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Title: Great Men and Famous Women, Vol. 8 - A series of pen and pencil sketches of the lives of more - than 200 of the most prominent personages in History
Author: Horne, Charles F. (Charles Francis), 1870-1942 [Editor]
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Great Men and Famous Women, Vol. 8 - A series of pen and pencil sketches of the lives of more - than 200 of the most prominent personages in History" ***

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[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected,
all other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's
spelling has been maintained.]

[Illustration: Sarah Bernhardt as Cleopatra.]


_A Series of Pen and Pencil Sketches of_



Copyright, 1894, BY SELMAR HESS

edited by Charles F. Horne

[Illustration: Publisher's arm.]

New-York: Selmar Hess Publisher


  SUBJECT                          AUTHOR                         PAGE

  MICHAEL ANGELO,             _Anna Jameson_,                      214
  BEETHOVEN,                  _C. E. Bourne_,                      319
  SARAH BERNHARDT,            _H. S. Edwards_,                     382
  ROSA BONHEUR,               _Clarence Cook_,                     276
  EDWIN BOOTH,                _Clarence Cook_,                     370
  CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN,          _Dutton Cook_,                       355
  _Letter from Miss Cushman to a young friend on the subject
     of "Self-conquest,"_                                          362
  LEONARDO DA VINCI,          _Anna Jameson_,                      209
  GUSTAVE DORÉ,               _Kenyon Cox_,                        298
  ALBERT DÜRER,               _W. J. Holland_,                     231
  EDWIN FORREST,              _Lawrence Barrett_,                  349
  DAVID GARRICK,              _Samuel Archer_,                     343
  GÉRÔME,                     _Clarence Cook_,                     281
  HANDEL,                     _C. E. Bourne_,                      302
  HAYDN,                      _C. E. Bourne_,                      315
  WILLIAM HOGARTH,                                                 247
  JOSEPH JEFFERSON,           _Clarence Cook_,                     374
  FRANZ LISZT,                _Rev. Hugh R. Haweis, M.A._,         332
  MEISSONIER,                 _Clarence Cook_,                     272
  MENDELSSOHN,                _C. F. Bourne_,                      326
  JEAN FRANÇOIS MILLET,       _Clarence Cook_,                     265
  MOZART,                     _C. E. Bourne_,                      308
  PAGANINI,                                                        325
  ADELINA PATTI,              _Frederick F. Buffen_,               378
  PHIDIAS,                    _Clarence Cook_,                     203
  RACHEL,                     _Dutton Cook_,                       363
  RAPHAEL,                    _Mrs. Lee_,                          221
  REMBRANDT,                  _Elizabeth Robins Pennell_,          240
  SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS,        _Samuel Archer_,                     250
  DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI,     _Edmund Gosse_,                      287
  RUBENS,                     _Mrs. Lee_,                          236
  THORWALDSEN,                _Hans Christian Andersen_,           258
  TITIAN,                     _Giorgio Vasari_,                    226
  GIUSEPPE VERDI,                                                  342
  RICHARD WAGNER,             _Franklin Peterson, Mus. Bac._,      338
  BENJAMIN WEST,              _Martha J. Lamb_,                    254




  ILLUSTRATION                               ARTIST            TO FACE

  SARAH BERNHARDT AS CLEOPATRA,         _Georges Clairin_ _Frontispiece_
  MICHAEL ANGELO AND VITTORIA COLONNA,  _Hermann Schneider_         220
  ALBERT DÜRER VISITS HANS SACHS,       _Richard Gross_             234
    RUBENS,                             _Florent Willems_           240
  CONNOISSEURS AT REMBRANDT'S STUDIO,   _Adolphe-Alexandre Lesrel_  244
  MEISSONIER'S ATELIER,                 _Georges Bretegnier_        272
  MOZART SINGING HIS REQUIEM,           _Thomas W. Shields_         314
  AN ANECDOTE ABOUT BEETHOVEN,          _Paul Leyendecker_          322
  FRANZ LISZT,                          _Fortuné-Joseph-Seraphin
                                           Layraud_                 334
  WAGNER AND HIS FRIENDS,               _Wilhelm Beckmann_          340
  RACHEL AS THE MUSE OF GREEK TRAGEDY,  _Jean Léon Gérôme_          368
  JOE JEFFERSON AS BOB ACRES,           _From life_                 376


  RAPHAEL INTRODUCED TO DA VINCI,       _Brune Pagès_               212
  LEO X. AT RAPHAEL'S BIER,             _Pietro Michis_             224
  A FÊTE AT THE HOUSE OF TITIAN,        _F. Kraus_                  228
  ALBERT DÜRER'S WEDDING,               _A. Bodenmüller_            232
    QUEENBOROUGH,                                                   248
    ROYAL ACADEMY,                      _Sir Thomas Lawrence_       258
  ROSA BONHEUR,                         _E. Dubufe_                 278
  HANDEL'S RIVER-CONCERT FOR GEORGE I., _A. Hamman_                 304
  HAYDN COMPOSING HIS "CREATION,"       _A. Hamman_                 318
  PAGANINI IN PRISON,                   _Louis Boulanger_           326
  GARRICK AS RICHARD III.,              _William Hogarth_           346
  FORREST AS METAMORA,                  _From Photograph_           352
  CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN AS MRS. HALLER,     _Watkins_                   360



         [Footnote 1: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.]


(ABOUT 500-432 B.C.)

Phidias, one of the greatest sculptors the world has seen, and whose
name has become, as it were, the synonym of his art, was born at
Athens about 500 B.C. He belonged to a family of artists, none of whom
indeed were distinguished in their profession, but their varied
occupations furnished the atmosphere in which such a talent as that of
Phidias could best be fostered and brought to maturity. His father was
Charmides, who is believed to have been an artist, because the Greeks,
in their inscriptions, did not associate the name of the father with
that of the son unless both were of the same calling. A brother of
Phidias, Panoenos, was a painter, and is mentioned among those
artists, twenty or more in number, who in conjunction with Polygnotus,
one of the chief painters of his day, were employed in the decoration
of the Poecile or Painted Portico, one of the many beautiful buildings
erected by Cimon. The Poecile was simply a long platform, with a roof
supported by a row of columns on one side and by a wall on the other.
It was called "the painted," because the wall at the back was covered
with a series of large historical pictures containing many figures,
and recording some of the chief events of the time, together with
others relating to an earlier and more shadowy epoch. The subject of
the painting, executed, at least in part, by the brother of Phidias,
was the Battle of Marathon, in which great event it is thought he may
himself have taken part.

The boyhood of Phidias fell in a time of national revival, when under
the influence of an ennobling political excitement, all the arts were
quickened to a fresh, original, and splendid growth. The contest
between the Greeks and Persians, which had begun with the Ionian
revolt, was in full activity at the time of his birth. He was ten
years old when the battle of Marathon was fought, and when he was
twenty, four of the most striking events in the history of Greece were
crowded into a single year; the battle of Thermopylæ, the victory at
Salamis, and the twin glories of Platæa and Mycale. His early youth,
therefore, was nourished by the inspiring influences that come from
the victorious struggle of a people to maintain their national life.
He was by no means the only sculptor of his time whom fame remembers,
but he alone, rejecting trivial themes, consecrated his talent to the
nobler subjects of his country's religious life and the ideal
conception of her protecting gods. No doubt, Phidias, like all who are
born with the artistic temperament, would be interested from childhood
in the progress of the splendid works with which Athens was enriching
herself under the rule of Cimon. But his interest must have been
greatly increased by the fact that his brother Panoenos was actively
engaged in the decoration of one of those buildings. It would be
natural that he should be often drawn to the place where his brother
was at work, and that the sight of so many artists, most of them young
men, filled with the generous ardor of youth, and inspired by the
nature of their task, should have stirred in him an answering
enthusiasm. It gives us a thrill of pleasure to read in the list of
these youths the name of the great tragic poet, Euripides, who began
life as a painter, and in whose plays we find more than one reference
to the art. It cannot be thought unreasonable to suppose that two such
intelligences as these must have had an attraction for one another,
and that, as in the case of Dante and Giotto, the great poet and the
great artist would be drawn together by a likeness in their taste and

Phidias studied his art first at Athens, with a native sculptor,
Hegias, of whom we know nothing except from books. Later, he went to
Argos, and there put himself under the instruction of Ageladas, a
worker chiefly in bronze, and very famous in his time, of whom,
however, nothing remains but the memory of a few of his more notable
works. For us, his own works forgotten, he remains in honor as the
teacher of Myron, of Polycletus, and of Phidias, the three chief
sculptors of the next generation to his own. On leaving the workshop
of Ageladas, Phidias executed several statues that brought him
prominently before the public. For Delphi, he made a group of thirteen
figures in bronze, to celebrate the battle of Marathon and apotheosize
the heroes of Attica. In this group, Miltiades was placed in the
centre, between Athena, the tutelary goddess of Athens, and Apollo,
the guardian of Delphi; while on each side were five Athenian heroes,
Theseus and Codrus with others, arranged in a semicircle. This
important work was paid for by Athens out of her share in the spoils
of Marathon. Another important commission executed by Phidias was a
statue of Athena made for her temple at Platæa, and paid for with the
eighty talents raised by the contributions of the other Grecian states
as a reward for the splendid services of the Platæans at Marathon,
where they played somewhat the same part as the Prussians at the
battle of Waterloo. The head, hands, and feet of this statue were of
marble, but the drapery was of gold; so arranged, probably, as in the
case of the great statue of Athena designed later by Phidias for the
Parthenon, as to be removable from the marble core at pleasure.
Phidias made so many statues of the virgin goddess Athena, that his
name became associated with hers, as at a later day that of Raphael
was with the Virgin Mary. In the first period of his artistic career,
moved perhaps by his patriotic gratitude for her intervention in
behalf of his native state, he had represented the goddess as a
warlike divinity, as here at Platæa; but in his later conceptions, as
in a statue made for the Athenians of Lemnos, Athena appeared invested
with milder attributes, and with a graceful and winning type of

In their invasion of Attica the Persians had destroyed the city of
Athens, and the people, who had fled to all quarters of the peninsula
to seek refuge from the enemy, returned after the victory at Salamis
and the flight of the Persians, to find their homes a heap of ruins.
The dwelling-houses of the Greeks were everywhere, even in their
largest cities, built of mean materials: walls of stubble overlaid
with stucco and gayly painted. It was not long, therefore, before
Athens resumed something of her old appearance, with such improvements
as always follow the rebuilding of a city. The most important change
effected was that brought about in the character of the great plateau,
the fortified rock of the Acropolis. Here, as in many Greek cities,
the temples of the gods had been erected, and about them, as about the
cathedrals of the Middle Ages, there had grown up a swarm of houses
and other buildings built by generations of people who sought there at
once the protection of the stockade which enclosed the almost
inaccessible site, and the still further safeguard of the presence of
the divinities in their temples. The destructive hand of the Persian
invaders had swept this platform clear of all these multiplied
incumbrances, and in the rebuilding of the city it was determined to
reserve the Acropolis for military and religious uses alone.

The work of improvement was begun by Cimon, who, however, confined his
attention chiefly to the lower city that clustered about the base of
the Acropolis. Here, among other structures, he built the temple of
Theseus and the Painted Portico, and he also erected, near the summit
of the Acropolis, on the western side, the little gem-like temple of
the Wingless Victory, Nike Apteros, in commemoration of the success of
the Athenian arms at the battle of the Eurymedon. It was from Cimon
that Phidias received his first commission for work upon the
Acropolis, where later he was to build such a lasting monument to his
own fame and to the fame of his native land. The commission given him
by Cimon was to erect a bronze statue of Athena which was to stand on
the citadel, at once a symbol of the power of Athens and a tribute to
the protecting goddess of the city. The work upon the statue was
probably begun under Cimon, but according to Ottfried Müller it was
not completed at the death of Phidias. It stood in the open air, and
nearly opposite the Colonnade at the entrance of the great flight of
marble steps that led from the plain to the summit of the Acropolis,
and was the first object to meet the eye on passing through the
gateway. It represented the goddess, armed, and in a warlike attitude,
from which it derived its name, Athena Promachos: Athena, the leader
of the battle. With its pedestal it stood about seventy feet high,
towering above the roof of the Parthenon, the gilded point of the
brazen spear held by the goddess flashing back the sun to the ships as
in approaching Athens they rounded the promontory of Sunium. We read
that the statue was still standing so late as 395 A.D., and it is said
that its towering height and threatening aspect caused a panic terror
in Alaric and his horde of barbarians when they climbed the Acropolis
to plunder its temple of its treasure.

But it was under the rule of Pericles that Phidias was to find at
Athens his richest employment. Pericles had determined, probably by
the advice of Phidias, to make the Acropolis the seat and centre of
the new and splendid city that was to arise under his administration.
The first great undertaking was the building of a temple to Athena
Parthenos, Athena the Virgin, a design believed to have been suggested
to Pericles by Phidias. The plans were intrusted to Ictinus, an
Athenian, one of the best architects of the day; but the general
control and superintendence of the work were given to Phidias. As the
building rose to completion, workmen in all branches of the arts
flocked to Athens from every part of Greece and were given full
employment by Phidias in the decoration and furnishing of the temple.

The taste of Phidias controlled the whole scheme of decoration applied
to the building, into which color entered, no doubt, to a much greater
extent than was formerly believed. Even after time and the destructive
hand of man have done their worst, there still remain sufficient
traces of color to prove that the sculpture, and the whole upper part
of the temple, were painted in bright but harmonious colors, and that
metal ornaments and accessories accented the whole scheme with
glittering points of light reflected from their shining surfaces.

The sculptures with which the Parthenon was adorned by Phidias, and
which were executed under his immediate superintendence, consisted of
two great groups that filled the eastern and western pediments; of
groups of two figures each in the ninety-two metopes or panels above
the outer row of columns; and, finally, the famous frieze that ran
completely round the temple itself, just below the ceiling of the
colonnade, and at a height of about thirty-nine feet from the floor.

The subject of the group that filled the eastern pediment, the one
above the entrance door of the temple, was the birth of Athena. Just
how the event was represented we do not know because quite half the
group, including the principal figures, disappeared very early in our
era, and no description of them remains in any ancient or modern
writer. The group in the western pediment represented the contest
between Athena and Poseidon for the dominion over Attica. According to
the legend, the strife between the two divinities took place in an
assembly of the gods on the Acropolis, who were to determine which of
the two contestants should be the protector of the city. To prove his
power, Poseidon struck the rock with his trident, and a salt spring
leaped forth, as if the sea itself had obeyed the call of its lord.
Athena struck the ground, and an olive-tree sprang up, the emblem of
peace and of the victories of commerce, and the assembly awarded the
prize to her. The goddess having thus received the sovereignty of
Athens, it was but natural that a day should be set apart for her
special honor, and a festival instituted to commemorate the great
event. This was the greater Panathenaia, or All Athenians Day, which
was celebrated every fourth year in honor of the goddess, and which,
as its name implies, was taken part in by all the people of the city.
It occurred in the early summer and lasted five days. On the fifth
day, it closed with a procession which went through all the chief
streets of the city and wound its way up the Great Stairway to the
Acropolis, bearing the _peplos_ or embroidered robe woven by young
virgin ladies of Athens, chosen from the highest families, and known
for their skill in this kind of work. After the _peplos_ had been
consecrated in the temple it was placed with due solemnities upon the
ancient and venerable figure of the goddess, made of olive-wood, and
said to have descended from heaven. From its subject, which thus
celebrates the Panathenaic procession, the frieze is often called the
Panathenaic frieze.

It is carved from Pentelic marble, of which material the marble
building is constructed. Its original length, running as it did around
the entire building, was 522.80 feet, of which about 410 feet remain.
Of this portion, 249 feet are in the British Museum in slabs and
fragments; the remainder is chiefly in the Louvre, with scattered
fragments in other places. As a connected subject this was the most
extensive piece of sculpture ever made in Greece. From all that can be
gathered from the study of the fragments that remain, the design of
the frieze was of the utmost simplicity and characterized by the union
of perfect taste and clear purpose that marks all the work of the
great sculptor. The subject begins in the frieze at the western end of
the temple, where we watch the assembling of the procession. It then
proceeds along the northern and southern sides of the building, in
what we are to suppose one continuous line, moving toward the east,
since all the faces are turned that way; and at the eastern end,
directly over the main entrance to the building, the two parts of the
procession meet, in the presence of the magistrates and of the
divinities who had places of worship in Athens.

Of the grace, the skill in arrangement, the variety of invention, the
happy union of movement and repose shown in this work, not only
artists--men best fitted to judge its merits from a technical point of
view--but the cultivated portion of the public, and a large and
ever-increasing circle of every-day people, have by common consent
agreed in praise. By the multiplication of casts, to be found now in
all our principal museums, we are enabled to study and to enjoy the
long procession even better than it could have been enjoyed in its
original place, where it must have been seen at a great disadvantage
in spite of the skill shown by Phidias in adapting it to its site;
for, as the frieze stood thirty-nine feet from the floor, and as the
width of the portico between the wall and the columns was only nine
feet, it was seen at a very sharp angle, and owing to the projection
of the roof beyond the wall of the temple the frieze received only
reflected light from the marble pavement below.

Apart from the marble sculptures on the exterior of the Parthenon, the
two most famous works of Phidias were the statues of Athena, made for
the interior of the Parthenon, and of Zeus for the temple of the god
at Olympia in Elis. Both these statues were of the sort called
_Chryselephantine_, from the Greek _chrousous_, golden, and
_elephantinos_, of ivory; that is, they were constructed of plates of
gold and ivory, laid upon a core of wood or stone. The style was not
new, though its invention was at one time ascribed to Phidias. It came
from the East, but it was now employed for the first time in Greece in
a work of national importance.

In the Athena, the face, neck, arms, hands, and feet were made of
ivory, and the drapery and ornaments, the helmet, the shield, and the
sandals of gold, which as in the case of the statue made for Platæa,
was removable at pleasure. The height of the statue, including the
pedestal, was nearly forty feet. The goddess stood erect, clothed with
a tunic reaching to the ankles, and showing her richly sandalled feet.
She had the ægis on her breast, her head was covered with a helmet,
and her shield, richly embossed with the Battle of the Amazons, rested
on the ground at her side. In one hand she held a spear, and in the
other, an image of Victory six feet high.

A still more splendid work, and one which raised the fame of Phidias
to the highest point, was the statue of the Olympian Zeus, made for
the Eleans. In this statue, Phidias essayed to embody the Homeric
ideal of the supreme divinity of the people of Greece sitting on his
throne as a monarch, and in an attitude of majestic repose. The
throne, made of cedar-wood, was covered with plates of gold, and
enriched with ivory, ebony, and precious stones. It rested on a
platform twelve feet high, made of costly marble and carved with the
images of the gods who formed the council of Zeus on Olympus. The feet
of the god rested on a footstool supported by lions, and with the
combat of Theseus and the Amazons in a bas-relief on the front and
sides. In one hand Zeus held the sceptre, and in the other a winged
Victory. His head was crowned with a laurel wreath; his mantle,
falling from one shoulder, left his breast bare and covered the lower
part of his person with its ample folds of pure gold enamelled with
flowers. The whole height of the statue with the pedestal was about
fifty feet; by its very disproportion to the size of the temple it was
made to appear still larger than it really was. This statue was
reckoned one of the wonders of the world. In it the Greeks seemed to
behold Zeus face to face. To see it was a cure for all earthly woes,
and to die without having seen it was reckoned a great calamity.

The downfall of Pericles, due to the jealousies of his rivals, carried
with it the ruin of Phidias, his close friend, to whom he had
entrusted such great undertakings. An indictment was brought against
the sculptor, charging him with appropriating to himself a portion of
the gold given him for the adornment of the statue of Athena; and
according to some authorities Pericles himself was included in the
charge. The gold had, however, been attached to the statue in such a
manner that it could be taken off and weighed, and in the proof, the
charge had to be abandoned. But Phidias did not escape so easily. He
was accused of sacrilege in having introduced portraits of himself and
Pericles on the shield of the goddess, where, says Plutarch, in the
bas-relief of the Battle of the Amazons, he carved his own portrait as
a bald old man lifting a stone with both hands, and also introduced an
excellent likeness of Pericles fighting with an Amazon.

Phidias died in prison before the trial came off, and his name must be
added to the long list of those whom an ungrateful world has rewarded
for their services with ignominy and death.

[Signature of the author.]




[Illustration: Leonardo Da Vinci.]

Leonardo da Vinci seems to present in his own person a _résumé_ of all
the characteristics of the age in which he lived. He was _the_ miracle
of that age of miracles. Ardent and versatile as youth; patient and
persevering as age; a most profound and original thinker; the greatest
mathematician and most ingenious mechanic of his time; architect,
chemist, engineer, musician, poet, painter--we are not only astounded
by the variety of his natural gifts and acquired knowledge, but by the
practical direction of his amazing powers. The extracts which have
been published from MSS. now existing in his own handwriting show him
to have anticipated by the force of his own intellect some of the
greatest discoveries made since his time. "These fragments," says Mr.
Hallam, "are, according to our common estimate of the age in which he
lived, more like revelations of physical truths vouchsafed to a single
mind than the superstructure of its reasoning upon any established
basis. The discoveries which made Galileo, Kepler, Castelli, and other
names illustrious; the system of Copernicus, the very theories of
recent geologists, are anticipated by Da Vinci within the compass of a
few pages, not perhaps in the most precise language, or on the most
conclusive reasoning, but so as to strike us with something like the
awe of preternatural knowledge. In an age of so much dogmatism he
first laid down the grand principle of Bacon, that experiment and
observation must be the guides to just theory in the investigation of
nature. If any doubt could be harbored, not as to the right of
Leonardo da Vinci to stand as the first name of the fifteenth century,
which is beyond all doubt, but as to his originality in so many
discoveries, which probably no one man, especially in such
circumstances, has ever made, it must be by an hypothesis not very
untenable, that some parts of physical science had already attained a
height which mere books do not record."

It seems at first sight almost incomprehensible that, thus endowed as
a philosopher, mechanic, inventor, discoverer, the fame of Leonardo
should now rest on the works he has left as a painter. We cannot,
within these limits, attempt to explain why and how it is that as the
man of science he has been naturally and necessarily left behind by
the onward march of intellectual progress, while as the poet-painter
he still survives as a presence and a power. We must proceed at once
to give some account of him in the character in which he exists to us
and for us--that of the great artist.

Leonardo was born at Vinci, near Florence, in the Lower Val d'Arno, on
the borders of the territory of Pistoia. His father, Piero da Vinci,
was an advocate of Florence--not rich, but in independent
circumstances, and possessed of estates in land. The singular talents
of his son induced Piero to give him, from an early age, the advantage
of the best instructors. As a child he distinguished himself by his
proficiency in arithmetic and mathematics. Music he studied early, as
a science as well as an art. He invented a species of lyre for
himself, and sung his own poetical compositions to his own music, both
being frequently extemporaneous. But his favorite pursuit was the art
of design in all its branches; he modelled in clay or wax, or
attempted to draw every object which struck his fancy. His father sent
him to study under Andrea Verrocchio, famous as a sculptor, chaser in
metal, and painter. Andrea, who was an excellent and correct designer,
but a bad and hard colorist, was soon after engaged to paint a picture
of the baptism of our Saviour. He employed Leonardo, then a youth, to
execute one of the angels; this he did with so much softness and
richness of color, that it far surpassed the rest of the picture; and
Verrocchio from that time threw away his palette, and confined himself
wholly to his works in sculpture and design, "enraged," says Vessari,
"that a child should thus excel him."

The youth of Leonardo thus passed away in the pursuit of science and
of art; sometimes he was deeply engaged in astronomical calculations
and investigations; sometimes ardent in the study of natural history,
botany, and anatomy; sometimes intent on new effects of color, light,
shadow, or expression in representing objects animate or inanimate.
Versatile, yet persevering, he varied his pursuits, but he never
abandoned any. He was quite a young man when he conceived and
demonstrated the practicability of two magnificent projects: one was
to lift the whole of the church of San Giovanni, by means of immense
levers, some feet higher than it now stands, and thus supply the
deficient elevation; the other project was to form the Arno into a
navigable canal as far as Pisa, which would have added greatly to the
commercial advantages of Florence.

It happened about this time that a peasant on the estate of Piero da
Vinci brought him a circular piece of wood, cut horizontally from the
trunk of a very large old fig-tree, which had been lately felled, and
begged to have something painted on it as an ornament for his cottage.
The man being an especial favorite, Piero desired his son Leonardo to
gratify his request; and Leonardo, inspired by that wildness of fancy
which was one of his characteristics, took the panel into his own
room, and resolved to astonish his father by a most unlooked-for proof
of his art. He determined to compose something which should have an
effect similar to that of the Medusa on the shield of Perseus, and
almost petrify beholders. Aided by his recent studies in natural
history, he collected together from the neighboring swamps and the
river-mud all kinds of hideous reptiles, as adders, lizards, toads,
serpents: insects, as moths, locusts, and other crawling and flying
obscene and obnoxious things; and out of these he composed a sort of
monster or chimera, which he represented as about to issue from the
shield, with eyes flashing fire, and of an aspect so fearful and
abominable that it seemed to infect the very air around. When
finished, he led his father into the room in which it was placed, and
the terror and horror of Piero proved the success of his attempt. This
production, afterward known as the "Rotello del Fico," from the
material on which it was painted, was sold by Piero secretly for one
hundred ducats to a merchant, who carried it to Milan, and sold it to
the duke for three hundred. To the poor peasant, thus cheated of his
"Rotello," Piero gave a wooden shield, on which was painted a heart
transfixed by a dart, a device better suited to his taste and
comprehension. In the subsequent troubles of Milan, Leonardo's picture
disappeared, and was probably destroyed as an object of horror by
those who did not understand its value as a work of art.

During this first period of his life, which was wholly passed in
Florence and its neighborhood, Leonardo painted several other pictures
of a very different character, and designed some beautiful cartoons of
sacred and mythological subjects, which showed that his sense of the
beautiful, the elevated, and the graceful was not less a part of his
mind than that eccentricity and almost perversion of fancy which made
him delight in sketching ugly, exaggerated caricatures, and
representing the deformed and the terrible.

Leonardo da Vinci was now about thirty years old, in the prime of his
life and talents. His taste for pleasure and expense was, however,
equal to his genius and indefatigable industry; and anxious to secure
a certain provision for the future, as well as a wider field for the
exercise of his various talents, he accepted the invitation of
Ludovico Sforza il Moro, then regent, afterward Duke of Milan, to
reside in his court, and to execute a colossal equestrian statue of
his ancestor, Francesco Sforza. Here begins the second period of his
artistic career, which includes his sojourn at Milan, that is from
1483 to 1499.

Vasari says that Leonardo was invited to the court of Milan for the
Duke Ludovico's amusement, "as a musician and performer on the lyre,
and as the greatest singer and _improvisatore_ of his time;" but this
is improbable. Leonardo, in his long letter to that prince, in which
he recites his own qualifications for employment, dwells chiefly on
his skill in engineering and fortification; and sums up his
pretensions as an artist in these few brief words: "I understand the
different modes of sculpture in marble, bronze, and terra-cotta. In
painting, also, I may esteem myself equal to anyone, let him be who he
may." Of his musical talents he makes no mention whatever, though
undoubtedly these, as well as his other social accomplishments, his
handsome person, his winning address, his wit and eloquence,
recommended him to the notice of the prince, by whom he was greatly
beloved, and in whose service he remained for about seventeen years.
It is not necessary, nor would it be possible here, to give a
particular account of all the works in which Leonardo was engaged for
his patron, nor of the great political events in which he was
involved, more by his position than by his inclination; for instance,
the invasion of Italy by Charles VIII. of France, and the subsequent
invasion of Milan by Louis XII., which ended in the destruction of the
Duke Ludovico. The greatest work of all, and by far the grandest
picture which, up to that time, had been executed in Italy, was the
"Last Supper," painted on the wall of the refectory, or dining-room,
of the Dominican convent of the Madonna delle Grazie. It occupied
Leonardo about two years, from 1496 to 1498.

The moment selected by the painter is described in the 26th chapter of
St. Matthew, 21st and 22d verses: "And as they did eat, he said,
Verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me: and they were
exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him,
Lord, is it I?" The knowledge of character displayed in the heads of
the different apostles is even more wonderful than the skilful
arrangement of the figures and the amazing beauty of the workmanship.
The space occupied by the picture is a wall twenty-eight feet in
length and the figures are larger than life.

Of this magnificent creation of art, only the mouldering remains are
now visible. It has been so often repaired that almost every vestige
of the original painting is annihilated; but from the multiplicity of
descriptions, engravings, and copies that exist, no picture is more
universally known and celebrated. Perhaps the best judgment we can now
form of its merits is from the fine copy executed by one of Leonardo's
best pupils, Marco Uggione, for the Certosa at Pavia, and now in
London, in the collection of the Royal Academy. Eleven other copies,
by various pupils of Leonardo, painted either during his lifetime or
within a few years after his death, while the picture was in perfect
preservation, exist in different churches and collections.

While engaged on the Cenacolo, Leonardo painted the portrait of
Lucrezia Crivelli, now in the Louvre (No. 483). It has been engraved
under the title of _La Belle Ferronnière_, but later researches leave
us no doubt that it represents Lucrezia Crivelli, a beautiful favorite
of Ludovico Sforza, and was painted at Milan in 1497. It is, as a work
of art, of such extraordinary perfection that all critical admiration
is lost in wonder.

Of the grand equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza, Leonardo never
finished more than the model in clay, which was considered a
masterpiece. Some years afterward (in 1499), when Milan was invaded by
the French, it was used as a target by the Gascon bowmen, and
completely destroyed. The profound anatomical studies which Leonardo
made for this work still exist.

[Illustration: Raphael Introduced to Da Vinci.]

In the year 1500, the French being in possession of Milan, his patron
Ludovico in captivity, and the affairs of the state in utter
confusion, Leonardo returned to his native Florence, where he hoped to
re-establish his broken fortunes, and to find employment. Here begins
the third period of his artistic life, from 1500 to 1513, that is,
from his forty-eighth to his sixtieth year. He found the Medici family
in exile, but was received by Pietro Soderini (who governed the city
as "_Gonfaloniêre perpetuo_") with great distinction, and a pension
was assigned to him as painter in the service of the republic. One of
his first works after his return to Florence was the famous portrait
of Madonna Lisa del Giocondo, called in French _La Joconde_, and now
in the Louvre (484), which after the death of Leonardo was purchased
by Francis I. for 4,000 gold crowns, equal to 45,000 francs or £1,800,
an enormous sum in those days; yet who ever thought it too much?

Then began the rivalry between Leonardo and Michael Angelo, which
lasted during the remainder of Leonardo's life. The difference of age
(for Michael Angelo was twenty-two years younger) ought to have
prevented all unseemly jealousy; but Michael Angelo was haughty and
impatient of all superiority, or even equality; Leonardo, sensitive,
capricious, and naturally disinclined to admit the pretensions of a
rival, to whom he could say, and _did_ say, "I was famous before you
were born!" With all their admiration of each other's genius, their
mutual frailties prevented any real good-will on either side.

Leonardo, during his stay at Florence, painted the portrait of Ginevra
Benci, the reigning beauty of her time. We find that in 1502 he was
engaged by Cæsar Borgia to visit and report on the fortifications of
his territories, and in this office he was employed for two years. In
1503 he formed a plan for turning the course of the Arno, and in the
following year he lost his father. In 1505 he modelled the group which
we now see over the northern door of the San Giovanni, at Florence. In
1514 he was invited to Rome by Leo X., but more in his character of
philosopher, mechanic, and alchemist, than as a painter. Here Raphael
was at the height of his fame, and engaged in his greatest works, the
frescos of the Vatican. The younger artist was introduced to the
elder; and two pictures which Leonardo painted while at Rome--the
"Madonna of St. Onofrio," and the "Holy Family," painted for Filiberta
of Savoy, the pope's sister-in-law (which is now at St.
Petersburg)--show that even this veteran in art felt the irresistible
influence of the genius of his young rival. They are both
_Raffaelesque_ in the subject and treatment.

It appears that Leonardo was ill-satisfied with his sojourn at Rome.
He had long been accustomed to hold the first rank as an artist
wherever he resided; whereas at Rome he found himself only one among
many who, if they acknowledged his greatness, affected to consider his
day as past. He was conscious that many of the improvements in the
arts which were now brought into use, and which enabled the painters
of the day to produce such extraordinary effects, were invented or
introduced by himself. If he could no longer assert that measureless
superiority over all others which he had done in his younger days, it
was because he himself had opened to them new paths to excellence. The
arrival of his old competitor, Michael Angelo, and some slight on the
part of Leo X., who was annoyed by his speculative and dilatory habits
in executing the works intrusted to him, all added to his irritation
and disgust. He left Rome, and set out for Pavia, where the French
king, Francis I., then held his court. He was received by the young
monarch with every mark of respect, loaded with favors, and a pension
of 700 gold crowns settled on him for life. At the famous conference
between Francis I. and Leo X., at Bologna, Leonardo attended his new
patron, and was of essential service to him on that occasion. In the
following year, 1516, he returned with Francis I. to France, and was
attached to the French court as principal painter. It appears,
however, that during his residence in France he did not paint a single
picture. His health had begun to decline from the time he left Italy;
and feeling his end approach, he prepared himself for it by religious
meditation, by acts of charity, and by a most conscientious
distribution by will of all his worldly possessions to his relatives
and friends. At length, after protracted suffering, this great and
most extraordinary man died at Cloux, near Amboise, May 2, 1519, being
then in his sixty-seventh year. It is to be regretted that we cannot
wholly credit the beautiful story of his dying in the arms of Francis
I., who, as it is said, had come to visit him on his death-bed. It
would indeed have been, as Fuseli expressed it, "an honor to the king,
by which destiny would have atoned to that monarch for his future
disaster at Pavia."




[Illustration: Michael Angelo.]

We have spoken of Leonardo da Vinci. Michael Angelo, the other great
luminary of art, was twenty-two years younger, but the more severe and
reflective cast of his mind rendered their difference of age far less
in effect than in reality. It is usual to compare Michael Angelo with
Raphael, but he is more aptly compared with Leonardo da Vinci. All the
great artists of that time, even Raphael himself, were influenced more
or less by these two extraordinary men, but they exercised no
influence on each other. They started from opposite points; they
pursued throughout their whole existence, and in all they planned and
achieved, a course as different as their respective characters.

Michael Angelo Buonarroti was born at Setignano, near Florence, in the
year 1474. He was descended from a family once noble--even among the
noblest of the feudal lords of Northern Italy--the Counts of Canossa;
but that branch of it represented by his father, Luigi Leonardo
Buonarroti Simoni, had for some generations become poorer and poorer,
until the last descendant was thankful to accept an office in the law,
and had been nominated magistrate or mayor (_Podesta_) of Chiusi. In
this situation he had limited his ambition to the prospect of seeing
his eldest son a notary or advocate in his native city. The young
Michael Angelo showed the utmost distaste for the studies allotted to
him, and was continually escaping from his home and from his desk to
haunt the ateliers of the painters, particularly that of Ghirlandajo
who was then at the height of his reputation.

The father of Michael Angelo, who found his family increase too
rapidly for his means, had destined some of his sons for commerce (it
will be recollected that in Genoa and Florence the most powerful
nobles were merchants or manufacturers), and others for civil or
diplomatic employments; but the fine arts, as being at that time
productive of little honor or emolument, he held in no esteem, and
treated these tastes of his eldest son sometimes with contempt and
sometimes even with harshness. Michael Angelo, however, had formed
some friendships among the young painters, and particularly with
Francesco Granacci, one of the best pupils of Ghirlandajo; he
contrived to borrow models and drawings, and studied them in secret
with such persevering assiduity and consequent improvement, that
Ghirlandajo, captivated by his genius, undertook to plead his cause to
his father, and at length prevailed over the old man's family pride
and prejudices. At the age of fourteen Michael Angelo was received
into the studio of Ghirlandajo as a regular pupil, and bound to him
for three years; and such was the precocious talent of the boy, that,
instead of being paid for his instruction, Ghirlandajo undertook to
pay the father, Leonardo Buonarroti, for the first, second, and third
years, six, eight, and twelve golden florins, as payment for the
advantage he expected to derive from the labor of the son. Thus was
the vocation of the young artist decided for life.

At that time Lorenzo the Magnificent reigned over Florence. He had
formed in his palace and gardens a collection of antique marbles,
busts, statues, fragments, which he had converted into an academy for
the use of young artists, placing at the head of it as director a
sculptor of some eminence, named Bertoldo. Michael Angelo was one of
the first who, through the recommendation of Ghirlandajo, was received
into this new academy, afterward so famous and so memorable in the
history of art. The young man, then not quite sixteen, had hitherto
occupied himself chiefly in drawing; but now, fired by the beauties he
beheld around him, and by the example and success of a fellow-pupil,
Torregiano, he set himself to model in clay, and at length to copy in
marble what was before him; but, as was natural in a character and
genius so steeped in individuality, his copies became not so much
imitations of form as original embodyings of the leading idea. For
example: his first attempt in marble, when he was about fifteen, was a
copy of an antique mask of an old laughing Faun; he treated this in a
manner so different from the original, and so spirited as to excite
the astonishment of Lorenzo de Medici, who criticised it, however,
saying, "Thou shouldst have remembered that old folks do not retain
all their teeth; some of them are always wanting." The boy struck the
teeth out, giving it at once the most grotesque expression; and
Lorenzo, infinitely amused, sent for his father and offered to attach
his son to his own particular service, and to undertake the entire
care of his education. The father consented, on condition of
receiving for himself an office under the government, and thenceforth
Michael Angelo was lodged in the palace of the Medici and treated by
Lorenzo as his son.

Michael Angelo continued his studies under the auspices of Lorenzo;
but just as he had reached his eighteenth year he lost his generous
patron, his second father, and was thenceforth thrown on his own
resources. It is true that the son of Lorenzo, Piero de Medici,
continued to extend his favor to the young artist, but with so little
comprehension of his genius and character, that on one occasion,
during the severe winter of 1494, he set him to form a statue of snow
for the amusement of his guests.

Michael Angelo, while he yielded, perforce, to the caprices of his
protector, turned the energies of his mind to a new study--that of
anatomy--and pursued it with all that fervor which belonged to his
character. His attention was at the same time directed to literature,
by the counsels and conversations of a very celebrated scholar and
poet then residing in the court of Piero--Angelo Poliziano; and he
pursued at the same time the cultivation of his mind and the practice
of his art. Engrossed by his own studies, he was scarcely aware of
what was passing around him, nor of the popular intrigues which were
preparing the ruin of the Medici; suddenly this powerful family were
flung from sovereignty to temporary disgrace and exile; and Michael
Angelo, as one of their retainers, was obliged to fly from Florence,
and took refuge in the city of Bologna. During the year he spent there
he found a friend, who employed him on some works of sculpture; and on
his return to Florence he executed a Cupid in marble, of such beauty
that it found its way into the cabinet of the Duchess of Mantua as a
real antique. On the discovery that the author of this beautiful
statue was a young man of two-and-twenty, the Cardinal San Giorgio
invited him to Rome, and for some time lodged him in his palace. Here
Michael Angelo, surrounded and inspired by the grand remains of
antiquity, pursued his studies with unceasing energy; he produced a
statue of Bacchus, which added to his reputation; and in 1500, at the
age of five-and-twenty, he produced the famous group of the dead
Christ on the knees of his Virgin Mother (called the "Pietà"), which
is now in the church of St. Peter's, at Rome; this last being
frequently copied and imitated, obtained him so much applause and
reputation, that he was recalled to Florence, to undertake several
public works, and we find him once more established in his native city
in the year 1502.

In 1506 Michael Angelo was summoned to Rome by Pope Julius II., who,
while living, had conceived the idea of erecting a most splendid
monument to perpetuate his memory. For this work, which was never
completed, Michael Angelo executed the famous statue of Moses, seated,
grasping his flowing beard with one hand, and with the other
sustaining the tables of the Law. While employed on this tomb, the
pope commanded him to undertake also the decoration of the ceiling of
the Sistine Chapel. Pope Sixtus IV. had, in the year 1473, erected
this famous chapel, and summoned the best painters of that time,
Signorelli, Cosimo Roselli, Perugino, and Ghirlandajo, to decorate the
interior; but down to the year 1508 the ceiling remained without any
ornament; and Michael Angelo was called upon to cover this enormous
vault, a space of one hundred and fifty feet in length by fifty in
breadth, with a series of subjects representing the most important
events connected, either literally or typically, with the fall and
redemption of mankind.

No part of Michael Angelo's long life is so interesting, so full of
characteristic incident, as the history of his intercourse with Pope
Julius II., which began in 1505, and ended only with the death of the
pope in 1513.

Michael Angelo had at all times a lofty idea of his own dignity as an
artist, and never would stoop either to flatter a patron or to
conciliate a rival. Julius II., though now seventy-four, was as
impatient of contradiction as fiery in temper, as full of magnificent
and ambitious projects as if he had been in the prime of life; in his
service was the famous architect, Bramante, who beheld with jealousy
and alarm the increasing fame of Michael Angelo, and his influence
with the pontiff, and set himself by indirect means to lessen both. He
insinuated to Julius that it was ominous to erect his own mausoleum
during his lifetime, and the pope gradually fell off in his attentions
to Michael Angelo, and neglected to supply him with the necessary
funds for carrying on the work. On one occasion, Michael Angelo,
finding it difficult to obtain access to the pope, sent a message to
him to this effect, "that henceforth, if his Holiness desired to see
him, he should send to seek him elsewhere;" and the same night,
leaving orders with his servants to dispose of his property, he
departed for Florence. The pope despatched five couriers after him
with threats, persuasions, promises--but in vain. He wrote to the
Gonfaloniere Soderini, then at the head of the government of Florence,
commanding him, on pain of his extreme displeasure, to send Michael
Angelo back to him; but the inflexible artist absolutely refused;
three months were spent in vain negotiations. Soderini, at length,
fearing the pope's anger, prevailed on Michael Angelo to return, and
sent with him his relation, Cardinal Soderini, to make up the quarrel
between the high contending powers.

On his return to Rome, Michael Angelo wished to have resumed his work
on the mausoleum; but the pope had resolved on the completion of the
Sistine Chapel; he commanded Michael Angelo to undertake the
decoration of the vaulted ceiling; and the artist was obliged, though
reluctantly, to obey. At this time the frescos which Raphael and his
pupils were painting in the chambers of the Vatican had excited the
admiration of all Rome. Michael Angelo, who had never exercised
himself in the mechanical part of the art of fresco, invited from
Florence several painters of eminence, to execute his designs under
his own superintendence; but they could not reach the grandeur of his
conceptions, which became enfeebled under their hands, and one
morning, in a mood of impatience, he destroyed all that they had done,
closed the doors of the chapel against them, and would not thenceforth
admit them to his presence. He then shut himself up, and proceeded
with incredible perseverance and energy to accomplish his task alone;
he even prepared his colors with his own hands. He began with the end
toward the door, and in the two compartments first painted (though
not first in the series), the "Deluge," and the "Vineyard of Noah;" he
made the figures too numerous and too small to produce their full
effect from below, a fault which he corrected in those executed
subsequently. When almost half the work was completed, the pope
insisted on viewing what was done, and the astonishment and admiration
it excited rendered him more and more eager to have the whole
completed at once. The progress, however, was not rapid enough to suit
the impatient temper of the pontiff. On one occasion he demanded of
the artist _when_ he meant to finish it; to which Michael Angelo
replied calmly, "When I can." "When thou canst!" exclaimed the fiery
old pope, "thou hast a mind that I should have thee thrown from the
scaffold!" At length, on the day of All Saints, 1512, the ceiling was
uncovered to public view. Michael Angelo had employed on the painting
only, without reckoning the time spent in preparing the cartoons,
twenty-two months, and he received in payment three thousand crowns.

The collection of engravings after Michael Angelo in the British
Museum is very imperfect, but it contains some fine old prints from
the Prophets which should be studied by those who wish to understand
the true merit of this great master, of whom Sir Joshua Reynolds said
that, "to kiss the hem of his garment, to catch the slightest of his
perfections, would be glory and distinction enough for an ambitious

When the Sistine Chapel was completed Michael Angelo was in his
thirty-ninth year; fifty years of a glorious though troubled career
were still before him.

Pope Julius II. died in 1513, and was succeeded by Leo X., the son of
Lorenzo the Magnificent. As a Florentine and his father's son, we
might naturally have expected that he would have gloried in
patronizing and employing Michael Angelo; but such was not the case.
There was something in the stern, unbending character, and retired and
abstemious habits of Michael Angelo, repulsive to the temper of Leo,
who preferred the graceful and amiable Raphael, then in the prime of
his life and genius; hence arose the memorable rivalry between Michael
Angelo and Raphael, which on the part of the latter was merely
generous emulation, while it must be confessed that something like
scorn mingled with the feelings of Michael Angelo. The pontificate of
Leo X., an interval of ten years, was the least productive period of
his life. In the year 1519, when the Signoria of Florence was
negotiating with Ravenna for the restoration of the remains of Dante,
he petitioned the pope that he might be allowed to execute, at his own
labor and expense, a monument to the "Divine Poet." He was sent to
Florence to superintend the building of the church of San Lorenzo and
the completion of Santa Croce; but he differed with the pope on the
choice of the marble, quarrelled with the officials, and scarcely
anything was accomplished. Clement VII., another Medici, was elected
pope in 1523. He had conceived the idea of consecrating a chapel in
the church of San Lorenzo, to receive the tombs of his ancestors and
relations, and which should be adorned with all the splendor of art.
Michael Angelo planned and built the chapel, and for its interior
decoration designed and executed six of his greatest works in

While Michael Angelo was engaged in these works his progress was
interrupted by events which threw all Italy into commotion. Rome was
taken and sacked by the Constable de Bourbon in 1527. The Medici were
once more expelled from Florence; and Michael Angelo, in the midst of
these strange vicissitudes, was employed by the republic to fortify
his native city against his former patrons. Great as an engineer, as
in every other department of art and science, he defended Florence for
nine months. At length the city was given up by treachery, and,
fearing the vengeance of the conquerors, Michael Angelo fled and
concealed himself; but Clement VII. was too sensible of his merit to
allow him to remain long in disgrace and exile. He was pardoned, and
continued ever afterward in high favor with the pope, who employed him
on the sculptures in the chapel of San Lorenzo during the remainder of
his pontificate.

In the year 1531 he had completed the statues of "Night and Morning,"
and Clement, who heard of his incessant labors, sent him a brief
commanding him, _on pain of excommunication_, to take care of his
health, and not to accept of any other work but that which his
Holiness had assigned him.

Clement VII. was succeeded by Pope Paul III., of the Farnese family,
in 1534. This pope, though nearly seventy when he was elected, was as
anxious to immortalize his name by great undertakings as any of his
predecessors had been. His first wish was to complete the decoration
of the interior of the Sistine Chapel, left unfinished by Julius II.
and Leo X. He summoned Michael Angelo, who endeavored to excuse
himself, pleading other engagements; but the pope would listen to no
excuses which interfered with his sovereign power to dissolve all
other obligations; and thus the artist found himself, after an
interval of twenty years, most reluctantly forced to abandon sculpture
for painting; and, as Vasari expresses it, he consented to serve Pope
Paul only because he _could_ not do otherwise.

The same Pope Paul III. had in the meantime constructed a beautiful
chapel, which was called after his name the chapel _Paolina_, and
dedicated to St. Peter and St Paul. Michael Angelo was called upon to
design the decorations. He painted on one side the "Conversion of St.
Paul," and on the other the "Crucifixion of St. Peter," which were
completed in 1549. But these fine paintings--of which existing old
engravings give a better idea than the blackened and faded remains of
the original frescos--were from the first ill-disposed as to the
locality, and badly lighted, and at present they excite little
interest compared with the more famous works in the Sistine.

With the frescos in the Pauline Chapel ends Michael Angelo's career as
a painter. He had been appointed chief architect of St. Peter's, in
1547, by Paul III. He was then in his seventy-second year, and during
the remainder of his life, a period of sixteen years, we find him
wholly devoted to architecture. His vast and daring genius finding
ample scope in the completion of St. Peter's, he has left behind him
in his capacity of architect yet greater marvels than he has achieved
as painter and sculptor. Who that has seen the cupola of St. Peter's
soaring into the skies, but will think almost with awe of the
universal and majestic intellect of the man who reared it?

It appears, from the evidence of contemporary writers, that in the
last years of his life the acknowledged worth and genius of Michael
Angelo, his widespread fame, and his unblemished integrity, combined
with his venerable age and the haughtiness and reserve of his
deportment to invest him with a sort of princely dignity. It is
recorded that, when he waited on Pope Julius III., to receive his
commands, the pontiff rose on his approach, seated him, in spite of
his excuses, on his right hand, and while a crowd of cardinals,
prelates, and ambassadors, were standing round at humble distance,
carried on the conference as equal with equal. When the Grand Duke
Cosmo was in Rome, in 1560, he visited Michael Angelo, uncovered in
his presence, and stood with his hat in his hand while speaking to
him; but from the time when he made himself the tyrant of Florence he
never could persuade Michael Angelo to visit, even for a day, his
native city.

The arrogance imputed to Michael Angelo seems rather to have arisen
from a contempt for others than from any overweening opinion of
himself. He was too proud to be vain. He had placed his standard of
perfection so high, that to the latest hour of his life he considered
himself as striving after that ideal excellence which had been
revealed to him, but to which he conceived that others were blind or
indifferent. In allusion to his own imperfections, he made a drawing,
since become famous, which represents an aged man in a go-cart, and
underneath the words "_Ancora impara_" (still learning).

He continued to labor unremittingly, and with the same resolute energy
of mind and purpose, till the gradual decay of his strength warned him
of his approaching end. He did not suffer from any particular malady,
and his mind was strong and clear to the last. He died at Rome, on
February 18, 1564, in the ninetieth year of his age. A few days before
his death he dictated his will in these few simple words: "I bequeath
my soul to God, my body to the earth, and my possessions to my nearest
relations." His nephew, Leonardo Buonarroti, who was his principal
heir, by the orders of the Grand Duke Cosmo had his remains secretly
conveyed out of Rome and brought to Florence; they were with due
honors deposited in the church of Santa Croce, under a costly
monument, on which we may see his noble bust surrounded by three very
commonplace and ill-executed statues, representing the arts in which
he excelled--Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. They might have
added _Poetry_, for Michael Angelo was so fine a poet that his
productions would have given him fame, though he had never peopled the
Sistine with his giant creations, nor "suspended the Pantheon in the
air." The object to whom his poems are chiefly addressed, Vittoria
Colonna, Marchioness of Pescara, was the widow of the celebrated
commander who overcame Francis I. at the battle of Pavia; herself a
poetess, and one of the most celebrated women of her time for beauty,
talents, virtue, and piety. She died in 1547.

[Illustration: Michael Angelo and Vittoria Colonna.]


By Mrs. LEE


[Illustration: Raphael.]

The solemn and silent season of Lent had passed away; and, on the
second evening of the joyful Easter, a house was seen brightly
illuminated in one of the streets of Urbino. It was evident that a
festival was held there on some happy occasion. The sound of music was
heard, and guest after guest entered the mansion. No one, however, was
more cordially welcomed than Pietro Perugino, the fellow-student of
Leonardo da Vinci, at the school of the good old Andrea Verocchio.

For a moment, general gayety was suspended in honor of the guest. He
was considered at that time one of the greatest painters of the age;
and the host, Giovanni di Sanzio, though himself only ranking in the
second or third order of limners, knew well how to prize the rare
talents of his visitor.

The wife of Giovanni came forward, leading her son Raphael. Perugino
had the eye of an artist: he gazed upon the mother and son with
enthusiastic feeling; the striking resemblance they bore to each
other, so exquisitely modulated by years and sex, was indeed a study
for this minute copyist of nature.

"Benvenuto, Messer Perugino," said the hostess, with her soft musical
voice and graceful Italian accent, and she placed the hand of her boy
in that of the artist. Gently he laid the other on the head of the
youthful Raphael, and in a solemn and tender manner pronounced a

"Your blessing is well timed, my honored friend," said Giovanni, "our
festival is given to celebrate the birthday of our son."

"Is this his birthday?" inquired Perugino.

"Not so," replied the father, "he was born on April 7th, the evening
of _Good Friday_, and it well befits us to be gay on the joyful Easter
that succeeds it."

"My friend," said Perugino, "if thou wilt entrust thy boy to my care,
I will take him as my pupil."

The father acceded with delight to this proposal. When the mother
became acquainted with the arrangement, and found that her son was to
quit his paternal dwelling at the early age of twelve, and reside
wholly with Perugino, she could not restrain her tears. With hers the
young Raphael's mingled, though ever and anon a bright smile darted
like a sunbeam across his face.

He remained with Perugino several years. Raphael was made for
affection, and fondly did his heart cling to his instructor. For a
time he was content to follow his manner; but at length he began to
dwell upon his own beau ideal; he grew impatient of imitation, and
felt that his style was deficient in freshness and originality. He
longed to pass the narrow bounds to which his invention had been

With the approbation of Perugino and the consent of his parents, he
repaired to Siena; here he was solicited to adorn the public library
with fresco, and painted there with great success. But while he was
busily engaged, his friend, Pinturrichio, one day entered. After
looking at his friend's work very attentively, "Bravo!" he exclaimed,
"thou hast done well, my Raphael--but I have just returned from
Florence--oh, would that thou couldst behold the works of Leonardo da
Vinci! Such horses! they paw the ground and shake the foam from their
manes. Oh, my poor Raphael! thou hast never seen nature; thou art
wasting time on these cartoons. Perugino is a good man and a good
painter, I will not deny that--but Leonardo's horses!"

Raphael threw aside his pencil and hastily rose.

"Where now?" asked his friend; "whither art thou going so hastily?"

"To Florence," exclaimed Raphael.

"And what carries you so suddenly?"

"The horses of Leonardo," replied the young artist, sportively;
"seriously, however, the desire of excellence implanted in my soul."

When he arrived at Florence he was charmed with the appearance of the
city; but his whole mind was absorbed in the works of Leonardo da
Vinci and of Michael Angelo, the rival artists of the age. As his stay
was to be short, he did not enter upon laborious occupation. His
mornings were passed in the reveries of his art; his evenings in the
gay and fascinating society of Florence, where the fame of Perugino's
beloved pupil had already reached. The frescos at Siena were spoken
of; and the beautiful countenance and graceful deportment of Raphael
won him the friendship of distinguished men. Taddeo Taddei, the
learned friend of Cardinal Bembo, solicited him to reside in his
house; he consented, and in return for the courtesy painted for him
two pictures, in what is called his first style, that of Perugino.

One evening he retired to his couch at a late hour. He had been the
hero of a _fête_, and love and beauty had heedlessly scattered their
flowers in the path of the living Adonis. In vain he sought a few
hours of slumber. He had quaffed the juice of the grape, emptying
goblet after goblet, till his beating pulse and throbbing temples
refused to be quieted. He started from his couch and approached the
lattice; the heavens had changed their aspect, the still serenity of
the evening had passed away, and the clouds were hurrying over the
pale and watery moon. Nothing was heard but the low sighing of the
wind, and now and then a sudden gust swept through the lattice, and
threatened to extinguish the taper which was burning dimly on the
table. A slight noise made him turn his eyes, and he perceived a note
that the wind had displaced. He hastily took it up. It was Perugino's
handwriting. He cut the silken cord that fastened it, and read:

"On me, my beloved Raffaello, devolves the task of informing you of
the events which have taken place at Urbino. May this letter find you
prepared for all the changes of life; a wise man will never suffer
himself to be taken by surprise; this is true philosophy, and the
_only philosophy_ that can serve us! An epidemic has prevailed at
Urbino, and has entered your paternal dwelling. Need I say more? Come
to me, my son, at Perugia, for I am the only parent that remains to
you. Pietro Perugino."

As he hastily arose, a crucifix which his mother had suspended to his
neck at parting, fell from his bosom. Even the symbols of religion are
sacred where the living principle has been early implanted in the
heart. He pressed it to his lips: "Ah!" thought he, "what is the
_philosophy_ of Perugino, compared to the _faith_ of which this is the
emblem?" His thoughts went back to infancy and childhood, and his
grief and remorse grew less intense. He dwelt on the deep and enduring
love of his parents till he felt assured death could not extinguish
it, and that he should see them again in a brighter sphere.

When morning came it found Raphael calm and composed; the lines of
grief and thought were deeply marked on his youthful face; but the
whirlwind and the storm had passed. He took leave of his friends, and
hastened to Perugino, who received him with the fondness of a parent.

Here he remained some time, and at length collected sufficient
resolution to return to Urbino, and once more enter the mansion of his
desolated home.

It was necessary for him to reside at his native place for a number of
months. During that time he painted several fine pictures. His heart,
however, yearned for Florence, and he returned to it once more with
the determination of making it his home. With far different sensations
did he a second time enter the city of beauty. The freshness of his
gayety was blighted; lessons of earthly disappointment were ever
present to his mind, and he returned to it with the resolute purpose
of devoting himself to serious occupation.

How well he fulfilled this resolution all Italy can bear witness. From
this time he adopted what has been called his _second manner_. He
painted for the Duke of Urbino the beautiful picture of the Saviour at
sunrise, with the morning light cast over a face resplendent with
divinity; the flowers glittering with dew, the two disciples beyond,
still buried in slumber, at the time when the Saviour turns his eyes
upon them with that tender and sorrowful exclamation, "Could ye not
watch one hour?"

Raphael enriched the city of Florence with his works. When asked what
had suggested some of the beautiful combinations of his paintings, he
said, "They came to me in my sleep." At other times he called them
"visions;" and then again said they were the result of "una certa idea
che mi viene alla mente." It was this power of drawing from the deep
wells of his own mind that gave such character, originality, and
freshness to his works. He found that power _within_ which so many
seek, and seek in vain, _without_.

At the age of twenty-five Raphael was summoned by the pope to paint
the chambers of the Vatican. The famous frescos of the Vatican need
neither enumeration nor description; the world is their judge and
their eulogist.

No artist ever consecrated his works more by his affections than
Raphael. The same hallowed influence of the heart gave inexpressible
charm to Correggio's, afterward. One of Raphael's friends said to him,
in looking upon particular figures in his groups, "You have
transmitted to posterity your own likeness."

"See you nothing beyond that?" replied the artist.

"I see," said the critic, "the deep-blue eye, and the long, fair hair
parted on the forehead."

"Observe," said Raphael, "the feminine softness of expression, the
beautiful harmony of thought and feeling. When I take my pencil for
high and noble purposes, the spirit of my mother hovers over me. It is
her countenance, not my own, of which you trace the resemblance."

This expression is always observable in his Madonnas. His portraits of
the _Fornarina_ are widely different. Raphael, in his last and most
excellent style, united what was graceful and exquisite in Leonardo
with the sublime and noble manner of Michael Angelo. It is the
privilege and glory of genius to appropriate to itself whatever is
noble and true. The region of thought is thus made a common ground for
all, and one master mind becomes a reservoir for the present and
future times.

When Raphael was invited to Rome by Pope Julius II., Michael Angelo
was at the height of his glory; his character tended to inspire awe
rather than affection; he delighted in the majestic and the terrible.
In boldness of conception and grandeur of design, he surpassed
Leonardo, but never could reach the sweetness and gentleness of his
figures. Even his children lose something of their infantine beauty,
and look mature; his women are commanding and lofty; his men of
gigantic proportions. His painting, like his sculpture, is remarkable
for anatomical exactness, and perfect expression of the muscles. For
this union of magnificence and sublimity, it was necessary to prepare
the mind; the first view was almost harsh, and it was by degrees that
his mighty works produced their designed effect. Raphael, while he
felt all the greatness of the Florentine, conceived that there might
be something more like nature--something that should be harmonious,
sweet, and flowing--that should convey the idea of intellectual rather
than of external majesty. Without yielding any of the correctness of
science, he avoided harshness, and imitated antiquity in uniting grace
and elegance with a strict observation of science and of the rules of

It was with surprise that Michael Angelo beheld in the youthful
Raphael a rival artist; nor did he receive this truth meekly; he
treated him with coldness and distance. In the meantime Raphael went
on with his works; he completed the frescos of the Vatican, and
designed the cartoons. He also produced those exquisite paintings in
oil which seem the perfection of human art.

[Illustration: Leo X. at Raphael's Bier.]

Human affection is necessary to awaken the sympathy of human beings;
and Raphael, in learning how to portray it, had found the way to the
heart. In mere grandeur of invention he was surpassed by Michael
Angelo. Titian excelled him in coloring, and Correggio in the
beautiful gradation of tone; but Raphael knew how to paint the soul;
in this he stood alone. This was the great secret of a power which
seemed to operate like magic. In his paintings there is something
which makes music on the chords of every heart; for they are the
expression of a mind attuned to nature, and find answering sympathies
in the universal soul.

While Michael Angelo was exalted with the Epic grandeur of his own
Dante, Raphael presented the most finished scenes of dramatic life,
and might be compared to the immortal Shakespeare--scenes of spiritual
beauty, of devotion, and of pastoral simplicity, yet uniting a classic
elegance which the poet does not possess. Buonarroti was the wonder of
Italy, and Raphael became its idol.

Julius was so much enchanted with his paintings in the halls of the
Vatican, that he ordered the frescos of former artists to be
destroyed. Among them were some of Perugino's, but Raphael would not
suffer these to be removed for his own; he viewed them as the relics
of a beloved and honored friend, and they were consecrated by tender
and grateful feelings.

Raphael collected from every part of the world medallions of intaglios
and antiques to assist him in his designs. He loved splendor and
conviviality, and gave offence thereby to the rigid and austere. It
was said that he had a prospect of changing the graceful beretta for a
cardinal's hat; but this idea might have arisen from the delay which
existed in his marriage with Cardinal Bibiano's niece, whose hand her
uncle had offered to him. Peremptorily to reject this proposal of the
cardinal without giving offence would have been impossible, and
Raphael was too gentle in his own feelings voluntarily to injure
another's; but he was not one to sacrifice his affections to ambition.

Whatever were the struggles of his heart, they were early terminated.
Amid the caresses of the great, the fond and devoted friendship of his
equals, the enthusiastic love of his pupils, the adulation of his
inferiors, while crowned with wealth, fame, and honor, and regarded as
the equal of the hitherto greatest artist in the world, he was
suddenly called away. He died on Good Friday, the day of his birth, at
the age of thirty-seven, 1520.

We are sometimes impressed with veneration when those who have even
drunk the cup of life almost to its dregs resign it with resignation
and Christian faith. But Raphael calmly and firmly resigned it when it
was full to the brim.

Leo X. and Cardinal Bibiano were by his bedside. The sublime picture
of the "Transfiguration," the last and greatest which he painted, was
placed opposite to him, by his own desire. How impressive must have
been the scene! His dying eye turned from the crucifix he held in his
hand to the glory of the beatified Saviour.

His contemporaries speak of him as affectionate, disinterested,
modest, and sincere; encouraging humble merit, and freely giving his
advice and assistance where it was needed and deserved.



         [Footnote 2: Giorgio Vasari, a contemporary of Titian, and
         himself a painter of no mean rank, wrote a series of lives of
         the Italian artists, from which the following is extracted.
         There are several slight inaccuracies in his work Titian was
         born, not in 1480, but in 1477, and died in 1576. He was in
         coloring the greatest artist who ever lived.]


[Illustration: Titian.]

Titian was born in the year 1480, at Cadore, a small place distant
about five miles from the foot of the Alps; he belonged to the family
of the Vecelli, which is among the most noble of those parts. Giving
early proof of much intelligence, he was sent at the age of ten to an
uncle in Venice, an honorable citizen, who, seeing the boy to be much
inclined to painting, placed him with the excellent painter, Gian
Bellino, then very famous. Under his care, the youth soon proved
himself to be endowed by nature with all the gifts of judgment and
genius required for the art of painting. Now, Gian Bellino and the
other masters of that country, not having the habit of studying the
antique, were accustomed to copy only what they saw before them, and
that in a dry, hard, labored manner, which Titian also acquired; but
about the year 1507, Giorgione da Castel Franco, not being satisfied
with that mode of proceeding, began to give to his works an unwonted
softness and relief, painting them in a very beautiful manner; yet he
by no means neglected to draw from the life, or to copy nature with
his colors as closely as he could; and in doing the latter he shaded
with colder or warmer tints as the living object might demand, but
without first making a drawing; since he held that, to paint with the
colors only, without any drawing on paper, was the best mode of
proceeding, and most perfectly in accord with the true principles of

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 that master, as will be related below. Increasing in age,
judgment, and facility of hand, our young artist executed numerous
works in fresco which cannot here be named individually, having been
dispersed in various places; let it suffice to say, that they were
such as to cause experienced men to anticipate the excellence to which
he afterward attained. At the time when Titian 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 coloring being true and
natural, and 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; it was so well and carefully done, that it would have been
taken for a picture by Giorgione, if Titian had not written his name
on the dark ground.

Giorgione meanwhile had executed the façade of the German Exchange,
when, by the intervention of Barberigo, Titian was appointed to paint
certain stories in the same building and over the Merceria. After
which he executed a picture with figures the size of life, which is
now in the Hall of Messer Andrea Loredano, who dwells near San
Marcuola; this work represents "Our Lady" in her flight into Egypt.
She is in the midst of a great wood, and the landscape of this picture
is well done; Titian having practised that branch of art, and keeping
certain Germans, who were excellent masters therein, for several
months together in his own house. Within the wood he depicted various
animals, all painted from the life, and so natural as to seem almost
alive. In the house of Messer Giovanni Danna, a Flemish gentleman and
merchant, who was his gossip, he painted a portrait which appears to
breathe, with an "Ecce Homo," comprising numerous figures which, by
Titian himself, as well as others, is considered to be a very good
work. The same artist executed a picture of "Our Lady," with other
figures the size of life, men and children being all taken from
nature, and portraits of persons belonging to the Danna family.

In the year 1507, when the Emperor Maximilian was making war on the
Venetians, Titian, as he relates himself, painted the "Angel Raphael,
with Tobit and a Dog," in the Church of San Marziliano. There is a
distant landscape in this picture, wherein San Giovanni Battista is
seen at prayer in a wood; he is looking up to heaven, and his face is
illumined by a light descending thence; some believe this picture to
have been done before that on the "Exchange of the Germans," mentioned
above, was commenced. Now, it chanced that certain gentlemen, not
knowing that Giorgione no longer worked at this façade, and that
Titian was doing it (nay, had already given that part over the
Merceria to public view), met the former, and began as friends to
rejoice with him, declaring that he was acquitting himself better on
the side of the Merceria than he had done on that of the "Grand
Canal;" which remark caused Giorgione so much vexation, that he would
scarcely permit himself to be seen until the whole work was completed,
and Titian had become generally known as the painter; nor did he
thenceforward hold any intercourse with the latter and they were no
longer friends.

In the year 1508, Titian published a wood-engraving of the "Triumph of
Faith;" it comprised a vast number of figures: our first Parents, the
Patriarchs, the Prophets, the Sybils, the Innocents, the Martyrs, the
Apostles, and Our Saviour Christ borne in triumph by the four
Evangelists, and the four Doctors, followed by the holy Confessors;
here Titian displayed much boldness, a fine manner, and improving
facility. I remember that Fra Bastiano del Piombo, speaking on this
subject, told me that if Titian had then gone to Rome, and seen the
works of Michael Angelo, with those of Raphael and the ancients, he
was convinced, the admirable facility of his coloring considered, that
he would have produced works of the most astonishing perfection;
seeing that, as he well deserved to be called the most perfect
imitator of Nature of our times, as regards coloring, he might thus
have rendered himself equal to the Urbinese or Buonarroto, as regarded
the great foundation of all, design. At a later period Titian repaired
to Vicenza, where he painted "The Judgment of Solomon," on the
Loggetta wherein the courts of justice are held; a very beautiful
work. Returning to Venice, he then depicted the façade of the Germain;
at Padua he painted certain frescos in the Church of Sant' Antonio,
the subjects taken from the life of that saint; and in the Church of
Santo Spirito he executed a small picture of San Marco seated in the
midst of other saints, whose faces are portraits painted in oil with
the utmost care; this picture has been taken for a work of Giorgione.

Now, the death of Giovan Bellino had caused a story in the hall of the
Great Council to remain unfinished; it was that which represents
Federigo Barbarossa kneeling before Pope Alessandro III., who plants
his foot on the emperor's neck. This was now finished by Titian, who
altered many parts of it, introducing portraits of his friends and
others. For this he received from the senate an office in the Exchange
of the Germans called the Senseria, which brought him in three hundred
crowns yearly, and which those Signori usually give to the most
eminent painter of their city, on condition that from time to time he
shall take the portrait of their doge, or prince when such shall be
created, at the price of eight crowns, which the doge himself pays,
the portrait being then preserved in the Palace of San Marco, as a
memorial of that doge.

After the completion of these works, our artist painted, for the
Church of San Rocco, a figure of Christ bearing his cross; the Saviour
has a rope round his neck, and is dragged forward by a Jew; many have
thought this a work of Giorgione. It has become an object of the
utmost devotion in Venice, and has received more crowns as offerings
than have been earned by Titian and Giorgione both, through the whole
course of their lives. Now, Titian had taken the portrait of Bembo,
then secretary to Pope Leo X., and was by him invited to Rome, that he
might see the city, with Raffaello da Urbino and other distinguished
persons; but the artist having delayed his journey until 1520, when
the pope and Raffaello were both dead, put it off for that time
altogether. For the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore he painted a
picture of "St. John the Baptist in the wilderness;" there is an angel
beside him that appears to be living; and a distant landscape, with
trees on the bank of a river, which are very graceful. He took
portraits of the Prince Grimani and Loredano, which were considered
admirable; and not long afterward he painted the portrait of King
Francis, who was then leaving Italy to return to France.

[Illustration: A Fête at the House of Titian.]

In 1530, when the Emperor Charles V. was in Bologna, Titian, by the
intervention of Pietro Aretino, was invited to that city by the
Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici, and there he made a magnificent portrait
of his majesty in full armor. This gave so much satisfaction that the
artist received a present of a thousand crowns for the same. Out of
these he had subsequently to give the half to Alfonso Lombardi, the
sculptor, who had made a model of that monarch to be executed in

Having returned to Venice, Titian there found that many gentlemen had
begun to favor Pordenone, commending exceedingly the works executed by
that artist in the ceiling of the Hall of the Pregai, and elsewhere.
They had also procured him the commission for a small picture in the
Church of San Giovanni Elemosynario, which they intended him to paint
in competition with one representing that saint in his episcopal
habits, which had previously been executed there by Titian. But
whatever care and pains Pordenone took, he could not equal nor even
approach the work of the former. Titian was then appointed to paint a
picture of the Annunciation for the Church of Santa Maria degli
Angeli, at Murano; but those who gave the commission for the work, not
wishing to pay so much as five hundred crowns, which Titian required
as its price, he sent it, by the advice of Pietro Aretino, as a gift
to Charles V., who being greatly delighted with the work, made him a
present of two thousand crowns. The place which the picture was to
have occupied at Murano was then filled by one from the hand of

When the emperor, some time after this, returned with his army from
Hungary, and was again at Bologna, holding a conference with Clement
VII., he desired to have another portrait taken of him by Titian, who,
before he departed from the city, also painted that of the Cardinal
Ippolito de Medici in the Hungarian dress, with another of the same
prelate fully armed, which is somewhat smaller than the first; these
are both now in the Guardaroba of Duke Cosimo. He painted the
portraits of Alfonso, Marquis of Davalos, and of Pietro Aretino, at
the same period, and these things having made him known to Federigo
Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, he entered the service of the latter, and
accompanied him to his states. At Mantua our artist made a portrait of
the duke, which appears to breathe, and afterward executed that of his
brother, the cardinal. These being finished, he painted twelve
beautiful "Heads of the Twelve Cæsars," to decorate one of the rooms
erected by Giulio Romano, and when they were done, Giulio painted a
"Story from the Lives of the Emperors" beneath each head.

The productions, but more especially the portraits, of Titian are so
numerous that it would be almost impossible to make the record of them
all. I will, therefore, speak of the principal only, and that without
order of time, seeing that it does not much signify to tell which was
painted earlier and which later. He took the portrait of Charles V.
several times, as we have said, and was finally invited by that
monarch to his court; there he painted him as he was in those last
years; and so much was that most invincible emperor pleased with the
manner of Titian, that once he had been portrayed by him, he would
never permit himself to be taken by any other person. Each time that
Titian painted the emperor he received a present of a thousand crowns
of gold, and the artist was made a cavalier, or knight, by his
majesty, with a revenue of two hundred crowns yearly, secured on the
treasury of Naples, and attached to his title.

When Titian painted Filippo, King of Spain, the son of Charles, he
received another annuity of two hundred crowns; so that these four
hundred, added to the three hundred from the German Exchange, make him
a fixed income of seven hundred crowns, which he possesses without the
necessity of exerting himself in any manner. Titian presented the
portraits of Charles V. and his son Filippo to the Duke Cosimo, who
has them now in his Guardaroba. He also took the portrait of
Ferdinand, King of the Romans, who was afterward emperor, with those
of his children, Maximilian, that is to say, now emperor, and his
brother; he likewise painted the Queen Maria; and at the command of
the Emperor Charles, he portrayed the Duke of Saxony, when the latter
was in prison. But what a waste of time is this! when there has
scarcely been a noble of high rank, scarcely a prince or lady of great
name, whose portrait has not been taken by Titian, who in that branch
of art is indeed an excellent painter.

All these works, with many others which I omit to avoid prolixity,
have been executed up to the present age of our artist, which is above
seventy-six years. Titian has been always healthy and happy; he has
been favored beyond the lot of most men, and has received from Heaven
only favors and blessings. In his house he has entertained whatever
princes, literati, or men of distinction have gone to or dwelt in
Venice; for, to say nothing of his excellence in art, he has always
distinguished himself by courtesy, hospitality, and rectitude.

Titian has had some rivals in Venice, but not of any great ability,
wherefore he has easily overcome them by the superiority of his art;
while he has also rendered himself acceptable to the gentlemen of the
city. He has gained a fair amount of wealth, his labors having always
been well paid; and it would have been well if he had worked for his
amusement alone during these latter years, that he might not have
diminished the reputation gained in his best days by works of inferior
merit, performed at a period of life when nature tends inevitably to
decline, and consequent imperfection.

In the year 1566, when Vasari, the writer of the present history, was
at Venice, he went to visit Titian, as one who was his friend, and
found him, although then very old, still with the pencils in his hand
and painting busily. Great pleasure had Vasari in beholding his works
and in conversing with the master.

It may be affirmed, then, that Titian, having adorned Venice, or
rather all Italy, and other parts of the world, with excellent
paintings, well merits to be loved and respected by artists, and in
many things to be admired and imitated also, as one who has produced,
and is producing, work of infinite merit; nay, such as must endure
while the memory of illustrious men shall remain.


         [Footnote 3: Copyright, 1894, by Helmar Hess.]

By W. J. HOLLAND, Chancellor of the Western University of Pennsylvania


[Illustration: Albert Dürer.]

It has been given to some men to be not only great in the domain of
art by reason of that which they have themselves succeeded in
producing, but by reason of that which they have inspired other men to
produce. They have been not merely artists, but teachers, who by
precept and example have moulded the whole current and drift of
artistic thought in the ages and lands to which they have belonged.
Among these lofty spirits, who live through the centuries not only in
what their hands once fashioned, but still more in what they have
inspired others to do, undoubtedly one of the greatest is Albert
Dürer. Justly reckoned as the representative artist of Germany, he has
the peculiar honor of having raised the craft of the engraver to its
true position, as one of the fine arts. As a painter not unworthy to
be classified with Titian and Raphael, his contemporaries upon Italian
soil, he poured the wealth of his genius into woodcuts and
copperplates, and taught men the practically measureless capacity of
what before his day had been a rudimentary art.

Dürer was born in Nuremberg on May 21, 1471. The family was of
Hungarian origin, though the name is German, and is derived from
Thürer, meaning a maker of doors. The ancestral calling of the family
probably was that of the carpenter. Albert Dürer, the father of the
great artist, was a goldsmith, and settled about 1460 in Nuremberg,
where he served as an assistant to Hieronymus Holper, a master
goldsmith, whose daughter, Barbara, he married in 1468. He was at the
time forty years of age, and she fifteen. As the result of the union
eighteen children were born into the world, of whom Albrecht was the
second. The lad, as he grew up, became a great favorite with his
father, who appeared to discern in him the promise of future ability.
The feeling of attachment was reciprocated in the most filial manner,
and there are extant two well-authenticated portraits of the father
from the facile brush of the son, one in the Uffizi at Florence, the
other in the possession of the Duke of Northumberland. It was the
original intention of the father of the artist that he should follow
the craft of the goldsmith, but after serving a period as an
apprentice in his father's shop, his strong predilection for the
calling of the painter manifested itself to such a degree that the
father reluctantly consented to allow the boy to follow his natural
bent, and placed him under the tutelage of Michael Wohlgemuth, the
principal painter of Nuremberg. Wohlgemuth was a representative artist
of his time, who followed his calling after a mechanical fashion,
having a large shop filled with apprentices who, under his direction
and with his assistance, busied themselves in turning out for a small
consideration altar-pieces and pictures of martyrdoms, which were in
vogue as necessary parts of decoration in churches. Numerous examples
of the work of Wohlgemuth and his contemporaries survive, attesting,
by the wealth of crudities and unintended caricatures with which they
abound, the comparatively low stage of development attained by the art
of the painter in Germany at that day. According to Dürer, the period
of his apprenticeship to Wohlgemuth was spent profitably, and resulted
in large acquisitions of technical skill. The period of his
preliminary training being ended, he set forth upon his "Wanderjahre,"
and travelled extensively. Just what points he visited cannot with
certainty be determined. It is ascertained beyond doubt that he
visited Colmar, where he was hospitably entertained by the family of
Martin Schongauer, the greatest painter of his time on German soil,
but who had died shortly before the visit of Dürer. He also visited
Strasburg, and it is thought by many that he extended his journeyings
as far as Venice. In 1494 he returned to Nuremberg, and in the month
of July was married to Agnes Frey, the daughter of a prosperous
merchant of the city. He was twenty-three years of age, and she
somewhat younger. They lived together happily, though no children were
born to them, and it has been proved that the reputation which has
been given her, of being little better than a common scold, who
imbittered his life by her termagancy, is the creation of the ill
temper of one of the testy friends of Dürer, Willibald Pirkheimer,
who, in the spirit of spitefulness, besmirched her character in a
letter which unfortunately survives to this day, and in which he
accuses her of having led her husband a mad and weary dance by her
temper. The reason for this ebullition on the part of Pirkheimer
appears to have been that, after Dürer's death, she refused to give
him a pair of antlers which had belonged to her husband, and which
Pirkheimer had set his heart upon having.

[Illustration: Albert Dürer's Wedding.]

The first eleven years of the married life of Dürer were spent in
Nuremberg, where he devoted himself with unremitting assiduity to the
prosecution of his art. During these years his powers unfolded
rapidly, and there are extant two notable pictures, which were
undoubtedly produced at this time, the triptych in the Dresden
Gallery, and an altar-piece which is in the palace of the Archbishop
of Vienna, at Ober St. Veit. These compositions, while remarkable in
many respects, still reveal the influence of his master, Wohlgemuth,
and give evidence of having been in part executed with the assistance
of apprentices. In fact, the peak-gabled house at the foot of the
castle-mound in Nuremberg was a picture factory like that of
Wohlgemuth, in which, however, work of a higher order than any
hitherto produced in Germany was being turned out. We know the names
of four or five of those who served as apprentices under Dürer at
this time and they are stars of lesser magnitude in the
constellation of German art. But Dürer was not contented simply to
employ his talents in the production of painted altar-pieces, and we
find him turning out a number of engravings, the most noticeable among
which are his sixteen great wood-cuts illustrating the Apocalypse,
which were published in 1498. The theme was one which had peculiar
fascinations for all classes at the time. The breaking up of all
pre-existing systems, the wonderful stirrings of a new life which were
beginning to be felt everywhere with the close of the Middle Age and
the dawning of the Renaissance, had filled the minds of men with
wonder, and caused them to turn to the writings of the Apocalyptic
Seer with keenest interest. A recent critic, commenting upon his work
as represented in these engravings, says: "The energy and undismayed
simplicity of his imagination enable him, in this order of creations,
to touch the highest point of human achievement. The four angels
keeping back the winds that they blow not, the four riders, the
loosing of the angels of the Euphrates to slay the third part of
men--these and others are conceptions of such force, such grave or
tempestuous grandeur, in the midst of grotesqueness, as the art of no
other age or hand has produced."

At this period Dürer was also engaged in experimenting upon the art of
copper-plate engraving, in which he restricted himself mainly to
reproducing copies of the works of other artists, among them those of
Jacopo de Barbari, a painter of the Italian school, who was residing
in Nuremberg, and who among other things gave the great artist
instruction in plastic anatomy. The influence of his instructor is
plain, when we compare engravings executed about 1504 with those
published at a previous date, and especially when we examine his
design of the Passion of our Lord painted in white upon a green
ground, commonly known as "The Green Passion," which is treasured in
the Albertina at Prague. He also during these twelve years finished
seven of the twelve great wood-cuts illustrating the passion, and
sixteen of the twenty cuts which compose the series known as "The Life
of the Virgin." The activities of Dürer in Nuremberg were temporarily
interrupted by a journey to Italy, which he undertook in the fall of
the year 1505. What the immediate occasion for undertaking this
journey may have been is not plain, though it seems most likely that
one of his objects was to enable him to recuperate from the effects of
a protracted illness, from which he had suffered during the summer of
this year, and also incidentally to secure a market for his wares in
Venice, the commercial relationships of which with Nuremberg were very
close at this period. A German colony, composed largely of Nuremberg
factors and merchants, was located at this time in Venice, and they
had secured the privilege of dedicating a great painting in the church
of St. Bartholomew. The commission for the execution of this painting
was secured by Dürer. It represents the adoration of the Virgin, but
has been commonly known under the name of "The Feast of the Rose
Garlands." After having undergone many vicissitudes, it is preserved
to-day in a highly mutilated condition in the monastery of Strachow,
near Prague. Dürer's stay in Venice was signalized not only by the
production of this painting, but of three or four other notable works
which still exist, and which reflect the great influence upon him of
the Italian school of painting, with which he had attained
familiarity. His stay in Venice lasted about a year. In the fall of
1506, he returned to Nuremberg, and there remained for the next
fourteen years, engaged in the practice of his art. These years were
years of success and prosperity. His name and fame had spread over the
whole of Europe, and the greatest artists of the day were glad to do
him homage. Raphael said of him, when contemplating some of his
designs, "Truly this man would have surpassed us all, if he had the
masterpieces of ancient art constantly before his eyes as we have." A
friendly correspondence was maintained between the immortal Italian
and his German contemporary, and in his own country, all men, from the
emperor to the peasant, delighted to do honor to his genius, the
products of which were found alike in church and palace, and through
his printed designs in the homes of the humble poor.

The proud old imperial city of Nuremberg had gathered within its
battlemented walls a multitude of men who were distinguished not only
for their commercial enterprise and wealth, but many of whom were the
exponents of the literary and artistic culture of the time. Among the
men with whom Dürer found congenial companionship were Adam Krafft,
the sculptor; Veit Stoss, whose exquisite carvings in wood may reflect
in some measure in the wild luxuriance of the imagination which they
display, the restless, "dare-devil" spirit with which his biographers
invest him; Peter Vischer, the bronze founder; and last but not least.
Hans Sachs, the cobbler poet, whose quaint rhymes are a source of
delight to this day, and were a mighty force in the great work of the
Reformation, by which the fetters of mediæval traditions and
ecclesiastical abuse were thrown off by the German people.

Of the personal appearance of Dürer at this time, we are not left in
ignorance. A portrait of himself from his own hands has been preserved
and is well known. His features reveal refinement and great
intellectuality, united with grace, and his attire shows that he was
not oblivious to matters of personal adornment. After the fashion of
the time, his hair was worn in long and graceful ringlets, which fell
in heavy masses about his shoulders.

The first six years which followed his return from Venice were almost
wholly given to painting, and his productions give evidence of the
fact that he had dismissed from his employment the retinue of
assistants and apprentices, whom he had employed in his earlier years.
From this period date most of his great masterpieces, which are still
preserved, among them the "Adam and Eve," in the Pitti Palace; the
"Ten Thousand Martyrs of Nicomedia," in the Imperial Gallery, at
Vienna; the "Adoration of the Trinity," at the Belvedere, in Vienna;
and "The Assumption of the Virgin," the original of which was
destroyed by fire more than three hundred years ago, but of which a
good copy is preserved at Frankfort. To this period belong the
portraits of Charlemagne and of the Emperor Sigismund, which are
preserved in the National German Museum at Nuremberg.

[Illustration: Albert Dürer Visits Hans Sachs.]

But while prosecuting the work of the painter, he did not neglect the
art of the engraver, and in 1511, brought out in complete form his
great book of woodcuts in folio, and began to develop that marvellous
art of etching which is indissolubly connected with his name. Among
the products of the etcher's needle which attest his activity in this
direction are those masterpieces which have for centuries been at once
the delight and the puzzle of artistic minds: the "Melancholia," "The
Knight and the Devil," and "St. Jerome in his Cell." The most
reasonable explanation of these weird fancies is that they were
intended to represent in allegorical style the three temperaments--the
melancholic, the sanguine, and the phlegmatic. The Diet of Augsburg,
which was convened in 1518, gave Dürer a passing opportunity to depict
the lineaments of the Emperor Maximilian, who gave him several
sittings, and who manifested great interest in the painter. The death
of the emperor in the following year, the outbreak of an epidemic in
Nuremberg, together with the coronation of Charles V. at
Aix-la-Chapelle, led Dürer to undertake a journey to the Low
Countries, in which he was accompanied by his faithful wife. He was
present at the coronation and was one of the distinguished civilians
whose appearance added dignity to the occasion. His diary, in which he
recounts his experiences upon this journey, and which is accompanied
by a multitude of wayside sketches, is still preserved, and contains,
besides the dry entries of his current expenditures, most entertaining
allusions to the distinguished people whom he met, and who received
him with the utmost cordiality. Intermingled with these narrative
details are outbursts of feeling, which are provoked by passing
political and ecclesiastical events, in which he took a profound
interest, though he never appears to have committed himself with
positive openness to the party of reform. His sympathies are, however,
clearly shown by his writings, as well as by his works of art, to have
been with the Reformers, and he lived on terms of intimacy with
Erasmus and Melancthon, of both of whom we have portraits from his

Dürer returned from the Netherlands in 1521, about the middle of July,
and the remaining years of his life were spent in the prosecution of
the art of the engraver, in painting, and in the effort to elucidate
the sciences of perspective, geometry, and fortification, upon all of
which he has left treatises.

His labors, though they had not brought with them great wealth, had
secured for him a competency, and the latter years of his life were
devoted more and more to labors which, while dignified, did not tend
to add greatly to his already magnificent reputation. These labors
were prosecuted in spite of ever-failing health. While in the
Netherlands he had contracted a malarial fever, the effects of which
clung to him, in spite of the best treatment which could be secured,
and left him the wreck of his former self. On April 6, 1528, death
suddenly overtook him. There was not even time to summon his friends
to his side before his spirit had fled. The city which had been his
home from childhood was filled with mourning. They took up his remains
and gently laid them to rest in the burial vault of his wife's family
in the graveyard of the Church of St. John, where the setting sun
pours its last glowing beams at evening over the low Franconian
hill-tops. The vault has since been changed and the last
resting-place of the remains of the Raphael of the North is a lowly
mound, reverently approached by all who visit the quaint imperial
city, upon which is a slab, covered with a bronze tablet upon which
are the words:

      Quicquid Alberti Dureri Mortale
      Fuit Sub Hoc Conditum Tumulo.
      Emigravit VIII Idus Aprilis, MDXXVIIL

  "_Emigravit_ is the inscription on the tombstone where he lies;
  Dead he is not, but departed--for the artist never dies.
  Fairer seems the ancient city, and the sunshine seems more fair,
  That he once has trod its pavement, that he once has breathed its air!"

[Signature of the author.]


By Mrs. LEE


[Illustration: Rubens.]

"It is just one hundred and twenty years to-day," said a young artist
to his friend, as he stood in the hall of St. Mark, at Venice,
contemplating the noble works of Titian. "Time, the destroyer, has
here stayed his hand; the colors are as vivid and as fresh as if they
were laid on but yesterday. Would that my old friend and master, Otho
Venius, was here! At least I will carry back to Antwerp that in my
coloring which shall prove to him that I have not played truant to the

"Just one hundred and twenty years," repeated he, "since Titian was
born. Venice was then in its glory, but now it is all falling; its
churches and palaces are crumbling to dust, its commerce interrupted.
The republic continually harassed by the Porte, and obliged to call on
foreign aid; depressed by her internal despotism, her council of ten,
and state inquisitors; her decline, though gradual, is sure; yet the
splendor of her arts remains, and the genius of Titian, her favorite
son, is yet in the bloom and brilliancy of youth!"

Such was the enthusiastic exclamation of Rubens, as he contemplated
those paintings which had brought him from Antwerp. How many gifted
minds spoke to him from the noble works which were before him! The
three Bellinis, the founders of the Venetian school; Giorgione,
Titian, and Tintoretto. Then Paolo Veronese, who, though born at
Verona, in 1537, adopted Venice as his home, and became the
fellow-artist of Tintoretto, and the disciple of Titian. Pordenone,
too, who viewed Titian as a rival and an enemy. Palma the young, and
Palma the old, born in 1548, and the Bassanos, who died near 1627.

All these were present to the eye of Rubens, their genius embodied on
the canvas in the halls of St. Mark. "These," he exclaimed, "have
formed the Venetian school, and these shall be my study!"

From this time, the young artist might daily be seen with his sheets
of white paper, and his pencil in his hand. A few strokes preserved
the outline which his memory filled up; and by an intuitive glance,
his genius understood and appropriated every signal beauty.

In Venice he became acquainted with the Archduke Albert, who
introduced him to the Duke of Mantua, whither he went for the purpose
of studying the works of Julio Romano. From thence he proceeded to
Rome; here Raphael was his model, and Michael Angelo his wonder. He
devoted himself to painting with a fervor that belongs only to genius;
and he soon proved that, whatever he gained by ancient study, the
originality of his own conceptions would still remain and appear. To
the vivid and splendid coloring of the Venetian school, he was perhaps
more indebted than to any other model. The affectionate and constant
intercourse, by letters, that subsisted between Rubens and his mother,
made his long residence in Italy one of pleasure. At Rome he was
employed to adorn, by his paintings, the Church of Santa Croce, and
also the "Chiesa Nova."

Rubens had been originally destined by his mother for one of the
learned professions. His father was born at Antwerp, and held the
honorable office of councillor of state. When the civil war broke out
he repaired to Cologne, where his son, Peter Paul Rubens, was born. He
died soon after his return to Antwerp, and left his property much
diminished from losses occasioned by the civil war. The mother of
Rubens put him early to the best schools, where he was initiated in
learning and discovered a taste for belles-lettres; but all the
intervals of necessary study were devoted to drawing. His mother
perceiving it, determined to indulge his inclination, and placed him
in the studio of Van Noort.

The correct taste of the scholar soon led him to perceive that he
could not adopt this artist's style, and he became the pupil of Otho
Venius. Similarity of thought and feeling united them closely, and it
was with true disinterestedness that the master urged his pupil to
quit his confined circle and repair to Italy, the great school of art.

Time flew rapidly with Rubens, while engaged in his beloved and
honorable pursuit; he looked forward to the period when he might
return to Antwerp and place his mother in her former affluence. Nearly
seven years had passed since he took leave of her. Of late he thought
her letters had been less cheerful; she spoke of her declining
health, of her earnest hope that she might live to embrace him once
more. This hint was enough for his affectionate heart. He immediately
broke off all his engagements and prepared to return. Everyone knows
what impatience is created when one first begins to contemplate home,
after a long absence, and the heart is turned toward it. "Seven years
absent?" wrote Rubens to his mother, "how is it possible I have lived
so long away from you? It is too long; henceforth I will devote myself
to your happiness. Antwerp shall be my future residence. I have
acquired a taste for horticulture; our little garden shall be enlarged
and cultivated, and our home will be a paradise."

What are human anticipations and projects! the day before he was to
quit Rome he received a letter informing him that his mother was very
ill, and begging him to return with all speed. With breathless haste
he hurried back, without sleep or rest. When he reached the city he
dared not make any inquiries. At length he stood before the paternal
mansion; he saw the gloomy tiles and half-closed window-shutters. It
was the fall of the trees. He observed people going in and out at the
door; to speak was impossible. At length he rushed in and heard the
appalling sentence, "Too late," a sentence that often strikes
desolation to the human heart. His mother had expired that morning.

While he was struggling with the bitterness of sorrow, he met with
Elizabeth Brants. There was something in the tone of her voice which
infused tranquillity into his mind, and affection came in a new form
to assuage his loss. She was the "ladye of his love," and afterward
his wife. He built a magnificent house at Antwerp, with a saloon in
form of a rotunda, which he ornamented and enriched with antique
statues, busts, vases, and pictures by the most celebrated painters.
Thus surrounded by the gems of art, he devoted himself to the
execution of works which were the pride of his native country, and
caused honors and wealth to be heaped upon him.

There were those found who could not endure the splendor of his
success; these calumniated. There were others who tried to draw him
into visionary speculations. A chemist offered him a share of his
laboratory, to join in his search for the philosopher's stone. He
carried the visionary to his painting-room, and said, "The offer comes
too late. You see I have found out the art of making gold by my
palette and pencils."

Rubens was now at the height of prosperity and happiness, a dangerous
eminence, and one on which few are permitted to rest. A second time
his heart was pierced with sorrow: he lost his young wife, Elizabeth,
a few years after their union. Deep as was his sorrow, he had yet
resolution enough to feel the necessity of exertion. He left the place
which constantly reminded him of domestic enjoyment, the memory of
which contrasted so sadly with the present silence and solitude, and
travelled for some time in Holland. After his return, he received a
commission from Mary de Medici, of France, to adorn the palace of the
Luxembourg. He executed for this purpose a number of paintings at
Antwerp, and instructed several pupils in his art.

At this time Rubens devoted himself wholly to painting, and scarcely
allowed himself time for recreation. He considered it one of the most
effectual means of instruction, to allow his pupils to observe his
method of using his paints. He therefore had them with him while he
worked on his large pictures. Teniers, Snyders, Jordaens, and Vandyke
were among his pupils--all names well known.

When Rubens had executed the commission given him by Mary de Medici,
wife of Henry IV., he repaired to Paris to arrange his pictures at the
Luxembourg palace, and there painted two more, and likewise the
galleries, representing passages of her life.

Here he became acquainted with the Duke of Buckingham, as that
nobleman was on his way to Madrid with Prince Charles. On his return
to Antwerp, he was summoned to the presence of the Infanta Isabella,
who had, through Buckingham, become interested in his character. She
thought him worthy of a political mission to the court of Madrid,
where he was most graciously received by Philip. While at Madrid he
painted four pictures for the convent of the Carmelites, and a fine
portrait of the king on horseback, with many other pictures; for these
extraordinary productions he was richly rewarded, received the honor
of knighthood, and was presented with the golden key.

While in Spain, Don John, Duke of Braganza, who was afterward king of
Portugal, sent and invited him to visit him at Villa Vitiosa, the
place of his residence. Rubens, perhaps, might at this time have been
a little dazzled with his uncommon elevation. He was now _Sir Paul_
and celebrated all over Europe. It was proper he should make the visit
as one person of high rank visits another. His preparations were great
to appear in a becoming style, and not to shame his noble host. At
length the morning arrived, and, attended by a numerous train of
courteous friends and hired attendants, the long cavalcade began the
journey. When not far distant from Villa Vitiosa, Rubens learned that
Don John had sent an embassy to meet him. Such an honor had seldom
been accorded to a private gentleman, and Rubens schooled himself to
receive it with suitable humility and becoming dignity.

He put up at a little distance from Villa Vitiosa, awaiting the
arrival of the embassy; finally it came, in the form of a single
gentleman, who civilly told him that the duke, his master, had been
obliged to leave home on business that could not be dispensed with,
and therefore must deny himself the pleasure of the visit; but as he
had probably been at some extra expense in coming so far, he begged
him to accept of fifty pistoles as a remuneration.

Rubens refused the pistoles, and could not forbear adding that he had
"brought two thousand along with him, which he had meant to spend at
his court during the fifteen days he was to spend there."

The truth was, that when Don John was informed that Rubens was coming
in the style of a prince to see him, it was wholly foreign to his
plan; he was a great lover of painting, and had wished to see him as
an artist. He therefore determined to prevent the visit.

The second marriage of Rubens, with Helena Forman, was, no less than
the first, one of affection; she had great beauty, and became a model
for his pencil. His favor with the great continued. Mary de Medici
visited him at his own home more than once; and the Infanta Isabella
was so much satisfied with his mission in Spain, that she sent him to
England, to sound the disposition of the government on the subject of
a peace.

Rubens disclosed in this embassy his diplomatic talents; he first
appeared there in his character of artist, and insensibly won upon the
confidence of Charles. The king requested him to paint the ceiling of
the banqueting-house at Whitehall. While he was employed upon it,
Charles frequently visited him and criticised the work. Rubens, very
naturally introducing the subject, and finding, from the tenor of his
conversation, that he was by no means averse to a peace with Spain, at
length produced his credentials. The king received his mission most
graciously, and Rubens returned to the Netherlands crowned with honors
and success.

He had passed his fiftieth year when his health began to fail, and he
was attacked with a severe fit of the gout. Those who have witnessed
the irritation attendant upon that disorder will appreciate the
perfect harmony and gentleness that existed between Rubens and his
wife. With untiring tenderness she devoted herself to him, and was
ingenious in devising alleviations and comforts.

The severe attacks of Rubens' disorder debilitated his frame, yet he
continued painting at his easel almost to the last; and, amid
suffering and sickness, never failed in giving the energy of intellect
to his pictures. He died at the age of sixty-three, in the year 1640,
leaving great wealth. The pomp and circumstance of funeral rite can
only be of consequence as showing the estimation in which a departed
citizen is held. Public funeral honors were awarded, and men of every
rank were eager to manifest their respect to his memory. He was buried
in the Church of St. James, at Antwerp, under the altar of his private
chapel, which was decorated with one of his own noble pictures.


         [Footnote 4: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.]



[Illustration: Rembrandt.]

A heretic in art Rembrandt was to many of his Dutch contemporaries; to
us, he is the master, supreme alike in genius and accomplishment.
Because, as time went on, he broke completely from tradition and in
his work gave full play to his originality, his pictures were looked
at askance; because he chose to live his own life, indifferent to
accepted conventions, he himself was misunderstood. It was his cruel
fate to enjoy prosperity and popularity in his earlier years, only to
meet with neglect in his old age. But this he felt probably less than
other men; he was not a courtier, with Velasquez, nor vowed to
worldly success, with Rubens. His pleasure and his reward, he found
in his work. So long as easel and canvas, brushes and paints were left
to him, he demanded no greater happiness.

[Illustration: Marie De Medici at the House of Rubens.]

In Leyden, a town already made famous by another master, Lucas van
Leyden, Rembrandt was born in 1606; though this date has been
disputed, some authorities suggesting 1607, others, 1608. His family
were respectable, if not distinguished, burghers, his father, Harmen
Gerritszoon, being a miller by trade, his mother, Neeltjen Willems of
Zuitbroeck, the daughter of a baker. Not until early in the
seventeenth century did permanent surnames become common among
Dutchmen; hitherto children had been given their father's, in addition
to their own Christian name; Rembrandt for many years was known as
Rembrandt Harmenzoon, or the son of Harmen. But the miller, to be in
the growing fashion, had called himself Van Ryn--of the Rhine--and
thus, later on, Rembrandt also signed himself. Harmen was well-to-do;
he owned houses in Leyden, and beyond the walls, gardens, and fields,
and the mill where Rembrandt, because he once drew a mill, was
supposed to have been born. But there was no reason for Neeltjen to
move from a comfortable house in town into such rustic quarters, and
it is more likely that Rembrandt's birthplace was the house pointed
out in the Nordeinde Street. A commercial career had been chosen for
his four older brothers. But Harmen, his means allowing the luxury,
decided to make of his fifth son a man of letters and learning, and
Rembrandt was sent to the University of Leyden. That letters, however,
had small charm for him, was clear from the first. Better than his
books he loved the engravings of Swanenburch, better still, the
pictures of Lucas van Leyden, which he could look at to his heart's
content on gala days, when the Town Hall, where they hung, was thrown
open to the public. His hours of study were less profitable than his
hours of recreation when he rambled in the country, through his
father's estate, and, sometimes as far as the sea, a sketch-book, the
chances are, for sole companion. Certainly, by the time he was
fifteen, so strong were the proofs of his indifference to the classics
and his love for art, that his father, sacrificing his own ambitions,
allowed Rembrandt to leave the university for the studio of Van
Swanenburch. From this day forth, his life's history is told in the
single word--work; his indeed was the genius of industry.

Van Swanenburch had studied in Italy; but his own painting, to judge
by the few examples still in existence, was entirely commonplace.
Three years were more than enough to be passed under his tuition. At
the end of the third, Rembrandt went to Amsterdam, and there entered
the studio of Lastman. His second master also had studied in Italy,
and also was a painter of mediocre talent, popular in his own
times--the Apelles of the day, he was called--but remembered now
chiefly because of his relations to his pupil. From the first,
Rembrandt, even if obliged to paint the stock subjects of the day, was
determined to treat them in his own way, and not to follow set forms
that happened to be adopted in the schools. He used real men and women
for models, and painted them as he saw them, not as he was bidden to
look at them through his teacher's spectacles. In six months he had
learned at least one thing, that Lastman had nothing more to teach
him. The man of genius must ever be his own master, though he remain
the hard-working student all his days. Back to Leyden and to his
father's house, Rembrandt had not returned to lead a life of idleness.
He worked tremendously in these early years. Even needed models he
found in the members of his family; he has made the face of his mother
as familiar as that of a friend; his own, with the heavy features, the
thick, bushy hair, the small intelligent eyes, between them the
vertical line, fast deepening on the fine forehead, he drew and etched
and painted, again and again. More elaborate compositions he also
undertook. As in his maturity, it was to the Bible he turned for
suggestions: Saint Paul in prison, Samson and Delilah, the
Presentation in the Temple--these were the themes then in vogue which
he preferred, rendering them with the realism which distinguished his
later, more famous Samsons and Abrahams and Christs, making them the
motive for a fine arrangement of color, for a striking study of light
and shadow. A pleasant picture one can fancy of his life at this
period; he was with his own people, for whom his love was tender; busy
with brush, pencil, and etching-needle; he was strengthening his
powers of observation, developing and perfecting his style,
occasionally producing work that won for him renown in Leyden; and,
gradually, he gathered round him a small group of earnest
fellow-workers, chief among them Lievens, Gerard Dou, and Van Vliet,
the last two, though but slightly his juniors, looking up to him as
master. These were the years of his true apprenticeship.

Leyden, however, was not the best place for a young painter who had
his fortunes to make. It was essentially a university town; interest
was concentrated upon letters; art was but of secondary consideration.
It was different in Amsterdam, the great commercial centre of Holland.
There, all was life and activity and progress; there, was money to be
spent, and the liberal patron willing to lavish it upon the artist.
Holland just then was in the first flush of prosperity and patriotism,
following upon her virtual independence from Spain. Not a citizen but
glowed with self-respect at the thought of the victory he had, in one
way or another, helped to win; the state, as represented by the good
burghers, was supreme in every man's mind. It was natural that
individuals and corporations alike should seek to immortalize their
greatness by means of the painter's art, which, in Holland, had long
since ceased to be a monopoly of the church. Hence the age became
essentially one of portrait-painting. Many were the painters whose
portraits had already achieved distinction. De Keyser was busy in
Amsterdam; a far greater genius, Franz Hals, but fifteen years
Rembrandt's senior, was creating his masterpieces in The Hague and
Harlem. It was as inevitable that Rembrandt should turn to
portraiture, as that he should find commissions less numerous in
Leyden than in Amsterdam. Often in the latter town his services were
required; so often, indeed, that at last, about 1631, when he was just
twenty-five, he settled there permanently and set up a studio of his

Success was his from the start. Sitter after sitter sought him out in
his house on the Bloemgracht; the most distinguished men in the town
hastened to patronize him. His work was liked by the burghers whom he
painted, its strength was felt by artists, whose canvases soon showed
its influence. Admirers crowded to his studio. He had not been in
Amsterdam a twelvemonth when, before he was yet twenty-six, he was
entrusted with an order of more than usual importance. This was the
portrait of Dr. Tulp and his class of surgeons: the famous "Lesson in
Anatomy" now in the Gallery at The Hague. The subject at the time was
very popular. Many artists, De Keyser among others, had already, in
painting prominent surgeons, placed them around the subject they were
dissecting; indeed, this was the arrangement insisted upon by the
surgeons themselves, and, as there seems to have been no limit to
their vanity, "Lessons in Anatomy" were almost as plentiful in Holland
as "Madonnas" in Umbria. Rembrandt in his composition was simply
adhering to accepted tradition. It is true that he instilled life into
a group hitherto, on other painters' canvases, stiff and perfunctory;
but, though the picture was a wonderful production for a man of his
years, it is not to be ranked with his greatest work.

Commissions now poured in still faster. It was at this time he painted
several of his best known portraits: the "Master Shipbuilder and his
Wife," at present in Buckingham Palace; that simply marvellous old
woman at the National Gallery in London, made familiar to everyone by
countless photographs and other reproductions; the man in ruff and
woman in coif at the Brunswick Museum; and a score of others scarce
less important. With increasing popularity, he was able to command his
own prices, so that only a part of his time was it necessary for him
to devote to the portraits which were his chief source of income.
During the leisure he reserved, he painted biblical subjects, ever his
delight, and made etchings and drawings, today the most prized
treasures in the world's great galleries. As in Leyden, he drew about
him students; a few, notably Ferdinand Bol and Christophe Paudiss,
destined, in their turn, to gain name and fame. Indifferent to social
claims and honors--an indifference the burghers, his patrons, found it
hard to forgive, his one amusement was in collecting pictures and
engravings, old stuffs and jewels, and every kind of _bric-à-brac_,
until his house in Amsterdam was a veritable museum. This amusement
later was to cost him dear.

Four years after the "Lesson in Anatomy" was painted, when he was at
the height of prosperity, in 1634, he married Saskia van Uylenborch,
the Saskia of so many an etching and picture. She was of a good
Frisian family, and brought with her a dowry of no mean proportions.
Rembrandt's marriage made small changes in his way of living. Into the
society, so ready to receive him, he never went, not even now that he
had a wife to introduce. It bored him, and he was no toady to waste
his time fawning upon possible patrons. "When I desire to rest my
spirit, I do not seek honors, but liberty," was his explanation. The
companionship of artists he always welcomed; sometimes he visited the
humbler burghers, whose ways were as simple as his own; sometimes he
sought the humblest classes of all, because of their picturesqueness,
and his contemporaries took him to task for his perverted taste for
low company. The truth is that always he devoted himself solely and
wholly to his art; the only difference, once he was married, was that,
when he sat at his easel all day or over his copperplate, and
sketchbook all evening, Saskia was with him. She shared all his
interests, all his ambitions; she had no will but his. During his
working hours, she was his model, obedient to his call. She never
tired of posing for him, nor he of painting her now simply as Saskia,
now as Delilah feasting with Samson, as Susanna surprised by the
Elders, as the Jewish Betrothed at her toilet. Sometimes he
represented her alone, sometimes with himself at her side; once, in
the famous Dresden portrait, on his knee, as if to proclaim the love
they bore for one another. And he, who could render faithfully the
ways of the beggar, the austere black of the burgher, for himself and
Saskia found no masquerading too gay or extravagant. In inventing
costumes for their own portraits, he gave his exuberant fancy free
play: in gorgeous embroidered robes, waving plumes, and priceless gems
they arrayed themselves, until even the resources of his collection
were exhausted: the same rich mantle, the same jewels appear, and
reappear in picture after picture.

Rembrandt's short married years were happy, though not without their
sorrows. Of Saskia's five children, four died in infancy; the fifth,
Titus, was not a year old when, in 1642, the end came for Saskia, and
Rembrandt, who had just reached his thirty-seventh year, was left in
his great house alone with an infant son and his pupils. Her
confidence in him is shown by her will, in which the inheritance of
Titus is left in the father's charge, though already Rembrandt's
affairs must have given signs of coming complications.

[Illustration: Connoisseurs at Rembrandt's Studio.]

Much of his best work remained to be done, but after Saskia's death
his worldly fortunes and his popularity never again touched such
high-water mark. The reason for this is not far to seek. During all
these years, Rembrandt's powers had matured, his methods broadened,
and his individuality strengthened. With each new canvas, his
originality became more conspicuous. It was not only that the world of
nature, and not imagination, supplied his models. Many of the Dutch
painters now were no less realists than he. It was not only that he
solved certain problems of _chiaro oscuro_, there were men, like
Lievens, who were as eager as he in the study of light and shadow. But
Rembrandt brought to his every experiment an independence that
startled the average man. He painted well because he saw well. If no
one else saw things as he did, the loss was theirs. But he paid for
his keener vision; because he did not paint like other artists, his
methods were mistrusted. To be misunderstood is the penalty of genius.
The picture which, of all his work, is now the most famous, marks the
turn in the tide of his affairs. Shortly before Saskia's death, he had
been commissioned to paint a portrait group of Banning Cock and the
military company which he commanded. These portrait groups of the
military corporations rivalled in popularity the "Lessons in Anatomy."
Each member, or officer, paid to be included in the composition, and,
as a rule, a stiff, formal picture, with each individual posed as for
a photograph, was the result. Rembrandt, apparently, was in nowise
restricted when he undertook the work for Banning Cock, and so,
instead of the stupid, hackneyed arrangement, he made of the portrait
of the company a picture of armed men marching forth to beating of
drums and waving of banners, "The Night Watch," as it must ever be
known--more accurately, "The Sortie of the Company of Banning
Cock"--now in the Ryks Museum of Amsterdam. With the men for whom it
was painted, it proved a failure. The grouping, the arrangement
displeased them. Many of the company were left in deep shadow, which
was not the privilege for which they had agreed to pay good money.
Rembrandt was not the man to compromise. After this many burghers, who
cared much for themselves and their own faces, and not in the least
for art, were afraid to entrust their portraits to him lest their
importance might be sacrificed to the painter's effects. Certain it is
that six years later, in 1648, when the independence of Holland was
formally recognized at the Congress of Westphalia, though Terburg and
Van der Heist celebrated the event on canvas, Rembrandt's services
were not secured. Good friends were left to him--men of intelligence
who appreciated his strong individuality and the great originality of
his work. Banning Cock himself was not among the discontented. A few
leading citizens, like Dr. Tulp and the Burgomeister Six, were ever
his devoted patrons. Artists still gathered about him; pupils still
crowded to his studio; Nicolas Maes, De Gelder, Kneller among them.
Many of his finest portraits--those of Hendrickje Stoffels, of his
son, of himself in his old age, of the Burgomeister Six, above all,
his masterpiece, "The Syndics of the Guild of Clothmakers," now in
Amsterdam; many of his finest etchings, the little landscapes, the
famous "Hundred Guilder Print," "Christ Healing the Sick," belong to
this later period. There was no falling off, but rather an increase,
in his powers, despite the clouds that darkened his years of middle

Of these clouds, the darkest was due to his financial troubles.
Rembrandt had made large sums of money; Saskia's dowry had been by no
means small. But he also spent lavishly. He had absolutely no business
capacity. Once he was accused of miserliness; that he would at times
lunch on dry bread and a herring served as reproach against him; there
was a story current that his pupils would drop bits of paper painted
to look like money in order to see him stoop to pick them up. Both
charges are too foolish to answer seriously. When he was at work, it
mattered little to him what he ate, so that he was not disturbed; who
would not stoop to pick up coins apparently scattered on the floor?
The money he devoted to his collection is sufficient to show how small
a fancy he had for hoarding; upon it a princely fortune had been
squandered. To his own people in Leyden, when times were hard, he had
not been slow to hold out a generous hand. It was because he was not
enough of a miser, because he gave too little heed to business
matters, that difficulties at length overwhelmed him. It is too sad a
story to tell in detail. Perhaps the beginning was when he bought a
house for which he had not the ready money to pay, and borrowed a
large sum for the purpose. More and more involved became his affairs.
In time his creditors grew clamorous, and at length the blow fell
when, in 1657, he was declared bankrupt. The collection of years, the
embroidered mantles and draperies, the jewels with which Saskia had
been so gayly decked, the plumes and furs and gorgeous robes in which
he himself had masqueraded, the armor and plate, the engravings and
pictures which had filled his house--all were sold. He, the master,
had, at the age of fifty-one, to begin life anew as if he were still
but the apprentice.

In the midst of his troubles and losses, Hendrickje Stoffels, whose
portrait hangs in the Louvre, was the friend who cheered and comforted
him. She had been his servant; afterward she lived with him as his
wife, though legally they were not married. To Titus, as to her own
children, she was ever a tender mother, and Titus, in return, seems to
have loved her no less well. In the end, they together took
Rembrandt's business interests into their own hands, the son,
probably, using his inheritance in the enterprise. Renting a house in
their own name, they became his print and picture dealers.

But as time went on, Rembrandt's work brought lower and lower prices,
and he, himself, the last two years of his life, was almost forgotten.
Though he still lived in Amsterdam, the town from which he had so
seldom journeyed, and then never far, he had fallen into such
obscurity, that report now established him in Stockholm as painter to
the King of Sweden, now in Hull, or Yarmouth. In his own family
nothing but sorrow was in store for him. Hendrickje died, probably
about 1664, and he was once more alone; and next he lost Titus, who
then had been married but a few short months.

Fortunately for Rembrandt, he did not long survive them. In 1669, at
the age of sixty-two, his release came. He was buried in the West
Church, quietly and simply. Thirteen florins his funeral cost, and
even this small expense had to be met by his daughter-in-law. When an
inventory of his possessions was taken, these were found to consist of
nothing but his own wardrobe and his painter's tools.

But better than a mere fortune, his work he left as an heirloom for
all time; his drawings, not the least among them without the stamp of
his genius; his prints, still unsurpassed, though it was he who first
developed the possibilities of etching; his pictures, "painted with
light," as Fromentin has said. His subjects he may have borrowed from
the fashions and traditions of the time; certain mannerisms of
technique and arrangement his pupils may have copied. But for all
that, his work belongs to no special school or group; like all the
world's great masterpieces, whether produced in Spain by a Velasquez,
in Venice by a Titian, in England by a Whistler, it stands alone and

[Signature of the author.]



[Illustration: William Hogarth.]

"I was born," says Hogarth, in his Memoirs of himself, "in the city of
London, November 10, 1697. My father's pen, like that of many authors,
did not enable him to do more than put me in a way of shifting for
myself. As I had naturally a good eye and a fondness for drawing,
shows of all sorts gave me uncommon pleasure when an infant; and
mimicry, common to all children, was remarkable in me. An early access
to a neighboring painter drew my attention from play, and I was, at
every possible opportunity, employed in making drawings. I picked up
an acquaintance of the same turn, and soon learned to draw the
alphabet with great correctness. My exercises when 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 could much surpass me, but for the latter I was particularly

To this account of Hogarth's childhood we have only to add that his
father, an enthusiastic and laborious scholar, who, like many of his
craft, owed little to the favor of fortune, consulted these
indications of talent as well as his means would allow, and bound his
son apprentice to a silver-plate engraver. But Hogarth aspired after
something higher than drawing ciphers and coats-of-arms; and before
the expiration of his indentures he had made himself a good
draughtsman, and obtained considerable knowledge of coloring. It was
his ambition to become distinguished as an artist; and not content
with being the mere copier of other men's productions, he sought to
combine the functions of the painter with those of the engraver, and
to gain the power of delineating his own ideas and the fruits of his
acute observation. He has himself explained the nature of his views in
a passage which is worth attention:

"Many reasons led me to wish that I could find the 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 have made, and then
trying by my power on the canvas how far my plan enabled me to combine
and apply them to practice. For this purpose I considered what
various ways, and to what different purposes, the memory might be
applied, and fell upon one most suitable to my situation and idle
disposition; laying it down first as an axiom, that he who could by
any means acquire and retain in his memory perfect ideas of the
subjects he meant to draw, would have as clear a knowledge of the
figure as a man who can write freely hath of the twenty-five letters
of the alphabet and their infinite combinations." Acting on these
principles, he improved, by constant exercise, his natural powers of
observation and recollection. We find him roaming through the country,
now at Yarmouth and again at Queenborough, sketching everywhere. In
his rambles among the motley scenes of London he was ever on the watch
for striking features or incidents; and not trusting entirely to
memory, he was accustomed, when any face struck him as being
peculiarly grotesque or expressive, to sketch it on his thumb-nail, to
be treasured up on paper at his return home.

For some time after the expiration of his apprenticeship, Hogarth
continued to practise the trade to which he was bred; and his
shop-bills, coats-of-arms, engravings upon tankards, etc., have been
collected with an eagerness quite disproportionate to their value.
Soon he procured employment in furnishing frontispieces and designs
for the booksellers. The most remarkable of these are the plates to an
edition of "Hudibras," published in 1726; but even these are of no
distinguished merit. About 1728 he began to seek employment as a
portrait-painter. Most of his performances were small family pictures,
containing several figures, which he calls "Conversation Pieces," from
twelve to fifteen inches high. These for a time were very popular, and
his practice was considerable, as his price was low. His life-size
portraits are few; the most remarkable are that of Captain Coram, in
the "Foundling Hospital," and that of Garrick as King Richard III.,
which is reproduced in the present volume. But his practice as a
portrait-painter was not lucrative, nor his popularity lasting.
Although many of his likenesses were strong and characteristic, in the
representation of beauty, elegance, and high-breeding he was little
skilled. The nature of the artist was as uncourtly as his pencil. When
Hogarth obtained employment and eminence of another sort through his
wonderful prints, he abandoned portrait-painting, with a growl at the
jealousy of his professional brethren; and the vanity and blindness of
the public.

March 25, 1729, Hogarth contracted a stolen marriage with the only
daughter of the once fashionable painter, Sir James Thornhill. The
father, for some time implacable, relented at last; and the
reconciliation, it is said, was much forwarded by his admiration of
the "Harlot's Progress," a series of six prints, commenced in 1731 and
published in 1734. The novelty as well as merit of this series of
prints won for them extraordinary popularity; and their success
encouraged Hogarth to undertake a similar history of the "Rake's
Progress," in eight prints, which appeared in 1735. The third, and
perhaps the most popular, as it is the least objectionable of these
pictorial novels, "Marriage à la Mode," was not engraved till 1745.

[Illustration: Hogarth Sketching the Highway of Queenborough.]

The merits of these prints were sufficiently intelligible to the
public: their originality and boldness of design, the force and
freedom of their execution, rough as it is, won for them an
extensive popularity and a rapid and continued sale. The "Harlot's
Progress" was the most eminently successful, from its novelty rather
than from its superior excellence. Twelve hundred subscribers' names
were entered for it; it was dramatized in several forms; and we may
note, in illustration of the difference of past and present manners,
that fan-mounts were engraved containing miniature copies of the six
plates. The merits of the pictures were less obvious to the few who
could afford to spend large sums on works of art, and Hogarth, too
proud to let them go for prices much below the value which he put upon
them, waited for a long time, and waited in vain, for a purchaser. At
last he determined to commit them to public sale; but instead of the
common method of auction, he devised a new and complex plan with the
intention of excluding picture-dealers, and obliging men of rank and
wealth who wished to purchase to judge and bid for themselves. The
scheme failed, as might have been expected. Nineteen of Hogarth's best
pictures, the "Harlot's Progress," the "Rake's Progress," the "Four
Times of the Day," and "Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn"
produced only £427 7s., not averaging £22 10s. each. The "Harlot's
Progress" was purchased by Mr. Beckford at the rate of fourteen
guineas a picture; five of the series perished in the fire at
Fonthill. The "Rake's Progress" averaged twenty-two guineas a picture;
it has passed into the possession of Sir John Soane, at the advanced
price of five hundred and seventy guineas. The same eminent architect
became the proprietor of the four pictures of an "Election" for the
sum of £1,732. "Marriage à la Mode" was disposed of in a similar way
in 1750; and on the day of the sale one bidder appeared, who became
master of the six pictures, together with their frames, for £115 10s.
Mr. Angerstein purchased them, in 1797, for £1,381, and they now form
a striking feature in the National Gallery.

The satire of Hogarth was not often of a personal nature; but he knew
his own power, and he sometimes exercised it. Two of his prints, "The
Times," produced a memorable quarrel between himself, on one side, and
Wilkes and Churchhill, on the other. The satire of the prints of "The
Times," which were published in 1762, was directed, not against Wilkes
himself, but his political friends, Pitt and Temple; nor is it so
biting as to have required Wilkes, in defence of his party, to
retaliate upon one with whom he had lived in familiar and friendly
intercourse. He did so, however, in a number of the _North Briton_,
containing not only abuse of the artist, but unjust and injurious
mention of his wife. Hogarth was deeply wounded by this attack; he
retorted by the well-known portrait of Wilkes with the cap of liberty,
and he afterward represented Churchill as a bear. The quarrel was
unworthy the talents either of the painter or poet. It is more to be
regretted because its effects, as he himself intimates, were injurious
to Hogarth's declining health. The summer of 1764 he spent at
Chiswick, and the free air and exercise worked a partial renovation of
his strength. The amendment, however, was but temporary, and he died
suddenly, October 26th, the day after his return to his London
residence in Leicester Square.




[Illustration: Sir Joshua Reynolds.]

Sir Joshua Reynolds, the celebrated painter, was, on July 16, 1723,
born at Plympton, a small town in Devonshire, England. His father was
a minister of the parish, and also master of the grammar school; and
being a man of learning and philanthropy, he was beloved and respected
by all to whom he was known. Such a man, it will naturally be
supposed, was assiduous in the cultivation of the minds of his
children, among whom his son Joshua shone conspicuous, by displaying
at a very early period a superiority of genius and the rudiments of a
correct taste. Unlike other boys, who generally content themselves
with giving a literal explanation of their author, regardless of his
beauties or his faults, young Reynolds attended to both these,
displaying a happy knowledge of what he read, and entering with ardor
into the spirit of his author. He discovered likewise talents for
composition, and a natural propensity to drawing, in which his friends
and intimates thought him qualified to excel. Emulation was a
distinguishing characteristic of his mind, which his father perceived
with the delight natural to a parent; and designing him for the
church, in which he hoped that his talents might raise him to
eminence, he sent him to one of the universities.

Soon after this period he grew passionately fond of painting; and by
the perusal of Richardson's theory of that art was determined to make
it his profession through life. At his own earnest request, therefore,
he was removed to London; and about the year 1742 became a pupil to
Mr. Hudson, who, though not himself an eminent painter, was preceptor
to many who afterward excelled in the art. One of the first advices
which he gave to Mr. Reynolds was to copy carefully Guercino's
drawings. This was done with such skill, that many of the copies are
said to be now preserved in the cabinets of the curious as the
originals of that very great master.

About the year 1749, Mr. Reynolds went to Italy under the auspices,
and in the company, of the late Lord (then Commodore) Keppel, who was
appointed to the command of the British squadron in the Mediterranean.
In this garden of the world, this magic seat of arts, he failed not to
visit the schools of the great masters, to study the productions of
different ages, and to contemplate with unwearied attention the
various beauties which are characteristic of each. His labor here, as
has been observed of another painter, was "the labor of love, not the
task of the hireling;" and how much he profited by it is known to all

Having remained about two years in Italy, and studied the language as
well as the arts of the country with great success, he returned to
England, improved by travel and refined by education. On the road to
London from the port where he landed, he accidentally found in the inn
where he lodged Johnson's life of Savage, and was so taken with the
charms of composition, and the masterly delineation of character
displayed in that work, that, having begun to read it while leaning
his arm on the chimney-piece, he continued in that attitude,
insensible of pain till he was hardly able to raise his hand to his
head. The admiration of the work naturally led him to seek the
acquaintance of its author, who continued one of his sincerest
admirers and warmest friends till 1784, when they were separated by
the stroke of death.

The first thing that distinguished him after his return to his native
country was a full-length portrait of Commodore Keppel; which in
polite circles was spoken of in terms of the highest encomium, and
testified to what a degree of eminence he had arrived in his
profession. This was followed by a portrait of Lord Edgecombe, and a
few others, which at once introduced him to the first business in
portrait-painting; and that branch of the art he cultivated with such
success as will forever establish his fame with all descriptions of
refined society. Having painted some of the first-rate beauties of the
age, the polite world flocked to see the graces and the charms of his
pencil; and he soon became the most fashionable painter not only in
England, but in all Europe. He has indeed preserved the resemblance of
so many illustrious characters, that we feel the less regret at his
having left behind him so few historical paintings; though what he has
done in that way shows him to have been qualified to excel in both
departments. The only landscape, perhaps, which he ever painted,
except those beautiful and chaste ones which compose the backgrounds
of many of his portraits, is "A View on the Thames from Richmond,"
which in 1784 was exhibited by the Society for Promoting Painting and
Design in Liverpool.

In 1764 Mr. Reynolds had the merit of being the first promoter of that
club, which, having long existed without a name, became at last
distinguished by the appellation of the _Literary Club_. Upon the
foundation of the Royal Academy of Painting, Sculpture, and
Architecture, he was appointed president; and his acknowledged
excellence in his profession made the appointment acceptable to all
the lovers of art. To add to the dignity of this new institution, his
majesty conferred on the president the honor of knighthood; and Sir
Joshua delivered his first discourse at the opening of the Academy, on
January 2, 1769. The merit of that discourse has been universally
admitted among painters; but it contains some directions, respecting
the proper mode of prosecuting their studies, to which every student
of every art would do well to pay attention. "I would chiefly
recommend (says he) that an implicit obedience to the _rules of art_,
as established by the practice of the great masters, should be exacted
from the young students. That those models, which have passed through
the approbation of ages, should be considered by them as perfect and
infallible guides, as subjects for their imitation, not their
criticism. I am confident that this is the only efficacious method of
making a progress in the arts; and that he who sets out with doubting
will find life finished before he becomes master of the rudiments. For
it may be laid down as a maxim, that he who begins by presuming on his
own sense, has ended his studies as soon as he has commenced them.
Every opportunity, therefore, should be taken to discountenance that
false and vulgar opinion, that rules are the fetters of genius. They
are fetters only to men of no genius; as that armor, which upon the
strong becomes an ornament and a defence, upon the weak and misshapen
turns into a load, and cripples the body which it was made to

Each succeeding year, on the distribution of the prizes, Sir Joshua
delivered to the students a discourse of equal merit with this; and
perhaps we do not hazard too much when we say, that from the whole
collected, the lovers of belles-lettres and the fine arts will acquire
juster notions of what is meant by taste in general, and better rules
for acquiring a correct taste, than from the multitude of those
volumes which have been professedly written on the subject.

In the autumn of 1785 he went to Brussels, where he expended about
£1,000 on the purchase of paintings which, having been taken from the
different monasteries and religious houses in Flanders and Germany,
were then exposed to sale by the command of the Emperor Joseph.
Gainsborough and he had engaged to paint each other's portrait; and
the canvas for both being actually stretched, Sir Joshua gave one
sitting to his distinguished rival; but to the regret of every admirer
of the art, the unexpected death of the latter prevented all further

In 1790 he was anxiously desirous to procure the vacant professorship
of perspective in the academy for Mr. Bonomi, an Italian architect;
but that artist not having been yet elected an associate, was, of
course, no academician, and it became necessary to raise him to those
positions, in order to qualify him for being a professor. Mr. Gilpin
being his competitor for the associateship, the numbers on the ballot
proved equal, when the president, on his casting vote, decided the
election in favor of his friend, who was thereby advanced so far
toward the professorship. Soon after this, an academic seat being
vacant, Sir Joshua exerted all his influence to obtain it for Mr.
Bonomi; but finding himself out-voted by a majority of two to one, he
quitted the chair with great dissatisfaction, and next day sent to the
secretary of the academy a formal resignation of the office, which for
twenty-one years he had filled with honor to himself and to his
country. His indignation, however, subsiding, he suffered himself to
be prevailed upon to return to the chair, which, within a year and a
half, he was again desirous to quit for a better reason.

Finding a disease of languor, occasioned by an enlargement of the
liver, to which he had for some time been subject, increase, and daily
expecting a total loss of sight, he wrote a letter to the academy,
intimating his intention to resign the office of president on account
of bodily infirmities, which disabled him from executing the duties
of it to his own satisfaction. The academy received this intelligence
with the respectful concern due to the talents and virtues of their
president, and either then did enter, or designed to enter, into a
resolution honorable to all parties, namely, that a deputation from
the whole body of the academy should wait upon him, and inform him of
their wish, that the authority and privileges of the office of
president might be his during his life, declaring their willingness to
permit the performance of any of its duties which might be irksome to
him by a deputy.

From this period Sir Joshua never painted more. The last effort of his
pencil was the portrait of the honorable Charles James Fox, which was
executed in his best style, and shows that his fancy, his imagination,
and his other great powers in the art which he professed, remained
unabated to the end of his life. When the last touches were given to
this picture,

  "The hand of Reynolds fell, to rise no more."

On Thursday, February 23, 1792, the world was deprived of this amiable
man and excellent artist, at the age of sixty-eight years; a man than
whom no one, according to Johnson, had passed through life with more
observations of men and manners. The following character of him is
said to be the production of Mr. Burke:

"His illness was long, but borne with a mild and cheerful fortitude,
without the least mixture of anything irritable or querulous,
agreeably to the placid and even tenor of his whole life. He had, from
the beginning of his malady, a distinct view of his dissolution, which
he contemplated with that entire composure which nothing but the
innocence, integrity, and usefulness of his life, and an unaffected
submission to the will of Providence, could bestow. In this situation
he had every consolation from family tenderness, which his tenderness
to his family had always merited.

"Sir Joshua Reynolds 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 richness and
harmony of coloring, he was equal to the great masters of the renowned
ages. In portrait he went beyond them; for he communicated to that
branch of the art in which English artists are the most engaged, a
variety, 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
reminded the spectator of the invention of history and the amenity of
landscape. In painting portraits he appears 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

"He possessed the theory as perfectly as the practice of his art. To
be such a painter, he was a profound and penetrating philosopher.

"In full happiness of foreign and domestic fame, admired by the expert
in art, and by the learned in science, courted by the great, caressed
by sovereign powers, and celebrated by distinguished poets, his native
humility, modesty, and candor never forsook him, even on surprise or
provocation; nor was the least degree of arrogance or assumption
visible to the most scrutinizing eye in any part of his conduct or

"His talents of every kind--powerful from nature, and not meanly
cultivated in letters--his social virtues in all the relations and all
the habitudes of life, rendered him the centre of a very great and
unparalleled variety of agreeable societies, which will be dissipated
by his death. He had too much merit not to excite some jealousy, too
much innocence to provoke any enmity. The loss of no man of his time
can be felt with more sincere, general, and unmixed sorrow."



         [Footnote 5: Reprinted by permission, from the Magazine of
         American History.]


[Illustration: Benjamin West.]

In the wilds of the new world, a century and a half ago, there was,
apparently, no spot less likely to produce a famous painter than the
Quaker province of Pennsylvania. And yet, when George Washington was
only six years old there was born, in the little town of Springfield,
Chester County, a boy whose interesting and remarkable career from
infancy to old age has provided one of the most instructive lessons
for students in art that America affords.

Perhaps Benjamin West's aptitude for picture-making in his infancy,
while he was learning to walk and to talk, did not exceed that of
hosts of other children, in like circumstances, in every generation
since his time. But many curious things were remembered and told of
this baby's performances after he had developed a decided talent for
reproducing the beautiful objects that captivated his eye. It was in
the summer of 1745, a few months before he was seven years old that
his married sister came home for a visit, bringing with her an infant
daughter. The next morning after her arrival, little Benjamin was left
to keep the flies off the sleeping baby, while his mother and sister
went to the garden for flowers. The baby smiled in its sleep, and the
boy was captivated. He must catch that smile and keep it. He found
some paper on the table, scrambled for a pen, and with red and black
ink made a hasty but striking picture of the little beauty. He heard
his mother returning, and conscious of having been in mischief, tried
to conceal his production; but she detected and captured it, and
regarded it long and lovingly, exclaiming as her daughter entered, "He
has really made a likeness of little Sally!" She then caught up the
boy in her arms, and kissed instead of chiding him, and he--looking up
encouraged--told her he could make the flowers, too, if she would
permit. The awakening of genius in Benjamin West has been distinctly
traced to this incident, as the time when he first discovered that he
could imitate the forms of such objects as pleased his sense of sight.
And the incident itself has been aptly styled "the birth of fine arts
in the New World."

The Quaker boy, in course of years, left the wilderness of America to
become the president of the Royal Academy in London. His
irreproachable character not less than his excellence as an artist,
gave him commanding position among his contemporaries. From first to
last he was distinguished for his indefatigable industry. The number
of his pictures has been estimated, by a writer in _Blackwood's
Magazine_, at three thousand; and Dunlap says that a gallery capable
of holding them would be four hundred feet long, fifty feet wide, and
forty feet high--or a wall a quarter of a mile long.

The parents of Benjamin West were sincere and self-respecting, and in
the language of the times, well-to-do. His mother's grandfather was
the intimate and confidential friend of William Penn. The family of
his father claimed direct descent from the Black Prince and Lord
Delaware, of the time of King Edward III. Colonel James West was the
friend and companion in arms of John Hampden. When Benjamin West was at
work upon his great picture of the "Institution of the Garter," the
King of England was delighted when the Duke of Buckingham assured him
that West had an ancestral right to a place among the warriors and
knights of his own painting. The Quaker associates of the parents of
the artist, the patriarchs of Pennsylvania, regarded their asylum in
America as the place for affectionate intercourse--free from all the
military predilections and political jealousies of Europe. The result
was a state of society more contented, peaceful, and pleasing than the
world had ever before exhibited. At the time of the birth of Benjamin
West the interior settlements in Pennsylvania had attained
considerable wealth, and unlimited hospitality formed a part of the
regular economy of the principal families. Those who resided near the
highways were in the habit, after supper and the religious exercises
of the evening, of making a large fire in the hallway, and spreading a
table with refreshments for such travellers as might pass in the
night, who were expected to step in and help themselves. This was
conspicuously the case in Springfield. Other acts of liberality were
performed by this community, to an extent that would have beggared the
munificence of the old world. Poverty was not known in this region.
But whether families traced their lineage to ancient and noble
sources, or otherwise, their pride was so tempered with the meekness
of their faith, that it lent a singular dignity to their benevolence.

The Indians mingled freely with the people, and when they paid their
annual visits to the plantations, raised their wigwams in the fields
and orchards without asking permission, and were never molested.
Shortly after Benjamin West's first efforts with pen and ink, a party
of red men reached and encamped in Springfield. The boy-artist showed
them his sketches of birds and flowers, which seemed to amuse them
greatly. They at once proceeded to teach him how to prepare the red
and yellow colors with which they decorated their ornaments. To these
Mrs. West added blue, by contributing a piece of indigo. Thus the boy
had three prismatic colors for his use. What could be more picturesque
than the scene where the untutored Indian gave the future artist his
first lesson in mixing paints! These wild men also taught him archery,
that he might shoot birds for models if he wanted their bright plumage
to copy.

The neighbors were attracted by the boy's drawings, and finally a
relative, Mr. Pennington, a prominent merchant of Philadelphia, came
to pay the family a visit. He thought the boy's crude pictures were
wonderful, as he was then only entering his eighth year. When he went
home he immediately sent the little fellow a box of paints, with six
engravings by Grevling. John Gait, who wrote from the artist's own
statements, describes the effect of this gift upon the boy. In going
to bed he placed the box so near his couch, that he could hug and
caress it every time he wakened. Next morning he rose early, and
taking his paints and canvas to the garret, began to work. He went to
breakfast, and then stole back to his post under the roof, forgetting
all about school. When dinnertime came he presented himself at table,
as usual, but said nothing of his occupation. He had been absent from
school some days before the master called on his parents to inquire
what had become of him. This led to the discovery of his secret
painting, for his mother proceeded to the garret and found the truant.
She was, however, so astonished with the creation upon his canvas,
that she took him in her arms and kissed him with transports of
affection. He had made a composition of his own out of two of the
engravings--which he had colored from his ideas of the proper tints to
be used--and so perfect did the picture appear to Mrs. West that,
although half the canvas remained to be covered, she would not suffer
the child to add another touch with his brush. Sixty-seven years
afterward, Mr. Gait saw this production in the exact state in which it
was left, and Mr. West himself acknowledged that in subsequent efforts
he had never been able to excel some of the touches of invention in
this first picture.

The first instruction in art which the artist received was from Mr.
William Williams, a painter in Philadelphia. Young West's first
attempt at portraiture was at Lancaster, where he painted "The Death
of Socrates" for William Henry, a gunsmith. He was not yet sixteen,
but other paintings followed which possessed so much genuine merit,
that they have been preserved as treasures. One of these is in
possession of General Meredith Reed, of Paris, France, a descendant of
the signer. West returned to his home in Springfield, in 1754, to
discuss the question of his future vocation. He had an inclination for
military life, and volunteered as a recruit in the old French war;
but military attractions vanished among the hardships involved, and in
1756, when eighteen years old, he established himself in Philadelphia
as a portrait-painter, his price being "five guineas a head." Two
years later he went to New York, where he passed eleven months, and
was liberally employed by the merchants and others. He painted the
portrait of Bishop Provoost, those of Gerardus Duyekinck and his
wife--full length--one of Mrs. Samuel Breese, and many others, which
are in the families of descendants, and characteristic examples of his
early work.

In 1760 an opportunity offered for him to visit Rome, Italy. He
carried letters to Cardinal Albani and other celebrities, and as he
was very handsome and intelligent, and came from a far-away land about
which hung the perpetual charm of tradition and romance, he soon
became the lion of the day among the imaginative Italians. It was a
novelty then for an American to appear in the Eternal City, and the
very morning after his arrival a curious party followed his steps to
observe his pursuit of art. He remained in Italy until 1763, and while
there he painted, among others, his pictures of "Cimon and Iphigenia,"
and "Angelica and Medora." His portrait of Lord Grantham excited much
interest, and that nobleman's introduction facilitated his visit to
London, which proved so prolific in results. There was no great living
historical painter in England just then; and at first there was no
sale for West's pictures, as it was unfashionable to buy any but "old
masters." But the young artist was undaunted, and presently attracted
attention in high places. His picture of "Agrippina Landing with the
Ashes of Germanicus," painted for Dr. Drummond, Archbishop of York,
secured him the favor of George III., and the commission from his
majesty to paint the "Departure of Regulus from Rome." His untiring
industry and gentlemanly habits were conspicuous, and may be regarded
as among the great secrets of his continual advance and public
recognition. His "Parting of Hector and Andromache," and "Return of
the Prodigal Son," were among his notable productions of this period.
His "Death of General Wolfe" has been, says Tuckerman, "truly declared
to have created an era in English art, by the successful example it
initiated of the abandonment of classic costume--a reform advocated by
Reynolds, who glories in the popular innovation." His characters were
clad in the dress of their time. Reynolds said to the Archbishop of
York: "I foresee that this picture will not only become one of the
most popular, but will occasion a revolution in art." It was purchased
by Lord Grosvenor. Among the long list of paintings executed by order
of the king were "The Death of Chevalier Bayard;" "Edward III.
Embracing his Son on the Field of Battle at Cressy;" "The Installation
of the Order of the Garter;" "The Black Prince Receiving the King of
France and his Son Prisoners at Poictiers," and "Queen Philippa
Interceding with Edward for the Burgesses of Calais." West was one of
the founders, in 1768, of the Royal Academy, and succeeded Sir Joshua
Reynolds as president of the institution in 1792, which post he held
almost uninterruptedly until 1815.

In the year 1780 he proposed a series of pictures on the progress of
revealed religion, of which there were thirty-six subjects in all,
but he never executed but twenty-eight of these, owing to the mental
trouble which befell the king. He then commenced a new series of
important works, of which "Christ Healing the Sick" was purchased by
an institution in Great Britain for £3,000, and was subsequently
copied for the Pennsylvania Hospital. "Penn's Treaty with the Indians"
was painted for Granville Penn, the scene representing the founding of
Pennsylvania. West wrote to one of his family that he had taken the
liberty of introducing in this painting the likeness of his father and
his brother Thomas. "That is the likeness of our brother," he says,
"standing immediately behind Penn, leaning on his cane. I need not
point out the picture of our father, as I believe you will find it in
the print from memory." Tuckerman says that the work which, in the
opinion of many critics, best illustrates the skill of West in
composition, drawing, expression, and dramatic effect, is his "Death
on the Pale Horse." His "Cupid," owned in Philadelphia, is one of his
most effective pictures as to color.

The full-length portrait of West, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A.,
represents the great artist in his character as president of the Royal
Academy, delivering a lecture on "coloring" to the students. Under his
right hand may be noticed, standing on an easel, a copy of Raphael's
cartoon of the "Death of Ananias." The picture of West's face has been
considered a perfect likeness, but the figure somewhat too large and
too tall in its effects. A copy of this portrait was made by Charles
R. Leslie; and Washington Allston also painted a portrait of the
artist. There exists, it is said, a portrait of West from his own
hand, taken apparently at about the age of forty, three-quarter
length, in Quaker costume.

[Illustration: Benjamin West, President of the Royal Academy.]




It was in Copenhagen, on November 19, 1770, that a carver of figures
for ships' heads, by name Gottskalk Thorwaldsen, was presented by his
wife, Karen Grönlund, the daughter of a clergyman in Jutland, with a
son, who at his baptism received the name of Bertel, or Albert.

The father had come from Iceland, and lived in poor circumstances.
They dwelt in _Lille Grönnegade_ (Little Green Street), not far from
the Academy of Arts. The moon has often peeped into their poor room;
she has told us about it in "A Picture-book without Pictures":

[Illustration: Thorwaldsen.]

"The father and mother slept, but their little son did not sleep;
where the flowered cotton bed-curtains moved I saw the child peep out.
I thought at first that he looked at the Bornholm clock, for it was
finely painted with red and green, and there was a cuckoo on the top;
it had heavy leaden weights, and the pendulum with its shining brass
plate went to and fro with a 'tick! tick!' But it was not that he
looked at; no, it was his mother's spinning-wheel, which stood
directly under the clock; this was the dearest piece of furniture in
the whole house for the boy; but he dared not touch it, for if he did,
he got a rap over the fingers. While his mother spun, he would sit for
hours together looking at the buzzing spindle and the revolving wheel,
and then he had his own thoughts. Oh! if he only durst spin that
wheel! His father and mother slept; he looked at them, he looked at
the wheel, and then by degrees a little naked foot was stuck out of
bed, and then another naked foot, then there came two small legs, and,
with a jump, he stood on the floor. He turned round once more, to see
if his parents slept; yes, they did, and so he went softly, quite
softly, only in his little shirt, up to the wheel, and began to spin.
The cord flew off, and the wheel then ran much quicker. His mother
awoke at the same moment; the curtains moved; she looked out and
thought of the brownie, or another little spectral being. 'Have mercy
on us!' said she, and in her fear she struck her husband in the side;
he opened his eyes, rubbed them with his hands, and looked at the busy
little fellow. 'It is Bertel, woman,' said he."

What the moon relates we see here as the first picture in
Thorwaldsen's life's gallery; for it is a reflection of the reality.
Thorwaldsen has himself, when in familiar conversation at Nysöe, told
the author almost word for word what he, in his "Picture-book," lets
the moon say. It was one of his earliest remembrances, how he, in his
little short shirt, sat in the moonlight and spun his mother's wheel,
while she, dear soul, took him for a little spectre.

A few years ago there still lived an old ship-carpenter, who
remembered the little, light-haired, blue-eyed boy, that came to his
father in the carving-house at the dock-yard; he was to learn his
father's trade; and as the latter felt how bad it was not to be able
to draw, the boy, then eleven years of age, was sent to the
drawing-school at the Academy of Arts, where he made rapid progress.
Two years afterward, Bertel, or Albert, as we shall in future call
him, was of great assistance to his father; nay, he even improved his

See the hovering ships on the wharves! The Dannebrog waves, the
workmen sit in circle under the shade at their frugal breakfasts; but
foremost stands the principal figure in this picture: it is a boy who
cuts with a bold hand the lifelike features in the wooden image for
the beak-head of the vessel. It is the ship's guardian spirit, and, as
the first image from the hand of Albert Thorwaldsen, it shall wander
out into the wide world. The eternally swelling sea should baptize it
with its waters, and hang its wreaths of wet plants around it.

Our next picture advances a step forward. Unobserved among the other
boys, he has now frequented the Academy's school for six years
already, where, always taciturn and silent, he stood by his
drawing-board. His answer was "yes" or "no," a nod or a shake of the
head; but mildness shone from his features, and good-nature was in
every expression. The picture shows us Albert as a candidate for
confirmation. He is now seventeen years of age--not a very young age
to ratify his baptismal compact; his place at the dean's house is the
last among the poor boys, for his knowledge is not sufficient to place
him higher. There had just at that time been an account in the
newspapers, that the pupil Thorwaldsen had gained the Academy's
smaller medal for a bas-relief representing a "Cupid Reposing." "Is it
your brother that has gained the medal?" inquired the dean. "It is
myself," said Albert, and the clergyman looked kindly on him, placed
him first among all the boys, and from that time always called him
Monsieur Thorwaldsen. Oh! how deeply did that "Monsieur" then sound in
his mind! As he has often said since, it sounded far more powerfully
than any title that kings could give him; he never afterward forgot

In a small house in Aabeuraa--the street where Holberg lets his poor
poets dwell--lived Albert Thorwaldsen with his parents, and divided
his time between the study of art and assisting his father. The
Academy's lesser gold was then the prize to be obtained for sculpture.
Our artist was now twenty years of age; his friends knew his abilities
better than himself, and they compelled him to enter on the task. The
subject proposed was, "Heliodorus Driven out of the Temple."

We are now in Charlottenburg; but the little chamber in which
Thorwaldsen lately sat to make his sketch is empty, and he, chased by
the demons of fear and distrust, hastens down the narrow back-stairs
with the intention not to return. Nothing is accidental in the life of
a great genius; an apparent insignificance is a God's guiding finger.
Thorwaldsen was to complete his task. Who is it that stops him on the
dark stairs? One of the professors just comes that way, speaks to him,
questions, admonishes him. He returns, and in four hours the sketch is
finished, and the gold medal won. This was on August 15, 1791.

Count Ditlew de Reventlow, minister of state, saw the young artist's
work, and became his protector; he placed his own name at the head of
a subscription that enabled Thorwaldsen to devote his time to the
study of his art. Two years afterward the large gold medal was to be
contended for at the Academy, the successful candidate thereby gaining
the right to a travelling _stipendium_. Thorwaldsen was again the
first; but before he entered on his travels, it was deemed necessary
to extend that knowledge which an indifferent education at school had
left him in want of. He read, studied, and the Academy gave him its
support; acknowledgment smiled on him, a greater and more spiritual
sphere lay open to him.

A portrait figure stands now before us; it is that of a Dane, the
learned and severe Zoega, to whom the young artist is specially
recommended, but who only sees in him a common talent; whose words are
only those of censure, and whose eye sees only a servile imitation of
the antique in his works. Strictly honest in his judgment, according
to his own ideas, is this man, who should be Thorwaldsen's guide.

We let three years glide away after the arrival of Thorwaldsen, and
ask Zoega what he now says of Albert, or, as the Italians call him,
Alberto, and the severe man shakes his head and says: "There is much
to blame, little to be satisfied with, and diligent he is not!" Yet he
was diligent in a high degree; but genius is foreign to a foreign
mind. "The snow had just then thawed from my eyes," he has himself
often repeated. The drawings of the Danish painter Carstens formed one
of those spiritual books that shed its holy baptism over that growing
genius. The little _atelier_ looked like a battle-field, for
roundabout were broken statues. Genius formed them often in the
midnight hours; despondency over their faults broke them in the day.

The three years, for which he had received a _stipendium_, were as if
they had flown away, and as yet he had produced nothing. The time for
his return drew nigh. One work, however, he must complete, that it
might not with justice be said in Denmark, "Thorwaldsen has quite
wasted his time in Rome." Doubting his genius just when it embraced
him most affectionately; not expecting a victory, while he already
stood on its open road, he modelled "Jason who has Gained the Golden
Fleece." It was this that Thorwaldsen would have gained in the kingdom
of arts, and which he now thought he must resign. The figure stood
there in clay, many eyes looked carelessly on it, and--he broke it to

It was in April, 1801, that his return home was fixed, in company with
Zoega. It was put off until the autumn. During this time "Jason"
occupied all his thoughts. A new, a larger figure of the hero was
formed, an immortal work; but it had not then been announced to the
world, nor understood by it. "Here is something more than common!" was
said by many. Even the man to whom all paid homage, the illustrious
Canova, started, and exclaimed: "Quest' opera di quel giovane Danese è
fatta in uno stilo nuovo, e grandioso!" Zoega smiled. "It is bravely
done!" said he. The Danish songstress, Frederikke Brunn, was then in
Rome and sang enthusiastically about Thorwaldsen's "Jason." She
assisted the artist, so that he was enabled to get this figure cast in
plaster; for he himself had no more money than was just sufficient for
his expenses home.

The last glass of wine had been already drunk as a farewell, the boxes
packed, and the _vetturino's_ carriage was before the door at daybreak;
the boxes were fastened behind. Then came a fellow-traveller--the
sculptor, Hagemann, who was returning to his native city, Berlin. His
passport was not ready. Their departure must be put off until the next
day; and Thorwaldsen promised, although the _vetturino_ complained and
abused him, to remain so long. He stayed--stayed to win an immortal name
on earth, and cast a lustre over Denmark.

Though forty years resident in Rome, rich and independent, he lived
and worked with the thought of once returning home to Denmark, there
to rest himself; unaccustomed to the great comforts of other rich
artists in Rome, he lived a bachelor's life. Was his heart, then, no
longer open to love since his first departure from Copenhagen? A
thousand beautiful Cupids in marble will tell us how warmly that heart
beat. Love belongs to life's mysteries.

We know that Thorwaldsen left a daughter in Rome, whose birth he
acknowledged; we also know that more than one female of quality would
willingly have given her hand to the great artist. The year before his
first return to Denmark he lay ill at Naples, and was nursed by an
English lady who felt the most ardent affection for him; and, from
that feeling of gratitude which was awakened in him, he immediately
consented to their union. When he had recovered and afterward returned
to Rome, this promise preyed on his mind, he felt that he was not now
formed to be a husband, acknowledged that gratitude was not love, and
that they were not suited for each other; after a long combat with
himself, he wrote and informed her of his determination. Thorwaldsen
was never married.

The following trait is as characteristic of his heart as of his whole
personality. One day, while in Rome, there came a poor countryman to
him, an artisan, who had long been ill. He came to say farewell, and
to thank him for the money that he and others of his countrymen had
subscribed together, with which he was to reach home.

"But you will not walk the whole way?" said Thorwaldsen.

"I am obliged to do so," replied the man.

"But you are still too weak to walk--you cannot bear the fatigue, nor
must you do it!" said he.

The man assured him of the necessity of doing so.

Thorwaldsen went and opened a drawer, took out a handful of _scudi_
and gave them to him, saying, "See, now you will ride the whole way!"

The man thanked him, but assured him that his gift would not be more
than sufficient to carry him to Florence.

"Well!" said Thorwaldsen, clapping him on the shoulder, as he went a
second time to the drawer and took out another handful. The man was
grateful in the highest degree, and was going. "Now you can ride the
whole way home and be comfortable on the way," said he, as he followed
the man to the door.

"I am very glad," said the man. "God bless you for it! but to ride the
whole way requires a little capital."

"Well, then, tell me how great that must be," he asked, and looked
earnestly at him. The man in a modest manner named the requisite sum,
and Thorwaldsen went a third time to the drawer, counted out the sum,
accompanied him to the door, pressed his hand, and repeated, "But now
you will ride, for you have not strength to walk!"

Our artist did not belong to the class of great talkers; it was only
in a small circle that he could be brought to say anything, but then
it was always with humor and gayety. A few energetic exclamations of
his are preserved. A well-known sculptor, expressing himself one day
with much self-feeling, entered into a dispute with Thorwaldsen, and
set his own works over the latter's. "You may bind my hands behind
me," said Thorwaldsen, "and I will bite the marble out with my teeth
better than you can carve it."

Thorwaldsen possessed specimens in plaster of all his works; these,
together with the rich marble statues and bas-reliefs which he had
collected of his own accord, without orders, and the number of
paintings that he every year bought of young artists, formed a
treasure that he wished to have in his proper home, Copenhagen.
Therefore, when the Danish government sent vessels of war to the
Mediterranean, in order to fetch the works that were ready for the
palace or the churches, he always sent a number of his own things with
them. Denmark was to inherit these treasures of art; and, in order to
see them collected in a place worthy of them, a zeal was awakened in
the nation to build a museum for their reception. A committee of his
Danish admirers and friends sent out a requisition to the people, that
everyone might give their mite; many a poor servant-girl and many a
peasant gave theirs, so that a good sum was soon collected. Frederick
VI. gave ground for the building, and the erection thereof was
committed to the architect, Bindesbol.

Thorwaldsen, in 1838, had attained universal fame. The frigate Rota
was dispatched to bring a cargo of his works to Copenhagen, and he was
to arrive at the same time, perhaps to remain in Denmark. Close to
Presto Bay, surrounded by wood-grown banks, lies Nysöe, the principal
seat of the barony of Stampenborg, a place which, through Thorwaldsen,
has become remarkable in Denmark. The open strand, the beautiful beech
woods, even the little town seen through the orchards, at some few
hundred paces from the mansion, make the place worthy of a visit on
account of its truly Danish scenery. Here Thorwaldsen found his best
home in Denmark; here he seemed to increase his fame, and here a
series of his last beautiful bas-reliefs were produced.

Baron Stampe was one of nature's noblest-minded men; his hospitality
and his lady's daughterly affection for Thorwaldsen opened a home for
him here, a comfortable and good one. A great energetic power in the
baroness incited his activity; she attended him with a daughter's
care, elicited from him every little wish, and executed it. Directly
after his first visit to Nysöe, a short tour to Moen's chalk cliffs
was arranged, and during the few days that were passed there, a little
_atelier_ was erected in the garden at Nysöe, close to the canal which
half encircles the principal building; here, and in a corner room of
the mansion, on the first floor facing the sea, most of Thorwaldsen's
works, during the last years of his life, were executed: "Christ
Bearing the Cross," "The Entry into Jerusalem," "Rebecca at the Well,"
his own portrait-statue, Oehlenschlæger's and Holberg's busts, etc.
Baroness Stampe was in faithful attendance on him, lent him a helping
hand, and read aloud for him from Holberg. Driving abroad, weekly
concerts, and in the evenings his fondest play, "The Lottery," were
what most easily excited him, and on these occasions he would say many
amusing things. He has represented the Stampe family in two
bas-reliefs: in the one, representing the mother, the two daughters,
and the youngest son, is the artist himself; the other exhibits the
father and the two eldest sons.

All circles sought to attract Thorwaldsen; he was at every great
festival, in every great society, and every evening in the theatre by
the side of Oehlenschlæger. His greatness was allied to a mildness, a
straightforwardness, that in the highest degree fascinated the
stranger who approached him for the first time. His _atelier_ in
Copenhagen was visited daily; he therefore felt himself more
comfortable and undisturbed at Nysöe. Baron Stampe and his family
accompanied him to Italy in 1841, when he again visited that country.
The whole journey, which was by way of Berlin, Dresden, Frankfort, the
Rhine towns, and Munich, was a continued triumphal procession. The
winter was passed in Rome, and the Danes there had a home in which
they found a welcome.

The following year Thorwaldsen was again in Denmark, and at his
favorite place, Nysöe. On Christmas eve he here formed his beautiful
bas-relief, "Christmas Joys in Heaven," which Oehlenschlæger
consecrated with a poem. The last birthday of his life was celebrated
here; the performance of one of Holberg's vaudevilles was arranged,
and strangers invited; yet the morning of that day was the homeliest,
when only the family and the author of this memoir, who had written a
merry song for the occasion, which was still wet on the paper, placed
themselves outside the artist's door, each with a pair of tongs, a
gong, or a bottle on which they rubbed a cork, as an accompaniment,
and sung the song as a morning greeting. Thorwaldsen, in his morning
gown, opened the door, laughing; he twirled his black Raphael's cap,
took a pair of tongs himself, and accompanied us, while he danced
round and joined the others in the loud "hurra!"

A charming bas-relief, "The Genius of Poetry," was just completed; it
was the same that Thorwaldsen, on the last day of his life, bequeathed
to Oehlenschlæger, and said, "It may serve as a medal for you."

On Sunday, March 24, 1844, a small party of friends were assembled at
the residence of Baron Stampe, in Copenhagen. Thorwaldsen was there
and was unusually lively, told stories, and spoke of a journey that he
intended to make to Italy in the course of the summer. Cahn's tragedy
of "Griseldis" was to be performed for the first time that evening at
the theatre. Tragedy was not his favorite subject, but comedy, and
particularly the comedies of Holberg; but it was something new that he
was to see, and it had become a sort of habit with him to pass the
evening in the theatre. About six o'clock, therefore, he went to the
theatre alone. The overture had begun; on entering he shook hands with
a few of his friends, took his usual seat, stood up again to allow one
to pass him, sat down again, bent his head, and was no more! The music
continued. Those nearest to him thought he was only in a swoon, and he
was borne out; but he was numbered with the dead.

The mournful intelligence of his death soon spread through the country
and through all lands; funeral dirges were sung and funeral festivals
were arranged in Berlin and Rome; in the Danish theatre, whence his
soul took its flight to God there was a festival; the place where he
sat was decorated with crape and laurel wreaths, and a poem by Heiberg
was recited, in which his greatness and his death were alluded to.

The day before Thorwaldsen's death the interior of his tomb was
finished, for it was his wish that his remains might rest in the
centre of the court-yard of the museum; it was then walled round, and
he begged that there might be a marble edge around it, and a few
rose-trees and flowers planted on it as his monument. The whole
building, with the rich treasures which he presented to his
fatherland, will be his monument; his works are to be placed in the
rooms of the square building that surrounds the open court-yard, and
which, both internally and externally, are painted in the Pompeian
style. His arrival in the roads of Copenhagen and landing at the
custom-house form the subjects depicted in the compartments under the
windows of one side of the museum. Through centuries to come will
nations wander to Denmark; not allured by our charming green islands,
with their fresh beech-woods alone--no, but to see these works and
this tomb.

There is, however, one place more that the stranger will visit, the
little spot at Nysöe where his _atelier_ stands, and where the tree
bends its branches over the canal to the solitary swan which he fed.
The name of Thorwaldsen will be remembered in England by his statues
of Jason and Byron; in Switzerland, by his "recumbent lion;" in
Roeskilde, by his figure of Christian the Fourth. It will live in
every breast in which a love of art is enkindled.


         [Footnote 6: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.]



[Illustration: Jean-François Millet.]

We read that on one occasion, when a picture by some Dutch artist,
representing peasants at their sports, was shown to Louis XIV., he
angrily exclaimed, "Take away those vermin!" Such subjects had never
been chosen by French artists, nor indeed had they been seen anywhere
in Europe before the Dutch artists began to paint them in the
seventeenth century. The Italian painters of the early and the later
Renaissance, working almost exclusively for the churches, or for the
palaces of pleasure-loving princes, did not consider the peasant or
the laboring man, by himself, a proper subject for his art. If he were
introduced at any time into picture or bas-relief, it was only as a
necessary actor in some religious story, such as "The Adoration of the
Shepherds," or in the representations of the months or the seasons, as
in the Fountain of the Public Square at Perugia, where we see the
peasant engaged in the labors of the farm or vineyard: cutting the
wheat, gathering in the grapes, and treading out the wine, and, in
the later season, dressing the hog he has been killing; for in those
less sophisticated times, Art, no more than Poetry, despised the ruder
side of rustic life.

The German artists of the sixteenth century introduced peasants and
peasant-life into their designs whenever the subject admitted. Albert
Dürer was especially given to this, and it often gives a particular
savor, sometimes a half-humorous expression, to his treatment of even
religious subjects; as where, in his design, "The Repose in Egypt," he
shows Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, making a water-trough out of
a huge log, and a bevy of cherub-urchins about him gathering up the
chips. Mary, meanwhile, as the peasant mother, sits by, spinning and
rocking the cradle of the Holy Child with her foot.

But these examples only serve to make clearer the fact that in the
earlier times there was no place found in art for the representation
of the laboring man, whether in the field or in the shop, except as an
illustration of some allegorical or religious theme. Nor in the Dutch
pictures that Louis XIV. despised, and that our own time finds so
valuable for their artistic qualities, was there anything outside of
their beauty or richness of tone or color to redeem their coarseness
and vulgarity. There was no poetry in the treatment, nor any sympathy
with anything higher than the grossest guzzling, fighting, and
horseplay. The great monarch, who, according to his lights, was a man
of delicacy and refinement, was certainly right in contemning such
subjects, and it is perhaps to his credit that he did not care enough
for "Art for Art's sake" to excuse the brutality of the theme for the
sake of the beauty of the painting.

The next appearance of the peasant in art was of a very different
sort, and represented a very different state of social feeling from
the "peasants" of the Dutch painters. In the Salon of 1850 there
appeared a picture called "The Sower" and representing a young peasant
sowing grain. There was nothing in the subject to connect it
particularly with any religious symbolism--not even with the Parable
of the Sower who went forth to sow; nor with any series of
personifications of the months. This was a simple peasant of the
Norman coast, in his red blouse and blue trousers, his legs wrapped in
straw, and his weather-beaten hat, full of holes. He marches with the
rhythmic step made necessary by his task, over the downs that top the
high cliffs, followed by a cloud of crows that pounce upon the grain
as he sows it. At first sight there would seem to be nothing in this
picture to call for particular notice; but the public, the artists,
the critics, were with one accord strongly drawn to it. Something in
the picture appealed to feelings deeper than mere curiosity, and an
interest was excited such as did not naturally belong to a picture of
a man sowing a field of grain. The secret was this: that a man born
and bred in the midst of laboring people, struggling with the hard
necessities of life--himself a laborer, and one who knew by experience
all the lights and shades of the laborer's life--had painted this
picture out of his own deep sympathy with his fellows, and to please
himself by reproducing the most significant and poetical act in the
life of the farmer.

The painter of this picture, the first man of our time to give the
laborer in the fields and on the farm a place in art, and to set
people to thinking about him, as a man, not merely as an illustration
of some sacred text, or an image in a book of allegories, was
Jean-François Millet, known as the peasant painter of peasants.

He was born at Gruchy, a small hamlet on the coast of Normandy, where
his family, well known in the region for several generations, lived by
the labor of their hands, cultivating their fields and exercising the
simple virtues of that pastoral life, without ambition and without
desire for change. This content was a part of the religion of the
country and must not be looked upon as arguing a low state of
intelligence or of manners. Of their neighbors we have no account, but
the Millet household contained many of the elements that go to sustain
the intellectual no less than the spiritual life. If there was plain
living, there was high thinking; there were books and of the best, and
more than one member of the circle valued learning for its own sake.
Millet owed much to his grandmother, a woman of great strength of
character and of a deeply religious nature. As his godmother she gave
him his name, calling him Jean, after his father, and François, after
Saint Francis of Assisi. As is usual in Catholic countries, the boy
was called after the name of his patron saint, and in the case of
Millet, Saint Francis, the ardent lover of nature, the friend of the
birds and of all the animate creation, was well chosen as the guardian
of one who was to prove himself, all his life, the passionate lover of

The boyhood of Millet was passed at home. He had no schooling except
some small instruction in Latin from the village priest and from a
neighboring curate, but he made good use of what he learned. He worked
on the farm with his father and his men, ploughing, harrowing, sowing,
reaping, mowing, winnowing--in a word, sharing actively and
contentedly in all the work that belongs to the farmer's life. And in
the long winter evenings or in the few hours of rest that the day
afforded, he would hungrily devour the books that were at hand--the
"Lives of the Saints," the "Confessions of Saint Augustine," the "Life
of Saint Jerome," and especially his letters, which he read and
re-read all his life. These and the philosophers of Port Royal, with
Bossuet, and Fénelon, with the Bible and Virgil, were his mental food.
Virgil and the Bible he read always in the Latin; he was so familiar
with them both that, when a man, his biographer, Sensier, says he
never met a more eloquent translator of these two books. When the time
came, therefore, for Millet to go up to Paris, he was not, as has been
said by some writer, an ignorant peasant, but a well-taught man who
had read much and digested what he had read, and knew good books from
bad. The needs of his narrow life absorbed him so seriously that the
seeds of art that lay hid in his nature found a way to the light with
difficulty. But his master-passion was soon to assert itself, and, as
in all such cases, in an unexpected manner.

Millet's attempts at drawing had hitherto been confined to studies
made in hours stolen from rest. He had copied the engravings found in
an old family Bible, and he had drawn, from his window, the garden,
the stable, the field running down to the edge of the high cliff, and
with the sea in the horizon, and he had sometimes tried his hand at
sketching the cows and sheep in the pasture. But he was now to take a
step in advance. Coming home one day from church, he walked behind an
old man bent with age and feebleness, painfully making his way. The
foreshortening and the movement of the man's figure struck the boy
forcibly, and in a flash he discovered the secret of perspective and
the mystery of planes. He ran quickly home, got a pencil and drew from
memory a picture of the old man, so lively in its resemblance that as
soon as his parents saw it, they recognized it and fell a-laughing.
Talk with his boy revealed to the father his son's strong desire to be
an artist; but before such a serious step could be taken, it was
necessary to consult with some person better able to judge than any
one in the Millet household. Cherbourg, the nearest large town, was
the natural place where to seek advice; thither Millet and his father
repaired, the boy with two drawings under his arm that he had made for
the occasion, and these were submitted to the critical eye of Mouchel,
an old pupil of David, who eked out the scanty living he got by
painting by giving lessons in drawing. When the two drawings made by
young Millet were shown him he refused to believe they were the work
of the lad of fifteen. The very subjects chosen by the boy showed
something out of the common. One was a sort of home idyl: two
shepherds were in a little orchard close, one playing on the flute,
the other listening; some sheep were browsing near. The men wore the
blouse and wooden shoes of Millet's country; the orchard was one that
belonged to his father. The other drawing showed a starry night. A man
was coming from the house with loaves of bread in his hand which he
gave to another man who eagerly received them. Underneath, in Latin,
were the words from St. Luke: "Though he will not rise and give him
because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise
and give him as many as he needeth." A friend of Millet's, who saw
these drawings thirty years after, said they were the work of a man
who already knew the great significance of art, the effects it was
capable of, and what were its resources.

Mouchel consented to receive Millet as a pupil, but, as it proved, he
could do little for him in the way of direct teaching. He left the boy
free to follow his own devices. He said to him: "Do whatever you wish;
choose whatever model you find in my studio that pleases you, and
study in the Museum." This might not be the course to follow with
every boy, but Mouchel had the artist's penetration and knew with whom
he had to deal.

The death of Millet's father interrupted his studies and he returned
home for awhile to help his mother on the farm. But it was thought
best that he should keep on with the work he had begun. The
grandmother urged his return: "My François," she said, "we must accept
the will of God. Thy father, my son, Jean-Louis, said that you were to
be a painter; obey him, and go back to Cherbourg."

Millet did not need persuasion from his family. Friends in Cherbourg
urged him to come back, promised him commissions, and assured him a
place in the studio of Langlois, a painter of a higher grade than
Mouchel, who had recently set up his easel in the town. Once more
established at Cherbourg Millet continued his studies after the same
easy fashion with Langlois as with his former master. Langlois, who
was as much impressed by his pupil's talent as Mouchel had been and
willing to serve him, made a personal appeal to the mayor and council,
asking that Millet, as a promising young artist and one likely to do
credit to the town, might be assisted in going to Paris to study under
better advantages than he could enjoy at home.

On the strength of this appeal, the council of Cherbourg agreed to
allow Millet an annuity of four hundred francs, equal to eighty
dollars. With this small sum, and the addition of two hundred francs
given him at parting by his mother and grandmother, making one hundred
and twenty dollars in all, Millet left his quiet life in Normandy
behind him and set out for Paris, where, as his biographer, Sensier,
says, he was to pass as a captive the richest years of his life.

Millet was twenty-two years old when he went first to Paris and he
remained there, with occasional visits to Gruchy and Cherbourg, for
the next thirteen years. Paris was, from the first, more than
distasteful to him. He was thoroughly unhappy there. Outside the
Louvre and the studios of a few artist-friends, he found nothing that
appealed to what was deepest in him. His first experiences were
unusually bitter. The struggle with poverty was hard to bear, but
perhaps a more serious drawback was his want of an aim in art, of a
substantial reason, so to speak, for the profession he had chosen,
leading him to one false move after another in search of a subject.
Unformed and unrecognized in his mind lay the desire to express in art
the life he had left behind him in Normandy; but it was long before he
arrived at the knowledge of himself and of his true vocation. He seems
to have had no one in Paris to guide or direct him, and he rather
stumbled into the studio of Delaroche, than entered it deliberately.
He made but a brief stay there, and although he won the respect of his
master, who would willingly have retained him as pupil and assistant,
he was conscious that he learned nothing from Delaroche; and
accordingly, in company with another pupil, Marolles, who had taken a
great liking to him, he left the studio without much ceremony; and the
two friends improvised a studio and a lodging for themselves in a
garret in a poor quarter of the city, and began their search for a
means of pleasing the public. But the way was not opened to either of
them; they could not sell what they painted, and they were reduced to
serious straits. It was not the fault of the public. Marolles was but
an indifferent painter at any time, and Millet would not have blamed
the public for its indifference to subjects in which he himself took
no real interest.

Millet was at a loss what to do for bread. His mind ran back
continually to his rural life at Gruchy. "What if I should paint men
mowing or winnowing?" he said to Marolles; "their movements are
picturesque!" "You could not sell them," replied his friend. "Well,
then, what do you say to fauns and dryads?" "Who in Paris cares for
fauns and dryads?" "What shall I do, then?" said Millet in despair.
"What does the public like?" "It likes Boucher's Cupids, Watteau's
Pastorals, nudities, anecdotes, and copies of the past." It was hard
for Millet, but hunger drove him. He would not appeal to his family,
life was as difficult for them as for him. But before yielding he
would make one more trial, painting something from his own fancy. He
made a small picture representing "Charity"--a sad-faced woman
cherishing three children in her arms. He carried it to the dealers:
not one of them would buy it. He came back to Marolles. "Give me a
subject," he said, "and I will paint it."

To this time belong the pictures for which Millet has been much
criticised by people who did not appreciate his position. Some of them
recall Watteau, others Boucher, but they have a charm, a grace of
their own; they are far from being copies of these men. Others were
fanciful subjects to which Marolles gave names likely to attract the
notice of picture-buyers in search of a subject. But all was in vain.
The dealers were obstinate: the public unsympathetic. The highest
price that was offered was never above twenty francs, or five dollars.
Yet with this in his pocket, Millet deemed himself already on the high
road to fortune, and saw the day not distant when he could paint at
his pleasure the rustic subjects, memories of his home, that had
always been in his mind.

Several times in the course of this hard novitiate, Millet had escaped
from Paris for a visit to his own country. At one time he had remained
for a year at Cherbourg, where he painted portraits for such small
sums as he could get, and here he and one of his sitters, a young girl
of Cherbourg, falling in love with one another, were married. The
marriage only added, as might have been foreseen, to Millet's
troubles: his wife's health was always delicate; after her marriage it
became worse, and she died four years after in Paris. Not long after
her death Millet married again, and this proved a fortunate venture.
His wife came with him to Paris, and the struggle with life began
anew. The turning-point in the long period of Millet's uncertainties
and disappointments with himself came in 1849, when the political
troubles of the time, and the visit of the cholera, combined to drive
him and his family from Paris. They took refuge at Barbizon, a small
hamlet on the outskirts of the Forest of Fontainebleau, and here, in
the place that was to be forever associated with his name and work,
Millet passed, with few interruptions, the remaining years of his

The phrase so often heard to-day, "The Barbizon School," is rather
wider than a strict interpretation would warrant, since Millet and
Rousseau were the only ones of the group who lived in the village.
Corot was not acquainted with Millet. Decamps was never in Millet's
house except as a rare visitor to his studio. Diaz lived in Paris.
Jacque, the painter of sheep, was a friend of Millet, and for a time
at least lived at Barbizon in the house where he lodged before he
procured a home of his own. The artistic relationship between these
artists is slight, except in the case of Rousseau and Diaz, and even
there it is only occasionally to be detected. All these men, with
Dupré, Courbet and Delacroix, were counted heretics in art by the
Academy and the official critics, and as Millet was the most marked
figure in the group and was greatly admired and respected by all who
composed it, it was perhaps natural that they should be considered by
the public as disciples of the peasant painter of Barbizon.

Here, then, at Barbizon, Millet lived for the remaining twenty-seven
years of his life, dividing his day between the labors of his farm in
the morning hours, painting in his studio in the afternoon--he always
preferred the half-light for painting--and in the evening enjoying the
society of his wife and children and of such friends as might join the
circle. Occasional visits to Paris, to the galleries, and to the
studios of his artist-circle, kept him in touch with the world to
which he belonged. His books, too, were his unfailing companions,
though he never cared to stray far beyond the circle of his youthful
friendships, Homer, and Virgil, and especially the Bible, which he
looked upon as the book of painters, the inexhaustible source of the
noblest and most touching subjects, capable of expression in the
grandest forms.

But it was in the rural life about him, the life in which he actively
shared, that he found the world wherein he could pour all his
thoughts, feelings, and experiences with the certainty of seeing them
emerge in forms answering to his conception. It was not until he came
to Barbizon that he began truly to live the artist-life as he
understood it, where the work is a faithful reflection of the only
things a man really cares for--the things he knows by heart. In the
pictures painted at Barbizon, and in the multitude of slight sketches
for subjects never painted, with finished drawings and pastels, Millet
has composed a series of moral eclogues well worthy of a place with
those of Virgil and Theocritus. All the world knows them; all the
world loves them: the "Mother Feeding Her Children," "The Peasant
Grafting," "The First Step," "Going to Work," "The Sower," "The
Gleaners," "The Sheep-Shearing," "The Angelus"--even to name them
would carry us far beyond our limits. They made the fame of Millet
while he still lived, although the pecuniary reward of his labors was
not what they deserved nor what it would have been had he earlier
found his true way or had his life been prolonged to the normal limit.
He died in 1875 at the age of sixty-one. Since his death more than one
of his pictures has been sold at a price exceeding all that he earned
during his whole lifetime. Seen from the world's side, there was much
in his life that was sad and discouraging, but from the spiritual side
there was far more to cheer and uplift. His private life was honorable
and happy, his friends were many and among the chosen ones of the
time, and he had the happiness of seeing his work accepted and rated
at something like its true worth before he left it.

[Signature of the author.]


         [Footnote 7: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.]



[Illustration: Meissonier.]

Among the many beautiful paintings collected in the Metropolitan
Museum of Art of New York, there is one that always attracts a crowd,
on the free-days and holidays when the general public finds admission.
This is the picture called simply, "Friedland: 1807," and representing
the soldiers of Napoleon saluting the emperor at the battle of
Friedland. It was painted by Jean Louis Meissonier for the late A. T.
Stewart, of New York, who paid for it what seemed a very large sum,
$60,000; but when Mr. Stewart died, and his pictures were sold at
auction, this painting brought the still larger sum of $66,000,
showing that a great many people admired the work, and were willing to
pay a good price for it. The picture was bought by Judge Hilton, of
New York, and was presented by him to the Metropolitan Museum as a
memorial of the long friendship that had existed between himself and
Mr. Stewart. No doubt the facts of the high price paid for the
picture, and that a gift of such value should be made to the Museum,
have caused a great many people to look at the painting with more
interest than they would, had the circumstances been less uncommon.
But a great many more people find this picture interesting for its own
sake; they are moved rather by the spirited way in which it tells its
story, and find their curiosity excited by the studious accuracy shown
by the artist in the painting of every detail.

The scene of the action is a field that has been planted with grain
which now lies trampled under the feet of men and horses. The
turning-point in the battle has been reached, and in the joy of coming
victory, the body-guard of the emperor, spurring their jaded horses to
the hillock where he sits on his white charger surrounded by his
mounted staff, salute him with loud cries as they rush madly by him.
Napoleon, calm and self-possessed, returns the salute, but it is plain
his thoughts are busier with the battle that is raging in the distance
than with these demonstrations of his body-guard's loyalty. This
picture was the favorite work of the artist; he calls it, "the life
and joy of my studio," and he is said to have worked on it at
intervals during fifteen years.

[Illustration: Meissonier's Atelier.]

Somebody has said that "genius" means nothing but "taking pains." In
that case, Meissonier must have been a man of genius, for, with
whatever he painted, were it small or great, he took infinite pains,
never content until he had done everything in his power to show things
exactly as they were. Thus, in the picture we have just been
describing, we may be sure that we know, from looking at it, exactly
how Napoleon was dressed on the day of Friedland, and also how each
member of his military staff was dressed; not a button, nor a strap,
nor any smallest detail but has been faithfully copied from the thing
itself, while every head in the group is a trustworthy portrait. When
it was not possible to get the actual dress worn by the person he was
painting, Meissonier spared no pains nor money to obtain an exact
copy. How it was in the case of the "Friedland," we do not know, but
when he painted the "March to Paris," Meissonier borrowed from the
Museum, in Paris, where relics of all the kings of France are kept
(the _Musée des Souverains_), the famous "little gray riding-coat"
worn by Napoleon at the battle of the Pyramids and in other
engagements. This coat, Meissonier had copied by a tailor, with the
minutest accuracy, and it was then worn by the model while he was
painting the picture. The same pains were taken with the cuirassiers
who are dashing across the front of the picture in the "Friedland." As
will be seen on looking closely, one model served for all the men in
the front rank, but as the uniform was the same it was only necessary
to vary the attitude. The uniform and all the accoutrements were
carefully reproduced by workmen from originals of the time, borrowed
by Meissonier for the purpose, and the model was then mounted on a
jointed wooden horse and made to take the attitude required: the
action of the horse was as carefully studied from that of the living
animal. By the time that Meissonier came to paint this picture, he was
so famous an artist, and had gained such a place in the world, that he
could have almost anything he asked for to aid him in his work. So,
when, with the same desire for accuracy that he had shown in painting
other parts of the picture, he came to paint the trampled grain, the
Government, or so we are told, bought the use of a field of ripe grain
and lent Meissonier the services of a company of cuirassiers who were
set to dashing about in it until they had got it into proper
condition. We can see that the cost of all this accuracy would, in the
end, amount to a considerable sum, and when we reckon the time of an
artist so distinguished as Meissonier, it is not so surprising as it
may have appeared at first, that his picture should have brought so
much money.

Of course, Meissonier did not come all at once to fame and prosperity.
The rewards he gained were such as are earned only by hard and
constant labor. When he came to Paris about the year 1832, from Lyons,
where he was born, he was about nineteen years old. His parents were
in humble circumstances, and would seem to have been able to do
nothing to advance the lad, who arrived in Paris with little money in
his pocket, and with no friends at hand. He had, however, the
materials out of which friends and money are made: health, a generous
spirit, energy, and a clear purpose, and with these he went to work.
We do not hear much about his early life in Paris. When he first
appears in sight, he is working in the same studio with Daubigny, the
landscape-painter, the two painting pictures for a dollar the square
yard, religious pictures probably, and probably also copies, to be
sent into the country and hung up in the parish churches. Although
this may have seemed like hardship at the time, yet there is no doubt
it was good practice, for among artists we are told it is an accepted
doctrine that in order to paint on a small scale really well, you must
be able to paint on a larger. And it is said that Meissonier was in
the habit all his life of making life-size studies in order to keep
his style from falling into pettiness. So, after all, the painting of
these big pictures may have been a useful ordeal for the artist who
for the next sixty years was to reap fame by painting small ones.

While he was earning a scanty living by this hack-work, Meissonier
found time to paint two pictures which he sent to the Salon of 1836.
One of these attracted the attention of a clever artist, Tony
Johannot, who introduced him to Léon Cogniet, with whom he studied for
a time, but from whom he learned but little. The mechanism of his art
he had pretty well mastered already, as was shown by the Salon
accepting his early pictures, and the chief advantage he gained from
his stay in Cogniet's studio was a wider acquaintance with the world
of artists; for Cogniet was a favorite teacher, and had a great many
pupils, not a few of whom became distinguished painters. But his style
of painting was not one to attract Meissonier, who was ambitious to
paint like the old Dutch artists, Terburg, Metzu, Mieris, and others,
who have the charm that their pictures are finished with the most
exquisite minuteness, and yet treated in such a large way that, after
awhile, we forget the microscopic wonder of the performance and think
only of the skill the artist has shown in painting character.
Meissonier was the first artist to bring back into favor the Dutch
school of painting of the seventeenth century. Louis XIV., who set the
fashion in everything in his day, had set the fashion of despising the
Dutch painters, and the French people had never unlearned the lesson.
It was Meissonier who brought back the taste, and taught the public to
admire these small panels where interest in the subject is for the
most part lost in the exquisite beauty of the painting and where the
Dutch painters of similar subjects are successfully met on their own
ground and equalled in every respect except in the charm of color.

There is an old saying: "Imitation is the sincerest mode of flattery;"
and Meissonier's immediate success with the public was the signal for
a bevy of imitators to try to win a like success by like methods. Some
of these artists were very clever, but an imitator is but an imitator
after all, and is more apt to call attention to his model than to
himself. It must be admitted that Meissonier himself has suffered
somewhat in the same way: the evident fact that his methods of
painting were inspired by the study of the Dutch masters has led to
his being called an imitator, and his pictures are often compared, and
not to their advantage, with those of his models. Meissonier is,
however, very much more than an imitator; he was inspired by the Dutch
painters, but he soon found a way of his own, and he has put so much
of himself into his work, that the charge of imitation long since
ceased to be brought against him.

While he was still not much known to the public, the Duke of Orleans
bought of him, for six hundred francs, a picture that to-day is worth
thirty thousand francs. As is usual in such affairs, the purchase was
made, not by the duke in person, but by an agent: in this case, it was
his secretary, M. Adaline, who bought the picture from Meissonier, who
as an acknowledgment of the service gave the secretary a water-color
drawing which, to-day, like everything coming from the hand of
Meissonier, would bring the owner a good round sum if offered for

In 1865, Meissonier's son Charles, himself a very good painter, went
to a costume-ball dressed like a Fleming of the seventeenth century
and looking as if he had stepped out of a picture by Terburg. The
costume had been made with the greatest accuracy, and Meissonier was
so pleased with his son's appearance that he made a study and sold it
for two thousand francs. Twenty years after, in 1884, hearing that it
was to be sold at auction, and desiring, out of affection for his son,
to have the study back again, he asked his friend, M. Petit, to buy it
for him, at whatever cost. A rich Parisian, M. Secretan, who had a
collection of pictures since become famous--it was to him that
Millet's "L'Angelus" belonged--and who had such an admiration for
Meissonier and his work that he had paid no less than four hundred
thousand francs for his picture "Les Cuirassiers," hearing from M.
Petit of Meissonier's desire for the portrait of his son, bought the
picture for twenty-five thousand francs and presented it to the
artist. These stories are told only as illustrations of the growth of
Meissonier's reputation and of the increased number of people who
desire to have an example of his work. The rise in value of a small
sketch of a single figure, from $500 to $5,000, in fifteen years, is
no greater in proportion than has happened in the case of every one of
Meissonier's pictures, drawings, studies, and even his slight
sketches, on some of which originally he would have placed no value at
all. Yet everything he left behind him, even unconsidered trifles, are
found to be of value, and the sale of the contents of his studio just
ended in Paris brought nearly five hundred thousand francs, although
the collection contained not a single finished picture of importance,
but was made up almost entirely of unfinished studies and of sketches.

Meissonier's industry was constant and untiring. It is told of him
that he rarely had the pencil or the brush out of his hand when in the
house, and that when he called at a friend's house and was kept
waiting he used the spare minutes in sketching upon the first piece of
paper that he found at hand. One of his friends, who knew of this
habit, collected in the course of many visits he received from the
artist enough of these scraps to fill a small album; while it is told
of another of his friends that he instructed his servant to put beside
Meissonier's coffee-cup after dinner a number of bits of paper of the
size of cigarette-papers but of better quality on which Meissonier in
his absent way would fall to drawing as he chatted with his
companions. After dinner these jottings remained as a valuable
memorial of his visit. Perhaps if they were all collected, these
slight affairs might bring enough at auction to pay for all the
dinners to which the prudent host had invited the artist.

The world of subjects included in Meissonier's art was a very narrow
one, and was not calculated to interest men and women in general. The
nearest that he came to striking the popular note was in his Napoleon
subjects, and beside the excellence of the painting, these pictures
really make a valuable series of historical documents by reason of
their accuracy. But the greater number of the pictures which he left
behind him are chiefly interesting from the beautiful way in which
they are painted: we accept the subject for the sake of the art. The
world rewarded him for all this patient labor, this exquisite
workmanship, by an immense fortune that enabled him to live in
splendor, and to be generous without stint. From the humble lodgings
of his youth in the Rue des Ecouffes, he passed, in time, to the
palace in the Place Malsherbes where he spent the latter half of his
long life in luxurious surroundings: pictures and statues, rich
furniture, tapestries and armor and curiosities of art from every
land. But the visitor, after passing through all this splendor, came
upon the artist in a studio, ample and well lighted indeed, but
furnished only for work, where, to the end of his life, he pursued his
industrious calling with all the energy and ardor of youth. He died in
1891, and was buried by the government with all the honors that
befitted one of her most illustrious citizens.

[Signature of the author.]


         [Footnote 8: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.]


(BORN 1822)

A girl of something over ten, of sturdy build, with a dark complexion,
deep blue eyes, and strong features crowned by a head of clustering
curls, is sitting in the window of a plainly furnished room, high up
in an apartment-house in Paris. In a cage at her side is a parrot,
which, with its head on one side, is gravely calling out the letters
of the alphabet, while the child as gravely repeats them, interrupting
the lesson every now and then by a visit to the other side of the
room, where a pet lamb greets its young mistress with a friendly

This is our first glimpse of Rosalie, known now to all the world as
Rosa Bonheur, the painter of "The Horse Fair" and of many another
picture, which have earned for her the distinction of the best
animal-painter of her time.

Her father's family belonged to Bordeaux. Raymond Bonheur had gone up
as a youth to Paris to study art. After the usual apprenticeship to
privation which art exacts from her servants, he had become moderately
successful, when the condition of his parents, now old and
poorly-off, moved him to return to Bordeaux and do what he could to
make their life easier. As the chances for a professional artist were
small, he adopted the modest employment of drawing-teacher. His skill
soon brought him pupils; among them a young lady from Altona, between
whom and her teacher a mutual interest sprang up which led to their
marriage. Raymond Bonheur brought his wife home to his father's house,
where she was welcomed as a daughter, and for the brief term of her
life all went well. What the husband earned by his drawing-lessons,
the wife supplemented by her lessons in music; but this happiness was
not to last. The parents of Raymond Bonheur died, and then, after not
more than twelve years of marriage, the wife died, leaving behind her
four children, Rosalie, Francois-Auguste, Jules-Isidore, and Juliette.

[Illustration: Rosa Bonheur.]

Rosalie is the best known of these four children of Raymond Bonheur;
but each of them has honorably connected his name with the art of
modern France. Francois-Auguste has a reputation as an animal-painter
almost equal to that of his sister Rosa. A fine picture painted by
him, "Cattle in the Forest of Fontainebleau," was once the property of
the late A. T. Stewart. His merit secured him the Cross of the Legion
of Honor in 1867. He died in 1880. The other brother, Jules-Isidore,
has gained distinction as a sculptor of animals; most of his work is
on a small scale, but he has designed some large pieces that decorate
his sister's château near Fontainebleau. Juliette Bonheur married a M.
Peyrol, and joining her family-name to his, is known in the art-world
as Mme. Peyrol Bonheur. It is thus she signs her pictures, mostly
still-life and animal subjects, which have gained for her a good
position among the minor artists of France.

Rosa, the eldest of the family, born in 1822, was ten years old when
her mother died. Not long after, Raymond Bonheur decided to leave
Bordeaux and to return to Paris, where the chances for professional
success were better than in a provincial town, and where there were
greater opportunities for the education of his young children. The
change proved very distasteful, however, to the little ones.
Accustomed to the comparative freedom of the town in which they had
been brought up, and where their family had been so long rooted that
their circle of friends and relatives gave them playmates and
companions in plenty, they found themselves very lonely in Paris,
where they were reduced for a good part of the time to such amusement
as they could find in the narrow quarters of their rooms on the sixth
floor of an apartment-house. It is not the custom in Paris for the
children, even of the poor, to make a playground of the street, and
our little ones had nobody to walk out with them but an old servant
who had come with them from Bordeaux, and who was ill-fitted, for all
her virtues, to take a mother's place to the children. She was honest
and faithful, but like all of her class, she liked routine and order,
and she could make no allowances for the restlessness of her
bright-minded charge. Rosa was her especial torment; the black sheep
of the brood. Household tasks she despised, and study, as it was
pursued in the successive schools to which her despairing father sent
her, had no charms for her. Her best playmates were animals; the
horses and dogs she saw in the streets and which she fearlessly
accosted; the sheep that found itself queerly lodged on the top floor
of a city house; and the parrot which, as we have seen, was not only
her playmate but her schoolmaster.

There came a time when the charge of such a child, so averse to rules
and so given to strange ways of passing her time, became too much for
the old servant with her orthodox views of life, and she persuaded
Rosa's father to put her as a day-scholar with the nuns at Chaillot, a
small suburb of Paris. How it happened that she was allowed to go back
and forth alone, between home and school, we do not know; but it is
not to be wondered at if she were irregular in her hours; if, one day,
she set the nuns wondering why she did not appear at school-opening,
and another day put the old servant into a twitter because she did not
come home in season. The truth was, she had found that there was
something better in Paris than streets and shops and tall houses; she
had discovered a wood there, a veritable forest, with trees, and pools
of water, and birds, and wild flowers, and though this enchanted spot
which citizens called the Bois de Boulogne--not then a formal park as
it is to-day--was off the road to Chaillot, yet it was not so far that
she need fear getting lost in going there or in coming back. No
wonder, then, if, once this way discovered of escape from tiresome
school duties, it was travelled so often by Rosalie, and that her
school-work became in consequence so unsatisfactory that at length the
patient nuns remonstrated. They advised Rosa's father, since she
neither would nor could learn anything from books, that it would be
better to put her to some useful trade by which she might earn her
living; and the good sisters suggested--dressmaking! The wisdom of
these ladies, who could not see that they were dealing with the last
woman in the world to whom dressmaking could be interesting, was
matched by that of the father, who showed himself so blind to the
character of his daughter that he resolved to act at once upon the
advice of the nuns; and without consulting the wishes of poor Rosalie
he apprenticed her straightway to a Parisian dressmaker. The docile
girl allowed the yoke to be slipped over her head without complaint,
but the confinement wore upon her health and spirits, and after a
short trial the experiment had to be abandoned. Her father yielded to
her entreaties and took her home.

[Illustration: Rosa Bonheur.]

The girl was long in coming to a knowledge of herself. Although she
was to be, in time, a famous artist, the familiar legend of the
biographers is wanting in her case; we read nothing about scribbled
books or walls defaced by childish sketches, nor does she appear to
have handled a pencil or a brush until she was a girl well grown.
Her father's means were not sufficient to give Rosa or his other
children an education such as he could wish; but an expedient
suggested itself in his perplexity over this latest experiment in
providing for his eldest daughter: he proposed to the principal of a
young ladies' school where he taught drawing, that his services should
be accepted in payment of Rosa's education. The offer was accepted,
and in the regular course of study Rosa became a member of her
father's drawing-class. It was not long before she surpassed all her
school-fellows in that department, and found herself for the first
time in her life in possession of the key to that happiness which
consists in knowing what we can do, and feeling the strength within us
to do it. Some of the biographers of Rosa's life speak of unhappy days
at this school: the richer girls made sport of the dress of the
drawing-master's daughter, and of her independent, awkward ways. Her
progress in drawing, too, was counterbalanced by her slowness in her
other studies; in fact her new accomplishment was such a delight to
her, that in her devotion to it she became less and less interested in
her books; and as for dress--that it should be clean and suited both
to her means and to the work she was doing, was all that concerned
her, then or since!

At the end of her first year in school, Rosa obtained her father's
permission to give up her other studies and to enter his studio as
pupil and assistant. From that time, though as yet she had not found
the reason of her vocation, yet her true life had begun. She worked
diligently under the direction of a master she loved, and her father,
in his turn, delighted at the discovery of a talent so long hid,
redoubled his efforts to advance his pupil and to make up for lost

Rosa worked for some months at copying in the Louvre, but though she
worked with such diligence and skill as to win the praise of the
director, she came, after a time, to feel that the mere copying of the
works of other men, however great, was not the goal she was striving
after; so one day she took a sudden determination, left the Louvre,
packed up her painting materials, and started off for one of the rural
suburbs of Paris, where she sat herself down to sketch from nature.
Her love of animals, hitherto an aimless pleasure, now took on a new
phase as she saw her beloved cows and sheep in their place in nature
giving life and animation to the landscape.

In the winter season, when work out-of-doors was no longer pleasant or
profitable, Rosa made what use she could of the few opportunities
Paris had to offer for the study of animals. She spent what time she
could spare from work at the horse-market; she visited the
slaughter-houses, and the suburban fairs where cattle and horses,
sheep and pigs compete for prizes, and in these places she filled her
portfolios with sketches.

In 1840 she sent her first picture to the Salon, and as it was
accepted and well received, she continued to send her work every year;
but, up to 1849, her pictures were small, and had little more interest
than belongs to simple studies from nature; 1849 was a memorable year
to her, as it was to France. In this year her father died of cholera,
just as he had been appointed director of the School of Design for
Young Girls. Rosa was appointed to succeed him with the title of
Honorary Directress, and her sister Juliette was made a teacher in the
school. In the same year she exhibited the picture that may be said to
have made her reputation with the artists and amateurs, as well as
with the general public. This was her "Oxen of Cantal," a picture that
combined with no little feeling for landscape the most admirable
painting of cattle in repose. Its high qualities were immediately
recognized. Horace Vernet, in the name of the Provisional Government,
presented her with a handsome vase of Sèvres porcelain, and the gold
medal for painting. In 1851, the jury selected for exhibition at the
World's Fair in London another picture by Rosa, "Ploughing in the
Nivernais," which made the artist's name known to England, where the
national love of animals secured for her no end of praise and of
substantial reward. In 1856 Rosa painted her most popular picture,
"The Horse Fair," now in the Metropolitan Museum. This painting went
from Paris to London, where it was bought for rising £1,500, and
created such an interest in the artist's personality as would have
turned the head of any ordinary woman; but Rosa Bonheur's whole life
proves her no ordinary woman.

For many years Mlle. Bonheur lived in Paris in a house surrounded by a
large garden where she kept a number of animals, partly for the
pleasure of their companionship, partly for the opportunity it gave
her of studying their habits, and using them as models. She now
resides in the Château By, near Fontainebleau, where she leads the
same industrious life in her advancing years that she did in the
beginning of her career. She rises early, and works at her painting
all day, and often spends the evening in drawing: for she takes but
little interest in what is called society, and cares only for the
companionship of her intimate friends, which she can enjoy without
disarranging her life, or neglecting the studies she loves. She
dresses with great simplicity at all times, and even when she accepts
invitations, makes no concessions to the caprices of fashion. In her
student-days, when visiting the abattoirs, markets, and fairs, she
accustomed herself to wear such a modification of man's dress as would
permit her to move about among rough men without compromising her sex.
But, beside that her dignity was always safe in her own keeping, she
bears testimony to the good manners and the good dispositions of the
men she came in contact with. Rosa Bonheur has always been an honor to
art and an honor to her sex. At seventy-two she finds herself in the
enjoyment of many things that go to make a happy life. She has a
well-earned fame as an artist; an abundant fortune gained by her own
industry and used as honorably as it has been gained; and she has
troops of friends drawn to her by her solid worth of character.

Of the great number of pictures Rosa Bonheur has painted, by far the
most are of subjects found in France, but a few of the best were
painted in Scotland. She has received many public honors in medals and
decorations. In 1856, after painting the "Horse Fair," the Empress
Eugénie visited her at her studio and bestowed upon her the Cross of
the Legion of Honor, fastening the decoration to the artist's dress
with her own hands. When the invading army of Prussia reached Paris,
the Crown Prince gave orders that the studio of Rosa Bonheur should be
respected. But though she, no doubt, holds all these honors at their
worth, yet she holds still more dear the art to which she owes, not
only these, but all that has made her life a treasury of happy

[Signature of the author.]


         [Footnote 9: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.]


(BORN 1824)

[Illustration: Gérôme.]

In the Paris Salon of 1847, a small picture appeared, representing a
Greek boy and girl stirring up two game-cocks to fight. Although it
was the work of an unknown painter, and had to contend with an
unusually brilliant display of pictures, many of them by men already
famous, yet it strongly attracted the general public, partly by the
novelty of the subject, and partly by the careful and finished manner
of the painting. It delighted the critics as well, and one of the most
distinguished of them, Théophile Gautier, wrote: "A new Greek is born
to us, and his name is Gérôme!"

This picture, which was to prove the first leaf in a laurel-crown to
be awarded the painter in his lifetime, and not, as is so often the
case, by the tardy hand of Death, was the work of Jean-Léon Gérôme, a
young man of twenty-three. He had been for six years under the
teaching of Paul Delaroche, part of the time in Italy, but most of it
in Paris. He was born at Vesoul, a small, dull town in the Department
of Haute-Saône, in 1824. His father was a goldsmith, who, like most
French fathers in his rank of life, had hoped to bring up his son to
succeed him in his business. The boy did for a time, we believe, work
in his father's shop, but he had a stronger natural bent for painting;
something perhaps in the occupation fostered, or even created, this
taste--for not a few distinguished painters have been apprenticed to
the goldsmith's trade--and his father, like a wise man, instead of
opposing his son's wishes, did what he could to further them. He
bought him painting-materials; and instead of sending him to a "school
of design," or putting him under the tutelage of some third-rate
drawing-master, such as is commonly found in country towns, he bought
him a picture by Decamps, an artist since become famous, but then just
in the dawn of his fame, and put it before his son as a model. Young
Gérôme made a copy of this picture, and an artist from Paris, who
happened to be passing through Vesoul, saw it, and discerning the
boy's talent, gave him a letter to Paul Delaroche, encouraging him to
go to Paris and there to take up the study of art as a profession. At
seventeen years of age, with his father's consent and $250 in his
pocket, Gérôme went up to Paris, and presenting his letter to
Delaroche, was well received by him, and entered the School of Fine
Arts (École des Beaux-Arts) as his pupil.

He had been with Delaroche three years and had proved himself one of
the most loyal and diligent of his pupils, when an event occurred,
insignificant in itself, but which was to have an important influence
upon his life and give a new direction to his talent.

French studios are not as a rule very orderly places. The young men
who frequent them are left pretty much to themselves, with no one to
govern them or to oversee them. The artist they are studying under
makes, at the most, a brief daily visit, going the round of the
easels, saying a word or two to each pupil, although it often happens
that he says nothing, and then departs for his proper work, leaving
his pupils to their own devices. The students are for the most part
like young men everywhere, a turbulent set, full of animal spirits,
which sometimes carry them beyond reasonable bounds. It was a
boisterous outbreak of this sort, but far wilder than common, that
occurred in the studio of Delaroche, and which brought about the
crisis in Gérôme's life to which we have alluded. Fortunately for him,
the incident took place while Gérôme was on a visit to his parents at
Vesoul, so that he was in no way implicated in the affair. He came
back to find the studio closed; Delaroche, deeply disturbed, had
dismissed all his pupils and announced his intention to visit Italy.
His studio was to be taken during his absence, by Gleyre, and he
advised those of his pupils in whom he took a personal interest, to
continue their studies under his successor. Gérôme was one of those to
whom he gave this advice, but Gérôme was too much attached to his
master to leave him for another, and bluntly announced his purpose of
following him to Rome. A few of the other pupils of Delaroche were of
the same mind, and they all set out for Italy together. Arrived in
Rome, Gérôme, always a hard worker, threw himself energetically into
his studies; drawing the ancient buildings, the Capitol, the
Colosseum; sketching in the Forum and on the Campagna; copying the
pictures and the statues, saturating his mind in the spirit of antique
art, and schooling his hand in its forms, until he had laid up a rich
store of material for use in future pictures. On his return to Paris
he worked for a while in Gleyre's studio, but when Delaroche came back
from Italy, Gérôme again joined him and renewed his old relation as
pupil and assistant--working, among other tasks, on the painting of
"Charlemagne Crossing the Alps," a commission given to Delaroche by
the Government, for the _Grande Galerie des Batailles_ at Versailles:
a vast apartment lined with pictures of all the victories of the
French from Soissons to Solferino.

Such work as this, however, had little interest for Gérôme. His mind
at this time was full of the Greeks and Romans; his enthusiasm for
Napoleon, which later was to give birth to so many pictures, had not
yet awakened; nor did he care for the subjects from the histories of
France and England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, that
had provided his master, Delaroche, with so many tragic themes for his
pencil: "The Death of the Duke of Guise," "The Children of Edward,"
the "Death of Queen Elizabeth," "The Execution of Lady Jane Grey,"
"Cromwell at the Coffin of Charles I.," and others of the same strain.

Gérôme's visit to Italy had awakened in him a strong interest in the
life of the antique world, and this would naturally be strengthened by
all that he would hear and see of the growing interest of the public
in the same subject: an interest kindled by the discoveries of
archaeologists in classic soil: in Greece and Italy, in Assyria and
Egypt. These discoveries had filled the museums and the cabinets of
private collectors with beautiful and interesting fragments
illustrating the external life of the past, and illuminating its
poetry; and it is no wonder that some of the younger artists rejoiced
in the new world of anecdote and story that opened so richly before

However it came about--whether his own interest in the antique life
communicated itself to his fellows, or whether they, all together,
simply shared in the interest taken in the subject by the world about
them--Gérôme and some of his companions in Delaroche's studio showed
such a predilection for classic themes, that they were nicknamed by
the critics "The New Greeks." Among Gérôme's fellow-pupils were two
young men, Hamon and Aubert, who later gained no small applause by
their playful and familiar way of treating classic themes. They are
well known to us by engravings from their pictures, which are in all
our shops. Hamon's "My Sister is not at home," and Aubert's various
pretty fancies of nymphs and cupids, while they are not great works of
art, are reasonably sure of a long life, due to their innocent
freshness and simplicity.

Delaroche's pupils were working all together in friendly competition
for the grand Roman prize which was to give the fortunate one the
right to four years' study in Rome at the expense of the state.
Gérôme's studio was shared by his friends Picou and Hamon. Hamon,
writing in later years about his youthful days, says: "Companions and
rivals at the same time, we were all working together for the Grand
Prix de Rome. Gérôme inspired us all with the love of hard work, and
of hard work to the accompaniment of singing and laughing."

But in the intervals of his hard work for the prize, Gérôme was also
working on a picture which he hoped to have accepted for the Salon.
This was the picture we spoke of in the beginning of this notice: "Two
Young Greeks stirring-up Game-cocks to fight." When it was finished
Gérôme showed it to his master with many misgivings; but Delaroche
encouraged him to send it to the Salon. It was accepted, and as we
have seen, won for Gérôme a great success with the public. The next
year, 1848, he again exhibited, but the impression he made was less
marked than on the first occasion. His former picture had a subject
such as it was, of his own devising. The "Cock-fight" was not an
illustration of any passage in Greek poetry, and in spite of its
antique setting, it had a modern air, and to this, no doubt, its
popularity was largely due. But in 1848 he essayed an illustration of
the Greek poet, Anacreon, translating into picture the poem that tells
how, one winter evening, sitting by his fire, the old poet was
surprised by a sound of weeping outside his door, and opening it,
found Cupid wet and shivering and begging for a shelter from the cold.
The man takes the pretty, dimpled mischief to his bosom, warms his
feet and hands at the fire, dries his bow and arrows, and lets him sip
wine from his cup. Then, when Cupid is refreshed and warmed, he tries
his arrows, now here, now there, and at last aims one straight at his
benefactor's heart, and laughing at the jest, flies out at the open
door. Gérôme's picture was in three panels. The first showed the poet
opening the door to the sobbing Cupid, with his bedraggled wings and
dripping curls; in the next, the rosy ingrate wounds his benefactor;
in the third, the poet sits disconsolate by his hearth, musing over
the days when Love was his guest, if but for an hour. As the story was
an old one, so many an artist before Gérôme had played with it as a
subject for a picture. Jean-François Millet himself, another pupil of
Delaroche, though earlier than Gérôme, had tried his hand at
illustrating Anacreon's fable before he found his proper field of work
in portraying the occupations of the men and women about him, the
peasants among whom he was born and bred.

Gérôme's picture did nothing to advance his fortunes with the public.
1848 was a stormy time in France and in all Europe, and people were
not in the mood to be amused with such trifles as Anacreon and his
Cupid. The pictures in that year's Salon that drew the public in
crowds about them were Couture's "The Romans of the Decline of the
Empire," in which all Paris saw, or thought it saw, the
handwriting-on-the-wall for the government of Louis-Philippe; and the
"Shipwrecked Sailors in a Bark," of Delacroix, a wild and stormy scene
of terror that seemed to echo the prophecies of evil days at hand for
France with which the time was rife.

Gérôme's next picture, however, was to bring him once more before the
public, and to carry his name beyond his native France even as far as
America. Leaving for the nonce his chosen field of antiquity, where
yet he was to distinguish himself, he looked for a subject in the
Paris of his own day. "The Duel after the Masquerade" opens for us a
corner of the Bois de Boulogne--the fashionable park on the outskirts
of Paris--where in the still dawn of a winter's day, a group of men
are met to witness a duel between two of their companions who have
quarrelled at a masked ball. The ground is covered with a light fall
of snow; the bare branches of the trees weave their network across the
gray sky, and in the distance we see the carriages that have brought
the disputants to the field. The duel is over. One of the men, dressed
in the costume of Pierrot, the loose white trousers and slippers, the
baggy white shirt, and white skull-cap, falls, mortally wounded, into
the arms of his second: the pallor of coming death masked by the
white-painted face. The other combatant, a Mohawk Indian (once a
staple character at every masked-ball in Paris: curious survival of
the popularity of Cooper's novels), is led wounded off the field by a
friend dressed as Harlequin. Gérôme in this striking picture showed
for the first time that talent as a story-teller to which he is so
largely indebted for his reputation. Whatever his subject may be, it
is always set forth in the clearest manner, so that everyone may
understand the story without the need of an interpreter.

Leaving out of view the few pictures he painted illustrating passages
in Napoleon's career, it may be said that Gérôme's taste led him away
from scenes of modern life; for even his many oriental subjects so
relate to forms of life belonging in reality to the past, that they
make no exception to the statement. He did not therefore follow up
"The Duel" with other comments on the follies of modern society--for
in the temper of that time this picture, like Couture's "Roman Orgie"
and Millet's "Man with the Hoe," was looked upon as a satire and a
warning, and owed its popularity as much to this conviction on the
part of the public as to its pictorial merits--but returned to antique
times, and showed in his treatment of themes from that source an
equal, if not a greater power to interest the public.

Gérôme's two pictures, the "Ave Cæsar! Morituri te Salutant," "Hail,
Cæsar! Those about to die, salute Thee," and "The Gladiators," are so
universally known as to need no description. Whatever criticism may be
made upon them, they will always remain interesting to the world at
large; from their subject, from the way in which the discoveries of
archæology are made familiar, and, not least, from the impression they
make of the artist's own strong interest in what he had to say. In
both pictures he succeeded in showing the Colosseum as no longer a
ruin, but as, so to speak, a living place peopled by the swarm of the
Roman populace, with the emperor and his court, and the College of the
Vestal Virgins, and, for chief actors, the hapless wretches who are
"butchered to make a Roman holiday." Another picture that greatly
increased Gérôme's reputation, was his "Death of Julius Cæsar," though
it must be confessed there was a touch of the stage in the arrangement
of the scene, and in the action of the body of senators and
conspirators leaving the hall with brandished swords and as if singing
in chorus, that was absent from the pictures of the amphitheatre.
There was also less material for the curiosity of the lovers of
archæology; no such striking point, for instance, as the reproduction
of the gladiators' helmets and armor recently discovered in
Herculaneum; but the body of the dead Cæsar lying "even at the base of
Pompey's statue" with his face muffled in his toga, was a masterly
performance; some critic, moved by the grandeur of the lines, said it
was not a mere piece of foreshortening, it was "a perspective." Gérôme
made a life-size painting of the Cæsar in this picture. It is in the
Corcoran Gallery at Washington.

Gérôme painted several other pictures from classic subjects, but none
of them had the interest for the general public of those we have
described. In 1854 he exhibited a huge canvas, called "The Age of
Augustus," a picture suggested, perhaps, by the "Hemicycle" of his
master Delaroche, on which he himself had painted. It represented
heroes, poets, sages, of the Augustan age, grouped about the cradle of
the infant Christ; it procured for Gérôme the red ribbon of the Legion
of Honor, and is now, as the artist himself jestingly says, "the
'greatest' picture in the Museum of Amiens." In the same year Gérôme
went to Egypt for the first time; since then he has more than once
visited it, but it is doubtful if he could renew the pleasure of his
youthful experience. "I set out," he says, "with my friends, I the
fifth, all of us lightly furnished with money, but full of youthful
enthusiasm. Life was then easy in Egypt; we lived at a very moderate
rate; we hired a boat and lived four months upon the Nile, hunting,
painting, fishing by turns, from Damietta to Philæ. We returned to
Cairo and remained there four months longer in a house in the older
part of the town, belonging to Soleman Pasha. As Frenchmen, he treated
us with cordial hospitality. Happy period of youth, of freedom from
care! Hope and the future opened bright before us; the sky was blue!"

Gérôme's pictures of Eastern life make a gallery by themselves. A few
of them are historic, such as his "Cleopatra visiting Cæsar," but the
most of them are simply scenes and incidents drawn from the daily life
of the modern inhabitants of Cairo and the desert, illustrating their
manners and customs. The mere titles would fill up a large part of our
space. Many of the best of them are owned in this country, and all
have been reproduced by engraving or by photography.

In another field Gérôme won great distinction, painting scenes from
the history of France in the reign of Louis XIV.; subjects drawn from
what may be called the high comedy of court-life, and treated by
Gérôme with remarkable refinement and distinction. Among these
pictures the best known are: "Molière Breakfasting with Louis XIV.,"
illustrating the story of the king's rebuke to his courtiers who
affected to despise the man of genius; "Père Joseph," the priest who
under the guise of humility and self-abnegation reduces the greatest
nobles to the state of lackeys; "Louis XIV. Receiving the Great
Condé," and "Collaboration," two poets of Louis XIV.'s time working
together over a play. Among his accomplishments as an artist we must
not forget the talent that Gérôme has shown as a sculptor. He has
modelled several figures from his own pictures, with such admirable
skill as to prove that he might easily have made sculpture a
profession had he not chosen to devote himself to painting.

[Signature of the author.]


         [Footnote 10: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.]



[Illustration: Dante Gabriel Rossetti.]

Those whose privilege it was to meet the late Mr. Gabriel Rossetti, at
once in the plenitude of his powers and in the freshness of their own
impressions, will not expect to be moved again through life by so
magnetic a presence. In his dealings with those much younger than
himself, his tact and influence were unequalled; he received a shy but
ardent youth with such a noble courtesy, with so much sympathy yet
with no condescension, with so grand an air and yet so warm a welcome,
that his new acquaintance was enslaved at the first sentence. This
seems to me to have been in a certain sense the key-note of the man.
He was essentially a point of fire; not a peripatetic in any sense,
not a person of wide circumference, but a nucleus of pure imagination
that never stirred or shifted, but scintillated in all directions. The
function of Gabriel Rossetti, or at least his most obvious function,
was to sit in isolation, and to have vaguely glimmering spirits
presented to him for complete illumination. He was the most prompt in
suggestion, the most regal in giving, the most sympathetic in
response, of the men I have known or seen; and this without a single
touch of the prophetic manner, the air of such professional seers as
Coleridge or Carlyle. What he had to give was not mystical or
abstract; it was purely concrete. His mind was full of practical
artistic schemes, only a few of which were suited to his own practice
in painting or poetry; the rest were at the service of whoever would
come in a friendly spirit and take them. I find among his letters to
me, which I have just been reading once again, a paper of delightful
suggestions about the cover of a book of verse; the next youth who
waited upon him would perhaps be a painter, and would find that the
great genius and master did not disdain the discussion of
picture-frames. This was but the undercurrent of his influence; as we
shall see more and more every year as the central decades of this
century become history, its main stream directed the two great arts of
painting and poetry into new channels, and set a score of diverse
talents in motion.

But, as far as anything can be seen plainly about Rossetti at present,
to me the fact of his immovability, his self-support, his curious
reserve, seems to be the most interesting. He held in all things to
the essential and not to the accidental; he preferred the dry grain of
musk to a diluted flood of perfume. An Italian by birth and deeply
moved by all things Italian, he never visited Italy; a lover of ritual
and a sympathizer with all the mysteries of the Roman creed, he never
joined the Catholic Church; a poet whose form and substance alike
influenced almost all the men of his generation, he was more than
forty years of age before he gave his verse to the public; a painter
who considered the attitude of the past with more ardor and faith than
almost any artist of his time, he never chose to visit the churches or
galleries of Europe. It has been said, among the many absurd things
which his death has provoked, that he shrank from publicity from
timidity, or spurned it from ill-temper. One brilliant journalist has
described him as sulking like Hector in his tent. It used to be
Achilles who sulked when I was at school; but it certainly never was
Gabriel Rossetti. Those who only knew him, after his constitution had
passed under the yoke of the drug which killed him, cannot judge of
his natural reserve from that artificial and morbid reserve which
embittered the last years of his life. The former was not connected
with any objection to new faces or dislike of cordial society, but
with the indomitable characteristic of the man, which made him give
out the treasures of the spirit, and never need to receive them. So
far from disliking society, it is my impression that he craved it as a
necessity, although he chose to select its constituents and narrow its

He was born in 1828. The story of his parentage is well known, and has
been told in full detail since his death. He was born in London and
christened Gabriel Charles Rossetti; it was not, I am told, until he
was of age to appreciate the value of the name that he took upon
himself the cognomen which his father had borne, the Dante by which
the world, though not his friends, have known him. Living with his
father in Charlotte street, with two sisters and a brother no less
ardently trained in letters than himself, he seems to have been turned
to poetry, as he was afterward sustained in it, by the interior flame.
The household has been described to me by one who saw it in 1847: the
father, titular professor of Italian literature, but with no
professional duties, seated the livelong day, with a shade over his
eyes, writing devotional or patriotic poetry in his native tongue; the
girls reading Dante aloud with their rich maiden voices; Gabriel
buried here in his writing, or darting round the corner of the street
to the studio where he painted. From this seclusion he wrote to the
friend who has kindly helped me in preparing these notes, and whose
memories of the poet extend over a longer period than those of any
survivor not related to him.

Mr. W. B. Scott, now so well known in more arts than one, had then
but just published his first book, his mystical and transcendental
poem of "The Year of the World." This seems to have fallen under
Rossetti's notice, for on November 25, 1847, he wrote to the author, a
perfect stranger to himself, a letter of warm sympathy and
acknowledgment. Mr. Scott was living in Newcastle, and, instead of
meeting, the young poets at first made acquaintance with each other by
correspondence. Rossetti soon mentioned, of course, his own schemes
and ambitions, and he sent, as a sample of his powers, his poems of
"The Blessed Damozel," and "My Sister's Sleep," which he had written
about eighteen months before.

Mr. Scott tells me that his first feeling on receiving these poems,
written in English by an Italian boy of eighteen, was one of
amazement. I cannot wonder at it. If the "Blessed Damozel," when it
was published a quarter of a century later, seemed a masterpiece to
those who had, in the meanwhile, read so much that was vaguely
inspired by it, what must it have been in 1846? Certain pieces in
Tennyson's "Poems," of 1842, and a few fragments of Browning's "Bells
and Pomegranates" were the only English poems which can be supposed to
have given it birth, even indirectly. In its interpretation of
mystical thoughts by concrete images, in its mediæval fervor and
consistence of fancy, in its peculiar metrical facility, it was
distinctly new--original as few poems except those by the acknowledged
masters of the craft can ever be.

  "The sun was gone now; the curled moon
     Was like a little feather
   Fluttering far down the gulf; and now
     She spoke through the clear weather.
   Her voice was like the voice the stars
     Had when they sang together."

This was a strange accent in 1846. Miss Barrett and Mr. Tennyson were
then the most accepted poets. Mr. Browning spoke fluently and
persistently, but only to a very little circle; Mr. Horne's "Orion"
and Mr. Bailey's "Festus" were the recent outcomes of Keats and
Goethe; the Spasmodic School, to be presently born of much unwise
study of "Festus," was still unknown; Mr. Clough, Mr. Matthew Arnold,
and Mr. Patmore were quite unapparent, taking form and voice in
solitude; and here was a new singer, utterly unlike them all, pouring
out his first notes with the precision and independence of the
new-fledged thrush in the woodland chorus.

In painting, the process was somewhat different. In this art, no less
than in poetry, Rossetti understood at once what it was that he wished
to do himself, and what he desired to see others doing; but the
difficulties of technique were in his way. He had begun to write in
childhood, but he had taken up design late in his youth, and he had
undergone no discipline in it. At the present day, when every student
has to pass a somewhat stringent examination in design, Rossetti, at
eighteen, could not have entered the schools of the Royal Academy. He
did so, however, yet without ever advancing to the Life School. The
soul of art, at this early period, interested him far more than the
body, especially such a substance as he found under the presidency of
Sir Martin Shee and the keepership of George Jones. Let us not forget,
meanwhile, that it is easy to sneer at the incompetence of mannered
old artists, and yet hard to over-estimate the value of discipline in
a school, however conventional. Rossetti was too impatient to learn to
draw, and this he lived to regret. His immediate associates, the young
men whom he began to lead and impress, were better draughtsmen than
he. His first oil picture, I believe, was a portrait of his father,
now in possession of the family. But, as far as can be now made out,
he did not begin to paint seriously till about January, 1848, when he
persuaded another Royal Academy student, W. Holman Hunt, to take a
large room close to the paternal house in Charlotte street, and make
it their studio. Here Mr. Scott visited them in the early spring of
that year; he describes to me the large pictures they were struggling
upon, Hunt, on his "Oath of Rienzi," and Rossetti, on his "Girlhood of
Mary Virgin." The latter was evidently at present but poorly equipped;
the painting was timid and boyish, pale in tone, and with no hint or
promise of that radiant color which afterward became Rossetti's main
characteristic. But the feeling was identical with that in his far
more accomplished early poems. The very pulse and throb of mediæval
adoration pervaded the whole conception of the picture, and Mr.
Scott's first impression was that, in this marvellous poet and
possible painter, the new Tractarian movement had found its expositor
in art. Yet this surely was no such feeble or sentimental echo as had
inspired the declared Tractarian poets of eight or nine years earlier;
there was nothing here that recalled such a book as the "Cherwell
Water Lily" of Father Faber. This contained the genuine fleshly
mysticism, bodily presentment of a spiritual idea, and intimate
knowledge of mediæval sentiment without which the new religious fervor
had no intellectual basis. This strong instinct for the forms of the
Catholic religion, combined with no attendance on the rites of that
church, fostered by no study of ecclesiastical literature or
association with teachers or proselytes, but original to himself and
self-supported, was at that time without doubt the feature in
Rossetti's intellectual character which demands our closest attention.
Nor do I believe that this passion for the physical presentation of a
mystical idea was ever entirely supplanted by those other views of
life and art which came to occupy his maturer mind. In his latest
poems--in "Rose Mary," for instance--I see this first impulse
returning upon him with more than its early fascination. In his youth,
however, the mysticism was very naïve and straightforward. It was
fostered by one of the very few excursions which Rossetti ever took--a
tour in Belgium in October, 1849. I am told that he and the
painter-friend who accompanied him were so purely devoted to the
mediæval aspect of all they saw, that, in walking through the
galleries, they turned away their heads in approaching modern
pictures, and carefully closed their eyes while they were passing
Rubens's "Descent from the Cross." In Belgium, or as the result of his
tour there, Rossetti wrote several curious poems, which were so harsh
and forced that he omitted them from his collection when he first
published his "Poems," in 1870.

The effort in these early pieces is too marked. I remember once
hearing Rossetti say that he did not mind what people called him, if
only they would not call him "quaint." But the fact was that, if
quaintness be defined as the inability to conceal the labor of an art,
there is no doubt that both his poems and his designs occasionally
deserved this epithet. He was so excessively sincere an artist, so
determined not to permit anything like trickiness of effect or
meaningless smoothness to conceal the direct statement of an idea,
that his lack of initial discipline sometimes made itself felt in a
curious angular hardness.

And now it would be necessary, if I were attempting a complete study
of Gabriel Rossetti's intellectual career, to diverge into a
description of what has so much exercised popular curiosity, the
pre-Raphaelite movement of 1848. But there is no reason why, in a few
notes on character, I should repeat from hearsay what several of the
seven brothers have reported from authoritative memory. It is
admitted, by them and by all who have understood the movement, that
Gabriel Rossetti was the founder and, in the Shakespearian sense,
"begetter" of all that was done by this earnest band of young artists.
One of them, Mr. Millais, was already distinguished; two others, Mr.
Holman Hunt and Mr. Woolner, had at that time more training and
technical power than he; but he was, nevertheless, the brain and soul
of the enterprise. What these young men proposed was excellently
propounded in the sonnet by "W. M. R.," which they prefixed to their
little literary venture, the "Germ," in 1850. Plainly to think even a
little thought, to express it in natural words which are native to the
speaker, to paint even an insignificant object as it is, and not as
the old masters or the new masters have said it should be painted, to
persevere in looking at truth and at nature without the smallest
prejudice for tradition, this was the whole mystery and cabal of the
P. R. B. They called themselves "preraphaelite," because they found in
the wings of Lippi's angels, and the columbines of Perugino's gardens
that loving and exact study of minute things which gave to them a
sense of sincerity, and which they missed in the breadth and ease of
later work. They had no ambition to "splash as no one splashed before
since great Caldasi Polidore;" but they did wish to draw a flower or a
cloud so that it should be a portrait of that cloud or flower. In this
ambition it would be curious to know, and I do not think that I have
ever heard it stated, how far they were influenced by Mr. Ruskin and
his "Modern Painters." I should not expect to find Rossetti influenced
by any outside force in this any more than in other instances, but at
all events Mr. Ruskin eagerly accepted the brotherhood as practical
exponents of the theories he had pronounced. None of them, I think,
knew him personally when he wrote the famous letter to the _Times_ in
1851, defending Mr. Millais and Mr. Holman Hunt from the abuse of
ignorant critics, who, he said, had failed to perceive the very
principles on which these "two young men" were proceeding. Somebody
wrote to him to explain that there were "three young men," and Mr.
Ruskin wrote a note to Gabriel Rossetti, desiring to see his work, and
thus the acquaintance of these two remarkable men commenced.

Meanwhile, although the more vigorous members of the brotherhood had
shown no special sympathy for Rossetti's religious mysticism, a
feebler artist, himself one of the original seven, had taken it up
with embarrassing effusion. This was the late James Collinson, whose
principal picture, "St. Elizabeth of Hungary," finished in 1851,
produced a sort of crisis in Rossetti's career. This painting
out-mystified the mystic himself; it was simply maudlin and
hysterical, though drawn with some feeling for grace, and in a very
earnest spirit. Rossetti, with his strong good sense, recognized that
it would be impossible ever to reach the public with art of this
unmanly character, and from this time forth he began to abandon the
practice of directly sacred art.

For some little time after abandoning the directly sacred field in
painting, Rossetti seems to have passed through a disconsolate and
dubious period. I am told that he worked for many months over a large
picture called "Kate the Queen," from some well-known words by
Browning. He made no progress with this, seemed dissatisfied with his
own media, felt the weight of his lack of training, and passed, in
short, through one of those downcast moods, which Shakespeare has so
marvellously described in "Tired with all these," and which are
incident, sooner or later, to every man of genius. While his touch in
poetry grew constantly more sure and masterly, his power as a
draughtsman threatened to leave him altogether. He was to have drawn
one of the frontispieces in the "Germ," but, although he toiled with a
design, he could not make it "come right." At last a happy accident
put him on the true track, and revealed his proper genius to himself.
He began to make small drawings of poetical subjects in
water-colors--most of those which I have seen are not more than twenty
inches by twelve--over which he labored, and into which he poured his
exquisite sense of color, inspired without doubt by the glass of
mediæval church windows. He travelled so very little, that I do not
know whether he ever saw the treasures of radiant jewel-work which
fret the gloom of Chartres or of Bourges; but if he never saw them, he
divined them, and these are the only pieces of color which in the
least degree suggest the drawings of this, Rossetti's second period.
As far as one can gather, his method was, first, to become
interpenetrated with the sentiment of some ballad or passage of
emotional poetry, then to meditate on the scene till he saw it clearly
before him; then--and this seems to have always been the difficult and
tedious part--to draw in the design, and then with triumphant ease to
fill in the outlines with radiant color. He had an almost insuperable
difficulty in keeping his composition within the confines of the paper
upon which he worked, and at last was content to have a purely
accidental limit to the design, no matter what limbs of the _dramatis
personæ_ were sheered away by the frame. It would not be the act of a
true friend to Rossetti's memory to pretend that these drawings, of
which for the next ten or fifteen years he continued to produce a
great number, were without faults of a nature which any coxcomb could
perceive, or without eccentricities which an untrained eye might
easily mistake for faults; but this does not in the least militate
against the fact that in two great departments of the painter's
faculty, in imaginative sentiment and in wealth of color, they have
never been surpassed. They have rarely, indeed, been equalled in the
history of painting. A Rossetti drawing of this class hung with
specimens of other art, ancient or modern, simply destroys them. I do
not mean that it is better or worse than they are, but that it kills
them as the electric light puts out a glow-worm. No other man's color
will bear these points of ruby-crimson, these expanses of deep
turquoise-blue, these flagrant scarlets and thunderous purples. He
paints the sleeve of a trumpeter; it is such an orange as the eye can
scarce endure to look at. He paints the tiles of a chimney-corner;
they are as green as the peacock's eyes in the sunshine.

The world is seldom ready to receive any new thing. These drawings of
Rossetti's were scarcely noticed even by those who are habitually on
the watch for fresh developments in art. But when the painter next
emerges into something like publicity we find him attended by a
brilliant company of younger men, all more or less influenced by his
teaching and attracted by his gifts. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
had been a very ephemeral institution; in three years, or four at the
most, it had ceased to exist; but its principles and the energy of its
founder had left their mark on the whole world of art. In 1849
Rossetti had exhibited his picture, "The Girlhood of Mary Virgin," at
the Portland Gallery, an exhibition in rivalry of the Royal Academy,
which existed but a very short time. As far as I can discover, he did
not exhibit again in London until 1856, when he and his friends opened
a collection of their pictures at 4 Russell Place, Fitzroy Square. We
would rather have seen that little gallery than see most of the
show-exhibitions of Europe. In it the fine art of the Anglo-Saxon race
was seen dawning again after its long and dark night. Rossetti himself
was the principal exhibitor, but his two earliest colleagues, now
famous painters, Mr. Millais and Mr. Holman Hunt, also contributed.
And here were all the new talents whom Rossetti had attracted around
him during the last seven years: Mr. Madox Brown, with his fine genius
for history; Mr. J. D. Watson, with his strong mediæval affinities;
Mr. Boyce, with his delicate portraiture of rustic scenes; Mr. Brett,
the finest of our students of the sea; Mr. W. B. Scott himself;
besides one or two others, Mr. Charles Collins, Mr. Campbell, Mr.
Halliday, Mr. Martineau, whom death or adverse fortune removed before
they had quite fulfilled their promise. Gabriel Rossetti contributed
to this interesting and historic exhibition five or six of those
marvellous drawings of which mention has just been made. "Dante's
Dream," the famous vision of June 9, 1290, with its counterpart, "The
Anniversary of the Dream," in 1291, were the most prominent of these.
A "Mary Magdalene" was perhaps the most moving and exciting. This
extremely original design showed the Magdalene pursued by her lovers,
but turning away from them all to seek Jesus in the house of Simon the
Pharisee. The architecture in this drawing was almost childish; the
wall of Simon's house is not three inches thick, and there is not room
for a grown-up person on the stairs that lead to it; but the tender
imagination of the whole, the sweet persuasiveness of Christ, who
looks out of a window, the passion of the awakened sinner, who tears
the roses out of her hair, the curious novelty of treatment in the
heads and draperies, all these combine to make it one of those works,
the moral force and directness of which appeal to the heart at once.
Perhaps the most brilliant piece of color at the Russell Place Gallery
may have been Rossetti's "Blue Closet," a picture which either
illustrated or, as I should rather suppose, suggested Mr. Morris's
wonderful poem published two years later.

The same year that displayed him to the public already surrounded by a
brilliant phalanx of painter-friends, discovered him also, to the
judicious, as a centre of poetic light and heat. The circumstances
connected with Rossetti's visit to Oxford a little earlier than this
are too recent, are fresh in the memories of too many living persons
of distinction, to be discussed with propriety by one who was not
present. But certain facts are public, and may be mentioned. The
Oxford Union still shows around the interior of its cupola strange,
shadowy frescoes, melting into nothingness, which are the work of six
men, of whom Rossetti was the leader. These youths had enjoyed no
practical training in that particularly artificial branch of art,
mural painting, and yet it seems strange that Rossetti himself, at
least, should not have understood that a vehicle, such as yolk of egg
mixed with vinegar, was absolutely necessary to tempera, or that it
was proper, in fresco-painting, to prepare the walls, and paint in the
fresh wet mortar. They used no vehicle, they fixed their colors in no
coat of plaster, but they threw their ineffectual dry paint on the
naked brick. The result has been that their interesting boyish efforts
are now decayed beyond any chance of restoration. It is impossible,
however, to ascend the gallery of the Oxford Union and examine the
ghostly frescoes that are fading there, without great interest and
even emotion. Of the young men who painted there under Gabriel
Rossetti's eye, all have become greatly distinguished. Mr. Edward
Burne-Jones, Mr. William Morris, and Mr. Spencer Stanhope were
undergraduates at Oxford. Mr. Valentine Prinsep and Mr. Arthur Hughes,
I believe, were Royal Academy students who were invited down by
Rossetti. Their work was naïve and queer to the last degree. It is
perhaps not fair to say which one of them found so much difficulty in
painting the legs of his figures that he drew an impenetrable covert
of sunflowers right across his picture, and only showed the faces of
his heroes and heroines between the golden disks.

The _Oxford and Cambridge Magazine_, which also dates from the year
1856, is a still more notable expression of budding genius than the
dome of the Oxford Union. It was edited by Mr. Godfrey Lushington, all
its articles were anonymous, and it contrived to exist through twelve
consecutive monthly numbers. A complete set is now rare, and the
periodical itself is much less known than befits such a receptacle of
pure literature. It contains three or four of Rossetti's finest poems;
a great many of those extraordinary pieces, steeped in mediæval
coloring, which Mr. William Morris was to collect in 1858 into his
bewitching volume, called "The Defence of Guenevere;" several
delightful prose stories of life in the Middle Ages, also by Mr.
Morris, which, like certain prose romances by Mr. Burne-Jones, have
never been publicly claimed or reprinted by their author; and not a
little else that was as new as it was notable. A little later Mr.
William Morris's first book was dedicated "To my Friend Dante Gabriel
Rossetti, Painter," and in 1860 Mr. Swinburne followed with a like
inscription of his first-fruits, his tragic drama of "The
Queen-Mother." Thus in the course of a little more than ten years,
Rossetti had become the centre and sun of a galaxy of talent in poetry
and painting, more brilliant perhaps than any which has ever
acknowledged the beneficent sway of any one Englishman of genius.

But all this while the world outside knew nothing of the matter. One
by one the younger men stepped forward on the public stage and secured
the plaudits of the discerning, and ascended the slow incline of
general reputation. But Rossetti remained obstinately recluse, far
preferring to be the priest and confessor of genius to acting himself
a public part. To this determination several outward things engaged
him still further. He married quite early in life; and his wife, who
was herself an artist of rare, if somewhat wild and untrained talent,
bore him a son who died at birth, and then shortly after died herself.
During his brief married months Rossetti had collected the MSS. of his
poems, and thought to publish them; but when he lost his wife, in a
paroxysm of grief he placed the sheets of his poems in her coffin, and
would hear no more a suggestion of publication. In 1861 he presented
the world with a very learned and beautiful anthology of early Italian
poetry, and proposed as early as that year to print his original
poems. It was his scheme to name the little volume "Dante in Verona,
and other Poems;" but it came to nothing. About 1867 the scheme of
publication again took possession of him. I have been told that a
sudden sentiment of middle age, the fact that he found himself in his
fortieth year, led him to conquer his scruples, and finally arrange
his pieces. But he was singularly fastidious; the arrangement would
never please him; the cover must be cut in brass, the paper at the
sides must bear a special design. These niceties were rarer twelve
years ago than they are now, and the printers fatigued him with their
persistent obstinacy. It was not till early in 1870 that the "Poems"
in stately form first appeared, and were hailed with a shout of
admiration which was practically universal.

It was about Christmas in that same year, 1870, that he who writes
these lines was first presented to Gabriel Rossetti. The impression on
my mental eye is as fresh as if it had been made yesterday, instead of
twelve years ago. He was a man of average height, commonly loosely
clad in black, so as to give one something of the notion of an abbé;
the head very full, and domed like that of Shakespeare, as it was then
usual to say--to my thinking more like that of Chaucer--in any case a
head surcharged with imagination and power, strongly Italian in color
and cast. The eyes were exceedingly deep set, in cavernous sockets;
they were large, and black, and full of a restless brilliance, a
piercing quality which consoled the shy novice by not being
stationary. Lastly, a voice of bell-like tone and sonority, a voice
capable of expressing without effort every shade of emotion from rage
and terror to the most sublime tenderness. I have never heard a voice
so fitted for poetical effect, so purely imaginative, and yet, in its
absence of rhetoric, so clear and various, as that of Gabriel
Rossetti. I retain one special memory of his reading in his own
studio the unfinished MS. of "Rose Mary," in 1873, which surpassed in
this direction any pleasure which it has been my lot to enjoy; and on
various occasions I have listened to his reading of sonnets, his own
and those of others, with a sense that his intonation revealed a
beauty in the form of that species of verse which it had never been
seen to possess before. I have already spoken of his wonderful
courtliness to a new acquaintance, his bewitching air of sympathy; on
a closer intimacy this stately manner would break up into wild fits of
mirth, and any sketch of Rossetti would be incomplete that did not
describe his loud and infectious laughter. He lived very much apart
from the every-day life of mankind, not ostentatiously, but from a
genuine lack of interest in passing events. An old friend tells me
that during the French Revolution he burst into Rossetti's studio with
the incredible news, "Louis-Philippe has landed in England!" "Has he?"
said Rossetti, calmly. "What has he come for?" That certain political
events, in which he saw a great symbolic significance, could move him
deeply, is easily proved by such sonnets as the noble "On the Refusal
of Aid between Nations," and "Czar Alexander II." But such glances out
of window into the living street were rare, and formed no
characteristic part of his scheme of life.

As a poet in these great years he possessed rare gifts of passionate
utterance, and harmony of vision and expression. Mr. Swinburne has
characterized these qualities in words which leave no later
commentator the chance of distinguishing himself. But it would be
totally unjust, even in so cursory and personal a sketch as this, to
allow the impression to go undisputed that Rossetti preferred the
external form to the inward substance of poetry. This charge was
brought against him, as it has always been brought against earnest
students of poetic art. I will rather quote a few words from a letter
of Rossetti to me, written in 1873, when he was composing his own
_magnum opus_ of "Rose Mary." I have always felt them to be very
salutary, none the less because it is obvious that the writer did not
at all times contrive, or perhaps desire, to make them true in his own

"It seems to me that all poetry, to be really enduring, is bound to be
as _amusing_ (however trivial the word may sound) as any other class
of literature; and I do not think that enough amusement to keep it
alive can ever be got out of incidents not amounting to events, or out
of travelling experiences of an ordinary kind however agreeably,
observantly, or even thoughtfully treated. I would eschew in writing
all themes that are not so trenchantly individualized as to leave no
margin for discursiveness."

During the last eight years of his life, Rossetti's whole being was
clouded by the terrible curse of an excitable temperament--sleeplessness.
To overcome this enemy, which interfered with his powers of work and
concentration of thought, he accepted the treacherous aid of the new
drug, chloral, which was then vaunted as perfectly harmless in its
effect upon the health. The doses of chloral became more and more
necessary to him, and I am told that at last they became so frequent and
excessive that no case has been recorded in the annals of medicine in
which one patient has taken so much, or even half so much, chloral as
Rossetti took. Under this unwholesome drug his constitution, originally
a magnificent one, slipped unconsciously into decay, the more stealthily
that the poison seemed to have no effect whatever on the powers of the
victim's intellect. He painted until physical force failed him; he wrote
brilliantly to the very last, and two sonnets dictated by him on his
death-bed are described to me as being entirely worthy of his mature
powers. There is something almost melancholy in such a proof of the
superior vitality of the brain. If the mind had shared the weakness of
the body, the insidious enemy might perhaps have been routed in time to
secure the elastic rebound of both. But when the chloral was stoutly met
at last, it was too late.

So at the age of fifty-four we have lost a man whom we should have
retained, in the nature of things, for twenty years longer in the
plentitude of his powers, but for a mistake in hygiene--a medical
experiment. His work of inspiring the young, of projecting his fiery
originality along the veins of others, was perhaps completed; it is
doubtful whether this can ever be continued with advantage through
more than two generations. The prophet is apt at last to become a
tyrant, and from this ill apotheosis Rossetti was spared. But there
was no reason why he should not, for at least a score of years, have
produced noble pictures and have written gorgeous poems, emphasizing a
personal success which he would have extended, though he hardly could
have raised it. Yet he was always a melancholy man; of late years he
had become almost a solitary man. Like Charles of Austria, he had
disbanded his body-guard, and had retired to the cloister. Perhaps a
longer life would not have brought much enjoyment with it. But these
are idle speculations, and we have rather to call to our remembrance
the fact that one of the brightest and most distinguished of our race,
a man whose very existence was a protest against narrowness of aim and
feebleness of purpose, one of the great torch-bearers in the
procession of English art, has been called from us in the prime of
life, before the full significance of his genius had been properly
felt. He was the contemporary of some mighty names older than his, yet
there scarcely was to be found among them all a spirit more thoroughly
original; and surely, when the paltry conflicts of passing taste are
laid to rest forever, it will be found that this man has written his
signature indelibly on one of the principal pages of the register of
our intellectual history.

[Signature of the author.]


         [Footnote 11: Reprinted by permission, from the "Nation."]



[Illustration: Gustave Doré.]

It is now eleven years since Gustave Doré died. He was an officer of
the Legion of Honor, had attained considerable wealth, and was
probably more widely known than any other artist of his day. His name
was a household word in two continents. Yet he died a disappointed and
embittered man, and is proclaimed by his friends as a neglected and
misunderstood genius. He was known the world over as the most
astonishingly prolific illustrator of books that has ever lived; he
wished to be known in France as a great painter and a great sculptor,
and because the artists and critics of France never seriously
recognized his claims to this glory, he seems to have become a victim
of the mania of persecution, and his naturally sunny nature was
over-clouded with moroseness and suspicion. Hailed by some as the
emulator and equal of the great names of the Italian Renaissance, and
considered a great moral force--a "preacher painter"--by others he has
been denounced as "designer in chief to the devil," and described as a
man wallowing in all foulness and horror, a sort of demon of frightful
power. Both these extreme judgments are English. The late Blanchard
Jerrold, an intimate friend and collaborator of the artist, takes the
first view. Mr. Ruskin and Mr. Hamerton have taken the second. Doré's
own countrymen have never accepted either. Just where, between them,
the truth lies, as we see it, we shall endeavor to show in this

The main facts of Doré's life may be dismissed very briefly. He was
born with a caul on January 6, 1832, in the Rue Bleue at Strasbourg,
near the Cathedral. About 1841 his father removed to Bourg, in the
Department of Ain, where he was chief government engineer of the
department. These two residences of the young artist are supposed to
account for the mastery of Gothic architecture and of mountain scenery
which his admirers find in his mature work. He showed very early in
life a passion for drawing, and, as a small child, had always a pencil
in his hand, which he begged to have "sharpened at both ends," that he
might work longer without interruption. His father intended him for an
engineer, but he was determined from the first to be an artist. He was
of a gay and jovial disposition, given to pranks and practical jokes,
and of an athletic temperament. Théophile Gautier afterward called him
a "gamin de génie." In 1847, when he was fifteen years old, being in
Paris with his parents, he called upon Phillippon, the publisher, and
showed him some of his sketches. M. Phillippon looked at them, and
sent a letter to Doré's parents, persuading them to allow the boy to
remain in Paris, and promising them to begin using his work at once
and to pay for it. Thus, without any study of art whatever, he began
his career, and in a few years had produced a prodigious quantity of
work, and was a celebrated man before he was twenty. No one knows how
many drawings he made. He "lived like an Arab," worked early and late,
and with astonishing rapidity made thousands of drawings for the comic
papers, besides early beginning the publication of independent books.
One estimate, which Mr. Jerrold thinks excessive, credits him with
having published forty thousand drawings before he was forty! Mr.
Jerrold himself reckons two hundred and sixty-six drawings done in one
year. His "Labors of Hercules" was brought out in 1848, when he was
sixteen, and before he was twenty-seven he had published his "Holy
Russia," his "Wandering Jew," his illustrations to Balzac's "Contes
Drôlatiques," to Rabelais, and many other authors. His best work was
done at an age when most artists are painfully acquiring the rudiments
of their art. We all know the books that followed.

Meanwhile he was determined to be known as a great painter, and, while
flooding the market with his countless illustrations, was working at
great canvases of Biblical subjects, which, though the French would
not accept them, were hugely admired in the Doré Gallery of London.
Later he tried sculpture also, and his last work was a monument to
Alexandre Dumas, which he made at his own expense, and presented to
the city of Paris. He died in the beginning of the year 1883, worn out
with excessive production--a great name, but an unsatisfied man.

Mr. Jerrold has divided his book into two parts, dealing first with
Doré the illustrator, and then with Doré the painter and sculptor. It
is an eminently natural arrangement, and, in our effort to arrive at
Doré's true position in art, we cannot do better than to follow it.

Doré's earliest work was frankly that of a caricaturist. He had a
quick eye, no training, and a certain extravagant imagination, and
caricature was his inevitable field. He was, however, as Mr. Jerrold
himself remarks, "a caricaturist who seldom raises a laugh." Not
hearty fun, still less delicate humor, was his. In the higher
qualities of caricature his contemporaries, Daumier and Gavarni, were
vastly his superiors. An exuberance of grotesque fancy and a
recklessness of exaggeration were his dominant notes. His earlier
work, up to and including the Rabelais, is not really funny--to many
minds it is even painful--but it is unmistakably caricature of a
dashing, savage sort. To our mind it remains his best work, and that
by which he is most likely to live. At least it is the work that
formed him and fixed his characteristics, and an understanding of it
is essential to any judgment of him. The qualities and the defects of
his later work--that which is most praised and most blamed in his
production--are inherent in the work of this period, and are best
explained by a reference to the latter.

Take, for instance, what has been denounced as his love of horrors and
of foulness, his delight in blood and massacre. He is scored for this
as if he were one of that modern French school, beginning, perhaps,
with Regnault, who have revelled in the realistic presentation of
executions and battles, and have sought to effect by sheer
sensationalism what they could not by gentler means. It is surprising
that his critics have not seen that Doré's battles are always, even to
the end, the battles of a caricaturist. His decapitated trunks, cloven
heads, smoking hearts, arms still fighting though severed from their
bodies, are simply a debauch of grim humor. There is never the
slightest attempt to realize carnage--only to convey, by the
caricaturist's exaggeration, an idea of colossally impossible
bloodthirstiness. One may not enjoy this kind of fun, but to take it
seriously, as the emanation of a gloomy and diabolic genius, is

The same test is equally destructive of much of the praise Doré has
received. He is constantly spoken of, even by severe critics of his
painting, as a great illustrator who identified himself with the minds
of one great writer after another. But Doré identified himself with no
one; he was always Doré. Even in these early drawings he cannot keep
to the spirit of the text, though the subjects suited him much better
than many he tried later. There is a great deal of broad gayety and
"Gallic wit" in the "Contes Drôlatiques," but it was not broad enough
for Doré, and he has converted its most human characters into
impossible grotesques.

Another thing for which Doré is praised is his wonderful memory. Mr.
Jerrold repeats more than once Doré's phrase, "I have lots of
collodion in my head," and recounts how he could scarcely be induced
to make sketches from nature, but relied upon his memory. He also
speaks of Doré's system of dividing and subdividing a subject, and
noting the details in their places, so that he could reproduce the
whole afterward. This question of work from memory is one of the most
vital for an understanding of Doré, and one of general interest in all
matters of art, and is worth attention. Of course, a man who made
hundreds of drawings every year could not work much from nature, and
came to rely upon his memory. But what is the nature of artistic
memory, and how does it perform its task? We think the truth is, that
the artist who habitually works from memory, fills in his details, not
from memory of the object, but from memory of the way he has formerly
drawn similar objects. He reverts to a series of formulæ that he has
gradually accumulated. This man must have a cloak. This is the way a
cloak is done. A hand? Nothing can be easier; the hand formula is
ready. The stock in trade of the professional illustrator and
caricaturist is made up of a thousand such formulæ--methods of
expression that convey the idea readily enough to the spectator, but
have little relation to fact. So it is that Doré never learned, in the
true sense, to draw. He had made for himself a sort of artistic
shorthand, which enabled him to convey his superabundant ideas quickly
and certainly to his public, but his drawing is what is called
mannered in the extreme. It is not representation of nature at all,
but pure formula and chic. He is said to be a master of drapery, but
he never drew a single fold correctly. He is said to show great
knowledge of Gothic architecture, but he never drew well a single
column or finial. In his later years he studied anatomy with great
perseverance, and advocated the necessity of dissection, saying, "Il
faut fourrer la main dedans" (You must stick your hand in it); but the
manner was formed, and he never drew a leg with a bone in it.

With this equipment he illustrated Don Quixote, Dante, the Bible. Is
it strange that he shows no sympathy with the grand simplicity of
Dante, or the subtle humor of Cervantes, and that we can only be
thankful that he never completed his projected illustrations to
Shakespeare? Doré, the illustrator, was fecund beyond precedent,
possessed a certain strange drollery, had a wonderful flow of ideas,
but was superficial, theatrical, and mannered, and as far from
expressing real horror as from expressing real fun. What shall we say
of Doré the painter and sculptor?

Mr. Jerrold reports a discussion between Doré and Théophile Gautier,
in which the roles of artist and man of letters are strangely
reversed. "Gautier and Doré," he says, "disagreed fundamentally on the
aims and methods of art. Gautier loved correctness, perfect form--the
technique, in short, of art; whereas Doré contended that art which
said nothing, which conveyed no idea, albeit perfect in form and
color, missed the highest quality and raison d'être of art." What is
plain from this is, that Gautier was an artist and cared first of all
for art, while Doré was never an artist, properly speaking, at all,
and never understood the artist's passion for perfection. To Doré,
what was necessary was to express himself anyhow--who cared if the
style was defective, the drawing bad, the color crude? The idea was
the thing. His admirers can defend him only on this ground, and they
adopt of necessity the Philistine point of view. The artists of Doré's
time and country were very clear in their opinion. "The painters,"
says Mr. Jerrold, "said he could not paint."

The sculptors admitted that he had ideas in his groups, but he was not
sculpturesque. His friends protest against this judgment, and
attribute it, _ad nauseam_, to "malevolence" and "envy." What if his
technique was less brilliant than that of Hals, they say; what if his
shadows are less transparent than those of Rembrandt (and they will
make no meaner comparison)? He is "teeming with noble thoughts," and
these will put his work "on a level with the masterpieces of the
Italian masters of the sixteenth century." It is the conception, the
creation--not the perfect painting of legs and arms and heads, the
harmonious grouping, the happy and delicate combination of color--by
which the observer is held spell bound. All these qualities, which
his admirers grudgingly admit that Doré had not, are classed as "mere
dexterity," and are not considered worth a second thought.

This is the true literary gospel of art, but it is one that no artist,
and no critic who has any true feeling of art, has ever accepted or
will ever accept. Thoughts, ideas, conceptions, may enhance the value
of a work of art, provided it is first of all a piece of beautiful art
in itself, but they have never preserved, and never will preserve from
oblivion bad painting or bad sculpture. The style is the artist, if
not the man; and of the two, beautiful painting with no idea at all
(granting, for the sake of argument, that it exists), will ever be
infinitely more valuable to the world than the lame expression of the
noblest thoughts. What may be the real value of Doré's thoughts is
therefore a question with which we have no concern. As painter and
sculptor, his lack of education and his great technical
imperfections--his bad drawing, false light and shade, and crude
color--relegate him forever to a rank far below mediocrity. Such
reputation as he has is the result of the admiration of those
altogether ignorant of art, but possessed of enough literary ability
to trumpet abroad their praises of "great conceptions," and will as
surely fade away to nothing as the reputation of such simple painters
as Van Der Meer or Chardin will continue to grow, while painting as an
art is loved and understood.





George Frederick Handel, of whom Haydn once reverently said, "He is
the master of us all," was born at Halle, in Lower Saxony, on February
23, 1685. His father was a surgeon, and sixty-three years of age at
the time of his birth--a terribly severe old man, who, almost before
his son was born, had determined that he should be a lawyer. The
little child knew nothing of the fate before him, he only found that
he was never allowed to go near a musical instrument, much as he
wanted to hear its sweet sounds, and the obstinate father even took
him away from the public day-school for the simple reason that the
musical gamut was taught there in addition to ordinary reading,
writing, and arithmetic.

But love always "finds out the way," and his mother or nurse managed
to procure for him the forbidden delights; a small clavichord, or dumb
spinet, with the strings covered with strips of cloth to deaden the
sound, was found for the child, and this he used to keep hidden in the
garret, creeping away to play it in the night-time, when everyone was
asleep, or whenever his father was away from home doctoring his

[Illustration: Handel.]

But, at last, when George Frederick was seven years of age, the old
man was compelled to change his views. It happened in this way. He set
out one day on a visit to the court of the Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels,
where another son by a former marriage was a page. George Frederick
had been teasing his father to let him go with him to see his elder
brother, whom he had not yet met, but this was refused. When old
Handel started by the stagecoach the next morning, the persistent
little fellow was on the watch; he began running after it, and at
length the father was constrained to stop the coach and take the boy
in. So, though at the expense of a severe scolding, the child had his
way and was allowed to go on to Saxe-Weissenfels. When there, the
chapel, with the beautiful organ, was the great attraction, and George
Frederick, as indomitable then as he was in after-life, found his way
into the organ loft, and when the regular service was over, contrived
to take the organist's place, and began a performance of his own; and
strange to say, though he had not had the slightest training, a melody
with chords and the correct harmonies was heard. The duke had not left
the chapel, and noticing the difference in style from that of the
ordinary organist, inquired as to the player, and when the little boy
was brought to him he soon discovered, by the questions he put, the
great passion for music which possessed the child. The duke, a
sensible man, told the father it would be wrong to oppose the
inclination of a boy who already displayed such extraordinary genius;
and old Handel, either convinced, or at any rate submitting to the
duke's advice, promised to procure for his son regular musical
instruments. Handel never afterward forgot the debt of gratitude he
owed to the Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels for this intercession.

On his return to Halle he became the pupil of Zachau, the organist of
the cathedral there. This man was an excellent teacher and a sound
musician. Before the pupil was nine years old his instructor used to
set him to write fugues and motets as exercises, and before long the
boy was allowed to play the organ at the cathedral services on Sunday,
whenever the elder musician was inclined to linger over his breakfast
or to take a holiday. At last, when young Handel was nine years old,
the master honestly confessed that his pupil knew more music than he
himself did, and advised that he should be sent to Berlin for a course
of further study there. Thither he accordingly went in the year 1696.

In Berlin the boy of eleven years was soon recognized as a prodigy.
There he met two Italian composers of established reputation,
Bononcini and Attilio Ariosti, both of whom he was to encounter in
after-life, though under very different circumstances, in London.
Bononcini, who was of a sour and jealous disposition, soon conceived
a dislike for the gifted little fellow, and attempted to injure him by
composing a piece for the harpsichord full of the most extraordinary
difficulties, and then asking him to play it at sight. The boy,
however, at once executed it without a mistake, and thus the malicious
schemer was foiled by his own device. Attilio was of a different
disposition; he praised the young musician to the skies, and was never
weary of sitting by his side at the organ or harpsichord, and hearing
him improvise for hours. The Elector of Brandenburg also conceived a
great admiration for the boy's talents, and offered to send him to
Italy. On old Handel being consulted, however, he pleaded that he was
now an old man, and wished his son to remain near him. In consequence
of this, probably much to the boy's disappointment, he was brought
back to Halle, and there set to work again under his old master,

Soon after this return his father died, in 1697, leaving hardly
anything for his family, and young Handel had now to seriously bestir
himself to make a living. With this object he went to Hamburg, where
he obtained a place as second violin in the Opera-house. Soon after
arriving there, the post of organist at Lübeck became vacant, and
Handel was a candidate for it. But a peculiar condition was attached
to the acceptance of the office; the new organist must marry the
daughter of the old one! And, as Handel either did not approve of the
lady, or of matrimony generally (and in fact he never was married), he
promptly retired from the competition. At first, no one suspected the
youth's talents, for he amused himself by pretending to be an
ignoramus, until one day the accompanyist on the harpsichord (then the
most important instrument in an orchestra) was absent, and young
Handel took his place, astonishing everybody by his masterly touch.
Probably this discovery aroused the jealousy of some of his
brother-artists, for soon afterward a duel took place between him and
Matheson, a clever composer and singer, who one night, in the midst of
a quarrel on leaving the theatre, gave him a box on the ear; swords
were drawn, and the duel took place there and then under the portico
of the theatre. Fortunately Matheson's weapon was shivered by coming
in contact with a metal button on his opponent's coat. Explanations
were then offered, and the two adversaries became friends--indeed,
close friends--afterward. "Almira, Queen of Castile," Handel's first
opera, was brought out in Hamburg in 1705, and was followed by two
others, "Nero," and "Daphne," all received with great favor, and
frequently performed.

[Illustration: Handel's River-Concert for George I.]

But the young musician determined to visit Italy as soon as possible,
and after staying in Hamburg three years, and having, besides the
money he sent his mother, saved two hundred ducats for travelling
expenses, he was able to set off on the journey, then one of the great
events in a musician's lifetime. He visited Florence, Venice, Rome,
and Naples, in almost every city writing operas, which we are told
were produced with the most brilliant success. At Venice an opera was
sought for from him, and in three weeks he had written "Agrippina."
When produced, the people received it with frantic enthusiasm, the
theatre resounding with shouts of "Viva il caro Sassone!" (Long live
the dear Saxon!) The following story illustrates the extraordinary
fame he so quickly acquired in Italy. He arrived at Venice during
the middle of the carnival, and was taken to a masked ball, and there
played the harpsichord, still keeping on his mask. Domenico Scarlatti,
the most famous harpsichord player of his age, on hearing him,
exclaimed, "Why, it's the devil, or else the Saxon whom everyone is
talking about!" In 1709 he returned to Hanover, and was appointed by
the Elector George of Brunswick, afterward King George I., of England,
his Court Capellmeister.

Handel's wanderings next led him to England, where he was treated with
so much honor that he showed no great hurry to return to Hanover, and,
in fact, he remained in England and coolly ignored his engagement as
Capellmeister. But an awkward piece of retribution was at hand. The
Elector of Hanover, on the death of Queen Anne, came to England as the
new king, and Handel, his delinquent Capellmeister, could hardly
expect to receive any share of the royal favor in future. With the
help of a friend of his, Baron Kilmanseck, he determined, however, to
make an attempt to conciliate the king, and accordingly he wrote
twenty-five short concerted pieces of music, and made arrangements for
these to be performed by musicians in a boat following the royal barge
on the Thames, one day when the king went on an excursion up the river
for a picnic. The king recognized the composer at once by his style,
and spoke in terms of approbation of the music, and the news was
quickly conveyed by his friend to the anxious musician. This is the
story of the origin of the famous "Water Music." Soon afterward the
king allowed Handel to appear before him to play the harpsichord
accompaniments to some sonatas executed by Geminiani, a celebrated
Italian violinist, and finally peace was made between them, Handel
being appointed music-master to the royal children, and receiving an
additional pension of £200. In 1726 a private Act of Parliament was
passed, making George Frederick Handel a naturalized Englishman.

In the year 1720 a number of noblemen formed themselves into a company
for the purpose of reviving Italian opera in London, at the Haymarket
Theatre, and subscribed a capital of £50,000. The king himself
subscribed £1,000, and allowed the society to take the name of the
Royal Academy of Music, and at first everything seemed to promise the
most brilliant success. Handel was appointed director of the music.
Bononcini and Attilio Ariosti, his old acquaintances in Berlin, were
also attracted by this new operatic venture to London, and their
arrival was followed by a competition of a very novel character. The
libretto of a new opera, "Muzio Scævola," was divided between the
three composers. Attilio was to put the first act to music, Bononcini
the second, and Handel the third. We need hardly wonder that the
victory is said to have rested with the last and youngest of the trio,
although at this time the cabals against him, which afterward were to
do him such grievous harm, had already commenced.

Handel still clung to the operatic speculation; and when he had to
leave the Haymarket Theatre, which was given up to another Italian
company with the famous Farinelli, from Lincoln's Inn Fields,
undauntedly he changed to the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre, and there
commenced again. More operas were produced, with the one unvarying
tale of fiasco, and at last, in 1737, having lost the whole of his
hardly earned money, Handel was compelled to close the theatre, and,
worse than all, to suspend payment for a time. Happily he now turned
his thoughts to oratorio. "Saul" and "Israel in Egypt" were composed
in quick succession; the last gigantic work being written in the
almost incredibly short space of twenty-seven days. How great it is
everyone now knows, but, at the time the colossal choruses were
actually considered a great deal too heavy and monotonous; and Handel,
always quick in resource, at the second performance introduced a
number of operatic songs to make them go down better, and after the
third performance the piece was withdrawn altogether. Fortunately,
opinions have changed since then. These works were followed by his
fine setting of Dryden's "Ode on St. Cecilia's Day," and Milton's
"L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso;" but it cannot be said that his
pecuniary affairs were materially improved by their production.

The first performance of his greatest oratorio, the "Messiah," took
place at Neale's Music Hall, in Dublin, on April 18, 1742, at mid-day,
and, apropos of the absurdities of fashion, it may be noticed that the
announcements contained the following request: "That ladies who honor
this performance with their presence, will be pleased to come without
hoops, as it will greatly increase the charity by making room for more
company." The work was gloriously successful, and £400 were obtained
the first day for the Dublin charities. Handel seems always to have
had a special feeling with regard to this masterpiece of his--as if it
were too sacred to be merely used for making money by, like his other
works. He very frequently assisted at its performance for the benefit
of the Foundling Hospital, and he left the score as a precious gift to
the governor of that institution. This work alone brought no less a
sum than £10,299 to the funds of the hospital. In this connection a
fine saying of his may be repeated. Lord Kinnoul had complimented him
on the noble "entertainment" which by the "Messiah" he had lately
given the town. "My Lord," said Handel, "I should be sorry if I only
entertained them--I wish to make them better." And when someone
questioned him on his feelings when composing the "Hallelujah Chorus,"
he replied in his peculiar English, "I did think I did see all heaven
before me, and the great God himself." What a fine saying that was of
poor old George III., in describing the "pastoral symphony" in this
oratorio--"I could see the stars shining through it!"

The now constant custom of the audience to rise and remain standing
during the performance of this chorus, is said to have originated in
the following manner: On the first production of the work in London,
"the audience were exceedingly struck and affected by the music in
general; but when that chorus struck up, 'For the Lord God Omnipotent'
in the 'Hallelujah,' they were so transported that they all together,
with the king (who happened to be present), started up and remained
standing till the chorus ended." "This anecdote I had from Lord
Kinnoul." So says Dr. Beattie, the once famous poet, in one of his

The "Messiah" was commenced on August 22, 1741, finished on September
12th, and the orchestration filled up two days afterward--the whole
work thus being completed in twenty-three days. Handel was fifty-six
years old at the time.

The next ten years of the life of the "Goliath of Music," as he has
been called, are marked by some of the most splendid achievements of
his genius. "Samson," the "Dettingen Te Deum," "Joseph," "Belshazzar,"
"The Occasional Oratorio," "Judas Maccabeus," "Joshua," "Solomon,"
and, "Theodora," being composed by him during this time, when, already
an old man, it might have been thought that he would have taken some
repose after the labors of so toilsome and troubled a life. But,
oak-like, he was one of those who mature late; like Milton, his
greatest works were those of his old age.

But a terrible misfortune was approaching--his eyesight was failing.
The "drop serene," of which Milton speaks so pathetically, had fallen
on his eyes, and at the time when, in February, 1752, he was composing
his last work, "Jephtha" (the one containing "Deeper and Deeper
Still," and "Waft her, Angels"), the effort in tracing the lines is,
in the original MS., very painfully apparent. Soon afterward he
submitted to three operations, but they were in vain, and henceforth
all was to be dark to him. His sole remaining work was now to
improvise on the organ, and to play at performances of his oratorios.
There is a pathetic story told of an incident that occurred on one
occasion, when "Samson" was given. While the magnificent air,

  Total eclipse! no sun, no moon!
  All dark, amidst the blaze of noon.
  O glorious light! no cheering ray
  To glad my eyes with welcome day.
  Why thus deprived thy prime decree?
  Sun, moon, and stars are dark to me--

was being sung by Beard, the tenor, the blind old man, seated at the
organ, was seen to tremble and grow pale, and then, when he was led
forward to the audience to receive their applause, tears were in the
eyes of nearly everyone present at the sight. It was like the scene
that is described in Beethoven's life on the occasion of that
composer's appearance, when almost totally deaf, to conduct his great
Choral Symphony at Vienna.

One night, on returning home from a performance of the "Messiah" at
Covent Garden, Handel was seized with sudden weakness and retired
hurriedly to bed, from which he was never to rise again. He prayed
that he might breathe his last on Good Friday, "in hope of meeting his
God, his sweet Lord and Saviour on the day of his resurrection." And
strangely enough his wish was granted, for on Good Friday, April 13,
1759, he quietly passed away from this life, being then seventy-four
years of age. His remains were laid in Poets' Corner in Westminster
Abbey, and the place is marked by a statue by Roubilliac, representing
him leaning over a table covered with musical instruments, his hand
holding a pen, and before him is laid the "Messiah," open at the
words, "I know that my Redeemer liveth."




[Illustration: Mozart.]

Leopold Mozart was a violinist in the band of Archbishop Sigismund,
the reigning Prince of Salzburg, and it was probably in compliment to
his master that he bestowed on the youngest of his seven children the
name of Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Sigismundus. Born
on January 27, 1756, this child was destined to make the name of
Mozart famous wherever music is known; and surely no more beautiful
life--beautiful in itself and in the works of immortal beauty which in
its short course were produced--has ever been lived by anyone of those
to whom the crown of inspired singers and an enduring monument in the
temple of art has been given. "Look around," was the epitaph on a
great architect. "Listen," is the most fitting tribute to the
wonderful genius of a Mozart.

Infant prodigies very often turn out to be nobodies in after-life. But
Mozart was an exception; and though he might well have been called
"the marvellous boy," his latest works--and he died at the early age
of thirty-five--were undoubtedly his grandest and most perfect. He
began very early to compose. One of these first attempts was a
concerto so difficult that no one could play it; but the child
undauntedly said, "Why, that's the very reason why it is called a
concerto; people must practise it before they can play it perfectly."

Wolfgang and his sister, Nannerl, as he used to call her, had been
taken by their father, in 1762, to Vienna, where the children played
the piano before the Empress Maria Theresa and her husband. Little
Wolfgang was here, as everywhere, perfectly at his ease, with a
simplicity and childish grace that won every heart. When he had been
playing for some time, he jumped without ceremony on the lap of the
empress, and kissed her heartily for being so good to him. Little
Marie Antoinette, her daughter, afterward the ill-fated wife of Louis
XVI., and then about the same age as Wolfgang, he treated in almost
the same way. He had slipped on the polished floor, to which he was
unaccustomed, and the little princess had hurried forward to raise him
up, on which he promptly said, "You are good; I will marry you." The
empress asked why he wished this, to which he answered, "Out of
gratitude; she was kind, while her sister took no notice of me" (she
had not come forward to help him). After returning to Salzburg,
Leopold Mozart, in the spring of 1763, took his children on a more
lengthy tour to Munich, Paris, London, and The Hague, and everywhere
their playing, especially Wolfgang's performances on the organ, which
he had now learned, were listened to with delight and astonishment. At
Heidelberg the priest of the Church of the Holy Ghost engraved on the
organ the boy's name and the date of his visit, in remembrance of
"this wonder of God," as he called the child. At London, old Mozart
says, they were received, on April 27th, by King George III. and Queen
Caroline, at the palace, and remained from six to nine o'clock. The
king placed before the boy compositions of Bach and Handel, all of
which he played at sight perfectly; he had also the honor of
accompanying the queen in a song. "On leaving the palace," the careful
father says, "we received a present of 24 guineas."

A great delight was now before him, for his father had resolved on a
journey to Italy, then far more than now the land of music. How much
this visit did for the young maestro it is impossible to say; he has
not, like Mendelssohn, left us an "Italian Symphony," recording the
impressions which that sunny spot of classic beauty had made upon him,
but there can be little doubt of the great influence it had on the
whole of his after-life. There are some significant words which he
wrote eight years later to his father from Paris: "You must faithfully
promise to let me see Italy again in order to refresh my life. I do
entreat of you to confer this happiness upon me." In Mantua, Milan,
Bologna (where he had the good fortune to meet the learned Padre
Martini, one of the soundest musicians of his age, and for whom he
ever afterward maintained a warm attachment), Florence, Rome, and
Naples, the young genius was received everywhere with enthusiasm by
the crowds who came to hear him. In Naples the superstitious people
believed that there was magic in his playing, and pointed to a ring on
his left hand as the cause of his wonderful dexterity; and it was only
when he had taken this off, and gone on playing just the same, that
they had to acknowledge it was simply the perfection of art.

There is something sad in contrasting these brilliant early days with
the anxious times that came later on, when the great Mozart was
compelled to wait in the ante-chambers of the great, dine with their
lacqueys, give lessons to stupid young countesses, and write begging
letters to his friends; yet, in reality, those later days, when "Don
Giovanni," "Die Zauberflöte," and the "Requiem," were composed, were
the truly brilliant ones. And it may be that the very greatness came,
in some measure, from the sorrow and pain; that Mozart, like so many
others of the world's great singers, "learnt in suffering what he
taught in song."

On his return to Munich, after composing a comic opera in the Italian
style, "La Finta Giardiniera," which had a great success, young
Mozart, who had been very shabbily treated by Archbishop
Hieronymus--of whose spiteful conduct we shall hear more
hereafter--the successor of Sigismund, determined to resign his
situation in the court band, and to set out on his travels again,
giving concerts from place to place, and everywhere looking out for
some suitable appointment that might afford him a permanent income.
This time his father was refused permission to travel, and, as on his
exertions depended the support of the whole family, he remained
behind, while Frau Mozart, the mother, accompanied young Wolfgang. In
1777, now a young man of twenty-one, he set out upon his second great
artistic tour, buoyant with hope, and with all the beautiful audacity
of young genius determined to conquer the world. This time it was not
the infant prodigy whom men listened to, but the matured musician and
the composer of melodies sweeter than men had ever listened to before.
But the tale is changed now. True, there are triumphs to be spoken of,
flattery from the great, and presents sent in recompense for his
marvellous playing (he tells one day of his chagrin in receiving from
a certain prince a gold watch, instead of money that he sorely
wanted--and, besides, he had five watches already!); but rebuffs,
intrigues, and all sorts of petty machinations against him, make the
tale a sadder one; and so it continued to be to the end.

From Munich--where it had been hoped that the elector would have given
him an appointment at court, but he was only told to go to Italy and
become famous, "it was too early yet to think about becoming a
Capellmeister"--he went to Augsburg, spending some pleasant days there
in the society of a cousin, Marianne, nicknamed by him Bäsle, a merry,
open-hearted girl of nineteen.

Thence, he went on to Mannheim, a town that is memorable as the place
where he first met the Webers, and made the acquaintance of Herr
Cannabich, the director of the music at the elector's court, and one
who proved a stanch friend through everything to the young composer.
Cannabich had a daughter named Rosa, a girl of thirteen, exceedingly
pretty and clever, and Wolfgang appears to have admired her very much,
and perhaps for a time to have flirted and been in love with her. He
wrote her a sonata, and was delighted with the way in which she played
it; the andante, he said, he had composed to represent her, and when
it was finished he vowed she was just what the andante was. But this
little love affair, if it existed, soon was forgotten in a more
serious one with Aloysia Weber. Her father was a theatre copyist in
poor circumstances. There were a number of children, and she was a
beautiful girl of fifteen, with a magnificent voice. She was cousin,
by the way, to Weber, afterward composer of the "Freischütz." Mozart
was so charmed with her voice that he undertook to give her lessons,
and we soon hear of him composing airs for her and meditating a
concert tour in Italy in company with her, and her father and sister.
In writing of it to his own father he sets out the advantages to be
gained by co-partnership, and very prosaically says: "Should we stay
long anywhere, the eldest daughter [Josepha, afterward Frau Hofer, for
whom Mozart wrote the part of Astrafiammente in the "Zauberflöte"]
would be of the greatest use to us; for we could have our own ménage,
as she understands cooking." But papa Mozart decidedly objected. "Your
proposal to travel about with Herr Weber--N. B., two daughters--has
driven me nearly wild," and he straightway orders his son off to
Paris, whither, with a parting present of a pair of mittens knitted
for him by Mlle. Weber, he reluctantly sets out in company with his

His stay in Paris during the next year was not very eventful, and a
symphony produced at the Concerts Spirituels seems to have been his
most successful work at this time. It was clever and lively, full of
striking effects, and was most warmly applauded. He says: "The moment
the symphony was over I went off in my joy to the Palais Royal, where
I took a good ice, told my beads, as I had vowed, and went home, where
I am happiest and always shall be happiest." A great sorrow came to
him here in the death of his mother. Owing to the great expense of
living in Paris, they had been compelled to live together in a small,
dark room, so cramped for space that there was not even room for the
indispensable piano. Here she was taken ill, and though for fourteen
days Wolfgang most devotedly attended to her wants, she died in his
arms. The letters in which he breaks the news to his father and sister
are full of the most beautiful tenderness and forgetfulness of his own
grief in solicitude for theirs. Things did not indeed prosper with him
in Paris; he tried to give lessons, but the ladies whom he taught paid
him very shabbily, and the labor of getting from one part of the city
to another to teach was so great that he found it difficult to give
the time he wished to composition.

Music in Paris, just then, was at a low ebb. Vapidly pretty Italian
operas were in fashion, and Piccinni was the favorite composer. It was
some years afterward that the great contest between the Piccinnists
and Gluckists culminated in the victory of the latter, though
"Alceste," had already been produced, and "Iphigenia" was soon to
follow. Mozart was a fervent admirer of Gluck, and the music of the
older master had evidently an important influence on that of the
younger and more gifted composer.

Once more his thoughts were turned to Salzburg, for two of the leading
musicians there having died, the Archbishop Hieronymus offered their
posts to the Mozarts, father and son, at a salary of a thousand
florins for the two. The father anxiously entreated his son to return
and accept this offer, mentioning as a further bait, that Aloysia
Weber would probably be engaged to sing in Salzburg. Much as Wolfgang
hated Salzburg, or rather the people living there, his love for his
father and sister prevailed over his aversion; and though with no
pleasure at all in the prospect of seeing the hateful archbishop
again, he set out from Paris, travelling to Salzburg in very leisurely
fashion via Strasbourg, Mannheim, and Munich. At Strasbourg he was
induced to give several concerts, but they were not pecuniary
successes, and he did not make by any one more than three louis d'or.
But how the artist peeps out in every line of the letters in which he
describes these! After saying how few were present, and how cold it
was, he proceeds: "But I soon warmed myself, to show the Strasbourg
gentlemen how little I cared, and played to them a long time for my
own amusement, giving a concerto more than I had promised, and at the
close extemporizing. It is now over, but at all events I gained honor
and fame."

At Munich a great shock awaited him. He visited the Webers, and being
in mourning for his mother, wore, after the French fashion, a red coat
with black buttons. When he appeared, Aloysia hardly seemed to
recognize him, and her coldness was so marked, that Mozart quietly
seated himself at the piano, and sang in a loud voice, "Ich lass das
Mädchen gern das mich nicht will" (I gladly give up the girl who
slights me). It was all over, and he had to bear the loss of the
fickle girl as best he might. There is a significant line in one of
his letters at this time to his father: "In my whole life I never
wrote worse than I do to-day, but I really am unfit for anything; my
heart is so full of tears." After two years' absence he returned home
to Salzburg, where he was warmly welcomed back. Here he remained for a
little while, and wrote his first serious opera, "Idomeneo," to the
text of an Abbe Varesco, a Salzburger. This opera Beethoven thought
the finest of all that Mozart wrote. It was brought out at Munich in
January, 1781, and was brilliantly successful. In the March following,
an order was received from the archbishop to follow him to Vienna,
where he wished to appear with all the full pomp and brilliant retinue
of a prince of the church; and as one of this retinue Mozart had to
follow him, little thinking at the time that he should never return to
Salzburg, but that Vienna henceforth was to be his home.

In Vienna he found that he had to live in the archbishop's house, and
was looked upon there as one of the ordinary servants. He says, "We
dine at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, unluckily rather too early an
hour for me. Our party consists of the two valets, the comptroller,
Herr Zetti, the confectioner, the two cooks, Cecarilli, Brunetti (two
singers), and my insignificant self. N. B.--The two valets sit at the
head of the table. I have, at all events, the honor to be placed above
the cooks; I almost believe I am back to Salzburg."

Mozart was a true gentleman, with no foolish false pride, but with the
honorable self-respect that every gentleman must possess, and it was
very galling to him to have to suffer such odious treatment from the
mean-spirited archbishop. Indeed, it was only for his father's sake
that he submitted to the continued contumely and petty slights to
which the archbishop delighted in subjecting him. At last the open
rupture came. The archbishop called him a knave and dissolute fellow,
and told him to be off; and when Mozart waited upon Count Arco, the
principal official, to obtain the regular dismissal that was
necessary, the fellow poured abuse upon him, and actually kicked him
out of the room. Poor Mozart was in a state of violent excitement
after this outrage, and for some days was so ill that he could not
continue his ordinary work. But now at least he was free, and though
his father, like a timid, prudent old man, bewailed the loss of the
stipend which his son had been receiving, Mozart himself knew that the
release was entirely for the best.

In 1782 appeared "Die Entführung aus dem Serail," his first really
important opera, full of beautiful airs, which at once became
enormously popular with the Viennese. The Emperor Joseph II. knew very
little about music, but, as frequently happens in such cases,
considered that he possessed prodigious taste. On hearing it he said,
"Much too fine for our ears, dear Mozart; and what a quantity of

The bold reply to this was, "Just as many notes as are necessary,
your Majesty."

Much of the delight which Mozart felt in the success of the opera
arose from the fact that it enabled him seriously to contemplate
marriage. Aloysia Weber had been faithless to him, but there was
another sister--with no special beauty save that of bright eyes, a
comely figure, and a cheerful, amiable disposition--Constanze, whom he
now hoped to make his wife. His father objected to all of the Weber
family, and there was some difficulty in obtaining the paternal
consent; but at last the marriage took place, on August 4, 1782. How
truly he loved his wife from first to last, his letters abundantly
show; her frequent illnesses were afterward a great and almost
constant source of expense to him, but he never ceased to write to her
with the passionate ardor of a young lover. He says: "I found that I
never prayed so fervently, or confessed so piously, as by her side;
she felt the same." And now for some time everything went smoothly in
the modest little ménage in Vienna. Mozart had plenty of lessons to
give, but none of the commissions for operas which he would have

Passing over a visit to Leipsic--where he studied with the keenest
delight a number of the unpublished works of the great Sebastian
Bach--and to Berlin, he returned to Vienna, and at once set to work
upon some quartets which the King of Prussia had ordered from him.
"Cosi fan tutte," a comic opera, with the beautifully flowing music
that only Mozart could write, but with a stupid plot that has
prevented its frequent repetition in later times; and the glorious
"Zauberflöte," written to assist a theatrical manager, Schikaneder,
were his next works. At this time a strange melancholy began to show
itself in his letters--it may be that already his overwrought brain
was conscious that the end was not far distant. Such lines as these,
pathetic and sad in their simple and almost childlike expression,
occur in a letter he wrote during a short absence from his wife, at
Frankfort, in 1790: "I am as happy as a child at the thought of
returning to you. If people could see into my heart I should almost
feel ashamed--all there is cold, cold as ice. Were you with me, I
should possibly take more pleasure in the kindness of those I meet
here, but all seems to me so empty." On his return to Vienna pecuniary
want was rather pressingly felt; his silver plate had to be pawned,
and a perfidious friend, Stadler, made away with the tickets, and the
silver was never redeemed. On one occasion Joseph Deiner, the landlord
of the "Silberne Schlange," chanced to call upon him, and was
surprised to find Mozart and his wife Constanze dancing round the
room. The laughing explanation was that they had no firewood in the
house, and so were trying to warm themselves with dancing. Deiner at
once offered to send in firewood, Mozart promising to pay as soon as
he could.

That grand work, the "Zauberflöte," had just been completed when a
strange commission was given him. One day a tall, haggard-looking man,
dressed in gray, with a very sombre expression of countenance, called
upon Mozart, bringing with him an anonymous letter. This letter
contained an inquiry as to the sum for which he would write a mass for
the dead, and in how short a time this could be completed. Mozart
consulted his wife, and the sum of fifty ducats was mentioned. The
stranger departed, and soon returned with the money, promising Mozart
a further sum on completion, and also mentioned that he might as well
spare the trouble of finding out who had given this commission, for it
would be entirely useless. We now know that the commission had really
been given by Count Walsegg, a foolish nobleman, whose wife had died,
and who wanted, by transcribing Mozart's score, to pass it off as his
own composition--and this he actually did after the composer's death.
Poor Mozart, in the weak state of health in which he now was, with
nerves unstrung and over-excited brain, was strangely impressed by
this visit, and soon the fancy took firm possession of him that the
messenger had arrived with a mandate from the unseen world, and that
the "Requiem" he was to write was for himself. Not the less did he
ardently set to work on it. Hardly, however, was it commenced than he
was compelled to write another opera, "La Clemenza di Tito," for which
a commission had been given him by the Bohemian Estates, for
production on the occasion of the Emperor Leopold's coronation in
their capital. This was accomplished in the short space of eighteen
days, and though it does not contain the best music, yet the overture
and several of the numbers are full of a piquant beauty and liveliness
well suiting the festival of a people's rejoicing. But a far greater
work, the "Zauberflöte," was produced in Vienna shortly afterward. It
did not take very well at first, but subsequent performances went

[Illustration: Mozart Singing his Requiem.]

His labors in bringing out the "Zauberflöte" over, Mozart returned to
the "Requiem" he had already commenced, but while writing he often had
to sink back in his chair, being seized with short swoons. Too plainly
was his strength exhausted, but he persisted in his solemn work. One
bright November morning he was walking with Constanze in the Prater,
and sadly pointing out to her the falling leaves, and speaking of
death, with tears in his eyes, he added; "I well know I am writing
this 'Requiem' for myself. My own feelings tell me that I shall not
last long. No doubt some one has given me poison--I cannot get rid of
this thought." With these gloomy fancies haunting his mind, he rapidly
grew worse, and soon could not leave his room. The performances of the
"Zauberflöte" were still going on, and extraordinarily successful. He
took the greatest interest in hearing of them, and at night would take
out his watch and note the time--"Now the first act is over, now is
the time for the great Queen of Night." The day before his death he
said to his wife, "Oh, that I could only once more hear my 'Flauto
Magico!'" humming, in scarcely audible voice, the lively bird-catcher
song. The same day, at two o'clock in the afternoon, he called his
friends together, and asked for the score of his nearly completed
"Requiem" to be laid on his bed. Benedict Schack sang the soprano; his
brother-in-law, Hofer, the tenor; Gerl, the bass; and Mozart himself
took the alto in a weak but delicately clear voice. They had got
through the various parts till they came to the "Lacrymosa," when
Mozart burst into tears, and laid the score aside. The next day
(Sunday), he was worse, and said to Sophie, his sister-in-law, "I have
the taste of death on my tongue, I smell the grave, and who can
comfort my Constanze, if you don't stay here?" In her account of his
last moments, she says: "I found Süssmayer sitting by Mozart's bed.
The well-known 'Requiem' was lying on the coverlet, and Mozart was
explaining to Süssmayer the mode in which he wished him to complete
it after his death. He further requested his wife to keep his death
secret until she had informed Albrechtsberger of it, 'for the
situation of assistant organist at the Stephen Church ought to be his
before God and the world.' The doctor came and ordered cold
applications on Mozart's burning head.... The last movement of his
lips was an endeavor to indicate where the kettledrums should be used
in the 'Requiem.' I think I still hear the sound."




[Illustration: Haydn.]

No composer has ever given greater or purer pleasure by his
compositions than is given by "papa" Haydn; there is an unceasing flow
of cheerfulness and lively tone in his music, even in the most solemn
pieces, as in his Masses, the predominant feeling is that of gladness;
as he once said to Carpani: "At the thought of God my heart leaps for
joy, and I cannot help my music doing the same." But it is not alone
as the writer of graceful and beautiful music that Haydn has a claim
on our remembrance; he has been truly called the "father of the
symphony." Mozart once said: "It was from Haydn that I first learned
the true way to compose quartettes;" and "The Creation," which must
ever be counted one of the masterpieces of oratorio music, was his

His family were of the people, his father being a master wheelwright
at Rohrau, a small Austrian village on the borders of Lower Austria
and Hungary and his mother having been employed as a cook in the
castle of Count Harrach, the principal lord of the district. Joseph
Haydn was born on March 31, 1732 the second child of his parents; and
as ten brothers and sisters afterward came into the world, it can
easily be understood that his lot was not a very luxurious one. His
parents were simple, honest people of the laboring class, very
ignorant, but, like most German peasants, with a certain love for and
facility in music, not quite so common in this country. Haydn's father
had a good voice, and could sing well, accompanying himself on the
harp, though he did not know a single note of written music. Then
there was the village schoolmaster, who could actually play the
violin, and whom little Joseph watched with wondering eyes, extracting
those marvellously sweet sounds from his wooden instrument, until,
with the child's spirit of imitation, as his parents sang their
"Volkslieder," the little fellow, perched on a stone bench, gravely
handled two pieces of wood of his own as if they were bow and fiddle,
keeping exact time, and flourishing the bow in the approved fashion of
the schoolmaster. From this very little incident came an important
change in his life; for a relation, Johann Mathias Frankh, of
Hainburg, happened to be present on one occasion, and, thinking he saw
an aptitude for music in the boy, offered to take him into his own
school at Hainburg, where accordingly young Haydn went at the age of
six years.

There he remained for two years, making rapid progress in singing and
in playing all sorts of instruments, among others the clavier, violin,
organ, and drum. He said afterward, with the unaffected piety, far
removed from cant, that was characteristic of him: "Almighty God, to
whom I render thanks for all his unnumbered mercies, gave me such
facility in music that, by the time I was six years old, I stood up
like a man and sang masses in the church choir, and could play a
little on the clavier and violin." Of Frankh, a very strict, but
thorough and most painstaking teacher, he also said afterward: "I
shall be grateful to that man as long as I live for keeping me so hard
at work, though I used to get more flogging than food;" and in Haydn's
will he remembered Frankh's family, leaving his daughter a sum of
money and a portrait of Frankh himself, "my first instructor in

For some years he seems to have lived a miserable, struggling life,
giving lessons, playing the organ in churches, and studying when and
where he could. He had a few pupils at the moderate remuneration of
two florins a month, and he had contrived to obtain possession of an
old worm-eaten clavier, on which he used diligently to practise in the
garret in the Kohlmarkt, where he lived. A pitiable description is
given of the lodging he then occupied. It was on the sixth story, in a
room without stove or window. In winter his breath froze on his thin
coverlet, and the water, that in the morning he had to fetch himself
from the spring for washing, was frequently changed into a lump of ice
before his arrival in that elevated region. Life was indeed hard; but
he was constantly at work, and, having made a precious "find" on an
old bookstall one day of Fux's "Gradus ad Parnassum," in a very
dilapidated condition, but very cheap, he was ardently preparing
himself for the life--he now vowed should be his--of a composer.

About this time Haydn received a commission from Felix Kurz, a comic
actor of the Stadt-Theatre, to put a farce of his, "Der neue krumme
Teufel," to music. This farce, of which the words still remain, though
the music has been lost, was very successful, and was played in
Vienna, Prague, Berlin, and a number of other towns. The well-known
story of Haydn's "Tempest Music" is connected with this. In one part
of this piece a terrible storm was supposed to be raging, and the
accompanying music must of course be suitably descriptive; but the
difficulty was that Haydn had never seen the sea: therefore had not
the slightest notion of what a storm at sea was like. Kurz tries to
describe the waves running mountains high, the pitching and tossing,
the roll of thunder, and the howling of the wind; and Haydn produces
all sorts of ugly, jerky, and noisy music, but none of it is in the
remotest degree like a storm at sea, or anywhere else. At last, after
Kurz had become hoarse with his nautical disquisitions, and Haydn's
fingers were tired of scrambling all over the piano, the little
musician in a rage crashed his hands down on the two extremes of the
instrument, exclaiming: "Let's have done with this tempest!"

"Why, that's it; that's the very thing!" shouted the clown, jumping up
and embracing him; and with this crash and a run of semitones to the
centre of the piano this troublesome tempest was most satisfactorily

When, many years afterward, Haydn was crossing the Straits of Dover to
England, amid his sufferings he could not help laughing at the
ludicrous recollections of this early experience of his.

Things still went on improving, and Haydn, who was always lucky in the
patrons he secured (at least according to the notion about patrons
that then prevailed), was invited to the country-house of Herr von
Fürnberg, a wealthy amateur, to stay there and compose quartettes for
him--a style of music for which von Fürnberg had an especial liking.
To his prompting it is that we owe the lovely series of quartettes
which Haydn wrote--still as fresh and full of serene beauty as when
first tried over by the virtuosi of Weinzirl. The next piece of good
fortune was Haydn's appointment as director of the band and composer
to Count Ferdinand Morzin at Lukaver near Pilsen; and here, in 1759,
his first symphony was written. His salary was very small, only 200
florins a year (or £20), with board and lodgings; but on the strength
of it he unfortunately determined on the serious step of embarking in
matrimony. A barber, named Keller, is said to have been very kind to
him in the days of his poverty, and out of gratitude Haydn gave
music-lessons to his daughters. One of them, the youngest, was very
pretty, and Haydn fell in love with her. But she became a nun; and the
father then prevailed upon Haydn to marry the elder one, who was three
years older than he--a sour-tempered, bigoted, and abominably selfish
woman, who contributed little to the happiness of his life, and was
always bringing priests and friars to the house and worrying her
good-tempered husband to compose masses and other church music for
these men.

Count Morzin was compelled to give up his band in 1761; but Haydn did
not remain long without employment, as Prince Esterhazy, who had heard
his symphonies at Morzin's house, engaged him to assist Werner, his
Capellmeister. As director of Prince Esterhazy's band, Haydn was fated
to remain for many years living at Esterház, the prince's
country-seat, composing there nearly all his operas and songs, and
many of his symphonies.

In 1785 Haydn received a commission which showed the wide reputation
he had then gained. The Chapter of Cadiz Cathedral requested him to
write some instrumental music for performance on Good Friday. "The
Seven Words of our Saviour on the Cross" was in consequence written by

Several invitations had been sent from England for Haydn to pay a
visit there; but it was only after Prince Esterhazy was dead that he
was prevailed on by Salomon to cross the sea. A characteristic
conversation between him and Mozart--which took place before he
undertook this, in those days, really formidable journey--is recorded.

"Papa," said Mozart, "you have no training for the great world, and
you speak too few languages."

Haydn replied: "My language is understood by all the world."

He set out on December 15, 1790, and did not return to Vienna till
July, 1792. In London, where he wrote and conducted a number of
symphonies for Salomon, he was the "lion" of the season, being in
constant request for conducting concerts and paying visits to the
nobility. Of these symphonies Salomon once said to him: "I am strongly
of opinion that you never will surpass this music."

"I never mean to try," was the answer.

But this must not be taken to mean that Haydn had given up striving
after the truest perfection in his art, and it probably meant no more
than that for the time he was satisfied with his work. Far more like
the genuine expression of the feeling of the great artist was his
utterance, just before he died, to Kalkbrenner: "I have only just
learned in my old age how to use the wind-instruments; and now that I
do understand them, I must leave the world."

[Illustration: Haydn Composing his "Creation."]

Great as the work accomplished in his youth and early manhood
unquestionably was, it remained for his old age to accomplish his
greatest work, and that by which he is best known--the oratorio of
"The Creation." It is said that the first ideas for this came to him
when, in crossing the English Channel, he encountered a terrific
storm. Soon after his leaving London, where the words had been given
him by Salomon, Haydn set about composing the music. "Never," he says,
"was I so pious as when composing 'The Creation.' I knelt down every
day and prayed God to strengthen me for my work." It was first
produced on March 31, 1799, his 67th birthday, at the National
Theatre, Vienna, and was at once accorded an extraordinary share of
popular favor. There is a pathetic story of the last performance of
the work, at which Haydn, in extreme old age, in 1808, was present,
when Salieri conducted. He was carried in an arm-chair into the hall,
and received there with the warmest greeting by the audience. At the
sublime passage, "And there was light!" Haydn, quite overcome, raised
his hand, pointing upward and saying, "It came from thence." Soon
after this his agitation increased so much that it was thought better
to take him home at the end of the first part. The people crowded
round him to take leave, and Beethoven is said to have reverently
kissed his hand and forehead. After composing "The Creation," Haydn
was prevailed upon to write another work, of somewhat similar
character, to words adapted from Thomson's poem, and entitled "The
Seasons." This, though containing some fine descriptive music and
several choruses of great beauty, is not at all equal to the earlier
work, though at the time its success was quite as complete. But the
exertion of writing two such great works, almost without rest between
them, was too great, and he himself said: "'The Seasons' gave me the
finishing stroke." The bombardment of Vienna by the French in 1809
greatly disturbed the poor old man. He still retained some of his old
humor, and during the thunder of the cannons called out to his
servants: "Children, don't be frightened; no harm can happen to you
while Haydn is by!" He was now no longer able to compose, and to his
last unfinished quartette he added a few bars of "Der Greis," as a

  "Hin ist alle meine Kraft:
  Alt und schwach bin ich.
                --JOSEPH HAYDN."

"Gone is all my strength: old and weak am I." And these lines he
caused to be engraved, and sent on a card to the friends who visited
him. The end was indeed now near. On May 26, 1809, he had his servants
gathered round him for the last adieus; then, by his desire, he was
carried to the piano, where he played three times over the "Emperor's
Hymn," composed by him. Then he was taken to his bed, where five days
afterward he died.




[Illustration: Beethoven.]

In one of his letters to Frau von Streicher, at Baden, Beethoven
writes: "When you visit the ancient ruins, do not forget that
Beethoven has often lingered there; when you stray through the silent
pine-forests, do not forget that Beethoven often wrote poetry there,
or, as it is termed, composed." He was always fond of claiming the
title "Ton-dichter, poet in music;" and surely of all the great
geniuses who have walked the earth, to none can the glorious name of
"poet" more truly be given than to Ludwig von Beethoven.

He was born at Bonn, on December 17, 1770. His father, Johann von
Beethoven, was a tenor singer in the Electoral Chapel of the
Archbishop of Cologne, at Bonn, and his mother, Maria Magdalena, was a
daughter of the head cook at the castle of Ehrenbreitstein. The
Beethoven family originally came from Louvain, in Belgium; but the
composer's grandfather had settled in Bonn, first as a singer, and
afterward as Capellmeister to the court. Musicians were not held of
much account in those days, and the marriage of a singer with the
daughter of a cook was not at all considered a mésalliance. Johann was
a sad drunken scapegrace, and his poor wife, in bringing up her family
upon the small portion of his earnings which she could save from being
squandered at the tavern, had a pitiably hard and long struggling life
of it.

Johann soon discovered the extraordinary musical endowments of his
child and at once set to work to make a "prodigy" of him, as Handel,
Bach, and Mozart had been before; for in this way the father hoped to
secure a mine of wealth and lazy competence for himself. So the boy,
when only a few years old, was kept for long weary hours practising
the piano, and one of the earliest stories of his life is of the
five-year-old little child made to stand on a bench before the piano
laboring over the notes, while the tears flowed fast down his cheeks
at the cold and aching pain, from which his hard taskmaster would not
release him. Besides his father, a clever musician who lodged in the
house, Pfeiffer, an oboist at the theatre, gave him lessons. Beethoven
used afterward to say that he had learnt more from this Pfeiffer than
from any one else; but he was too ready to abet the father in his
tyranny, and many a time, when the two came reeling home late at night
from drinking bouts at the tavern, they would arouse the little fellow
from his sleep and set him to work at the piano till daybreak.

His next instructor was Neefe, the organist of the Archbishop's
private chapel, a really skilful and learned musician, who predicted
that the boy would become a second Mozart. Under him Beethoven studied
for several years, and in 1782, when he was hardly twelve years old,
we find him acting as organist in Neefe's place during the absence of
the latter on a journey. The next year three sonatas composed by young
Beethoven, and dedicated to the Elector in fulsome language, which was
probably his father's production, were printed. Soon afterward the boy
obtained the appointment of assistant-organist to the Elector, with a
salary of a hundred thalers, no inconsiderable addition to the
resources of his poor mother, who, with her family of three children,
Ludwig, Carl, and Johann, and the more and more frequent visits of her
ne'er-do-well of a husband to the tavern, was often grievously hard
put to it for money. Young Ludwig had little play time in his life,
and little opportunity for education; but amid his hard work some
indications of a mischievous boyish spirit are to be found.

In the year 1791, the Elector, as head of the Teutonic Order, had to
be present at a grand conclave at Mergentheim, and thither he resolved
to take his musical and theatrical staff. Two ships were chartered to
convey these gentlemen down the Rhine and Maine, and a very pleasant
excursion, with all sorts of frolics and high revellings, they had of
it. Lux, a celebrated actor, was chosen king of the expedition, and we
find Beethoven figuring among the scullions.

In the autumn of the year following, a visit was paid by Haydn to Bonn
on his return from his second journey to London. The musicians of the
town gave a breakfast at Godesberg in his honor, and here Beethoven
summoned up courage to show the veteran musician a cantata which he
had recently composed. This was warmly praised by Haydn, and probably
about this time arrangements were made for Beethoven to be received
as a pupil by the older master. It is in this period that we must
place a well-known anecdote. The young musician, already famous in his
own neighborhood, was composing, as his custom was, in the wood
outside the city, when a funeral cortége passed him. The priest,
seeing him, instantly checked the dirge which was being chanted, and
the procession passed in solemn silence, "for fear of disturbing him."
In the beginning of November, 1792, the young musician left Bonn for
Vienna, and, as it happened, he never afterward returned to the
familiar scenes of his birthplace.

Beethoven was never a very easy man to get on with, and his
intercourse with Haydn, who used to call him the "Great Mogul," does
not seem to have been the most friendly. He was dissatisfied with the
instruction given him, and suspicions were awakened in his mind that
the elder musician was jealous of him, and did not wish him to
improve. These thoughts were strengthened by the result of a chance
meeting one day, as he was walking home with his portfolio under his
arm, with Johann Schenk, a scientific and thoroughly accomplished
musician. Beethoven complained to him of the little advance he was
making in counterpoint, and that Haydn never corrected his exercises
or taught him anything. Schenk asked to look through the portfolio,
and see the last work that Haydn had revised, and on examining it he
was astonished to find a number of mistakes that had not been pointed
out. It is difficult to understand Haydn's conduct in this matter, for
the perfidious treatment suspected by Beethoven is quite at variance
with the ordinarily accepted character of the old man, and I cannot
help fancying that the only foundation for Beethoven's suspicion was
that Haydn did not quite understand the erratic genius of the youth
till some time afterward. Beethoven dedicated his three pianoforte
sonatas, Op. II., to Haydn, and when the latter suggested that he
should add on the title page "Pupil of Haydn," the "Great Mogul"
refused, bluntly saying "that he had never learnt anything from him."
After Haydn, Albrechtsberger and Salieri were for a time his teachers,
but Beethoven got on no better with them, and Albrechtsberger said,
"Have nothing to do with him; he has learnt nothing, and will never do
anything in decent style." Perhaps not in your pedant's style, O great

Beethoven cannot be said to have been unfortunate in his friends. He
had many true and faithful ones throughout his life, and though he
suffered from pecuniary troubles, caused by the conduct of his
brothers, he was never in such a state of grinding poverty as some
other artists, such as Schubert, have been--never compelled to waste
precious years of his life in producing "pot-boilers"--working not for
art so much as for mere food and shelter. In 1794 Prince Karl
Lichnowski, who had been a pupil of Mozart, and who, as well as his
wife Christiane, was _fanatico per la musica_, proposed that Beethoven
should come and live at his palace. They had no children; a suite of
rooms was placed at the musician's disposal; no terms were proposed;
the offer was the most delicate and friendly imaginable, and was
accepted by Beethoven in the spirit in which it was made. For ten
years he resided with the Lichnowskis, and these were probably the
years of purest happiness in the great composer's life, although early
in their course the terrible affliction of deafness began to be felt
by him. He at this time freely frequented the salons of the Viennese
nobility, many of whom were accomplished virtuosi themselves, and were
able to appreciate the great genius of the new-comer, rough and
bearish as oftentimes he must have appeared to them--a great contrast
to the courtly Haydn and Salieri, who might be seen sitting side by
side on the sofa in some grandee's music-room, with their swords,
wigs, ruffles, silk stockings, and snuff-boxes, while the
insignificant-looking and meanly dressed Beethoven used to stand
unnoticed in a corner. Here is a description of his appearance given
by a Frau von Bernhard: "When he visited us, he generally put his head
in at the door before entering, to see if there were any one present
he did not like. He was short and insignificant-looking, with a red
face covered with pock-marks. His hair was quite dark. His dress was
very common, quite a contrast to the elegant attire customary in those
days, especially in our circles.... He was very proud, and I have
known him refuse to play, even when Countess Thun, the mother of
Princess Lichnowski, had fallen on her knees before him as he lay on
the sofa to beg him to. The Countess was a very eccentric person....
At the Lichnowskis' I saw Haydn and Salieri, who were then very
famous, while Beethoven excited no interest."

It was in the year 1800 that Beethoven at last was compelled to
acknowledge to himself the terrible calamity of almost total deafness
that had befallen him. He writes to his friend Wegeler, "If I had not
read somewhere that man must not of his own free will depart this
life, I should long ere this have been no more and that through my own
act.... What is to be the result of this the good God alone knows. I
beg of you not to mention my state to any one, not even to Lorchen
[Wegeler's wife]. But," he continues, "I live only in my music, and no
sooner is one thing completed than another is begun. In fact, as at
present, I am often engaged on three or four compositions at one

[Illustration: An Anecdote about Beethoven.]

But at first all was not gloom; for Beethoven was in love--not the
love of fleeting fancy that, like other poets, he may have experienced
before, but deeply, tragically, in love; and it seems that, for a time
at least, this love was returned. The lady was the Countess Julia
Guicciardi; but his dream did not last long, for in the year 1801 she
married a Count Gallenberg. Hardly anything is known of this love
affair of Beethoven's. A few letters full of passionate tenderness,
and with a certain very pathetic simple trustfulness in her love
running through them all--on which her marriage shortly afterward is a
strange comment; the "Moonlight Sonata," vibrating, as it is
throughout, with a lover's supremest ecstasy of devotion, these are
the only records of that one blissful epoch in the poor composer's
life; but how much it affected his after life, how it mingled in the
dreams from which his loveliest creations of later years arose, it is
impossible now to say. In a letter to Wegeler, dated November 16,
1801, he says, "You can hardly realize what a miserable, desolate life
mine has been for the last two years; my defective hearing everywhere
pursuing me like a spectre, making me fly from every one, and appear a
misanthrope; and yet no one in reality is less so! This change [to a
happier life] has been brought about by a lovely and fascinating
girl who loves me and whom I love. After the lapse of two years I
have again enjoyed some blissful moments, and now for the first time I
feel that marriage can bestow happiness; but alas! she is not in the
same rank of life as myself.... You shall see me as happy as I am
destined to be here below, but not unhappy. No, that I could not bear.
I will grasp Fate by the throat; it shall not utterly crush me. Oh, it
is so glorious to live one's life a thousand times!" No misanthropy
this, surely; he could not always speak the speech of common men, or
care for the tawdry bravery of titles or fine clothes in which they
strutted, but what a heart there was in the man, what a wondrous
insight into all the beauty of the world, visible and invisible,
around him! The most glorious lovesong ever composed, "Adelaide," was
written by him; but Julia Guicciardi preferred a Count Gallenberg,
keeper of the royal archives in Vienna, and Beethoven, to the end of
his days, went on his way alone.

It was at this time that he composed his oratorio, "The Mount of
Olives," which can hardly be reckoned among his finest works; and his
one opera--but such an opera--"Fidelio." The greater part of these
works was composed during his stay, in the summer months, at
Hetzendorf, a pretty, secluded little village near Schönbrunn. He
spent his days wandering alone through the quiet, shady alleys of the
imperial park there, and his favorite seat was between two boughs of a
venerable oak, at a height of about two feet from the ground. For some
time he had apartments at a residence of Baron Pronay's, near this
village; but he suddenly left, "because the baron would persist in
making him profound bows every time that he met him." Like a true
poet, he delighted in the country. "No man on earth," he writes,
"loves the country more. Woods, trees, and rock give the response
which man requires. Every tree seems to say, 'Holy, holy.'"

In 1804 the magnificent "Eroica" symphony was completed. This had
originally been commenced in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte, then First
Consul, who, Beethoven--throughout his life an ardent Republican--then
believed was about to bring liberty to all the nations of Europe. When
the news of the empire came the dream departed, and Beethoven, in a
passionate rage, tore the title page of the symphony in two, and, with
a torrent of imprecations against the tyrant, stamped on the torn

"My hero--a tyrant!" he shrieked, as he trampled on the poor page. On
this page the inscription had been simply, "Bonaparte--Luigi v.
Beethoven". For some years he refused to publish the work, and, when
at last this was done, the inscription read as follows: "Sinfonia
Eroica per festigiari il sovvenire d'un grand' uomo" (Heroic symphony,
to celebrate the memory of a great man). When Napoleon died, in 1821,
Beethoven said, "Seventeen years before I composed the music for this
occasion;" and surely no grander music than that of the "Funeral
March" was ever composed for the obsequies of a fallen hero. This is
not the place to enter into a description of the marvellous succession
of colossal works--symphonies, concertos, sonatas, trios, quartets,
etc., culminating in the "Choral Symphony," his ninth, and
last--which, through those long years of a silent life, imprisoned
within himself, the great master put forth. His deafness prevented his
appearing in public to conduct, although, with the natural desire of a
composer to be present at the production of his own work, he long
struggled to take his part in the first performances of symphonies and

When the great choral symphony was first performed he attempted to
conduct, but in reality another conductor was stationed near him to
give the right time to the band. After the majestic instrumental
movements had been played came the final one, concluding with
Schiller's "Hymn to Joy." The chorus breaks forth, thundering out in
concert with all the instruments. At the words "Seid umschlunger,
Millionen," the audience could no longer restrain their excited
delight, and burst into tremendous applause, drowning the voices of
singers and the sounds of strings and brass. The last notes are heard,
but still Beethoven stands there absorbed in thought--he does not know
that the music is ended. This was the first time that the people
realized the full deprivation of hearing from which he suffered.
Fraulein Unger, the soprano, gently takes his arm and turns him round
to front the acclaiming multitude. There are few in that crowd who,
while they cheer, do not feel the tears stealing down their cheeks at
the sight of the poor lonely man who, from the prison-house of his
affliction, has brought to them the gladness of thought so divine.
Unmoved, he bowed his acknowledgment, and quietly left the building.

His later years were embittered with troubles about his nephew Carl, a
youth to whom he was fondly attached, but who shamefully repaid the
love of the desolate old man. Letters like the following, to the
teacher in whose house the boy lived, show the constant thought and
affection given to this boy: "Your estimable lady is politely
requested to let the undersigned know as soon as possible (that I may
not be obliged to keep it all in my head) how many pairs of stockings,
trousers, shoes, and drawers are required, and how many yards of
kerseymere to make a pair of black trousers for my tall nephew."

His death was the result of a cold which produced inflammation of the
lungs. On the morning of March 24, 1827, he took the sacrament and
when the clergyman was gone and his friends stood round his bed, he
muttered. "_Plaudite amici, comedia finita est._" He then fell into an
agony so intense that he could no longer articulate, and thus
continued until the evening of the 26th. A violent thunder-storm
arose; one of his friends, watching by his bedside when the thunder
was rolling and a vivid flash of lightning lit up the room, saw him
suddenly open his eyes, lift his right hand upward for some
seconds--as if in defiance of the powers of evil--with clenched fist
and a stern, solemn expression on his face; and then he sank back and



[Illustration: Paganini.]

Nicolo Paganini, whose European fame as a violinist entitles him to a
notice here, was born at Genoa in 1784. His father, a commission-broker,
played on the mandolin; but fully aware of the inferiority of an
instrument so limited in power, he put a violin into his son's hands,
and initiated him in the principles of music. The child succeeded so
well under parental tuition, that at eight years of age he played three
times a week in the church, as well as in the public saloons. At the
same period he composed a sonata. In his ninth year he was placed under
the instruction of Costa, first violoncellist of Genoa; then had lessons
of Rolla, a famous performer and composer; and finally studied
counterpoint at Parma under Ghiretti and the celebrated maestro Paer. He
now took an engagement at Lucca, where he chiefly associated with
persons who at the gaming-table stripped him of his gains as quickly as
he acquired them. He there received the appointment of director of
orchestra to the court, at which the Princess Elisa Bacciochi, sister of
Napoleon I., presided, and thither invited, to the full extent of her
means, superior talent of every kind. In 1813 he performed at Milan;
five years after, at Turin; and subsequently at Florence and Naples. In
1828 he visited Vienna, where a very popular violinist and composer,
Mayseder, asked him how he produced such new effects. His reply was
characteristic of a selfish mind: "_Chacun a ses secrets_" In that
capital, it is affirmed, he was imprisoned, being accused of having
murdered his wife. He challenged proofs of his ever having been married,
which could not be produced. Then he was charged with having poignarded
his mistress. This he also publicly refuted. The fact is that he knew
better how to make money than friends, and he raised up enemies wherever
his thirst for gold led him. Avarice was his master-passion; and, second
to this, gross sensuality.

The year 1831 found Paganini in Paris, in which excitable capital he
produced a sensation not inferior to that created by the visit of
Rossini. Even this renowned composer was so carried away, either by
the actual genius of the violinist or by the current of popular
enthusiasm, that he is said to have wept on hearing Paganini for the
first time. He arrived in England in 1831, and immediately announced a
concert at the Italian Opera House, at a price which, if acceded to,
would have yielded £3,391 per night; but the attempt was too
audacious, and he was compelled to abate his demands, though he
succeeded in drawing audiences fifteen nights in that season at the
ordinary high prices of the King's Theatre. He also gave concerts in
other parts of London, and performed at benefits, always taking at
these a large proportion of the proceeds. He visited most of the great
towns, where his good fortune still attended him. He was asked to play
at the Commemoration Festival at Oxford, in 1834, and demanded 1,000
guineas for his assistance at three concerts. His terms were of course

Paganini died at Nice, in 1840, of a diseased larynx ("phthisie
laryngée"). By his will, dated 1837, he gave his two sisters legacies
of 60,000 and 70,000 francs; his mother a pension of 1,200; the mother
of his son Achillino (a Jewess of Milan) a similar pension; and the
rest of his fortune, amounting to 4,000,000 francs, devolved on his
son. These and other facts before related, we give on the authority of
the "Biographie Universelle."

Paganini certainly was a man of genius and a great performer, but
sacrificed his art to his avarice. His mastery over the violin was
almost marvellous, though he made an ignoble use of his power by
employing it to captivate the mob of pretended amateurs by feats
little better than sleight-of-hand. His performance on a single
string, and the perfection of his harmonics, were very extraordinary;
but why, as was asked at the time, be confined to one string when
there are four at command that would answer every musical purpose so
much better? His tone was pure, though not strong, his strings having
been of smaller diameter than usual, to enable him to strain them at
pleasure; for he tuned his instrument most capriciously. He could be a
very expressive player; we have heard him produce effects deeply
pathetic. His arpeggios evinced his knowledge of harmony, and some of
his compositions exhibit many original and beautiful traits.

[Illustration: Paganini in Prison.]




Mendelssohn's lot in life was strikingly different from that of all
the musicians of whom I have hitherto written; he never knew, like
Schubert, what grinding poverty was, or suffered the long worries that
Mozart had to endure for lack of money. His father was a Jewish banker
in Berlin, the son of Moses Mendelssohn, a philosopher whose writings
had already made the name celebrated throughout Europe. The composer's
father used to say, with a very natural pride, after his own son had
grown up, "Formerly I was the son of my father, and now I am the
father of my son!"

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was born on February 3, 1809. His
parents were neither of them trained musicians, though both
appreciated and loved music, and it was from his mother that young
Felix received his first music-lessons. When he had made some advance,
Ludwig Berger became his tutor for the piano, and Zelter, a very
learned and severe theorist, for counterpoint. At the age of nine
years Felix had attained such proficiency that we find him taking the
pianoforte part in a trio at a public concert of a Herr Gugel's, and
when twelve years old he began to compose, and actually wrote a trio,
some sonatas, a cantata, and several organ pieces. His home life was
in the highest degree favorable to his musical development. On
alternate Sundays musical performances were regularly given with a
small orchestra in the large dining-room, Felix or his sister Fanny,
who also possessed remarkable musical gifts, taking the pianoforte
part, and new compositions by Felix were always included in the
programme. Many friends, musicians and others, used to be present,
Zelter regularly among their number, and the pieces were always freely
commented on, Felix receiving then, as indeed he did all his life, the
criticisms expressed, with the utmost good-natured readiness.

[Illustration: Mendelssohn.]

In 1824 Moscheles, at that time a celebrated pianist, and residing in
London, visited Berlin, and was asked to give Felix music-lessons.
This is the testimony of Moscheles, an excellent and kind-hearted man,
and a thoroughly skilled musician, after spending nearly every day for
six weeks with the family: "It is a family such as I have never known
before; Felix, a mature artist, and yet but fifteen; Fanny,
extraordinarily gifted, playing Bach's fugues by heart and with
astonishing correctness--in fact, a thorough musician. The parents
give me the impression of people of the highest cultivation;" and on
the subject of lessons he says: "Felix has no need of lessons; if he
wishes to take a hint from me as to anything new, he can easily do
so." But it is very pleasant to find Mendelssohn afterward referring
to these lessons as having urged him on to enthusiasm, and, in the
days in London when his own fame had far outstripped that of the older
musician, acknowledging himself as "Moscheles's pupil." The elder
Mendelssohn was by no means carried away by the applause which the
boy's playing and compositions had gained, and in 1825 he took his son
to Paris to obtain Cherubini's opinion as to his musical abilities,
with a view to the choice of a profession; for he had by no means made
up his mind that Felix should spend his whole life as a musician.
However, the surly old Florentine, who was not always civil or
appreciative of budding genius (_teste_ Berlioz), gave a decidedly
favorable judgment on the compositions submitted to him, and urged
the father to devote his son to a musical career. And, indeed, on
listening to the pieces which were dated this year, especially a
beautiful quartet in B minor, an octet for strings, the music to an
opera in two acts, "Camacho's Wedding," and numerous pianoforte
pieces, it is difficult to realize that the composer was then only
sixteen years of age, or that anyone could question the artistic
vocation that claimed him. But the next year a work was written, the
score of which is marked "Berlin, August 6, 1826," when it must be
remembered that he was seventeen years of age, which of itself was
sufficient to rank him among the immortals--the overture to the
"Midsummer Night's Dream." Full of lovely imaginings, with a wonderful
fairy grace all its own, and a bewitching beauty, revealing not only
the soul of the true poet, but also the musician profoundly skilled in
all the art of orchestral effect, it is hard to believe that it is the
work of a boy under twenty, written in the bright summer days of 1826,
in his father's garden at Berlin.

Passing over the intermediate years with a simple reference to the
"Meeresstille," "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage," which was then
composed, and a fine performance of Bach's "Passion Music," for which
he had been long drilling the members of the Berlin Singakademie, the
next event is a visit to England in 1829, where he was received with
extraordinary warmth, playing at the Philharmonic Concerts, conducting
his C minor Symphony, which he dedicated to the Philharmonic Society,
they in their turn electing him one of their honorary members; going
to dinners, balls, and the House of Commons, and enjoying himself most
hugely. His letters from England at this time are brimming over with
fun and graphic description; there is one especially amusing, in which
he describes himself with two friends going home from a late dinner at
the German Ambassador's, and on the way buying three German sausages,
going down a quiet street to devour them, with all the while joyous
laughter and snatches of part songs. There is also a little incident
of this time showing the wonderful memory he possessed. After a
concert on "Midsummer Night," when the "Midsummer Night's Dream" had
very appropriately been played, it was found that the score had been
lost in a hackney-coach as the party were returning to Mr. Attwood's.
"Never mind," said Mendelssohn, "I will make another," which he did,
and on comparison with the separate parts not a single difference was
found in it.

At the beginning of December he was at home again, and that winter he
wrote the "Reformation Symphony," intended to be produced at the
tercentenary festival of the "Augsburg Confession" in the following
June. This symphony, with which Mendelssohn was not entirely
satisfied, was only once performed during his lifetime, but since his
death it has frequently been performed, and though not one of his most
perfect works, is recognized as a noble monument in honor of a great
event. The next spring he again set out on his travels, this time
southward to Italy.

In 1833 Mendelssohn accepted an official post offered him by the
authorities of Düsseldorf, by which the entire musical arrangements of
the town, church, theatre, and singing societies were put under his
care. Immermann, the celebrated poet, being associated with him in the
direction of the theatre. Things, however, did not go on very smoothly
there. Mendelssohn found all the many worries of theatrical
management--the engagement of singers and musicians, the dissensions
to be arranged, the many tastes to be conciliated--too irksome, and he
did not long retain this appointment; but the life among his friends
at Düsseldorf was most delightful, and the letters written at this
time are exceedingly lively and gay. It was here that he received the
commission from the Cæcilia-Verein of Frankfort for, and commenced,
his grand oratorio "St. Paul." The words for this, as also for the
"Elijah" and "Hymn of Praise" afterward, he selected himself with the
help of his friend Schubung, and they are entirely from the Bible--as
he said, "The Bible is always the best of all." Circumstances
prevented the oratorio being then produced at Frankfort, and the first
public performance took place at the Lower Rhine Festival at
Düsseldorf, in May, 1836.

But his visits to Frankfort had a very important result in another
way. Mendelssohn there met Mademoiselle Cécile Jeanrenaud, the
daughter of a pastor of the French Reformed Church, and, though he had
frequently indulged in the admiration of beautiful and clever
women--which is allowable, and indeed an absolute necessity for a
poet!--now for the first time he fell furiously in plain unmistakable
and downright love. But it is more characteristic of the staid Teuton
than the impulsive musician, that before plighting his troth to her he
went away for a month's bathing at Scheveningen, in Holland, for the
purpose of testing the strength of his affection by this absence. On
his return, finding his amatory pulse still beating satisfactorily, he
proposed to the young lady, and, as it must be presumed that she had
already made up her own mind without any testing, he was accepted. On
March 28, 1837, they were married, and the wedded life that then began
was one of pure, unclouded happiness to the very end. Cécile
Mendelssohn was a beautiful, gentle-hearted, and loving wife, just the
one to give a weary and nervous artist in the home-life, with herself
and the children near him, the blessed solace of rest and calm that he
so needed. It is thus that Edward Devrient, the great German actor,
and one of Mendelssohn's most intimate friends, describes her: "Cécile
was one of those sweet womanly natures whose gentle simplicity, whose
mere presence, soothed and pleased. She was slight, with features of
striking beauty and delicacy; her hair was between brown and gold, but
the transcendent lustre of her great blue eyes, and the brilliant
roses of her cheeks, were sad harbingers of early death. She spoke
little, and never with animation, in a low, soft voice. Shakespeare's
words, "My gracious silence," applied to her no less than to the wife
of Coriolanus."

After giving up his official position at Düsseldorf, in 1835,
Mendelssohn was invited to become the conductor of the now famous
Gewandhaus concerts at Leipsic, a post which he gladly accepted, and
which, retained by him for many years, was to be one of the greatest
delights of his artistic life. Not only was he loved and appreciated
in Leipsic--far more than in Berlin, his own city--but he had here an
opportunity of assisting many composers and _virtuosi_, who otherwise
would have sought in vain for a hearing. Thus, after Liszt, when
visiting the town, had been first of all received with great coldness,
owing to the usual prices of admission to the concerts having been
raised, Mendelssohn set everything straight by having a soirée in his
honor at the Gewandhaus, where there were three hundred and fifty
people, orchestra, chorus, punch, pastry, Meeresstille Psalm, Bach's
Triple Concerto, choruses from St. Paul, Fantasia on Lucia, the Erl
King, the Devil and his Grandmother, the latter probably a mild
satirical reference to Liszt's stormy and often incoherent playing. It
is also pleasant to find how cordially Mendelssohn received Berlioz
there, as told in the "Memoirs" of the latter, spending ungrudgingly
long days in aiding in rehearsals for his "Romeo et Juliette," though
Mendelssohn never sympathized much with Berlioz's eccentric muse.

The "Lobgesang," or "Hymn of Praise," a "symphonie-cantata," as he
called it, was his next great work, composed in 1840, together with
other music, at the request of the Leipsic Town-Council, for a
festival held in that town in commemoration of the invention of
printing, on June 25th. None who have heard this work can forget the
first impression produced when the grand instrumental movements with
which it commences are merged in the majestic chorus, "All men, all
things, praise ye the Lord," or the intensely dramatic effect of the
repeated tenor cry, "Watchman, will the night soon pass?" answered at
last by the clear soprano message of glad tidings, "The night is
departing, the day is at hand!" This "watchman" episode was added some
time afterward, and, as he told a friend, was suggested to the
composer during the weary hours of a long sleepless night, when the
words, "Will the night soon pass?" again and again seemed to be
repeated to him. But a greater work even than this was now in
progress; the "Elijah" had been begun.

In 1841 began a troublesome and harassing connection with Berlin, a
city where, except in his home life, Mendelssohn never seems to have
been very fortunate. At the urgent entreaty of the king, he went to
reside there as head of the new Musical Academy. But disagreements
arose, and he did not long take an active part in the management. The
king, however, was very anxious to retain his services, and a sort of
general office seems to have been created for him, the duties of which
were to supply music for any dramatic works which the king took it
into his head to have so embellished. And, though it is to this that
we owe the noble "Antigone," "Oedipus," "Athalie," "Midsummer Night's
Dream," and other music, this work to dictation was very worrying, and
one cannot think without impatience of the annoyances to which he was
subjected. The king could not understand why he shrank from writing
music to the choruses of Æschylus's "Eumenides." Other composers would
do it by the yard, why not he?

Passing rapidly over the intervening years filled with busy work, both
in composition and as one of the principals of a newly started
Conservatorium in Leipsic, we come to 1846, when his great work
"Elijah" was at last completed and performed. On August 26th, at the
Birmingham Festival, the performance went splendidly. Staudigl took
the part of the prophet, and a young tenor, Lockey, sang the air,
"Then shall the righteous," in the last part, as Mendelssohn says, "so
very beautifully, that I was obliged to collect myself to prevent my
being overcome, and to enable me to beat time steadily." Rarely,
indeed, has a composer so truly realized his own conception as
Mendelssohn did in the great tone-picture which he drew of the Prophet
of Carmel and the wilderness.

"I figured to myself," he says, "Elijah as a grand, mighty prophet,
such as might again reappear in our own day, energetic and zealous,
stern, wrathful, and gloomy, a striking contrast to the court
myrmidons and popular rabble--in fact, in opposition to the whole
world, and yet borne on angel's wings!" Nothing can be finer than
this, with that exquisite touch in the last words, "_in opposition to
the whole world, and yet borne on angel's wings_."

After returning to Germany he was soon busily employed in recasting
some portions of "Elijah" with which he was not satisfied; he had also
another oratorio on even a grander scale, "Christus," already
commenced; and at last, after all his life-long seeking in vain for a
good libretto for an opera, he had begun to set one written by Geibel,
the German poet, "Loreley," to music. But his friends now noticed how
worn and weary he used oftentimes to look, and how strangely irritable
he frequently was, and there can hardly be a doubt that some form of
the cerebral disease from which his father and several of his
relations had died, was already, deep-seated and obscure, disquieting
him. The sudden announcement of the death of his sister, Fanny Hensel,
herself a musical genius, to whom he was very fondly attached, on his
return to Frankfort from his last visit to England in May, 1847,
terribly affected him. He fell to the ground with a loud shriek, and
it was long before he recovered consciousness.

Indeed, it may be said that he never really recovered from this shock.
In the summer he went with his wife and children, and in company with
his brother Paul and his family, on a tour in Switzerland, where he
hoped that complete idleness as regards music, life in the open air,
sketching, and intercourse with chosen friends, might once more give
strength to his enfeebled nerves. And for a time the beauty of the
mountains and the lakes seemed to bring him rest, and again he began
to work at his oratorio "Christus;" but still his friends continued
anxious about him. He looked broken down and aged, a constant
agitation seemed to possess him, and the least thing would often
strangely affect and upset him.

In September he returned to Leipsic; he was then more cheerful, and
able to talk about music and to write, although he could not resume
the conductorship of the Gewandhaus concerts. He again had projects in
view. Jenny Lind was to sing in his "Elijah," at Vienna, whither he
would go and conduct, and he was about to publish some new songs. One
day in October he went to call upon his friend, Madame Frege, a gifted
lady who, he said, sang his songs better than anyone else, to consult
her about some new songs. She sang them over to him several times, and
then, as it was getting dark, she went out of the room for a few
minutes to order lights. When she returned he was lying on the sofa,
shivering with cold, and in agonizing pain. Leeches were applied, and
he partially recovered; but another attack followed, and this was the




[Illustration: Liszt.]

Franz Liszt was born in 1811. He had the hot Hungarian blood of his
father, the fervid German spirit of his mother, and he inherited the
lofty independence, with none of the class prejudices, of the old
Hungarian nobility from which he sprang. Liszt's father, Adam, earned
a modest livelihood as agent and accountant in the house of Count
Esterhazy. In that great musical family, inseparably associated with
the names of Haydn and Schubert, Adam Liszt had frequent opportunities
of meeting distinguished musicians. The prince's private band had
risen to public fame under the instruction of the venerable Haydn
himself. The Liszts, father and son, often went to Eisenstadt, where
the count lived; there they rubbed elbows with Cherubini and Hummel, a
pupil of Mozart.

Franz took to music from his earliest childhood. When about five years
old he was asked what he would like to do. "Learn the piano," said the
little fellow. Soon afterward his father asked him what he would like
to be; the child pointed to a print of Beethoven hanging on the wall,
and said, "Like him." Long before his feet could reach the pedals or
his fingers stretch an octave, the boy spent all his spare time
strumming, making what he called "clangs," chords and modulations. He
mastered scales and exercises without difficulty.

Czerny at once took to Liszt, but refused to take anything for his
instruction. Salieri was also fascinated, and instructed him in
harmony; and fortunate it was that Liszt began his course under two
strict mentors. He soon began to resent Czerny's method--thought he
knew better and needed not those dry studies of Clementi and that
irksome fingering by rule--he could finger anything in a half-a-dozen
different ways. There was a moment when it seemed that master and
pupil would have to part, but timely concessions to genius paved the
way to dutiful submission, and years afterward the great master
dedicated to the rigid disciplinarian of his boyhood his "Vingt-quatre
Grandes Études" in affectionate remembrance.

Such a light as Liszt's could not be long hid; all Vienna, in 1822,
was talking of the wonderful boy. "_Est deus in nobis_," wrote the
papers, profanely. The "little Hercules," the "young giant," the boy
"virtuoso from the clouds," were among the epithets coined to
celebrate his marvellous renderings of Hummel's "Concerto in A," and a
free "Fantasia" of his own. The Vienna Concert Hall was crowded to
hear him, and the other illustrious artists--then, as indeed they have
been ever since forced to do wherever Liszt appeared--effaced
themselves with as good a grace as they could.

It is a remarkable tribute to the generous nature as well as to the
consummate ability of Liszt, that, while opposing partisans have
fought bitterly over him--Thalbergites, Herzites, Mendelssohnites
_versus_ Lisztites--yet few of the great artists who have, one after
another, had to yield to him in popularity have denied to him their
admiration, while most of them have given him their friendship.

Liszt early wooed, and early won Vienna. He spoke ever of his dear
Viennese, and their resounding city. A concert tour on his way to
Paris brought him before the critical public of Stuttgart and Munich.
Hummel, an old man, and Moscheles, then in his prime, heard him and
declared that his playing was equal to theirs. But Liszt was bent upon
completing his studies in the celebrated school of the French capital,
and at the feet of the old musical dictator, Cherubini. The Erards,
who were destined to owe so much to Liszt, and to whom Liszt
throughout his career owed so much, at once provided him with a
magnificent piano; but Cherubini put in force a certain by-law of the
Conservatoire excluding foreigners, and excluded Franz Liszt.

This was a bitter pill to the eager student. He hardly knew how little
he required such patronage. In a very short time "_le petit Liszt_"
was the great Paris sensation. The old _noblesse_ tried to spoil him
with flattery, the Duchesse de Berri drugged him with bonbons, the
Duke of Orleans called him the "little Mozart." He gave private
concerts, at which Herz, Moscheles, Lafont, and De Beriot, assisted.
Rossini would sit by his side at the piano, and applaud. He was a
"miracle." The company never tired of extolling his "nerve, fougue et
originalité," while the ladies who petted and caressed him after each
performance, were delighted at his simple and graceful carriage, the
elegance of his language, and the perfect breeding and propriety of
his demeanor.

He was only twelve when he played for the first time at the Italian
Opera, and one of those singular incidents which remind one of
Paganini's triumphs occurred. At the close of a _bravura cadenza_, the
band forgot to come in, so absorbed were the musicians in watching the
young prodigy. Their failure was worth a dozen successes to Liszt. The
ball of the marvellous was fairly set rolling. Gall, the inventor of
phrenology, took a cast of the little Liszt's skull; Talma, the
tragedian, embraced him openly with effusion; and the misanthropic
Marquis de Noailles became his mentor, and initiated him into the art
of painting.

In 1824 Liszt, then thirteen years old, came with his father to
England; his mother returned to Austria. He went down to Windsor to
see George IV., who was delighted with him, and Liszt, speaking of him
to me, said: "I was very young at the time, but I remember the king
very well--a fine, pompous-looking gentleman." George IV. went to
Drury Lane on purpose to hear the boy, and commanded an encore. Liszt
was also heard in the theatre at Manchester, and in several private

On his return to France, people noticed a change in him. He was now
fourteen, grave, serious, often pre-occupied, already a little tired
of praise, and excessively tired of being called "le petit Liszt." His
vision began to take a wider sweep. The relation between art and
religion exercised him. His mind was naturally devout. Thomas à Kempis
was his constant companion. "Rejoice in nothing but a good deed;"
"Through labor to rest, through combat to victory;" "The glory which
men give and take is transitory," these and like phrases were already
deeply engraven on the fleshly tablets of his heart. Amid all his
glowing triumphs he was developing a curious disinclination to appear
in public; he seemed to yearn for solitude and meditation.

In 1827 he again hurried to England for a short time, but his father's
sudden illness drove them to Boulogne, where, in his forty-seventh
year, died Adam Liszt, leaving the young Franz for the first time in
his life, at the early age of sixteen, unprotected and alone. Rousing
himself from the bodily prostration and torpor of grief into which he
had been thrown by the death of his father, Franz, with admirable
energy and that high sense of honor which always distinguished him,
began to set his house in order. He called in all his debts, sold his
magnificent grand "Erard," and left Boulogne for Paris with a heavy
heart and a light pocket, but not owing a sou.

He sent for his mother, and for the next twelve years, 1828-1840, the
two lived together, chiefly in Paris. There, as a child, he had been a
nine days' wonder, but the solidity of his reputation was now destined
to go hand in hand with his stormy and interrupted mental and moral
development. Such a plant could not come to maturity all at once. No
drawing-room or concert-room success satisfied a heart for which the
world of human emotion seemed too small, and an intellect piercing
with intuitive intelligence into the "clear-obscure" depths of
religion and philosophy.

But Franz was young, and Franz was poor, and his mother had to be
supported. She was his first care. Systematically, he labored to put
by a sum which would assure her of a competency, and often with his
tender genial smile he would remind her of his own childish words,
"God will help me to repay you for all that you have done for me."
Still he labored, often woefully against the grain. "Poverty," he
writes, "that old mediator between man and evil, tore me from my
solitude devoted to meditation, and placed me before a public on whom
not only my own but my own mother's existence depended. Young and
over-strained, I suffered painfully under the contact with external
things which my vocation as a musician brought with it, and which
wounded me all the more intensely that my heart at this time was
filled entirely with the mystical feelings of love and religion."

[Illustration: Franz Liszt.]

Of course the gifted young pianist's connection grew rapidly. He got
his twenty francs a lesson at the best houses; he was naturally a
welcome guest, and from the first seemed to have the run of high
Parisian society. His life was feverish, his activity irregular, his
health far from strong; but the vulgar temptations of the gay capital
seemed to have little attraction for his noble nature. His heart
remained unspoiled. He was most generous to those who could not
afford to pay for his lessons, most pitiful to the poor, most
dutiful and affectionate to his mother. Coming home late from some
grand entertainment, he would sit outside on the staircase till
morning, sooner than awaken, or perhaps alarm, her by letting himself
in. But in losing his father he seemed to have lost a certain method
and order. His meals were irregular, so were his lessons; more so were
the hours devoted to sleep.

At this time he was hardly twenty; we are not surprised anon to hear
in his own words, of "a female form chaste, and pure as the alabaster
of holy vessel," but he adds: "Such was the sacrifice which I offered
with tears to the God of Christians!"

I will explain. Mlle. Caroline St. Cricq was just seventeen, lithe,
slender, and of "angelic" beauty, with a complexion like a lily
flushed with roses, open, "impressionable to beauty, to the world, to
religion, to God." The countess, her mother, appears to have been a
charming woman, very partial to Liszt, whom she engaged to instruct
Mademoiselle in music. The lessons went not by time, but by
inclination. The young man's eloquence, varied knowledge, ardent love
of literature, and flashing genius won both the mother and daughter.
Not one of them seemed to suspect the whirlpool of grief and death to
which they were hurrying. The countess fell ill and died, but not
before she had recommended Liszt to the Count St. Cricq as a possible
suitor for the hand of Mademoiselle.

The haughty diplomat, St. Cricq, at once put his foot down. The
funeral over, Liszt's movements were watched. They were innocent
enough. He was already an _enfant de la maison_, but one night he
lingered reading aloud some favorite author to Mademoiselle a little
too late. He was reported by the servants, and received his polite
dismissal as music master. In an interview with the count his own
pride was deeply wounded. "Difference of rank!" said the count. That
was quite enough for Liszt. He rose, pale as death, with quivering
lip, but uttered not a word. As a man of honor he had but one course.
He and Caroline parted forever. She contracted later an uncongenial
marriage; he seems to have turned with intense ardor to religion. His
good mother used to complain to those who came to inquire for him that
he was all day long in church, and had ceased to occupy himself, as he
should, with music.

It was toward the close of 1831 that Liszt met Chopin in Paris. From
the first, these two men, so different, became fast friends. Chopin's
delicate, retiring soul found a singular delight in Liszt's strong and
imposing personality. Liszt's exquisite perception enabled him
perfectly to live in the strange dreamland of Chopin's fancies, while
his own vigor inspired Chopin with nerve to conceive those mighty
Polonaises that he could never properly play himself, and which he so
gladly committed to the keeping of his prodigious friend. Liszt
undertook the task of interpreting Chopin to the mixed crowds which he
revelled in subduing, but from which his fastidious and delicately
strung friend shrank with something like aversion.

From Chopin, Liszt and all the world after him got that _tempo
rubato_, that playing with the duration of notes without breaking the
time, and those arabesque ornaments which are woven like fine
embroidery all about the pages of Chopin's nocturnes, and lift what in
others are mere casual flourishes into the dignity of interpretative
phrases and poetic commentaries on the text.

People were fond of comparing the two young men who so often appeared
in the same salons together--Liszt with his finely shaped, long, oval
head and _profil d'ivoire_, set proudly on his shoulders, his stiff
hair of dark blonde thrown back from the forehead without a parting,
and cut in a straight line, his _aplomb_, his magnificent and courtly
bearing, his ready tongue, his flashing wit and fine irony, his genial
_bonhomie_ and irresistibly winning smile; and Chopin, also, with dark
blonde hair, but soft as silk, parted on one side, to use Liszt's own
words, "An angel of fair countenance, with brown eyes from which
intellect beamed rather than burned; a gentle, refined smile, slightly
aquiline nose; a delicious, clear, almost diaphanous complexion, all
bearing witness to the harmony of a soul which required no commentary
beyond itself."

Nothing can be more generous or more true than Liszt's recognition of
Chopin's independent support. "To our endeavors," he says, "to our
struggles, just then so much needing certainty, he lent us the support
of a calm, unshakable conviction, equally armed against apathy and
cajolery." There was only one picture on the walls of Chopin's room;
it hung just above his piano. It was a head of Liszt.

It is no part of my present scheme to describe the battle which
romanticism in music waged against the prevalent conventionalities. We
know the general outcome of the struggle culminating, after the most
prodigious artistic convulsions, in the musical supremacy of Richard
Wagner, who certainly marks firmly and broadly enough the greatest
stride in musical development made since Beethoven.

In 1842 Liszt visited Weimar, Berlin, and then went to Paris; he was
meditating a tour in Russia. Pressing invitations reached him from St.
Petersburg and Moscow. The most fabulous accounts of his virtuosity
had raised expectation to its highest pitch. He was as legendary even
among the common people as Paganini. His first concert at St.
Petersburg realized the then unheard-of sum of £2,000. The roads were
crowded to see him pass, and the corridors and approaches to the Grand
Opera blocked to catch a glimpse of him. The same scenes were repeated
at Moscow, where he gave six concerts without exhausting the popular

On his return to Weimar he accepted the post of Capellmeister to the
Grand Duke. It provided him with that settled abode, and above all
with an orchestra, which he now felt so indispensable to meet his
growing passion for orchestral composition. But the time of rest had
not yet come.

In 1844 and 1845 he was received in Spain and Portugal with incredible
enthusiasm, after which he returned to Bonn to assist at the
inauguration of Beethoven's statue. With boundless liberality, he had
subscribed more money than all the princes and people of Germany put
together, to make the statue worthy of the occasion and the occasion
worthy of the statue.

The golden river which poured into him from all the capitals of
Europe now freely found a new vent in boundless generosity. Hospitals,
poor and needy, patriotic celebrations, the dignity and interests of
art, were all subsidized from his private purse. His transcendent
virtuosity was only equalled by his splendid munificence; but he
found--what others have so often experienced--that great personal
gifts and prodigious _éclat_ cannot possibly escape the poison of envy
and detraction. He was attacked by calumny; his gifts denied and
ridiculed; his munificence ascribed to vainglory, and his charity to
pride and ostentation; yet none will ever know the extent of his
private charities, and no one who knows anything of Liszt can be
ignorant of the simple, unaffected goodness of heart which prompted

Still he was wounded by ingratitude and abuse. It seemed to check and
paralyze for the moment his generous nature. Fétis saw him at Coblenz
soon after the Bonn festival, at which he had expended such vast sums.
He was sitting alone, dejected and out of health. He said he was sick
of everything, tired of life, and nearly ruined. But that mood never
lasted long with Liszt; he soon arose and shook himself like a lion.
His detractors slunk away into their holes, and he walked forth
victorious to refill his empty purse and reap new laurels.

His career was interrupted by the stormy events of 1848. He settled
down for a time at Weimar, and it was then that he began to take that
warm interest in Richard Wagner which ended in the closest and most
enduring of friendships.

He labored incessantly to get a hearing for the "Lohengrin" and
"Tannhäuser." He forced Wagner's compositions on the band, on the
grand-duke; he breasted public opposition and fought nobly for the
eccentric and obscure person who was chiefly known as a political
outlaw and an inventor of extravagant compositions which it was
impossible to play or sing, and odiously unpleasant to listen to. But
years of faithful service, mainly the service and immense _prestige_
and authority of Liszt, procured Wagner a hearing, and paved the way
for his glorious triumphs at Bayreuth in 1876, 1882, and 1883.

I have preferred to confine myself in this article to the personality of
Liszt, and have made no allusion to his orchestral works and oratorio
compositions. The "Symphonic Poems" speak for themselves--magnificent
renderings of the inner life of spontaneous emotion--but subject-matter
which calls for a special article can find no place at the fag-end of
this, and at all times it is better to hear music than to describe it.
As it would be impossible to describe Liszt's orchestration intelligibly
to those who have not heard it, and unnecessary to those who have, I
will simply leave it alone.

I saw Liszt but six times, and then only between the years 1876 and
1881. I heard him play upon two occasions only, and then he played
certain pieces of Chopin at my request and a new composition by
himself. I have heard Mme Schumann, Bülow, Rubenstein, Menter, and
Esipoff, but I can understand that saying of Tausig, himself one of
the greatest masters of _technique_ whom Germany has ever produced:
"No mortal can measure himself with Liszt. He dwells alone upon a
solitary height."




[Illustration: Wagner.]

Richard Wagner's personality has been so overshadowed by and almost
merged in the great controversy which his schemes of reform in opera
raised, that his life and character are often now sorely
misjudged--just as his music long was--by those who have not the time,
the inclination, or the ability to understand the facts and the
issues. Before briefly stating then the theories he propounded and
their development, as shown in successive music dramas, it will be
well to summarize the story of a life (1813-83) during which he was
called to endure so much vicissitude, trial and temptation, suffering
and defeat.

Born in Leipsic, on May 22, 1813, the youngest of nine children,
Wilhelm Richard was only five months old when his father died. His
mother's second marriage entailed a removal to Dresden, where, at the
Kreuzschule, young Wagner received an excellent liberal education. At
the age of thirteen the bent of his taste, as well as his diligence,
was shown by his translation (out of school hours) of the first twelve
books of the "Odyssey." In the following year his passion for poetry
found expression in a grand tragedy. "It was a mixture," he says, "of
Hamlet and Lear. Forty-two persons died in the course of the play,
and, for want of more characters, I had to make some of them reappear
as ghosts in the last act." Weber, who was then conductor of the
Dresden opera, seems to have attracted the boy both by his personality
and by his music; but it was Beethoven's music which gave him his real
inspiration. From 1830 to 1833 many compositions after standard models
are evidence of hard and systematic work and in 1833 he began his long
career as an operatic composer with "Die Feen" which, however, never
reached the dignity of performance till 1888--five years after
Wagner's death. After some time spent in very unremunerative routine
work in Heidelberg, Königsberg, and Riga (where in 1836 he married),
he resolved, in 1839, to try his fortune in Paris with "Rienzi," a new
opera, written on the lines of the Paris Grand Opera and with all its
great resources in view. From the month's terrific storm in the North
Sea, through which the vessel struggled to its haven, till the spring
of 1842, when Wagner left Paris with "Rienzi" unperformed, heartsick
with hope deferred, his lot was a hard and bitter one. Berlioz, in
similar straits, supported himself by singing in the chorus of a
second-rate theatre. Wagner was refused even that humble post. In 1842
"Rienzi" was accepted at Dresden, and its signal success led to his
appointment as Capellmeister there (January, 1843). In the following
year the "Flying Dutchman" was not so enthusiastically received, but
it has since easily distanced the earlier work in popular favor. The
story was suggested to his mind during the stormy voyage from Riga;
and it is a remarkable fact that the wonderful tone-picture of
Norway's storm-beaten shore was painted by one who, till that voyage,
had never set eyes on the sea. In 1845 his new opera, "Tannhäuser,"
proved at first a comparative failure. The subject, one which had been
proposed to Weber in 1814, attracted Wagner while he was in Paris, and
during his studies for the libretto he found also the first
suggestions of "Lohengrin" and "Parsifal." The temporary failure of
the opera led him to the consideration and self-examination which
resulted in the elaborate exposition of his ideal (in "Opera and
Drama," and many other essays). "I saw a single possibility before
me," he writes, "to induce the public to understand and participate in
my aims as an artist." "Lohengrin" was finished early in 1848, and
also the poem of "Siegfried's Tod," the result of Wagner's studies in
the old Nibelungen Lied; but a too warm sympathy with some of the aims
of the revolutionary party (which reigned for two short days behind
the street barricades in Dresden, May, 1849) rendered his absence from
Saxony advisable, and a few days later news reached him in Weimar that
a warrant was issued for his arrest. With a passport procured by Liszt
he fled across the frontier, and for nearly twelve years the
bitterness of exile was added to the hardships of poverty. It is this
period which is mainly responsible for Wagner's polemical writings, so
biting in their sarcasm, and often unfair in their attacks. He was a
good hater; one of the most fiendish pamphlets in existence is the
"Capitulation" (1871), in which Wagner, safe from poverty (thanks to
the kindness of Liszt and the munificence of Ludwig II., of Bavaria),
and nearing the summit of his ambition, but remembering only his
misfortunes and his slights, gloated in public over the horrors which
were making a hell of the fairest city on earth. There is excuse at
least, if not justification, to be found for his attacks on Meyerbeer
and others; there are considerations to be taken into account while
one reads with humiliation and pity the correspondence between Wagner
and his benefactor, Liszt; but it is sad that an affectionate, humane,
intensely human, to say nothing of an artistic, nature, could so
blaspheme against the first principles of humanity.

In 1852 the poem of the "Nibelungen Ring Trilogy" was finished. In
1854 "Rheingold" (the introduction of "Vorabend") was ready, and "Die
Walküre" (Part I.) in 1856. But "tired," as he said, "of heaping one
silent score upon another," he left "Siegfried" unfinished, and turned
to the story of "Tristan." The poem was completed in 1857, and the
music two years later. At last, in 1861, he received permission to
return to Germany, and in Vienna he had the first opportunity of
hearing his own "Lohengrin." For three years the struggle with fortune
seems to have been harder than ever before, and Wagner, in broken
health, had practically determined to give up the unequal contest,
when an invitation was sent him by Ludwig II., the young King of
Bavaria--"Come here and finish your work." Here at last was salvation
for Wagner, and the rest of his life was comparatively smooth. In 1865
"Tristan und Isolde" was performed at Munich, and was followed three
years later by a comic opera, "Die Meistersinger," the first sketches
of which date from 1845. "Siegfried" ("Nibelungen Ring," Part II.) was
completed in 1869, and in the following year Wagner married Cosima,
the daughter of Liszt, and formerly the wife of Von Bülow. His first
wife, from whom he had been separated in 1861, died at Dresden in

A theatre built somewhere off the main lines of traffic, and specially
constructed for the performance of Wagner's later works, must have
seemed the most impracticable and visionary of proposals in 1870; and
yet, chiefly through the unwearying exertions of Carl Tausig (and, after
his death, of the various Wagner societies), the foundation-stone of the
Baireuth Theatre was laid in 1872, and in 1876, two years after the
completion of the "Götterdämmerung" ("Nibelungen Ring," Part III.), it
became an accomplished fact. The first work given was the entire
"Trilogy;" and in July, 1882, Wagner's long and stormy career was
magnificently crowned there by the first performance of "Parsifal." A
few weeks later his health showed signs of giving way, and he resolved
to spend the winter at Venice. There he died suddenly, February 13,
1883, and was buried in the garden of his own house, Wahnfried, at

         [Footnote 12: Our illustration represents him at Wahnfried in
         company with his wife Cosima, her father Franz Liszt, who was
         his lifelong friend, and Herr von Wolzogen.]

Wagner's life and his individuality are of unusual importance in
rightly estimating his work, because, unlike the other great masters,
he not only devoted all his genius to one branch of music--the
opera--but he gradually evolved a theory and an ideal which he
consciously formulated and adopted, and perseveringly followed. It may
be asked whether Wagner's premises were sound and his conclusions
right; and also whether his genius was great enough to be the worthy
champion of a cause involving such revolutions. Unless Wagner's
operas, considered solely as music, are not only more advanced in
style, but worthy in themselves to stand at least on a level with the
greatest efforts of his predecessors, no amount of proof that these
were wrong and he right will give his name the place his admirers
claim for it. It is now universally acknowledged that Wagner can only
be compared with the greatest names in music. His instrumentation has
the advantage in being the inheritor of the enormous development of
the orchestra from Haydn to Berlioz, his harmony is as daring and
original as Bach's, and his melody is as beautiful as it is different
from Beethoven's or Mozart's. (These names are used not in order to
institute profitless comparisons, but as convenient standards;
therefore even a qualification of the statement will not invalidate
the case.)

[Illustration: Wagner and his Friends.]

His aim (stated very generally) was to reform the whole structure of
opera, using the last or "Beethoven" development of instrumental music
as a basis, and freeing it from the fetters which conventionality had
imposed, in the shape of set forms, accepted arrangements, and
traditional concessions to a style of singing now happily almost
extinct. The one canon was to be dramatic fitness. In this "Art Work
of the Future," as he called it, the interest of the drama is to
depend not entirely on the music, but also on the poem and on the
acting and staging as well. It will be seen that Wagner's theory is
not new. All or most of it is contained in the theories of Gluck and
others, who at various periods in the development of opera consciously
strove after an ideal music drama. But the times were not ripe, and
therefore such music could not exert its proper influence. The twin
arts of music and poetry, dissociated by the rapid advance of
literature and the slow development of music, pursued their several
paths alone. The attempt to reunite them in the end of the sixteenth
century was futile, and only led to opera which never needed, and
therefore did not employ, great poetry. In Germany music was developed
along instrumental lines until the school arrived at its culmination
in Beethoven; and when an opera composer stopped to think on the
eternal verities, the result must always have been such a prophecy of
Wagner's work as we find in Mozart's letters:

"_October, 1781._--Verse indeed is indispensable for music, but rhyme
is bad in its very nature.... It would be by far the best if a good
composer, understanding the theatre and knowing how to produce a
piece, and a clever poet, could be united in one...."

Other but comparatively unimportant features in the Wagner music drama
are, _e.g._, the use of the _Leitmotiv_, or leading motive--found
occasionally in Gluck, Mozart, Weber, etc., but here first adopted
with a definite purpose, and the contention for mythological rather
than historical subjects--now largely admitted. But all Wagner's
principles would have been useless without the energy and perseverance
which directed his work, the loving study which stored his memory with
all the great works of his predecessors, and, above all, the genius
which commands the admiration of the musical world.

Wagner's works show a remarkable and progressive development. "Rienzi"
is quite in the grand opera style of Meyerbeer, Spontini, etc. The
"Flying Dutchman" is a deliberate departure from that style, and in
romantic opera strikes out for itself a new line, which, followed
still further in "Tannhäuser," reaches its stage of perfection in
"Lohengrin." From this time dates the music drama, of which "Tristan"
is the most uncompromising type, and by virtue of wonderful
orchestration, and the intense pathos of the beautifully written poem,
the most fascinating of all. The "Trilogy" ("Walküre," "Siegfried,"
"Götterdämmerung," with the "Rheingold" as introduction) is a very
unequal work. It is full of Wagner's most inspired writing and most
marvellous orchestration; but it is too long and too diffuse. The plot
also is strangely confused and uninteresting, and fails alike as a
story and as a vehicle of theories, morals, or religion. "Parsifal,"
with its sacred allegory, its lofty nobility of tone, and its pure
mysticism, stands on a platform by itself, and is almost above
criticism, or praise, or blame. The libretto alone might have won
Wagner immortality, so original is it and perfect in intention; and
the music seems to be no longer a mere accessory to the effect, but
the very essence and fragrance of the great conception.


(BORN 1813)

[Illustration: Verdi.]

Giuseppe Verdi, the last and most widely successful of the school of
Italian opera proper, was born at Roncole, near Busseto, October 9,
1813. At ten years he was organist of the small church in his native
village, the salary being raised after a year from £1 8_s._ 10_d._ to
£1 12_s._ per annum. At the age of sixteen he was provided with funds
to prosecute his studies at the Conservatorium at Milan; but at the
entrance examination he showed so little evidence of musical talent
that the authorities declined to enroll him. Nothing daunted, he
pursued his studies with ardor under Lavigna, from 1831 to 1833, when,
according to agreement, he returned to Busseto to take the place of
his old teacher Provesi, now deceased.

After five unhappy years in a town where he was little appreciated,
Verdi returned to Milan. His first opera, "Oberto," is chiefly
indebted to Bellini, and the next, "Un Giorno di Regno" (which
fulfilled its own title, as it was only once performed), has been
styled "Un Bazar de Reminiscences." Poor Verdi had just lost his wife
and two children within a few days of each other, so it is hardly to
be wondered at that a comic opera was not a very congenial work, nor
successfully accomplished.

"Nabucodonosor" (1842) was his first hit, and in the next year "I
Lombardi" was even more successful--partly owing to the revolutionary
feeling which in no small degree was to help him to his future high
position. Indeed, his name was a useful acrostic to the revolutionary
party, who shouted "Viva Verdi," when they meant "Viva Vittorio
Emanuele Re D' Italia." "Ernani," produced at Venice in 1844, also
scored a success, owing to the republican sentiment in the libretto,
which was adapted from Victor Hugo's "Hernani." Many works followed in
quick succession, each arousing the enthusiasm of the audiences,
chiefly when an opportunity was afforded them of expressing their
feelings against the Austrian rule. Only with his sixteenth opera did
Verdi win the supremacy when there were no longer any living
competitors; and "Rigoletto" (1851), "Il Trovatore," and "La
Traviata" (1853) must be called the best, as they are the last of the
Italian opera school. "I Vespri Siciliani" (1855) and "Simon
Boccanegra" (1857) were not so successful as "Un Ballo in Maschera"
(1859); and none of them, any more than "La Forza del Destino" (1862)
or "Don Carlos" (1867), added anything to the fame of the composer of
"Il Trovatore."

Only now begins the interest which the student of musical history
finds in Verdi's life. Hitherto he had proved a good man, struggling
with adversity and poverty, a successful composer ambitious to succeed
to the vacant throne of Italian opera. But the keen insight into
dramatic necessity which had gradually developed and had given such
force to otherwise unimportant scenes in earlier operas, also showed
him the insufficiency of the means hitherto at the disposal of Italian
composers, and from time to time he had tried to learn the lessons
taught in the French Grand Opera School, but with poor success. Now a
longer interval seemed to promise a more careful, a more ambitious
work, and when "Aïda" was produced at Cairo (1871), it was at once
acknowledged that a revolution had taken place in Verdi's mind and
method, which might produce still greater results. The influence of
Wagner and the music-drama is distinctly to be felt.

But Verdi was apparently not yet satisfied. For sixteen years the
successful composer maintained absolute silence in opera, when
whispers of a great music-drama roused the expectation of musical
Europe to an extraordinary pitch; nor were the highest expectations
disappointed when "Otello" was produced at Milan in 1887. The
surrender of Italian opera was complete, and Verdi took his right
place at the head of the vigorous new school which has arisen in
Italy, and which promises to regain for the "Land of Song" some of her
ancient preeminence in music. A comic opera by Verdi, "Falstaff," was
announced in 1892: it has well sustained his previous reputation.





This celebrated actor was the son of Peter Garrick, who had a
captain's commission in the army, but who generally resided at
Lichfield. He was born at Hereford, when his father was on a
recruiting party there, and was baptized in the Church of All-Saints,
in that city, on February 20, 1716. Young Garrick received part of
his education at the grammar school there, but he did not apply
himself to his books with much assiduity. He had conceived a very
early passion for theatrical representation, from which nothing could
turn him aside. When he was a little more than eleven years of age, he
formed the project of getting a play acted by young gentlemen and
ladies. After he had made some trial of his own and his companions'
abilities, and prevailed upon the parents to give their consent, he
pitched upon the "Recruiting Officer," for the play. He assembled his
little company in a large room, the destined place of representation.
There we may suppose our young boy distributed the several characters
according to the merits of the performer. He prevailed on one of his
sisters to play the part of the chambermaid. Sergeant Kite, a
character of busy intrigue and bold humor, he chose for himself.

[Illustration: Garrick.]

The play was acted in a manner so far above the expectation of the
audience, that it gave general satisfaction, and was much applauded.
The ease, vivacity, and humor of Kite are still remembered with
pleasure at Lichfield. The first stage attempt of our English Roscius
was in 1727.

Not long after, he was invited to Lisbon by an uncle, who was a
considerable wine merchant in that city, but his stay there was very
short, for he returned to Lichfield the year following. It is imagined
that the gay disposition of the young gentleman was not very suitable
to the old man's temper, which was, perhaps, too grave and austere to
relish the vivacities of his nephew.

However, during his short stay at Lisbon, young Garrick made himself
agreeable to all who knew him, particularly to the English merchants
who resided there, with whom he often dined. After dinner they usually
diverted themselves by placing him upon the table, and calling upon
him to repeat verses and speeches from plays, which he did with great
readiness, and much to the satisfaction of the hearers. Some
Portuguese young gentlemen of the highest rank, who were of his own
age, were also much delighted with his conversation.

He afterward returned to Lichfield, and in 1737 came up to town in
company with Samuel Johnson, who was to make so conspicuous a figure
in the literary world, and of whose life we have already given an

Soon after his arrival in London, Garrick entered himself at Lincoln's
Inn, and he also put himself under the tuition of Mr. Colson, an
eminent mathematician at Rochester. But as he applied himself little
to the study of the law, his proficiency in mathematics and philosophy
was not extensive. His mind was theatrically led, and nothing could
divert his thoughts from the study of that to which his genius so
powerfully prompted him. He had £1,000 left him by his uncle at
Lisbon, and he engaged for a short time in the wine trade, in
partnership with his brother, Mr. Peter Garrick; they hired vaults in
Durham Yard, for the purpose of carrying on the business. The union
between the brothers was of no long date. Peter was calm, sedate, and
methodical; David was gay, volatile, impetuous, and perhaps not so
confined to regularity as his partner could have wished. To prevent
the continuance of fruitless and daily altercation, by the
interposition of friends the partnership was amicably dissolved. And
now Garrick prepared himself in earnest for that employment which he
so ardently loved, and in which nature designed he should eminently

He was frequently in the company of the most eminent actors; he got
himself introduced to the managers of the theatres, and tried his
talent in the recitation of some particular and favorite portions of
plays. Now and then he indulged himself in the practice of mimicry, a
talent which, however inferior, is never willingly resigned by him who
excels in it. Sometimes he wrote criticisms upon the action and
elocution of the players, and published them in the prints. These
sudden effusions of his mind generally comprehended judicious
observations and shrewd remarks, unmixed with that illiberality which
often disgraces the instructions of stage critics.

Garrick's diffidence withheld him from trying his strength at first
upon a London theatre. He thought the hazard was too great, and
embraced the advantage of commencing his noviciate in acting with a
company of players then ready to set out for Ipswich, under the
direction of Mr. William Gifford and Mr. Dunstall, in the summer of

The first effort of his theatrical talents was exerted as Aboan, in
the play of "Oroonoko," a part in which his features could not be
easily discerned. Under the disguise of a black countenance, he hoped
to escape being known, should it be his misfortune not to please.
Though Aboan is not a first-rate character, yet the scenes of pathetic
persuasion and affecting distress in which that character is involved,
will always command the attention of the audience when represented by
a judicious actor. Our young player's applause was equal to his most
sanguine desires. Under the assumed name of Lyddal, he not only acted
a variety of characters in plays, particularly Chamont, in the
"Orphan;" Captain Brazen, in the "Recruiting Officer;" and Sir Harry
Wildair; but he likewise gave such delight to the audience, that they
gratified him with constant and loud proofs of their approbation. The
town of Ipswich will long boast of having first seen and encouraged so
great a genius as Garrick.

His first appearance as an actor in London, was on October 19, 1741,
when he performed the part of Richard III., at the playhouse in
Goodman's Fields. His easy and familiar, yet forcible, style in
speaking and acting, at first threw the critics into some hesitation
concerning the novelty, as well as propriety, of his manner. They had
been long accustomed to an elevation of the voice, with a sudden
mechanical depression of its tones, calculated to excite admiration,
and to intrap applause. To the just modulation of the words, and
concurring expression of the features from the genuine works of
nature, they had been strangers, at least for some time. But after he
had gone through a variety of scenes, in which he gave evident proofs
of consummate art and perfect knowledge of character, their doubts
were turned into surprise and astonishment, from which they relieved
themselves by loud and reiterated applause. They were more especially
charmed when the actor, after having thrown aside the hypocrite and
politician, assumed the warrior and the hero. When news was brought to
Richard that the Duke of Buckingham was taken, Garrick's look and
action, when he pronounced the words

  "----Off with his head!
   So much for Buckingham!"

were so magnificent and important, from his visible enjoyment of the
incident, that several loud shouts of approbation proclaimed the
triumph of the actor and satisfaction of the audience. Richard's dream
before the battle, and his death, were accompanied with the loudest
gratulations of applause.

Such was the universal approbation which followed our young actor,
that the more established theatres of Drury Lane and Covent Garden
were deserted. Garrick drew after him the inhabitants of the most
polite parts of the town: Goodman's Fields were full of the splendor
of St. James' and Grosvenor Square; the coaches of the nobility filled
up the space from Temple Bar to Whitechapel. He had so perfectly
convinced the public of his superior accomplishments in acting, that
not to admire him would not only have argued an absence of taste, but
the grossest stupidity. Those who had seen and been delighted with the
most admired of the old actors, confessed that he had excelled the
ablest of them in the variety of the exhibitions, and equalled them
all in their must applauded characters.

Alexander Pope was persuaded by Lord Orrery to see him in the first
dawn of his fame. That great man, who had often seen and admired
Betterton, was struck with the propriety and beauty of Mr. Garrick's
action; and as a convincing proof that he had a good opinion of his
merit, he told Lord Orrery that he was afraid the young man would be
spoiled, for he would have no competitor.

Mr. Garrick shone forth like a theatrical Newton; he threw new light
on elocution and action; he banished ranting, bombast, and grimace;
and restored nature, ease, simplicity, and genuine humor.

In 1742 he entered into stated agreements with Fleetwood, patentee of
Drury Lane, for the annual income of £500. His fame continued to
increase at the royal theatre, and soon became so extended that a
deputation was sent from Ireland, to invite him to act in Dublin
during the months of June, July, and August, upon very profitable
conditions. These he embraced, and crossed the seas to the metropolis
of Ireland in June, 1742, accompanied by Mrs. Woffington.

[Illustration: Garrick as Richard III.]

His success at Dublin exceeded all imagination, though much was
expected from him; he was caressed by all ranks of people as a prodigy
of theatrical accomplishment. During the hottest days in the year the
play-house was crowded with persons of fashion and rank, who were
never tired with seeing and applauding the various essays of his

The excessive heat became prejudicial to the frequenters of the
theatre; and the epidemical distemper, which seized and carried off
great numbers, was nicknamed the _Garrick fever_. Satisfied with the
emoluments arising from the summer campaign, and delighted with the
generous encouragement and kind countenance which the nobility and
gentry of Ireland had given him, and of which he always spoke in the
strongest terms of acknowledgment and gratitude, he set out for
London, to renew his labors and to receive the applause of the most
critical, as well as most candid, audience in Europe.

Such an actor as Garrick, whose name when announced in the play-bill
operated like a charm and drew multitudes to the theatre, of
consequence considerably augmented the profits of the patentee. But at
the time when all without doors was apparently gay and splendid, and
the theatre of Drury Lane seemed to be in the most flourishing
condition, by the strange and absurd conduct of the manager the whole
fabric was absolutely running into certain destruction.

His behavior brought on a revolt of the principal actors, with Mr.
Garrick and Mr. Macklin at their head, and for some time they seceded
from the theatre. They endeavored to procure a patent for a new
theatre, but without success; and Garrick at length accommodated his
dispute with the manager, Mr. Fleetwood, by engaging to play again for
a salary of six or seven hundred pounds.

In 1744, Garrick made a second voyage to Dublin, and became
joint-manager of the theatre there with Mr. Sheridan. They met with
great success; and Garrick returned again to London, in May, 1746,
having considerably added to his stock of money. In 1747 he became
joint-patentee of Drury Lane Theatre with Mr. Lacy. Mr. Garrick and
Mr. Lacy divided the business of the theatre in such a manner as not
to encroach upon each other's province. Mr. Lacy took upon himself the
care of the wardrobe, the scenes, and the economy of the household;
while Garrick regulated the more important business of treating with
authors, hiring actors, distributing parts in plays, superintending of
rehearsals, etc. Besides the profits accruing from his half-share, he
was allowed an income of £500 for his acting, and some particular
emoluments for altering plays, farces, etc.

In 1749, Mr. Garrick was married to Mademoiselle Violetti, a young
lady who (as Mr. Davies says), to great elegance of form and many
polite accomplishments, joined the more amiable virtues of the mind.
In 1763, 1764, and 1765, he made a journey to France and Italy,
accompanied by Mrs. Garrick, who, from the day of her marriage till
the death of her husband, was never separated from him for twenty-four
hours. During his stay abroad his company was desired by many
foreigners of high birth and great merit. He was sometimes invited to
give the company a taste of that art in which he was known so greatly
to excel. Such a request he very readily consented to, for indeed his
compliance cost him nothing. He could, without the least preparation,
transform himself into any character tragic or comic, and seize
instantaneously upon any passion of the human mind. He could make a
sudden transition from violent rage, and even madness, to the extremes
of levity and humor, and go through the whole circle of theatric
evolution with the most surprising velocity.

On the death of Mr. Lacy, joint patentee of Drury Lane with Mr.
Garrick, in 1773, the whole management of that theatre devolved on Mr.
Garrick. But in 1776, being about sixty years of age, he sold his
share of the patent, and formed a resolution of quitting the stage. He
was, however, determined, before he left the theatre, to give the
public proofs of his abilities to delight them as highly as he had
ever done in the flower and vigor of his life. To this end he
presented them with some of the most capital and trying characters of
Shakespeare; with Hamlet, Richard, and Lear, besides other parts which
were less fatiguing. Hamlet and Lear were repeated; Richard he acted
once only, and by the king's command. His Majesty was much surprised
to see him, at an age so advanced, run about the field of battle with
so much fire, force, and agility.

He finished his dramatic race with one of his favorite parts, with
Felix, in "The Wonder a Woman Keeps a Secret." When the play was
ended, Mr. Garrick advanced toward the audience, with much palpitation
of mind, and visible emotion in his countenance. No premeditation
whatever could prepare him for this affecting scene. He bowed--he
paused--the spectators were all attention. After a short struggle of
nature, he recovered from the shock he had felt, and addressed his
auditors in the following words:

"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: It has been customary with persons under my
circumstances to address you in a farewell epilogue. I had the same
intention, and turned my thoughts that way; but indeed, I found myself
then as incapable of writing such an epilogue, as I should be now of
speaking it.

"The jingle of rhyme and the language of fiction would but ill suit my
present feelings. This is to me a very awful moment; it is no less
than parting forever with those from whom I have received the greatest
kindness and favors, and upon the spot where that kindness and those
favors were enjoyed." [Here he was unable to proceed till he was
relieved by a shower of tears.]

"Whatever may be the changes of my future life, the deepest impression
of your kindness will always remain here" (putting his hand on his
breast) "fixed and unalterable. I will very readily agree to my
successors having more skill and ability for their station than I
have; but I defy them all to take more sincere, and more uninterrupted
pains for your favor, or to be more truly sensible of it, than is your
humble servant."

After a profound obeisance, he retired, amid the tears and
acclamations of a most crowded and brilliant audience.

He died on Wednesday morning, January 20, 1779, at eight o'clock,
without a groan. The disease was pronounced to be a palsy in the
kidneys. On Monday, February 1st, the body of David Garrick was
conveyed from his own house in the Adelphi, and most magnificently
interred in Westminster Abbey, under the monument of his beloved
Shakespeare. He was attended to the grave by persons of the first
rank; by men illustrious for genius, and famous for science; by those
who loved him living, and lamented his death.


         [Footnote 13: Reprinted by permission of The Cassell
         Publishing Company, from "Actors and Actresses of Great
         Britain and the United States."]



[Illustration: Edwin Forrest.]

Edwin Forrest was born in the city of Philadelphia, March 9, 1806, his
father, a Scotchman, having emigrated to America during the last year
of the preceding century. The boy, like many others of his profession,
was designed for the ministry, and before the age of eleven the future
Channing had attracted admiring listeners by the music of his voice
and the aptness of his mimicry. His memory was remarkable, and he
would recite whole passages of his preceptor's sermons. Perched upon a
chair or stool, and crowned with the proud approval of family and
friends, the young mimic filled the hearts of his listeners with
fervent hopes of his coming success in the fold of their beloved
church. These hopes were destined to be met with disappointment. The
bias of the future leader of the American stage was only faintly
outlined as yet; his hour of development was still to come.

He must have learned early the road to the theatre, permitted to go by
the family, or going, perhaps, without the knowledge or consent of his
seniors in the overworked household; for, before he had passed his
tenth year, our young sermonizer was a member of a Thespian club, and
before he was eleven he had made his appearance at one of the regular
theatres in a female character, but with most disastrous results. He
soon outgrew the ignominy of his first failure, however, and again and
again sought to overcome its disgrace by a fresh appearance. To his
appeals the irate manager lent a deaf ear. The sacred portal that
leads to the enchanted ground of the stage was closed against young
Forrest, the warden being instructed not to let the importunate boy
pass the door. At last, in desperation, he resolved to storm the
citadel, to beat down the faithful guard and to carry war into the
enemy's camp. One night he dashed past the astonished guardian of the
stage entrance just as the curtain fell upon one of the acts of a
play. He emerged before the footlights, eluding all pursuit, dressed
as a harlequin, and, before the audience had recovered from its
astonishment at this scene not set down in the bills, the baffled, but
not subdued, aspirant had delivered the lines of an epilogue in rhyme
with so much effect that, before he could be seized by the astounded
stage-manager and hurled from the theatre, he had attracted public
notice, successfully won his surprised audience, and not only secured
immunity from punishment for his temerity, but actually gained that
respect in the manager's estimation which he had so long and so vainly
striven to acquire.

At last Forrest was promised an appearance at the Walnut Street house,
then one of the leading theatres of the country. He selected Young
Norval in Home's tragedy of "Douglas," and on November 27, 1820, the
future master of the American stage, then fourteen years of age--a boy
in years, a man in character--announced as "A Young Gentleman of this
City," surrounded by a group of veteran actors who had for many years
shared the favor of the public, began a career which was as auspicious
at its opening as it was splendid in its maturity. At his entrance he
won the vast audience at once by the grace of his figure and the
modest bearing that was natural to him. Something of that magnetism
which he exercised so effectively in late years now attracted all who
heard him, and made friends even before he spoke.

He was allowed to reappear as Frederick in "Lovers' Vows," repeating
his first success; and on January 8, 1821, he benefited as Octavian in
the "Mountaineers," a play associated with the early glories of Edmund
Kean. In this year, also, he made his first and only venture as a
manager, boldly taking the Prune Street Theatre, Philadelphia, and
giving a successful performance of "Richard III.," which not only
pleased the audience, but brought him a few dollars of profit. He made
many attempts to secure a regular engagement in one of the Western
circuits, where experience could be gained; and at last, after many
denials, he was employed by Collins and Jones to play leading juvenile
parts in their theatres in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Lexington.
Thus, at the age of sixteen or eighteen, Edwin Forrest enrolled
himself as a regular member of a theatrical company, and broke loose
from trade forever.

Of his professional progress here we have but poor accounts. He seems
to have been very popular, and to have had an experience larger than
he had heretofore enjoyed. He played with the elder Conway, and was
affected by the grandeur of that actor's Othello, a study which served
Forrest well when in late years he inherited the character.

Jane Placide, who inspired the first love of Edwin Forrest, was an
actress who combined talent, beauty, and goodness. Her character would
have softened the asperities of his, and led him by a calmer path to
those grand elevations toward which Providence had directed his
footsteps. Baffled in love, however, and believing Caldwell to be his
rival and enemy, he challenged him; but was rebuked by the silent
contempt of his manager, whom the impulsive and disappointed lover

The hard novitiate of Edwin Forrest was now drawing near its close.
Securing a stock engagement with Charles Gilfert, manager of the
Albany Theatre, he opened there in the early fall, and played for the
first time with Edmund Kean, then on his second visit to America. The
meeting with this extraordinary man and the attention he received from
him were foremost among the directing influences of Forrest's life. To
his last hour he never wearied of singing the praises of Kean, whose
genius filled the English-speaking world with admiration. Two men more
unlike in mind and body can scarcely be imagined. Until now Forrest
had seen no actor who represented in perfection the impassioned school
of which Kean was the master. He could not have known Cooke, even in
the decline of that great tragedian's power, and the little giant was
indeed a revelation. He played Iago to Kean's Othello, Titus to his
Brutus, and Richmond to his Richard III.

In the interval which preceded the opening of the Bowery Theatre, New
York, Forrest appeared at the Park for the benefit of Woodhull,
playing Othello. He made a pronounced success, his old manager sitting
in front, profanely exclaiming, "By God, the boy has made a hit!" This
was a great event, as the Park was then the leading theatre of
America, and its actors were the most famous and exclusive.

He opened at the Bowery Theatre in November, 1826, as Othello, and
made a brilliant impression. His salary was raised from $28 to $40 per
week. From this success may be traced the first absolute hold made by
Edwin Forrest upon the attention of cultivated auditors and
intelligent critics. The Bowery was then a very different theatre from
what it afterward became, when the newsboys took forcible possession
of its pit and the fire-laddies were the arbiters of public taste in
its neighborhood.

An instance of Forrest's moral integrity may be told here. He had been
approached by a rival manager, after his first success, and urged to
secede from the Bowery and join the other house at a much larger
salary. He scornfully refused to break his word, although his own
interests he knew must suffer. His popularity at this time was so
great that, when his contract for the season had expired, he was
instantly engaged for eight nights, at a salary of two hundred dollars
a night.

The success which had greeted Forrest on his first appearance in New
York, was renewed in every city in the land. Fortune attended fame,
and filled his pockets, as the breath of adulation filled his heart.
He had paid the last penny of debt left by his father, and had seen a
firm shelter raised over the head of his living family. With a
patriotic feeling for all things American, Forrest, about this time,
formed a plan for the encouragement or development of an American
drama, which resulted in heavy money losses to himself, but produced
such contributions to our stage literature as the "Gladiator," "Jack
Cade," and "Metamora."[14] After five years of constant labor he felt
that he had earned the right to a holiday, and he formed his plans
for a two years' absence in Europe. A farewell banquet was tendered
him by the citizens of New York, and a medal was struck in honor of
the occasion. Bryant, Halleck, Leggett, Ingraham and other
distinguished men were present. This was an honor which had never
before been paid to an American actor.

         [Footnote 14: Of Forrest's performance of Metamora, in the
         play of that name, W. R. Alger says, "Never did an actor more
         thoroughly identify and merge himself with his part than
         Forrest did in 'Metamora.' He was completely transformed from
         what he appeared in other characters, and seemed Indian in
         every particular, all through and all over, from the crown of
         his head to the sole of his foot."]

He had been absent about two years when he landed in New York in
September, 1836. On his appearance at the Walnut Street Theatre,
Philadelphia, he was received with unprecedented enthusiasm. He gave
six performances only, on this occasion, and each saw a repetition of
the scene at the beginning of the engagement. The receipts were the
largest ever known in that house.

On September 19, 1836, Forrest embarked once more for the mother
country, this time with serious purpose. After a speedy and uneventful
passage he reached England, and at once set about the preliminary
business of his British engagement, which began October 17, 1836. He
was the first really great American actor who had appeared in London
as a rival of the English tragedians; for Cooper was born in England,
though always regarded as belonging to the younger country. His
opening part was Spartacus in the "Gladiator." The play was condemned,
the actor applauded. In Othello, in Lear, and in Macbeth, he achieved
instant success. He began his engagement October 17th and closed
December 19th, having acted Macbeth seven times, Othello nine, and
King Lear eight. A dinner at the Garrick Club was offered and
accepted. Here he sat down with Charles Kemble and Macready; Sergeant
Talfourd was in the chair.

It was during this engagement he met his future wife, Miss Catherine
Sinclair. In the latter part of June, 1837, the marriage took place in
St. Paul's Church, Covent Garden. Mr. and Mrs. Forrest soon after
embarked for America. The tragedian resumed his American engagements
November 15, 1837, at the old Chestnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia.
Presented to his friends, his wife at once made a deep and lasting
impression. Her native delicacy of mind and refinement of manners
enchanted those who hoped for some such influence to be exerted in
softening the rough vigor and democratic downrightness of the man.
Domestic discord came too soon, however, and in an evil hour for
himself, in an evil hour for his art and for the struggling drama in
America, Edwin Forrest threw open the doors of his home to the
scrutiny of the world, and appealed to the courts to remove the
skeleton which was hidden in his closet. With the proceedings of that
trial, which resulted in divorce, alimony, and separation, this memoir
has nothing to do.

[Illustration: Forrest as Metamora.]

Edwin Forrest, leaving the court-room a defeated man, was instantly
raised to a popularity with the masses beyond anything even he had
before experienced. He began an engagement soon after at the Broadway
Theatre, opening as Damon. The house was crowded to suffocation. The
engagement of sixty nights was unparalleled in the history of the
American drama for length and profit. But despite the flattering
applause of the multitude, life never again had for him the smiling
aspect it had so often worn before. The applause which filled his
ears, the wealth which flowed in upon him could not improve that
temper which had never been amiable, and all the hard stories of his
life belong to this period.

On September 20, 1852, he reappeared at the Broadway Theatre, New
York. In February, 1853, "Macbeth" was produced in grand style, with
new scenery and appointments. The tragedy was played on twenty
consecutive nights, then by far the longest run of any Shakespearean
play in America. The cast was very strong. It included Conway, Duff,
Davenport, Pope, Davidge, Barry, and Madame Ponisi.

On September 17, 1860, after an absence of nearly four years, Edwin
Forrest appeared again on the stage. He was engaged by James Nixon,
and began his contract of one hundred nights at Niblo's Garden, New
York, in the character of Hamlet. The long retirement only increased
the curious interest which centred round his historic name. Upon his
opening night the seats were sold at auction. His success in
Philadelphia rivalled that of New York. In Boston the vast auditorium
of the grandest theatre in America was found too small to contain the
crowds he drew.

Severe attacks of gout were beginning to tell upon that herculean
form, sapping and undermining it; and in 1865, while playing Damon at
the Holiday Street Theatre, in Baltimore, the weather being very cold
and the theatre open to draughts, he was seized with a sudden illness,
which was followed by very serious results. Suffering the most intense
agony, he was able to get to the end of the part; but when his robes
were laid aside and physicians summoned, it was found to his horror
that he had suffered a partial paralysis of the sciatic nerve. In an
instant the sturdy gait, the proud tread of the herculean actor was
forever gone; for he never regained complete control of his limb, a
perceptible hobble being the legacy of the dreadful visitation. His
right hand was almost powerless, and he could not hold his sword.

In 1866 he went to California, urged by the manager in San Francisco.
His last engagement in New York took place in February, 1871. He
played Lear and Richelieu, his two greatest parts. On the night of
March 25, 1872, Forrest opened in "Lear" at the Globe Theatre, Boston.
"Lear" was played six nights. During the second week he was announced
for Richelieu and Virginius; but he caught a violent cold on Sunday,
and labored sorely on Monday evening through the part of Richelieu. On
Tuesday he repeated the performance, against the advice of friends and
physicians. Rare bursts of his old power lighted up the play, but he
labored piteously on against his illness and threatened pneumonia.
When stimulants were offered he rejected them, declaring "that if he
died to-night, he should still be his old royal self."

Announced for Virginius the following evening, he was unable to
appear. A severe attack of pneumonia developed itself. He was carried
to his hotel, and his last engagement was brought to an abrupt and
melancholy end. As soon as he was able to move, he left Boston for his
home in Philadelphia, resting on his way only a day in New York. As
the summer passed away, the desire for work grew stronger and
stronger, and he decided to re-enter public life, but simply as a
reader of the great plays in which he had as an actor been so
successful. The result was a disappointment. On December 11, 1872, he
wrote to Oakes his last letter, saying sadly, but fondly: "God bless
you ever, my dear and much-beloved friend."

When the morning of December 12th came, his servant, hearing no sound
in his chamber at his general hour of rising, became alarmed, opened
his master's door, and found there, cold in death upon his bed, the
form of the great tragedian. His arms were crossed upon his bosom, and
he seemed to be at rest. The stroke had come suddenly. With little
warning, and without pain, he had passed away.

The dead man's will was found to contain several bequests to old
friends and servants, and an elaborate scheme by which his fortune, in
the hands of trustees, was to be applied to the erection and support
of a retreat for aged actors, to be called "The Edwin Forrest Home."
The idea had been long in his mind, and careful directions were drawn
up for its practical working; but the trustees found themselves
powerless to realize fully the hopes and wishes of the testator. A
settlement had to be made to the divorced wife, who acted liberally
toward the estate; but the amount withdrawn seriously crippled it, as
it was deprived at once of a large sum of ready money. Other legal
difficulties arose. And thus the great ambition of the tragedian to be
a benefactor to his profession was destined to come almost to naught.
Of this happily little he recks now. He has parted with all the cares
of life, and has at last found rest.

Forrest's greatest Shakespearean parts were Lear, Othello, and
Coriolanus. The first grew mellow and rich as the actor grew in years,
while it still retained much of its earlier force. His Othello
suffered with the decline of his faculties, although his clear
conception of all he did was apparent to the end in the acting of
every one of his parts. Coriolanus died with him, the last of all the
Romans. He was greatest, however, in such parts as Virginius, William
Tell, and Spartacus. Here his mannerisms of gait and utterance were
less noticeable than in his Shakespearean characters, or were
overlooked in the rugged massiveness of the creation. Hamlet, Richard,
and Macbeth were out of his temperament, and added nothing to his
fame; but Richelieu is said to have been one of his noblest and most
impressive performances. He was in all things marked and distinctive.
His obtrusive personality often destroyed the harmony of the portrait
he was painting; but in his inspired moments, which were many, his
touches were sublime. He passed over quiet scenes with little
elaboration, and dwelt strongly upon the grand features of the
characters he represented. His Lear, in the great scenes, rose to a
majestic height, but fell in places almost to mediocrity. His art was
unequal to his natural gifts. He was totally unlike his great
contemporary and rival, Macready, whose attention to detail gave to
every performance the harmony of perfect work.

This memoir may fitly close with an illustrative anecdote of the great
actor. Toward the end of his professional career he was playing an
engagement at St. Louis. He was very feeble in health, and his
lameness was a source of great anxiety to him. Sitting at a late
supper in his hotel one evening, after a performance of "King Lear,"
with his friend J. B. McCullough, of the _Globe-Democrat_, that
gentleman remarked to him: "Mr. Forrest, I never in my life saw you
play Lear so well as you did to-night." Whereupon the veteran almost
indignantly replied, rising slowly and laboriously from his chair to
his full height: "Play Lear! What do you mean, sir? I do not play
Lear! I play Hamlet, Richard, Shylock, Virginius, if you please, but
by God, sir, I _am_ Lear!"

Nor was this wholly imaginative. Ingratitude of the basest kind had
rent his soul. Old friends were gone from him; new friends were but
half-hearted. His hearthstone was desolate. The public, to whom he had
given his best years, was becoming impatient of his infirmities. The
royalty of his powers he saw by degrees torn from his decaying form.
Other kings had arisen on the stage, to whom his old subjects now
showed a reverence once all his own. The mockery of his diadem only
remained. A wreck of the once proud man who had despised all weakness,
and had ruled his kingdom with imperial sway, he now stood alone.
Broken in health and in spirit, deserted, forgotten, unkinged, he
might well exclaim, "_I am Lear!_"




[Illustration: Charlotte Cushman.]

The Pilgrim Fathers figure in American pedigrees almost as frequently
and persistently as Norman William and his followers appear at the
trunk of our family-trees. Certainly, the Mayflower must have carried
very many heads of houses across the Atlantic. It was not in the
Mayflower, however, but in the Fortune, a smaller vessel, of
fifty-five tons, that Robert Cushman, Nonconformist, the founder of
the Cushman family in America, sailed from England, for the better
enjoyment of liberty of conscience and freedom of religion. In the
seventh generation from Robert Cushman appeared Elkanah Cushman, who
took to wife Mary Eliza, daughter of Erasmus Babbit, Jr., lawyer,
musician, and captain in the army. Of this marriage was born Charlotte
Saunders Cushman, in Richmond Street, Boston, July 23, 1816, and other

Charlotte Cushman says of herself: "I was born a tom-boy." She had a
passion for climbing trees and for breaking open dolls' heads. She
could not make dolls' clothes, but she could manufacture their
furniture--could do anything with tools. "I was very destructive to
toys and clothes, tyrannical to brothers and sister, but very social,
and a great favorite with other children. Imitation was a prevailing
trait." The first play she ever saw was "Coriolanus," with Macready in
the leading part; her second play was "The Gamester." She became noted
in her school for her skill in reading aloud. Her competitors
grumbled: "No wonder she can read; she goes to the theatre!" Until
then she had been shy and reserved, not to say stupid, about reading
aloud in school, afraid of the sound of her own voice, and unwilling
to trust it; but acquaintance with the theatre loosened her tongue, as
she describes it, and gave opportunity and expression to a faculty
which became the ruling passion of her life. At home, as a child, she
took part in an operetta founded upon the story of "Bluebeard," and
played Selim, the lover, with great applause, in a large attic chamber
of her father's house before an enthusiastic audience of young people.

Elkanah Cushman had been for some years a successful merchant, a
member of the firm of Topliffe & Cushman, Long Wharf, Boston. But
failure befell him, "attributable," writes Charlotte Cushman's
biographer, Miss Stebbins, "to the infidelity of those whom he trusted
as supercargoes." The family removed from Boston to Charlestown.
Charlotte was placed at a public school, remaining there until she was
thirteen only. Elkanah Cushman died, leaving his widow and five
children with very slender means. Mrs. Cushman opened a boarding-house
in Boston, and struggled hard to ward off further misfortune. It was
discovered that Charlotte possessed a noble voice of almost two
registers, "a full contralto and almost a full soprano; but the low
voice was the natural one." The fortunes of the family seemed to rest
upon the due cultivation of Charlotte's voice and upon her future as a
singer. "My mother," she writes, "at great self-sacrifice gave me what
opportunities for instruction she could obtain for me; and then my
father's friend, Mr. R. D. Shepherd, of Shepherdstown, Va., gave me
two years of the best culture that could be obtained in Boston at that
time, under John Paddon, an English organist and teacher of singing."
When the English singer, Mrs. Wood--better known, perhaps, as Miss
Paton--visited Boston in 1835 or 1836, she needed the support of a
contralto voice. Charlotte Cushman was sent for, and rehearsed duets
with Mrs. Wood. The young beginner was advised to prepare herself for
the operatic stage; she was assured that such a voice would "lead her
to any height of fortune she coveted." She became the articled pupil
of Mr. Maeder, the husband of Clara Fisher, actress and vocalist, and
the musical director of Mr. and Mrs. Wood. Instructed by Maeder, Miss
Cushman undertook the parts of the Countess in "The Marriage of
Figaro" and Lucy Bertram in the opera of "Guy Mannering." These were
her first appearances upon the stage.

Mrs. Maeder's voice was a contralto; it became necessary, therefore,
to assign soprano parts to Miss Cushman. Undue stress was thus laid
upon her upper notes. She was very young, and she felt the change of
climate when she went on with the Maeders to New Orleans. It is
likely that her powers as a singer had been tried too soon and too
severely; her operatic career was brought to a sudden close. Her voice
failed her; her upper notes departed, never to return; she was left
with a weakened and limited contralto register. Alarmed and wretched,
she sought counsel of Mr. Caldwell, the manager of the chief New
Orleans theatre. "You ought to be an actress, and not a singer," he
said, and advised her to take lessons of Mr. Barton, his leading
tragedian. Her articles of apprenticeship to Maeder were cancelled.
Soon she was ready to appear as Lady Macbeth on the occasion of
Barton's benefit.

The season ended, she sailed for Philadelphia on her way to New York.
Presently she had entered into a three years' engagement with Mr.
Hamblin, the manager of the Bowery Theatre, at a salary of twenty-five
dollars a week for the first year, thirty-five for the second year,
and forty-five for the third. Mr. Hamblin had received excellent
accounts of the actress from his friend, Mr. Barton, of New Orleans,
and had heard her rehearse scenes from "Macbeth," "Jane Shore,"
"Venice Preserved," "The Stranger," etc. To enable her to obtain a
suitable wardrobe, he became security for her with his tradespeople,
deducting five dollars a week from her salary until the debt was
satisfied. All promised well; independence seemed secure at last. Mrs.
Cushman was sent for from Boston; she gave up her boarding-house and
hastened to her daughter. Miss Cushman writes: "I got a situation for
my eldest brother in a store in New York. I left my only sister in
charge of a half-sister in Boston, and I took my youngest brother with
me." But rheumatic fever seized the actress; she was able to act for a
few nights only, and her dream of good fortune came to a disastrous
close. "The Bowery Theatre was burned to the ground, with all my
wardrobe, all my debt upon it, and my three years' contract ending in
smoke." Grievously distressed, but not disheartened, with her family
dependent upon her exertions, she accepted an engagement at the
principal theatre in Albany, where she remained five months, acting
all the leading characters. In September, 1837, she entered into an
engagement, which endured for three years, with the manager of the
Park Theatre, New York. She was required to fulfil the duties of
"walking lady" and "general utility" at a salary of twenty dollars a

During this period of her career she performed very many characters,
and toiled assiduously at her profession. It was then the custom to
afford the public a great variety of performances, to change the plays
nightly, and to present two and sometimes three plays upon the same
evening. The actors were forever busy studying new parts, and, when
they were not performing, they were rehearsing. "It was a time of hard
work," writes Miss Stebbins, "of ceaseless activity, and of hard-won
and scantily accorded appreciation." Miss Cushman had no choice of
parts; she was not the chief actress of the company; she sustained
without question all the characters the management assigned to her.
Her appearance as Meg Merrilies (she acquired subsequently great favor
by her performance of this character) was due to an incident--the
illness of Mrs. Chippendale, the actress who usually supported the
part. It was in the year 1840; the veteran Braham was to appear as
Henry Bertram. A Meg Merrilies had to be improvised. The obscure
"utility" actress was called upon to take Mrs. Chippendale's place.
She might read the part if she could not commit it to memory but
personate Meg Merrilies after some sort she must. She had never
especially noticed the part; but as she stood at the side scene, book
in hand, awaiting her moment of entrance, her ear caught the dialogue
going on upon the stage between two of the gypsies, "conveying the
impression that Meg was no longer to be feared or respected--that she
was no longer in her right mind." This furnished her with a clew to
the character, and led her to present it upon the stage as the weird
and startling figure which afterward became so famous. Of course, the
first performance was but a sketch of her later portrayals of Meg
Merrilies, yet she made a profound impression. "I had not thought that
I had done anything remarkable," she wrote, "and when a knock came at
my dressing-room door, and I heard Braham's voice, my first thought
was, 'Now what have I done? He is surely displeased with me about
something.' Imagine my gratification, when Mr. Braham said, 'Miss
Cushman, I have come to thank you for the most veritable sensation I
have experienced for a long time. I give you my word, when I saw you
in that first scene I felt a cold chill run all over me. Where have
you learned to do anything like that?'"

During her visits to England, Miss Cushman personated Meg Merrilies
more often than any other character. In America she was also famous
for her performance of Nancy, in a melodrama founded upon "Oliver
Twist;" but this part she did not bring with her across the Atlantic.
She had first played Nancy during her "general utility" days at the
Park Theatre, when the energy and pathos of her acting powerfully
affected her audience, and the tradition of her success in the part
long "lingered in the memory of managers, and caused them, ever and
anon, as their business interests prompted, to bring great pressure to
bear upon her for a reproduction of it." Mr. George Vandenhoff
describes Nancy as Miss Cushman's "greatest part; fearfully natural,
dreadfully intense, horribly real."

In the winter of 1842 Miss Cushman undertook the management of the
Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, which was then in rather a fallen
state. Under her energetic rule, however, the establishment recovered
its popularity. "She displayed at that day," writes Mr. George
Vandenhoff--who "starred at the Walnut Street Theatre for six nights
to small audiences"--"a rude, strong, uncultivated talent. It was not
till after she had seen and acted with Mr. Macready--which she did the
next season--that she really brought artistic study and finish to her
performances." Macready arrived in New York in the autumn of 1843. He
notes: "The Miss Cushman, who acted Lady Macbeth, interested me much.
She has to learn her art, but she showed mind and sympathy with me--a
novelty so refreshing to me on the stage." She discerned the
opportunity for study and improvement presented by Macready's visit,
and underwent the fatigue of acting on alternate nights in
Philadelphia and New York during the term of his engagement at the
Park Theatre. Her own success was very great. She wrote to her mother
of her great reception: of her being called out after the play; of the
"hats and handkerchiefs waved to me; flowers sent to me," etc. In
October, 1844, she sailed for England in the packet-ship Garrick. She
had little money with her. A farewell benefit taken in Boston, her
native city, had not proved very productive, and she had been obliged
"to make arrangements for the maintenance of her family during her
absence." And with characteristic prudence she left behind her a
certain sum, to be in readiness for her, in case failure in England
should drive her promptly back to America.

No engagement in London had been offered her; but she received, upon
her arrival, a letter from Macready, proposing that she should join a
company then being formed to give representations in Paris. She
thought it prudent to decline this proposal, however, so as to avoid
entering into anything like rivalry with Miss Helen Faucit, the
leading actress of the troupe. She visited Paris for a few days, but
only to sit with the audience of the best French theatres. She
returned to her dull lodgings in Covent Garden, "awaiting her
destiny." She was fond, in after years, of referring to the struggles
and poverty, the hopes and the despair, of her first sojourn in
London. Her means were nearly exhausted. Sally, the dresser, used to
relate: "Miss Cushman lived on a mutton-chop a day, and I always
bought the baker's dozen of muffins for the sake of the extra one, and
we ate them all, no matter how stale they were, and we never suffered
from want of appetite in those days." She found herself reduced to her
last sovereign, when Mr. Maddox, the manager of the Princess's
Theatre, came to her with a proposal. The watchful Sally reported that
he had been walking up and down the street for some time early in the
morning, too early for a visit. "He is anxious," said Miss Cushman. "I
can make my own terms." He wished her to appear with Forrest, the
American tragedian, then visiting the London stage for the second and
last time. She stipulated that she should have her opportunity first,
and "alone." If successful, she was willing to appear in support of
Forrest. So it was agreed.

Her first appearance upon the English stage was made on February 14,
1845; she assumed the character of Bianca, in Dean Milman's rather
dull tragedy of "Fazio." Her triumph was indisputable. Her intensity
and vehemence completely carried away the house. As the pit rose at
Kean's Shylock, so it rose at Charlotte Cushman's Bianca. She wrote to
her mother in America: "All my success put together, since I have been
upon the stage, would not come near my success in London." The critics
described, as the crowning effort of her performance, the energy and
pathos and abandonment of her appeal to Aldabella, when the wife
sacrifices her pride, and sinks, "huddled into a heap," at the feet of
her rival, imploring her to save the life of Fazio. Miss Cushman,
speaking of her first performance in London, was wont to relate how
she was so completely overcome, not only by the excitement of the
scene, but by the nervous agitation of the occasion, that she lost for
the moment her self-command, and was especially grateful for the
long-continued applause which gave her time to recover herself. When
she slowly rose at last and faced the house again, the spectacle of
its enthusiasm thrilled and impressed her in a manner she could never
forget. The audience were standing; some had mounted on the benches;
there was wild waving of hats and handkerchiefs, a storm of cheering,
great showering of bouquets.

Her second character in London was Lady Macbeth, to the Macbeth of
Edwin Forrest; but the American actor failed to please, and the
audience gave free expression to their discontent. Greatly disgusted,
Forrest withdrew, deluding himself with the belief that he was the
victim of a conspiracy. Miss Cushman's success knew no abatement. She
played a round of parts, assisted by James Wallack, Leigh Murray, and
Mrs. Stirling, appearing now as Rosalind, now as Juliana in "The
Honeymoon," as Mrs. Haller, as Beatrice, as Julia in "The Hunchback."
Her second season was even more successful than her first. After a
long provincial tour she appeared in December, 1845, as Romeo at the
Haymarket Theatre, then under the management of Mr. Webster, her
sister Susan assuming the character of Juliet. She had sent for her
family to share her prosperity, and had established them in a
furnished house at Bayswater.

Her success as Romeo was very great. The tragedy was played for eighty
nights. Her performance won applause even from those most opposed to
the representation of Shakespeare's hero by a woman. For a time her
intense earnestness of speech and manner, the passion of her
interviews with Juliet, the fury of her combat with Tybalt, the
despair of her closing scenes, bore down all opposition, silenced
criticism, and excited her audience to an extraordinary degree. She
appeared afterward, but not in London, as Hamlet, following an
unfortunate example set by Mrs. Siddons; and as Ion in Talfourd's
tragedy of that name.

In America, toward the close of her career, she even ventured to
appear as Cardinal Wolsey, obtaining great applause by her exertions
in the character, and the skill and force of her impersonation. But
histrionic feats of this kind trespass against good taste, do violence
to the intentions of the dramatists, and are, in truth, departures
from the purpose of playing. Miss Cushman had for excuse--in the first
instance, at any rate--her anxiety to forward the professional
interests of her sister, who, in truth, had little qualification for
the stage, apart from her good looks and her graces of manner. The
sisters had played together in Philadelphia in "The Genoese"--a drama
written by a young American--when, to give support and encouragement
to Susan in her personation of the heroine, Charlotte undertook the
part of her lover. Their success prompted them to appear in "Romeo and
Juliet." Other plays, in which both could appear, were afterward
selected--such, for instance, as "Twelfth Night," in which Charlotte
played Viola to the Olivia of Susan--so that the engagement of one
might compel the engagement of the other. Susan, however, quitted the
stage in 1847, to become the wife of Dr. Sheridan Muspratt, of

[Illustration: Charlotte Cushman as Mrs. Haller.]

Charlotte Cushman called few new plays into being. Dramas, entitled
"Infatuation," by James Kenny, in 1845, and "Duchess Elinour," by the
late H. F. Chorley, in 1854, were produced for her, but were summarily
condemned by the audience, being scarcely permitted indeed a second
performance in either case. Otherwise, she did not add to her
repertory. For many years she led the life of a "star," fulfilling
brief engagements here and there, appearing now for a term in London,
and now travelling through the provinces, playing some half a dozen
characters over and over again. Of these Lady Macbeth, Queen Katherine
and Meg Merrilies were perhaps the most frequently demanded. Her fame
and fortune she always dated from the immediate recognition she
obtained upon her first performance in London. But she made frequent
visits to America; indeed, she crossed the Atlantic "upward of sixteen
times," says her biographer. In 1854 she took a house in Bolton Row,
Mayfair, "where for some years she dispensed the most charming and
genial hospitality," and, notably, entertained Ristori on her first
visit to England in 1856. Several winters she passed in Rome,
occupying apartments in the Via Gregoriana, where she cordially
received a host of friends and visitors of all nations. In 1859 she
was called to England by her sister's fatal illness; in 1866 she was
again summoned to England to attend the death-bed of her mother. In
1860 she was playing in all the chief cities of America. Three years
later she again visited America, her chief object being to act for the
benefit of the Sanitary Commission, and aid the sick and wounded
victims of the civil war. During the late years of her life she
appeared before the public more as a dramatic reader than as an
actress. There were long intervals between her theatrical engagements;
she seemed to quit her profession only to return to it after an
interval with renewed appetite, and she incurred reproaches because of
the frequency of her farewells, and the doubt that prevailed as to
whether her "last appearances" were really to be the "very last." It
was not until 1874, however, that she took final leave of the New York
stage, amid extraordinary enthusiasm, with many poetic and other
ceremonies. She was the subject of addresses in prose and verse. Mr.
Bryant, after an eloquent speech, tendered her a laurel wreath bound
with white ribbon resting upon a purple velvet cushion, with a
suitable inscription embroidered in golden letters; a torchbearers'
procession escorted her from the theatre to her hotel; she was
serenaded at midnight, and in her honor Fifth Avenue blazed with
fireworks. After this came farewells to Philadelphia, Boston and other
cities, and to these succeeded readings all over the country. It is to
be said, however, that incessant work had become a necessity with her,
not because of its pecuniary results, but as a means of obtaining
mental relief or comparative forgetfulness for a season. During the
last five or six years of her life she was afflicted with an incurable
and agonizing malady. Under most painful conditions she toiled
unceasingly, moving rapidly from place to place, and passing days and
nights in railway journeys. In a letter to a friend, she writes: "I do
get so dreadfully depressed about myself, and all things seem so
hopeless to me at those times, that I pray God to take me quickly at
any moment, so that I may not torture those I love by letting them see
my pain. But when the dark hour passes, and I try to forget by
constant occupation that I have such a load near my heart, then it is
not so bad." She died almost painlessly at last on February 18, 1876.

Charlotte Cushman may assuredly be accounted an actress of genius in
right of her originality, her vivid power of depicting emotion, the
vehemence and intensity of her histrionic manner. Her best successes
were obtained in tragedy, although she possessed a keen sense of
humor, and could deliver the witty speeches of Rosalind or of Beatrice
with excellent point and effect. Her Meg Merrilies will probably be
remembered as her most impressive achievement. It was really, as she
played it, a character of her own invention; but, in truth, it taxed
her intellectual resources far less than her Bianca, her Queen
Katherine, or her Lady Macbeth. Her physical peculiarities no doubt
limited the range of her efforts, hindered her advance as an actress,
or urged her toward exceptional impersonations. Her performances
lacked femininity, to use Coleridge's word; but in power to stir an
audience, to touch their sympathies, to kindle their enthusiasm, and
to compel their applause, she takes rank among the finest players. It
only remains to add that Miss Stebbins' fervid and affecting biography
of her friend admirably demonstrates that the woman was not less
estimable than the actress; that Charlotte Cushman was of noble
character, intellectual, large and tenderhearted, of exemplary conduct
in every respect. The simple, direct earnestness of her manner upon
the mimic scene, characterized her proceedings in real life. She was
at once the slave and the benefactress of her family; she was
devotedly fond of children; she was of liberal and generous nature;
she was happiest when conferring kindness upon others; her career
abounded in self-sacrifice. She pretended to few accomplishments, to
little cultivation of a literary sort; but she could write, as Miss
Stebbins proves, excellent letters, now grave, now gay, now
reflective, now descriptive, always interesting, and altogether
remarkable for sound sense and for force and skill of expression. Her
death was regarded in America almost as a national catastrophe. As
Miss Stebbins writes, "The press of the entire country bore witness to
her greatness, and laid their tributes upon her tomb."

       *       *       *       *       *

The following letter of good counsel from Miss Cushman to young Mr.
Barton is reprinted, by permission of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.,
from the "Life and Letters of Charlotte Cushman."

"I think if you have to wait for a while it will do you no harm. You
seem to me quite frantic for immediate work; but teach yourself quiet
and repose in the time you are waiting. With half your strength I
could bear to wait and labor with myself to conquer _fretting_. The
greatest power in the world is shown in conquest over self. More life
will be worked out of you by fretting than all the stage-playing in
the world. God bless you, my poor child. You have indeed trouble
enough; but you have a strong and earnest spirit, and you have the
true religion of labor in your heart. Therefore I have no fears for
you let what will come. Let me hear from you at your leisure, and be
sure you have no warmer friend than I am and wish to be."




[Illustration: Rachel.]

It is told that Rachel Felix was born on March 24, 1821, at Munf, near
the town of Aarau, in the Canton of Aargau, Switzerland; the
burgomaster of the district simply noting in his books that upon the
day stated, at the little village inn, the wife of a poor pedler had
given birth to a female child. The entry included no mention of
family, name, or religion, and otherwise the event was not registered
in any civil or religious record. The father and mother were Abraham
Felix, a Jew, born in Metz, but of German origin, and Esther Haya, his
wife. They had wandered about the continent during many years, seeking
a living and scarcely finding it. Several children were born to them
by the wayside, as it were, on their journeyings hither and thither:
Sarah in Germany, Rebecca in Lyons, Dinah in Paris, Rachel in
Switzerland; and there were other infants who did not long survive
their birth, succumbing to the austerities of the state of life to
which they had been called. For a time, perhaps because of their
numerous progeny, M. and Madame Felix settled in Lyons. Madame Felix
opened a small shop and dealt in second-hand clothes; M. Felix gave
lessons in German to the very few pupils he could obtain. About 1830
the family moved to Paris. They were still miserably poor. The
children Sarah and Rachel, usually carrying a smaller child in their
arms or wheeling it with them in a wooden cart, were sent into the
streets to earn money by singing at the doors of cafes and estaminets.
A musical amateur, one M. Morin, noticed the girls, questioned them,
interested himself about them, and finally obtained their admission
into the Government School of Sacred Music in the Rue Vaugirard.
Rachel's voice did not promise much, however; as she confessed, she
could not sing--she could only recite. She had received but the
scantiest and meanest education; she read with difficulty; she was
teaching herself writing by copying the manuscript of others.
Presently she was studying elocution under M. St. Aulaire, an old
actor retired from the Français, who took pains with the child,
instructing her gratuitously and calling her "ma petite diablesse."
The performances of M. St. Aulaire's pupil were occasionally witnessed
by the established players, among them Monval of the Gymnase and
Samson of the Comédie. Monval approved and encouraged the young
actress, and upon the recommendation of Samson she entered the classes
of the Conservatoire, over which he presided, with Michelot and
Provost as his co-professors.

At the Conservatoire Rachel made little progress. All her efforts
failed to win the good opinion of her preceptors. In despair she
resolved to abandon altogether the institution, its classes and
performances. She felt herself neglected, aggrieved, insulted.
"Tartuffe" had been announced for representation by the pupils; she
had been assigned the mute part of Flipote, the serving-maid, who
simply appears upon the scene in the first act that her ears may be
soundly boxed by Madame Pernelle. To this humiliation she would not
submit. She hurried to her old friend, St. Aulaire, who consulted
Monval, who commended her to his manager, M. Poirson. She entered into
an engagement to serve the Gymnase for a term of three years upon a
salary of 3,000 francs. M. Poirson was quick to perceive that she was
not as so many other beginners were; that there was something new and
startling about the young actress. He obtained for her first
appearance, from M. Paul Duport, a little melodrama in two acts. It
was called "La Vendéenne," and owed its more striking scenes to "The
Heart of Midlothian." After the manner of Jeanie Deans, Géneviève, the
heroine of the play, footsore and travel-stained, seeks the presence
of the Empress Josephine to implore the pardon of a Vendéan peasant
condemned to death for following George Cadoudal. "La Vendéenne,"
produced on April 24, 1837, and received with great applause, was
played on sixty successive nights, but not to very crowded audiences.
The press scarcely noticed the new actress. The critic of the _Journal
des Débats_, however, while rashly affirming that Rachel was not a
phenomenon and would never be extolled as a wonder, carefully noted
certain of the merits and characteristics of her performance. "She was
an unskilled child, but she possessed heart, soul, intellect. There
was something bold, abrupt, uncouth about her aspect, gait, and
manner. She was dressed simply and truthfully in the coarse woollen
gown of a peasant-girl; her hands were red; her voice was harsh and
untrained, but powerful; she acted without effort or exaggeration; she
did not scream or gesticulate unduly; she seemed to perceive
intuitively the feeling she was required to express, and could
interest the audience greatly, moving them to tears. She was not
pretty, but she pleased," etc. Bouffé, who witnessed this
representation, observed: "What an odd little girl! Assuredly there is
something in her. But her place is not here." So judged Samson also,
becoming more and more aware of the merits of his former pupil. She
was transferred to the Français to play the leading characters in
tragedy, at a salary of 4,000 francs a year. M. Poirson did not
hesitate to cancel her agreement with him. Indeed, he had been
troubled with thinking how he could employ his new actress. She was
not an _ingénue_ of the ordinary type; she could not be classed among
soubrettes. There were no parts suited to her in the light comedies of
Scribe and his compeers, which constituted the chief repertory of the

It was on June 12, 1838, that Rachel, as Camille, in "Horace," made
her first appearance upon the stage of the Théâtre Français. The
receipts were but seven hundred and fifty francs; it was an
unfashionable period of the year; Paris was out of town; the weather
was most sultry. There were many Jews in the house, it was said,
resolute to support the daughter of Israel, and her success was
unequivocal; nevertheless, a large share of the applause of the night
was confessedly carried off by the veteran Joanny, who played Horace.
On June 16th Rachel made her second appearance, personating Emilie in
the "Cinna," of Corneille. The receipts fell to five hundred and fifty
francs. She repeated her performance of Camille on the 23d; the
receipts were only three hundred francs! the poorest house, perhaps,
she ever played to in Paris. She afterward appeared as Hermione in
"Andromaque," Aménaide in "Tancrède," Eriphile in "Iphigénie," Monime
in "Mithridate," and Roxane in "Bajazet," the receipts now gradually
rising, until, in October, when she played Hermione for the tenth
time, six thousand francs were taken at the doors, an equal amount
being received in November, when, for the sixth time, she appeared as
Camille. Paris was now at her feet. In 1839, called upon to play two
or three times per week, she essayed but one new part, Esther, in
Racine's tragedy of that name. The public was quite content that she
should assume again and again the characters in which she had already
triumphed. In 1840 she added to her list of impersonations Laodie and
Pauline in Corneille's "Nicomède" and "Polyeucte," and Marie Stuart in
Lebrun's tragedy. In 1841 she played no new parts. In 1842 she first
appeared as Chimène in "Le Cid," as Ariane, and as Frédégonde in a
wretched tragedy by Le Mercier.

Rachel had saved the Théâtre Français, had given back to the stage the
masterpieces of the French classical drama. It was very well for
Thackeray to write from Paris in 1839 that the actress had "only
galvanized the corpse, not revivified.... Racine will never come to
life again and cause audiences to weep as of yore." He predicted:
"Ancient French tragedy, red-heeled, patched, and beperiwigged, lies
in the grave, and it is only the ghost of it that the fair Jewess has
raised." But it was something more than a galvanized animation that
Rachel had imparted to the old drama of France. During her career of
twenty years, her performances of Racine and Corneille filled the
coffers of the Français, and it may be traced to her influence and
example that the classic plays still keep their place upon the stage
and stir the ambition of the players. But now the committee of the
Français had to reckon with their leading actress, and pay the price
of the prosperity she had brought them. They cancelled her engagement
and offered her terms such as seemed to them liberal beyond all
precedent. But the more they offered, so much the more was demanded.
In the first instance, the actress being a minor, negotiations were
carried on with her father, the committee denouncing in the bitterest
terms the avarice and rapacity of M. Felix. But when Rachel became
competent to deal on her own behalf, she proved herself every whit as
exacting as her sire. She became a _sociétaire_ in 1843, entitled to
one of the twenty-four shares into which the profits of the
institution were divided. She was rewarded, moreover, with a salary of
forty-two thousand francs per annum; and it was estimated that by her
performances during her _congé_ of three or four months every year she
earned a further annual income of thirty thousand francs. She met with
extraordinary success upon her provincial tours; enormous profits
resulted from her repeated visits to Holland and Belgium, Germany,
Russia, and England. But, from first to last, Rachel's connection with
the Français was an incessant quarrel. She was capricious, ungrateful,
unscrupulous, extortionate. She struggled to evade her duties, to do
as little as she possibly could in return for the large sums she
received from the committee. She pretended to be too ill to play in
Paris, the while she was always well enough to hurry away and obtain
great rewards by her performances in the provinces. She wore herself
out by her endless wanderings hither and thither, her continuous
efforts upon the scene. She denied herself all rest, or slept in a
travelling carriage to save time in her passage from one country
theatre to another. Her company complained that they fell asleep as
they acted, her engagements denying them proper opportunities of
repose. The newspapers at one time set forth the acrimonious letters
she had interchanged with the committee of the Français. Finally she
tended her resignation of the position she occupied as _sociétaire_;
the committee took legal proceedings to compel her to return to her
duties; some concessions were made on either side, however, and a
reconciliation was patched up.

The new tragedies, "Judith" and "Cléopatre," written for the actress
by Madame de Girardin, failed to please, nor did success attend the
production of M. Romand's "Catherine II.," M. Soumet's "Jeanne d'Arc,"
in which, to the indignation of the critics, the heroine was seen at
last surrounded by real flames! or "Le Vieux de la Montagne" of M.
Latour de St. Ybars. With better fortune Rachel appeared in the same
author's "Virginie," and in the "Lucrèce" of Ponsard. Voltaire's
"Oreste" was revived for her in 1845 that she might play Electre. She
personated Racine's "Athalie" in 1847, assuming long white locks,
painting furrows on her face, and disguising herself beyond
recognition, in her determination to seem completely the character she
had undertaken. In 1848 she played Agrippine in the "Britannicus" of
Racine, and dressed in plain white muslin, and clasping the
tri-colored flag to her heart, she delivered the "Marseillaise" to
please the Revolutionists, lending the air strange meaning and passion
by the intensity of her manner, as she half chanted, half recited the
words, her voice now shrill and harsh, now deep, hollow, and
reverberating--her enraptured auditors likening it in effect to
distant thunder.

To the dramatists who sought to supply her with new parts, Rachel was
the occasion of much chagrin and perplexity. After accepting Scribe's
"Adrienne Lecouvreur" she rejected it absolutely only to resume it
eagerly, however, when she learned that the leading character was to
be undertaken by Mademoiselle Rose Chéri. His "Chandelier" having met
with success, Rachel applied to De Musset for a play. She was offered,
it seems, "Les Caprices de Marianne," but meantime the poet's
"Bettine" failed, and the actress distrustfully turned away from him.
An undertaking to appear in the "Medea" of Legouvé landed her in a
protracted lawsuit. The courts condemned her in damages to the amount
of two hundred francs for every day she delayed playing the part of
Medea after the date fixed upon by the management for the commencement
of the rehearsals of the tragedy. She paid nothing, however, for the
management failed to fix any such date. M. Legouvé was only avenged in
the success his play obtained, in a translated form, at the hands of
Madame Ristori. In lieu of "Medea" Rachel produced "Rosemonde," a
tragedy by M. Latour de St. Ybars, which failed completely. Other
plays written for her were the "Valéria" of MM. Lacroix and Maquet, in
which she personated two characters--the Empress Messalina and her
half sister, Lysisca, a courtesan; the "Diane," of M. Augier, an
imitation of Victor Hugo's "Marion Delorme;" "Lady Tartuffe," a comedy
by Madame de Girardin; and "La Czarine," by M. Scribe. She appeared
also in certain of the characters originally contrived for
Mademoiselle Mais, such as La Tisbe in Victor Hugo's "Angelo," and the
heroines of Dumas's "Mademoiselle de Belle Isle" and of "Louise de
Lignerolles" by MM. Legouvé and Dinaux.

The classical drama of France has not found much favor in England and
America. We are all, perhaps, apt to think with Thackeray
disrespectfully of the "old tragedies--well-nigh dead, and full time
too--in which half a dozen characters appear and shout sonorous
Alexandrines for half a dozen hours;" or we are disposed to agree with
Mr. Matthew Arnold, that their drama, being fundamentally insufficient
both in substance and in form, the French, with all their gifts, have
not, as we have, an adequate form for poetry of the highest class.
Those who remember Rachel, however, can testify that she breathed the
most ardent life into the frigid remains of Racine and Corneille,
relumed them with Promethean heat, and showed them to be instinct with
the truest and intensest passion--When she occupied the scene, there
could be no thought of the old artificial times of hair powder and
rouge, periwigs and patches, in connection with the characters she
represented. Phèdre and Hermione, Pauline and Camille, interpreted by
her genius, became as real and natural, warm and palpitating, as
Constance or Lady Macbeth could have been when played by Mrs. Siddons,
or as Juliet when impersonated by Miss O'Neill. Before Rachel came, it
had been thought that the new romantic drama of MM. Hugo and Dumas,
because of its greater truth to nature, had given the _coup de grâce_
to the old classic plays; but the public, at her bidding, turned
gladly from the spasms and the rant of "Angelo" and "Angèle," "Antony"
and "Hernani," to the old-world stories, the formal tragedies of the
seventeenth century poet-dramatists of France. The actress fairly
witched her public. There was something of magic in her very presence
upon the scene.

None could fail to be impressed by the aspect of the slight, pallid
woman who seemed to gain height by reason of her slenderness, who
moved toward her audience with such simple natural majesty, who wore
and conducted her fluent classical draperies with such admirable and
perfect grace. It was as though she had lived always so attired in
tunic, peplum, and pallium--had known no other dress--not that she was
of modern times playing at antiquity, she was the muse of Greek
tragedy in person. The physical traditions of her race found
expression or incarnation in her. Her face was of refined Judaical
character--the thin nose slightly curved, the lower lip a trifle full,
but the mouth exquisitely shaped, and the teeth small, white, and
even. The profuse black-brown hair was smoothed and braided from the
broad, low, white, somewhat over-hanging brow, beneath which in shadow
the keen black eyes flashed out their lightnings, or glowed luridly
like coals at a red heat. Her gestures were remarkable for their
dignity and appropriateness; the long, slight arms lent themselves
surprisingly to gracefulness; the beautifully formed hands, with the
thin tapering fingers and the pink filbert nails, seemed always
tremblingly on the alert to add significance or accent to her
speeches. But there was eloquence in her very silence and complete
repose. She could relate a whole history by her changes of facial
expression. She possessed special powers of self-control; she was
under subjection to both art and nature when she seemed to abandon
herself the most absolutely to the whirlwind of her passion. There
were no undue excesses of posture, movement, or tone. Her attitudes,
it was once said, were those of "a Pythoness cast in bronze." Her
voice thrilled and awed at its first note: it was so strangely deep,
so solemnly melodious, until, stirred by passion as it were, it became
thick and husky in certain of its tones; but it was always audible,
articulate, and telling, whether sunk to a whisper or raised
clamorously. Her declamation was superb, if, as critics reported,
there had been decline in this matter during those later years of her
life, to which my own acquaintance with Rachel's acting is confined. I
saw her first at the Français in 1849, and I was present at her last
performance at the St. James' Theatre in 1853, having in the interval
witnessed her assumption of certain of her most admired characters.
And it may be true, too, that, like Kean, she was more and more
disposed, as the years passed, to make "points," to slur over the less
important scenes, and reserve herself for a grand outburst or a
vehement climax, sacrificing thus many of the subtler graces,
refinements, and graduations of elocution, for which she had once been
famous. To English ears, it was hardly an offence that she broke up
the sing-song of the rhymed tirades of the old plays and gave them a
more natural sound, regardless of the traditional methods of speech of
Clairon, Le Kain, and others of the great French players of the past.

[Illustration: Rachel as the Muse of Greek Tragedy.]

Less success than had been looked for attended Rachel's invasion of
the repertory of Mlle. Mars, an actress so idolized by the Parisians
that her sixty years and great portliness of form were not thought
hindrances to her personation of the youthful heroines of modern
comedy and drama. But Rachel's fittest occupation and her greatest
triumphs were found in the classical poetic plays. She, perhaps,
intellectualized too much the creations of Hugo, Dumas, and Scribe;
gave them excess of majesty. Her histrionic style was too exalted an
ideal for the conventional characters of the drama of her own time; it
was even said of her that she could not speak its prose properly or
tolerably. She disliked the hair-powder necessary to Adrienne
Lecouvreur and Gabrielle de Belle Isle, although her beauty, for all
its severity, did not lose picturesqueness in the costumes of the time
of Louis XV. As Gabrielle she was more girlish and gentle, pathetic,
and tender, than was her wont, while the signal fervor of her speech
addressed to Richelieu, beginning, "Vous mentez, Monsieur le Duc,"
stirred the audience to the most excited applause.

Rachel was seen upon the stage for the last time at Charleston on
December 17, 1856. She played Adrienne Lecouvreur. She had been
tempted to America by the prospect of extravagant profits. It had been
dinned into her ears that Jenny Lind, by thirty-eight performances in
America, had realized seventeen hundred thousand francs. Why might not
she, Rachel, receive as much? And then, she was eager to quit Paris.
There had been strange worship there of Madame Ristori, even in the
rejected part of Medea. But already Rachel's health was in a
deplorable state. Her constitution, never very strong, had suffered
severely from the cruel fatigues, the incessant exertions, she had
undergone. It may be, too, that the deprivations and sufferings of her
childhood now made themselves felt as over-due claims that could be no
longer denied or deferred. She forced herself to play, in fulfilment
of her engagement, but she was languid, weak, emaciated; she coughed
incessantly, her strength was gone; she was dying slowly but certainly
of phthisis. And she appeared before an audience that applauded her,
it is true, but cared nothing for Racine and Corneille, knew little of
the French language, and were urgent that she should sing the
"Marseillaise" as she had sung it in 1848! It was forgotten, or it was
not known in America, that the actress had long since renounced
revolutionary sentiments to espouse the cause of the Second Empire.
She performed all her more important characters, however, at New York,
Philadelphia, and Boston. Nor was the undertaking commercially
disappointing, if it did not wholly satisfy expectation. She returned
to France possessed of nearly three hundred thousand francs as her
share of the profits of her forty-two performances in the United
States; but she returned to die. The winter of 1856 she passed at
Cairo. She returned to France in the spring of 1857, but her
physicians forbade her to remain long in Paris. In September she moved
again to the South, finding her last retreat in the villa Sardou, at
Cannet, a little village in the environs of Cannes. She lingered to
January 3, 1858. The Théâtre Français closed its doors when news
arrived of her death, and again on the day of her funeral. The body
was embalmed and brought to Paris for interment in the cemetery of
Père la Chaise, the obsequies being performed in accordance with the
Jewish rites. The most eminent of the authors and actors of France
were present, and funeral orations were delivered by MM. Jules Janin,
Bataille, and Auguste Maquet. Victor Hugo was in exile; or, as Janin
announced, the author of "Angelo" would not have withheld the tribute
of his eulogy upon the sad occasion.


         [Footnote 15: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.]



[Illustration: Edwin Booth.]

The great actor who has lately left the world furnished, in his own
remarkable character and shining career, a striking exception to the
popular tradition that men of genius are the fathers of ordinary sons.
The father of Edwin Booth was in his time one of the glories of the
English and American stage; but, even in his case the strict rule
wavered, for his father, though not a genius, was yet a man of
exceptional character; one who marked out a clear path for himself in
the world, and walked in it to the end.

How far back the line of the family can be traced, or what was its
origin, we do not know; but it has lately been said that the family
was of Hebrew extraction, and came into England from Spain, where it
had been known by the Spanish name, Cabana. The branch of the family
that left Spain to live in England translated the name into the
language of their new home, and from "Cabana," a shepherd's cabin,
made the English equivalent, Booth.

However it may have been in this case, it was quite in the order of
things that this change of name should be made. It has been done
everywhere in Europe since very early times, and is doing to-day in
this country by new comers from all parts of the old world.

The first of the Booths we read of in England was a silversmith,
living in Bloomsbury, London, in the latter half of the last century.
He had a son, Richard, who was bred to the law, but who was so imbued
with the republican ideas rife at the time that he actually came to
America to fight in the cause of Independence! He was taken prisoner,
and carried back to England, where, not without some struggles, he
again applied himself to the practice of the law, and in time made a
fortune. He did not, however, forget America, and we are told that he
had, hanging in his house, a portrait of Washington, which he expected
all his visitors to salute.

One of the ways in which the republicans of that time showed where
their sympathies lay, was in naming their children after the heroes of
Greece and Rome; and accordingly we find Richard Booth calling his
eldest son, Junius Brutus Booth, after the Roman patriot. This son was
born in London, in 1796. His father was a man of scholarly tastes, and
gave the boy a classical education, but it was long before he showed a
marked inclination for any particular walk in life. He tried his hand
at painting, sculpture, and poetry; and for a while studied law with
his father. But, when the time came to choose, he gave his voice for
the navy, and would have joined the brig Boxer, then fitting out for
Nova Scotia. But, as war threatened between England and America, he
was induced, by the strong persuasions of his father, not to run the
risk of being forced to fight against America. He then decided to go
upon the stage, and, in spite of his father's remonstrances, carried
out his purpose. After some unimportant essays he at last succeeded in
attracting public attention, and before long showed such unmistakable
ability in dealing with difficult parts, that the public, till that
time undivided in its enthusiasm for Kean, awoke to the fact that a
dangerous rival threatened the security of their idol's throne. In the
midst of his successes, however, Booth married and left England with
his wife for a honeymoon trip to the West Indies. He had intended to
return at once to England, but he was persuaded to prolong his journey
and to visit New York. After playing a successful engagement there he
went to Richmond, where he was no less prosperous. He next visited New
Orleans and acquired such facility in speaking French that he played
parts in French plays more than acceptably, and distinguished himself
by acting Orestes in Racine's "Andromaque," to the delight of the
French-speaking population. His accent is said to have been remarkable
for its purity. Returning to New York, he acted Othello to Forrest's
Iago; but, in the midst of his successes, the death of two of his
children produced a temporary insanity, and this was made worse by the
news of the death of his favorite son, Henry Byron, in London, of
small-pox. This grievous loss was, however, to be made up to him by
his son, Edwin, in whom he was to find the counterpart of himself,
softened, refined, ennobled, while between father and son was to grow
a strong attachment, a bond of mutual affection to last as long as
life should endure.

Edwin Thomas Booth was born at Bel Air, Maryland, November 12, 1833.
He was named Edwin, after his father's friend, Edwin Forrest, and
Thomas, after Thomas Flynn, the actor, whom the elder Booth had known
intimately in London. His son dropped the name of Thomas, later in
life, and was only known to the public by the name of Edwin Booth.
Owing to his father's wandering life Edwin had few advantages of
education, but he made the most of his opportunities, and indeed was a
student of good letters all his life, turning the light of all he
learned from books and experience upon his art. His youth is described
as reticent, and marked by a strong individuality, with a deep
sympathy for his father, early manifested; his father, a much
enduring, suffering man, strongly in need of sympathy, knowing to
repay it, too, in kind.

Edwin Booth made his first appearance on the stage in 1849 at the
Boston Museum in the youthful part of Tressil, in Colley Cibber's
version of Shakespeare's "Richard III." It had been against his
father's wishes that he had adopted the stage as a profession; but,
as his father had done in a like case before him he persevered, and
soon had the satisfaction of convincing his parent that he had decided
wisely. He did not at once come to New York after his success in
Boston, but went to Providence and to Philadelphia, acting Cassio in
"Othello," and Wilford in the "Iron Chest," a part he soon made his
own and in which he made his first appearance in New York, playing at
the National Theatre in Chatham Street, in 1850. The next year he
played Richard III. for the first time, taking the part unexpectedly
to fill the place of his father, who was suddenly ill. In 1852 he went
out with his father to San Francisco, where his brother, Junius Brutus
Booth, Jr., was the manager of a theatre; and the father and his two
sons acted together. At Sacramento, we are told that the incident
occurred which led Edwin Booth to think of acting Hamlet, a part which
was to become as closely associated with his name as that of Richard
III. was with his father. He was dressed for the part of Jaffier in
Otway's play, "Venice Preserved," when some one said to him "You look
like Hamlet, why not play it?" It was, however, some time before he
ventured to assume the part. In October, 1852, the father and son
parted, not to meet again. The elder Booth went to New Orleans, and
after playing for a week took passage in a steamboat on the
Mississippi, and catching a severe cold succumbed after a few days'
illness and died. For a while after his father's death Edwin suffered
greatly from poverty and from the hardships of his precarious life,
unsustained as he now was by the affection and encouragement of a
father who, with all his faults, and in all the misfortunes brought on
by serious ill-health and some aberrations that were the effect of
ill-health had always been an affectionate and true friend. But a
talent such as Edwin Booth possessed, united to a high character, and
to a dauntless spirit, could not long be hid, and in a short time his
name began to be heard of as that of one destined to great ends. In
1854 he went to Australia as a member of Laura Keene's company. He had
made a deep impression in California, acting such parts as Richard
III., Shylock, Macbeth, and Hamlet, and on returning there from
Australia that first impression was greatly strengthened. On leaving
San Francisco he received various testimonials showing the high esteem
in which his acting was held by the educated part of the community;
but throughout Edwin Booth's career, the interest he excited in the
vast audiences that followed him was by no means confined to the
self-styled "best people." Though he never "played to the gallery,"
the heart of the gallery was as much with him as the heart of the
boxes, and he knew the value of its rapt silence as well as of its
stormy voices.

In Boston, in 1857, he played Sir Giles Overreach, in Massinger's "A
New Way to Pay Old Debts," and the profound impression he made in it
confirmed him in his purpose to devote himself to tragic acting. The
story of an actor's life is seldom eventful, and Mr. Booth's history,
after his first assured success, is the record of a long line of
triumphs without a failure. The most remarkable of these triumphs was
at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York, where he acted Hamlet to
large and ever-increasing audiences for over one hundred successive
nights, that is, from November 21, 1864, to March 24, 1865. On this
occasion a gold medal was presented to the actor by friends and
admirers in New York; the list of subscribers including the names of
many well-known citizens. The Winter Garden Theatre was managed by
Booth and his brother-in-law, the clever actor, J. S. Clarke, until
Booth bought out Clarke and assumed the entire management himself. In
1865 the terrible tragedy occurred which blighted Booth's whole
after-life, and for a time drove him from the stage. He did not act
again until 1866; in 1867 the theatre was destroyed by fire, and in
1868 the corner-stone of a new building, to be known as Booth's
Theatre, was laid, and in a short time New York was in possession, for
the first time, of a thoroughly appointed, comfortable, and handsome
theatre. This building was made famous by a number of Shakespearian
revivals that for beauty, magnificence, and scenic poetry have, we
believe, never been equalled. We doubt if "Hamlet," "Julius Cæsar," or
"Romeo and Juliet," have ever been presented with more satisfying
completeness to the eye and to the imagination than in this theatre by
Mr. Booth and his company. Although the theatre was in existence for
thirteen years, from 1868 to 1882, when it was finally closed, Mr.
Booth's management lasted only about half that time. The speculation
was not a fortunate one for the actor; the expenses ate up all the
profits, and Mr. Booth was bankrupted by his venture. He paid all his
debts, however, and went bravely to work to build up a new fortune. He
made a tour of the South, which was one long ovation, and in a season
of eight weeks in San Francisco he took in $96,000.

In 1880 he went to England and remained there two years. In 1882 he
visited Germany, acting in both countries with great success, and in
1883 he returned home and made a tour of America, repeating everywhere
his old triumphs, and winning golden opinions from all classes of his

Edwin Booth died in New York, June 7, 1893, at the Players' Club,
where he had lived for the last few years of his life. This was a
building erected by his own munificence, fitted up with luxurious
completeness, and presented to a society of his professional brethren
for the use and behoof of his fellow-artists, reserving for himself
only the modest apartment where he chose to live, in sympathetic touch
with those who still pursued the noble art he had relinquished.

Mr. Booth was twice married. By his first wife, Miss Mary Devlin, who
died in 1863, he had one child, a daughter; by the second, Miss
McVicker, he had no children. She died in 1881.

[Signature of the author.]


         [Footnote 16: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.]


(BORN 1829)

[Illustration: Joseph Jefferson.]

Joseph Jefferson, distinguished, among his other brilliant successes
as an actor, as the creator for this generation of the character of
Rip Van Winkle in the play dramatized from the story in Washington
Irving's "Sketch Book," was the third of his name in a family of
actors. The first of the three was born at Plymouth, England, in 1774.
He was the son of Thomas Jefferson, a comedian of merit, the
contemporary and friend of Garrick, and came to this country in 1795,
making his first appearance in New York on February 10, 1796, in the
part of Squire Richard in "The Provoked Husband." Dunlap says that,
young as he was, he was already an artist, and that among the men of
the company he held the first place. He lived in this country for
thirty-six years, admired as an actor and respected as a man. He died
at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1832.

Joseph Jefferson, the second, was born in Philadelphia in 1804. He
inherited the laughing blue eyes and sunny disposition of his father,
but he had not his talent as an actor; he is said to have been best in
old men's parts. His taste, however, led him to scene-painting rather
than to acting; yet his skill in either direction was not enough to
win success, and, in spite of well-meant efforts, he lived and died a
poor man: ill luck pursuing him to the end of his days, when he was
carried off by yellow fever at Mobile in 1842, just as his
unprosperous skies were brightening a little. His son bears
affectionate witness to the upright character of the man and to his
indomitable cheerfulness in the most adverse circumstances. He spared
no pains in bringing up his children in good ways, and he was
earnestly seconded by his wife, a heroic figure in her humble sphere,
whose tact and courage not seldom saved the family bark when it was
drifting in shoal water. Mrs. Jefferson came of French parents, and
was a Mrs. Burke, a widow with one child, a son, when she married Mr.
Jefferson. Her son tells us that she had been one of the most
attractive stars in America, the leading prima donna of the country;
but she bore her changed fortune, as the wife of an unsuccessful actor
and manager, with no less dignity on the stage of real life, where no
applause was to be had but what came from those who loved her as
mother, wife, and friend.

This, then, was the family circle in which our Joseph Jefferson
passed his earliest years, the formative period of his life. There
were the kind-hearted, easy-going father, the practical, energetic
mother, a sister, and the half-brother, Charles Burke, whose
after-reputation as an actor lives in the pages of Jefferson's
autobiography enshrined in words of warm but judicious appreciation.
"Although only a half-brother," says Jefferson, "he seemed like a
father to me, and there was a deep and strange affection between us."
Nor must mention be forgotten of one other member of the family: Mary,
his foster-mother, as Jefferson affectionately calls her, "a faithful,
loving, truthful friend, rather than a servant, with no ambition or
thought for herself, living only for us, and totally unconscious of
her own existence."

Joseph Jefferson, the third of the name, and in whom the talent of his
grandfather was to reappear enriched with added graces of his own, was
born in Philadelphia in 1829. He tells us that his earliest
recollections are connected with a theatre in Washington. This was a
rickety, old, frame-building adjoining the house in which his father
lived as manager, the door at the end of the hall-way opening directly
upon the stage; and as a toddling little chap in a short frock he was
allowed full run of the place. Thus "behind the scenes" was his first
playground; and here, "in this huge and dusty toy-shop made for
children of a larger growth," he got his first experience. He was
early accustomed to face an audience; for, being the son of the
manager and almost living in the theatre, he was always pressed into
the service whenever a small child was wanted, and "often went on the
stage in long clothes as a property infant in groups of happy
peasantry." His first dim recollection of such a public appearance is
as the "child," in Kotzebue's play, "Pizarro," who is carried across
the bridge by Rolla. His next appearance was in a new entertainment,
called "Living Statues," where he struck attitudes as "Ajax Defying
the Lightning," or "The Dying Gladiator." At four years of age he made
a hit by accompanying T. D. Rice, the original "Jim Crow," as a
miniature copy of that once famous character, and the first money he
earned was the sum of $24 thrown upon the stage in silver from pit and
gallery, to reward his childish dancing and singing on that occasion.

Thus early wedded to the stage, Jefferson followed the fortunes of his
family, and led with them a wandering life for many years, growing, by
slow degrees and constant, varied practice, to the perfection of his
prime. In 1838 his father led the flock to Chicago, just then grown
from an Indian village to a thriving place of two thousand
inhabitants, where he was to join his brother in the management of a
new theatre, then building. Jefferson's account of the journey is a
striking picture, at once amusing and pathetic, of the changes that
have been wrought by fifty years. The real privations and hardships of
the trip are veiled in the actor's story by his quiet humor and his
disposition to see everything in a cheerful light. Always quizzing his
own youthful follies, he cannot conceal from us by any mischievous
anecdotes his essential goodness of nature, his merry helpfulness, his
unselfish devotion to the welfare of the others, or the pluck with
which he met the accidents of this itinerant life. From Chicago, where
their success was not brilliant, the family went by stage to
Springfield, where, by a singular chance, they were rescued from the
danger that threatened them in the closing of the theatre by a
municipal law trumped up in the interest of religious revivalists, by
the adroitness of a young lawyer, who proved to be none other than
Abraham Lincoln. In Memphis, when bad business had closed the theatre,
young Jefferson's pluck and ready wit saved the family purse from
absolute collapse. A city ordinance had been passed, requiring that
all carts, drays, and public vehicles should be numbered; and the boy,
hearing of this, called at the mayor's office, and, explaining the
situation that had obliged his father to exchange acting for
sign-painting, applied in his name for the contract for painting the
numbers--and obtained it! The new industry furnished father and son
with a month's work, and some jobs at sign-painting helped still
further to make life easier.

From Memphis the family went to Mobile, where they hoped to rest after
their long wanderings, and where it was also hoped the children,
Joseph and his sister, might be put to school. But the yellow fever
was raging in Mobile, and they had been in the city only a fortnight
when Mr. Jefferson was attacked by the disease and died. In Mobile,
too, the good Mary died, and Mrs. Jefferson was left alone to care for
herself and her children as she could. She had no longer a heart for
acting, and she decided to open a boarding-house for actors, while
Joseph and his sister earned a small stipend by variety work in the

More years of hardship followed--the trio of mother and children
wandering over the country, south and west: in Mississippi and Mexico,
seeing life in all its phases of ill luck and disappointment, with
faint gleams of success here and there, but meeting all with a spirit
of such cheerful bravery as makes the darkest experience yield a
pleasure in the telling. Surely, it might soften the heart of the
sourest enemy of the stage to read the spirit in which this family met
the long-continued crosses of their professional life.

[Illustration: Joe Jefferson as Bob Acres.]

Joseph Jefferson tells the story of his career so modestly, that it is
hard to discover just when it was that success first began to turn a
smiling face upon his efforts. Yet it would seem as if, for himself,
the day broke when he created the part of Asa Trenchard in "Our
American Cousin." He says that up to 1858, when he acted that part, he
had been always more or less a "legitimate" actor, that is, one who
has his place with others in a stock company, and never thinks of
himself as an individual and single attraction--a star, as it is
called. While engaged with this part, it suddenly occurred to him that
in acting Asa Trenchard he had, for the first time in his life on the
stage, spoken a pathetic speech; up to that time all with him had been
pure comedy. Now he had found a part in which he could move his
audience to tears as well as smiles. This was to him a delightful
discovery, and he looked about for a new part in which he could repeat
the experiment. One day in summer, as he lay in the loft of a barn
reading in a book he well calls delightful, Pierre Irving's "Life and
Letters of Washington Irving," he learned that the great writer had
seen him act the part of Goldfinch, in Holcroft's "Road to Ruin," and
that he reminded him of his grandfather, Joseph Jefferson, "in look,
gesture, size, and make." Naturally pleased to find himself
remembered and written of by such a man, he lay musing on the
compliment, when the "Sketch Book" and the story of Rip van Winkle
came suddenly into his mind. "There was to me," he writes, "magic in
the sound of the name as I repeated it. Why was not this the very
character I wanted? An American story by an American author was surely
just the thing suited to an American actor."

There had been three or four plays founded on this story, but
Jefferson says that none of them were good. His father and his
half-brother had acted the part before him, but nothing that he
remembered gave him any hope that he could make a good play out of
existing material. He therefore went to work to construct a play for
himself, and his story of how he did it, told in two pages of his
book, and with the most unconscious air in the world, reveals the
whole secret of Jefferson's acting: its humor and pathos subtly
mingled, its deep humanity, its pure poetry--the assemblage of
qualities, in fine, that make it the most perfect as well as the most
original product of the American stage.

Yet the play, even in the form he gave it, did not satisfy him, nor
did it make the impression in America that he desired. It was not
until five years later that Dion Boucicault, in London, remade it for
Jefferson; and it was in that city it first saw the light in its new
form, September 5, 1865. It was at once successful, and had a run of
one hundred and seventy-five nights.

With his Asa Trenchard and his Rip van Winkle will ever be associated
in the loving memory of play-goers his Bob Acres in Sheridan's
"Rivals," thought by many to be his capital part--a personification
where all the foibles of the would-be man-of-the-world: his
self-conceit, his brag, his cowardice, are transformed into virtues
and captivate our hearts, dissolved in the brimming humor which yet
never overflows the just measure, so degenerating into farce.

Between the two productions of Rip van Winkle in New York and in
London, Jefferson had had many strange experiences. His wife died in
1861, and he broke up his household in New York, and leaving three of
his children at school in that city, he left home with his eldest son
and went to California. After acting in San Francisco, he sailed for
Australia, where he was warmly received; thence went to the other
British colonies in that region, touched on his return at Lima and
Callao and Panama, at which place he took a sailing-packet for London,
and after his great success in that city returned to America in 1866.
In 1867 he married, in Chicago, Miss Sarah Warren, and since that time
his life has flowed on in an even stream, happy in all its relations,
private and public, crowned with honors, not of a gaudy or brilliant
kind, but solid and enduring. His art is henceforth part and parcel of
the rich treasure of the American stage.

[Signature of the author.]



(BORN 1843)

[Illustration: Adelina Patti.]

A consensus of opinion places this distinguished artiste at the head
of all her compeers, for it may be truly said that she is the
brightest star which has dazzled the musical firmament during the past
half century, and, is still in the very zenith of her noonday

Regardful of the transcendent beauty of her voice, enhanced as this is
by her other natural and attractive attributes, one might almost
believe that nightingales have surrounded the cradle presided over by
Euterpe, for never has bird sung so sweetly as the gifted subject of
my memoir, and while the Fates smiled on the birth of their favorite,
destined to become the unrivalled Queen of Song throughout the
civilized world, fanciful natures might conceive a poetical vision,
and behold Melpomene with her sad, grave eyes breathing into her the
spirit of tragedy, and Thalia, with her laughing smile, welcoming a
gifted disciple by whose genius her fire was to be rekindled in the
far future.

In the year 1861 there arrived in England a young singer who,
accompanied by her brother-in-law, took apartments in Norfolk Street,
Strand. The young lady, then only seventeen, sought Mr. Frederick Gye,
who was the lessee of the Royal Italian Opera, for his permission to
sing at his theatre, volunteering to do so _for nothing_. The offer
was at first absolutely declined, but subsequently the young artiste
succeeded, and made her first appearance on May 14, 1861, as Amina in
Bellini's opera of "La Sonnambula." Unheralded by any previous notice,
she was then totally unknown to the English public. Not a syllable had
reached that country of her antecedents or fame. I remember being
present on the occasion when this youthful cantatrice tripped lightly
on to the centre of the stage. Not a single hand was raised to greet
her, nor a sound of welcome extended to encourage the young artiste.
The audience of Covent Garden, usually reserved, except to
old-established favorites, seemed wrapped in more than their
conventional coldness on that particular evening. Ere long, however,
indeed before she had finished the opening aria, a change manifested
itself in the feelings of all present. The _habitués_ looked round in
astonishment, and people near me almost held their breath in
amazement. The second act followed, and to surprise quickly succeeded
delight, for when in the third act she threw all her vocal and
dramatic power into the melodious wailing of "_Ah non credea_," with
its brilliant sequel, "_Ah non giunge_," the enthusiasm of the
audience forgot all restriction, and burst into a spontaneous shout
of applause, the pent-up fervor of the assembly exploding in a ringing
cheer of acclamation rarely heard within the walls of the Royal
Italian Opera House. The heroine of the evening was Adelina Patti, who
thenceforward became the idol of the musical world. When I left the
theatre that evening, I became conscious that a course of fascination
had commenced of a most unwonted nature; one that neither time nor
change has modified, but which three decades have served only to
enhance and intensify.

At the conclusion of the performance, Mr. Gye went on to the stage
full of the excitement which prevailed in the theatre, and he
immediately concluded an engagement with Mlle. Patti on the terms
which had been previously agreed between them; these being that Mlle.
Patti was to receive at the rate of _£_150 a month for three years,
appearing twice each week during the season, or at the rate of about
_£_17 for each performance. Mr. Gye also offered her the sum of _£_200
if she would consent to sing exclusively at Covent Garden.

Patti repeated her performance of Amina eight times during the season,
and subsequently confirmed her success by her assumption of Lucia,
Violetta, Zerlina, Martha, and Rosina.

Having met with such unprecedented success throughout the London
season, Mlle. Patti was offered an engagement to sing at the Italian
Opera in Paris, where unusual curiosity was awakened concerning her.
Everyone is aware that the Parisians do not admit an artist to be a
celebrity until they have themselves acknowledged it. At Paris, after
the first act, the sensation was indescribable, musicians, ministers,
poets, and fashionable beauties all concurring in the general chorus
of acclamation; while the genial Auber, the composer of so many
delightful operas, and one of the greatest authorities, by his
experience and judgment, on all musical matters, was so enchanted that
he declared she had made him young again, and for several days he
could scarcely talk on any other subject but Adelina Patti and opera.
The conquest she had achieved with the English public was thus
triumphantly ratified by the exacting and critical members of musical
society in Paris.

Adèle Juan Maria Patti, according to her own statement, which she
related to the Queen Isabella of Spain, was born at Madrid, on
February 19, 1843, and is the youngest daughter of two famous Italian
singers, Signor Salvatore Patti and Signora Patti-Barili. The signor
having placed her two sisters--Amalia, who subsequently married
Maurice Strakosch, the well-known impresario, and Carlotta, also a
vocalist of remarkable powers--in a boarding-school at Milan, went to
New York with his wife and daughter, where they remained until Adelina
reached sixteen.

Adelina Patti had barely reached the age of three years when she was
heard humming and singing the airs her mother sang.

The child's voice was naturally so flexible that executive
difficulties were always easy to her, and, before she had attained her
ninth year she could execute a prolonged shake with fluency. Her
father not being prosperous at the time, it became a necessity for
him to look for support to his little Adelina, who had shown such
remarkable promise; and, accordingly, she began to take singing
lessons--not, as is stated in Grove's "Dictionary of Musicians," from
Maurice Strakosch, but from a French lady, subsequently studying with
her step-brother, Ettore Barili, who was a famous baritone singer; but
nature had been so prodigal of her gifts to the child that she never
undertook a serious course of study, but, as she herself says, her
real master was "le bon Dieu." At a very early age she would sing and
play the part of Norma, and knew the whole of the words and music of
Rosina, the heroine of Rossini's immortal "Il Barbiere di Seviglia."
She sang at various concerts in different cities, until she reached
the age of twelve and a half, when her career was temporarily
interrupted, for Maurice Strakosch, observing the ruinous effect the
continuous strain upon her delicate voice was working, insisted upon
her discontinuing singing altogether, which advice she happily
followed. After this interval of two years' silence, and having
emerged from the wonder-child to the young artiste, she recommenced
her studies under M. Strakosch, and very soon afterward was engaged to
sing on a regular stage. Strakosch travelled with her and Gottschalk,
the pianist, through the United States, during the tour giving a
number of concerts with varying financial results; ultimately
returning to New York in 1859, where she appeared at a concert of
which _The New York Herald_ of November 28th gives the following
notice: "One of the most remarkable events in the operatic history of
the metropolis, or even of the world, has taken place during the last
week at the Academy of Music. Mlle. Patti sang the mad scene from
Lucia in such a superb manner as to stir up the audience to the
heartiest demonstrations of delight. The success of this artiste,
educated and reared among us, has made everybody talk of her." In the
following year, Strakosch considered the time had arrived for her to
appear in Europe. He accordingly brought his young protégée to
England, with the result I have already attempted to describe.

After singing in London and Paris, Patti was engaged to appear at
Berlin, Brussels, Moscow, and St. Petersburg, at which latter city
enthusiasm reached its climax, when on one occasion she was called
before the curtain no fewer than forty times. One who was with her
there during her last visit, writes: "Having been witness of Adelina's
many triumphs and of outbursts of enthusiasm bordering upon madness, I
did not think that greater demonstrations were possible. I was
profoundly mistaken, however, for the St. Petersburg public far
surpassed anything I have seen before. On Adelina's nights
extraordinary profits were made. Places for the gallery were sold for
ten roubles each, while stalls were quickly disposed of for a hundred
roubles each. The emperor and empress, with the whole court, took part
in the brilliant reception accorded to Patti, and flowers to the
amount of six thousand roubles were thrown at her."

That she has been literally worshipped from infancy upward is only a
natural consequence of her unsurpassable gifts, and nowhere has this
feeling manifested itself to such an extent as in Paris, and by none
more so than by the four famous composers, Auber, Meyerbeer, Rossini,
and Gounod. Auber, after hearing her sing Norina, in Donizetti's "Don
Pasquale," offered her a bouquet of roses from Normandy, and in answer
to her questions about her diamonds, said, "The diamonds you wear are
beautiful indeed, but those you place in our ears are a thousand times
better." Patti was the pet of the gifted composer of "Guillaume Tell,"
and no one was ever more welcome at Rossini's beautiful villa at
Passy, well known as the centre of a great musical and artistic
circle. The genial Italian died in November, 1868, and Patti paid her
last tribute of respect to his memory by taking part in the
performance of his immortal "Stabat Mater," which was given on the
occasion of Rossini's burial service.

Gounod, always enthusiastic in his remarks upon her, said, "that until
he heard Patti, all the Marguerites were Northern maidens, but Patti
was the only Southern Gretchen, and that from her all future singers
could learn what to do and avoid."

Although it is not the custom to bestow titles or honorific
distinctions upon artists of the fair sex, yet, in lieu of these, to
such an extent have presents been showered upon Adelina Patti, that
the jewels which she has been presented with from time to time are
said to be of the enormous value of _£_100,000. In the year 1885, when
she appeared in New York as Violetta, the diamonds she wore on that
occasion were estimated to be worth _£_60,000. One of the handsomest
lockets in her possession is a present from Her Majesty, Queen
Victoria, and a splendid solitaire ring which she is in the habit of
wearing was given to her by the Baroness Burdett-Coutts. Of no less
than twenty-three valuable bracelets, one of the most costly is that
presented by the committee of the Birmingham festival. A magnificent
comb, set with twenty-three large diamonds, is the gift of the Empress
Eugénie. The emperors of Germany, Austria, and Russia have vied with
each other in sending her jewels of the rarest value.

When singing in Italy, King Victor Emmanuel each night visited the
opera for the purpose of hearing her; and at Florence, where the
enthusiastic Italians applauded to the very echo, Mario, prince of
Italian tenors, leaned from his box to crown her with a laurel wreath.
A similar honor was bestowed upon her by the Duke of Alba at Madrid,
who presented her with a laurel crown. At the opera house in that city
numbers of bouquets and poems were to be seen whirling through the air
attached to the necks of birds. Queen Isabella of Spain, gave a large
amethyst brooch surrounded by forty enormous pearls, and the Jockey
Club of Paris presented her with twelve laurel crowns. The citizens of
San Francisco, upon the occasion of her last visit, presented her with
a five-pointed star formed of thirty large brilliants, and from the
Queen of Portugal she received a massive locket containing Her
Majesty's portrait, enriched by an enormous oriental pearl encrusted
in brilliants; and even at the present time scarcely a day passes
without the "Diva" receiving some acknowledgment in recognition of her
transcendent powers.

Adelina Patti's first husband was Henri, Marquis de Caux, an equerry
to the Empress Eugénie, from whom she was separated and subsequently
divorced; and, on June 10, 1886, she married Ernesto Nicolini, the
famous tenor singer.

In appearance, Patti is still youthful, and really seems destined to
rival the celebrated French beauty, Ninon de l'Enclos, who was so
beautiful at sixty that the grandsons of the men who loved her in her
youth adored her with equal ardor. Patti's figure is still slim and
rounded, and not a wrinkle as yet is to be seen on her cheeks, or a
line about her eyes, which are as clear and bright as ever, and which,
when she speaks to you, look you straight in the face with her old
winning smile.

During her career Patti has earned upward of half a million sterling,
and the enormous sums paid to her at the present time more than double
the amounts which Jenny Lind received, and which in that day were
regarded as fabulous.

On a natural plateau, surrounded by picturesque vales, and situated in
the heart of the very wildest and most romantic part of South Wales,
between Brecon and Swansea, and at the base of the Rock of the Night,
stands the Castle of Craig-y-nos. This is the nightingale's nest. The
princely fortune which Patti has accumulated has enabled her so to
beautify and enlarge her home, that it now contains all the luxuries
which Science and Art have enabled Fortune's favorites to enjoy; and
so crowded is it with curios and valuables that it may best be
described as "the home of all Art yields or Nature can decree."

Here, in picturesque seclusion, surrounded by a unique splendor
created by her own exertions, lives this gifted and beautiful
songstress. She is the "Lady Bountiful" of the entire district,
extending many miles around the castle, over which she presides with
such hospitable grace. The number of grateful hearts she has won in
the Welsh country by her active benevolence is almost as great as is
the legion of enthusiastic admirers she has enlisted by the wonderful
beauty of her voice and the series of artistic triumphs, which have
been absolutely without parallel during the present century.



(BORN 1844)

A little girl, as Sarcey relates, once presented herself at the Paris
Conservatoire in order to pass the examination for admission. All she
knew was the fable of the "Two Pigeons," but she had no sooner recited
the lines--

  "Deux pigeons s'aimaient d'amour tendre,
   L'un d'eux, s'ennuyant au logis"--

than Auber stopped her with a gesture. "Enough," he said. "Come here,
my child." The little girl, who was pale and thin, but whose eyes
gleamed with intelligence, approached him with an air of assurance.
"Your name is Sarah?" he said.

"Yes, sir." was the reply.

"You are a Jewess?"

"Yes, sir, by birth; but I have been baptized."

"She has been baptized," said Auber, turning to his colleagues. "It
would have been a pity if such a pretty child had not. She said her
fable of the 'Two Pigeons' very well. She must be admitted."

[Illustration: Sarah Bernhardt.]

Thus Sarah Bernhardt, for it was she, entered the Conservatoire. She
was a Jewess of French and Dutch parentage, and was born at Paris in
1844. Her father, after having her baptized, had placed her in a
convent; but she had already secretly determined to become an actress.
In her course of study at the Conservatoire she so distinguished
herself that she received a prize which entitled her to a _début_ at
the Théâtre Français. She selected the part of Iphigénie, in which she
appeared on August 11, 1862; and at least one newspaper drew special
attention to her performance, describing her as "pretty and elegant,"
and particularly praising her perfect enunciation. She afterward
played other parts at the Théâtre Français, but soon transferred
herself from that house to the Gymnase, though not until she had made
herself notorious by having, as was alleged, slapped the face of a
sister-actress in a fit of temper.

The director of the Gymnase did not take too serious a view of his new
actress, who turned up late at rehearsals, and sometimes did not turn
up at all. Nor did her acting make any great impression at the
Gymnase, where, it is true, she was only permitted to appear on
Sundays. At this theatre she lost no time in exhibiting that
independence and caprice to which, as much as to her talent, she owes
her celebrity. The day after the first representation of a piece by
Labiche, "Un Mari qui Lance sa Femme," in which she had undertaken an
important part, she stealthily quitted Paris, addressing to the author
a letter in which she begged him to forgive her.

After a tour in Spain, Sarah returned to Paris, and appeared at the
Odéon. Here she created a certain number of characters, in such plays
as "Les Arrêts," "Le Drame de la Rue de la Paix," and "Le Bâtard," but
chiefly distinguished herself in "Ruy Blas," and in a translation of
"King Lear." Already she had riveted the attention of the public and
the press, who saw that a brilliant future lay before her.

At the end of 1872 she appeared at the Comédie Française, and with
such distinction that she was retained, first as a pensionnaire, at a
salary of six thousand francs, and afterward as a _sociétaire_. Her
successes were rapid and dazzling, and whether she appeared in modern
comedy, in classic tragedy, or as the creator of characters in
entirely new plays, the theatre was always crowded. Her melodious
voice and pure enunciation, her singularly varied accents, her
pathos, her ardent bursts of passion, were such that her audience, as
they hung upon her lips, forgot the caprices and eccentricities by
which she was already characterized in private life. It seemed,
however, that Sarah's ambition was to gain personal notoriety even
more than theatrical fame; and by her performances of one kind or
another outside the theatre make herself the talk of society. She
affected to paint, to chisel, and to write; sent pictures to the
Salon, published eccentric books, and exhibited busts. She would
receive her friends palette in hand, and in the dress of a male
artist. She had a luxurious coffin made for her, covered with velvet,
in which she loved to recline; and she more than once went up in a

Her caprice, whether in private or public, was altogether unrestrained.
In 1880 Émile Augier's admirable comedy, "L'Aventurière," was revived at
the Comédie Française, and the author confided the part of Clorinde to
Sarah Bernhardt. After the first representation, however, she was so
enraged by an uncomplimentary newspaper criticism that she sent in her
resignation to M. Émile Perrin, director of the theatre, quitted Paris,
and went to England, where she gave a series of representations, and,
appearing there for the first time, caused a veritable sensation in
London society. Meanwhile, M. Perrin instituted against her, in the name
of the Comédie Française, a lawsuit for breach of contract, with damages
laid at three hundred thousand francs. It was at this juncture that
Sarah accepted the offers of an enterprising manager for a tour in
America, where she achieved no less phenomenal successes than in Europe.

A sensational account of this American tour was afterward published by
one of her associates, Mlle. Marie Colombier, under the title of
"Sarah Bernhardt en Amérique." This was followed by a second volume
from the same pen, entitled "Sarah Barnum." The latter book, as its
title suggests, was not intended as a compliment; and Sarah Bernhardt
brought an action against the writer, by which she was compelled to
expunge from her scandalous volume all that was offensive.

The rest of Sarah's career is too recent to be traced in detail. Nor
can the life of an actress of our own time be dealt with so freely as
that of a Sophie Arnould or an Adrienne Lecouvreur.

From America Sarah returned to Paris, where she revived all her old
successes, and where, in 1888, at the Odéon, she produced a one-act
comedy from her own pen, entitled "L'Aveu," which met with a somewhat
frigid reception. She has appeared in several of Shakespeare's plays
with great success, but her most ambitious and perhaps most admirable
productions of late years have been her Cleopatra, first produced in
Paris in 1890, and her Joan of Arc.

Among her numerous eccentricities, Mlle. Bernhardt once got married;
London, by reason of the facilities it affords for this species of
recreation, being chosen as the scene of the espousals. The hero of
the matrimonial comedy, which was soon followed by a separation, to
which, after many adventures on the part of both husband and wife, a
reconciliation succeeded, was M. Damala, a Greek gentleman, possessed
of considerable histrionic talent, who died in 1880.


[Illustration: Signatures of the authors.]


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