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´╗┐Title: Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 06
 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Artists
Author: Hubbard, Elbert
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 06
 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Artists" ***

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Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Artists

















And with all this vast creative activity, he recognized only one
self-imposed limitation--beauty. Hence, though his span of life was
short, his work is imperishable. He steadily progressed: but he was
ever true, beautiful and pure, and freer than any other master from
superficiality and mannerism. He produced a vast number of pictures,
elevating to men of every race and of every age, and before whose
immortal beauty artists of every school unite in common homage.
  --_Wilhelm Lubke_

[Illustration: Raphael]

The term "Preraphaelite" traces a royal lineage to William Morris.
Just what the word really meant, William Morris was not sure, yet he
once expressed the hope that he would some day know, as a thousand
industrious writers were laboring to make the matter plain.

Seven men helped William Morris to launch the phrase, by forming
themselves into an organization which they were pleased to call the
"Preraphaelite Brotherhood."

The word "brotherhood" has a lure and a promise for every lonely and
tired son of earth. And Burne-Jones pleaded for the prefix because
it was like holy writ: it gave everybody an opportunity to read
anything into it that he desired.

Of this I am very sure, in the Preraphaelite Brotherhood there was
no lack of appreciation for Raphael. In fact, there is proof
positive that Burne-Jones and Madox Brown studied him with profit,
and loved him so wisely and well that they laid impression-paper on
his poses. This would have been good and sufficient reason for
hating the man; and possibly this accounts for their luminous
flashes of silence concerning him. The Preraphaelite Brotherhood,
like all other liberal organizations, was quite inclined to be
illiberal. And the prejudice of this clanship, avowedly founded
without prejudice, lay in the assumption that life and art suffered
a degeneration from the rise of Raphael. In art, as in literature,
there is overmuch tilting with names--so the Preraphaelites enlisted
under the banner of Botticelli.

Raphael marks an epoch. He did what no man before him had ever done,
and by the sublimity of his genius placed the world forever under
obligations to him. In fact, the art of the Preraphaelites was built
on Raphael, with an attempt to revive the atmosphere and environment
that belonged to another. Raphael mirrored the soul of things--he
used the human form and the whole natural world as symbols of
spirit. And this is exactly what Burne-Jones did, and the rest of
the Brotherhood tried to do. The thought of Raphael and of Burne-
Jones often seems identical; in temperament, disposition and
aspiration they were one. That poetic and fervid statement of Mrs.
Jameson, that Burne-Jones is the avatar of Raphael, contains the
germ of truth. The dream-women of Burne-Jones have the same haunting
and subtle spiritual wistfulness that is to be seen in the Madonnas
of Raphael. Each of these men loved a woman--and each pictured her
again and again. Whether this woman had an existence outside the
figment of the brain matters not: both painted her as they saw her--
tender, gentle and trustful.

When jealous and o'erzealous competitors made the charge against
Raphael that he was lax in his religious duties, Pope Leo the Tenth
waived the matter by saying, "Well, well, well!--he is an artistic
Christian!" As much as to say, he works his religion up into art,
and therefore we grant him absolution for failure to attend mass: he
paints and you pray--it is really all the same thing. Good work and
religion are one.

The busy and captious critics went away, but came back next day with
the startling information that Raphael's pictures were more Pagan
than Christian. Pope Leo heard the charge, and then with Lincoln-
like wit said that Raphael was doing this on his order, as the
desire of the Mother Church was to annex the Pagan art-world, in
order to Christianize it.

The charges of Paganism and Infidelity are classic accusations. The
gentle Burne-Jones was stoutly denounced by his enemies as a Pagan
Greek. I think he rather gloried in the contumely, but fifty years
earlier he might have been visited by a "lettre de cachet," instead
of a knighthood; for we can not forget how, in Eighteen Hundred
Fifteen, Parliament refused to pay for the Elgin Marbles because, as
Lord Falmouth put it, "These relics will tend to prostitute England
to the depth of unbelief that engulfed Pagan Greece." The attitude
of Parliament on the question of Paganism finds voice occasionally
even yet by Protestant England making darkness dense with the
asseveration that Catholics idolatrously worship the pictures and
statues in their churches.

The Romans tumbled the Athenian marbles from their pedestals, on the
assumption that the statues represented gods that were idolatrously
worshiped by the Greeks. And they continued their work of
destruction until a certain Roman general (who surely was from
County Cork) stopped the vandalism by issuing an order, coupled with
the dire threat that any soldier who stole or destroyed a statue
should replace it with another equally good.

Lord Elgin bankrupted himself in order to supply the British Museum
its crowning glory, and for this he achieved the honor of getting
himself poetically damned by Lord Byron. Monarchies, like republics,
are ungrateful. Lord Elgin defended himself vigorously against the
charge of Paganism, just as Raphael had done three hundred years
before. But Burne-Jones was silent in the presence of his accusers,
for the world of buyers besieged his doors with bank-notes in hand,
demanding pictures. And now today we find Alma-Tadema openly and
avowedly Pagan, and with a grace and loveliness that compel the glad
acclaim of every lover of beautiful things.

We are making head. We have ceased to believe that Paganism is
"bad." All the men and women who have ever lived and loved and hoped
and died, were God's children, and we are no more. With the nations
dead and turned to dust, we reach out through the darkness of
forgotten days and touch friendly hands. Some of these people that
existed two, three or four thousand years ago did things so
marvelously grand and great that in presence of the broken fragments
of their work we stand silent, o'erawed and abashed. We realize,
too, that long before the nations lived that have left a meager and
scattered history hewn in stone, lived still other men, possibly
greater far than we; and no sign or signal comes to us from those
whose history, like ours, is writ in water.

Yet we are one with them all. The same Power that brought them upon
this stage of Time brought us. As we were called into existence
without our consent, so are we being sent out of it, day by day,
against our will. The destiny of all who live or have lived, is one;
and no taunt of "paganism," "heathenism" or "infidelity" escapes our
lips. With love and sympathy, we salute the eternity that lies
behind, realizing that we ourselves are the oldest people that have
tasted existence--the newest nation lingers away behind Assyria and
Egypt, back of the Mayas, lost in continents sunken in shoreless
seas that hold their secrets inviolate. Yes, we are brothers to all
that have trod the earth; brothers and heirs to dust and shade--
mayhap to immortality!

In the story of "John Ball," William Morris pictured what to him was
the Ideal Life. And Morris was certainly right in this: The Ideal
Life is only the normal or natural life as we shall some day know
it. The scene of Morris' story was essentially a Preraphaelite one.
It was the great virtue (or limitation) of William Morris that the
Dark Ages were to him a time of special light and illumination. Life
then was simple. Men worked for the love of it, and if they wanted
things they made them. "Every trade exclusively followed means a
deformity," says Ruskin. Division of labor had not yet come, and men
were skilled in many ways. There was neither poverty nor riches, and
the idea of brotherhood was firmly fixed in the minds of men. The
feverish desire for place, pelf and power was not upon them. The
rise of the barons and an entailed aristocracy were yet to come.

Governments grant men immunity from danger on payment of a tax. Thus
men cease protecting themselves, and so in the course of time lose
the ability to protect themselves, because the faculty of courage
has atrophied through disuse. Brooding apprehension and crouching
fear are the properties of civilized men--men who are protected by
the State. The joy of reveling in life is not possible in cities.
Bolts and bars, locks and keys, soldiers and police, and a hundred
other symbols of distrust, suspicion and hate, are on every hand,
reminding us that man is the enemy of man, and must be protected
from his brothers. Protection and slavery are near of kin.

Before Raphael, art was not a profession--the man did things to the
glory of God. When he painted a picture of the Holy Family, his wife
served as his model, and he grouped his children in their proper
order, and made the picture to hang on a certain spot on the walls
of his village church. No payment was expected nor fee demanded--it
was a love-offering. It was not until ecclesiastics grew ambitious
and asked for more pictures that bargains were struck. Did ever a
painter of that far-off day marry a maid, and in time were they
blessed with a babe, then straightway the painter worked his joy up
into art by painting the Mother and Child, and presenting the
picture as a thank-offering to God. The immaculate conception of
love and the miracle of birth are recurring themes in the symphony
of life. Love, religion and art have ever walked and ever will walk
hand in hand. Art is the expression of man's joy in his work; and
art is the beautiful way of doing things. Pope Julius was right--
work is religion when you put your soul into your task.

Giotto painted the "Mother and Child," and the mother was his wife,
and the child theirs. Another child came to them, and Giotto painted
another picture, calling the older boy Saint John, and the wee baby
Jesus. The years went by and we find still another picture of the
Holy Family by this same artist, in which five children are shown,
while back in the shadow is the artist himself, posed as Joseph. And
with a beautiful contempt for anachronism, the elder children are
called Isaiah, Ezekiel and Elijah. This fusing of work, love and
religion gives us a glimpse into the only paradise mortals know. It
is the Ideal--and the Natural.

The swift-passing years have lightly touched the little city of
Urbino, in Umbria. The place is sleepy and quiet, and you seek the
shade of friendly awnings to shield you from the fierce glare of the
sun. Standing there you hear the bells chime the hours, as they have
done for four hundred years; and you watch the flocks of wheeling
pigeons, the same pigeons that Vasari saw when he came here in
Fifteen Hundred Forty-one, for the birds never grow old. Vasari
tells of the pigeons, the old cathedral--old even then--the flower-
girls and fruit-sellers, the passing black-robed priests, the
occasional soldier, and the cobbler who sits on the curbstone and
offers to mend your shoes while you wait.

The world is debtor to Vasari. He was not much of a painter and he
failed at architecture, but he made up for lack of skill by telling
all about what others were doing; and if his facts ever faltered,
his imagination bridged the break. He is as interesting as Plutarch,
as gossipy as Pepys, and as luring as Boswell.

A slim slip of a girl, selling thyme and mignonette out of a reed
basket, offered to show Vasari the birthplace of Raphael; and a
brown-cheeked, barefoot boy, selling roses on which the dew yet
lingered, volunteered a like service for me, three hundred years

The house is one of a long row of low stone structures, with the
red-tile roof everywhere to be seen. Above the door is a bronze
tablet which informs the traveler that Raphael Sanzio was born here,
April Sixth, Fourteen Hundred Eighty-three. Herman Grimm takes three
chapters to prove that Raphael was not born in this house, and that
nothing is so unreliable as a bronze tablet, except figures. Grimm
is a painstaking biographer, but he fails to distinguish between
fact and truth. Of this we are sure, Giovanni di Sanzio, the father
of Raphael, lived in this house. There are church records to show
that here other children of Giovanni were born, and this very
naturally led to the assumption that Raphael was born here, also.

Just one thing of touching interest is to be seen in this house, and
that is a picture of a Mother and Child painted on the wall. For
many years this picture was said to be the work of Raphael; but
there is now very good reason to believe it was the work of
Raphael's father, and that the figures represent the baby Raphael
and his mother. The picture is faded and dim, like the history of
this sainted woman who gave to earth one of the gentlest, greatest
and best men that ever lived. Mystery enshrouds the early days of
Raphael. There is no record of his birth. His father we know was a
man of decided power, and might yet rank as a great artist, had he
not been so unfortunate as to have had a son that outclassed him.
But now Giovanni Sanzio's only claim to fame rests on his being the
father of his son. Of the boy's mother we have only obstructed
glances and glimpses through half-flung lattices in the gloaming.
Raphael was her only child. She was scarce twenty when she bore him.
In a sonnet written to her, on the back of a painting, Raphael's
father speaks of her wondrous eyes, slender neck, and the form too
frail for earth's rough buffets. Mention is also made of "this child
born in purest love, and sent by God to comfort and caress."

The mother grew aweary and passed away when her boy was scarce eight
years old, but his memories of her were deeply etched. She told him
of Cimabue, Giotto, Ghirlandajo, Leonardo and Perugino, and
especially of the last two, who were living and working only a few
miles away. It was this spiritual and loving mother who infused into
his soul the desire to do and to become. That hunger for harmony
which marked his life was the heritage of mother to child.

When an artist paints a portrait, he paints two--himself and the
sitter. Raphael gave himself; and as his father more than once said
the boy was the image of his mother, we have her picture, too.
Father and son painted the same woman. Their hearts went out to her
with a sort of idolatrous love. The sonnets indited to her by her
husband were written after her death, and after his second marriage.
Do then men love dead women better than they do the living? Perhaps.
And then a certain writer has said: "To have known a great and
exalted love, and have had it flee from your grasp--flee as a shadow
before it is sullied by selfishness or misunderstanding--is the
highest good. The memory of such a love can not die from out the
heart. It affords a ballast 'gainst all the sordid impulses of life,
and though it gives an unutterable sadness, it imparts an
unspeakable peace."

Raphael's father followed the boy's mother when the lad was eleven
years old. We know the tender, poetic love this father had for the
child, and we realize somewhat of the mystical mingling in the man's
heart of the love for the woman dead and her child alive.
Reverencing the mother's wish that the boy should be an artist,
Giovanni Sanzio, proud of his delicate and spiritual beauty, took
the lad to visit all the other artists in the vicinity. They also
visited the ducal palace, built by Federigo the Second, and lingered
there for hours, viewing the paintings, statuary, carvings,
tapestries and panelings.

The palace still stands, and is yet one of the most noble in Italy,
vying in picturesqueness with those marble piles that line the Grand
Canal at Venice. We know that Giovanni Sanzio contributed by his
advice and skill to the wealth of beauty in the palace, and we know
that he was always a welcome visitor there. From his boyhood Raphael
was familiar with these artistic splendors, and how much this early
environment contributed to his correct taste and habit of subdued
elegance, no man can say. When Giovanni Sanzio realized that death
was at his door, he gave Raphael into the keeping of the priest
Bartolomeo and the boy's stepmother. The typical stepmother lives,
moves and has her being in neurotic novels written by very young

Instances can be cited of great men who were loved and nurtured and
ministered to by their stepmothers. I think well of womankind. The
woman who abuses a waif that Fate has sent into her care would
mistreat her own children, and is a living libel on her sex.

Let Lincoln and Raphael stand as types of men who were loved with
infinite tenderness by stepmothers. And then we must not forget
Leonardo da Vinci, who never knew a mother, and had no business to
have a father, but who held averages good with four successive
stepmothers, all of whom loved him with a tender, jealous and proud

Bartolomeo, following the wish of the father, continued to give the
boy lessons in drawing and sketching. This Bartolomeo must not be
confused with the Bartolomeo, friend of Savonarola, who was largely
to influence Raphael later on. It was Bartolomeo, the priest, that
took Raphael to Perugino, who lived in Perugia. Perugino, although
he was a comparatively young man, was bigger than the town in which
he lived. His own name got blown away by a high wind, and he was
plain Perugino--as if there was only one man in Perugia, and he were
that one. "Here is a boy I have brought you as a pupil," said the
priest to Perugino. And Perugino glancing up from his easel
answered, "I thought it was a girl!"

The priest continued, "Here is a boy I have brought you for a pupil,
and your chief claim to fame may yet be that he worked here with you
in your studio." Perugino parried the thrust with a smile. He looked
at the boy and was impressed with his beauty. Perugino afterwards
acknowledged that the only reason he took him was because he thought
he would work in well as a model.

Perugino was the greatest master of technique of his time. He had
life, and life in abundance. He reveled in his work, and his
enthusiasm ran over, inundating all those who were near. Courage is
a matter of the red corpuscle. It is oxygen that makes every attack;
without oxygen in his blood to back him, a man attacks nothing--not
even a pie, much less a blank canvas. Perugino was a success; he had
orders ahead; he matched his talent against titles; power flowed his
way. Raphael's serious, sober manner and spiritual beauty appealed
to him. They became as father and son. The methodical business plan,
which is a prime aid to inspiration; the habit of laying out work
and completing it; the high estimate of self; the supreme animation
and belief in the divinity within--all these Raphael caught from
Perugino. Both men were egotists, as are all men who do things. They
had heard the voice--they had had a "call." The talent is the call,
and if a man fails to do his work in a masterly way, make sure he
has mistaken a lazy wish for a divine passion. There is a difference
between loving the muse and lusting after her.

Perugino had been called, and before Raphael had worked with him a
year, he was sure he had been called, too. The days in Perugia for
Raphael were full of quiet joy and growing power. He was in the
actual living world of men, and things, and useful work. Afternoons,
when the sun's shadows began to lengthen towards the east, Perugino
would often call to his helpers, especially Raphael, and
Pinturicchio, another fine spirit, and off they would go for a
tramp, each with a stout staff and the inevitable portfolio. Out
along the narrow streets of the town, across the Roman arched
bridge, by the market-place to the terraced hillside that overlooked
the Umbrian plain, they went; Perugino stout, strong, smooth-faced,
with dark, swarthy features; Pinturicchio with downy beard, merry
eyes and tall, able form; and lingering behind, came Raphael. His
small black cap fitted closely on his long bronze-gold hair; his
slight, slender and graceful figure barely suggested its silken
strength held in fine reserve--and all the time the great brown
eyes, which looked as if they had seen celestial things, scanned the
sky, saw the tall cedars of Lebanon, the flocks on the slopes across
the valley, the scattered stone cottages, the fleecy clouds that
faintly flecked the deep blue of the sky, the distant spire of a
church. All these treasures of the Umbrian landscape were his. Well
might he have anticipated, four hundred years before he was born,
that greatest of American writers, and said, "I own the landscape!"
In frescos signed by Perugino in the year Fourteen Hundred Ninety-
two--a date we can not forget--we see a certain style. In the same
design duplicated in Fourteen Hundred Ninety-eight, we behold a new
and subtle touch--it is the stroke and line of Raphael.

The "Resurrection" by Perugino, in the Vatican, and the "Diotalevi
Madonna" signed by the same artist, in the Berlin Museum, show the
touch of Raphael, unmistakably. The youth was barely seventeen, but
he was putting himself into Perugino's work--and Perugino was glad.
Raphael's first independent work was probably done when he was
nineteen, and was for the Citta di Castello. These frescos are
signed, "Raphael Urbinas, 1502." Other lesser pictures and panels
thus signed are found dated Fifteen Hundred Four. They are all the
designs of Perugino, but worked out with the painstaking care always
shown by very young artists; yet there is a subtle, spiritual style
that marks, unmistakably, Raphael's Perugino period.

The "Sposalizio," done in Fifteen Hundred Four, now in the Brera at
Milan, is the first really important work of Raphael. Next to this
is the "Connestabile Madonna," which was painted at Perugia and
remained there until Eighteen Hundred Seventy-one, when it was sold
by a degenerate descendant of the original owner to the Emperor of
Russia for sixty-five thousand dollars. Since then a law has been
passed forbidding any one on serious penalty to remove a "Raphael"
from Italy. But for this law, that threat of a Chicago syndicate to
buy the Pitti Gallery and move its contents to the "lake front"
might have been carried out.

The Second Period of Raphael's life opens with his visit to Florence
in Fifteen Hundred Four. He was now twenty-one years of age,
handsome, proud, reserved. Stories of his power had preceded him,
and the fact that for six years he had worked with Perugino and been
his confidant and friend made his welcome sure.

Leonardo and Michelangelo were at the height of their fame, and no
doubt they stimulated the ambition of Raphael more than he ever
admitted. He considered Leonardo the more finished artist of the
two. Michelangelo's heroic strength and sweep of power failed to win
him. The frescos of Masaccio in the Church of Santa Carmine in
Florence he considered better than any performance of Michelangelo:
and as a Roland to this Oliver, we have a legend to the effect that
Raphael once called upon Michelangelo and the master sent down word
from the scaffold, where he was at work, that he was too busy to see
visitors, and anyway, he had all the apprentices that he could look

How much this little incident biased Raphael's opinion concerning
Michelangelo's art we can not say: possibly Raphael could not have
told, either. But such things count, I am told, for even Doctor
Johnson thought better of Reynolds' work after they had dined

It seems that Fra Bartolomeo was one of the first and best friends
Raphael had at Florence. The monk's gentle spirit and his modest
views of men and things won the young Umbrian; and between these two
there sprang up a friendship so firm and true that death alone could
sever it.

The deep religious devotion of Bartolomeo set the key for the first
work done by Raphael at Florence. Most of the time the young man and
the monk lived and worked in the same studio. It was a wonderfully
prolific period for Raphael; from Fifteen Hundred Four to Fifteen
Hundred Eight he pushed forward with a zest and an earnestness he
never again quite equaled. Most of his beautiful Madonnas belong to
this period, and in them all are a dignity, grace and grandeur that
lift them out of ecclesiastic art, and place them in the category of
living portraits.

Before this, Raphael belonged to the Umbrian School, but now his
work must be classed, if classed at all, as Florentine. The handling
is freer, the nude more in evidence, and the anatomy shows that the
artist is working from life.

Bartolomeo used to speak of Raphael affectionately as "my son," and
called the attention of Bramante, the architect, to his work. The
beauty of his Madonnas was being discussed in every studio, and when
the "Ansidei" was exhibited in the Church of Santa Croce, such a
crowd flocked to see the picture that services had to be dismissed.
The rush continued until a thrifty priest bethought him to stand at
the main entrance with a contribution-box and a stout stick, and
allow no one to enter who did not contribute good silver for "the
worthy poor."

Bartolomeo acknowledged that his "pupil" was beyond him. He was
invited to add a finishing touch to the Masaccio frescos; Leonardo,
the courtly, had smiled a gracious recognition, and Michelangelo had
sneezed at mention of his name. Bramante, back at Rome, told Pope
Julius the Second, "There is a young Umbrian at Florence we must
send for."

Great things were happening at Rome about this time: all roads led
thitherward. Pope Julius had just laid the cornerstone of Saint
Peter's, and full of ambition was carrying out the dictum of Pope
Nicholas the Fifth, that "the Church should array herself in all the
beauteous spoils of the world, in order to win the minds of men."

The Renaissance was fairly begun, fostered and sustained by the
Church alone. The Quattrocento--that time of homely peace and the
simple quiet of John Ball and his fellows--lay behind.

Raphael had begun his Roman Period, which was to round out his
working life of barely eighteen years, ere the rest of the Pantheon
was to be his.

Before this his time had been his own, but now the Church was his
mistress. But it was a great honor that had come to him, greater far
than had ever before been bestowed on any living artist. Barely
twenty-five years of age, the Pope treated him as an equal, and
worked him like a packhorse. "He has the face of an angel," cried
Julius, "and the soul of a god!"--when some one suggested his youth.

Pope Leo the Tenth, of the Medici family, succeeded Julius. He sent
Michelangelo to Florence to employ his talents upon the Medicean
church of San Lorenzo. He dismissed Perugino, Pinturicchio and Piero
Delia Francesca, although Raphael in tears pleaded for them all.
Their frescos were destroyed, and Raphael was told to go ahead and
make the Vatican what it should be.

His first large work was to decorate the Hall of the Signatures
(Stanza della Segnatura), where we today see the "Dispute." Near at
hand is the famous "School of Athens." In this picture his own
famous portrait is to be seen with that of Perugino. The first place
is given to Perugino, and the faces affectionately side by side are
posed in a way that has given a cue to ten thousand photographers.

The attitude is especially valuable, as a bit of history showing
Raphael's sterling attachment to his old teacher. The Vatican is
filled with the work of Raphael, and aside from the galleries to
which the general public is admitted, studies and frescos are to be
seen in many rooms that are closed unless, say, Archbishop Ireland
be with you, when all doors fly open at your touch. The seven
Raphael tapestries are shown at the Vatican an hour each day; the
rest of the time the room is closed to protect them from the light.
However, the original cartoons at South Kensington reveal the sweep
and scope of Raphael's genius better than the tapestries themselves.

Work, unceasing work, filled his days. The ingenuity and industry of
the man were marvelous. Upwards of eighty portraits were painted
during the Roman Period, besides designs innumerable for engravings,
and even for silver and iron ornaments required by the Church.
Pupils helped him much, of course, and among these must be mentioned
Giulio Romano and Gianfrancesco Penni. These young men lived with
Raphael in his splendid house that stood halfway between Saint
Peter's and the Castle Angelo. Fire swept the space a hundred years
later, and the magnificence it once knew has never been replaced.
Today, hovels built from stone quarried from the ruins mark the
spot. But as one follows this white, dusty road, it is well to
remember that the feet of Raphael, passing and repassing, have, more
than any other one street of Rome, made it sacred soil.

We have seen that Bramante brought Raphael to Rome, and Pope Leo the
Tenth remembered this when the first architect of Saint Peter's
passed away. Raphael was appointed his successor. The honor was
merited, but the place should have gone to one not already
overworked. In Fifteen Hundred Fifteen Raphael was made Director of
Excavations, another office for which his esthetic and delicate
nature was not fitted. In sympathy, of course, his heart went out to
the antique workers of the ancient world, on whose ruins the Eternal
City is built; but the drudgery of overseeing and superintendence
belonged to another type of man.

The stress of the times had told on Raphael; he was thirty-five,
rich beyond all Umbrian dreams of avarice, on an equality with the
greatest and noblest men of his time, honored above all other living
artists. But life began to pall; he had won all--and thereby had
learned the worthlessness of what the world has to offer. Dreams of
rest, of love and a quiet country home, came to him. He was
betrothed to Maria di Bibbiena, a niece of Cardinal Bibbiena. The
day of the wedding had been set, and the Pope was to perform the

But the Pope regarded Raphael as a servant of the Church: he had
work for him to do, and moreover he had fixed ideas concerning the
glamour of sentimentalism, so he requested that the wedding be
postponed for a space.

A request from the Pope was an order, and so the country house was
packed away with other dreams that were to come true all in God's
good time.

But the realization of love's dream did not come true, for Raphael
had a rival. Death claimed his bride.

She was buried in the Pantheon, where within a year Raphael's
wornout body was placed beside hers; and there the dust of both

The history of this love-tragedy has never been written; it lies
buried there with the lovers. But a contemporary said that the fear
of an enforced separation broke the young woman's heart; and this we
know, that after her death, Raphael's hand forgot its cunning, and
his frame was ripe for the fever that was so soon to burn out the
strands of his life.

Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino and Fra Bartolomeo had all
made names for themselves before Raphael appeared upon the scene.
Yet they one and all profited by his example, and were the richer in
that he had lived.

Michelangelo was born nine years before Raphael and survived him
forty-three years.

Titian was six years old when Raphael was born, and he continued to
live and work for fifty-six years after Raphael had passed away.

It was a cause of grief to Michelangelo, even to the day of his
death, that he and Raphael had not been close, personal and loving
friends, as indeed they should have been.

The art-world was big enough for both. Yet Rome was divided into two
hostile camps: those who favored Raphael; and those who had but one
prophet, Michelangelo. Busybodies rushed back and forth, carrying
foolish and inconsequential messages; and these strong yet gentle
men, both hungering for sympathy and love, were thrust apart.

When Raphael realized the end was nigh, he sent for Perugino, and
directed that he should complete certain work. His career had begun
by working with Perugino, and now this friend of a lifetime must
finish the broken task and make good the whole. He bade his beloved
pupils, one by one, farewell; signed his will, which gave most of
his valuable property to his fellow-workers; and commended his soul
to the God who gave it. He died on his birthday, Good Friday, April
Sixth, Fifteen Hundred Twenty, aged thirty-seven years. Michelangelo
wore mourning upon his sleeve for a year after Raphael's death. And
once Michelangelo said, "Raphael was a child, a beautiful child, and
if he had only lived a little longer, he and I would have grasped
hands as men and worked together as brothers."


The world, perhaps, contains no other example of a genius so
universal as Leonardo's, so creative, so incapable of self-
contentment, so athirst for the infinite, so naturally refined, so
far in advance of his own and subsequent ages. His pictures express
incredible sensibility and mental power; they overflow with
unexpressed ideas and emotions. Alongside of his portraits
Michelangelo's personages are simply heroic athletes; Raphael's
virgins are only placid children whose souls are still asleep. His
beings feel and think through every line and trait of their
physiognomy. Time is necessary to enter into communion with them;
not that their sentiment is too slightly marked, for, on the
contrary, it emerges from the whole investiture; but it is too
subtle, too complicated, too far above and beyond the ordinary, too
dreamlike and inexplicable.
  --_Taine in "A Journey Through Italy"_

[Illustration: Leonardo]

There is a little book by George B. Rose, entitled, "Renaissance
Masters," which is quite worth your while to read. I carried a copy,
for company, in the side-pocket of my coat for a week, and just
peeped into it at odd times. I remember that I thought so little of
the volume that I read it with a lead-pencil and marked it all up
and down and over, and filled the fly-leaves with random thoughts,
and disfigured the margins with a few foolish sketches.

Then one fine day White Pigeon came out to the Roycroft Shop from
Buffalo, as she was passing through. She came on the two-o'clock
train and went away on the four-o'clock, and her visit was like a
window flung open to the azure.

White Pigeon remained at East Aurora only two hours--"not long
enough" she said, "to knock the gold and emerald off the butterfly's
beautiful wings."

White Pigeon saw the little book I have mentioned, on my table in
the tower-room. She picked it up and turned the leaves aimlessly;
then she opened her Boston bag and slipped the book inside, saying
as she did so:

"You do not mind?"

And I said, "Certainly not!"

Then she added, "I like to follow in the pathway you have blazed."

That closed the matter so far as the little book was concerned.
Save, perhaps, that after I had walked to the station with White
Pigeon and she had boarded the car, she stepped out upon the rear
platform, and as I stood there at the station watching the train
disappear around the curve, White Pigeon reached into the Boston
bag, took out the little book and held it up.

That was the last time I saw White Pigeon. She was looking well and
strong, and her step, I noticed, was firm and sure, and she carried
the crown of her head high and her chin in. It made me carry my chin
in, too, just by force of example, I suppose--so easily are we
influenced. When you walk with some folks you slouch along, but
others there be who make you feel an upward lift and skyey
gravitation--it is very curious!

Yet I do really believe White Pigeon is forty, or awfully close to
it. There are silver streaks among her brown braids, and surely the
peachblow has long gone from her cheek. Then she was awfully tanned
--and that little mole on her forehead, and its mate on her chin,
stand out more than ever, like the freckles on the face of
Alcibiades Roycroft when he has taken on his August russet.

I think White Pigeon must be near forty! That is the second book she
has stolen from me; the other was Max Muller's "Memories"--it was at
the Louvre in Paris, August the Fourteenth, Eighteen Hundred Ninety-
five, as we sat on a bench, silent before the "Mona Lisa" of

This book, "Renaissance Masters," I didn't care much for, anyway. I
got no information from it, yet it gave me a sort o' glow--that is
all--like that lecture which I heard in my boyhood by Wendell

There is only one thing in the book I remember, but that stands out
as clearly as the little mole on White Pigeon's forehead. The author
said that Leonardo da Vinci invented more useful appliances than any
other man who ever lived, except our own Edison.

I know Edison: he is a most lovable man (because he is himself),
very deaf--and glad of it, he says, because it saves him from
hearing a lot of things he doesn't wish to hear. "It is like this,"
he once said to me: "deafness gives you a needed isolation; reduces
your sensitiveness so things do not disturb or distract; allows you
to concentrate and focus on a thought until you run it down--see?"

Edison is a great Philistine--reads everything I write--has a
complete file of the little brownie magazine; and some of the
"Little Journeys" I saw he had interlined and marked. I think Edison
is one of the greatest men I ever met--he appreciates Good Things.

I told Edison how this writer, Rose, had compared him with Leonardo.
He smiled and said, "Who is Rose?" Then after a little pause he
continued, "The Great Man is one who has been a long time dead--the
woods are full of wizards, but not many of them know that"; and the
Wizard laughed softly at his own joke.

What kind of a man was Leonardo? Why, he was the same kind of a man
as Edison--only Leonardo was thin and tall, while Edison is stout.
But you and I would be at home with either. Both are classics and
therefore essentially modern. Leonardo studied Nature at first hand
--he took nothing for granted--Nature was his one book. Stuffy,
fussy, indoor professors--men of awful dignity--frighten folks,
cause children to scream, and ladies to gaze in awe; but Leonardo
was simple and unpretentious. He was at home in any society, high or
low, rich or poor, learned or unlearned--and was quite content to be
himself. It's a fine thing to be yourself!

Thackeray once said, "If I had met Shakespeare on the stairs, I know
I should have fainted dead away!" I do not believe Shakespeare's
presence ever made anybody faint. He was so big that he could well
afford to put folks at their ease.

If Leonardo should come to East Aurora, Bertie, Oliver, Lyle and I
would tramp with him across the fields, and he would carry that
leather bag strung across his shoulder, just as he ever did when in
the country. He was a geologist and a botanist, and was always
collecting things (and forgetting where they were).

We would tramp with him, I say, and if the season were right we
would go through orchards, sit under the trees and eat apples. And
Leonardo would talk, as he liked to do, and tell why the side of
fruit that was towards the sun took on a beautiful color first; and
when an apple fell from the tree he would, so to speak, anticipate
Sir Isaac Newton and explain why it fell down and not up.

That leather bag of his, I fear, would get rather heavy before we
got back, and probably Oliver and Lyle would dispute the honor of
carrying it for him.

Leonardo was once engaged by Cesare Borgia to fortify the kingdom of
Romagna. It was a brand-new kingdom, presented to the young man by
Pope Alexander the Sixth. It was really the Pope who ordered
Leonardo to survey the tract and make plans for the fortifications
and canals and all that--so Leonardo didn't like to refuse. Cesare
Borgia had the felicity of being the son of the Pope, but the Pope
used to refer to him as his nephew--it was a habit that Popes once
had. Pope Alexander also had a daughter--by name, Lucrezia Borgia--
sister to Cesare and very much like him, for they took their
diversion in the same way.

Leonardo started in to do the work and make plans for fortifications
that should be impregnable. He looked the ground over thoroughly,
traveling on horseback, and his two servants followed him up in a
cart drawn by a bull, which Leonardo calmly explains was a "side-

Leonardo carried a big sketchbook, and as he made plans for
redoubts, he made notes to the effect that crows fly in flocks
without a leader, and wild ducks have a system and fly V shape, with
a leader that changes off from time to time with the privates. Also,
a waterfall runs the musical gamut, and the water might be separated
so as to play a tune. Also, the leaves turn to gold through
oxidation, and robins pair for life.

Leonardo also wrote at this time on the movements of the clouds, the
broken strata of rocks, the fertilization of flowers, the habits of
bees, and a hundred other themes which fill the library of notebooks
that he left.

Meanwhile, Cesare Borgia was getting a trifle impatient about the
building of his forts. Two years had passed when Cesare and his
father met with an accident not uncommon in those times. The
precious pair had indulged in their Borgian specialty for the
benefit of a certain cardinal, whom they did not warmly admire,
though the plot seems to have been chiefly the work of Cesare. By
mistake they drank the poisoned wine prepared for the cardinal, and
the Pope was cut off amidst a life of usefulness, his son surviving
for a worse fate. Pope Julius the Second coming upon the scene,
speedily dispossessed the Borgias, and the idea of the new kingdom
was abandoned.

Leonardo evidently did not go into mourning for the Pope. He had a
bullock-cart loaded with specimens, sketches and notebooks, and he
set to work to sort them out. He was very happy in this employment--
being essentially a man of peace--and while he made forts and
planned siege-guns he was a deal more interested in certain swallows
that made nests and glued the work into a most curious and beautiful
structure, and when the birds were old enough to fly, tore up the
nest, pushing the wee birds out to "swim in the air" or perish.

I made some notes about Leonardo's bird observations in the back of
that "Renaissance" book that White Pigeon appropriated. I can not
recall just what they were--I think I'll hunt White Pigeon up the
next time I am in Paris, and get the book back.

When that painstaking biographer, Arsene Houssaye, was endeavoring
to fix the date of Leonardo da Vinci's birth, he interviewed a
certain bishop, who waived the matter thus: "Surely what difference
does it make, since he had no business to be born at all?"--a very
Milesian-like reply. Houssaye is too sensible a man to waste words
with the spiritually obese, and so merely answered in the language
of Terence, "I am a man and nothing that is human is alien to me!"

The gentle Erasmus when a boy was once taunted by a schoolfellow
with having "no name." And Erasmus replied, "Then, I'll make one for
myself." And he did.

No record of Leonardo's birth exists, but the year is fixed upon in
a very curious way. Caterina, his mother, was married one year after
his birth. The date of this marriage is proven, and the fact that
the son of Piero da Vinci was then a year old is also shown. As the
marriage occurred in Fourteen Hundred Fifty-three, we simply go back
one year and say that Leonardo da Vinci was born in Fourteen Hundred

Most accounts say that Caterina was a servant in the Da Vinci
family, but a later and seemingly more authentic writer informs us
that she was a governess and a teacher of needlework. That her
kinsmen hastened her marriage with the peasant, Vacca Accattabriga,
seems quite certain: they sought to establish her in a respectable
position. And so she acquiesced, and avoided society's displeasure,
very much as Lord Bacon escaped disgrace by leaving "Hamlet" upon
Shakespeare's doorstep.

This child of Caterina's found a warm welcome in the noble family of
his father. From his babyhood he seems to have had the power of
winning hearts--he came fresh from God and brought love with him. We
even hear a little rustle of dissent from grandmother and aunts when
his father, Piero da Vinci, married, and started housekeeping as did
Benjamin Franklin "with a wife and a bouncing boy."

The charm of the child is again revealed in the fact that his
stepmother treated him as her own babe, and lavished her love upon
him even from her very wedding morn.

Perhaps the compliment should go to her, as well as to the child,
for the woman whose heart goes out to another woman's babe is surely
good quality. And this was the only taste of motherhood that this
brave woman knew, for she passed out in a few months.

Fate decreed that Leonardo should have successively four
stepmothers, and should live with all of them in happiness and
harmony, for he always made his father's house his own.

Leonardo was the idol of his father and all these stepmothers. He
had ten half-brothers, who alternately boasted of his kinship and
flouted him. Yet nothing could seriously disturb the serenity of his
mind. When his father died, without a will, the brothers sought to
dispossess Leonardo of his rights, and we hear of a lawsuit, which
was finally compromised. Yet note the magnanimity of Leonardo--in
his will he leaves bequests to these brothers who had sought to undo

Of the life of the mother after her marriage we know nothing. There
is a vague reference in Vasari's book to her "large family and
growing cares," but whether she knew of her son's career, we can not
say. Leonardo never mentions her, yet one writer has attempted to
show that the rare beauty of that mysterious face shown in so many
of Leonardo's pictures was modeled from the face of his mother.

No love-story comes to us in Leonardo's own life--he never married.
Ventura suggests that "on account of his birth, he was indifferent
to the divine institution of marriage." But this is pure conjecture.
We know that his great contemporaries, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian
and Giorgione, never married; and we know further that there was a
sentiment in the air at that time, that an artist belonged to the
Church, and his life, like that of the priest, was sacred to her

Like Sir William Davenant, Leonardo was always proud of the mystery
that surrounded his birth--it differentiated him from the mass, and
placed him as one set apart. Well might he have used the language
put into the mouth of Edmund in "King Lear." In one of Leonardo's
manuscripts is found an interjected prayer of thankfulness for "the
divinity of my birth, and the angels that have guarded my life and
guided my feet"

This idea of "divinity" is strong in the mind of every great man. He
recognizes his sonship, and claims his divine parentage. The man of
masterly mind is perforce an Egotist. When he speaks he says, "Thus
saith the Lord." If he did not believe in himself, how could he make
others believe in him? Small men are apologetic and give excuses for
being on earth, and reasons for staying here so long, and run and
peek about to find themselves dishonorable graves. Not so the Great
Souls--the fact that they are here is proof that God sent them.
Their actions are regal, their language oracular, their manner
affirmative. Leonardo's mental attitude was sublimely gracious--he
had no grievance or quarrel with his Maker--he accepted life, and
ever found it good. "We are all sons of God and it doth not yet
appear what we shall be."

Philip Gilbert Hamerton, who wrote "The Intellectual Life," names
Leonardo da Vinci as having lived the richest, fullest and best-
rounded life of which we know. Yet while Leonardo lived, there also
lived Shakespeare, Loyola, Cervantes, Columbus, Martin Luther,
Savonarola, Erasmus, Michelangelo, Titian and Raphael. Titans all--
giants in intellect and performance, doing and daring, and working
such wonders as men never worked before: writing plays, without
thought of posterity, that are today the mine from which men work
their poetry; producing comedies that are classic; sailing trackless
seas and discovering continents; tacking proclamations of defiance
on church-doors; hunted and exiled for the right of honest speech;
welcoming fierce flames of fagots; falling upon blocks of marble and
liberating angels; painting pictures that have inspired millions!
But not one touched life at so many points, or reveled so in
existence, or was so captain of his soul as was Leonardo da Vinci.

Vasari calls him the "divinely endowed," "showered with the richest
gifts as by celestial munificence" and speaks of his countenance
thus: "The radiance of his face was so splendidly beautiful that it
brought cheerfulness to the hearts of the most melancholy, and his
presence was such that his lightest word would move the most
obstinate to say 'Yes' or 'No.'"

Bandello, the story-teller who was made a Bishop on account of his
peculiar talent, had the effrontery to put one of his worst stories,
that about the adventures of Fra Lippo Lippi, into the mouth of
Leonardo. This rough-cast tale, somewhat softened down and hand-
polished, served for one of Browning's best-known poems. Had
Bandello allowed Botticelli to tell the tale, it would have been
much more in keeping. Leonardo's days were too full of work to
permit of his indulging in the society of roysterers--his life was
singularly dignified and upright.

When about twenty years old Leonardo was a fellow-student with
Perugino in the bottega of good old Andrea del Verrocchio. It seems
the master painted a group and gave Leonardo the task of drawing in
one figure. Leonardo painted in an angel--an angel whose grace and
subtle beauty stand out, even today, like a ray of light. The story
runs that good old Verrocchio wept on first seeing it--wept
unselfish tears of joy, touched with a very human pathos--his pupil
had far surpassed him, and never again did Verrocchio attempt to

In physical strength Leonardo surpassed all his comrades. "He could
twist horseshoes between his fingers, bend bars of iron across his
knees, disarm every adversary, and in wrestling, running, vaulting
and swimming he had no equals. He was especially fond of horses, and
in the joust often rode animals that had never before been ridden,
winning prizes from the most daring." Brawn is usually purchased at
the expense of brain, but not so in this case. Leonardo was the
courtier and diplomat, and all the finer graces were in his keeping,
even from boyhood. And a recent biographer has made the discovery
that he was called from Florence to the Court of Milan "because he
was such an adept harpist, playing and singing his own

Yet we have the letter written by Leonardo to the Duke of Milan,
wherein he commends himself, and in humility tells of a few things
he can do. This most precious document is now in the Ambrosian
Library at Milan. After naming nine items in the way of constructing
bridges, tunnels, canals, fortifications, the making of cannon, use
of combustibles and explosives--known to him alone--he gets down to
things of peace and says: "I believe I am equaled by no one in
architecture in constructing public and private buildings, and in
conducting water from one place to another. I can execute sculpture,
whether in marble, bronze or terra cotta, and in drawing and
painting I believe I can do as much as any other man, be he who he
may. Further, I could engage to execute the bronze statue in memory
of your honored father. And again, if any of the above-mentioned
things should appear impossible or overstated, I am ready to make
such performance in any place or at any time to prove to you my
power. In humility I thus commend myself to your illustrious house,
and am your servant, Leonardo da Vinci."

And the strange part of all this is that Leonardo could do all he
claimed--or he might, if there were a hundred hours in a day and man
did not grow old.

The things he predicted and planned have mostly been done. He knew
the earth was round, and understood the orbits of the planets--
Columbus knew no more. His scheme of building a canal from Pisa to
Florence and diverting the waters of the Arno, was carried out
exactly as he had planned, two hundred years after his death. He
knew the expansive quality of steam, the right systems of dredging,
the action of the tides, the proper use of levers, screws and
cranes, and how immense weights could be raised and lowered. He
placed a new foundation under a church that was sinking in the sand
and elevated the whole stone structure several feet. But when Vasari
seriously says he had a plan for moving mountains (aside from
faith), I think we had better step aside and talk of other things.

And all this time that he was working at physics and mathematics, he
was painting and modeling in clay, just for recreation.

Then behold the Duke of Milan, the ascetic and profligate, libertine
and dreamer, hearing of him and sending straightway for Leonardo
because he is "the most accomplished harpist in Italy"!

So Leonardo came and led the dance and the tourney, improvised songs
and planned the fetes and festivals where strange animals turned
into birds and gigantic flowers opened, disclosing beautiful girls.

Yet Leonardo found time to plan the equestrian statue of Francisco
Sporza, the Duke's father, and finding the subject so interesting he
took up the systematic study of the horse, and dived to the depths
of horse anatomy in a way that no living man had done before. He
dissected the horse, articulated the skeletons of different breeds
for comparison, and then wrote a book upon the subject which is a
textbook yet; and meanwhile he let the statue wait. He discovered
that in the horse there are rudimentary muscles, and unused organs--
the "water-stomach" for instance--thus showing that the horse
evolved from a lower form of life--anticipating Darwin by three
hundred years.

The Duke was interested in statues and pictures--what he called
"results"--he didn't care for speculations or theories, and only a
live horse that could run fast interested him. So to keep the peace,
the gracious Leonardo painted portraits of the Duke's mistress,
posing her as the Blessed Virgin, thus winning the royal favor and
getting carte-blanche orders on the Keeper of the Exchequer. As a
result of this Milan period we have the superb portrait, now in the
Louvre, of Lucrezia Crivelli, who was supposed to be the favorite of
the Duke.

But the Duke was a married man, and the good wife must be placated.
She had turned to religion when her lover's love grew cold, just as
women always do; and for her Leonardo painted the "Last Supper" in
the dining-room of the monastery which was under her especial
protection, and where she often dined.

The devout lady found much satisfaction in directing the work, which
was to be rather general and simply decorative. But the heart of
Leonardo warmed to the task and as he worked he planned the most
famous painting in the world. All this time Leonardo had many pupils
in painting and sculpture. Soon he founded the Milan Academy of Art.
At odd times he made designs for the Duke's workers in silver and
gold, drew patterns for the nuns to embroider from, and gave them
and the assembled ladies, invited on the order of the Duke's wife,
lessons in literature and the gentle art of writing poetry.

The Prior of the monastery watched the work of the "Last Supper"
with impatient eyes. He had given up the room to the lumbering
scaffolds, hoping to have all cleaned up and tidy in a month, come
Michaelmas. But the month had passed and only blotches of color and
black, curious outlines marred the walls. Once the Prior threatened
to remove the lumber by force and wipe the walls clean, but Leonardo
looked at him and he retreated.

Now he complained to the Duke about the slowness of the task.
Leonardo worked alone, allowing no pupil or helper to touch the
picture. Five good, lively men could do the job in a week--"I could
do it myself, if allowed," the good Prior said. Often Leonardo would
stand with folded arms and survey the work for an hour at a time and
not lift a brush; the Prior had seen it all through the keyhole!

The Duke listened patiently and then summoned Leonardo. The
painter's gracious speech soon convinced the Duke that men of genius
do not work like hired laborers. This painting was to be a
masterpiece, fit monument to a wise and virtuous ruler. So
consummate a performance must not be hastened; besides there was no
one to pose for either the head of Christ or of Judas. The Christ
must be ideal and the face could only be conjured forth from the
painter's own soul, in moments of inspiration. As for Judas, "Why,
if nothing better can be found--and I doubt it much--I believe I
will take as model for Judas our friend the Prior!" And Leonardo
turned to the Prior, who fled and never again showed his face in the
room until the picture was finished.

The Prior's complaint, that Leonardo had too many irons in the fire,
was the universal cry the groundlings raised against him. "He begins
things, but never completes them," they said.

The man of genius conceives things; the man of talent carries them
forward to completion. This the critics did not know. It is too much
to expect the equal balance of genius and talent in one individual.
Leonardo had great talent, but his genius outstripped it, for he
planned what twenty lifetimes could not complete. He was indeed the
endless experimenter--his was in very truth the Experimental Life.
His incentive was self-development--to conceive was enough--common
men could complete. To try many things means Power: to finish a few
is Immortality.

God's masterpiece is the human face. A woman's smile may have in it
more sublimity than a sunset; more pathos than a battle-scarred
landscape; more warmth than the sun's bright ray; more love than
words can say.

The human face is the masterpiece of God.

The eyes reveal the soul, the mouth the flesh, the chin stands for
purpose, the nose means will. But over and behind all is that
fleeting Something we call "expression." This Something is not set
or fixed, it is fluid as the ether, changeful as the clouds that
move in mysterious majesty across the surface of a summer sky,
subtle as the sob of rustling leaves--too faint at times for human
ears--elusive as the ripples that play hide-and-seek over the bosom
of a placid lake.

And yet men have caught expression and held it captive. On the walls
of the Louvre hangs the "Mona Lisa" of Leonardo da Vinci. This
picture has been for four hundred years an exasperation and an
inspiration to every portrait-painter who has put brush to palette.
Well does Walter Pater call it, "The Despair of Painters." The
artist was over fifty years of age when he began the work, and he
was four years in completing the task.

Completing, did I say? Leonardo's dying regret was that he had not
completed this picture. And yet we might say of it, as Ruskin said
of Turner's work, "By no conceivable stretch of imagination can we
say where this picture could be bettered or improved upon."

Leonardo did not paint this portrait for the woman who sat for it,
nor for the woman's husband, who we know was not interested in the
matter. The painter made the picture for himself, but succumbing to
temptation, sold it to the King of France for a sum equal to
something over eighty thousand dollars--an enormous amount at that
time to be paid for a single canvas. The picture was not for sale,
which accounts for the tremendous price that it brought.

Unlike so many other works attributed to Leonardo, no doubt exists
as to the authenticity of "La Gioconda." The correspondence relative
to its sale yet exists, and even the voucher proving its payment may
still be seen. Fate and fortune have guarded the "Mona Lisa"; and
neither thief nor vandal, nor impious infidel nor unappreciative
stupidity, nor time itself has done it harm. France bought the
picture; France has always owned and housed it; it still belongs to

We call the "Mona Lisa" a portrait, and we have been told how La
Gioconda sat for the picture, and how the artist invented ways of
amusing her, by stories, recitations, the luring strain of hidden
lutes, and strange flowers and rare pictures brought in as surprises
to animate and cheer.

That Leonardo loved this woman we are sure, and that their
friendship was close and intimate the world has guessed; but the
picture is not her portrait--it is himself whom the artist reveals.

Away back in his youth, when Leonardo was a student with Verrocchio,
he gave us glimpses of this same face. He showed this woman's
mysterious smile in the Madonna, in Saint Anne, Mary Magdalen, and
the outlines of the features are suggested in the Christ and the
Saint John of the "Last Supper." But not until La Gioconda had posed
for him did the consummate beauty and mysterious intellect of this
ideal countenance find expression.

There is in the face all you can read into it, and nothing more. It
gives you what you bring, and nothing else. It is as silent as the
lips of Memnon, as voiceless as the Sphinx. It suggests to you every
joy that you have ever felt, every sorrow you have ever known, every
triumph you have ever experienced.

This woman is beautiful, just as all life is beautiful when we are
in health. She has no quarrel with the world--she loves and she is
loved again. No vain longing fills her heart, no feverish unrest
disturbs her dreams, for her no crouching fear haunts the passing
hours--that ineffable smile which plays around her mouth says
plainly that life is good. And yet the circles about the eyes and
the drooping lids hint of world-weariness, and speak the message of
Koheleth and say, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."

La Gioconda is infinitely wise, for she has lived. That supreme
poise is only possible to one who knows. All the experiences and
emotions of manifold existence have etched and molded that form and
face until the body has become the perfect instrument of the soul.

Like every piece of intense personality, this picture has power both
to repel and to attract. To this woman nothing is either necessarily
good or bad. She has known strange woodland loves in far-off eons
when the world was young. She is familiar with the nights and days
of Cleopatra, for they were hers--the lavish luxury, the animalism
of a soul on fire, the smoke of curious incense that brought poppy-
like repose, the satiety that sickens--all these were her portion;
the sting of the asp yet lingers in her memory, and the faint scar
from its fangs is upon her white breast, known and wondered at by
Leonardo who loved her. Back of her stretches her life, a
mysterious, purple shadow. Do you not see the palaces turned to
dust, the broken columns, the sunken treasures, the creeping mosses
and the rank ooze of fretted waters that have undermined cities and
turned kingdoms into desert seas? The galleys of Pagan Greece have
swung wide for her on the unforgetting tide, for her soul dwelt in
the body of Helen of Troy, and Pallas Athene has followed her ways
and whispered to her the secrets even of the gods.

Aye! not only was she Helen, but she was Leda, the mother of Helen.
Then she was Saint Anne, mother of Mary; and next she was Mary,
visited by an Angel in a dream, and followed by the Wise Men who had
seen the Star in the East.

The centuries, that are but thoughts, found her a Vestal Virgin in
Pagan Rome when brutes were kings, and lust stalked rampant through
the streets. She was the bride of Christ, and her fair, frail body
was flung to the wild beasts, and torn limb from limb while the
multitude feasted on the sight.

True to the central impulse of her soul the Dark Ages rightly called
her Cecilia, and then Saint Cecilia, mother of sacred music, and
later she ministered to men as Melania, the Nun of Tagaste; next as
that daughter of William the Conqueror, the Sister of Charity who
went throughout Italy, Spain and France and taught the women of the
nunneries how to sew, to weave, to embroider, to illuminate books,
and make beauty, truth and harmony manifest to human eyes. And so
this Lady of the Beautiful Hands stood to Leonardo as the embodiment
of a perpetual life; moving in a constantly ascending scale,
gathering wisdom, graciousness, love, even as he himself in this
life met every experience halfway and counted it joy, knowing that
experience is the germ of power. Life writes its history upon the
face, so that all those who have had a like experience read and
understand. The human face is the masterpiece of God.


In Leonardo's "Treatise on Painting," only one contemporary is
named--Sandro Botticelli.... The Pagan and Christian world mingle in
the work of Botticelli; but the man himself belonged to an age that
is past and gone--an age that flourished long before men recorded
history. His best efforts seem to spring out of a heart that forgot
all precedent, and arose, Venus-like, perfect and complete, from the
unfathomable Sea of Existence.
  --_Walter Pater_

[Illustration: Botticelli]

One Professor Max Lautner has recently placed a small petard under
the European world of Art, and given it a hoist to starboard, by
asserting that Rembrandt did not paint Rembrandt's best pictures.
The Professor makes his point luminous by a cryptogram he has
invented and for which he has filed a caveat. It is a very useful
cryptogram; no well-regulated family should be without it--for by it
you can prove any proposition you may make, even to establishing
that Hopkinson Smith is America's only stylist. My opinion is that
this cryptogram is an infringement on that of our lamented
countryman, Ignatius Donnelly.

But letting that pass, the statement that Rembrandt could not have
painted the pictures that are ascribed to him, "because the man was
low, vulgar and untaught," commands respect on account of the
extreme crudity of the thought involved. Lautner is so dull that he
is entertaining.

"I have the capacity in me for every crime," wrote that gentlest of
gentle men, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Of course he hadn't, and in making
this assertion Emerson pulled toward him a little more credit than
was his due. That is, he overstated a great classic truth.

"If Rembrandt painted the 'Christ at Emmaus' and the 'Sortie of the
Civic Guard,' then Rembrandt had two souls," exclaims Professor

And the simple answer of Emerson would have been, "He had."

That is just the difference between Rembrandt and Professor Lautner.
Lautner has one flat, dead-level, unprofitable soul that neither
soars high nor dives deep; and his mind reasons unobjectionable
things out syllogistically, in a manner perfectly inconsequential.
He is icily regular, splendidly null.

Every man measures others by himself--he has only one standard. When
a man ridicules certain traits in other men, he ridicules himself.
How would he know that other men were contemptible, did he not look
into his own heart and there see the hateful things? Thackeray wrote
his book on Snobs, because he was a Snob--which is not to say that
he was a Snob all the time. When you recognize a thing, good or bad,
in the outside world, it is because it was yours already.

"I carry the world in my heart," said the Prophet of old.  All the
universe you have is the universe you have within.

Old Walt Whitman, when he saw the wounded soldier, exclaimed, "I am
that man!" And two thousand years before this, Terence said, "I am a
man, and nothing that is human is alien to me."

I know just why Professor Lautner believes that Rembrandt never
could have painted a picture with a deep, tender, subtle and
spiritual significance. Professor Lautner averages fairly well, he
labors hard to be consistent, but his thought gamut runs just from
Bottom the weaver to Dogberry the judge. He is a cauliflower--that
is to say, a cabbage with a college education.

Yes, I understand him, because for most of the time I myself am
supremely dull, childishly dogmatic, beautifully self-complacent.

I am Lautner.

Lautner says that Rembrandt was "untaught," and Donnelly said the
same of Shakespeare, and each critic gives this as a reason why the
man could not have done a sublime performance. Yet since "Hamlet"
was never equaled, who could have taught its author how? And since
Rembrandt at his best was never surpassed, who could have instructed

Rembrandt sold his wife's wedding-garments, and spent the money for
strong drink.

The woman was dead.

And then there came to him days of anguish, and nights of grim,
grinding pain. He paced the echoing halls, as did Robert Browning
after the death of Elizabeth Barrett when he cried aloud, "I want
her! I want her!". The cold gray light of morning came creeping into
the sky. Rembrandt was fevered, restless, sleepless. He sat by the
window and watched the day unfold. And as he sat there looking out
to the east, the light of love gradually drove the darkness from his
heart. He grew strangely calm--he listened, he thought he heard the
rustle of a woman's garments; he caught the smell of her hair--he
imagined Saskia was at his elbow. He took up the palette and brushes
that for weeks had lain idle, and he outlined the "Christ at
Emmaus"--the gentle, loving, sympathetic Christ--the worn,
emaciated, thorn-crowned, bleeding Christ, whom the Pharisees
misunderstood, and the soldiers spat upon.

Don't you know how Rembrandt painted the "Christ at Emmaus"? I do. I
am that man.

Shortly after Sandro Botticelli had painted that distinctly pagan
picture, "The Birth of Venus," he equalized matters, eased
conscience and silenced the critics, by producing a beautiful
Madonna, surrounded by a circle of singing angels. Yet George Eliot
writes that there were wiseacres who shook their heads and said:
"This Madonna is the work of some good monk--only a man who is
deeply religious could put that look of exquisite tenderness and
sympathy in a woman's face. Some one is trying to save Sandro's
reputation, and win him back from his wayward ways."

In the lives of Botticelli and Rembrandt there is a close
similarity. In temperament as well as in experience they seem to
parallel each other. In boyhood Botticelli and Rembrandt were dull,
perverse, wilful. Both were given up by teachers and parents as
hopelessly handicapped by stupidity. Botticelli's father, seeing
that the boy made no progress at school, apprenticed him to a
metalworker. The lad showed the esteem in which he held his parent
by dropping the family name of Filipepi and assuming the name of
Botticelli, the name of his employer.

Rembrandt's father thought his boy might make a fair miller, but
beyond this his ambition never soared. Botticelli and Rembrandt were
splendid animals. The many pictures of Rembrandt, painted by
himself, show great physical vigor and vital power.

The picture of Botticelli, by himself, in the "Adoration of the
Magi," reveals a powerful physique and a striking personality. The
man is as fine as an Aztec, as strong and self-reliant as a cliff-
dweller. Character and habit are revealed in the jaw--the teeth of
the Aztecs were made to grind corn in the kernel, and as long as
they continued grinding dried corn in the kernel, they had good
teeth. Dentists were not required until men began to feed on mush.

Botticelli had broad, strong, square jaws, wide nostrils, full lips,
large eyes set wide apart, forehead rather low and sloping, and a
columnar neck that rose right out of his spine. A man with such a
neck can "stand punishment"--and give it. Such a neck is only seen
once in a thousand times. Men with such necks have been mothered by
women who bore burdens balanced on their heads, boycotted the
corsetier, and eschewed all deadly French heels.

Do you know the face of Oliver Goldsmith, the droop of the head, the
receding chin and the bulging forehead? Well, Botticelli's face was
the antithesis of this.

Most of the truly great artists have been men of this Stone Age--
quality men who dared. Michelangelo was the pure type: Titian who
lived a century (lacking one year) was another. Leonardo was the
same fine savage (who in some miraculous way also possessed the
grace of a courtier). Franz Hals, Van Dyck, Rembrandt and Botticelli
were all men of fierce appetites and heroic physiques. They had
animality plus that would have carried them across the century-mark,
had they not drawn checks on futurity, in a belief that their bank-
balance was unlimited.

Botticelli and Rembrandt kept step in their history, both receiving
instant recognition in early life and becoming rich. Then fashion
and society turned against them--the tide of popularity began to
ebb. One reinforced his genius with strong drink, and the other
became intoxicated with religious enthusiasm. Finally, both begged
alms in the public streets; and the bones of each filled a pauper's

Ruskin unearthed Botticelli (Just as he discovered Turner), and gave
him to the Preraphaelites, who fell down and worshiped him. Whether
we would have had Burne-Jones without Botticelli is a grave
question, and anyway it would have been another Burne-Jones. There
would have been no processions of tall, lissome, melancholy beauties
wending their way to nowhere, were it not for the "Spring." Ruskin
held up the picture, and the Preraphaelites got them to their
easels. At once all original "Botticellis" were gotten out,
"restored" and reframed. The prices doubled, trebled, quadrupled, as
the brokers scoured Europe. By the year Eighteen Hundred Eighty-six
every "Botticelli" had found a home in some public institution or
gallery, and no lure of gold could bring one forth.

At Yale University there is a modest collection of good pictures.
Among them is a "Botticelli": not a great picture like the "Crowned
Madonna" of the Uffizi, or "The Nativity" of the National Gallery,
but still a picture painted by Sandro Botticelli, beyond a doubt.
Recently, J. Pierpont Morgan, alumnus of Harvard, conceived the idea
that the "Botticelli" at Yale would look quite as well and be safer
if it were hung on the walls of the new granite fireproof Art-
Gallery at Cambridge. Accordingly, he dispatched an agent to New
Haven to buy the "Botticelli." The agent offered fifty thousand
dollars, seventy-five, one hundred--no. Then he proposed to build
Yale a new art-gallery and stock it with Pan-American pictures, all
complete, in exchange for that little, insignificant and faded
"Botticelli.". But no trade was consummated, and on the walls of
Yale the picture still hangs. Each night a cot is carried in and
placed beneath the picture. And there a watchman sleeps and dreams
of that portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire by Gainsborough,
stolen from its frame, lost for a quarter of a century, and then
rescued by one Colonel Patrick Sheedy (philanthropist and friend of
art), for a consideration, and sold to J. Pierpont Morgan, alumnus
of Harvard (and a very alert, alive and active man).

A short time ago, there shot across the artistic firmament a comet
of daring and dazzling brightness. Every comet is hurling onward to
its death: destruction is its only end: and upon each line and
tracery of the work of Aubrey Beardsley is the taint of decay.

To deny the genius of the man were vain--he had elements in his
character that made him akin to Keats, Shelley, Burns, Byron, Chopin
and Stephen Crane. With these his name will in brotherhood be
forever linked. He was one made to suffer, sin and die--a few short
summers, and autumn came with yellow leaves and he was gone. And the
principal legacy he left us is the thought of wonder as to what he
might have been had he only lived!

Aubrey Beardsley's art was the art of the ugly. His countenances are
so repulsive that they attract. The psychology of the looks, and
leers, and grins, and hot, hectic desires on the faces of his women
is a puzzle that we can not lay aside--we want to solve the riddle
of this paradox of existence--the woman whose soul is mire and whose
heart is hell. Many men have tried to fathom it at close range, but
we devise a safer plan and follow the trail in books, art and
imagination. Art shows you the thing you might have done or been.
Burke says the ugly attracts us, because we congratulate ourselves
that we are not it.

The Madonna pictures, multiplied without end, stand for peace,
faith, hope, trustfulness and love. All that is fairest, holiest,
purest, noblest, best, men have tried to portray in the face of the
Madonna. All the good that is in the hearts of all the good women
they know, all the good that is in their own hearts, they have made
to shine forth from the "Mother of God." Woman has been the symbol
of righteousness and faith.

On the other hand, it was a woman--Louise de la Ramee--who said,
"Woman is the instrument of lust." Saint Chrysostom wrote, "She is
the snare the Devil uses to lure men to their doom." I am not quite
ready to accept the dictum of that old, old story that it was the
woman who collaborated with the serpent and first introduced sin and
sorrow into the world. Or, should I believe this, I wish to give
woman due credit for giving to man the Fruit of the Tree of
Knowledge--the best gift that ever came his way. But the first
thought holds true in a poetic way: it has always been, is yet, and
always will be true, that the very depths of degradation are sounded
only by woman. As poets, painters and sculptors have ever chosen a
woman to stand for what is best in humanity, so she has posed as
their model when they wanted to reveal the worst.

This desire to depict villainy on a human face seems to have found
its highest modern exponent in Aubrey Beardsley. With him man is an
animal, and woman a beast. Aye, she is worse than a beast--she is a
vampire. Kipling's summing up of woman as "a rag and a bone and a
hank of hair" gives no clue to the possibilities in way of subtle,
reckless reaches of deviltry compared with a single, simple, outline
drawing by Beardsley. Beardsley's heroines are the kind of women who
can kill a man with a million pin-pricks, so diabolically, subtly
and slyly administered that no one but the victim would be aware of
the martyrdom--and he could not explain it.

As you enter the main gallery of statuary at the Luxembourg, you
will see, on a slightly raised platform, at the opposite end of the
room, the nude figure of a man. The mold is heroic, and the strong
pose at once attracts your attention. As you approach closer you
will see, standing behind the man, the figure of a woman. Her form
is elevated so she is leaning over him and her face is turned so her
lips are about to be pressed upon his. You approach still closer,
and a feeling of horror flashes through you--you see that the
beautiful arms of the woman end in hairy claws. The claws embrace
the man in deadly grasp, and are digging deep into his vitals. On
his face is a look of fearful pain, and every splendid muscle is
tense with awful agony.

Now, if you do as I did, you will suddenly turn and go out into the
fresh air--the fearful realism of the marble will for the moment
unnerve you.

This is the piece of statuary that gave Philip Burne-Jones the cue
for his painting, "The Vampire," which picture suggested the poem,
by the same name, to Rudyard Kipling.

Aubrey Beardsley gloated on the Vampire--she was the sole goddess of
his idolatry.

No wonder it was that the story of Salome attracted him! Salome was
a woman so wantonly depraved that Beardsley, with a touch of pious
hypocrisy, said he dared not use her for dramatic purposes, save for
the fact that she was a Bible character.

You remember the story: John the Baptist, the strong, fine youth,
came up out of the wilderness crying in the streets of Jerusalem,
"Repent ye! Repent ye!" Salome heard the call and looked upon the
semi-naked young fanatic from her window, with half-closed, catlike
eyes. She smiled, did this idle creature of luxury, as she lay there
amid the cushions on her couch, arid gazed through the casement upon
the preacher in the street. Suddenly a thought came to her! She
arose on her elbow--she called her slaves.

They clothed her in a gaudy gown, dressed her hair, and led her

Salome followed the wild, weird, religious enthusiast. She pushed
through the crowd and placed herself near the man, so the smell of
her body would reach his nostrils, and his eyes would range the
swelling lines of her body.

Their eyes met. She half-smiled and gave him that look which had
snared the soul of many another. But he only gazed at her with
passionless, judging intensity, and repeated his cry, "Repent ye,
Repent ye, for the day is at hand!"

Her reply, uttered soft and low, was this: "I would kiss thy lips!"

He turned away and she reached to seize his garment, repeating, "I
would kiss thy lips--I would kiss thy lips!" He turned aside and
forgot her, as he continued his warning cry, and went his way.

The next day she waylaid the youth again; as he came near she
suddenly and softly stepped forth and said in that same low voice,
"I would kiss thy lips!"

He repulsed her with scorn. She threw her arms about him and sought
to draw his head down near hers. He pushed her from him with sinewy
hands, sprang as from a pestilence, and was lost in the pressing

That night she danced before Herod Antipas, and when the promise was
recalled that she should have anything she wished, she named the
head of the only man who had ever turned away from her--"The head of
John the Baptist on a charger!"

In an hour the wish is gratified. Two eunuchs stand before Salome
with a silver tray bearing its fearsome burden. The woman smiles--a
smile of triumph--as she steps forth with tinkling feet. A look of
pride comes over the painted face. Her jeweled fingers reach into
the blood-matted hair. She lifts the head aloft, and the bracelets
on her brown, bare arms fall to her shoulders, making strange music.
Her face presses the face of the dead. In exultation she exclaims,
"I have kissed thy lips!"

The most famous picture by Botticelli is the "Spring," now in the
Academy at Florence. The picture has given rise to endless inquiry,
and the explanation was made in the artist's day, and is still made,
that it was painted to illustrate a certain passage in Lucretius.
This innocent little subterfuge of giving a classic turn to things
in art and literature has allowed many a man to shield his
reputation and gloss his good name. When Art relied upon the
protecting wing of the Church, the poet-painters called their risky
little things, "Susannah and the Elders," "The Wife of Uriah," or
"Pharaoh's Daughter." Lucas van Leyden once pictured a Dutch wench
with such startling and realistic fidelity that he scandalized a
whole community, until he labeled the picture, "Potiphar's Wife."

When the taste for the classics began to be cultivated, we had "Leda
and the Swan," "Psyche," "Phryne Before the Judges," "Aphrodite
Rising From the Sea," and, later, England experienced quite an
artistic eruption of Lady Godivas. Literature is filled with many
such naive little disguises as "Sonnets From the Portuguese," and
Robert Browning himself caught the idea and put many a maxim into
the mouth of another, for which he preferred not to stand sponsor.

Botticelli painted the "Spring" for Lorenzo the Magnificent, to be
placed in the Medici villa at Castello. The picture, it will be
remembered, represents seven female figures, a flying cupid, and a
youth. The youth is a young man of splendid proportions; he stands
in calm indifference with his back to the sparsely clad beauties,
and reaches into the branches of a tree for the plenteous fruit.
This youth is a composite portrait of Botticelli and his benefactor,
Lorenzo. The women were painted from life, and represent various
favorites and beauties of the court. The drawing is faulty, the
center of gravity being lost in several of the figures, and the
anatomy is of a quality that must have given a severe shock to the
artist's friend, Leonardo. Yet the grace, the movement and the
joyous quality of Spring are in it all. It is a most fascinating
picture, and we can well imagine the flutter it produced when first
exhibited four hundred years ago.

Two figures in the picture challenge attention. One of these
represents approaching maternity--a most daring thing to attempt.
This feature seems to belong to the School of Hogarth alone--a
school which, let us pray, is hopelessly dead.

Cimabue and several of his pupils painted realistic pictures
representing Mary visiting Elizabeth, but the intense religious zeal
back of them was a salt that saved from offending. Occasionally, the
staid and sober Dutch successfully attempted the same theme, and
their stolidity stood for them as religious zeal had done for the
early Italians--we pardon them simply because they knew no better
than to choose a subject that is beyond the realm of art.

The restorers and engravers have softened down Botticelli's intent,
which was originally well defined, but we can easily see that the
effect was delicate and spiritual. The woman's downcast gaze is full
of tenderness and truth. That figure when it was painted was
history, and must have had a very tender interest for two persons at
least. Had the painter dared to suggest motherhood in that other
figure--the one with the flowered raiment--he would have offended
against decency, and the art-sense of the world would have stricken
his name from the roster of fame forever, and made him anathema.
More has been written and said, and more copies made of that woman
in the flowered dress in the "Spring" than of any other portrait I
can remember, save possibly the "Mona Lisa."

The face is not without a certain attractiveness; the high cheek-
bones, the narrow forehead, and the lines above her brow show that
this is no ideal sketch--it is the portrait of a woman who once
lived. But the peculiar mark of depravity is the eye: this woman
looks at you with a cold, calm, calculating, brazen leer. Hidden in
the folds of her dress or in the coil of her hair is a stiletto--she
can find it in an instant--and as she looks at you out of those
impudent eyes, she is mentally searching out your most vulnerable
spot. In this woman's face there is an entire absence of wonder,
curiosity, modesty or passion. All that we call the eternally
feminine is obliterated.

"Mona Lisa" is infinitely wise, while this woman is only cunning.
All the lure she possesses is the lure of warm, pulsing youth--grown
old she will be a repulsive hag. Speculation has made her one of the
Borgias, for in the days of Botticelli a Borgia was Pope, and Cesare
Borgia and his court were well known to Botticelli--from such a
group he could have picked his model, if anywhere. Ruskin has linked
this unknown wicked beauty with Machiavelli. But Machiavelli had a
head that outmatched hers, and he would certainly have left her to
the fool moths that fluttered around her candle. Machiavelli used
women, and this woman has only one ambition, and that is to use men.
She represents concrete selfishness--the mother-instinct swallowed
up in pride, and conscience smothered by hate. Certainly sex is not
dead in her, but it is perverted below the brute. Her passion would
be so intense and fierce that even as she caressed her lover, with
arm about his neck, she would feel softly for his jugular, mindful
the while of the stiletto hidden in her hair. And this is the
picture that fired the brain of Aubrey Beardsley, and caused him to
fix his ambition on becoming the Apostle of the Ugly.

To liken Beardsley to Botticelli, however, seems indeed a sin. The
master was an artist, but Beardsley only gave chalk talks. His work
is often crude, rude and raw. He is only a promise, turned to dust.
Yet let the simple fact stand for what it is worth, that Beardsley
had but one god, and that was Botticelli. Most of the things
Beardsley did were ugly; many of the things Botticelli did were
supremely beautiful.

Yet in all of Botticelli's work there is a tinge of melancholy--a
shade of disappointment. The "Spring" is a sad picture. On the faces
of all his tall, fine, graceful girls there is a hectic flush. Their
cheeks are hollow, and you feel that their beauty is already
beginning to fade. Like fruit too much loved by the sun, they are
ready to fall.

Botticelli had the true love nature. By instinct he was a lover,
proof of which lies in the fact that he was deeply religious. The
woman he loved he has pictured over and over again. The touch of
sorrow is ever in her wan face, but she possessed a silken strength,
a heroic nature, a love that knew no turning. She had faith in
Botticelli, and surely he had faith in her. For forty years she was
in his heart; at times he tried to dislodge her and replace her
image with another; but he never succeeded, and the last Madonna he
drew is the same wistful, loving, patient face--sad yet proud,
strong yet infinitely tender.

In that piece of lapidary work, "How Sandro Botticelli Saw Simonetta
in the Spring," is a bit of heart psychology which, I believe, has
never been surpassed in English.

Simonetta, of the noble house of Vespucci, was betrothed to
Giuliano, brother of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Simonetta was tall,
stately--beautiful as Venus, wise as Minerva and proud as Juno. She
knew her worth, realized her beauty, and feeling her power made
others feel it, too.

On a visit to the villa of the Medici at Fiesole she first saw
Sandro Botticelli at an evening assembly in the gardens. She had
heard of the man and knew his genius. When they suddenly met face to
face under the boughs, she noted how her beauty startled him. His
gaze ranged the exquisite lines of her tall form, then sought the
burnished gold of her hair. Their eyes met.

First of all this man was an artist: the art-instinct in him was
supreme: after that he was a lover.

Simonetta saw he had looked upon her merely as a "subject." She was
both pleased and angry. She, too, loved art, but she loved love
more. She was a woman. They separated, and Simonetta inwardly
compared the sallow, slavish scion of a proud name, to whom she was
betrothed, with this God's Nobleman whom she had just met.
Giuliano's words were full of soft flattery; this man uttered an
oath of surprise under his breath, on first seeing her, and treated
her almost with rudeness.

She fought the battle out there, alone, leaning against a tree,
listening to the monotonous voice of a poet who was reading from
Plato. She felt the disinterested greatness of Sandro, she knew the
grandeur of his intellect--she was filled with a desire to be of
service to him. Certainly she did not love him--a social abyss
separated them--but could not her beauty and power in some way be
allied with his, so that the world should be made better?

"Shame is of the brute dullard who thinks shame," came the resonant
voice of the reader. The words rang in her ears. Sandro was greater
than the mere flesh--she would be, too. She would pose for him, and
thus give her beautiful body to the world--beauty is eternal! Her
action would bless and benefit the centuries yet to come. She was
the most beautiful of women--he the greatest of artists. It was an
opportunity sent from the gods! Instantly she half-ran, seeking the
painter. She found him standing apart, alone. She spoke eagerly and
hotly, fearing her courage would falter before she could make known
her wish: "Ecco, Messer Sandro," she whispered, casting a furtive
look about--"who is there in Florence like me?"

"There is no one," calmly answered Sandro.

"I will be your Lady Venus," she went on breathlessly, stepping
closer--"You shall paint me rising from the sea!"

Very early the next morning, before the household was astir, Sandro
entered the apartments of the lady Simonetta. She was awaiting him,
leaning with feigned carelessness against the balustrade, arrayed
from head to toe in a rose-colored mantle. One bare foot peeped
forth from under the folds of the robe.

Neither spoke a word.

Sandro arranged his easel, spread his crayons on the table, and
looked about the room making calculations as to light.

He motioned her to a certain spot. She took the position, and as he
picked up a crayon and examined it carelessly she raised her arms
and the robe fell at her feet.

Sandro faced her, and saw the tall, delicate form, palpitating
before him. The rays of the morning sun swept in between the
lattices and kissed her shoulder, face and hair.

For an instant the artist was in abeyance. Then from under his
breath he exclaimed: "Holy Virgin! what a line! Stay as you are, I
implore you--swerve not a hair's breadth, and soon you shall be mine

The pencil broke under his impetuous stroke. He seized another and
worked at headlong speed. The woman watched him with eyes dilated.
She was agitated, and the pink of her fair skin came and went. Her
face grew pale, and she swayed like a reed.

All the time she watched the artist, fearfully. She was at his

Ah God! he was only an artist with the biggest mouth in all
Florence! She noted how he tossed the hair from his eyes every
moment. She saw the heavy jaw, the great, broad-spreading feet, the
powerful chest. His smothered exclamations as he worked filled her
with scorn. What had she done? Who was she, anyway, that she should
thus bare her beauty before such a creature? He had not even spoken
to her! Was she only a thing? She grew deadly pale and reeled as she
stood there. Two big tears chased each other down her cheeks. The
painter looking up saw other tears glistening on her lashes. He
noted her distress.

He dropped his crayon and made a motion as if to advance to her

A few moments before and he might have folded her mantle about her
and assisted her to a seat--then they would have talked, reassured
each other, and been mutually understood. To be understood--to be
appreciated--that is it!

It was too late, now--she hated him.

As he advanced she recovered herself.

She pointed her finger to the door, and bade him begone.

Hastily he huddled his belongings into a parcel, and without looking
up, passed out of the door. She heard his steps echoing down the
stairway, and soon from out the lattice she saw him walk across the
court and disappear. He did not look up!

She threw herself upon her couch, buried her face in the pillows and
burst into tears.

In one short week word came to Sandro that Simonetta was dead--a
mysterious quick fever of some kind--she had refused all food--the
doctors could not understand it--the fever had just burned her life

Let Maurice Hewlett tell the rest:

"They carried dead Simonetta through the streets of Florence, with
her pale face uncovered and a crown of myrtle in her hair. People
thronging there held their breath, or wept to see such still
loveliness; and her poor parted lips wore a patient little smile,
and her eyelids were pale violet and lay heavy on her cheek. White,
like a bride, with a nosegay of orange-blossoms, and syringa at her
throat, she lay there on her bed, with lightly folded hands and the
strange aloofness and preoccupation all the dead have. Only her hair
burned about her like molten copper.

"The great procession swept forward; black brothers of Misericordia,
shrouded and awful, bore the bed or stalked before it with torches
that guttered and flared sootily in the dancing light of day.

"Santa Croce, the great church, stretched forward beyond her into
the distances of gray mist and cold spaces of light. Its bare
vastness was damp like a vault. And she lay in the midst listless,
heavy-lidded, apart, with the half-smile, as it seemed, of some
secret mirth. Round her the great candles smoked and flickered, and
mass was sung at the High Altar for her soul's repose. Sandro stood
alone, facing the shining altar, but looking fixedly at Simonetta on
her couch. He was white and dry--parched lips and eyes that ached
and smarted. Was this the end? Was it possible, my God! that the
transparent, unearthly thing lying there so prone and pale was dead?
Had such loveliness aught to do with life or death? Ah! sweet lady,
dear heart, how tired she was, how deadly tired! From where he stood
he could see with intolerable anguish the somber rings around her
eyes and the violet shadows on the lids, her folded hands and the
straight, meek line to the feet. And her poor wan face with its
wistful, pitiful little smile was turned half-aside on the delicate
throat, as if in a last appeal: Leave me now, O Florentines, to my
rest. Poor child! Poor child! Sandro was on his knees with his face
pressed against the pulpit and tears running through his fingers as
he prayed.

"As he had seen her, so he painted. As at the beginning of life in a
cold world, passively meeting the long trouble of it, he painted her
a rapt Presence floating evenly to our earth. A gray, translucent
sea laps silently upon a little creek, and in the hush of a still
dawn the myrtles and sedges on the water's brim are quiet. It is a
dream in halftones that he gives us, gray and green and steely blue;
and just that, and some homely magic of his own, hint the commerce
of another world with man's discarded domain. Men and women are
asleep, and as in an early walk you may startle the hares at their
play, or see the creatures of the darkness--owls and night-hawks and
heavy moths--flit with fantastic purpose over the familiar scene, so
here it comes upon you suddenly that you have surprised Nature's
self at her mysteries; you are let into the secret; you have caught
the spirit of the April woodland as she glides over the pasture to
the copse. And that, indeed, was Sandro's fortune. He caught her in
just such a propitious hour. He saw the sweet wild thing, pure and
undefiled by touch of earth; caught her in that pregnant pause of
time ere she had lighted. Another moment and a buxom nymph of the
grove would fold her in a rosy mantle, colored as the earliest wood-
anemones are. She would vanish, we know, into the daffodils or a
bank of violets. And you might tell her presence there, or in the
rustle of the myrtles, or coo of doves mating in the pines; you
might feel her genius in the scent of the earth or the kiss of the
west wind; but you could only see her in mid-April, and you should
look for her over the sea. She always comes with the first warmth of
the year. But daily, before he painted, Sandro knelt in a dark
chapel in Santa Croce, while a priest said mass for the repose of
Simonetta's soul."

George Eliot gives many a side-glimpse of the art life of Florence
in the days of the luxury-loving Medici. She saturated herself in
Italian literature and history; and the days of Fra Angelico, Fra
Lippo Lippi and Fra Girolamo Savonarola are bodied forth from lines
deeply etched upon her heart.

When you go to Florence carry "Romola" in your side-pocket, just as
you take the "Marble Faun" to Rome. "Romola" will certainly make
history live again and pass before your gaze. The story is
unmistakably high art, for from the opening lines of the proem you
hear the slow, measured wing of death; and after you have read the
volume, forever, for you, will the smoke of martyr-fires hover about
the Piazza Signoria, and from the gates of San Marco you will see
emerge that little man in black robe and cowl--that homely,
repulsive man with the curved nose, the protruding lower lip, the
dark, leathery skin--that man who lured and fascinated by his poise
and power, whose words were whips of scorpions that stung his
enemies until they had to silence him with a rope; and as a warning
to those whom he had hypnotized, they burned his swart, shrunken
body in the public square, just as he had burned their books and

Sandro Botticelli, the painter, who made sensuality beautiful,
ugliness seductive, and the sin-stained soul attractive, renounced
all and followed the Monk of San Marco--sensuality and asceticism at
the last are one. When the procession headed for the Piazza
Signoria, where the fagots were piled high, Sandro stood afar off
and his heart was wrung in anguish, as he saw the glare of the
flames gild the eastern sky. And this anguish was not for the
friends who had perished--no, no, it was for himself; the thought
that he was unworthy of martyrdom filled his mind--he had fallen at
the critical moment. Basely and cravenly he had saved himself. By
saving all he lost all. To lose one's self-respect is the only
calamity. Sandro Botticelli had failed to win the approval of his
Other Self--and this is defeat, and there is none other. He might
have sent his soul to God on the wings of victory, in glorious
company, but now it was too late--too late!

From this time forth he ceased to live--he merely existed. Into his
soul there occasionally shot gleams of sunshine, but his nerveless
hands refused to do the bidding of his brain. He stood on crutches,
hat in hand, at church-doors, and asked for alms. Sometimes he would
make bold to tell people of wonderful pictures within, over the
altar or upon the walls; and he would say that they were his, and
then his hearers would laugh aloud, and ask him to repeat his words,
that others, too, might laugh. Thus dwindled the passing days; and
for him who had painted the "Spring" there came the chilling neglect
of Winter, until Death in mercy laid an icy hand upon him, and he
was still.


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 beakhead 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 swelling sea shall
baptize it with its waters, and hang its wreaths of wet plants
around it; nor night, nor storm, nor icebergs, nor sunken rocks
shall lure it to its death, for the Good Angel that guards the boy
shall, too, guard the ship upon which with mallet and chisel he has
set his mark.
  --_Hans Christian Andersen_

[Illustration: Thorwaldsen]

The real businesslike biographer begins by telling when his subject
"first saw the light"--by which he means when the man was born. In
this instance we will go a bit further back and make note of the
interesting fact that Thorwaldsen was descended from an ancestor who
had the rare fortune to be born in Rhode Island, in the year Ten
Hundred Seven.

Wiggling, jiggling, piggling individuals with quibbling
proclivities, and an incapacity for distinguishing between fact and
truth, may maintain that there was no Rhode Island in the year Ten
Hundred Seven. Emerson has written, "Nothing is of less importance
on account of its being small." And so I maintain that, in the year
Ten Hundred Seven, Rhode Island was just where it is now, and the
Cosmos quite as important. Let Pawtucket protest and Providence bite
the thumb--no retraction will be made!

About the year Eighteen Hundred Fifteen the Secretary of the Rhode
Island Historical Society wrote Thorwaldsen, informing him that he
had been elected an honorary member of the Society, on account of
his being the only known living descendant of the first European
born in America. Thorwaldsen replied, expressing his great delight
in the honor conferred, and touched feelingly on the fact that while
he had been elected to membership in various societies in
consideration of what he had done, this was the first honor that had
come his way on account of his ancestry. To a friend he said, "How
would we ever know who we are, or where we come from, were it not
for the genealogical savants!" In a book called "American
Antiquities," now in the Library at Harvard College, and I suppose
accessible in various other libraries, there is a genealogical table
tracing the ancestry of Thorwaldsen. It seems that, in the year Ten
Hundred Six, one Thorfinne, an Icelandic whaler, commanded a ship
which traversed the broad Atlantic, and skirted the coast of New
England. Thorfinne wintered his craft in one of the little bays of
Rhode Island, and spent the Winter at Mount Hope, where the marks of
his habitat endure even unto this day.

The statement to the effect that when the Indians saw the ships of
Columbus, they cried out, "Alas, we are discovered!" goes back to a
much earlier period, like many another of Mark Twain's gladsome
scintillations. So little did Thorfinne and his hardy comrades think
of crossing the Atlantic in search of adventure, that they used to
take their families along, as though it were a picnic. And so Fate
ordered that Gudrid, the good wife of Thorfinne, should give birth
to a son, there at Mount Hope, Rhode Island, in the year Ten Hundred
Seven. And they called the baby boy Snome. And to Snome, the
American, the pedigree of Thorwaldsen traces. In a lecture on the
Icelandic Sagas, I once heard William Morris say that all really
respectable Icelanders traced their genealogy to a king, and many of
them to a god. Thorwaldsen did both--first to Harold Hildestand,
King of Denmark, and then, with the help of several kind old
gran'mamas, to the god Thor. His love for mythology was an atavism.
In childhood the good old aunties used to tell him how the god Thor
once trod the earth and shattered the mountains with his hammer.
From Thor and the World his first ancestor was born, so the family
name was Thor-vald. The appendix "sen," or son, means that the man
was the son of Thor-vald; and in some way the name got ossified,
like the name Robinson, Parkinson, Peterson or Albertson, and then
it was Thorwaldsen.

Men who are strong in their own natures are very apt to smile at the
good folk who chase the genealogical aniseed trail--it is a harmless
diversion with no game at the end of the route. And on the other
hand, all men, like Thorwaldsen, who teach cosmic consciousness,
recognize their Divine Sonship. Such men feel that their footsteps
are mortised and tenoned in granite; and the Power that holds the
worlds in space and guides the wheeling planets, also prompts their
thoughts and directs their devious way. They know that they are a
necessary part of the Whole. Small men are provincial, mediocre men
are cosmopolitan, but the great souls are Universal.

Two islands, one city and the open sea claim the honor of being the
birthplace of Bertel Thorwaldsen. The date of his birth ranges,
according to the authorities, from Seventeen Hundred Seventy to
Seventeen Hundred Seventy-three--take your choice. His father was an
Icelander who had worked his passage down to Copenhagen and had
found his stint as a wood-carver in a shipyard where it was his duty
to carve out wonderful figureheads, after designs made by others.
Gottschalk Thorwaldsen never thought to improve on a model, or
change it in any way, or to model a figurehead himself. The cold of
the North had chilled any ambition that was in his veins. Goodsooth!
Such work as designing figureheads was only for those who had been
to college, and who could read and write! So he worked away, day
after day, and with the help of the goodwife's foresight and
economy, managed to keep out of debt, pay his tithes at church and
lead a decent life.

Little Bertel used to remember when, like the Peggottys, they lived
in an abandoned canal-boat that had been tossed up on the beach.
Bertel carried chips and shavings from the shipyard for fuel, and
piled them against the "house." One night the tide came up in a very
unexpected manner and carried the chips away, for the sea is so very
hungry that it is always sending the tide in to shore after things.
It was quite a loss for the poor wood-carver and his wife to have
all their winter fuel carried away; so they cuffed little Bertel
soundly (for his own good) for not piling the chips up on the deck
of the boat, instead of leaving them on the shifting sand.

This was the first great cross that came to Bertel. He had a few
others afterwards, but he never forgot the night of anguish and the
feeling of guilt that followed the losing of the shavings and chips.

Some weeks after, another high tide came sweeping in, and lapped and
sniffed and sighed around the canal-boat as if it were trying to tug
it loose and carry the old craft and all the family out to sea.
Little Bertel hoped the tide would fetch it, for it would be kind o'
nice to get clear out away from everybody and everything--where
there were no chips to pick up. His mother could supply a quilt for
a mainsail and he would use his shirt for a jib, and they would
steer straight for America--or somewhere.

But lest the dream should come true, Gottschalk and his wife talked
the matter over and concluded to abandon the boat, before it got
sunk into the sand quite out of sight. So the family moved into a
little house on an alley, half a mile away from the shipyard--it was
an awful long way to carry chips.

The second calamity that came into the life of little Bertel was
when he was eight years old. He and several companions were playing
about the King's Market, where there was an equestrian statue of
Charles the Twelfth.

The boys climbed up on to the pedestal, cut various capers there,
and finally they challenged Bertel to mount the horse behind the
noble rider. By dint of much boosting from several boys older than
himself, he was at last perched on the horse. Then his companions
made hot haste to run away and leave him in his perilous position.
Just then, as unkind Fate would have it, a pair of gendarmes came
along on the lookout for anything that might savor of sedition,
contumacy or contravention. They found it in little Bertel clutching
tearfully to the royal person of Charles the Twelfth, twelve feet
above the ground. Quickly they rushed the lad off to the police-
station, between them, each with a firm grip upon his collar.

Victor Hugo once said, "The minions of the law go stolidly after
vice, and not finding it, they stolidly take virtue instead."

Besides an awful warning "never to do this thing again," from a
judge in a ferocious wig, the boy got a flogging at home (for his
own good), although his father first explained that it was a very
painful duty to himself to be obliged to punish his son. The son
volunteered to excuse his father, and this brought the youngster ten
extra lashes for being so smart.

Long years after, at Rome, Thorwaldsen told the story to Hans
Christian Andersen about being caught astride the great bronze horse
at Copenhagen, and of the awful reprimand of the judge bewigged.

"And honestly now: I'll never tell," said Andersen with a sly
twinkle in his blue eyes--"did you ever repeat the offense?"

"Since you promise not to divulge it, I'll confess that forty-three
years after my crime of mounting that horse, I had occasion to cross
King's Market Square at midnight. I had been out to a little social
gathering, and was on my way home alone. I saw the great horse and
rider gleaming in the pale moonlight. I recalled vividly how I had
occupied that elevated perch and been hauled down by the scandalized
and indignant officers. I remembered the warning of the judge as to
what would happen if I ever did it again. Hastily I removed my coat
and hat and clambered up on the pedestal. I seized a leg of the
royal person, and swung up behind. For five minutes I sat there
mentally defying the State, and saying unspeakable things about all
gendarmes and Copenhagen gendarmes in particular."

I have a profound respect for boys. Grimy, ragged, tousled boys in
the street often attract me strangely. A boy is a man in the cocoon
--you do not know what it is going to become--his life is big with

He may make or unmake kings, change boundary-lines between States,
write books that will mold characters, or invent machines that will
revolutionize the commerce of the world. Every man was a boy--I
trust I shall not be contradicted--it is really so. Wouldn't you
like to turn Time backward, and see Abraham Lincoln at twelve, when
he had never worn a pair of boots?--the lank, lean, yellow, hungry
boy--hungry for love, for learning, tramping off through the woods
for twenty miles to borrow a book, and spelling it out crouching
before the glare of the burning logs.

Then there was that Corsican boy, one of a goodly brood, who weighed
only fifty pounds when ten years old; who was thin and pale and
perverse, and had tantrums, and had to be sent supperless to bed, or
locked in a dark closet because he wouldn't "mind"! Who would have
thought that he would have mastered every phase of warfare at
twenty-six, and when told that the Exchequer of France was in dire
confusion, would say: "The finances? I will arrange them!"

Distinctly and vividly I remember a squat, freckled boy who was born
in the "Patch" and used to pick up coal along the railroad-tracks in
Buffalo. A few months ago I had a motion to make before the Court of
Appeals. That boy from the "Patch" was the judge who wrote the
opinion, granting my petition.

Yesterday I rode horseback past a field where a boy was plowing. The
lad's hair stuck out through the top of his hat; one suspender held
his trousers in place; his form was bony and awkward; his bare legs
and arms were brown and sunburned and briar-scratched. He swung his
horses around just as I passed by, and from under the flapping brim
of his hat he cast a quick glance out of dark, half-bashful eyes,
and modestly returned my salute. When his back was turned I took off
my hat and sent a God-bless-you down the furrow after him.

Who knows?--I may go to that boy to borrow money or to hear him
preach, or to beg him to defend me in a lawsuit; or he may stand
with pulse unhastened, bare of arm, in white apron, ready to do his
duty, while the cone is placed over my face, and Night and Death
come creeping into my veins. Be patient with the boys--you are
dealing with soul-stuff--Destiny awaits just around the corner. Be
patient with the boys!

Bertel Thorwaldsen was fourteen years old. He was pale and slender,
and had a sharp chin and a straight nose and hair the color of
sunburned tow. His eyes were large, set wide apart and bright blue;
and he looked out upon the world silently, with a sort o' wistful
melancholy. He helped his father carve out the wonderful figureheads
that were to pilot the ships across strange seas and bring good luck
to the owners.

"A boy like that should be sent to the Academy and taught
designing," said one of the shipowners one day as he watched the lad
at his work. Gottschalk shook his head dubiously. "How could a poor
man, with a family to support, and provisions so high, spare his boy
from work! Aye, wasn't he teaching the lad a trade himself, as it

But the shipowner fumbled his fob, and insisted, and to test the boy
he had him work with his designers. And he compromised with the
father by having Bertel sent to the Academy half a day at a time.

At the school one of the instructors remembered Bertel, on account
of his long yellow hair that hung down in his eyes when he leaned
over the desk; also his dulness in every line except drawing and
clay-modeling. The newspapers one day announced that a certain young
Master Thorwaldsen had been awarded a prize for clay-modeling.

"Is that your brother?" asked the teacher next day. "It is myself,
Herr Chaplain," replied the boy, blushing to the roots of his yellow

The Chaplain coughed to conceal his surprise. He had always thought
this boy incapable of anything. "Herr Thorwaldsen," he said,
severely, "you will please pass to the first grade!" And to be
addressed as "Herr" meant that you really were somebody. "He called
me 'Herr'!" said Bertel to his mother that night--"He called me

About this time we find the painter Abildgaard taking a special
interest in young Bertel, giving him lessons in drawing and
painting, and encouraging him in his modeling. In fact, Thorwaldsen
has himself explained that all of his "original" designs about this
time were supplied by Abildgaard. The interest of Abildgaard in the
boy was slightly resented by the young man's parents, who were
afraid that their son was getting above his station. Abildgaard has
left a record to the effect that at this time Thorwaldsen was very
self-contained, reticent, and seemingly without ambition. He used to
postpone every task, and would often shirk his duties until sharp
reminders came. Yet when he did begin, he would fall on the task
like one possessed, and finish it in an hour. This proved to
Abildgaard that the stuff was there, and down in his heart he
believed that this sleepy lad would some day awake from slumber.

Anyway, Abildgaard used to say, long years after, "What did I tell
you?" Gottschalk was paid by the piece for his carving; he was
getting better pay now, because he did better work, his employer
thought. Bertel was helping him. The family was getting quite

When Bertel had secured, between sleepy spells, about all the prizes
for clay-modeling and sketching that artistic Copenhagen had to
offer, he started for Rome, armed with a three-year traveling
scholarship. This prize proved to be a pivotal point. The young man
had done good work, and seemingly without effort; but he was sadly
lacking in general education--and worse, he apparently had no desire
to learn.

He was twenty-six years of age when he sailed for Rome on the good
ship "Thetis." The scholarship he had won four years before, but
through disinclination to press his claims, and the procrastination
of officialism, the matter was pigeonholed. It might have gone by
default had not Abildgaard said "Go!" and loudly.

Thorwaldsen was a sort of charity passenger on the ship--taken on
request of the owner--and it was assumed that he would make himself
useful. But the captain of the craft left him a recommendation to
the effect that "The young fellow Thorwaldsen is the laziest man I
ever saw." The ship was on a trading tour, and lingered along
various coasts and put into many harbors; so nine months went by
before Bertel Thorwaldsen found himself in the Eternal City.

"I was born March Eighth, Seventeen Hundred Ninety-seven,"
Thorwaldsen used to say. That was the day he reached Rome. Antonio
Canova, the sculptor, was then at the height of his popularity.
Thorwaldsen's first success was the model for a statue of Jason,
which was highly praised by Canova, and Bertel received the
commission to execute it in marble from Thomas Hope, a wealthy
English art patron. From this time forth, Thorwaldsen's success was

His scholarship provided only for three years' residence; but
twenty-three years were to elapse before he should again see his
childhood's home--as for his parents, he had looked into their eyes
for the last time.

The soul grows by leaps and bounds, by throes and throbs. A flash!
and a glory stands revealed for which you have been groping blindly
through the years. Well did Thorwaldsen call the day of his arrival
in Rome the day of his birth! For the first time the world seemed to
unfold before him. On the voyage thither, the captain of the
"Thetis" had offered to prepare him for his stay in Rome by teaching
him the Italian language; but the young sculptor was indifferent.
During the months he was on shipboard, he might have mastered the
language; this came back to him as he stood in the presence of Saint
Peter's, and realized that he was treading the streets once trod by
Michelangelo. He spoke only "Sailor's Latin," a composite of Danish,
Swedish, Norwegian and Icelandic. The waste of time of which he had
been guilty, and the extent of all that lay beyond, pressed home
upon him.

Of course we know that the fallow years are as good as the years of
plenty; the silent Winter prepares the soil for Spring; and we know,
too, that the sense of unworthiness and the discontent that
Thorwaldsen felt during his first few weeks at Rome were big with

The antique world was a new world to him; he knew nothing of
mythology, nothing of history, little of books. He began to thirst
for knowledge, and this being true, he drank it in. Little men spell
things out with sweat and lamp-smoke, but others there be who absorb
in the mass, read by the page, and grow great by simply letting down
their buckets.

This fair-haired descendant of a Viking bold had the usual
preliminary struggle, for the Established Order is always resentful
toward pressing youth. He worked incessantly: sketched, read,
studied, modeled, and to help out his finances copied pictures for
prosperous dealers who made it their business thus to employ
'prentice talent.

But a few years and we see Thorwaldsen occupying the studio of
Flaxman, and more than filling that strong man's place. For
specimens of Flaxman's work examine your "Wedgwood"; and then to see
Thorwaldsen's product, multiply Flaxman by one hundred. One worked
in the delicate and exquisite; the other had a taste for the heroic:
both found inspiration in the Greek.

It will not do to claim for Thorwaldsen that he was a great and
original genius. He lacked that hirsute, independent quality of
Michelangelo, and surely he lacked the Attic invention. He was
receptive as a woman, and he builded on what had been done. He moved
in the line of least resistance--made friends of Protestant and
Catholic alike; won the warm recognition of the Pope, who averred,
"Thorwaldsen is a good Catholic, only he does not know it." He kept
clear of all factions, and with a modicum more of will, might have
been a very prince of diplomats. But as it was, he evolved into a
prince of artists.

Soon after his advent in Rome, Thorwaldsen met, at the country-house
of his friend, critic and benefactor Zoega, a young woman who was
destined to have a profound influence upon his life. Anna Maria
Magnani was lady's maid and governess in the Zoega household. She
was a beautiful animal: dark, luminous, flashing eyes, hair black as
the raven's wing, and a form that palpitated with passion--a true
daughter of the warm, sun-kissed South.

The young sculptor of the yellow locks danced with the signorina at
the rustic fetes upon the lawn. She spoke no Danish, and his Italian
was exceedingly limited, but hand pressed hand and they contrived to
make themselves understood. She volunteered to give him lessons in
Italian; this went well, and then she posed for him as a model.

What should have been at best or worst a mere incident in the
artist's life ripened into something more. Intellectually and
spiritually they lived in different worlds, and in sober moments
both realized it. An arrangement was entered into of the same
quality and kind as Goethe and Christine Vulpius assumed. Only this
woman had moments of rebellion when she thirsted for social honors.
As his wife, Thorwaldsen knew that she would be a veritable dead-
weight, and he sought to loosen her grasp upon him. An offer of
marriage came to her from a man of means and social station.
Thorwaldsen favored the mating, and did what he could to hasten the
nuptials. But when the other man had actually married the girl and
carried her away, he had a sick spell to pay for it--he wasn't quite
so calloused in heart as he had believed. Like many other men,
Thorwaldsen found that such a tie is not easily broken.

Anna Maria thought she loved the man she had married, and at least
she believed she could learn to do so. Alas! after six months of
married life she packed up and came back to Rome, declaring that,
though her husband was kind and always treated her well, she would
rather be the slave and servant of Thorwaldsen than the wife of any
man on earth. The sculptor hadn't the heart to turn her away. More
properly, her will was stronger than his conscience. Perhaps he was
glad, too, that she had come back! The injured husband followed, and
Anna Maria warned the man to be gone, and emphasized the suggestion
with the gleam of a pearl-handled stiletto; and by the same token
kept all gushing females away from the Thorwaldsen preserve.

Thorwaldsen never married, and there is no doubt that his engagement
to Miss Mackenzie, a most excellent English lady, was vetoed by Anna
Maria and her pearl-handled stiletto.

One child was born to Anna Maria and Thorwaldsen--a girl, who was
legally acknowledged by Thorwaldsen as his daughter. When prosperity
came his way some years later, he deposited in the Bank of
Copenhagen a sum equal to twenty thousand dollars, with orders that
the interest should be paid to her as long as she lived.

Unlike Byron's daughter Allegra, born the same year only a few miles
away, who died young and for whose grave at Harrow the poet had
carved the touching line, "I shall go to her, but she will not
return to me," the daughter of Thorwaldsen grew up, was happily
married and bore a son who achieved considerable distinction as an
artist. Thus the sculptor's good fortune attended him, even in
circumstances that work havoc in most men's lives--he disarmed the
Furies with a smile!

Many visitors daily thronged the studio of Thorwaldsen. He had one
general reception-room containing casts of his work, and many
curious things in the line of art. His servant greeted the callers
and made them at home, expressing much regret at the absence of his
master, who was "out of the city," etc. Meanwhile, Thorwaldsen was
hard at it in a back room, to which only the elect were admitted.
The King of Bavaria, a genuine artist himself in spirit, who spent
much time in Rome, conceived a great admiration for Thorwaldsen. He
walked into the atelier where the sculptor was at work one day and
hung around his neck by a gold chain the "Cross of the Commander," a
decoration never before given to any but great military commanders.

King Louis had a very unkinglike way of doing things, and used to go
by the studio and whistle for Thorwaldsen and call to him to come
out and walk, or drive, ride or dine.

"I wish that King would go off and reign--I have work to do," cried
the sculptor rather impatiently.

Envious critics used to maintain that there were ten men in Rome who
could model as well as Thorwaldsen, "but they haven't yellow hair
that falls to their shoulders, and heaven-blue eyes with which to
snare the ladies."

The fact must be admitted that the vogue of Thorwaldsen owed much to
the remarkable social qualities of the man. His handsome face and
fine form were supplemented by a manner most gentle and winning; and
whether his half-diffident ways and habit of reticence were natural
or the triumph of art was a vexing problem that never found

He was the social rage in every salon. And his ability to do the
right thing at the right time, seemingly without premeditation, made
him a general favorite. For instance, if he attended a fete given by
the King of Bavaria, he wore just one decoration--the decoration of
Bavaria. If he attended a ball given by the French Ambassador, in
the lapel of his modest black velvet coat he wore the red ribbon
that tokens the Legion of Honor. When he visited the Villa of the
Grand Duchess Helena of Russia, he wore no jewel save the diamond-
studded star presented to him by the Czar. At the reception given by
the "English Colony" to Sir Walter Scott, the great sculptor wore a
modest thistle-blossom in his lapel, which caused Lord Elgin to
offer odds that if O'Connell should appear in Rome, Thorwaldsen
would wear a sprig of shamrock in his hat and say nothing. The
thistle caught Sir Walter, and the next day when he came to call on
the sculptor he saw a tam-o-shanter hanging on the top of an easel
and a bit of plaid scarf thrown carelessly across the corner of the
picture below. The poet and the sculptor embraced, patting each
other on the back, called each other "Brother" and smiled good-will.
But as Thorwaldsen could not speak English and Sir Walter spoke
nothing else, they merely beamed and ran the scale of adjectives,
thus: Sublimissio! Hero! Precious! Plaisir! La Grande! Delighted!
Splendide! Honorable! Then they embraced again and backed away,
waving each other good-by.

Thorwaldsen had more medals, degrees and knighthoods than Sir Walter
ever saw, but he would allow no prefix to his name. Denmark, Russia,
Germany, Italy, France and the Pope had outdone themselves in doing
him honor. All these "trifles" in the way of decorations he kept in
a specially prepared case, which was opened occasionally for the
benefit of lady visitors. "The girls like such things," said
Thorwaldsen, and smiled in apology.

Shelley found his way to Thorwaldsen's studio, and made mention that
the Master was a bit of a poseur. Byron came, and as we know, sat
for that statue which is now at Cambridge. The artist sought to
beguile the melancholy sitter with pleasant conversation, but the
author of "Don Juan" would have none of it, and when the work was
completed and unveiled before him, he exclaimed in disappointment,
"I look far more unhappy than that!"

Thorwaldsen was a musician of no mean quality, and there was always
a piano in his studio, to which he often turned for rest. When Felix
Mendelssohn was in Rome he made the sculptor's workshop his
headquarters, and sometimes the two would play "four hands," or else
Thorwaldsen would accompany the "Song Without Words" upon his

Gradually the number of the "elect" seemed to grow. It was regarded
as a great sight to see the Master at his work. And by degrees
Thorwaldsen reached a point where he could keep right along at his
task and receive his friends at the same time.

The man at his work! There is nothing finer. I have seen men homely,
uncouth and awkward when "dressed up," who were superb when at their
work. Once I saw Augustus Saint Gaudens in blouse and overalls, well
plastered with mud, standing on a ladder hard at it on an equestrian
statue, lost to everything but the task in hand--intoxicated with a
thought, working like mad to materialize an idea. The sight gave me
a thrill!--one of those very few unforgetable thrills that Time
fixes ever the more firmly in one's memory.

To gain admittance to the workroom of Thorwaldsen was a thing to
boast of: proud ladies schemed and some sought to bribe the trusty
valet; but to these the door was politely barred. Yet the servant,
servantlike, was awed by titles and nobility.

"The Duchess of Parma!" whispered the valet one day in agitation--
"the Duchess of Parma--she has followed me in and is now standing
behind you!"

Thorwaldsen could not just place the lady: he turned, bowed, and
gazed upon a stout personage who was slightly overdressed. The lady
quite abruptly stated that she had called to make arrangements to
have a statue, or a bust at least, made of herself. That Thorwaldsen
would be proud to model her features seemed quite fixed in her mind.
The artist cast her a swift glance and noted that Nature had put
small trace of the classic in the lady's modeling. He mentally
declined the commission, and muttered something about being "so
delighted and honored, but unluckily I am so very busy," etc. "My
husband desires it," continued the lady, "and so does my son, the
King of Rome--a title, I hope, that is not strange to you!"

It swept over Thorwaldsen, like a winter's wave, that this big,
brusk, bizarre woman before him was Maria Louisa, the second wife of
Napoleon. He knew her history: wedded at nineteen to Napoleon--the
mother of L'Aiglon at twenty--married again in unbecoming haste to
Count Niepperg Nobody, with whom she had been on very intimate
terms, as soon as word arrived of Napoleon's death at Saint Helena,
and now raising a goodly brood of Nobodies! The artist grew faint
before this daughter of kings who had made a mesalliance with
Genius--he excused himself and left the room.

Thorwaldsen was a hero-worshiper by nature, and Napoleon's memory
loomed large to him on the horizon of the ideal. Needless to say, he
never modeled the features of Maria Louisa Hapsburg, but her visit
fired him with a desire to make a bust of Napoleon, and the desire
materialized is ours in heroic mold.

Some time after this, Thorwaldsen designed a monument to the Duke of
Leuchtenberg, Eugene de Beauharnais, son of the Empress Josephine.

The days went in their fashion, and the Count Niepperg passed away,
as even Counts do, for Death recognizes no title; and Maria Louisa
was again experiencing the pangs of widowhood. She sent word for
Thorwaldsen to come and design the late lamented a proper tomb,
something not unlike that which he had done for the son of
Josephine--money was no object in the Hapsburg family!

Very few commissions were declined by Thorwaldsen. He was a good
businessman and often had a dozen men quietly working out his
orders, but he wrote to Maria Louisa begging to be excused--and as a
relief to his feelings, straightway modeled another bust of
Napoleon. This bust was sold to Alexander Murray, Byron's publisher,
and is now to be seen in Edinburgh. Strange, is it not, that the
home of "The Scotch Greys," tumbled by Fate and Napoleon into an
open grave, should do the Little Man honor! And Thorwaldsen, the man
of peace, was bound to the man of war by the silken thread of

Thorwaldsen was the true successor of Canova--his career was
inaugurated when Canova gave him his blessing. The triumphs of the
lover of Pauline Bonaparte were transferred to him. He accepted the
situation with all of its precedents.

Thorwaldsen spent forty-two years of his life at Rome, but Denmark
never lost her hold upon him during this time. The King showered him
with honors and gave him every privilege at his command.

The Danish Ambassador always had special instructions "not to
neglect the interests and welfare of our brother, Chevalier
Thorwaldsen, Artist and Sculptor to the King."

For years, in the Academy at Copenhagen, rooms were set apart for
him, and he was solicited to return and occupy them, and by his
gracious presence honor the institution that had sent him forth.
Only once, however, did he return, and then his stay was brief. But
from time to time he presented specimens of his work to his native
city, and various casts and copies of his pieces found their way to
the "Thorwaldsen Room" at the Academy; so there gradually grew up
there a "Thorwaldsen Museum."

Now the shadows were lengthening toward the east. The Master had
turned his seventieth milestone, and he began to look backward to
his boyhood's home as a place of rest, as old men do. A Commissioner
was sent by the King of Denmark with orders to use his best offices
to the end that Thorwaldsen should return; and plans were made to
evolve the Thorwaldsen Room into a complete museum.

The result of these negotiations brought about the Thorwaldsen
Museum--that plainly simple, but solidly built structure at
Copenhagen, erected by the city, from plans made by the Master. Here
are shown over two hundred large statues and bas-reliefs, copies and
originals of the best things done in that long and busy life.

Thorwaldsen left his medals, decorations, pictures, books and
thousands of drawings and sketches to this Museum--the sole property
of the municipality. The building is arranged in the form of a
square, with a court, and here the dust of the Master rests. No
artist has ever had a more fitting tomb, designed by himself,
surrounded by the creations of his hand and brain. These chant his
elegy and there he sleeps.

Good looks, courtesy and social accomplishments are factors in our
artistic career that should not be lightly waived. Thorwaldsen won
every recognition that is possible for men to win from other men--
fame, honor, wealth. In way of success he tasted all the world can
offer. He built on Winckelmann, Mengs and Canova, inspired by a
classic environment, and examples of work done by men turned to dust
centuries before. In many instances Thorwaldsen followed the letter
and failed to catch the spirit of Greece; this is not to his
discredit--who has completely succeeded in revitalizing the breath
of ancient art?

Thorwaldsen won everything but immortality. It sounds harsh, but let
us admit it; he was at best a great imitator, however noble the
objects of his imitation. A recent writer has tried to put him in
the class with "John Rogers, the Pride of America," but this is
manifestly unfair. As an artist he ranks rather with Powers, Story
and Palmer.

Never for a moment can he be compared with Saint Gaudens, or our own
French; Bartlett and Ward surpass him in general skill and fertility
of resources. All is comparative--Thorwaldsen's fame floats upon the
wave, far astern. We are making head.

We have that superb "Night," so full of tenderness and spirit, done
in tears (as all the best things are). The "Night" is not to be
spoken of without its beautiful companion-piece, the "Morning." Each
was done at a sitting, in a passion of creative energy. Yet when the
roll of all Thorwaldsen's pieces is called, we see that his fame
centers and is chiefly embodied in "The Lion of Lucerne."

I suppose it need not longer be concealed that in Switzerland you
can purchase copies and models of Thorwaldsen's "Lion of Lucerne."
Some are in marble, some in granite, some in bronze, a great many
are in wood--carved while you wait--and at my hotel in Lucerne we
used to have the noble beast on the table every morning at
breakfast, done in butter.

The reproductions are of all sizes, from heroic mold to watch-charms
and bangles. Sculptors have carved this lion, painters have painted
it, artists have sketched it, but did you ever see a reproduction of
"The Lion of Lucerne"? No, dearie, you never did, and never will. No
copy has a trace of that indefinable look of mingled pain and
patience, which even the broken spear in his side can not disturb--
that soulful, human quality which the original has. No; every copy
is a caricature. It is a risky thing to try to put love in a lion's

An intelligent young woman called my attention to the fact that the
psychological conditions under which we view "The Lion" are the most
subtle and complete that man can devise; and these are the things
that add the last touch to art and cause us to stand speechless, and
which make the unbidden tears start. The little lake at the foot of
the cliff prevents a too near approach; the overhanging vines and
melancholy boughs form a dim, subduing shade; the falling water
seems like the playing of an organ in a vast cathedral; and last,
the position of the lion itself, against the solid cliff, partakes
of the miraculous. It is not set up there for people to look at: it
is a part of the mountain, and the great seams of the strata running
through the figure lend the spirit of miracle to it all. It seems as
though God Himself had done the work, and the surprise and joy of
discovery are ours as we stand uncovered before it.

One must concede the masterly framing and hanging of the picture,
but beyond all this is the technical skill, giving the look of woe
that does not tell of weakness, as woe usually does, but strength
and loyalty and death without flinching in a righteous cause:
symbolic of the Swiss Guard that died at their post, not one of the
three hundred wavering, there at the King's palace at Paris--all
dead and turned to dust a century past, and this lion, mortally
wounded, mutely pleading for our tears!

We pay the tribute.

And the reason we are moved is because we partake of the emotions of
the artist when he did the work; and the reason we are not moved by
any models or copies or imitations is because there is small feeling
in the heart of an imitator. Great art is born of feeling! In order
to do, you must feel.

If Thorwaldsen had done nothing else, "The Lion" would be monument
enough. We remember William Cullen Bryant, like Dante Gabriel
Rossetti, for one poem; Poe for three. Thoreau wrote only one essay
the world will cherish; and "keeping Ruskin's 'Sesame and Lilies'
and 'The Golden River,' we can let the rest go," says Augustine

Thorwaldsen paid the penalty of success. He should have tasted
exile, poverty and heartbreak--not to have known these was his
misfortune. And perhaps his best work lay in keeping alive the
classic tradition; in educating whole nations to a taste for
sculpture; in turning the attention of society from strife to art,
from war to harmony. His were the serene successes of beauty, the
triumphs of peace.


If ever this nation should produce a genius sufficient to acquire
to us the honorable distinction of an English School, the name of
Gainsborough will be transmitted to posterity, in this history of
art, among the very first of that rising name.
  --_Sir Joshua Reynolds_

[Illustration: Gainsborough]

Most biographies are written with intent either to make the man a
demigod or else to damn him as a rogue who has hoodwinked the world.
Of the first-mentioned class, Weems' "Life of Washington" must ever
stand as the true type. The author is so fearful that he will not
think well of his subject that he conceals every attribute of our
common humanity, and gives us a being almost devoid of eyes, ears,
organs, dimensions, passions. Next to Weems, in point of literary
atrocity, comes John S. C. Abbott, whose life of Napoleon is a
splendid concealment of the man.

Of those who have written biographies for the sake of belittling
their subject, John Gait's "Life of Byron" occupies a conspicuous
position. But for books written for the double purpose of downing
the subject and elevating the author, Philip Thicknesse's "Life of
Gainsborough" must stand first. The book is so bad that it is
interesting, and so stupid that it will never die. Thicknesse had a
quarrel with Gainsborough, and three-fourths of the volume is given
up to a minute recital of "says he" and "says I." It is really only
an extended pamphlet written by an arch-bore with intent to get even
with his man.

The writer regards his petty affairs as of prime importance to the
world, and he shows with great care, and not a single flash of wit,
how all of Thomas Gainsborough's success in life was brought about
by Thicknesse. And then, behold! after Thicknesse had made the man
by hand, all he received for pay was ingratitude and insolence!
Thicknesse was always good, kind, unselfish and disinterested; while
Gainsborough was ungrateful, procrastinating, absurd and malicious--
this according to Thicknesse, who was on the spot and knew. Well, I
guess so!

Brock-Arnold describes Thicknesse as "a fussy, ostentatious,
irrepressible busybody, without the faintest conception of delicacy
or modesty, who seems to think he has a heaven-born right to
patronize Gainsborough, and to take charge of his affairs."

The aristocratic and pompous Thicknesse presented the painter to his
friends, and also gave much advice about how he should conduct
himself. He also loaned him a fiddle and presented him a viola da
gamba, and often invited him to dinner. For these favors
Gainsborough promised to paint a portrait of Thicknesse, but never
got beyond washing in the background. During ten years he made
thirty-seven excuses for not doing the work, and as for Mrs.
Gainsborough, she once had the temerity to hand the redoubtable
Thicknesse his cocked hat and cane and show him the door. From this,
Thicknesse is emboldened to make certain remarks about Mrs.
Gainsborough's pedigree, and to suggest that if Thomas Gainsborough
had married a different woman he might have been a different
painter. Thicknesse, throughout the book, thrusts himself into the
breach and poses as the Injured One.

On reading "the work" it is hard to believe it was written in sober,
serious earnest--it contains such an intolerable deal of Thicknesse
and so little of Gainsborough. The Mother Gamp flavor is upon every
page. Andrew Lang might have written it to show the literary style
of a disgruntled dead author.

And the curious part is that, up to Eighteen Hundred Twenty-nine,
Thicknesse held the stage, and many people took his portrait of
Gainsborough as authentic. In that year Allan Cunningham put the
great painter in his proper light, and thanks to the minute
researches of Fulcher and others, we know the man as though he had
lived yesterday.

The father of Gainsborough was a tradesman of acute instincts. He
resided at Sudbury, in Suffolk, seventy miles from London. It was a
time when every thrifty merchant lived over his place of business,
so as to be on hand when buyers came; to ward off robbers; and to
sweep the sidewalk, making all tidy before breakfast. Gainsborough
pere was fairly prosperous, but not prosperous enough to support any
of his nine children in idleness. They all worked, took a Saturday
night "tub," and went to the Independent Church in decent attire on

Thomas Gainsborough was the youngest of the brood, the pet of his
parents, and the pride of his big sisters, who had nursed him and
brought him up in the way he should go. In babyhood he wasn't so
very strong; but love and freedom gradually did their perfect work,
and he evolved into a tall, handsome youth of gracious manner and
pleasing countenance. All the family were sure that Tom was going to
be "somebody."

The eldest boy, John, known to the town as "Scheming Jack," had
invented a cuckoo-clock, and this led to a self-rocking cradle that
wound up with a strong spring; next he made a flying-machine; and so
clever was he that he painted signs that swung on hinges, and in
several instances essayed to put a picture of the prosperous owner
on the sign.

The second son, Humphrey, was a brilliant fellow, too. He made the
model of a steam-engine and showed it to a man by the name of Watt,
who was greatly interested in it; and when Watt afterward took out a
patent on it, Humphrey's heart was nearly broken, and it might have
been quite, but he said he had in hand half a dozen things worth
more than the steam-engine. As tangible proof of his power, he won a
prize of fifty pounds from the London Society for the Encouragement
of Art, for a mill that was to be turned by the tides of the sea.
The steam-engine would require fuel, but this tide-engine would be
turned by Nature at her own expense. In the British Museum is a
sundial made by Humphrey Gainsborough, and it must stand to his
credit that he made the original fireproof safe. From a fireproof
safe to liberal theology is but a step, and Humphrey Gainsborough
became a Dissenting Clergyman, passing rich on forty pounds a year.

The hopes of the family finally centered on Thomas. He had assisted
his brother John at the sign-painting, and had done several
creditable little things in drawing 'scutcheons on coach-doors for
the gentry. Besides all this, once, while sketching in his father's
orchard, a face cautiously appeared above the stone wall and for a
single moment studied the situation. The boy caught the features on
his palette, and transferred them to his picture. The likeness was
so perfect that it led to the execution of the thief who had been
robbing the orchard, and also the execution of that famous picture,
finished many years after, known as "Tom Peartree."

The orchard episode pleased the Gainsboroughs greatly. A family
council was held, and it was voted that Thomas must be sent to
London to study art. The girls gave up a dress apiece, the mother
retrimmed her summer bonnet for the Winter, the boys contributed,
and there came a day when Tom was duly ticketed and placed on top of
the great coach bound for London. Good-bys were waved until only a
cloud of dust was seen in the distance.

Gainsborough went to "Saint Martin's Drawing Academy" at London, and
the boys educated him. The art at the "Academy" seems to have been
very much akin to the art of the Writing Academies of America, where
learned bucolic professors used to teach us the mysteries of the
Spencerian System for a modest stipend. The humiliation of never
knowing "how to hold your pen" did much to send many budding
geniuses off on a tangent after grasshopper chirography, but those
who endured unto the end acquired the "wrist movement." They all
wrote alike. That is to say, they all wrote like the professor, who
wrote just like all Spencerian professors. So write the girls in
Melvil Dewey's Academy for Librarians, at Albany--God bless them
all!--they all write like Dewey.

Thomas Gainsborough at London seems to have haunted the theaters and
coffeehouses, and whenever there were pictures displayed, there was
Thomas to be found. To help out the expense-account, he worked at
engraving and made designs for a silversmith. The strong, receptive
nature of the boy showed itself, for he succeeded in getting a
goodly hold on the art of engraving, in a very short time. He
absorbed in the mass.

But he tired of the town--he wanted freedom, fresh air, the woods
and fields. Hogarth and Wilson were there in London, but the Academy
students never heard of them. And if Gainsborough ever listened to
Richardson's famous prophecy which inspired Hogarth and Reynolds, to
the effect that England would soon produce a great school of art, we
do not know it.

The young man grew homesick; he was doing nothing in London--no
career was open to him--he returned to Sudbury after an absence of
nearly two years. He thought it was defeat, but his family welcomed
him as a conquering hero. He was eighteen and looked twenty--tall,
strong, fair-haired, gentle in manner, gracious in speech.

Two of his sisters had married clergymen, and were happily situated
in neighboring towns; his brother Humphrey was "occupying the
pulpit," and causing certain local High Churchmen to have dreams of
things tumbling about their ears.

The sisters and mother wanted Tom to be a preacher, too--he was so
straight and handsome and fine, and his eyes were so tender and

But he preferred to paint. He painted in the woods and fields, by
streams and old mills, and got on good terms with all the flocks of
sheep and cattle in the neighborhood.

The art of landscape-painting developed from an accident. The early
Italian painters used landscape only as a background for figures.
All they pictured were men, women and children, and to bring these
out rightly they introduced scenery. Imagine a theater with scenes
set and no person on the stage, and you get the idea of landscape up
to the time of Gainsborough. Landscape! it was nothing--a blank.

Wilson first painted landscapes as backgrounds for other men to draw
portraits upon. A marine scene was made merely that a Commodore
might stand in cocked hat, a spyglass under his arm, in the
foreground, while the sun peeps over the horizon begging permission
to come up. Gradually these incomplete pictures were seen hanging in
shop-windows, but for them there was no market. They were merely

Gainsborough drew pictures of the landscape because he loved it. He
seems to be the first English artist who loved the country for its
own sake. Old bridges, winding roadways, gnarled oaks, cattle
grazing, and all the manifold beauties of quiet country life
fascinated him. He educated the collector, and educated the people
into a closer observation and study of Nature. Gainsborough stood at
the crossways of progress and pointed the way.

With Hogarth's idea that a picture should teach a lesson and have a
moral, he had no sympathy. And with Reynolds, who thought there was
nothing worth picturing but the human face, he took issue. Beauty to
him was its own excuse for being. However, in all of Gainsborough's
landscapes you find the human interest somewhere--man has not been
entirely left out. But from being the one important thing, he sinks
simply into a part of the view that lies before you. Turner's maxim,
"You can not leave man out," he annexed from Gainsborough. And
Corot's landscapes, where the dim, shadowy lovers sit on the
bankside under the great oaks--the most lovely pictures ever painted
by the hand of man--reveal the extreme evolution from a time when
the lovers occupied the center of the stage, and the landscape was
only an accessory.

And it is further interesting to note that the originator of English
landscape-painting was also a great portrait-painter, and yet he
dared paint portraits with absolutely no scenery back of them--a
thing which up to that time was done only by a man who hadn't the
ability to paint landscape. Thus do we prove Rabelais' proposition,
"The man who has a well-filled strongbox can surely afford to go

Thomas Gainsborough, aged nineteen, was one day intently sketching
in a wood near Sudbury, when the branches suddenly parted and out
into a little open space stepped Margaret Burr. This young woman had
taken up her abode in Sudbury during the time the young man was in
London, and he had never met her, although he had probably heard her
praises sounded. Everybody around there had heard of her. She was
the handsomest woman in all Suffolk--and knew it. She lived with her
"uncle," and the gossips, who looked after these little things,
divided as to whether she was the daughter of one of the exiled
Stuarts, or the natural child of the Duke of Bedford. Anyway, she
was a true princess, in face, form and bearing, and had an income of
her own of two hundred pounds a year. Her pride was a thing so
potent that the rustic swains were chilled at the sight of her, and
the numerous suitors sighed and shot their lovesick glances from a
safe distance.

Let that pass: the branches parted and Margaret stepped out into the
open. She thought she was alone, when all at once her eyes looked
full into the eyes of the young artist--not a hundred feet away. She
was startled; she blushed, stammered and tried to apologize for the
intrusion. Her splendid self-possession had failed her for once--she
was going to flee by the way she had come. "Hold that position,
please--stand just as you are!" called the artist in a tone of

Even the proudest of women are willing to accept orders when the
time is ripe; and I am fully convinced that to be domineered over by
the right man is a thing all good women warmly desire.

Margaret Burr, the proud beauty, stood stock-still, and Thomas
Gainsborough admitted her into his landscape and his heart.

This is not a love-story, or we might begin here and extend our
booklet into a volume. Suffice it to say that within a few short
months after their first meeting the young woman, being of royal
blood, exercised her divine right and "proposed." She proposed just
as Queen Victoria did later. And then they were married--both under
twenty--and lived happily ever after.

It is a great mistake to assume that pride and a high degree of
commonsense can not go together. Margaret knew how to manage. After
a short stay in Sudbury the couple rented a cottage at Ipswich for
six pounds a year--a dovecot with three rooms. The proud beauty
would not let the place be profaned by a servant: she did all the
work herself; and if she wanted help, she called on her husband.
Base is the man who will not fetch and carry for the woman he loves.
They were accounted the handsomest and most distinguished couple in
all Sudbury; and when they attended church, there was so much
craning of necks and so many muffled exclamations of admiration,
that the clergyman made it a point not to begin the service until
they were safely seated.

They were very happy: they loved each other, and so loved life and
everything and everybody, and God's great green out-o'-doors was
their playhouse. Margaret's income was quite sufficient for their
needs, and mad ambition passed them by. Gainsborough drew pictures
and painted and sketched, and then gave his pictures away.

Music was his passion, and whenever at the concerts held round about
there the player did exceptionally well, Gainsborough would proffer
a picture in exchange for the instrument used. In this way the odd
corners of their house got filled with violins, lutes, hautboys,
kettledrums and curious stringed things that have died the death and
are now extinct. At this time, if any one had asked Gainsborough his
profession, he would have said, "I am a musician."

Fifteen years had slipped into the eternity that lies behind--"years
not lost, for we can turn the hourglass and live them all over in
sweet memory," once said Gainsborough to his wife. The constant
sketching had developed much skill in the artist's hand. Thicknesse
had come puffing alongside, and insisted out of pure friendliness on
taking the artist and wife in tow. They laughed at him behind his
back, and carried on conversation over his head, and dropped jokes
at his feet by looks and pantomime, and communicated in cipher--for
true lovers always evolve a code.

Thicknesse was sincere and serious, and surely was not wholly bad--
even Mephisto is not bad all of the time. Mrs. Gainsborough once
said she would prefer Mephisto to Thicknesse, because Mephisto had a
sense of humor. Very often they naturally referred to Thicknesse as
"Thickhead"--the joke was too obvious to let pass entirely, until
each "took the pledge," witnessed by Gainsborough's favorite
terrier, "Fox."

Thicknesse had a Summer House at Bath, and thither he insisted his
friends should go. He would vouch for them and introduce them into
the best society. He would even introduce them to Beau Nash, "the
King of Bath," and arrange to have Gainsborough do himself the honor
of painting the "King's" picture. Two daughters nearing womanhood
reminded Mr. and Mrs. Gainsborough that an increase in income would
be well; and Thicknesse promised many commissions from his friends,
the gentry.

The cheapest house they could find in Bath was fifty pounds a year.
"Do you want to go to jail?" asked Mrs. Gainsborough of her husband
when he proposed signing the lease. The worldly Thicknesse proposed
that they should take this house at fifty pounds a year, or else
take another at one hundred fifty at his expense. They decided to
risk it at the rate of fifty pounds a year for a few months, and
were duly settled.

Thicknesse was very proud of his art connections. He had but one
theme--Gainsborough! People of note began to find their way to the
studio of the painter-man in the Circus.

Gainsborough was gracious, handsome and healthy--fresh from the
country. He met all nobility on a frank equality--God had made him a
gentleman. His beautiful wife, now in her early thirties, was much
sought in local society circles.

Everybody of note who came to Bath visited Gainsborough's studio.

Garrick sat to him and played such pranks with his countenance that
each time the artist looked up from his easel he saw a new man. "You
have everybody's face but your own," said Gainsborough to Garrick,
and dismissing the man he completed the picture from memory. This
portrait and also pictures of General Honeywood, the Comedian Quin,
Lady Grosvenor, the Duke of Argyle, besides several landscapes, were
sent up to the Academy Exhibition at London.

George the Third saw them and sent word down that he wished
Gainsborough lived in London, so he could sit to him.

The carrier, Wiltshire, who packed the pictures and took them up to
London, had a passion for art that filled his heart, and he refused
to accept gold, that base and common drudge 'twixt man and man, for
his services in an art way. And so Gainsborough presented him with a
picture. In fact, during the term of years that Gainsborough lived
at Bath, he gave Wiltshire, the modest driver of an express-cart, a
dozen or more pictures and sketches. He gave him the finest picture
he ever painted: that portrait of the old Parish Clerk. Gainsborough
was not so good a judge of his own work as Wiltshire was. Wiltshire
kept all the "Gainsboroughs" he could get, reveled in them during
his long life, basked and bathed his soul in their beauty, and
dying, bequeathed them to his children.

Had Wiltshire been moved by nothing but keen, cold, worldly wisdom--
which he wasn't--he could not have done better. Even friendship,
love and beauty have their Rialto--the appraiser footed up the
Wiltshire estate at more than fifty thousand pounds.

Gainsborough found himself with more work than he could very well
care for, so he raised his prices for a "half-length" from five
pounds to forty; and for a "full-length" from ten pounds to one
hundred, in order to limit the number of his patrons. It doubled
them. His promised picture of Thicknesse was relegated behind the
door, and a check was sent the great man for five hundred pounds for
his borrowed viola da gamba and other favors.

But Thicknesse was not to be bought off. He took charge of the
studio, looked after the visitors, explaining this and that, telling
how he had discovered the artist and rescued him from obscurity,
giving scraps of his history, and presenting little impromptu
lectures on art as he had found it.

The fussy Thicknesse used to be funny to Mr. and Mrs. Gainsborough,
but now he had developed into a nuisance. To escape him, they
resolved to turn the pretty compliment of King George into a genuine
request. They packed up and moved to London.

The fifty pounds a year at Bath had seemed a great responsibility,
but when Gainsborough took Schomberg House in Pall Mall at three
hundred pounds, he boasts of his bargain. About this time "Scheming
Jack" turns up asking for a small loan to perfect a promising
scheme. The gracious brother replies that although his own expenses
are more than a thousand pounds a year, he is glad to accommodate
him, and hopes the scheme will prosper--which of course he knew it
would not, for success is a matter of red corpuscle.

Almost immediately on reaching London the Royal Academy recognized
Gainsborough's presence by electing him a member of its Council.
However, he never attended a single meeting. He did not need the
Academy. Royalty stood in line at his studio-doors, and he took his
pick of sitters. He painted five different portraits of the King,
various pictures of his children, did the rascally heir-apparent
ideally, and made a picture of Queen Charlotte that Goldsmith said
"looked like a sensible woman."

He painted portraits of his lovely wife, Richard Brinsley Sheridan,
Burke, Walpole, the dictator of Strawberry Hill, and immortalized
the hats worn by the smashing, dashing Duchess of Devonshire. One of
these pictures of Her Grace comes very close to us Americans, as it
was cut from the frame one dark, foggy night in London, sealed up in
the false bottom of a trunk and brought to New York. Here it lay for
more than twenty years, when Colonel Patricius Sheedy, connoisseur
and critic, arranged for its delivery to the heirs of the original
owners on payment of some such trifle as twenty-five thousand
dollars. This superb picture, with its romantic past, was not
destined to traverse the Atlantic again; for thanks to the
generosity of J. Pierpont Morgan, it has now found a permanent home
at Harvard College.

It is only a little way back from civilization to savagery. We live
in a wonderful time: the last twenty-five years have seen changes
that mark epochs in the onward and upward march. To mention but two,
we might name the almost complete evolution of our definition as to
what constitutes "Christianity"; and in material things, the use of
electricity, which has worked such a revolution as even Jules Verne
never conjured forth.

Americans are somewhat given to calling our country "The Land of the
Free"--as if there were no other. But the individual in England
today has greater freedom of speech and action than the individual
has in America. In every large city of America there is an extent of
petty officialism and dictation that the English people would not
for a day endure. Our policemen, following their Donnybrook
proclivities, are all armed with clubs, and allowing prenatal
influences to lead, they unlimber the motto, "Wherever you see a
head, hit it," on slight excuse. In Central Park, New York, for
instance, the citizen who "talks back" would speedily be clubbed
into silence--but try that thing in Hyde Park, London, if you
please, and see what would follow! But, thank heaven, we are working
out our salvation all the time--things are getting better, and it is
the "dissatisfied" who are making them go. Were we satisfied, there
would be no progress. During the sixty-one years of Gainsborough's
life, wondrous changes were made in the world of thought and
feeling. And the good natured but sturdy quality of such as he was
the one strong factor that worked for freedom. Gainsborough was
never a tuft-hunter: he toadied to no man, and his swinging
independence refused to see any special difference between himself
and the sleek, titled nobility. He asked no favors of the Academy,
no quarter from his rivals, no grants from royalty. This dissenting
attitude probably cost him the mate of the knighthood which went to
Sir Joshua, but behold the paradox! he was usually closer to the
throne than those who lay in wait for honors. Gainsborough sought
for nothing--he did his work, preserved the right mental attitude,
and all good things came to him.

It is a curious thing to note that while England was undergoing a
renaissance of art, and realizing a burst of freedom, Italy, that
land so long prolific in greatness, produced not a single artist who
rose above the dull and commonplace. Has Nature only just so much
genius at her disposal?

The reign of the Georges worked a blessed, bloodless revolution for
the people of England. They reigned better than they knew.
Gainsborough saw the power of the monarch transferred to the people,
and the King become the wooden figurehead of the ship, instead of
its Captain. So, thanks to the weakness of George the Third and the
short-sighted policy of Lord North, America achieved her
independence about the same time that England did hers.

Theological freedom and political freedom go hand in hand, for our
conception of Deity is always a pale reflection of our chief ruler.
Did not Thackeray say that the people of England regarded Jehovah as
an infinite George the Fourth?

Gainsborough saw Whitefield and Wesley entreating that we should go
to God direct; Howard was letting the sunshine into dark cells;
Clarkson, Sharp and Wilberforce had begun their crusade against
slavery, and their arms and arguments were to be transferred a
hundred years later to William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips and
Henry Ward Beecher, who bought "Beecher Bibles" for Old John Brown,
Osawatomie Brown, whose body, no longer needed, was hanged on a
sour-apple tree while his soul goes marching on.

In the realm of letters, Gainsborough saw changes occur no less
important than in the political field. Samuel Johnson bowled into
view, scolding and challenging the Ensconced Smug; Goldsmith scaled
the Richardson ghetto and wrote his touching and deathless verse;
Fielding's saffron comedies were produced at Drury Lane; Cowper,
nearly the same age as the artist, did his work and lapsed into
imbecility, surviving him sixteen years; Richardson became the happy
father of the English Novel; Sterne took his Sentimental Journey;
Chatterton, the meteor, flashed across the literary sky; Gray mused
in the churchyard and laid his head upon the lap of earth; Burns was
promoted from the Excise to be the idol of all Scotland. The year
that Gainsborough died, Napoleon, a slim slip of a youth seventeen
years old, was serving as a sub-lieutenant of artillery; while
Wellington had just received his first commission and was marching
zigzag, by the right oblique, to meet him eighteen miles from
Brussels on the night of a ball sung into immortality by Byron; Watt
had invented the steam-engine, thanks to Humphrey Gainsborough;
Arkwright had made his first spinning-frame; Humphrey Davy was
working at problems (with partial success) to be solved later by
Edison of Menlo Park; Lord Hastings was tried, and it was while
listening to the speech of Sheridan--the one speech of his life, the
best words of which, according to his butler, were, "My Lords, I am
done"--that Gainsborough caught his death o' cold.

Gainsborough never went abroad to study; he painted things at home,
and painted as he saw them. He never imagined he was a great artist,
so took no thought as to the future of his work. He set so little
store on his pictures that he did not think even to sign them. The
masterpiece that satisfied him was never done.

His was a happy life of work and love, with no cloud to obscure the
sun, save possibly now and then a bumptious reproof from Sir
Thicknesse or the occasional high-handed haughtiness of a Hanging
Committee. Thus passed his life in work, music, laughter and love;
but to music he ever turned for rest. He made more money than all of
his seven brothers and sisters combined, five times over, and
divided with them without stint. He educated several of his nieces
and nephews, and one nephew, Gainsborough Dupont, he adopted and
helped make an acceptable artist.

Of that peculiarly-to-be-dreaded malady, artistic jealousy,
Gainsborough had not a trace. His failure to court Sir Joshua's
smile led foolish folks to say he was jealous--not so! he was simply
able to get along without Sir Joshua, and he did. Yet he admired
Reynolds' works and admired the man, but was too wise to force any
close personal relationship.

He divided with West, the American, the favor of the Court, and with
Romney and Reynolds the favor of the town. He got his share, and
more, of all those things which the world counts worth while. The
gratitude of his heart was expressed by his life--generous, kind,
joyous--never cast down except when he thought he had spoken harshly
or acted unwisely-loyal to his friends, forgetting his enemies.

He did a deathless work, for it is a work upon which other men have
built. He prepared the way for those who were to come after.

It is a great privilege to live, to work, to feel, to endure, to
know: to realize that one is the instrument of Deity--being used by
the Maker to work out His inscrutable purposes; to see vast changes
occur in the social fabric and to know that men stop, pause and
consider: to comprehend that this world is a different place because
you have lived. Yes, it is a great privilege to live! Gainsborough
lived--he reveled in life, and filled his days to their brim, ever
and always grateful to the Unknown that had guided his hand and led
him forth upon his way.

It is a great privilege to live!


Among the notable prophets of the new and true--Rubens, Rembrandt,
Claude Lorraine--Velasquez was the newest and certainly the truest
from our point of view. He showed us the mystery of light as God
made it.

[Illustration: Velasquez]

There be, among writing men, those who please the populace, and also
that Elect Few who inspire writers. When Horace Greeley gave his
daily message to the world, every editor of any power in America
paid good money for the privilege of being a subscriber to the
"Tribune." The "Tribune" had no exchange-list--if you wanted the
"Tribune" you had to buy it, and the writers bought it because it
wound up their clocks--set them agoing--and they either carefully
abstained from mentioning Greeley or else went in right valiantly
and exposed his vagaries.

Greeley may have been often right, and we now know he was often
wrong, but he infused the breath of life into his words--his
sentences were a challenge--he made men think. And the reason he
made men think was because he himself was a thinker.

Among modern literary men, the two English writers who have most
inspired writers are Carlyle and Emerson. They were writers'
writers. In the course of their work, they touched upon every phase
of man's experience and endeavor. You can not open their books
anywhere and read a page without casting about for your pencil and
pad. Strong men infuse into their work a deal of their own spirit,
and their words are charged with a suggestion and meaning beyond the
mere sound. There is a reverberation that thrills one. All art that
lives is thus vitalized with a spiritual essence: an essence that
ever escapes the analyst, but which is felt and known by all who
have hearts that throb and souls that feel.

Strong men make room for strong men. Emerson and Carlyle inspired
other men, and they inspired each other--but whether there be
warrant for that overworked reference to their "friendship" is a
question. Some other word surely ought to apply here, for their
relationship was largely a matter of the head, with a weather-eye on
Barabbas, and three thousand miles of very salt brine between them.
Carlyle never came to America: Emerson made three trips to England;
and often a year or more passed without a single letter on either
side. Tammas Carlyle, son of a stone-mason, with his crusty ways and
clay pipe, with personality plus, at close range would have been a
combination not entirely congenial to the culminating flower of
seven generations of New England clergymen--probably not more so
than was the shirt-sleeved and cravatless Walt, when they met that
memorable day by appointment at the Astor House.

Our first and last demand of Art is that it shall give us the
artist's best. Art is the mintage of the soul. All the whim, foible,
and rank personality are blown away on the winds of time--the good

Of artists who have inspired artists, and who being dead yet live,
Velasquez stands first.

"Velasquez was a painters' painter--the rest of us are only
painters." And when the man who painted "Symphonies in White"
further explained that a picture is finished when all traces of the
means used to bring about the end have disappeared--for work alone
will efface the footsteps of work--he had Velasquez in mind.

The subject of this sketch was born in the year Fifteen Hundred
Ninety-nine, and died in Sixteen Hundred Sixty. And while he lived
there also lived these: Shakespeare, Murillo, Cervantes, Rembrandt
and Rubens.

As an artist and a man Velasquez was the equal, in his way, of any
of the men just named. Ruskin has said, "Everything that Velasquez
does may be regarded as absolutely right." And Sir Joshua Reynolds
placed himself on record by saying, "The portrait of Pope Innocent
the Tenth by Velasquez, in the Doria Gallery, is the finest portrait
in all Rome." Yet until the year Seventeen Hundred Seventy-six, a
date Americans can easily remember, the work of Velasquez was
scarcely known outside of Spain. In that year Raphael Mengs wrote:
"How this painter, greater than Raphael or Titian, truer far than
Rubens or Van Dyck, should have been lost to view is more than I can
comprehend. I can not find words to describe the splendor of his

But enthusiasts who ebulliate at low temperature are plentiful. The
world wagged on in its sleepy way, and it was not until Eighteen
Hundred Twenty-eight that an Englishman, Sir David Wilkie, following
up the clue of Mengs, began quietly to buy up all the stray pictures
by Velasquez he could find in Spain. He sent them to England, and
the world one day awoke to the fact that Velasquez was one of the
greatest artists of all time. Curtis compiled a list of two hundred
seventy-four pictures by Velasquez, which he pronounces authentic.
Of these, one hundred twenty-one were owned in England, thirteen in
France, twelve in Austria and eight in Italy. At least fifteen of
the English 'oldings have since been transferred to America; so,
outside of England and Spain, America possesses more of the works of
this master than any other country. But of this be sure: no
"Velasquez" will ever leave Spain unless spirited out of the country
between two days--and if one is carried away, it will not be in the
false bottom of a trunk. Within a year one "Velasquez" was so found
secreted at Cadiz, and the owner escaped prison only by presenting
the picture, with his compliments, to the Prado Museum at Madrid.
The release of the prisoner, and the acceptance of the picture, were
both a bit irregular as a matter of jurisprudence; but I am told
that lawyers can usually arrange these little matters--Dame Justice
being blind in one eye.

There seems to have been some little discussion in the De Silva
family of Seville as to whether Diego should be a lawyer, and follow
in his father's footsteps, or become an artist and possibly a
vagrom. The father had hoped the boy would be his helper and
successor, and here the youngster was wasting his time drawing
pictures of water-jugs, baskets of flowers, old women and foolish
folk about the market!

Should it be the law-school or the studio of Herrera the painter?

To almost every fond father the idea of discipline is to have the
child act just as he does. But in this case the mother had her way,
or, more properly, she let the boy have his--as mothers do--and the
sequel shows that a woman's heart is sometimes nearer right than a
man's head.

The fact that "Velasquez" was the maiden name of his mother, and was
adopted by the young man, is a straw that tells which way the vane
of his affections turned. Diego was sixteen and troublesome. He
wasn't "bad"--only he had a rollicksome, flamboyant energy that
inundated everything, and made his absence often a blessing devoutly
to be wished. Herrera had fixed thoughts about art and deportment.
Diego failed to grasp the beauty and force of these ideas, and in
the course of a year he seems to have learned just one thing of
Herrera--to use brushes with very long handles and long bristles.
This peculiarity he clung to through life, and the way he floated
the color upon the canvas with those long, ungainly brushes, no one
understood; he really didn't know himself, and the world has long
since given up the riddle. But the scheme was Herrera's, improved
upon by Velasquez; yet not all men who paint with a brush that has a
handle eight feet long can paint like Velasquez.

In Herrera's studio there were often heated arguments as to merits
and demerits, flat contradictions as to facts, and wordy warfare
that occasionally resulted in broken furniture. On such occasions,
Herrera never hesitated to take a hand and soundly cuff a pupil's
ears, if the master thought the pupil needed it.

Velasquez has left on record the statement that Herrera was the most
dogmatic, pedantic, overbearing and quarrelsome man he ever knew.
Just what Herrera thought of the young man Velasquez, we
unfortunately do not know. But the belief is that Velasquez left
Herrera's studio on request of Herrera.

He next entered the studio of the rich and fashionable painter,
Pacheco. This man, like Macaulay, had so much learning that it ran
over and he stood in the slop. He wrote a book on painting, and
might also have carried on a Correspondence School wherein the art
of portraiture would be taught in ten easy lessons.

In Madrid and Seville are various specimens of work done by both
Herrera and Pacheco. Herrera had a certain style, and the early work
of Velasquez showed Herrera's earmarks plainly; but we look in vain
for a trace of influence that can be attributed to Pacheco.
Velasquez at eighteen could outstrip his master, and both knew it.
So Pacheco showed his good sense by letting the young man go his own
pace. He admired the dashing, handsome youth, and although Velasquez
broke every rule laid down in Pacheco's mighty tome, "Art As I Have
Found It," yet the master uttered no word of protest.

The boy was bigger than the book.

More than this, Pacheco invited the young man to come and make his
home with him, so as the better to avail himself of the master's
instruction. Now, Pacheco (like Brabantio in the play) had a
beautiful daughter--Juana by name. She was about the age of
Velasquez, gentle, refined and amiable. Love is largely a matter of
propinquity: and the world now regards Pacheco as a master
matchmaker as well as a master painter. Diego and Juana were
married, aged nineteen, and Pacheco breathed easier. He had attached
to himself the most daring and brilliant young man he had ever
known, and he had saved himself the annoyance of having his studio
thronged with a gang of suitors such as crowded the courts of

Pacheco was pleased.

And why should Pacheco not have been pleased? He had linked his name
for all time with the History of Art. Had he not been the teacher
and father-in-law of Velasquez, his name would have been writ in
water, for in his own art there was not enough Attic salt to save
it; and his learning was a thing of dusty, musty books.

Pacheco's virtue consisted in recognizing the genius of Velasquez,
and hanging on to him closely, rubbing off all the glory that he
could make stick to himself.

To the day of his death Pacheco laid the flattering unction to his
soul that he had made Velasquez; but leaving this out of the
discussion, no one doubts that Velasquez plucked from oblivion the
name and fame of Pacheco.

"Those splendid blonde women of Rubens are the solaces of the
eternal fighting-man," writes Vance Thompson. The wife of Velasquez
was of the Rubens type: she looked upon her husband as the ideal.
She believed in him, ministered to him, and had no other gods before
him. She had but one ambition, and that was to serve her lord and

Her faith in the man--in his power, in his integrity and in his art
--corroborated his faith in himself. We want One to believe in us,
and this being so, all else matters little.

Velasquez seems a type of the "eternal fighting-man"--not the
quarrelsome, quibbling man, who draws on slight excuse, but the man
with a message, who goes straight to his destination with a will
that breaks through every barrier, and pushes aside every obstacle.
With the savage type there is no progression: the noble red man is
content to be a noble red man all his days, and the result is that
in standing still he is retreating off the face of the earth. Not so
your "eternal fighting-man"--he is scourged by a restlessness that
allows him no rest nor respite save in his work.

Beware when a thinker and worker is let loose on the planet!

In the days of Velasquez, Spain had but two patrons for art: Royalty
and the Church.

Although nominally a Catholic, Velasquez had little sympathy with
the superstitions of the multitude. His religion was essentially a
Natural Religion: to love his friends, to bathe in the sunshine of
life, to preserve a right mental attitude--the receptive attitude,
the attitude of gratitude--and to do his work: these things were for
him the sum of life. His passion was art--to portray his feelings on
canvas and make manifest to others the things he himself saw. The
Church, he thought, did not afford sufficient outlet for his power.
Cherubs that could live only in the tropics, and wings without
muscles to manipulate them, did not mean much to him. The men and
women on earth appealed to him more than the angels in Heaven, and
he could not imagine a better paradise than this. So he painted what
he saw: old men, market-women, beggars, handsome boys and toddling
babies. These things did not appeal to prelates--they wanted
pictures of things a long way off. So from the Church Velasquez
turned his gaze toward the Court of Madrid.

Velasquez had been in the studio of Pacheco at Seville for five
years. During that time he filled the days with work--joyous, eager
work. He produced a good many valuable pictures and a great many
sketches, which were mostly given away. Yet today, Seville, with her
splendid art-gallery and her hundreds of palaces, contains not a
single specimen of the work of her greatest son.

It was a rather daring thing for a young man of twenty-four to knock
boldly at the gates of Royalty. But the application was made in
Velasquez's own way. All of his studies, which the critics
tauntingly called "tavern pieces," were a preparation for the life
and work before him. He had mastered the subtlety of the human face,
and had seen how the spirit shines through and reveals the soul.

To know how to write correctly is nothing--you must know something
worth recording. To paint is nothing--you must know what you are
portraying. Velasquez had become acquainted with humanity, and
gotten on intimate terms with life. He had haunted the waysides and
markets to good purpose; he had laid the foundation of those
qualities which characterize his best work: mastery of expression,
penetration into character, the ability to look upon a face and read
the thoughts that lurk behind, the crouching passions, and all the
aspirations too great for speech. To picture great men you must be a
great man.

Velasquez was twenty-four--dark, daring, silent, with a face and
form that proclaimed him a strong and valiant soul. Strong men can
well afford to be gentle--those who know can well cultivate silence.

The young man did not storm the doors of the Alcazar. No; at Madrid
he went quietly to work copying Titians in the gallery, and
incidentally painting portraits--Royalty must come to him. He had
faith in his power: he could wait. His wife knew the Court would
call him--he knew it, too--the Court of Spain needed Velasquez. It
is a fine thing to make yourself needed.

Nearly a year had passed, and Velasquez gave it out quietly that he
was about to return to his home in Seville. Artistic Madrid rubbed
its eyes. The Minister of State, the great Olivarez, came to him
with a commission from the King and a goodly payment in advance,
begging that, as soon as he had made a short visit to Seville, he
should return to Madrid. Apartments had already been set aside for
him in the Alcazar Palace. Would he not kindly comply?

Such a request from the King was really equal to an order. Velasquez
surely had no intention of declining the compliment, since he had
angled for it most ingeniously; but he took a little time to
consider it. Of course he talked it over with his wife and her
father, and we can imagine they had a quiet little supper by
themselves in honor of the event.

And so in the month of May, Sixteen Hundred Twenty-three, Diego de
Silva Velasquez duly became a member of the Royal Household, and
very soon was the companion, friend, adviser and attendant of the
King--that post which he was to hold for thirty-six years, ere Death
should call him hence.

"The farmer thinks that place and power are fine things, but let him
know that the President has paid dear for his White House," said the
sage of Concord.

The most miserable man I ever knew was one who married a rich woman,
managed her broad acres, looked after her bonds and made report of
her stocks. If the stocks failed to pay dividends, or the acres were
fallow, my friend had to explain why to the tearful wife and sundry
sarcastic next of kin.

The man was a Jeffersonian Democrat and preached the Life of
Simplicity, because we always preach about things that are not ours.
He rode behind horses that had docked tails, and apologized for
being on earth, to an awful butler in solemn black.

The man had married for a home--he got it. When he wanted funds for
himself, he was given dole, or else was put to the necessity of
juggling the Expense-Account.

If he wished to invite friends to his home, he had to prove them
standard-bred, morally sound in wind and limb, and free from fault
or blemish.

The good man might have lived a thoroughly happy life, with
everything supplied that he needed, but he acquired the Sanitarium
Habit, for which there is no cure but poverty. And this man could
not be poor even if he wanted to, for there were no grounds for
divorce. His wife loved him dearly, and her income of five thousand
dollars a month came along with startling regularity, willy-nilly.

Finally, at Hot Springs, Death gave him treatment and he was freed
from pain.

From this o'ertrue incident it must not be imagined that wealth and
position are bad things. Health is potential power. Wealth is an
engine that can be used for good if you are an engineer; but to be
tied to the flywheel of an engine is rather unfortunate. Had my
friend been big enough to rise supreme over horses with docked
tails, to subjugate a butler, to defy the next of kin and manage the
wife (without letting her know it), all would have been well.

But it is a Herculean task to cope with the handicap of wealth.
Mediocre men can endure failure; for, as Robert Louis the beloved
has pointed out, failure is natural, but worldly success is an
abnormal condition. In order to stand success you must be of very
stern fiber, with all the gods on your side.

The Alcazar Palace looked strong, solid and self-sufficient on the
outside. But inside, like every Court, it was a den of quibble,
quarrel, envy, and the hatred which, tinctured with fear, knocks an
anvil-chorus from day-dawn to dark.

A thousand people made up the household of Philip the Fourth. Any
one of these could be dismissed in an hour--the power of Olivarez,
the Minister, was absolute. Very naturally there were plottings and

A Court is a prison to most of its inmates; no freedom is there--
thought is strangled and inspiration still-born. Yet life is always
breaking through. When locked in a cell in a Paris prison, Horace
Greeley wrote, "Thank God, at last I am free from intrusion."

"Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage," laughed
Lovelace. Have not some of the great books of the world been written
in prison? Things work by antithesis; and if your discipline is too
severe, you get no discipline at all. Puritanical pretense,
hypocrisy and a life of repression, with "thou shalt not" set on a
hair-trigger, have made more than one man bold, genuine and honest.
Draw the bow far enough this way, and your arrow will go a long way
that. Forbid a man to think for himself or to act for himself, and
you may add the joy of piracy and the zest of smuggling to his life.
In the Spanish Court, Velasquez found life a lie, public manners an
exaggeration, etiquette a pretense, and all the emotions put up in
sealed cans. Fashionable Society is usually nothing but Canned Life.
Look out for explosions! Velasquez held the balance true by an
artistic courage and an audacity of private thought that might not
have been his in a freer atmosphere. He did not wear his art upon
his sleeve: he outwardly conformed, but inwardly his soul towered
over every petty annoyance, and all the vain power of the fearing
and quibbling little princes touched him not.

Spain, under the rule of Philip the Second, grew great. Her ships
sailed every sea--the world contributed to her wealth. Art comes
after a surplus has accumulated and the mere necessaries of life
have been provided. Philip built great palaces, founded schools,
gave encouragement to the handicrafts, and sent his embassies
scouring the world for the treasures of Art. The King was a
practical man, blunt, farseeing, direct. He knew the cost of things,
studied out the best ways, ascertained right methods. He had the red
corpuscle, the deep convolution, and so was King. His ministers did
his bidding.

The grim sarcasm of entailed power is a thing so obvious that one
marvels it has escaped the recognition of mankind until yesterday.
But stay! Men have always seen its monstrous absurdity--hence the

The Spanish Inquisition, in which Church and State combined against
God, seems an awful extreme to show the depths of iniquity to which
Pride married to Hypocrisy can sink. Yet martyrdom has its
compensation. The spirit flies home upon the wings of victory, and
in the very moment of so-called defeat, the man has the blessed
consolation that he is still master of his fate--captain of his

The lesson of the Inquisition was worth the price--the martyrs
bought freedom for us. The fanged dogs of war, once turned loose
upon the man who dared to think, have left as sole successor only a
fat and harmless poodle, known as Social Ostracism. This poodle is
old, toothless and given over to introspection; it has to be fed on
pap; its only exercise is to exploit the horse-blocks, doze in
milady's lap, and dream of a long-lost canine paradise. The dog-
catcher awaits around the corner.

Philip the Third was an etiolated and perfumed dandy. In him culture
had begun to turn yellow. Men who pride themselves upon their
culture haven't any of which to speak. All the beauties of art, this
man thought, were exclusively for him and his precious company of
lisping exquisites and giggling, mincing queans. The thought that
those who create beauty are also they who possess it, never dawned
upon this crack-pated son of tired sheets.

He lived to enjoy--and so he never enjoyed anything.

Surfeit and satiety overtook him in the royal hog-wallow; digestion
and zest took flight. Philip the Third speedily became a wooden
Indian on wheels, moved by his Minister of State, the Duke of Lerma.

Huge animals sustain huge parasites, and so the Court of Philip the
Third, with its fools, dwarfs, idiots and all of its dancing,
jiggling, juggling, wasteful folly, did not succeed in wrecking the
land. When Philip the Third traveled, he sent hundreds of men ahead
to beat the swamps, day and night, in the vicinity of his royal
presence, so as to silence the frogs. He thought their croaking was
a personal matter meant for him.

I think he was right.

How the Lords of Death must chuckle in defiant glee when they send
malaria and night into the palaces of the great through cracks and
crevices! Philip's bloated, unkingly body became full of disease and
pain; lingering unrest racked him; the unseen demons he could not
exorcise, danced on his bed, wrenched his members and played mad
havoc with each quivering nerve. And so he died. Then comes Philip
the Fourth, immortal through his forty portraits painted by
Velasquez. Philip was only fourteen when his father died. He was a
rareripe, and showed strength and decision far beyond his years. His
grandfather, Philip the Second, was his ideal, and he let it be
known right speedily that his reign was to be one of moderation and
simplicity, modeled along the lines of Philip the Great.

The Duke of Lerma, Minister of State, who had so long been the
actual ruler of Spain, was deposed, and into his place slipped the
suave and handsome Olivarez, Gentleman-in-Waiting to the young King.

Olivarez was from Seville, and had known the family of Velasquez. It
was through his influence that Diego so soon got the nod of Royalty.
The King was eighteen, Velasquez was twenty-four, and Olivarez not
much older--all boys together. And the fact that Velasquez secured
the appointment of Court Painter with such ease was probably owing
to his dashing horsemanship, as much as to his being a skilful

At Harvard once I saw a determined effort made to place a famous
"right tackle" in the chair of Assistant Professor of Rhetoric. The
plan was only given over with great reluctance, when it was
discovered that the "right tackle" was beautifully ignorant of the
subject he would have to tackle. Even then it was argued he could
"cram"--keeping one lesson in advance of his class.

But Olivarez knew Velasquez could paint, and the artist's handsome
face, stalwart frame and fearless riding did the rest. The young
King was considered the best horseman in Madrid: Velasquez and
Olivarez took pains never to outdo him in the joust.

The biography of Olivarez as a study of life is a better subject far
than either the life of Velasquez or the King. Their lives were too
successful to be interesting. Olivarez is a fine example of a man
growing great through exercise. Read history and behold how
commonplace men have often had greatness thrust upon them and met
the issue. I have seen an absurd Class B lawyer elevated into a
judgeship, and rise to the level of events, keeping silence, looking
wise, hugging his dignity hard, until there came a time when the
dignity really was a fair fit. Trotters often need toe-weights to
give them ballast and balance--so do men need responsibility. We
have had at least three commonplace men for President of the United
States, who live in history as adequately great--and they were.
Various and sundry good folk will here arise and say the germ of
greatness was in these men all the time, awaiting the opportunity to
unfold. And the answer is correct, right and proper; but a codicil
should then be added to the effect that the germ of greatness is in
every man, but we fall victims of arrested development, and success
or society, like a worm i' the bud, feeds on our damask cheek.

Philip was nipped in the bud by falling into the protecting shadow
of Olivarez. The Prime Minister provided boar-hunts and tourneys and
masquerades and fetes. Philip's life of simplicity faded off into
dressing in black--all else went on as before. Philip glided into
the line of least resistance and signed every paper that he was told
to sign by his gracious, winning, inflexible Minister--the true type
of the iron hand in the velvet glove. From his twentieth year, after
that first little flurry of pretended power, the novelty of ruling
wore away; and for more than forty years he never either vetoed an
act or initiated one. His ministers arranged his recreations, his
gallantries, his hours of sleep. He was ruled and never knew it, and
here the Richelieu-like Olivarez showed his power. It was anything
to keep the King from thinking, and Spain, the Mother of
Magnificence, went drifting to her death.

There were already three Court Painters when Velasquez received his
appointment. They were Italians appointed by Philip the Third. Their
heads were full of tradition and precedent, and they painted like
their masters, who had been pupils of men who had worked with
Titian--beautiful attenuations three times reduced. We only know
their names now because they raised a pretty chorus of protest when
Velasquez appeared at the palace. They worked all the wires they
knew to bring about his downfall, and then dwindled away into
chronic Artistic Jealousy, which finally struck in; and they were
buried. That the plots, challenges and constant knockings of these
underling court painters ever affected Velasquez, we can not see. He
swung right along at prodigious strides, living his own life--a life
outside and beyond all the pretense and vanity of place and power.

The King came by a secret passage daily to the studio to watch
Velasquez work. There was always a chair for him, and the King even
had an easel and sets of brushes and palette with which he played at
painting. Pacheco, who had come up to Madrid and buzzed around
encroaching on the Samuel Pepys copyright, has said that the King
was a skilled painter. But this statement was for publication during
the King's lifetime.

When Velasquez could not keep the King quiet in any other way, it
seems he made him sit for his picture. The studio was never without
an unfinished portrait of the King. From eighteen to fifty-four he
sat to Velasquez--and it is always that same tall, spindle-legged,
impassive form and the dull, unspeaking face. There is no thought
there, no aspiration, no hope too great for earth, no unrequited
love, no dream unrealized. The King was incapable of love as he was
of hate. And Velasquez did not use his art to flatter: he had the
artistic conscience. Truth was his guiding star. And the greatness
of Velasquez is shown in that all subjects were equally alike to
him. He did not select the classic or peculiar. Little painters are
always choosing their subjects and explaining that this or that may
be pretty or interesting, but they will tell you it is "unpaintable"
--which means that they can not paint it.

"I can write well on any topic--all are alike to me!" said Dean
Swift to Stella.

"Then write me an essay on a broomstick," answered Stella.

And Swift wrote the essay--full of abstruse reasons, playful wit and
charming insight.

The long, oval, dull face of Philip lured Velasquez. He analyzed
every possible shade of emotion of which this man was capable, and
stripped his soul bare. The sallow skin, thin curling locks,
nerveless hands, and unmeaning eyes are upon the walls of every
gallery of Christendom--matchless specimens of the power to sink
self, and reveal the subject.

That is why Whistler is right when he says that Velasquez is the
painters' painter. "The Blacksmith" by Whistler shows you the
blacksmith, not Whistler; Rembrandt's pictures of his mother show
the woman; Franz Hals gives you the Burgomaster, not himself.
Shakespeare of all writers is the most impersonal--he does not give
himself away.

When Rubens painted a portrait of Philip the Fourth he put a dash of
daring, exuberant health in the face that was never there. The
health and joy of life was in Rubens, and he could not keep it off
his palette. There is a sameness in every Rubens, because the
imagination of the man ran over, and falsified his colors; he always
gives you a deal of Rubens.

But stay! that expression, "sinking self," is only a figure of
speech. At the last, the true artist never sinks self: he is always
supreme, and towers above every subject, every object, that he
portrays. The riotous health and good-cheer of Rubens marked the
man's limitations. He was not great enough to comprehend the small,
the delicate, the insignificant and the absurd. Only a very great
man can paint dwarfs, idiots, topers and kings. And so the many-
sidedness of the great man continually deceives the world into
thinking that he is the thing with which he associates; or, on the
other hand, we say he "sinks self" for the time, whereas the truth
is that in his own nature he comprehends the Whole. Shakespeare
being the Universal Man, we lose him in the labyrinth of his winding
and wondrous imagination. The greater comprehends the less.

The beginner paints what he sees; or, more properly, he paints what
he thinks he sees. If he grows he will next paint what he imagines,
as Rubens did. Then there is another stage which completes the
spiral and comes back to the place of beginning, and the painter
will again paint what he sees.

This Velasquez did, and this is what sets him apart. The difference
between the last stage and the first is that the artist has learned
to see.

To write is nothing--to know what to write is much. To paint is
nothing--to see and know the object you are attempting to portray is

"Shall I paint the thing just as I see it?" asked the ingenue of the
great artist. "Why, yes," was the answer, "provided you do not see
the thing as you paint it."

The King and the Painter grew old together. They met on a common
ground of horses, dogs and art; and while the King used these things
to kill time and cause him to forget self, the Painter found horses
and dogs good for rest and recreation. But art was for Velasquez a
religion, a sacred passion.

Nominally the Court Painter ranked with the Court Barber, and his
allowance was the same. But Velasquez ruled the King, and the King
knew it not. Like all wasteful, dissolute men, Philip the Fourth had
spasms of repentance when he sought by absurd economy to atone for

We are all familiar with individuals who will blow to the four winds
good money, and much of it, on needless meat and drink for those who
are neither hungry nor athirst, and take folks for a carriage-ride
who should be abed, and then the next day buy a sandwich for dinner
and walk a mile to save a five-cent carfare. Some of us have done
these things; and so occasionally Philip would dole out money to buy
canvas and complain of the size of it, and ask in injured tone how
many pictures Velasquez had painted from that last bolt of cloth!
But Velasquez was a diplomat and humored his liege; yet when the
artist died, the administrator of his estate had to sue the State
for a settlement, and it was ten years before the final amount due
the artist was paid. After twenty years of devotion, Olivarez--
outmatched by Richelieu in the game of statecraft--fell into
disrepute and was dismissed from office. Monarchies, like republics,
are ungrateful.

Velasquez sided with his old friend Olivarez in the quarrel, and
thus risked incurring the sore displeasure of the King. The King
could replace his Minister of State, but there was no one to take
the place of the artist; so Philip bottled his wrath, gave Velasquez
the right of his private opinion, and refused to accept his

There seems little doubt that it was a calamity for Velasquez that
Philip did not send him flying into disgrace with Olivarez. Had
Velasquez been lifted out on the toe of the King's displeasure,
Italy would have claimed him, and the Vatican would have opened wide
its doors. There, relieved of financial badgering, in the company of
his equals, encouraged and uplifted, he might have performed such
miracles in form and color that even the wonderful ceiling of the
Sistine Chapel would have faded into the mediocre.

And again he might not--what more idle and fascinating than such

That the King endured the calm rebuke of Velasquez, when Olivarez
was deposed, and still retained the Painter in favor, was probably
because Rubens had assured the King that Velasquez as an artist was
the master of any man in all Europe.

Velasquez made two trips to Italy, being sent on royal embassies to
purchase statuary for the Prado Gallery, and incidentally to copy
pictures. So there is many a Veronese, Tintoretto and Titian now in
the Prado that was copied by Velasquez.

Think of the value of a Titian copied by Velasquez! And so
faithfully was the copying done, even to inserting the signature,
initials and date, that much doubt exists as to what pictures are
genuine and what copies.

When Rubens appeared at the Court of Madrid, sent by the Duke of
Mantua, with presents of Old Masters (done by himself), I can not
but imagine the quiet confession, with smiles and popping of corks,
that occurred when the wise and princely Rubens and the equally wise
and princely Velasquez got together in some private corner.

The advent of Rubens at Madrid sent a thrill through the entire
Court, and a lesser man than Velasquez would have quaked with
apprehension when he found the King sitting to Rubens for a portrait
in his own studio.

Not so Velasquez--he had done the King on canvas a score of times;
no one else had ever been allowed to paint the King's portrait--and
he was curious to see how the picture would come out.

Rubens, twenty-two years the senior of Velasquez, shrank a bit, it
seems, from the contest, and connoisseurs have said that there is a
little lack of the exuberant, joyous Rubensesque quality in the
various pictures done by the gracious Fleming in Spain.

The taunt that many of the pictures attributed to Rubens were done
by his pupils loses its point when we behold the prodigious amount
of work that the master accomplished at Madrid in nine months--a
dozen portraits, several groups, a score of pictures copied. And
besides this, there was time for horseback rides when the King,
Rubens and Velasquez galloped away together, when they climbed
mountains, and when there were fetes and receptions to attend.
Rubens was then over fifty, but the fire of his youth and that
joyous animation of the morning, the years had not subdued.

Velasquez had many pupils, but in Murillo his skill as a teacher is
best revealed. Several of his pupils painted exactly like him, save
that they neglected to breathe into the nostrils of their work the
breath of life. But Velasquez seems to have encouraged Murillo to
follow the bent of his moody and melancholy genius--so Murillo was
himself, not a diluted Velasquez.

The strong, administrative ability of Velasquez was prized by the
King as much as his ability as a painter, and he was, therefore,
advanced to the position of Master of Ceremonies. In this work, with
its constant demand of close attention to petty details, his latter
days were consumed. He died, aged sixty-one, a victim to tasks that
were not worth the doing, but which the foolish King considered as
important as painting deathless pictures.

So closely was the life of his wife blended with his own that in
eight days after his passing she followed him across the Border,
although the physicians declared that she had no disease. Husband
and wife were buried in one grave in a church that a hundred years
later was burned and never rebuilt. No stone marks their resting-
place; and none is needed, for Velasquez lives in his work. The
truth, splendor and beauty that he produced are on a hundred walls--
the inspiration of men who do and dare--the priceless heritage of us
who live today and of those who shall come after.


The sun sinks more and more behind the horizon. Bam! he throws his
last ray, a streak of gold and purple which fringes the flying
clouds. There, now it has entirely disappeared. Bien! bien! twilight
commences. Heavens, how charming it is! There is now in the sky only
the soft vaporous color of pale citron--the last reflection of the
sun which plunges into the dark blue of the night, going from green
tones to a pale turquoise of an unheard-of fineness and a fluid
delicacy quite indescribable.... The fields lose their color, the
trees form but gray or brown masses.... the dark waters reflect the
bland tones of the sky. We are losing sight of things--but one still
feels that everything is there--everything is vague, confused, and
Nature grows drowsy. The fresh evening air sighs among the leaves--
the birds, these voices of the flowers, are saying their evening
  --_Corot's Letter to Graham_

[Illustration: Corot]

Most young artists begin by working for microscopic effects, trying
to portray every detail, to see every leaf, stem and branch and
reveal them in the picture.

The ability to draw carefully and finish painstakingly is very
necessary, but the great artist must forget how to draw before he
paints a great picture; just as every strong writer must put the
grammar upon the shelf before he writes well. I once heard William
Dean Howells say that any good, bright High-School girl of sixteen
could pass a far better examination in rhetoric than he could--and
the admission did Mr. Howells no discredit.

"Would you advise me to take a course in elocution?" once asked a
young man with oratorical ambitions of Henry Ward Beecher.

"Yes, by all means. Study elocution very carefully, but you will
have to forget it all before you ever become an orator," was the

Corot began as a child by drawing very rude, crude, uncertain
pictures, just such pictures as any schoolboy can draw. Next he
began to "complete" his sketches, and work with infinite pains. If
he sketched a house he showed whether the roof was shingled or made
of straw or tile; his trees revealed the texture of the bark and
showed the shape of the leaf, and every flower contained its pistil
and stamens, and told the man knew his botany. Two of his pictures
done in Rome in his twenty-ninth year, "The Colosseum" and "The
Forum," now in the Louvre, are good pictures--complete in detail,
painstaking, accurate, hard and tight in technique. They are bomb-
proof--beyond criticism--absolutely safe. Have a care, Corot! Keep
where you are and you will become an irreproachable painter. That is
to say, you will paint just like a hundred other French painters.
There will be a market for your wares, the critics will approve, and
at the Salon your work will never be either enskyed nor consigned to
the catacombs. Society will court you, fair ladies will smile and
encourage. You will be a success; your name will be safely
pigeonholed among the unobjectionable ones, and before your wind-
combed shock of hair has turned to silver, you will be supplanted by
a new crop of fashion's favorites.

It is a fact worth noting that the two greatest landscape-painters
of all time were city-born and city-bred. Turner was born in London,
the son of a barber, and Fate held him so in leash that he never got
beyond the sound of Bow Bells until he was a man grown. Corot was
born in Paris, and his first outdoor sketch, made at twenty-two, was
done amidst the din and jostle of the quays of the Seine.

Five strong men made up the Barbizon School, and of these, three
were reared in Paris--Paris the frivolous, Paris the pleasure-
loving. Corot, Rousseau and Daubigny were children of the

I state these facts in the interests of truth, and also to ease
conscience, for I am aware that I have glorified the country boy in
pages gone before, as if God were kind to him alone.

Turner made over a million dollars by the work of his hands
(reinforced by head and heart); and left a discard of nineteen
thousand sketches to the British Nation. Was ever such an example of
concentration, energy and industry known in the history of art?
Corot, six feet one, weight two hundred, ruddy, simple, guileless,
singing softly to himself as he walked, in peasant blouse, and
sabot-shod, used to come up to Paris, his birthplace, two or three
times a year, and the gamins would follow him on the streets, making
remarks irrelevant and comments uncomplimentary, just as they might
follow old Joshua Whitcomb on Broadway in New York.

British grandees often dress like farmers, for pride may manifest
itself in simplicity, but the disinterested pose of Camille Corot,
if pose it was, fitted him as the feathers fit a wild duck. If pose
is natural it surely is not pose: and Corot, the simplest man in the
world, was regarded by the many as a man of mannerisms. His work was
so quiet and modest that the art world refused to regard it
seriously. Corot was as unpretentious as Walt Whitman and just as
free from vanity.

During the War of the Rebellion, Whitman bankrupted himself in purse
and body by caring for the stricken soldiers. At the siege of Paris,
Corot could have kept outside the barriers, but safety for himself
he would not accept. He remained in the city, refused every comfort
that he could not divide with others, spent all the money he had in
caring for the wounded, nursed the sick by night and day, listened
to the confessions of the dying, and closed the eyes of the dead. To
everybody, especially the simple folk, the plain, the unpretentious,
the unknown, he was "Papa Corot," and everywhere did the stalwart
old man of seventy-five carry hope, good-cheer and a courage that
never faltered.

Corot, like Whitman, had the happiness to have no history.

Corot used paint just as if no one had ever painted before, and
Whitman wrote as if he were the first man who had ever expressed
himself in verse--precedent stood for naught. Each had all the time
there was; they were never in a hurry; they loafed and invited their
souls; they loved all women so well that they never could make
choice of one; both were ridiculed and hooted and misunderstood;
recognition came to neither until they were about to depart; and yet
in spite of the continual rejection of their work, and the stupidity
that would not see, and the ribaldry of those who could not
comprehend, they continued serenely on their way, unruffled, kind--
making no apologies nor explanations--unresentful, with malice
toward none, and charity for all.

The world is still divided as to whether Walt Whitman was simply a
coarse and careless writer, without either skill, style or insight;
or one with such a subtle, spiritual vision, such a penetration into
the heart of things, that few comparatively can follow him.

During forty years of Corot's career the critics said, when they
deigned to mention Corot at all, "There are two worlds, God's World
and Corot's World." He was regarded as a harmless lunatic, who saw
things differently from others, and so they indulged him, and at the
Salon hung his pictures in the "Catacombs" with many a sly joke at
his expense. The expression, "Corot Nature," is with us yet.

But now the idea has gradually gained ground that Camille Corot
looked for beauty and found it--that he painted what he saw, and
that he saw things that the average man, through incapacity, never
sees at all. Science has taught us that there are sounds so subtle
that our coarse senses can not recognize them, and there are
thousands of tints, combinations and variations in color that the
unaided or uneducated eye can not detect.

If Corot saw more than we, why denounce Corot? And so Corot has
gradually and very slowly come into recognition as one who had power
plus--it was we who were weak, we who were faulty, not he. The
stones that were cast at him have been gathered up and cemented into
a monument to his memory.

The father of Camille Corot was a peasant who drifted over to Paris
to make his fortune. He was active, acute, intelligent and
economical--and when a Frenchman is economical his economy is of a
kind that makes the Connecticut brand look like extravagance.

This young man became a clerk in a drygoods-store that had a
millinery attachment, as most French drygoods-stores have. He was
precise, accurate, had a fair education, and always wore a white
cravat. In the millinery department of this store was employed,
among many others, a Swiss girl who had come up to Paris on her own
account to get a knowledge of millinery and dressmaking. When this
was gained she intended to go back to Switzerland, the land of
liberty and Swiss cheese, and there live out her life in her native
village making finery for the villagers for a consideration.

She did not go back to Switzerland, because she very shortly married
the precise young drygoods-clerk who wore the white cravat.

The Swiss are the most competent people on this globe of ours, which
is round like an orange and slightly flattened at the poles. There
is less illiteracy, less pauperism, less drunkenness, more general
intelligence, more freedom in Switzerland than in any other country
on earth. This has been so for two hundred years: and the reason,
some say, is that she has no standing army and no navy. She is
surrounded by big nations that are so jealous of her that they will
not allow each other to molest her. She is not big enough to fight
them. Being too little to declare war, she makes a virtue of
necessity and so just minds her own business. That is the only way
an individual can succeed--mind your own business--and it is also
the best policy with a nation.

The way the Swiss think things out with their heads and materialize
them with their hands is very wonderful. In all the Swiss schools
the pupils draw, sew, carve wood and make things. Pestalozzi was
Swiss, and Froebel was more Swiss than German. Manual Training and
the Kindergarten are Swiss ideas. All of our progress in the line of
pedagogy that the years have brought has consisted in carrying
Kindergarten Ideas into the Little Red Schoolhouse, and elsewhere.
The world is debtor to the Swiss--the carmine of their ideas has
tinted the whole thought-fabric of civilization.

The Swiss know how.

Skilled workmen from Switzerland are in demand everywhere.

That Swiss girl in the Paris shop was a skilled needlewoman, and the
good taste and talent she showed in her work was a joy to her
employers. There are hints that they tried to discourage her
marriage with the clerk in the white cravat. What a loss to the art
world if they had succeeded! But love is stronger than business
ambition, and so the milliner married the young clerk, and they had
a very modest little nest to which they flew when the day's work was

In a year a domestic emergency made it advisable for the young woman
to stay at home, but she kept right along with her sewing. Some of
the customers hunted her up and wanted her to do work for them.

When the stress of the little exigency was safely passed, the young
mother found she could make more by working at home for special
customers. A girl was hired to help her, then two--three.

The rooms downstairs were secured, and a show-window put in. This
was at the corner of the Rue du Bac and the Pont Royal, within sight
of the Louvre. It is an easy place to find, and you had better take
a look at the site the next time you are in Paris--it is sacred

Corot has told us much about his mother--a Frenchman is apt to
regard his father simply as a necessary though often inconvenient
appendage, possibly absorbing the idea from the maternal side of the
house--but his mother is his solace, comforter and friend. The
mother of Corot was intelligent, industrious, tactful; sturdy in
body and strong in mind.

In due course of time she built up a paying business, bought the
house in which they lived, and laid by a goodly dot for her son and
two daughters. And all the time Corot pere wore the white cravat, a
precise smile for customers and an austere look for his family. He
held his old position as floorwalker and gave respectability to his
good-wife's Millinery and Dressmaking Establishment.

The father's ambition for Camille was that he should become a model
floorwalker, treading in the father's footsteps; and so, while yet a
child, the boy was put to work in a drygoods-store, with the idea of
discipline strong in mind.

And for this discipline, in after-years Corot was grateful. It gave
him the habit of putting things away, keeping accurate accounts,
systematizing his work; and throughout his forty years or more of
artistic life, it was his proud boast that he reached his studio
every morning at three minutes before eight.

Young Corot's mother had quite a little skill as a draftsman. In her
business she drew designs for patterns, and if the prospective
customer lacked imagination, she could draw a sketch of the garment
as it would look when completed.

Savage tribes make pictures long before they acquire an alphabet; so
do all children make pictures before they learn to read. The
evolution of the child mirrors the evolution of the race. Camille
made pictures just as all boys do, and his mother encouraged him in
this, and supplied him copies.

When he was set to work in the drygoods-store he made sketches under
the counter and often ornamented bundles with needless hieroglyphics.
But these things did not necessarily mean that he was to be a great
artist--thousands of drygoods-clerks have sketched and been drygoods-
clerks to the end of their days. But good drygoods-clerks should not
sketch too much or too well, else they will not rise in their career
and some day have charge of a Department.

Camille Corot did not get along at haberdashery--his heart was not
in it. He was not quite so bad as a certain budding, artistic genius
I once knew, who clerked in a grocery-store, and when a woman came
in and ordered a dozen eggs and a half-bushel of potatoes, the
genius counted out a dozen potatoes, and sent the customer a half-
bushel of eggs.

Then there was that absent-minded young drug-clerk who, when a
stranger entered and inquired for the proprietor, answered, "He's
out just at present, but we have something that is just as good."

Corot hadn't the ability to make folks think they needed something
they did not want--they only got what they wanted, after much
careful diplomacy and insistence. These things were a great cross to
Corot pere, and the dulness of the boy made the good father grow old
before his time--so the father alleged. Were the woes of parents
written in books, the world would not be big enough to contain the
books. Camille Corot was a failure--he was big, fat, lazy, and
tantalizingly good-natured. He haunted the Louvre, and stood open-
mouthed before the pictures of Claude Lorraine until the attendants
requested him to move on. His mother knew something of art, and they
used to discuss all the new pictures together. The father protested:
he declared that the mother was encouraging the boy in his
vacillation and dreaminess.

Camille lost his position. His father got him another place, and
after a month they laid him off for two weeks, and then sent him a
note not to come back. He hung around home, played the violin, and
sang for his mother's sewing-girls while they worked. The girls all
loved him--if the mother went out and left him in charge of the
shop, he gave all hands a play-spell until it was time for Madame to
return. His good nature was invincible. He laughed at the bonnets in
the windows, slyly sketched the customers who came to try on the
frivolities, and even made irrelevant remarks to his mother about
the petite fortune she was deriving from catering to dead-serious
nabobs who discussed flounces, bows, stays, and beribboned gewgaws
as though they were Eternal Verities.

"Mamma is a sculptor who improves upon Nature," one day Camille said
to the girls." If a woman hasn't a good form Madame Corot can supply
her such amorous proportions that lovers will straightway fall at
her feet." But such jocular remarks were never made to the father--
in his presence Camille was subdued and suspiciously respectful. The
father had "disciplined" him--but had done nothing else.

Camille had a companion in Achille Michallon, son of the sculptor,
Claude Michallon. Young Michallon modeled in clay and painted fairly
well, and it was he who, no doubt, fired the mind of young Corot to
follow an artistic career, to which Corot the elder was very much

So matters drifted and Camille Corot, aged twenty-six, was a flat
failure, just as he had been for ten years. He hadn't self-reliance
enough to push out for himself, nor enough will to swing his parents
into his way of thinking. He was as submissive as a child; and would
not and could not do anything until he had gotten permission--thus
much for discipline.

Finally, in desperation, his father said: "Camille, you are of an
age when you should be at the head of a business; but since you
refuse to avail yourself of your opportunities and become a
merchant, why, then, I'll settle upon you the sum of three hundred
dollars a year for life and you can follow your own inclinations.
But depend upon it, you shall have no more than I have named. I am
done--now go and do what you want."

The words are authentic, being taken down from Corot's own lips; and
they sound singularly like that remark made to Alfred Tennyson by
his grandfather, "Here is a guinea for your poem, and depend upon
it, this is the first and last money you will ever receive for

Camille was so delighted to hear his father's decision that he burst
into tears and embraced the austere and stern-faced parent in the
white cravat.

Straightway he would begin his artistic career, and having so
announced his intention to the sewing-girls in an impromptu operatic
aria, he took easel and paints and went down on the towpath to paint
his first outdoor picture.

Soon the girls came trooping after, in order to see Monsieur Camille
at his work. One girl, Mademoiselle Rose, stayed longer than the
rest. Corot told of the incident in Eighteen Hundred Fifty-eight--a
lapse of thirty years--and added: "I have not married--Mademoiselle
Rose has not married--she is alive yet, and only last week was here
to see me. Ah! what changes have taken place--I have that first
picture I painted yet--it is the same picture and still shows the
hour and the season, but Mademoiselle Rose and I, where are we?"

Turner and Corot trace back to the same artistic ancestor. It was
Claude who first fired the heart of the barber's boy, and it was
Claude who diluted the zeal of Camille Corot for ribbons and

Turner stipulated in his will that a certain picture of his should
hang on the walls of the National Gallery by the side of a "Claude
Lorraine"; and today in the Louvre you can see, side by side, a
"Corot" and a "Claude." These men are strangely akin; yet, so far as
I know, Corot never heard of Turner. However, he was powerfully
influenced by Constable, the English painter, who was of the same
age as Turner, and for a time, his one bitter rival.

Claude had been dead a hundred years before Constable, Turner or
Corot was born. But time is an illusion; all souls are of one age,
and in spirit these men were contemporaries and brothers. Claude,
Corot and Turner never married--they were wedded to art. Constable
ripened fast; he got his reward of golden guineas, and society
caught him in its silken mesh. Success came faster than he was able
to endure it, and he fell a victim to fatty degeneration of the
cerebrum, and died of an acute attack of self-complacency.

It was about the year Eighteen Hundred Thirty-two that Constable
gave an exhibition of his work in Paris--a somewhat daring thing for
an Englishman to do. Paris had then, and has yet, about the same
estimate of English art that the English have now of ours--although
it is quite in order to explain in parentheses that three Americans,
Whistler, Sargent and Abbey, have recently called a halt on English
ribaldry as applied to American artists.

But John Constable's exhibit in Paris met with favor--the work was
singularly like the work of Claude Lorraine, the critics said. And
it was, for Constable had copied Claude conscientiously. Corot saw
the Englishman's pictures, realized that they were just such
pictures as he would like to paint, and so fell down and worshiped
them. For a year he dropped Claude and painted just like Constable.

There was a time when Turner and Constable painted just alike, for
they had the same master; but there came a day when Turner shoved
out from shore, and no man since has been able to follow him.

And no one can copy Corot. The work that he did after he attained
freedom and swung away from Claude and Constable has an illusive,
intangible, subtle and spiritual quality that no imitator can ever
catch on his canvas. Corot could not even copy his own pictures--his
work is born of the spirit. His effects are something beyond skill
of hand, something beyond mere knowledge of technique. You can copy
a Claude and you can copy a Constable, for the pictures have well-
defined outline and the forms are tangible. Claude was the first
painter who showed the shimmering sunlight on the leaves, the
upturned foliage of the silver poplar, the yellow willows bending
beneath the breeze, the sweep of the clouds across the sky, the play
of the waves across the seashore, the glistening dewdrops on the
grass, the soft stealing mists of twilight.

Constable did all this, too, and he did it as well as Claude, but no
better. He never got beyond the stage of microscopic portrayal; if
he painted a dewdrop he painted it, and his blades of grass, swaying
lily-stems, and spider-webs are the genuine articles.

Corot painted in this minute way for many years, but gradually he
evolved a daring quality and gave us the effect of dewdrops, the
spider-threads, the foliage, the tall lilies, without painting them
at all--he gives you the feeling, that is all, stirs the imagination
until the beholder, if his heart be in tune, sees things that only
the spiritual eye beholds.

The pale, silvery tones of Corot, the shadowy boundaries that
separate the visible from the invisible, can never be imitated
without the Master's penetration into the heart of Nature. He knew
things he could never explain, and he held secrets he could not
impart. Before his pictures we can only stand silent--he disarms
criticism and strikes the quibbler dumb. Before a Corot you had
better give way, and let its beauty caress your soul. His colors are
thin and very simple--there is no challenge in his work, as there is
in the work of Turner. Greens and grays predominate, and the plain
drab tones are blithe, airy, gracious, graceful and piquant as a
beautiful young Quaker woman clothed in the garb of simplicity and
humility--but a woman still. Corot coquettes with color--with pale
lilac, silver gray, and diaphanous green. He poetizes everything he
touches--quiet ponds, clumps of bushes, whitewashed cottages, simple
swards, yellow cows, blowsy peasants, woodland openings, stretching
meadows and winding streams--they are all full of divine suggestion
and joyous expectancy. Something is just going to happen--somebody
is coming, some one we love--you can almost detect a faint perfume,
long remembered, never to be forgotten. A Corot is a tryst with all
that you most admire and love best--it speaks of youth, joyous,
hopeful, expectant youth. The flavor is Grecian, and if the Greeks
had left us any paintings they would all have been just like

The bubbling, boyish good-cheer that Corot possessed is well shown
in a letter he once wrote to Stevens Graham. This letter was
written, without doubt, in that fine intoxication which comes after
work well done; and no greater joy ever comes to a mortal in life
than this.

George Moore tells somewhere of catching Corot in one of these moods
of rapture: the Master was standing alone on a log in the woods,
like a dancing faun, leading an imaginary orchestra with silent but
tremendous gusto. At other times, when Corot captured certain
effects in a picture, he would rush across the fields to where there
was a peasant plowing, and seizing the astonished man, would lead
him over and stand him before the canvas crying: "Look at that! Ah,
now, look at that! What did I tell you! You thought I never could
catch it--Oho, aha, ohe, tralala, la, la, la, loo!"

This willingness to let the unrestrained spirit romp was strong in
Corot--and it is to be recommended. How much finer it is to go out
into the woods and lift up your voice in song, and be a child, than
to fight inclination and waste good God-given energy endeavoring to
be proper--whatever that may be!

Corot never wrote anything finer than that letter to his friend
Graham, and, like all really good things, it was written with no
weather-eye on futurity. The thought that it might be published
never came to him, for if it had, he would probably have produced
something not worth publishing. It was scribbled off with a pencil,
hot from the heart, out of doors, immediately after having done a
particularly choice bit of work. Every one who writes of Corot
quotes this letter, and there are various translations of it. It can
not be translated literally, because the language in which it was
written is effervescent, flashing, in motion like a cascade. It
defies all grammar, forgets rhetoric, and simply makes you feel. I
have just as good a right to translate this letter as anybody, and
while I will add nothing that the spirit of the text does not
justify, I will omit a few things, and follow my own taste in the
matter of paragraphing.

So here is the letter:

A landscapist's day is divine. You are jealous of the moments, and
so are up at three o'clock--long before the sun sets you the

You go out into the silence and sit under a tree, and watch and
watch and wait and wait.

It is very dark--the nightingales have gone to bed, all the
mysterious noises of night's forenoon have ceased--the crickets are
asleep, the tree-toad has found a nest--even the stars have slunk

You wait.

There is scarcely anything to be seen at first--only dark, spectral
shapes that stand out against the blue-black of the sky.

Nature is behind a veil, upon which some masses of form are vaguely
sketched. The damp, sweet smell of the incense of Spring is in the
air--you breathe deeply--a sense of religious emotion sweeps over
you--you close your eyes an instant in a prayer of thankfulness that
you are alive.

You do not keep your eyes closed long, though--something is about to
happen--you grow expectant, you wait, you listen, you hold your
breath--everything trembles with a delight that is half-pain, under
the invigorating caress of the coming day.

You breathe fast, and then you hold your breath and listen.

You wait.

You peer.

You listen.

Bing! A ray of pale yellow light shoots from horizon to zenith. The
dawn does not come all at once: it steals upon you by leaps and
subtle strides like deploying pickets.

Bing! Another ray, and the first one is suffusing itself across an
arc of the purple sky.

Bing, Bing! The east is all aglow.

The little flowers at your feet are waking in joyful mood.

The chirrup of birds is heard. How they do sing! When did they
begin? You forgot them in watching the rays of light.

The flowers are each one drinking its drop of quivering dew.

The leaves feel the cool breath of the morning, and are moving to
and fro in the invigorating air.

The flowers are saying their morning prayers, accompanied by the
matin-song of the birds.

Amoretti, with gauzy wings, are perching on the tall blades of grass
that spring from the meadows, and the tall stems of the poppies and
field-lilies are swaying, swaying, swaying a minuet motion fanned by
the kiss of the gentle breeze.

Oh, how beautiful it all is! How good God is to send it! How
beautiful! how beautiful!

But merciful easel! I am forgetting to paint--this exhibition is for
me, and I'm failing to improve it. My palette--the brushes--there!

We can see nothing--but you feel the landscape is there--quick now,
a cottage away over yonder is pushing out of the white mist. To
thine easel--go!

Oh! it's all there behind the translucent gauze--I know it--I know
it--I know it!

Now the white mist lifts like a curtain--it rises and rises and

Bam! the sun is risen.

I see the river, like a stretch of silver ribbon; it weaves in and
out and stretches away, away, away.

The masses of the trees, of the meads, the meadows--the poplars, the
leaning willows, are all revealed by the mist that is reeling and
rolling up the hillside.

I paint and I paint and I paint, and I sing and I sing and I paint!

We can see now all we guessed before.

Bam, Bam! The sun is just above the horizon--a great golden ball
held in place by spider-threads.

I can see the lace made by the spiders--it sparkles with the drops
of dew.

I paint and I paint and I sing and I paint.

Oh, would I were Joshua--I would command the sun to stand still.

And if it should, I would be sorry, for nothing ever did stand
still, except a bad picture. A good picture is full of motion.
Clouds that stand still are not clouds--motion, activity, life, yes,
life is what we want--life!

Bam! A peasant comes out of the cottage and is coming to the meadow.

Ding, ding, ding! There comes a flock of sheep led by a bellwether.
Wait there a minute, please, sheepy-sheepy, and a great man will
paint you.

All right then, don't wait. I didn't want to paint you anyway

Bam! All things break into glistening--ten thousand diamonds strew
the grasses, the lilies and the tall stalks of swaying poppies.
Diamonds on the cobwebs--diamonds everywhere. Glistening, dancing,
glittering light--floods of light--pale, wistful, loving light:
caressing, blushing, touching, beseeching, grateful light. Oh,
adorable light! The light of morning that comes to show you things--
and I paint and I paint and I paint.

Oh, the beautiful red cow that plunges into the wet grass up to her
dewlaps! I will paint her. There she is--there!

Here is Simon, my peasant friend, looking over my shoulder.

"Oho, Simon, what do you think of that?"

"Very fine," says Simon, "very fine!"

"You see what it is meant for, Simon?"

"Me? Yes, I should say I do--it is a big red rock."

"No, no, Simon, that is a cow."

"Well, how should I know unless you tell me," answers Simon.

I paint and I paint and I paint.

Boom! Boom! The sun is getting clear above the treetops.

It is growing hot.

The flowers droop.

The birds are silent.

We can see too much now--there is nothing in it. Art is a matter of
soul. Things you see and know all about are not worth painting--only
the intangible is splendid.

Let's go home. We will dine, and sleep, and dream. That's it--I'll
dream of the morning that would not tarry--I'll dream my picture
out, and then I'll get up and smoke, and complete it, possibly--who

Let's go home.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bam! Bam! It is evening now--the sun is setting. I didn't know the
close of the day could be so beautiful--I thought the morning was
the time.

But it is not just right--the sun is setting in an explosion of
yellow, of orange, of rouge-feu, of cherry, of purple.

Ah! it is pretentious, vulgar. Nature wants me to admire her--I will
not. I'll wait--the sylphs of the evening will soon come and
sprinkle the thirsty flowers with their vapors of dew.

I like sylphs--I'll wait.

Boom! The sun sinks out of sight, and leaves behind a tinge of
purple, of modest gray touched with topaz--ah! that is better. I
paint and I paint and I paint.

Oh, Good Lord, how beautiful it is--how beautiful! The sun has
disappeared and left behind a soft, luminous, gauzy tint of lemon--
lemons half-ripe. The light melts and blends into the blue of the

How beautiful! I must catch that--even now it fades--but I have it:
tones of deepening green, pallid turquoise, infinitely fine,
delicate, fluid and ethereal.

Night draws on. The dark waters reflect the mysteries of the sky--
the landscape fades, vanishes, disappears--we can not see it now, we
only feel it is there.

But that is enough for one day--Nature is going to sleep, and so
will we, soon. Let us just sit silent a space and enjoy the

The rising breezes are sighing through the foliage, and the birds,
choristers of the flowers, are singing their vesper-songs--calling,
some of them, plaintively for their lost mates.

Bing! A star pricks its portrait in the pond.

All around now is darkness and gloom--the crickets have taken up the
song where the birds left off.

The little lake is sparkling, a regular ant-heap of twinkling stars.

Reflected things are best--the waters are only to reflect the sky--
Nature's looking-glass.

The sun has gone to rest; the day is done. But the Sun of Art has
arisen, and my picture is complete.

Let us go home.

The Barbizon School--which, by the way, was never a school, and if
it exists now is not at Barbizon--was made up of five men: Corot,
Millet, Rousseau, Diaz and Daubigny.

Corot saw it first--this straggling little village of Barbizon,
nestling there at the foot of the Forest of Fontainebleau, thirty-
five miles southeast of Paris. This was about the year Eighteen
Hundred Thirty. There was no market then for Corot's wares, and the
artist would have doubted the sanity of any one who might have
wanted to buy. His income was one dollar a day--and this was enough.
If he wanted to go anywhere, he walked; and so he walked into
Barbizon one day, his pack on his back, and found there a little
inn, so quaint and simple that he stayed two days.

The landlord quite liked the big, jolly stranger. Hanging upon his
painting outfit was a mandolin, a harmonica, a guitar and two or
three other small musical instruments of nondescript pedigree. The
painter made music for the village, and on invitation painted a
sketch on the tavern-wall to pay for his board. And this sketch is
there even to this day, and is as plain to be seen as the splash of
ink on the wall at Eisenach where Martin Luther threw the ink-bottle
at the devil.

When Corot went back to Paris he showed sketches of Barbizon and
told of the little snuggery, where life was so simple and cheap.

Soon Rousseau and Diaz went down to Barbizon for a week's stay--
later came Daubigny.

In the course of a few years Barbizon grew to be a kind of excursion
point for artistic and ragged Bohemians, most of whom have done
their work, and their little life is now rounded with a sleep.

Rousseau, Diaz and Daubigny, all younger men than Corot, made
comfortable fortunes long before Corot got the speaker's eye; and
when at last recognition came to him, not the least of their claim
to greatness was that they had worked with him.

It was not until Eighteen Hundred Forty-nine that Jean Francois
Millet with his goodly brood was let down from the stage at
Barbizon, to work there for twenty-six years, and give himself and
the place immortality. For when we talk of the Barbizon School, we
have the low tones of "The Fagot-Gatherer" in mind--the browns, the
russets and the deep, dark yellows fading off into the gloom of
dying day.

And only a few miles away, clinging to the hillside, is By, where
lived Rosa Bonheur--too busy to care for Barbizon, or if she thought
of the "Barbizon School" it was with a fine contempt, which the
"School" returned with usurious interest.

At the Barbizon Inn the Bohemians used to sing songs about the
Bonheur breeches, and "the Lady who keeps a Zoo." The offense of
Rosa Bonheur was that she minded her own business, and sold the
"Horse Fair" for more money than the entire Barbizon School had ever
earned in its lifetime.

Only two names loom large out of Barbizon. Daubigny, Diaz and
Rousseau are great painters, and they each have disciples and
imitators who paint as well as they; but Corot and Millet stand out
separate and alone, incomprehensible and unrivaled.

And yet were ever two artists more unlike! Just compare "The Dancing
Sylphs" and "The Gleaners." The theme of all Millet's work is, "Man
goeth forth to his labors unto the evening." Toil, hardship, heroic
endurance, plodding monotony, burdens grievous to be borne--these
things cover the canvases of Millet. All of his deep sincerity, his
abiding melancholy, his rugged nobility are there; for every man who
works in freedom simply reproduces himself. That is what true work
is--self-expression, self-revelation. The style of Millet is so
strongly marked, so deeply etched, that no man dare imitate it. It
is covered by a perpetual copyright, signed and sealed with the
life's blood of the artist. Then comes Corot the joyous, Corot the
careless, Corot who had no troubles, no sorrows, no grievances, and
not an enemy that he recognized as such. He even loved Rosa Bonheur,
or would, he once said, "If she would only chain up her dog, and
wear woman's clothes!" Corot, singing at his work, unless he was
smoking, and if he was smoking, removing his pipe only to lift up
his voice in song: Corot, painting and singing--"Ah ha--tra la la.
Now I 'll paint a little boy--oho, oho, tra lala la loo--lal loo--
oho--what a nice little boy--and here comes a cow; hold that, bossy
--in you go for art's dear sake--tra la la la, la loo!"

Look at a Corot closely and listen, and you can always hear the echo
of the pipes o' Pan. Lovers sit on the grassy banks, children roll
among the leaves, sylphs dance in every open, and out from between
the branches lightly steps Orpheus, harp in hand, to greet the morn.
Never is there a shadow of care in a Corot--all is mellow with love,
ripe with the rich gift of life, full of prayer and praise just for
the rapture of drinking in the day--grateful for calm, sweet rest
and eventide.

Corot, eighteen years the senior of Millet, was the first to welcome
the whipped-out artist to Barbizon. With him Corot divided his
scanty store; he sang and played his guitar at the Millet
hearthstone when he had nothing but himself to give; and when, in
Eighteen Hundred Seventy-five, Millet felt the chill night of death
settling down upon him, and the fear that want would come to his
loved ones haunted his dreams, Corot assured him by settling upon
the family the sum of one thousand francs a year, until the youngest
child should become of age, and during Madame Millet's life.

So died Jean Francois Millet.

In Eighteen Hundred Eighty-nine "The Angelus" was bought by an
American Syndicate for five hundred eighty thousand francs. In
Eighteen Hundred Ninety it was bought back by agents of the French
Government for seven hundred fifty thousand francs, and now has
found a final resting-place in the Louvre.

Within a few months after the death of Millet, Corot, too, passed

Corot is a remarkable example of a soul ripening slowly. His skill
was not at its highest until he was seventy-one years of age. He
then had eight years of life and work left, and he continued even to
the end. In his art there was no decline.

It can not be said that he received due recognition until he was
approaching his seventy-fifth year, for it was then, for the first
time, that the world of buyers besieged his door. The few who had
bought before were usually friends who had purchased with the
amiable idea of helping a worthy man.

During the last few years of Corot's life, his income was over fifty
thousand francs a year--"more than I received for pictures during my
whole career," he once said. And then he shed tears at parting with
the treasures that had been for so long his close companions.

"You see, I am a collector," he used to say, "but being poor, I have
to paint all my pictures myself--they are not for sale."

And probably he would have kept his collection unbroken were it not
that he wanted the money so much to give away.

Of the painters classed in the Barbizon School, it is probable that
Corot will live longest, and will continue to occupy the highest
position. His art is more individual than Rousseau's, more poetic
than that of Daubigny, and in every sense more beautiful than that
of Millet. When Camille Corot passed out, on the Twenty-second of
February, Eighteen Hundred Seventy-five, he was the best-loved man
in Paris. Five thousand art-students wore crape on their arms for a
year in memory of "Papa Corot," a man who did his work joyously,
lived long, and to the end carried in his heart the perfume of the
morning, and the beneficent beauty of the sunrise.


What genius disclosed all these wonders to thee? All the fair
images in the world seem to have sprung forward to meet thee, and to
throw themselves lovingly into thy arms. How joyous was the
gathering when smiling angels held thy palette, and sublime spirits
stood before thy inward vision in all their splendor as models! Let
no one think he has seen Italy, let no one think he has learnt the
lofty secrets of art, until he has seen thee and thy Cathedral at
Parma, O Correggio!
  --_Ludwig Tieck_

[Illustration: Correggio]

There is no moment that comes to mortals so charged with peace and
precious joy as the moment of reconciliation. If the angels ever
attend us, they are surely present then. The ineffable joy of
forgiving and being forgiven forms an ecstacy that well might arouse
the envy of the gods. How well the theologians have understood this!
Very often, no doubt, their psychology has been more experimental
than scientific--but it is effective. They plunge the candidate into
a gloom of horror, guilt and despair; and then when he is thoroughly
prostrated--submerged--they lift him out and up into the light, and
the thought of reconciliation possesses him.

He has made peace with his Maker!

That is to say, he has made peace with himself--peace with his
fellowmen. He is intent on reparation; he wishes to forgive every
one. He sings, he dances, he leaps into the air, clasps his hands in
joy, embraces those nearest him, and calls aloud, "Glory to God!
Glory to God!" It is the moment of reconciliation. Yet there is a
finer temperament than that of the "new convert," and his moment of
joy is one of silence--sacred silence.

In the Parma Gallery is the painting entitled, "The Day," the
masterpiece of Correggio. The picture shows the Madonna, Saint
Jerome, Saint John and the Christ-child. A second woman is shown in
the picture. This woman is usually referred to as Magdalene, and to
me she is the most important figure in it. She may lack a little of
the ethereal beauty of the Madonna, but the humanness of the pose,
the tenderness and subtle joy of it, shows you that she is a woman
indeed, a woman the artist loved--he wanted to paint her picture,
and Saint Jerome, the Madonna and the Christ-child are only excuses.

John Ruskin, good and great, but with prejudices that matched his
genius, declared this picture "immoral in its suggestiveness." It is
so splendidly, superbly human that he could not appreciate it. Yet
this figure of which he complains is draped from neck to ankle--the
bare feet are shown--but the attitude is sweetly, tenderly modest.
The woman, half-reclining, leans her face over and allows her cheek,
very gently, to press against that of the Christ-child. Absolute
relaxation is shown, perfect trust--no tension, no anxiety, no
passion--only a stillness and rest, a gratitude and subdued peace
that are beyond speech. The woman is so happy that she can not
speak, so full of joy that she dare not express it, and a barely
perceptible tear-stain upon her cheek suggests that this peace has
not always been. She has found her Savior--she is His and He is

It is the moment of reconciliation.

The Renaissance came as a great burst of divine light, after a
thousand years of lurid night. The iron heel of Imperial Rome had
ground individuality into the mire. Unceasing war, endless
bloodshed, slavery without limit, and rampant bestiality had stalked
back and forth across Europe. Insanity, uncertainty, drudgery and
crouching want were the portion of the many. In such a soil neither
art, literature nor religion can prosper.

But now the Church had turned her face against disorder, and was
offering her rewards for excellence and beauty. Gradually there came
a feeling of safety--something approaching security. Throughout
Italy, beautiful, stately churches were being built; in all the
little principalities, palaces were erected; architecture became a
science. The churches and palaces were decorated with pictures,
statues filled the niches, memorials to great ones gone were erected
in the public squares. It was a time of reconciliation--peace was
more popular than war--and where men did go to war, they always
apologized for it by explaining that they fought simply to obtain

Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo and Botticelli were doing their
splendid work--work palpitating with the joy of life, and yet upon
it was the tinge of sorrow, the scars of battles fought, the tear-
stains that told of troubles gone. Yet the general atmosphere was
one of blitheness, joyous life and gratitude for existence. Men
seemed to have gotten rid of a great burden; they stood erect, they
breathed deeply, and looking around them, were surprised to perceive
that life was really beautiful, and God was good.

In such an attitude of mind they reached out friendly hands toward
each other. Poets sang; musicians played; painters painted, and
sculptors carved. Universities sprang into being--schools were
everywhere. The gloom was dispelled even from the monasteries. The
monks ate three meals a day--sometimes four or five. They went a-
visiting. Wine flowed, and music was heard where music was never
heard before. Instead of the solemn processional, there were
Barnabee steps seen on stone floors--steps that looked like
ecclesiastical fandango. The rope girdles were let out a trifle,
flagellations ceased, vigils relaxed, and in many instances the
coarse horsehair garments were replaced with soft, flowing robes,
tied with red, blue or yellow sashes of silk and satin. The earth
was beautiful, men were kind, women were gracious, God was good, and
His children should be happy--these were the things preached from
many pulpits.

Paganism had got grafted on to Christianity, and the only branches
that were bearing fruit were the pagan branches. The old spirit of
Greece had come back, romping, laughing in the glorious Italian
sunshine. Everything had an Attic flavor. The sky was never so blue,
the yellow moonlight never before cast such soft, mysterious
shadows, the air was full of perfume, and you had but to stop and
listen any time and anywhere to hear the pipes o' Pan.

When Time turned the corner into the Sixteenth Century, the tide of
the Renaissance was at its full. The mortification of the
monasteries, as we have seen, had given place to a spirit of
feasting--good things were for use. The thought was contagious, and
although the Paulian idea of women keeping silence in all due
subjection has ever been a favorite one with masculine man, yet the
fact is that in the matter of manners and morals men and women are
never far apart--there is a constant transference of thought,
feeling and action. I do not know why this is. I merely know that it
is so. Some have counted sex a mistake on the part of God; but the
safer view is for us to conclude that whatever is, is good; some
things are better than others, but all are good. That is what they
thought during the Renaissance. So convent life lost its austerity,
and as the Council of Trent had not yet issued its stern orders
commanding asceticism, prayers were occasionally offered accompanied
by syncopated music.

The blooming daughters of great houses were consigned to convents on
slight excuse. "To a nunnery go, and quickly, too," was an order
often given and followed with alacrity. Married women, worn with
many cares, often went into "retreat"; girls tired of society's
whirl; those wrung with hopeless passion; unmanageable wives; all
who had fed on the husks of satiety; those who had incurred the
displeasure of parents or kinsmen, or were deserted, forlorn and
undone, all these found rest in the convents--provided they had the
money to pay. Those without money or influential friends simply
labored as servants and scullions. Rich women contracted the
"Convent Habit"; this was about the same thing as our present
dalliance known as the "Sanitarium Bacillus"--which only those with
a goodly bank-balance can afford to indulge. The poor, then as now,
had a sufficient panacea for trouble: they kept their nerves beneath
their clothes by work; they had to grin and bear it--at least they
had to bear it.

In almost every town that lined the great Emilian Highway, that
splendid road laid out by the Consul Marcus Emilius, 83 B. C., from
Rimini and Piacenza, there were convents of high and low degree--
some fashionable, some plain, and some veritable palaces, rich in
art and full of all that makes for luxury. These convents were at
once a prison, a hospital, a sanitarium, a workshop, a school and a
religious retreat. The day was divided up into periods for devotion,
work and recreation, and the discipline was on a sliding scale
matching the mood of the Abbess in charge, all modified by the
prevailing spirit of the inmates. But the thought that life was good
was rife, and this thought got over every convent-wall, stole
through the garden-walks, crept softly in at every grated window,
and filled each suppliant's cell with its sweet, amorous presence.

Yes, life is good, God is good! He wants His children to be happy!
The white clouds chase each other across the blue dome of heaven,
the birds in the azaleas and in the orange-trees twitter, build
nests and play hide-and-seek the livelong day. The balmy air is
flavored with health, healing and good-cheer.

Life in a convent had many advantages and benefits. Women were
taught to sew and work miracles with the needle; they made lace,
illumined missals, wove tapestries, tended the flowers, read from
books, listened to lectures, and spent certain hours in silence and
meditation. To a great degree the convents were founded on science
and a just knowledge of human needs. There were "orders" and degrees
that fitted every temperament and condition.

But the humble garb of a nun never yet changed the woman's heart
that beats beneath--she is a woman still.

Every night could be heard the tinkle of guitars beneath bedroom-
windows, notes were passed up on forked sticks, and missives freshly
kissed by warm lips were dropped down through lattices; secret
messengers came with letters, and now and again rope ladders were in
demand; while not far away, there were always priests who did a
thriving business in the specialty of Gretna Green.

Every sanitarium, every great hotel, every public institution--every
family, I was going to say--has two lives: the placid moving life
that the public knows, and the throbbing, pulsing life of plot and
counterplot--the life that goes on beneath the surface. It is the
same with the human body--how bright and calm the eye, how smooth
and soft the skin, how warm and beautiful this rose-mesh of flesh!
But beneath there is a seething struggle between the forces of life
and the disintegration--and eventually nothing succeeds but failure.

Every convent was a hotbed of gossip, jealousy, hate and seething
strife; and now and again there came a miniature explosion that the
outside world heard and translated with emendations to suit.

Rivalry was rife, competition lined the corridors, and discontent
sat glum or rustled uneasily in each stone cell. Some of the inmates
brought pictures, busts and ornaments to embellish their rooms.
Friends from the outside world sent presents; the cavalier who
played the guitar beneath the window varied his entertainment by
gifts; flowers filled the beautiful vases, and these blossoms were
replaced ere they withered, so as to show that true love never dies.

Monks from neighboring monasteries preached sermons or gave
lectures; skilled musicians came, and sang or played the organ;
noblemen visited the place to examine the works of art, or to see
fair maids on business, or consult the Abbess on matters spiritual.
Often these visitors were pressed to remain, and then receptions
were held and modest fetes given and banquets tendered. At intervals
there were fairs, when the products made by the marriage of the hand
and brain of the fair workers were exhibited and sold.

So life, though in a convent, was life, and even death and
disintegration are forms of life--and all life is good.

The Donna Giovanni Piacenza was appointed Abbess of San Paola
Convent, Parma, in Fifteen Hundred Seven. The Abbess was the
daughter of the nobleman Marco. Donna Giovanni was a woman of marked
mental ability; she had a genius for management; a wise sense of
diplomacy; and withal was an artist by nature and instinct.

The Convent of San Paola was one of the richest and most popular in
the Emilia.

The man to whose influence the Abbess owed most in securing her the
appointment was the Cavaliere Scipione, a lawyer and man of affairs,
married to the sister of the Abbess.

As a token of esteem and by way of sisterly reciprocity, the Abbess
soon after her appointment called the Cavaliere Scipione to the
position of Legal Adviser and Custodian of the Convent Funds. Before
this the business of the institution had been looked after by the
Garimberti family; and the Garimberti now refusing to relinquish
their office, Scipione took affairs into his own hands and ran the
chief offender through with his sword. Scipione found refuge in the
Convent, and the officers of the law hammered on the gates for
admission, and hammered in vain.

Parma was split into two factions--those who favored the Abbess
Giovanni and those who opposed her.

Once at midnight the gates were broken down and the place searched,
for hiding cavaliers, by the Governor of the city and his cohorts,
to the great consternation of the nuns.

But time is the great healer, and hate left alone is shortlived, and
dies a natural death. The Abbess was wise in her management, and
with the advice and assistance of Scipione, the place prospered.
Visitors came, delegations passed that way, great prelates gave
their blessing, and the citizens of Parma became proud of the
Convent of San Paola.

Some of the nuns were rich in their own right, and some of these had
their rooms frescoed by local artists to suit their fancies.
Strictly religious pictures were not much in vogue with the inmates
--they got their religion at the chapel. Mythology and the things
that symbolized life and love were the fashion. On one door was a
flaming heart pierced by an arrow, and beneath in Italian was the
motto, "Love while you may." Other mottoes about the place were,
"Eat, drink and be merry"; "Laugh and be glad." These mottoes
revealed the prevailing spirit.

Some of the staid citizens of Parma sent petitions to Pope Julius
demanding that the decree of strict cloistration be enforced against
the nuns. But Julius sort of reveled in life himself, and the art
spirit shown by the Abbess was quite to his liking. Later, Leo the
Tenth was importuned to curb the festive spirit of the place, but he
shelved the matter by sending along a fatherly letter of advice and

About this time we find the Abbess and her Legal Adviser planning a
scheme of decoration that should win the admiration or envy--or
both--of every art-lover in the Emilia. The young man, Antonio
Allegri, from Correggio should do the work. They had met him at the
house of Veronica Gambara, and they knew that any one Veronica
recommended must be worthy of confidence. Veronica said the youth
had sublime talent--it must be so. His name, Allegri, meant joy, and
his work was charged with all his name implied. He was sent for, and
he came--walking the forty miles from Correggio to Parma with his
painter's kit on his back.

He was short of stature, smooth-faced and looked like a good-natured
country bumpkin in his peasant garb, all decorated with dust. He was
modest, half-shy, and the nuns who peered at him from behind the
arras as he walked down the hallway of the Convent caused his
countenance to run the chromatic scale.

He was sorry he came, and if he could have gotten away without
disgrace he surely would have started straight back for Correggio.
He had never been so far away from home before, and although he did
not know it he was never to get farther away in his life. Venice and
Titian were to the east a hundred miles; Milan and Leonardo were to
the north about the same distance; Florence and Michelangelo were
south ninety miles; Rome and Raphael were one hundred sixty miles
beyond; and he was never to see any of these. But the boy shed no
tears over that; it is quite possible that he never heard of any of
these names just mentioned, save that of Leonardo. None loomed large
as they do now--there were painters everywhere, just as Boston
Common is full of poets. Veronica Gambara had told him of Leonardo--
we know that--and described in glowing words and with an enthusiasm
that was contagious how the chief marks of Leonardo's wonderful
style lay in the way he painted hands, hair and eyes. The Leonardo
hands were delicate, long of finger, expressive and full of life;
the hair was wavy, fluffy, sun-glossed, and it seemed as if you
could stroke it, and it would give off magnetic sparks; but
Leonardo's best feature was the eye--the large, full-orbed eye that
looked down so that you really never saw the eye, only the lid, and
the long lashes upon which a tear might glisten. Antonio listened to
Veronica with open mouth, drinking it all in, and then he sighed and
said, "I am a painter, too." He set to work, fired with the thought
of doing what Leonardo had done--hands, hair and eyes--beautiful
hands, beautiful hair, beautiful eyes! Then these things he worked
upon, only he never placed the glistening tear upon the long lash,
because there were no tears upon his own lashes. He had never known
sorrow, trouble, disappointment or defeat.

The specialty of Allegri was "putti"--tumbling, tumultuous, tricksy
putti. These cherubs symboled the joy of life, and when Allegri
wished to sign his name, he drew a cherub. He had come up out of a
family that had little and expected nothing. Then he needed so
little--his wants were few. If he went away from home on little
journeys, he stopped with peasants along the way and made merry with
the children and outlined a chubby cherub on the cottage-wall, to
the delight of everybody; and in the morning was sent on his way
with blessings, Godspeeds, and urgent invitations to come again.
Smiles and good-cheer, a little music and the ability to do things,
when accompanied by a becoming modesty, are current coin the round
world over. Tired earth is quite willing to pay for being amused.

The Abbess Giovanni showed Antonio about the Convent, and he saw
what had already been done. He was appreciative, but talked little.
The Abbess liked the youth. He suggested possibilities--he might
really become the great painter that the enthusiastic Veronica
prophesied he would some day be.

The Abbess gave up one of her own rooms for his accommodation,
brought him water for a bath, and at supper sat him at the table at
her own right hand.

"And about the frescos?" asked the Abbess.

"Yes, the frescos--your room shall be done first. I will begin the
work in the morning," replied Antonio. The confidence of the youth
made the Abbess smile.

Many of our finest flowers are merely transplanted weeds.
Transplantation often works wonders in men. When Fate lifted Antonio
Allegri out of the little village of Correggio and set him down in
the city of Parma, a great change came over him. The wealth, beauty
and freer atmosphere of the place caused the tendrils of his
imagination to reach out into a richer soil, and the result was such
blossoms of beauty, so gorgeous in form and color, that men have not
yet ceased to marvel.

The Convent of San Paola is a sacred shrine for art-lovers--they
come from the round world over, just to see the ceiling in that one
room--the room of the Abbess Giovanni, where Antonio Allegri, the
young man from Correggio, first placed his scaffolds in Parma.

The village of Correggio is quite off the beaten track of travel.
You will have to look five times on the map before you can find it.
It is now only a village, and in the year Fourteen Hundred Ninety-
four, when Antonio Allegri was born and Cristoforo Colombo, the
Genoese, was discovering continents, it was little better than a
hamlet. It had a church, a convent, a palace where dwelt the
Corregghesi--the Lords of Correggio--and stretching around the
square, where stood the church, were long, low, stone cottages,
whitewashed, with trellises of climbing flowers. Back of these
cottages were little gardens where the peas, lentils, leeks and
parsley laughed a harvest. There were flowers, flowers everywhere--
none was too poor to have flowers. Flowers are a strictly sex
product and symbol the joy of life; and where there are no flowers,
there is little love. Lovers give flowers--and they are enough--and
if you do not love flowers, they will refuse to blossom for you. "If
I had but two loaves of bread, I'd sell one of them and buy white
hyacinths to feed my soul"--that was said by a man who loved this
world, no less than the next. Do not defame this world--she is the
mother that feeds you, and she supplies you not only bread, but
white hyacinths to feed your soul.

On market-day in every Italian town four hundred years ago, just as
now, the country women brought big baskets of vegetables and also
baskets of flowers. And you will see in those markets, if you
observe, that the people who buy vegetables usually buy sprays of
mignonette, bunches of violets, roses upon which the dew yet
sparkles, or white hyacinths. Loaves alone are not quite enough--we
want also the bread of life, and the bread of life is love, and
didn't I say that flowers symbol love?

And I have noted this, in those old markets: often the pile of
flowers that repose by the basket of fruit or vegetables is to give
away to the customers as tokens of good-will. I remember visiting
the market at Parma one day and buying some cherries, and the old
woman who took my money picked up a little spray of hyacinth and
pinned it to my coat, quite as a matter of course. The next day I
went back and bought figs, and got a big moss-rose as a premium. The
peculiar brand of Italian that I spoke was unintelligible to the old
woman, and I am very sure that I could not understand her, yet the
white hyacinths and the moss-rose made all plain. That was five
years ago, but if I should go back to Parma tomorrow, I would go
straight to the Market-Place, and I know that my old friend would
reach out a brown calloused hand to give me welcome, and the
choicest rose in her basket would be mine--the heart understands.

That spirit of mutual giving was the true spirit of the Renaissance,
and in the forepart of the Sixteenth Century it was at its fullest
flower. Men gave the beauty that was in them, and Vasari tells of
how at Correggio the peasants, who had nothing else to give, each
Sunday brought flowers and piled them high at the feet of the

There were painters and sculptors at the village of Correggio then;
great men in their day, no doubt, but lost now to us in the maze of
years. And there was, too, a little court of beauty and learning,
presided over by Veronica Gambara. Veronica was a lover of art and
literature, and a poet of no mean quality. Antonio Allegri, the son
of the village baker, was a welcome visitor at her house. The boy
used to help the decorators at the church, and had picked up a
little knowledge of art. That is all you want--an entrance into the
Kingdom of Art, and all these things shall be added unto you.
Veronica appreciated the boy because he appreciated art, and great
lady that she was, she appreciated him because he appreciated her.
Nothing so warms the cockles of a teacher's heart as appreciation in
a pupil. The intellect of the village swung around Veronica Gambara.
Visitors of note used to come from Bologna and Ferrara just to hear
Veronica read her poems, and to talk over together the things they
all loved. At these conferences Antonio was often present. He was
eighteen, perhaps, when his sketches were first shown at Veronica's
little court of art and letters. He had taken lessons from the local
painters, and visiting artists gave him the benefit of advice and
criticism. Then Veronica had many engravings and various copies of
good pictures. The boy was immersed in beauty, and all he did he did
for Veronica Gambara. She was no longer young--she surely was old
enough to have been the boy's mother, and this was well. Such a love
as this is spiritualized under the right conditions, and works
itself up into art, where otherwise it might go dancing down the
wanton winds and spend itself in folly.

Antonio painted for Veronica. All good things are done for some one
else, and then after a while a standard of excellence is formed, and
the artist works to please himself. But paradoxically, he still
works for others--the singer sings for those who hear, the writer
writes for those who understand, and the painter paints for those
who would paint just such pictures as he, if they could. Antonio
painted just such pictures as Veronica liked--she fixed the standard
and he worked up to it.

And who then could possibly have foretold that the work of the
baker's boy would rescue the place from oblivion, so that anywhere
where the word is mentioned, "Correggio" should mean the boy Antonio
Allegri, and not the village nor the wide domain of the Corregghesi!

The distinguishing feature of Correggio's work is his "putti." He
delighted in these well-fed, unspanked and needlessly healthy
cherubs. These rollicksome, frolicsome, dimpled boy babies--and that
they are boys is a fact which I trust will not be denied--he has
them everywhere!

Paul Veronese brings in his omnipresent dog--in every "Veronese,"
there he is, waiting quietly for his master. Even at the
"Assumption" he sits in one corner, about to bark at the angels. The
dog obtrudes until you reach a point where you do not recognize a
"Veronese" without the dog--then you are grateful for the dog, and
surely would scorn a "Veronese" minus the canine attachment. We
demand at least one dog, as our legal and inborn right, with every

So, too, we claim the cherubs of Correggio as our own. They are so
oblivious of clothes, so beautifully indifferent to the proprieties,
so delightfully self-sufficient! They have no parents; they are
mostly of one size, and are all of one gender. They hide behind the
folds of every apostle's cloak, peer into the Magdalen's jar of
precious ointment, cling to the leg of Saint Joseph, make faces at
Saint Bernard, attend in a body at the "Annunciation"--as if it were
any of their business--hover everywhere at the "Betrothal," and look
on wonderingly from the rafters, or make fun of the Wise Men in the

They invade the inner Courts of Heaven, and are so in the way that
Saint Peter falls over them, much to their amusement. They seat
themselves astride of clouds, some fall off, to the great delight of
their mates, and still others give their friends a boost over
shadows that are in the way.

I said they had no parents--they surely have a father, and he is
Correggio; but they are all in sore need of a mother's care.

I believe it was Schiller who once intimated that it took two to
love anything into being. But Correggio seems to have performed the
task of conjuring forth these putti all alone; yet it is quite
possible that Veronica Gambara helped him. That he loved them is
very sure--only love could have made them manifest. This man was a
lover of children, otherwise he could not have loved putti, for he
sympathized with all their baby pranks, and sorrows as well.

One cherub bumps his head against a cloud and straightway lifts a
howl that must have echoed all through Paradise. His mouth is open
to its utmost limit; tears start from between his closed eyes, which
he gouges with chubby fists, and his whole face is distorted in
intense pigmy wrath. One might really feel awfully sorry for him
were it not for the fact that he sticks out one foot trying to kick
a playfellow who evidently hadn't a thing to do with the accident.
He's a bad, naughty cherub--that is what he is, and he deserves to
have his obtrusive anatomy stung, just a little, with the back of a
hairbrush, for his own good.

This same cherub appears in other places, once blowing a horn in
another's ear; and again he is tickling a sleeping brother's foot
with a straw. These putti play all the tricks that real babies do,
and besides have a goodly list of "stunts" of their own. One thing
is sure, to Correggio heaven would not be heaven without putti; and
the chief difference that I see between putti and sure-enough babies
is, that putti require no care and babies do.

Then putti are practical and useful--they hold up scrolls, tie back
draperies, carry pictures, point out great folks, feed birds, and in
one instance Correggio has ten of them leading a dog out to
execution. They carry the train of the Virgin, assist the Apostles,
act as ushers, occasionally pass the poorbox, make wreaths and
crowns--but, I am sorry to say, sometimes get into unseemly scuffles
for first place.

They have no wings, yet they soar and fly like English sparrows.
They are not troubled with nerv. pros. or introspection. What they
feed upon is uncertain, but sure it is that they are well nourished.
A putti needs nothing, not even approbation.

In the dome of the Cathedral at Parma, there is a regular flight of
them to help on the Ascension. They mix in everywhere, riding on
clouds, clinging to robes, perching on the shoulders of Apostles--
everywhere thick in the flight and helping on that glorious
anabasis. Away, away they go--movement--movement everywhere--right
up into the blue dome of Heaven! As you look up at that most
magnificent picture, a tinge of sorrow comes over you--the putti are
all going away, and what if they should never come back!

A little girl I know once went with her Mamma to visit the Cathedral
at Parma. Mother and daughter stood in silent awe for a space,
looking up at that cloud of vanishing forms. At last the little girl
turned to her mother and said, "Mamma, did you ever see so many bare
legs in all the born days of your life?"

Some years ago in a lecture John La Farge said that the world had
produced only seven painters that deserved to rank in the first
class, and one of these is Correggio. The speaker did not name the
other six; and although requested to do so, smilingly declined,
saying that he preferred to allow each auditor to complete the list
for himself.

One person present made out this list of seven Immortals, and passed
the list to Edmund Russell, seated near, for comments. This is the
list: Michelangelo, Leonardo, Titian, Rembrandt, Correggio,
Velasquez, Corot.

Mr. Russell approved the selection, but added a note claiming the
privilege to change and substitute names from time to time as his
mood might prompt. This seems to me like a very sensible verdict.
"Who is your favorite author?" is a question that is often asked.
Just as if any one author ever got first place in the mind of a
strong man and stuck there! Authors jostle each other for first
place in our hearts. We may have Emerson periods and Browning
periods, when they alone minister to us; and so also pictures, like
music, make their appeals to mood.

This peaceful, beautiful May day, as I write this at my cabin in the
woods, Correggio seems to me truly one of the world's marvelous men.
He is near, very dear, and yet before him I would stand silent and

He did his work and held his peace. He was simple, modest,
unobtrusive and unpretentious. He was so big that he never knew the
greatness of his work, any more than the author of Hamlet knew the
immensity of his.

Correggio was never more than a day's journey from home--he toiled
in obscurity and did work so grand that it made its final appeal
only to the future. He never painted his own portrait, and no one
else seemed to consider him worth while; his income was barely
sufficient for his wants. He was so big that following fast upon his
life came a lamentable decline in art: his personality being so
great that his son and a goodly flock of disciples tried to paint
just like him. All originality faded out of the fabric of their
lives, and they were only cheap, tawdry and dispirited imitators.
That is one of the penalties which Nature exacts when she vouchsafes
a great man to earth--all others are condemned to insipidity. They
are whipped, dispirited and undone, and spontaneity dies a-borning.
No man should try to do another man's work. Note the anatomical
inanities of Bernini in his attempts to out-Angelo Michelangelo.

In this "rushing-in" business, keep out, or you may count as one
more fool.

Correggio struck thirteen because he was himself, and was to a great
degree even ignorant and indifferent to what the world was doing. He
was filled with the joy of life; and with no furtive eye on the
future, and no distracting fears concerning the present, he did his
work and did it the best he could. He worked to please himself,
cultivated the artistic conscience--scorning to create a single
figure that did not spring into life because it must. All of his
pictures are born of this spirit.

Good old Guido of Parma, afar from home, once asked, with tear-
filled eyes, of a recent visitor there--"And tell me, you saw the
Cathedral and the Convent of San Paola--and are not the cherubs of
Master Correggio grown to be men yet?"

It is only life and love that give love and life. Correggio gave us
both out of the fulness of a full heart. And growing weary when
scarce forty years of age, he passed out into the Silence, but his
work is ours.


And if in our day Raphael must give way to Botticelli, with how
much greater reason should Titian in the heights of his art, with
all his earthly splendor and voluptuous glow, give place to the
lovely imagination of dear old Gian Bellini, the father of Venetian
  --_Mrs. Oliphant, in "The Makers of Venice"_

[Illustration: Bellini]

It is a great thing to teach. I am never more complimented than when
some one addresses me as "teacher." To give yourself in a way that
will inspire others to think, to do, to become--what nobler
ambition! To be a good teacher demands a high degree of altruism,
for one must be willing to sink self, to die--as it were--that
others may live. There is something in it very much akin to
motherhood--a brooding quality. Every true mother realizes at times
that her children are only loaned to her--sent from God--and the
attributes of her body and mind are being used by some Power for a
Purpose. The thought tends to refine the heart of its dross,
obliterate pride and make her feel the sacredness of her office. All
good men everywhere recognize the holiness of motherhood--this
miracle by which the race survives.

There is a touch of pathos in the thought that while lovers live to
make themselves necessary to each other, the mother is working to
make herself unnecessary to her children. The true mother is
training her children to do without her. And the entire object of
teaching is to enable the scholar to do without his teacher.
Graduation should take place at the vanishing-point of the teacher.

Yes, the efficient teacher has in him much of this mother-quality.
Thoreau, you remember, said that genius is essentially feminine; if
he had teachers in mind his remark was certainly true. The men of
much motive power are not the best teachers--the arbitrary and
imperative type that would bend all minds to match its own may build
bridges, tunnel mountains, discover continents and capture cities,
but it can not teach. In the presence of such a towering personality
freedom dies, spontaneity droops, and thought slinks away into a
corner. The brooding quality, the patience that endures, and the
yearning of motherhood, are all absent. The man is a commander, not
a teacher; and there yet remains a grave doubt whether the warrior
and ruler have not used their influence more to make this world a
place of the skull than the abode of happiness and prosperity. The
orders to kill all the firstborn, and those over ten years of age,
were not given by teachers.

The teacher is one who makes two ideas grow where there was only one

Just here, before we pass on to other themes, seems a good place to
say that we live in a very stupid old world, round like an orange
and slightly flattened at the poles. The proof of this seemingly
pessimistic remark, made by a hopeful and cheerful man, lies in the
fact that we place small premium in either honor or money on the
business of teaching. As, in the olden times, barbers and scullions
ranked with musicians, and the Master of the Hounds wore a bigger
medal than the Poet Laureate, so do we pay our teachers the same as
coachmen and coal-heavers, giving them a plentiful lack of
everything but overwork.

I will never be quite willing to admit that this country is
enlightened until we cease the inane and parsimonious policy of
trying to drive all the really strong men and women out of the
teaching profession by putting them on the payroll at one-half the
rate, or less, than what the same brains and energy can command
elsewhere. In this year of our Lord, Nineteen Hundred Two, in a time
of peace, we have appropriated four hundred million dollars for war
and war-appliances, and this sum is just double the cost of the
entire public-school system in America. It is not the necessity of
economy that dictates our actions in this matter of education--we
simply are not enlightened.

But this thing can not always last--I look for the time when we
shall set apart the best and noblest men and women of earth for
teachers, and their compensation will be so adequate that they will
be free to give themselves for the benefit of the race, without
apprehension of a yawning almshouse. A liberal policy will be for
our own good, just as a matter of cold expediency; it will be
Enlightened Self-interest.

With the rise of the Bellinis, Venetian art ceased to be provincial,
blossoming out into national. Jacopo Bellini was a teacher--mild,
gentle, sympathetic, animated. His work reveals personality, but is
somewhat stiff and statuesque: sharp in outline like an antique
stained-glass window. This is because his art was descended from the
glassworkers; and he himself continued to make designs for the
glassworkers of Murano all his life. Considering the time in which
he lived he was a great painter, for he improved upon what had gone
before and prepared the way for those greater than he who were yet
to come. He called himself an experimenter, and around him clustered
a goodly group of young men who were treated by him more as comrades
than as students. They were all boys together--learners, with the
added dignity which an older head of the right sort can lend.

"Old Jacopo" they used to call him, and there was a touch of
affection in the term to which several of them have testified. All
of the pupils loved the old man, who wasn't so very old in years,
and certainly was not in heart. Among his pupils were his two sons,
Gentile and Gian, and they called him Old Jacopo, too. I rather like
this--it proves for one thing that the boys were not afraid of their
father. They surely did not run and hide when they heard him coming,
neither did they find it necessary to tell lies in order to defend
themselves. A severe parent is sure to have untruthful children, and
perhaps the best recipe for having noble children is to be a noble

It is well to be a companion to your children, and just where the
idea came in which developed into the English boarding-school
delusion, that children should be sent away among hirelings--
separated from their parents--in order to be educated, I do not
know. It surely was not complimentary to the parents. Old Jacopo
didn't try very hard to discipline his boys--he loved them, which is
better if you are forced to make choice. They worked together and
grew together. Before Gian and Gentile were eighteen they could
paint as well as their father. When they were twenty they excelled
him, and no one was more elated over it than Old Jacopo. They were
doing things he could never do: overcoming obstacles he could not
overcome--he clapped his hands in gladness, did this old teacher,
and shed tears of joy--his pupils were surpassing him! Gian and
Gentile would not admit this, but still they kept right on, each
vieing with the other. Vasari says that Gian was the better artist,
but Aldus refers to Gentile as "the undisputed master of painting in
all Venetia." Ruskin compromises by explaining that Gentile had the
broader and deeper nature, but that Gian was more feminine, more
poetic, nearer lyric, possessing a delicacy and insight that his
brother never acquired. These qualities better fitted him for a
teacher; and when Old Jacopo passed away, Gian drifted into his
place, for every man is gravitating straight to where he belongs.

The little workshop of one room now was enlarged: the bottega became
an atelier. There were groups of workrooms and studios, and a small
gallery that became the meeting-place for various literary and
artistic visitors at Venice. Ludovico Ariosto, greatest of Italian
poets, came here and wrote a sonnet to "Gian Bellini, sublime
artist, performer of great things, but best of all the loving
Teacher of Men."

Gian Bellini had two pupils whose name and fame are deathless:
Giorgione and Titian. There is a fine flavor of romance surrounds
Giorgione, the gentle, the refined, the beloved. His was a spirit
like unto that of Chopin or Shelley, and his death-dirge should have
been written by the one and set to music by the other--brothers
doloroso, sent into this rough world unprepared for its buffets,
passing away in manhood's morning. Yet all heard the song of the
skylark. Giorgione died broken-hearted, through his ladylove's
inconstancy. He was exactly the same age as Titian, and while he
lived surpassed that giant far, as the giant himself admitted. He
died aged thirty-three, the age at which a full dozen of the
greatest men of the world have died, and the age at which several
other very great men have been born again--which possibly is the
same thing. Titian lived to be a hundred, lacking six months, and
when past seventy used to give alms to a beggar-woman at a church-
door--the woman who had broken the heart of Giorgione. He also
painted her portrait--this in sad and subdued remembrance of the
days agone.

The Venetian School of Art has been divided by Ruskin into three
parts: the first begins with Jacopo Bellini, and this part might be
referred to as the budding period. The second is the flowering
period, and the palm is carried by Gian Bellini. The period of ripe
fruit--o'erripe fruit, touched by the tint of death--is represented
by four men: Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto and Paul Veronese. Beyond
these four, Venetian Art has never gone, and although four hundred
years have elapsed since they laughed and sang, enjoyed and worked,
all we can do is wonder and admire. We can imitate, but we can not

Gian Bellini lived to be ninety-two, working to the last, always a
learner, always a teacher. His best work was done after his
eightieth year. The cast-off shell of this great spirit was placed
in the tomb with that of his brother Gentile, who had passed out but
a few years before. Death did not divide them.

Giovanni Bellini was his name. Yet when people who loved beautiful
pictures spoke of "Gian," every one knew who was meant, but to those
who worked at art he was "The Master." He was two inches under six
feet in height, strong and muscular. In spite of his seventy summers
his carriage was erect and there was a jaunty suppleness about his
gait that made him seem much younger. In fact, no one would have
believed that he had lived over his threescore and ten, were it not
for the iron-gray hair that fluffed out all around under the close-
fitting black cap, and the bronzed complexion--sun-kissed by wind
and weather--which formed a trinity of opposites that made people
turn and stare.

Queer stories used to be told about him. He was a skilful gondolier,
and it was the daily row back and forth from the Lido that gave him
that face of bronze. Folks said he ate no meat and drank no wine,
and that his food was simply ripe figs in the season, with coarse
rye bread and nuts. Then there was that funny old hunchback, a
hundred years old at least, and stone-deaf, who took care of the
gondola, spending the whole day, waiting for his master, washing the
trim, graceful, blue-black boat, arranging the awning with the white
cords and tassels, and polishing the little brass lions at the
sides. People tried to question the old hunchback, but he gave no
secrets away. The master always stood up behind and rowed, while
down on the cushions rode the hunchback, the guest of honor.

There stood the master erect, plying the oar, his long black robe
tucked up under the dark blue sash that exactly matched the color of
the gondola. The man's motto might have been, "Ich Dien," or that
passage of Scripture, "He that is greatest among you shall be your
servant." Suspended around his neck by a slender chain was a bronze
medal, presented by vote of the Signoria when the great picture of
"The Transfiguration" was unveiled. If this medal had been a
crucifix, and you had met the wearer in San Marco, one glance at the
finely chiseled features, the black cap and the flowing robe and you
would have said at once the man was a priest, Vicar-General of some
important diocese. But seeing him standing erect on the stern of a
gondola, the wind caressing the dark gray hair, you would have been
perplexed until your gondolier explained in serious undertone that
you had just passed "The greatest Painter in all Venice, Gian, the

Then if you showed curiosity and wanted to know further, your
gondolier would have told you more about this strange man.

The canals of Venice are the highways, and the gondoliers are like
'bus-drivers in Piccadilly--they know everybody and are in close
touch with all the secrets of State. When you get to the Giudecca
and tie up for lunch, over a bottle of Chianti, your gondolier will
tell you this: The hunchback there in the gondola, rowed by the
Master, is the Devil, who has taken that form just to be with and
guard the greatest artist the world has ever seen. Yes, Signor, that
clean-faced man with his frank, wide-open, brown eyes is in league
with the Evil One. He is the man who took young Tiziano from Cadore
into his shop, right out of a glass-factory, and made him a great
artist, getting him commissions and introducing him everywhere! And
how about the divine Giorgione who called him father? Oho!

And who is Giorgione? The son of some unknown peasant woman. And if
Bellini wanted to adopt him, treat him as his son indeed, kissing
him on the cheek when he came back just from a day's visit to
Mestre, whose business was it? Oho!

Besides that, his name isn't Giorgione--it is Giorgio Barbarelli.
And didn't this Giorgio Barbarelli, and Tiziano from Cadore, and
Espero Carbonne, and that Gustavo from Nuremberg, and the others
paint most of Gian's pictures? Surely they did. The old man simply
washes in the backgrounds and the boys do the work. About all old
Gian does is to sign the picture, sell it and pocket the proceeds.
Carpaccio helps him, too--Carpaccio, who painted the loveliest
little angel sitting crosslegged playing the biggest mandolin you
ever saw in your life.

That is genius, you know--the ability to get some one else to do the
work, and then capture the ducats and the honors for yourself. Of
course Gian knows how to lure the boys on--something has to be done
in order to hold them. Gian buys a picture from them now and then;
his studio is full of their work--better than he can do. Oh, he
knows a good thing when he sees it. These pictures will be valuable
some day, and he gets them at his own price. It was Antonello of
Messina who introduced oil-painting into Venice. Before that they
mixed their paints with water, milk or wine. But when Antonello came
along with his dark, lustrous pictures, he set all artistic Venice
astir. Gian Bellini discovered the secret, they say, by feigning to
be a gentleman and going to the newcomer and sitting for his
picture. He it was who discovered that Antonello mixed his colors
with oil. Oho!

Of course not all of the pictures in his studio are painted by the
boys--some are painted by that old Dutchman what's-his-name--oh,
yes, Durer, Alberto Durer of Nuremberg. Two Nuremberg painters were
in that very gondola last week just where you sit--they are here in
Venice now, taking lessons from Gian, they said. Gian was up there
at Nuremberg and lived a month with Durer--they worked together,
drank beer together, I suppose, and caroused. Gian is very strict
about what he does in Venice, but you can never tell what a man will
do when he is away from home. The Germans are a roystering lot--but
they do say they can paint. Me? I have never been there--and do not
want to go, either--there are no canals there. To be sure, they
print books in Nuremberg. It was up there somewhere that they
invented type, a lazy scheme to do away with writing. They are a
thrifty lot--those Germans--they give me my fare and a penny more,
just a single penny, and no matter how much I have talked and
pointed out the wonderful sights, and imparted useful information,
known to me alone--only one penny extra--think of it!

Yes, printing was first done at Mayence by a German, Gutenberg,
about sixty years ago. One of Gutenberg's workmen went up to
Nuremberg and taught others how to design and cast type. This man
Alberto Durer helped them, designing the initials and making title-
pages by cutting the design on a wooden block, then covering this
block with ink, laying a sheet of paper upon it, and placing it in a
press; then when the paper is lifted off it looks exactly like the
original drawing. In fact, most people couldn't tell the difference,
and here you can print thousands of them from the one block!

Gian Bellini makes drawings for title-pages and initials for Aldus
and Nicholas Jenson. Venice is the greatest printing-place in the
world, and yet the business began here only thirty years ago. The
first book printed here was in Fourteen Hundred Sixty-nine, by John
of Speyer. There are nearly two hundred licensed printing-presses
here, and it takes usually four men to a press--two to set the type
and get things ready, and two to run the press. This does not count,
of course, the men who write the books, and those who make the type
and cut the blocks from which they print the pictures for
illustrations. At first, you know, the books they printed in Venice
had no title-pages, initials or illustrations. My father was a
printer and he remembers when the first large initials were printed
--before that, the spaces were left blank and the books were sent out
to the monasteries to be completed by hand.

Gian and Gentile had a good deal to do about cutting the first
blocks for initials--they got the idea, I think, from Nuremberg. And
now there are Dutchmen down here from Amsterdam learning how to
print books and paint pictures. Several of them are in Gian's
studio, I hear--every once in a while I get them for a trip to the
Lido or to Murano.

Gentile Bellini is his brother and looks very much like him. The
Grand Turk at Constantinople came here once and saw Gian Bellini at
work in the Great Hall. He had never seen a good picture before and
was amazed. He wanted the Senate to sell Gian to him, thinking he
was a slave. They humored the Pagan by hiring Gentile Bellini to go
instead, loaning him out for two years, so to speak.

Gentile went, and the Sultan, who never allowed any one to stand
before him, all having to grovel in the dirt, treated Gentile as an
equal. Gentile even taught the old rogue to draw a little, and they
say the painter had a key to every room in the palace, and was
treated like a prince.

Well, they got along all right, until one day Gentile drew the
picture of the head of John the Baptist on a charger.

"A man's head doesn't look like that when it is cut off," said the
Turk contemptuously. Gentile had forgotten that the Turk was on
familiar ground.

"Perhaps the Light of the Sun knows more about painting than I do!"
said Gentile, as he kept right on at his work.

"I may not know much about painting, but I'm no fool in some other
things I might name," was the reply. The Sultan clapped his hands
three times: two slaves appeared from opposite doors. One was a
little ahead of the other, and as this one approached, the Sultan
with a single swing of the snickersnee snipped off his head. This
teaches us that obedience to our superiors is its own reward. But
the lesson was wholly lost on Gentile Bellini, for he did not remain
even to examine the severed head for art's sake. The thought that it
might be his turn next was supreme, and he leaped through a window,
taking the sash with him. Making his way to the docks he found a
sailing-vessel loading with fruit, bound for Venice. A small purse
of gold made the matter easy--the captain of the boat secreted him,
and in four days he was safely back in Saint Mark's giving thanks to
God for his deliverance.

No, I didn't say Gian was a rogue--I only told you what others say.
I am only a poor gondolier--why should I trouble myself about what
great folks do? I simply tell you what I hear--it may be so, and it
may not; God knows! There is that Pascale Salvini. He has a rival
studio, and when that Genoese, Cristoforo Colombo, was here and made
his stopping-place at Bellini's studio, Pascale told every one that
Colombo was a lunatic and Bellini another, for encouraging him to
show his foolish maps and charts. Now, they do say that Colombo has
discovered a new world, and Italians are feeling troubled in
conscience because they did not fit him out with ships instead of
forcing him to go to Spain.

No, I didn't say Bellini was a hypocrite--Pascale's pupils say so,
and once they followed him over to Murano--three barca-loads and my
gondola besides. You see it was like this: Twice a week, just after
sundown, we used to see Gian Bellini untie his boat from the landing
there behind the Doge's palace, turn the prow, and beat out for
Murano, with no companion but that deaf old caretaker. Twice a week,
Tuesdays and Fridays--always at just the same hour, regardless of
weather--we would see the old hunchback light the lamps, and in a
few moments the Master would appear, tuck up his black robe, step
into the boat, take the oar, and away they would go. It was always
to Murano, and always to the same landing--one of our gondoliers had
followed several times, just out of curiosity.

Finally it came to the ears of Pascale that Gian took this regular
trip to Murano. "It is a rendezvous," said Pascale; "worse than
that, an orgy among those lacemakers and the rogues of the
glassworks. Oh, to think that Gian should stoop to such things at
his age--his pretended asceticism is but a mask--and at his age!"

The Pascale students took it up, and once came in collision with
that Tiziano of Cadore, who they say broke a boat-hook over the head
of one of them who had spoken ill of the Master.

But this did not silence the talk, and one dark night, when the air
was full of flying mist, one of Pascale's students came to me and
told me that he wanted me to take a party over to Murano. The
weather was so bad that I refused to go--the wind blew in gusts,
sheet-lightning filled the eastern sky, and all honest men, but poor
belated gondoliers, had hied them home.

I refused to go.

Had I not seen Gian the painter go not half an hour before? Well, if
he could go, others could, too.

I refused to go--except for double fare.

He accepted and placed the double fare in silver in my palm. Then he
gave a whistle and from behind the corners came trooping enough
swashbuckler students to swamp my gondola. I let in just enough to
fill the seats and pushed off, leaving several standing on the stone
steps cursing me and everything and everybody.

As my good boat slid away into the fog and headed on our course, I
glanced back and saw the three barca-loads following in my wake.

There was much muffled talk, and orders from some one in charge to
keep silence. But there was passing of strong drink, and then talk,
and from it I gathered that these were all students from Pascale's,
out on one of those student carousals, intent on heaven knows what!
It was none of my business.

We shipped considerable water, and several of the students were down
on their knees praying and bailing, bailing and praying.

At last we reached the Murano landing. All got out, the barcas tied
up, and I tied up, too, determined to see what was doing. The strong
drink was passed, and a low heavy-set fellow who seemed to be
captain charged all not to speak, but to follow him and do as he
did. We took a side-street where there was little travel and
followed through the dark and dripping way, fully a half-mile, down
there in that end of the island called the sailors' bagnio, where
they say no man's life is safe if he has a silver coin or two. There
was much music in the wine-shops and shouts of mirth and dancing
feet on stone floors, but the rain had driven every one from the

We came to a long, low stone building that used to be a theater, but
was now a dance-hall upstairs and a warehouse below. There were
lights upstairs and sounds of music. The stairway was dark, but we
felt our way up, and on tiptoe advanced to the big double door, from
under which the light streamed.

We had received our orders, and when we got to the landing we stood
there just an instant. "Now we have him--Gian the hypocrite!"
whispered the stout man in a hoarse breath. We burst in the doors
with a whoop and a bang. The change from the dark to the light sort
of blinded us at first. We all supposed that there was a dance in
progress of course, and the screams from women were just what we
expected, but when we saw several overturned easels and an old man,
half-nude, and too scared to move, seated on a model throne, we did
not advance into the hall as we intended. That one yell we gave was
all the noise we made. We stood there in a bunch, just inside the
door, sort of dazed and uncertain. We did not know whether to
retreat or to charge on through the hall as we had intended. We just
stood there like a lot of driveling fools.

"Keep right at your work, my good people! Keep right at your work!"
called a pleasant voice. "I see we have some visitors."

And Gian Bellini came forward. His robe was still tucked up under
the blue sash, but he had laid aside his black cap, and his tumbled
gray hair looked like the aureole of a saint. "Keep right at your
work," he said again, and then came forward and bade us welcome and
begged us to have seats.

I dared not run away, so I sat down on one of the long seats that
were ranged around the wall. My companions did the same. There must
have been fifty easels, all ranged in a semicircle around the old
man who posed as a model. Several of the easels had been upset, and
there was much confusion when we entered.

"Just help us to arrange things--that is right, thank you," said
Gian to the stout man who was captain of our party. To my
astonishment the stout man was doing just as he was bid, and was
pacifying the women students and straightening up their easels and

I was interested in watching Gian walking around, helping this one
with a stroke of his crayon, saying a word to that, smiling and
nodding to another. I just sat there and stared. These students were
not regular art-students, I could see that plainly. Some were
children, ragged and barelegged; others were old men who worked in
the glass-factories, and surely with hands too old and stiff to ever
paint well. Still others were young girls and women of the town. I
rubbed my eyes and tried to make it out!

The music we heard I could still hear--it came from the wine-shop
across the way. I looked around--and what do you believe? My
companions had all gone. They had sneaked out one by one and left me

I watched my chance, and when the Master's back was turned I tiptoed
out, too. When I got down on the street I found I had left my cap,
but I dare not go back after it. I made my way down to the landing,
half running, and when I got there not a boat was to be seen--the
three barcas and my gondola were gone.

I thought I could see them, out through the mist, a quarter of a
mile away. I called aloud, but no answer came back but the hissing
wind. I was in despair--they were stealing my boat, and if they did
not steal it, it would surely be wrecked--my all, my precious boat!

I cried and wrung my hands. I prayed! And the howling winds only ran
shrieking and laughing around the corners of the buildings.

I saw a glimmering light down the beach at a little landing. I ran
to it, hoping some gondolier might be found who would row me over to
the city. There was one boat at the landing and in it a hunchback,
sound asleep, covered with a canvas. It was Gian Bellini's boat. I
shook the hunchback into wakefulness and begged him to row me across
to the city. I yelled into his deaf ears, but he pretended not to
understand me. Then I showed him the silver coin, the double fare,
and tried to place it in his hand. But no, he only shook his head.

I ran up the beach, still looking for a boat.

An hour had passed.

I got back to the landing just as Gian came down to his boat. I
approached him and explained that I was a poor worker in the glass-
factory, who had to work all day and half the night, and as I lived
over in the city and my wife was dying, I must get home. Would he
allow me to ride with His Highness? "Certainly--with pleasure, with
pleasure!" he answered, and then pulling something from under his
sash he said, "Is this your cap, signor?" I took my cap, but my
tongue was paralyzed for the moment so I could not thank him.

We stepped into the boat, and as my offer to row was declined, I
just threw myself down by the hunchback, and the prow swung around
and headed toward the city.

The wind had died down, the rain had ceased, and from between the
blue-black clouds the moon shone out. Gian rowed with a strong, fine
stroke, singing a "Te Deum Laudamus" softly to himself the while. I
lay there and wept, thinking of my boat, my all, my precious boat!

We reached the landing--and there was my boat, safely tied up, not a
cushion or a cord missing. Gian Bellini? He may be a rogue as
Pascale says--God knows! How can I tell--I am only a poor gondolier.


It is a duty incumbent upon upright and credible men of all ranks,
who have performed anything noble or praiseworthy, to truthfully
record, in their own writing, the principal events of their lives.
  --_Benvenuto Cellini_

[Illustration: Cellini]

"The man who is thoroughly interested in himself is interesting to
other people," Wendell Phillips once said.

Good healthy egotism in literature is the red corpuscle that makes
the thing live. Cupid naked and unashamed is always beautiful; we
turn away only when some very proper person perceives he is naked
and attempts to better the situation by supplying him a coat of mud.
The Diary of Marie Bashkirtseff, wherein are many morbid musings and
information as to the development of her mind and anatomy, is
intensely interesting; Amiel's Journal holds us with a tireless
grasp; the Confessions of Saint Augustine can never die; Jean
Jacques Rousseau's book was the favorite of such a trinity of
opposites as Emerson, George Eliot and Walt Whitman; Pepys' Diary is
so dull it is entertaining; and the Memoirs of Benvenuto Cellini
have made a mediocre man immortal.

Cellini had an intense personality; he was skilful as a workman; he
told the truth as he saw it, and if he ever prevaricated it was
simply by failing to mention certain things that he considered were
no credit to anybody. But his friendships were shallow; those he
respected most, say Michelangelo and Raphael, treated him as Prince
Henry finally did Falstaff, never allowing him to come within half a
mile of their person on penalty.  He was intimate with so many women
that he apologized for not remembering them; he had no interest in
his children, and most of his plans and purposes were of a pattypan
order.  Yet he wrote two valuable treatises: one on the art of the
goldsmith and the other on the casting of bronze; there is also an
essay on architecture that contains some good ideas; and courtier
that he was, of course wrote some poetry, which is not so bad as it
might be.  But the book upon which his reputation rests is the
"Memoirs," and a great book it is.  All these things seem to show
that a man can be a great author and yet have a small soul.  Haven't
we overrated this precious gift of authorship just a trifle?

Taine said that educated Englishmen all write alike--they are all
equally stupid.  And John Addington Symonds, an educated Englishman,
and the best translator of Cellini, wrote, "Happily Cellini was
unspoiled by literary training."  Goethe translated Cellini's book
into German and paid the doughty Italian the compliment of saying
that he did the task out of pure enjoyment, and incidentally to
improve his literary style.

Cellini is not exactly like us, and when we read his book we all
give thanks that we are not like him, but every trait that he had
large, we have in little.  Cellini was sincere; he never doubted his
own infallibility, but he points out untiringly the fallibilities in
various popes and everybody else. When Cellini goes out and kills a
man before breakfast, he absolves himself by showing that the man
richly deserved his fate. The braggart and bully are really cowards
at the last. A man who is wholly brave would not think to brag of
it. He would be as brave in his calm moments as in moments of
frenzy--take old John Brown, for instance. But when Cellini had a
job on hand he first worked himself into a torrent of righteous
wrath. He poses as the injured one, the victim of double, deep-dyed
conspiracies, and so he goes through life afraid of every one, and
is one of whom all men are afraid.

Every artist has occasional attacks of Artistic Jealousy, and happy
is the man who contents himself with the varioloid variety. Cellini
had three kinds: acute, virulent and chronic.

Berloiz has worked the man up into a strong and sinewy drama,
several others have done the same, but it will require the combined
skill of Rostand, Mansfield and Samuel Eberly Gross to ever do the
character justice.

John Morley says, "There is nothing worse than mettle in a blind
horse." So one might say there is nothing worse than sincerity in a
superstitious person. Benvenuto Cellini is the true type of a
literary and artistic Bad Man. Had he lived in Colorado in Eighteen
Hundred Seventy, the Vigilance Committee would have used him to
start a graveyard.

But he is so open, so simple, so candid, that we laugh at his
lapses, admire his high resolves, sigh at his follies, sympathize
with his spasms of repentance, and smile a misty smile at one who is
humorous without meaning to be, who was deeply religious but never
pious, who was highly conscientious, undoubtedly artistic, and who
blundered through life, always in a turmoil, hopelessly entangled in
the web of Fate, committing every crime, justifying himself in
everything, and finally passing out peacefully, sincerely believing
that he had lived a Christian life.

Benvenuto Cellini was born in Florence, in the year Fifteen Hundred,
the day after the feast-day of All Souls, at four-thirty precisely
in the afternoon.

The name Benvenuto means welcome: the world welcomed Benvenuto from
the first. When five years of age he seized upon a live scorpion
that he found in the yard and carried it into the house. His father
seeing the deadly creature in his hand sought to get him to throw it
away, but he only clung the tighter to the plaything. The parent
then grabbed a pair of shears and cut off the tail, mouth and claws
of the scorpion, much to the wrath of the child.

Shortly after this he was seated by his father's side looking into a
brazier of coals. All at once they saw a salamander in the fire,
wiggling about in playful mood, literally making its bed in hell.
Many men go through life without seeing a single salamander; neither
Darwin, Spencer, Huxley nor Wallace ever saw one; they are so rare
that occasionally there be men who deny their existence, for we are
very apt to deny the existence of anything we have not seen. In
truth, Benvenuto never saw but this one salamander, but this one was
enough: coupled with the incident of the scorpion it was an augury
that the boy would have a great career, be in many a hot position,
and march through life triumphant and unscathed--God takes care of
His own.

The father of Benvenuto was a designer, a goldsmith and an engineer,
and he might have succeeded in a masterly way in these sublime arts
had he not early in life acquired the habit of the flute. He played
the flute all day long, and often played the flute in the morning
and the fife at night. As it was the flute that had won him his
gracious wife, he thanked God for the gift and continued to play as
long as he had breath.

Now, it was his ambition that his son should play the flute, too, as
all fond fathers regard themselves as a worthy pattern on which
their children should model their manners and morals. But Benvenuto
despised the damnable invention of a flute--it was only blowing
one's breath through a horn and making a noise--yet to please his
father he mastered the instrument, and actuated by filial piety he
occasionally played in a way that caused his father and mother to
weep with joy. But the boy's bent was for drawing and modeling in
wax. All of his spare time was spent in this work, and so great was
his skill that when he was sixteen he was known throughout all
Florence. About this time his brother, two years younger than
himself, had the misfortune one day to be set upon by a gang of
miscreants, and was nigh being killed when Benvenuto ran to his
rescue and seizing his sword laid around him lustily. The miscreants
were just making off when a party of gendarmes appeared and arrested
all concerned. The rogues were duly tried and sentenced to
banishment from the city.

Benvenuto and his brother were also banished.

Shortly after this Benvenuto found himself at Pisa on the road to
Rome. He was footsore, penniless, and as he stood gazing into the
window of a goldsmith the proprietor came out and asked him his
business. He replied, "Sir, I am a designer and goldsmith of no mean

Straightway the man, seeing the lad was likely and honest, set him
to work. The motto of the boy at this time was supplied by his
father. It ran thus: In whatsoever house you be, steal not and live

Seeing this motto, the proprietor straightway trusted him with all
the precious jewels in the store. He remained a year at Pisa, and
was very happy and contented in his work, for never once did he have
to play the flute, nor did he hear one played. Nearly every week
came loving letters from his father begging him to come home, and
admonishing him not to omit practise on the flute.

At the end of a year he got a touch of fever and concluded to go
home, as Florence was much more healthful than Pisa.

Arriving home his father embraced him with tears of unfeigned joy.
His changed and manly appearance pleased his family greatly. And
straightway when their tears were dried and welcomes said, his
father placed a flute in his hands and begged him to play in order
that he might see if his playing had kept pace with his growth and
skill in other ways.

The young man set the instrument to his lips and played an original
selection in a way that made his father shout with joy, "Genius is
indispensable, but practise alone makes perfect!"

Michelangelo was born twenty-five years before Cellini; their homes
were not far apart. In the Gardens of Lorenzo the Magnificent,
Michelangelo had received that strong impetus toward the beautiful
that was to last him throughout his long and arduous life.

When Cellini was eighteen the Master was at Rome, doing the work of
the Pope, the pride of all artistic Florence, and toward the Eternal
City Cellini looked longingly. He haunted the galleries and gardens
where broken fragments of antique and modern marbles were to be
seen, and stood long before the "Pieta" of Michelangelo in the
Church of Santa Croce, wondering if he could ever do as well.

About this time he tells us that he copied that famous cartoon of
Michelangelo's, "Soldiers Bathing in the Arno," made in competition
with Leonardo for the decoration of the Palazzo Vecchio, which he
declares marks the highest pitch of power attained by the Master.
While at this work there appeared in Florence one Pietro Torrigiano,
who had been an exile in England for over twenty years. The visitor
held Cellini's drawing in his hand, studied it carefully and
remarked: "I know this man Michelangelo Buonarrotti--we used to draw
and work together under the tutorship of Masaccio. One day
Buonarrotti annoyed me and I dealt him such a blow on the nose that
I felt the flesh, cartilage and bone go down under my knuckles like
a biscuit. It was a mark he will carry to his grave."

These words were truth, save that Michelangelo was struck with a
mallet and not the man's hand. And it was for the blow that
Torrigiano had to flee, and seemingly, with the years, he had gotten
it into his head that he left Florence of his own accord, and his
crime was a thing of which to boast. Voltaire once said that beyond
doubt the soldier who thrust the spear into the side of the Savior
went away and boasted of the deed. Torrigiano's name is forever
linked with that of Michelangelo. Thus much for the pride of little
men who make a virtue of a vice.

But the boast of Torrigiano caused Cellini to grow faint and sick,
then to burn with hate. He snatched the drawing from the other's
hand, and might have deprived Torrigiano of all the nose he
possessed, had not better counsel prevailed. Ever after Cellini
avoided the man--for the man's own good.

That art was a passion to this stripling is plain. It was his meat
and drink--with fighting for dessert. One of his near companions was
Francisco, grandson of Fra Lippo Lippi, and another chum was Tasso,
at this time a youth of nineteen--his own age. Tasso became a great
artist. Vasari tells of him at length, and sketches his career while
in the employ of Cosimo de Medici.

One day Benvenuto and Tasso were walking after their work was done,
and discussing as usual the wonderful genius of Michelangelo. They
agreed that some day they must go to him at Rome. They were near the
gate of the city that led out on the direct road to the Eternal
City. They passed out of the gate still talking earnestly.

"Why, we are on the way now," said Tasso.

"And to turn back is an ill omen--we will go on!" answered

So they kept on, each one saying, "And what will our folks say

By night they had traveled twenty miles. They stopped at an inn, and
in the morning Tasso was so lame he declared he could not proceed.
Benvenuto insisted, and even threatened.

They trudged forward, and in a week the spire of Saint Peter's (the
wondrous dome was yet to be) lifted itself out of the fog, and they
stood speechless and uncovered, each devoutly crossing himself.

Benvenuto had a trade, and as skilled men are always needed he got
work at once. Tasso filled in the time carving wood. They did not
see Michelangelo--that worthy was too busy to receive callers, or
indulge the society of adventurous youths. Cellini does not say much
about this, but skips two years in a page, takes part in a riot and
flees back to Florence. He enters into earnest details of how 'leven
rogues in buckram suits reviled him as he passed a certain shop. One
of them upset a handcart of brick upon him. He dealt the miscreant a
blow on the ear. The police here appeared and as usual arrested the
innocent Happy Hooligan of the affair. Being taken before the
Magistrates he was accused of striking a free citizen. Cellini
insisted he had only boxed the man's ears, but many witnesses in
chorus averred that he had struck the citizen in the face with his
clenched fist. "I only boxed his ears," exclaimed Cellini above the
din. The Magistrates all burst out laughing, and adjourned for
dinner, warning Cellini to remain where he was until they came back
--hoping he would run away.

He sat there thinking over his sad lot, when a sudden impulse
seizing him he darted out of the palace, and ran swiftly for the
house of his enemies. He drew his knife, and rushing in among them
where they were at dinner, upset the table and yelled, "Send for a
confessor, for none of you will ever need a doctor when I get
through with you!"

Several women fainted, the men sprang through windows, and the chief
rogue got a slash that went straight for his heart. He fell down,
and Cellini thinking the man was dead started for the street. At the
door he was greeted by all those who had jumped through the windows,
reinforced by others. They were armed with shovels, tongs, skillets,
clubs, sticks and knives. He laid about him right and left, but the
missiles descended in such showers that he lost his knife and cap,
first sending to the earth a full dozen of the rogues.

Running to the house of a priest Cellini begged to confess the
murder, and told of how he had acted only in self-defense. Being
shrived, for a consideration, he awaited the coming of the
constabulary. But they did not come, for the man who thought he had
been stabbed got only a slash through his jacket, and no one was
seriously hurt, except one of the men who jumped through a window
and sprained his ankle. But so unjust were the Magistrates that
Cellini had to flee from the city or he would have been sentenced to
the army and sent God knows where, to fight the Moors.

Max Nordau has a certain amount of basis for his proposition that
genius and madness are near allied, but it will hardly do, however,
to assume that they are the same thing. Cellini at times showed a
fine flaring up of talent that might be called genius--he could do
exquisite work--yet there were other times when he certainly was
"queer." These queer periods might account for his occasional fusing
of memory and imagination, and the lapses of recollection entirely
concerning things he did not wish to remember. The Memoirs were
begun when he was fifty-eight and finished when he was sixty-three:
thus many years had elapsed between the doing and the recording. The
Constable Bourbon was killed at the siege of Rome: Cellini was
present at the siege and killed several men: therefore what more
probable than that Cellini killed the Constable? Cellini calmly
records that it was he who did the deed. He also tells that he
killed William, Prince of Orange; in fact, he killed at least one
man a day for many weeks. At this distance of time we should be
quite willing to take his word for it, just as we would, most
certainly, if he had told us these things face to face.

In one incidental paragraph he records that he christened a son, and
adds: "So far as I can remember this was my first child." He drops
the record there, never once alluding to the child's mother, nor
what became of the child, which if it lived was a man grown at the
time Cellini was writing.

His intense hatred toward all who were in direct competition with
him, his references to them as cheese-mites, beasts, buzzards and
brigands, his fears of poison, and suspicions that they had "curdled
his bronze"; his visitations by spirits and angels, mark him as a
man who trod the borderland of sanity. If he did not like a woman or
she did not like him--the same thing--she was a troll, wench,
scullion, punk, trollop or hussy. He had such a beautiful vocabulary
of names for folks he did not admire, that the translator is
constantly put to straits to produce a product that will not be
excluded from the mails.

If you want to know how things were done when knighthood was in
flower, you can find out here. Or should you be possessed of
literary longing and have a desire to produce some such cheerful
message for humanity as "A Gentleman of France," "Monsieur
Beaucaire," or "Under the Red Robe," you can sink your shaft in
Cellini's book and mine enough incidents in an hour to make a
volume, with a by-product of slag for several Penny Shockers.

Yet Cellini has corroborated history on many points, and backed up
the gossipy Vasari in a valuable way. It is very doubtful whether
either of these gentlemen had ever the felicity of reading the
other's book, unless there be books in Elysium--as Charles Lamb
thought there were--but sure it is that they render sidelights on
the times that are much to our profit. Vasari and Cellini had been
close friends in youth, working and studying together. Vasari was a
poor artist and a commonplace architect, but he seemed to have
social qualities that bridged the gulf where his talent broke off
short. In the Palazzo Vecchio are several large specimens of his
work that must have been once esteemed for their own sake. Now their
chief value lies in the fact that they are a Hop-Smith production,
having been painted by a pleasing writer and a charming gentleman,
and so we point them out with forefinger and bated breath.

Cellini's hate of Vasari proves, also, that the Gossipy One stood
well with the reigning powers, otherwise Benvenuto would not have
thought to condemn his work and allude to the man as a dough-face,
trickster, lickspittle, slanderer, vulture, vagrom, villain,
vilifier and gnat's hind-foot. Cellini threatened to kill the man
several times: he denounced him in public and used to call after him
on the street, referring to him cheerfully as a deep-dyed rogue. Had
either of these men killed the other, it would have been a loss to
letters; but certain it is that Vasari was much more of a gentleman
than Cellini. That Vasari was judicial in his estimates of men is
shown by his references to Cellini, whom he speaks of as "A skilled
artist, of active, alert and industrious habits, who produced many
valuable works of art, but who unfortunately was possessed of a most
unpleasant temper."

Men are so fallible in their estimates of contemporaries that one
man's statement that another is a rogue does not in the slightest
change our views of that man. What we are, that we see: the epithets
a man applies to another usually fit himself better, and this is the
thought in mind when we read what Cellini says of Vasari and
Bandinelli. These men were commonplace artists, but pretty good men;
Cellini was a better artist than either, but not a desirable tenant
for the upper flat in your house if you chanced to reside below.

Cellini was landed behind grated bars many times, but usually
managed to speedily escape. However, in his thirty-eighth year, he
found himself in a dungeon of Sant' Angelo, that grim fortress that
he had fought so vigorously to defend.

More than one homicide the Recording Angel had marked up against
him, but men took small note of these things, and even Pope Paul had
personally blessed him and granted him absolution for all the
murders he had committed or might commit--this in consideration of
his distinguished services in defense of the Vatican.

The charge against him now was the very humdrum one of stealing
treasure that he was supposed to guard. That he was innocent there
is no doubt: whatever the man was, he was no thief. The charge
against him was a trumped-up one to get him out of the way. He was
painfully in evidence--he talked like a windmill, and in his
swaggering he had become inconvenient, if not dangerous, to some who
were close to political greatness. No one caring for the job of
killing him, they locked him up, for the good of himself and
society. It probably was the intention to keep him under key for
only a few weeks, until his choler would subside; but he was so
saucy, and sent out such a stream of threats to all concerned, that
things reached a point where it was unsafe to liberate him.

So he was kept in the Castle for over two years, during which time
he once escaped, broke his leg in the effort, was recaptured and
brought back.

A prison is not wholly bad--men in prison often have time to study
and think, where before such things were impossible. At least they
are free from intrusion. Cellini became deeply religious--he read
his Bible and the lives of the saints. Ministering angels came to
him, and spirits appeared and whispered words of comfort. The man
became softened and subdued. He wrote poetry, and recorded his
thoughts on many things. In the meantime, his accuser having died,
he was given his liberty. He was a better and a wiser man when he
came out than when he went in, although one fails to find that he
was exactly grateful to his captors.

In prison he planned various statues of a religious order. It was in
prison, too, that he thought out the Perseus and Medusa. In prison,
works like the Pieta were his ambition, but when freedom came the
Perseus was uppermost in his mind. Every great work of art is an
evolution--the man sees it first as a mere germ--it grows, enlarges,
evolves. The Perseus of Cellini was a thought that took years to
germinate. The bloody nature of the man and his love of form united,
and the world has this wonderful work of art that stands today
exactly where its creator placed it, in the Loggia de' Lanzia--that
beautiful out-of-door hall on the Piazza Signora at Florence. The
naked man, wearing his proud helmet, one foot on the writhing body
of the wretched woman, sword in right hand and in the left the
dripping head, is a terrible picture. Yet so exquisite is the
workmanship that our horror soon evaporates into admiration, and we
gaze in wonder. Probably the history of no great work of art has
ever been more painstakingly presented than the story of the making
of this statue by Cellini. Again and again he was on the point of
smashing the clay to chaos, but each time his hand was stayed.
Months passed, years went by, and innumerable difficulties were in
the way of its completion. Finally he figured out a method to cast
it in bronze. And of its final casting no better taste of the man's
quality can be given than to let him tell the story himself. Says

I felt convinced that when my Perseus was accomplished, all my
trials would be turned to high felicity and glorious well-being.

Accordingly I strengthened my heart, and with all the forces of my
body and my purse, employing what little money still remained to me,
I set to work. First I provided myself with several loads of pine-
wood from the forests of Serristori. While these were on their way,
I clothed my Perseus with the clay which I had prepared many months
beforehand, in order that it might be duly seasoned. After making
its clay tunic (for that is the term used in this art) and properly
arming and fencing it with iron girders, I began to draw the wax out
by means of slow fire. This melted and issued through numerous air-
vents I had made; for the more there are of these, the better will
the mold fill. When I had finished drawing off the wax, I
constructed a funnel-shaped furnace all round the model of my
Perseus. It was built of bricks, so interlaced, the one above the
other, that numerous apertures were left for the fire to exhale at.
Then I began to lay on wood by degrees, and kept it burning two
whole days and nights.

At length, when all the wax was gone and the mold was well baked, I
set to work at digging the pit in which to sink it. This I performed
with scrupulous regard to all the rules of art. When I had finished
that part of my work, I raised the mold by windlasses and stout
ropes to a perpendicular position, and suspending it with greatest
care one cubit above the level of the furnace, so that it hung
exactly above the middle of the pit, I next lowered it gently down
into the very bottom of the furnace, and had it firmly placed with
every possible precaution for its safety. When this delicate
operation was accomplished, I began to bank it up with the earth I
had excavated; and ever as the earth grew higher, I introduced its
proper air-vents, which were little tubes of earthenware, such as
folks use for drains and such-like purposes. At length, I felt sure
that it was admirably fixed, and that the filling-in of the pit and
the placing of the air-vents had been properly performed. I also
could see that my work-people understood my method, which differed
very considerably from that of all other masters in the trade.
Feeling confident, then, that I could rely upon them, I next turned
to my furnace, which I had filled with numerous pigs of copper and
other bronze stuff. The pieces were piled according to the laws of
art, that is to say, so resting one upon another that the flames
could play freely through them, in order that the metal might heat
and liquefy the sooner. At last I called out heartily to set the
furnace going. The logs of pine were heaped in, and, what with the
unctuous resin of the wood and the good draft I had given, my
furnace worked so well that I was obliged to rush from side to side
to keep it from going too fast. The labor was more than I could
stand; yet I forced myself to strain every nerve and muscle. To
increase my anxieties, the workshop took fire, and we were afraid
lest the roof should fall upon our heads; while from the garden such
a storm of wind and rain kept blowing in, that it perceptibly cooled
the furnace.

Battling thus with all these untoward circumstances for several
hours, and exerting myself beyond even the measure of my powerful
constitution, I could at last bear up no longer, and a sudden fever,
of the utmost possible intensity, attacked me. I felt absolutely
obliged to go and fling myself upon my bed. Sorely against my will
having to drag myself away from the spot, I turned to my assistants,
about ten or more in all, what with master-founders, hand-workers,
country fellows, and my own special journeymen, among whom was
Bernardino Mannellini, my apprentice through several years. To him
in particular I spoke: "Look, my dear Bernardino, that you observe
the rules which I have taught you; do your best with all dispatch,
for the metal will soon be fused. You can not go wrong; these honest
men will get the channels ready; you will easily be able to drive
back the two plugs with this pair of iron crooks; and I am sure that
mold will fill miraculously. I feel more ill that I ever did in all
my life, and verily believe that it will kill me before a few hours
are over." Thus with despair at heart, I left them, and betook
myself to bed.

No sooner had I got to bed, than I ordered my serving-maids to carry
food and wine for all the men into the workshop; at the same time I
cried, "I shall not be alive tomorrow!" They tried to encourage me,
arguing that my illness would pass over, since it came from
excessive fatigue. In this way I spent two hours battling with the
fever, which steadily increased, and calling out continually, "I
feel that I am dying."

My housekeeper, who was named Mona Fiore da Castel del Rio, a very
notable manager and no less warmhearted, kept chiding me for my
discouragement; but, on the other hand, she paid me every kind
attention which was possible. However, the sight of my physical pain
and moral dejection so affected her, that, in spite of that brave
heart of hers, she could not refrain from shedding tears; and yet,
so far as she was able, she took good care I should not see them.
While I was thus terribly afflicted, I beheld the figure of a man
enter my chamber, twisted in his body into the form of a capital S.
He raised a lamentable, doleful voice, like one who announces his
last hour to men condemned to die upon the scaffold, and spoke these
words: "O Benvenuto! your statue is spoiled, and there is no hope
whatever of saving it!" No sooner had I heard the shriek of that
wretch than I gave a howl which might have been heard in hell.
Jumping from my bed, I seized my clothes and began to dress. The
maids, and my lad, and every one who came around to help me, got
kicks or blows of the fist, while I kept crying out in lamentation:
"Ah! traitors! enviers! This is an act of treason, done by malice
prepense! But I swear by God that I will sift it to the bottom, and
before I die will leave such witness to the world of what I can do
as shall make a score of mortals marvel."

When I got my clothes on, I strode with soul bent on mischief toward
the workshop; there I beheld the men, whom I had left erewhile in
such high spirits, standing stupefied and downcast. I began at once
and spoke: "Up with you! Attend to me! Since you have not been able
or willing to obey the directions I gave you, obey me now that I am
with you to conduct my work in person. Let no one contradict me, for
in cases like this we need the aid of hand and hearing, not of

When I had uttered these words, a certain Maestro Alessandro broke
silence and said, "Look you, Benvenuto, you are going to attempt an
enterprise which the laws of art do not sanction, and which can not
succeed." I turned upon him with such fury that he and all the rest
of them exclaimed with one voice: "Oh then! Give orders! We will
obey your least commands, so long as life is left to us." I believe
they spoke thus feelingly because they thought I must fall shortly
dead upon the ground. I went immediately to inspect the furnace, and
found that the metal was all curdled; an accident which we expressed
by being "caked." I told two of the hands to cross the road, and
fetch from the house of the butcher Capretta a load of young oak-
wood, which had lain dry for above a year. So soon as the first
armfuls arrived, I began to fill the grate beneath the furnace. Now
oak-wood of that kind heats more powerfully than any other sort of
tree; and for this reason, where a slow fire is wanted, as in the
case of gun-foundry, alder or pine is preferred. Accordingly, when
the logs took fire, oh! how the cake began to stir beneath that
awful heat, to glow and sparkle in a blaze! At the same time I kept
stirring up the channels, and sent men upon the roof to stop the
conflagration, which had gathered force from the increased
combustion in the furnace; also I caused boards, carpets, and other
hangings to be set up against the garden, in order to protect us
from the violence of the rain.

When I had thus provided against these several disasters, I roared
out first to one man and then to another: "Bring this thing here!
Take that thing there!" At this crisis, when the whole gang saw the
cake was on the point of melting, they did my bidding, each fellow
working with the strength of three. I then ordered half a pig of
pewter to be brought, which weighed about sixty pounds, and flung it
into the middle of the cake inside the furnace. By this means, and
by piling on wood and stirring now with pokers and now with iron
rods, the curdling mass rapidly began to liquefy. Then, knowing I
had brought the dead to life again, against the firm opinion of
those ignoramuses, I felt such vigor fill my veins that all those
pains of fever, all those fears of death, were quite forgotten.

All of a sudden an explosion took place, attended by a tremendous
flash of flame, as though a thunderbolt had formed and been
discharged amongst us. Unwonted and appalling terror astonished
every one, and me more even than the rest. When the din was over and
the dazzling light extinguished, we began to look each other in the
face. Then I discovered that the cap of the furnace had blown up,
and the bronze was bubbling over from its source beneath. So I had
the mouths of my mold immediately opened, and at the same time drove
in the two plugs which kept back the molten metal.

But I noticed that it did not flow as rapidly as usual, the reason
being probably that the fierce heat of the fire we kindled had
consumed its base alloy. Accordingly I sent for all my pewter
platters, porringers and dishes, to the number of some two hundred
pieces, and had a portion of them cast, one by one, into the
channels, the rest into the furnace. This expedient succeeded, and
every one could now perceive that my bronze was in most perfect
liquefaction, and my mold was filling; whereupon they all with
heartiness and happy cheer assisted and obeyed my bidding, while I,
now here, now there, gave orders, helped with my own hands, and
cried aloud: "O God! Thou that by Thy immeasurable power didst rise
from the dead, and in Thy glory didst ascend to heaven!" ... even
thus in a moment my mold was filled; and seeing my work finished, I
fell upon my knees, and with all my heart gave thanks to God. After
all was over, I turned to a plate of salad on a bench there, and ate
with hearty appetite, and drank together with the whole crew.
Afterwards I retired to bed, healthy and happy, for it was now two
hours before morning, and slept as sweetly as though I had never
felt the touch of illness. My good housekeeper, without my giving
any orders, had prepared a fat capon for my repast. So that, when I
rose, about the hour for breaking fast, she presented herself with a
smiling countenance, and said: "Oh! is that the man who felt that he
was dying? Upon my word, I think the blows and kicks you dealt us
last night, when you were so enraged, and had that demon in your
body as it seemed, must have frightened away your mortal fever!"

All my poor household, relieved in like measure from anxiety and
overwhelming labor, went at once to buy earthen vessels in order to
replace the pewter I had cast away. Then we dined together joyfully;
nay, I can not remember a day in my whole life when I dined with
greater gladness or a better appetite.

Though forms may change, nothing dies. Everything is in circulation.
Men, as well as planets, have their orbits. Some have a wider swing
than others, but just wait and they will come back. Not only do
chickens come home to roost, but so does everything else. The place
of Cellini's birth was also the place of his death. The limit of his
stay in one place, at one time, it seems, was about two years. The
man was a sort of human anachronism--he had in his heart all the
beauty and passion of the Renaissance, and carried, too, the
savagery and density of the Dark Ages. That his skill as a designer
and artificer in the fine metals saved him from death again and
again, there is no doubt. Princes, cardinals, popes, dukes and
priests protected him simply because he could serve them. He
designed altars, caskets, bracelets, vases, girdles, clasps, medals,
rings, coins, buttons, seals--a tiara for the Pope, a diadem for an
Emperor. With minute and exquisite things he was at his best. The
final proof that he was human and his name frailty lies in the fact
that he was a busybody.

As he worked he always knew what others about him were doing. If
they were poor workmen, he encouraged them in a friendly way; if
they were beyond him and out of his class, like Michelangelo, he was
subservient; but if they were on his plane he hated them with a
hatred that was passing speech.

There was usually art and a woman hopelessly mixed in his melees. In
his migrations he swung between Florence, Pisa, Mantua and Rome, and
clear to France when necessary. When he arrived in a town he would
soon become a favorite with other skilled workers. Naturally he
would be introduced to their lady friends. These ladies were usually
"complaisant," to use his own phrase. Soon he would be on very good
terms with one or more of them; then would come jealousies; he would
tire of the lady, or she of him more probably; then, if she took up
with a goldsmith, Benvenuto would hate the pair with a beautiful
hatred. He would be sure that they were plotting to undo him: he
would listen to their remarks, lie in wait for them, watch their
actions, quietly question their friends. Then suddenly some dark
night he would spring upon them from behind a corner and cry, "You
are all dead folk!" And sometimes they were.

Then Cellini would fly without leaving orders where to forward his
mail. Getting into another principality, he was comparatively safe--
the place he left was glad to get rid of him, and the new princeling
who had taken him up was pleased to secure his skill. Under the new
environment, with all troubles behind, he would begin a clean
balance-sheet, full of zest and animation.

The human heart does not change. Every employing printer,
lithographer and newspaper-publisher knows this erratic, brilliant,
artistic and troublesome man. He does good service for just so long,
then the environment begins to pall upon him: he grows restless,
suspicious, uncertain. He is looking for a chance to bolt. Strong
drink comes in to hasten the ruction. There is a strike, a fight, an
explosion, and our artistic tramp finds himself on the sidewalk.

He goes away damning everybody. In two years, or less, he comes
back, penitent. Old scores are forgotten, several of the enemy are
dead, others have passed on into circulation, and the artistic
roustabout is given a desk or a case.

Cellini's book is immensely interesting for various reasons, not the
least of which is that he pictures, indirectly, that restlessness
and nostalgia which only the grave can cure. And at the last our
condemnation is swallowed up in pity, and we can only think kindly
of one who was his own worst enemy, who succeeded in a few things,
and like the rest of us, failed in many.


As an illustrator, Abbey combined daintiness with a fair measure
of dramatic feeling for the pose. A modicum of old Benjamin West's
tendency to the grandiose would have done Abbey no harm; but if his
imagination balked at the higher flights often attained by Gustave
Dore, and sometimes by Elihu Vedder, yet there is a charm in his
sobriety, there is something which compels our respect in the
workmanlike method, in the evidences of thoroughness which appeared
in all he wrought. Some of his Shakespeare figures linger in the
memory like that of Iago as played by Edwin Booth, or that of
Rosalind as played by Modjeska.
  --_Charles de Kay_

[Illustration: Abbey]

Edwin A. Abbey was born in Philadelphia (not of his own choosing) in
the year Eighteen Hundred Fifty-two. His parents were blessed in
that they had neither poverty nor riches. Their ambition for Edwin
was that he should enter one of the so-called Learned Professions;
but this was not to the boy's taste. I fear me he was a heretic
through prenatal influences, for they do say that he was a child of
his mother. This mother's mind was tinted with her Quaker
associations until she doubted the five points of Calvinism and had
small faith in the Thirty-nine Articles. She was able to think for
herself and act for herself; and as she perceived that the preachers
were making a guess, so she discovered that doctors with bushy
eyebrows, who wore dogskin gloves in Summer and who coughed when you
asked them a question--gaining time to formulate a reply--didn't
know much more about measles, mumps, chicken-pox and whooping-cough
than she did herself. Philadelphia has always had a plethora of
Medical Journals and dogmatic doctors. Living in Philadelphia and
having had a little experience with doctors, Mrs. Abbey let them
severely alone and prescribed the pediluvium, hop-tea, sulphur and
molasses and a roll-up in warm blankets for everything--and with
great success. Beyond this she filled the day with work and kept
everybody else at work. The moral of Old Deacon Buffum, "Blessed is
the man who has found some one to do his work," had no place in her
creed. To her, every one had his work that no other could do, and
every day had its work which could not be done any other day, and
success and health and happiness lay in doing well whatever you

Having eliminated two of the Learned Professions from her ambitions
for her boy, the Law was left as the only choice.

To be a Philadelphia lawyer is a proud and vaulting ambition.
Philadelphia lawyers are exceedingly astute, and are able to confuse
the simplest propositions, thus hopelessly befogging judge and jury.
On the banks of the Schuylkill all jurors are provided with dice so
as to decide the cases with perfect justice--small dice for little
cases and large dice for big ones. Philadelphia lawyers carry green
bags full of briefs, remarkable for everything but brevity; also
statutes, recognizances, tenures, double-vouchers, fines,
recoveries, indentures, not to mention quiddities, quillets, quirks
and quips. Philadelphia lawyers have high foreheads and many
clients. Lawyers are educated men, looked up to and respected by
all--this was the Abbey idea. Of course, it will be observed that it
was an idea that could be held by people only who had viewed lawyers
from a safe distance.

Fortunately for the Abbeys, they had really no more use for the
lawyers than they had for the two other Learned Professions. Their
idea of a lawyer was gained from seeing one pass their house every
morning at nine forty-five, for ten years. He wore a high hat, and
carried a gold-headed cane in one hand and a green bag in the other.
He lived on Walnut Street, below Ninth in a three-story house with
white marble steps and white shutters, tied with black strips of
bombazine in token of the death of a brother who passed out in

Edwin should be a lawyer, and be an honor to the family name.

But alas! Edwin was small and had a low forehead and squint eyes. He
didn't care for books--all he would do was draw pictures. Now, all
children make pictures--before they can read, they draw. And before
they can draw they get the family shears and cut the pictures out of
"Harper's Weekly." This boy cut pictures out of "Harper's Weekly"
when he wore dresses, and when George William Curtis first filled
the Easy Chair. Edwin cut out the pictures, not because they were
especially bad, but because he, like all other children, was an
artist in the germ; and the artist instinct is to detach the thing,
lift it out, set it apart, and then give it away.

All children draw pictures, I said, and this is true, but most
children can be cured of the habit by patience and an occasional box
on the ear, judiciously administered. All children are sculptors,
too; that is to say, they want to make things out of mud or dough or
wax or putty; but no mother who sets her heart on clean guimpes and
pinafores can afford for a moment to indulge in such inclinations.
To give children dough, putty and the shears would keep your house
in a pretty litter--lawksadaisy!

Mrs. Abbey hid the shears, put the "Harper's" on a high shelf and
took the boy's pencils away, and threw the putty out into Fourth
Street, below Vine. Then the boy had tantrums, and as a compromise
got all his playthings back.

Yes, this squat, beetle-browed, and bow-legged boy had his way.
Beetle-browed, bow-legged folks usually do. Caesar and Cromwell had
bow-legs, so had Napoleon, and so have Pierpont Morgan and James J.
Hill. Charles the First was knock-kneed. Knock-knees are a
deformity; bow-legs an accident. Bulldogs have bow-legs; hounds are
knock-kneed. Bow-legs mean will plus--a determination to do--the
child insists on walking before the cartilage has turned to bone.
Spirit is stronger than matter--hence the Greek curve.

Little Edwin Abbey ran the Abbey household and drew because he
wanted to--on sidewalks, white steps, kitchen-wall, or the fly-
leaves in books.

Rumor has it that Edwin Abbey did not get along very well at school
--instead of getting his lessons he drew pictures, and thirty years
ago such conduct was proof of total depravity. Like the amateur
blacksmith who started to make a horseshoe and finally contented
himself with a fizzle, the Abbeys gave up theology and law, and
decided that if Edwin became a good printer it would be enough. And
then, how often printers became writers--then editors and finally
proprietors! Edwin might yet own the "Ledger" and have a collection
of four hundred seventy-two clocks.

Through a mutual friend, Mr. Childs was interviewed and Edwin was
set to work in the Typesetting Department of the "Ledger." Evenings
and an hour three times a week he sketched in the free class at the
Academy of Art.

How long he remained in the newspaper work, I do not know, but there
came a day when Mr. Childs and his minions, having no use for Edwin,
gave him a letter of recommendation to the Art Department of
"Harper's Weekly."

That George W. Childs had a really firm friendship for young Abbey,
there is no doubt. He followed his career with fatherly interest,
and was the first man, so far as I know, who had the prophetic
vision to see that he would become a great artist. George W. Childs
was a many-sided man. He had a clear head for business, was a judge
of human nature, a patron of the arts, a collector of rare and
curious things, and wrote with clearness, force and elegance. Men of
such strong personality have decided likings, and they also have
decided aversions. The pet aversion of Childs was tobacco. All
through the "Ledger" office were startling signs, "No smoking!" It
was never, "Please do not smoke," or "Smoking interferes with
Insurance!" Not these--the order was imperative. And the mutability
of human affairs, as well as life's little ironies, is now shown in
the fact that the name and fame of George W. Childs is deathless
through a wonderful five-cent cigar.

Whether the use of tobacco had anything to do with young Abbey's
breaking with his "Ledger" friends, is a question. Tradition has it
that Childs extracted from the youth a promise, on his going away,
that he would never use the weed. The Union Square records fail us
at times, but it is believed that Abbey kept his promise for fully
three weeks.

"Edwin Abbey learned to swim by jumping into deep water," says Henry
James. A young man in the Art Department of an absurdly punctual
periodical, before the Era of the Halftone, just had to draw, and
that was all there was about it.

Things were happening uptown, downtown, over in Boston, and out as
far as Buffalo--and the young men in the Art Department were sent to
make pictures. The experience of a reporter develops facility--you
have to do the assignment. To write well and rapidly on any subject,
the position of reporter on an old-time daily approached the ideal.
Even the drone became animated, when the copy must be in inside of
two hours. The way to learn to write is to write. But young men will
not write of their own free will; the literary first-mate in way of
a Managing Editor with a loaded club of expletives is necessary. Or,
stay! there is another way to stimulate the ganglionic cells and
become dexterous in the cosmic potentiality--the Daily Theme sent to
a woman who thinks and feels. That is the way that Goethe acquired
his style. There were love-letters that crossed each other daily,
and after years of this practise--the sparks a-flying--Goethe found
himself the greatest stylist of his day. Love taught him.

To write for a daily paper is a great drill, only you must not keep
at it too long or you will find yourself bound to the wheel, a part
of the roaring machinery.

Combine the daily paper with the daily love-letter and you have the
ideal condition for forming a literary style; and should you drop
out one, why, cleave to the second, would be the advice of a

To draw pictures is simply one way of telling a story. Abbey told
the story, and there was soon evidence in better work that he was
telling it for Some One. Get a complete file of "Harper's Weekly,"
say from Eighteen Hundred Seventy-two to Eighteen Hundred Ninety,
and you can trace the Evolution of the Art of Edwin Abbey. If any of
the Abbey pictures have been removed, the books are chiefly valuable
as junk; but if the set can be advertised, as I saw one yesterday,
"with all of Abbey's drawings, warranted intact," the set of books
commands a price. People are now wisely collecting "Harper's" simply
because Abbey was once a part of the Art Department. And the value
of the books will increase with the years, for they trace the
gradual but sure evolution of a great and lofty soul.

Edwin Abbey was nineteen years old when he accepted a position--more
properly, secured a job--in the Art Department of Harper's. The
records of the office show his salary was seven dollars a week--but
it did not stay at that figure always. The young man did not get
along well at school, and he was not a success as a printer; but he
could focus his force at the end of a pencil, and he did.
Transplantation often turns a weed into a flower. It seems a hard
saying and a grievous one, but the salvation of many a soul turns on
getting away from one's own family. They are wise parents that do
not prove a handicap to their children. The good old-fashioned idea
was that parents were wholly responsible for their children's coming
into the world, and that, therefore, they owned them body and soul
until they reached their majority--and even then the restraint was
little removed. "Well, and what are you going to make of William?"
and "To whom are you going to marry Fanny?" were once common
questions. And all the while the fact remains that the child is not
God's gift to parents. Children are only God-given tenants. Use them
well if you would have them remain with you as the joy of love and
life and light. Give the child love and then more love and then love
and freedom to live his God-given life. Then all the precepts you
would give him for his own good, he will absorb from you and you
need not say a word. Trying to teach a child by telling him is
worthless and puts you in a bad light. A child has not lost his
heavenly vision and sees you as you are, not minding what you say.

At Harper's Abbey came into competition with strong men. In the
office was a young fellow by the name of Reinhart and another by the
name of Alexander--they used to call him Alexander the Great, and he
has nearly proved his title.

A little later came Howard Pyle, Joseph Fennel and Alfred Parsons.
Young Abbey did his work with much good-cheer, and sought to place
himself with the best. For a time he drew just like Alexander, then
like Reinhart; next, Parsons was his mentor. Finally he drifted out
on a sea of his own, and this seems to have been in the year of the
Centennial Exhibition. Harper's sent the young man over to
Philadelphia, or perhaps he went of his own accord; anyway, he
haunted the art-rooms at the Exhibition, and got a lesson there that
spurred his genius as it had never been spurred before.

He was then twenty-four years old. His salary had been increased to
ten dollars a week, fifteen, twenty-five: if he wanted money for
"expenses" he applied to the cashier. There is more good honest
velvet in an Expense-Account than in the Stock Exchange, which true
saying has nothing to do with Abbey. At the "Centennial" Abbey
discovered the Arthurian Legend--fell over it, just as William
Morris fell over the Icelandic Sagas when past fifty. Abbey had been
called the "Stage-Coachman" at Harper's, because he had developed a
faculty for picturing old taverns at that exciting moment when
horses were being changed and the driver, in a bell-crowned white
hat and wonderful waistcoat, tosses his lines to a fellow in tight
hair-cut and still tighter breeches, and a woman in big hoops gets
out of the stage with many bandboxes and a birdcage. The way Abbey
breathed into the scene the breath of life was wonderful--just a
touch of comedy, without caricature! "If it is in Seventeen Hundred
Seventy-six, give it to Abbey," said the Managing Editor, with a
growl--for Managing Editors, being beasts, always growl.

Abbey and Parsons had walked to Philadelphia and back, taking two
weeks for the trip, sketching on the way stagecoaches, taverns, tall
houses and old wooden bridges, all pinned together--just these and
nothing else, save Independence Hall. Later, they went to Boston and
did Faneuil Hall, inside and out, King's Chapel and the State House,
and a house or two out Quincyway, including the Adams cottage, where
lived two Presidents, and where now resides one William Spear, the
only honorary male member of the Daughters of the Revolution. Mr.
Spear dominates the artistic bailiwick and performs antique antics
for Art's sake: it was Mr. Spear who posed as Tony Lumpkin for Mr.

Abbey had done Washington Irving's Knickerbocker tales and the
various "Washington's Headquarters." He worked exclusively in black
and white--crayon, pencil or pen and ink. His hand had taken on a
style--powdered wigs, spit-curls, hoops, flaring sunbonnets, cocked
hats and the tallyho! These were his properties. He worked from
model plus imagination. He had exhausted the antique in America--he
thirsted to refresh his imagination in England. The Centennial
Exhibition had done its deadly work--Abbey and Parsons were
dissatisfied--they wanted to see more. Back of the stagecoach times
lay the days of the castle. Back of the musket was the blunderbuss,
and back of these were the portcullis, the moat, the spear and coats
of mail.

A deluxe edition of "Herrick" was proposed by the Publishing
Department: some say the Art Department made the suggestion. Anyway,
there was a consultation in the manager's office, and young Abbey
was to go to England to look up the scene and with his pencil bring
the past up to the present.

Abbey was going to England, that is just all there was about it, and
Harper and Brothers did not propose to lose their hold upon him.
Salary was waived, but expenses were advanced, and the understanding
was that Abbey was Harper's man. This was in Eighteen Hundred
Seventy-eight, with Abbey's twenty-sixth birthday yet to come. Abbey
had gone around and bidden everybody good-by, including his old-time
chum, Alfred Parsons. Parsons was going to the dock to see him off.

"I wish you were going, too," said Edwin, huskily. "I believe I
will," said Alfred, swallowing hard. And he did.

The Managing Editor growled furiously, but to no avail, for the
Cunarder that bore the boys was then well out toward the Banks.

It was an American that discovered Stratford; and it is the Peter's
pence of American tourists that now largely support the town. At
Stratford, Washington Irving jostles the Master for the first place,
and when we drink at the George W. Childs fountain we piously pour a
libation to all three.

Like all bookish and artistic Americans, when Abbey and Parsons
thought of England they thought of Shakespeare's England--the
England that Washington Irving had made plain.

Washington Irving seemed very close to our young men--London held
them only a few days and then they started for Stratford. They went
afoot, as became men who carried crayons that scorned the steam-
horse. They took the road for Oxford and stopped at the tavern where
the gossips aver that the author of "Love's Labor's Lost" made love
to the landlord's wife--a thing I never would believe, e'en though I
knew 't were true. From Oxford the young men made their way to
storied Warwick, where the portcullis is raised--or lowered, I do
not remember which--every evening at sundown to tap of drum. It is
the same old Warwick Castle that Shakespeare knew; the same cedars
of Lebanon that he saw; the same screaming peacocks; the same
circling rooks and daws, and down across the lazy Avon over the
meadows the same skylark vibrates the happy air.

Young Abbey saw these things, just as Washington Irving saw them,
and he saw them just as the boy William Shakespeare saw them.

Nine miles from Warwick lies Stratford. But at Stratford the tourist
is loosed; the picnicker is abroad; the voice of the pedant is heard
in the land, and the Baconian is upon us. Abbey and Parsons stopped
at the Red Horse Inn and slept in the room that Washington Irving
occupied, and they do say now that Irving occupied every room in the
house. Stratford was not to the liking of our friends. They wanted
to be in the Shakespeare country for six months, that was what the
Managing Editor said--six months, mind you. But they did not want to
study the tourist. They wanted to be just a little off the beaten
track of travel, away from the screech of the locomotive, where they
could listen and hear the echoes of a tallyho horn, the crack of the
driver's whip, and the clatter of the coming stagecoach.

The village of Broadway is twelve miles from Stratford, and five
miles from the nearest railway-station. The worst thing about the
place for a New-Yorker is the incongruity of the name.

In Broadway not a new house has been built for a century, and
several of the buildings date back four hundred years. Abbey and
Parsons found a house they were told was built in Fifteen Hundred
Sixty-three. The place was furnished complete, done by those who had
been dust a hundred years. The rafters overhead were studded with
handmade nails, where used to hang the flitches of bacon and bunches
of dried herbs; the cooking would have to be performed in the
fireplace or in the Dutch oven; funny little cupboards were in the
corners; and out behind the cottage stretched a God's half-acre of
the prettiest flower-garden ever seen, save the one at Bordentown
where lived Abbey's ladylove.

The rent was ten pounds a year. They jumped at it--and would have
taken it just the same had it been twice as much.

An old woman who lived across the street was hired as housekeeper,
and straightway our artists threw down their kits and said, like
Lincoln, "We have moved." The beauty and serene peace of middle
England is passing words. No wonder the young artists could not
paint for several weeks--they just drank it in.

Finally they settled down to work--Seventeenth-Century models were
all around, and a look up the single street would do for a picture.
Parsons painted what he saw; Abbey painted what he saw plus what he

Six months went by, and the growls of the Managing Editor back in
New York were quieted with a few sketches. Parsons had tried water-
color with good results; and Abbey followed with an Arthurian
sketch--a local swain as model.

Several pictures had been sent down to London--which is up--and
London approved. Abbey was elected a member of "The Aquarellists,"
just as a little later the Royal Academy was to open its doors,
unsolicited, for him.

Two years had gone, and new arrangements must be made with Harper's.
Abbey returned to America with a trunkful of sketches--enough good
stuff to illustrate several "Herricks." He remained in New York
eight months, long enough to see the book safely launched, and to
close up his business affairs in Philadelphia.

And the Shakespeare country has been his home ever since.

An artist's work is his life--where he can work best is his home.
Patriotism isn't quite so bad as old Ursa Major said, but the word
is not to be found in the bright lexicon of Art. The artist knows no
country. His home is the world, and those who love the beautiful are
his brethren.

Abbey has remained in England, not that he loves America less, nor
England more, but because the Shakespeare country has a flavor of
antiquity about it that fits his artistic mood--it is a good place
to work. An artist's work is his life.

At "Morgan Hall," Fairford, only a few miles from where Abbey first
made his home in England, he now lives and works. Near by lives Mary
Anderson, excellent and gentle woman, wife and mother, who used to
storm the one-night stands most successfully. The place is old,
vine-clad, built in sections running over a space of three hundred
years. So lost is it amid the great spreading beeches that you have
to look twice before you see the house from the road.

Happily married to a most worthy woman whose only thought is to
minister to her household, the days pass. That Mrs. Abbey never
doubts her liege is not only the greatest artist, but the greatest
man in all England, is a most pleasing fact. She believes in him,
and she gives him peace. The Kansas Contingent may question whether
a woman's career is complete who thus lives within her home, and for
her household, but to me the old-fashioned virtues seem very hard to
improve upon. Industry, truth, trust and abiding loyalty--what a
bulwark of defense for a man who has a message for the world!

There is a goodly brood of little Abbeys--I dare not say how many. I
believe it was nine a year ago, with an addition since. They run
wild and free along the hedgerows and under the beeches, and if it
rains there are the stables, kennels and the finest attic that ever

Back of the house and attached to it Mr. Abbey has built a studio
forty feet wide by seventy-five long, and twenty feet high. It is
more than a studio--it is a royal workshop such as Michelangelo
might have used for equestrian statues, or cartoons to decorate a
palace for the Pope. Dozens of pictures, large and small, are upon
the easels. Arms, armor, furniture, are all about, while on the
shelves are vases and old china enough to fill the heart of a
collector to surfeit. In chests and wardrobes are velvets, brocades
and antique stuffs and costumes, all labeled, numbered and
catalogued, so as to be had when wanted.

This studio was built especially to accommodate the paintings for
the Boston Public Library. The commission was given in Eighteen
Hundred Ninety, and the last of the decorations has just been put in
place, in this year of grace, Nineteen Hundred One. Abbey's
paintings in the Boston Public Library cover in all something over a
thousand square feet of space, and form quite the noblest specimen
of mural decoration in America.

Orders were given to John S. Sargent and Puvis de Chavannes at the
same time that contracts were closed with Abbey. Chavannes was the
first man to get his staging up and the first to get it down. He
died two years ago, so it is hardly meet to draw a moral about the
excellence of doing things with neatness and dispatch. Sargent's
"Prophets" cover scarcely one-tenth of the space assigned him, and
the rest is bare white walls, patiently awaiting his brush. Recently
he was asked when he would complete the task, and he replied,
"Never, unless I learn to paint better than I do now--Abbey has
discouraged me!"

I need not attempt to describe Abbey's work in the Boston Library--a
full account of it can be found in the first magazine you pick up.
But it is a significant fact that Abbey himself is not wholly
pleased with it. "Give me a little time," he says, "and I'll do
something worth while."

These words were spoken half in jest, but there is no doubt that the
artist, now in the fulness of his powers, in perfect health, in love
with life, sees before him work to do of such vast worth that all
that lies behind seems but a preparation for that which is yet to

The question is sometimes asked, "What becomes of all the
Valedictorians and Class-Day Poets?" I can give information as to
two parties for whom inquiry is made: the Valedictorian of my Class
is now a worthy Floorwalker in Siegel, Cooper and Company's; and I
was the Class-Day Poet. Both of us had our eyes on the Goal. We
stood on the threshold and looked out upon the World preparatory to
going forth, seizing it by the tail and snapping its head off for
our own delectation.

We had our eyes fixed on the Goal--it might better have been the

It was a very absurd thing for us to fix our eyes on the Goal. It
strained our vision and took our attention from our work.

To think of the Goal is to travel the distance over and over in your
mind and dwell on how awfully far off it is. We have so little mind
--doing business on such a small capital of intellect--that to wear
it threadbare looking for a far-off thing is to get hopelessly
stranded in Siegel, Cooper and Company's.

Siegel, Cooper and Company's is all right, too, but the point is
this--it wasn't the Goal!

A goodly dash of indifference is a requisite in the formula for
doing a great work.

Nobody knows what the Goal is--we are sailing under sealed orders.
Do your work today, doing it the best you can, and live one day at a
time. The man that does this is conserving his God-given energy, and
not spinning it out into tenuous spider-threads that Fate will
probably brush away.

To do your work well today is the surest preparation for something
better tomorrow--the past is gone, the future we can not reach, the
present only is ours. Each day's work is a preparation for the next.

Live in the present--the Day is here, the time is Now.

Edwin A. Abbey seems to be the perfect type of man, who by doing all
his work well, with no vaulting ambitions, has placed himself right
in the line of evolution. He is evolving into something better,
stronger and nobler all the time. That is the only thing worth
praying for--to be in the line of evolution.


Art happens--no hovel is safe from it, no Prince may depend upon
it, the vastest intelligence can not bring it about, and puny
efforts to make it universal end in quaint comedy, and coarse
  --_The "Ten-o'Clock" Lecture_

[Illustration: Whistler]

The Eternal Paradox of Things is revealed in the fact that the men
who have toiled most for peace, beauty and harmony have usually
lived out their days in discord, and in several instances died a
malefactor's death. Just how much discord is required in God's
formula for a successful life, no one knows, but it must have a use,
for it is always there.

Seen from a distance, out of the range of the wordy shrapnel, the
literary scrimmage is amusing. "Gulliver's Travels" made many a
heart ache, but it only gladdens ours. Pope's "Dunciad" sent shivers
of fear down the spine of all artistic England, but we read it for
the rhyme, and insomnia. Byron's "English Bards and Scotch
Reviewers" gave back to the critics what they had given out--to
their great surprise and indignation, and our amusement. Keats died
from the stab of a pen, they say, and whether 't was true or not we
know that now a suit of Cheviot is sufficient shield. "We love him
for the enemies he has made"--to have friends is a great gain, but
to achieve an enemy is distinction.

Ruskin's "Modern Painters" is a reply to the contumely that sought
to smother Turner under an avalanche of abuse; but since the enemy
inspired it, and it made the name and fame of both Ruskin and
Turner, why should they not hunt out the rogues in Elysium and
purchase ambrosia?

Whistler's "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies" is a bit of
sharpshooter sniping at the man who was brave enough to come to the
rescue of Turner, and who afterward proved his humanity by adopting
the tactics of the enemy, working the literary stinkpot to repel
impressionistic boarders.

No friend could have done for Whistler what Ruskin did. Before
Ruskin threw an ink-bottle at him, as Martin Luther did at the
Devil, he was one of several; after the bout he was as one set

When we think of Whistler, if we listen closely we can hear the echo
of shrill calls of recrimination, muffled reveilles of alarm--
pamphlet answering unto pamphlet across seas of misunderstanding--
vituperations manifold, and recurring themes of rabid ribaldry--all
forming a lurid Symphony in Red.

John Davidson has dedicated a book to his enemy, thus:

"Unwilling Friend, let not thy spite abate: help me with scorn, and
strengthen me with hate."

The general tendency to berate the man of superior talent would seem
to indicate, as before suggested, that disparagement has some sort
of compensation in it. Possibly it is the governor that keeps things
from going too fast--the opposition of forces that holds the balance
true. But almost everything can be overdone; and the fact remains
that without encouragement and faith from without, the stoutest
heart will in time grow faint and doubt itself. It hears the yelping
of the pack, and there creeps in the question, "What if they are
right?" Then come the longing and the necessity for the word of
praise, the clasp of a kindly hand, and the look that reassures.

Occasionally the undiscerning make remarks, slightly tinged with
muriatic acid, concerning the ancient and honorable cult known as
the Mutual Admiration Society. My firm belief is, that no man ever
did or can do a great work alone--he must be backed up by the Mutual
Admiration Society. It may be a very small Society--in truth, I have
known Chapters where there were only two members, but there was such
trust, such faith, such a mutual uplift, that an atmosphere was
formed wherein great work was done.

In Galilee even the Son of God could do no great work, on account of
the unbelief of the people. "Fellowship is heaven and lack of
fellowship is hell," said William Morris. And he had known both.

Some One must believe in you. And through touching finger-tips with
this Some One, we may get in the circuit, and thus reach out to all.
Self-Reliance is very excellent, but as for independence, there is
no such thing. We are a part of the great Universal Life; and as one
must win approval from himself, so he must receive corroboration
from others: having this approval from the Elect Few, the opinions
of the many matter little.

How little we know of the aspirations that wither unexpressed, and
of the hopes that perish for want of the right word spoken at the
right time! Out in the orchard, as I write, I see thousands and
thousands of beautiful blossoms that will never become fruit for
lack of vitalization--they die because they are alone.

Thoughts materialize into deeds only when Some One vitalizes by
approval. Every good thing is loved into life.

Great men have ever come in groups, and the Mutual Admiration
Society always figures largely. To enumerate instances would be to
inflict good folks with triteness and truism. I do not wish to rob
my reader of his rights--think it out for yourself, beginning with
Concord and Cambridge, working backward adown the centuries.

There are two Whistlers. One tender as a woman, sensitive as a
child--thirsting for love, friendship and appreciation--a dreamer of
dreams, seeing visions and mounting to the heavens on the wings of
his soaring fancy. This is the real Whistler. And there has always
been a small Mutual Admiration Society that has appreciated,
applauded and loved this Whistler; to them he has always been

The other Whistler is the jaunty little man in the funny, straight-
brimmed high hat--cousin to the hat John D. Long wore for twenty
years. This man in the long black coat, carrying a bamboo wand, who
adjusts his monocle and throws off an epigram, who confounds the
critics, befogs the lawyers, affronts millionaires from Colorado,
and plays pitch and toss with words, is the Whistler known to
newspaperdom. And Grub Street calls him "Jimmy," too, but the voice
of Grub Street is guttural and in it is no tender cadence--it is
tone that tells, not the mere word: I have been addressed with an
endearing phrase when the words stabbed. Grub Street sees only the
one man and goes straightway after him with a snickersnee. To use
the language of Judge Gaynor, "This artistic Jacques of the second
part protects the great and tender soul of the party of the first

That is it--his name is Jacques: Whistler is a fool. The fools were
the wisest men at court. Shakespeare, who dearly loved a fool,
belonging to the breed himself, placed his wisest sayings into the
mouths of men who wore the motley. When he adorned a man with cap
and bells, it was as though he had given bonds for both that man's
humanity and intelligence.

Neither Shakespeare nor any other writer of good books ever dared
depart so violently from truth as to picture a fool whose heart was
filled with pretense and perfidy. The fool is not malicious. Stupid
people may think he is, because his language is charged with the
lightning's flash; but these be the people who do not know the
difference between an incubator and an eggplant.

Touchstone, with unfailing loyalty, follows his master with quip and
quirk into exile. When all, even his daughters, had forsaken King
Lear, the fool bares himself to the storm and covers the shaking old
man with his own cloak; and when in our day we meet the avatars of
Trinculo, Costard, Mercutio and Jacques, we find they are men of
tender susceptibilities, generous hearts and lavish souls.

Whistler shakes his cap, flourishes his bauble, tosses that fine
head, and with tongue in cheek, asks questions and propounds
conundrums that pedantry can never answer. Hence the ink-bottle,
with its mark on the walls at Eisenach, and at Coniston.

Every man of worth is two men--sometimes many. In fact, Doctor
George Vincent, the psychologist, says, "We never treat two persons
in exactly the same manner." If this is so, and I suspect it is, the
person we are with dictates our mental process and thus controls our
manners--he calls out the man he wishes to see. Certain sides of our
nature are revealed only to certain persons. And I can understand,
too, how there can be a Holy of Holies, closed and barred forever
against all except the One. And in the absence of this One, I can
also understand how the person can go through life, and father,
mother, brothers, sisters, friends and companions never guess the
latent excellence that lies concealed. We defend and protect this
Holy of Holies from the vulgar gaze.

There are two ways to guard and keep alive the sacred fires; one is
to flee to convent, monastery or mountain and there live alone with
God; the other is to mix and mingle with men and wear a coat of mail
in way of manner.

Women whose hearts are well-nigh bursting with grief will often be
the gayest of the gay; men whose souls are corroding with care--
weighted down with sorrow too great for speech--are often those who
set the table in a roar.

The assumed manner, continued, evolves into a pose. Pose means
position, and the pose is usually a position of defense. All great
people are poseurs.

Men pose so as to keep the mob back while they can do their work.
Without the pose, the garden of a poet's fancy would look like
McKinley's front yard at Canton in the fall of Ninety-six. That is
to say, without the pose the poet would have no garden, no fancy, no
nothing--and there would be no poet. Yet I am quite willing to admit
that a man might assume a pose and yet have nothing to protect; but
I stoutly maintain that pose in such a one is transparent to every
one as the poles that support a scarecrow, simply because the pose
never becomes habitual.

With the great man pose becomes a habit--and then it is not a pose.
When a man lies and admits he lies, he tells the truth.

Whistler has been called the greatest poseur of his day; and yet he
is the most sincere and truthful of men--the very antithesis of
hypocrisy and sham. No man ever hated pretense more.

Whistler is an artist, and the soul of the man is revealed in his
work--not in his hat, nor yet his bamboo cane, nor his long black
coat, much less the language which he uses, Talleyrand-like, to
conceal his thought. Art has been his wife, his children and his
religion. Art has said to him, "Thou shalt have no other gods before
me," and he has obeyed the mandate.

That picture of his mother in the Luxembourg is the most serious
thing in the whole collection--so gentle, so modest, so appealing,
so charged with tenderness. It is classed by the most competent
critics of today along with the greatest works of the old masters.
We find upon the official roster of the fine arts of France this
tribute opposite the name of Whistler, "Portrait of the mother of
the author, a masterpiece destined for the eternal admiration of
future generations, combining in its tone-power and magnificence the
qualities of a Rembrandt, a Titian, a Velasquez." The picture does
not challenge you--you have to hunt it out, and you have to bring
something to it, else 't will not reveal itself. There is no
decrepitude in the woman's face and form, but someway you read into
the picture the story of a great and tender love and a long life of
useful effort. And now as the evening shadows gather, about to fade
off into gloom, the old mother sits there alone, poised, serene:
husband gone, children gone--her work is done. Twilight comes. She
thinks of the past in gratitude, and gazes wistfully out into the
future, unafraid. It is the tribute that every well-born son would
like to pay to the mother who loved him into being, whose body
nourished him, whose loving arms sustained him, whose unfaltering
faith and appreciation encouraged him to do and to become. She was
his wisest critic, his best friend--his mother!

The father of Whistler the artist, Major George Washington Whistler,
was a graduate of West Point, and a member of the United States
Corps of Engineers. He was an active, practical and useful man--a
skilful draftsman and mathematician, and a man of affairs who could
undertake a difficult task and carry it through to completion.

Such men are always needed, in the army and out of it.
Responsibility gravitates to the man who can shoulder it. Such men
as Major Whistler are not tied to a post--they go where they are

When George Washington Whistler was a cadet at West Point, there
came to visit the place Doctor Swift and his beautiful young
daughter, Mary. She took the Military School by storm; at least, she
held captive the hearts of all the young men there--so they said.
And in very truth the heart of one young man was prisoner, for Major
Whistler married Miss Swift soon after.

To them were born Deborah, the Major's only daughter, who married
Doctor Seymour Hayden of London, a famous surgeon and still more
famous etcher; George, who became an engineer and railway manager;
and two years later, Joseph.

And when Joe was two years old, this beautiful wife, aged twenty-
three, passed away, and young Major Whistler and his three babies
were left alone.

At West Point Whistler had a friend named McNeill, son of Doctor C.
D. McNeill, of Wilmington, North Carolina--a classmate--with whom he
had been closely associated since graduation. McNeill had a sister,
Anna Matilda, a great soul, serious and strong. At length Whistler
took his motherless brood--including himself--to her and she
accepted them all. I bow my head to the stepmother who loves into
manhood and womanhood children whom another has loved into life. She
must have a great heart already expanded by love to do this.
Naturally the mother-love grows with the child--that is what
children are for, to enlarge the souls of the parents. But at the
beginning of womanhood, Anna Matilda McNeill was great enough to
enfold in her heart and arms the children of the man she loved and
make them hers.

In the year Eighteen Hundred Thirty-four, Major Whistler and his
wife were living in Lowell, Massachusetts, where the Major was
superintending the construction of the first of those wonderful
waterways that tirelessly turn ten thousand spindles.

And Fate would have it so, that here at Lowell, in a little house on
Worthing Street, was born the first of the five sons of Major
Whistler and his wife, Anna Matilda. And they called the name of the
child James Abbott McNeill Whistler--an awful big name for a very
small baby.

About the time this peevish little pigmy was put into short dresses,
his father resigned his position in the United States Army to accept
a like position with the Czar of Russia. The first railroad
constructed in Russia, from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, was built
under the superintendence of Major Whistler, who also designed
various bridges, viaducts, tunnels and other engineering feats for
Adam Zad, who walks like a man, and who paid him princely sums for
his services.

Americans not only fill the teeth of royalty, but we furnish the Old
World machinery, ideas and men. For every twenty-five thousand men
they supply us, we send them back one, and the one we send them is
worth more than the twenty-five thousand they send us. Schenectady
is today furnishing the engines and supplying engineers to teach
engineers for the transcontinental Siberian railway. When you take
"The Flying Scotchman" from London to Edinburgh you ride in a
Pullman car, with all the appurtenances, even to a Gould coupler, a
Westinghouse air-brake, and a dusky George from North Carolina, who
will hit you three times with the butt of a brush-broom and expect a
bob as recompense. You feel quite at home.

Then when you see that the Metropolitan Railway of London is managed
by a man from Chicago, and that all trains of "the underground" are
being equipped with the Edison incandescent light; and you note
further that a New York man has morganized the transatlantic
steamship-lines, you agree with William T. Stead that, "America may
be raw and crude, but she is producing a race of men--men of power,
who can think and act." Coupled with the Englishman's remarkable
book, "The Americanization of the World," there is an art criticism
by Bernard Shaw, who comes from a race that will not pay rent,
strangely enough living in London, content, with no political
aspirations, who says, "The three greatest painters of the time are
of American parentage--Abbey, Sargent and Whistler; and of these,
Whistler has had greater influence on the artists of today than any
other man of his time."

But let us swing back and take a look at the Whistlers in Russia.
Little Jimmy never had a childhood: the nearest he came to it was
when his parents camped one Summer with the "construction gang."
That Summer with the workers and toilers, among the horses, living
out of doors--eating at the campfire and sleeping under the sky--was
the boy's one glimpse of paradise. "My ambition then was to be the
foreman of a construction gang--and it is yet," said the artist in
describing that brief, happy time to a friend.

The child of well-to-do parents, but homeless, living in hotels and
boarding-houses, is awfully handicapped. Children are only little
animals, and travel is their bane and scourge. They belong on the
ground, among the leaves and flowers and tall grass--in the trees or
digging in sand piles. Hotel hallways, table-d'hote dinners and the
clash of travel, are all terrible perversions of Nature's intent.

Yet the boy survived--eager, nervous, energetic. He acquired the
Russian language, of course, and then he learned to speak French, as
all good Russians must. "He speaks French like a Russ," is the
highest compliment a Parisian can pay you.

The boy's mother was his tutor, companion, playmate. They read
together, drew pictures together, and played the piano, four hands.

Honors came to the hard-working engineer--decorations, ribbons,
medals, money--and more work. The poor man was worked to death. The
Czar paid every honor to the living and dead that royalty can give.
When the family left Saint Petersburg with the body of their loved
one, His Imperial Majesty ordered his private carriage to be placed
at their disposal. And honors awaited the dead here. A monument in
the cemetery at Stonington, Connecticut, erected by the Society of
American Engineers, marks the spot where he sleeps. The stricken
mother was back in America, and James was duly entered at West
Point. The mother's ideal was her husband--in his life she had lived
and moved--and that James should do what he had done, become the
manly man that he had become, was her highest wish.

The boy was already an acceptable draftsman, and under the tutelage
of Professor Robert Weir he made progress. West Point does not teach
such a soft and feminine thing as picture-painting--it draws plans
of redoubts and fortifications, makes maps, and figures on the
desirability of tunnels, pontoons and hidden mines. Robert Weir
taught all these things, and on Saturdays painted pictures for his
own amusement. In the rotunda of the Capitol at Washington is a
taste of his quality--the large panel entitled, "The Departure of
the Pilgrims."

Tradition has it that young Whistler assisted his teacher on this

Weir succeeded in getting his pupil heartily sick of the idea of
grim-visaged war as a business. He hated the thought of doing things
on order, especially killing men when told. "The soldier's
profession is only one remove from the business of Jack Ketch, who
hangs men and then salves his conscience with the plea that some one
told him to do it," said Whistler. If he remained at West Point he
would become an army officer and Uncle Sam or the Czar would own him
and order him to do things.

Weir declared he was absurd, but the Post Surgeon said he was
nervous and needed a change. In truth, West Point disliked Jimmy as
much as he disliked West Point, and he was recommended for
discharge. Mother and son sailed away for London, intending to come
back in time for the next term.

The young man took one souvenir from West Point that was to stand by
him. In a sham battle, during a charge, his horse went down, and the
cavalcade behind went right over horse and rider. When picked up and
carried out of the scrimmage, Cadet Whistler was unconscious, and
the doctors said his skull was fractured. However, his whipcord
vitality showed itself in a quick recovery; but a white lock of hair
soon appeared to mark the injured spot, to be a badge of distinction
and a delight to the caricaturist forever. In London the mother and
son found lodgings out towards Chelsea. No doubt the literary
traditions attracted them. Only a few squares away lived Rossetti,
with a wonderful collection of blue china, giving lessons in
painting. There were weekly receptions at his house, where came
Burne-Jones, William Morris, Madox Brown and many other excellent
people. Down a narrow street near by, lived a grumpy Scotchman, by
the name of Carlyle, whose portrait Whistler was later to paint, and
although Carlyle had no use for Rossetti, yet Mrs. Whistler and her
boy liked them both. It came time to return to America if the young
man was to graduate at West Point. But they decided to go over to
Paris so James could study art for a few months.

They never came back to America.

Whistler, the coxcomb, had Ruskin haled before the tribunal and
demanded a thousand pounds as salve for his injured feelings because
the author of "Stones of Venice" was colorblind, lacking in
imagination, and possessed of a small magazine wherein he briskly
told of men, women and things he did not especially admire.

The case was tried, and the jury decided for Whistler, giving him
one farthing damages. But this was success--it threw the costs on
Ruskin, and called the attention of the world to the absurdity of
condemning things that are, at the last, a mere matter of individual

Whistler was once asked by a fellow artist to criticize a wondrous
chromatic combination that the man had thrown off in an idle hour.
Jimmy adjusted his monocle and gazed long. "And what do you think of
it?" asked the painter standing by. "Oh, just a little more green, a
little more green [pause and slight cough] but that is your affair."

Whistler painted the "Nocturne," and that was his affair. If Ruskin
did not think it beautiful, that was his affair; but when Ruskin
went one step further and accused the painter of trying to hoodwink
the world for a matter of guineas, attacking the man's motives, he
exceeded the legitimate limits of criticism, and his public rebuke
was deserved. In matter of strictest justice, however, it may be as
well to say that Whistler was quite as blind to the beauty of
Ruskin's efforts for the betterment of humanity as Ruskin was to the
excellence of Whistler's pictures. And if Ruskin had been in the
humor for litigation he might have sued Whistler and got a shilling
damages because Whistler once averred: "The Society of Saint George
is a scheme for badgering the unfortunate, and should be put down by
the police. God knows the poor suffer enough without being

Mr. Whistler was once summoned as a witness in a certain suit where
the purchaser of a picture had refused to pay for it. The cross-
examination ran something like this:

"You are a painter of pictures?"


"And know the value of pictures?"

"Oh, no!"

"At least you have your own ideas about values?"


"And you recommended the defendant to buy this picture for two
hundred pounds?"

"I did."

"Mr. Whistler, it is reported that you received a goodly sum for
this recommendation--is there anything in that?"

"Oh, nothing, I assure you [yawning]--nothing but the indelicacy of
the suggestion."

The critics found much joy, several years ago, in tracing out the
fact that Whistler spent a year at Madrid copying Velasquez. That
he, like Sargent, has been benefited and inspired by the sublime art
of the Spaniard there is no doubt, but there is nothing in the
charge that he is an imitator of Velasquez, save the indelicacy of
the suggestion.

It was a comparison of Velasquez and Whistler, and a warm assurance
that his name would live with that of the great Spaniard, that led
Whistler to launch that little question, now a classic, "Why drag in

The great lesson that Whistler has taught the world is to observe;
and this he got from the Japanese. Lafcadio Hearn has said that the
average citizen of Japan detects tints and shades that are
absolutely unseen by Western eyes. Livingston found tribes in Africa
that had never seen pictures of any kind, and he had great
difficulty in making them perceive that the figure of a man, drawn
on a piece of paper a foot square, really was designed for a man.

"Man big--paper little--no good!" was the criticism of a chief. The
chief wanted to hear the voice of the man before he would believe it
was meant for a man. This savage chief was a great person, no doubt,
in his own bailiwick, but he lacked imagination to bridge the gap
between a real man and the repeated strokes of a pencil on a bit of

The Japanese--any Japanese--would have been delighted by Whistler's
"Nocturne." Ruskin wasn't. He had never seen the night, and
therefore he declared that Whistler had "flung a pot of paint in the
face of the public."

That men should dogmatize concerning things where the senses alone
supply the evidence, is only another proof of man's limitations. We
live in a peewee world which our senses create and declare that
outside of what we see, smell, taste and hear there is nothing. It
is twenty-five thousand miles around the earth--stellar space is not
computable; and man can walk in a day about thirty miles. Above the
ground he can jump about four feet. In a city his unaided ear can
hear his friend call about two hundred feet. As for smell, he really
has almost lost the sense; and taste, through the use of stimulants
and condiments, has likewise nearly gone. Man can see and recognize
another man a quarter of a mile away, but at the same distance is
practically color-blind.

Yet we were all quite willing to set ourselves up as standards until
science came with spectroscope, telephone, microscope and Roentgen
ray to force upon us the fact that we are tiny, undeveloped and
insignificant creatures, with sense quite unreliable and totally
unfit for final decisions.

Whistler sees more than other men. He has taught us to observe, and
he has taught the art world to select.

Oratory does not consist in telling it all--you select the truth you
wish to drive home; in literature, in order to make your point, you
must leave things out; and in painting you must omit. Selection is
the vital thing.

The Japanese see one single lily-stalk swaying in the breeze and the
hazy, luminous gray of the atmosphere in which it is bathed--just
these two things. They give us these, and we are amazed and

Whistler has given us the night--not the black, inky, meaningless
void which has always stood for evil; not the darkness, the mere
absence of light, the prophet had in mind when he said, "And there
shall be no night there"--not that. The prophet thought the night
was objectionable, but we know that the continual glare of the sun
would quickly destroy all animal or vegetable life. In fact, without
the night there would be no animal or vegetable life, and no prophet
would have existed to suggest the abolition of night as a
betterment. In the night there are flowers that shed their finest
perfume, lifting up their hearts in gladness, and all nature is
renewed for the work of the coming day. We need the night for rest,
for dreams, for forgetfulness. Whistler saw the night--this great,
transparent, dark-blue fold that tucks us in for one-half our time.
The jaded, the weary and the heavy-laden at last find peace--the day
is done, the grateful night is here.

Turner said you could not paint a picture and leave man out.
Whistler very seldom leaves man out, although I believe there is one
"Nocturne" wherein only the stars and the faint rim of the silver
moon keep guard. But usually we see the dim suggestion of the
bridge's arch, the ghostly steeples, lights lost in the enfolding
fog, vague purple barges on the river, and ships rocking solemnly in
the offing--all strangely mellow with peace, and subtle thoughts of
stillness, rest, dreams and sleep.

The critics have all shied their missiles at Whistler, and he has
gathered up the most curious and placed them on exhibition in a
catalog entitled, "Etching and Dry Points." This document gives a
list of fifty-one of his best-known productions, and beneath each
item is a testimonial or two from certain worthies who thought the
thing rubbish and said so.

If you want to see a copy of the catalog you can examine it in the
"treasure-room" of most any of the big public libraries; or should
you wish to own one, a chance collector in need of funds might be
willing to disengage himself from a copy for some such trifle as
twenty-five dollars or so.

Whistler's book, "The Gentle Art," contains just one good thing,
although the touch of genius is revealed in the title, which is as
follows: "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, as pleasingly
exemplified in many instances wherein the serious ones of this
earth, carefully exasperated, have been prettily spurred on to
unseemliness and indiscretion, while overcome by an undue sense of

The dedication runs thus: "To the rare Few who early in life have
rid themselves of the Friendship of the Many, these pathetic papers
are inscribed."

The one excellent thing in the book is the "Ten o'Clock" lecture. It
is a classic, revealing such a distinct literary style that one is
quite sure its author could have evolved symphonies in words, as
well as color, had he chosen. However, this lecture is a sequence,
leaping hot from the heart, and would not have been written had the
author not been "carefully exasperated and prettily spurred on,
while overcome by an undue sense of right." Let us all give thanks
to the enemy who exasperated him. There is a great temptation to
produce the lecture entire, but this would be to invite a lawsuit,
so we will have to be content with a few scrapings from the palette:

Listen! There never was an artistic period.

There never was an Art-Loving Nation.

In the beginning, men went forth each day--some to do battle, some
to the chase; others, again, to dig and to delve in the field--all
that they might gain and live, or lose and die. Until there was
found among them one, differing from the rest, whose pursuits
attracted him not, and so he stayed by the tents with the women, and
traced strange devices with a burnt stick upon a gourd.

This man, who took no joy in the way of his brethren--who cared not
for conquest, and fretted in the field--this designer of quaint
patterns--this deviser of the beautiful--who perceived in Nature
about him curious curvings, as faces are seen in the fire--this
dreamer apart was the first artist.

And when, from the field and afar, there came back the people, they
took the gourd--and drank from out of it.

And presently there came to this man another--and, in time, others--
of like nature, chosen by the gods--and so they worked together; and
soon they fashioned, from the moistened earth, forms resembling the
gourd. And with the power of creation, the heirloom of the artist,
presently they went beyond the slovenly suggestion of Nature, and
the first vase was born, in beautiful proportion.

       *       *       *       *       *

And the Amateur was unknown--and the Dilettante undreamed of.

And history wrote on, and conquest accompanied civilization, and Art
spread, or rather its products were carried by the victors among the
vanquished from one country to another. And the customs of
cultivation covered the face of the earth, so that all peoples
continued to use what the artist alone produced.

And centuries passed in this using, and the world was flooded with
all that was beautiful, until there arose a new class, who
discovered the cheap, and foresaw a fortune in the facture of the

Then sprang into existence the tawdry, the common, the gewgaw.

The taste of the tradesman supplanted the science of the artist, and
what was born of the million went back to them, and charmed them,
for it was after their own heart; and the great and the small, the
statesman and the slave, took to themselves the abomination that was
tendered, and preferred it--and have lived with it ever since.

And the artist's occupation was gone, and the manufacturer and the
huckster took his place.

And now the heroes filled from the jugs and drank from the bowls--
with understanding--noting the glare of their new bravery, and
taking pride in its worth.

And the people--this time--had much to say in the matter--and all
were satisfied. And Birmingham and Manchester arose in their might,
and Art was relegated to the curiosity-shop.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nature contains the elements, in color and form, of all pictures, as
the keyboard contains the notes of all music.

       *       *       *       *       *

The artist is born to pick, and choose, and group with science these
elements, that the result may be beautiful--as the musician gathers
his notes, and forms his chords, until he bring forth from chaos
glorious harmony.

To say to the painter, that Nature is to be taken as she is, is to
say to the player, that he may sit on the piano.

That Nature is always right, is an assertion, artistically, as
untrue, as it is one whose truth is universally taken for granted.
Nature is very rarely right, to such an extent even, that it might
almost be said that Nature is usually wrong: that is to say, the
condition of things that shall bring about the perfection of harmony
worthy a picture is rare, and not common at all.

       *       *       *       *       *

The sun blares, the wind blows from the east, the sky is bereft of
cloud, and without, all is of iron. The windows of the Crystal
Palace are seen from all points of London. The holiday-maker
rejoices in the glorious day, and the painter turns aside to shut
his eyes.

How little this is understood, and how dutifully the casual in
Nature is accepted as sublime, may be gathered from the unlimited
admiration daily produced by a very foolish sunset.

The dignity of the snow-capped mountain is lost in distinctness, but
the joy of the tourist is to recognize the traveler on the top. The
desire to see, for the sake of seeing, is, with the mass alone, the
one to be gratified, hence the delight in detail.

But when the evening mist clothes the riverside with poetry, as with
a veil, and the poor buildings lose themselves in the dim sky, and
the tall chimneys become campanili, and the warehouses are palaces
in the night, and the whole city hangs in the heavens, and fairyland
is before us--then the wayfarer hastens home; the workingman and the
cultured one, the wise man and the one of pleasure, cease to
understand, as they have ceased to see, and Nature, who for once has
sung in tune, sings her exquisite song to the artist alone--her son
and her master--her son in that he loves her, her master in that he
knows her.

To him her secrets are unfolded, to him her lessons have become
gradually clear. He looks at the flower, not with the enlarging
lens, that he may gather facts for the botanist, but with the light
of the one who sees in her choice selection of brilliant tones and
delicate tints, suggestions of infinite harmonies.

He does not confine himself to purposeless copying, without thought,
each blade of grass, as commended by the inconsequent, but in the
long curve of the narrow leaf, corrected by the straight, tall stem,
he learns how grace is wedded to dignity, how strength enhances
sweetness, that elegance shall be the result.

In the citron wing of the pale butterfly, with its dainty spots of
orange, he sees before him the stately halls of fair gold, with
their slender saffron pillars, and is taught how the delicate
drawing high upon the walls shall be traced in tender tones of
orpiment, and repeated by the base in notes of graver hue.

In all that is dainty and lovable he finds hints for his own
combinations, and thus is Nature ever his resource and always at his
service, and to him is naught refused.

Through his brain, as through the last alembic, is distilled the
refined essence of that thought which began with the Gods, and which
they left him to carry out.

Set apart by them to complete their works, he produces that wondrous
thing called the masterpiece, which surpasses in perfection all that
they have contrived in what is called Nature; and the Gods stand by
and marvel, and perceive how far away more beautiful is the Venus of
Melos than was their own Eve.

       *       *        *       *        *

And now from their midst the Dilettante stalks abroad. The Amateur
is loosed. The voice of the Aesthete is heard in the land, and
catastrophe is upon us.

       *       *        *       *        *

Where the Artist is, there Art appears, and remains with him--loving
and fruitful--turning never aside in moments of hope deferred--of
insult--and of ribald misunderstanding; and when he dies she sadly
takes her flight: though loitering yet in the land, from fond
association, but refusing to be consoled.

With the man, then, and not with the multitude, are her intimacies;
and in the book of her life the names inscribed are few--scant,
indeed, the list of those who have helped to write her story of love
and beauty.

From the sunny morning, when, with her glorious Greek relenting, she
yielded up the secret of repeated line, as with his hand in hers
together they marked in marble, the measured rhyme of lovely limb
and draperies flowing in unison, to the day when she dipped the
Spaniard's brush in light and air, and made his people live within
their frames, that all nobility, and sweetness, and tenderness, and
magnificence should be theirs by right, ages had gone by, and few
had been her choice.

       *       *       *       *       *

Therefore have we cause to be merry!--and to cast away all care--
resolved that all is well--as it ever was--and that it is not meet
that we should be cried at, and urged to take measures.

Enough have we endured of dulness! Surely are we weary of weeping,
and our tears have been cozened from us falsely, for they have
called us woe! when there was no grief--and where all is fair!

We have then but to wait--until, with the mark of the Gods upon him
--there come among us again the chosen--who shall continue what has
gone before. Satisfied that, even were he never to appear, the story
of the beautiful is already complete--hewn in the marbles of the
Parthenon, and broidered, with the birds, upon the fan of Hokusai,
at the foot of Fujiyama.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 06
 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Artists" ***

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