of the _Perspective_ says in his
preface--that by observing the rules laid down in his book a man may do
wonders, for this is wonderful!"

From these attempts he proceeded to draw likenesses of his friends and
relations with tolerable success. But what most strongly confirmed him
in his love of the art was Richardson's _Treatise on Painting_, the
perusal of which so delighted and inflamed his mind, that Raphael
appeared to him superior to the most illustrious names of ancient or
modern times--a notion which he loved to indulge all the rest of his
life.

Before he was eighteen years old his father placed him as a pupil with
Thomas Hudson, who was then the most distinguished portrait-painter in
England; but having some disagreement with his master, the young man
returned to Devonshire, where he practised portrait painting with more
or less success until in 1749 he accompanied Admiral Keppel to the
Mediterranean, and remained for two or three years studying the old
masters in Italy.

As this period of Reynold's career had so determining an influence not
only on himself but on the whole course of the history of painting in
England--inasmuch as it formed the greater part of the groundwork of his
discourses when President of the Royal Academy, it is worth having an
account of it at first hand from the painter himself. "It has frequently
happened," he says, "as I was informed by the Keeper of the Vatican,
that many of those whom he had conducted through the various apartments
of that edifice when about to be dismissed, have asked for the works of
Raphael, and would not believe that they had already passed through the
room where they are preserved, so little impression had those
performances made on them. One of the first painters now in France once
told me that this circumstance happened to himself, though he now looks
on Raphael with that veneration which he deserves from all painters and
lovers of the art. I remember very well my own disappointment when I
first visited the the Vatican: but on confessing my feelings to a
brother student, of whose ingenuousness I had a high opinion, he
acknowledged that the works of Raphael had the same effect on him, or
rather that they did not produce the effect which he expected. This was
a great relief to my mind, and on inquiry further of other students I
found that those persons only who from natural imbecility appeared to be
incapable of ever relishing those divine performances, made pretensions
to instantaneous raptures on first beholding them.

"In justice to myself, however, I must add that though disappointed and
mortified at not finding myself enraptured with the works of this great
master, I did not for a moment conceive or suppose that the name of
Raphael, and those admirable paintings in particular, owed their
reputation to the ignorance and prejudice of mankind; on the contrary,
my not relishing them as I was conscious I ought to have done was one of
the most humiliating circumstances that ever happened to me. I found
myself in the midst of works executed upon principles with which I was
unacquainted: I felt my ignorance, and stood abashed. All the indigested
notions of painting which I had brought with me from England where the
art was in the lowest state it had ever been in (it could not indeed be
lower) were to be totally done away and eradicated from my mind. It was
necessary, as it is expressed on a very solemn occasion, that I should
become _as a little child_.

"Notwithstanding my disappointment, I proceeded to copy some of those
excellent works. I viewed them again and again; I even affected to feel
their merit and to admire them more than I really did. In a short time a
new taste and new perceptions began to dawn upon me, and I was convinced
that I had originally formed a false opinion of the perfection of art,
and that this great painter was well entitled to the high rank which he
holds in the estimation of the world."

"When I was at Venice," he writes in a note on Du Fresnoy's _Art of
Painting_ about the chiaroscuro of Titian, Paul Veronese and Tintoretto,
"the method I took to avail myself of their principles was this. When I
observed an extraordinary effect of light and shade in any picture, I
took a leaf of my pocket-book and darkened every part of it in the same
gradation of light and shade as the picture, leaving the white paper
untouched to represent the light, and this without any attention to the
subject or to the drawing of the figures. After a few experiments I
found the paper blotted nearly alike; their general practice appeared to
be to allow not above a quarter of the picture for the light, including
in this portion both the principal and secondary lights; another quarter
to be as dark as possible, and the remaining half kept in mezzotint or
half shadow.

"Rubens appears to have admitted rather more light than a quarter, and
Rembrandt much less, scarce an eighth; by this conduct Rembrandt's light
is extremely brilliant, but it costs too much, the rest of the picture
is sacrificed to this one object."

The results of these studies in Rome and Venice were at once observable
on his return to England in the beautiful portrait of _Giuseppe Marchi_,
one of the treasures belonging to the Royal Academy. It was altogether
too much for the ignorant British artists, and it excited lively
comment. What chiefly attracted the public notice, however, was the
whole-length portrait which he painted of his friend and patron Admiral
Keppel. On the appearance of this Reynolds was not only universally
acknowledged to be at the head of his profession, but to be the greatest
painter that England had seen since Van Dyck. The whole interval, as
Malone observes, between the time of Charles I. and the conclusion of
the reign of George II. seemed to be annihilated, and the only question
was whether the new painter or Van Dyck were the more excellent.
Reynolds very soon saw how much animation might be obtained by deviating
from the insipid manner of his immediate predecessors, and instead of
confining himself to mere likeness he dived, as it were, into the minds
and habits and manners of those who sat to him, and accordingly the
majority of his portraits are so appropriate and characteristic that the
many illustrious persons whom he has delineated are almost as well known
to us as if we had seen and conversed with them.

Very soon after his return from Italy his acquaintance with Dr Johnson
commenced, and their intimacy continued uninterrupted to the time of
Johnson's death. How much he profited thereby, especially in the
practice of art, he has recorded in a paper which was intended to form a
part of one of his discourses. "I remember," he writes, "Mr Burke
speaking of the _Essays_ of Sir Francis Bacon, said he thought them the
best of his works. Dr Johnson was of opinion 'that their excellence and
their value consisted in being the observations of a strong mind
operating upon life; and in consequence you find there what you seldom
find in other books,' It is this kind of excellence which gives a value
to the performances of artists also.... The observations which he made
on poetry, on life, and on everything about us, I applied to our art;
with what success others must judge. Perhaps an artist in his studies
should pursue the same conduct, and instead of patching up a particular
work on the narrow plan of imitation, rather endeavour to acquire the
art and power of thinking."

In another passage from his memoranda, quoted by Malone, Sir Joshua lets
us into some more of the secrets of his pre-eminence in his art, both of
painter and preceptor: for we are to remember that the British School of
painting owes more to the influence of Reynolds than perhaps any other
school to the example of one man:--

"I considered myself as playing a great game," he writes, "and instead
of beginning to save money, I laid it out faster than I got it in,
purchasing the best examples of art that could be procured; for I even
borrowed money for this purpose. The possessing portraits by Titian, Van
Dyck, Rembrandt, etc., I considered as the best kind of wealth. By
studying carefully the works of great masters, this advantage is
obtained--we find that certain niceties of expression are capable of
being executed, which otherwise we might suppose beyond the reach of
art. This gives us a confidence in ourselves, and we are thus incited to
endeavour at not only the same happiness of execution but also at other
congenial excellencies. Study indeed consists in learning to see nature,
and may be called the art of using other men's minds. By this kind of
contemplation and exercise we are taught to think in their way, and
sometimes to attain their excellence. Thus, for instance, if I had never
seen any of the works of Correggio, I should never perhaps have remarked
in nature the expression which I find in one of his pieces; or if I had
remarked it I might have thought it too difficult, or perhaps impossible
to be executed.

"My success and continual improvement in my art (if I may be allowed
that expression), may be ascribed in a good measure to a principle which
I will boldly recommend to imitation; I mean the principle of honesty;
which in this as in all other instances is according to the vulgar
proverb certainly the best policy: I always endeavoured to do my best.

"My principal labour was employed on the whole together, and I was never
weary of changing and trying different modes and different effects. I
had always some scheme in my mind, and a perpetual desire to advance. By
constantly endeavouring to do my best, I acquired a power of doing that
with spontaneous facility that which at first was the effort of my whole
mind."

"I had not an opportunity of being early initiated in the principles of
colouring"; he continues, "no man indeed could teach me. If I have never
been settled with respect to colouring, let it at the same time be
remembered that my unsteadiness in this respect proceeded from an
inordinate desire to possess every kind of excellence that I ever saw in
the works of others, without considering that there are in colouring, as
in style, excellencies which are incompatible with each other.... I
tried every effect of colour, and by leaving out every colour in its
turn, showed every colour that I could do without it. As I alternately
left out every

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIX.--SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS

LADY COCKBURN AND HER CHILDREN

_National Gallery, London_]

colour, I tried every new colour; and often, as is well known,
failed.... My fickleness in the mode of colouring arose from an eager
desire to attain the highest excellence."

In the year 1759 Reynolds began to write, and three of his essays were
printed in the _Idler_, which was conducted by Dr. Johnson. Northcote
records that at the same time he committed to paper a variety of remarks
which afterwards served him as hints for his discourses. One or two of
these will give us as good an idea as we are likely to get from
elsewhere of what are the first requisites of a successful painter.

"It is absolutely necessary that a painter, as the first requisite,
should endeavour as much as possible to form to himself an idea of
perfection not only of beauty, but of what is perfection in a picture.
This conception he should always have fixed in his view, and unless he
has this view we shall never see any approaches towards perfection in
his works; for it will not come by chance.

"If a man has nothing of that which is called genius, that is, if he is
not carried away, if I may so say, by the animation, the fire of
enthusiasm, all the rules in the world will never make him a painter.

"He who possesses genius is enabled to see a real value in those things
which others disregard and overlook. He perceives a difference in cases
where inferior capacities see none; as the fine ear for music can
distinguish an evident variation in sounds which to another ear more
dull seem to be the same. This example will also apply to the eye in
respect to colouring."

In the beginning of the year 1760, Reynolds moved into the house on the
west side of Leicester Square which he occupied for the rest of his
life. It is now tenanted by Messrs. Puttick & Simpson, the Auctioneers.
Northcote has usefully recorded the following details his studio. His
painting-room was of an octagonal form, about twenty feet long and about
sixteen in breath. The window which gave the light to this room was
square, and not much larger than one half the size of a common window in
a private house, whilst the lower part of this window was nine feet four
inches from the floor. The chair for his sitters was raised eighteen
inches from the floor, and turned round on castors. His palettes were
those which are held by a handle, not those held on the thumb. The
sticks of his pencils (brushes) were long, measuring about nineteen
inches. He painted in that part of the room nearest the window, and
never sat down when he worked. As the actual methods of a great artist
are possibly of more value in a history of painting than the subjects,
or even the prices, of his pictures, I venture to quote the following
extracts from various parts of Sir Joshua's own memoranda:--

Never give the least touch with your pencil (_i.e._ brush) till you have
present in your mind a perfect idea of your future work.

Paint at the greatest possible distance from your sitter, and place the
picture ... near to the sitter, or sometimes under him, so as to see
both together.

In beautiful faces keep the whole circumference about the eye in a
mezzotinto, as seen in the works of Guido and the best of Carlo Maratti.

Endeavour to look at the subject or sitter from which you are painting,
as if it was a picture. This will in some degree render it more easy to
be copied.

In painting consider the object before you, whatever it may be, as more
made out by light and shadow than by lines.

A student should begin his career by a careful finishing and making out
the parts; as practice will give him freedom and facility of hand: a
bold and unfinished manner is commonly the habit of old age.

On painting a head--

Let those parts which turn or retire from the eye be of broken or mixed
colours, as being less distinguished and nearer the borders.

Let all your shadows be of one colour: glaze them till they are so.

Use red colours in the shadows of the most delicate complexions, but
with discretion.

Contrive to have a screen with red or yellow colour on it, to reflect
the light on the shaded part of the sitter's face.

Avoid the chalk, the brick dust, and the charcoal, and think on a pearl
and a ripe peach.

Avoid long continued lines in the eyes, and too many sharp ones.

Take care to give your figure a sweep or sway.

Outlines in waves, soft, and almost imperceptible against the
background.

Never make the contour too coarse.

Avoid also those outlines and lines which are equal, which make
parallels, triangles, etc.

The parts which are nearest to the eye appear most enlightened, deeper
shadowed, and better seen.

Keep broad lights and shadows, and also principal lights and shadows.

Where there is the deepest shadow it is accompanied by the brightest
light.

Let nothing start out or be too strong for its place.

Squareness has grandeur; it gives firmness to the forms; a serpentine
line in comparison appears feeble and tottering.

       *       *       *       *       *

One is apt to forget in these enlightened days how greatly the art of
painting benefited by the establishment of public exhibitions.
Farington's observations on this point, occasioned by the inauguration
of the exhibitions at the Society of Arts from 1760, until the
foundation of the Royal Academy in 1768, are both instructive and
amusing.

"The history of our exhibitions," he says "affords the strongest
evidence of their impressive effect upon public taste. At their
commencement, though men of enlightened minds could distinguish and
appreciate what was excellent, the admiration of the _many_ was confined
to subjects either gross or puerile, and commonly to the meanest efforts
of intellect; whereas at this time (1819) the whole train of subjects
most popular in the earlier exhibitions have disappeared. The loaf and
cheese that could provoke hunger, the cat and canary bird, and the dead
mackerel on a deal board, have long ceased to produce astonishment and
delight; while truth of imitation now finds innumerable admirers though
combined with the highest qualities of beauty, grandeur and taste.

"To our public exhibitions, and to arrangements that followed in
consequence of their introduction this change must be chiefly
attributed. The present generation appears to be composed of a new and,
at least with respect to the arts, a superior order of beings. Generally
speaking, their thoughts, their feelings and language, differ entirely
from what they were sixty years ago. The state of the public mind,
incapable of discriminating excellence from inferiority proved
incontrovertibly that a right sense of art in the spectator can only be
acquired by long and frequent observation, and that without proper
opportunities to improve the mind and the eye, a nation would continue
insensible of the true value of the fine arts."

In view of these very pertinent observations it is worth inquiring a
little as to the origin of exhibitions in England, and the stimulus
given by them to British art before the institution of the Royal
Academy. From the introduction to book written by Edward Edwards, in
continuation of Walpole's "Anecdotes of Painters," and published in
1808, I extract the following account of them, as far as possible using
his own quaint phraseology.

Although the study of the human form had long been cultivated and
encouraged in Italy and France by national schools or academies, yet in
England until the eighteenth century such seminaries were unknown; and
it is therefore difficult to trace the origin or ascertain the precise
period when those nurseries of art were first attempted in this country,
especially as every establishment of that kind was, at first, of a
private and temporary nature, depending chiefly upon the protection of
some artist of rank and reputation in his day. The first attempt towards
the establishment of an academy is mentioned by Walpole as having been
formed by several artists under Sir Godfrey Kneller in 1711. Afterwards
we find, by other accounts in the same author, which are corroborated by
authentic information, that Sir James Thornhill formed an academy in his
own house, in the Piazza, Covent Garden. But this was not of long
duration, for it commenced in 1724 and died in 1734; which reduced the
artists again to seek some new seminary; for the public of that day were
so little acquainted with the use of such schools, that they were even
suspected of being held for immoral purposes.

After the death of Thornhill a few of the artists (chiefly foreigners),
finding themselves without the necessary example of the living model,
formed a small society and established their regular meetings of study
in a convenient apartment in Greyhound Court, Arundel Street. The
principal conductor of this school was Michael Moser, who when the Royal
Academy was established was appointed keeper. Here they were visited by
artists such as Hogarth, Wills, and Ellis, who were so well pleased with
the propriety of their conduct, and so thoroughly convinced of the
utility of the institution, that a general union took place, and the
members thereby becoming numerous, they required and sought for a more
convenient situation and accommodation for their school. By the year
1739 they were settled in Peter's Court, St Martin's Lane, where the
study of the human figure was carried on till 1767, when they removed to
Pall Mall.

But a permanent and conspicuous establishment was still wanting, and on
this account the principal artists had several meetings with a view to
forming a public academy. This they did not succeed in doing; but they
were so far from being discouraged that they continued their meetings
and their studies, and the next effort they made towards acquiring the
attention of the public was connected with the Foundling Hospital. This
institution was incorporated in 1739, and a few years later the present
building was erected; but as the income of the charity could not, with
propriety, be expended upon decorations, many of the principal artists
of that day voluntarily exerted their talents for the purpose of
ornamenting several apartments of the Hospital which otherwise must
have remained without decoration. The pictures thus produced, and
generously given, were permitted to be seen by any visitor upon proper
application. The spectacle was so new that it made a considerable
impression upon the public, and the favourable reception these works
experienced impressed the artists with an idea of forming a public
exhibition, which scheme was carried into full effect with the help of
the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce,
who lent their great room for the purpose.

The success of this, the first, public display of art was more than
equal to the general expectation. Yet there were some circumstances,
consequent to the arrangement of the pictures, with which the artists
were very justly dissatisfied; they were occasioned by the following
improprieties. The Society in the same year had offered premiums for the
best painting of history and landscape, and it was one of the conditions
that the pictures produced by the candidates should remain in their
great room for a certain time; consequently they were blended with the
rest, and formed part of the exhibition. As soon as it was known which
performances had obtained the premiums, it was naturally supposed, by
such persons who were deficient in judgment, that those pictures were
the best in the room, and consequently deserved the chief attention.
This partial, though unmerited, selection gave displeasure to the
artists in general. Nor were they pleased with the mode of admitting the
spectators, for every member of the Society had the discretionary
privilege of introducing as many persons as he chose, by means of
gratuitous tickets; and consequently the company was far from being
select, or suited to the wishes of the exhibition. These circumstances,
together with the interference of the Society in the concern of the
exhibition, determined the principal artists to withdraw themselves,
which they did in the next year.

Encouraged by the success of their first attempt, they engaged the great
room in Spring Garden, and their first exhibition at that place opened
on the 9th May 1761. Here they found it necessary to change their mode
of admission, which they did by making the catalogue the ticket of
admission; consequently one catalogue would admit a whole family in
succession, for a shilling, which was its price; but this mode of
admittance was still productive of crowd and disorder, and it was
therefore altered the next year. This exhibition, which was the second
in this country, contained several works of the best English artists,
among which many of the pictures were equal to any masters then living
in Europe; and so strikingly conspicuous were their merits, and so
forcible was the effect of this display of art, that it drew from the
pen of Roubilliac, the sculptor, the following lines, which were stuck
up in the exhibition room, and were also printed in the _St James's
Chronicle_:--

    Prétendu Connoiseur qui sur l'Antique glose,
    Idolatrant le hom, sans connoitre la Chose,
    Vrai Peste des beaux Arts, sans Gout sans Equité,
    Quitez ce ton pedant, ce mépris affecté,
    Pour tout ce que le Tems n'a pas encore gaté.

    Ne peus tu pas, en admirant
    Les Maitres de la Grece, ceux d l'Italie
    Rendre justice également
    A ceux qu'a nourris ta Patrie?

    Vois ce Salon, et tu perdras
    Cette prévention injuste,
    Et bien étonné conviendras
    Qu'il ne faut pas qu'un Mecenas
    Pour revoir le Siècle d'Auguste.

"In the following season," says Edwards, "they ventured to fix the price
of _admission_ at one shilling each person, but had the precaution to
affix a conciliatory preface to their catalogue, which was given
gratis," As it is becoming more and more usual of late years to preface
a catalogue with a signed article, or, as in a recent instance, a
facsimile letter, it is interesting to know that this "conciliatory
preface" was written by Dr Johnson. As a document its value in the
history of the British School of Painting demands its reproduction here
in full:--

"The public may justly require to be informed of the nature and extent
of every design for which the favour of the public is openly solicited.
The artists who were themselves the first promoters of an exhibition in
this nation, and who have now contributed to the following catalogue,
think it therefore necessary to explain their purpose, and justify their
conduct. An exhibition of the works of art being a spectacle new in this
kingdom, has raised various opinions and conjectures among those who are
unacquainted with the practice in foreign nations. Those who set their
performances to general view, have been too often considered as the
rivals of each other; as men actuated, if not by avarice, at least by
vanity, and contending for superiority of fame, though not for a
pecuniary prize. It cannot be denied or doubted, that all who offer
themselves to criticism are desirous of praise; this desire is not only
innocent but virtuous, while it is undebased by artifice, and unpolluted
by envy; and of envy or artifice those men can never be accused, who
already enjoying all the honours and profits of their profession are
content to stand candidates for public notice, with genius yet
unexperienced, and diligence yet unrewarded; who without any hope of
increasing their own reputation or interest, expose their names and
their works, only that they may furnish an opportunity of appearance to
the young, the diffident, and the neglected. The purpose of this
exhibition is not to enrich the artist, but to advance the art; the
eminent are not flattered with preference, nor the obscure insulted with
contempt; whoever hopes to deserve public favour, is here invited to
display his merit. Of the price put upon this exhibition some account
may be demanded. Whoever sets his work to be shewn, naturally desires a
multitude of spectators; but his desire defeats its own end, when
spectators assemble in such numbers as to obstruct one another.

"Though we are far from wishing to diminish the pleasures, or to
depreciate the sentiments of any class of the community, we know,
however, what every one knows, that all cannot be judges or purchasers
of works of art. Yet we have already found by experience, that all are
desirous to see an exhibition. When the terms of admission were low, our
room was throng'd with such multitudes, as made access dangerous, and
frightened away those, whose approbation was most desired.

"Yet because it is seldom believed that money is got but for the love of
money, we shall tell the use which we intend to make of our expected
profits. Many artists of great abilities are unable to sell their works
for their due price; to remove this inconvenience, an annual sale will
be appointed, to which every man may send his works, and send them, if
he will, without his name. These works will be reviewed by the committee
that conduct the exhibition; a price will be secretly set on every
piece, and registered by the secretary; if the piece exposed for sale is
sold for more, the whole price shall be the artist's; but if the
purchasers value it at less than

[Illustration: PLATE XL.--SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS

THE AGE OF INNOCENCE

_National Gallery, London_]

the committee, the artist shall be paid the deficiency from the profits
of the exhibition."

       *       *       *       *       *

This mode of admission was found to answer all the wished-for purposes,
and the visitors, who were highly respectable, were also perfectly
gratified with the display of art, which, for the first time, they
beheld with ease and pleasure to themselves.

The exhibition, thus established, continued at Spring Garden Room, under
the direction and management of the principal artists by whom it was
first promoted, and they were soon also joined by many of those who had
continued to exhibit in the Strand (_i.e._ at the Society of Arts,
etc.), which party being mostly composed of young men, and others who
chose to become candidates for the premiums given by the Society,
thought it prudent to remain under their protection. But the Society
finding that those who continued with them began to diminish in their
numbers, and that the exhibition interfered with their own concerns, no
longer indulged them with the use of their room, and the exhibitions at
that place terminated in 1764. These artists, who were mostly the
younger part of the profession at that time, thereupon engaged a large
room in Maiden Lane, where they exhibited in 1765 and 1766. But this
situation not being favourable, they engaged with Mr Christie, in
building his room near Pall Mall, and the agreement was that they should
have it for their use during one month every year, in the spring. Here
they contrived to support a feeble exhibition for eight years, when
their engagements interfering with Mr Christie's auctions, he purchased
their share of the premises, and they made their last removal to a room
in S. Alban's Street, where they exhibited the next season, but never
after attempted to attract public notice. It may be observed that while
this Society continued there were annually three exhibitions of the
works of English artists, namely, the Royal Academy, the Chartered
Society, and that last mentioned, the members of which styled themselves
the Free Society of Artists. Their exhibition was considerably inferior
to those of their rivals. By the Chartered Society, Edwards means the
artists who formed the exhibition at the Spring Garden Room, who in 1765
obtained a Charter from the king. Owing partly to internal
disagreements, but more no doubt to the foundation of the Royal Academy
in 1768, this Society gradually diminished in importance, until Edwards
could write of their exhibition in 1791 that "the articles they had then
collected were very insignificant, most of which could not be considered
as works of art; such as pieces of needlework, subjects in human hair,
cut paper, and such similar productions as deserve not the
recommendation of a public exhibition,"

       *       *       *       *       *

To the first exhibition of the Royal Academy, which was opened on the
2nd of January 1769, Reynolds sent three pictures:--

_The Duchess of Manchester and her son, as Diana disarming Cupid._

_Lady Blake, as Juno receiving the Cestus of Venus._

_Miss Morris as Hope nursing Love._

That all of them were, so to speak, "fancy portraits" is not entirely
without significance. Portraiture, the painters bread and butter, was
apparently deemed hardly suitable for the occasion, and among a list of
the pictures which attracted most attention Northcote only includes the
portraits of the _King and Queen_ by Nathaniel Dance, _Lady Molyneux_ by
Gainsborough, and the _Duke of Gloucester_ by Cotes. The rest are as
follows:--_The Departure of Regulus from Rome_, and _Venus lamenting the
Death of Adonis_, by Benjamin West; _Hector and Andromache_, and _Venus
directing Aeneas and Achates_, by Angelica Kauffmann; _A Piping Boy_,
and _A Candlelight Piece_, by Nathaniel Hone; _An Altar-Piece_ of the
Annunciation by Cipriani; _Hebe_, and _A Boy Playing Cricket_, by Cotes;
A landscape by Barrett, and _Shakespeare's Black-smith_, by Penny.

In all, Reynolds exhibited two hundred and fifty-two pictures during the
thirty-two years of his life in which exhibitions existed, namely from
1760 to 1791; of which two hundred and twenty-eight went to the Royal
Academy.

Of these, or most of them, ample records and criticisms may be found in
the copious literature which has grown up around his name. For our
present purpose a glance at his influence, his methods, and his
circumstances has seemed to me to be more in point, and as a succinct
estimate of the man and his work from one of his most illustrious
contemporaries, the following passage may be added by way of
conclusion:--

"Sir Joshua Reynolds," wrote Edmund Burke six years after the painter's
death, "was on very many accounts one of the most memorable men of his
time. He was the first Englishman who added the praise of the elegant
arts to the other glories of his country. In taste, in grace, in
facility, in happy invention, and in the richness and harmony of
colouring, he was equal to the great masters of the renowned ages. In
portraiture he went beyond them, for he communicated to that description
of the art, in which English artists are the most engaged, a fancy and a
dignity derived from the higher branches, which even those who
professed, them in a superior manner, did not always preserve when they
delineated individual nature. His portraits remind the spectator of the
invention of history and the amenity of landscape. In painting portraits
he appeared not to be raised upon that platform, but to descend to it
from a higher sphere. His paintings illustrate his lessons, and his
lessons seem to be derived from his paintings. He possessed the theory
as perfectly as the practice of his art. To be such a painter, he was a
profound and penetrating philosopher."

       *       *       *       *       *

THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH (1727-1788), whose name we can seldom help thinking
of whenever we hear that of Reynolds, was in many ways the very
antithesis of his more illustrious rival. In his private life he most
certainly was, and so far as his practical influence on his
contemporaries is concerned, he is altogether overshadowed by the first
President of the Royal Academy. With respect to their works there is a
diversity of opinion, and it is largely a matter of personal feeling
whether we prefer those of the one or of the other. Both were great
artists, and on the common ground of portraiture they contended so
equally, and in some cases with such similarity of method, that it is
impossible to say impartially which was the greater. How is it possible
to decide except on the ground of individual taste, as to whether we
would rather lose Gainsborough or Reynolds as a portrait painter,
without considering for a moment that the former was a great landscape
painter as well? And, putting aside Wilson, whose landscape was
essentially Italian, whether executed in Italy or not, the first
landscape painter in England was Gainsborough. We are so accustomed to
bracket him with Reynolds as a great portrait painter, so thrilled over
the sale of a Gainsborough portrait for many thousands of pounds, that
we are apt to forget him altogether as a landscape painter. And yet two
or three of his best works in the National Gallery are landscapes, and
two of them at least famous ones--_The Market Cart_ and _The Watering
Place_. How many more beautiful landscapes by him there must be in
existence it is impossible to say, but there can be no doubt that there
are not a few which are only waiting their turn for a fashionable
market, but are now reposing unappreciated in private hands. In the
Metropolitan Museum at New York is a splendid example, the like of which
I have never seen in this country, but which is so much closer in
feeling to his numerous drawings and sketches in chalk or pencil that it
is impossible to believe that no similar examples exist. If we could
only bring them to light!

The fact is that the state of society in the middle of the eighteenth
century was, with all its brilliance and intellect, the cause of
hampering the natural development of the three great painters of that
period. Reynolds came back from his stay in Italy an ardent disciple of
the grand style, burning to follow the example of Raphael and
Michelangelo. Romney, too, was all for Italian art, but looked further
back, and worshipped the classics. Gainsborough was a born landscape
painter, and his whole time was devoted, when he was not executing
commissions for portraits, to making sketches and studies of woods and
valleys and trees. But so bent on having their likenesses handed about
were the brilliant personages of their time, that Reynolds, Gainsborough
and Romney were compelled in spite of themselves to turn their
attention to portraiture, to the exclusion of every other branch of
their art, and as portrait painters they have made themselves and their
country famous.

In the numerous sketches and studies that Gainsborough has left us, we
can see how much we have lost in gaining his wonderful portraits. He
loved landscape, from his earliest youth to his dying day. Loved it for
itself. For among all the drawings of his which I have ever seen, I do
not remember one which can be identified as any particular place. In the
eighteenth century there was a perfect mania among the smaller fry for
making topographical drawings, in pencil or water-colour, views of some
town or mountain or castle. But with Gainsborough the place was
nothing--it was the spirit of it that charmed him. A cottage in a wood,
a glade, a country road, a valley, was to him a beautiful scene,
whatever it was called or wherever it happened to be, and out of it
accordingly he made a beautiful picture, or at least a drawing. That his
pictures of landscape are so extraordinarily few while his drawings are
so numerous, may be accounted for in a great measure by the exigences of
portrait painting, but not entirely; and the probability is that there
are many more which are now forgotten.

For an estimate of Thomas Gainsborough both in regard to his place in
the story of the English School and to the abilities and methods by
which he attained it, it is needless to look elsewhere than to that of
Sir Joshua Reynolds, contained in the discourse delivered shortly after
Gainsborough's death:--

"When such a man as Gainsborough rises to great fame without the
assistance of an academical education, without travelling to Italy, or
any of those preparatory studies which have been so often recommended,
he is produced

[Illustration: PLATE XLI.--THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH

THE MARKET CART

_National Gallery, London_]

as an instance how little such studies are necessary, since so great
excellence may be acquired without them. This is an inference not
warranted by the success of any individual, and I trust that it will not
be thought that I wish to make this use of it.

"It must be remembered that the style and department of art which
Gainsborough chose, and in which he so much excelled, did not require
that he should go out of his own country for the objects of his study;
they were everywhere about him; he found them in the streets, and in the
fields; and from the models thus accidentally found he selected with
great judgment such as suited his purpose. As his studies were directed
to the living world principally, he did not pay a general attention to
the works of the various masters, though they are, in my opinion, always
of great use even when the character of our subject requires us to
depart from some of their principles. It cannot be denied that
excellence in the department of the art which he professed may exist
without them, that in such subjects and in the manner that belongs to
them the want of them is supplied, and more than supplied, by natural
sagacity and a minute observation of particular nature. If Gainsborough
did not look at nature with a poet's eye, it must be acknowledged that
he saw her with the eye of a painter; and gave a faithful, if not a
poetical, representation of what he had before him.

"Though he did not much attend to the works of the great historical
painters of former ages, yet he was well aware that the language of the
art--the art of imitation--must be learned somewhere; and as he knew he
could not learn it in an equal degree from his contemporaries, he very
judiciously applied himself to the Flemish school, who are undoubtedly
the greatest masters of one necessary branch of art, and he did not
need to go out of his country for examples of that school; from _that_
he learned the harmony of colouring, the management and disposition of
light and shadow, and every means of it which the masters practised to
ornament and give splendour to their works. And to satisfy himself, as
well as others, how well he knew the mechanism and artifice which they
employed to bring out that tone of colour which we so much admire in
their works, he occasionally made copies from Rubens, Teniers and Van
Dyck, which it would be no disgrace to the most accurate connoisseur to
mistake at the first sight for the works of those masters. What he thus
learned he applied to the originals of nature, which he saw with his own
eyes, and imitated not in the manner of those masters but in his own.

"Whether he most excelled in portraits, landscapes, or fancy pictures,
it is difficult to determine; whether his portraits were most admirable
for exact truth of resemblance, or his landscapes for a portrait-like
representation of nature, such as we see in the works of Rubens,
Ruisdael, or others of those schools. In his fancy pictures, when he had
fixed on his object of imitation, whether it was the mean and vulgar
form of the woodcutter, or a child of an interesting character, as he
did not attempt to raise the one, so neither did he lose any of the
natural grace and elegance of the other; such a grace and such an
elegance as are more frequently found in cottages than in courts. This
excellence was his own, the result of his particular observation and
taste; for this he was certainly not indebted to the Flemish school, nor
indeed to any school; for his grace was not academic, or antique, but
selected by himself from the great school of nature....

"Upon the whole we may justly say that whatever he attempted he carried
to a high degree of excellence. It is to the credit of his good sense
and judgment that he never did attempt that style of historical painting
for which his previous studies had made no preparation.

"The peculiarity of his manner or style," Reynolds continues a little
later, "or we may call it the language in which he expressed his ideas,
has been considered by many as his greatest defect.... A novelty and
peculiarity of manner, as it is often a cause of our approbation, so
likewise it is often a ground of censure, as being contrary to the
practice of other painters, in whose manner we have been initiated, and
in whose favour we have perhaps been prepossessed from our infancy: for
fond as we are of novelty, we are upon the whole creatures of habit.
However, it is certain that all those odd scratches and marks which on a
close examination are so observable in Gainsborough's pictures, and
which even to experienced painters appear rather the effect of accident
than design; this chaos, this uncouth and shapeless appearance, by a
kind of magic, at a certain distance assumes form, and all the parts
seem to drop into their proper places; so that we can hardly refuse
acknowledging the full effect of diligence under the appearance of
chance and hasty negligence.

"That Gainsborough himself considered this peculiarity in his manner,
and the power it possesses of exciting surprise, as a beauty in his
works, I think may be inferred from the eager desire which we know he
always expressed, that his pictures at the exhibition should be seen
near as well as at a distance.

"The slightness which we see in his best works cannot always be imputed
to negligence. However they may appear to superficial observers,
painters know very well that a steady attention to the general effect
takes up more time and is much more laborious to the mind than any mode
of high finishing or smoothness without such attention. His handling,
the manner of leaving the colours, or, in other words, the methods he
used for producing the effect, had very much the appearance of the work
of an artist who had never learnt from others the usual and regular
practice belonging to the art; but still, like a man of strong intuitive
perception of what was required, he found a way of his own to accomplish
his purpose."

To Reynolds's opinion of this technique as applied to portraits, we may
listen with even more attention. "It must be allowed," he continues,
"that this hatching manner of Gainsborough did very much contribute to
the lightness of effect which is so eminent a beauty in his pictures;
as, on the contrary, much smoothness and uniting the colours is apt to
produce heaviness. Every artist must have remarked how often that
lightness of hand which was in his dead-colour (or first painting)
escaped in the finishing when he had determined the parts with more
precision; and another loss which he often experiences, which is of
greater consequence: while he is employed in the detail, the effect of
the whole together is either forgotten or neglected. The likeness of a
portrait, as I have formerly observed, consists more in preserving the
general effect of the countenance than in the most minute finishing of
the features or any of the particular parts. Now, Gainsborough's
portraits were often little more in regard to finishing or determining
the form of the features, than what generally attends a first painting;
but as he was always attentive to the general effect, or whole
together, I have often imagined that this unfinished manner contributed
even to that striking resemblance for which his portraits are so
remarkable."



IV

THE CLOSE OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY


Not until the year of Gainsborough's death, 1788, was there born another
landscape painter. This was JOHN CROME, and he too came from the east of
England, nearest to Holland, being born in Norfolk, the neighbouring
county to Gainsborough's native Suffolk. Within ten years more, two
still greater landscapists were born, also in the east, Constable in
Essex, still closer to Sudbury, and Turner in London.

John Crome--Old Crome, as he is usually called to distinguish him from
his less distinguished son, John Bernay Crome--was born at Norwich, and
had to support himself most of his life by teaching drawing, not to
professional pupils unfortunately; but incidentally he founded "The
Norwich School" of landscape painters, who loyally carried forward the
traditions he had inculcated. But having to spend his time as a
drawing-master, he was not free like the old Dutch painters to put out
pictures when and as often as he would, and his work in oils is
therefore comparatively scarce. The three examples at the National
Gallery are typical of his varied powers, _The Slate Quarries_,
_Household Heath_, and _Porringland Oak_ are all of them masterpieces.

JOHN SELL COTMAN, born in 1782, was, after Crome, the most considerable
of the Norwich School. He, too, was compelled to earn a livelihood by
being a drawing-master, for there was not as yet a sufficient market,
nor for some time later, for landscape pictures, to support existence,
however humble. Cotman devoted much of his energies to water-colours,
and he is better known in this branch of the art than in painting; that
is the only excuse for the National Gallery in having purchased as his
the very inferior picture called _A Galliot in a Gale_. The other
example, _Wherries on the Yare_, is more worthy of him, though it by no
means exhibits all his wonderful power and fascination.

In GEORGE MORLAND (1763-1804) we have something more and something less
than a landscape painter. Landscape to him was not what it was to
Wilson, Gainsborough or Crome,--the only end in view; nor was it merely
a background for his subjects. But, as it generally happened, it was
both. To Morland, the landscape and the figures were one and the same
thing. Out of the fulness of his heart he painted pictures of _Boys
Robbing an Orchard_, _Horses in a Stable_, or a _Farmer on Horseback_
staying to talk to a group of gypsies beside a wood, and whether or not
the picture might be classed as a landscape depended entirely on the
nature of the scene itself. Whatever he saw or chose to see he painted
with equal skill and with equal charm; and as his choice of vision lay
in the simple everyday life that surrounded him, his variety is not the
least of his attractions.

The fact that his mother was a Frenchwoman (his father was Henry
Morland, the painter of the delightful pair of half-lengths, _The
Laundry Maids_) suggests to my mind the wild surmise that she may have
been the daughter of Chardin. For in the technique as well as in the
temperament of Morland,--making allowance for difference of
circumstances,--there is something remarkably akin to those of the great
Frenchman. Both eschewed the temptation to become fashionable, both
painted the humble realities of middle-class life with a zest that could
not possibly have been affected, and both painted them with much the
same extraordinary charm. At his best, Morland is not much inferior to
Chardin, and but for his unfortunate wildness and his susceptibility to
the temptations of strong drink, he might easily have excelled the
other. The feeling exhibited in two such different subjects as Lord
Glenconner's _Boys Robbing an Orchard_, and _The Interior of a Stable_,
in the National Gallery, certainly equals that of Chardin's most famous
pieces, I mean the feeling for the particular scene he is depicting. The
nearest, in fact the only, approach that Morland made to portrait
painting was in such pieces as _The Fortune Teller_ in the National
Gallery, which brings to mind the "Conversation Pieces," introduced by
Hogarth and Highmore into English painting, but which were never widely
attempted. In the Portfolio monograph "English Society in the Eighteenth
Century" I tried to collect as many examples as I could of this form of
art, but found it difficult to fill even a small volume, so entirely was
the single figure portrait the vogue. A few notable instances are worth
mentioning, if only as exceptions to the general rule. Gainsborough's
_Ladies Walking in the Mall_, belonging to Sir Audley Neeld; Reynolds's
large group of _The Marlborough Family_ at Blenheim, and a very early
group of _The Elliott Family_, consisting of eleven figures, belonging
to Lord St Germans; John Singleton Copley's _Children of Francis
Sitwell, Esq._, at Renishaw; and lastly Zoffany's _Family Party_, at
Panshanger.

For life-like representation of the English people we look to Hogarth
and Morland, and yet nothing could be more different than the motives
which inspired the two, and the way they went to work upon their
subject. Hogarth was above all things theatrical, Morland natural.
Hogarth first conceived his idea, then laid his scene, and lastly
peopled it with actual characters as they appeared--individually--before
him. Morland simply looked about him and painted what he happened to see
at the precise moment when what he saw coincided with his natural
inclination, or we may even say inspiration, to paint it. It was much
the same difference as between the work of Zola and that of Thomas
Hardy. The one had a moral to preach, the other a story to tell.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the most we hear of GEORGE ROMNEY nowadays is the price that has
been paid for one of his portraits at Christie's, it is refreshing as
well as informative to turn to the criticism of one of his greatest
though not in these times so highly priced contemporaries, I mean John
Flaxman. "When Romney first began to paint," he writes, "he had seen no
gallery of pictures nor the fine productions of ancient sculpture; but
then women and children were his statues, and all objects under the
canopy of heaven formed his school of painting. The rainbow, the purple
distance, or the silver lake, taught him colouring; the various actions
and passions of the human figure, with the forms of clouds, woods, and
mountains or valleys, afforded him studies of composition. Indeed, his
genius bore a strong resemblance to the scenes he was born in; like
them, it partook of the grand and beautiful; and like them also, the
bright sunshine and enchanting prospects of his fancy were occasionally
overspread with mist and gloom. On his arrival in Italy he was witness
to new scenes of art and sources of study of which he could only have
supposed previously that something

[Illustration: PLATE XLII.--GEORGE ROMNEY

THE PARSON'S DAUGHTER

_National Gallery, London_]

of the kind might exist; for he there contemplated the purity and
perfection of ancient sculpture, the sublimity of Michelangelo's Sistine
Chapel, and the simplicity of Cimabue and Giotto's schools. He perceived
those qualities distinctly, and judiciously used them in viewing and
imitating nature; and thus his quick perception and unwearied
application enabled him, by a two years' residence abroad, to acquire as
great a proficiency in art as is usually attained by foreign studies of
a much longer duration.

"After his return, the novelty and sentiment of his original subjects
were universally admired. Most of these were of the delicate class, and
each had its peculiar character. Titania with her Indian votaries was
arch and sprightly; Milton dictating to his daughters, solemn and
interesting. Several pictures of Wood Nymphs and Bacchantes charmed by
their rural beauty, innocence, and simplicity. The most pathetic,
perhaps, of all his works was never finished--Ophelia with the flowers
she had gathered in her hand, sitting on the branch of a tree, which was
breaking under her, whilst the moody distraction in her lovely
countenance accounts for the insensibility to danger. Few painters have
left so many examples in their works of the tender and delicate
affections; and several of his pictures breathe a kindred spirit with
the _Sigismonda_ of Correggio. His cartoons, some of which have
unfortunately perished, were examples of the sublime and terrible, at
that time perfectly new in English art. As Romney was gifted with
peculiar powers for historical and ideal painting, so his heart and soul
were engaged in the pursuit of it whenever he could extricate himself
from the importunate business of portrait painting. It was his delight
by day and study by night, and for this his food and rest were often
neglected. His compositions, like those of the ancient pictures and
basso-relievos, told their story by a single group of figures in the
front, whilst the background is made the simplest possible, rejecting
all unnecessary episode and trivial ornament, either of secondary groups
or architectural subdivision. In his compositions the beholder was
forcibly struck by the sentiment at the first glance: the gradations and
varieties of which he traced through several characters, all conceived
in an elevated spirit of dignity and beauty, with a lively expression of
nature in all the parts. His heads were various--the male were decided
and grand, the female lovely. His figures resembled the antique--the
limbs were elegant and finely formed. His drapery was well understood,
either forming the figure into a mass with one or two deep folds only,
or by its adhesion and transparency discovering the form of the figure,
the lines of which were finely varied with the union or expansion of
spiral or cascade folds, composing with or contrasting the outline and
chiaroscuro. Few artists since the fifteenth century have been able to
do so much in so many different branches; for besides his beautiful
compositions and pictures, which have added to the knowledge and
celebrity of the English School, he modelled like a sculptor, carved
ornaments in wood with great delicacy, and could make an architectural
design in a fine taste, as well as construct every part of the
building."

After the death of Reynolds and the retirement of Romney, in the last
decade of the eighteenth century, the field of portraiture was left
vacant--in London at least--for JOHN HOPPNER, whose name is now
generally included with those of Lawrence and Raeburn among the first
six portrait painters of the British

[Illustration: PLATE XLIII.--GEORGE ROMNEY

MRS ROBINSON--"PERDITA"

_Hertford House, London_]

School. His fame in recent years has certainly exceeded his merits, but
it is due to him to say that he was a conscientious artist, and a firm
upholder of the tradition of Reynolds, so far as in him lay. The old
King had always disliked Reynolds, and Hoppner was not well enough
advised to hold his tongue on the subject of the master: worse than
this, he openly accepted the patronage of the Prince of Wales, and by so
doing opened the door for the admission of Lawrence as royal painter
much sooner than was at all necessary. The story of their rivalry is
thus--in substance--sketched by Allan Cunningham, their
contemporary:--The light of the Prince of Wales's countenance was of
itself sufficient to guide the courtly and beautiful to Hoppner's easel.
Suffice it to say that before he was forty years of age (he was born in
1759), he had been enabled to exhibit no less than fifteen ladies of
quality--for so are they named in the catalogues--a score of ladies of
lower degree, and noblemen unnumbered. But by this time another star had
arisen, destined to outshine that of Hoppner; though some at that
period, willing to flatter the older practitioner, called it a meteor
that would but flash and disappear--we allude to Lawrence. Urged upon
the Academy by the King and Queen, and handed up to public notice by
royal favour, this new aspirant rose rapidly in the estimation of the
public; and by the most delicate flattery, both with tongue and pencil,
became a formidable rival to the painter whom it was the Prince's
pleasure to befriend. The factions of Reynolds and Romney seemed revived
in those of Hoppner and Lawrence. If Hoppner resided in Charles Street,
at the gates of Carlton House, and wrote himself "portrait painter to
the Prince of Wales," Lawrence likewise had his residence in the Court
end of the town, and proudly styled himself--and that when only
twenty-three years old--"portrait painter in ordinary to His Majesty."
In other respects, too, were honours equally balanced between them; they
were both made Royal Academicians, but in this, youth had the start of
age--Lawrence obtained that distinction first. Nature, too, had been
kind--some have said prodigal--to both; they were men of fine address,
and polished by early intercourse with the world and by their trade of
portrait painting could practise all the delicate courtesies of
drawing-room and boudoir; but in that most fascinating of all flattery,
the art of persuading, with brushes and fine colours, very ordinary
mortals that beauty and fine expression were their portions, Lawrence
was soon without a rival.

The preference of the King and Queen for Lawrence was for a time
balanced by the affection of the Prince of Wales for Hoppner; the Prince
was supposed to have the best taste, and as he kept a court of his own
filled with the young nobility, and all the wits of that great faction
known by the name of Whig, Hoppner had the youth and beauty of the land
for a time; and it cannot be denied that he was a rival in every way
worthy of contending with any portrait-painter of his day. The bare list
of his exhibited portraits will show how and by whom he was supported.
It is well said by Williams, in his _Life of Lawrence_, that "the more
sober and homely ideas of the King were not likely to be a passport for
any portrait-painter to the variety of ladies, and hence Mr. Hoppner for
a long time almost monopolised the female beauty and young fashion of
the country."

This rivalry continued for a time in the spirit of moderation--but only
for a time. Lawrence, the gentler and the smoother of the two, kept
silence longest; the warm nature of Hoppner broke out at last. "The
ladies of Lawrence," he said, "show a gaudy dissoluteness of taste, and
sometimes trespass on moral as well as professional decorum." For his
own he claimed, by implication, purity of look as well as purity of
style. This sarcastic remark found wings in a moment, and flew through
all the coteries and through both courts; it did most harm to him who
uttered it; all men laughed, and then began to wonder how Lawrence,
limner to perhaps the purest court in Europe, came to bestow indecorous
looks on the meek and sedate ladies of quality of St. James's and
Windsor, while Hoppner, limner to the court of a gallant young prince,
who loved mirth and wine, the sound of the lute and the music of ladies'
feet in the dance, should to some of its gayest and giddiest ornaments
give the simplicity of manner and purity of style which pertained to the
Quaker like sobriety of the other. Nor is it the least curious part of
the story that the ladies, from the moment of the sarcasm of Hoppner,
instead of crowding to the easel of him who dealt in the loveliness of
virtue, showed a growing preference for the rival who "trespassed on
moral as well as on professional decorum." After this, Lawrence had
plenty of the fairest sitters.



_THE NINETEENTH CENTURY_



I

THE SPIRIT OF REVOLT


In the preceding chapters we have traced the development of painting for
five centuries--from the beginning of the fourteenth, that is to say, to
the end of the eighteenth--in Italy, in the Netherlands, in Germany, in
Spain, and lastly in France and England. In the nineteenth the story is
confined to the last two alone, as with one or two minute exceptions the
art of painting had by this time entirely ceased to be worth
consideration in any of the others. Only in France and England, where it
had been most recently established, was it to continue; and besides
continuing, reach out with the most astonishing vigour to snatch at and
grasp fruits that no one before would have dreamt of being within its
reach.

Between France and England--if by the latter we may be taken to mean
Great Britain, and include within its artists those who have
acclimatised themselves within her shores--the honours of the
achievement are pretty equally divided, though it will have to be left
to individual choice to decide exactly on which side the balance of
credit is due. A mere list of the greatest names is not sufficient to
apportion the praise, though as a preliminary step it may be of value in
clearing the issue. Let us take a dozen on either side, and see how they
look.

_England._

Lawrence.
Constable.
Turner.
De Wint.
Nasmyth.
Stevens.
Whistler.
Cotman.
Cox.
Watts.
Rossetti.
Hunt.

_France._

David.
Géricault.
Ingres.
Delacroix.
Corot.
Millet.
Daubigny.
Courbet.
Daumier.
Decamps.
Manet.
Degas.

Among these Turner stands out conspicuously from the rest, and he would
be included by anyone in a list of twenty, or perhaps a dozen, of the
greatest painters in the world. But oddly enough his influence on the
art in general has been comparatively small, if we are to judge by its
effects on other painters up to the present, while that of Constable has
been considerably greater. Manet, again, and Delacroix, have
accomplished far more for the history of painting than any other two in
our lists--and yet their names are scarcely known outside the circle of
those who know anything at all about painting.

For the English public at large an entirely different list would
probably prove the superiority of their own race to their complete
satisfaction--in spite of Meissonier, Doré, and Bouguereau on the other
side. But that is only because the British public, owing to the
monopoly

[Illustration: PLATE XLIV.--JACQUES LOUIS DAVID

PORTRAIT OF MME. RÉCAMIER

_Louvre, Paris_]

enjoyed by the Royal Academy, have never had a chance of judging for
themselves what they approve of and what they do not, and their taste
has been vitiated for generations by the exhibition of what this
self-constituted authority, no doubt unconsciously, conceives to be best
for them--and which, as might be expected, is usually found to coincide
pretty nearly with the sort of thing they are capable of producing
themselves. Hogarth's predictions at the time the Academy was instituted
have in a great measure come perfectly true, and the only benefit that
it has been to the English School of painting is that it has kept it
going. How far this may be called a benefit is at least arguable, but in
the main it is probable that if so many bad pictures had not been
painted, there would not have been so many good ones. On the other hand,
the removal of a man like Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema from his native
sphere of influence is quite enough to account for the unlooked-for
flowering of blossoms like the brothers Maris, Bosboom, Israels, and
Mauve in the Dutch garden, and if that is so, one need not grudge him
his interment amongst Nelson, Wellington, and other heroes of our own.

In a word, the history of painting in the nineteenth century is Revolt.
What it is going to be in the twentieth I am fortunately not called upon
to say; but if I may throw out an opinion based upon what is already
happening, I should say that no word has yet been coined which will
adequately express it.

In the last century the issues were simple, and can be easily expressed.
On the one side was the complacent body of practitioners following to
the best of their ability the practice of painting as handed down to
them in a variety of different forms, just as the Byzantine craftsmen
earned their living when they were so rudely disturbed by Cimabue and
his school. On the other was a small but ever-increasing number of
individuals who, like Cimabue, began to think things out for themselves,
but, unlike him, did not succeed in effecting a popular triumph
without--if at all--first raising both the painters and the public to a
pitch of fury. It is indeed curious to read Vasari and modern historians
side by side, and to wonder if, after all, Vasari knew or told
everything, in his desire to glorify the art, or whether Giotto and
other innovators were not in fact burnt at the stake. Probably not.
Gallileo, as we know, and Savonarola suffered for their crimes. But they
were working against the Church, and the artists were working for it.

In the nineteenth century, painting had altogether broken away from the
Church, and so it had to fight its own battles out in the street, or in
the law courts. That is what has given it such a swagger and strength.
It no longer looks to its protector, it will hit you in the face before
you know where you are. The feeble kind, only, looks to Academies for
support, and thereby becomes feebler still.

In the present chapter, accordingly, we shall hear no more of the
Madonnas, the Holy Families, and all the sacred and profane subjects on
which the old masters exercised their genius. Five centuries of painting
had established the art in a position of independence; and in a
sixth--that is to say, the nineteenth--it began to assert itself, and to
prove that its education was not in itself an end, but only a means to
various ends. Instead of following out the fortunes of each painter,
therefore, and attempting to set in any sort of order the reputations of
artists before sufficient time has elapsed for them to cool, I propose
to confine myself in the remaining pages to the broad issues raised
during this period between the painters, the critics, and the public.



II

EUGÈNE DELACROIX


The man who began all this street fighting was a Frenchman--Eugène
Delacroix. While still a youth he was bullied, and the bully was such a
redoubtable giant that it took somebody with the grit and genius of
Delacroix to tackle him, but tackle him he did. The story of the fight,
which is a long and glorious one, is so admirably told in Madame Bussy's
life of Delacroix, that I have obtained permission to give the essence
of it in her own words.

In the Salon of 1822 was exhibited Delacroix's picture of _Dante and
Virgil_, which is now in the Louvre, and evoked the first of those
clamours of abuse which were barely stilled before the artist's death.
For nearly thirty years all French painters, with the exception of Gros
and Prudhon; had shown themselves unquestioning disciples of the school
founded by Jacques Louis David, whose masterful character and potent
personality had reduced all art to a system; and Delacroix himself spoke
of him with sympathy and admiration. The chief dogma of David's school
was that the nearest approach to the _beau ideal_ permitted to the human
race had been attained by the Greeks, and that all art must conform as
closely as possible to theirs. Unfortunately, the chief specimens of
Greek art known at that time were those belonging to a decadent
period--neither the Elgin marbles nor the Venus of Milo were accessible
before 1816--so that the works from which they drew their inspiration
were without character in themselves, or merely the feeble and
attenuated copies of ancient Rome. In the pictures of this school,
accordingly, we find only the monotonous perfection of rounded and
well-modelled limbs, classical features and straight noses. Colour, to
the sincere Davidian, was a vain and frivolous accessory, serving only
to distract attention from the real purpose of the work, which was to
aim at moral elevation as well as at ideal beauty. Everything in the
picture was to be equally dwelt upon; there was no sacrifice, no
mystery. "These pictures," says Delacroix, "have no epidermis ...they
lack the atmosphere, the lights, the reflections which blend into an
harmonious whole, objects the most dissimilar in colour."

By the untimely death of Géricault, whose _Raft of the Medusa_ had
already caused a flutter in 1819, Delacroix was left at the head of the
revolt against this pseudo-classicism; and amid the storm that greeted
the _Dante and Virgil_ it is interesting to find Thiers writing of him
in the following strain:--"It seems to me that no picture [in the Salon]
reveals the future of a great painter better than M. Delacroix's, in
which we see an outbreak of talent, a burst of rising superiority which
revives the hopes that had been slightly discouraged by the too moderate
merits of all the rest.... I think I am not mistaken; M. Delacroix has
genius; let him go on with confidence, and devote himself to immense
labour, the indispensable condition of talent." Delécluze, by the by,
the critic-in-chief of the Davidian School, had characterised the
picture as _une véritable tartouillade_.

In 1824 the Salon included two pictures which may be regarded as
important documents in the history of painting. One of these was
Constable's _Hay Wain_--now

[Illustration: PLATE XLV.--EUGÈNE DELACROIX

DANTE AND VIRGIL

_Louvre, Paris_]

in our National Gallery--which had been purchased by a Frenchman; the
other was Delacroix's _Massacre of Scio_, the first to receive the
enlightenment afforded by the Englishman's methods, which spread so
widely over the French School. It was said that Delacroix entirely
repainted his picture on seeing Constable's; but his pupil, Lassalle
Bordes, is probably nearer the truth in saying that the master being
dissatisfied with its general tone, which was too chalky, transformed it
by means of violent glazings. The critics were no less noisy over this
picture than the last. "A painter has been revealed to us," said one,
"but he is a man who runs along the housetops." "Yes," answered
Baudelaire, "but for that one must have a sure foot, and an eye guided
by an inward light."

When the Salon opened again in 1827, after an interval of three years,
the public were astonished to find how large a number of painters had
abandoned Davidism and openly joined the ranks of the enemy. Delacroix
himself exhibited the _Marino Faliero_ (now at Hertford House) and
eleven others. The gauntlet was flung down, and war began in deadly
earnest between the opposing parties. It was at this time that the terms
Romanticism and Romantic came into common use. Delacroix always resented
being labelled as a Romantic, and would only acknowledge that the term
might be justly applied to him when used in its widest signification.
"If by my Romanticism," he wrote, "is meant the free expression of my
personal impressions, my aversion from the stereotypes invariably
produced in the schools, and my repugnance to academic receipts, then I
must admit I am Romantic."

Here we have the plain truth about the painting of the nineteenth
century--and after! The critics were unanimous in their violent
condemnation of Delacroix's works: "the compositions of a sick man in
delirium," "the fanaticism of ugliness," "barbarous execution," "an
intoxicated broom"--such are some of the terms of abuse showered upon
him. The gentlest among them commiserate the talent which here and there
can be seen "struggling with the systematic _bizarrerie_ and the
disordered technique of the artist, just as gleams of reason and
sometimes flashes of genius may be seen pitiably shining through the
speech of a madman." The final touch to Delacroix's disgrace was given
by the Directeur des Beaux Arts sending for him and recommending him to
study drawing from casts, warning him at the same time that unless he
could change his style he must expect neither commissions nor
recognition from the State!

The year 1830 has given its name to that brilliant generation of poets,
novelists, painters and philosophers which, as Théophile Gautier says
with just pride, "will make its mark on the future and be spoken of as
one of the climacteric epochs of the human mind." The revolution of July
inspired Delacroix with one of his most interesting pictures. _Le 28
Juillet_ is the only one of his works in which he depicts modern life,
and was a striking refutation to those who complained that modern
costume is too ugly or prosaic to be treated in painting. "Every old
master," Baudelaire usefully pointed out, "has been modern in his day.
The greater number of fine portraits of former times are dressed in the
costume of their period. They are perfectly harmonious because the
costumes, the hair, and even the attitude and expression (each period
has its own), form a whole of complete vitality." _Le 28 Juillet_ gives
us the very breath and spirit of modern street fighting. Though the
public

[Illustration: PLATE XLVI.--JOHN CONSTABLE

THE HAY WAIN

_National Gallery, London_]

remained hostile and the jury bestowed none of its prizes, as before,
the Government acknowledged the artist's talent and politics by making
him a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. Further, from 1833 to 1853 he
was intermittently employed in decorating the Chamber of Deputies, the
Senate, and other public buildings. In 1855 he showed at the Great
Exhibition a series of thirty-five of his most important pictures, the
effect of which was immense. For the first and only time in his life he
enjoyed a triumph, none the less great because his life-long rival
Ingres also took the opportunity of exhibiting a selection of his works
in the same building. But in spite of this success, and in spite of his
being elected an Academician in 1857, the critics remained incorrigible.
His pictures in the Salon of 1859 once more called forth one of those
storms of abuse that Delacroix had the gift of arousing. Weary and
disheartened--"All my life long I have been livré aux bêtes," was his
bitter exclamation--he vowed to exhibit no more, and kept his word.



III

RUSKIN AGAINST THE PHILISTINES


IN England, meantime, great things were being accomplished amid peaceful
surroundings. In portraiture Lawrence soon became supreme, and what
excellence he possessed was accentuated on his death in 1830 by the
appointment of Sir Martin Archer Shee as his successor in the Presidency
of the Royal Academy. That was the end of portraiture in England until a
new school arose. But it was in landscape that our country occupied the
field in the first half of the nineteenth century, and tilled it with
the astonishing results that are usually the effect of doing much and
saying little. The work accomplished by Turner, Constable, and Cotman,
in the first half of the century, to say nothing of Crome and one or two
of the older men who were still alive, has never been equalled in any
country, and yet less was heard about the execution of it than would
keep a modern journalist in bread and cheese for a week. Turner, who
wouldn't sell his pictures, and Constable, who couldn't, between them
filled up the measure of English art without any other aid than that of
the materials with which they recorded their gorgeous communion with
nature. When Ruskin stepped in with the "Modern Painters," originally
designed as a vindication of Turner against certain later-day critics,
Turner's comment was, "He knows a great deal more about my pictures than
I do. He puts things into my head and points out meanings in them that I
never intended." That was in 1843, when Turner was well on in his third
manner--within eight years of his death. But let us go back to the
beginning.

Until he developed his latest manner, Turner was about the most popular
artist that ever lived. His pictures were not above the comprehension of
the public, educated or otherwise, and no effort was either needed or
demanded to understand them. In the diary of a provincial amateur,
Thomas Greene, are recorded an impression of Turner's work as early as
1797:--"Visited the Royal Exhibition. Particularly struck with a
sea-view by Turner ...the whole composition bold in design and masterly
in execution. I am entirely unacquainted with the artist, but if he
proceeds as he has begun, he cannot fail to become the first in his
department." And again in 1799:--"Was again struck and delighted with
Turner's landscapes.... Turner's views are not mere ordinary transcripts
of nature,--he always throws some peculiar and striking _character_ into
the scene he represents."

Brought up as a topographical draughtsman, he made no departure till
quite late in life from the conventional method of depicting scenery;
but being a supremely gifted artist, he was capable of utilising this
method as no other before or since has ever succeeded in doing. The
accepted method was good enough for him, and he laid his paint upon the
canvas as anybody else had done before him, and as many of our
present-day painters would do well to do after him--if only they had the
genius in them to "make the instrument speak." The impressions created
on our mind by Turner's earlier pictures are not conveyed by dots,
cubes, streaks, or any device save that of pigment laid upon the canvas
in such a manner as seemed to the artist to reproduce what he saw in
nature. That he did this with surprising and altogether exceptional
skill is the proof of his genius. Unflagging energy and devotion to his
art enabled him to realise, not all, but a wonderful number of the
beauties he saw in the world, with an experience that few beside him
have ever taken the trouble to acquire. When barely thirty years old--in
1805--he was already considered as the first of living landscape
painters, and was thus noticed by Edward Dayes (the teacher of
Girtin):--"Turner may be considered as a striking instance of how much
may be gained by industry, if accompanied with perseverance, even
without the assistance of a master. The way he acquired his professional
powers was by borrowing when he could a drawing or picture to copy; or
by making a sketch of any one in the exhibition early in the morning and
finishing it up at home. By such practice, and a patient perseverance,
he has overcome all the difficulties of the art." Turner himself used to
say that his best academy was "the fields and Dr Monro's parlour"--where
Girtin and other young artists met and sketched and copied the drawings
in the doctor's collection. Burnet, in his notice of "Turner and his
Works," suggests that John Robert Cozens had paved the way for both
Girtin and Turner in striking out a broad effect of light and shade.
"The early pictures of Turner," he observes, "possess the breadth, but
are destitute of the brilliant power of light and colour afterwards
pervading his works, and ultimately carried to the greatest extreme in
his last pictures. Breadth of light seems to have been latterly his
chief aim, supported by the contrast of hot and cold colour; two of his
unfinished pictures exemplified the principle; they were divided into
large masses of blue where the water or sky was to come and the other
portions laid out in broad orange yellow, falling into delicate brown
where the trees and landscapes were to be placed. This preparation,
while it secured the greatest breadth, would have shone through the
other colours when finished, giving the luminous quality observable in
his pictures. In many instances his works sent for exhibition to the
British Institution had little more than this brilliant foundation,
which was worked into detail and completed in the varnishing days,
Turner being the first in the morning and the last to leave; his
certainty in the command over his colour, and the dexterity in his
handling, seemed to convert in a few hours 'an unsubstantial pageant'
into a finished landscape. These _ad captandum_ effects, however, are
not what his fame will depend on for perpetuity; his finest pictures are
the production of great study in their composition, careful and repeated
painting in the detail, and

[Illustration: PLATE XLVII.--J. M. W. TURNER

CROSSING THE BROOK

_National Gallery of British Art, London_]

a natural arrangement of the colour and breadth of the chiaroscuro."

Whether or not we agree with all of Burnet's opinions, we shall be more
likely to learn the truth about Turner from prosaic contemporaries of
his earlier years than from all the rhapsodies of later days. How
significant, when stripped of its amusing circumstances, is the simple
fact related thus by Leslie:--"In 1839, when Constable exhibited his
_Opening of Waterloo Bridge_, it was placed in one of the small rooms
next to a sea-piece by Turner--a grey picture, beautiful and true, but
with no positive colour in any part of it. Constable's picture seemed as
if painted with liquid gold and silver, and Turner came several times
while he was heightening with vermilion and lake the decorations and
flags of the city barges. Turner stood behind him looking from the
_Waterloo Bridge_ to his own picture, and at last brought his palette
from the great room where he was touching another picture, and putting a
round daub of red lead, somewhat bigger than a shilling, on his grey
sea, went away without saying a word. The intensity of this red lead,
made more vivid by the coolness of his picture, caused even the
vermilion and lake of Constable to look weak. I came into the room just
after Turner had left it. "He has been here," said Constable, "and fired
a gun." On the opposite wall was a picture by Jones of Shadrach Meshach
and Abednego in the Furnace. "A coal," said Cooper, "has bounced across
the room from Jones's picture and set fire to Turner's sea." Turner did
not come in again for a day and a half, and then in the last moment
allowed for painting, he glazed the scarlet seal he had put on his
picture, and shaped it into a buoy."

It was in 1835, after an unbroken popular triumph lasting over thirty
years, that the critics openly rounded on him. The occasion seized by
_Blackwood's Magazine_ was the exhibition of his first Venetian picture
exhibited in that year--it is now in the Metropolitan Museum in New
York. "What is Venice in this picture?" wrote Blackwood's critic. "A
flimsy, whitewashed, meagre assemblage of architecture, starting off
ghost-like into unnatural perspective, as if frightened at the affected
blaze of some dogger vessels (the only attempt at richness in the
picture). The greater part of the picture is white, disagreeable white,
without light or transparency, and the boats with their red worsted
masts are as gewgaw as a child's toy which he may have cracked to see
what it is made of. As to Venice, nothing can be more unlike its
character."

Ruskin was then only sixteen years old, but eight years later appeared
in print the first volume of "Modern Painters," "by an undergraduate of
Oxford," as the result of his growing indignation at this and subsequent
attacks on Turner. Without following Ruskin into the dubious regions
whither the pursuit of his romantic fancies ultimately led him, we may
in fairness quote the opening sentence of his second chapter, "Of Truth
of Colour," which will help us, moreover, in understanding the
conditions under which painting was being conducted at this period.
"There is nothing so high in art," he says, "but that a scurrile jest
can reach at, and often the greater the work the easier it is to turn it
into ridicule. To appreciate the science of Turner's colour would
require the study of a life; but to laugh at it requires little more
than the knowledge that the yolk of egg is yellow and spinage green; a
fund of critical information on which the remarks of most of our
leading periodicals have been of late years exclusively based. We
shall, however, in spite of the sulphur and treacle criticisms of our
Scotch connoisseurs, and the eggs and spinage of our English ones,
endeavour to test the works of this great colourist by a knowledge of
nature somewhat more extensive than is to be gained by an acquaintance,
however formed, with the apothecary's shop or the dinner table."

So much for the critics. For the artist, if Ruskin said more than Turner
himself could understand, he has summed up his achievement in a few
passages which may possibly outlast the works themselves. "There has
been marked and constant progress in his mind; he has not, like some few
artists, been without childhood; his course of study has been as
evidently as it has been swiftly progressive; and in different stages of
the struggle, sometimes one order of truth, sometimes another, has been
aimed at or omitted. But from the beginning to the present height of his
career he has never sacrificed a greater truth to a less. As he
advanced, the previous knowledge or attainment was absorbed in what
succeeded, or abandoned only if incompatible, and never abandoned
without a gain: and his present works present the sum and perfection of
his accumulated knowledge, delivered with the impatience and passion of
one who feels too much, and has too little time to say it in, to pause
for expression or ponder over his syllables." And again of his latest
works--"There is in them the obscurity, but the truth, of prophecy; the
instinctive and burning language, which would express less if it uttered
more; which is indistinct only by its fulness, and dark with its
abundant meaning. He feels now, with long-trained vividness and keenness
of sense, too bitterly, the impotence of the hand and the vainness of
the colour to catch one shadow or one image of the glory which God has
revealed to him. He has dwelt and communed with Nature all the days of
his life: he knows her now too well, he cannot falter over the material
littlenesses of her outward form: he must give her soul, or he has done
nothing, and he cannot do this with the flax, the earth, and the oil. 'I
cannot gather the beams out of the east, or I would make _them_ tell you
what I have seen; but read this, and interpret this, and let us remember
together. I cannot gather the gloom out of the night sky, or I would
make that teach you what I have seen; but read this, interpret this, and
let us feel together. And if you have not that within you which I can
summon to my aid, if you have not the sun in your spirit, and the
passion in your heart, which my words may awaken, though they be
indistinct and swift, leave me; for I will give you no patient mockery,
no laborious insult of that glorious Nature, whose I am and whom I
serve. Let other servants imitate the voice and the gesture of their
master, while they forget his message. Hear that message from me; but
remember that the teaching of Divine truth must still be a mystery.'"

Within a very few years Ruskin was performing a more useful service for
the English School of painting than that of gilding the fine gold of its
greatest genius. Whether or not he was aware of the fact, young Holman
Hunt had borrowed a copy of "Modern Painters," which, he says, entirely
changed his opinions as to the views held by society at large concerning
art, and in 1849 there were exhibited Hunt's _Rienzi_, Rossetti's
_Girlhood of Mary Virgin_, and Millais' _Lorenzo and Isabella_, each
inscribed with the mystic letters "P.R.B.," meaning "Pre-Raphaelite
Brotherhood." It is interesting to note that this alliance was formed
when the three young artists were looking over a book of engravings of
the frescoes in the Campo Santo at Pisa.

In the following year Hunt exhibited the _British Family_, Millais, _The
Carpenter's Shop_, and Rossetti the _Ecce Ancilla Domini_, and in 1851
were Hunt's _Two Gentlemen of Verona_ and three by Millais. The fury of
the critics had now reached a point at which some notice had to be taken
of it--as of a man in an apopleptic fit. That of the Times in
particular:--"These young artists have unfortunately become notorious by
addicting themselves to an antiquated style, false perspective, and
crude colour of remote antiquity. We want not to see what Fuseli termed
drapery "snapped instead of folded," faces bloated into apoplexy, or
extenuated into skeletons; colour borrowed from the jars in a druggist's
shop, and expression forced into caricature. That morbid infatuation
which sacrifices truth, beauty, and genuine feeling to mere eccentricity
deserves no quarter at the hands of the public." It was in disapproval
of the tone of this outburst that the author of "Modern Painters"
addressed his famous and useful letter to the _Times_, vindicating the
artists, and following it up with another in which he wishes them all
"heartily good speed, believing in sincerity that if they temper the
courage and energy which they have shown in the adoption of their
systems with patience and discretion in framing it, and if they do not
suffer themselves to be driven by harsh and careless criticism into
rejection of the ordinary means of obtaining influence over the minds of
others, they may, as they gain experience, lay in our England the
foundation of a school of art nobler than the world has seen for three
hundred years."

If any one of this strenuous young band had been a painter of the first
rank, this prediction might have been abundantly verified. But it must
be owned that none of them was. Holman Hunt came nearest to being, and
Millais probably thought he was, when he had abandoned his early
principles and shaped for the Presidency of the Academy. Rossetti had
more genius in him than the others, but it came out in poetry as well as
in painting, and perhaps in more lasting form. As it was, the effects of
the revolution were widespread and entirely beneficial; but those
effects must not be looked for in the works of any one particular
artist, but rather in the general aspect of English art in the
succeeding half century, and perhaps to-day. It broke up the soil. The
flowers that came up were neither rare nor great, but they were many,
varied, and pleasing, and in every respect an improvement on the
evergreens and hardy annuals with which the English garden had become
more and more encumbered from want of intelligent cultivation. More than
this, the freedom engendered of revolt had now encouraged the young
artist to feel that he was no longer bound to paint in any particular
fashion. People's eyes were opened to possibilities as well as to
actualities; and though they were prone to close again under the
soporific influence of what was regular and conventional, they were
capable of opening again, perhaps with a start, but without the
necessity for a surgical operation. In 1847, for example, George
Frederick Watts had offered to adorn, free of charge, the booking-hall
of Euston Station, and had been refused--Watts, by the by, was quite
independent of the Pre-Raphaelites--whereas in 1860 the Benchers of
Lincoln's Inn accepted his _School of Legislature_, and in 1867 he was
elected an academician.

Two somewhat remarkable effects of the movement are attributed to it by
Mr Edmund Gosse (in a note on the work of Alfred Hunt, written in
1884), which are probably typical of many more. The Liverpool Academy,
founded in 1810, had an annual grant of £200 from the Corporation. In
1857 it gave a prize to Millais' _Blind Girl_ in preference to the most
popular picture of the year (Abraham Solomon's _Waiting for the
Verdict_), and so great was the public indignation that pressure was
brought to bear on the Corporation, the grant was withdrawn, and the
Academy ruined.

In the other instance we may not go the whole way with Mr Gosse, when in
speaking of the Pre-Raphaelite principle he says that "the school of
Turnerian landscape was fatally affected by them," or that all the
landscape painters, except Alfred Hunt, "accepted the veto which the
Pre-Raphaelites had tacitly laid upon composition or a striving after an
artificial harmony of forms in landscape." But to a certain extent their
influence undoubtedly was prejudicial in that respect. In suggesting
another reason for the cessation of Turner s influence he is quite as
near the mark, namely, the action of the Royal Academy in admitting no
landscape painters to membership. At Turner's death in 1851 there were
only three, among whom was Creswick. "This popular artist," says Mr
Gosse, "was the Upas tree under whose shadow the Academical patronage of
landscape died in England. From his election as an associate in 1842 to
that of Vicat Cole in 1869, no landscape painter entered the doors of
the Royal Academy." Of this august body we shall have something to say
later on.



IV

MANET AND WHISTLER AGAINST THE WORLD


Let us now cross the channel again, and see what is going on there, in
1863. Evidently there is something on, or there would not be so much
excitement. As we approach the Capital we are aware of one name being
prominent in the general uproar--that of ÉDOUARD MANET.

Manet's revolt against tradition began before he became an artist, as
was in fact necessary, or he would never have been allowed to become
one. The traditions of the Bourgoisie were sacred, and their power and
importance since the revolution of 1848 not to be lightly set aside. But
young Manet was so determined that he was at last allowed by his
bourgeois parents to have his way, and was sent to study under that very
rough diamond Couture. Now again his "revolting" qualities showed
themselves, this time in the life class. Théodore Duret, his friend and
biographer, puts it so amusingly that a quotation, untranslated, is
imperative:--"Cette repulsion qui se développe chez Manet pour l'art de
la tradition," he says, "se manifeste surtout par le mépris qu'il
témoigne aux modèles posant dans l'atelier et à l'étude du nu telle
qu'elle était alors conduite. Le culte de l'antique comme on le
comprenait dans la première moitié du XIXe siècle parmi les peintres
avait amené la recherche de modèles speciaux. On leur demandait des
formes pleines. Les hommes en particulier devaient avoir une poitrine
large et bombée, un torse puissant, des membres musclés. Les individus
doués des qualités requises qui posaient alors dans les ateliers,
s'etaient habitués à prendre des attitudes prétendues expressive et
heroïques, mais toujours tendues et conventionelles, d'où l'imprévu
était banni. Manet, porté vers le naturel et épris de recherches,
s'irritait de ces poses d'un type fixe et toujours les mêmes. Aussi
faisait-il tres mauvais ménage avec les modèles. Il cherchait à en
obtenir des poses contraires à leurs habitudes, auxquelles ils se
refusaient. Les modèles connus qui avaient vu les morceaux faits d'après
leurs torses conduire certains élèves à l'école de Rome, alors la
suprême récompense, et qui dans leur orgueil s'attribuaient presqu'une
part du succès, se revoltaient de voir un tout jeune homme ne leur
témoigner aucun respect. Il paraît que fatigué de l'eternelle étude du
nu, Manet aurait essayé de draper et même d'habiller les modèles, ce qui
aurait causé parmi eux une véritable indignation."

It was in 1863 that the storm of popular fury burst over Manet's head,
on the exhibition of his first important picture, painted three years
before, generally known as _Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe_. This wonderful
canvas was something so new and so surprising that it was rejected by
the jury of the Salon. But in company with less conspicuous though
equally unacceptable pieces by such men as Bracquemond, Cazin,
Fantin-Latour, Harpignies, Jongkind, J. P. Laurens, Le Gros, Pissarro,
Vollon, and Whistler, it was accorded an exhibition, alongside the
official Salon, which was called _le Salon des refusés_. Being the
largest and most conspicuous work shown, it attracted no less attention
than if it had been officially hung, and probably much more. "Ainsi ce
Déjeuner sur l'herbe," says M. Duret, "venait-il faire comme une énorme
tache. Il donnait la sensation de quelquechose outré. Il heurtait la
vision. Il produisait, sur les yeux du public de ce temps, l'effet de la
pleine lumière sur les yeux du hibou."

There was more than one reason for this remarkable picture surprising
and shocking the sensibilities of the public. It represents a couple of
men in everyday bourgeois costume, one sitting and the other reclining
on the grass under trees, while next to one of them is seated a young
woman, her head turned to the spectator, in no costume at all. A
profusion of _articles de déjeuner_ is beside her, and it is evident
that they are only waiting to arrange the meal till a second young
woman, who is seen bathing in the near background, is ready to join
them. The subject and composition are reminiscent of Giorgione's
beautiful and famous _Fête Champêtre_, in the Louvre, and Manet quite
frankly and in quite good faith pleaded Giorgione as his precedent when
assailed on grounds of good taste. But unfortunately he had not put his
male figures in "fancy dress," and the public could hardly be expected
to realise that Giorgione had not, either. As for the painting, it was a
revelation. He had broken every canon of tradition--and yet it was a
marvellous success!

Another outburst greeted the appearance of the wonderful _Olympia_ in
1865, this time in the official catalogue. This is now enshrined in the
Louvre. It was painted in 1863, but fortunately, perhaps, Manet had not
the courage to exhibit it then--for who can tell to what length the fury
of the Philistines might not have been goaded by two such shocks? As it
was, this second violation of the sacred traditions of the nude, which
had been exclusively reserved for allegorical subjects, was considered
an outrage; and the innocent, natural model, of by no means voluptuous
appearance, was regarded as a disgraceful intrusion into the chaste
category of nymphs and goddesses. As a painter, however, Manet had shown
himself unmistakably as the great figure of

[Illustration: PLATE XLVIII.--ÉDOUARD MANET

OLYMPIA

_Louvre, Paris_]

the age, and if we have to go to Paris or to New York to catch a glimpse
of any of his work, it is partly because we are too backward in seizing
opportunities so eagerly snapped up by others.

The next great storm in the artistic world followed in the wake of one
of Manet's companions in adversity at the _Salon des Refusés_--JAMES
M'NEILL WHISTLER, who left Paris and settled with his mother in Chelsea
in the late 'sixties. That he should have existed for fifteen whole
years without breaking forth into strife is so extraordinary that we are
almost tempted to attribute it to the influence of his mother, who used
to bring him to the old church on Sundays, as the present writer dimly
remembers. In this case it was not the public, but the critic, John
Ruskin, who so deftly dropped the fat into the fire. Having, as we saw,
taken up the cudgels for poor Turner against the public in 1843, and for
the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1850, he now, in 1877, ranged himself
on the other side, and accused Whistler of impertinence in "flinging a
pot of paint in the face of the public." The action for libel which
Whistler commenced in the following year resulted in strict fact in a
verdict of one farthing damages for the libelled one; but in reality the
results were much farther reaching. The artist had vindicated not only
himself, but his art, from the attacks of the ignorant and bumptious.
"Poor art!" Whistler wrote, "What a sad state the slut is in, an these
gentlemen shall help her. The artist alone, by the way, is to no purpose
and remains unconsulted; his work is explained and rectified without
him, by the one who was never in it--but upon whom God, always good
though sometimes careless, has thrown away the knowledge refused to the
author, poor devil!" This recalls Turner's comment on Ruskin's
eulogies--which Whistler had probably never heard of--and making every
allowance for Whistler's fiery, combative nature, and sharp pen, there
is much truth, and truth that needed telling, in his contention. "Art,"
he continues, "that for ages has hewn its own history in marble, and
written its own comments on canvas, shall it suddenly stand still, and
stammer, and wait for wisdom from the passer-by? For guidance from the
hand that holds neither brush nor chisel? Out upon the shallow conceit!"

Of the hopeless banality of the critics during this period there are
plenty of examples to be found without looking very far. Several of the
most amusing have been embodied in a little volume of "Whistler
Stories," lately compiled by Mr Don C. Seitz of New York. Here we find
_The Standard's_ little joke about Whistler paying his costs in the
action--apart from those allowed on taxation, that is to say--"But he
has only to paint, or, as we believe he expresses it 'knock off' three
or four 'symphonies' or 'harmonies'--or perhaps he might try his hand at
a Set of Quadrilles in Peacock Blue?--and a week's labour will set all
square." Then there is this priceless revelation of his art when
questioning his class in Paris. "Do you know what I mean when I say
tone, value, light, shade, quality, movement, construction, etc.?"
_Chorus_, "Oh, yes, Mr Whistler!" "I'm glad, for it's more than I do
myself." More serious was the verdict of Sir George Scharf, keeper of
the National Gallery, when (in 1874) there was a proposal to purchase
the portrait of Carlyle. "Well," he said, icily, on looking at the
picture, "and has painting come to this!"

High place, it would seem, did not always conduce to an appreciation of
high art. Here is the opinion of Sir Charles Eastlake, F.R.I.B.A., also
keeper of the

[Illustration: PLATE XLIX.--J. M. WHISTLER

LILLIE IN OUR ALLEY

_In the possession of John J. Cowan, Esq._]

National Gallery, published in 1883, on one of Rembrandt's pictures in
the Louvre:--

"_The Bath_, a very ugly and offensive picture, in which the principal
object is the ill-proportioned figure of a naked woman, distinguished by
flesh tones whose colour suggests the need of a bath rather than the
fact that it has been taken. The position of the old servant wiping the
woman's feet is not very intelligible, and the drawing of the bather's
legs is distinctly defective. The light and shade of the picture, though
obviously untrue to natural effect, are managed with the painter's usual
dexterity."



V

THE ROYAL ACADEMY


The last revolt of the nineteenth century was effected in a peaceable
and business-like, but none the less successful manner, by the
establishment, in 1886, of the New English Art Club as a means of
defence against the mighty _vis inertiæ_ of the Royal Academy. As an
example of the disadvantage under which any artist laboured who did not
bow down to the great Idol, I venture to quote a few sentences from the
report of the Select Committee of the House of Lords appointed to
inquire into the administration of the Chantrey Trust, in 1904:----

"With five exceptions, all the works in the collection have been bought
from summer exhibitions of the Royal Academy."

"It is admitted by those most friendly to the present system that the
Chantrey collection regarded as a national gallery of modern British art
is incomplete, and in a large degree unrepresentative. The works of
many of the most brilliant and capable artists who worked in the last
quarter of the nineteenth century are missing from the gallery, and the
endeavour to account for these omissions has formed one main branch of
the inquiry."

"It has been stated that while containing some fine works of art, it is
lacking in variety and interest, and while failing to give expression to
much of the finest artistic feeling of its period, it includes not a few
works of minor importance. Full consideration of the evidence has led
the Committee to regard this view as approximately correct."

Up to 1897, when the collection was handed over to the nation, little
short of £50,000 had been spent upon it. And with five exceptions,
amounting to less than £5000, the whole of that money had been expended
on such works alone as were permitted by the Academy to be exhibited on
their walls.

Of the £5000, it may be noted, £2200 was well laid out on Watts's
_Psyche_; but with regard to the very first purchase made, in 1877, for
£1000,--Hilton's _Christ Mocked_, which had been painted as an
altar-piece for S. Peter's, Eaton Square, in 1839, the following
question and answer are full of bitter significance for the poor artist
of the time:----

     Lord Ribblesdale.--Was Mr Hilton's picture offered by the Vicar and
     Churchwardens?

     The Secretary to the Royal Academy.--Yes, it was offered by
     them--one of the Churchwardens was the late Lord Maghermorne--he
     was then Sir James M'Garrell Hogg--he was a great friend of Sir
     Francis Grant who was the President, and he offered it to him for
     the Chantrey Collection.

When repeatedly pressed by the Committee for the reasons why so few
purchases were made outside the Academy exhibitions, the President, Sir
Edward Poynter, repeatedly pleaded the impossibility of a Council of
Ten, all of whom must see pictures before they are bought, travelling
about in search of them. In view of this apparent--but obviously
unreal--difficulty, the following questions were then put by the Earl of
Lytton:----

420. Without actually changing the terms of the will, has the question
of employing an agent for the purpose of finding out what pictures were
available and giving advice upon them ever been suggested?--No.

421. That would come within the term of the will, would it not, the
final voting being, as it is now, in the hands of the Academy; it would
be open to the Council to appoint an agent, as was suggested just now,
of going to Scotland, and going about the country making suggestions as
to pictures which in his opinion might be bought?--The question has
never arisen.

422. But that could be done, could it not?--I suppose that could be done
under the terms of the will, but I do not suppose that the Academy would
ever do it.

As a comment on this let us turn to the "Autobiography of W. P. Frith R.
A." (Chapter xl.):--"A portion of the year ... was spent in the service
of the winter Exhibition of Old Masters. My duties took me into strange
places.... One of my first visits was paid to a huge mansion in the
North.... I visited thirty-eight different collections of old masters
and named for selection over three hundred pictures.... The pictures of
Reynolds are so much desired for the winter Exhibition that neither
trouble nor expense are spared in searching for them; so hearing of one
described to me as of unusual splendour, I made a journey into Wales
with the solitary Reynolds for its object."

Here, where it is not a question of a Trust for the benefit of the
public and for the encouragement of artists, there appears to have been
no trouble or expense spared. But the real reason for the Academic
selection leapt naïvely from the mouth of the President a little later,
in reply to question 545.--"The best artists come into the Academy
ultimately. I do not say that there have been no exceptions, but as a
general rule all the best artists ultimately become Academicians. It is
natural, if we want the best pictures that we should go to the best
artists."

On this point the answer to a question put by Lord Lytton to one of the
forty, Sir William Richmond, K.C.B., is of value, as showing that the
grievances of "the outsiders" were not imaginary:--

767. I just want to ask you one more question. When you said that in
your opinion the walls of the Academy have had priority of claim in the
past, have you any particular reason for that statement?--Yes. I may
mention this to show that I am consistent. Before I was an Associate of
the Royal Academy, I fought hard for what are called, in rather
undignified language, the outsiders, and I was anxious that men should
be elected Associates of the Royal Academy not necessarily because they
exhibit on the Royal Academy walls, but because they are competent
painters. That was my fight upon which I stood; and I refused to send a
picture to the Royal Academy on the understanding that if I did I should
probably be elected Associate that year, and also that my picture would
be bought by the Chantrey Fund. My answer to that was, "If my picture is
good enough to be purchased for the Chantrey Bequest my picture can be
purchased from the walls of the Grosvenor Gallery as well as from the
walls of the Royal Academy. That seems to me to be justice."

The "New English," then, had some justification for their establishment;
and although they did not make very much headway before the close of the
nineteenth century, they find themselves at the opening of the twentieth
in a position to determine to a very considerable extent what the future
of English painting is to be, just as the Academy succeeded in
determining it before they came into existence.

For the Academy everything that was vital in English art in the last
half century had no existence--was simply ignored. For the New English,
it was the seed that flowered, under their gentle influence, into the
many varieties of blossoms with which our garden is already filled. To
the Academy there was no such thing as change or development--their ears
were deaf to any innovation, their eyes were blind to any fresh beauty.
To others, every new movement foretold its significance, and the century
closed with the recognition of the fact that art must live and develop
if it is to be anything but a comfortable means of subsistence for a
self-constituted authority of forty and their friends.

Let me be allowed to conclude this chapter, and my imperfect efforts to
indicate the energies of six centuries of art in so small a space, with
a passage from a lecture delivered in 1882 by Mr Selwyn Image, now Slade
Professor at Oxford, which embodies the spirit in the air at that time,
and foreshadows what was to come. "I do not feel that we have come here
to sing a requiem for art this afternoon," he said. "As a giant it will
renew its strength and rejoice to run its course. I am not a prophet, I
cannot tell you just what that course is going to be. Nor is it possible
to estimate what is around us with the same security, with the same
value, that we estimate what has passed--you must be at a certain
distance to take things in. But in contemporary art we can notice some
characteristics, which are quite at one with what we call the modern
spirit; and extremely suggestive--for they seem to indicate movement,
and therefore life, in this imaginative sphere, just as there is
movement and life in the sphere of science or of social interests. For
instance, in modern representative work ... I think anyone comparing it
as a whole with the work of the old masters, will be struck as against
their distinctness, containedness, simplicity and serenity; with its
complexity, restlessness, and vagueness, and emotion, and suggestiveness
in place of delineation, and impressionism in place of literal
transcription--and this alike in execution and motive. I do not mean to
say that these qualities are better than the qualities that preceded
them, or worse--but only that they are different, only that they are of
the modern spirit--only that they indicate movement and life; and so far
that is hopeful--is it not?"


THE END



_INDEX_


Academy of Painting, the French, 231

---- the Royal, 279, 286, 329-333

Alamanus, Giovanni or Johannes, 60, 61

Allegri, Antonio, or Correggio, 58

Alma-Tadema, Sir Lawrence, 307

Altdorfer, Albert, 212, 214-216

Angelico, Fra, 19

Animal Painters, 154, 191-202

Aretino, Spinello, 17

Arnolde, 255


Backer, 174

Balen, Henry van, 159, 162

Barret, 287

Basaiti, Marco, 63, 74

Bassano, Jacopo da, 98-99

Bastiani, Lazzaro di, 75-76

Baudelaire, 311, 312

Bazzi, Giovanni Antonio (Sodoma), 57

Bellini, Gentile, 70, 72-73, 76, 81

---- Giovanni, 62, 63, 66, 70-72, 76, 81, 82, 83, 94

---- Jacopo, 66, 69, 70, 75

Belvedere, Andrea, 201

Berchem, Nicholas, 199-201, 205, 208

Beruete, Senor, quoted, 113, 115, 116, 118, 177

Bettes, John, 254, 255

---- Thomas, 255

Bol, 165

Boltraffio, Giovanni Antonio, 57

Bonifazio Veronese or Veneziano, 97-98

Bordes, Lassalle, 311

Bosboom, 307

Botticelli, Sandro, 26, 28-32, 33

Botticini, Francesco, 32

Boucher, François, 241-243, 245, 246, 247, 248

Bouguereau, 306

Bourdon, Sebastien, 231-232

Bouts, Dirk, 132

Bracquemond, 325

Bril, Paul, 229

Broederlam, Melchior, 121, 122, 124

Brouwer, Adrian, 157, 158, 173, 183-185

Brueghel, Jan, or Velvet Brueghel, 141, 201

----- Pieter (or Peasant), 141

---- ---- his son, 141

Brun, Le, 234-241

Bruyn, Bartel, 212

Buonarroti. _See_ Michelangelo

Burnet, on Turner, 315

Byzantine Art, 59, 124


Caliari, Paolo, 102-103

Campidoglio, Michel de, 201

Canale, Antonio, 108

Caro-Delvaille, quoted, 79, 87, 91, 92

Carpaccio, Vittore, 75, 76-78

Carracci, the, 106, 182

---- Agostino, 106, 107, 108

---- Annibale, 106, 107

---- Lodovico, 106, 107

Catalonia, School of, 109

Catena, Vincenzo, 72, 73

Cazin, 325

Champaigne, Philippe de, 233-234

Chantrey Trust, the, 329

Chardin, 245, 247, 296, 297

Chartered Society, the, 286

Cimabue, Giovanni, 1-9, 10, 11, 124, 125, 308

Claude (or Claude Lorraine, or Gellée), 226, 229-231

Cleef, Joos van, 142

Clouet, François, 226

---- Jehan or Jean, 226

Cole, Peter, 255

---- Vicat, 323

Conegliano, Cima da, 72, 73-74

Constable, 295, 306, 310, 314, 317

Cook, Herbert, quoted, 80, 83, 87

Copley, John Singleton, 297

Corot, 306

Correggio, 58

Cotes, 287

Cotman, John Sell, 295-296, 306, 314

Courbet, 306

Couture, 324

Cox, 306

Cozens, John Robert, 316

Cranach, Lucas, 212, 213-214

Credi, Lorenzo di, 49

Creswick, 323

Crivelli, Carlo, 63, 64

Crome, John, or Old Crome, 295, 314

---- John Bernay, his son, 295

Crowe and Cavalcaselle, quoted, 122

Cunningham, Allan, "Life of Hogarth," 261, 266, 267, 301

Cuyp, Albert, 194-196

---- Jacob Gerritz, 194


Dance, Nathaniel, 286

Daubigny, 306

Daumier, 306

David, Jacques Louis, 248, 249, 306, 309

Dayes, Edward, quoted, on Turner, 315

Decamps, 306

Degas, 306

Delacroix, Eugène, 306, 309-313

Diana, Benedetto, 75

Dilke, Lady, quoted, 247

Dobson, William, 257

Dolce, Carlo, 108

---- Ludovico, on Titian, 80, 81

Domenichino, 107-108, 227

Donatello, 23, 70

Doré, 306

Dou, Gerard, 187, 188, 192

Doyen, 246

Duccio of Siena, 5, 6, 59, 124, 125

Dürer, Albert, 70, 140, 175, 181, 212, 213, 215-222, 223

Duret, Théodore, quoted, on Manet, 324-325

Dyck, Anthony van, 156, 157, 160-163, 165, 166, 178, 236, 272

----  ---- in England, 256-257

Dutch School, 165-210


Eclectics, the, 105

Edwards, Edward, quoted, on Art Exhibitions, 279

Elsheimer, Adam, 158, 212

Emilia, Schools of, 57

English School, early Portrait Painters of, 251-258

---- in Eighteenth Century, 295-298

---- spirit of revolt in Nineteenth Century, 305 _et seq._

Everdingen, 157, 205

Exhibitions of Painting, 278

Eyck, Hubert van, 121, 125, 126, 127, 143, 150

---- Jan van, 121, 125, 129-131, 133, 134, 150


Fabriano, Gentile da, 65, 70

Fabritius, Karel, 189

Fantin-Latour, 325

Fiori, Mario di, 201

Flaxman, John, on Romney, 298-300

Flemish School, 121-163

Floris, Franz, 144

Foppa, Vincenzo, 57

Fragonard, Jean Honoré, 245, 248, 249

Francesco, Piero della, 49

Franciabigio, 45

Free Society of Artists, 286

French Academy of Painting, 231

French School in Seventeenth Century, 225-235

---- in Eighteenth Century, 235-249

---- in Nineteenth Century, 305

Frith, W. P., quoted, 331

Fyt, Jan, 154, 157


Gaddi, Taddeo, 18

Gainsborough, Thomas, 286, 288-295, 297

Garrard, Mark, 255

Gellée, Claude, or Claude, 226, 229-231

Genre Painters of Dutch School, 183-191

Géricault, 306, 310

German Schools, 211-224

Ghirlandaio, Domenico, 43, 310

Giambono, Michele, 60, 61

Gillot, Claude, 236, 239

Giorgione, 76, 79, 81, 82, 83, 86, 97

Giotto di Bondone, 10-18, 24, 66, 124, 308

Girtin, 315, 316

Gossaert, Jan, or Mabuse, 136, 138, 139, 143, 254

Gosse, Edmund, quoted, 322, 323

Goubeau, Antoine, 235

Goya, Francisco, 119-120

Goyen, Jan van, 186, 199, 202-203, 204

Grebber, Peter, 199

Greco, El, 110

Greene, Thomas, quoted, on Turner, 314

Greenhill, 257

Gros, Le, 309, 325

Greuze, Jean Baptiste, 243-245, 249, 258

Gruenewald, Matthew, 213

Guardi, Francesco, 108

Guercino, 108


Hals, Frans, 165-169, 173, 178, 179, 181, 183, 184, 192, 248

Harpignies, 325

Heem, de, 201

Heemskirk, Martin, 144

Helst, Bartholomew van der, 165, 170-171, 174

Herle, Wilhelm van, or Meister Wilhelm, 211

Herrera, Francisco de, 111

Highmore, 297

Hilliard, 257

Hobbema, Meindert, 208-210

Hogarth, William, 257, 258-267, 280, 297, 298, 307

Holbein, Hans, 175, 212, 213, 222-224

---- in England, 254

Hondecoeter, Giles, 197, 198

---- Gysbert, 198

---- Melchior, 154, 198, 199

Hone, Nathaniel, 287

Honthorst, Gerard, 169-170

Hoogh, Peter de, 189, 190

Hudson, Thomas, 257, 269

Hunt, Alfred, 323

---- Holman, 134, 306, 320, 321, 322

Huysum, James van, 202

---- Jan van, 201-202

---- Justus van, 202

---- Michael van, 203


Image, Mr Selwyn, quoted, 333

Ingres, 306

Israels, 307


Jervas, 257

John of Bruges, 125, 126

Jongkind, 325

Jordaens, Jacob, 156, 157, 160, 163


Kauffmann, Angelica, 287

Kneller, Sir Godfrey, 234, 257, 279

Knupler, Nicolas, 186

Kugler, quoted, 13, 61, 67, 75, 77, 95,
97, 99, 101, 103, 107, 181, 182, 195, 204, 223


Lancret, Nicholas, 239-240, 241

Landscape, painters of, 202-210

Largillière, Nicholas, 234, 235, 241

Lastman, Peter, 180

Laurens, J. P., 325

Lawrence, 300, 301-303, 306, 313

Le Brun, 234, 241

Le Gros, 309, 325

Le Moine, François, 241

Le Sueur, Eustache, 232-233

Lefort, quoted, on Velasquez, 115

Lely, Sir Peter, 165, 235, 257

Leyden, Lucas van, 138, 212

Lingelbach, 203, 208

Lippi, Fra Filippo, 21, 26, 29

---- Filippino, 22

Lochner, Stephen, 211

Lockie, 255

Lombardy, Schools of, 57

Longhi, Pietro, 108

Loo, Carle van, 241

Lorenzetti, Pietro, 17

Lorraine, Claude, 226, 229-231

Lotto, Lorenzo, 63, 72, 96-97

Luini, Bernardino, 57

Lyne, 255


Mabuse, Jan van, 136, 138, 139, 143, 254

Maes, Nicolas, 180, 188-189

Manet, Édouard, 306, 324-327

Mansueti, Giovanni, 75

Mantegna, Andrea, 67-70, 71, 72, 146, 151

Maratti, Carlo, 108

Maris, the Brothers, 307

Masaccio, 18, 21, 24-26

Masolino, 26

Massys, Jan, 141

---- Quentin, 136-138, 141, 212

Mauve, 307

Meissonier, 306

Memling, Hans, 132, 133-136, 150

Mengs, Raphael, 85

Messina, Antonello da, 71, 72, 126, 129

Metsu, 191

Michelangelo, 26, 40-46, 66, 95, 100

Mieris, Frans van, 188

Millais, 320, 321, 322, 323

Millet, 306

Moine, François le, 241

Monoyer, Baptiste, 201

Montagna, Bartolommeo, 63

Mor, Sir Antonio, 142

Morland, George, 296-298

---- Henry, his father, 296

Moroni, 75

Moser, Michael, 280

Moyaert, Nicholas, 199

Murano, Antonio da, 60

Murillo, Bartolomé Estéban, 118-119

Muther, Dr, quoted, 32, 177, 178


Nasmyth, 306

New English Art Club, 329, 333

Norwich School, 295


Oil Painting, introduction of, 126

Oliver, 257

Oort, Adam van, 145

Orcagna, Andrea, 16

Orley, Bernard van, 140, 143

Ostade, Adrian van, 173, 183, 185, 206

---- Isaac van, 183, 185

Ouwater, 13


Pacheco, 110-111

Padua, School of, 66

Palma, Giovane, 78

---- Vecchio, 78, 96, 98

Parma, School of, 58

Pater, Jean Baptiste Joseph, 240-241

Peake, 255

Penny, 287

Perugian or Umbrian School, 48, 49, 51

Perugino, Pietro, 48, 49

Pinas, 180

Piombo, Sebastiano del, 94-96

Pisanello, Vittore, 64, 65

Pissarro, 325

Pollaiuolo, Antonio, 26-28, 30

Pontormo, 45

Pot, Hendrik Gerritz, 169

Potter, Paul, 196

---- Pieter, 196

Poussin, Gaspard (Gaspard Dughet), 228-229, 231

---- Nicholas, 226-228

Poynter, Sir Edward, 331

Predis, Ambrogio di, 36, 57

Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, 134, 320, 323, 327

Previtali, Andrea, 74

Prudhon, 309


Quattrocentists, the Earlier, 18-26

---- the Later, 26 _et seq._


Raeburn, 300

Raphael, 26, 45, 47-57

---- Sir Joshua Reynolds on, 85, 270

Rembrandt van Ryn, 165, 166, 171-183, 192

Reni, Guido, 108

Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 267-278, 286-288, 289

---- quoted, on Boucher, 243

---- ---- on Bourdon, 232, 233

---- ---- on Gainsborough, 290-294

---- ---- on Hogarth, 260

---- ---- on Rubens and Titian, 93-94

---- ---- on Titian and Raphael, 85

---- ---- on Veronese, 105

---- revival of English School due to, 150

---- _Refs._ to, 245, 247, 251, 257, 297, 301, 331, 332

Ribera, 110

Richardson, 257

Ridolfi, quoted, 84

Rigaud, Hyacinthe, 234, 241

Riley, 257

Robert, Hubert, 246

Robusti, Jacopo. _See_ Tintoretto

Romano, Giulio, 55

Romney, George, 100, 152, 289, 298-300, 301

Rossetti, 134, 306, 321, 322

Rowlandson, 89

Royal Academy, the, 329-333

---- foundation of, 279, 286

Rubens, Peter Paul, 143-157

---- and Van Dyck, 161-162

---- and Velasquez, 112, 149

---- pupils of, 157-163

---- _Refs._ to, 89, 93, 114, 117, 158, 160,
165, 167, 176, 179, 182, 184, 235, 236, 271

Rucellai Madonna, the, 5

Ruisdael, Jacob, 157, 200, 204-206, 208, 209

Ruskin against the Philistines, 313-323

---- on Whistler, 327


Sandrart, Joachim, 229

---- quoted, 180

Sansovino, 89, 102

Sarto, Andrea del, 41, 45

Scharf, Sir George, 328

Schlegel, on Altdorfer, 215

Schongauer, Martin, 134

Scorel, Jan, 140

Sebastiani, Lazzaro di. _See_ Bastiani

Segar, Francis, 255

---- William, 255

Seghers, Daniel, 201

Semitecolo, Nicolo, 59

Shee, Sir Martin Archer, 313

Signorelli, Luca, 49

Smith, John, Catalogue Raisonné, quoted, 193, 199, 244, 265

Snyders, Frans, 154, 157, 159-160, 163

Sodoma, 57

Spanish School, 108-120

Spinello of Arezzo, or Aretino, 17

Squarcione, Francesco, 62, 63, 66-67, 70

Steen, Jan, 186-187

Stevens, 306

Streetes, Guillim, 254, 255

Strozzi, Bernard, 113

Sueur, Eustache le, 232-233

Swanenburg, Jacob van, 175, 180


Tassi, Agostino, 229

Teniers, Abraham, 158

---- David, the Elder, 157, 158

---- ---- the Younger, 157, 158, 159, 163, 185

Terburg, Gerard, 190-191

Thornhill, Sir James, 258, 279

Thulden, Theodore van, 156

Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista, 108

Tintoretto, Il, 99-102, 103, 104, 105, 113, 114, 117

Titian, 78-94, 100, 102, 103, 104, 105, 117, 179

Turner, 295, 306, 314-320, 323, 327

---- Claude's influence on, 230, 231

Tuscan Schools, 1-58


Uccello, Paolo, 23-24, 25

Umbrian or Perugian School, 48, 49, 51


Vaga, Piero del, 45

Van Balen, Henry, 159, 162

Van Cleef, Joos, 142

Van de Velde, Adrian, 203, 206, 208

---- Willem, the Elder, 206

---- ---- the Younger, 206-208

Van der Helst, Bartholomew, 165, 170-171, 174

Van der Weyden, Roger, 132-134, 211

Van Dyck, Anthony, 156, 157, 160-163, 165, 166, 178, 236, 272

---- ---- in England, 256, 257

Van Eyck, Hubert, 121, 125, 126, 127, 143, 150

---- Jan, 121, 125, 127, 131, 133, 134, 150

Van Goyen, Jan, 186, 199, 202-203, 204

Van Huysum, James, 202

---- Jan, 201-202

---- Justus, 202

---- Michael, 202

Van Leyden, Lucas, 138, 212

Van Loo, Carle, 241

Van Mabuse, Jan, 136, 138, 139, 143, 254

Van Mieris, Frans, 188

Van Oort, Adam, 145

Van Orley, Bernard, 140, 143

Van Ostade, Adrian, 173, 183, 185, 206

---- Isaac, 183, 185

Van Swanenburg, Jacob, 175, 180

Van Thulden, Theodore, 156

Vasari, quoted, on Andrea del Sarto, 41

---- on Botticelli, 28, 30, 32

---- on Cimabue, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9

---- on Fra Angelico, 20

---- on Fra Filippo Lippi, 21, 22, 23

---- on Giotto, 10

---- on introduction of oil painting, 126, 127, 129

---- on Leonardo da Vinci, 34, 37, 39, 40

---- on Masaccio, 25, 26

---- on Michelangelo, 42, 43, 44, 45

---- on Pollaiuolo, 26, 27, 28

---- on the Quattrocentists, 18

---- on Raphael, 47

---- on Spinello of Aretino, 82, 86

---- on Titian, 82, 86

---- _Refs._ to, 173, 308

Vecellio, Tiziano. _See_ Titian

Velasquez, 89, 109, 110-118, 120, 163, 178, 179

Venetian Schools, 59-108

Verhaegt, Tobias, 145

Vermeer of Delft, Jan, 189, 191

Veronese, Paolo, 103-104, 105

Verrocchio, Andrea, 34, 35, 49

Vertue, George, 251

Vinci, Leonardo da, 26, 33-40, 49, 57, 225

Vivarini Family, the, 59, 60

---- Antonio, 62, 63, 65

---- Bartolommeo, 62

---- Luigi, or Alvise, 62

Vlieger, Simon de, 206

Vollon, 325

Volterra, Daniele da, 18

---- Francesco da, 18

Vos, Simon de, 156


Waagen, Dr, quoted, 95, 122-123, 143, 146, 153, 157, 224

Walker, Robert, 257

Walpole, quoted, 251, 252, 267

Wals, Gottfried, 229

Watteau, Antoine, 235-239, 240, 241

Watts, George Frederick, 306, 322

Weenix, Jan Baptist, 154, 197, 198, 199

---- ---- his son, 154, 198

Wesel, Hermann Wynrich von, 211

West, Benjamin, 253, 256, 287

Weyden, Roger van der, 132-134, 211

Whistler, James M'Neill, 306, 325, 327

Wilhelm, Meister, 211

Wills, 280

Wils, Jan, 199

Wilson, Richard, 230, 288, 296

Wint, Peter de, 306

Wouvermans, Philip, 192-193, 205, 206, 208

Wyczewa, M. de, quoted, 117

Wynants, Jan, 192, 203-204


Zampieri, Domenico, or Domenichino, 107-108

Zoffany, 297

Zurbaran, 110


FOOTNOTES:

[1] National Gallery Catalogue.

[2] "Titien," par Henry Caro-Delvaille. Librairie Félix Alcan.

[3] An old copy of this picture is in the Edinburgh Gallery.





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