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Title: A History of Art for Beginners and Students: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture

Author: Clara Erskine Clement Waters

Release date: March 1, 2008 [eBook #24726]

Language: English



E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Anne Storer,
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team

















title page



Copyright, 1887,
Successor to White, Stokes, & Allen.

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Ancient Painting, from the Earliest Times to the
Christian Era
Egypt, 3
Assyria, 9
Babylon, 11
Ancient Greece and Italy, 13
Mosaics, 34
Paintings on Stone, 36
Vase-painting, 36
Mediæval Painting, from the Beginning of the
Christian Era to the Renaissance
The Early Period, 42
The Central, or Romanesque Period, 50
The Final, or Gothic Period, 54
Painting in Italy, from the Beginning of the
Renaissance to the Present Century
Painting in Flanders, Holland, and Germany, 155
Painting in Spain, 207
Painting in France, 234
Painting in England, 249
INDEX, 305

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Harp-player (from an Egyptian painting), 3
King Ramesses II. and his Sons Storming a Fortress
(from Abousimbel),
Fragment of an Assyrian Tile-painting, 10
Sacrifice of Iphigenia (from a Pompeian wall-painting), 16
Etruscan Wall-painting, 22
Human Sacrifice Offered by Achilles to the Shade of Patroklos
(from an Etruscan wall-painting),
The Aldobrandini Marriage (from a wall-painting in the Vatican), 26
Landscape Illustration to the Odyssey
(from a wall-painting discovered on the Esquiline at Rome),
The Flight of Æneas (from a wall-painting), 30
Demeter Enthroned (from a Pompeian wall-painting), 31
Pompeian Wall-painting, 32
Nest of Cupids (from a Pompeian wall-painting), 33
Doves Seated on a Bowl (from a mosaic picture
in the Capitol, Rome),
Niobe (from a picture on a slab of granite at Pompeii), 37
The Dodwell Vase, 38
Scene in the Lower World (from a vase of the style of Lower Italy), 39
Moses (from a painting in the Catacomb of S. Agnes), 43
Decoration of a Roof (Catacomb of S. Domitilla), 44
Justinian, Theodora, and Attendants
(from a mosaic picture at S. Vitalis, Ravenna),
The Discovery of the Herb Mandragora
(from a MS. of Dioskorides, at Vienna),
King David (from a window in Augsburg Cathedral), 51
Window (from the Cathedral of St. Denis), 52
Figure of Henry I. in west window of Strasbourg Cathedral, 55
Birth of the Virgin (from the Grandes Heures of the Duc de Berri), 57
The Annunciation (from the Mariale of
Archbishop Arnestus of Prague),
Painted Window at Konigsfelden, 60
Portrait of Cimabue, 61
The Madonna of the Church of Santa Maria Novella, 63
Portrait of Dante, painted by Giotto, 65
Giotto’s Campanile and the Duomo (Florence), 67
Fra Angelico (from the representation of him in the fresco of the
“Last Judgment” by Fra Bartolommeo),
An Angel (Fra Angelico), 77
Christ (Gio. Bellini), 81
Madonna (Perugino), 83
Leonardo da Vinci, 85
The Last Supper (Da Vinci), 88
Mona Lisa (Da Vinci), 91
Portrait of Michael Angelo, 95
The Prophet Jeremiah (Michael Angelo), 101
Statue of Moses (Michael Angelo), 102
The Madonna del Sacco (Sarto), 106
Portrait of Raphael, painted by himself, 109
The Sistine Madonna (Raphael), 113
St. Cecilia Listening to the Singing of Angels (Raphael), 117
Portrait of Titian (Caracci), 122
Portrait of Lavinia (Titian), 125
Portrait of Correggio, 133
Upper Part of a Fresco by Correggio, 136
Lower Part of a Fresco by Correggio, 138
Communion of St. Jerome (Domenichino), 142
Aurora (Guido Reni), 144
Beatrice Cenci (Guido Reni), 146
The Anchorites (Van Eyck), 157
The Sibyl and the Emperor Augustus (Van der Weyden), 159
Rubens and his Second Wife, 163
The Return from Egypt (Rubens), 166
Portrait of an Officer (Hals), 178
One of Rembrandt’s Portraits of Himself, 182
The Lecture on Anatomy (Rembrandt), 183
Burgomaster Meier Madonna (Holbein), 191
From Holbein’s Dance of Death, 193
A Scene from Dürer’s Wood Engravings of the
Life of the Virgin Mary,
The Four Apostles (Dürer), 200
Laughing Peasant (Velasquez), 217
The Topers (Velasquez), 219
The Immaculate Conception (Murillo), 226
Arcadian Shepherds (Poussin), 235
The Sabine Women (David), 241
Death of the Duke of Guise (Delaroche), 243
Sir Joshua Reynolds, 250
The Marriage Contract (Hogarth), 253
Muscipula (Reynolds), 256
Portrait of Turner, 272
Nantes (Turner), 276
Illustration from Rogers’s Poems, 285
The Slave Ship (Turner), 289
The Eagle and Dead Stag (Landseer), 297

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[Pg 1]




In speaking of art we often contrast the useful or mechanical arts with the Fine Arts; by these terms we denote the difference between the arts which are used in making such things as are necessary and useful in civilized life, and the arts by which ornamental and beautiful things are made.

The fine arts are Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Poetry, and Music, and though we could live if none of these existed, yet life would be far from the pleasant experience that it is often made to be through the enjoyment of these arts.

In speaking of Painting, just here I wish to include the more general idea of pictures of various sorts, and it seems to me that while picture-making belongs to the fine or beautiful arts, it is now made a very useful art in many ways. For example, when a school-book is illustrated, how much more easily we understand the subject we are [Pg 2]studying through the help we get from pictures of objects or places that we have not seen, and yet wish to know about. Pictures of natural scenery bring all countries before our eyes in such a way that by looking at them, while reading books of travel, we may know a great deal more about lands we have never seen, and may never be able to visit.

Who does not love pictures? and what a pleasure it is to open a magazine or book filled with fine illustrations. St. Augustine, who wrote in the fourth century after Christ, said that “pictures are the books of the simple or unlearned;” this is just as true now as then, and we should regard pictures as one of the most agreeable means of education. Thus one of the uses of pictures is that they give us a clear idea of what we have not seen; a second use is that they excite our imaginations, and often help us to forget disagreeable circumstances and unpleasant surroundings. The cultivation of the imagination is very important, because in this way we can add much to our individual happiness. Through this power, if we are in a dark, narrow street, in a house which is not to our liking, or in the midst of any unpleasant happenings, we are able to fix our thoughts upon a photograph or picture that may be there, and by studying it we are able to imagine ourselves far, far away, in some spot where nature makes everything pleasant and soothes us into forgetfulness of all that can disturb our happiness. Many an invalid—many an unfortunate one is thus made content by pictures during hours that would otherwise be wretched. This is the result of cultivating the perceptive and imaginative faculties, and when once this is done, we have a source of pleasure within ourselves and not dependent on others which can never be taken from us.

Fig 1 Fig. 1.—Harp-player. From an Egyptian painting.

It often happens that we see two persons who do the same work and are situated in the same way in the world who are very different in their manner; one is light-hearted [Pg 4]and happy, the other heavy and sad. If you can find out the truth, it will result that the sad one is matter-of-fact, and has no imagination—he can only think of his work and what concerns him personally; but the merry one would surprise you if you could read his thoughts—if you could know the distances they have passed over, and what a vast difference there is between his thought and his work. So while it is natural for almost every one to exclaim joyfully at the beauty of pictures, and to enjoy looking at them simply, I wish my readers to think of their uses also, and understand the benefits that may be derived from them. I have only hinted at a few of these uses, but many others will occur to you.

When pictures are composed of beautiful colors, such as we usually think of when we speak of the art of painting, the greatest charm of pictures is reached, and all civilized people have admired and encouraged this art. It is true that the remains of ancient art now existing are principally those of architecture or sculpture, yet there are a sufficient number of pictures in color to prove how old the art of painting is.


Egyptian painting is principally found on the walls of temples and tombs, upon columns and cornices, and on small articles found in burial places. There is no doubt that it was used as a decoration; but it was also intended to be useful, and was so employed as to tell the history of the country;—its wars, with their conquests and triumphs, and the lives of the kings, and many other stories, are just as distinctly told by pictures as by the hieroglyphics or Egyptian writings. We can scarcely say that Egyptian painting is beautiful; but it certainly is very interesting.

Fig 2 Fig. 2.—King Ramesses II. and his Sons Storming a Fortress.
From Abousimbel.

The Egyptians had three kinds of painting: one on flat surfaces, a second on bas-reliefs, or designs a little raised[Pg 6] and then colored, and a third on designs in intaglio, or hollowed out from the flat surface and the colors applied to the figures thus cut out. They had no knowledge of what we call perspective, that is, the art of representing a variety of objects on one flat surface, and making them appear to be at different distances from us—and you will see from the illustrations given here that their drawing and their manner of expressing the meaning of what they painted were very crude. As far as the pictorial effect is concerned, there is very little difference between the three modes of Egyptian painting; their general appearance is very nearly the same.

The Egyptian artist sacrificed everything to the one consideration of telling his story clearly; the way in which he did this was sometimes very amusing, such as the making one man twice as tall as another in order to signify that he was of high position, such as a king or an officer of high rank. When figures are represented as following each other, those that are behind are frequently taller than those in front, and sometimes those that are farthest back are ranged in rows, with the feet of one row entirely above the heads of the others. This illustration of the storming of a fort by a king and his sons will show you what I mean. The sons are intended to be represented as following the father, and are in a row, one above the other (Fig. 2).

For the representation of water, a strip of blue filled in with perpendicular zigzag black lines was used. From these few facts you can understand how unformed and awkward Egyptian pictures seem if we compare them with the existing idea of what is beautiful. There appear to have been certain fixed rules for the use of colors, and certain objects were always painted in the colors prescribed for them. The background of a picture was always of a single, solid color; Egyptian men were painted in a reddish brown, and horses were of the same shade; women were generally yellow, sometimes a lighter brown than the men; negroes[Pg 7] were black, the Asiatic races yellow, and but one instance is known of a white skin, blue eyes, and yellow hair. The draperies about the figures were painted in pleasing colors, and were sometimes transparent, so that the figures could be seen through them.

The execution of Egyptian paintings was very mechanical. One set of workmen prepared the plaster on the wall for the reception of the colors; another set drew all the outlines in red; then, if chiselling was to be done, another class performed this labor; and, finally, still others put on the colors. Of course nothing could be more matter-of-fact than such painting as this, and under such rules an artist of the most lofty genius and imagination would find it impossible to express his conceptions in his work. We know all this because some of these pictures exist in an unfinished condition, and are left in the various stages of execution; then, too, there are other pictures of the painters at their work, and all these different processes are shown in them. The outline drawing is the best part of Egyptian painting, and this is frequently very cleverly done.

As I have intimated, the greatest value of Egyptian painting is that it gives us a clear record of the habits and customs of a very ancient people—of a civilization which has long since passed away, and of which we should have a comparatively vague and unsatisfactory notion but for this picture-history of it. The religion, the political history, and the domestic life of the ancient Egyptians are all placed before us in these paintings. Through a study of them we know just how they hunted and fished, gathered their fruits, tilled the soil, and cooked the food, played games, danced, and practised gymnastics, conducted their scenes of festivity and mourning—in short, how they lived under all circumstances. Thus you see that Egyptian painting is a very important example of the way in which pictures can teach us; you will also notice that it is not even necessary that[Pg 8] they should be pretty in order that we may learn from them.

Another use made of Egyptian painting was the illustration of the papyrus rolls upon which historical and other documents were written. These rolls, found in the tombs, are now placed in museums and collections of curious things; the paintings upon them may be called the oldest book illustrations in the world. Sometimes a single color is used, such as red or black; but others are in a variety of colors which have been put on with a brush. Indeed, some rolls exist which have pictures only, and are entirely without hieroglyphics or writing characters; one such is more than twenty yards long, and contains nothing but pictures of funeral ceremonies.

The ancient Egyptians were so serious a people that it is a pleasant surprise to find that some of these pictures are intended for jokes and satires, somewhat like those of the comic papers of to-day; for example, there is one in the British Museum, London, representing cats and rats fighting, which is intended to ridicule the soldiers and heroes of the Egyptian army.

One cannot study Egyptian painting without feeling sorry for the painters; for in all the enormous amount of work done by them no one man was recognized—no one is now remembered. We know some of the names of great Egyptian architects which are written in the historical rolls; but no painter’s name has been thus preserved. The fact that no greater progress was made is a proof of the discouraging influences that must have been around these artists, for it is not possible that none of them had imagination or originality: there must have been some whose souls were filled with poetic visions, for some of the Egyptian writings show that poetry existed in ancient Egypt. But of what use could imagination be to artists who were governed by the laws of a narrow priesthood, and hedged about[Pg 9] by a superstitious religion which even laid down rules for art?

For these reasons we know something of Egyptian art and nothing of Egyptian artists, and from all these influences it follows that Egyptian painting is little more than an illuminated alphabet or a child’s picture-history. In the hieroglyphics, or writing characters of Egypt, it often occurs that small pictures of certain animals or other objects stand for whole words, and it appears that this idea was carried into Egyptian painting, which by this means became simply a picture chronicle, and never reached a point where it could be called truly artistic or a high art.


The remains of Assyrian painting are so few that they scarcely serve any other purpose than to prove that the Assyrians were accustomed to decorate their walls with pictures. Sometimes the walls were prepared with plaster, and the designs were painted on that; in other cases the painting was done upon the brick itself. The paintings on plaster were usually on the inner walls, and many of these which have been discovered during the excavations have disappeared when exposed to the air after their long burial from the sight and knowledge of the world.

Speaking of these pictures, the writer on art, J. Oppert, says that some paintings were found in the Palace of Sargon; they represented gods, lions, rosettes, and various other designs; but when he reached Nineveh, one year after these discoveries, the pictures had all disappeared—the colors which had been buried twenty-five hundred years lasted but a few days after they were uncovered.

Fig 3 Fig. 3.—Fragment of an Assyrian Tile-painting.

Assyrian tile-painting was more durable than the wall-painting; but in all the excavations that have been made these have been found only in fragments, and from these[Pg 11] fragments no complete picture has been put together. The largest one was found at Nimrud, and our illustration is taken from it. It represents a king, as we know by the tiara he wears, and two servants who follow him. The pictures to which the existing fragments belong could not have been large: the figures in our picture are but nine inches high. A few pieces have been found which must have belonged to larger pictures, and there is one which shows a part of a face belonging to a figure at least three feet high; but this is very unusual.

The Assyrian paintings have a broad outline which is of a lighter color than the rest of the picture; it is generally white or yellow. There are very few colors used in them. This does not accord with our notions of the dresses and stuffs of the Assyrians, for we suppose that they were rich and varied in color—probably they had so few pigments that they could not represent in their paintings all the colors they knew.

No one can give a very satisfactory account of Assyrian painting; but, judging from the little of it which remains, and from the immense number of Assyrian sculptures which exist, we may conclude that the chief aim of Assyrian artists was to represent each object they saw with absolute realism. The Dutch painters were remarkable for this trait and for the patient attention which they gave to the details of their work, and for this reason Oppert has called the Assyrians the Dutchmen of antiquity.


In Babylon, in the sixth century b.c., under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, the art of tile-painting reached a high state of perfection. The Babylonians had no such splendid alabaster as had the Assyrians, neither had they lime-stone; so they could not make fine sculptured slabs, such as are[Pg 12] found at Nineveh and in other Assyrian ruins. But the Babylonians had a fine clay, and they learned how to use it to the best advantage. The city of Babylon shone with richly colored tiles, and one traveller writes: “By the side of Assyria, her colder and severer sister of the North, Babylon showed herself a true child of the South,—rich, glowing, careless of the rules of taste, only desiring to awaken admiration by the dazzling brilliance of her appearance.”

Many of the Babylonish tiles are in regular, set patterns in rich tints; some are simply in solid colors. These last are found in the famous terrace-temple of Borsippê, near Babylon. We know from ancient writings that there were decorative paintings in Babylon which represented hunting scenes and like subjects, and, according to the prophet Ezekiel, chap. xxiii., verse 14, there were “men portrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed with vermilion, girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads, all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity.” Some writers assume that this must have been a description of tapestries; but most authorities believe them to have been glazed tile-paintings.

A whole cargo of fragments of Babylonish tile-paintings was once collected for the gallery of the Louvre at Paris, and, when on board a ship and ready to be sent away, by some accident the whole was sunk. From the descriptions of them which were written, we find that there were portions of pictures of human faces and other parts of the body, of animals, mountains, and forests, of water, walls, and trees.

Judging from what still remains, the art of painting was far less important and much less advanced among the Eastern or Oriental nations than were those of architecture and sculpture. It is very strange that these peoples, who seem to have observed nature closely, and to have mastered the[Pg 13] mathematical sciences, made no steps toward the discovery of the laws of perspective; neither did they know how to give any expression of thought or feeling to the human face. In truth, their pictures were a mere repetition of set figures, and were only valuable as pieces of colored decorations for walls, adding a pleasing richness and variety by their different tints, but almost worthless as works of art.


The painting of Greece and that of ancient Italy are so much the same that it is almost impossible to speak of them separately; the art of painting was carried from Greece to Italy by the Etruscans, and the art of ancient Rome was simply that of Greece transplanted. If Greek artists were employed by Romans, certainly their works were Greek; and if Romans painted they aimed to imitate the Greeks exactly, so that Italian painting before the time of the Christian era must be considered together with that of Greece.

In architecture and sculpture the ancient Greeks accepted what had been done by the Egyptians and Assyrians as a foundation, and went on to perfect the work of the older nations through the aid of poetic and artistic imaginations. But in painting the Greeks followed nothing that had preceded them. They were the first to make pictures which were a life-like reproduction of what they saw about them: they were the first to separate painting from sculpture, and to give it such importance as would permit it to have its own place, quite free from the influence of any other art, and in its own way as grand and as beautiful as its sister arts.

There are writers who trace the origin and progress of Greek painting from the very earliest times; but I shall begin with Apollodorus, who is spoken of as the first Greek [Pg 14] painter worthy of fame, because he was the first one who knew how to make his pictures appear to be real, and to follow the rules of perspective so as to have a background from which his figures stood out, and to shade his colors and soften his outlines. He was very famous, and was called skiagraphos, which means shadow painter.

Apollodorus was an Athenian, and lived at about the close of the fifth century b.c. Although he was a remarkable artist then, we must not fancy that his pictures would have satisfied our idea of the beautiful—in fact, Pliny, the historian, who saw his pictures six hundred years later, at Pergamos, says that Apollodorus was but the gatekeeper who threw open the gates of painting to the famous artists who lived after him.

Zeuxis was a pupil of Apollodorus, and a great artist also. He was born at Heraclea, probably in Lower Italy. When young he led a wandering life; he studied at Athens under Apollodorus, and settled in Ephesus. He was in the habit of putting his pictures on exhibition, and charging an admittance fee, just as artists do now: he called himself “the unsurpassable,” and said and did many vain and foolish things. Near the end of his life he considered his pictures as beyond any price, and so gave them away. Upon one of his works he wrote, “Easier to carp at than to copy.” It is said that he actually laughed himself to death from amusement at one of his own pictures, which represented an old woman.

Zeuxis had a rival in the painter Parrhasius, and their names are often associated. On one occasion they made trial of their artistic skill. Zeuxis painted a bunch of grapes so naturally that the birds came to peck at them. Then Parrhasius painted a hanging curtain, and when his picture was exposed to the public Zeuxis asked him to draw aside his curtain, fully believing it to be of cloth and concealing a picture behind it. Thus it was judged that Parrhasius[Pg 15] was the best artist, for he had deceived Zeuxis, while the latter had only deceived the birds.

From these stories it appears that these artists tried to imitate objects with great exactness. Parrhasius, too, was a vain man, and went about in a purple robe with a gold wreath about his head and gold clasps on his sandals; he painted his own portrait, and called it the god Hermes, or Mercury; he wrote praises of himself in which he called himself by many high-sounding names, for all of which he was much ridiculed by others.

However, both these artists were surpassed by Timanthes, according to the ancient writers, who relate that he engaged in a trial of skill with Parrhasius, and came off the victor in it. The fame of his picture of the “Sacrifice of Iphigenia” was very great, and its one excellence seems to have been in the varied expression of its faces. The descriptions of this great work lead to the belief that this Pompeian wall-painting, from which we give a cut, closely resembles that of Timanthes, which no longer exists.

The story of Iphigenia says that when her father, King Agamemnon, killed a hart which was sacred to Diana, or Artemis, that goddess becalmed his fleet so that he could not sail to Troy. Then the seer, Calchas, advised the king to sacrifice his daughter in order to appease the wrath of Diana. Agamemnon consented; but it is said that the goddess was so sorry for the maiden that she bore her away to Tauris, and made her a priestess, and left a hart to be sacrificed instead of Iphigenia. In our cut you see Calchas on the right; two men are bearing the maiden to her doom, while her father stands on the left with his head veiled from sight (Fig. 4).

Fig 4 Fig. 4.—Sacrifice of Iphigenia.
From a Pompeian wall-painting.

Zeuxis, Parrhasius, and Timanthes belonged to the Ionian school of painting, which flourished during the Peloponnesian war. This school was excelled by that of Sikyon, which reached its highest prosperity between the end of the[Pg 17] Peloponnesian war and the death of Alexander the Great. The chief reason why this Dorian school at Sikyon was so fine was that here, for the first time, the pupils followed a regular course of study, and were trained in drawing and mathematics, and taught to observe nature with the strictest attention. The most famous master of this school was Pausias; some of his works were carried to Rome, where they were much admired. His picture of the garland-weaver, Glykera, gained him a great name, and by it he earned the earliest reputation as a flower-painter that is known in the history of art.

Nikomachos, who lived at Thebes about 360 b.c., was famous for the rapidity with which he painted pictures that were excellent in their completeness and beauty. Aristides, the son or brother of Nikomachos, was so good an artist that Attalus, king of Pergamos, offered more than twenty thousand pounds, or about one hundred thousand dollars, for his picture of Dionysus, or Bacchus. This wonderful picture was carried to Rome, and preserved in the temple of Ceres; but it no longer exists. Euphranor was another great painter, and was distinguished for his power to give great expression to the faces and a manly force to the figures which he painted.

Nikias, the Athenian, is said to have been so devoted to his art that he could think of nothing else: he would ask his servants if he had bathed or eaten, not being able to remember for himself. He was very rich, and when King Ptolemy of Egypt offered him more than sixty thousand dollars for his picture of Ulysses in the under-world, he refused this great sum, and gave the painting to his native city. Nikias seems to have greatly exalted and respected his art, for he contended that painters should not fritter away time and talent on insignificant subjects, but ought rather to choose some grand event, such as a battle or a sea-fight. His figures of women and his pictures of [Pg 18]animals, especially those of dogs, were much praised. Some of his paintings were encaustic, that is to say, the colors were burned in; thus they must have been made on plaster or pottery of some sort. Nikias outlived Alexander the Great, and saw the beginning of the school of painters to which the great Apelles belonged—that which is called the Hellenic school, in which Greek art reached its highest point.

Apelles was the greatest of all Greek painters. He was born at Kolophon; but as he made his first studies at Ephesus he has been called an Ephesian: later he studied in the school of Sikyon, but even when a pupil there he was said to be the equal of all his instructors. Philip of Macedon heard of his fame, and persuaded Apelles to remove to his capital city, which was called Pella. While there Apelles became the friend of the young Alexander, and when the latter came to the throne he made Apelles his court-painter, and is said to have issued an edict forbidding all other artists from painting his portrait. Later on Apelles removed to Ephesus.

During the early part of his artistic life Apelles did little else than paint such pictures as exalted the fame of Philip, and afterward that of Alexander. He painted many portraits of both these great men; for one of Alexander he received nearly twenty-five thousand dollars; in it the monarch was represented as grasping the thunderbolt, as Jupiter might have done, and the hand appeared to be stretched out from the picture. This portrait was in the splendid temple of Diana, or Artemis, at Ephesus. Alexander was accustomed to say of it, “There are two Alexanders, one invincible, the living son of Philip—the other immutable, the picture of Apelles.”

Later in his life Apelles painted many pictures of mythological subjects. He visited Alexandria, in Egypt; he did not win the favor of King Ptolemy, and his enemies in[Pg 19] the Egyptian court played cruel practical jokes upon him. On one occasion he received an invitation to a feast at which the king had not desired his presence. The monarch was angry; but Apelles told him the truth, and appeased his wrath by sketching on the wall the exact likeness of the servant who had carried the invitation to him. However, Ptolemy remained unfavorable to him, and Apelles painted a great picture, called Calumny, in which he represented those who had been his enemies, and thus held them up to the scorn of the world. Apelles visited Rhodes and Athens, but is thought to have died in the island of Kos, where he had painted two very beautiful pictures of the goddess Venus. One of these is called the Venus Anadyomene, or Venus rising from the sea. The emperor Augustus carried this picture to Rome, and placed so high a value on it that he lessened the tribute-money of the people of Kos a hundred talents on account of it. This sum was about equal to one hundred thousand dollars of our money.

The art of Apelles was full of grace and sweetness, and the finish of his pictures was exquisite. The saying, “leave off in time,” originated in his criticism of Protogenes, of whom he said that he was his superior except that he did not know when to leave off, and by too much finishing lessened the effect of his work. Apelles was modest and generous: he was the first to praise Protogenes, and conferred a great benefit upon the latter by buying up his pictures, and giving out word that he was going to sell them as his own. Apelles was never afraid to correct those who were ignorant, and was equally ready to learn from any one who could teach him anything. It is said that on one occasion, when Alexander was in his studio, and talked of art, Apelles advised him to be silent lest his color-grinder should laugh at him. Again, when he had painted a picture, and exposed it to public view, a cobbler pointed out a defect in the shoe-latchet; Apelles changed it, but when the man[Pg 20] next proceeded to criticise the leg of the figure, Apelles replied, “Cobbler, stick to your last.” These sayings have descended to our own day, and have become classical. All these anecdotes from so remote a time are in a sense doubtful; but they are very interesting—young people ought to be familiar with them, but it is also right to say that they are not known to be positively true.

Protogenes of Rhodes, to whom Apelles was so friendly, came to be thought a great painter. It is said that when Demetrius made war against Rhodes the artist did not trouble himself to leave his house, which was in the very midst of the enemy’s camp. When questioned as to his fearlessness he replied, “Demetrius makes war against the Rhodians, and not against the Arts.” It is also said that after hearing of this reply Demetrius refrained from burning the town, in order to preserve the pictures of Protogenes.

The ancient writers mention many other Greek painters, but none as important as those of whom we have spoken. Greek painting never reached a higher point than it had gained at the beginning of the Hellenistic age. Every kind of painting except landscape-painting had been practised by Greek artists; but that received no attention until figure-painting had declined. Vitruvius mentions that the ancients had some very important wall-paintings consisting of simple landscapes, and that others had landscape backgrounds with figures illustrating scenes from the poems of Homer. But we have no reason to believe that Greek landscape-painting was ever more than scenic or decorative work, and thus fell far short of what is now the standard for such painting.

The painting of the early Romans was principally derived from or through the early Etruscans, and the Etruscans are believed to have first learned their art from Greek artists, who introduced plastic art into Italy as early as b.c. 655, when Demaratus was expelled from Corinth—and[Pg 21] later, Etruscan art was influenced by the Greek colonies of Magna Græcia. So it is fair to say that Etruscan art and early Roman art were essentially Greek art. The earliest artists who are known to have painted in Rome had Greek names, such as Ekphantos, Damophilos, and Gargasos. Later on in history there are painters mentioned with Latin names, but there is little of interest related concerning them; in truth, Ludius (who is also called by various authors Tadius and Studius) is the only really interesting ancient Roman painter of whom we know. He lived in the time of Augustus, and Pliny said of him: “Ludius, too, who lived in the age of the divine Augustus, must not be cheated of his fame. He was the first to bring in a singularly delightful fashion of wall-painting—villas, colonnades, examples of landscape-gardening, woods and sacred groves, reservoirs, straits, rivers, coasts, all according to the heart’s desire—and amidst them passengers of all kinds on foot, in boats, driving in carriages, or riding on asses to visit their country properties; furthermore fishermen, bird-catchers, hunters, vintagers; or, again, he exhibits stately villas, to which the approach is through a swamp, with men staggering under the weight of the frightened women whom they have bargained to carry on their shoulders; and many another excellent and entertaining device of the same kind. The same artist also set the fashion of painting views—and that wonderfully cheap—of seaside towns in broad daylight.”

We cannot think that Ludius was the first painter, though he may have been the first Roman painter, who made this sort of pictures, and he probably is the only one of whose work any part remains. Brunn and other good authorities believe that the wall-painting of Prima Porta, in Rome, was executed by Ludius. It represents a garden, and covers the four walls of a room. It is of the decorative order of painting, as Pliny well understood, for he speaks[Pg 23] of the difference between the work of Ludius and that of the true artists who painted panel pictures and not wall-paintings. After the time of Ludius we can give no trustworthy account of any fine, Roman painter.

Fig 5 Fig. 5.—Etruscan Wall-painting.

The works of the ancient painters which still remain in various countries are wall-paintings, paintings on vases, mosaics, paintings on stone, and certain so-called miniatures; and besides these principal works there are many small articles, such as mirrors, toilet-cases, and other useful objects, which are decorated in colors.

We will first speak of the mural, or wall-paintings, as they are the most important and interesting remains of ancient painting. We shall only consider such as have been found in Italy, as those of other countries are few and unimportant.

The Etruscan tombs which have been opened contain many beautiful objects of various kinds, and were frequently decorated with mural pictures. They often consist of several rooms, and have the appearance of being prepared as a home for the living rather than for the dead. I shall give you no long or wordy description of them; because if what I tell you leads you to wish to know more about them, there are many excellent books describing them which you can read. So I will simply give you two cuts from these Etruscan paintings, and tell you about them.

Fig. 5 is in a tomb known as the Grotta della Querciola. The upper part represents a feast, and the lower portion a boar-hunt in a wood, which is indicated by the few trees and the little twigs which are intended to represent the underbrush of the forest. If we compare these pictures with the works of the best Italian masters, they seem very crude and almost childish in their simplicity; but, if we contrast them with the paintings of the Egyptians and Assyrians, we see that a great advance has been made since the earliest paintings of which we know were done.[Pg 25] The pose and action of the figures and their grace of movement, as well as the folding of the draperies, are far better than anything earlier than the Greek painting of which there is any knowledge; for, as we have said, these Etruscan works are essentially Greek.

Fig 6 Fig. 6.—Human Sacrifice Offered by Achilles to the Shade of Patroklos. From an Etruscan wall-painting.

Fig. 6 belongs to a later period than the other, and is taken from a tomb at Vulci which was opened in 1857 by François. This tomb has seven different chambers, several of which are decorated with wall-paintings of mythological subjects. A square chamber at the end of the tomb has the most important pictures. On one side the human sacrifices which were customary at Etruscan funerals are represented: the pictures are very painful, and the terror and agony of the poor victims who are being put to death make them really repulsive to see. On an opposite wall is the painting from which our cut is taken. This represents the sacrifices made before Troy by Achilles, on account of the death of his dear friend Patroklos. The figure with the hammer is Charon, who stands ready to receive the sacrifice which is intended to win his favor. Your mythology will tell you the story, which is too long to be given here. The realism of this picture is shocking in its effect, and yet there is something about the manner of the drawing and the arrangement of the whole design that fixes our attention even while it makes us shudder.

The ancient wall-paintings which have been found in Rome are far more varied than are those of Etruria; for, while some of the Roman pictures are found in tombs, others are taken from baths, palaces, and villas. They generally belong to one period, and that is about the close of the Republic and the beginning of the Empire. Modern excavations have revealed many of these ancient paintings; but so many of them crumble and fade away so soon after they are exposed to the air, that few remain in a condition to afford any satisfaction in seeing them. But fortunately[Pg 27] drawings have been made of nearly all these pictures before they fell into decay.

Fig 7 Fig. 7.—The Aldobrandini Marriage.
From a wall-painting in the Vatican.

Some of the ancient paintings have been carefully removed from the walls where they were found, and placed in museums and other collections. One of the finest of these is in the Vatican, and is called the Aldobrandini Marriage. It received this name from the fact that Cardinal Aldobrandini was its first possessor after its discovery, near the Arch of Gallienus, in 1606.

As you will see from Fig. 7, from it, there are three distinct groups represented. In the centre the bride veiled, with her head modestly bowed down, is seated on a couch with a woman beside her who seems to be arranging some part of her toilet, while another stands near holding ointment and a bowl. At the head of the couch the bridegroom is seated on a threshold. The upper part of his figure is bare, and he has a garland upon his head. On the right of the picture an ante-room is represented in which are three women with musical instruments, singing sacrificial songs. To the left, in another apartment, three other women are preparing a bath. This is charming on account of the sweet, serious way in which the whole story is placed before us; but as a painting it is an inferior work of art—not in the least above the style which we should call house decoration.

Although ancient writers had spoken of landscape paintings, it was not until 1848-1850, when a series of them was discovered on the Esquiline in Rome, that any very satisfactory specimens could be shown. These pictures number eight: six are complete, of the seventh but half remains, and the eighth is in a very imperfect state. They may be called historical landscapes, because each one has a complete landscape as well as figures which tell a story. They illustrate certain passages from the Odyssey of Homer. The one from which our cut is taken shows the visit of Ulysses to the lower world. When on the wall the pictures were[Pg 29] divided by pilasters, and finished at the top by a border or frieze. The pilasters are bright red, and the chief colors in the picture are a yellowish brown and a greenish blue. In this scene the way in which the light streams through the entrance to the lower world is very striking, and shows the many figures there with the best possible effect. Even those in the far distance on the right are distinctly seen. This collection of Esquiline wall-paintings is now in the Vatican Library.

Fig 8 Fig. 8.—Landscape Illustration to the Odyssey. From a wall-painting discovered on the Esquiline at Rome.

Besides the ancient mural paintings which have been placed in the museums of Rome, there are others which still remain where they were painted, in palaces, villas, and tombs. Perhaps those in the house of Livia are the most interesting; they represent mythological stories, and one frieze has different scenes of street life in an ancient town. Though these decorations are done in a mechanical sort of painting, such as is practised by the ordinary fresco painters of our own time, yet there was sufficient artistic feeling in their authors to prevent their repeating any one design.

One circumstance proves that this class of picture was not thought very important when it was made, which is that the name of the artist is rarely found upon his work: in but one instance either in Rome or Pompeii has this occurred, namely, in a chamber which was excavated in the gardens of the Farnesina Palace at Rome, and the name is Seleucus.

We have not space to speak of all the Italian cities in which these remains are discovered, and, as Pompeii is the one most frequently visited and that in which a very large proportion of the ancient pictures have been found, I will give a few illustrations from them, and leave the subject of ancient, mural paintings there. Many of the Pompeian pictures have been removed to the Museum of Naples, though many still remain where they were first painted.

The variety of subjects at Pompeii is large: there are landscapes, hunting scenes, mythological subjects, numerous kinds of single figures, such as dancing girls, the hours,[Pg 30] or seasons, graces, satyrs, and many others; devotional pictures, such as representations of the ancient divinities, lares, penates, and genii; pictures of tavern scenes, of mechanics at their work; rope-dancers and representations of various games, gladiatorial contests, genre scenes from the lives of children, youths, and women, festival ceremonies, actors, poets, and stage scenes, and last, but not least, many caricatures, of which I here give you an example (Fig. 9).

Fig 9 Fig. 9.—The Flight of Æneas.
From a wall-painting.

The largest dog is Æneas, who leads the little Ascanius by the hand and carries his father, Anchises, on his shoulder. Frequently in the ancient caricatures monkeys are made to take the part of historical and imaginary heroes.

Fig10 Fig. 10.—Demeter Enthroned.
From a Pompeian wall-painting.


Fig 11 Fig. 11.—Pompeian Wall-painting.

Fig. 11 shows you how these painted walls were [Pg 32]sometimes divided; the principal subjects were surrounded by ornamental borders, and the spaces between filled in with all sorts of little compartments. The small spaces in this picture are quite regular in form; but frequently they are of varied shapes, and give a very decorative effect to the whole work. The colors used upon these different panels, as they may be called, were usually red, yellow, black, and white—more rarely blue and green. Sometimes the entire decoration consisted of these small, variously colored spaces, divided by some graceful little border, with a very small figure, plant, or other object in the centre of each space.

Fig 12 Fig. 12.—Nest of Cupids.
From a Pompeian wall-painting.

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Fig. 10, of Demeter, or Ceres, enthroned is an example of such devotional paintings as were placed above the altars and shrines for private worship in the houses of Pompeii, or at the street corners, just as we now see pictures and sacred figures in street shrines in Roman Catholic countries. In ancient days, as now, these pictures were often done in a coarse and careless manner, as if religious use, and not art, was the object in the mind of the artist.

Fig. 12, of a Nest of Cupids is a very interesting example of Pompeian painting, and to my mind it more nearly resembles pictures of later times than does any other ancient painting of which I know.


The pictures known as mosaics are made by fitting together bits of marble, stone, or glass of different colors and so arranging them as to represent figures and objects of various kinds, so that at a distance they have much the same effect as that of pictures painted with brush and colors. The art of making mosaics is very ancient, and was probably invented in the East, where it was used for borders and other decorations in regular set patterns. It was not until after the time of Alexander the Great that the Greeks used this process for making pictures. At first, too, mosaics were used for floors or pavements only, and the designs in them were somewhat like those of the tile pavements of our own time.

This picture of doves will give you a good idea of a mosaic; this subject is a very interesting one, because it is said to have been first made by Sosos in Pergamos. It was often repeated in later days, and that from which our cut is taken was found in the ruins of Hadrian’s villa at Tivoli, near Rome; it is known as the Capitoline Doves, from the fact that it is now in the Capitoline Museum in Rome. [Pg 35]Few works of ancient art are more admired and as frequently copied as this mosaic: it is not unusual to see ladies wear brooches with this design in fine mosaic work.

Fig 13 Fig. 13.—Doves Seated on a Bowl.
From a mosaic picture in the Capitol, Rome.

A few examples of ancient mosaics which were used for wall decorations have been found; they may almost be said not to exceed a dozen; but pavement mosaics are very numerous, and are still seen in the places for which they were designed and where they have been during many centuries, as well as in museums to which they have been removed. They are so hard in outline and so mechanical in every way that they are not very attractive if we think of them as pictures, and their chief interest is in the skill and patience with which mosaic workers combine the [Pg 36]numberless particles of one substance and another which go to make up the whole.

Mosaic pictures, as a rule, are not large; but one found at Palestrina, which is called the Nile mosaic, is six by five metres inside. Its subject is the inundation of a village on the river Nile. There are an immense number of figures and a variety of scenes in it; there are Egyptians hunting the Nile horse, a party of revellers in a bower draped with vines, bands of warriors and other groups of men occupied in different pursuits, and all represented at the season when the Nile overflows its banks. This is a very remarkable work, and it has been proved that a portion of the original is in the Berlin Museum, and has been replaced by a copy at Palestrina.


It is well known that much of the decoration of Greek edifices was in colors. Of course these paintings were put upon the marble and stone of which the structures were made. The Greeks also made small pictures and painted them on stone, just as canvas and panels of wood are now used. Such painted slabs have been found in Herculaneum, in Corneto, and in different Etruscan tombs; but the most important and satisfactory one was found at Pompeii in 1872. Since then the colors have almost vanished; but Fig. 14, from it, will show you how it appeared when found. It represents the mythological story of the punishment of Niobe, and is very beautiful in its design.


Vase-painting was another art very much practised by the ancients. So much can be said of it that it would require more space than we can give for its history even in outline. So I shall only say that it fills an important place[Pg 38] in historic art, because from the thousands of ancient vases that have been found in one country and another, much has been learned concerning the history of these lands and the manners and customs of their people; occasionally inscriptions are found upon decorated vases which are of great value to scholars who study the history of the past.

Fig 14 Fig. 14.—Niobe. From a picture on a slab of granite at Pompeii.


Fig 15 Fig. 15.—The Dodwell Vase. At Munich.

The Dodwell vase shows you the more simple style of decoration which was used in the earlier times. Gradually the designs came to be more and more elaborate, until whole stories were as distinctly told by the pictures on vases as if they had been written out in books. The next cut, which is made from a vase-painting, will show what I mean.

The subject of Fig. 16 is connected with the service of the dead, and shows a scene in the under world, such as accorded with ancient religious notions. In the upper portion the friends of the deceased are grouped around a little temple. Scholars trace the manufacture of these vases back to very ancient days, and down to its decline, about two centuries before Christ. I do not mean that vase-painting ceased then, for its latest traces come down to 65 b.c.; but like all other ancient arts, it was then in a state of [Pg 40]decadence. Though vase-painting was one of the lesser arts, its importance can scarcely be overestimated, and it fully merits the devoted study and admiration which it receives from those who are learned in its history.

Fig 16 Fig. 16.—Scene in the Lower World.
From a vase of the style of Lower Italy.

From what we know of ancient Greek painting we may believe that this art first reached perfection in Greece. If we could see the best works of Apelles, who reached the highest excellence of any Greek painter, we might find some lack of the truest science of the art when judged by more modern standards; but the Greeks must still be credited with having been the first to create a true art of painting. After the decline of Greek art fifteen centuries elapsed before painting was again raised to the rank which the Greeks had given it, and if, according to our ideas, the later Italian painting is in any sense superior to the Greek, we must at least admit that the study of the works of antiquity which still remained in Italy, excited the great masters of the Renaissance to the splendid achievements which they attained.

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The Middle Ages extend from the latter part of the fifth century to the time of the Renaissance, or about the fifteenth century. The painting of this period has little to attract attention if regarded only from an artistic stand-point, for we may truly say that, comparing it with the Greek art which had preceded it, or with the Italian art which followed it, that of the Middle Ages had no claim to the beautiful. On the other hand, it is full of interest to students, because it has its part in the history of art; therefore I shall give a mere outline of it, so that this link in the chain which unites ancient and modern painting may not be entirely wanting in our book.

Early mediæval painting, down to about a.d. 950, consists principally of paintings in burial-places, mosaics (usually in churches), and of miniatures, or the illustration and illumination of MSS., which were the books of that time, and were almost without exception religious writings. This period is called the Early Period of the Middle Ages, and the pictures are often called the works of Early Christian Art.

About 1050 a revival of intellectual pursuits began in some parts of Europe, and from that time it may be said that the Renaissance, or new birth of art and letters, was in its A B Cs, or very smallest beginnings. The period [Pg 42]between 950 and 1250 is often called the Central or Romanesque Period of the Middle Ages, and it was during this time that glass-painting originated; it is one of the most interesting features of art in mediæval times.

From 1250 to 1400 comes the Final or Gothic Period of the Middle Ages, and this has some very interesting features which foretell the coming glory of the great Renaissance.


The paintings of the catacombs date from the third and fourth centuries after Christ. The catacombs, or burial-places of the early Christians, consist of long, narrow, subterranean passages, cut with regularity, and crossing each other like streets in a city. The graves are in the sides of these passages, and there are some larger rooms or chambers into which the narrow passages run. There are about sixty of the catacombs in and near Rome; they are generally called by the name of some saint who is buried in them. The paintings are in the chambers, of which there are sometimes several quite near each other. The reason for their being in these underground places was that Christians were so persecuted under the Romans, that they were obliged to do secretly all that they did as Christians, so that no attention should be attracted to them.

The principal characteristics of these pictures are a simple majesty and earnestness of effect; perhaps spirituality is the word to use, for by these paintings the early Christians desired to express their belief in the religion of Christ, and especially in the immortality of the soul, which was a very precious doctrine to them. The catacombs of Rome were more numerous and important than those of any other city.

Many of the paintings in the catacombs had a symbolic meaning, beyond the plainer intention which appeared at the first sight of them: you will know what I mean when I[Pg 44] say that not only was this picture of Moses striking the rock intended to represent an historical fact in the life of Moses, but the flowing water was also regarded as a type of the blessing of Christian baptism.

Fig 17 Fig. 17.—Moses. From a painting in the Catacomb of S. Agnes.


Fig 18 Fig. 18.—decoration of a Roof.
Catacomb of S. Domitilla.

The walls of the chambers of the catacombs are laid out in such a manner as to have the effect of decorated apartments, just as was done in the pagan tombs, and sometimes the pictures were a strange union of pagan and Christian devices.

The above cut, from the Catacomb of S. Domitilla, has in[Pg 45] the centre the pagan god Orpheus playing his lyre, while in the alternate compartments of the border are the following Christian subjects: 1, David with the Sling; 2, Moses Striking the Rock; 3, Daniel in the Lion’s Den; 4, The Raising of Lazarus. The other small divisions have pictures of sacrificial animals. These two cuts will give you an idea of the catacomb wall-paintings.

The mosaics of the Middle Ages were of a purely ornamental character down to the time of Constantine. Then, when the protection of a Christian emperor enabled the Christians to express themselves without fear, the doctrines of the church and the stories of the life of Christ and the histories of the saints, as well as many other instructive religious subjects, were made in mosaics, and placed in prominent places in churches and basilicas. Mosaics are very durable, and many belonging to the early Christian era still remain.

The mosaics at Ravenna form the most connected series, and are the best preserved of those that still exist. While it is true in a certain sense that Rome was always the art centre of Italy, it is also true that at Ravenna the works of art have not suffered from devastation and restoration as have those of Rome. After the invasion of the Visigoths in A.D. 404, Honorius transferred the imperial court to Ravenna, and that city then became distinguished for its learning and art. The Ravenna mosaics are so numerous that I shall only speak of one series, from which I give an illustration (Fig. 19).

This mosaic is in the church of S. Vitalis, which was built between a.d. 526 and 547. In the dome of the church there is a grand representation of Christ enthroned; below Him are the sacred rivers of Paradise; near Him are two angels and S. Vitalis, to whom the Saviour is presenting a crown; Bishop Ecclesius, the founder of the church, is also represented near by with a model of the church in his hand.

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On a lower wall there are two pictures in which the Emperor Justinian and the Empress Theodosia are represented: our cut is from one of these, and shows the emperor and empress in magnificent costumes, each followed by a train of attendants. This emperor never visited Ravenna; but he sent such rich gifts to this church that he and his wife are represented as its donors.

Fig 19 Fig. 19.—Justinian, Theodora, and Attendants. From a mosaic picture at S. Vitalis, Ravenna.

After the time of Justinian (a.d. 527-565) mosaics began to be less artistic, and those of the later time degenerated, as did everything else during the Middle or Dark Ages, and at last all works of art show less and less of the Greek or Classic influence.

When we use the word miniature as an art term, it does not mean simply a small picture as it does in ordinary conversation; it means the pictures executed by the hand of an illuminator or miniator of manuscripts, and he is so called from the minium or cinnabar which he used in making colors.

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In the days of antiquity, as I have told you in speaking of Egypt, it was customary to illustrate manuscripts, and during the Middle Ages this art was very extensively practised. Many monks spent their whole lives in illuminating religious books, and in Constantinople and other eastern cities this art reached a high degree of perfection. Some manuscripts have simple borders and colored initial letters only; sometimes but a single color is used, and is generally red, from which comes our word rubric, which means any writing or printing in red ink, and is derived from the Latin rubrum, or red. This was the origin of illumination or miniature-painting, which went on from one step to another until, at its highest state, most beautiful pictures were painted in manuscripts in which rich colors were used on gold or silver backgrounds, and the effect of the whole was as rich and ornamental as it is possible to imagine.

Many of these old manuscripts are seen in museums, libraries, and various collections; they are very precious and costly, as well as interesting; their study is fascinating, for almost every one of the numberless designs that are used in them has its own symbolic meaning. The most ancient, artistic miniatures of which we know are those on a manuscript of a part of the book of Genesis; it is in the Imperial Library at Vienna, and was made at the end of the fifth century. In the same collection there is a very extraordinary manuscript, from which I give an illustration.

This manuscript is a treatise on botany, and was written by Dioskorides for his pupil, the Princess Juliana Anicia, a granddaughter of the Emperor Valentine III. As this princess died at Constantinople a.d. 527, this manuscript dates from the beginning of the sixth century. This picture from it represents Dioskorides dressed in white robes and seated in a chair of gold; before him stands a woman in a gold tunic and scarlet mantle, who represents the genius of discovery; she presents the legendary mandrake root, or [Pg 48]mandragora, to the learned man, while between them is the dog that has pulled the root, and falls dead, according to the fabulous story. This manuscript was painted by a masterly hand, and is curious and interesting; the plants, snakes, birds, and insects must have been painted from nature, and the whole is most skilfully done.

Fig 20 Fig. 20.—The Discovery of the Herb Mandragora. From a MS. of Dioskorides, at Vienna.

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During the Middle Ages the arts as practised in Rome were carried into all the different countries in which the Romans made conquests or sent their monks and missionaries to establish churches, convents, and schools. Thus the mediæval arts were practised in Gaul, Spain, Germany, and Great Britain. No wall-paintings or mosaics remain from the early German or Celtic peoples; but their illuminated manuscripts are very numerous: miniature-painting was extensively done in Ireland, and many Irish manuscripts remain in the collections of Great Britain.

When Charlemagne became the king of the Franks in 768, there was little knowledge of any art among his northern subjects; in 800 he made himself emperor of the Romans, also, and when the Franks saw all the splendor of Rome and other parts of Italy, it was not difficult for the great emperor to introduce the arts into the Frankish portion of his empire. All sorts of beautiful objects were carried from Italy by the Franks, and great workshops were established at Aix-la-Chapelle, the capital, and were placed under the care of Eginhard, who was skilled in bronze-casting, modelling, and other arts; he was called Bezaleel, after the builder of the Tabernacle. We have many accounts of the wall-paintings and mosaics of the Franks; but there are no remains of them that can be identified with positive accuracy.

Miniature-painting flourished under the rule of Charlemagne and his family, and reached a point of great magnificence in effect, though it was never as artistic as the work of the Italian miniators; and, indeed, gradually everything connected with art was declining in all parts of the world; and as we study its history, we can understand why the terms Dark Ages and Middle Ages are used to denote the same epoch, remarkable as it is for the decay and extinction of so many beautiful things.

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During the Romanesque Period (950-1250) architecture was pursued according to laws which had grown out of the achievements and experiences of earlier ages, and had reached such a perfection as entitled it to the rank of a noble art. But this was not true of painting, which was then but little more than the painting of the Egyptians had been, that is, a sort of picture-writing, which was principally used to illustrate the doctrines of religion, and by this means to teach them to peoples who had no books, and could not have read them had they existed.

During all this time the art of painting was largely under the control of the priests. Some artists were priests themselves, and those who were not were under the direction of some church dignitary. Popes, bishops, abbots, and so on, were the principal patrons of art, and they suggested to the artists the subjects to be painted, and then the pictures were used for the decoration of churches and other buildings used by the religious orders. The monks were largely occupied in miniature-painting; artists frequented the monasteries, and, indeed, when they were engaged upon religious subjects, they were frequently under the same discipline as that of the monks themselves.

Next to the influence of the church came that of the court; but in a way it was much the same, for the clergy had great influence at court, and, although painting was used to serve the luxury of sovereigns and nobles, it was also true that these high personages often employed artists to decorate chapels and to paint altar-pieces for churches at their expense, for during the Romanesque period there was some painting on panels. At first these panel-pictures were placed on the front of the altar where draperies had formerly been used: later they were raised above the altar,[Pg 51] and also put in various parts of the church. The painting of the Romanesque period was merely a decline, and there can be little more said of it than is told by that one word.

Fig 21 Fig. 21.—King David. From a window in Augsburg Cathedral.

Glass-painting dates from this time. The very earliest specimens of which we know are from the eleventh century. Before that time there had been transparent mosaics made by putting together bits of colored glass, and arranging them in simple, set and ornamental patterns. Such mosaics date from the earliest days of Christianity, and were in use as soon as glass was used for windows. From ancient writings we know that some windows were made with pictures upon them as long ago as a.d. 989; but nothing now remains from that remote date.

There is a doubt as to whether glass-painting originated in France or Germany. Some French authors ascribe its invention to Germany, while some German writers accord the same honor to France. Remains of glass-painting of the eleventh century have been found in both these countries; but it is probable that five windows in the Cathedral of Augsburg date from 1065, and are a little older than any others of which we know. This picture of David is from one of them, and is probably as old as any painted window in existence.

Fig 22 Fig. 22.—Window. From the Cathedral of St. Denis.

The oldest glass-painting in France is probably a single fragment in the Cathedral of Le Mans. This cathedral was completed in 1093, but was badly burned in 1136, so that but a single piece of its windows remains; this has[Pg 53] been inserted in a new window in the choir, and is thus preserved. With the beginning of the twelfth century, glass-painting became more frequent in Europe, and near the end of this century it was introduced into England, together with the Gothic style of architecture. Very soon a highly decorative effect was given to glass-painting, and the designs upon many windows were very much like those used in the miniatures of the same time. The stained glass in the Cathedral of St. Denis, near Paris, is very important. It dates from about 1140-1151, and was executed under the care of the famous Abbot Suger. He employed both French and German workmen, and decorated the entire length of the walls with painted windows. St. Denis was the first French cathedral in the full Gothic style of architecture. The present windows in St. Denis can scarcely be said to be the original ones, as the cathedral has suffered much from revolutions; but some of them have been restored as nearly as possible, and our illustration (Fig. 22) will give you a good idea of what its windows were.

The stripes which run across the ground in this window are red and blue, and the leaf border is in a light tone of color. There are nine medallions; the three upper ones have simply ornamental designs upon them, and the six lower ones have pictures of sacred subjects. The one given here is an Annunciation, in which the Abbot Suger kneels at the feet of the Virgin Mary. His figure interferes with the border of the medallion in a very unusual manner.

Perhaps the most important ancient glass-painting remaining in France is that of the west front of the Cathedral of Chartres. It dates from about 1125, when this front was begun; there are three windows, and their color is far superior to the glass of a later period, which is in the same cathedral. The earliest painted glass in England dates from about 1180. Some of the windows in Canterbury Cathedral correspond to those in the Cathedral of St. Denis.

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In the Strasbourg Cathedral there are some splendid remains of painted glass of the Romanesque period, although they were much injured by the bombardment of 1870. Fig. 23 is from one of the west windows, and represents King Henry I.

This is an unusually fine example of the style of the period before the more elaborate Gothic manner had arisen; the quiet regularity of the drapery and the dignified air of the whole figure is very impressive.

An entirely different sort of colored windows was used in the churches and edifices which belonged to the Cistercian order of monks. The rule of this order was severe, and while they wished to soften the light within their churches, they believed it to be wrong to use anything which denoted pomp or splendor in the decoration of the house of God. For these reasons they invented what is called the grisaille glass: it is painted in regular patterns in gray tones of color. Sometimes these windows are varied by a leaf pattern in shades of green and brown, with occasional touches of bright color; but this is used very sparingly. Some of these grisaille windows are seen in France; but the finest are in Germany in the Cathedral of Heiligenkreuz: they date from the first half of the thirteenth century.


The Gothic order of architecture, which was perfected during this period, had a decided influence upon the painting and sculpture of the time; but this influence was not felt until Gothic architecture had reached a high point in its development. France was now the leading country of the world, and Paris came to be the most important of all cities: it was the centre from which went forth edicts as to the customs of society, the laws of dress and conduct, and even of the art of love. From France came the codes of chivalry,[Pg 56] and the crusades, which spread to other lands, originated there. Thus, for the time, Paris overshadowed Rome and the older centres of art, industry, and science, with a world-wide influence.

Fig 23 Fig. 23.—Figure of Henry I. in West Window of Strasbourg Cathedral.

Although the painting of this period had largely the same characteristics as that of the Romanesque period, it had a different spirit, and it was no longer under the control of the clergy. Before this time, too, painters had frequently been skilled in other arts; now it became the custom for them to be painters only, and besides this they were divided into certain classes of painters, and were then associated with other craftsmen who were engaged in the trade which was connected with their art. That is, the glass-painters painted glass only, and were associated with the glass-blowers; those who decorated shields, with the shield or scutcheon makers, and so on; while the painters, pure and simple, worked at wall-painting, and a little later at panel-painting also. From this association of artists and tradesmen there grew up brotherhoods which supported their members in all difficulties, and stood by each other like friends. Each brotherhood had its altar in some church; they had their funerals and festivals in common, and from these brotherhoods grew up the more powerful societies which were called guilds. These guilds became powerful organizations; they had definite rights and duties, and even judicial authority as to such matters as belonged to their special trades.

All this led to much greater individuality among artists than had ever existed before: it came to be understood that a painter could, and had a right to, paint a picture as he wished, and was not governed by any priestly law. Religious subjects were still painted more frequently than others, and the decoration of religious edifices was the chief employment of the artists; but they worked with more independence of thought and spirit. The painters studied[Pg 58] more from nature, and though the change was very slow, it is still true that a certain softness of effect, an easy flow of drapery, and a new grace of pose did appear, and about a.d. 1350 a new idea of the uses and aims of painting influenced artists everywhere.

Fig 24 Fig. 24.—Birth of the Virgin. From the Grandes Heures of the Duc de Berri.

About that time they attempted to represent distances, and to create different planes in their works; to reproduce such things as they represented far more exactly than they had done before, and to put them in just relations to surrounding places and objects; in a word, they seemed to awake to an appreciation of the true office of painting and to its infinite possibilities.

During this Gothic period some of the most exquisite manuscripts were made in France and Germany, and they are now the choicest treasures of their kind in various European collections.

Fig. 24, of the birth of the Virgin Mary, is from one of the most splendid books of the time which was painted for the Duke de Berry and called the Great Book of the Hours. The wealth of ornament in the border is a characteristic of the French miniatures of the time. The Germans used a simpler style, as you will see by Fig. 25, of the Annunciation.

The influence of the Gothic order of architecture upon glass-painting was very pronounced. Under this order the windows became much more important than they had been, and it was not unusual to see a series of windows painted in such pictures as illustrated the whole teaching of the doctrines of the church. It was at this time that the custom arose of donating memorial windows to religious edifices. Sometimes they were the gift of a person or a family, and the portraits of the donors were painted in the lower part of the window, and usually in a kneeling posture; at other times windows were given by guilds, and it is very odd to see craftsmen of various sorts at work in a cathedral [Pg 59]window: such pictures exist at Chartres, Bourges, Amiens, and other places.

Fig 25 Fig. 25.—The Annunciation. From the Mariale of Archbishop Arnestus of Prague.

About a.d. 1300 it began to be the custom to represent architectural effects upon colored windows. Our cut is from a window at Konigsfelden, and will show exactly what I mean (Fig. 26).

This style of decoration was not as effective as the earlier ones had been, and, indeed, from about this time glass-painting became less satisfactory than before, from the fact[Pg 60] that it had more resemblance to panel-painting, and so lost a part of the individuality which had belonged to it.

Fig 26 Fig. 26.—Painted Window at Konigsfelden.

Wall-paintings were rare in the Gothic period, for its architecture left no good spaces where the pictures could be placed, and so the interior painting of the churches was almost entirely confined to borders and decorative patterns scattered here and there and used with great effect. In Germany and England wall-painting was more used for the decoration of castles, halls, chambers, and chapels; but as a[Pg 61] whole mural painting was of little importance at this time in comparison with its earlier days.

About a.d. 1350 panel pictures began to be more numerous, and from this time there are vague accounts of schools of painting at Prague and Cologne, and a few remnants exist which prove that such works were executed in France and Flanders; but I shall pass over what is often called the Transitional Period, by which we mean the time in which new influences were beginning to act, and hereafter I will tell our story by giving accounts of the lives of separate painters; for from about the middle of the thirteenth century it is possible to trace the history of painting through the study of individual artists.

Fig 27 Fig. 27.—Portrait of Cimabue.

Giovanni Cimabue, the first painter of whom I shall tell you, was born in Florence in 1240. He is sometimes called the “Father of Modern Painting,” because he was the first who restored that art to any degree of the beauty[Pg 62] to which it had attained before the Dark Ages. The Cimabui were a noble family, and Giovanni was allowed to follow his own taste, and became a painter; he was also skilled in mosaic work, and during the last years of his life held the office of master of the mosaic workers in the Cathedral of Pisa, where some of his own mosaics still remain.

Of his wall-paintings I shall say nothing except to tell you that the finest are in the Upper Church at Assisi, where one sees the first step in the development of the art of Tuscany. But I wish to tell the story of one of his panel pictures, which is very interesting. It is now in the Rucellai Chapel of the Church of Santa Maria Novella, in Florence, and it is only just in me to say that if one of my readers walked through that church and did not know about this picture, it is doubtful if he would stop to look at it—certainly he would not admire it. The story is that when Cimabue was about thirty years old he was busy in painting this picture of the Madonna Enthroned, and he would not allow any one to see what he was doing.

It happened, however, that Charles of Anjou, being on his way to Naples, stopped in Florence, where the nobles did everything in their power for his entertainment. Among other places they took him to the studio of Cimabue, who uncovered his picture for the first time. Many persons then flocked to see it, and were so loud in their joyful expressions of admiration for it that the part of the city in which the studio was has since been called the Borgo Allegri, or the “joyous quarter.”

When the picture was completed the day was celebrated as a festival; a procession was formed; bands of music played joyful airs; the magistrates of Florence honored the occasion with their presence; and the picture was borne in triumph to the church. Cimabue must have been very happy at this great appreciation of his art, and from that time he was famous in all Italy.

Fig 28 Fig. 28.—The Madonna of the Church of Santa Maria Novella.

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Another madonna by this master is in the Academy of Florence, and one attributed to him is in the Louvre, in Paris.

Cimabue died about 1302, and was buried in the Church of Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Cathedral of Florence. Above his tomb these words were inscribed: “Cimabue thought himself master of the field of painting. While living, he was so. Now he holds his place among the stars of heaven.”

Other artists who were important in this early time of the revival of painting were Andrea Tafi, a mosaist of Florence, Margaritone of Arezzo, Guido of Siena, and of the same city Duccio, the son of Buoninsegna. This last painter flourished from 1282 to 1320; his altar-piece for the Cathedral of Siena was also carried to its place in solemn procession, with the sound of trumpet, drum, and bell.

Giotto di Bondone was the next artist in whom we have an unusual interest. He was born at Del Colle, in the commune of Vespignano, probably about 1266, though the date is usually given ten years later. One of the best reasons for calling Cimabue the “Father of Painting” is that he acted the part of a father to Giotto, who proved to be so great an artist that from his time painting made a rapid advance. The story is that one day when Cimabue rode in the valley of Vespignano he saw a shepherd-boy who was drawing a portrait of one of his sheep on a flat rock, by means of a pointed bit of slate for a pencil. The sketch was so good that Cimabue offered to take the boy to Florence, and teach him to paint. The boy’s father consented, and henceforth the little Giotto lived with Cimabue, who instructed him in painting, and put him to study letters under Brunetto Latini, who was also the teacher of the great poet, Dante.

Fig 29 Fig. 29.—Portrait of Dante,
painted by Giotto.

The picture which we give here is from the earliest work[Pg 66] by Giotto of which we have any knowledge. In it were the portraits of Dante, Latini, and several others. This picture was painted on a wall of the Podestà at Florence, and when Dante was exiled from that city his portrait was covered with whitewash; in 1841 it was restored to the light, having been hidden for centuries. It is a precious memento of the friendship between the great artist and the divine poet, who expressed his admiration of Giotto in these lines:—

“In painting Cimabue fain had thought
To lord the field; now Giotto has the cry,
So that the other’s fame in shade is brought.”

Giotto did much work in Florence; he also, about 1300, executed frescoes in the Lower Church at Assisi; from 1303-1306 he painted his beautiful pictures in the Cappella dell’ Arena, at Padua, by which the genius of Giotto is now most fully shown. He worked at Rimini also, and about 1330 was employed by King Robert of Naples, who conferred many honors upon him, and made him a member of his own household. In 1334 Giotto was made the chief master of the cathedral works in Florence, as well as of the city fortifications and all architectural undertakings by the city authorities. He held this high position but three years, as he died on January 8, 1337.

Giotto was also a great architect, as is well known from his tower in Florence, for which he made all the designs and a part of the working models, while some of the sculptures and reliefs upon it prove that he was skilled in modelling and carving. He worked in mosaics also, and the famous “Navicella,” in the vestibule of St. Peter’s at Rome, was originally made by him, but has now been so much restored that it is doubtful if any part of what remains was done by Giotto’s hands.

Fig 30 Fig. 30.—Giotto’s Campanile and the Duomo. Florence.

The works of Giotto are too numerous to be [Pg 68]mentioned here, and his merits as an artist too important to be discussed in our limits; but his advance in painting was so great that he deserved the great compliment of Cennino, who said that Giotto “had done or translated the art of painting from Greek into Latin.”

I shall, however, tell you of one excellent thing that he did, which was to make the representation of the crucifix far more refined and Christ-like than it had ever been. Before his time every effort had been made to picture physical agony alone. Giotto gave a gentle face, full of suffering, it is true, but also expressive of tenderness and resignation, and it would not be easy to paint a better crucifix than those of this master.

In person Giotto was so ugly that his admirers made jokes about it; but he was witty and attractive in conversation, and so modest that his friends were always glad to praise him while he lived, and since his death his fame has been cherished by all who have written of him. There are many anecdotes told of Giotto. One is that on a very hot day in Naples, King Robert said to the painter, “Giotto, if I were you, I would leave work, and rest.” Giotto quickly replied, “So would I, sire, if I were you.”

When the same king asked him to paint a picture which would represent his kingdom, Giotto drew an ass bearing a saddle on which were a crown and sceptre, while at the feet of the ass there was a new saddle with a shining new crown and sceptre, at which the ass was eagerly smelling. By this he intended to show that the Neapolitans were so fickle that they were always looking for a new king.

There is a story which has been often repeated which says, that in order to paint his crucifixes so well, he persuaded a man to be bound to a cross for an hour as a model; and when he had him there he stabbed him, in order to see such agony as he wished to paint. When the Pope saw the picture he was so pleased with it that he[Pg 69] wished to have it for his own chapel; then Giotto confessed what he had done, and showed the body of the dead man. The Pope was so angry that he threatened the painter with the same death, upon which Giotto brushed the picture over so that it seemed to be destroyed. Then the Pope so regretted the loss of the crucifix that he promised to pardon Giotto if he would paint him another as good. Giotto exacted the promise in writing, and then, with a wet sponge, removed the wash he had used, and the picture was as good as before. According to tradition all famous crucifixes were drawn from this picture ever after.

When Boniface VIII. sent a messenger to invite Giotto to Rome, the messenger asked Giotto to show him something of the art which had made him so famous. Giotto, with a pencil, by a single motion drew so perfect a circle that it was thought to be a miracle, and this gave rise to a proverb still much used in Italy:—Piu tondo che l’O di Giotto, or, “Rounder than the O of Giotto.”

Giotto had a wife and eight children, of whom nothing is known but that his son Francesco became a painter. Giotto died in 1337, and was buried with great honors in the Church of Santa Maria del Fiore. Lorenzo de Medici erected a monument to his memory. The pupils and followers of Giotto were very numerous, and were called Giotteschi; among these Taddeo Gaddi, and his son Agnolo, are most famous: others were Maso and Bernardo di Daddo; but I shall not speak in detail of these artists.

While Giotto was making the art of Florence famous, there was an artist in Siena who raised the school of that city to a place of great honor. This was Simone Martini, who lived from 1283 to 1344, and is often called Simone Memmi because he married a sister of another painter, Lippo Memmi. The most important works of Simone which remain are at Siena in the Palazzo Pubblico and in the Lower Church at Assisi. There is one beautiful[Pg 70] work of his in the Royal Institution, at Liverpool, which illustrates the text, “Behold, thy father and I have sought Thee, sorrowing.”

While the Papal court was at Avignon, in 1338, Simone removed to that city. Here he became the friend of Petrarch and of Laura, and has been praised by this poet as Giotto was by Dante.

Another eminent Florentine artist was Andrea Orcagna, as he is called, though his real name was Andrea Arcagnuolo di Cione. He was born about 1329, and died about 1368. It has long been the custom to attribute to Orcagna some of the most important frescoes in the Campo Santo at Pisa; but it is so doubtful whether he worked there that I shall not speak of them. His father was a goldsmith, and Orcagna first studied his father’s craft; he was also an architect, sculptor, mosaist, and poet, as well as a painter. He made an advance in color and in the painting of atmosphere that gives him high rank as a painter; as a sculptor, his tabernacle in the Church of Or San Michele speaks his praise. Mr. C. C. Perkins thus describes it: “Built of white marble in the Gothic style, enriched with every kind of ornament, and storied with bas-reliefs illustrative of the Madonna’s history from her birth to her death, it rises in stately beauty toward the roof of the church, and, whether considered from an architectural, sculptural, or symbolic point of view, must excite the warmest admiration in all who can appreciate the perfect unity of conception through which its bas-reliefs, statuettes, busts, intaglios, mosaics, and incrustations of pietre dure, gilded glass, and enamels are welded into a unique whole.”

But perhaps it is as an architect that Orcagna is most interesting to us, for he it was who made the designs for the Loggia de Lanzi in Florence. This was built as a place for public assembly, and the discussion of the topics of the day in rainy weather; it received its name on account of its[Pg 71] nearness to the German guard-house which was called that of the Landsknechts (in German), or Lanzi, as it was given in Italian. Orcagna probably died before the Loggia was completed, and his brother Bernardo succeeded him as architect of the commune. This Loggia is one of the most interesting places in Florence, fully in sight of the Palazzo Signoria, near the gallery of the Uffizi, and itself the storehouse of precious works of sculpture.

There were also in these early days of the fourteenth century schools of art at Bologna and Modena; but we know so little of them in detail that I shall not attempt to give any account of them here, but will pass to the early artists who may be said to belong to the true Renaissance in Italy.

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The reawakening of Art in Italy which followed the darkness of the Middle Ages, dates from about the beginning of the fifteenth century and is called the Renaissance. The Italians have a method of reckoning the centuries which differs from ours. Thus we call 1800 the first year of the nineteenth century, but they call it the first of the eighteenth; so the painters of what was to us the fifteenth century are called by Italians the “quattrocentisti,” or men of the fourteenth century, and while to us the term “cinquecento” means the style of the sixteenth century, to the Italians the same century, which begins with 1500, is the fifteenth century.

I shall use our own method of reckoning in my writing; but this fact should be known to all who read or study art.

The first painter of whom I shall now speak is known to us as Fra Angelico. His name was Guido, the son of Pietro, and he was born at Vicchio in the province of Mugello, in the year 1387. We know that his family was in such circumstances that the young Guido could have led a life of ease; but he early determined to become a preaching friar. Meantime, even as a boy, he showed his taste for art, and there are six years in his life, from the age of fourteen to twenty, of which no one can tell the story.[Pg 73] However, from what followed it is plain that during this time he must somewhere have devoted himself to the study of painting and to preparation for his life as a monk.

Before he was fully twenty years old, he entered the convent at Fiesole, and took the name of Fra, or Brother Giovanni; soon after, his elder brother joined him there, and became Fra Benedetto. Later on our artist was called Fra Angelico, and again Il Beato Angelico, and then, according to Italian custom, the name of the town from which he came was added, so that he was at last called Il Beato Giovanni, detto Angelico, da Fiesole, which means, “The Blessed John, called the Angelic, of Fiesole.” The title Il Beato is usually conferred by the church, but it was given to Fra Angelico by the people, because of his saintly character and works.

It was in 1407 that Fra Angelico was admitted to the convent in Fiesole, and after seven years of peaceful life there he was obliged to flee with his companions to Foligno. It was at the time when three different popes claimed the authority over the Church of Rome, and the city of Florence declared itself in favor of Alexander V.; but the monks of Fiesole adhered to Gregory XII., and for this reason were driven from their convent. Six years they dwelt at Foligno; then the plague broke out in the country about them, and again they fled to Cortona. Pictures painted by Fra Angelico at this time still remain in the churches of Cortona.

After an absence of ten years the monks returned to Fiesole, where our artist passed the next eighteen years. This was the richest period of his life: his energy was untiring, and his zeal both as an artist and as a priest burned with a steady fire. His works were sought for far and wide, and most of his easel-pictures were painted during this time. Fra Angelico would never accept the money which was paid for his work; it was given into the treasury of his convent;[Pg 75] neither did he accept any commission without the consent of the prior. Naturally, the monk-artist executed works for the adornment of his own convent. Some of these have been sold and carried to other cities and countries, and those which remain have been too much injured and too much restored to be considered important now.

Fig 31 Fig. 31.—Fra Angelico. From the representation of him in the fresco of the “Last Judgment,” by Fra Bartolommeo, in Santa Maria Nuova, Florence.

He painted so many pictures during this second residence at Fiesole, not only for public places, but for private citizens, that Vasari wrote: “This Father painted so many pictures, which are dispersed through the houses of the Florentines, that sometimes I am lost in wonder when I think how works so good and so many could, though in the course of many years, have been brought to perfection by one man alone.”

In 1436 the great Cosimo de Medici insisted that the monks of Fiesole should again leave their convent, and remove to that of San Marco, in Florence. Most unwillingly the brethren submitted, and immediately Cosimo set architects and builders to work to erect a new convent, for the old one was in a ruinous state. The new cloisters offered a noble field to the genius of Fra Angelico, and he labored for their decoration with his whole soul; though the rule of the order was so strict that the pictures in the cells could be seen only by the monks, he put all his skill into them, and labored as devotedly as if the whole world could see and praise them, as indeed has since been done. His pictures in this convent are so numerous that we must not describe them, but will say that the Crucifixion in the chapter-room is usually called his masterpiece. It is nearly twenty-five feet square, and, besides the usual figures in this subject, the Saviour and the thieves, with the executioners, there are holy women, the founders of various orders, the patrons of the convent, and companies of saints. In the frame there are medallions with several saints and a Sibyl, each bearing an inscription from the prophecies relating to[Pg 76] Christ’s death; while below all, St. Dominic, the founder of the artist’s order, bears a genealogical tree with many portraits of those who had been eminent among his followers. For this reason this picture has great historic value.

At last, in 1445, Pope Eugenius IV., who had dedicated the new convent of San Marco and seen the works of Angelico, summoned him to Rome. It is said that the Pope not only wished for some of his paintings, but he also desired to honor Angelico by giving him the archbishopric of Florence; but when this high position was offered him, Fra Angelico would not accept of it: he declared himself unequal to its duties, and begged the Pope to appoint Fra Antonino in his stead. This request was granted, and Angelico went on with his work as before, in all humility fulfilling his heaven-born mission to lead men to better lives through the sweet influence of his divine art.

The honor which had been tendered him was great—one which the noblest men were striving for—but if he realized this he did not regret his decision, neither was he made bold or vain by the royal tribute which the Pope had paid him.

From this time the most important works of Fra Angelico were done in the chapel of Pope Nicholas V., in the Vatican, and in the chapel which he decorated in the Cathedral of Orvieto. He worked there one summer, and the work was continued by Luca Signorelli. The remainder of his life was passed so quietly that little can be told of it. It is not even known with certainty whether he ever returned to Florence, and by some strange fate the key to the chapel which he painted in the Vatican was lost during two centuries, and the pictures could only be seen by entering through a window. Thus it would seem that his last years were passed in the quiet work which he best loved.

Fig 32 Fig. 32.—An Angel.
In the Uffizi, Florence.
By Fra Angelico.

When his final illness was upon him, the brethren of[Pg 78] Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, where he resided, gathered about him, and chanted the Salve Regina. He died on the 18th of February, 1455, when sixty-seven years old. His tombstone is in the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, in Rome; on it lies the figure of a Dominican monk in marble. Pope Nicholas V. wrote his epitaph in Latin. The following translation is by Professor Norton:

“Not mine be the praise that I was a second Apelles,
But that I gave all my gains to thine, O Christ!
One work is for the earth, another for heaven.
The city, the Flower of Tuscany, bore me—John.”

In the Convent of San Marco in Florence there are twenty-five pictures by this master; in the Academy of Florence there are about sixty; there are eleven in the chapel of Nicholas V., and still others in the Vatican gallery. The Church of Santa Maria Novella, Florence, the Cathedral of Orvieto, the Church of St. Domenico in Perugia, and that of Cortona, are all rich in his works. Besides these a few exist in some of the principal European galleries; but I love best to see them in San Marco, where he painted them for his brethren, and where they seem most at home.

The chief merit of the pictures of Fra Angelico is the sweet and tender expression of the faces of his angels and saints, or any beings who are holy and good; he never succeeded in painting evil and sin in such a way as to terrify one; his gentle nature did not permit him to represent that which it could not comprehend, and the very spirit of purity seems to breathe through every picture.

Two other Florentine artists of the same era with Fra Angelico were Masolino, whose real name was Panicale, and Tommaso Guidi, called Masaccio on account of his want of neatness. The style of these two masters was much the same, but Masaccio became so much the greater[Pg 79] that little is said of Masolino. The principal works of Masaccio are a series of frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence. They represent “The Expulsion from Paradise,” “The Tribute Money,” “Peter Baptizing,” “Peter Curing the Blind and Lame,” “The Death of Ananias,” “Simon Magus,” and the “Resuscitation of the King’s Son.” There is a fresco by Masolino in the same chapel; it is “The Preaching of Peter.” Masaccio was in fact a remarkable painter. Some one has said that he seemed to hold Giotto by one hand, and reach forward to Raphael with the other; and considering the pictures which were painted before his time, his works are as wonderful as Raphael’s are beautiful. He died in 1429.

Paolo Uccello (1396-1479) and Filippo Lippi (1412-1469) were also good painters, and Sandro Botticelli (1447-1515), a pupil of Filippo, was called the best Florentine painter of his time. Fillipino Lippi (1460-1505) was a pupil of Botticelli and a very important artist. Andrea Verrocchio, Lorenzo di Credi, and Antonio Pollajuolo were all good painters of the Florentine school of the last half of the fifteenth century.

Of the same period was Domenico Ghirlandajo (1449-1494), who ranks very high on account of his skill in the composition of his works and as a colorist. He made his pictures very interesting also to those of his own time, and to those of later days, by introducing portraits of certain citizens of Florence into pictures which he painted in the Church of Santa Maria Novella and other public places in the city. He did not usually make them actors in the scene he represented, but placed them in detached groups as if they were looking at the picture themselves. While his scenes were laid in the streets known to us, and his architecture was familiar, he did not run into the fantastic or lose the picturesque effect which is always pleasing. Without being one of the greatest of the Italian masters Ghirlandajo[Pg 80] was a very important painter. He was also a teacher of the great Michael Angelo.

Other prominent Florentine painters of the close of the fifteenth century were Francisco Granacci (1477-1543), Luca Signorelli (1441-1521), Benozzo Gozzoli (1424-1485), and Cosimo Rosselli (1439-1506).

Some good painters worked in Venice from the last half of the fourteenth century; but I shall begin to speak of the Venetian school with some account of the Bellini. The father of this family was Jacopo Bellini (1395-1470), and his sons were Gentile Bellini (1421-1507) and Giovanni Bellini (1426-1516).

The sketch-book of the father is one of the treasures of the British Museum. It has 99 pages, 17 by 13 inches in size, and contains sketches of almost everything—still and animal life, nature, ancient sculpture, buildings and human figures, stories of the Scriptures, of mythology, and of the lives of the saints are all illustrated in its sketches, as well as hawking parties, village scenes, apes, eagles, dogs, and cats. In this book the excellence of his drawing is seen; but so few of his works remain that we cannot judge of him as a colorist. It is certain that he laid the foundation of the excellence of the Venetian school, which his son Giovanni and the great Titian carried to perfection.

The elder son, Gentile, was a good artist, and gained such a reputation by his pictures in the great council-chamber of Venice, that when, in 1479, Sultan Mehemet, the conqueror of Constantinople, sent to Venice for a good painter, the Doge sent to him Gentile Bellini. With him he sent two assistants, and gave him honorable conduct in galleys belonging to the State. In Constantinople Gentile was much honored, and he painted the portraits of many remarkable people. At length it happened that when he had finished a picture of the head of John the Baptist in a charger, and showed it to the Sultan, that ruler said that the[Pg 81] neck was not well painted, and when he saw that Gentile did not agree with him he called a slave and had his head instantly struck off, to prove to the artist what would be the true action of the muscles under such circumstances. This act made Gentile unwilling to remain near the Sultan, and after a year in his service he returned home. Mehemet, at parting, gave him many gifts, and begged him to ask for whatever would best please him. Gentile asked but for a letter of praise to the Doge and Signoria of Venice. After his return to Venice he worked much in company with his brother. It is said that Titian studied with Gentile: it is certain that he was always occupied with important commissions, and worked until the day of his death, when he was more than eighty years old.

Fig 33 Fig. 33.—Christ.
By Gio. Bellini.

But Giovanni Bellini was the greatest of his family, and must stand as the founder of true Venetian painting. His works may be divided into two periods, those that were done before, and those after he learned the use of oil colors. His masterpieces, which can still be seen in the Academy and the churches of Venice, were painted after he was sixty-five years old. The works of Giovanni Bellini are numerous in Venice, and are also seen in the principal galleries of Europe. He did not paint a great variety of subjects, neither was his imagination very poetical, but there was a moral beauty in his figures; he seems to have made humanity as elevated as it can be, and to have stopped just on the line which separates earthly excellence[Pg 82] from the heavenly. He often painted the single figure of Christ, of which Lübke says: “By grand nobleness of expression, solemn bearing, and an excellent arrangement of the drapery, he reached a dignity which has rarely been surpassed.” Near the close of his life he painted a few subjects which represent gay and festive scenes, and are more youthful in spirit than the works of his earlier years. The two brothers were buried side by side, in the Church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, in Venice.

There were also good painters in Padua, Ferrara, and Verona in the fifteenth century.

Andrea Mantegna, of Padua (1430-1506), was a very important artist. He spent the best part of his life in the service of the Duke of Mantua; but his influence was felt in all Italy, for his marriage with the daughter of Jacopo Bellini brought him into relations with many artists. His services were sought by various sovereigns, whose offers he refused until Pope Innocent VIII. summoned him to Rome to paint a chapel in the Vatican. After two years there he returned to Mantua, where he died. His pictures are in all large collections; his finest works are madonnas at the Louvre, Paris, and in the Church of St. Zeno at Verona. Mantegna was a fine engraver also, and his plates are now very valuable.

In the Umbrian school Pietro Perugino (1446-1524) was a notable painter; he was important on account of his own work, and because he was the master of the great Raphael. His pictures were simple and devout in their spirit, and brilliant in color; in fact, he is considered as the founder of the style which Raphael perfected. His works are in the principal galleries of Europe, and he had many followers of whom we have not space to speak.

Francisco Francia (1450-1518) was the founder of the school of Bologna. His true name was Francisco di Marco Raibolini, and he was a goldsmith of repute before[Pg 83] he was a painter. He was also master of the mint to the Bentivoglio and to Pope Julius II. at Bologna. It is not possible to say when he began to paint; but his earliest known work is dated 1490 or 1494, and is in the Gallery of Bologna. His pictures resemble those of Perugino and Raphael, and it is said that he died of sorrow because he felt himself so inferior to the great painter of Urbino. Raphael sent his St. Cecilia to Francia, and asked him to care for it and see it hung in its place; he did so, but did not live long after this. It is well known that these two masters were good friends and corresponded, but it is not certain that they ever met. Francia’s pictures are numerous; his portraits are excellent. Many of his works are still in Bologna.

Fig 34 Fig. 34.—Madonna. By Perugino.
In the Pitti Gallery, Florence.

We come now to one of the most celebrated masters of[Pg 84] Italy, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), the head of the Lombard or Milanese school. He was not the equal of the great masters, Michael Angelo, Raphael, and Titian; but he stands between them and the painters who preceded him or those of his own day.

In some respects, however, he was the most extraordinary man of his time. His talents were many-sided; for he was not only a great artist, but also a fine scholar in mathematics and mechanics; he wrote poetry and composed music, and was with all this so attractive personally, and so brilliant in his manner, that he was a favorite wherever he went. It is probable that this versatility prevented his being very great in any one thing, while he was remarkable in many things.

When still very young Leonardo showed his artistic talent. The paper upon which he worked out his sums was frequently bordered with little pictures which he drew while thinking on his lessons, and these sketches at last attracted his father’s attention, and he showed them to his friend Andrea Verrocchio, an artist of Florence, who advised that the boy should become a painter. Accordingly, in 1470, when eighteen years old, Leonardo was placed under the care of Verrocchio, who was like a kind father to his pupils: he was not only a painter, but also an architect and sculptor, a musician and a geometer, and he especially excelled in making exquisite cups of gold and silver, crucifixes and statuettes such as were in great demand for the use of the priesthood in those days.

Fig 35 Fig. 35.—Leonardo da Vinci. From a drawing in red chalk by himself.
In the Royal Library, Turin.

Pietro Perugino was a fellow-pupil with Leonardo, and they two soon surpassed their master in painting, and at last, when Verrocchio was painting a picture for the monks of Vallambrosa, and desired Leonardo to execute an angel in it, the work of his pupil was so much better than his own that the old painter desired to throw his brush aside forever. The picture is now in the Academy of Florence, and[Pg 86] represents “The Baptism of Christ.” With all his refinement and sweetness, Leonardo had a liking for the horrible. It once happened that a countryman brought to his father a circular piece of wood cut from a fig-tree, and desired to have it painted for a shield; it was handed over to Leonardo, who collected in his room a number of lizards, snakes, bats, hedgehogs, and other frightful creatures, and from these painted an unknown monster having certain characteristics of the horrid things he had about him. The hideous creature was surrounded by fire, and was breathing out flames. When his father saw it he ran away in a fright, and Leonardo was greatly pleased at this. The countryman received an ordinary shield, and this Rotello del Fico (or shield of fig-tree wood) was sold to a merchant for one hundred ducats, and again to the Duke of Milan for three times that sum. This shield has now been lost for more than three centuries; but another horror, the “Medusa’s Head,” is in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and is a head surrounded by interlacing serpents, the eyes being glassy and deathlike and the mouth most revolting in expression.

While in Florence Leonardo accomplished much, but was at times diverted from his painting by his love of science, sometimes making studies in astronomy and again in natural history and botany; he also went much into society, and lived extravagantly. He had the power to remember faces that he had seen accidentally, and could make fine portraits from memory; he was also accustomed to invite to his house people from the lower classes; he would amuse them while he sketched their faces, making good portraits at times, and again ridiculous caricatures. He even went so far, for the sake of his art, as to accompany criminals to the place of execution, in order to study their expressions.

After a time Leonardo wished to secure some fixed income, and wrote to the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza,[Pg 87] called Il Moro, offering his services to that prince. This resulted in his going to Milan, where he received a generous salary, and became very popular with the Duke and all the court, both as a painter and as a gentleman. The Duke governed as the regent for his young nephew, and gathered about him talented men for the benefit of the young prince. He also led a gay life, and his court was the scene of constant festivities. Leonardo’s varied talents were very useful to the Duke; he could assist him in everything—by advice at his council, by plans for adorning his city, by music and poetry in his leisure hours, and by painting the portraits of his favorites. Some of these last are now famous pictures—that of Lucrezia Crevelli is believed to be in the Louvre at Paris, where it is called “La Belle Ferronière.”

The Duke conferred a great honor on Leonardo by choosing him to be the founder and director of an academy which he had long wished to establish. It was called the “Academia Leonardi Vinci,” and had for its purpose the bringing together of distinguished artists and men of letters. Leonardo was appointed superintendent of all the fêtes and entertainments given by the court, and in this department he did some marvellous things. He also superintended a great work in engineering which he brought to perfection, to the wonder of all Italy: it was no less an undertaking than bringing the waters of the Adda from Mortisana to Milan, a distance of nearly two hundred miles. In spite of all these occupations the artist found time to study anatomy and to write some valuable works. At length Il Moro became the established duke, and at his brilliant court Leonardo led a most agreeable life; but he was so occupied with many things that he painted comparatively few pictures.

Fig 36 Fig. 36.—The Last Supper. By Leonardo da Vinci.

At length the Duke desired him to paint a picture of the Last Supper on the wall of the refectory in the Convent of the Madonna delle Grazie. This was his greatest work[Pg 89] in Milan and a wonderful masterpiece. It was commenced about 1496, and was finished in a very short time. We must now judge of it from copies and engravings, for it has been so injured as to give no satisfaction to one who sees it. Some good copies were made before it was thus ruined, and numerous engravings make it familiar to all the world. A copy in the Royal Academy, London, was made by one of Leonardo’s pupils, and is the size of the original. It is said that the prior of the convent complained to the Duke of the length of time the artist was spending upon this picture; when the Duke questioned the painter he said that he was greatly troubled to find a face which pleased him for that of Judas Iscariot; he added that he was willing to allow the prior to sit for this figure and thus hasten the work; this answer pleased the Duke and silenced the prior.

After a time misfortunes overtook the Duke, and Leonardo was reduced to poverty; finally Il Moro was imprisoned; and in 1500 Leonardo returned to Florence, where he was honorably received. He was not happy here, however, for he was not the one important artist. He had been absent nineteen years, and great changes had taken place; Michael Angelo and Raphael were just becoming famous, and they with other artists welcomed Leonardo, for his fame had reached them from Milan. However, he painted some fine pictures at this time; among them were the “Adoration of the Kings,” now in the Uffizi Gallery, and a portrait of Ginevra Benci, also in the same gallery. This lady must have been very beautiful; Ghirlandajo introduced her portrait into two of his frescoes.

But the most remarkable portrait was that known as Mona Lisa del Giocondo, which is in the Louvre, and is called by some critics the finest work of this master. The lady was the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a lovely woman, and some suppose that she was very dear to Leonardo. He worked upon it for four years, and still thought it [Pg 90]unfinished: the face has a deep, thoughtful expression—the eyelids are a little weary, perhaps, and through it all there is a suggestion of something not quite understood—a mystery: the hands are graceful and of perfect form, and the rocky background gives an unusual fascination to the whole picture. Leonardo must have loved the picture himself, and it is not strange that he lavished more time upon it than he gave to the great picture of the Last Supper (Fig. 37).

Leonardo sold this picture to Francis I. for nine thousand dollars, which was then an enormous sum, though now one could scarcely fix a price upon it. In 1860 the Emperor of Russia paid twelve thousand dollars for a St. Sebastian by Leonardo, and in 1865 a madonna by him was sold in Paris for about sixteen thousand dollars. Of course his pictures are rarely sold; but, when they are, great sums are given for them.

In 1502 Cæsar Borgia appointed Leonardo his engineer and sent him to travel through Central Italy to inspect his fortresses; but this usurper soon fled to Spain, and in 1503 our painter was again in Florence. In 1504 his father died. From 1507 to 1512 Leonardo was at the summit of his greatness. Louis XII. appointed him his painter, and he labored for this monarch also to improve the water-works of Milan. For seven years he dwelt at Milan, making frequent journeys to Florence. But the political troubles of the time made Lombardy an uncongenial home for any artist, and Leonardo, with a few pupils, went to Florence and then on to Rome. Pope Leo X. received him cordially enough, and told him to “work for the glory of God, Italy, Leo X., and Leonardo da Vinci.” But Leonardo was not happy in Rome, where Michael Angelo and Raphael were in great favor, and when Francis I. made his successes in Italy in 1515, Leonardo hastened to Lombardy to meet him. The new king of France restored him to the office to which Louis XII. had appointed him, and gave him an annual pension of seven hundred gold crowns.

Fig 37 Fig. 37.—Mona Lisa.—
“La Belle Joconde.

[Pg 92] When Francis returned to France he desired to cut out the wall on which the Last Supper was painted, and carry it to his own country: this proved to be impossible, and it is much to be regretted, as it is probable that if it could have been thus removed it would have been better preserved. However, not being able to take the artist’s great work, the king took Leonardo himself, together with his favorite pupils and friends and his devoted servant. In France, Leonardo was treated with consideration. He resided near Amboise, where he could mingle with the court. It is said that, old though he was, he was so much admired that the courtiers imitated his dress and the cut of his beard and hair. He was given the charge of all artistic matters in France, and doubtless Francis hoped that he would found an Academy as he had done at Milan. But he seems to have left all his energy, all desire for work, on the Italian side of the Alps. He made a few plans; but he brought no great thing to pass, and soon his health failed, and he fell into a decline. He gave great attention to religious matters, received the sacrament, and then made his will, and put his worldly affairs in order.

The king was accustomed to visit him frequently, and on the last day of his life, when the sovereign entered the room, Leonardo desired to be raised up as a matter of respect to the king: sitting, he conversed of his sufferings, and lamented that he had done so little for God and man. Just then he was seized with an attack of pain—the king rose to support him, and thus, in the arms of Francis, the great master breathed his last. This has sometimes been doubted; but the modern French critics agree with the ancient writers who give this account of his end.

He was buried in the Church of St. Florentin at Amboise, and it is not known that any monument was erected over him. In 1808 the church was destroyed; in 1863 Arsine Houssaye, with others, made a search for the grave of[Pg 93] Leonardo, and it is believed that his remains were found. In 1873 a noble monument was erected in Milan to the memory of Da Vinci. It is near the entrance to the Arcade of Victor Emmanuel: the statue of the master stands on a high pedestal in a thoughtful attitude, the head bowed down and the arms crossed on the breast. Below are other statues and rich bas-reliefs, and one inscription speaks of him as the “Renewer of the Arts and Sciences.”

Many of his writings are in the libraries of Europe in manuscript form: his best known work is the “Trattato della Pittura,” and has been translated into English. As an engineer his canal of Mortesana was enough to give him fame; as an artist he may be called the “Poet of Painters,” and, if those who followed him surpassed him, it should be remembered that it is easier to advance in a path once opened than to discover a new path. Personally he was much beloved, and, though he lived when morals were at a low estimate, he led a proper and reputable life. His pictures were pure in their spirit, and he seemed only to desire the progress of art and science, and it is a pleasure to read and learn of him, as it is to see his works.

Other good artists of the Lombard school in the fifteenth century were Bernardino Luini (about 1460-1530), who was the best pupil of Leonardo, Giovanni Antonio Beltraffio (1467-1516), Gaudenzio Farrari (1484-1549), Ambrogio Borgognone (works dated about 1500), and Andrea Solario, whose age is not known.

We return now to the Florentine school at a time when the most remarkable period of its existence was about to begin. We shall speak first of Fra Bartolommeo or Baccio della Porta, also called Il Frate (1469-1517). He was born at Savignano, and studied at Florence under Cosimo Rosselli, but was much influenced by the works of Leonardo da Vinci. This painter became famous for the beauty of his pictures of the Madonna, and at the time[Pg 94] when the great Savonarola went to Florence Bartolommeo was employed in the Convent of San Marco, where the preacher lived. The artist became the devoted friend of the preacher, and, when the latter was seized, tortured, and burned, Bartolommeo became a friar, and left his pictures to be finished by his pupil Albertinelli. For four years he lived the most austere life, and did not touch his brush: then his superior commanded him to resume his art; but the painter had no interest in it. About this time Raphael sought him out, and became his friend; he also instructed the monk in perspective, and in turn Raphael learned from him, for Fra Bartolommeo was the first artist who used lay figures in arranging his draperies; he also told Raphael some secrets of colors.

About 1513 Bartolommeo went to Rome, and after his return to his convent he began what promised to be a wonderful artistic career; but he only lived four years more, and the amount of his work was so small that his pictures are now rare. His madonnas, saints, and angels are holy in their effect; his representations of architecture are grand, and while his works are not strong or powerful, they give much pleasure to those who see them.

Michael Angelo Buonarroti was born at the Castle of Caprese in 1475. His father, who was of a noble family of Florence, was then governor of Caprese and Chiusi, and, when the Buonarroti household returned to Florence, the little Angelo was left with his nurse on one of his father’s estates at Settignano. The father and husband of his nurse were stone-masons, and thus in infancy the future artist was in the midst of blocks of stone and marble and the implements which he later used with so much skill. For many years rude sketches were shown upon the walls of the nurse’s house made by her baby charge, and he afterward said that he imbibed a love for marble with his earliest food.

Fig 38 Fig. 38.—Portrait of
Michael Angelo Buonarroti.

At the proper age Angelo was taken to Florence and[Pg 96] placed in school; but he spent his time mostly in drawing, and having made the acquaintance of Francesco Granacci, at that time a pupil with Ghirlandajo, he borrowed from him designs and materials by which to carry on his beloved pursuits. Michael Angelo’s desire to become an artist was violently opposed by his father and his uncles, for they desired him to be a silk and woollen merchant, and sustain the commercial reputation of the family. But so determined was he that finally his father yielded, and in 1488 placed him in the studio of Ghirlandajo. Here the boy of thirteen worked with great diligence; he learned how to prepare colors and to lay the groundwork of frescoes, and he was set to copy drawings. Very soon he wearied of this, and began to make original designs after his own ideas. At one time he corrected a drawing of his master’s: when he saw this, sixty years later, he said, “I almost think that I knew more of art in my youth than I do in my old age.”

When Michael Angelo went to Ghirlandajo, that master was employed on the restoration of the choir of Santa Maria Novella, so that the boy came at once into the midst of important work. One day he drew a picture of the scaffolding and all that belonged to it, with the painters at work thereon: when his master saw it he exclaimed, “He already understands more than I do myself.” This excellence in the scholar roused the jealousy of the master, as well as of his other pupils, and it was a relief to Michael Angelo when, in answer to a request from Lorenzo de Medici, he and Francesco Granacci were named by Ghirlandajo as his two most promising scholars, and were then sent to the Academy which the duke had established. The art treasures which Lorenzo gave for the use of the students were arranged in the gardens of San Marco, and here, under the instruction of the old Bertoldo, Angelo forgot painting in his enthusiasm for sculpture. He first copied the face of a faun; but he changed it somewhat, and opened[Pg 97] the mouth so that the teeth could be seen. When Lorenzo visited the garden he praised the work, but said, “You have made your faun so old, and yet you have left him all his teeth; you should have known that at such an advanced age there are generally some wanting.” The next time he came there was a gap in the teeth, and so well done that he was delighted. This work is now in the Uffizi Gallery.

Lorenzo now sent for the father of Angelo, and asked that the son might live in the Medici palace under his own care. Somewhat reluctantly the father consented, and the duke gave him an office in the custom-house. From this time for three years, Angelo sat daily at the duke’s table, and was treated as one of his own family; he was properly clothed, and had an allowance of five ducats a month for pocket-money. It was the custom with Lorenzo to give an entertainment every day; he took the head of the table, and whoever came first had a seat next him. It often happened that Michael Angelo had this place. Lorenzo was the head of Florence, and Florence was the head of art, poetry, and all scholarly thought. Thus, in the home of the Medici, the young artist heard learned talk upon all subjects of interest; he saw there all the celebrated men who lived in the city or visited it, and his life so near Lorenzo, for a thoughtful youth, as he was, amounted to an education.

The society of Florence at this time was not of a high moral tone, and in the year in which Michael Angelo entered the palace, a monk called Savonarola came to Florence to preach against the customs and the crimes of the city. Michael Angelo was much affected by this, and throughout his long life remembered Savonarola with true respect and affection, and his brother, Leonardo Buonarroti, was so far influenced that he withdrew from the world and became a Dominican monk.

Michael Angelo’s diligence was great; he not only studied sculpture, but he found time to copy some of the[Pg 98] fine old frescoes in the Church of the Carmine. He gave great attention to the study of anatomy, and he was known throughout the city for his talents, and for his pride and bad temper. He held himself aloof from his fellow-pupils, and one day, in a quarrel with Piètro Torrigiano, the latter gave Angelo a blow and crushed his nose so badly that he was disfigured for life. Torrigiano was banished for this offence and went to England; he ended his life in a Spanish prison.

In the spring of 1492 Lorenzo de Medici died. Michael Angelo was deeply grieved at the loss of his best friend; he left the Medici palace, and opened a studio in his father’s house, where he worked diligently for two years, making a statue of Hercules and two madonnas. After two years there came a great snow-storm, and Piero de Medici sent for the artist to make a snow statue in his court-yard. He also invited Michael Angelo to live again in the palace, and the invitation was accepted; but all was so changed there that he embraced the first opportunity to leave, and during a political disturbance fled from the city with two friends, and made his way to Venice. There he met the noble Aldovrandi of Bologna, who invited the sculptor to his home, where he remained about a year, and then returned to his studio in Florence.

Soon after this he made a beautiful, sleeping Cupid, and when the young Lorenzo de Medici saw it he advised Michael Angelo to bury it in the ground for a season, and thus make it look like an antique marble; after this was done, Lorenzo sent it to Rome and sold it to the Cardinal Riario, and gave the sculptor thirty ducats. In some way the truth of the matter reached the ears of the Cardinal, who sent his agent to Florence to find the artist. When Michael Angelo heard that two hundred ducats had been paid for his Cupid, he knew that he had been deceived. The Cardinal’s agent invited him to go to Rome, and he gladly went. The oldest[Pg 99] existing writing from the hand of Michael Angelo is the letter which he wrote to Lorenzo to inform him of his arrival in Rome. He was then twenty-one years old, and spoke with joy of all the beautiful things he had seen.

Not long after he reached Rome he made the statue of the “Drunken Bacchus,” now in the Uffizi Gallery, and then the Virgin Mary sitting near the place of the cross and holding the body of the dead Christ. The art-term for this subject is “La Pietà.” From the time that Michael Angelo made this beautiful work he was the first sculptor of the world, though he was but twenty-four years old. The Pietà was placed in St. Peter’s Church, where it still remains. The next year he returned to Florence. He was occupied with both painting and sculpture, and was soon employed on his “David,” one of his greatest works. This statue weighed eighteen thousand pounds, and its removal from the studio in which it was made to the place where it was to stand, next the gate of the Palazzo Vecchio, was a difficult undertaking. It was at last put in place on May 18, 1504; there it remained until a few years ago, when, on account of its crumbling from the effect of the weather, it was removed to the Academy of Fine Arts by means of a railroad built for the purpose.

About this time a rivalry sprang up between Michael Angelo and Leonardo da Vinci. They were very unlike in their characters and mode of life. Michael Angelo was bitter, ironical, and liked to be alone; Leonardo loved to be gay and to see the world; Michael Angelo lived so that when he was old he said, “Rich as I am, I have always lived like a poor man;” Leonardo enjoyed luxury, and kept a fine house, with horses and servants. They had entered into a competition which was likely to result in serious trouble, when Pope Julius II. summoned Michael Angelo to Rome. The Pope gave him an order to build him a splendid tomb; but the enemies of the sculptor made trouble for him, and[Pg 100] one morning he was refused admission to the Pope’s palace. He then left Rome, sending this letter to the Pope: “Most Holy Father, I was this morning driven from the palace by the order of your Holiness. If you require me in future you can seek me elsewhere than at Rome.”

Then he went to Florence, and the Pope sent for him again and again; but he did not go. Meantime he finished his design, and received the commission that he and Leonardo had striven for, which was to decorate the hall of the Grand Council with pictures. At last, in 1506, the Pope was in Bologna, and again sent for Michael Angelo. He went, and was forgiven for his offence, and received an order for a colossal statue of the Pope in bronze. When this was finished in 1508, and put before the Church of St. Petronio, Michael Angelo returned to Florence. He had not made friends in Bologna; his forbidding manner did not encourage others to associate with him; but we now know from his letters that he had great trials. His family was poor, and all relied on him; indeed, his life was full of care and sadness.

In 1508 he was again summoned to Rome by the Pope, who insisted that he should paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, in the Vatican. Michael Angelo did not wish to do this, as he had done no great painting. It proved to be one of his most famous works; but he had a great deal of trouble in it. On one occasion the Pope threatened to throw the artist from the scaffolding. The Pope complained also that the pictures looked poor; to this the artist replied: “They are only poor people whom I have painted there, and did not wear gold on their garments.” His subjects were from the Bible. When the artist would have a leave of absence to go to Florence, the Pope got so angry that he struck him; but, in spite of all, this great painting was finished in 1512. Grimm, in his life of Michael Angelo, says: “It needed the meeting of these two men; in the[Pg 101] one such perseverance in requiring, and in the other such power of fulfilling, to produce this monument of human art.”

Fig 39 Fig. 39.—The Prophet Jeremiah. By M. Angelo.
From the Sistine Chapel.

It is impossible here to follow, step by step, the life and works of this master. Among the other great things which he did are the tomb of Julius II. in the Church of S. Pietro in Vincoli, in Rome, of which the famous statue of Moses makes a part (Fig. 40).

Fig 40 Fig. 40.—Statue of Moses.
By M. Angelo.

He made the statues in the Medici Chapel in the Church of San Lorenzo, in Florence, the painting of the Last Judgment on a wall of the Sistine Chapel, and many works as an architect; for he was called upon to attend to fortifications both in Florence and Rome, and at last, as his [Pg 103]greatest work of this sort, he was the architect of St. Peter’s at Rome. Many different artists had had a share in this work; but as it now is Michael Angelo may be counted as its real architect. His works are numerous and only a small part of them is here mentioned; but I have spoken of those by which he is most remembered. His life, too, was a stormy one for many reasons that we have not space to tell. While he lived there were wars and great changes in Italy; he served also under nine popes, and during his life thirteen men occupied the papal chair. Besides being great as a painter, an architect, and a sculptor, he was a poet, and wrote sonnets well worthy of such a genius as his. His whole life was so serious and sad that it gives one joy to know that in his old age he formed an intimate friendship with Vittoria Colonna, a wonderful woman, who made a sweet return to him for all the tender devotion which he lavished upon her.

Italians associate the name of Michael Angelo with those of the divine poet Dante and the painter Raphael, and these three are spoken of as the three greatest men of their country in what are called the modern days. Michael Angelo died at Rome in 1564, when eighty-nine years old. He desired to be buried in Florence; but his friends feared to let this be known lest the Pope should forbid his removal. He was therefore buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles; but his nephew, Leonardo Buonarroti, conveyed his remains to Florence secretly, disguised as a bale of merchandise. At Florence, on a Sunday night, his body was borne to Santa Croce, in a torchlight procession, and followed by many thousands of citizens. There his friends once more gazed upon the face which had not been seen in Florence for thirty years; he looked as if quietly sleeping. Some days later a splendid memorial service was held in San Lorenzo, attended by all the court, the artists, scholars, and eminent men of the city. An oration was pronounced;[Pg 104] rare statues and paintings were collected in the church; all the shops of the city were closed; and the squares were filled with people.

Above his grave in Santa Croce, where he lies near Dante, Machiavelli, Galileo, and many other great men, the Duke and Leonardo Buonarroti erected a monument. It has statues of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture, and a bust of the great man who sleeps beneath.

In the court of the Uffizi his statue stands together with those of other great Florentines. His house in the Ghibelline Street now belongs to the city of Florence, and contains many treasured mementoes of his life and works; it is open to all who wish to visit it. In 1875 a grand festival was held in Florence to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of his birth. The ceremonies were very impressive, and at that time some documents which related to his life, and had never been opened, were, by command of Victor Emmanuel, given to proper persons to be examined.

Thus it is that the great deeds of great men live on and on, through all time, and it is a joy to know that though the fourscore and nine years of the life of this artist had much of care and sorrow in them, his name and memory are still cherished, and must continue to be, while from his life many lessons may be drawn to benefit and encourage others—lessons which we cannot here write out; but they teach patience, industry, and faithfulness to duty, while they also warn us to avoid the bitterness and roughness which are blemishes on the memory of this great, good man.

Daniele de Volterra (1509-1566) was the best scholar of Michael Angelo. His principal pictures are the “Descent from the Cross,” in the Church of Trinità di Monti, in Rome, and the “Massacre of the Innocents,” in the Uffizi Gallery; both are celebrated works.

The next important Florentine painter was Andrea del Sarto (1488-1530). His family name was Vannucchi; but [Pg 105]because his father was a tailor, the Italian term for one of his trade, un sarto, came to be used for the son. Early in life Andrea was a goldsmith, as were so many artists; but, when he was able to study painting under Pietro di Cosimo, he became devoted to it, and soon developed his own style, which was very soft and pleasing. His pictures cannot be called great works of art, but they are favorites with a large number of people. He succeeded in fresco-painting, and decorated several buildings in Florence, among them the Scalzo, which was a place where the Barefooted Friars held their meetings, and was named from them, as they are called Scalzi. These frescoes are now much injured; but they are thought his best works of this kind.

Probably Andrea del Sarto would have come to be a better painter if he had been a happier man. His wife, of whom he was very fond, was a mean, selfish woman who wished only to make a great show, and did not value her husband’s talents except for the money which they brought him. She even influenced him to desert his parents, to whom he had ever been a dutiful son. About 1518 Francis I., king of France, invited Andrea to Paris to execute some works for him. The painter went, and was well established there and very popular, when his wife insisted that he should return to Florence. Francis I. was very unwilling to spare him, but Andrea dared not refuse to go to his wife; so he solemnly took an oath to return to Paris and bring his wife, so that he could remain as long as pleased the king, and then that sovereign consented. Francis also gave the artist a large sum of money to buy for him all sorts of beautiful objects.

When Andrea reached Florence his wife refused to go to France, and persuaded him to give her the king’s money. She soon spent it, and Andrea, who lived ten years more, was very unhappy, while the king never forgave him, and to this day this wretched story must be told, and continues[Pg 107] the remembrance of his dishonesty. After all he had sacrificed for his wife, when he became very ill, in 1530, of some contagious disease, she deserted him. He died alone, and with no prayer or funeral was buried in the Convent of the Nunziata, where he had painted some of his frescoes.

Fig 41 Fig. 41.—The Madonna del Sacco. By Andrea del Sarto.

His pictures are very numerous; they are correct in drawing, very softly finished, and have a peculiar gray tone of color. He painted a great number of Holy Families, one of which is called the “Madonna del Sacco,” because St. Joseph is leaning on a sack (Fig. 41). This is in the convent where he is buried. His best work is called the “Madonna di San Francesco” and hangs in the tribune of the Uffizi Gallery. This is a most honorable place, for near it are pictures by Michael Angelo, Raphael, Titian, and other great painters, as well as some very celebrated statues, such as the “Venus de Medici” and the “Dancing Faun.” Andrea del Sarto’s pictures of the Madonna and Child are almost numberless; they are sweet, attractive works, as are also his St. Barbara, St. Agnes, and others of his single figures.

We will now leave the Florentine school of the sixteenth century, and speak of the great master of the Roman school, Raphael Sanzio, or Santi (1483-1520), who was born at Urbino on Good Friday. His father was a painter, and Raphael showed his taste for art very early in life. Both his parents died while he was still a child, and though he must have learned something from seeing his father and other painters at their work, we say that Perugino was his first master, for he was but twelve years old when he entered the studio of that painter in Perugia.

Here he remained more than eight years, and about the time of leaving painted the very celebrated picture called “Lo Sposalizio,” or the Marriage of the Virgin, now in the Brera at Milan. This picture is famous the world over, and is very important in the life of the painter, because it[Pg 108] shows the highest point he reached under Perugino, or during what is called his first manner in painting. Before this he had executed a large number of beautiful pictures, among which was the so-called “Staffa Madonna.” This is a circular picture and represents the Virgin walking in a springtime landscape. It remained in the Staffa Palace in Perugia three hundred and sixty-eight years, and in 1871 was sold to the Emperor of Russia for seventy thousand dollars.

In 1504 Raphael returned to Urbino, where he became the favorite of the court, and was much employed by the ducal family. To this time belong the “St. George Slaying the Dragon” and the “St. Michael Attacking Satan,” now in the gallery of the Louvre. But the young artist soon grew weary of the narrowness of his life, and went to Florence, where, amid the treasures of art with which that city was crowded, he felt as if he was in an enchanted land. It is worth while to recount the wonderful things he saw; they were the cathedral with the dome of Brunelleschi, the tower of Giotto, the marbles and bronzes of Donatello, the baptistery gates of Ghiberti, the pictures of Masaccio, Ghirlandajo, Fra Angelico, and many other older masters, while Michael Angelo and Leonardo were surprising themselves and all others with their beautiful works.

At this time the second manner of Raphael begun. During his first winter here he painted the so-called “Madonna della Gran Duca,” now in the Pitti Gallery, and thus named because the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand III., carried it with him on all his journeys, and said his prayers before it at morning and evening. He made a visit to Urbino in 1505, and wherever he was he worked continually, and finished a great number of pictures, which as yet were of religious subjects with few and unimportant exceptions.

Fig 42 Fig. 42.—Portrait of Raphael.
Painted by Himself.

When he returned to Florence in 1506, the cartoon of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Battle of the Standard” and Michael Angelo’s “Bathing Soldiers” revealed a new world of art[Pg 110] to Raphael. He saw that heroic, exciting scenes could be represented by painting, and that vigor and passion could speak from the canvas as powerfully as Christian love and resignation. Still he did not attempt any new thing immediately. In Florence he moved in the best circles. He received orders for some portraits of nobles and wealthy men, as well as for madonnas and Holy Families. Before long he visited Bologna, and went again to Urbino, which had become a very important city under the reign of Duke Guidobaldo. The king of England, Henry VIII., had sent to this duke the decoration of the Order of the Garter. In return for this honor, the duke sent the king rich gifts, among which was a picture of St. George and the Dragon by Raphael.

While at Urbino, at this time, he painted his first classic subject, the “Three Graces.” Soon after, he returned the third time to Florence, and now held much intercourse with Fra Bartolommeo, who gave the younger artist valuable instruction as to his color and drapery. In 1508, among a great number of pictures he painted the madonna which is called “La Belle Jardinière,” and is now one of the treasures of the Louvre. The Virgin is pictured in the midst of a flowery landscape, and it has been said that a beautiful flower-girl to whom Raphael was attached was his model for the picture. This picture is also a landmark in the history of Raphael, for it shows the perfection of his second manner, and the change that had come over him from his Florentine experience and associations. His earlier pictures had been full of a sweet, unearthly feeling, and a color which could be called spiritual was spread over them; now his madonnas were like beautiful, earthly mothers, his colors were deep and rich, and his landscapes were often replaced by architectural backgrounds which gave a stately air where all before had been simplicity. His skill in grouping, in color, and in drapery was now marvellous, and when[Pg 111] in 1508 the Pope, who had seen some of his works, summoned him to Rome, he went, fully prepared for the great future which was before him, and now began his third, or Roman manner of painting.

This pope was Julius II., who held a magnificent court and was ambitious for glory in every department of life—as a temporal as well as a spiritual ruler, and as a patron of art and letters as well as in his office of the Protector of the Holy Church. He had vast designs for the adornment of Rome, and immediately employed Raphael in the decoration of the first of the Stanze, or halls of the Vatican, four of which he ornamented with magnificent frescoes before his death. He also executed wall-paintings in the Chigi Palace, and in a chapel of the Church of Santa Maria della Pace.

With the exception of a short visit to Florence, Raphael passed the remainder of his life in Rome. The amount of work which he did as an architect, sculptor, and painter was marvellous, and would require the space of a volume to follow it, and name all his achievements, step by step, so I shall only tell you of some of his best-known works and those which are most often mentioned.

While he was working upon the halls of the Vatican Julius II. died. He was succeeded by Leo X., who also was a generous patron to Raphael, who thus suffered no loss of occupation from the change of popes. The artist became very popular and rich; he had many pupils, and was assisted by them in his great frescoes, not only in the Vatican, but also in the Farnesina Villa or Chigi Palace. Raphael had the power to attach men to him with devoted affection, and his pupils gave him personal service gladly; he was often seen in the street with numbers of them in attendance, just as the nobles were followed by their squires and pages. He built himself a house in a quarter of the city called the Borgo, not far from the Church of St. Peter’s,[Pg 112] and during the remainder of his life was attended by prosperity and success.

One of the important works which he did for Leo X. was the making of cartoons, or designs to be executed in tapestry for the decoration of the Sistine Chapel, where Michael Angelo had painted his great frescoes. The Pope ordered these tapestries to be woven in the looms of Flanders, from the richest materials, and a quantity of gold thread was used in them. They were completed and sent to Rome in 1519, and were exhibited to the people the day after Christmas, when all the city flocked to see them. In 1527, when the Constable de Bourbon allowed the French soldiers to sack Rome, these tapestries were carried away. In 1553 they were restored; but one was missing, and it is believed that it had been destroyed for the sake of the gold thread which was in it. Again, in 1798, the French carried them away and sold them to a Jew in Leghorn, who burned one of the pieces; but his gain in gold was so little that he preserved the others, and Pius VII. bought them and restored them to the Vatican. The cartoons, however, are far more important than the tapestries, because they are the work of Raphael himself. The weavers at Arras tossed them aside after using them, and some were torn; but a century later the artist Rubens learned that they existed, and advised King Charles I. of England to buy them. This he did, and thus the cartoons met with as many ups and downs as the tapestries had had. When they reached England they were in strips; the workmen had cut them for their convenience. After the king was executed Cromwell bought the cartoons for three hundred pounds. When Charles II. was king and in great need of money he was sorely tempted to sell them to Louis XIV., who coveted them, and wished to add them to the treasures of France; but Lord Danby persuaded Charles to keep them. In 1698 they were barely saved from fire at Whitehall, and finally,[Pg 114] by command of William III., they were properly repaired and a room was built at Hampton Court to receive them, by the architect, Sir Christopher Wren. At present they are in the South Kensington Museum, London. Of the original eleven only seven remain.

Fig 43 Fig. 43.—The Sistine Madonna.

Both Henry VIII. and Francis I. had received presents of pictures by Raphael: we have told of the occasion when the St. George was sent to England. The “Archangel Michael” and the “Large Holy Family of the Louvre” were given to Francis I. by Lorenzo de Medici, who sent them overland on mules to the Palace of Fontainebleau. Francis was so charmed with these works that he presented Raphael so large a sum that he was unwilling to accept it without sending the king still other pictures; so he sent the sovereign another painting, and to the king’s sister, Queen Margaret of Navarre, he gave a picture of St. Margaret overcoming the dragon. Then Francis gave Raphael many thanks and another rich gift of money. Besides this he invited Raphael to come to his court, as did also the king of England; but the artist preferred to remain where he was already so prosperous and happy.

About 1520 Raphael painted the famous Sistine Madonna, now the pride of the Dresden Gallery. It is named from St. Sixtus, for whose convent, at Piacenza, it was painted: the picture of this saint, too, is in the lower part of the picture, with that of St. Barbara. No sketch or drawing of this work was ever found, and it is believed that the great artist, working as if inspired, sketched it and finished it on the canvas where it is. It was originally intended for a drappellone, or procession standard, but the monks used it for an altar-piece (Fig. 43).

While Raphael accomplished so much as a painter, he by no means gave all his time or thought to a single art. He was made superintendent of the building of St. Peter’s in 1514, and made many architectural drawings for that[Pg 115] church; he was also much interested in the excavations of ancient Rome, and made immense numbers of drawings of various sorts. As a sculptor he made models and designs, and there is in the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, in Rome, a statue of Jonah sitting on a whale, said to have been modelled by Raphael and put into marble by Lorenzetto Latti.

Raphael was also interested in what was happening outside the world of art; he corresponded with scholars of different countries, and sent men to make drawings of places and objects which he could not go to see. He was also generous to those less fortunate than himself, and gave encouragement and occupation to many needy men.

At one time he expected to marry Maria de Bibiena, a niece of Cardinal Bibiena; but she died before the time for the marriage came.

While Raphael was making his great successes in Rome, other famous artists also were there, and there came to be much discussion as to their merits, and especially as to the comparative worth of Michael Angelo and Raphael. At last, when this feeling of rivalry was at its height, the Cardinal Giulio de Medici, afterward Pope Clement VII., gave orders to Raphael and Sebastian del Piombo to paint two large pictures for the Cathedral of Narbonne. The subject of Sebastian’s picture was the “Raising of Lazarus,” and it has always been said that Michael Angelo made the drawing for it.

Raphael’s picture was the “Transfiguration,” and proved to be his last work, for before it was finished he was attacked by fever, and died on Good Friday, 1620, which was the thirty-seventh anniversary of his birth. All Rome mourned for him; his body was laid in state, and the Transfiguration was placed near it. Those who had known him went to weep while they gazed upon his face for the last time.

[Pg 116] He had chosen his grave in the Pantheon, near to that of Maria Bibiena, his betrothed bride. The ceremonies of his burial were magnificent, and his body was followed by an immense throng dressed in mourning. Above his tomb was placed an inscription in Latin, written by Pietro Bembo, which has for its last sentence these words: “This is that Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and to die when he died.” Raphael had also requested Lorenzo Lorenzetti to make a statue of the Virgin to be placed above his resting-place. He left a large estate, and gave his works of art to his pupils Giulio Romano and Francesco Penni; his house to Cardinal Bibiena; a sum to buy another house, the rent of which should pay for twelve masses to be said monthly, for the repose of his soul, from the altar near his grave; this was observed until 1705, when the income from the house was not enough to support these services.

For many years there was a skull at the Academy of St. Luke, in Rome, which was called that of Raphael; but there was no proof of this, and in 1833 some antiquarians received the consent of the Pope to their searching for the bones of Raphael in his grave in the Pantheon. After five days of careful work, and removing the pavement in several places, the skeleton of the great master was found, and with it such proofs of its being his as left no room for doubt. Then a second great funeral service was held; the Pope, Gregory XVI., gave a marble sarcophagus in which the bones were placed, and reverently restored to their first resting-place. More than three thousand persons were present at the service, including artists of all nations, as well as Romans of the highest rank. They moved in procession about the church, bearing torches in their hands, and keeping time to beautiful chants from an invisible choir.

Fig 44 Fig. 44.—Saint Cecilia Listening to the Singing of Angels. By Raphael.

Raphael left two hundred and eighty-seven pictures and five hundred and seventy-six studies and drawings, and all[Pg 118] done in so short a life. In considering him and the story of his life, we find that it was not any one trait or talent that made his greatness; but it was the rare union of gifts of genius with a personal charm that won all hearts to him. His famous picture of “St. Cecilia,” with its sweetness of expression and lovely color—its union of earthly beauty with spiritual feeling, is a symbol of the harmonious and varied qualities of this prince of painters (Fig. 44).

Giulio Romano (1492-1556) was the favorite pupil of Raphael, and the heir of a part of his estate; but his remaining works would not repay us for a study of them.

Of course, the influence of so great a master as Raphael was felt outside of his own school, and, in a sense, all Italian art of his time was modified by him. His effect was very noticeable upon a Sienese painter, Bazzi, or Razzi, called Il Sodoma (1477-1549), who went to Rome and was under the immediate influence of Raphael’s works. He was almost unrivalled in his power to represent beautiful female heads.

His important works were frescoes, many of which are in the churches of Siena. Doubtless Bazzi was lost in the shadow of the great Raphael, and had he existed at a time a little more distant from that great man, he would have been more famous in his life.

During the sixteenth century the Venetian school reached its highest excellence. The great difference between it and the school of Florence was, that the latter made beauty of form the one object of its art, while the Venetian painters combined with grace and ease the added charm of rich, brilliant color.

Giorgio Barbarelli, called Giorgione (1477-1511), was the first great artist of Venice who cast off the rigid manner of the Bellini school, and used his brush and colors freely, guided only by his own ideas, and inspired by his own genius.

[Pg 119] He was born at Castelfranco, and was early distinguished for his personal beauty. Giorgione means George the Great, and this title was given him on account of his noble figure. He was fond of music, played the lute well, and composed many of the songs he sang; he had also an intense love of beauty—in short, his whole nature was full of sentiment and harmony, and with all these gifts he was a man of pure life. Mrs. Jameson says of him: “If Raphael be the Shakspeare, then Giorgione may be styled the Byron of painting.”

There is little that can be told of his life. He was devoted to his art, and passionately in love with a young girl, of whom he told one of his artist friends, Morto da Feltri. This last proved a traitor to Giorgione, for he too admired the same girl, and induced her to forsake Giorgione, and go away with him. The double treachery of his beloved and his friend caused the painter such grief that he could not overcome his sadness, and when the plague visited Venice in 1511, he fell a victim to it in the very flower of his age.

Much of the work of Giorgione has disappeared, for he executed frescoes which the damp atmosphere of Venice has destroyed or so injured that they are of no value. His smaller pictures were not numerous, and there is much dispute as to the genuineness of those that are called by his name. He painted very few historical subjects; his works are principally portraits, sibyls, and religious pictures. Among the last, the altar-piece at Castelfranco holds the first place; it represents the Virgin and Child between Sts. Francis and Liberale, and was painted before 1504.

Giorgione gave an elevated tone to his heads and figures; it seemed as if he painted only the beings of a superior race, and as if they must all be fitted to do great deeds. His fancy was very fruitful, and in some of his works he pictured demons, sea-monsters, dogs, apes, and such creatures with great effect. In clearness and warmth of color Giorgione[Pg 120] is at the head of the Venetian painters; in truth, it seems as if the color was within them and showed itself without in a deep, luminous glow.

The most important of Giorgione’s scholars was called Fra Sebastiano del Piombo; his real name was Luciani, and he was a native of Venice (1485-1547). This artist excelled in his coloring and in the effect he gave to the atmosphere of his work, making it a broad chiaro-scuro, or clear-obscure, as it really means. This is an art term which is frequently used, and denotes a sort of mistiness which has some light in it, and is gradually shaded off, either into a full light or a deep shadow. But from the earliest efforts of this artist, it was plain that he had no gift of composition, neither could he give his pictures an elevated tone or effect. For this reason his portraits were his best works, and these were very fine.

A portrait of his in the National Gallery, London, and another in the Städel Gallery at Frankfort, are both said to be of Giulia Gonzaga, the most beautiful woman of her day in Italy. In 1553, Ippolito de Medici, who was madly in love with her, sent Sebastian with an armed force to Fondi to paint her portrait; it was finished in a month, and was said to be the best ever painted by Sebastian. It was sent to France as a gift to Francis I., and its present abiding-place is not known.

While Raphael was at the height of his fame in Rome, the banker Chigi invited Sebastian to that city, and in the Farnesina he painted works which were very inferior beside Raphael’s. Then Sebastian tried to improve by study under Michael Angelo. This last great master would not compete with Raphael himself, but he was very jealous of the fame of the younger man, and it is said that he aided Sebastian, and even made his designs for him, in the hopes that thus he might eclipse Raphael. We have spoken of one large picture of the “Raising of Lazarus” said to[Pg 121] have been made from Michael Angelo’s design, which Sebastian colored; it was painted in competition with Raphael’s Transfiguration, and even beside that most splendid work the Lazarus was much admired. This is now in the National Gallery, London.

After Raphael’s death Sebastian was called the first painter in Rome, and was made a piombatore. It was necessary to be an ecclesiastic to hold this office, and it is on account of this that he gave up his real name, and became a friar. He wrote to Michael Angelo: “If you were to see me as an honorable lord, you would laugh at me. I am the finest ecclesiastic in all Rome. Such a thing had never come into my mind. But God be praised in eternity! He seemed especially to have thus decreed it. And, therefore, so be it.” It is not strange that he should have been so resigned to a high office and a salary of eight hundred scudi a year!

Another Venetian, of the same time with Giorgione, was Jacopo Palma, called Il Vecchio, or the elder (about 1480-1528). He was born near Bergamo, but as an artist he was a Venetian. We do not know with whom he studied, and he was not a very great man, nor was he employed by the state—but he dwelt much in the palaces of noble families and did much work for them. When he died he left forty-four unfinished paintings.

His female figures are his best works, and one of his fine pictures at Dresden, called the “Three Graces,” is said to represent his daughters. The work which is usually called his masterpiece is an altar-piece in the Church of Santa Maria Formosa, in Venice; the St. Barbara in the centre is very beautiful, and is said to have been painted from his daughter Violante.

Fig 45 Fig. 45.—Portrait of Titian.
From the etching by Agostino Caracci.

The greatest master of the Venetian school is called Titian, though his real name was Tiziano Vecelli, and sometimes Cadore is added to this, because of his having[Pg 123] been born in that village (1477-1576). His family was noble and their castle was called Lodore, and was in the midst of a large estate surrounded by small houses; in one of these last, which is still preserved, the painter was born.

As a child he was fond of drawing, and so anxious to color his pictures that he squeezed the juices from certain flowers, and used them as paints. When but nine years old he was taken to Venice to study, and from this time was called a Venetian; he is said by some writers to be the first portrait-painter of the world.

He first studied under Sebastian Zuccato, and then under the Bellini, where he was a fellow-pupil with Giorgione, and the two became devoted friends, at the time when they were just coming to be men and were filled with glad hopes of future greatness. After a time, when Titian was about thirty years old, the two were employed on the “Fondaco dei Tedeschi,” or the exchange for German merchants in Venice. Here the frescoes of Titian were more admired than those of Giorgione, and the latter became so jealous that they ceased to live together, as they had done, and there is cause for believing that they were never good friends again. But after the early death of Giorgione, Titian completed the works he had left unfinished, and, no doubt, sincerely mourned for him.

One of the most celebrated pictures by Titian is the Presentation in the Temple, which was painted for the Church of the Brotherhood of Charity, called in Italian “La Scuola della Carità;” this church is now the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, where the picture still remains. It represents the Virgin Mary when three years old entering the temple and the high priest receiving her at the entrance. All around below the steps is a company of friends who have been invited by her father and mother to attend them on this important occasion. The picture is full of life and action, and is gorgeous in its coloring. Several of the[Pg 124] figures are said to be portraits, one being that of Titian himself.

Among his female portraits, that of Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus, is celebrated; also one called “Flora;” both of these are in the Uffizi Gallery, in Florence, while near by, in the Pitti, is “La Bella,” or the beautiful lady of Titian. He also made many portraits of his daughter Lavinia, who was very beautiful; sometimes he represented her as a fruit or flower-girl, again as Herodias and in various characters (Fig. 46). One of the finest of these is at Berlin, where she is in a very rich dress, and holds up a plate of fruit; it is one of his best works.

Titian’s fame extended throughout Italy, and even all over Europe, and the Duke of Ferrara invited him to his court. The artist went, and there painted two very famous mythological pictures, besides portraits and other works. One of these important subjects was “Bacchus and Ariadne,” and it is now in the National Gallery, London; the second was a Venus, surrounded by more than sixty children and cupids; some are climbing trees, others shoot arrows in the air, while still others twine their arms around each other; this is now in Madrid.

While at Ferrara the Pope, Leo X., asked Titian to go to Rome; but he longed for his home—he wished for his yearly visit to Cadore, and he declined the honorable invitation, and returned to Venice. In 1530 Titian’s wife died, leaving him with two sons, Pomponio and Orazio, and his daughter, Lavinia. In this same sad year the Emperor Charles V. and Pope Clement VII. met at Bologna. All the most brilliant men of Germany and Italy were also there, and Titian was summoned to paint portraits of the two great heads of Church and State, and of many of the notable men among their followers.

Fig 46 Fig. 46.—Portrait of Lavinia. By Titian.

When the painter returned to Venice he was loaded with honors and riches. He bought a new house at [Pg 126]Berigrande, opposite the island of Murano; it commanded fine views and its garden was beautiful. The landscapes of his pictures soon grew better than they had been, and no wonder, when he could always see the Friuli Alps in the distance with their snow-capped peaks rising to the clouds; nearer him was the Murano, like another city with its towers and domes, and then the canals, which at night were gay with lighted gondolas bearing fair ladies hither and thither. Here Titian entertained many people, and some of them were exalted in station. The house was called “Casa Grande,” and on one occasion, when a cardinal and others invited themselves to dine with him, Titian flung a purse to his steward, saying, “Now prepare a feast, since all the world dines with me.”

While living at “Casa Grande,” the artist saw the most glorious years of his life. It seemed that every person of note in all Europe, both men and women, desired their portraits at his hand. One only, Cosmo I., Grand Duke of Florence, refused to sit to him. If these pictures could be collected together, most of the famous persons of his time would be represented in them.

After he was sixty years old Titian made a second journey to Ferrara, Urbino, and Bologna. This time he painted a portrait of Charles V., with a favorite dog by his side. After this, in 1545, at an invitation from Pope Paul III., the great master went to Rome; while there he painted many wonderful pictures—among them, one of the pope with his two grandsons was very remarkable; it is now in the Museum of Naples. He left Rome when he was sixty-nine years old.

In 1548 Charles V. summoned Titian to Augsburg, and while there made him a count, and gave him a yearly pension of two hundred gold ducats. The emperor was very fond of Titian, and spent a good deal of time with him. On one occasion the painter dropped his brush; the emperor[Pg 127] picked it up, and returned it to him. The etiquette of courts forbade any one to receive such a service from the sovereign, and Titian was much embarrassed, when Charles said, “Titian is worthy to be served by Cæsar,” this being one of the great ruler’s titles. Charles continued his favors to Titian through life, and when he resigned his crown, and retired to the monastery of Yuste, he took nine pictures by this master into his solitude. One of these, a portrait of the Empress Isabella, was so hung that the emperor gazed upon it when dying; this is now in the museum at Madrid, where are also many fine works by Titian, for Philip II. was his patron as his father had been.

When eighty-five years old he finished his wonderful picture of the “Martyrdom of St. Lawrence” for the Church of the Jesuits in Venice, and his old age was one of strength and mental clearness. Though he had seen great prosperity and received many honors, he had not escaped sorrow. After the death of his wife, his sister Orsa, who was very dear to him, had kept his house; she too sickened and died; his son Pomponio was a worthless fellow, and caused him much grief; Lavinia had married, and the old man was left with Orazio alone, who was a dutiful son. He also was an artist, but painted so frequently on the same canvas with his father that his works cannot be spoken of separately.

At length Titian’s work began to show his years, and some one told him that his “Annunciation” did not resemble his usual pictures. He was very angry, and, seizing a pencil, wrote upon it, “Tizianus fecit fecit”—meaning to say by this, “Truly, Titian did this!” When he was ninety-six years old he was visited by Henry III. of France, attended by a train of princes and nobles. The aged painter appeared with such grace and dignity as to excite the admiration of all, and when the king asked the price of some pictures, Titian presented them to him as one sovereign[Pg 128] might make a gift to another who was his equal, and no more.

In 1576 the plague broke out in Venice, and both Titian and Orazio fell victims to it. Naturally the man of ninety-eight years could not recover, and, though Orazio was borne off to the hospital and cared for as well as possible, he also died. After Titian was left alone robbers entered his house while he still lived, and carried away jewels, money, and pictures. He died August 27th, and all Venice mourned for him.

There was a law that no person who died of the plague in Venice should be buried within the city; but Titian was so much honored and beloved that exception was made, and he was buried in the Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa de Frari; or as it is usually called, “the Frari.” He had painted a great picture of the Assumption for this church, which has since been removed to the Academy of Venice; but another work of his, called the Pesaro altar-piece, still remains near his grave. His burial-place is marked by a simple tablet, inscribed thus: “Here lies the great Tiziano di Vecelli, rival of Zeuxis and Apelles.”

A little more than two centuries after his death the citizens of Venice determined to erect a monument to Titian, and Canova made a design for it; but political troubles interfered, and prevented the execution of the plan. In 1852 the Emperor of Austria, Ferdinand I., placed a costly monument near his grave; it consists of a Corinthian canopy beneath which is a sitting statue of the painter, while several other allegorical figures are added to increase its magnificence. This monument was dedicated with imposing ceremonies, and it is curious to note that not far away from it the sculptor Canova is buried, and his own monument is made from the design which he made for that of Titian.

Some writers consider the “Entombment of Christ,” in the Manfrini Palace, as the greatest work of Titian. At all[Pg 129] events, it is the best existing representation of this subject, and is a picture which has had a great effect upon art; its chief feature is the general expression of sorrow which pervades the whole work.

Titian gave a new importance to landscape-painting by making backgrounds to his pictures from natural scenery, and that not as if it was merely for the sake of a background, but in a manner which showed his love for Nature, and, in fact, he often rendered it with poetical significance.

The works of Titian are very seldom sold. One subject which he oftentimes repeated was that of “Danäe” with the shower of gold falling about her; one of these was purchased by the Emperor of Russia for six hundred thousand francs. One of the most important of his religious pictures was that of “St. Peter Martyr;” this was burned in the Church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo in Venice in 1868. An excellent copy of it had been for a long time in the Museum of Florence, and this was presented to the Venetians in order to repair their loss as far as possible. Victor Amadeus of Sardinia presented nine pictures by Titian to the Duke of Marlborough, and these were all destroyed in 1861 when the château of Blenheim was burned. Kugler says: “In the multifariousness of his powers Titian takes precedence of all other painters of his school; indeed, there is scarcely a line of art which in his long and very active life he did not enrich.” His last work was not quite completed by himself, and is now in the Academy of Venice. It is a Pietà, and although the hand of ninety-eight years guided the brush uncertainly, yet it has the wonderful light this master threw around his figures, and the whole is conceived with his accustomed animation.

The pupils and followers of Titian were too numerous to be spoken of one by one, and none of them were so great as to require their mention in detail here; yet they were so good that, while the other schools of Italy were [Pg 130]decreasing in importance during the sixteenth century, that of Venice was flourishing, and some great masters still existed there. Among these was Jacopo Robusti (1512-1594), who was called, and is best known as Tintoretto, which name was given him because his father was a dyer. He studied under Titian for a time, and then he attempted to follow Michael Angelo, and it is said that his motto was, “The coloring of Titian, the drawing of Michael Angelo.” His best pictures are slightly treated, and others are coarse and unfinished in the manner of painting. His portraits seem to be his best works, probably because they are more carefully finished.

Several works of his are simply enormous; one is seventy-four by thirty feet; the school of St. Roch has fifty-seven large pictures by him, in many of which the figures are of life size. His two most famous works are the “Miracle of St. Mark,” in the Academy of Venice, and the “Crucifixion,” in the school of St. Roch. The last is, for every reason, his best work; there are crowds of people in it, on foot and on horseback, while their faces show every possible kind of expression, and their movements are infinitely varied. The immense painting mentioned above is in the Doge’s Palace, and is called “Paradise.” His daughter, Marietta Robusti (1560-1590), was a pupil of her father’s, and became so good a portrait-painter that she was invited to the Court of Spain by Philip II., but her father could not consent to a separation from her. Some excellent pictures of hers still exist, and her portraits of Marco dei Vescovi and the antiquarian Strada were celebrated pictures. When the Emperor Maximilian and the Archduke Ferdinand, each in turn, desired her presence at their courts, her father hastened to marry her to Mario Augusti, a wealthy German jeweller, upon the condition that she should remain in her father’s house. She was celebrated for her beauty, had fine musical talents, and was sprightly[Pg 131] and enthusiastic; her father was so fond of having her with him that he sometimes allowed her to dress as a boy, and go with him to study where young girls were not admitted.

When but thirty years old Marietta Robusti died; she was buried in the Church of Santa Maria dell Orto, where are several works by her father. Both he and her husband mourned for her all their remaining days. Many pictures of Tintoretto painting his daughter’s portrait after her death have been made by later artists.

Paoli Cagliari, or Caliari, called Paul Veronese (1528-1588), was born at Verona, but as he lived mostly at Venice, he belongs to the school of that city. He was an imitator of Titian, whom he did not equal; still he was a fine painter. His excellences were in his harmonious color, his good arrangement of his figures in the foreground, and his fine architectural backgrounds. He tried to make his works magnificent, and to do this he painted festive scenes, with many figures in splendid costumes. He is buried in the Church of St. Sebastian, where there are many of his works.

In the gallery of the Louvre is his “Marriage at Cana.” It is thirty by twenty feet in size, and many of its figures are portraits. His pictures are numerous and are seen in the European galleries. The “Family of Darius,” in the National Gallery, London, cost that institution the enormous sum of thirteen thousand six hundred and fifty pounds; it was formerly in the Pisani Palace, Venice, and was said to have been left there by Veronese as payment for his entertainment during a visit he had made in the palace. In 1868, at the Demidoff sale, a portrait of his daughter sold for two thousand five hundred and twenty-four pounds.

At the close of the sixteenth century a family of a father and four sons were busy painting what may rightfully be termed the earliest genre pictures of Italy. This[Pg 132] term is used to denote pictures that stand between historical and utterly imaginary subjects; that is to say, the representation of something that seems real to us because it is so familiar to our imagination, or because it is something that we know might have happened, that it has all the naturalness of an actual reproduction of a fact. There may be interior or landscape genre pictures. The first represent familiar in-door scenes—the latter are landscapes with animals or figures to give a life element and to tell a story.

The name of the family of which I speak was Da Ponte, but it was called Bassano, from the birth-place of Jacopo da Ponte Bassano (1510-1592), the father, who was the most important of the family. He studied in Venice, but returned to his native town. His portraits are fine; among them are those of the Doge of Venice, Ariosto, and Tasso. His works are very numerous and are seen in all galleries. He introduced landscapes and animals into most of his pictures, sometimes with great impropriety.

We come now to Antonio Allegri, called Correggio (1493-1534), who was born at the end of the fifteenth, but did his work in the beginning of the sixteenth century. His name of Correggio is that of his birth-place, and as he was not born at any of the great art centres, and did not adopt the precise manner of any school, he, with his followers, stand by themselves, and yet, because his principal works were done at Parma, he is sometimes said to be of the school of Parma.

When Correggio was thirteen years old he had learned to draw well. He studied under Andrea Mantegna and his son Francesco Mantegna. From these masters he learned to be very skilful in drawing, especially in foreshortening, or in representing objects seen aslant. But though he learned much of the science of art from his teachers, his grace and movement and his exquisite light[Pg 134] and shade are all his own, for they did not possess these qualities.

Fig 47 Fig. 47.—Portrait of Correggio.

Foreshortening is so important that I must try to explain it; and, as Correggio is said to be the greatest master in this art since the days of the Greeks, it is quite proper for me to speak of it in connection with him. The art of foreshortening is that which makes different objects painted on a plane or flat surface appear as if they were at different distances from the eye of the person who is looking at the picture, or as scenes in nature appear, where one part is much farther off than another. To produce this effect it is often necessary to make an object—let us say, for example, an arm or a leg, look as if it was stretched forward, out of the canvas, directly toward the person who is looking at it. Now, the truth is that in order to produce this effect the object is often thrown backward in the drawing; sometimes also it is doubled up in an unnatural manner, and occupies a small space on the canvas, while it appears to be of life size when one looks at it. A “Christ in Glory” painted by Correggio in the cupola of the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista, in Parma, is a fine piece of foreshortening. The head is so thrown back, and the knees are so thrown forward, that the whole figure seems to be of life size; yet if the space from the top of the head to the soles of the feet were measured, it would be found to be much less than the height of the same figure would be if it were drawn in an erect position.

I have already explained the meaning of chiaro-scuro, and this delicate manner of passing from light to shade was another quality in the works of Correggio. It is even seen in his early works, as, for instance, in the beautiful Madonna di San Francesco, now at Dresden, which he painted when he was but eighteen years old.

When this master was twenty-six years old he married Girolama Nurlini, and about the same time he was [Pg 135]summoned to Mantua by the Duke Federigo Gonzaga. During eleven years after his marriage he was occupied with works in Mantua, and with his great frescoes at Parma. In 1530 he returned to Correggio, and there passed the remainder of his life. That he held a high position is proved by certain records of his life, among which is the fact that in 1533 he was invited to be one of the witnesses of the marriage of the Lord of Correggio.

It is said that when this painter saw one of the great works of Raphael, he exclaimed, enthusiastically and thankfully, “I, too, am a painter!” and no doubt he then felt himself moved to attempt such works as should make his name known to all the world through future centuries. When Titian saw Correggio’s frescoes at Parma, he said: “Were I not Titian, I should wish to be Correggio.” Annibale Caracci, also a great artist, said of Correggio, more than a hundred years after his death, “He was the only painter!” and declared that the children he painted seemed to breathe and smile with such grace that one was forced to smile and be happy with them.

In 1534 Correggio died of a fever, and was buried in his family tomb in the Franciscan Convent of his native city. His grave is simply marked with his name and the date of his death.

Some of his oil-paintings are very famous. One at Dresden, representing the “Nativity of the Saviour,” is called the “Notte,” or night, because the only light on the picture comes from the halo of glory around the head of the Holy Child. Correggio’s “Reading Magdalen” is in the same gallery; probably no one picture exists which has been more universally admired than this.

Fig 48 Fig. 48.—Upper Part of a Fresco by Correggio.

There was a large work of his representing “The Shepherds Adoring the Infant Saviour,” at Seville, in Spain. During the Peninsular War (1808-14) the people of that city sent many valuable things to Cadiz for safety, and this[Pg 137] picture, on account of its size, was cut in two. By some accident the two parts were separated; but both were sold, and the purchaser of each was promised that the other portion should be given him. From this much trouble arose, because both purchasers determined to keep what they had, and each claimed that the whole belonged to him, and as they were equally obstinate, the two parts of the same work have never been reunited. Fortunately, each half makes a picture by itself.

The frescoes at Parma are the greatest works of this master, and it is very interesting to visit that quaint old city; his works are in the Cathedral, the Church of St. John the Evangelist, and in the parlor of the Convent of the Benedictine Nuns. This last is a wonderful room. The ceiling is arched and high, and painted to represent an arbor of vines with sixteen oval openings, out of which frolicsome children are peeping, as if, in passing around behind the vines, they had stopped to look down into the room. The pictures here will make you understand the effect (Figs. 48 and 49). Beneath each of these openings or lunettes is a half-circular picture of some mythological story or personage. Upon the wall of the parlor, above the mantel, there is a picture of Diana, the goddess of the moon and the protector of young animals, which is a beautiful picture.

When Correggio worked on the frescoes at the Church of St. John, he lived much in the monastery connected with it. The monks became very fond of him, and made him a member of the Congregation Cassinensi; the poet Tasso also was a member of this fraternity. This membership gave him the right to share in the masses, prayers, and alms of the community, and after his death the same offices for the repose of his soul would be performed as if he had been a true monk.

Fig 49 Fig. 49.—Lower Part of a Fresco by Correggio.

The works of Correggio are very rarely sold. The madonna in the National Gallery, London, known as [Pg 139]La Vierge au Panier,” was formerly in the Royal Gallery at Madrid. During the French invasion of Spain, Mr. Wallace, an English artist, obtained it. It is painted on a panel, and is 13½ inches high by 10 inches wide. In 1813 it was offered for sale in London at twelve hundred pounds. In 1825 it was sold in Paris for eighty thousand francs, and soon after sold to the National Gallery for thirty-eight hundred pounds, or nearly nineteen thousand dollars.

A copy of the “Reading Magdalen” was sold to Earl Dudley for sixteen hundred pounds, or more than seven thousand dollars.

Correggio had but few pupils, but he had many imitators. The one most worthy of mention was Francesco Mazzuoli (1503-1540), called Il Parmigiano, or Parmigianino. He was not a great painter. The “Vision of St. Jerome,” in the National Gallery, London, is one of his best works. It is said that during the sack of Rome, in 1527, he was painting the figures of the Virgin and Child in this picture, and was so engrossed by his work that the invaders entered his studio, and surrounded him before he was aware of their approach. And they, for their part, were so moved by what they saw that they went away, and left him undisturbed.

Art writers often use the term “early masters.” This denotes Michael Angelo, Raphael, and other men so great that they were very prominent in the history of art, and were imitated by so many followers that they had an unusual effect upon the world. Titian may be called the last of these great masters of the early school, and his life was so long that he lived to see a great decline in art.

The painters of the close of the sixteenth century are called “Mannerists,” which means that they adopted or imitated the manner or style of some great master who had preceded them—and this was done in so cold and spiritless a way that it may be said that true artistic inspiration was dead in[Pg 140] Italy. No one lived who, out of his own imagination, could fix upon the wall or the canvas such scenes as would befit a poet’s dream or serve to arouse the enthusiasm of those who saw the painted story born in the artist’s brain.

About 1600, the beginning of the seventeenth century, there arose a new movement in Italian art, which resulted in forming two schools between which there came to be much bitterness of feeling, and even deadly hatred. On one side there were those who wished to continue the study and imitation of the works of the old masters, but with this they united a study of nature. These men were called “Eclectics,” because they elected or chose certain parts of different systems of painting, and from these formed a new manner of their own.

Opposed to the Eclectics were the “Naturalists,” who insisted that nature only should be studied, and that everything should be represented in the most realistic way, and made to appear in the picture exactly as it did in reality, not being beautified or adorned by any play of fancy or imagination.

The chief school of the Eclectics, of whom I will first speak, was at Bologna, and is known also as the “school of the Caracci,” because Ludovico Caracci (1555-1619) was at the head of a large academy there, and was assisted by his nephews, Agostino Caracci (1558-1601) and Annibale Caracci (1560-1609), the latter being the greatest artist of the three. The lives of the Caracci are not of such interest as to require an account of them here, neither are their works so interesting that we may not leave these artists by saying that they have great consideration as the heads of the Eclectic Academy, and for the work they did in it at an important era in the history of Italian art; but the fruits of their work are shown in that of their scholars rather than in their own paintings, and in this view their influence can scarcely be overvalued.

[Pg 141] The greatest of their scholars was Domenico Zampieri (1581-1641), called Domenichino, who was born at Bologna, and was instructed by Denis Calvert, who forbade his drawing after the works of Annibale Caracci. Domenico disobeyed this command, and was so severely treated by Calvert that he persuaded his father to take him from that master, and place him in the school of the Caracci. When he entered the Academy he was so dull that his fellow-pupils nicknamed him “The Ox;” but Annibale Caracci said: “Take care: this ox will surpass you all by and by, and will be an honor to his art.” Domenichino soon began to win many prizes in the school, and left it well trained and prepared for a brilliant career.

He gave much thought to his art, shunned private society, and if he went out at all he frequented public places where large numbers of people were gathered, thus affording him an opportunity to study their varying expressions. He also tried to feel in himself the emotions of the person he was painting. For instance, it is said that when he was painting the “Scourging of St. Andrew,” he threw himself into a passion, and used threatening gestures and high words. In the midst of this his master, Annibale Caracci, surprised him, and was so impressed with his method that he threw his arms about his pupil’s neck, exclaiming, “To-day, my Domenichino, thou art teaching me!”

The most celebrated work by Domenichino is the “Communion of St. Jerome,” in the Vatican. It is universally considered the second picture in Rome, the “Transfiguration,” by Raphael, being the only one that is placed before it. The scene it represents is just before the death of the saint, when he was borne into the chapel to receive the sacrament of the communion for the last time (Fig. 50).

Fig 50 Fig. 50.—Communion of
St. Jerome.

Domenichino was made very unhappy in Rome, on account of the jealousy of other artists, and he returned to Bologna. However, his fame had reached the court at[Pg 143] Naples, and the viceroy of that city invited the artist to decorate the Chapel of St. Januarius. There was in Naples at that time an association of artists who had determined that no strange artist should be allowed to do work of any account in their city. As soon as Domenichino began his work, therefore, he received letters threatening his life. His colors were spoiled by having ruinous chemicals mixed with them, his sketches were stolen from his studio, and all sorts of insults and indignities were heaped upon him.

After a time, the painter was so disheartened that he fled to Rome; but the viceroy sent for him and took every precaution possible to protect him and enable him to work in peace. But just as all seemed to be going well he sickened and died, and it has always been said that he was poisoned. Be this as it may, there is no doubt that the fear, vexation, and anxiety of his life caused his death, and on this account his tormentors were his murderers.

The works of Domenichino are not numerous, and are not seen in as many galleries as are those of some Italian painters; but there are a considerable number scattered over Europe and very beautiful ones in several galleries in Rome.

The next painter of importance in the Eclectic school was Guido Reni (1575-1642), born at Bologna, and the son of a professor of music. His father intended that Guido also should be a musician, and the poor boy was much persecuted on account of his love for drawing. But after many struggles the boy came into the Caracci school, and was soon a favorite pupil there.

When still young he listened with great attention to a lecture from Annibale, in which he laid down the rules which should govern a true painter. Guido resolved to follow these rules closely, and soon he painted so well that he was accused of trying to establish a new system of painting. At last Ludovico Caracci turned against him and dismissed him from his school.

Fig 51 Fig. 51.—Aurora. By Guido Reni.

[Pg 145] The young artist went to Rome; but his persecutions did not cease, and it seemed to be his fate to excite the jealousy of other painters. Now, when so much time has elapsed, we know that Guido was not a very great master, and had he painted in the days of Michael Angelo he would not have been thought so. But art had lowered its standard, and Guido’s works were suited to the taste of his time; he had a high conception of beauty, and he tried to reach it in his pictures.

In the course of his career Guido really painted in three styles. His earliest pictures are the strongest; those of his middle period are weaker, because he seemed only to strive to represent grace and sweetness; his latest pictures are careless and unequal in execution, for he grew indifferent to fame, and became so fond of gaming that he only painted in order to get money to spend in this sinful folly.

His masterpiece in Rome was the “Aurora,” on a ceiling of the Rospigliosi Palace; it represents the goddess of the dawn as floating before the chariot of Apollo, or Phœbus, the god of the sun. She scatters flowers upon the earth, he holds the reins over four piebald and white horses, while Cupid, with his lighted torch, floats just above them. Around the chariot dance seven graceful female figures which represent the Hours, or Horæ. I have been asked why seven was the number; the ancients had no fixed number for the Hours; sometimes they were spoken of as two, again three, and even in some cases as ten. It has always seemed to me that ten was the number chosen by Guido, for in that case there would naturally be three out of sight, on the side of the chariot which is not seen (Fig. 51).

Fig 52 Fig. 52.—Beatrice Cenci.

The portrait of Beatrice Cenci is another very celebrated picture by Guido; it is in the gallery of the Barberini Palace, in Rome (Fig. 52). The interest in the portrait of this unhappy girl is world-wide. She was the daughter of a[Pg 147] wealthy Roman noble, who after the death of her mother married a second time, and treated the children of his first marriage in a brutal way. It is even said that he hired assassins to murder two of his sons on their return from a journey to Spain. The story also relates that his cruelty to Beatrice was such that, with the aid of her step-mother and her brother, she killed him. At all events, these three were accused of this crime and were executed for it in 1599. Other accounts say that he was murdered by robbers, and his wife and children were made to appear as if guilty. Clement VII. was the pope at that time, and in spite of his knowledge of the cruelty of the father he would not pardon them, though mercy was implored of him for this lovely girl. The reason given for this action of the pope’s is that he wished to confiscate the Cenci estates, which he could do if the family suffered the death penalty. So many reproductions of this sad face have been made that it is very familiar to us, and almost seems to have been the face of some one whom we have known.

Guido did not paint his St. Michael for the Cappucini in Rome until after he returned to his native city. When he sent the picture to the monks, he wrote: “I wish I had the wings of an angel to have ascended into Paradise, and there to have beholden the forms of those beautified spirits from which I might have copied my archangel; but not being able to mount so high, it was in vain for me to search for his resemblance here below, so that I was forced to make an introspection into my own mind, and into that idea of beauty which I have formed in my own imagination.”

We are told that he always tried to paint his ideal of beauty rather than to reproduce any human beauty that he had seen. He would pose his color-grinder, and draw his outlines from him, and then fill in with his own conceptions of what the head he was painting should be; this accounts for the sameness in his heads and faces.

[Pg 148] His passion for gaming degraded the close of his life. It led him into great distresses, and for the sake of money he painted many pictures which are not worthy of his name. He had always received generous prices for his pictures, but he left many debts as a blot upon his memory. His works are seen in the galleries of Europe, and are always admired for their feeling, beauty, and grace.

Francesco Albani (1578-1660), born at Bologna, was another scholar of the Caracci school, and a friend of Guido Reni. There are many works of his in Rome. His pictures of landscapes with figures were his best works, and beauty was his characteristic. His own home had all the advantages for painting such works as he best succeeded in, such as Venus and the Loves, maids and boys, children and Cupids in unending variety.

His villa was surrounded by charming views. His wife was very handsome, and they had twelve lovely children, so lovely that it is said that other artists besides himself made use of them for models.

There were several other Eclectics of some importance of whom we shall not speak, but shall leave them with an account of Elisabetta Sirani (1640-1665), who also was born at Bologna, and is worthy of attention on account of her talents, while the story of her life adds another interest than that which she has as an artist.

She was an imitator of the attractive manner of Guido Reni. The heads of her madonnas and magdalens are charming, and, indeed, all her work speaks of the innate refinement of her nature. Her industry was marvellous, since she made one hundred and fifty pictures and etchings in a period of about ten years. Much has been said of the rapidity with which she worked, and one story relates that on a certain day the Duchess of Brunswick, the Duchess of Mirandola, and the Duke Cosimo de Medici, with other persons, met in her studio, and she sketched and shaded[Pg 149] drawings of subjects which they named to her, with a skill and celerity which astonished and delighted her guests.

Her masterpiece is a picture of “St. Anthony Adoring the Virgin and Child,” which is in the Pinacoteca of Bologna. There are pictures by her in the Belvedere and Lichtenstein Galleries at Vienna, in the Hermitage at St. Petersburg, and in the Sciarra Palace, Rome.

In person Elisabetta Sirani was beautiful, and her character commanded the affection of all who knew her. She was a sweet singer, and her biographers increase her virtues by praising her taste in dress, and even her moderation in eating! She was skilful in domestic affairs, and was in the habit of rising early to perform her share in the household duties, never allowing her art to displace any occupation which properly made a part of her life. Her name has come down through more than two centuries as one whose “devoted filial affection, feminine grace, and artless benignity of manner added a lustre to her great talents, and completed a personality which her friends regarded as an ideal of perfection.”

She died very suddenly, and the cause of her death has never been known; but the theory that she was poisoned has been generally accepted. Several reasons for the crime have been given; one is that she was the victim of jealous artists, as Domenichino had been; another, that a princely lover whom she had scorned thus revenged himself. A servant-girl in her family was suspected of the crime, tried, and banished; but after a time she was recalled to Bologna at the request of the father of Elisabetta, for he saw no proof of the girl’s guilt. Thus the mystery was never solved, but the whole city of Bologna was saddened by her death. The day of her burial was one of public mourning; her funeral was attended with great pomp, and she was buried beside Guido Reni in the splendid church of the Dominicans. Poems and orations in her praise were numerous,[Pg 150] and a book was published, called “Il Penello Lagrimate,” which contained these, with odes, anagrams, and epitaphs, in both Latin and Italian, all setting forth her charms and virtues. Her portrait in the Ercolani Gallery at Bologna represents her when occupied in painting her father’s portrait; according to this picture she had a tall, elegant figure, and a very pretty face. She had two sisters, Barbara and Anna Maria, who also were artists, but her fame was so much greater than theirs that she quite overshadowed them.

The earliest master of the Naturalists was Michael Angelo Amerigi, called Caravaggio, from the name of his birth-place (1569-1609). His life and character was not such as to make him an attractive study. His subjects and his manner of representing them combined in producing what has been called “the poetry of the repulsive.” He was wild in his nature and lived a wild life. His religious subjects, even, were coarse, though his color was vivid and his figures arranged with good effect. His “False Players” is one of his best works; it represents two men playing cards, while a third looks over the shoulder of one as if advising him what to play.

Naturally, his manner of painting was best suited to scenes from common life, though he made those coarse and sometimes painful; but when he attempted subjects of a higher order his works are positively offensive. Some of his sacred pictures were removed from the altars for which they were painted on account of their coarseness. His most celebrated work is the “Entombment of Christ,” at the Vatican; in the Gallery of the Capitol in Rome there is a “Fortune Teller,” which is also a fine work.

Next to Caravaggio came Giuseppe Ribera, called Il Spagnoletto (1588-1656). He was a native of Valencia, and when very young made his way to Rome, so that, although his education as an artist was wholly Italian, his[Pg 151] familiar name arose from his Spanish origin. While living in miserable poverty in Rome, and industriously copying such frescoes as he could gain access to, he attracted the attention of a cardinal, who took him to his home, and made him comfortable. But the young painter soon ran away, and returned to his street life. The cardinal sought him out, and called him an “ungrateful little Spaniard;” but Ribera excused his conduct by saying that as soon as he was made comfortable and was well fed he lost all ambition to work, adding that it would require the spur of poverty to make him a good painter. The cardinal respected his courage, and the story being repeated to other artists, much interest was attracted to him.

Later he went to Naples, and joined the cabal there which had agreed to persecute the strange artists who should come to work in that city. If Ribera did not actually commit many of the crimes which were done there, he was responsible for them through his influence. His works are frequently so brutal in their subjects and treatment that one feels that he who painted them must have lost all the kindliness of his nature.

He married the daughter of a rich picture dealer, and became very rich himself. In 1630 he was made a member of the Academy of St. Luke, at Rome, and in 1648 Pope Innocent X. sent him the cross of the Order of Christ. Few Italian artists were better known in their own country, and many of his pictures were sent to Spain. His greatest excellence was in his knowledge of anatomy, and he painted subjects that enabled him to show this. Among his famous works are a “Descent from the Cross;” “The Flaying of St. Bartholomew;” “Ixion on the Wheel;” and “Cato of Utica.” His works are in all the famous galleries of the world.

Ribera’s greatest pupil was Salvator Rosa (1615-1673), the landscape painter, who was a very gifted man, being a poet and musician as well as an artist. His father[Pg 152] was an educated man, and with his other relatives encouraged his son in his taste for art. When twenty years old he went to Rome, and with the exception of some intervals remained there during his life.

It is said that as a youth he associated much with bandits, and, when one considers the wildness of many of his scenes and the character of the figures in their midst, it is not difficult to believe that this may have been true. It is certain that he painted the portrait of the famous Masaniello more than once, and he is believed to have joined the Compagnia della Morte, of which Falcone, one of his masters, was the captain.

Salvator made many enemies by his independence and his inclination to satire. He wrote satires on various subjects which were not published until after his death, but it was known that he had written them. He married a Florentine woman, who was the mother of his two sons. When he died he was buried in the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, where a monument is erected to his memory.

He painted some historical subjects and portraits in which he followed the Naturalists, but his principal works were landscapes. Jagged rocks and mountains, wild dells and lonely defiles, with here and there robbers, hermits, or soldiers, make his most effective pictures. There is a deep sense of desolation, almost of fear, in them which is very impressive. Sometimes he painted serene landscapes and poetic figures; but his best works are not of this sort. His pictures are in the principal public and in some private galleries. He also left about ninety etchings which are masterly in execution and full of expression in the heads, while the atmosphere is soft. When his works are sold they bring great prices. A large landscape with Apollo and the Sibyl in the foreground brought eight thousand five hundred dollars in England years ago, and is now worth much more than that.

[Pg 153] Early in the eighteenth century an artist named Antonio Canale (1697-1768), called Canaletto, began to make views of the city of Venice and scenes on the canals. He had two followers, Bernardo Bellotti (1720-1780), who was his nephew, and Francesco Guardi (1712-1793), and these three painters executed a large number of these pictures, which are found in many European galleries, and it is not always easy to distinguish their authorship. There is no doubt that many which were once attributed to the first master were really painted by his pupils.

Before the commencement of the eighteenth century the decline of the Renaissance school in Italy had begun; in fact, the painting of the seventeenth century came to be mere mechanical realism. For this reason the portraits were the best pictures of the time, as in them it was requisite to be true to the object represented.

Late in the eighteenth century a new impulse was given to Italian painting, chiefly through the influence of foreign artists such as Raphael Mengs, and the French painter David. In the beginning of our own century Lorenzo Benvenuti (1769-1844) executed some excellent frescoes in Florence, Siena, and Arezzo, which was his native city. He decorated the ceiling of the Medici Chapel in the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence, and Leopold II., Grand Duke of Tuscany, erected a tomb to this painter in the same church where he had spent so much time and talent. His portrait, painted by himself, is in the gallery of the Uffizi, at Florence. Vincenzio Cammuccini (1775-1844), too, was a celebrated master of his time. He was a Roman by birth, and became President of the Academy of St. Luke; he was also a member of the Institute of France, and received decorations from sovereigns of various countries. He made many copies from the works of the great masters. His portraits were so much admired as to be compared to those of Rubens and Tintoretto, and his ceiling [Pg 154]frescoes in the Torlonia Palace, Rome, were among his important works, as was a “Presentation of Christ in the Temple,” painted for the Church of San Giovanni in Piacenza.

But there has been no true restoration of Italian art. The painting of Italy in our time has been largely a commercial enterprise rather than an outcome from artistic genius or impulse, and the few works which are exceptions to this rule are not sufficient to encourage the hope that this nation can again attain to her former rank or regain the fame of her past in the history of modern art.

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Flanders formerly embraced a larger part of Belgium than is contained in the present Belgian provinces of East and West Flanders. It also covered a portion of Holland and some territory in the northwest of France. The principal Flemish towns connected with the story of Flemish art were Bruges, Tournai, Louvain, Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels, Mechlin, Liege, and Utrecht.

There are some records of Flemish painting much earlier than the fifteenth century, but they are so vague and uncertain that I shall pass them over, and begin with the family of Van Eyck, in which there were four painters—three brothers and a sister. The eldest, Hubert van Eyck (1366-1426), effected a great change in the art of his time and country. Very little is known of him as a young man, or indeed of his personal history at all, except that he passed his middle life at Bruges and his later years at Ghent. The subjects of his pictures were mostly scriptural. I do not suppose that the pictures of this master would seem very beautiful to you if you saw them, but they are of great value. His greatest work was an altar-piece for Judocus Vyts and his wife Lisabetta; it was for the decoration of their funeral chapel in the Church of St. Bavon in Ghent. It was an immense work, with a centre-piece and wings that could be closed; the inside was divided into twelve different pictures, and the outside also was painted. We do not know[Pg 156] how much of this was completed when Hubert died and left it to be finished by his brother John. Philip I. of Spain wished to buy this altar-piece, and when he could not do so, he employed Michael Coxie to copy it; this artist spent two years on the work, and was paid four thousand florins. Of the original work, a large portion remains in the Church of St. Bavon; the wings, consisting of six beautiful, tall panels, are in the Berlin Museum, and two outer compartments are in the Brussels Museum. The picture of holy men who have served God is on one of the wings of this altar-piece (Fig. 53).

But the principal interest attached to Hubert van Eyck comes from the fact that he made such discoveries in the use of colors as led to what we call the “Invention of Oil-Painting,” and this invention is always attributed to the Van Eycks, for it is probable that the discoveries of Hubert were perfected by Jan van Eyck (1390-1440), who became a celebrated painter. Oil-painting had been known, it is true, a long time, but the manner of preparing the colors and the varnish used before the time of the Van Eycks was very unsatisfactory, and the improvement of these substances was the work of these masters.

The pictures of Hubert van Eyck are stronger than those of Jan, who was really the founder of a school remarkable for delicacy and fine finish rather than for power. It was after the death of Hubert that the fame of the new colors spread abroad, and thus it happened that it was to Jan that other artists went to learn his secrets.

Fig 53 Fig. 53.—The Anchorites.
In S. Bavon at Ghent.

Jan van Eyck was something of a diplomat as well as a painter, for when he was in the service of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, he was sent on several secret missions, and in 1428 he accompanied the ambassadors of the duke to Portugal in order to paint the portrait of Isabella of Portugal, who was betrothed to the duke. There is a goodly number of works by Jan van Eyck in various galleries. The[Pg 158] portrait of himself and wife in the National Gallery, London, is very interesting; they stand hand in hand, with a terrier dog at their feet; their dress and all the details of their surroundings are painted with great care. It is said that the Princess Mary, sister of Charles V., gave a barber who owned it a position with a handsome salary in exchange for the picture. Jan van Eyck, being twenty years younger than his brother Hubert, naturally learned all that the elder knew, and the story of his life gives him the appearance of being the more important artist, though in point of highest merit he was not the superior.

Of Lambert van Eyck very little is known. It is believed that he made the copy of Hubert’s great work which is in the Antwerp Museum; another work called by his name is in Louvain. Margaretha van Eyck is said to have been a skilful artist, but no one picture can be ascribed to her; she was buried beside her brother Hubert in the Cathedral of Ghent.

Of course the Van Eycks had many followers. Among them were Petrus Christus (records 1444-1471), Gerard van der Meire (records 1447-1474), Hugo von der Goes (1405?-1482), and Justus of Ghent (1468-?), all of whom were good artists, but I shall pass to a more important one, Rogier van der Weyden (1400-1464), who was himself the head of a school of as great importance as was that of the Van Eycks. His realism was his chief characteristic, and this was so great as to make some of his works repulsive, especially his martyrdoms, in which he detailed horrors with great exactness. He also loved to paint pictures which illustrated the myths of the Middle Ages. Our illustration is from one of these works (Fig. 54).

Fig 54 Fig. 54.—The Sibyl and the Emperor Augustus. By Rogier van der Weyden. In the Berlin Museum.

This picture is from the story that when the Roman Senate decreed divine honors to the Emperor Augustus, he consulted the Tiburtine Sibyl as to whether he ought to receive them or no. She replied to him that it was more [Pg 159]becoming for him to go away silently, and told him that a Hebrew child should be born who should reign over the gods themselves, or that a king should come from heaven whose power should never end. Another version, which is the one this picture represents, says that the heavens opened, and a vision of the Virgin with the Saviour in her arms, standing on an altar, was shown the emperor. He worshipped it, and heard a voice saying, “Haec ara filii Dei” (This is the altar of the Son of God). Augustus reported this to the Senate, and erected an altar upon the spot in Rome where the Church of Santa Maria in Capitolio, or the “Ara Cœli,” now stands.

Many pictures by Van der Weyden are seen in European galleries. He was also a fine miniaturist. He was official painter to the city of Brussels, and was buried in its cathedral.

His son, Rogier van der Weyden the younger, became very rich and benevolent. He died at [Pg 160]Brussels in 1529. His works are not numerous in public galleries.

The elder Van der Weyden had a pupil, Hans Memling (records 1450-1499), who became the greatest master in Belgium. I shall not give you a long account of him; but shall tell you of his greatest work, which was the Shrine of St. Ursula, at the Hospital of Bruges, and is the best example of this type of early Flemish art which still exists. It is divided into six compartments, with two ends, and other panels on top, all of which are finished with the greatest care, and give the whole story of St. Ursula and her eleven thousand virgins, which is that Ursula was a daughter of a king of Brittany who was a Christian. The young girl was educated with the greatest care, and the fame of her beauty and wisdom spread all over Europe. At length the king of England asked for her to be the wife of his son. The princess replied that she would wed him on three conditions: first, that he should give her ten virgins of noble blood for her companions, then to each of these virgins and to herself he should give a thousand maidens as attendants; second, he should allow her three years with these companions, with whom she should visit the shrines where the bodies of the saints repose; and third, the English king and his court should receive baptism.

I cannot give space for all the details of this story, which is of great interest; but the result was that Ursula received all that she asked, and started on her journey to Rome, in the course of which she and the eleven thousand maidens met with many adventures. At last, having reached Cologne on their return, they encountered an army of barbarians which was besieging the city, and all were slain.

The subjects of the pictures as they were painted by Memling were: 1, the first landing at Cologne in the beginning of the journey; 2, the landing at Basle; 3, the arrival in Rome; 4, the second arrival at Basle on her return[Pg 161] toward home; 5, commencement of the martyrdom, when Ursula and her train are first seen by the barbarians; 6, death of Ursula.

The works of Memling which still remain are numerous, and are seen in many public galleries. After the death of this master the purity of Flemish painting declined. Many artists visited Italy, and the manner of Flemish painters was influenced by association with Italian art and artists. I shall, therefore, pass over a period when no very important masters appeared, and speak next of a great man, Quintin Matsys (1466-1529), who began life as a blacksmith. He was born at Antwerp, and there are specimens of iron work there said to have been executed by him. It is said that he fell in love with the daughter of an artist who refused to allow him to marry her because he was not a painter; for this reason Matsys devoted himself to the study of art, and became the best Belgian master of his time. His pictures of religious subjects are full of tender earnestness and deep feeling, and his most important work was an altar-piece which is now in the Museum of Antwerp. His scenes from common life, his misers and lovers are spirited and truthful.

His portrait and that of his second wife, both painted by himself, are in the gallery of the Uffizi in Florence. His works are not very numerous, but they are seen in the principal galleries. He was buried in the Cathedral of Antwerp, and a slab is inserted in the wall which tells his story; one sentence is, “Connubialis amor de mulcibre fecit Apellene” (True love changed the smith to an Apelles).

Rubens is the next great master of whom I shall speak, but I wish to say that during the last part of the sixteenth century there were many Flemish painters of considerable note whose pictures are seen in galleries, and are well worth consideration, but whose lives had no circumstances of especial interest. Among the best of these artists were[Pg 162] Antonio Moro, Peter Pourbus (1510-1583), and his son and grandson, both named Frans, Pieter Breughel (1530-1569), and his sons Jan and Pieter the younger, and Paul Bril, an early Flemish landscape painter.

All the early Flemish pictures are very interesting, but in the beginning of the seventeenth century a new manner of painting was introduced through the genius of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). This master was descended from two good families: his mother was of the distinguished family Pypeling, and his father, John Rubens, was one of the two principal magistrates of Antwerp. This city was the home of Rubens, although he was born at Siegen, in the county of Nassau, during a time when his father was in exile on account of a civil war which was then raging. He was born June 29th, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, and hence was named for those apostles.

He was a bright, scholarly boy, and soon showed his love for drawing. When he began to study art under Adam van Noort he had already a good education. During the four years he passed with this teacher he learned thoroughly all the technical part of painting; then, in another four years under Otto Vænius, he cultivated his taste and the more poetical elements of his nature, for Vænius was a very learned and elegant man. In 1598, when twenty-one years old, Rubens was admitted to the guild of painters in Antwerp. Two years later he went to Venice, and, after studying the works of Titian and Paul Veronese there, he entered the service of the Duke of Mantua, to whom he had been recommended by the governor of the Netherlands.

While in Mantua he painted some fine pictures, and the duke sent him to Rome to copy celebrated works there. Rubens also executed some other orders in Rome, from which place he was recalled by the duke, who wished to send an envoy to Spain, and had chosen the young artist for that duty. He showed great political ability in the way he[Pg 164] conducted his embassy, and through his personal charms made many friends.

Fig 55 Fig. 55.—Rubens and his Second Wife.

After his return from Spain he went again to Rome and then to Genoa, and finally, on account of the illness of his mother, he returned to Antwerp, having been absent seven years. His mother died before he reached her. He then decided to remain in Antwerp, and built himself a fine house with a charming studio. He soon married his first wife, Isabella Brant, and during the next fifteen years led a very regular and industrious life, and executed many important works. He also received a large number of pupils into his studio, and he has been accused of allowing them to paint pictures which he called by his own name; but it is true that Rubens, with his own hand, completed pictures of almost every kind, and so proved his power as an artist.

He was fond of study, and could read and speak seven languages. He was in the habit of having some one read aloud to him while he painted, and preferred books of history and poetry. In 1620 he was invited to France by Marie de Medicis, for whom he executed many works. Among them the most important were scenes illustrating the life of this queen which decorate some apartments in the Louvre.

In 1628 the Infanta Isabella sent him on a second mission to Spain, and while there he painted many grand and important pictures, which are fine examples of his gorgeous coloring. He proved himself so good a diplomatist that he was sent to England to try to make peace between that country and Flanders, in which he was successful. He was knighted by King Charles in 1630, and received the same honor from the king of Spain.

In 1630 he married Helena Forment, a niece of his first wife, who was but sixteen years old. She became the mother of five children; he had two sons by his first marriage, to whom Gevartius was tutor. Rubens made so[Pg 165] many portraits of both his wives and so often used them as models in painting his large pictures, that their faces are familiar to all the world (Fig. 55).

Rubens made a valuable collection of all sorts of beautiful objects, and lived luxuriously. After his death a portion of his collection was sold at private sale for more than seventy-five thousand dollars. His death occurred in 1640, and he was buried in a private chapel in the Church of St. James in Antwerp; he had decorated this chapel with some works of his own. His family erected a monument to him, upon which an epitaph written by Gevartius was inscribed.

In painting Rubens was almost a universal genius, for he left a great variety of works as well as a great number. About one thousand eight hundred are ascribed to him: doubtless his pupils did much work on these; but there is something of himself in all. They include historical, scriptural, and mythological subjects, portraits, animals, genre pictures, and landscapes. His style is a strange mingling of northern and southern elements. His handling and his arrangement of his subjects was like that of the Italians; but his figures, even when he represented Christ and the holiest men, were like Spanish kings or German peasants, or somebody whom he had seen.

We have not space to speak in detail of the works of Rubens. Some critics insist that one class of his pictures is best, and some another. Of course this depends largely upon the taste of those who make the judgment. It is certain that he was a wonderful painter, and many of his pictures give great pleasure to those who visit the galleries where they are seen.

His pictures of children were so painted that they seem to have been done from pure love of the work. His portraits are splendid, his genre scenes delightful, and his landscapes fine; in short, the amount and variety of his work is a proof of his great genius and industry, such as can scarcely[Pg 167] be equalled in the history of painting. Yet it cannot be denied that there is much incorrect drawing, unnatural coloring, and coarse, bad taste in some of his works. On the other hand, the fertility of his imagination, his bold design and effective execution, as well as his brilliant color, are all to be admired, and the name of Rubens stands high on the list of Flemish artists who are famous the world over.

Fig 56 Fig. 56.—The Return from Egypt.
By Rubens.

Frans Snyders (1579-1657) was born at Antwerp and lived in the time of Rubens. He was a famous painter of animals, and it sometimes happened that they worked together, Rubens painting the landscapes and figures and Snyders the animals in the same pictures. Snyders, like Rubens, excelled in representing animals in the most exciting moment of the combat or the chase, and his pictures are full of life. They are seen in all large European galleries, and are much prized.

Jan Fyt (1609-1661), also born at Antwerp, is the greatest Flemish animal painter after Snyders. His greyhounds cannot be equalled, while his live dogs are wonderful; but his best pictures represent dead game. The fur and feathers in his paintings are marvellously done, and his pictures are among the best in the world in which such subjects are treated.

Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678), another native of Antwerp, studied under Adam van Noort at the same time with Rubens, but later in life he became a follower and a sort of assistant of his former fellow-pupil. He married a daughter of their old master and never visited Italy. His color was fine; in truth, he sometimes excelled Rubens himself in the “golden glow” which is much admired in his works. Many sacred pictures by Jordaens are seen in the churches of Flanders. A fine historical work of his represents scenes from the life of Prince Frederick Henry of Orange, and is in the House of the Wood, near the Hague; but the larger part of his pictures represent the manners and[Pg 168] customs of the common people, and are seen in public galleries.

The greatest artist among the pupils of Rubens, as well as one of the greatest of Flanders, was Anthony Vandyck (1599-1641). He was born in Antwerp, and was the son of a silk merchant, this having been the occupation of the Vandycks for several generations. The mother of the painter was extremely skilled in various kinds of embroidery, and had such artistic tastes as enabled her to make many original designs, which she worked out with her needle in delicate and elaborate tapestry work.

Some people believe that to this taste and talent of his mother’s Vandyck owed the instinct for drawing which he early showed; at all events, she did all she could to develop his taste, and when he was still a boy she persuaded her husband to place him under the teaching of Henry van Balen.

He was still quite young when he entered the studio of Rubens, and was soon so much trusted by the master as to be allowed to make drawings from his works for the use of the engravers. This sort of drawing must be done with great care and exactness, and Vandyck must have had much skill to be fitted for it. His fellow-pupils also had great faith in him, as is shown by the story that one day, when Rubens had gone out, the young student bribed his old servant to show them the painting with which the master was then occupied. While jostling each other it happened that one of them hit the fresh picture, and injured it. They were much alarmed, and begged Vandyck to repair it. After some hesitation he did so, and was so successful that at first Rubens did not detect the fact that another had worked on the picture. When he did discover it, and learned the truth about it he forgave the offence heartily.

When Vandyck was nineteen years old he was admitted to the Society of Artists in Antwerp, an unusual honor to[Pg 169] one of his age. In 1620 Vandyck went to England, having been invited there through the Earl of Arundel. Little is known of this visit, and two years later he was invited to the Hague, where he spent several months.

When Vandyck was passing through Haarlem he went to the studio of Franz Hals, who was at a tavern just then. A message was sent him saying that a stranger desired to have his portrait made, and had but two hours to spare for it. Hals hastened home and dashed off the portrait within the time stated. Vandyck then said, “Portrait-painting seems to be a simple thing; take my place, and give me the brush for awhile.” Hals complied with the request and Vandyck made his portrait with great celerity. Seeing this, Hals cried out, “You are Vandyck; he alone can do such work.”

The young artist was suddenly called to the death-bed of his father, who commanded him to paint a picture for the Dominican Sisters who had cared for his father in his illness. Seven years later Vandyck presented the Sisters with a Crucifixion. At the foot of the cross was a rock upon which was inscribed, in Latin, “Lest the earth should be heavy upon the remains of his father, Anthony Vandyck moved this rock to the foot of the cross, and gave it to this place.” When the monasteries were broken up, this picture was purchased for two thousand seven hundred dollars for the Antwerp Academy, where it now is.

At length Vandyck prepared to set out for Italy. When he paid his farewell visit to Rubens he presented the master with three of his pictures, and in return Rubens gave him one of his finest horses. As Vandyck was on his way from Antwerp to Brussels he halted at the village of Saventhem, where he fell in love with Anna van Ophem, and so stayed on in the lovely valley of Flanders, week after week, as if he had forgotten that Italy existed. Anna persuaded him to paint a picture for the village church, and he executed a[Pg 170] Holy Family in which the Virgin was a portrait of Anna, and St. Joachim and St. Anna were drawn from her father and mother. This picture pleased the church authorities so much that they gave the young painter an order for another, which represented St. Martin dividing his cloak with beggars. In this work the saint was a portrait of Vandyck, and the horse on which he rode was like that which Rubens had given him.

This picture has quite a history. In 1758 the priest agreed to sell it to a collector from the Hague for one thousand eight hundred dollars; but when the villagers knew of it they surrounded the church with clubs and pitchforks, and drove the purchaser away. In 1806, when the French invaders tried to carry it away, the people again prevented it, and they were forced to call more soldiers from Brussels before they succeeded in taking it. The St. Martin was placed in the Gallery of the Louvre, at Paris, but was restored to Saventhem in 1815. About 1850 a rich American offered twenty thousand dollars for the picture, no matter who brought it to him. Upon this a set of rogues tried to steal it at night; but the dogs of the village gave such an alarm that the town was roused, and the robbers escaped with difficulty. Since then a guardian sleeps in the church, and the St. Martin is still there.

The news that Vandyck was thus lingering on his way to Italy reached the ears of Rubens, and he sent such urgent messages to his pupil as induced him to continue his journey, and he also sent him letters of introduction to artists and to nobles whom the master had known when he made his studies beyond the Alps.

Vandyck went first to Venice, where he worked hard to copy and learn to imitate the rich color and refined manner of Titian and other Venetian masters. He also painted some original pictures in Venice, and made many portraits which gave him fame in that and other cities. He was[Pg 171] asked to go to other places for the painting of portraits; but he remained in Venice until his money was spent, and then went to Genoa, where he was well received and generously employed by the old friends of Rubens. His works are still to be seen in some of the palaces of that city, while some have been sold and carried to other countries—they were so fine that they still maintain the name which they gained for him when they were executed. The principal work done in Genoa was a picture of the Lomellini family which is now in Edinburgh; it is about nine feet square. His different visits to Genoa during his absence in Italy make up a period of about three years, and he did a vast amount of work there.

When he first went to Rome Vandyck was invited to the house of Cardinal Bentivoglio, who had been papal nuncio to Flanders, and for whom our artist made a picture of the Crucifixion. The full-length portrait which Vandyck painted of the cardinal is now in Florence; a copy of it is in one of the halls of Harvard College. It is one of the finest among the many splendid portraits by this great master.

Vandyck was fascinated with Rome, but he was so unpopular with the other Flemish painters there that he shortened his stay in the Eternal City in order to escape the vexations he there received. The artists disliked him for his ostentation, and he was called Il pittore cavalieresco—and he offended them by declining to associate with them at taverns or to join their coarse festivities. After leaving Rome he visited Palermo, from which place he was driven away by the appearance of the plague. He returned to Genoa, visited Florence and other cities in the north of Italy, and finally returned to Antwerp after an absence of four years.

During the first years after his return he met with small success—Rubens was so great that he filled all the space about him—but at last, in 1628, Vandyck began to receive[Pg 172] important commissions, and from this time was constantly busy with works for the churches of the Low Countries. He also painted portraits of many notable persons, and made great numbers of them in brown and white for the use of engravers. While Vandyck was thus executing great numbers of fine pictures for the embellishment of Flanders, he became so unpopular and his rivals said such hard things of him that he determined to go away. One of his unfortunate experiences was in the house of the bishop, who had sent for him to paint his portrait. Vandyck had first sent his implements to the care of the porter of the palace. When he went himself he was taken into the presence of the bishop, who was reclining on a sofa, and gave little attention to the artist. At last the bishop asked if he had not come to paint his portrait. Vandyck declared himself to be quite at the service of his lordship. “Why, then,” said the bishop, “do you not go for your implements? Do you expect me to fetch them for you?” Vandyck calmly replied, “Since you have not ordered your servants to bring them I supposed that you wished to do it yourself.” Then the bishop leaped up in anger and cried out, “Anthony, Anthony, you are a little asp, but you have a great deal of venom!” Vandyck thought it safe to make his escape, and after he crossed the threshold he called back, “My lord Van der Burch, you are a voluminous personage, but you are like the cinnamon tree. The bark is the best part of you.”

In 1629 Vandyck went to England with the hope of being employed by King Charles I.; but he was not able even to get an introduction to the sovereign, and went to the continent filled with mortification. At length, however, Charles called him to London, whither he went in 1632, and soon became the friend of the king as well as his favorite artist. He was assigned a city and a country residence, and within three months of the time of his arrival at[Pg 173] court the king knighted him, and gave him a gold chain with a portrait of himself set in brilliants suspended from it. Charles was in the habit of passing much time with Vandyck, and the studio of the court-painter became one of the most fashionable resorts in London for the courtiers and other distinguished people.

Vandyck kept up a fine establishment, and lived luxuriously. He had a habit of asking his sitters to dinner; thus he could study their faces and retouch their portraits with the more natural expressions of their conversational hours, for it is rare that one is natural when posing before an artist who is painting one’s portrait. But in the midst of his busy life as an artist and his gay life as a man of the world, Sir Anthony did not forget the needs of his brother painters. There was at that time no club or place where artists met socially to consult and aid each other in their profession. Vandyck founded the Club of St. Luke; it met at the Rose Tavern, and all painters of talent living in London joined it. One of the more personal acts of kindness which are related of him is that having seen by chance a picture which was painted by William Dobson, Vandyck sought him out, found him in a poor garret, instructed him with great care, introduced him to the king, and, in short, by his kind offices so prepared the way that Dobson was made sergeant-painter to the king after Vandyck’s death, and won the title of “the English Tintoretto.”

The portraits which Vandyck executed in England are numbered by hundreds and are magnificent pictures. Those of the royal family are very numerous and important, and there is scarcely a man or woman belonging to this period whose name has come down to us in history or literature, whose portrait he did not paint. He also made thirteen portraits of himself which are still preserved. He was very skilful in painting horses and dogs, and frequently introduced these animals into his portrait groups.

[Pg 174] There is a large collection of the pictures of Vandyck at Windsor Castle; there are many also in the private galleries of Great Britain and other countries, besides a goodly number in the public galleries of Europe. He executed at least thirty-six portraits of Charles I., as many as twenty-five of Queen Henrietta Maria, and he also painted several groups of the children of the royal pair. Prince Rupert of the Rhine and Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, were also frequently portrayed by him, and one of his most important large works was a family picture of the Earl of Pembroke and his household. It is called the Wilton Family, as it is in a salon at Wilton House; it contains eleven figures, and has been called “the first and most magnificent historic portraiture in the world.” Again, it is said to be stiff, wanting in harmony, bad in color, and so on, but after all it still remains a splendid monument to the skill and genius of Vandyck. The picture is twenty feet long by twelve feet high.

Vandyck painted no portraits of the Puritans nor popular leaders of his day; neither did he of the literary men who flourished at that time, with the exception of the court poets, Sir John Suckling and Thomas Carew.

I shall not give a list of Vandyck’s historical and religious pictures, though they are quite numerous. They are not as interesting as his portraits, and we have not space to give them. His ambition, however, was never satisfied, for he wished to do some great historical work. At one time his opportunity seemed to have come, for the great banqueting-room of Whitehall Palace, the ceiling of which Rubens had painted, still remained with plain walls. Vandyck desired to paint on them the history of the Order of the Garter. The project was laid before the king, and he desired sketches to be made for the work, and one of them, the “Procession of the Knights of the Garter,” was sold after the execution of the king for five pounds. It was owned by Sir Peter[Pg 175] Lely and Sir Joshua Reynolds, and is now at Belvoir in the collection of the Duke of Rutland. We cannot help being sorry for Vandyck’s great disappointment when he knew that his work could not be done. He was weak in health and much in debt, for the king could not pay him his pension nor what he owed him for pictures. The artist grew sad and discouraged. He sought relief in the study of alchemy, and indulged the vain hope of discovering some chemical means of making gold from base metals. All this wasted his time and means, and it is to be regretted that he was less wise than his master, for when an alchemist tried to interest Rubens in the same subject, that great artist replied: “You come too late, my good fellow; I have long since discovered the philosopher’s stone. My palette and brushes are worth far more than any other secret.”

The king and all Vandyck’s friends were troubled by his state of health and mind, and a marriage was brought about for him with the hope that he would be a happier man. His wife was Maria Ruthven, a lovely Scotch girl who held a high position among the attendants of the queen. Not long after his marriage Vandyck took her to Flanders, where he enjoyed much the honorable reception which he met with in revisiting the scenes of his childhood and youth. But having learned that Louis XIII. was about to adorn a large gallery in the Louvre, Vandyck hastened to Paris hoping to obtain the commission. He was too late—the work had been given to Poussin, and Vandyck returned to London greatly disheartened.

While at Antwerp he had received much attention, as, indeed, had been the case before, for in 1634 he had been elected Dean of the Confraternity of St. Luke and a great feast was held in his honor. When he came now to London the social atmosphere was full of sadness. The political troubles, which were finally so terrible in England, had [Pg 176]already become alarming. In a few months the Earl of Strafford was executed, and Vandyck saw the royal family, to whom he was so much attached, surrounded with danger and at last separated.

His physical health was already delicate, and his sorrows brought on a disease from which he soon died. He continued to work until the very last days of his life. Eight days before his death his daughter was born; she was named Justiniana, and when she grew up married an English baronet, Sir John Stepney.

A short time before Vandyck died the king came from the North to London, and though he was overburdened with his own cares and griefs he found time to sorrow for the condition of his friend and artist. He offered his physician three hundred pounds if he would save the life of Sir Anthony; but nothing availed to baffle his disease, and he died December 9, 1641. Two days later he was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is said that many nobles and artists attended his funeral, which was conducted with impressive ceremony. The fire which destroyed St. Paul’s made it impossible to say exactly where Vandyck was laid, but his coffin-plate was found at the time of the burial of Benjamin West.

There were no artists of importance after the time of Rubens and his followers whom we call Flemish artists. There were good painters, certainly, belonging to the schools of Flanders; but these schools had reached their highest excellence and were on the decline, and so we pass to the Dutch school, or the painters of Holland.

There was doubtless a very early school of Dutch painters, dating back to the fourteenth century even; but the records of it are so imperfect, and so few pictures remain from its early days, that for our purpose it is best to pass over the fifteenth century and say that during the sixteenth century the painters of Holland gave up the painting of [Pg 177]sacred subjects very largely, and began to take on the characteristics of what is generally known now as the Dutch School. This school is distinguished for its portraits, which form a large and important part of its painting; next for its domestic scenes, which are realistic and true to life in an astonishing degree.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century Holland had obtained a position as a nation that freed its artists from the influence of the Romish Church and the fear of the Inquisition, and they soon used their freedom to establish a national art, and one which became very important to the world. Franz Hals (1584-1666) was the most noteworthy of the portrait-painters. He was born at Mechlin, but passed most of his life at Haarlem. There was a custom in Holland of painting portraits of the members of guilds and societies in groups, and some such works of his at Haarlem are very fine. I have told a story of his rapid manner in the sketch of Vandyck. He was the first master to introduce that free, bold, sleight-of-hand manner which was afterward used by the Dutch masters, and is so strong in its effect. This painter led a merry, careless life. His portraits of single heads or figures are rare, and his small genre subjects still more so. In the Hôtel de Ville at Haarlem there are as many as eight of his large works, most of them having ten or a dozen portraits.

The Dutch painters of still-life—flowers, dead game and poultry, and metals, glass, and other beautiful objects—were very skilful, and have never been surpassed. The names of these masters would make a long list. There is little to be told of the circumstances of their lives, though their works are seen in most European galleries, and well repay one for careful examination.

Fig 57 Fig. 57.—Portrait of an Officer.
By Franz Hals.

Another form of Dutch art is the representation of scenes from peasant life, and there were some very eminent painters who devoted themselves to these subjects entirely.[Pg 178] The interiors of inns with men smoking and drinking, playing cards or making jokes, were subjects many times repeated; dancing villagers, fêtes, and fairs were often pictured, and in all these scenes everything was given exactly to the life. It follows that these pictures of coarse, vulgar people engaged in rude amusements cannot be beautiful; but they are oftentimes wonderful. Among the most noted names in this kind of painting are those of Adrian Brauwer, the Van Ostades, the Teniers, and Jan Steen. Most of these artists executed small pictures only. I shall speak particularly of but one of these Dutch genre painters—David Teniers the younger (1610-1694), who became the greatest painter of his time of scenes from common life.[Pg 179] This is very great praise, because there were many Dutch and several Flemish painters who were noted for such pictures. This Teniers studied with his father, but his works show that he was much influenced by Rubens. He excelled in guard-house scenes and peasant life in every aspect. In representations of the alchemist also he was unequalled, as well as in fairs and festivals of every sort. He sometimes painted sacred subjects, but they are the least praiseworthy of all his works.

The pictures of Teniers are very numerous. One author describes nine hundred of his works which are known to be genuine, and it is believed that there may be one hundred more. He often represented a great number of figures on one canvas. At Schleissheim there was a large picture, thirteen and a half feet by ten feet in size, which contained one thousand one hundred and thirty-eight figures. It was not unusual for him to paint from one hundred and fifty to three hundred figures in a single picture of moderate size. He had a light, brilliant touch, his color was exquisite, and his arrangement of his subjects was very picturesque. His chief fault was a resemblance in his heads, and for this reason those pictures with the fewest figures are his best works.

Teniers had several royal patrons, and earned sufficient money to live in handsome style in his home in Perck, not far from Mechlin. He chose this place in order to be near the peasant classes, whose life was his chief study. He also excelled in his ability to imitate the styles of other masters. In the Vienna Gallery there is a curious work of his which represents the walls of a room hung with fifty pictures, imitating those of various Italian masters; in the foreground are portraits of Teniers and the Archduke Leopold William, who are represented as conversing with each other.

Teniers reached his excellence early in life, and was but twenty-two years old when he was admitted to the Guild of Painters at Antwerp. That Rubens was his friend is[Pg 180] proved by the fact that when Teniers married the daughter of Jan Breughel, in 1637, that great master was one of the witnesses to the ceremony. In 1656 he married his second wife, the daughter of the Secretary of State for Brabant. By his artistic and personal merits Teniers gained a higher place in society than was ever held by any other genre painter of the Flemish or Dutch schools. He was eighty-four years old when he died, and was active and industrious up to the close of his life.

Although Teniers had such good fortune during his life, I fancy he would have been surprised if he could have known what his fame would be now, or what prices would be paid for his pictures about two centuries after his death. The “Flemish Kermes” was bought for the Brussels Museum in 1867 for twenty-five thousand dollars, and at the San Donato sale, in 1880, the “Prodigal Son” sold for sixteen thousand two hundred dollars, and the “Five Senses” for fifteen thousand dollars. It is difficult to distinguish the etchings of the son from those of the father, David Teniers the elder, though it is well known that the son executed such works.

Gerard Honthorst (1592-1660) was also a painter of genre scenes, and many of his works had figures of life size. His chief distinction, however, was that of painting the effects of artificial lights. He was famous in England and Italy as well as in his own country, and the Italians called him “Gherardo della Notte,” or Gerard of the Night, because he painted so many night-scenes lighted by candles, lamps, and torches.

Then there was a class of Dutch artists who represented the interiors of fine houses—rooms with all sorts of beautiful furniture and ornaments, with ladies and gentlemen in splendid costumes. They tried to show the effects of light upon satins, glass, metals, and other shining objects. They painted with great care, and finished their pictures in the[Pg 181] most perfect manner. Gerhard Terburg (1608-1681), Gerhard Dow (1613-1675), and Gabriel Metsu (1615-after 1667) were all remarkable for works of this kind.

Pieter de Hooge, who worked from 1628 to 1671, and of whose life little is known, painted similar pictures of court-yards as well as of rooms in houses. The list of the names of all these Dutch masters cannot be given here, and I hasten to tell you of one whose name and fame is so great that when we hear of Dutch art we always think first of him, because he stands out as its head.

Rembrandt van Ryn (1607-1669) was born at Leyden, and was educated by his parents with the hope that he would be a scholar and a prominent man in Leyden. But his taste for drawing and painting would not be put aside, and in 1620 he entered the studio of J. J. van Swanenburg, where he learned the first lessons in his art, and was then placed under the teaching of Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, where he remained only six months, after which he returned to his father’s house, and there lived for seven years. He was not far from seventeen years old when he thus left the usual course of study. From this time he gave himself up to close observation of nature in every form.

He studied broad landscapes—farms, groves, gardens, rivers, canals, sunshine, clouds, and shadows, and with and above all these, the human faces that he saw, as well as the varying forms, movements, and peculiarities of the men and women about him. That nothing escaped his observation is proved by the works he did in later life.

In 1630 Rembrandt settled in Amsterdam, which was called the “Venice of the North,” and was the centre of northern commerce, civilization, and the activity of political and intellectual life. Rembrandt was no sooner established in his studio on one of the western quays than he was pressed with orders for pictures and applications from young men who desired his instructions. The years [Pg 182]following were crowded with work—with painting and engraving. Rembrandt is called the “Prince of Etchers,” and he used the etching needle most skilfully, but he also employed the dry-point and even the graver in finishing. Thus he may be said to have established a new school of engraving of great excellence.

Fig 58 Fig. 58.—One of Rembrandt’s Portraits of Himself.

It would seem that in these early years one of his amusements was to make etchings of himself. In one year, 1630-31, he made nineteen of these portraits in different costumes and positions, with as many kinds of expression on his face. He often repeated the portrait of his mother also.

Fig 59 Fig. 59.—The Lecture on Anatomy. By Rembrandt.

In 1632 he painted the “School of Anatomy,” now one[Pg 184] of the gems of the fine gallery at the Hague. It represents a lecture by Professor Tulp, who is dissecting the arm of a dead body and explaining its structure to seven other surgeons. It is a wonderful picture and one of the most famous works of this great master. In 1828 it was sold for the benefit of the fund for surgeons’ widows, and the Dutch Government paid thirty-two thousand florins for it. This picture is in a certain way a portrait picture, and comes within the class of Dutch pictures of which I have spoken as portraits of guilds and societies; for Tulp was very famous, and Rembrandt probably attended his lectures, and was chosen by him to be the painter of this celebrated portrait of himself surrounded by members of his guild.

Rembrandt’s influence upon the art of his time was very great almost from the beginning of his career. About 1634 he introduced his manner of portrait-painting, with dark backgrounds and deep shadows on the face, with a bright light on the cheek and nose passing down to the shoulder, and immediately other artists adopted this manner. They considered it a necessity to imitate him, so much was he admired.

In 1634 Rembrandt married Saskia van Ulenburg, who was very beautiful and of an aristocratic and wealthy family. She was only twenty-one years of age when she married, and Rembrandt painted many portraits of her besides making her his model for beautiful figures in his mythological and sacred subjects. She lived but eight years after her marriage, which were the happiest of the artist’s life. She left but one child, a son named Titus, and showed her confidence in her husband by leaving all her fortune to him, with the single stipulation that their son should be properly educated.

After the death of Saskia it seems that the only thought of the master was to work without rest, and in this way to drown the remembrance of his sorrow. There is little [Pg 185]material for a story of his life—it is told in his pictures. The house in which Saskia lived was very fine, and Rembrandt was so fond of collecting all sorts of curious and beautiful objects that he finally made himself poor, and his collection was sold. He never travelled, and some writers have said that he was ignorant of classic art; but the list of his collections proves that he had busts of Homer and Socrates and copies of ancient sculptures, such as the “Laöcoon,” a “Cupid,” and so on. He also had pictures of some of the best Italian masters. After the sale of his home and all his rare objects he hired a house on the Rosengracht near the West Church. This house still stands, and has a shield dated 1652, though the artist did not live there until 1658.

His life here was not lonely or desolate. He had many friends in Amsterdam who did not forget him. He was near the bastions of the city, and had not far to go to sketch, as he loved to do, and he was busy with his brush until 1662, when he did nothing of which we know. In 1666 he executed four pictures. Among his works of 1667 there is a portrait of himself which is of great interest. In October, 1668, Rembrandt died after a short illness. He was buried in the West Church, and his funeral was so simple that its cost was registered as only fifteen florins.

Rembrandt’s pictures are so numerous and so varied in their subjects that no adequate list or account of them can be given here. And his numerous engravings are as interesting as his pictures, so that a volume would scarcely suffice to do him justice; but I will try to tell something of his style. His management of light was his most striking characteristic. He generally threw a strong, vivid light upon the central or important object, whether it was a single figure or a group, and the rest of the picture was in shadow. This is true of all his works, almost without exception—portraits, pictures both large and small, and etchings.

Rembrandt loved to paint unusual things. We are apt[Pg 186] to think that an unusual thing is not natural; but if we closely observe nature, especially the effect of light and shade, we shall find that no imagination could make pictures more wonderful than the reality we see. Rembrandt had that keen observation that helped him to seize upon the sharp features—the strong points in a scene or a person—and then he had the skill to reproduce these things on his canvas with great truth.

His etchings are much prized. One of the most famous represents Christ healing the sick, and is called the “Hundred Guilders Print,” because that sum was the price he fixed for it; now a good impression of it is worth ten times as much. At his death he left about six hundred pictures and four hundred engravings. His landscapes are his rarest subjects. Most of these are in private collections, but I have seen one in the Cassel Gallery; the color of it is bright and glowing—the sky magnificent. In the foreground there is a bridge, and on an eminence are the ruins of a castle.

Some fine works by Rembrandt are in England, and very large prices have been paid for them. In 1867 “Christ Blessing Little Children” was sold for seven thousand pounds. At the San Donato sale in Florence, in 1880, “Lucretia” brought twenty-nine thousand two hundred dollars, and a “Portrait of a Young Woman” nearly as much.

Among Rembrandt’s pupils Gerbrandt van der Eeckhout holds a high rank, and his pictures are seen in many galleries.

Among the landscape painters of Holland Albert Cuyp (1605-1691) is very famous. He sometimes introduced figures and animals into his pictures, but they were of secondary importance; the scenery was his chief thought. His works are in many galleries, and the increase in their value is marvellous. Sir Robert Peel bought a landscape,[Pg 187] twelve by twenty inches in size, for which he paid three hundred and fifty guineas: it was originally sold in Holland for about one English shilling! During the first century after his death no picture by Cuyp brought more than thirty florins; now they cost almost their weight in gold.

Other fine landscape painters were Jan and Andries Both, Jan van Goyen, Jan Wynants, Adrian van de Velde, and, finally, Philip Wouverman (1619-1668), who introduced much life into his works. He painted battles, hunting parties, and such subjects as allowed him to introduce white horses, for which he became noted. His works, as well as those of the other painters last mentioned, are valuable. There are so many in galleries which are attributed to Wouverman that it is doubtful if they are all genuine. He had animation and fine feeling for the picturesque. His execution was light and delicate, and there is much tenderness shown in his works. There were many excellent Dutch landscape painters whom we have not mentioned.

Paul Potter (1625-1654) was born at Enkhuysen, and though he died young he made himself a great and enduring reputation by his pictures of animals. “Paul Potter’s Bull,” which is in the gallery at the Hague, is as well known as any one picture the world over. He left one hundred and eight pictures and eighteen etchings. He was most successful in representing cattle and sheep; his horses are not as fine. He never crowded his pictures; they have an open landscape, but few animals, and perhaps a shepherd, and that is all. Some of his pictures have been valued as high as fifty thousand dollars.

Jacob Ruysdael (1625-1681) was born in the same year with Paul Potter. His birth-place was Haarlem. He came to be the very best of all Dutch landscape painters, and though most of his pictures represent the dull, uninteresting scenery of Holland, they are so skilfully drawn[Pg 188] and painted that they are really most attractive, if not cheerful. His works number about four hundred and forty-eight pictures and seven fine, spirited etchings. He was fond of giving a broad, expansive effect to his pictures, and frequently placed church spires in the distance. He painted a few marine views with rough seas and cloudy skies. Though many of his works are gloomy, he sometimes painted sunshine with much effect. Some of his finest works are in the Dresden Gallery.

Mindert Hobbema was a pupil of Jacob Ruysdael, and this is almost all that is known of him personally; but his pictures show that he was a great landscape painter. They sell for enormous sums, and many of the best are in England. Most of those seen in the continental galleries are not those he should be judged by. At the San Donato sale in Florence, his picture of the “Wind-Mills” sold for forty-two thousand dollars.

The number of reputable Dutch painters is very large, but I shall mention no more names. After the great men whom we have spoken of there comes an army of those who are called “little Dutch masters,” and their principal work was making copies from the pictures of the greater artists.

In the history of what we know as German art we find a very early school at Cologne, but the records of it are so scarce and imperfect that I shall give no account of it here. At Augsburg there was an important school of art which commenced with the Holbeins. The first Hans Holbein is known as “Old Holbein,” and so little is known of him that I shall merely give his name. The second Hans Holbein, called the elder (1460-1523), painted a great number of religious pictures, which are seen in various churches and galleries in Germany. Some of the best are in the Cathedral of Augsburg. In one salon of the Munich Pinakothek there are sixteen panels painted by him. But it was Hans Holbein the third, known as “the younger,” who reached[Pg 189] the perfection of his school (1495-1543). This painter was instructed by his father and by Hans Burgkmair. He was but fifteen years of age when he began to receive commissions for pictures. When he was about twenty-one years old he removed to Basle, and there he painted many pictures, though not nearly as many as have been called by his name.

About a year after Holbein went to Basle he was called to Lucerne to decorate a house, and he executed other works there and at Altorf. In 1519, when he had been three years in Basle, he became a citizen of that town and a member of its guild of painters. His works at Basle were mostly decorative, and he painted few easel pictures there.

Holbein married a widow with one son; her name was Elizabeth Schmid. She had a very bad temper. It is said that she made Holbein’s life so miserable that he left Basle for that reason. He visited her sometimes, and always gave her money, but lived away from her. In 1526 Holbein went to England, and his friend Erasmus said that he went because he had so little to do in Basle. He carried a letter to Sir Thomas More, who received him with great kindness, and the artist made many portraits of Sir Thomas and his family. There is a story about one of these portraits of that nobleman. He had refused to be present at the marriage of Anne Boleyn to King Henry VIII., and she never forgave him. On the day that More was executed she looked at one of Holbein’s portraits of the ex-chancellor and exclaimed, “Ah, me! the man seems to be still alive;” and seizing the picture she threw it into the street.

In 1530 Holbein returned to Basle to complete some unfinished frescoes, and this being done he went again to London. About this time he began to be employed by the king, and did many pictures for him from time to time. In 1538 Henry sent Holbein to Brussels to make a portrait[Pg 190] of the Duchess of Milan, of whom the king was thinking for his fourth wife. No citizen of Basle was allowed to enter the service of a foreign sovereign without the consent of the council, so in 1538 the artist went home to ask permission to serve the King of England. Great efforts were made to keep him in Basle, but at last he received permission to remain two years in England: the artist never went again to Basle. Henry VIII. became fond of Holbein, and was generous to him, even giving him a painting-room in the palace of Whitehall.

In 1539 the artist was sent to paint a portrait of Anne of Cleves, whom the king married the next year. It has been said that the picture was so flattering that when the king saw the lady he was disappointed; we know that he was soon divorced from her.

In 1543 the plague raged in London, and on the 7th of October Holbein prepared his will. He died before the 29th of November, but the facts concerning his death and burial are not known.

There are several interesting anecdotes of Holbein. One relates that when passing through Strasburg he visited the studio of an artist, and finding him out, painted a fly on a picture which was on an easel. When the painter saw the fly he tried to brush it away, and when he found who had painted it he searched the city for Holbein; but he had already left for England. Another story shows the regard which Henry VIII. had for him. One day a nobleman went to Holbein’s studio, and insisted upon entering, though the artist told him that he was painting the portrait of a lady by his Majesty’s orders. The nobleman persisting, Holbein threw him down the stairs with great violence, and then rushed to the king, and told him what he had done. Soon after the nobleman was borne to the presence of the king; he was unable to walk, and was loud in his complaints. The king ridiculed him, and the [Pg 192]nobleman was angry, and threatened to punish the artist legally. Then Henry got angry, and said: “Now you have no longer to deal with Holbein, but with me, your king. Do you think that this man is of so little consideration with us? I tell you, my lord, that out of seven peasants I can make seven earls in a day; but out of seven earls I could not make one such artist as Hans Holbein.”

Fig 60 Fig. 60.—Burgomaster Meier Madonna. By Holbein.
Dresden Gallery.

At Basle one may see some of the most important of the early portraits of Holbein; these are in the gallery where are also his ten well-known scenes from the Passion of Christ. While at Basle he probably made the designs for the “Dance of Death.” For a long time it was believed that he painted this subject both at Basle and at Bonn, but we now know that he only made designs for it. He also decorated the Town Hall at Basle; of this work, however, but little remains.

The most celebrated work by Holbein is the “Meyer Madonna” in the royal palace of Darmstadt, of which there is a copy in the Dresden Gallery. It takes its name from that of the Burgomaster Meyer, for whom it was painted. The Madonna, with the infant Jesus in her arms, stands in a niche in the centre of the picture; the burgomaster and his family kneel before her. This is what is called a votive picture, which means a picture made in the fulfilment of a vow, in gratitude for some signal blessing or to turn away some danger. Many of these works commemorate an escape from accident or a recovery from sickness.

The picture is very beautiful, and it seems as if the Virgin wished to share her peace with the kneeling family, so sweet is the expression of her face, while the child seems to bestow a blessing with his lifted hand. The original was probably painted for a “Chapel of Our Lady.”

His “Dance of Death” was very curious, the idea being that Death is always near us and trying to strike down[Pg 193] his prey. The pictures represent a skeleton clutching at his victims, who are of all ages and occupations, from the lovely young bride at the altar to the hard-working pedlar in the cut we give here, and all of them are hurried away by this frightful figure which stands for Death itself.

Holbein made many wood engravings, but none so important as these. When the set is complete there are fifty-three cuts, but it is rare to find more than forty-six.

Fig 61 Fig. 61.—From Holbein’s Dance of Death.

Holbein was one of the foremost of German masters. All his pictures are realistic, and many of them are fantastic; he gave graceful movement and beauty of form to many of his subjects; his drapery was well arranged; his color and manner of painting were good. He painted in fresco and oil colors, executed miniatures and engravings. His portraits were his best works, and in them he equalled the greatest masters. The most reliable portrait of this artist is in the Basle Museum. It is done in red and black chalk, and represents him as a man with regular, well-shaped features, with a cheerful expression which also shows decision of character.

There were other good artists in the Augsburg school after the time of the Holbeins; but I shall pass immediately to the Franconian school, or that of Nuremburg, and to its great master, Albert Dürer (1471-1528), whose life was very interesting, and who stands, as an artist, among the[Pg 194] greatest painters of the world. The city of Nuremburg was a grand, rich old place even in Dürer’s time, and as a boy he was familiar with its scenery and architecture, which helped him to cultivate his artist tastes, and to make him the great man that he became. He was an author of books as well as an architect, sculptor, painter, and engraver.

His father was a goldsmith, and Albert was apprenticed to the same trade; but he was so anxious to study painting that at length his father placed him as apprentice to the painter Michael Wohlgemuth. At this time Albert was fifteen years old, and the two years he had spent with the goldsmith had doubtless been of great advantage to him; for in that time he had been trained in the modelling of small, delicate objects, and in the accurate design necessary in making the small articles in precious metals which are the principal work of that trade.

Albert Dürer had a very strong nature, and Michael Wohlgemuth was not a man who could gain much influence over such a youth. During the three years which Dürer passed under his teaching he learned all the modes of preparing and using colors, and acquired much skill in handling the brush; he also learned the first lessons in wood-engraving, in which he afterward reached so high a perfection that a large part of his present fame rests upon his skill in that art.

One of the earliest portraits painted by Dürer is in the Albertina at Vienna, and bears this inscription: “This I have drawn from myself from the looking-glass, in the year 1484, when I was still a child. Albert Dürer.” Six years later he painted the beautiful portrait of his father which is now in the gallery at Florence; and it is a question whether this is not as finely executed as any portrait of his later years.

When Dürer left Wohlgemuth he started upon the student journey which was then the custom with all German[Pg 195] youths, and is still practised in a modified degree. These youths, after serving their apprenticeship in the occupation they were to follow, travelled, and worked at their trade or profession in the cities of other countries. Dürer was absent four years, but we know little of what he did or saw, for in his own account of his life he says only this: “And when the three years were out my father sent me away. I remained abroad four years, when he recalled me; and, as I had left just after Easter in 1490, I returned home in 1494, just after Whitsuntide.”

In the same year, in July, Dürer was married to Agnes Frey. He was also admitted to the guild of painters, and we may say that he was now settled for life. It is a singular fact that, although Dürer painted several portraits of his father and himself, he is not known to have made any of his wife. Some of his sketches are called by her name, but there is no good reason for this.

Dürer was so industrious, and executed so many pictures, copper-plates, and wood engravings within the six years next after his return to Nuremburg, that it is not possible to give an exact account of them here. In 1500 an event occurred which added much to his happiness and to his opportunities for enlarging his influence. It was the return to Nuremburg of Willibald Pirkheimer, one of the friends of Dürer’s childhood, between whom and himself there had always existed a strong affection. Pirkheimer was rich and influential, and at his house Dürer saw many eminent men, artists, scholars, reformers, and theologians, and in their society he gained much broader knowledge of the world, while he received the respect which was due to his genius and character.

Fig 62 Fig. 62.—A Scene from Dürer’s Wood Engravings of the Life of the
Virgin Mary.

Dürer’s health was not good, and his continual work proved more than he could bear. His father died in 1502, and this loss was a deep grief to the artist. So little money was left for his mother and younger brother that their [Pg 197]support came upon him. At length, in 1505, he made a journey to Venice, partly for his health, and in order to study Venetian painting. He was well received by the painters of Venice. Giovanni Bellini and Carpaccio were the leading painters of that time. They were both quite old, but Giorgione and Titian were already coming into notice and preparing to fill the places of the older men. Bellini was especially delighted with the exquisite manner in which Dürer painted hair, and asked the German to give him the brush he used for that purpose. Dürer gave him all his brushes, but Bellini insisted upon having the one for painting hair. Dürer took a common brush, and painted a long tress of fine hair: Bellini declared that had he not seen this done he could not have believed it.

While in Venice Dürer received an order to paint a picture for the Fondaco de’ Tedeschi, or German Exchange. It is believed that this work was the famous “Feast of Rose Garlands,” now in the Monastery at Strahow, in Bohemia. The Emperor Rudolph II. bought it, and had it carried from Venice to Prague on men’s shoulders. In 1782 it was purchased for the Abbey of Strahow, and was almost lost to the world for many years. It is a beautiful picture, and the praise it received was a great pleasure to Dürer, because heretofore many painters had said that he was a good engraver, but could not use colors. Dürer wrote to Pirkheimer: “There is no better picture of the Virgin Mary in the land, because all the artists praise it, as well as the nobility. They say they have never seen a more sublime, a more charming painting.”

The Venetian Government offered Dürer a handsome pension if he would remain in Venice, and he declined many orders for the sake of returning to Germany, which he believed to be his duty. From the time of his return, in 1507, to 1520, there is very little to tell of the personal history of this artist. Almost all that can be said is that he labored[Pg 198] with great industry; it was the golden period of his art; he had many young men in his studio, which was the centre of art to Nuremburg. At this time he probably executed the best carvings which he ever did. During seven years he made forty-eight engravings and etchings and more than a hundred wood-cuts. The large demand for these works was a source of good income to Dürer, and gave him a position of comfort. The Reformation was at hand, and Dürer’s Virgins and Saints and his pictures of the sufferings of Christ were very well suited to the religious excitement of that period.

The house in which Dürer lived and worked for many years is still preserved in Nuremburg as public property, and is used as an art gallery. The street on which it stands is now called the Albrecht-Dürer Strasse. On the square before the house stands a bronze statue of the master which was erected by the Nuremburgers on the three hundredth anniversary of his death.

About 1509 Dürer occupied himself considerably in writing poetry; but, although there was much earnest feeling in his verse, it was not such as to give him great fame as a poet. It was at the same period that he carved the wonderful bas-relief of the “Birth of John the Baptist,” now in the British Museum. It is cut out of stone, is seven and one-half by five and one-half inches in size, and is a marvellous piece of work. Two thousand five hundred dollars were paid for it nearly a century ago. He made many exquisite little carvings in stone, ivory, and boxwood, and in these articles the result of his work as a goldsmith is best seen.

In 1512 Dürer was first employed by the Emperor Maximilian, and for the next seven years there was a close relation between the sovereign and the artist; but there are few records concerning it. It is said that one day when the painter was making a sketch of the emperor the latter took[Pg 199] a charcoal crayon, and tried to draw a picture himself: he constantly broke the crayon, and made no progress toward his end. After watching him for a time Dürer took the charcoal from Maximilian, saying, “This is my sceptre, your Majesty;” and he then taught the emperor how to use it.

Dürer executed some very remarkable drawings and engravings. Among them was the “Triumphal Arch of Maximilian,” composed of ninety-two blocks. The whole cut is ten and one-half feet high by nine feet wide. It shows all the remarkable events in the emperor’s life, just as such subjects were carved upon the triumphal arches of the Romans and other nations. Hieronymus Rösch did the engraving of this great work from Dürer’s blocks, and while it was in progress the emperor went often to see it. During one of these visits several cats ran into the room, from which happening arose the proverb, “A cat may look at a king.”

The emperor granted Dürer a pension; but it was never regularly paid, and after the emperor’s death the Council of Nuremburg refused to pay it unless it was confirmed by the new sovereign, Charles V. For the purpose of obtaining this confirmation Dürer made a journey to the Netherlands in the year 1520. His wife and her maid Susanna went with him. His diary gives a quaint account of the places they visited, the people whom they met, and of the honors which were paid him. In Antwerp he was received with great kindness, and the government of the city offered him a house and a liberal pension if he would remain there; but his love for his native town would not allow him to leave it.

After several months Dürer received the confirmation of his pension and also the appointment of court-painter. This last office was of very little account to him. The emperor spent little time at Nuremburg, and it was not[Pg 201] until he was older that he was seized with the passion of having his portrait painted, and then Dürer had died, and Titian was painter to the court.

Fig 63 Fig. 63.—The Four Apostles. By Dürer.

When Dürer returned to his home there was quite an excitement over the collection of curious and rare objects which he had made while absent. Some of these he had bought, and many others were gifts to him, and he gave much pleasure to his friends by displaying them. There had been a great change in Nuremburg, for the doctrines of the Reformation were accepted by many of its people, and it was the first free city that declared itself Protestant. The change, too, was quietly made; its convents and churches were saved from violence, and the art treasures of the city were not destroyed. Among the most important Lutherans was Pirkheimer, Dürer’s friend. We do not know that Dürer became a Lutheran, but he wrote of his admiration for the great reformer in his diary, and it is a meaning fact that during the last six years of his life Dürer made no more pictures of the Madonna.

These last years were not as full of work as the earlier ones had been. A few portraits and engravings and the pictures of the Four Apostles were about all the works of this time. He gave much attention to the arrangement and publication of his writings upon various subjects connected with the arts. These books gave him much fame as a scholar, and some of them were translated into several languages.

As an architect Dürer executed but little work; but his writings upon architectural subjects prove that he was learned in its theories.

During several years his health was feeble, and he exerted himself to make provision for his old age if he should live, or for his wife after his death. He was saddened by the thought that he had never been rewarded as he should have been for his hard, faithful labors, and his latest [Pg 202]letters were sad and touching. He died in April, 1528, after a brief illness, and was buried in the cemetery of St. John, beyond the walls, where a simple epitaph was inscribed upon his monument. This cemetery is an interesting place, and contains the graves of many men noted in the chronicles of Nuremburg.

On Easter Sunday in 1828, three hundred years after his death, a Dürer celebration was held in Nuremburg. Artists came from all parts of Germany. A solemn procession proceeded to his grave, where hymns were sung, and the statue by Rauch, near Dürer’s house, was dedicated.

I can give you no description of Dürer’s many works, and although it is true that he was a very great master, yet it is also true that his pictures and engravings are not noted for their beauty so much as for their strength and power. His subjects were often ugly and repulsive rather than beautiful, and his imagination was full of weird, strange fancies that can scarcely be understood. Indeed, some of them never have been explained, and one of his most famous engravings, called “The Knight, Death, and the Devil,” has never yet been satisfactorily interpreted, and many different theories have been made about it.

Many of the principal galleries of Europe have Dürer’s paintings, though they are not as numerous as his engravings, and, indeed, his fame rests more upon the latter than the former, and very large sums are paid by collectors for good impressions of his more important plates.

Dürer had several followers. His most gifted scholar was Lucas Sunder (1472-1553), who is called Lucas Cranach, from the place of his birth. He established a school of painting in Saxony, and was appointed court-painter. Although there were a goodly number of German painters late in the sixteenth century, there were none of great eminence, and, in truth, there have been few since that time whose lives were of sufficient interest to be recounted here,[Pg 203] so I shall tell you of but one more before passing to the artists of Spain.

Angelica Kauffman (1742-1808) was a very interesting woman who gained a good reputation as an artist; but there is such a difference of opinion among judges as to her merits as a painter that it is difficult to decide what to say of her. As a person, she excited an interest in her lifetime which has never died out, and Miss Thackeray’s novel, “Miss Angel,” tells what is claimed to be her story, as nearly as such stories are told in novels.

She was born at Coire, in the Grisons. Her father was an artist, a native of Schwarzenburg, and when Angelica was born he was occupied in executing some frescoes at Coire. When the child was a year old he settled at Morbegno, in Lombardy, and ten years later, when she had shown a taste for music, her parents again removed to Como, where there were better opportunities for her instruction. Her progress in music was remarkable, and for a time she was unable to say whether she loved this art or that of painting the better. Later in life she painted a picture in which she represented herself, as a child, standing between allegorical figures of Music and Painting.

The beautiful scenery about Como, the stately palaces and charming villas, the lake with its pleasure boats, and all the poetry of the life there, tended to develop her talents rapidly, and, though she remained but two years, the recollection of this time was a pleasure to her through all her life. She was next taken to Milan, where a world of art was opened to her, and she saw pictures which excelled all her imaginations. The works of Leonardo and other great Lombard masters stirred her soul to its very depths. She soon attracted attention by her pictures, and Robert d’Este became her patron, and placed her under the care of the Duchess of Carrara. She was now daily associated with people of culture and elegance, and thus early in her[Pg 204] life acquired the modest dignity and self-possession which enabled her in her future life to accept becomingly the honors and attentions which were paid her.

Her mother’s death occurred at Milan, and her father returned to Schwarzenburg. The people about her were so coarse and disagreeable to Angelica that she passed much of her time in the grand forests. At this time she painted frescoes of the Twelve Apostles, copied from the engravings after Piazetta. Her father was not content to remain away from Italy, and they went again to Milan, then to Florence, and at last to Rome. She was now eighteen years old, and found much profit in the friendship of the great scholar Winckelmann, who allowed her to paint his portrait. Angelica visited Naples and Bologna also, and finally Venice, where she met Lady Wentworth, who became her friend, and afterward took her to England.

She had a most brilliant career in London, where her friends were in the highest rank of society. De Rossi described her appearance at this time, and said that she was not very tall, but had a slight, elegant figure. Her complexion was dark and clear, her mouth well formed, her teeth white and even, and all her features good. He speaks of her azure eyes, so placid and bright that their expression had a charm which could not be described. No one felt like criticising her. Other artists paid her many honors, and she was made a member of the Academy of Arts. It has been said that Fuseli, the learned art critic, and Sir Joshua Reynolds, the great artist, both asked her hand in marriage. Some members of the royal family became her friends, and she was at the height of honorable success and of happiness.

It is painful to turn from this bright picture of her life to all the sorrow and darkness which followed it. She made an unhappy marriage, her husband proving to be an adventurer who had assumed a distinguished name. For a time she was crushed by this sorrow; but her friends [Pg 205]remained true to her, and she found relief in absolute devotion to her art. For twelve years she supported herself and her father; then his health failed, and it was thought best for him to go to Italy. Angelica was now forty years old, and before leaving England she married Antonio Zucchi, an artist who had long been her friend. He devoted himself to her and to her father with untiring affection, and when the old man died he was happy in the thought that his beloved daughter had so true a friend as Zucchi.

From this time their home was in Rome, where Angelica was the centre of an artistic and literary society of a high order. Among her visitors were such men as Herder and Goethe. The latter wrote of her: “The light and pleasing in form and color, in design and execution, distinguish the numerous works of our artist. No living painter excels her in dignity or in the delicate taste with which she handles the pencil.” She was very industrious, and her life seems to have been divided between two pleasures, her work and the society of her friends, until the death of her husband, which occurred in 1795. She lived twelve years longer, but they were years of great sadness. She made journeys in order to regain her spirits. She visited the scenes of her childhood, and remained some time in Venice with the family of Signor Zucchi.

Even after her last return to Rome she worked as much as her strength would permit, but her life was not long. She was mourned sincerely in Rome; her funeral was attended by the members of the Academy of St. Luke; and her latest works were borne in the procession. She was buried beside her husband in the Church of St. Andrea dei Frati. Her bust was placed in the Pantheon.

Various critics have praised her works in the most liberal manner; others can say nothing good of them. For myself, I cannot find the extreme of praise or blame a just estimate of her. No one can deny the grace of her design,[Pg 206] which was also creditably correct. Her portraits were good; her poetical subjects are very pleasing; her historical pictures are not strong; her color was as harmonious and mellow as that of the best Italians, excepting a few of the greatest masters, and in all her pictures there is something which wins for her a certain fondness and praise, even while her faults are plainly seen. Her pictures are to be found in galleries in Rome, Florence, Vienna, Munich, and England; many are also in private collections. She painted several portraits of herself; one in the Uffizi, at Florence, is very pleasing. She represents herself seated in a solitary landscape, with a portfolio in one hand and a pencil in the other. She has an air of perfect unconsciousness, as if she thought of her work only. Her etchings are much valued, and sell for large prices. Many of her pictures were engraved by Bartolozzi, and good prints of them are rare. On one of her pictures she wrote: “I will not attempt to express supernatural things by human inspiration, but wait for that till I reach heaven, if there is painting done there.”

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Spanish painting had its birth during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, and may be said to have been derived from Italy, through the influence of the Italian painters who went to Spain, and the Spanish artists who made their studies in Italy. But in spite of this strong Italian influence Spanish painting has its own characteristics which separate it from all other schools, and give it a high position on its own merits. Antonio del Rincon (1446-1500) was the first Spanish painter of whom we know. If any works of his remain they are portraits of his august sovereigns now in the Cathedral of Granada; but it is probable that these pictures are copies of the originals by Rincon.

Dating the beginning of the Spanish school from the last half of the fifteenth century, it is the third school in Europe as to age, it being about two centuries later than the Italian, and one century later than the Flemish school. Its importance is only exceeded by that of Italy. The distinguishing feature of Spanish art is its gravity, or we may almost say its strictly religious character, for, excepting portraits, there were few pictures of consequence that had not a religious meaning. Some artists were also priests, and, as the officers of the Inquisition appointed inspectors whose duty it was to report for punishment any artist who did not follow the rules of the Inquisition, it is easy to understand that the painters were careful to keep within the[Pg 208] rules fixed for them. Whatever flights of imagination one might have in secret, he would scarcely run the risk of being excommunicated from the church, sent into exile for a year, and fined one thousand five hundred ducats for the pleasure of putting his fancies on canvas.

Pacheco, who was an inspector at Seville, published minute rules for the representation of sacred subjects and persons, and other writers did the same. There was a long and grave discussion over the propriety of painting the devil with horns and a tail. It was decided that he should have horns because, according to the legend of St. Theresa, he had horns when he appeared to that saint; and he was allowed to have a tail because it was thought to be a suitable appendage to a fallen angel who had lost his wings. One very strict rule was that the feet of the Virgin Mary should be covered, and nude figures or portions of the figure were strictly forbidden.

Another important influence upon the Spanish artists was their belief that the Virgin Mary and other holy spirits appeared to inspire them and aid them in painting their pictures. In fact, the church was the chief patron of art, and the artist was one of her most valuable teachers. A learned Spanish writer said: “For the ignorant, what master is like painting? They may read their duty in a picture though they may not search for it in books.”

The painters of Spain were divided between the schools of Castile, Seville, and Valencia. That of Castile was founded at Toledo early in the fifteenth century, and was maintained about two hundred years. Claudio Coello was of this school; he died in 1693, and has well been called “the last of the old masters of Spain.”

Alonzo Berreguette (1480-1561), born at Parades de Nava, in Castile, was the most eminent Spanish artist of his time. He is called the Michael Angelo of Spain, because he was painter, sculptor, and architect. He was painter to[Pg 209] Philip I. Later he went to Italy, and journeyed from Florence to Rome with Michael Angelo in 1505. He studied in Italy many years. He was appointed painter and sculptor to the Emperor Charles V. Berreguette received four thousand four hundred ducats for the altar in the Church of St. Benito el Real in Valladolid, where he settled. When he was almost eighty years old he went to Toledo to erect a monument in the Hospital of St. John Baptist. He was lodged in the hospital, and died there. He left a large fortune, and was buried with splendid ceremonies at the expense of the emperor.

Luis de Morales (1510-1586) was called “the divine.” He belonged to the school of Castile, and very little is known of his early life. When he was fifty-five years old Philip II. invited him to court. When Morales appeared he was so splendidly dressed that the king was angry, and gave orders that he should be paid a certain sum and dismissed. But the poor painter explained that he had spent all that he had in order to come before the king in a dress befitting Philip’s dignity. Then Philip pardoned him, and allowed him to paint one picture; but as this was not hung in the Escorial, Morales was overcome by mortification, and almost forsook his painting, and fell into great poverty. In 1581 the king saw Morales at Badajoz, in a very different dress from that he had worn at court. The king said: “Morales, you are very old.” “Yes, sire, and very poor,” replied the painter. The king then commanded that he should have two hundred ducats a year from the crown rents with which to buy his dinners. Morales hearing this, exclaimed, “And for supper, sire?” This pleased Philip, and he added one hundred ducats to the pension. The street in Badajoz on which Morales lived bears his name.

Nearly all his pictures were of religious subjects, and on this account he was called “the divine.” He avoided ghastly, painful pictures, and was one of the most spiritual[Pg 210] of the artists of Spain. Very few of his pictures are seen out of Spain, and they are rare even there. His masterpiece is “Christ Crowned with Thorns,” in the Queen of Spain’s Gallery at Madrid. In the Louvre is his “Christ Bearing the Cross.” At the sale of the Soult collection his “Way to Calvary” sold for nine hundred and eighty pounds sterling.

Alonso Sanchez Coello (about 1515-1590) was the first great portrait painter of Spain. He was painter-in-ordinary to Philip II., and that monarch was so fond of him that in his letters he called him “my beloved son.” At Madrid the king had a key to a private entrance to the apartments of Coello, so that he could surprise the painter in his studio, and at times even entered the family rooms of the artist. Coello never abused the confidence of Philip, and was a favorite of the court as well as of the monarch. Among his friends were the Popes Gregory XIII. and Sixtus V., the Cardinal Alexander Farnese, and the Dukes of Florence and Savoy. Many noble and even royal persons were accustomed to visit him and accept his hospitality. He was obliged to live in style becoming his position, and yet when he died he left a fortune of fifty-five thousand ducats. He had lived in Lisbon, and Philip sometimes called him his “Portuguese Titian.”

Very few of his portraits remain; they are graceful in pose and fine in color. He knew how to represent the repose and refinement of “gentle blood and delicate nurture.” Many of his works were burned in the Prado. His “Marriage of St. Catherine” is in the Gallery of Madrid. A “St. Sebastian” painted for the Church of St. Jerome, at Madrid, is considered his masterpiece. Lope de Vega wrote Coello’s epitaph, and called his pictures

“Eternal scenes of history divine,
Wherein for aye his memory shall shine.”

[Pg 211] Juan Fernandez Navarrete (1526-1579), called El Mudo, because deaf and dumb, is a very interesting painter. He was not born a mute, but became deaf at three years of age, and could not learn to speak. He studied some years in Italy, and was in the school of Titian. In 1568 he was appointed painter to Philip II. His principal works were eight pictures for the Escorial, three of which were burned. His picture of the “Nativity” is celebrated for its lights, of which there are three; one is from the Divine Babe, a second from the glory above, and a third from a torch in the hand of St. Joseph. The group of shepherds is the best part of the picture, and when Tibaldi saw the picture he exclaimed, “O! gli belli pastori!” and it has since been known as the “Beautiful Shepherds.”

His picture of “Abraham and the Three Angels” was placed near the door where the monks of the Escorial received strangers. The pictures of Navarrete are rare. After his death Lope de Vega wrote a lament for him, in which he said,

“No countenance he painted that was dumb.”

When the “Last Supper” painted by Titian reached the Escorial, it was found to be too large for the space it was to occupy in the refectory. The king ordered it to be cut, which so distressed El Mudo that he offered to copy it in six months, in reduced size, and to forfeit his head if he did not fulfil his promise. He also added that he should hope to be knighted if he copied in six months what Titian had taken seven years to paint. But Philip was resolute, and the picture was cut, to the intense grief of the dumb Navarrete. While the painter lived Philip did not fully appreciate him; but after his death the king often declared that his Italian artists could not equal his mute Spaniard.

Juan Carreño de Miranda (1614-1685) is commonly[Pg 212] called Carreño. He was of an ancient noble family. His earliest works were for the churches and convents of Madrid, and he acquired so good a name that before the death of Philip IV. he was appointed one of his court-painters. In 1671 the young king Charles gave Carreño the cross of Santiago, and to his office of court-painter added that of Deputy Aposentador. He would allow no other artist to paint his likeness unless Carreño consented to it. The pictures of Carreño were most excellent, and his character was such as to merit all his good fortune. His death was sincerely mourned by all who knew him.

It is said that on one occasion he was in a house where a copy of Titian’s “St. Margaret” hung upon the wall, and those present united in saying that it was abominably done. Carreño said: “It has at least one merit; it shows that no one need despair of improving in art, for I painted it myself when I was a beginner.”

Gregorio Utande, a poor artist, had painted a “Martyrdom of St. Andrew” for the nuns of Alcalà, and demanded one hundred ducats for it. The nuns thought the price too much, and wished to have Carreño value the work. Utande took the picture to Carreño, and first presenting the great master with a jar of honey, asked him to touch up his St. Andrew for him. Carreño consented, and, in fact, almost repainted Utande’s picture. A short time after Carreño was asked to value the St. Andrew, but declined. Then Herrera valued it at two hundred ducats, which price the nuns paid. After Utande received his money he told the whole story, and the picture was then known as “La Cantarilla de Miel,” or “the pot of honey.”

Claudio Coello (1635-1693), who, as we have said, has been called the last of the old Spanish masters, was intended by his father for his own profession, that of bronze-casting. But Claudio persuaded his father to allow him to study painting, and before the close of his life he became[Pg 213] the most famous painter in Madrid. He was not only the court-painter, but also the painter to the Cathedral of Toledo and keeper of the royal galleries. It was not strange that he should feel that he merited the honor of painting the walls of the Escorial, and when this was refused him and Luca Giordano was selected for the work, Coello threw aside his brushes and paints, grew sad, then ill, and died a year later. His masterpiece is now in the Escorial; it represents the “Collocation of the Host.” His own portrait painted by himself is in the gallery of the Hermitage at St. Petersburg.

The school of Seville was the most important school of Spain. It is also known as the school of Andalusia. It dates from the middle of the fifteenth century, and its latest master, Alonso Miguel de Tobar, died in 1758.

Luis de Vargas (1502-1568), one of the earliest of the painters of the school of Seville, was a devout and holy man. He was accustomed to do penance, and in his room after his death scourges were found with which he had beaten himself, and a coffin in which he had been accustomed to lie and meditate upon death and a future life. It is said that Vargas studied twenty-eight years in Italy. His pictures were fine. His female heads were graceful and pure, his color good, and the whole effect that of grand simplicity. His picture of the “Temporal Generation of Our Lord” is his best work in Seville. Adam is kneeling in the foreground, and his leg is so well painted that the picture has been called “La Gamba.” In spite of his seriousness Vargas was a witty man. On one occasion he was asked to give his opinion of a very poor picture of “Christ on the Cross.” Vargas replied: “He looks as if he were saying, ‘Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do!’”

Pablo de Cespedes (1538-1608) was born at Cordova, and is an important person in the history of his time, for he[Pg 214] was a divine, a poet, and a scholar, as well as an architect, sculptor, and painter. He was a graduate of the University of Alcalà, and excelled in Oriental languages. He studied art in Rome, and while there made a head of Seneca in marble, and fitted it to an antique trunk; on account of this work he was called “Victor il Spagnuolo.” Zuccaro was asked to paint a picture for the splendid Cathedral of Cordova; he declined, and said that while Cespedes was in Spain they had no need of Italian artists. The pictures of Cespedes which now remain are so faded and injured that a good judgment can scarcely be formed of them; but they do not seem to be as fine as they were thought to be in his day. His “Last Supper” is in the Cathedral of Cordova. In the foreground there are some jars and vases so well painted that visitors praised them. Cespedes was so mortified at this that he commanded his servant to rub them out, and only the most judicious admiration for the rest of the picture and earnest entreaty for the preservation of the jars saved them from destruction. He left many writings upon artistic subjects and an essay upon the antiquity of the Cathedral of Cordova. He was as modest as he was learned, and was much beloved. He was made a canon in the Cathedral of Cordova, and was received with “full approbation of the Cordovese bishop and chapter.”

Francisco Pacheco (1571-1654) was born at Seville. He was a writer on art, and is more famous as the master of Velasquez and on account of his books than for his pictures. He established a school where younger men than himself could have a thorough art education. Pacheco was the first in Spain to properly gild and paint statues and bas-reliefs. Some specimens of his work in this specialty still exist in Seville.

Francisco de Herrera, the elder (1576-1656), was a very original painter. He was born at Seville, and never studied out of Andalusia. He had so bad a temper that he[Pg 215] drove his children and his pupils away from him. He knew how to engrave on bronze, and made false coins; when his forgery was discovered, he took refuge with the Jesuits. While in their convent Herrera painted the history of St. Hermengild, one of the patron saints of Seville. When Philip IV. saw his picture he forgave him his crime, and set him at liberty.

Francisco Zurbaran (1598-1662) was one of the first among Spanish painters. He was skilful in the use of colors, and knew how to use sober tints and give them a brilliant effect. He did not often paint the Madonna. His female saints are like portraits of the ladies of his day. He was very successful in painting animals, and his pictures of drapery and still-life were exact in their representation of the objects he used for models. He painted historical and religious pictures, portraits and animals; but his best pictures were of monks. Stirling says: “He studied the Spanish friar, and painted him with as high a relish as Titian painted the Venetian noble, and Vandyck the gentleman of England.”

Zurbaran was appointed painter to Philip IV. before he was thirty-five years old. He was a great favorite with Philip, who once called Zurbaran “the painter of the king, and king of painters.” Zurbaran’s finest works are in the Museum of Seville. He left many pictures, and the Louvre claims to have ninety-two of them in its gallery.

Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velasquez (1599-1660) was born at Seville, and died at Madrid. His parents were of noble families; his father was Juan Rodriguez de Silva, and his mother Geronima Velasquez, by whose name, according to the custom of Andalusia, he was called. His paternal grandfather was a Portuguese, but so poor that he was compelled to leave his own country, and seek his fortune at Seville, and to this circumstance Spain owes her greatest painter. Velasquez’s father became a lawyer, and lived in[Pg 216] comfort, and his mother devoted herself to his education. The child’s great love of drawing induced his father to place young Velasquez in the school of Herrera, where the pupil acquired something of his free, bold style. But Velasquez soon became weary, and entered the school of Francisco Pacheco, an inferior painter, but a learned and polished gentleman. Here Velasquez soon learned that untiring industry and the study of nature were the surest guides to perfection for an artist. Until 1622 he painted pictures from careful studies of common life, and always with the model or subject before him—adhering strictly to form, color, and outline. He is said to have kept a peasant lad for a study, and from him executed a variety of heads in every posture and with every possible expression. This gave him wonderful skill in taking likenesses. To this period belong the “Water Carrier of Seville,” now at Apsley House, several pictures of beggars, and the “Adoration of the Shepherds,” now in the Louvre, where is also a “Beggar Boy munching a piece of Pastry.” At Vienna is a “Laughing Peasant” holding a flower (Fig. 64), and in Munich another “Beggar Boy.” In 1622 his strong desire to see the paintings in the Royal Galleries led him to Madrid. Letters which he carried gave him admission to the works of art; but excepting securing the friendship of Fonesca, a noted patron of art, and an order to paint a portrait of the poet Gongora, he was unnoticed, and so he returned in a few months to Seville. Subsequently Fonesca interested the minister Olivarez in his behalf. This resulted in a letter summoning Velasquez to court, with an enclosure of fifty ducats for the journey. He was attended by his slave, Juan Pareja, a mulatto lad, who was his faithful attendant for many years, and who became an excellent painter. His former instructor, Pacheco, now his father-in-law, also accompanied him. His first work at the capital, naturally, was a portrait of his friend Fonesca, which so pleased the king, Philip[Pg 218] IV., that he appointed Velasquez to his service, in which he remained during his life. This gave him full opportunity to perfect himself, for the king was never weary of multiplying pictures of himself. Velasquez also painted many portraits of the other members of the royal family, in groups and singly. His life was even and prosperous, and he made steady advances toward perfection. He was sent to Italy to study and to visit the galleries and works in all the cities. A second time the king sent him to Italy to purchase works of art, with orders to buy anything he thought worth having. He was everywhere received with consideration and kindness. The pope sat to him for his portrait; the cardinals Barberini and Rospigliosi; the sculptors Bernini and Algardi; the painters Nicolas Poussin, Pietro da Cortona, Claude and Matteo Prete were his friends and associates. Upon his return to Madrid, Velasquez was appointed aposentador-major, with a yearly salary of three thousand ducats, and a key at his girdle to unlock every door in the palace. He superintended the ceremonies and festivals of the royal household; he arranged in the halls of the Alcazar the bronzes and marbles purchased in Italy; he also cast in bronze the models he brought from abroad, and he yet found time to paint his last great picture, “Las Meniñas,” or the “Maids of Honor,” which represents the royal family, with the artist, maids of honor, the dwarfs, and a sleeping hound. It is said that when the king saw the picture he declared but one thing was wanting, and with his own hand significantly painted the cross of Santiago upon the breast of the artist. When the courts of France and Spain met on the Isle of Pheasants for the betrothal of the Infanta Maria Teresa to Louis XIV., Velasquez superintended all the ceremonies and all the festivities. These were of surpassing splendor, for these two courts were at this time the most luxurious in Europe. Stirling says the fatigues of the life of Velasquez shortened his days. He arrived at[Pg 220] Madrid on his return, on June 26th, and from that time was gradually sinking. He died August 6th. He was buried with magnificent ceremonies in the Church of San Juan. His wife survived him but eight days; she was buried in the same grave.

Fig 64 Fig. 64.—Laughing Peasant. Velasquez.


Fig 65 Fig. 65.—The Topers. By Velasquez.

The character of Velasquez was a rare combination of freedom from jealousy, power to conciliate, sweetness of temper, strength of will and intellect, and steadfastness of purpose. He was the friend of Rubens and of Ribera, the protector of Cano and Murillo, who succeeded and were, next to him, the greatest painters of Spain. As the favorite of Philip IV., in fact, his minister for artistic affairs, he filled his office with purity and disinterestedness.

Juan de Pareja (1610-1670) was born in Spanish South America. He was never a great artist; but the circumstances of his life make him interesting. He was the slave of Velasquez, and was employed as color-grinder. He studied painting secretly, and at last, on an occasion when the king visited the studio of his master, Pareja showed him a picture of his own painting, and throwing himself at Philip’s feet begged pardon for his audacity. Both Philip and Velasquez treated him very kindly. Velasquez gave Pareja his freedom; but it is said that he continued to serve his old master faithfully as long as he lived. Pareja succeeded best as a portrait painter. His works are not numerous, and are seen in few collections out of Spain.

Bartolomé Estéban Murillo (1618-1682) was born at Seville. His parents were Gaspar Estéban and Maria Perez, and the name of his maternal grandmother, Elvira Murillo, was added to his own, according to Andalusian custom. From childhood he showed his inclination for art, and although this at first suggested to his parents that he should be educated as a priest, the idea was soon abandoned, as it was found that his interest in the paintings which adorned the churches was artistic rather than religious.[Pg 221] He was therefore, at an early age, placed in the studio of his maternal uncle, Juan de Castillo, one of the leaders of the school of art of Seville. Castillo was then about fifty years old, and had as a student with Louis Fernandez acquired the Florentine style of the sixteenth century—combining chaste designing with cold and hard coloring. Murillo was thus early instructed not only in grinding colors and in indispensable mechanical details, but was thoroughly grounded in the important elements of purity of conception and dignity of treatment and arrangement. Seville at this time was the richest city in the Spanish empire. Its commerce with all Europe, and especially with Spanish America, was at its height. The Guadalquivir was alive with its shipping. Its palaces of semi-Moorish origin were occupied by a wealthy and luxurious nobility. The vast cathedral had been finished a century before. The tower “La Giralda,” three hundred and forty feet in height, is to this day one of the greatest marvels in Christendom, and with its Saracenic ornament and its “lace work in stone” is beyond all compare. The royal palace of the Alcazar, designed by Moorish architects, rivalled the Alhambra, and was filled with the finest workmanship of Grenada. There were one hundred and forty churches, of which many had been mosques, and were laden with the exquisite ornaments of their original builders. Such a city was sure to stimulate artists and be their home. The poorer ones were in the habit of exposing their works on balconies, on the steps of churches or the cathedral, or in any place where they would attract attention. Thus it often happened on festival days that a good work would command fame for an artist, and gain for him the patronage of some cathedral chapter or generous nobleman. Castillo removed to Cadiz in 1640, and Murillo, who was very poor, could only bring himself before the public, and earn sufficient for the bare necessities of life by thus exposing his pictures in[Pg 222] the market of the Feria, as it was called, in front of the Church of All Saints. He struggled along in this way for two years. Early in 1640, Murillo met with an old fellow-pupil, Moya, who had been campaigning in Flanders in the Spanish army, and had there become impressed with the worth of the clear and strong style of the Flemish masters. Especially was he pleased with Vandyck, so that he followed him to England, and there studied as his pupil during the last six months of Vandyck’s life. Moved by Moya’s romancing stories of travel, adventure, and study, Murillo resolved to see better pictures than were to be found at Seville, and, if possible, to visit Italy. As a first step he painted a quantity of banners, madonnas, flower-pieces—anything and everything—and sold them to a ship owner, who sent them to Spanish America; and it is said that this and similar trades originated the story that Murillo once visited Mexico and other Spanish-American countries. Thus equipped with funds, and without informing his friends (his parents were dead), he started on foot across the mountains and the equally dreaded plains for Madrid, which he entered at the age of twenty-five, friendless and poor. He sought out Velasquez, and asked him for letters to his friends in Rome. But Velasquez, then at the height of his fame and influence, was so much interested in the young enthusiast that he offered him lodgings and an opportunity to study and copy in the galleries of Madrid. The Royal Galleries contained carefully selected pictures from the Italian and Flemish schools, so that Murillo was at once placed in the very best possible conditions for success. Murillo thus spent more than two years, mostly under the direction of Velasquez, and worked early and late. He copied from the Italian and Flemish masters, and drew from casts and from life. This for a time so influenced his style that even now connoisseurs are said to discern reminiscences of Vandyck and Velasquez in the pictures painted by him on his[Pg 223] first return to Seville. At the end of two years Velasquez advised Murillo to go to Rome, and offered to assist him. But Murillo decided first to return to Seville, and perhaps had come to the resolution not to go to Italy; but this may be doubted. He knew the progress he had made; he was reasonably certain that, if not the superior, he was the equal of any of the artists he had left behind in Seville. He was sure of the wealth, and taste, and love for art in his native city. His only sister was living there. The rich and noble lady he afterward married resided near there. And so we can hardly wonder that the artist gave up a cherished journey to Italy, and returned to the scene of his early struggles with poverty.

The first works which Murillo painted after his return were for the Franciscan Convent. They brought him little money but much fame. They were eleven in number, but even the names of some are lost. One represents St. Francis resting on his iron bed, listening in ecstacy to the notes of a violin which an angel is playing to him; another portrays St. Diego of Alcalá, asking a blessing on a kettle of broth he is about to give to a group of beggars clustered before him; another represents the death of St. Clara of Assisi, in the rapturous trance in which her soul passed away, surrounded by pale nuns and emaciated monks looking upward to a contrasting group of Christ and the Madonna, with a train of celestial virgins bearing her shining robe of immortality. The companion picture is a Franciscan monk who passes into a celestial ecstacy while cooking in the convent kitchen, and who is kneeling in the air, while angels perform his culinary tasks. These pictures brought Murillo into speedy notice. Artists and nobles flocked to see them. Orders for portraits and altar-pieces followed in rapid succession, and he was full of work. Notwithstanding the fact that he was acknowledged to be at the head of his profession in Seville, his style at this time was[Pg 224] cold and hard. It is called frio (cold), to distinguish it from his later styles. The Franciscan Convent pictures were carried off by Marshal Soult, and fortunately; for the convent was burned in 1810. His second style, called calido, or warm, dated from about the time of his marriage, in 1648, to a lady of distinguished family, named Doña Beatriz de Cabrera y Sotomayor. She was possessed of considerable property, and had lived in the village of Pilas, a few leagues southwest of Seville. Her portrait is not known to exist; but several of Murillo’s madonnas which resemble each other are so evidently portraits, that the belief is these idealized faces were drawn from the countenance of the wife of the master.

His home now became famous for its hospitable reunions, and his social position, added to his artistic merits, procured for him orders beyond his utmost ability to fill. One after another in quick succession, large, grand works were sent out from his studio to be the pride of churches and convents. At this time his pictures were noted for a portrait-like naturalness in their faces, perhaps lacking in idealism, but withal pure and pleasing; the drapery graceful and well arranged, the lights skilfully disposed, the tints harmonious, and the contours soft. His flesh tints were heightened by dark gray backgrounds, so amazingly true that an admirer has said they were painted in blood and milk. The calido, or warm manner, was preserved for eight or ten years. In this style were painted an “Immaculate Conception,” for the Franciscan Convent; “The Nativity of the Virgin,” for the high altar of the Seville Cathedral; a “St. Anthony of Padua” for the same church, and very many others equally famous. In 1874 the St. Anthony was stolen from the cathedral, and for some time was unheard of, until two men offered to sell it for two hundred and fifty dollars to Mr. Schaus, the picture dealer in New York. He purchased the work and turned it over to the Spanish [Pg 225]Consul, who immediately returned it to the Seville Cathedral, to the great joy of the Sevillians. In 1658 Murillo turned his attention to the founding of an Academy of Art, and, though he met with many obstacles, the institution was finally opened for instruction in 1660, and Murillo was its first president. At this time he was taking on his latest manner, called the vaporoso, or vapory, which was first used in some of his pictures executed for the Church of Sta. Maria la Blanca. In this manner the rigid outlines of his first style is gone; there is a feathery lightness of touch as if the brush had swept the canvas smoothly and with unbroken evenness: this softness is enhanced by frequent contrasts with harder and heavier groups in the same picture.

But the highest point in the art was reached by Murillo in the eleven pictures which he painted in the Hospital de la Caridad. Six of these are now in their original places; five were stolen by Soult and carried to France; some were returned to Spain, but not to the hospital.

The convent of the Capuchins at Seville at one time possessed twenty pictures by this master. The larger part of them are now in the Museum of Seville, and form the finest existing collection of his works. This museum was once a church, and the statue of Murillo is placed in front of it. Although the lighting of this museum is far inferior to that of Madrid and many others, yet here one must go to realize fully the glory of this master. Among the pictures is the “Virgen de la Sevilletá,” or Virgin of the Napkin. It is said that the cook of the convent had become the friend of the painter, and begged of him some memento of his good feeling; the artist had no canvas, and the cook gave him a napkin upon which this great work was done.

Fig 66 Fig. 66.—The Immaculate Conception. By Murillo.
In the Louvre.

Murillo’s representation of that extremely spiritual and mystical subject called the Immaculate Conception, has so far excelled that of any other artist that he has sometimes been called “the painter of the Conception.” His attention[Pg 227] was especially called to this subject by the fact that the doctrine it sets forth was a pet with the clergy of Seville, who, when Pope Paul V., in 1617, published a bill making this doctrine obligatory, celebrated the occasion with all possible pomp in the churches; the nobles also gave entertainments, and the whole city was alive with a fervor of religious zeal and a desire to manifest its love for this dogma. The directions given by the Inspector of the Holy Office for the representation of this subject were extremely precise; but Murillo complied with them in general effect only, and disregarded details when it pleased him: for example, the rules prescribed the age of the Virgin to be from twelve to thirteen, and the hair to be of golden hue. Murillo sometimes pictured her as a dark-haired woman. It is said that when he painted the Virgin as very young his daughter Francesca was his model; later the daughter became a nun in the convent of the Madre de Dios.

The few portraits painted by Murillo are above all praise; his pictures of humble life, too, would of themselves have sufficed to make him famous. No Spanish artist, except Velasquez, has painted better landscapes than he. But so grand and vast were his religious works that his fame rests principally on them. It is true, however, that in England and in other countries out of Spain he was first made famous by his beggar boys and kindred subjects.

Murillo and Velasquez may be said to hold equivalent positions in the annals of Spanish Art—Murillo as the painter for the church, and Velasquez as that of the court. As a delineator of religious subjects Murillo ranked only a very little below the greatest Italian masters, and even beside them he excels in one direction; for he is able more generally and fully to arouse religious emotions and sympathies. This stamps his genius as that of the first order, and it should also be placed to his credit, in estimating his native talent, that he never saw anything of all the Classic Art[Pg 228] which was such a source of inspiration to the artists of Italy. Stirling says: “All his ideas were of home growth: his mode of expression was purely national and Spanish; his model—nature, as it existed in and around Seville.”

While painting a marriage of St. Catherine for the Capuchin Church of Cadiz, Murillo fell from the scaffold, and soon died from his injuries: he was buried in the Church of Sta. Cruz, and it is a sad coincidence that this church and that of San Juan, at Madrid, in which Velasquez was interred, were both destroyed by the French under the command of Soult.

The character of Murillo was such as to command the greatest respect, and though he was not associated with as many royal personages as Velasquez, he was invited to court, and received many flattering acknowledgments of his genius. His fame was not confined to his own country, and his portrait was engraved in Flanders during the last year of his life. He had many strong personal friends, and his interest in the academy and his generosity to other artists prove him to have been above all mean jealousies: he loved Art because it was Art, and did all in his power for its elevation in his own country. It is probable that since his death more money has been paid for a single picture by him than he received for the entire work of his life. The Immaculate Conception, now in the Louvre, was sold from the Soult collection for six hundred and fifteen thousand three hundred francs, or more than one hundred and twenty-three thousand dollars. At the time of its sale it was believed to be the largest price ever paid for a picture.

Sebastian Gomez (about 1620) was a mulatto slave of Murillo’s, and like Pareja he secretly learned to paint. At last one day when Murillo left a sketch of a head of the Virgin on his easel Gomez dared to finish it. Murillo was glad to find that he had made a painter of his slave, and though the pictures of Gomez were full of faults his color[Pg 229] was much like that of his master. Two of his pictures are in the Museum of Seville. He did not live long after Murillo’s death in 1682.

Don Alonso Miguel de Tobar (1678-1758) never attained to greatness. His best original pictures were portraits. He made a great number of copies of the works of Murillo, and was chiefly famous for these pictures. There is little doubt that many pictures attributed to Murillo are replicas, or copies by the hand of Tobar.

The school of Valencia flourished from 1506 to 1680. Vicente de Joanes (about 1506-1579) was a painter of religious pictures who is scarcely known out of Spain, and in that country his pictures are, almost without exception, in churches and convents. He was very devout, and began his works with fasting and prayer. It is related that on one occasion a Jesuit of Valencia had a vision in which the Virgin Mary appeared to him, and commanded him to have a picture painted of her in a dress like that she then wore, which was a white robe with a blue mantle. She was to be represented standing on a crescent with the mystic dove floating above her; her Son was to crown her, while the Father was to lean from the clouds above all.

The Jesuit selected Joanes to be the painter of this work, and though he fasted and prayed much he could not paint it so as to please himself or the Jesuit. At last his pious zeal overcame all obstacles, and his picture was hung above the altar of the Immaculate in the convent of the Jesuits. It was very beautiful—the artists praised it, the monks believed that it had a miraculous power, and it was known as “La Purisima,” or the perfectly pure one.

Joanes excelled in his pictures of Christ. He seemed to have conceived the very Christ of the Scriptures, the realization of the visions of St. John, or of the poetry of Solomon. In these pictures he combined majesty with grace and love with strength. Joanes frequently represented the Last[Pg 230] Supper, and introduced a cup which is known as the Holy Chalice of Valencia. It is made of agate and adorned with gold and gems, and was believed to have been used by Christ at his Last Supper with his disciples. Some of the portraits painted by Joanes are very fine. In manner and general effect his works are strangely like those of the great Raphael.

Francisco de Ribalta (1550-1628) was really the head of the school of Valencia, and one of the best historical painters of Spain. He studied his art first in Valencia, and there fell in love with the daughter of his master. The father refused him his suit, and the young couple parted in deep sorrow. Ribalta went to Italy, where he made such progress, and gained such fame that when he returned to Valencia he had no trouble in marrying his old master’s daughter. Valencia has more pictures by Ribalta than are found elsewhere. Out of Spain they are very rare. One of his works is at Magdalene College, Oxford.

One peculiarity of the Spanish painters was that they painted the extremes of emotion. Their subjects represented the ecstacy of bliss or the most excruciating agony. They did not seem to have as much middle ground or to know as much of moderate emotions as the painters of other nations. Ribalta was no exception to this rule, and some of his pictures are painful to look at. His portraits are fine, and represent the most powerful men of Valencia of the time in which he lived.

Josef de Ribera was a native of Valencia, but lived and studied in Italy, and so became more of an Italian than a Spanish master. I have spoken of him in connection with the Naturalists and their school at Naples.

Alonso Cano (1601-1667) was a very important artist, and cannot be said to belong to any school. He was born at Granada, and studied under masters of Seville, both in painting and sculpture. He became the best Spanish artist[Pg 231] who studied in Spain only. He was something of an architect also, and his various talents acquired a high place for him among artists; but his temper was such as to cause him much trouble, and it so interfered with his life that he did not attain to the position to which his artistic gifts entitled him.

In 1637 he fought a duel, and was obliged to flee from Madrid, and in 1644 his wife was found murdered in her bed. Cano was suspected of the crime, and although he fled he was found, and brought back, and put to the torture. He made no confession, and was set at liberty; but many people believed in his guilt. He still held his office as painter to the king, and was sometimes employed on important works; but he determined to remove to his native Granada and become a priest. Philip IV. appointed him canon, and after he held this office he was still employed as a painter and sculptor by private persons, as well as by religious bodies, and was even sent to Malaga to superintend improvements in the cathedral there. But his temper led him into so many broils that at length, in 1659, the chapter of Granada deprived him of his office. He went to the king with his complaints, and was again made a canon; but he was so angry that he never would use his brush or his chisel in the service of the Cathedral of Granada.

His life was now devoted to charity and good works. He gave away all his money as soon as he received it. When his purse was empty he would go into a shop, and beg a pencil and paper, and sketching a head or other design would mark the price on it, and give it to a beggar with directions for finding a purchaser for it. After his death large numbers of these charity works were collected.

One of his strong characteristics was hatred of the Jews. He would cross the street, in order not to meet one of them, and would throw away a garment that had brushed against one of the race. One day he went home, and found his[Pg 232] housekeeper bargaining with a Jew; he chased him away with great fury, sent the woman off to be purified, repaved the spot where the Jew had stood, and gave the shoes in which he had chased him to a servant. When about to die Cano would not receive the sacrament from the priest who was present, because he had communicated with Jews, and when a rude crucifix was held before him he pushed it away. When he was reproved for this he said: “Vex me not with this thing; but give me a simple cross that I may adore it, both as it is, and as I can figure it in my mind.” When this was done, it is said that he died in a most edifying manner.

Very few of Cano’s architectural works remain; a few drawings of this sort are in the Louvre which are simple and elegant in style. The finest carving by him is a small figure of the Virgin, now in the Cathedral of Granada. Eight of his pictures are in the Queen of Spain’s gallery at Madrid, and the Church of Getafe, the Cathedral of Granada and that of Malaga have his works. A beautiful madonna, which was one of his latest works, is in the chapel of the Cathedral of Valencia, and is lighted by votive tapers only. His pictures are rare out of Spain. One of his portraits is in the Louvre. Other works are in Berlin, Dresden, Munich, and the Hermitage, St. Petersburg.

The last Spanish painter of whom I shall speak belongs to a much later period. Francisco Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) was a student in Rome, and after his return to Spain lived in fine style in a villa near Madrid. He was painter to Charles IV., and was always employed on orders from the nobility. He painted portraits and religious pictures, but his chief excellence was in painting caricatures. He was never weary of painting the priests and monks in all sorts of ridiculous ways. He made them in the form of apes and asses, and may be called the Hogarth of Spain, so well did he hold up the people about him to[Pg 233] ridicule. He painted with great boldness and could use a sponge or stick in place of a brush. Sometimes he made a picture with his palette-knife, and put in the fine touches with his thumb. He executed engravings also, and published eighty prints which he called “Caprices.” These were very famous; they were satires upon all Spanish laws and customs. He also made a series of plates about the French invasion, thirty-three prints of scenes in the bull-ring, and etchings of some of the works of Velasquez. Portraits of Charles IV. and his queen by Goya are in the museum at Madrid. Works of his are in the Louvre and in the National Gallery in London. His pictures sell for large prices. In 1870 his picture of Charlotte Corday sold for five hundred and eighty-four pounds.

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The French school of painting does not date earlier than the sixteenth century, and the painters of that time were few in number, and little is known of them. Before the time when a French school could be said to exist the kings of France employed foreign artists to decorate their palaces and churches, and they naturally turned to the Italians for all that they needed. Hence it happened that in its earliest days the French school was almost entirely under Italian influence, and I shall first speak of French masters who studied in Italy.

Nicholas Poussin (1594-1665) may be said to belong to the seventeenth century, since he was born so late in the preceding one. Poussin was born in Normandy, and early began to draw and paint. He studied somewhat in France, and when thirty years old went to Rome, where, in reality, his artistic career began. He was a pupil of Andrea Sacchi, and received some instruction from Domenichino also; but he formed his style principally by studying the works of the ancients and those of the great Raphael. He was so devoted to the study of the habits and customs of the Greeks that he almost became one of them in his modes of thought.

Fig 67 Fig. 67.—Arcadian Shepherds. Poussin.

He was very poor when he first went to Rome; but he worked hard, and began to be known and to receive orders for pictures. Louis XIII. heard of Poussin, and invited him[Pg 236] to Paris, where he gave him apartments in the Tuileries. But the artist longed to return to Rome, and made a plea of going for his wife. Soon after he left, Louis died, and Poussin never returned to France. Poussin was always busy; but he asked such moderate prices that he was never rich, and, when a great man pitied the artist because he had so few servants, Poussin pitied him in return for having so many. His portrait painted by himself is in the Louvre, where are many of his mythological pictures. His love for the classic manner makes these subjects his best works. His paintings are seen in many European galleries.

Claude Lorraine (1600-1682), whose real name was Claude Gelée, was born in Champagne in Lorraine. His parents were very poor, and died when he was still young: he was apprenticed to a pastry-cook, and so travelled to Rome as servant to some young gentlemen. Not long after his arrival he engaged himself to the painter Agostino Tassi, for whom he cooked, and mixed colors. After a time he himself began to paint. Nature was his teacher; he studied her with unchanging devotion; he knew all her changes, and was in the habit of sitting for a whole day watching one scene, so that he could paint from memory its different aspects at the various hours of the day. His works brought him into notice when he was still young. He received many orders, and when about twenty-seven years old some pictures he painted for Pope Urban VIII. established his fame as an artist of high rank. His character was above reproach, and his feelings were as tender as many of his pictures. He was attractive in person, though his face was grave in its expression. It would seem that he should have left a large fortune, but he did not. This was partly because he suffered much from gout, and was often unable to paint; but a better reason probably is that he gave so much to his needy relations that he could not save large sums.

[Pg 237] Claude Lorraine has been called the prince and poet of landscape painters. Lübke, the German art writer, praises him very much, and his praise is more valuable than it would be if it came from one of Claude’s own countrymen. He says: “Far more profoundly than all other masters did Claude Gelée penetrate into the secrets of nature, and by the enchanting play of sunlight, the freshness of his dewy foregrounds, and the charm of his atmospheric distances, he obtained a tone of feeling which influences the mind like an eternal Sabbath rest. In his works there is all the splendor, light, untroubled brightness, and harmony of the first morning of creation in Paradise. His masses of foliage have a glorious richness and freshness, and even in the deepest shadows are interwoven with a golden glimmer of light. But they serve only as a mighty framework, for, more freely than with other masters, the eye wanders through a rich foreground into the far distance, the utmost limits of which fade away in golden mist.”

His two great charms are the immense space which he represents in his pictures and his beautiful color. The latter appears as if he had first used a silvery gray, and then put his other colors over that, which gives his works a soft, lovely atmospheric effect, such as no other artist has surpassed. When he introduced buildings into his pictures they were well done; but his figures and animals were so imperfect that he was accustomed to say that he sold the landscape, and gave away the figures.

Before his death his pictures were so much valued that other artists tried to imitate them, and he was accustomed to keep a book of sketches by which his works could be proved. He called this book “Liber Veritatis,” and before his death it reached six volumes; one of these containing two hundred drawings is at Chatsworth. A catalogue of his works describes more than four hundred landscapes. All the principal galleries of Europe have his pictures, and[Pg 238] there are a great number of them in England, both in public and private collections.

Sebastian Bourdon (1616-1671), who was born at Montpelier, made his studies in Rome. He brought himself into notice by a picture of the Crucifixion of St Peter, which is now in the Louvre. He was one of the earliest members of the French Academy. Bourdon resided in Sweden for some years; but was in Paris, and held the position of Rector of the Academy when he died. He painted a few genre subjects, and two of his portraits by himself are in the Louvre; but his best works were landscapes, and in these his style was like that of Salvator Rosa. It has been said that Rigaud assisted him in his portraits of himself. Bourdon made some engravings, and collectors prize his plates very much.

There were other French painters who studied in Italy, but those that I have mentioned are the important ones. Of those who studied in their own country only, Eustache le Sueur (1617-1655) was the first of any importance; but his life was short and uneventful, and he was not appreciated. His most important works are in the Louvre.

Charles le Brun (1619-1690) was very prominent in his day. His father was a sculptor, and was employed by the Chancellor Segnier. This nobleman’s attention was attracted to the son, and he at length sent the young Le Brun to Italy to study. He remained there six years, and after his return to Paris he was made painter to the king, and became the favorite of the court. He used his opportunities to persuade Louis XIV. to found the Royal Academy at Paris, which was done in 1648. All his principal pictures are in the Louvre.

Pierre Mignard (1612-1695) has been called “the Roman,” because he lived in Rome twenty-two years, and while there was patronized by three successive popes. In 1664 he was made President of the Academy of St. Luke in[Pg 239] Rome. At length Louis XIV. invited him to return to France. In 1690 he succeeded Le Brun as court painter, and was made Chancellor of the Academy. His portraits are his best works, and these are seen in the galleries of various European countries.

Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659-1743) became the most distinguished French portrait painter of his time; but his pictures are not very attractive or interesting in our day. He finished them too much, and so gave them an artificial appearance. Then, too, the costume of his day was such that his portraits seem to be the portraits of wigs and not of people. They are very numerous. He often painted the portrait of Louis XIV., and had illustrious people from all parts of Europe among his sitters.

Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) was the first to practise a new style of painting. The habit of the French court was to pass much time in elegant out-door amusements. Watteau represented the scenes of the fêtes galantes and reunions then so much in fashion. His pictures are crowded with figures in beautiful costumes. There are groups of ladies and gentlemen promenading, dancing, love-making, and lounging in pleasant grounds with temples and fountains and everything beautiful about them. The pictures of Watteau are fine, and are seen in many galleries. His color is brilliant, and to their worth as pictures is added the historical interest which belongs to them, because they give us the best idea of court life, dress, and manners of the reign of Louis XIV. which can be had from any paintings.

The followers of Watteau were numerous, but are not of great importance. There were a few painters of animals and flowers in the French school; but we shall pass to the genre painters, among whom Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805) was important. He painted very beautiful pictures of young girls and children. His color is very agreeable, and some of his works are finished as finely as if they were done[Pg 240] on ivory. Most of his pictures are in private galleries, but they are seen in some public collections. Probably the “Broken Jug,” in the Louvre, is his best known work. His pictures sell for very large prices. At the Forster sale in 1876, “A Little Girl with a Lap Dog in her Arms” brought six thousand seven hundred and twenty pounds; in 1772 the same picture was sold for three hundred pounds, and in 1832 it was again sold for seven hundred and three pounds. Thus we see that in fifty-four years its value had increased to more than nine times its price, and in one hundred and four years it brought twenty-two times as much as it was first sold for.

Claude Joseph Vernet (1714-1789) was the best marine painter of the French school. Louis XV. commissioned him to paint the seaports of France. Fifteen of these pictures are in the Louvre. There have been many engravings after his works. His pictures of Italian seaports and views near Rome and Tivoli are among his best paintings. His color has little variety; but his drawing is correct, and his finish is very careful and fine. Vernet also made a few etchings.

In the early part of the eighteenth century Joseph Marie Vien (1716-1809) returned to the classic style of painting, and created a feeling against the pretty manner which had been the chief feature of French pictures for some time. His pictures are very numerous in the churches and galleries of Paris. He was not a great painter, but he marks a change in the spirit of French painting. Vien was the teacher of Jacques Louis David (1748-1825), who was considered the first painter in modern art at the close of the eighteenth century. He was so devoted to the classic style that he took the remains of ancient art as models for the figures in his pictures. His groups are like groups of statues, and his flesh looks like marble, it is so hard and lifeless. During the time of the first Napoleon[Pg 242] this style was carried to excess in everything connected with the arts. David was such a favorite with the emperor that after the return of the Bourbons he was banished, and his family were not allowed to bury him in France. He lived in Brussels, and executed many of his best pictures there.

Fig 68 Fig. 68.—The Sabine Women. David.

Antoine Jean Gros (1771-1835) was a great admirer of David, and first attracted attention in 1801 by a picture of “Bonaparte on the Bridge of Arcola.” After this Gros painted many such works, and principally represented military events. Many of his pictures are very coarse. The “Plague at Jaffa” and the “Field of Eylau” are of this type, and the first is disgusting. Among his best works is “Francis I. and Charles V. visiting the Tombs at St. Denis.” But although he received many honors, and was made a baron by Charles X., he could not bear the criticism which was made upon his pictures, and finally drowned himself in the Seine near Meudon.

Paul Delaroche (1797-1856) was born at Paris, and studied under Baron Gros. He became a celebrated artist and was made a member of the Institute of France, a Professor in l’École des Beaux-Arts, and an officer of the Legion of Honor. His principal works represent scenes of important historical interest, and he so arranged them that they appeal to one’s sympathies with great power. Among these pictures are the “Condemnation of Marie Antoinette,” the “Death of the Duke of Guise,” “Cromwell Contemplating the Remains of Charles I.,” and other similar historical incidents. His design was according to academical rules; but he was not entirely conventional, and in some of his religious pictures there was much expression and deep feeling.

Fig 69 Fig. 69.—Death of the Duke of Guise. Delaroche.

His largest and most famous work is the “Hemicycle,” in l’École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. He was occupied with this painting during three years; it contains seventy-five figures of life size. The arts of different countries and ages[Pg 244] are represented in it by portraits of the artists of the times and nations typified. Thus it is very interesting when considered merely as a great collection of portraits. Delaroche married the daughter of Horace Vernet, and it is said that the figure which stands for Gothic Architecture is a portrait of her. The Hemicycle is richly colored, and has a great deal of fine painting in it; but from its very nature it has no dramatic power, and does not arouse any deep sentiment in one who studies it. Delaroche was paid only about fifteen thousand dollars for this great labor, and refused to have any further reward.

Perhaps none of his works are more powerful than the “Death of the Duke of Guise.” You will easily recall the circumstances of his assassination: the painter has so represented it that one really forgets that it is a picture, and can only remember the horror of the crime. The corpse of the duke is on one side of the immense chamber, near the bed; the assassins are in a terrified group on the other side, and with them the cowardly king, who was absolutely afraid of the dead body of his victim. The picture is a remarkable instance of the power that may be given to what is sometimes called historical-genre art. This picture was sold in 1853 for ten thousand five hundred dollars (Fig. 69).

Jean Louis Géricault (1791-1824). He was born at Rouen, and studied first under Guérin and then in Rome. He was the first master of any power who entirely dismissed the influence of the art of David with its marble flesh and statuesque effect. The one great work by which he is known is the “Wreck of the Medusa,” which is in the Louvre, and which may be said to mark the advent of the modern French school.

Eugene Delacroix (1799-1863) was the son of a Minister of Foreign Affairs, and was born to position and wealth. But through misfortunes all this was changed, and he was forced to work hard for his living. At last he managed[Pg 245] to study under Guérin, and in the studio of the master became the friend of Géricault. The first work which brought Delacroix fame was a picture of a scene from Dante’s “Inferno,” in which Dante sees some of his old acquaintances who were condemned to float upon the lake which surrounds the infernal city. This work was exhibited in 1822, and was bought for the Gallery of the Luxembourg. Baron Gros tried to be his friend; but Delacroix wished to follow his own course, and for some time had but small success.

He travelled in Spain, Algiers, and Morocco, and at length was commissioned by Thiers to do some decorative work in the throne-room of the Chamber of Deputies. He was much criticised, but at length was accepted as a great artist, and was made a member of the Institute in 1857. He received another important order for the Chamber of Peers. Some of his works are at Versailles, and others are seen in various churches of Paris. When they are considered as a whole they are effective, but they do not bear examination; his design was free and spirited and his color good, and he painted a variety of subjects, and was able to vary the expression of his work to suit the impression he wished to produce.

Émile Jean Horace Vernet (1789-1863) was born in the Louvre. He studied under his father, Carle Vernet, who was the son of Claude Joseph Vernet. Carle was a witty man, and it is said that when he was dying he exclaimed, “How much I resemble the Grand Dauphin—son of a king, father of a king, and never a king myself!” In spite of his being less than his father or his son, he was a good painter of horses. When Horace Vernet was but fifteen years old he supported himself by drawing; he studied with Vincent, and drew from living models. In 1814 he showed such bravery at the Barriere of Clichy that he was decorated with the Cross of the Legion of Honor:[Pg 246] before he died he was a grand officer of the order on account of his artistic merits. He was also a member of the Institute and Director of the Academy of Rome.

His best works were executed in Rome, where he spent seven years; he travelled in Algiers, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Russia, and England, and was everywhere received with the honors which his genius merited. His works embraced a great variety of subjects, and it is said that he often finished his picture the first time he went over it, and did not retouch it. There is no doubt that in certain ways the excellence of Vernet has been overestimated, and he has been too much praised; but his remarkable memory, which enabled him truthfully to paint scenes he had witnessed, and his facility of execution, are worthy of honorable mention.

When twenty years old Vernet was married, and from this time he kept an expense account in which all the prices he received for his works are set down. The smallest is twenty-four sous for a tulip; the largest is fifty thousand francs for the portrait of the Empress of Russia.

About 1817 Vernet became the favorite of the Duke of Orleans, and was therefore unpopular with the royal party. In 1820 he had made himself so displeasing to the king by some lithographs which were scattered among the people, that it was thought best for him to leave Paris. However, he overcame all this, and four years later Charles X. sat to him for his portrait. From this time orders and money flowed in from all sides.

The Vernets had originated in Avignon, and in 1826, when the museum there was opened, Horace and his father were invited to be present. Every honor was shown them; poems were read in their praise; they were conducted to the home of their ancestors, which they piously saluted, and inscribed their names upon the door-posts. After they returned to Paris they received rich gifts in return for the [Pg 247]pictures they had given to Avignon. The Gallery Vernet, which contains works by Antoine, François, Joseph, Carle, and Horace Vernet, is regarded as a sacred place by the people of that region.

When Horace Vernet was Director of the Academy in Rome he held salons weekly; they were very gay, and all people of distinction who lived in Rome or visited that city were seen at these receptions, dancing and amusing themselves in the lively French manner. But after 1830 he felt that the Villa Medici was a prison. He wished to follow the French army in the East, and three years later did go to Algiers. In the same year the king decided to convert the palace at Versailles into an historical museum, and from this time Vernet had but two ideas, the East and Versailles. Almost every work he did was connected with these two thoughts.

Louis Philippe now desired him to paint four battle-pieces; but Vernet objected that no room was large enough to please him: for this reason a floor was removed, two stories turned into one, and the grand Gallery of Battles made. At length he had a difficulty with the king and went to Russia; but hearing that his father was dying he returned to Paris, and was made welcome back to Versailles, where he was really necessary.

We cannot stay to recount the honors which were showered upon him, and which he always received with great modesty of demeanor. He went from one triumph to another until 1848, when the Revolution almost broke his heart; he worked on, but his happiness was over. In the great Exposition of 1855 he had a whole salon devoted to his works, and men from all the world came to see and to praise. He lived still eight years; he made pictures of incidents in the Crimean War; he painted a portrait of Napoleon III., but he wrote of himself: “When time has worn out a portion of our faculties we are not entirely[Pg 248] destroyed; but it is necessary to know how to leave the first rank and content one’s self with the fourth.”

His industry and the amount of work he did are simply marvellous. He loved excitement and adventure, and the works which have these elements were his best—and he liked best to do them. His color cannot be praised; he had no lofty intellectual aims; he was clever to a high degree, but he was not great; he was one to whom the happy medium of praise should be given, for he neither merits severity of criticism nor immoderate praise; he was simply a gifted painter and “the greatest and last of the Vernets.”

He is also the last French painter of whom we shall speak, as we do not propose to take up the excellent artists of our own day, who would require a volume devoted strictly to themselves.

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In early days in England there were miniature-painters, and in the last half of the sixteenth century there were some very important English painters of this kind. Before the days of Charles I. the English kings were much in the habit of inviting foreign artists to England, and commissions were given to them. The painters who were most prominent in England were of the Flemish school, and even under Charles I., as we have seen, Rubens and Vandyck were the principal painters in England. But in the reign of this king some native artists made names for themselves, and what we call the English school of painting may really be dated from this time.

Before speaking of painters I must mention one miniaturist whose works were in demand in other countries, as well as in England. Samuel Cooper (1609-1672) has been called “the Vandyck in little,” and there is far more breadth in his works than is usual in miniature. He painted likenesses of many eminent persons, and his works now have an honorable place in many collections.

William Dobson (1610-1646) has been mentioned in our account of Vandyck as a painter whom the great master befriended and recommended to Charles I. He became a good portrait-painter, and after Vandyck’s death was appointed sergeant-painter to the king. His portraits are full of dignity; the face shadows are dark, and his color [Pg 251]excellent. He did not excel in painting historical subjects. Vandyck was succeeded at court by two foreign artists who are so closely associated with England that they are always spoken of as English artists.

Fig  70 Fig. 70.—Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Peter van der Faes (1618-1680), who was born in Westphalia, is known to us as Sir Peter Lely. He became the most celebrated portrait-painter after Vandyck, and his “Beauties at Hampton Court” are pictures which are known the world over. He has been accused of not painting eyes as he ought; but the ladies of his day had an affectation in the use of their eyes. They tried to have “the sleepy eye that spoke the melting soul,” so Sir Peter Lely was not to blame for painting them as these ladies wished them to be. He was knighted by Charles II., and became very rich. His portraits of men were not equal to those of women. When Cromwell gave him a commission to paint his portrait, he said: “Mr. Lely, I desire you will use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts, and everything as you see me, otherwise I will never pay you a farthing for it.” Sir Peter Lely was buried in Covent Garden, where there is a monument to his memory with a bust by Gibbon.

Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723), born at Lübeck, was a rival to Sir Peter Lely, and had the honor of painting the portraits of eight crowned heads and a very great number of other people of importance. He had studied both the Dutch and Italian manner; for he was the pupil of Rembrandt and Bol, of Carlo Maratti and Bernini. Some critics praise his pictures very much, while others point out many defects in them. He painted very rapidly, and he sometimes hurried his pictures off for the sake of money; but his finished works are worthy of remark. He especially excelled in painting hair; his drawing was correct; some of his groups of children are fine pictures; and some[Pg 252] madonnas that he painted, using his sitters as models, are works of merit. His monument was made by Rysbrach, and was placed in Westminster Abbey.

Both Sir Peter Lely and Sir Godfrey Kneller had pupils and followers; but there was no original English artist before the time of William Hogarth (1697-1764), and he may really be named as the first master of a purely English school of painting. When Hogarth was fifteen years old he was apprenticed to a silversmith, and the grotesque designs which he copied for armorial bearings helped to increase his natural love for all that was ridiculous and strange. After 1718 he was much occupied in engraving for booksellers, and at length he began to paint small genre pictures and some portraits, in which he made good success, but he felt that he was fitted for other work. In 1730 he married the daughter of the artist, Sir James Thornhill, without the consent of her father.

Soon after this he began his series of pictures called the “Harlot’s Progress,” and when Sir James saw them he was so satisfied with the talent of Hogarth that he declared that such an artist could support a wife who had no dower, and the two painters were soon reconciled to each other. Before 1744 Hogarth had also painted the series of the “Rake’s Progress” and “Marriage à la Mode” (Fig. 71).

These are all pictures which hold up the customs of the time to ridicule and satire, and his works of this kind are almost numberless. He explains as follows the cause of his painting in this way: “The reasons which induced me to adopt this mode of designing were that I thought both critics and painters had, in the historical style, quite overlooked that intermediate species of subjects which may be placed between the sublime and the grotesque. I therefore wished to compose pictures on canvas similar to representations on the stage; and further hope that they will be tried by the same test and criticised by the same criticism.”

Fig 71 Fig. 71.—The Marriage Contract. No. 1 of The Marriage à la Mode. By Hogarth. In the National Gallery.

[Pg 254] It was in this sort of picture that Hogarth made himself great, though he supported himself for several years by portrait-painting, in which art he holds a reputable place. Most of his important pictures are in public galleries.

Hogarth was a fine engraver, and left many plates after his own works, which are far better and more spirited than another artist could have made them. The pictures of Hogarth have good qualities aside from their peculiar features. He made his interiors spacious, and the furniture and all the details were well arranged; his costumes were exact, as was also the expression of his faces; his painting was good, and his color excellent. In 1753 he published a book called the “Analysis of Beauty.”

Ever after his first success his career was a prosperous one. He rode in his carriage, and was the associate and friend of men in good positions. Hogarth was buried in Chiswick Churchyard, and on his tombstone are these lines, written by David Garrick:

“Farewell, great painter of mankind!
Who reach’d the noblest point of Art,
Whose pictur’d morals charm the mind,
And through the eye, correct the heart.
If Genius fire thee, reader, stay;
If Nature touch thee, drop a tear;
If neither move thee, turn away,
For Hogarth’s honour’d dust lies here.”

The next important English painter was Richard Wilson (1713-1782), and he was important not so much for what he painted as for the fact that he was one of the earliest landscape-painters among English artists. He never attained wealth or great reputation, although after his return from studying in Italy he was made a member of the Royal Academy.

We come now to Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792),[Pg 255] born at Plympton, in Devonshire. His father was a clergyman and the master of the grammar school at Plympton. Joshua was destined for the medical profession by his parents; but his love of drawing was so marked that, as the opportunity offered for him to go to London and study under Hudson, his father allowed him to do so. After various changes, in 1749 he was able to go to Rome, and remained in Italy three years (Fig. 70).

When he returned to England he soon attracted attention to his pictures, and it was not long before both fame and fortune were secured to him. His life was a very quiet one, with little of incident that can be related here. His sister kept his house for him, and he lived generously, having company to dinner almost daily. His friends were among the best people of the time, including such persons as Dr. Johnson, Percy, Goldsmith, Garrick, the Burkes, and many others. The day before Johnson died he told Reynolds that he had three requests to make of him: that he would forgive him thirty pounds which he had lent him, would read the Scriptures daily, and would not paint on Sunday. Sir Joshua promised to do these things, and remembered his promise.

Sir Joshua was skilful in compliments. When he painted his famous picture of Mrs. Siddons as the “Tragic Muse” he put his name on the border of her garment. The actress went near the picture to examine it, and when she saw the name she smiled. The artist said: “I could not lose the opportunity of sending my name to posterity on the hem of your garment.”

Fig 72 Fig. 72.—“Muscipula.By Reynolds.

Sir Joshua Reynolds’ fame rests upon his portraits, and in these he is almost unrivalled. His pictures of children are especially fine. It was his custom to receive six sitters daily. He kept a list of those who were sitting and of others who waited for an opportunity to have their portraits made by him. He also had sketches of the different [Pg 257]portraits he had painted, and when new-comers had looked them over and chosen the position they wished, he sketched it on canvas and then made the likeness to correspond. In this way, when at his best, he was able to paint a portrait in about four hours. His sitters’ chairs moved on casters, and were placed on a platform a foot and a half above the floor. He worked standing, and used brushes with handles eighteen inches long, moving them with great rapidity.

In 1768 Sir Joshua was made the first President of the Royal Academy, and it was then that he was knighted by the king. He read lectures at the Academy until 1790, when he took his leave. During these years he sent two hundred and forty-four pictures to the various exhibitions. In 1782 he had a slight shock of paralysis, but was quite well until 1789, when he feared that he should be blind, and from this time he did not paint. He was ill about three months before his death, which occurred in February, 1792. His remains were laid in state at the Royal Academy, and then buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral, near the tomb of Sir Christopher Wren.

It is to be regretted that the colors used by Sir Joshua Reynolds are now much faded in many of his pictures. Those in the National Gallery, in London, are, however, in good preservation. Naturally, since so many of his pictures were portraits they are in the collections of private families in England, and but few of them are seen in European galleries. There is an excellent opportunity to study his manner in the pictures at the South Kensington Museum, where there are several portraits, some pictures of children, and the “Graces Decorating a Statue of Hymen.”

It is very satisfactory to think of a great artist as a genial, happy man, who is dear to his friends, and has a full, rich life outside of his profession. Such a life had Sir Joshua Reynolds, and one writer says of him: “They made him a knight—this famous painter; they buried him ‘with[Pg 258] an empire’s lamentation;’ but nothing honors him more than the ‘folio English dictionary of the last revision’ which Johnson left to him in his will, the dedication that poor, loving Goldsmith placed in the ‘Deserted Village,’ and the tears which five years after his death even Burke could not forbear to shed over his memory.”

Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) was born in Sudbury, in Suffolk, and when still quite young went to London, and studied under Francis Hayman, who was not an eminent painter. Gainsborough became one of the most important masters of the English school, especially in landscape painting and the representation of rustic figures. His portraits were not as good in color as those of Sir Joshua Reynolds; they have a bluish-gray hue in the flesh tints; but they are always graceful and charming. His landscapes are not like those of any other master. They are not exact in the detail of leaves and flowers—a botanist could find many faults in them—but they are like nature in spirit: they seem to have the air blowing through them, they are fresh and dewy when it is morning in them, and quiet and peaceful when evening comes under his brush. In many of his pictures he put a cart and a white animal.

His rustic figures have the true country life in them: they seem to have fed upon the air, and warmed themselves in the sun until they are plump and rosy as country lads and lasses should be. His best genre pictures are the “Cottage Girl,” the “Woodman and Dog in a Storm,” the “Cottage Door,” and the “Shepherd Boy in a Shower.” He painted a picture of a “Girl and Pigs,” for which Sir Joshua Reynolds paid him one hundred guineas.

In character Gainsborough was very attractive, though somewhat contradictory in his moods. He was generous and genial, lovable and affectionate; he was also contradictory and impulsive, not to say capricious. His wife and he had little quarrels which they settled in this wise: When[Pg 259] Gainsborough had spoken to her unkindly, he would quickly repent, and write a note to say so, and address it to his wife’s spaniel, called “Tristram,” and sign it with the name of his pet dog, “Fox.” Then Margaret Gainsborough would answer: “My own, dear Fox, you are always loving and good, and I am a naughty little female ever to worry you as I too often do, so we will kiss, and say no more about it; your own affectionate Tris.” Like Reynolds, Gainsborough had many warm friends, and when he died Sir Joshua himself watched by his bedside, and bent to catch his last word, which was the name of Vandyck.

John Singleton Copley (1737-1815) was born in Boston, Mass., U. S., to which place his parents are said to have immigrated from Limerick, Ireland. The father was descended from the Copleys of Yorkshire, England, and the mother from the Singletons of County Clare, both families of note. When young Copley was eleven years old his mother was married to Peter Pelham, a widower with three sons—Peter, Charles, and William—and who subsequently became the father of another son, Henry, by this second marriage. Mr. Pelham was a portrait painter and a mezzotint engraver of unusual merit. One authority calls him “the founder of those arts in New England.” Mr. Pelham was also a man of education, a land surveyor, and a mathematician. He was thus well qualified to educate, assist, and stimulate young Copley in the pursuit of studies so natural and congenial to him. He is said to have been studious and quiet, and to have made rapid advances. When he was fifteen years old he painted a portrait of his step-brother, Charles Pelham, now in the family of a great-grandson, Mr. Charles Pelham Curtis, of Boston. At sixteen he published an engraving of Rev. William Welsteed, from a portrait painted by himself. The same year he painted the portrait of a child—afterward Dr. de Mountfort—now owned in Detroit. In 1754 he painted an allegorical picture of Mars,[Pg 260] Venus, and Vulcan, thirty inches long by twenty-five wide, now owned in Bridgewater, Mass. The next year he painted a miniature of George Washington, who was on a visit to Governor Shirley at the time. This picture now belongs to the family of the late George P. Putnam, of New York City. In 1756 he painted a three-quarters length portrait of General William Brattle, life size, signed and dated, and now owned by Mr. William S. Appleton. He now improved rapidly. A crayon portrait of Miss Rebecca Gardiner, afterward Mrs. Philip Dumaresq, an oil painting of Mrs. Edmund Perkins, a portrait of Rebecca Boylston, afterward wife of Governor Gill, portraits of Colonel and Mrs. Lee, grandparents of General William Raymond Lee, all exist and attest the continued growth of his powers. These date between 1763 and 1769. During this time he had access to and was a visitor in houses where were portraits by Saribest, Blackburn, Liopoldt, and even by Vandyck and Sir Godfrey Kneller. Mr. Augustus Thorndike Perkins, in his carefully written monograph on Copley, says that our artist must have seen all these pictures, since, as Dr. Gardiner says, “his genial disposition and his courtly manners make him a welcome guest everywhere.” Mr. Perkins remarks that Copley must have studied with Blackburn; that he imitated, but in some respects surpassed him. “Both frequently used, either as the lining of a dress or as drapery, a certain shade of mauve pink; Blackburn uses this shade feebly, while Copley dashes it on with the hand of a master.” On November 16, 1769, Copley married Susan (or Susannah, as it is sometimes written), the daughter of Mr. Richard Clarke, a distinguished merchant of Boston, to whom, as agent of the East India Company of London, was consigned the tea thrown overboard in Boston harbor. From all accounts he soon began to live in good style; and as, in 1771, Colonel Trumbull found him living opposite the Common, it is probable that he purchased at about that[Pg 261] time the property which afterward became so valuable, although long after Copley had ceased to be the owner. In 1773, says the late eminent conveyancer, Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, “Copley owned all the land bounded on the west by Charles River, thence by Beacon Street to Walnut Street, thence by Walnut Street to Mt. Vernon Street, thence by Mt. Vernon Street to Louisburg Square, thence by Louisburg Square to Pinckney Street, thence by Pinckney Street to the water, containing about eleven acres of land.” This land is now covered with handsome residences, and is of great value. An agent of Copley’s sold his property after he went abroad without being authorized to do so, and, although his son came over in 1795 to look into the matter, he was only able to secure a compromise by which a further sum of three thousand guineas was paid in final settlement.

Soon after his marriage Copley painted his picture of a “Boy with a Squirrel,” which he sent anonymously to Benjamin West, in London, for exhibition. West judged from the wood on which the picture was stretched and from the kind of squirrel that the work was American, and so excellent was the painting that a rule of the institution was set aside, and the picture exhibited. This picture is now in the possession of Mrs. James S. Amory, of Boston, a granddaughter of the artist. The boy in the picture was his half-brother Henry. The picture was so favorably received that Copley was advised to go to England. He sailed in 1774, and never returned.

Mr. Copley, soon after his arrival in London, passed over to the Continent, and through Italy, studying in Parma and in Rome. He visited Naples and Pæstum also. It is said that he studied so diligently that he was with difficulty persuaded to paint two portraits in Rome. In 1775 he travelled and studied in Germany, in Holland, and in France. This same year his wife and family joined him in England. These consisted of his wife, his son, John Singleton, who[Pg 262] afterward became the famous Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst; his daughter Elizabeth, afterward married to a distinguished merchant in Boston, and who survived to a great age; Mary Copley, who lived unmarried to the great age of ninety-four; and another son who died young. In 1777 he was made an Associate of the Royal Academy, and six years later an Academician. He was now in the full tide of success. He was offered five hundred guineas to paint a family group of six persons. The well-known group of Copley’s family, called the “Family Picture,” the “Death of Lord Chatham,” and “Watson and the Shark,” were on his easel in 1780. The picture of Lord Chatham falling senseless in the House of Lords was commenced soon after his death in 1778. It was engraved by Bartolozzi, and twenty-five hundred copies were sold in a few weeks. Copley exhibited the picture, to his own profit as well as fame.

In 1781 occurred the death of Major Pierson, shot in the moment of victory over the French troops who had invaded the island of Jersey. His death was instantly avenged by his black servant, and of this scene Copley made one of his finest pictures. He took pains, with his usual honesty, to go to St. Helier’s, and make a drawing of the locality. The picture is thoroughly realistic, although painful. His large picture of the “Repulse and Defeat of the Spanish Floating Batteries at Gibraltar” was painted on commission from the city of London. It is twenty-five feet long by twenty-two and a half feet high; but there are so many figures and so much distance to be shown in the painting that the artist really needed more room. Of the commander, Lord Heathfield, Sir Robert Royd, Sir William Green, and some twelve or fifteen others, the artist made careful portraits.

The story told by Elkanah Watson shows Copley’s strong sympathy for America. In 1782 Watson was in London, and Copley made a full-length portrait of him, and in his journal Watson says: “The painting was finished in most [Pg 263]exquisite style in every part, except the background, which Copley and I designed to represent a ship bearing to America the acknowledgments of our independence. The sun was just rising upon the stripes of the Union streaming from her gaff. All was complete save the flag, which Copley did not deem proper to hoist under the present circumstances, as his gallery was the constant resort of the royal family and the nobility. I dined with the artist on the glorious 5th of December, 1782. After listening with him to the speech of the king formally recognizing the United States of America as in the rank of nations, previous to dinner, and immediately after our return from the House of Lords, he invited me into his studio, and there, with a bold hand, a master’s touch, and, I believe, an American heart, he attached to the ship the stars and stripes. This was, I imagine, the first American flag hoisted in Old England.”

Copley purchased, for a London residence, the mansion-house in George Street belonging to Lord Fauconburg. It afterward became more widely known as the residence of his son, Lord Lyndhurst. Lord Mansfield’s residence was near by, and among the many commissions from public men was one to paint his lordship’s portrait. Perhaps one of the most interesting of all his commissions was one to paint the picture of Charles I. demanding the five obnoxious members from the Long Parliament, for which a number of gentlemen in Boston paid one thousand five hundred pounds. It is said that every face in this great picture was taken from a portrait at that time extant; and Mrs. Gardiner Greene narrates that she and her father were driven in a post-chaise over a considerable part of England, visiting every house in which there was a picture of a member of the famous Parliament, and were always received as honored guests. Copley’s painting of the death of Lord Chatham was much admired. So numerous were the subscriptions[Pg 264] for the engraving that it is said Copley must have received nearly, or quite, eleven thousand pounds for the picture and the engraved copies. It was quite natural for Copley to be popular with New Englanders; indeed, almost every Bostonian, at one time, on visiting London, made a point to bring home his portrait by Copley, if possible. There are known to exist in this country two hundred and sixty-nine oil-paintings, thirty-five crayons, and fourteen miniatures by him. These pictures are carefully cherished, as are indeed all memorials of this generous and kindly gentleman. Although his life was mostly passed in England, where he obtained wealth and renown, yet in a strong sense he could be claimed for Boston, as it was there he was born; it was there he received his artistic bias and education; it was there he was married, and had three children born to him; and, finally, it was there that he acquired a fair amount of fame and property solely by his brush. It will be worth while for the readers of this volume to take pains to see some of the more noteworthy Copleys.

A portrait of John Adams, full length, painted in London in 1783, is now in possession of Harvard College. A portrait of Samuel Adams, three-quarters length, spirited and beautiful, standing by a table, and holding a paper, hangs in Faneuil Hall. Another picture of Samuel Adams is in Harvard College, which also owns several other Copleys. A portrait of James Allen, a man of fortune, a patriot, and a scholar, is now owned by the Massachusetts Historical Society. The “Copley Family,” one of the artist’s very best pictures, is now owned in Boston by Mr. Amory, and, in fact, Mrs. James S. Amory owns a number of his best works.

Copley was a man of elegance and dignity, fond of the beautiful, particular in his dress, hospitable, and a lover of poetry and the arts. His favorite book was said to be “Paradise Lost.” His last picture was on the subject of the Resurrection.

[Pg 265] Benjamin West (1738-1820) was born at Springfield, Pennsylvania, of Quaker parentage. In the various narratives of his successful life many stories are told which appear somewhat fabulous, and most of which have nothing to do with his subsequent career. He is said to have made a pen-and-ink portrait of his little niece at the age of seven years; to have shaved the cat’s tail for paint brushes; to have received instruction in painting and archery from the Indians; to have so far conquered the prejudices of his relatives and their co-religionists to his adoption of an artist’s life that he was solemnly consecrated to it by the laying on of hands by the men, and the simultaneous kissing of the women. His love for art must have been very strong, and he was finally indulged, and assisted in it by his relatives, so that at the age of eighteen he was established as a portrait-painter in Philadelphia. By the kindness of friends in that city and in New York he was enabled to go to Italy, where he remained three years, making friends and reputation everywhere. Parma, Florence, and Bologna elected him a member of their Academies. He was only twenty-five years old when he went to England, on his way back to America. But he was so well received that he finally determined to remain in England, and a young lady named Elizabeth Shewell, to whom he had become engaged before going abroad, was kind and judicious enough to join him in London, where she became his wife, and was his faithful helpmate for fifty years. In 1766 he exhibited his “Orestes and Pylades,” which on account of its novelty and merit produced a sensation. He painted “Agrippina weeping over the Urn of Germanicus,” and by the Archbishop of York was introduced to George III. as its author. He immediately gained favor with the king, and was installed at Windsor as the court-painter with a salary of one thousand pounds per annum. This salary and position was continued for thirty-three years. He painted a series of subjects on a[Pg 266] grand scale from the life of Edward III. for St. George’s Hall, and twenty-eight scriptural subjects, besides nine portrait pictures of the royal family. In 1792, on the death of Reynolds, he was elected President of the Royal Academy, a position which, except a brief interregnum, he held until his death in March, 1820. He was greatly praised in his day, and doubtless thought himself a great artist. He painted a vast number of portraits and quite a number of pictures of classical and historical subjects. His “Lear” is in the Boston Athenæum; his “Hamlet and Ophelia” is in the Longworth collection in Cincinnati; “Christ Healing the Sick” is in the Pennsylvania Hospital; and the “Rejected Christ” is or was owned by Mr. Harrison, of Philadelphia. There are two portraits of West, one by Allston and one by Leslie, in the Boston Athenæum, and a full-length, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, in the Wadsworth Gallery in Hartford, Conn. One of West’s pictures did a great deal for his reputation, although it was quite a departure from the treatment and ideas then in vogue; this was the “Death of General Wolfe” on the Plains of Abraham. When it was known to artists and amateurs that his purpose was to depict the scene as it really might have happened he was greatly ridiculed. Even Sir Joshua Reynolds expressed an opinion against it; but when he saw the picture he owned that West was right. Hitherto no one had painted a scene from contemporary history with figures dressed in the costume of the day. But West depicted each officer and soldier in his uniform, and gave every man his pig-tail who wore one. The picture is spirited and well grouped. West was just such a practical, thoughtful, and kindly man as we might expect from his ancestry and surroundings.

George Romney (1734-1802), born in Beckside, near Dalton, in Cumberland. He married when he was twenty-two, and in his twenty-seventh year went to London with only thirty pounds in his pocket, leaving his wife with [Pg 267]seventy pounds and two young children. He returned home to die in 1799, and in the meantime saw his wife but twice. The year after his arrival in London he carried off the fifty-guinea prize on the subject of the “Death of Wolfe” from the Society of Arts. Through the influence of Sir Joshua Reynolds this was reconsidered, and the fifty-guinea prize was awarded to Mortimer for his “Edward the Confessor,” while Romney was put off with a gratuity of twenty-five guineas. This produced a feud between the two artists. Romney showed his resentment by exhibiting in a house in Spring Gardens, and never sending a picture to the Academy, while Reynolds would not so much as mention his name, but spoke of him as “the man in Cavendish Square.” This was after his return from the Continent; but before going to Italy he was distinctly the rival of Sir Joshua, so much so that there were two factions, and Romney’s studio, in Great Newport Street, was crowded with sitters, among whom was the famous Lord Chancellor Thurlow, whose full-length portrait is the pride of its possessor. At this time he was making about twelve hundred pounds a year, a very good income for those days. In 1773 he went to Rome with a letter to the Pope from the Duke of Richmond. His diary, which he kept for a friend, shows how conscientious and close was his observation and how great his zeal. He made a copy of the “Transfiguration,” for which he refused one hundred guineas, and which finally sold for six guineas after his death. On his return to London in 1775 he took the house in Cavendish Square, where he had great success. He painted a series of portraits of the Gower family, the largest being a group of children dancing, which Allan Cunningham commended as being “masterly and graceful.” Some of his portraits have a charm beyond his rivals. He painted portraits of Lady Hamilton, the friend of Lord Nelson—“the maid of all work, model, mistress, ambassadress, and pauper”[Pg 268]—scores of times, and in different attitudes and a variety of characters, as Hebe, a Bacchante, a Sibyl, as Joan of Arc, as “Sensibility,” as a St. Cecilia, as Cassandra, as Iphigenia, as Constance, as Calypso, as Circe, and as Mary Magdalen, and in some of these characters many times. He often worked thirteen hours a day, and did his fancy sketches when sitters disappointed him. He would paint a portrait of a gentleman in four sittings. He was extremely fond of portraying Shakespeare’s characters, and contributed to the Shakespeare Gallery formed by Alderman Boydell. He went to Paris in 1790, where Lord and Lady Gower introduced him to Louis Philippe, and through him to all the art treasures of the French capital. On his return to London he formed a plan of an art museum, to be furnished with casts of the finest statues in Rome, and spent a good deal of money in the erection of a large building for the purpose. His powers as an artist gradually waned. He left his Cavendish Square residence in 1797, and in 1799 returned to his family and home at Kendall. From this time to the close of his life in 1802 he was a mere wreck, and his artist life was over.

George Morland (1763-1804) was born in London, and the son of an artist. His father was unsuccessful, and poor George was articled to his father, after the English fashion, and was kept close at home and at work. It is said that his father stimulated him with rich food and drink to coax him to work. He was very precocious, and really had unusual talents. His subjects were those of rustic life, and his pictures contain animals wonderfully well painted, but his pigs surpass all. His character was pitiful; he was simply, at his best, a mere machine to make pictures. As for goodness, truth, or nobleness of any sort, there is not a syllable recorded in his favor. Strange to say, the pictures of his best time are masterpieces in their way, and have been sold at large prices.

[Pg 269] Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), born at Bristol, England, in the White Hart Inn, of which his father was landlord. He was wonderfully precocious, and as a child of five years would recite odes, and declaim passages from Milton and Shakespeare. Even at this early period he made chalk or pencil portraits, and at nine he finally decided to become a painter from having seen a picture by Rubens. At this period he made a colored chalk portrait of the beautiful Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, which still hangs in Chiswick House, in the room in which Charles Fox died. His father was the son of a clergyman, and was bred a lawyer, but had never prospered; still his culture and education gave a certain zest and tone to the mind of young Lawrence, and made him, with his elegant figure and handsome face, the successful courtier that he afterward became. He worked hard, with considerable success, and with but little instruction until, at the age of eighteen, he went to London for the first time. At that period he was described as being extremely handsome in person, with fine, regular features, brilliant eyes, and long, chestnut-colored hair falling to his shoulders. He lodged close by Sir Joshua Reynolds—then near the end of his career, and from him received much valuable advice. During Lawrence’s first years in London he attempted pictures illustrating classic art, but without much success. Indeed he was never successful in large, imaginative pictures, and during most of his career of more than forty years, confined himself to portraits. The time was propitious for him: Gainsborough was dead; Reynolds was almost blind, and had given up painting; and Romney had no hold on the court and the leaders of fashion. Lawrence raised his prices, and had all he could do. He adopted a more expensive style of dress, and in fact lived so extravagantly that he never arrived at what may be called easy circumstances—his open-handed generosity contributed to this result. He early received commissions from the[Pg 270] royal family. In 1791 he was elected an Associate, and in 1794 an Academician. The next year George III. appointed him painter in ordinary to his Majesty. He was thus fairly launched on a career that promised the highest success. In a certain sense he had it, but largely in a limited sense. He painted the portraits of people as he saw them; but he never looked behind the costume and the artificial society manner. He reproduced the pyramidically shaped coats and collars, the overlapping waistcoats of different colors, the Hessian boots, and the velvet coats, adorned with furs and frogs, of the fine gentlemen; and the turbans with birds-of-Paradise feathers, the gowns without waists, the bare arms and long gloves, the short leg-of-mutton sleeves, and other monstrosities of the ladies. And for thirty years his sitters were attired in red, or green, or blue, or purple. He absolutely revelled in the ugliness of fashion. Occasionally Lawrence did some very good things, as when he painted the Irish orator and patriot, Curran, in one sitting, in which, according to Williams, “he finished the most extraordinary likeness of the most extraordinary face within the memory of man.” He always painted standing, and often kept his sitters for three hours at a stretch, and sometimes required as many as nine sittings. On one occasion he is said to have worked all through one day, through that night, the next day, and through all the night following! By command of the prince regent he painted the allied sovereigns, their statesmen, princes, and generals—all the leading personages, in fact, in alliance against Napoleon. His pictures in the exhibition of 1815 were Mrs. Wolfe, the Prince Regent, Metternich, the Duke of Wellington, Blucher, the Hetman Platoff, and Mr. Hart Davis. During the Congress that met at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818, Lawrence was commissioned by the Prince Regent to paint its principal heads for an especial gallery. He thus had for sitters nearly all the leading statesmen of Europe. From Aix-la-Chapelle he went to[Pg 271] Vienna, and thence to Rome in 1819, where among others he painted likenesses of the Pope, of Cardinal Gonsalvi, and of Canova. Of the latter, Canova cried out, “Per Baccho, che nomo e questo!” It was considered a marvellous likeness; and without violating good taste he worked into the picture crimson velvet and damask, gold, precious marble, and fur, with a most brilliant effect. Before reaching home in London he was elected President of the Royal Academy. At this time he had been elected a member of the Roman Academy of St. Luke’s, of the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, and of the Fine Arts in New York. He continued to improve as a painter, and between 1825 and the year of his death, painted and exhibited some of his finest works. He usually exhibited eight pictures each year, and although without a rival, gave evidence of anxious care to sustain his reputation. He was especially successful with children, and many of these pictures—as well as of celebrities—were engraved, and have thus become known all over the world. Of his eight pictures exhibited in 1829—the last he ever contributed—Williams says: “It is difficult to imagine a more undeviating excellence, an infallible accuracy of likeness, with an elevation of art below which it seemed impossible for him to descend.” Lawrence died on the morning of the 7th of January, 1830, with but little warning, from ossification of the heart; he was buried with much pomp and honor in St. Paul’s Cathedral, by the side of Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Fig 73 Fig. 73.—Portrait of Turner.

Joseph M. W. Turner, R.A. (1775-1851).—It is believed, by those who have investigated the question most carefully, that this eminent artist and most remarkable man was born in Maiden Lane, London, April 3, 1775, although the artist himself has stated that he was born in Devonshire, April 23, 1769. Turner’s father, William Turner, was a native of Devonshire, but came to London while young, and did a fair business in the Covent [Pg 273]Garden district as a hair-dresser, wig-maker, and in shaving people. The father was garrulous, like the traditional hair-dresser, with a pleasant laugh, and a fresh, smiling face. He had a parrot nose and a projecting chin. Turner’s mother was a Miss Mallord (or Marshall), of good family, but a violent-tempered woman, with a hawk nose and a fierce visage. Her life ended in a lunatic asylum. The artist, who was always impatient of inquiry into his domestic matters, resented any allusion to his mother, and never spoke of her. The manifest peculiarities of his parents had an impression upon Turner, and would have made him eccentric had there been no other influences of a kindred nature. The parents were under-sized, and of limited mental range; they were of very little personal assistance to their gifted son, although the father in later years busied himself in mixing colors, adjusting pictures to frames, and sometimes he was entrusted with certain rough work at filling in backgrounds. When Turner was but five years old he is said to have made, from memory, a fair copy of a lion rampant engraved on a silver salver, which he had seen while accompanying his father to the house of a customer. Presently the boy began to copy pictures in water-colors, and then to make sketches from nature of scenes along the river Thames. In his ninth year he drew a picture of Margate Church. When he was ten years old he was sent to school at Brentford-Butts, where he remained two years, boarding with his uncle, the local butcher. His leisure hours were spent in dreamy wanderings and in making countless sketches of birds, trees, flowers, and domestic fowls. He acquired a smattering of the classics and some knowledge of legends and ancient history. On his return to London he received instruction from Palice in painting flowers, and, after a year or two, was sent to Margate, in Kent, to Coleman’s school. Here he had more scope and a wider range, and made pictures of the sea, the chalk cliffs,[Pg 274] the undulations of the coast, and the glorious effects of cloud scenery. On his return from Margate he began to earn money by coloring engravings and by painting skies in amateurs’ drawings and in architects’ plans at half a crown an evening. He always deemed this good practice, as he thus acquired facility and skill in gradations. His father at one time thought to make an architect of him, and sent him to Tom Malton to study perspective. But he failed in the exact branch of the profession, and neither with Malton nor with the architect Hardwick did he give satisfaction. While with Hardwick he drew careful sketches of old houses and churches, and this practice must have been of much use to him in after-life. His father finally sent him to the Royal Academy, where he studied hard, drawing from Greek models and the formal classic architecture. About this time he was employed, at half a crown an evening, with supper thrown in, to make copies of pictures by Dr. Munro, of Adelphi Terrace. Munro was one of the physicians employed in the care of George III. when he had a crazy spell, and owned many valuable pictures by Salvator-Rosa, Rembrandt, Snyder, Gainsborough, Hearne, Cozens, and others. He had also portfolios full of drawings of castles and cathedrals, and of Swiss and Italian scenery, and of sketches by Claude and Titian. Turner was also employed to sketch from nature in all directions about London. In these tasks he had for a constant companion “Honest Tom Girtin,” a young fellow of Turner’s own age, who afterward married a wealthy lady, had rich patrons, and died before he was thirty. Had he lived to mature years, Girtin would have been a powerful rival to Turner. They were most excellent friends, and when Girtin died in Rome, Turner was one of his most sincere mourners. Toward the close of Sir Joshua Reynolds’ life, Turner frequented his studio, copied pictures, and acquired some art secrets. He began to teach water-color drawing in[Pg 275] schools, while still a boy, at from a crown to a guinea a lesson. He made hundreds of sketches in a part of London now built over compactly with houses in streets and squares, but then picturesque in hills and dells, in wooded fields and green lanes. With all his baggage tied in a handkerchief on the end of his walking-stick, he made a sketching tour through the towns of Rochester, Canterbury, Margate, and others, in Kent, in 1793, and about this time began to paint in oil. His first contribution to the Royal Academy was a water-color sketch in 1790. Within the next ten years he exhibited over sixty pictures of castles, cathedrals, and landscapes. All through his life he made sketches. Wherever he was, if he saw a fine or an unusual effect, he treasured it up for use. He sketched on any bit of paper, or even on his thumb-nail, if he had nothing better. Nothing escaped his attention, whether of earth, or sea, or sky. Probably no artist that ever lived gave nature such careful and profound study. His studies of cloud scenery were almost a revelation to mankind. In all this Turner drew his instruction as well as his inspiration from nature. The critics did nothing for him; he rather opened the eyes of even such men as Ruskin to the wonders of the natural world. But these results all came later, and were the fruit of and resulted from his constant and incessant studies.

Fig 74 Fig. 74.—Nantes. By Turner.

In 1794 and 1795 he made elaborate drawings of Rochester, Chepstow, Birmingham, Worcester, Guildford, Cambridge, and other towns, for magazines. In 1796 he did the same for Chester, Bristol, Leith, Peterborough, and Windsor. Within the next four years he completed the circuit of twenty-six counties in England and Wales, and he also exhibited twenty-three highly finished drawings of cathedrals and churches. He was slow to undertake oil-painting, preferring the more rapid touch and the light-and-shade effect of the crayon, or the delicate and beautiful[Pg 277] effects of water-colors. He was always greater as a painter in water-colors than in oils, and it is claimed by Redgrave that “the art all but began with him,” and that his water-color paintings “epitomize the whole mystery of landscape art.” Some of his paintings in this line have been sold at enormous prices, and even in his own day his water-color picture of Tivoli sold for eighteen hundred guineas. Turner became as fond of Northern Yorkshire—which he first visited in 1797—as he was of Southern Kent. He found there a great variety of scenery, from the sweet and peaceful to the ennobling and grand. He visited and made studies from all the old cathedrals, castles, and abbeys, and in 1798 he exhibited pictures of Fountain and Kirkstall Abbeys, Holy Island Cathedral, Buttermere Lake, Dunstanborough Castle, as well as “Morning Among the Corriston Fells.” He found in Yorkshire also some of his warmest friends and most munificent patrons, notably Mr. Hawkesworth Fawkes, of Farnley Hall, whose house was adorned with fifty thousand dollars’ worth of Turner’s pictures. Some additions to Farnley Hall were designed by Turner, and he was always a welcome visitor. Here he sketched, and at intervals enjoyed himself greatly in hunting and fishing. It is said that the Farnley portfolios still contain sketches not only of the hall and its precincts, but of coast scenes, Swiss views, drawings of birds, illustrations of the Civil War, and, more especially, of fifty-three remarkable drawings of the Rhineland regions, done at the rate of three a day; these last were offered by Turner to Mr. Fawkes on his return from the Continent for the sum of five hundred pounds, and the bargain was closed at once. When Mr. Fawkes visited London he spent hours in Turner’s private gallery, but was never shown into the painting-room. Indeed, very few persons were ever allowed there. Once, when Turner dined at a hotel with Mr. Fawkes, the artist took too much wine, and reeled about, exclaiming, “Hawkey, I am the real lion—I am the great[Pg 278] lion of the day, Hawkey.” When Mr. Fawkes died, ended Turner’s visits to Farnley. He never went there again, but when the younger Fawkes brought the Rhine drawings up to London for him to see again, he passed his hand over the “Lorelei Twilight,” saying, with tears in his eyes, “But Hawkey! but Hawkey!” When Mr. Wells, an artist of Addiscomb, died he mourned his loss bitterly, and exclaimed to his daughter: “Oh, Clara, Clara, these are iron tears! I have lost the best friend I ever had in my life!” In this family all the children loved him. He would lie on the floor, and play with them, and the oldest daughter afterward said: “Of all the light-hearted, merry creatures I ever knew, Turner was the most so.” But in 1797 Turner had a bitter disappointment which warped and distorted all his after-life. A young lady to whom he had become attached while a schoolboy at Margate, was engaged to be married to him. He had been absent for two years on sketching tours, and the step-mother of the young lady had intercepted and destroyed his letters, so that at last she believed the representations made that Turner had deserted her. She became engaged to another, and was about to be married, when Turner appeared, and pleaded passionately that she would return to him. She thought that she had been trifled with, and held by her refusal, and did not find out the wrongs done by the step-mother until it was too late. This disappointment led to greater self-concentration and stingy money-getting until it became the absorbing passion of his life, so that the artist passion was dominated by it.

It would take up too large a portion of this book to describe even briefly Turner’s travels and works. Only a bare outline can be given. In 1800 he became an Associate of the Royal Academy. He moved into a more commodious house at 64 Harley Street. During this year he exhibited pictures of Caernarvon Castle and the “Fifth[Pg 279] Plague of Egypt;” also fine views of Fonthill Abbey, the new palace of Beckford, with whom he spent much time. The only portrait for which Turner ever sat was painted in 1800 by George Dance. It shows a handsome young man, with a full but receding forehead, arched eyebrows, a prominent nose, a massive chin, and a sensual mouth. His thick and wiry hair is tied behind, and he wears a coat with an immense cape. By this time full-bottomed wigs had gone out of fashion, and the old barber abandoned his business to go and live with his artist son. In 1801 Turner exhibited pictures of St. Donat’s Castle and Pembroke Castle in Wales, the Salisbury Chapter-house, an autumn morning in London, the destruction of the Median army, and Dutch fishing-boats in a gale. He had begun his contest with Claude by painting pictures of classical subjects in Claude’s manner. Turner was elected Royal Academician in 1802, and exhibited several notable oil-paintings, signed with all his initials, which he thenceforth used. The Academy had been quick to recognize Turner’s genius, and he was always its faithful, conservative, and zealous friend. As an auditor, councillor, or a visitor he was scrupulous, and he attended general meetings and formal dinners with the same promptitude and certainty with which for forty-five years he sent his pictures to the annual exhibitions. He was a peacemaker in debates, but in business he was irresolute. In 1802 he visited the Continent for the first time, travelling in France, Switzerland, and Italy, and everywhere making sketches. At this time he carried sketch-books in which he jotted everything—all manner of drawings and outlines of nature and architecture, notes of local gossip, chemical memoranda, notes of expenses, tavern bills, views of coasts and cities, ruins, castles, manufacturing works, and detached figures. One book gives views about the Simplon Pass, another the sea-coast from Nice to Genoa, another contains countless jottings from the pictures in the Vatican,[Pg 280] another is taken up with views in Paris and Rouen, and several are devoted to Scottish scenery.

In 1806 Turner began his Liber Studiorum, in rivalship of Claude’s Liber Veritatis; it was issued in parts in dark blue covers, each part containing five plates. It was discontinued in 1814, after seventy plates had been issued. Although not remunerative at the time, in later days as high as three thousand pounds has been paid for a single copy of the Liber, while the subscription price was only seventeen pounds ten shillings; even before Turner died a copy of it was worth over thirty guineas. Charles Turner, the engraver, used the proofs for kindling-paper; but some years later Colnaghi, the print dealer, paid him fifteen hundred pounds for his remaining “rubbish,” as he considered it. “Good God!” cried the old engraver; “I have been burning bank-notes all my life!” In 1878 Professor Norton, of Harvard University, published a set of thirty-three of the best of the Liber studies, reproduced in Boston by the heliotype process. The Liber Studiorum was intended to manifest Turner’s command of the whole compass of the landscape art, and was divided into six heads: historical, pastoral, elegant pastoral, mountain, marine, and architectural.

In 1808 Turner was appointed Professor of Perspective in the Royal Academy. During two or three years only, out of the thirty in which he held the professorship, did he deliver lectures. He spoke in a deep and mumbling voice, was confused and tedious in manner, and frequently became hopelessly entangled in blind mazes of obscure words. Sometimes when he had written out his lectures he was unable to read them. Once, after fumbling in his pockets, he exclaimed: “Gentlemen, I’ve been and left my lecture in the hackney-coach.” Still he was interested in this work, and Ruskin says: “The zealous care with which Turner endeavored to do his duty is proved by a large existing series of drawings, exquisitely tinted, and often completely colored,[Pg 281] all by his own hand, of the most difficult perspective subjects—illustrating not only directions of light, but effects of light, with a care and completion which would put the work of any ordinary teacher to utter shame.” During this year he took a house at Hammersmith, Upper Mall, the garden of which ran down to the Thames, but still retained his residence in Harley Street. In 1812 he first occupied the house No. 47 Queen Anne Street, and this house he retained for forty years. It was dull, dingy, unpainted, weather-beaten, sooty, with unwashed windows and shaky doors, and seemed the very abode of poverty, and yet when Turner died his estate was sworn as under one hundred and forty thousand pounds—seven hundred thousand dollars. When Turner’s father died in 1830 he was succeeded by a withered and sluttish old woman named Danby. The whole house was dreary, dirty, damp, and full of litter. The master had a fancy for tailless—Manx—cats, and these made their beds everywhere without disturbance. In the gallery were thirty thousand fine proofs of engravings piled up and rotting. His studio had a fair north light from two windows, and was surrounded by water-color drawings. His sherry-bottle was kept in an old second-hand buffet.

About 1813 or 1814 Turner purchased a place at Twickenham; he rebuilt the house, and called it Solus Lodge. The rooms were small, and contained models of rigged ships which he used in his marine views; in his jungle-like garden he grew aquatic plants which he often copied in foregrounds. He kept a boat for fishing and marine sketching; also a gig and an old cropped-eared horse, with which he made sketching excursions. He made at this time the acquaintance of Rev. Mr. Trimmer, the rector of the church at Heston, who was a lover of art, and often took journeys with Turner. While visiting at the rectory Turner regularly attended church in proper form; and finally he wrote a note to Mr. Trimmer, alluding to his affection for one of the [Pg 282]rector’s kinswomen, and suggesting: “If Miss —— would but waive bashfulness, or in other words make an offer instead of expecting one, the same [Lodge] might change occupiers.” But Turner was doomed to disappointment, and never made another attempt at matrimony. In 1814 Turner commenced his contributions of drawings to illustrate “Cook’s Southern Coast,” and continued this congenial work for twelve years, making forty drawings at the rate of about twenty guineas each; the drawings were returned to the artist after being engraved. In 1815 he exhibited the “Dido Building Carthage,” and in 1817 a companion picture, the “Decline of the Carthaginian Empire,” and for these two pictures the artist refused five thousand pounds, having secretly willed them to the National Gallery.

Ruskin divides Turner’s art life into three periods: that of study, from 1800 to 1820; that of working out art theories toward an ideal, from 1820 to 1835; and that of recording his own impressions of nature, from 1835 to 1845, preceded by a period of development, and followed by a period of decline, from 1845 to 1850. Besides his pictures painted on private commission, Turner exhibited two hundred and seventy-five pictures at the Academy. The “Rivers of England” was published in 1824, with sixteen engravings after Turner; another series contained six illustrations of the “Ports of England”—second-class cities. In 1826 the “Provincial Antiquities of Scotland” was published, with thirteen illustrations by Turner. The same year he sold his house at Twickenham, because, he said, “Dad” was always working in the garden, and catching abominable colds. In 1827 Turner commenced the “England and Wales” on his own account, and continued it for eleven years. It consisted of a hundred plates, illustrating ports, castles, abbeys, cathedrals, palaces, coast views, and lakes. In 1828 Turner went to Rome by way of Nismes, Avignon, Marseilles, Nice, and Genoa; and this year painted his[Pg 283] “Ulysses Dividing Polyphemus,” of which Thornbury says: “For color, for life and shade, for composition, this seems to me to be the most wonderful and admirable of Turner’s realisms.” Ruskin calls it his central picture, illustrating his perfect power.

Of Turner’s wonderful versatility, Ruskin says: “There is architecture, including a large number of formal ‘gentlemen’s seats;’ then lowland pastoral scenery of every kind, including nearly all farming operations, plowing, harrowing, hedging and ditching, felling trees, sheep-washing, and I know not what else; there are all kinds of town life, court-yards of inns, starting of mail coaches, interiors of shops, house-buildings, fairs, and elections; then all kinds of inner domestic life, interiors of rooms, studies of costumes, of still-life and heraldry, including multitudes of symbolical vignettes; then marine scenery of every kind, full of local incident—every kind of boat, and the methods of fishing for particular fish being specifically drawn—round the whole coast of England; pilchard-fishing at St. Ives, whiting-fishing at Margate, herring at Loch Fyne, and all kinds of shipping, including studies of every separate part of the vessels, and many marine battle-pieces; then all kinds of mountain scenery, some idealized into compositions, others of definite localities, together with classical compositions; Romes and Carthages, and such others by the myriad, with mythological, historical, or allegorical figures; nymphs, monsters, and spectres, heroes and divinities.... Throughout the whole period with which we are at present concerned, Turner appears as a man of sympathy absolutely infinite—a sympathy so all-embracing that I know nothing but that of Shakespeare comparable with it. A soldier’s wife resting by the roadside is not beneath it; Rizpah watching the dead bodies of her sons, not above it. Nothing can possibly be so mean as that it will not interest his whole mind and carry his whole heart; nothing[Pg 284] so great or solemn but that he can raise himself into harmony with it; and it is impossible to prophesy of him at any moment whether the next he will be in laughter or tears.”

In 1832 Turner made a will in which he bequeathed the bulk of his estate for the founding of an institution “for the Maintenance and Support of Poor and Decayed Male Artists being born in England and of English parents only, and of lawful issue.” It was to be called “Turner’s Gift,” and for the next twenty years the artist pinched, and economized to increase the fund for his noble purpose. At this time he was entering upon his third manner—that of his highest excellence, when he “went to the cataract for its iris, and the conflagration for its flames; asked of the sky its intensest azure, of the sun its clearest gold.” It is remarked by Ruskin, who has made most profound study of Turner’s works, that he had an underlying meaning or moral in his groups of foreign pictures; in Carthage, he illustrated the danger of the pursuit of wealth; in Rome, the fate of unbridled ambition; and in Venice, the vanity of pleasure and luxury. The Venetian pictures began in 1833, with a painting of the Doge’s Palace, Dogana, Campanile, and Bridge of Sighs; and with these were exhibited “Van Tromp Returning from Battle,” the “Rotterdam Ferry-boat,” and the “Mouth of the Seine.” In 1830 or 1831 he made, on commission from the publisher Cadell, twenty-four sketches to illustrate Walter Scott’s poems—published in 1834—and while doing this he was entertained royally at Abbotsford, and made excursions with Scott and Lockhart to Dryburgh Abbey and other points of interest. He went as far north as the Isle of Skye, where he drew Loch Corriskin, and nearly lost his life by a fall. About this time he made a series of illustrations for Scott’s “Life of Napoleon.” Turner spent some time in Edinburgh, frequently sketching with Thomson, a clergyman[Pg 286] and local artist, who was preferred by some of the Scotch amateurs to Turner. He one day called at Thomson’s house to examine his paintings, but instead of expected praises he merely remarked, “You beat me in frames.” Turner made thirty-three illustrations for Rogers’s “Poems” (Fig. 75), and seventeen for an extended edition of Byron. He was in the habit at this time of frequently walking to Cowley Hall, the residence of a Mr. Rose, where he was kindly welcomed. He was there called “Old Pogey.” One day Mrs. Rose asked him to paint her favorite spaniel; in amazement he cried, “My dear madam, you do not know what you ask;” and always after this the lady went by the title of “My dear madam.” Mr. Rose tells how he and Turner sat up one night until two o’clock drinking cognac and water, and talking of their travels. When Mrs. Rose and a lady, a friend, visited Turner in a house in Harley Street, in mid-winter, they were entertained with wine and biscuits in a cold room, without a fire, where they saw seven tailless cats, which Turner said were brought from the Isle of Man.

Fig 75 Fig. 75.—Illustration from Rogers’s Poems.

For three years Turner travelled in France, and made studies and sketches up and down its rivers. These were first published as “Turner’s Annual Tour,” but were afterward brought out by Bohn as “Liber Fluviorum.” These sketches have been highly praised by Ruskin; but Hammerton, who certainly knows French scenery far more accurately than Ruskin, while praising the exquisite beauty of Turner’s work, challenges its accuracy, and especially as to color, saying that “Turner, as a colorist, was splendid and powerful, but utterly unfaithful.” Leitch Ritchie, who was associated with Turner in this work, could not travel with him, their tastes were so unlike; and he says that Turner’s drawings were marvellously exaggerated, that he would make a splendid picture of a place without a single correct detail, trebling the height of spires and throwing in[Pg 287] imaginary accessories. Turner always claimed the right to change the groupings of his landscapes and architecture at will, preferring to give a general and idealized view of the landscape rather than a precise copy thereof.

In 1835 he exhibited “Heidelberg Castle in the Olden Time,” “Ehrenbreitstein,” “Venice from the Salute Church,” and “Line-fishing off Hastings.” In 1836 he exhibited a “View of Rome from the Aventine Hill,” and the “Burning of the House of Lords and Commons,” which last was almost entirely painted on the walls of the exhibition. At this time it was the custom to have what were called “varnishing days” at the exhibition, during which time artists retouched, and finished up their pictures. They were periods of fun and practical jokes, and Turner always enjoyed, and made the most of them. He frequently sent his canvas to the Academy merely sketched out and grounded, and then coming in as early as four in the morning on varnishing days, he would put his nose to the sketch and work steadily with thousands of imperceptible touches until nightfall, while his picture would begin to glow as by magic. About this time he exhibited many pictures founded on classical subjects, or with the scenes laid in Italy or Greece, as “Apollo and Daphne in the Vale of Tempe,” “Regulus Leaving Rome to Return to Carthage,” the “Parting of Hero and Leander,” “Phryne Going to the Public Baths as Venus,” the “Banishment of Ovid from Rome, with Views of the Bridge and Castle of St. Angelo.” A year later he exhibited pictures of “Ancient Rome,” a vast dreamy pile of palaces, and “Modern Rome,” with a view of the “Forum in Ruins.”

One of the most celebrated of Turner’s pictures was that of the “Old Téméraire,” an old and famous line-of-battle ship, which in the battle of Trafalgar ran in between and captured the French frigates Redoubtable and Fougueux. Turner saw the Téméraire in the Thames after she had [Pg 288]become old, and was condemned to be dismantled. The scene is laid at sunset, when the smouldering, red light is vividly reflected on the river, and contrasts with the quiet, gray and pearly tints about the low-hung moon. The majestic old ship looms up through these changing lights, bathed in splendor. The artist refused a large price for this picture by Mr. Lennox, of New York, and finally bequeathed it to the nation. In 1840 Turner exhibited the “Bacchus and Ariadne,” two marine scenes, and two views in Venice; also the well-known “Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, a Typhoon Coming On” (Fig. 76), which is now in the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston. Of this picture Thackeray says: “I don’t know whether it is sublime or ridiculous.” But Ruskin, in “Modern Painters,” says: “I believe if I were reduced to test Turner’s immortality upon any single work, I should choose the ‘Slave Ship.’ Its daring conception, ideal in the highest sense of the word, is based on the purest truth, and wrought out with the concentrated knowledge of a life. Its color is absolutely perfect, not one false or morbid hue in any part or line, and so modulated that every square inch of canvas is a perfect composition; its drawing as accurate as fearless; the ship buoyant, bending, and full of motion; its tones as true as they are wonderful; and the whole picture dedicated to the most sublime of subjects and impressions (completing thus the perfect system of all truth which we have shown to be formed by Turner’s works), the power, majesty, and deathfulness of the open, deep, illimitable sea.”

Fig 76 Fig. 76.—The Slave Ship. By Turner.

No painter of modern times, or perhaps of any time, has ever provoked the discussion of his merits which Turner did. When he was at his best his great merits and his originality procured for him the strongest defenders, and finally brought his pictures into favor with the wealthy middle class of England, so that he obtained high prices, and since his death these prices have doubled, and even quadrupled. At[Pg 290] a sale of Mr. Bicknell’s collection in 1836, ten of Turner’s pictures, which had been bought for three thousand seven hundred and forty-nine pounds, were sold for seventeen thousand and ninety-four pounds. As Turner grew older and his manner deteriorated he was assailed by the wits, the art critics, and the amateurs with cruel badinage, and to these censures Turner was morbidly sensitive. But even Ruskin admits that the pictures of his last five years are of “wholly inferior value,” with unsatisfactory foliage, chalky faces, and general indications of feebleness of hand.

Wornum, in his Epochs of Painting, said: “In the last ten years of his career, and occasionally before, Turner was extravagant to an extreme degree; he played equally with nature and with his colors. Light, with all its prismatic varieties, seems to have been the chief object of his studies; individuality of form or color he was wholly indifferent to. The looseness of execution in his latest works has not even the apology of having been attempted on scientific principles; he did not work upon a particular point of a picture as a focus and leave the rest obscure, as a foil to enhance it, on a principle of unity; on the contrary, all is equally obscure and wild alike. These last productions are a calamity to his reputation; yet we may, perhaps, safely assert that since Rembrandt there has been no painter of such originality and power as Turner.” Dr. Waagen says in his Treasury of Art in Great Britain: “No landscape painter has yet appeared with such versatility of talent. His historical landscapes exhibit the most exquisite feeling for beauty of hues and effect of lighting, at the same time that he has the power of making them express the most varied moods of nature.”

Toward the last part of his life Turner’s peculiarities increased; he became more morose, more jealous. He was always unwilling to have even his most intimate friends visit his studio, but he finally withdrew from his[Pg 291] own house and home. Of late years he had frequently left his house for months at a time, and secreted himself in some distant quarter, taking care that he should not be followed or known. When the great Exhibition of 1851 opened, Turner left orders with his housekeeper that no one should be admitted to see his pictures. For twenty years the rain had been streaming in upon them through the leaky roof, and many were hopelessly ruined. He sent no pictures to the exhibition of that year, and he was hardly to be recognized when he appeared in the gallery. Finally his prolonged absence from the Academy meetings alarmed his friends; but no one dared seek him out. His housekeeper alone, of all that had known him, had the interest to hunt up the old artist. Taking a hint from a letter in one of his coats, she went to Chelsea, and, after careful search, found his hiding-place, with but one more day of life in him. It is said that, feeling the need of purer air than that of Queen Anne Street, he went out to Chelsea and found an eligible, little cottage by the side of the river, with a railed-in roof whence he could observe the sky. The landlady demanded references from the shabby, old man, when he testily replied, “My good woman, I’ll buy the house outright.” She then demanded his name—“in case, sir, any gentleman should call, you know.” “Name?” said he, “what’s your name?” “My name is Mrs. Booth.” “Then I am Mr. Booth.” And so he was known, the boys along the river-side calling him “Puggy Booth,” and the tradesmen “Admiral Booth,” the theory being that he was an old admiral in reduced circumstances. In a low studded, attic room, poorly furnished, with a single roof window, the great artist was found in his mortal sickness. He sent for his favorite doctor from Margate, who frankly told him that death was at hand. “Go down stairs,” exclaimed Turner, “take a glass of sherry, and then look at me again.” But no stimulant could change the verdict of the physician. An[Pg 292] hour before he died he was wheeled to the window for a last look at the Thames, bathed in sunshine and dotted with sails. Up to the last sickness the lonely, old man rose at daybreak to watch, from the roof of the cottage, the sun rise and the purple flush of the coming day. The funeral, from the house in Queen Anne Street, was imposing, with a long line of carriages, and conducted with the ritual of the English Church in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Dean Milman read the service, and at its conclusion the coffin was borne to the catacombs, and placed between the tombs of James Barry and Sir Joshua Reynolds. Turner’s will, with its codicils, was so confused and vague that the lawyers fought it in the courts for four years, and it was finally settled by compromise. The real estate went to the heir-at-law, the pictures and drawings to the National Gallery, one thousand pounds for a monument in St. Paul’s Cathedral, and twenty thousand pounds to the Royal Academy for annuities to poor artists. Turner’s gift to the British nation included ninety-eight finished paintings and two hundred and seventy pictures in various stages of progress. Ruskin, while arranging and classifying Turner’s drawings, found more than nineteen thousand sketches and fragments by the master’s hand, some covered with the dust of thirty years.

Sir David Wilkie (1785-1841) has been called the “prince of British genre painters.” His father was a minister, and David was placed in the Trustees’ Academy in Edinburgh in 1799. In 1805 he entered the Royal Academy in London, and was much noticed on account of his “Village Politicians,” exhibited the next year. From this time his fame and popularity were established, and each new work was simply a new triumph for him. The “Card Players,” “Rent Day,” the “Village Festival,” and others were rapidly painted and exhibited.

In 1825 Wilkie went to the Continent, and remained three years. He visited France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, and[Pg 293] after his return he painted a new class of subjects in a new manner. He made many portraits, and his other works were historical subjects. His most celebrated works in this second manner were “John Knox Preaching,” “Napoleon and the Pope at Fontainebleau,” and “Peep-o’-Day Boy’s Cabin.” The portrait of the landscape painter William Daniell is a good picture.

In 1830 Wilkie succeeded Sir Thomas Lawrence as painter to the king, as he had been limner to the King of Scotland since 1822. He was not knighted until 1836. In 1840 he visited Constantinople, and made a portrait of the sultan; he went then to the Holy Land and Egypt. While at Alexandria, on his way home, Wilkie complained of illness, and on shipboard, off Gibraltar, he died, and was buried at sea. This burial is the subject of one of Turner’s pictures, and is now in the National Gallery.

The name of Landseer is an important one in British art. John Landseer (1761-1852) was an eminent engraver; his son Thomas (1795-1880) followed the profession of his father and arrived at great celebrity in it. Charles, born in 1799, another son of John Landseer, became a painter and devoted himself to a sort of historical genre line of subjects, such as “Cromwell at the House of Sir Walter Stewart in 1651,” “Surrender of Arundel Castle in 1643,” and various others of a like nature. Charles Landseer travelled in Portugal and Brazil when a young man; he was made a member of the Royal Academy in 1845; from 1851 to 1871 he was keeper of the Academy, and has been an industrious and respected artist. But the great genius of the family was:

Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-1873), the youngest son of John Landseer, the engraver. He received his first drawing lessons from his father, and from a very early age showed a great talent for sketching and that love for the brute creation which have been his chief characteristics as an[Pg 294] artist. He had the power to understand his dumb subjects as well as if they spoke some language together, and then he had the ability to fix the meaning of all they had told him upon his canvas, by means of the sketching lines which gave the precise form of it all and by his finishing shades which put in the expression. If his animals were prosperous and gladsome, he represented their good fortune with hearty pleasure; if they were suffering, sad, or bereaved, he painted their woes with a sympathy such as none but a true friend can give.

When Edwin and Thomas were old enough that their father thought other instruction than his own should be given them, he placed them with Haydon, and in these early days the master predicted that Edwin Landseer would be the Snyders of England. Edwin sent his first picture to the Royal Academy when he was but thirteen years old, and during the following fifty-eight years there were but six exhibitions to which he did not contribute. When he began his studies at the Royal Academy he was fourteen years old, and already famous as an animal painter. He was a bright, curly-headed, manly lad, and the aged Fuseli, then keeper of the Academy, grew to be very fond of him; he would often ask, “Where is my little dog-boy?”

Edwin Landseer now worked on diligently and quietly; his works were constantly praised, and he received all the patronage that he desired. Through the advice of his master, Haydon, he had the habit of dissecting animals, and learning their anatomy with all the exactness with which other artists study that of human beings. About 1820 a lion died in the Exeter Change Menagerie, and Edwin Landseer secured the body for dissection. He then painted three large pictures of lions, and during the year in which he became eighteen years old, he exhibited these pictures and others of horses, dogs, donkeys, deer, goats, wolves, and vultures.

[Pg 295] When nineteen, in 1821, he painted “Pointers, To-ho!” a hunting scene, which was sold in 1872, the year before his death, for two thousand and sixteen pounds. In 1822 Landseer gained the prize of the British Institution, one hundred and fifty pounds, by his picture of “The Larder Invaded.” He made the first sketch for this on a child’s slate, which is still preserved as a treasure. But the most famous of this master’s early works is the “Cat’s Paw,” in which a monkey uses a cat’s paw to draw chestnuts from a hot stove. Landseer was paid one hundred pounds; its present value is three thousand pounds, and it is kept at the seat of the Earl of Essex, Cashiobury.

This picture of the “Cat’s Paw” had an important result for the young artist, as it happened that it was exhibited when Sir Walter Scott was in London, and he was so much pleased with it that he made Landseer’s acquaintance, and invited him to visit Abbotsford. Accordingly, in 1824, Landseer visited Sir Walter in company with Leslie, who then painted a portrait of the great novelist, which now belongs to the Ticknor family of Boston. It was at this time that Sir Walter wrote in his journal: “Landseer’s dogs were the most magnificent things I ever saw, leaping, and bounding, and grinning all over the canvas.” Out of this visit came a picture called “A Scene at Abbotsford,” in which the dog Maida, so loved by Scott, was the prominent figure; six weeks after it was finished the dog died.

At this time Sir Walter was not known as the author of the “Waverley Novels,” but in later years Landseer painted a picture which he called “Extract from a Journal whilst at Abbotsford,” to which the following was attached: “Found the great poet in his study, laughing at a collie dog playing with Maida, his favorite old greyhound, given him by Glengarry, and quoting Shakespeare—‘Crabbed old age and youth cannot agree.’ On the floor was the cover of a proof-sheet, sent for correction by Constable,[Pg 296] of the novel then in progress. N. B.—This took place before he was the acknowledged author of the ‘Waverley Novels.’” Landseer early suspected Scott of the authorship of the novels, and without doubt he came to this conclusion from what he saw at Abbotsford.

Landseer repeated his visits to Scotland for many years, and saw all parts of that country at various seasons. From the time of his first visit there was a new feeling in his works—a breadth and power was in them which he gained from nature, and a refinement and elevation which he undoubtedly received from his friendship with Sir Walter and the impetus it gave him. He also became so interested in the Gaelic people that he painted good pictures of them. At first these men did not know what to make of a huntsman who would throw away his gun when fine game appeared, and draw out pencils and paper to make pictures of what others were so eager to shoot. This tendency made him a poor hunter; but he was intensely interested in the chase, and especially in deer-stalking. He insisted that deer had intelligence, and the question was whether the game or the hunter happened to have the superior mind. When in London the artist was a quiet, society gentleman; but each year he broke away from all city habits, and went to the Highlands, where he divided his days between the chase and painting portraits of his friends there with their children and pets, or putting frescoes on the walls of their houses.

Landseer continued to live in his father’s house long after he was a famous man. The senior artist conducted all business matters—sold pictures, and took the money for them as if his son was still a boy. At length, through the advice of a friend, Edwin Landseer removed to No. 1 St. John’s Wood Road, to which he gave the name of Maida Vale; he enlarged, and improved this home from time to time, and had no other for nearly fifty years.

Fig 77 Fig. 77.—The Eagle and Dead Stag. By Landseer.

In 1826 Landseer painted “Chevy Chase;” it was the only[Pg 298] historical painting he ever did, and still remains at Woburn Abbey, where it originally went. The animals in the picture are excellent of course, but this sort of painting was not that in which Landseer showed his best. This year of 1826 was an important one to this master. He was twenty-four years old, and was immediately admitted an Associate of the Royal Academy. No one can be a candidate for this honor at a younger age, and very few others have attained it so early. Before he was thirty Landseer was a full member, and his diploma picture, “The Dead Warrior” is in the Royal Academy. But this year saw a great change in his pictures, as may be seen in that of “The Chief’s Return from Deer-stalking,” which he sent to the next exhibition. It was free, broad, and effective beyond any previous work, and this manner was his best. Many judges fix the year 1834 as the very prime in the art of Landseer, and one of the works of that year, called “Bolton Abbey in the Olden Time,” is very famous. It represents the vassals of the abbey bringing in their tributes of game, fish, and fruits, which the jolly, old monks gladly receive.

There is no question but that Landseer’s best pictures are of dogs, and we can but echo the words of Hamerton when he says: “The best commentators on Landseer, the best defenders of his genius, are the dogs themselves; and so long as there exist terriers, deer-hounds, blood-hounds, his fame will need little assistance from writers on art.”

Landseer had a long and happy intimacy with Queen Victoria and the royal family. He painted portraits of the various members of the queen’s household in all possible ways, with dogs and on horseback, in fancy dress and hunting costume—in short, these portraits are far too numerous to be mentioned in detail. Ever after 1835 Landseer was called upon to paint pictures of the pets of the royal family, and these works became very [Pg 299]numerous. While he was thus favored as an artist he was also a friend of the queen and her immediate family; he was often summoned to play billiards with Prince Albert. The queen’s Journal of Life in the Highlands frequently mentions him, and we are sure that if we could read Landseer’s diary it would tell us many interesting things of the queen and her family. Naturally it followed that an artist thus favored by the queen would be patronized by the nobility, and it is true that much of Landseer’s time, both as an artist and as a gentleman of society, was passed in the company of people of the highest positions in Great Britain; and with the one exception of Sir Joshua Reynolds, no artist in England was ever visited by so many people of rank. His house was really a social centre, and no one felt above accepting his hasty invitations to his parties, which were almost always gotten up on an impulse and the guests invited at the last possible moment.

Among Landseer’s friends were Dickens and Thackeray, and Sydney Smith was very fond of the artist; and it is said that when the great wit was asked to sit to Landseer for his portrait, he replied in the words of the haughty Syrian: “Is thy servant a dog that he should do this thing?”

When at his best Landseer had a facility in drawing and painting that was marvellous. He could draw two entirely different objects at the same moment, his left hand being equally skilful with the right. He was seen to draw a horse’s head with one hand and a stag’s head with antlers at exactly the same time—and this at an evening party to prove that it could be done. He once sent to an exhibition a picture of rabbits under which he wrote, “Painted in three-quarters of an hour.” He painted a life-size picture of a fallow-deer in three hours, and it required no retouching. One of his comrades said: “Sir Edwin has a fine hand, a correct eye, refined perceptions, and can do almost anything but dance on the slack wire. He is a fine[Pg 300] billiard player, plays at chess, sings when with his intimate friends, and has considerable humor.”

We have passed over the best and most pleasant part of the life of this great painter, for in 1840 he had an attack of illness from which he never recovered. He travelled, and endeavored in every way to go on with his work; but he was always subject to attacks of depression which were sometimes so serious that his friends feared loss of reason. Of course there was a different tone in his works—a seriousness and pathos, and at times a religious element, which was very acceptable to some persons, and he gained admirers where he had not found them before. But it can scarcely be said that his last days were his best days, though he executed some famous pictures.

In 1866 he exhibited a model of a stag at bay which was afterward cast in bronze. The lions at the base of the Nelson monument in Trafalgar Square may be called the work of Sir Edwin, for he modelled one of the colossal beasts from which the others were formed with but slight changes, and the whole were cast under the care of Baron Marochetti.

In 1872 he painted “The Font,” which is a religious subject. It represents the sheep and lambs of the Gospel gathering round a font, upon the edge of which are doves. A rainbow spans the sky; on the sides of the font are a mask of the face of Christ and the symbols of the Atonement. This is a painful picture, for while it is exquisite in conception its execution shows the weakness of the painter, who so soon after he made it was released from all his darkness and suffering.

Sir Edwin Landseer was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral with all the honors which his genius and character merited. His works are known to almost every child in America by means of the engravings which have been made from them. His brother Thomas engraved hundreds of the[Pg 301] designs of Edwin and made them popular all over the world, and a large part of this success was due to the skill and sympathy which Thomas devoted to what was largely a work of love. Of course many other engravers have worked after Landseer, and almost all his pictures have been reproduced in one style of engraving or another.

There are nine portraits of Sir Edwin Landseer in existence—one by J. Hayter when Landseer was thirteen years old and is represented as a cricketer; one painted a year later by Leslie, in which Edwin Landseer is the Rutland in the work called “Henry VI.” It is owned by the Philadelphia Academy. The next were not made until 1843, when Count d’Orsay painted two portraits of him; in 1830 Dupper had made a drawing, and in 1835 a photograph was taken; Baron Marochetti made a bust portrait of Landseer which is in the Royal Academy, and in his picture called the “Connoisseurs” Sir Edwin painted his own portrait, with dogs on each side who stand as critics of his work. This was painted in 1865.

Sir Edwin Landseer left an estate of two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, and the works unsold at his death brought about seventy thousand pounds. His will made but a few bequests, and the remainder of this large sum was divided between his brother and three sisters. With the account of Sir Edwin I shall close the account of painters given in this volume.

We have seen how few actual remains of the painting of ancient nations are now in existence. Almost nothing is left even from the times of the Greeks; in truth, there is more upon the tombs of Egypt than in the land of Hellas. We read accounts of classic painting which arouse our deepest interest one moment, only to remember in the next that we can see but the merest scraps of all this wealth of beauty which moved the cultured Greeks to write of it with such enthusiasm.

[Pg 302] After the days of classic art we have endeavored to trace painting through a period when it could scarcely be termed an art, so little of it was done, and that little was so far below our ideal. Again, this decline was followed by a Renaissance—an awakening—and from that day in the fourteenth century when the Madonna of Cimabue was carried in triumph through the streets of Florence, this art moved on with progressive steps until Michael Angelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Titian, and others highly gifted, had set up the standards which have remained as beacons and guides to all the world.

In tracing this progress we have seen that Italy, the German nations, Spain, France, and England have all striven to dream dreams of beauty and grandeur, of tenderness and love, and to fix them in fitting colors where all the world could see them.

The past is always fascinating. No stories are so pleasantly begun as those that say, “A long time ago there lived,” etc. One can have the most complete satisfaction in the study of what has happened so far in the past that we can see all its effects and judge of it by the tests which time is sure to bring to everything. It is such a study that has been made in these pages, and I would suggest that it has a second use scarcely less important than the study of history—that is, the preparation it affords for judging of what is done in the present. A knowledge of what has been achieved enables us by comparison to decide upon the merits of new works.

The painting of to-day offers an immense field for investigation. When we remember that five centuries ago the painters of the world could be counted by tens, and are told that now there is an average of twenty-five hundred painters in some foreign cities, we see that a lifetime is scarcely sufficient in which to study the painting of our own era.

[Pg 303] Have we not reason to hope that works are now being produced which shall be studied and admired in the future as we study and admire those of the past? Is it not true that the artistic works of any period show forth the spirit of the time? If, then, the close of the Dark Ages and the dawn of a better life could bring forth the treasures which remain from those days, what ought to be the result of the more universal learning and the advancing civilization of the nineteenth century? And so, in leaving this book, I hope that it may be useful to all who read it for one purpose that I have suggested or the other; either to present an outline of what has been done in the past, or aid in the understanding of the painting of the present.

[Pg 305]

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