Part 5 out of 6
picture of which he was very fond, "Carthage," was the occasion of an
amusing anecdote. "Chantry," he said to his friend the sculptor, "I
want you to promise that when I am dead you will see me rolled in that
canvas when I'm buried."
"All right," said Chantry, "I'll do it, but I'll promise to have you
taken up and unrolled, also."
A remarkable incident of generosity is told of Turner. In 1826 he hung
two exquisite pictures in the Academy. One, "Cologne," having a most
beautiful, golden effect. This was hung between two portraits by Sir
Thomas Lawrence. The golden colouring of Turner's picture entirely
destroyed the effect of the Lawrence pictures, and without a word,
Turner washed his lovely picture over with lampblack. This gave the
Lawrence, pictures their full colour value. A friend who had been
enthusiastic about the "Cologne" was provoked with Turner. "What in
the world did you do that for?" he demanded. "Well, poor Lawrence was
so unhappy. It will all wash off after the exhibition." Turner had his
reward in cash, for the picture sold for 2,000 guineas.
Above all things Turner hated engravings, or any process that
cheapened art, and one day he stated this to his friend Lawrence. "I
don't choose to be a basket engraver," he declared.
"What do you mean by that," Sir Thomas inquired.
"Why when I got off the coach t' other day at Hastings, a woman came
up with a basket of your 'Mrs. Peel,' and offered to sell me one for a
Turner dearly loved his friends, and the story of Chantry's death,
illustrates it. He was in his room when the sculptor breathed his
last, and just as he died, the artist turned to another friend, George
Jones, and with tears streaming down his face, wrung Jones's hand and
rushed from the room, unable to speak.
Again, when William Frederick Wells, another friend, died, Turner
rushed to the house of Clara Wells, his daughter, and cried: "Oh
Clara, Clara! these are iron tears. I have lost the best friend I ever
had in my life."
In his old age Turner suddenly disappeared from all his haunts, and
his friends could not find him. They were much troubled, but one day
his old housekeeper found a note in a pocket of an old coat, which
made her think he had gone to Chelsea. She looked there for him, and
found him very ill, in a little cottage on the Thames River. Everybody
about called him Admiral Booth, believing him to be a retired
admiral. He had felt his death near and had tried to meet it quite
alone. He died the very day after his friends found him, as he was
being wheeled by them to the window to look out upon the river for the
last time. He was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral between Sir Joshua
Reynolds and James Barry. He left his drawings and pictures to a
"Turner Gallery," and $100,000 to the Royal Academy, to be used for a
medal to be struck every two years for the best exhibitor. The rest of
his fortune went to care for "poor and decayed male artists born in
England and of English parents only." This was to be known as Turner's
Gift, and that is why he had saved money all his life.
A few more of the numberless stories of his generosity should be
told. A picture had been sent to the Academy by a painter named Bird
It was very fine, and Turner was full of its praise, but when they
came to hang it no place could be found.
"It can't be hung," the others of the committee said.
"It must be hung," returned Turner, but nothing could be done about
it, for there was absolutely no place. Then Turner went aside with the
picture and sat studying it a long time. Finally he got up, took down
a picture of his own and hung Bird's in its place. "There!" he
said. "It is hung!"
Again, an old drawing-master died and Turner who had known the family
for a long time, was aware that they were destitute, so he gave the
widow a good sum of money with which to bury her husband and to meet
general expenses. After some time she came to him with the money; but
Turner put his hands in his pockets. "No," he said; "keep it. Use it
to send the children to school and to church."
On one occasion when he had irritably sent a beggar from his house, he
ran out and called her back, thrusting a �5 note into her hand before
letting her go.
There was a man who in Turner's youth, while the little fellow was
making pictures in the cheerless barber shop bought all of these
drawings he could find. He often raised the price and in every way
tried to help Turner. In after years that old patron went
bankrupt. Turner heard that his steward had been instructed to cut
down some fine old trees on this man's estate, and sell them. Turner,
without letting himself be known in the matter, at once stopped the
cutting and put into his old patron's hands about �20,000. The rescued
man, afterward, through the same channels that he had received the
money, paid it all back. Years passed, and the son of that same man
got into the same difficulties, and again, without being known in the
matter, Turner restored his fortune. That son, in his turn, honestly
paid back the full amount. This was the miser who saved all his
money--to do good deeds to his friends. Ruskin wrote that in all his
life he had never heard from Turner one unkind or blameful word for
PLATE--THE FIGHTING T�M�RAIRE
This was the picture which Turner loved best of all, the one he would
never sell; but at his death ho gave it to the English nation.
"Many years before he painted it, he had gone down to Portsmouth one
day to see Nelson's fleet come in after the glorious victory of
Trafalgar. The _T�m�raire_ was pointed out to him--a battle ship that
had very proudly borne the English flag, for during the battle it had
run in between two French frigates and captured them both.
"And now between thirty and forty years later, he lingered one
afternoon on the banks of the Thames. As he looked over the water he
saw the grand old hulk being towed down the river by a noisy little
tug to be broken up at Deptford. 'There's a fine subject!' he
exclaimed as he looked at the heroic ship that had known many glorious
years; and in his thought he compared it to 'a battle-scarred warrior
borne to the grave.'
"Then he painted the picture. The glow of the setting sun irradiates
the scene and bids farewell to the old ship. Twilight is coming on,
and the new moon has just risen in its pearly light. It is a pathetic
picture," and well illustrates how truly a "master of sunsets and
waves" the artist was.
Among his other paintings are several of Venice; "The Slave Ship" and
many other sea pieces.
SIR ANTHONY VAN DYCK
_Pupil of Rubens_
Anthony Van Dyke's father was neither a gentleman nor an ill-born
person. He was "betwixt-and-between," being a silk merchant, who met
so many fine folk that he seemed to be "fine folk" himself; and by the
time Anthony had grown up, he actually believed himself to be one of
them. If manners stand for fineness Sir Anthony must have been
superfine, because he was almost overburdened with "manners."
He became a wonderful, be-laced, perfumed, shiny gentleman who never
stooped to paint anything less than royalty and its associates, nor in
anything less than velvets and laces. Like Rembrandt and Gainsborough,
he set a fashion--or rather the style in which he painted came to be
known after his name. We are all familiar with the kind of
ornamentation on clothes called Van Dyck--pointed lace, or
trimmings--and pointed beards.
As a very young lad he was almost too dainty to be liked by healthy
boys; and the worst of it was he did not care whether healthy, robust
chaps liked him or not; certainly he did not care for them. He liked
to sit in his father's shop and be smiled upon by the great ladies who
came to buy, and in turn to smile shyly at them; this tendency became
stronger as he grew to be a man.
Anthony's mother made the most exquisite embroideries, and this may
mean that some part of his art was inherited. She handled lovely
colours, and tried to fashion beautiful flower shapes for
customers. She was a fragile, tender sort of woman, while the father
was doubtless a dapper, over-nice little fellow.
Anthony was born in Antwerp, and the facts concerning his education,
as in the case of most artists, are lost to our knowledge. He probably
had a little of some sort outside of painting, but it certainly was
not enough to hurt him, nor to make a fine healthy man of him. He was
very beautiful, in a lady-like, faint-coloured way, not in the least
resembling the handsome, gorgeous, elegant, robust Rubens, a true
cavalier, of a dashing sort.
He was apprenticed to a painter when he was ten years old, and later
on became the pupil of Rubens. He painted a whole series of Apostles'
heads, about which a lawsuit took place. The papers relating to this
were found about twenty years ago, though the lawsuit occurred as far
back as 1615. Several of the Apostles' heads that brought about the
suit are to-day to be seen in the gallery at Dresden.
Everything in those days--especially in Germany and Holland--was
represented by a "guild." In reading about the Mastersingers of
Nuremberg we are told that on the day when the trial of singers was to
take place, dozens of "guilds" assembled in the meadow--guilds of
bakers, of shoemakers--of which Hans Sachs was the head--guilds of
goldsmiths, etc. Van Dyck was a member of the painters' guild when he
was no more than nineteen. His work at that time showed so much
strength that there is a picture of his, an old gentleman and lady, in
the Dresden gallery, which for a long time was supposed to have been
painted by his master, Rubens.
An intimate friend of Van Dyck, Kenelm Digby, says that Van Dyck's
first relations with Rubens came about by Van Dyck being employed to
make engravings for the reproduction of Rubens's great works. After
that he studied painting with him.
One of his friends of that time wrote that at twenty Van Dyck was
nearly as great as Rubens, though this is hardly substantiated by the
verdict of time, and that being a man with very rich family
connections, he could hardly be expected to leave home. On every hand
we have signs of the artist's affected feeling about himself and other
However, an annual pension from the King of England seems to have made
travelling possible to this fine gentleman of lace ruffles, pale face,
and lady-like ways.
There is an entry about him on the royal account book of "Special
service ... performed for His Majesty." Also "Antonio Van Dyck, gent.,
_His Majesty's servant_, is allowed to travaile 8 months, he havinge
obtayneid his Majesty's leave in that behalf, as was signified to the
E. of Arundel." Certainly by that time Van Dyck had become a truly
great portrait painter; not the greatest, because every picture showed
the same characteristics in its subject--elegance, fine clothes,
languid manners, without force of great truth or any excellent moral
quality to distinguish one from another. Nevertheless, the kind of
painting that he did, he did better than anyone else had ever done, or
probably ever will do.
While in England he painted all the royalties and many aristocrats,
and wherever he went he was always painting pictures of himself.
He travelled about a good deal, always painting people of the same
class--kings and queens and fine folk, and painting them pretty nearly
When he went to Italy he was everywhere received as a great painter,
but while artists agreed that his work was excellent he was not much
liked by them, and many tales are told about that journey which are
interesting, if not entirely true. Van Dyck was the sort of man about
whom tales would be made up. One, however, sounds true. It is said
that he fell in love--which of course he was always doing--with a
beautiful country girl, and that for love of her he painted an altar
piece into which he put himself, seated on the great gray horse which
Rubens had given him. That picture is in St. Martin's Church at
Saventhem, near Brussels, but although one is inclined to believe this
story because it was quite the sort of thing which might be expected
of Van Dyck, even this is not true, because the painting was done long
after the artist had made his Italian journey, and it was commissioned
by a gentleman living at Saventhem, whose daughter Van Dyck
undoubtedly liked pretty well; but he made the picture for money, not
While he was in Italy he lived with a cardinal, and painted languid
pictures of sacred subjects, which were far from being his best
work. The best that he did was in portraiture. Distinguished though he
was, he did not have a very good time in Italy, because he would not
join the artists who worked there, nor associate with them in the
least, and naturally this made him disliked.
We see a good many portraits painted by Van Dyck, of persons mounted
upon or standing beside the gray horse, and these were painted about
the time of that Italian journey. He used the Rubens horse in many
Of all the people with whom he painted, he most valued the knowledge
he got from a blind woman painter of Sicily, called Sofonisba
Anguisciola, and he often said that he had learned more from a blind
woman than from all the open-eyed men he ever knew. This woman artist
was over ninety years old at the time he learned from her.
While he was in Italy the plague broke out, and Van Dyck fled for his
life, leaving an unfinished picture behind him, one ordered by the
English king, the subject being Rinaldo and Armida, which had gained
for the artist his knighthood pension.
It is said that during his first year in England he painted the king
and queen twelve times. He had an extraordinary record for industry,
and painted very quickly, as he had need to do, because it took a
great deal of money to buy the sort of things Van Dyck liked--fine
laces and velvets, perfumes and satins. His plan was to sketch his
subject first on gray paper with black and white chalk, and after that
he gave the sketch to an assistant who increased it to the size he
wished to paint. The next step was to set his painter to work upon the
clothing of his figures. This was painted in roughly, together with
background and any architectural effect Van Dyck wanted. After this
the artist himself sat down and in three or four sittings, of not more
than an hour each, he was able to finish a picture worth to-day
thousands of dollars.
He painted hands specially well, and kept certain models for them
Van Dyck had eleven brothers and sisters, whom he always kept in
mind. Some of his sisters had become nuns while some of his brothers
were priests, and Van Dyck's influence got a monkish brother called to
the Dutch court to act as chaplain to the queen.
By this time every royal personage in the world, nearly, had sent for
Van Dyck to paint his portrait, for he could make one look handsomer
than could any other painter in existence. If the king was very ugly,
Van Dyck painted such beautiful clothes upon him that nobody noticed
the plainness of the features.
When Van Dyck was about thirty-six years old he married a great lady,
the Lady Mary Ruthven, granddaughter of the Earl of Gowrie, but before
that he had had a lady-love, Margaret Lemon, whom he painted as the
Virgin and in several other pictures. When he married Lady Mary,
Margaret Lemon was so furiously jealous that she tried to injure Van
Dyck's right hand so that he could paint no more.
About this time Rubens died in Flanders, leaving behind him an
unfinished series of pictures which had been commissioned by the king
of Spain. Van Dyck was asked to finish these, but declined until he
was asked to make an independent picture, to complete the series, and
this he was delighted to do. Ferdinand of Austria wrote to the king of
Spain that Van Dyck had returned in great haste to London to arrange
for his change of home, in order to do the work. "Possibly he may
still change his mind," he added, "for he is stark mad." This shows
how Van Dyck's erratic ways appeared to some people.
He had a sister, Justiniana, who was also something of an artist and
she married a nobleman when she was about twelve years old.
When Van Dyck died he was buried in St. Paul's, London, and Charles
I. placed an inscription on his tomb.
In the "Young People's Story of Art," is the following anecdote: "A
visit was once paid by a courtly looking stranger passing through
Haarlem, to Franz Hals, the distinguished Dutch painter.
"Hals was not at home but he was sent for to the tavern and hastily
returned. The stranger told him that he had heard of his
reputation--had just two hours to spare--and wished to have his
portrait painted. Hals, seizing canvas and brushes fell vigorously to
work; and before the given time had elapsed, he said, 'Have the
goodness to rise, sir, and examine your portrait!' The stranger looked
at it, expressed his satisfaction, and then said, 'Painting seems such
a very easy thing, suppose we change places and see what I can do!'
"Hals assented, and took his position as the sitter. The unknown
began, and as Hals watched him, he saw that he wielded the brush so
quickly, he must be a painter. His work, too, was rapidly finished,
and as Hals looked at it he exclaimed, 'You must be Van Dyck! No one
else could paint such a portrait!'
"No two portraits could have been more unlike. The story adds that the
famous Dutch and Flemish masters heartily embraced each other."
The stories of Van Dyck's youth are interesting, and probably true. It
is said that he drew so well when he was a pupil of Rubens that the
great master often allowed him to retouch his own works. Once in
Rubens's studio, some of the students got the key and went in to see
what the master was doing, when he was absent. Rubens had left a
painting fresh upon the easel, and in looking about them one of the
boys rubbed against it. This frightened them all. What should they do?
Rubens would find his picture ruined and know that they had broken in.
After consultation they decided there was no one with them who could
repair the damage as well as Van Dyck, who set about it, and soon he
had painted in the smudged part so perfectly that when Rubens saw it,
he did not for some time know that anything had happened to his
picture. Later he suspected something, and when he learned of the
prank and its outcome, he was so delighted with Van Dyck's work that
he praised him instead of blaming him for it.
Van Dyck had a very precise method of working. When sitters came to
him he would paint for just one hour. Then he would politely dismiss
them, and his servant would wash his brushes, and clear the way for
the next sitter. He dined with his sitters often that he might
surprise in them the expression which he wanted to paint. Also, he had
their clothing sent to his studio, that it might be exactly imitated
by himself or by those assistants who painted in the foundation for
his finished work.
While attached to King Charles I.'s court, Van Dyck was given a fine
house at Blackfriars, on the Thames, and he had a private landing
place made for boats, so that the royal family might visit him at
their convenience. Charles I. used often to go to Van Dyck's studio to
escape his many troubles, and thus the artist's home became as
fashionable a gathering place, as Gainsborough's studio was in
Bath. He painted Queen Henrietta not less than twenty-five times. He
often furnished concerts for his sitters, for he himself was
passionately fond of music, and moreover he believed that music often
brought to the faces of his sitters, an expression that he loved to
He painted so many pictures of a certain kind of little dog, in the
pictures of King Charles I. that ever since that breed has been known
as the King Charles spaniel.
After a while Van Dyck got heavily into debt. King Charles himself was
in great trouble, and he had no money with which to pay his painter's
pension. The artist had lived so extravagantly that he did not know at
last which way to turn, so in desperation he thought to try alchemy
and maybe to learn the secret of making gold. He wasted much time at
this, as cleverer men have done, but at last he became too ill for
that or for his own proper work, and badly off though Charles was
himself, he offered his court physician a large sum if he could cure
his court painter. But Van Dyck had enjoyed life too well, and nothing
could be done for him.
He was the seventh child of his parents--which some have thought had
something to do with his genius and success; he lived gaily all the
years of his life, going restlessly from place to place, and having
many acquaintances but probably few friends, outside of his old
master, Rubens, who loved him for his genius.
PLATE--CHILDREN OF CHARLES THE FIRST
Van Dyck painted the family of the unfortunate king of England four
times. There are five children in the Windsor Castle picture, and this
one, which hangs in the Turin Gallery, was probably painted before the
birth of the fourth child in 1636. It is celebrated for its colouring
as well as for its great artistic merit. The children are surely
childlike enough, despite their stately attire, and they little dream
of the sad fate awaiting the whole of the Stuart family to which they
Other Van Dycks are: "The Blessed Herman Joseph," "Lords Digby and
Russell," "Lord Wharton," "Countess Folkestone," and "William Prince
VELASQUEZ (DIEGO RODRIGUEZ DE SILVA)
_Pupil of Herrera_
It is pretty difficult to find out why a man was named so-and-so in
the days of the early Italian and Spanish painters. More likely than
not they would be called after the master to whom they had been first
apprenticed; or after their trade; after the town from which they
came, and rarely because their father had had the name before them. In
Velasquez's case, he was named after his mother.
No one seemed to be certain what to call him, but he generally wrote
his name "Diego de Silva Velasquez." His father was Rodriguez de
Silva, a lawyer, but in calling the boy Velasquez the family followed
a universal Spanish custom of naming children after their mothers.
Little Velasquez was well taught in his childhood; he studied many
languages and philosophy, for he was intended to be a lawyer or
something learned, anything but a painter. The disappointment of
parents in those days, when they found a child was likely to become an
artist is touching.
Despite his equipment for a useful life, according to the ideas of his
parents, this little chap was bound to become nothing but a maker of
Herrera was a bad-tempered master and little Velasquez could not get
on with him, so after a year of harsh treatment, he went to another
master, Pacheco, but by that time he had learned a secret that was to
help make his work great. Herrera had taught him to use a brush with
very long bristles, which had the effect of spreading the paint,
making it look as if his "colours had floated upon the canvas," in a
way that was the "despair of those who came after him."
Velasquez was born in Seville at a time when about all the art of the
world was Italian or German; thus he became the creator of a new
school of painting.
He stayed five years in Pacheco's studio and pupil and master became
very fond of each other. Pacheco was not a great master--not so good
as Herrera--but he was easy to get on with, and knew a good deal about
painting, so that as Velasquez had the genius, he was as well placed
as he needed to be.
In Pacheco's studio there was a peasant boy whose face was very
mobile, showed every passing feeling; and Velasquez used to make him
laugh and weep, till, surprising some good expression, he would
quickly sketch him. With this excellent model, Velasquez did a
surprising amount of good work.
Spain had just then conquered the far-off provinces of Mexico and
Peru, and was continually receiving from its newly got lands much
valuable merchandise. Rapidly growing rich, this Latin country loved
art and all things beautiful, so its money was bound to be spent
freely in such ways. Madrid had been made its capital, and at that
time there were few fine pictures to be found there. The Moors who had
conquered Spain had forbidden picture making, because it was contrary
to their religion to represent the human figure, or even the figures
of birds and beasts. Then the Inquisition had hindered art by its
rules, one of which was that the Virgin Mary should always be painted
with her feet covered; another, that all saints should be
beardless. There were many more exactions.
While cathedrals were being built elsewhere, the Moors had been in
control of Spanish lands, so that no cathedral had been built there,
and when Velasquez came upon the scene the time of great cathedral
building was past. It had ceased to be the fashion. Although there had
been such painters as Beneguette, Morales, Navarrette, and Ribera, all
Spanish and of considerable genius, they had been too badly
handicapped to make painting a great art in Spain. When Madrid became
the capital of Spain, it had no unusual buildings, unless it was an
old fortress of the Moors, the Alcazar, Caesar's house, but the nation
was buying paintings from Italy, and it began to beautify Madrid,
which had the advantage of the former Moorish luxury and art, very
beautiful, though not pictorial.
In Madrid, then, there seemed to be great opportunity for a fine
artist like Velasquez, and his master urged him to go there and try
his fortune. So he set out on mule-back, attended by his slave, but
unless he could get the ear of the king, it was useless for him to
seek advancement in Madrid. Without the king as patron at that time,
an artist could not accomplish much. After trying again and again,
Velasquez had to return to his old master, without having seen the
king; but after a time a picture of his was seen by Philip IV., and he
was so much pleased with it that he summoned the artist. Through his
minister, Olivares, he offered him $113.40 in gold (fifty ducats) to
pay his return expenses. The next year he gave him $680.40 to move his
family to Madrid.
At last the artist had found a place in the rich city, and he went to
live at the court where the warmest friendship grew between him and
the king. The latter was an author and something of a painter, so that
they loved the same things. This friendship lasted all their lives,
and they were together most of the time, the king always being found,
in Velasquez's studio in the palace when his duties did not call him
elsewhere. During the many many years--nearly thirty-seven--that
Velasquez lived with Philip IV. he employed himself in painting the
scenes at court. Thus he became the pictorial historian of the Spanish
capital. He was a man of good disposition, kindly and generous in
conduct and in feeling, so that he was always in the midst of friends
Philip IV. was indeed a noble companion, but he was not a gay one,
being known as the king who never laughed--or at least whose laughter
was so rare, the few times he did laugh became historic. One would
expect this serious and depressing atmosphere to have had an effect
upon a painter's art; but it chanced that Rubens visited Spain, and
there, Velasquez being the one famous artist, it was natural they
should become interested in each other. Rubens told Velasquez of the
wonders of Italian painting, till the Spaniard could think of nothing
else, and finally he begged Philip to let him journey to Italy that he
might see some of those wonders for himself. The request made the king
unhappy at first, but at last he gave his consent and Velasquez set
out for Italy. The king gave him money and letters of introduction,
and he went in company with the Marquis of Spinola.
After Velasquez had stayed eighteen months in Italy, Philip began to
long for his friend and sent for him to return. He came back full of
the stories of brilliant Italy, and charmed the king completely.
There is as absurd a story of Velasquez's perfection in painting as
that of Raphael's, whose portrait of the pope, left upon the terrace
to dry, imposed upon passers by. It is said of Velasquez's work that
when he had painted an admiral whom the king had ordered to sea, and
left it exposed in his studio, the king, entering, thought it was the
admiral himself, and angrily inquired why he had not put to sea
according to orders. On the face of them these stories are false, but
they serve to suggest the perfection of these artists' paintings.
Philip, being a melancholy man, had his court full of jesters, poor
misshapen creatures--dwarfs and hunchbacks--who were supposed to
appear "funny," and Velasquez, as court painter, painted those whom he
continually saw about him, who formed the court family. Thus we have
pictures of strange groups--dwarfs, little princesses, dressed
precisely as the elders were dressed, favourite dogs, and Velasquez
himself at his easel.
In 1618, while still with his master, Pacheco, he had married the
master's daughter, a big, portly woman. Before he left Seville he bad
These were all the children he had, although he painted a picture of
"Velasquez's Family" which includes a great number of people. The
figures in that painting are the children of his daughter, not his
own; and this may account for one biographer's statement that the
artist had "seven children." He was devoted to and happy in his family
of children and grandchildren.
He did not grow rich, but received regularly during his life in
Madrid, twenty gold ducats ($45.36) a month to live upon, and besides
this his medical attendance, lodging, and additional payment for every
picture. The one which brought him this good fortune was an equestrian
portrait of Philip; first uncovered on the steps of San
Felipe. Everywhere the people were delighted with it, poets sung of
it, and the king declared no other should ever paint his
portrait. This picture has long since disappeared.
In 1627 Velasquez won the prize for a picture representing the
expulsion of the Moors from Spain and was rewarded by "being appointed
gentleman usher. To this was shortly afterward added a daily allowance
of twelve reals--the same amount which was allowed to court
barbers--and ninety gold ducats ($204.12) a year for dress, which was
also paid to the dwarfs, buffoons, and players about the king's
person--truly a curious estimate of talent at the court of Spain."
The record of Philip IV. with unpleasing, even degenerate characters,
about him, is brightened by the thought of his loyalty to his court
painter and life-long friend. When the king's favourites fell, those
who had been the friends of Velasquez, the artist loyally remained
their friend in adversity as he had been while they were
powerful. This constancy, even to the royal enemies, was never
resented by Philip. He honoured the faithfulness of his artist, even
as he himself was faithful in this friendship. Philip's court was such
that there was little to paint that was ennobling, and so Velasquez
lacked the inspiration of such surroundings as the Italian painters
Philip IV. was hail-fellow-well-met with his stablemen, his huntsmen,
his cooks, and yet he seems to have had no sense of humour, was long
faced and forbidding to look at, and despite his strange habits
considered himself the most mighty and haughty man in the world. He
felt himself free to behave as he chose, because he was Philip of
Spain; and he chose to do a great many absurd and outrageous
things. In all Philip's portraits, painted by Velasquez, he wears a
stiff white linen collar of his own invention, and he was so proud of
this that he celebrated it by a festival. He went in procession to
church to thank God for the wonderful blessing of the _Golilla_--the
name of his collar. This unsightly thing became the fashion, and all
portraits of men of that time were painted with it. "In regard to the
wonderful structure of Philip's moustaches it is said, that, to
preserve their form they were encased during the night in perfumed
leather covers called _bigoteras_." Such absurdities in a king, who
had the responsibilities of a nation upon him, seem incredible.
Velasquez made in all three journeys to Italy, and the last one was on
a mission for the king, which was much to the latter's credit. Philip
had determined to have a fine art gallery in Madrid, for Spain had by
this time many pictures, but no statuary; so he commissioned his
painter to buy whatever he thought well of and _could_ buy, in
Italy. Hence the artist set off again with his slave--the same one
with whom he had journeyed to Madrid so long before. His name was
Pareja, and his master had already made an excellent artist of him.
They went to Genoa, thence to the great art-centres of Italy, were
received everywhere with honour, and the artist bought wisely.
Velasquez did not care for Raphael's paintings as much as for
Titian's, and he said so to Salvator Rosa, an honoured painter in
While in Rome Velasquez painted the pope, also his own slave, Pareja.
When he returned to Spain he took with him three hundred statues, but
a large number of them were nude, and the Spanish court, not over
particular about most things, was very particular about naked statues,
so that after Philip's death, they nearly all disappeared. After his
return, and after the queen had died and Philip had married again,
Velasquez was made quartermaster-general, no easy post but not without
honour, though it interfered with his picture painting a good deal. He
had to look after the comfort of all the court, and to see that the
apartments it occupied, at home or when it visited, were suitable.
"Even the powerful king of Spain could not make his favourite a belted
knight without a commission to inquire into the purity of his lineage
on both sides of the house. Fortunately, the pedigree could bear
scrutiny, as for generations the family was found free from all taint
of heresy, from all trace of Jewish or Moorish blood, and from
contamination from trade or commerce. The difficulty connected with
the fact that he was a painter was got over by his being painter to
the king and by the declaration that he did not sell his pictures."
The red Cross of Santiago conferred upon him by Philip, made Velasquez
a knight and freed him also from the rulings of the Inquisition, which
directed so largely what artists could and could not do. Thus it is
that we come to have certain great pictures from Velasquez's brush
which could not otherwise have been painted.
This action of the king, setting free the artist, made two schools of
art, of which the court painter represented one; and Murillo the
other, under the command of the Church. Although not so rich perhaps
as Raphael, Velasquez lived and died in plenty, while Murillo, the
artist of the Church of Rome, was a poverty-stricken man.
Finally, while in the midst of honours, and fulfilling his official
duty to the court of Spain, Velasquez contracted the disease which
killed him. The Infanta, Maria Theresa, was to wed Louis XIV., and the
ceremony was to take place on a swampy little island called the Island
of Pheasants. There he went to decorate a pavilion and other places of
display. He became ill with a fever and died soon after he returned to
He made his wife, his old master Pacheco's daughter, his executor, and
was buried in the church of San Juan, in the vault of Fuensalida; but
within a week his devoted wife was dead, and in eight days' time she
was buried beside him.
He left his affairs--accounts between him and the court--badly
entangled, and it was many years before they were straightened
out. His many deeds of kindness lived after him. He made of his slave
a good artist and a devoted friend, and by his efforts the slave
became a freedman. The story of his kindly help to Murillo when that
exquisite painter came, unknown and friendless to Madrid, has already
The Church where Velasquez was buried was destroyed by the French in
1811, and all trace of the resting place of the great Spanish artist
is forever lost to us.
He is called not only "painter to the king," but "king of painters."
PLATE--EQUESTRIAN PORTRAIT OF DON BALTHASAR CARLOS.
Philip of Spain had long prayed for a son and when at last one was
granted him his pride in his young heir was unbounded. The little Don
Carlos was not unworthy, for he was a cheerful, hearty boy, trained to
horsemanship, from his fourth year, for his father was a noted rider
and had the best instructors for his son. The prince was a brave
hunter too and we are told that he shot a wild boar when he was but
nine years of age. In this portrait which is in the Museo del Prado he
is six years old, and it was neither the first nor the last that
Velasquez made of him. It was one of the court painter's chief duties
to see that the heir to the throne was placed upon canvas at every
stage of his career, and he painted him from two years of age till his
lamented death at sixteen.
The young prince wears in this picture a green velvet jacket with
white sleeves and his scarf is crimson embroidered with gold. The
lively pony is a light chestnut and the foreshortening of its body
must be noticed. The steady grave eyes of the lad are gazing far ahead
as they would naturally be if he were riding rapidly, but his princely
dignity is shown in his firm seat in the saddle and his manner of
holding his marshal's bat�n.
The great art of the painter is also shown in the way he subordinates
the landscape to the figure. He will not allow even a tree to come
near the young horseman, but brings his young activity into vivid
contrast with the calm peacefulness of the distant view.
With the death of Don Carlos the downfall of his father's dynasty was
assured, though for a time his little sister, the Infanta Maria
Theresa, was upheld as the heiress. She married Louis XIV. and had a
weary time of it in France. Velasquez painted her picture too, in the
grown up dress of the children of that day. It is in the Vienna
Gallery. Among his best known pictures are "The Surrender of Breda,"
"Alessandro del Borro," and "Philip IV."
PAUL VERONESE (PAOLO CAGLIARI)
(Pronounced Vay-ro-nay'zay and pah'o-lah cal-ee-ah'ree)
_Pupil of Titian_
"One has never done well enough, when one can do better; one never
knows enough when he can learn more!"
This was the motto of Paul Veronese. This artist was born in
Verona--whence he took his name--and spent much of his life with the
monks in the monastery of St. Sebastian.
His father was a sculptor, and taught his son. Veronese himself was a
lovable fellow, had a kind feeling for all, and in return received the
good will of most people. When he first went to Venice to study he
took letters of introduction to the monks of St. Sebastian, and
finally went to live with them, for his uncle was prior of the
monastery, and it was upon its walls that he did his first work in
Venice. His subject was the story of Esther, which he illustrated
He became known in time as "the most magnificent of magnificent
painters." He loved the gaieties of Venice; the lords and ladies; the
exquisite colouring; the feasting and laughter, and everything he
painted, showed this taste. When he chose great religious subjects he
dressed all his figures in elegant Venetian costumes, in the midst of
elegant Venetian scenes. His Virgins, or other Biblical people, were
not Jews of Palestine, but Venetians of Venice, but so beautiful were
they and so inspiring, that nobody cared to criticise them on that
score. He loved to paint festival scenes such as, "The Marriage at
Cana," "Banquet in Levi's House," or "Feast in the House of Simon." He
painted nothing as it could possibly have been, but everything as he
would have liked it to be.
Into the "Wedding Feast at Cana," where Jesus was said to have turned
the water into wine, he introduced a great host of his friends, people
then living. Titian is there, and several reigning kings and queens,
including Francis I. of France and his bride, for whom the picture was
made. This treatment of the Bible story startles the mind, but
delights the eye.
It was said that his "red recurred like a joyful trumpet blast among
the silver gray harmonies of his paintings."
Muther, one who has written brilliantly about him, tells us that
"Veronese seems to have come into the world to prove that the painter
need have neither head nor heart, but only a hand, a brush, and a pot
of paint in order to clothe all the walls of the world with oil
paintings" and that "if he paints Mary, she is not the handmaid of the
Lord or even the Queen of Heaven, but a woman of the world, listening
with approving smile to the homage of a cavalier. In light red silk
morning dress, she receives the Angel of the Annunciation and hears
without surprise--for she has already heard it--what he has to say;
and at the Entombment she only weeps in order to keep up appearances."
Such criticism raises a smile, but it is quite just, and what is more,
the Veronese pictures are so beautiful that one is not likely to
quarrel with the painter for having more good feeling than
understanding. His joyous temperament came near to doing him harm, for
he was summoned before the Inquisition for the manner in which he had
painted "The Last Supper."
After the Esther pictures in St. Sebastian, the artist painted there
the "Martyrdom of St. Sebastian," and there is a tradition that he did
his work while hiding in the monastery because of some mischief of
which he had been guilty.
At that time he was not much more than twenty-six or eight, while the
great painter Tintoretto was forty-five, yet his work in St. Sebastian
made him as famous as the older artist.
There is very little known of the private affairs of Veronese. He
signed a contract for painting the "Marriage at Cana," for the
refectory of the monastery of St. Giorgio Maggiore, in June 1562, and
that picture, stupendous as it is, was finished eighteen months
later. He received $777.60 for it, as well as his living while he was
at work upon it, and a tun of wine. One picture he is supposed to have
left behind him at a house where he had been entertained, as an
acknowledgment of the courtesy shown him.
Paul had a brother, Benedetto, ten years younger than himself, and it
is said that he greatly helped Paul in his work, by designing the
architectural backgrounds of his pictures. If that is so, Benedetto
must have been an artist of much genius, for those backgrounds in the
paintings are very fine.
Veronese married, and had two sons; the younger being named
Carletto. He was also the favourite, and an excellent artist, who did
some fine painting, but he died while he was still young. Gabriele the
elder son, also painted, but he was mainly a man of affairs, and
attended to business rather than to art.
Veronese was a loving father and brother, and beyond doubt a happy
man. After his death both his sons and his brother worked upon his
unfinished paintings, completing them for him. He was buried in the
Church of St. Sebastian.
PLATE--THE MARRIAGE AT CANA
This painting is most characteristic of Veronese's methods. He has no
regard for the truth in presenting the picture story. At the marriage
at Cana everybody must have been very simply dressed, and there could
have been no beautiful architecture, such as we see in the picture. In
the painting we find courtier-like men and women dressed in beautiful
silks. Some of the costumes appear to be a little Russian in
character, the others Venetian; and Jesus Himself wears the loose
every-day robe of the pastoral people to whom he belonged. We think of
luxury and rich food and a splendid house when we look at this
painting, when as a matter of fact nothing of this sort could have
belonged to the scene which Veronese chose to represent. Perhaps no
painter was more lacking in imagination than was Veronese in painting
this particular picture. He chose to place historical or legendary
characters, in the midst of a scene which could not have existed
co-incidently with the event.
Among his other pictures are "Europa and the Bull," "Venice
Enthroned," and the "Presentation of the Family of Darius to
LEONARDO DA VINCI
(Pronounced Lay-o-nar'do dah Veen'chee)
_Pupil of Verrocchio_
Leonardo da Vinci was the natural son of a notary, Ser Pier, and he
was born at the Castello of Vinci, near Empoli. From the very hour
that he was apprenticed to his master, Verrocchio, he proved that he
was the superior of his master in art. Da Vinci was one of the most
remarkable men who ever lived, because he not only did an
extraordinary number of things, but he did all of them well.
He was an engineer, made bridges, fortifications, and plans which to
this day are brilliant achievements.
He was a sculptor, and as such did beautiful work.
He was a naturalist, and as such was of use to the world.
He was an author and left behind him books written backward, of which
he said that only he who was willing to devote enough study to them to
read them in that form, was able to profit by what he had written.
Finally, and most wonderfully, he was a painter.
He had absolute faith in himself. Before he constructed his bridge he
said that he could build the best one in the world, and a king took
him at his word and was not disappointed by the result.
He stated that he could paint the finest picture in the world--but let
us read what he himself said of it, in so sure and superbly confident
a way that it robbed his statement of anything like foolish
vanity. Such as he could afford to speak frankly of his greatness,
without appearing absurd. He wrote:
"In time of peace, I believe I can equal anyone in architecture, in
constructing public and private buildings, and in conducting water
from one place to another. I can execute sculpture, whether in marble,
bronze, or terra cotta, and in painting I can do as much as any other
man, be he who he may. Further, I could engage to execute the bronze
horse in eternal memory of your father and the illustrious house of
Sforza." He was writing to Ludovico Sforza whose house then ruled at
Milan. "If any of the above-mentioned things should appear to you
impossible or impracticable, I am ready to make trial of them in your
park, or in any other place that may please your excellency, to whom I
commend myself in proud humility."
Leonardo's experiments with oils and the mixing of his pigments has
nearly lost to us his most remarkable pictures. His first fourteen
years of work as an artist were spent in Milan, where he was employed
to paint by the Duke of Milan, and never again was his life so
peaceful; it was ever afterward full of change. He went from Milan to
Venice, to Rome, to Florence, and back to Milan where his greatest
work was done.
While Leonardo was a baby he lived in the Castle of Vinci. He was
beautiful as a child and very handsome as a man. When a child he wore
long curls reaching below his waist. He was richly clothed, and
greatly beloved. His body seemed no less wonderful than his mind. He
wished to learn everything, and his memory was so wonderful that he
remembered all that he undertook to learn. His muscles were so
powerful that he could bend iron, and all animals seemed to love
him. It is said he could tame the wildest horses. Indeed his life and
accomplishments read as if he were one enchanted. One writer tells us
that "he never could bear to see any creature cruelly treated, and
sometimes he would buy little caged birds that he might just have the
pleasure of opening the doors of their cages, and setting them at
The story told of his first known work is that his master, being
hurried in finishing a picture, permitted Leonardo to paint in an
angel's head, and that it was so much better than the rest of the
picture, that Verrocchio burned his brushes and broke his palette,
determined never to paint again, but probably this is a good deal of a
fairy tale and one that is not needed to impress us with the artist's
greatness, since there is so much to prove it without adding fable to
Leonardo was also a very far seeing inventor and most ingenious. He
made mechanical toys that "worked" when they were wound up. He even
devised a miniature flying machine; however, history does not tell us
whether it flew or not. He thought out the uses of steam as a motive
power long before Fulton's time.
Leonardo haunted the public streets, sketchbook in hand, and when
attracted by a face, would follow till he was able to transfer it to
paper. Ida Prentice Whitcomb, who has compiled many anecdotes of da
Vinci, says that it was also his habit to invite peasants to his
house, and there amuse them with funny stories till he caught some
fleeting expression of mirth which he was pleased to reproduce.
As a courtier Leonardo was elegant and full of amusing devices. He
sang, accompanying himself on a silver lute, which he had had
fashioned in imitation of a horse's skull. After he attached himself
to the court of the Duke of Milan, his gift of invention was
constantly called into use, and one of the surprises he had in store
for the Duke's guests was a great mechanical lion, which being wound
up, would walk into the presence of the court, open its mouth and
disclose a bunch of flowers inside.
Leonardo worked very slowly upon his paintings, because he was never
satisfied with a work, and would retouch it day after day. Then, too,
he was a man of moods, like most geniuses, and could not work with
regularity. The picture of the "Last Supper" was painted in Milan, by
order of his patron, the Duke, and there are many picturesque stories
written of its production. It was painted upon the refectory wall of a
Dominican convent, the Santa Maria delle Grazie; and at first the work
went off well, and the artist would remain upon his scaffolding from
morning till night, absorbed in his painting. It is said that at such
times he neither ate nor drank, forgetting all but his great work. He
kept postponing the painting of two heads--Christ and Judas.
He had worked painstakingly and with enthusiasm till that point, but
deferred what he was hardly willing to trust himself to perform. He
had certain conceptions of these features which he almost feared to
execute, so tremendous was his purpose. He let that part of the work
go, month after month, and having already spent two years upon the
picture, the monks began to urge him to a finish. He was not the man
to endure much pressure, and the more they urged the more resentful he
became. Finally, he began to feel a bitter dislike for the prior, the
man who annoyed him most. One day, when the prior was nagging him
about the picture, wanting to know why he didn't get to work upon it
again, and when would it be finished, Leonardo said suavely: "If you
will sit for the head of Judas, I'll be able to finish the picture at
once." The prior was enraged, as Leonardo meant he should be; but
Leonardo is said actually to have painted him in as Judas. Afterward
he painted in the face of Christ with haste and little care, simply
because he despaired of ever doing the wonderful face that his art
soul demanded Christ should wear.
The one bitter moment in Leonardo's life, in all probability, was when
he came in dire competition with Michael Angelo. When he removed to
Florence he was required to submit sketches for the Town Hall--the
Palazzo Vecchio--and Michael Angelo was his rival. The choice fell to
Angelo, and after a life of supremacy Leonardo could not endure the
humiliation with grace. Added to disappointment, someone declared that
Leonardo's powers were waning because he was growing old. This was
more than he could bear, and he left Italy for France, where the king
had invited him to come and spend the remainder of his life. Francis
I. had wished to have the picture in the Milan monastery taken to
France, but that was not to be done.
Doubtless the king expected Leonardo to do some equally great work
after he became the nation's guest.
Before leaving Italy, Leonardo had painted his one other "greatest"
picture--"La Gioconda" (Mona Lisa)-and he took that wonderful work
with him to France, where the King purchased it for $9,000, and to
this day it hangs in the Louvre.
But Leonardo was to do no great work in France, for in truth he was
growing old. His health had failed, and although he was still a dandy
and court favourite, setting the fashion in clothing and in the cut of
hair and beard, he was no longer the brilliant, active Leonardo.
Bernard Berensen, has written of him: "Painting ... was to Leonardo so
little of a preoccupation that we must regard it as merely a mode of
expression used at moments by a man of universal genius." By which
Berensen means us to understand that Leonardo was so brilliant a
student and inventor, so versatile, that art was a mere pastime. "No,
let us not join in the reproaches made to Leonardo for having painted
so little; because he had so much more to do than to paint, he has
left all of us heirs to one or two of the supremest works of art ever
Another author writes that "in Leonardo da Vinci every talent was
combined in one man."
Leonardo was the third person of the wonderful trinity of Florentine
painters, Raphael and Michael Angelo being the other two.
He knew so much that he never doubted his own powers, but when he
died, after three years in France, he left little behind him, and that
little he had ever declared to be unfinished--the "Mona Lisa" and the
"Last Supper." He died in the Ch�teau de Cloux, at Amboise, and it is
said that "sore wept the king when he heard that Leonardo was dead."
In Milan, near the Cathedral, there stands a monument to his memory,
and about it are placed the statues of his pupils. To this day he is
wonderful among the great men of the world.
PLATE--THE LAST SUPPER
This, as we have said, is in the former convent of Santa Maria delle
Grazie, in Milan. It was the first painted story of this legendary
event in which natural and spontaneous action on the part of all the
company was presented.
To-day the picture is nearly ruined by smoke, time, and alterations in
the place, for a great door lintel has been cut into the
picture. Leonardo used the words of the Christ: "Verily, I say unto
you that one of you shall betray me," as the starting point for this
painting. It is after the utterance of these words that we see each of
the disciples questioning horrified, frightened, anxious, listening,
angered--all these emotions being expressed by the face or gestures of
the hands or pose of the figures. It is a most wonderful picture and
it seems as if the limit of genius was to be found in it.
The company is gathered in a half-dark hall, the heads outlined
against the evening light that comes through the windows at the
back. We look into a room and seem to behold the greatest tragedy of
legendary history: treachery and sorrow and consternation brought to
Jesus of Nazareth and his comrades.
This great picture was painted in oil instead of in "distemper," the
proper kind of mixture for fresco, and therefore it was bound to be
lost in the course of time. Besides, it has known more than ordinary
disaster. The troops of Napoleon used this room, the convent
refectory, for a stable, and that did not do the painting any
good. The reason we have so complete a knowledge of it, however, is
that Leonardo's pupils made an endless number of copies of it, and
thus it has found its way into thousands of homes. The following is
the order in which Leonardo placed the disciples at the table: Jesus
of Nazareth in the centre, Bartholomew the last on the left, after him
is James, Andrew, Peter, Judas--who holds the money bag--and John. On
the right, next to Jesus, comes Thomas, the doubting one; James the
Greater, Philip, Matthew, Thaddeus, and Simon. Jesus has just declared
that one of them shall betray him, and each in his own way seems to be
asking "Lord, is it I?" In the South Kensington Museum in London will
be found carefully preserved a description, written out fairly in
Leonardo's own hand, to guide him in painting the Last Supper. It is
most interesting and we shall quote it: "One, in the act of drinking
puts down his glass and turns his head to the speaker. Another
twisting his fingers together, turns to his companion, knitting his
eyebrows. Another, opening his hands and turning the palm toward the
spectator, shrugs his shoulders, his mouth expressing the liveliest
surprise. Another whispers in the ear of a companion, who turns to
listen, holding in one hand a knife, and in the other a loaf, which he
has cut in two. Another, turning around with a knife in his hand,
upsets a glass upon the table and looks; another gasps in amazement;
another leans forward to look at the speaker, shading his eyes with
his hand; another, drawing back behind the one who leans forward,
looks into the space between the wall and the stooping disciple."
Other paintings of Leonardo's are: "Mona Lisa," "Head of Medusa,"
"Adoration of the Magi," and the "Madonna della Caraffa."
JEAN ANTOINE WATTEAU
(Pronounced in French, Vaht-toh; English, Wot-toh)
_French (Genre) School_
_Pupil of Gillot and Audran_
Watteau's father was a tiler in a Flemish town--Valenciennes. He meant
that his son should be a carpenter, but that son tramped from
Valenciennes to Paris with the purpose of becoming a great painter. He
did more, he became a "school" of painting, all by himself.
There is no sadder story among artists than that of this lowly born
genius. He was not good to look upon, being the very opposite of all
that he loved, having no grace or charm in appearance. He had a
drooping mouth, red and bony hands, and a narrow chest with stooping
shoulders. Because of a strange sensitiveness he lived all his life
apart from those he would have been happy with, for he mistrusted his
own ugliness, and thought he might be a burden to others.
Such a man has painted the gayest, gladdest, most delicate and
exquisite pictures imaginable.
He entered Paris as a young man, without friends, without money or
connections of any kind, and after wandering forlornly, about the
great city, he found employment with a dealer who made hundreds of
saints for out-of-town churches.
It is said that for this first employer Watteau made dozens and dozens
of pictures of St. Nicholas; and when we think of the beautiful
figures he was going to make, pictures that should delight all the
world, there seems something tragic in the monotony and
common-placeness of that first work he was forced by poverty to
do. Certainly St. Nicholas brought one man bread and butter, even if
he forgot him at Christmas time.
After that hard apprenticeship, Watteau's condition became slightly
better. He had been employed near the Pont Notre Dame, at three francs
a week, but now in the studio of a scene painter, Gillot, he did work
of coarse effect, very different from that exquisite school of art
which he was to bring into being. After Gillot's came the studio of
Claude Audran, the conservator of the Luxembourg, and with him Watteau
did decorative work. In reality he had no master, learned from nobody,
grovelled in poverty, and at first, forced a living from the meanest
sources. With this in mind, it remains a wonder that he should paint
as no other ever could, scenes of exquisite beauty and grace; scenes
of high life, courtiers and great ladies assembled in lovely
landscapes, doing elegant and charming things, dressed in unrivalled
gowns and costumes. Until Watteau went to the Luxembourg he had seen
absolutely nothing of refined or gracious living. He had come from
country scenes, and in Paris had lived among workmen and
bird-fanciers, flower sellers, hucksters and the like. This is very
likely the secret of his peculiar art.
Watteau would have been a wonderful artist under any circumstances, no
matter what sort of pictures he had painted; but circumstances gave
his imagination a turn toward the exquisite in colourand
composition. Doubtless when he first looked down from the palace
windows of the Luxembourg and saw gorgeous women and handsome men
languishing and coquetting and revelling in a life of ease and beauty,
he was transported. He must have thought himself in fairyland, and the
impulse to paint, to idealise the loveliness that he saw, must have
been greater in him than it would have been in one who had lived so
long among such scenes that they had become familiar with them.
After Watteau there were artists who tried to do the kind of work he
had done, but no one ever succeeded. Watteau clothed all his
shepherdesses in fine silken gowns, with a plait in the back, falling
from the shoulders, and to-day we have a fashion known as the "Watteau
back"--gowns made with this shoulder-plait. He put filmy laces or
softest silks upon his dairy maids, as upon his court ladies, dressing
his figures exquisitely, and in the loveliest colours. He had suffered
from poverty and from miserable sights, so when he came to paint
pictures, he determined to reproduce only the loveliest objects.
At that time French fashions were very unusual, and it was quite the
thing for ladies to hold a sort of reception while at their toilet. A
description of one of these affairs was written by Madame de Grignon
to her daughter: "Nothing can be more delightful than to assist at the
toilet of Madame la Duchesse (de Bourgoyne), and to watch her arrange
her hair. I was present the other day. She rose at half past twelve,
put on her dressing gown, and set to work to eat a _m�ringue_. She ate
the powder and greased her hair. The whole formed an excellent
breakfast and charming _coiffure_." Watteau has caught the spirit of
this strange airy, artificial, incongruous existence. His ladies seem
to be eating _meringues_ and powdering their hair and living on a diet
of the combination. One hardly knows which is toilet and which is real
life in looking at his paintings.
He quarreled with Audran at the Luxembourg, and having sold his first
picture, he went back to his Valenciennes home, to see his former
acquaintances, no doubt being a little vain of his performance.
After that he painted another picture which sold well enough to keep
him from poverty for a time, and on his return to Paris he was warmly
greeted by a celebrated and influential artist, Crozat. Watteau tried
for a prize, and though his picture came second it had been seen by
the Academy committee.
His greatness was acknowledged, and he was immediately admitted to the
Academy and granted a pension by the crown, with which he was able to
go to Italy, the Mecca of all artists the world over.
From Italy he went to London, but there the fogs and unsuitable
climate made his disease much worse and he hurried back to France,
where he went to live with a friend who was a picture dealer. It was
then that he painted a sign for this friend, Gersaint, a sign so
wonderful that it is reckoned in the history of Watteau's paintings.
Soon he grew so sensitive over his illness, that he did not wish to
remain near his dearest friends, but one of them, the Abb� Haranger,
insisted upon looking after his welfare, and got lodgings for him at
Nogent, where he could have country air and peace.
Watteau died very soon after going to Nogent in July, 1721, and he
left nine thousand livres to his parents, and his paintings to his
best friends, the Abb�, Gersaint, Monsieur Henin, and Monsieur
Julienne. He is called the "first French painter" and so he
was--though he was Flemish, by birth.
This exquisite picture displays nearly all the characteristics of
Watteau's painting. He was said to paint with "honey and gold," and
his method was certainly remarkable. His clear, delicate colours were
put upon a canvas first daubed with oil, and he never cleaned his
palette. His "oil-pot was full of dust and dirt and mixed with the
washings of his brush." One would think that only the most slovenly
results could come from such habits of work, but the artist made a
colour which no one could copy, and that was a sort of creamy,
opalescent white. This was original with Watteau, and most beautiful.
In this "F�te Champ�tre," which is now in the National Gallery at
Edinburgh, he paints an elegant group of ladies and gentlemen
indulging in an open air dance of some sort. One couple are doing
steps facing one another, to the music of a set of pipes, while the
rest flirt and talk, decorously, round about. There is no boisterous
rusticity here; all is dainty and refined.
The same characteristics are to be found in Watteau's other pictures
such as, "Embarkation for the Island of Cythera," "The Judgment of
Paris," and "Gay Company in a Park."
SIR BENJAMIN WEST
_Pupil of the Italian School_
The beautiful smile of his little niece helped to make this man an
artist. This is the story:
Benjamin West was born down in Pennsylvania, at Westdale, a small
village in the township of Springfield, of Quaker parentage. The
family was poor perhaps, but in America at a time when everybody was
struggling with a new civilisation it did not seem to be such binding
poverty as the same condition in Europe would have been. Benjamin had
a married sister whose baby he greatly loved, and he gave it devoted
attention. One day while it was sleeping and the undiscovered artist
was sitting beside it he saw it smile, and the beauty of the smile
inspired him to keep it forever if he could. He got paper and pencil
and forthwith transferred that "angel's whisper."
No child of to-day can imagine the difficulties a boy must have had in
those days in America, to get an art education, and having learned his
art, how impossible it was to live by it. Men were busy making a new
country and pictures do not take part in such pioneer work; they come
later. Still, there were bound to be born artistic geniuses then, just
as there were men for the plough and men for politics and for war. He
who happened to be the artist was the Quaker boy, West.
He took his first inspiration from the Cherokees, for it was the
Indian in all the splendour of his strength and straightness that
formed West's ideal of beautiful physique.
When he first saw the Apollo Belvedere, he exclaimed: "A young Mohawk
warrior!" to the disgust of every one who heard him, but he meant to
compliment the noblest of forms. Europeans did not know how
magnificent a figure the "young Mohawk warrior" could be; but West
After his Indian impetus toward art he went to Philadelphia, and
settled himself in a studio, where he painted portraits. His sitters
went to him out of curiosity as much as anything else, but at last a
Philadelphia gentleman, who knew what art meant, recognised Benjamin
West's talent, and made some arrangement by which the young man went
Life began to look beautiful and promising to the Pennsylvanian. He
was in Italy for three years, and in that home of art the young man
who had made the smile of his sister's sleeping baby immortal was
given highest honours. He was elected a member of all the great art
societies in Italy, and studied with the best artists of the time. He
began to earn his living, we may be sure, and then he went to England,
where, in spite of the prejudice there must have been against the
colonists, he became at once a favourite of George III., a friend of
Reynolds and of all the English artists of repute--unless perhaps of
Gainsborough, who made friends with none.
West was appointed "historical painter" to his Majesty, George III.,
and he was chosen to be one of four who should draw plans for a Royal
Academy. He was one of the first members of that great organisation,
and when Sir Joshua Reynolds, the first president, died, West became
president, remaining in office for twenty-eight years.
About that time came the Peace of Amiens, and West was able to go to
Paris, where he could see the greatest art treasures of Europe, which
had been brought to France from every quarter as a consequence of the
war. At that time, before Paris began to return these, and when she
had just pillaged every great capital of Europe, artists need take but
a single trip to see all the art worth seeing in the whole world.
After a long service in the Academy, West quarreled with some of the
Academicians and sent in his resignation; but his fellow artists had
too much sense and good feeling to accept it, and begged him to
reconsider his action. He did so, and returned to his place as
president. When West was sixty-five years old he made a picture,
"Christ Healing the Sick," which he meant to give to the Quakers in
Philadelphia, who were trying to get funds with which to build a
hospital. This picture was to be sold for the fund; but it was no
sooner finished and exhibited in London before being sent to America,
than it was bought for 3,000 guineas for Great Britain. West did not
contribute this money to the hospital fund, but he made a replica for
the Quakers, and sent that instead of the original.
West was eighty-two years old when he died and he was buried in
St. Paul's Cathedral after a distinguished and honoured life. Since
Europe gave him his education and also supported him most of his life,
we must consider him more English than American, his birth on American
soil being a mere accident.
PLATE--THE DEATH OF WOLFE
This death scene upon the Plains of Abraham, without the walls of
Quebec in 1759, must not be taken as a realistic picture of an
historic event. West drew upon his imagination and upon portraits of
the prominent men supposed to have been grouped around the dying
general, and he has produced a dramatic effect. One can imagine it is
the two with fingers pointing backward who have just brought the
memorable tidings, "They run! They run!"
"Who run?" asks Wolfe, for when he had fallen the issues of the fight
were still undecided. "The French, sir. They give way everywhere."
"Thank God! I die in peace," replied the English hero. At a time when
the momentous results of this battle had set the whole of Great
Britain afire with enthusiasm it is easy to understand the popularity
of a picture such as this. It was sold in 1791 for �28, and now
belongs to the Duke of Westminster. There is a replica of it in the
Queen's drawing-room at Hampton Court.
Another famous historical picture by West is "The Battle of La Hogue."
"Acis and Galatea"
Adoration of the Magi
"Adoration of the Shepherds"
"After a Summer Shower"
"Alessandro del Borro"
Allegri, Antonio. _See_ Correggi
"Anatomy Lesson, The"
Andrea del Sarto
Anne of Cleves
Anne of Saxony
Annunciata, cloister of the
"Ansidei Madonna, The"
Apostles, the Four
"Artist's Two Sons, The"
"Arundel Castle and Mill"
"Assumption of the Virgin"
"At the Well"
"Avenue, Middelharnis, Holland"
"Awakened Conscience, The"
"Bacchus and Ariadne"
"Banquet in Levi's House"
"Baptism of Christ, The"
"Battle of La Hogue"
Beaumont, Sir George
Beaux-Arts, l'Ecole des
Bigordi. _See_ Ghirlandajo
"Birth of the Virgin"
(Andrea del Sarto)
"Birth of Venus"
"Blessed Herman Joseph, The"
"Blue Boy, The"
Bolton, Mrs. Sarah K.
Bonheur, Raymond B.
Bordone. _See_ Giotto
Bouguereau, William Adolphe
"Boy at the Stile, The"
Brice, J. B.
Buckingham, Duke of
Buonarroti. _See_ Angelo Michael
Burgundy, Duchess of
Burne-Jones, Sir Edward
Cagliari, Paolo. _See_ Veronese
Cambridge, University of
"Camels at Rest"
"Capture of Samson"
Carmine, Church of the
Castillo, Juan del
Cecelia, wife of Titian
Chantry, Sir Francis
"Chess Players, The"
"Children of Charles I."
"Christ Healing the Sick"
"Christ in the Temple"
"Christina of Denmark"
"Cleopatra Landing at Tarsus"
Copley, John Singleton
Copper Plate Magazine
Cornelia, Rembrandt's daughter
"Coronation of Marie de Medicis"
"Coronation of the Virgin"
Corot, Jean Baptiste Camille
Cosimo, Piero di
"Countess of Spencer"
Coventry, Countess of
"Creation of Man, The"
"Creation of the World, The"
"Daphnis and Chloe"
"Dead Christ, The"
"Death of Ananias, The"
"Death of Wolfe, The"
"Descent from the Cross, The"
"Dice Players, The"
"Dignity and Impudence"
Dor�, Paul Gustave
"Duchess of Devonshire and Her Daughter, The"
"Duel After the Masked Ball"
"Education of Mary, The"
Elizabeth, Cousin of the Virgin
"Embarkation for the Island of Cythera"
"Emperor at Solferino, The"
Engravers and engraving
"Equestrian Portrait of Don Balthasar Carlos"
Est�ban, Bartolom�. See Murillo
Etchers and etching
"Europa and the Bull"
"Eve of St. Agnes, The"
"Fall of Man, The"
"Fantasy of Morocco"
"Feast in the House of Simon"
"Feast of Ahasuerus"
"Ferdinand of Austria"
Ferdinand III., Grand Duke
Ferrara, Duke of
"Fighting T�m�raire, The"
"Finding of Christ in the Temple, The"
"Flatford Mill on the River Stour"
"Foal of an Ass, The"
Fondato de' Tedeschi
Frari, monks of the
Old Pinakothek, Munich
"Gay Company in a Park"
Gell�e. See Claude Lorrain
G�r�me, Jean L�on
"Giovanna degli Albizi"
Gladstone, Mr. and Mrs.
"Golden Calf, The"
"Golden Stairs, The"
Goldsmith, craft of the
"Good Samaritan, The"
Grignon, Madame de
"Guardian Angel, The"
Guidi. Tommaso. _See_ Masaccio
Guidobaldo of Urbino
"Gust of Wind"
Haarlem Town Hall
"Haarlem's Little Forest"
Hamilton, Duchess of
"Hans of Antwerp"
"Harvest Waggon, The"
"Haunt of the Gazelle, The"
"Haystack in Sunshine"
"Hay Wain, The"
"Head of Christ"
"Head of Medusa"
Hearn, George A.
"Hille Bobbe, the Witch of Haarlem"
"Hireling Shepherd, The"
Holbein, Hans, the Younger
Holbein, the Elder
"Holy Family and St. Bridget"
Holy Family in art, The
"Holy Family under a Palm Tree, The"
"Holy Night, The"
"Homer St. Gaudens"
"Hon. Ann Bingham, The"
"Horse Fair, The"
Hunt, William Holman
"II Medico del Correggio"
"Immaculate Conception, The"
"Infant Jesus and St. John, The"
"Interior of the Mosque of Omar"
"Isle of the Dead, The"
Jacopo da Empoli
"Jerusalem by Moonlight"
"Jesus and the Lamb"
Jesus in art
Joseph in art
"Joseph in Egypt"
"Judgment of Paris, The"
"King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid"
"King of Hearts"
"Knight, Death and the Devil, The"
"La Belle Jardini�re"
"Lady Elcho, Mrs. Arden, Mrs. Tennant"
"Landscape with Cattle."
Landseer, Sir Edwin Henry
"Last Judgment, The"
"Last Supper, The"
(Andrea del Sarto)
(Leonardo da Vinci)
"Laughing Cavalier, The"
Lavinia, daughter of Titian
"Lavinia, the Artist's Daughter"
Lawrence, Sir Thomas
Legion of Honour
Leonardo. See da Vinci
Lewis, J. F.
Library, Boston Public
"Light of the World, The"
"Lion Disturbed at His Repast"
"Lion Enjoying His Repast"
"Lioness, The Study off a"
"Lion Hunt, A"
Lippi, Fra Filippo
"Lock on the Stour"
"Lords Digby and Russell"
"Love Among the Ruins"
"Low Life and High Life"
Lowther, Sir William
Lucas van Leyden
Lucia, mother of Titian
Lucretia, wife of Andrea del Sarto
Madonna and Child
"Madonna and Child with St. Anne"
"Madonna and Child with Saints"
"Madonna della Caraffa"
"Madonna della Casa d'Alba"
"Madonna della Sedia"
"Madonna del Granduca"
"Madonna del Pesce"
"Madonna del Sacco"
"Madonna of the Palms"
"Madonna of the Rosary."
Mantua, Duke of
Mantua, Duke Frederick II. of
"Man with the Hoe, The"
"Man with the Sword, The"
"Marriage � la Mode"
"Marriage at Cana, The"
"Marriage Contract, The"
"Marriage of Bacchus and Ariadne, The"
"Marriage of Mary and Joseph, The"
"Marriage of St. Catherine, The"
"Marriage of Samson, The"
"Martyrdom of St. Agnes, The"
"Martyrdom of St. Peter, The"
"Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, The"
Mary, the Virgin, in art
Masaccio (Tommasco Guidi)
Medici, Giovanni di Bicci de'
Medici, Lorenzi de'
Medici, Ottaviano de'
Medici, Pietro de'
"Meeting of St. John and St. Anna at Jerusalem"
Meissonier, Jean Louis Ernest
"Meyer Madonna, The"
Millet, Jean Fran�ois
"Miracle of St. Mark, The"
"Mrs. Meyer and Children"
"Money Changers, The"
"Moonlight at Salerno"
"Moreau and His Staff before Hohenlinden"
More, Sir Thomas
"Morning Prayer, The"
"Moses Breaking the Tablets of the Law"
Murillo (Bartolom� Est�ban)
Murillo, Do�a Anna
Museum of Art, Basel
Metropolitan, New York
"Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine, The"
"Naiads at Play"
"Nieces of Sir Horace Walpole"
"Night Watch, The"
"Noli me Tangere"
"Nurse and the Child, The"
"'Oh, Pearl' Quoth I"
"Old Bachelor, The"
"Old Shepherd's Chief Mourner, The"
"Pan and Psyche"
"Parish Clerk, The"
'Past and Present"
"Pathless Water, The"
"Pilate Washing His Hands"