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Promenades of an Impressionist by James Huneker

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Manet--the precepts of Manet taught him to sweeten the wiriness of his
modelling and modify his tendency to a certain hardness--was willing
to trust to time for the verdict of his rare art. He associated daily
with Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Whistler, Duranty, Fantin-Latour, and the
crowd that first went to the Cafe Guerbois in the Batignolles--hence
the derisive nickname, "The Batignolles School"; later to the Nouvelle
Athenes, finally to the Cafe de la Rochefoucauld. A hermit he was
during the dozen hours a day he toiled, but he was a sociable man,
nevertheless, a cultured man fond of music, possessing a tongue that
was feared as much as is the Russian knout. Mr. Moore has printed many
specimens of his caustic wit. Whistler actually kept silent in his
presence--possibly expecting a repetition of the _mot_: "My dear
friend, you conduct yourself in life just as if you had no talent at
all." Manet good-naturedly took a browbeating, but the Academic set
were outraged by the irreverence of Degas. What hard sayings were his!
Poor Bastien-Lepage, too, came in for a scoring. Barricaded in his
studio, it was a brave man who attempted to force an entrance. The
little, round-shouldered artist, generally good-tempered, would pour a
stream of verbal vitriol over the head of the unlucky impertinent.

In 1860 or thereabout he visited America, and in New Orleans he saw
the subject of his Interior of a Cotton Factory, which was shown as an
historical curiosity at the Paris exposition in 1900. While it is
implacably realistic there is little hint of the future Degas. The
name of the painter was in every French painter's mouth, and the
brilliant article of Huysmans concentrated his fame. Huysmans it was
who first saw that Degas had treated the nude as Rembrandt would if he
had been alive--making allowances for temperamental variations. Degas
knew that to grasp the true meaning of the nude it must be represented
in postures, movements which are natural, not studio attitudes. As
Monet exposed the fallacy of studio lighting, so Degas revealed the
inanity of its poses. Ibsen said the stage should be a room with the
fourth wall removed; Degas preferred the key-hole through which we
seem to peep upon the privacy of his ugly females bathing or combing
their hair or sleeping, lounging, yawning, quarrelling, and walking.
The simian and frog-like gestures and sprawling attitudes are far from
arousing amiable sensations. These poor, tired women, hard-working
laundresses, shopgirls, are not alluring, though they are not as
hideous as the women of Cezanne or Edvard Muench; but the veracity of
the "human document" (overworked phrase!) is there. Charles Morice has
said that to Cezanne a potato was as significant as a human
countenance. The pattern interested him in both. For Degas the beauty
of life lies in the moving line. He captures with ease the swift,
unconscious gesture. His models are never posed. They are nature
caught in the act. There is said to be a difference between the
epidermis of the professional model and the human who undresses only
to go to bed. Degas has recorded this difference. What an arraignment
of the corset are the creased backs and gooseflesh of his nudes! What
lurking cynicism there is in some of his interiors! _Voila l'animale!_
he exclaims as he shows us the far from enchanting antics of some
girl. How Schopenhauer would laugh at the feminine "truths" of Degas!
Without the leer of Rops, Degas is thrice as unpleasant. He is a
douche for the romantic humbug painter, the painter of sleek bayaderes
and of drawing-room portraiture.

Pity is deeply rooted in his nature. He is never tender, yet there is
veiled sympathy in the ballet-girl series. Behind the scenes, in the
waiting-rooms, at rehearsal, going home with the hawk-eyed mother, his
girls are all painfully real. No "glamour of the foot-lights,"
generally the prosaic side of their life. He has, however, painted the
glorification of the danseuse, of that lady grandiloquently described
as _prima donna assoluta_. What magic he evokes as he pictures her
floating down stage! The pastel in the Luxembourg, L'Etoile, is the
reincarnation of the precise moment when the aerial creature on one
foot lifts graceful arms and is transfigured in the glow of the
lights, while about her beats--you are sure--the noisy, insistent
music. It is in the pinning down of such climaxes of movement that
Degas stirs our admiration. He draws movement. He can paint rhythms.
His canvases are ever in modulation. His sense of tactile values is
profound. His is true atmospheric colour. A feeling of exhilaration
comes while contemplating one of his open-air scenes with jockeys,
race-horses, and the incidental bustle of a neighbouring concourse.
Unexcelled as a painter of horses, as a delineator of witching
horsemanship, of vivid landscapes--true integral decorations--and of
the casual movements and gestures of common folk, Degas is also a
psychologist, an ironical commentator on the pettiness and ugliness of
daily life, of its unheroic aspects, its comical snobberies and
shocking hypocrisies; and all expressed without a melodramatic
elevation of the voice, without the false sentimentalism of Zola or
the morbidities of Toulouse-Lautrec. There is much Baudelaire in
Degas, as there is also in Rodin. All three men despised academic
rhetoric; all three dealt with new material in a new manner.

It is the fashion to admire Degas, but it is doubtful if he will ever
gain the suffrage of the general. He does not retail anecdotes, though
to the imaginative every line of his nudes relates their history. His
irony is unremitting. It suffuses the ballet-girl series and the nude
sets. Irony is an illuminating mode, but it is seldom pleasant; the
public is always suspicious of an ironist, particularly of the Degas
variety. Careless of reputation, laughing at the vanity of his
contemporaries who were eager to arrive, contemptuous of critics and
criticism, of collectors who buy low to sell high (in the heart of
every picture collector there is a bargain counter), Degas has defied
the artistic world for a half-century. His genius compelled the
Mountain to come to Mahomet. The rhythmic articulations, the volume,
contours, and bounding supple line of Degas are the despair of
artists. Like the Japanese, he indulges in abridgments, deformations,
falsifications. His enormous faculty of attention has counted heavily
in his synthetical canvases. He joys in the representation of
artificial light; his theatres are flooded with it, and he is equally
successful in creating the illusion of cold, cheerless daylight in a
salle where rehearse the little "rats" and the older coryphees on
their wiry, muscular, ugly legs. His vast production is dominated by
his nervous, resilient vital line and by supremacy in the handling of

The Degas palette is never gorgeous, consisting as it does of cool
grays, discreet blues and greens, Chardin-like whites and
Manet-blacks. His procedure is all his own. His second manner is a
combination of drawing, painting, and pastel. "He has invented a kind
of engraving mixed with wash drawing, pastel crayon crushed with
brushes of special pattern."


The common identity of the arts was a master theory of Richard Wagner,
which he attempted to put into practice. Walter Pater in his essay on
The School of Giorgione has dwelt upon the same theme, declaring music
the archetype of the arts. In his Essays Speculative John Addington
Symonds said some pertinent things on this subject. Camille Mauclair
in his Idees Vivantes proposes in all seriousness a scheme for the
fusion of the seven arts, though he deplored Wagner's efforts to reach
a solution. Mauclair's theory is that the fusion can only be a
cerebral one, that actually mingling sculpture, architecture, music,
drama, acting, colour, dancing can never evoke the sensation of unity.
Synthesis is not thus to be attained. It must be in the _idea_ of the
arts rather than their material realisation. A pretty chimera! Yet one
that has piqued the world of art in almost every century. It was the
half-crazy E.T.W. Hoffmann, composer, dramatist, painter, poet, stage
manager, and a dozen other professions, including that of genius and
drunkard, who set off a train of ideas which buzzed in the brains of
Poe, Baudelaire, and the symbolists. People who hear painting, see
music, enjoy odorous poems, taste symphonies, and write perfumes are
now classed by the omnipotent psychical police as decadents, though
such notions are as old as literature. Suarez de Mendoza in his
L'Audition Coloree has said that the sensation of colour hearing, the
faculty of associating tones and colours, is often a consequence of an
association of ideas established in youth. The coloured vowels of
Arthur Rimbaud, which must be taken as a poet's crazy prank; the
elaborate treatises by Rene Ghil, which are terribly earnest; the
remarks that one often hears, such as "scarlet is like a trumpet
blast"; certain pages of Huysmans, all furnish examples of this
curious muddling of the senses and mixing of genres. Naturally, it has
invaded criticism, which, limited in imagery, sometimes seeks to
transfer the technical terms of one art to another.

Whistler with his nocturnes, notes, symphonies in rose and silver, his
colour-sonatas, boldly annexed well-worn musical phrases, that in
their new estate took on fresher meanings even if remaining knee-deep
in the kingdom of the nebulous. It must be confessed modern composers
have retaliated. Musical impressionism is having its vogue, while
poets are desperately pictorial. Soul landscapes and etched sonnets
are not unpleasing to the ear. What if they do not mean much? There
was a time when to say a "sweet voice" would arouse a smile. What has
sugar to do with sound? It may be erratic symbolism, this confusing of
terminologies; yet, once in a while, it strikes sparks. There is a
deeply rooted feeling in us that the arts have a common matrix, that
they are emotionally akin. "Her slow smile" in fiction has had marked
success with young people, but a "slow landscape" is still regarded
suspiciously. The bravest critic of art was Huysmans. He pitched
pell-mell into the hell-broth of his criticism any image that
assaulted his fecund brain. He forced one to _see_ his picture--for he
was primarily concerned not with the ear, but the eye.

And Botticelli? Was Botticelli a "comprehensive"--as those with the
sixth or synthetic sense have been named by Lombroso? Botticelli,
beginning as a goldsmith's apprentice (Botticello, the little bottle),
ended as a painter, the most original in all Italy. His canvases have
a rare, mysterious power of evocation. He was a visionary, this Sandro
Filipepi, pupil of the mercurial Fra Lippo Lippi and the brothers
Pollajuolo, and his inward vision must have been something more than
paint and pattern and subject. A palimpsest may be discerned by the
imaginative--or, let us say, fanciful, since Coleridge long ago set
forth the categories--whose secrets are not to be deciphered easily,
yet are something more than those portrayed by the artist on the flat
surface of his picture. He painted the usual number of Madonnas, like
any artist of his period; yet he did not convince his world, or the
generations succeeding, that this piety was orthodox. Suspected during
his lifetime of strange heresies, this annotator and illustrator of
Dante, this disciple of Savonarola, has in our times been definitely
ranged as a spirit saturated with paganism, and still a mystic.
Doesn't the perverse clash in such a complex temperament give us
exotic dissonances? All Florence was a sounding-board of the arts when
Botticelli walked its narrow ways and lived its splendid coloured
life. His sensitive nature absorbed as a sponge does water the
impulses and motives of his contemporaries. The lurking secrets of the
"new learning"--doctrines that made for damnation, such as the
recrudescence of the mediaeval conception of an angelic neuter host,
neither for Heaven nor Hell, not on the side of Lucifer nor with the
starry hosts--were said to have been mirrored in his pictures. Its
note is in Citta di Vita, in the heresy of the Albigenses, and it goes
as far back as Origen. Those who read his paintings, and there were
clairvoyant theologians abroad in Florence, could make of them what
they would. Painted music is less understandable than painted heresy.
Matteo Palmieri is said to have dragged Botticelli with him into dark
corners of disbelief; there was in the Medicean days a cruel order of
intelligence that delighted to toy with the vital faith and ideals of
the young. It was more savage and cunning when Machiavelli, shrewdest
of men, wrote and lived. A nature like Botticelli's, which surrendered
frankly to ideas if they but wore the mask of subtlety, could not fail
to have been swept away in the eddying cross-currents of Florentine
intellectual movements. Never mere instinct, for he was a sexless sort
of man, moved him from his moral anchorage. Always the vision! He did
not palter with the voluptuousness of his fellow-artists, yet his
canvases are feverishly disquieting; the sting of the flesh is remote;
love is transfigured, not spiritually and not served to us as a barren
parable, but made more intense by the breaking down of the thin
partition between the sexes; a consuming emotion not quite of this
world nor of the next. The barren rebellion which stirred Botticelli's
bosom never quite assumed the concrete. His religious subjects are
Hellenised, not after Mantegna's sterner and more inflexible method,
but like those of a philosophic Athenian who has read and comprehended
Dante. Yet the illustrations show us a different Dante, one who would
not have altogether pleased the gloomy exile. William Blake's
transpositions of the Divine Comedy seem to sound the depths;
Botticelli, notwithstanding the grace of his "baby centaurs" and the
wreathed car of Beatrice, is the profounder man of the two.

His life, veiled toward the last, was not a happy one, though he was
recognised as a great painter. Watteau concealed some cankering
secret; so Botticelli. Both belong to the band of the Disquieted.
Melancholy was at the base of the Florentine's work. He created as a
young man in joy and freedom, but the wings of Duerer's bat were
outstretched over his head: Melencolia! There is more poignant music
in the Primavera, in the weary, indifferent countenances of his lean,
neuropathic Madonnas--Pater calls them "peevish"--in his Venus of the
Uffizi, than in the paintings of any other Renaissance artist. The
veils are there, the consoling veils of an exquisite art missing in
the lacerated realistic holy people of the Flemish Primitives.
Joyfulness cannot be denied Botticelli, but it is not the golden joy
of Giorgione. An emaciated music emanates from the eyes of that sad,
restless Venus, to whom love has become a scourge of the senses.
Music? Yes, here is the "coloured hearing" of Mendoza. These canvases
of Botticelli seem to give forth the opalescent over-tones of an
unearthly composition. Is this Spring, this tender, tremulous virgin
whose right hand, deprecatingly raised, signals as a conductor at the
head of an invisible orchestra its rhythms? Hermes, supremely
impassive, hand on thigh, plucks the fruit as the eternal trio of
maidens with woven paces tread the measures of a dance whose music we
but overhear. Garlanded with blossoms, a glorious girl keeps time with
the pulsing atmospheric moods; her gesture, surely a divine one, shows
her casting flowers upon the richly embroidered floor of the earth.
The light filters through the thick trees; its rifts are as rigid as
candles. The nymph in the brake is threatening. Another epicene
creature flies by her. Love shoots his bolt in midair. Is it from
Paphos or Mitylene! What the fable! Music plucked down from the
vibrating skies and made visible to the senses. A mere masque laden
with the sweet, prim allegories of the day it is not. Vasari, blunt
soul, saw but its surfaces. Politian, the poet, got closer to the
core. Centuries later our perceptions, sharpened by the stations of
pain and experience traversed, lend to this immortal canvas a more
sympathetic, less literal interpretation.

Music, too, in the Anadyomene of the Uffizi. Still stranger music.
Those sudden little waves that lap an immemorial strand; that
shimmering shell, its fan-spokes converging to the parted feet of the
goddess; her hieratic pose, its modesty symbolic, the hair that
serpentines about her foam-born face, thin shoulders that slope into
delicious arms; the Japanese group, blowing tiny, gem-like buds with
puffed-out cheeks; the rhythmic female on tiptoe offering her mantle
to Venus; and enveloping them all vernal breezes, unseen, yet sensed
on every inch of the canvas--what are these things but the music of an
art original at its birth and never since reborn? The larger rhythms
of the greater men do not sweep us along with them in Botticelli. But
his voice is irresistible.

Modern as is his spirit, as modern as Watteau, Chopin, or Shelley, he
is no less ethereal than any one of these three; ethereal and also
realistic. We may easily trace his artistic ancestry; what he became
could never have been predicted. Technically, as one critic has
written, "he was the first to understand the charm of silhouettes, the
first to linger in expressing the joining of the arm and body, the
flexibility of the hips, the roundness of the shoulders, the elegance
of the leg, the little shadow that marks the springing of the neck,
and above all the carving of the hand; but even more he understood 'le
prestige insolent des grands yeux.'"

For Pater his colour was cold, cadaverous, "and yet the more you come
to understand what imaginative colouring really is, that all colour is
no mere delightful quality of natural things but a spirit upon them by
which they become expressive to the spirit, the better you like this
peculiar quality of colour." Bernard Berenson goes further. For him
the entire picture, Venus Rising From the Sea, presents us with the
quintessence of all that is pleasurable to our imagination of touch
and movement... The vivid appeal to our tactile sense, the life
communicating movement, is always there. And writing of the Pallas in
the Pitti he most eloquently said: "As to the hair--imagine shapes
having the supreme life of line you may see in the contours of licking
flames and yet possessed of all the plasticity of something which
caresses the hand that models it to its own desire!"

And after speaking of Botticelli's stimulating line, he continues:
"Imagine an art made up entirely of these quintessences of
movement-values and you will have something that holds the same
relation to representation that music holds to speech--and this art
exists and is called lineal decoration. In this art of arts Sandro
Botticelli may have had rivals in Japan and elsewhere in the East, but
in Europe never!... He is the greatest master of lineal design that
Europe ever had."

Again music, not the music nor the symbolism of the emotions, but the
abstract music of design. Botticelli's appeal is also an auditive one.
Other painters have spun more intricate, more beautiful scrolls of
line; other painters sounded more sensuous colour music, but the
subtle sarabands of Botticelli they have not composed. There is here a
pleasing problem for the psychiatrist. Manifestations in paint of this
species may be set down to some mental lesion; that is how Maurice
Spronck classifies the sensation in writing about the verbal
sensitivity of the Goncourts and Flaubert. The latter, you may
remember, said that Salammbo was purple to him, and L'Education
Sentimentale gray. Carthage and Paris--a characteristic fancy! But why
is it that these scientific gentlemen who account for genius by
eye-strain do not reprove the poets for their sensibility to the sound
of words, the shape and cadences of the phrase? It appears that only
prose-men are the culpable ones when they hear the harping of
invisible harps from Ibsen steeplejacks, or recognise the colour of
Zarathustra's thoughts. In reality not one but thousands sit listening
in the chill galleries of Florence because of the sweet, sick, nervous
music of Botticelli; this testimony of the years is for the dissenters
to explain.

_Fantastico, Stravaganie_, as Vasari nicknamed Botticelli, has
literally created an audience that has learned to see as he did,
fantastically and extravagantly. He passed through the three stages
dear to arbitrary criticism. Serene in his youthful years; troubled,
voluptuous, visionary during the Medicean period; sombre, mystic, a
convert to Savonarola at the end. He passed through, not untouched, a
great crisis. Certain political assassinations and the Pazzi
conspiracy hurt him to the quick. He noted the turbulence of Rome and
Florence, saw behind the gay-tinted arras of the Renaissance the
sinister figures of its supermen and criminals. He never married. When
Tommaso Soderini begged him to take a wife, he responded: "The other
night I dreamed I was married. I awoke in such horror and chagrin that
I could not fall asleep again. I arose and wandered about Florence
like one possessed." Evidently not intended by nature as a husband or
father. Like Watteau, like Nietzsche, grand visionaries abiding on the
other side of the dear common joys of life, these men were not tempted
by the usual baits of happiness. The great Calumnia in the Uffizi
might be construed as an image of Botticelli's soul. Truth, naked and
scorned--again we note the matchless silhouette of his
Venus--misunderstood and calumniated, stands in the hall of a great
palace. She points to the heavens; she is an interrogation mark,
Pilate's question. Botticelli was adored. But understood? An enigmatic
malady ravaged his being. He died poor and alone, did this composer of
luminous chants and pagan poems, this moulder of exotic dreams and of
angels who long for other gods than those of Good and Evil. A
grievously wounded, timid soul, an intruder at the portals of
paradise, but without the courage to enter or withdraw. He had visions
that rapt him up into the seventh heaven, and when he reported them in
the speech of his design his harassed, divided spirit chilled the
ardours of his art. And thus it is that many do not worship at his
shrine as at the shrine of Raphael, for they see the adumbration of a
paganism long since dead, but revived by a miracle for a brief
Botticellian hour. Madonna and Venus! The Christ Child and Bacchus!
Under which king? The artist never frankly tells us. The legends of
fauns turned monks, of the gods at servile labour in a world that had
forgotten them, are revived, but with more sublimated ecstasy than by
Heine, when we stand before Botticelli and listen to his pallid, muted

He was born at Florence in 1446; he died May 27, 1510; in 1515,
according to Vasari. A study of him is by Emile Gebhart, late of the
French Academy. It is erudite, although oddly enough it ignores the
researches of Morelli and Berenson. Gebhart attributes to Alessandro
di Mariano Filipepi about eighty-five pictures, many of which were
long ago in Morelli's taboo list--that terrible Morelli, the learned
iconoclast who brought many sleepless nights to Dr. Wilhelm Bode of
Berlin. Time has vindicated the Bergamese critic. Berenson will allow
only forty-five originals to Botticelli's credit. Furthermore, Gebhart
does not mention in his catalogue the two Botticellis belonging to
Mrs. Gardner of Boston, a lamentable oversight for a volume brought
out in 1907. Need we add that this French author by no means sees
Botticelli in the musical sense? He is chiefly concerned with his
historic environment. Gebhart's authorities are the Memoriale of
Francesco Albertini; Anonyme Gaddiano, the manuscript of the
Magliabecchiana, which precedes the Vasari edition; the Life of
Botticelli, by Vasari, and many later studies, the most complete, he
avers, being that of Hermann Ulmann of Munich, whose Sandro
Botticelli, which appeared in 1893, is rigorously critical.
Nevertheless, it is not as critical as Morelli's Italian Painters.
Details about the typical ears, hands, and noses of the painter may be
found therein. The last word concerning Botticelli will not be uttered
until his last line has vanished. And, even then, his archaic
harmonies may continue to sound in the ears of mankind.



Large or small, there has been a Greco cult ever since the
Greek-Spanish painter died, April 7, 1614, but during the last decade
it has grown into a species of worship. One hears the names of
Velasquez and El Greco coupled. His profound influence on the greatest
of the realists is blithely assumed, and for these worshippers,
Ribera, Zurbaran, Murillo are hardly to be ranked with the painter of
the Burial of the Count of Orgaz. While this undiscriminating
admiration may be deplored, there are reasons enough for the
canonisation of El Greco in the church of art. Violent to exaggeration
in composition, morbidly mystic, there are power and emotional quality
revealed in his work; above all else he anticipated Velasquez in his
use of cool gray tones, and as a pupil or at least a disciple of
Titian he is, as his latest biographer, Senor Manuel B. Cossio, names
him, "the last epigone of the Italian Renaissance." But of the man we
know almost nothing.

We read his exhaustive study, a big book of over seven hundred pages
fortified by a supplementary volume containing one hundred and
ninety-three illustrations, poor reproductions of El Greco's
accredited works (El Greco, por Manuel B. Cossio). Senor Cossio has so
well accomplished his task that his book may be set down as
definitive. A glance at the bibliography he compiled shows that not
many writers on art have seen fit to pay particular attention to El
Greco. A few Spaniards, Senor Beruete heading them; Max Boehm, Carl
Justi (in his Diego Velasquez); Paul Lafond, William Ritter, Arthur
Symons, William Stirling, Signor Venturi, Louis Viardot, Wyzewa,
Havelock Ellis, and the inimitable Theophile Gautier--whose Travels in
Spain, though published in 1840, is, as Mr. Ellis truthfully remarks,
still a storehouse of original exploration. But the Cossio work,
naturally, tops them all. He is an adorer, though not fanatical, of
his hero, and it is safe to assert that all that is known to-day of El
Greco will be found in these pages. The origins of the painter, his
visit to Italy, his arrival at Toledo, are described with references
to original documents--few as they are.

Then follows a searching and vivid exposition of the pictures in
Madrid, Toledo, and elsewhere, a technical and psychological analysis
which displays vast research, critical acumen, and the sixth sense of
sympathy. No pictures, sketches, sculptures, or _retablos_ escape
Cossio. He considers El Greco in his relations to Velasquez and modern
art. He has all the authorities at his tongue's tip; he views the man
and artist from every angle.

"Domenico El Greco died at Toledo two years before his contemporary
Cervantes," says Cossio. Domenicos Theotocopoulos was his original
name, which was softened into Domenico Theotocopuli--which, no doubt
proving too much of a tongue-twister for the Spaniards, was quickly
superseded by a capital nickname, "The Greek." His birthplace was the
island of Crete and his birth-year between 1545 and 1550. Justi was
the first to demonstrate his Cretan ancestry, which was corroborated
in 1893 by Bikelas. In 1570, we learn through a letter written by
Giulio Clovio to Cardinal Farnese, El Greco had astonished Roman
artists by his skill in portraiture. He was said to be a pupil of
Titian, on Clovio's authority. Why he went to Spain has not been
discovered. He had a son, Jorge Manuel Theotocopuli, a sculptor and
architect. Who the mother was history does not say. The painter took
up his abode in Toledo and is not known to have left Spain thereafter.
Pacheco visited him at Toledo and reported him to be as singular as
his paintings and of an extravagant disposition. He was also called a
wit and a philosopher. He wrote on painting, sculpture, and
architecture, it is said. He made money; was, like most of his adopted
countrymen, fond of litigation; lived well, loved music--and at his
meals!--and that is all we may ever record of a busy life; for he
painted many pictures, a careful enumeration of which makes Cossio's
book valuable.

There are Grecos scattered over Europe and the two Americas. Madrid
and Toledo boast of his best work, but as far as St. Petersburg and
Bucharest he is represented. In the United States there are eleven
examples, soon to be increased by Mr. Archer M. Huntington's recent
acquisition from the Kann collection. In Boston at the Museum there is
the portrait of Fray Paravicino, a brilliant picture. (The worthy monk
wrote four sonnets in glorification of the painter, whom he calls
"Divino Griego." Quoted in one of the Cossio appendices.) There is an
Assumption of the Virgin in Chicago at the Art Institute, and an
Apostle, belonging to Charles Deering. In Philadelphia Mr. "J. Widner"
(read P.A.B. Widener) owns a St. Francis, and at the Metropolitan
Museum, hanging in Gallery 24, there is The Adoration of the
Shepherds, a characteristic specimen of Greco's last manner, and in
excellent condition. The gallery of the late H.O. Havemeyer contains
one of the celebrated portraits of the Cardinal Inquisitor D. Fernando
Nino de Guevara, painted during the second epoch, 1594 to 1604. It
furnishes a frontispiece for the Cossio volume. The same dignitary was
again painted, a variant, which Rudolph Kann owned, and now in the
possession of Mrs. Huntington. The cardinal's head is strong,
intellectual, and his expression proud and cold. Mr. Frick, at a
private club exhibition, showed his Greco, St. Jerome, a subject of
which the painter was almost as fond as of St. Francis (of Assisi).
The National Gallery, London, owns a St. Jerome, Madrid another. Mr.
Frick's example belongs to the epoch of 1584 to 1594. Mr. Erich in New
York possesses three pictures, St. Jerome, a portrait of St. Domingo
de Guzman and a Deposition. El Greco is a painter admired by painters
for his salt individualism. Zuloaga, the Spaniard, has several; Degas,
two; the critic Duret, two; John S. Sargent, one--a St. Martin.
Durand-Ruel once owned the Annunciation, but sold it to Mrs. H.O.
Havemeyer, and the Duveens in London possess a Disrobing of Christ. At
the National Gallery there are two.

Gautier wrote that El Greco surpassed Monk Lewis and Mrs. Radcliffe in
his pell-mell of horrors; "extravagant and bizarre" are the adjectives
he employs (said of most painters whose style is unfamiliar or out of
the beaten track). In the Baptism of Christ he finds a depraved
energy, a maleficent puissance; but the ardent colours, the tonal
vivacity, and the large, free handling excite the Frenchman's
admiration. Justi avers that Greco's "craving for originality
developed incredible mannerisms. In his portraits he has delineated
the peculiar dignity of the Castilian hidalgos and the beauty of
Toledan dames with a success attained by few." R.A. Stevenson devotes
to him a paragraph in his Velasquez. Referring to the influence of El
Greco upon the greater painter, he wrote: "While Greco certainly
adopted a Spanish gravity of colouring, neither that nor his modelling
was ever subtle or thoroughly natural... Velasquez ripened with age
and practice; Greco was rather inclined to get rotten with facility."
Mr. Ricketts says that "his pictures might at times have been painted
by torchlight in a cell of the Inquisition." Richard Ford in his
handbook of Spain does not mince words: "Greco was very unequal... He
was often more lengthy and extravagant than Fuseli, and as leaden as
cholera morbus." Ritter speaks of his "symphonies in blue minor"
(evidently imitating Gautier's poem, Symphony in White-Major). In
Havelock Ellis's suggestive The Soul of Spain there is mention of
Greco--see chapter Art of Spain. Ellis says: "In his more purely
religious and supernatural scenes Greco was sometimes imaginative, but
more often bizarre in design and disconcerting in his colouring with
its insistence on chalky white, his violet shadows on pale faces, his
love of green. [Mr. Ellis finds this 'predilection for green'
significant as anticipating one of the characteristics of the Spanish
palette.] His distorted fever of movement--the lean, twisted bodies,
the frenzied, gesticulating arms, the mannerism of large calves that
taper down to pointed toes--usually fails to convince us. But in the
audacities of his colouring he revealed the possibilities of new
harmonies, of higher, brighter, cooler keys." The Count Orgaz burial
scene at Toledo Mr. Ellis does not rank among the world's great

There is often a depressing morbidity in Greco; Goya is sane and
healthy by comparison. Greco's big church pieces are full of religious
sentiment, but enveloped in the fumes of nightmare. Curious it was
that a stranger from Greece should have absorbed certain not
particularly healthy, even sinister, Spanish traits and developed them
to such a pitch of nervous intensity. As Arthur Symons says, his
portraits "have all the brooding Spanish soul with its proud
self-repression." Senor Cossio sums up in effect by declaring that
Venice educated Greco in his art; Titian taught him technique;
Tintoretto gave him his sense of dramatic form; Angelo his virility.
But of the strong personality which assimilated these various
influences there is no doubt when confronted with one of his canvases,
every inch of which is signed El Greco.


Why so well-known and authoritative a work as Velasquez, by Aureliano
de Beruete, should have been so long in reaching America is a puzzle
when you consider the velocity with which the Atlantic Ocean is
traversed by so many mediocre books on art. The first Spanish edition
of the Beruete monograph appeared about 1897; the same year saw it in
French, and from the latter tongue it was translated into English by
Hugh E. Poynter in 1906. Senor Beruete is considered with reason as
the prime living authority on the great Spanish realist, though his
study is not so voluminous as that of Carl Justi. The Bonn professor,
however, took all Spain for his province. Velasquez and His Times is
the title of his work, the first edition of which came out in 1888,
the second in 1903. Beruete (whose portrait by Sorolla was one of that
master's most characteristic pictures at the recent Hispanic Society
exhibition in New York) is not at odds on many points with Justi; but
more sceptical he is, and to R.A.M. Stevenson's list of Velasquez
pictures, two hundred and thirty-four, Beruete opposes the
comparatively meagre number of eighty-nine. He reduces the number of
sketches and waves away as spurious the Velasquez "originals" in
Italy, several in the Prado, the very stronghold of the collection;
and of the eleven in that famous cabinet of the Vienna Imperial
Museum--to which we went as to a divine service of eye and soul--he
allows only seven as authentic. The portrait of Innocent X in the
Doria palace, Rome, is naturally a masterpiece, as is the bust
portrait of the same subject at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg; but the
Boston Museum full-length of Philip IV is discredited as a copy, only
the Prince Don Baltasar Carlos Attended by a Dwarf being admitted in
the company of the true Velasquezes.

Of the "supposed portrait of Cardinal Pamphili," a real Velasquez, now
hanging in the Hispanic Society, 156th Street, Beruete writes: "In the
winter of 1902 there appeared in Paris a bust portrait of a cardinal
brought from Italy by Messrs. Trotty & Co., which had been alluded to
by Professor A. Venturi of Rome in _L'Art_. It is life size,
representing a person about thirty years of age in the dress of a
cardinal, with smiling face and black hair, moustache and pointed
beard, good carriage and a touch of levity not in keeping with the
dignity and austerity of a prince of the Church. The beretta and cape,
of a fine red colour, the latter painted in a uniform tone and without
a crease, harmonise with the roseate hue of the features, and the
plain gray background. Every detail reveals the hand of Velasquez, and
it can be classed without hesitation among the characteristic works of
his second style. It is on that ground that I make mention of it here.
However, in Rome, at the house in which this picture was found, it was
held to be the portrait of Cardinal Pamphili, nephew of Innocent X,
who according to Palomino was painted in Rome by Velasquez at the same
time as the Pontiff, that is in 1650."

Beruete believes Palomino was wrong in declaring that Velasquez
painted the young cardinal in Rome; Madrid was the likelier city. The
style proves an earlier date than 1650. The cardinal withdrew from the
cardinalate after three years, 1644-47 > and married. The portrait was
acquired by the American artist the late Francis Lathrop. Stevenson
grants to the Metropolitan Museum a fruit-piece by Velasquez. Not so
Beruete. J. H. McFadden of Philadelphia once owned the Dona Mariana of
Austria, second wife of Philip IV, in a white-and-black dress, gold
chain over her shoulder, hair adorned with red bows and red-and-white
feather, from the Lyne-Stephens collection in the New Gallery,
1895--and is so quoted by Stevenson; but he sold the picture and
Beruete has lost track of it.

Whereas Stevenson in his invaluable book studies his subject broadly
in chapters devoted to the dignity of the Velasquez technique, his
colour, modelling, brushwork, and his impressionism, Beruete follows a
more detailed yet simpler method. Picture by picture, in each of the
three styles--he adopts Justi's and Stevenson's classification--he
follows the painter, dealing less with the man than his work. Not that
biographical data are missing--on the contrary, there are many pages
of anecdotes as well as the usual facts--but Beruete is principally
concerned with the chronology and attribution of the pictures. He has
dug up some fresh material concerning the miserable pay Velasquez
received, rather fought for, at the court of Philip, where he was on a
par with the dwarfs, barbers, comedians, servants, and other
dependants of the royal household.

The painter has been criticised for his attachment to the king; but as
he was not of a religious nature and did not paint religious pieces
with the gusto of his contemporaries, the court was his only hope of
existence; either court or church. He made his choice early, and while
we must regret the enormous wasting of the hours consequent upon the
fulfilment of his duties as a functionary, master of the revels, and
what not, we should not forget how extremely precarious would have
been his lot as a painter without royal favour in the Spain of those
days. He had his bed, board, house, and though he died penniless--his
good wife Juana only survived him seven days--he had the satisfaction
of knowing that he owed no man, and that his daughter had married his
pupil Mazo. Velasquez was born at Seville in 1599; died at Madrid,
1660. His real name was Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velasquez. He was a
Silva--for the "de" was acquired from the king after much pettifoggery
on the part of that monarch with the prognathic jaw--and he was of
Portuguese blood. He signed Velasquez--a magic grouping of letters for
the lovers of art--though born as he was in Spain his forefathers came
from Portugal. The mixed blood has led to furious disputes among
hot-headed citizens of the two kingdoms. As if it much mattered.
Velasquez's son-in-law, by the way, Juan Mazo, was the author of a
number of imitations and forgeries. He was a true friend of the

Velasquez belonged to that rare family of sane genius. He was
eminently the painter of daylight and not a nocturnal visionary, as
was Rembrandt. Shakespeare, who had all the strings to his lyre, had
also many daylight moments. Mozart always sang them, and how blithely!
No one, not Beethoven, not Raphael, not Goethe--to name three widely
disparate men of genius--saw life as steadily as the Spaniard. He is a
magnificent refutation of the madhouse doctors who swear to you that
genius is a disease. Remember, too, that the limitations of Velasquez
are clearly defined. Imagination was denied to him, asserts Beruete;
he had neither the turbulent temperament of Rubens nor possessed the
strained, harsh mysticism of El Greco--a painter of imagination and
the only painter allowed by Beruete to have affected the Velasquez
palette. In a word, Velasquez was a puzzling comminglement of the
classic and the realist. He had the repose and the firm, virile line
of the classics, while his vision of actuality has never been
surpassed. The Dutch Terburg, Vermeer, Van der Helst, Frans Hals saw
as vividly the surfaces of things material; the last alone was the
match of Velasquez in brushwork, but not Rembrandt recorded in his
Anatomy Lesson the facts of the case as did Velasquez.

Senor Beruete wittily remarks that Los Borrachos (The Topers) of
Velasquez is the truer anatomy lesson of the two. A realist, an
impressionist, as Stevenson has it, the Spaniard was; but he was also
something more. He had a magic hand to define, the rendering of the
magical mystery of space and atmosphere. Grant that he was not a
colourist in the sense the Venetians were, or Rubens, yet how much
more subtle, more noble, more intellectual, is his restricted tonal
gamut. Those silver-grays, resonant blacks, browns, blues, and reds
sing in your memory long after you have forgotten the tumultuous
golden waves breaking upon the decorative coasts of Rubens. We are
constrained to question the easy way Beruete and other critics deny
the attributes of imagination and poetry to Velasquez. There is,
perhaps, a more sublimated poetry in his pictures than in the obvious
religious and mythological and allegorical set pieces of Rubens,
Murillo, and how many others. His realism did not run to seed in the
delineation of subject. He was as natural as Cervantes--the one great
man of Spain who may be compared to him--and he saw the larger
patterns of life, while never forgetting that the chief function of a
painter is to paint, not to "think," not to rhapsodise, not to be
"literary" on canvas. His cool, measuring eye did more than record
sordid facts. He had a sort of enraptured vision of the earth as
beautiful, the innocence of the eye we encounter in children only.
Stevenson rages at those who say that Velasquez was not a
colourist--and Beruete is of them, though he quotes with considerable
satisfaction the critical pronouncement of Royal Cortissoz (in
_Harper's Magazine_, May, 1895) that Las Meninas is "the most perfect
study of colour and values which exists."

The truth is, Stevenson, Cortissoz, and Beruete are all three in the
right. That Velasquez, when in Rome, studied the pictures there; that
he didn't care for Raphael; that he had very much admired the
Venetians, Titian, Tintoretto; that he had admired Rubens, with whom
he associated daily on the occasion of the Flemish master's visit of
nine months to Madrid--these are truths not to be denied. Beruete
claims that the Rubens influence is not to be seen in Velasquez, only
El Greco's. Every object, living or inanimate, that swam through the
eyeballs of the Spaniard--surely the most wonderful pair of eyes in
history--was never forgotten. His powers of assimilation were
unexcelled. He saw and made note of everything, but when he painted
his spectators saw nothing of any other man, living or dead. Was not
the spiritual impulse missing in this man? He couldn't paint angels,
because he only painted what he saw; and as he never saw angels he
only painted mankind. Life, not the "subject," appealed to him. He had
little talent, less taste, for the florid decorative art of Rubens and
the Venetians; but give him a simple, human theme (not pretty or
sentimental) and he recreated it, not merely interpreted the scene; so
that Las Meninas, The Spinners (Las Hilanderas), the hunting pictures,
the various portraits of royalty, buffoons, beggars, outcasts, are the
chronicles of his time, and he its master psychologist.

Beruete says that Ribera more than Zurbaran affected Velasquez; "El
Greco taught him the use of delicate grays in the colouring of the
flesh." Hot, hard, and dry in his first period (Borrachos), he becomes
more fluid and atmospheric in the Breda composition (The Lances), and
in the third period he has attained absolute mastery of his material.
His salary at the court was two and sixpence a day in 1628. Even Haydn
and Mozart did better as menials. Yet some historians speak of the
liberality of Philip IV. An "immortal employee" indeed, as Beruete
names his idol. Luca Giordano called Las Meninas the "theology of
painting." Wilkie declared that the Velasquez landscapes possessed
"the real sun which lights us, the air which we breathe, and the soul
and spirit of nature." "To see the Prado," exclaims Stevenson, "is to
modify one's opinion of the novelty of recent art." To-day the
impressionists and realists claim Velasquez as their patron saint as
well as artistic progenitor. The profoundest master of harmonies and
the possessor of a vision of the real world not second to Leonardo's,
the place of the Spaniard in history will never be taken from him.

Velasquez is more modern than all the moderns; more modern than
to-morrow. That sense of the liberation of the spirit which Mr.
Berenson is fond of adducing as the grandest attribute of the Space
Composers, Raphael and the rest, may be discovered in Las Meninas, or
in The Spinners, space overhead, with mystery superadded. The brumous
North was the home of mysticism, of Gothic architecture. The note of
tragic mystery was seldom sounded by the Italians. Faith itself seems
more real in the North. It remained for Rembrandt to give it out in
his chords of _chiaroscuro_. And is there more noble, more virile
music in all art than The Surrender of Breda?

Mr. Berenson refers only once to Velasquez and then as an "impersonal"
painter. As a counterblast to his theory of impersonality let us quote
a few lines from R.A.M. Stevenson's Velasquez (that most inspiring of
all art monographs): "Is it wonderful," he asks, "that you can apply
Morelli's principles of criticism to the Pre-Raphaelite Italian
schools; that you can point to the thumbs, fingers, poses of the head,
ovals of the face and schemes of colour that the painters learned by
heart, and can even say from whom they learned? The later Venetians
broke away, and when you come to Velasquez the system holds good as
little as it can in our own day." But this charge holds good for many
painters of the Renaissance, painters of patterns. Velasquez, like the
great prose-master of France, Gustave Flaubert, is always in
modulation. No two canvases are rhythmically alike, except in the
matter of masterfulness. He, too, was a master of magnificent prose
painting, painting worth a wilderness of makers of frozen mediaeval
patterns. Mr. Henry B. Fuller, the author of the Chevalier di
Pensieri-Vani, once spoke of the "cosy sublimity" in Raphael's Vision
of Ezekiel; one might paraphrase the epigram by describing the
pictures of Velasquez as boxed-in eternities. Dostoievsky knew such a
sensation when he wrote of "a species of eternity within the space of
a square foot." But there are many connoisseurs who find evidences of
profounder and more naive faith in the angular loveliness of the
Flemish Primitives than in all the religious art of Italy or Spain.



Goya was a Titan among artists. He once boasted that "Nature,
Velasquez, and Rembrandt are my masters." It was an excellent
self-criticism. He not only played the Velasquez gambit in his
portraits, the gambit of Rembrandt in his sombre imaginative pieces,
but he boldly annexed all Spain for his sinister and turbulent art. He
was more truly Spanish in the range and variety of his performances
than any Spanish-born painter since Velasquez. Without the sanity,
solidity, nobility of Velasquez, whose vision and voice he never
possessed; without the luscious sweetness of Murillo, whose sweetness
he lacked, he had something of El Greco's fierceness, and much of the
vigour of Ribera. He added to these influences a temperament that was
exuberant, fantastic, morose, and pessimistic yet humorous, sarcastic,
sometimes melting, and ever masterful. He reminds one of an
overwhelming force. The man dominates the painter. A dozen comparisons
force themselves upon you when the name of Goya is pronounced: comets,
cataracts, whirlwinds, and wild animals. Anarch and courtier, atheist
and decorator of churches, his "whole art seems like a bullfight,"
says Richard Muther. One might improve on this by calling him a subtle
bull, a Hercules who had read Byron. "Nature, Velasquez, and
Rembrandt!" cries MacColl in a too brief summary. "How inadequate the
list! Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Legion had a hand in the teaching."

Goya incarnated the renaissance of old Spain and its art. Spanish art
has always come from without, for its foundations were northern and
Flemish. The Van Eycks and Van der Weyden were studied closely; Jan
Van Eyck visited Madrid. The Venetian influence was strong, and El
Greco his life long, and a pupil of Titian as he was, this gloomy
painter with the awkward name of Theotocopoulo endeavoured to forget
his master and became more Spanish than the Spanish. Ribera,
emotional, dramatic, realistic, religious, could sound the chords of
tenderness without the sentimentalism of Murillo. Goya stems more from
Caravaggio and Salvator Rosa than from any of his predecessors, except
Velasquez. The presence of Tiepolo, the last of the Venetians, in
Spain may have influenced him. Certainly Raphael Mengs, the "Saxon
pedant," did not--Mengs associated with Tiepolo at Madrid. It is in
company with the bravos of the brush, Caravaggio and Rosa, that Goya
is closely affiliated. We must go to Gustave Courbet for a like
violence of temperament; both men painted _con furia_; both were
capable of debauches in work; Goya could have covered the walls of
hell with diabolic frescoes. In music three men are of a like ilk:
Berlioz, Paganini, Liszt. Demoniacal, charged with electric energy,
was this trinity, and Goya could have made it a quartet.

But if Spain was not a country of original artists--as was Italy, for
example--she developed powerful and astounding individualities.
Character is her _leit motiv_ in the symphony of the nations. The rich
virility and majestic seriousness of her men, their aptitudes for war,
statesmanship, and drama, are borne out in her national history.
Perhaps the climate plays its part. Havelock Ellis thinks so. "The
hard and violent effects, the sharp contrasts, the strong colours, the
stained and dusky clouds, looking as if soaked in pigment, may well
have affected the imagination of the artist," he writes. Certainly the
landscapes of Velasquez could not be more Spanish than they are; and,
disagreeing with those who say that he had no feeling for nature, the
bits of countryside and mountain Goya shows are truly peninsular in
their sternness. It may be well to remark here that the softness of
Tuscany is not to be found in the lean and often arid aspects of
Spain. Spain, too, is romantic--but after its own fashion. Goya
revived the best traditions of his country's art; he was the last of
the great masters and the first of the moderns. Something neurotic,
modern, disquieting, threads his work with devilish irregularity. He
had not the massive temper of Velasquez, of those men who could paint
day after day, year after year, until death knocked at their ateliers.
As vigorous as Rubens in his sketches, Goya had not the steady, slow
nerves of that master. He was very unequal. His life was as disorderly
as Hals's or Steen's, but their saving phlegm was missing. In an
eloquent passage--somewhere in his English Literature--Taine speaks of
the sanity of genius as instanced by Shakespeare. Genius narrowly
escapes nowadays being a cerebral disorder, though there was Marlowe
to set off Shakespeare's serene spirit, and even of Michael Angelo's
mental health and morals his prime biographer, Parlagreco, does not
speak in reassuring terms. Goya was badly balanced, impulsive, easily
angered, and not slow to obey the pull of his irritable motor centres
when aroused. A knife was always within reach. He drove the Duke of
Wellington from his presence because the inquisitive soldier asked too
many questions while his portrait was being blocked out. A sword or a
dagger did the business; but Wellington returned to the studio and, as
Mr. Rothenstein tells us, the portrait was finished and is now at
Strathfieldsaye. A sanguine is in the British Museum. His exploits in
Rome may have been exaggerated, though he was quite capable of eloping
with a nun from a convent, as is related, or going around the top of
the Cecilia Metella tomb supported only by his thumbs. The agility and
strength of Goya were notorious, though in a land where physical
prowess is not the exception. He was picador, matador, banderillero by
turns in the bull ring. After a stabbing affray he escaped in the
disguise of a bull-fighter.

If he was a _dompteur_ of dames and cattle, he was the same before his
canvas. Anything that came to hand served him as a brush, an old brown
stick wrapped up in cloth, a spoon--with the latter he executed that
thrilling Massacre, May 2, 1808, in the Prado. He could have painted
with a sabre or on all fours. Reckless to the degree of insanity, he
never feared king or devil, man or the Inquisition. The latter reached
out for him, but he had disappeared, after suffering a dagger-thrust
in the back. When on the very roof of his prosperity, he often slipped
downstairs to the company of varlets and wenches; this friend of the
Duchess of Alba seemed happier dicing, drinking, dancing in the
suburbs with base-born people and gipsies. A _genre_ painter, Goya
delighted in depicting the volatile, joyous life of a now-vanished
epoch. He was a historian of manner as well as of disordered souls,
and an avowed foe of hypocrisy.

Not "poignantly genteel," to use a Borrovian phrase, was he. Yet he
could play the silken courtier with success. The Arabs say that "one
who has been stung by a snake shivers at a string," and perhaps the
violence with which the painter attacked the religious may be set down
to the score of his youthful fears and flights when the Inquisition
was after him. He was a sort of Voltaire in black and white. The
corruption of churchmen and court at this epoch seems almost
incredible. Goya noted it with a boldness that meant but one
thing--friends high in power. This was the case. He was admired by the
king, Charles IV, and admired--who knows how much!--by his queen,
Marie Louise of Parma, Goya painted their portraits; also painted the
portraits of the royal favourite and prime minister and Prince de la
Paz, Manuel Godoy--favourite of both king and queen. Him, Goya left in
effigy for the scorn of generations to come. "A grocer's family who
have won the big lottery prize," was the witty description of
Theophile Gautier when he saw the picture of the royal family.

Curiously enough, this Goya, who from the first plucked success from
its thorny setting, was soon forgotten, and until Gautier in 1840
recorded his impressions in his brilliant Voyage en Espagne, critical
literature did not much concern itself with the versatile Spaniard.
And Gautier's sketch of a few pages still remains the most
comprehensive estimate. From it all have been forced to borrow;
Richard Muther in his briskly enthusiastic monograph and the section
in his valuable History of Modern Painting; Charles Yriarte, Will
Rothenstein, Lafond, Lefort, Conde de la Vinaza--all have read Gautier
to advantage. Valerian von Loga has devoted a study to the etchings,
and Don Juan de la Rada has made a study of the frescoes in the church
of San Antonio de la Florida; Carl Justi, Stirling Maxwell, C.G.
Hartley should also be consulted. Yriarte is interesting, inasmuch as
he deals with the apparition of Goya in Rome, an outlaw, but a blithe
one, who, notebook in hand, went through the Trastevere district
sketching with ferocious rapidity the attitudes and gestures of the
vivacious population. A man after Stendhal's heart, this Spaniard. And
in view of his private life one is tempted to add--and after the
heart, too, of Casanova. Notwithstanding, he was an unrivalled
interpreter of child-life. Some of his painted children are of a
dazzling sweetness.



Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes was born March 30 (or 31), 1746, at
Fuentetodos, near Saragossa, Aragon. He died at Bordeaux, France,
where he had gone for his health, April 16, 1828--Calvert, possibly by
a pen slip, makes him expire a month earlier. He saw the beginnings of
French romanticism, as he was himself a witness of the decadence of
Spanish art. But his spirit has lived on in Manet and Zuloaga.
Decadent he was; a romantic before French romanticism, he yet had
borrowed from an earlier France. Some of his gay Fetes Champetres
recall the influence of Watteau--a Watteau without the sweet elegiac
strain. He has been called a Spanish Hogarth--not a happy simile.
Hogarth preaches; Goya never; satirists both, Goya never deepened by a
pen stroke the didactic side. His youth was not extraordinary in
promise; his father and mother were poor peasants. The story of his
discovery by a monk of Saragosela--Father Felix Salvador of the
Carthusian convent of Aula Dei--is not missing. He studied with Jose
Martinez. He ran away in 1766. He remained, say some, in Italy from
1769 to 1774; but in 1771 he appeared in Saragossa again, and the year
1772 saw him competing for the painting about to be undertaken in the
cathedral. He married Josefa Bayeu, the sister of the court painter.
He has told us what he thought of his jealous, intriguing
brother-in-law in a portrait. In 1775 he was at Madrid. From 1776 he
executed forty-six tapestry cartoons. In 1779 he presented to the king
his etchings after Velasquez. His rise was rapid. He painted the
queen, with her false teeth, false hair, and her infernal simper, and
this portrait was acclaimed a masterpiece.

His religious frescoes, supposed to be _ad majorem Dei gloriam_, were
really for the greater glory of Goya. They are something more than
secular, often little short of blasphemous. That they were tolerated
proves the cynical temper of his times. When the fat old scoundrel of
a Bourbon king ran away with all his court and the pusillanimous
Joseph Bonaparte came upon the scene, Goya swerved and went through
the motions of loyalty, a thing that rather disturbs the admirers of
the supposedly sturdy republican. But he was only marking time. He
left a terrific arraignment of war and its horrors. Nor did he spare
the French. Callot, Hell-Breughel, are outdone in these swift, ghastly
memoranda of misery, barbarity, rapine, and ruin. The hypocrite
Ferdinand VII was no sooner on the throne of his father than Goya, hat
in hand but sneer on lip and twinkle in eye, approached him, and after
some parleying was restored to royal favour. Goya declared that as an
artist he was not personally concerned in the pranks of the whirligig
politic. Nevertheless he was bitterly chagrined at the twist of
events, and, an old man, he retired to his country house, where he
etched and designed upon its walls startling fancies. He died
disillusioned, and though nursed by some noble countrymen, his career
seemed to illustrate that terrifying picture of his invention--a
skeleton lifts its gravestone and grinningly traces with bony finger
in the dust the word _Nada_--Nothing! Overtaxed by the violence of his
life and labours--he left a prodigious amount of work behind
him--soured by satiety, all spleen and rage, he was a broken-down
Lucifer, who had trailed his wings in the mud. But who shall pass
judgment upon this unhappy man? Perhaps, as he saw the "glimmering
square" grow less, the lament of Cardinal Wolsey may have come to a
brain teeming with memories. Goya had always put his king before his
God. But in his heart he loved the old romantic faith--the faith that
hovered in the background of his art. Goya is not the first son of his
mother church who denied her from sheer perversity. What a nation!
Cervantes and Lope da Vega, Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada--most glorious
of her sex, saint and genius--and Goya! Spain is the land of great and
diverse personalities. But with Calderon we must now say: "Let us to
our ship, for here all is shadowy and unsettled."

Goya, as Baudelaire pointed out more than half a century ago, executed
his etchings by combining aquatint and the use of the dry point. A few
years before his death he took up lithography, then a novelty. His
Caprices, Proverbs, and Horrors of War may outlive his paintings. His
colour scheme was not a wide one, blacks, reds, browns, and yellows
often playing solo; but all modern impressionism may be seen on his
canvases--harsh dissonances, dots, dabs, spots, patches, heavy planes,
strong rhythmic effects of lighting, heavy impasto, luminous
atmosphere, air, sunshine, and vibrating movements; also the
strangeness of his material. Manet went to him a beginner. After
studying the Maja desnuda at the Prado Museum he returned to France
and painted the Olympe, once of the Luxembourg, now in the Louvre. The
balcony scenes of Goya, with their manolas--old-fashioned
grisettes--must have stirred Manet; recall the Frenchman's Balcony.
And the bull-fights? Oh! what an iron-souled master was there--Goya
when he slashed a bull in the arena tormented by the human brutes!
None of his successors matches him. The same is the case with that
diverting, devilish, savoury, and obscene series he called Caprices.
It is worth remembering that Delacroix was one of the first artists in
Paris who secured a set of these rare plates. The witch's sabbaths and
the modern version of them, prostitution and its symbolism, filled the
brain of Goya. He always shocks any but robust nerves with his hybrid
creatures red in claw and foaming at mouth as they fight in midair,
hideous and unnamable phantoms of the dark. His owls are theologians.
The females he often shows make us turn aside our head and shudder.
With implacable fidelity he displayed the reverse of war's heroic
shield. It is something more than hell.

Sattler, Charlet, Raffet, James Ensor, Rethel, De Groux, Rops, Edvard
Muench (did you ever see his woman wooed by a skeleton?), and the rest
of these delineators of the morbid and macabre acknowledge Goya as
their progenitor. He must have been a devil-worshipper. He pictures
the goat devil, horns and hoofs. Gautier compares him to E.T.W.
Hoffmann--Poe not being known in Paris at that time--but it is a
rather laboured comparison, for there was a profoundly human side to
the Spaniard. His perception of reality was of the solidest. He had
lived and loved and knew before Flaubert that if the god of the
Romantics was an upholsterer the god of eighteenth-century Spain was
an executioner. The professed lover of the Duchess of Alba, he painted
her nude, and then, hearing that the Duke might not like the theme so
handled, he painted her again, and clothed, but more insolently
uncovered than before. At the Spanish museum in New York you may see
another portrait of this bold beauty with the name of Goya scratched
in the earth at her feet. Her attitude is characteristic of the
intrigue, which all Madrid knew and approved. At home sat Mrs. Goya
with her twenty children.

Goya was a man of striking appearance. Slender in youth, a graceful
dancer, in middle life he had the wide shoulders and bull neck of an
athlete. He was the terror of Madrilenan husbands. His voice had
seductive charm. He could twang the guitar and fence like ten devils.
A gamester, too. In a word, a figure out of the Renaissance, when the
deed trod hard on the heels of the word. One of his self-portraits
shows him in a Byronic collar, the brow finely proportioned, marked
mobile features, sombre eyes--the ideal Don Juan Tenorio to win the
foolish heart of an Emma Bovary or a bored noblewoman. Another, with
its savage eye--it is a profile--and big beaver head-covering, recalls
Walt Whitman's "I wear my hat as I please, indoors or out." A giant
egoist, and as human, all too human, a fellow as Spain ever begot,
Goya is only hinted at in Baudelaire's searching quatrain beginning:
"Goya, cauchemar plein de choses inconnues." _Fleurs du Mal_ would be
a happy title for the work of Francisco Goya if to "The Flowers of
Evil" were added "and Wisdom." Goya is often cruel and lascivious and
vulgar, but he is as great a philosopher as painter. And to offset his
passionate gloom there are his visions of a golden Spain no longer in
existence; happy, gorgeous of costume, the Spain of sudden coquetries,
of fans, masques, bull-fights, and fandangos, of a people dancing on
the rim of a fire-filled mountain, pious, capricious, child-like,
romantic, and patriotic--the Spain of the eighteenth century. Goya is
its spokesman, as is Velasquez the mirror of Philip's more spacious
times. Velasquez--Goya! poles asunder, yet both born to the artistic
purple. And the stately aristocrat who signed himself Velasquez is not
more in tune with the twentieth-century _Zeitgeist_ than that
coarse-fibred democrat of genius, Francisco Goya.


Mariano Fortuny: what a magic-breeding name! The motto of this lucky
Spanish painter might have been "Fortuny Fortunatus." Even his sudden
death, at the early age of thirty-six, came after he had executed a
number of masterpieces, an enormous quantity of water-colours,
etchings, ceramics, damascene swords and chased ornaments; it followed
on the heels of sudden glory. His name was in the mouth of artistic
Europe, and the sale of the contents of his studio at Rome in 1875
brought eight hundred thousand francs. Yet so slippery is fame that
Fortuny's name to-day is seldom without a brace of epithets, such as
"garish," or "empty." His work is neither. He is a virtuoso. So was
Tiepolo. He is a Romantic; so the generation preceding him. The
Orientalist par excellence, he has somehow been confounded with
Meissonier and Gerome, has been called glittering like the former,
hard as was the latter. It is true there are no emotional undertones
in his temperament, the brilliant overtones predominating; but it is
also true that when he died his manner was changing. He had said that
he was tired of the "gay rags" of the eighteenth century, and his
Strand of Portici shows a new line of departure. Edouard Manet made
special appeal to Fortuny; Manet, who had derived from Goya, whose
Spanish _fond_ is undeniable. Perhaps the thrice-brilliant Fortuny's
conscience smote him when he saw a Frenchman so successfully absorbing
the traditions of Goya; but it was not to be. He passed away at the
very top of his renown, truly a favourite of the gods. He was admired,
imitated, above all parodied; though, jealously as are his pictures
guarded, he has been put on the shelf like one of the amazing painted
bibelots in his work.

The injustice of this is patent. Between Fortuny and Meissonier there
lies the gulf that separates the genius and the hard-working man of
talent. Nevertheless Meissonier's statue is in the garden of the
Louvre, Meissonier is extolled as a master, while Fortuny is usually
described in patronising terms as a facile trifler. The reverse is the
truth. No one has painted sunlight with more intensity; he was an
impressionist before the word was coined. He is a colourist almost as
sumptuous as Monticelli, with a precision of vision never attained by
the Marseilles rhapsodist. His figures are as delicious as Watteau's
or Debucourt's--he recalls the latter frequently--and as an
Orientalist he ranks all but a few. Gerome, Guillaumet, Fromentin,
Huguet are not to be mentioned in the same breath with Fortuny as to
the manipulation of material; and has Guillaumet done anything
savouring more of the mysterious East than Fortuny's At the Gate of
the Seraglio? The magician of jewelled tones, he knew all the subtler
modulations. His canvases vibrate, they emit sparks of sunlight, his
shadows are velvety and warm. Compared with such a picture as The
Choice of a Model, the most laboriously minute Meissonier is as cold
and dead as a photograph--Meissonier, who was a capital fan painter, a
patient miniaturist without colour talent, a myopic delineator of
costumes, who, as Manet said, pasted paper soldiers on canvas and
called the machine a battle-field.

The writer recalls the sensations once evoked by a close view of
Fortuny's Choice of a Model at Paris years ago, and at that time in
the possession of Mr. Stewart. Psychology is not missing in this
miracle of virtuosity; the nude posing on the marble table, the
absolute beauty of the drawing, the colouring, the contrast of the
richly variegated marble pillars in the background, the
eighteenth-century costumes of the Academicians so scrupulously yet so
easily set forth, all made a dazzling ensemble. Since Fortuny turned
the trick a host of spurious pictures has come overseas, and we now
say "Vibert" at the same time as "Fortuny," just as some enlightened
persons couple the names of Ingres and Bouguereau. In the kingdom of
the third rate the mediocre is conqueror.

Listen to this description of La Vicaria (The Spanish Wedding), which
first won for its painter his reputation. Begun in 1868, it was
exhibited at Goupil's, Paris, the spring of 1870 (some say 1869), when
the artist was thirty-two years old. Theophile Gautier--whose genius
and Theodore de Banville's have analogies with Fortuny's in the matter
of surfaces and astounding virtuosity--went up in the air when he saw
the work, and wrote a feuilleton that is still recalled by the old
guard. The following, however, is not by Gautier, but from the pen of
Dr. Richard Muther, the erudite German critic: "A marriage is taking
place in the sacristy of a rococo church in Madrid. The walls are
covered with faded Cordova leather hangings figured in gold and dull
colours, and a magnificent rococo screen separates the sacristy from
the middle aisle. Venetian lustres are suspended from the ceiling,
pictures of martyrs, Venetian glasses in carved oval frames hang on
the wall, richly ornamented wooden benches and a library of missals
and gospels in sparkling silver clasps, and shining marble tables and
glistening braziers form part of the scene in which the marriage
contract is being signed. The costumes are those of the time of Goya.
An old beau is marrying a young and beautiful girl. With affected
grace and a skipping minuet step, holding a modish three-cornered hat
under his arm, he approaches the table to put his signature in the
place which the _escribano_ points out with an obsequious bow. He is
arrayed in delicate lilac, while the bride is wearing a white silk
dress trimmed with flowered lace and has a wreath of orange blossoms
in her luxuriant black hair. As a girl friend is talking to her she
examines with abstracted attention the pretty little pictures upon her
fan, the finest she ever possessed. A very piquant little head she
has, with her long lashes and black eyes. Then, in the background,
follow the witnesses, and first of all a young lady in a swelling silk
dress of the brightest rose colour. Beside her is one of the
bridegroom's friends in a cabbage-green coat with long flaps and a
shining belt, from which a gleaming sabre hangs. The whole picture is
a marvellous assemblage of colours in which tones of Venetian glow and
strength, the tender pearly gray beloved of the Japanese, and a
melting neutral brown each sets off the other and gives a shimmering
effect to the entire mass."

Fortuny was a gay master of character and comedy as well as of
bric-a-brac. Still life he painted as no one before or after him; if
Chardin is the Velasquez of vegetables, Fortuny is the Rossini of the
rococo; such lace-like filigrees, _fiorturi_, marbles that are of
stone, men and women that are alive, not of marble (like
Alma-Tadema's). The artificiality of his work is principally in the
choice of a subject, not in the performance. How luminous and silky
are his blacks may be noted at the Metropolitan Museum in his portrait
of a Spanish lady. There is nothing of the _petit-maitre_ in the
sensitive and adroit handling of values. The rather triste expression,
the veiled look of the eyes, the _morbidezza_ of the flesh tones, and
the general sense of amplitude and grace give us a Fortuny who knew
how to paint broadly. The more obvious and dashing side of him is
present in the Arabian Fantaisie of the Vanderbilt Gallery. It must be
remembered that he spent some time copying, at Madrid, Velasquez and
Goya, and as Camille Mauclair enthusiastically declares, these copies
are literal "identifications." They are highly prized by the Marquise
Carcano (who owned the Vicaria), Madrazo, and the Baron Davillieu--the
last named the chief critical authority on Fortuny.

In the history of the arts there are cases such as Fortuny's, of
Mozart, Chopin, Raphael, and some others, whose precocity and
prodigious powers of production astonished their contemporaries.
Fortuny, whose full name was Mariano Jose Maria Bernardo Fortuny y
Carbo, was born at Reus, a little town in the province of Tarragona,
near Barcelona. He was very poor, and at the age of twelve an orphan.
His grandfather, a carpenter, went with the lad on foot through the
towns of Catalonia exhibiting a cabinet containing wax figures painted
by Mariano and perhaps modelled by him. He began carving and daubing
at the age of five; a regular little fingersmith, his hands were never
idle. He secured by the promise of talent a pension of forty-two
francs a month and went to Barcelona to study at the Academy. Winning
the prize of Rome in 1857, he went there and copied old masters until
1860, when, the war between Spain and Morocco breaking out, he went to
Morocco on General Prim's staff, and for five or six months his brain
was saturated with the wonders of Eastern sunlight, exotic hues,
beggars, gorgeous rugs, snake-charmers, Arabs afoot or circling on
horseback with the velocity of birds, fakirs, all the huge glistening
febrile life he was later to interpret with such charm and exactitude.

He returned to Rome. He made a second trip to Africa. He returned to
Spain. Barcelona gave him a pension of a hundred and thirty-two francs
a month, which amount was kept up later by the Duke de Rianzares until
1867. He went to Paris in 1866, was taken up by the Goupils, knew
Meissonier and worked occasionally with Gerome. His rococo pictures,
his Oriental work set Paris ablaze. He married the daughter of the
Spanish painter Federigo Madrazo, and visited at Madrid, Granada,
Seville, Rome, and, in 1874, London. He contracted a pernicious fever
at Rome and died there, November 21, 1874, at the age of thirty-six.
His funeral was imposing, many celebrities of the world of art
participating. He was buried in the Campo Varano.

In 1866 at Rome he began etching, and in fifteen months finished a
series of masterpieces. His line, surprisingly agile and sinuous, has
the finesse of Goya--whom he resembled at certain points. He used
aquatint with full knowledge of effects to be produced, and at times
he recalls Rembrandt in the depth of his shadows. His friend the
painter Henri Regnault despaired in the presence of such versatility,
such speed and ease of workmanship. He wrote: "The time I spent with
Fortuny is haunting me still. What a magnificent fellow he is! He
paints the most marvellous things, and is the master of us all. I wish
I could show you the two or three pictures he has in his hand or his
etchings and water-colours. They inspired me with a real disgust of my
own. Ah, Fortuny, you spoil my sleep!"

Standing aloof from the ideas and tendencies of his times and not a
sweeper of the chords that stir in human nature the heroic or the
pathetic, it is none the less uncritical to rank this Spaniard as a
brainless technician. Everything is relative, and the scale on which
Fortuny worked was as true a medium for the exhibition of his genius
as a museum panorama. Let us not be misled by the worship of the
elephantine. It is characteristic of his temperament that the big
battle piece he was commissioned by the Barcelona Academy to paint was
never finished. Not every one who goes to Rome does as the Romans do.
Dowered by nature with extraordinary acuity of vision, with a
romantic, passionate nature and a will of steel, Fortuny was bound to
become a great painter. His manual technique bordered on the fabulous;
he had the painter's hand, as his fellow-countryman Pablo de Sarasate
had the born hand of the violinist. That he spent the brief years of
his life in painting the subjects he did is not a problem to be posed,
for, as Henry James has said, it is always dangerous to challenge an
artist's selection of subject. Why did Goya conceive his _Caprichos_?
The love of decorative beauty in Fortuny was not bedimmed by
criticism. He had the lust of eye which not the treasures of Ormuz and
Ind, or ivory, apes, and peacocks, could satisfy. If he loved the
kaleidoscopic East, he also knew his Spain. We have seen at the
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts a tiny picture, the court-yard of a
Spanish inn through which passes a blinding shaft of sunlight, which
would make envious Senor Sorolla. Fortuny has personal charm, a
quality usually missing nowadays, for painters in their desire to be
truthful are tumbling head over heels into the prosaic. Individuality
is vanishing in the wastes of an over-anxious realism. If Fortuny is a
daring virtuoso on one or two strings, his palette is ever enchanting.
Personally he was a handsome man, with a distinguished head, his body
broad and muscular and capable of enduring fatigues that would have
killed most painters. Allied to this powerful physique was a seductive
sensibility. This peasant-born painter was an aristocrat of art. Old
Mother Nature is an implacable ironist.


We might say of the Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida that he
was one of those who came into the world with a ray of sunshine in
their brains--altering the phrase of Villiers de l'Isle Adam. Senor
Sorolla is also one of the half-dozen (are there so many?) great
living painters. He belongs to the line of Velasquez and Goya, and he
seldom recalls either. Under the auspices of the Hispanic Society of
America there was an exhibition of his works in 1909, some two hundred
and fifty in all, hung in the museum of the society, West 156th
Street, near Broadway. The liveliest interest was manifested by the
public and professional people in this display. Those who saw
Sorolla's art at the Paris Exposition, 1900, and at the Georges Petit
Gallery, Paris, a few years ago need not be reminded of his virile
quality and masterly brush-work. Some art lovers in this city are
aware of his Sad Inheritance, the property of Mr. John E. Berwind,
which has been hung in the Sunday-school room of the Ascension Church,
Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street. It is one of the artist's few pictures
in which he feels the _Weltschmerz_. His is a nature bubbling over
with health and happiness.

He is a Valencian, was born in 1863 of poor parents, and by reason of
his native genius and stubborn will power he became what he is--the
painter of vibrating sunshine without equal. Let there be no mincing
of comparisons in this assertion. Not Turner, not Monet painted so
directly blinding shafts of sunlight as has this Spaniard. He is an
impressionist, but not of the school of Monet. His manner is his own,
cunningly compounded as it is of the proceeds of half a dozen artists.
His trip to Rome resulted in nothing but a large eclectic canvas
without individuality; what had this pagan in common with saints or
sinners! He relates that in Paris Bastien-Lepage and Menzel affected
him profoundly. This statement is not to be contradicted; nevertheless
Sorolla is the master of those two masters in his proper province of
the portrayal of outdoor life. Degas was too cruel when he called
Bastien the "Bouguereau of the modern movement"; Bastien academicised
Manet and other moderns. He said nothing new. As for Menzel, it would
be well here to correct the notion bandied about town that he
discovered impressionism before the French. He did not. He went to
Paris in 1867. Meissonier at first, and later Courbet, influenced him.
His Rolling Mill was painted in 1876. It is very Courbet. The Paris
Exposition, 1867, picture shows the influence of Monet--who was in the
Salon of 1864; and Monet was begat by Boudin, who stemmed from
Jongkind; and Jongkind studied with Isabey; and they came from Turner,
idolater of the Sun. Remember, too, that Corot and Courbet called
Eugene Boudin "roi des ciels." Monet not only studied with him but
openly admitted that he had learned everything from him, while Boudin
humbly remarked that he had but entered the door forced by the
Dutchman Jongkind. Doubtless Sorolla found what he was looking for in
Bastien, though it would be nearer the truth to say that he studied
the Barbizons and impressionists and took what he needed from them

He is a temperament impressionable to the sun, air, trees, children,
women, men, cattle, landscapes, the ocean. Such swift, vivid notation
of the fluid life about him is rare; it would be photographic were it
not the personal memoranda of a selecting eye; it would be transitory
impressionism were it not for a hand magical in its manipulation of
pigments. Brain and brush collaborate with an instantaneity that does
not perplex because the result is so convincing. We do not intend to
quote that musty flower of rhetoric which was a favourite with our
grandfathers. It was the fashion then to say that
Nature--capitalised--took the brush from the hand of the painter,
meaning some old duffer who saw varnish instead of clear colour, and
painted the picture for him. Sorolla is receptive; he does not attempt
to impose upon nature an arbitrary pattern, but he sees nature with
his own eyes, modified by the thousand subtle experiences in which he
has steeped his brain. He has the tact of omission very well
developed. After years of labour he has achieved a personal vision. It
is so completely his that to copy it would be to perpetrate a
burlesque. He employs ploys the divisional _taches_ of Monet, spots,
cross-hatchings, big sabre-like strokes a la John Sargent, indulges in
smooth sinuous silhouettes, or huge splotches, refulgent patches,
explosions, vibrating surfaces; surfaces that are smooth and oily
surfaces, as in his waters, that are exquisitely translucent. You
can't pin him down to a particular formula. His technique in other
hands would be coarse, crashing, brassy, bald, and too fortissimo. It
sometimes is all these discouraging things. It is too often deficient
in the finer modulations. But he makes one forget this by his
_entrain_, sincerity, and sympathy with his subject. As a composer he
is less satisfactory; it is the first impression or nothing in his
art. Apart from his luscious, tropical colour, he is a sober narrator
of facts. Ay, but he is a big chap, this amiable little Valencian with
a big heart and a hand that reaches out and grabs down clouds, skies,
scoops up the sea, and sets running, wriggling, screaming a joyful
band of naked boys and girls over the golden summer sands in a sort of
ecstatic symphony of pantheism.

How does he secure such intensity of pitch in his painting of
atmosphere, of sunshine? By a convention, just as the falsification of
shadows by rendering them darker than nature made the necessary
contrasts in the old formula. Brightness in clear-coloured shadows is
the key-note of impressionistic open-air effects. W.C.
Brownell--French Art--puts it in this way: "Take a landscape with a
cloudy sky, which means diffused light in the old sense of the term,
and observe the effect upon it of a sudden burst of sunlight. What is
the effect where considerable portions of the scene are suddenly
thrown into marked shadow, as well as others illuminated with intense
light? Is the absolute value of the parts in shadow lowered or raised?
Raised, of course, by reflected light. Formerly, to get the contrast
between sunlight and shadow in proper scale the painter would have
painted the shadows darker than they were before the sun appeared.
Relatively they are darker, since their value, though heightened, is
raised infinitely less than the parts in sunlight. Absolutely, their
value is raised considerably. If, therefore, they are painted lighter
than they were before the sun appeared they in themselves seem truer.
The part of Monet's pictures that is in shadow is measurably true, far
truer than it would have been if painted under the old theory of
correspondence, and had been unnaturally darkened to express the
relation of contrast between shadow and sunlight."

Like Turner, Monet forced the colour of his shadows, as MacColl points
out, and like Monet, Sorolla forces the colour of his shadows--but
what a compeller of beautiful shadows--forces the key to the very
verge of the luminous abyss. Senor Beruete, the Velasquez expert,
truthfully says of Sorolla's method: "His canvases contain a great
variety of blues and violets, balanced and juxtaposed with reds and
yellows. These, and the skilful use of white, provide him with a
colour scheme of great simplicity, originality, and beauty." There are
no non-transparent shadows, and his handling of blacks reveals a
sensitive feeling for values. Consider that black-gowned portrait of
his wife. His underlying structural sense is never obscured by his
fat, flowing brush.

It must not be supposed that because of Sorolla's enormous _brio_ his
general way of entrapping nature is brutal. He is masculine and
absolutely free from the neurasthenic _morbidezza_ of his
fellow-countryman Zuloaga. (And far from attaining that painter's
inches as a psychologist.) For the delineation of moods nocturnal, of
poetic melancholy, of the contemplative aspect of life we must not go
to Sorolla. He is not a thinker. He is the painter of bright mornings
and brisk salt breezes. He is half Greek. There is Winckelmann's
_Heiterkeit_, blitheness, in his groups of romping children, in their
unashamed bare skins and naive attitudes. Boys on Valencian beaches
evidently believe in Adamic undress. Nor do the girls seem to care.
Stretched upon his stomach on the beach, a youth, straw-hatted, stares
at the spume of the rollers. His companion is not so unconventionally
disarrayed, and as she has evidently not eaten of the poisonous apple
of wisdom she is free from embarrassment. Balzac's two infants,
innocent of their sex, could not be less carefree than the Sorolla
children. How tenderly, sensitively, he models the hardly nubile forms
of maidens. The movement of their legs as they race the strand, their
dash into the water, or their nervous pausing at the rim of the
wet--here is poetry for you, the poetry of glorious days in
youth-land. Curiously enough his types are for the most part more
international than racial; that is, racial as are Zuloaga's Basque
brigands, _manolas_, and gipsies.

But only this? Can't he paint anything but massive oxen wading to
their buttocks in the sea; or fisher boats with swelling sails
blotting out the horizon; or a girl after a dip standing, as her
boyish cavalier covers her with a robe--you see the clear, pink flesh
through her garb; or vistas of flower gardens with roguish maidens and
courtly parks; peasants harvesting, working women sorting raisins;
sailors mending nets, boys at rope-making--is all this great art?
Where are the polished surfaces of the cultured studio worker; where
the bric-a-brac which we inseparably connect with pseudo-Spanish art?
You will not find any of them. Sorolla, with good red blood in his
veins, the blood of a great, misunderstood race, paints what he sees
on the top of God's earth. He is not a book but a normal nature-lover.
He is in love with light, and by his treatment of relative values
creates the illusion of sun-flooded landscapes. He does not cry for
the "sun," as did Oswald Alving; it comes to him at the beckoning of
his brush. His many limitations are but the defects of his good

Sorolla is sympathetic. He adores babies and delights in dancing. His
babies are irresistible. He can sound the _Mitleid_ motive without a
suspicion of odious sentimentality. What charm there is in some of his
tiny children as they lean their heads on their mothers! They fear the
ocean, yet are fascinated by it. Near by is a mother and child in bed.
They sleep. The right hand of the mother stretches, instinctively,
toward the infant. It is the sweet, unconscious gesture of millions of
mothers. On one finger of the hand there is just a hint of gold from a
ring. The values of the white counterpane and the contrast of
dark-brown hair on the pillow are truthfully expressed. One mother and
babe, all mothers and babes, are in this picture. Turn to that old
rascal in a brown cloak, who is about to taste a glass of wine. A snag
gleams white in his sly, thirsty mouth. The wine tastes fine, eh! You
recall Goya. As for the boys swimming, the sensations of darting and
weaving through velvety waters are produced as if by wizardry. But you
never think of Sorolla's line, for line, colour, idea, actuality are
merged. The translucence of this sea in which the boys plash and
plunge is another witness to the verisimilitude of Sorolla's vision.
Boecklin's large canvas at the new Pinakothek, Munich, is often cited
as a _tour_ _de force_ of water painting. We allude to the mermaids
and mermen playing in the trough of a greenish sea. It is mere
"property" water when compared to Sorolla's closely observed and
clearly reproduced waves. Rhythm--that is the prime secret of his

His portraiture, when he is interested in his sitters, is excellent.
Beruete is real, so Cossio, the author of the El Greco biography; so
the realistic novelist Blanco Ibanez; but the best, after those of
his, Sorolla's, wife and children, is that of Frantzen, a
photographer, in the act of squeezing the bulb. It is a frank
characterisation. The various royalties and high-born persons whose
counterfeit presentments are accomplished with such genuine effort are
interesting; but the heart is missing. Cleverness there is in the
portraits of Alphonse; and his wife's gorgeous costume should be the
envy of our fashionable portrait manufacturers. It is under the skies
that Sorolla is at ease. Monet, it must not be forgotten, had two
years' military service in Morocco; Sorolla has always lived,
saturated himself in the rays of a hot sun and painted beneath the
hard blue dome of Spanish skies.

Sorolla is a painting temperament, and the freshening breezes and
sunshine that emanate from his canvases should drive away the odours
of the various chemical cook-shops which are called studios in our
"world of art."

One cannot speak too much of the large-minded and cultivated spirit of
Archer Milton Huntington, who is the projector and patron of the
exhibitions at the Hispanic Society Museum. Sorolla y Bastida, through
the invitation of Mr. Huntington, made this exhibition.


We are no longer with Sorolla and his vibrating sunshine on Valencian
sands, or under the hard blue dome of San Sebastian; the two-score
canvases on view in 1909 at the Hispanic Museum were painted by a man
of profounder intellect, of equally sensual but more restrained
temperament than Sorolla; above all, by an artist with different
ideals--a realist, not an impressionist, Ignacio Zuloaga. It would not
be the entire truth to say that his masterpieces were seen; several
notable pictures, unhappily, were not; but the exhibition was finely
representative. Zuloaga showed us the height and depth of his powers
in at least one picture, and the longer you know him the more secrets
he yields up.

In Paris they say of Sorolla that he paints too fast and too much; of
Zuloaga that he is too lazy to paint. Half truths, these. The younger
man is more deliberate in his methods. He composes more elaborately,
executes at a slower gait. He resents the imputation of realism. The
fire and fury of Sorolla are not his, but he selects, weighs,
analyses, reconstructs--in a word, he composes and does not improvise.
He is, nevertheless, a realist--a verist, as he prefers to be called.
He is not cosmopolitan, and Sorolla is: the types of boys and girls
racing along the beaches of watering places which Sorolla paints are
cosmopolitan. Passionate vivacity and the blinding sunshine are not
qualities that appeal to Zuloaga. He portrays darkest--let us rather
say greenest, brownest Spain. The Basque in him is the strongest
strain. He is artistically a lineal descendant of El Greco, Velasquez,
Goya; and the map of his memory has been traversed by Manet. He is
more racial, more truly Spanish, than any painter since Goya. He
possesses the genius of place.

Havelock Ellis's book, The Soul of Spain, is an excellent corrective
for the operatic Spain, and George Borrow is equally sound despite his
bigotry, while Gautier is invaluable. Arsene Alexandre in writing of
Zuloaga acutely remarks of the Spanish conspiracy in allowing the
chance tourist only to scratch the soil "of this country too well
known but not enough explored." Therefore when face to face with the
pictures of Zuloaga, with romantic notions of a Spain where castles
grow in the clouds and moonshine on every bush, prepare to be shocked,
to be disappointed. He will show you the real Spain--the sun-soaked
soil, the lean, sharp outlines of hills, the arid meadows, and the
swift, dark-green rivers. He has painted cavaliers and dames of
fashion, but his heart is in the common people. He knows the bourgeois
and he knows the gipsy. He has set forth the pride of the vagabond and
the garish fascinations of the gitana. Since Goya, you say, and then
wonder whether it might not be wiser to add: Goya never had so
complicated a psychology. A better craftsman than Goya, a more varied
colourist, a more patient student of Velasquez, of life, though
without Goya's invention, caprice, satanism, and _fougue_.

Zuloaga was not born poor, but with genius; and genius always spells
discontent. He would not become an engineer and he would paint. His
family, artists and artisans, did not favour his bent. He visited
Italy, almost starved in Paris, and after he knew how to handle his
tools he starved for recognition. It is only a few years since he
exhibited the portrait of his uncle, Daniel Zuloaga, and his cousins.
It now hangs in the Luxembourg; but Madrid would have none of him; a
Spanish jury rejected him at Paris in 1900, and not possessing the
means of Edouard Manet he could not hire a gallery and show the world
the stuff that was in him. He did not sulk; he painted. Barcelona took
him up; Paris, the world, followed suit. To-day he is rich, famous,
and forty. He was born at Eibar, 1870, in the Basque province of
Viscaya. He is a collector of rare taste and has housed his treasures
in a gallery at his birthplace. He paints chiefly at Segovia, in an
old church, though he wanders over Spain, sometimes afoot, sometimes
in his motor car, often accompanied by Rodin in the latter, and
wherever he finds himself he is at home and paints. A bull-fighter in
the ring, as was Goya--perhaps the legend stirred him to imitation--he
is a healthy athlete. His vitality, indeed, is enormous, though it
does not manifest itself in so dazzling a style as Sorolla's. The
demerits of literary comparisons are obvious, yet we dare to think of
Sorolla and Zuloaga as we should of Theophile Gautier and Charles
Baudelaire. In one is the clear day flame of impersonality; the other
is all personality, given to nocturnal moods, to diabolism and
perversities, cruelties and fierce voluptuousness. Sorolla is pagan;
Gothic is Zuloaga, a Goth of modern Spain. He has more variety than
Sorolla, more intellect. The Baudelairian strain grows in his work; it
is unmistakable. The crowds that went to see the "healthy" art of
Sorolla (as if art had anything in common with pulse, temperature, and
respiration) did not like, or indeed understand, many of Zuloaga's
magnificent pictorial ideas.

He paints in large _coups_, but his broad, slashing planes are not
impressionistic. He swims in the traditional Spanish current with joy.
Green with him is almost an obsession--a national symbol certainly.
His greens, browns, blacks, scarlets are rich, sonorous, and magnetic.
He is a colourist. He also is master of a restrained palette and can
sound the silver grays of Velasquez. His tonalities are massive. The
essential bigness of his conceptions, his structural forms, are the
properties of an eye swift, subtle, and all-embracing. It seems an
image that is at once solidly rooted in mother earth and is as
fluctuating as life. No painter to-day has a greater sense of
character, except Degas. The Frenchman is the superior draughtsman,
but he is no more vital in his interpretation of his ballet girls,
washerwomen, and grisettes than is Zuloaga in his delineations of
peasants, dwarfs, dogs, courtesans, scamps, zealots, pilgrims,
beggars, drunkards, and working girls. What verve, what grip, what
bowels of humanity has this Spaniard! A man, not a professor of
academic methods. He has no school, and he is a school in himself.
That the more serene, poetic aspects and readings of life have escaped
him is merely to say that he is not constituted a contemplative
philosopher. The sinister skein to be seen in some of his canvases
does not argue the existence of a spiritual bias but is the
recognition of evil in life. It is not very pleasant, nor is it
reassuring, but it is part of the artist, rooted deep in his Spanish
soul along with the harsh irony and a cruel spirit of mockery. He
refuses to follow the ideals of other men, and he paints a spade a
spade; at least the orchestration, if brutal, is not lascivious. A
cold, impartial eye observes and registers the corruption of cities
small and great and the infinitely worse immoralities of the open
country. Sometimes Zuloaga's comments are witty, sometimes
pessimistic. If he has studied Goya and Manet, he also knows Felicien

The only picture in the Zuloaga exhibition that grazes the border-land
of the unconventional is Le Vieux Marcheur. It is as moral as Hogarth
and as bitter as Rops. It recalls the Montmartre days of the artist
when he was acquainted with Paul Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec. Two
women are crossing a bridge. Their actuality is impressed upon the
retina in a marvellous ly definite way. They live, they move. One is
gowned in dotted green, the other in black. There is a little
landscape with water beyond the iron railing. A venerable minotaur is
in pursuit. He wears evening clothes, an overcoat is thrown across his
left arm, under his right he carries waggishly a cane. His white tie
and hat of sober silk are in respectable contrast with his air of
fatuousness--the Marquis of Steyne en route; the doddering hero of
Mansfield in A Parisian Romance, or Baron Hulot. The alert expression
of the girls, who appear to be loitering, tells us more at a glance
than a chapter of Flaubert, Zola, or De Maupassant. Is it necessary to
add that the handling takes your breath away because of its consummate
ease and its realisation of the effects sought? Note the white of the
old party's spats, echoed by the bit of stocking showing a low shoe
worn by one of the girls; note the values of the blacks in the hat,
coat, trousers, shoe tips of the man. The very unpleasantness of the
theme is forgotten in the supreme art of its presentation.

M. Alexandre, the French critic, may argue valiantly that Zuloaga must
not be compared with Goya, that their methods and themes are
dissimilar. True, but those witches (Les Sorcieres de San Millan) are
in the key of Goya, not manner, but subject-matter--a hideous crew. At
once you think of the _Caprichos_ of Goya. The hag with the distaff,
whose head is painted with a fidelity worthy of Holbein; the monkey
profile of the witch crouching near the lantern, that repulsive
creature in spectacles--Goya spectacles; the pattern hasn't varied
since his days--these ladies and their companions, especially that
anonymous one in a hood, coupled with the desperate dreariness of the
background, a country dry and hard as a volcanic cinder, make a
formidable ensemble. Zuloaga relates that the beldames screeched and
fought in his studio when he posed them. You exclaim while looking at
them: "How now, you secret black and midnight hags!" Hell hovers hard
by; each witch of the unholy trio has the evil eye.

As a painter of dwarfs Zuloaga has not been surpassed by any one but
Velasquez. His Gregorio, the monster with the huge head, the
sickening, livid, globular eye, the comical pose--you exclaim: What a
brush! The picture palpitates with reality, an ugly reality, for the
tall old couple are not prepossessing. The topography of the country
is minutely observed. But this painter does not wreak himself in
ugliness or morbidities; he is singularly happy in catching the
attitudes and gestures of the peasants as they return from the
vintage; of picadors, matadors, chulos, in the ring or lounging,
smoking, awaiting the signal. The large and celebrated family group of
the matador Gallito--which is to remain permanently in the Hispanic
Society's museum--is a superb exemplar of the synthetic and rhythmic
art of the Spaniard. Each character is seized and rendered. The strong
silhouettes melt into a harmonious arabesque; the tonal gamut is
nervous, strong, fiery; the dull gold background is a foil for the
scale of colour notes. It is a striking picture. Very striking, too,
is the portrait of Breval as Carmen, though it is the least Spanish
picture in the collection; Breval is pictured on the stage, the lights
from below playing over her features. The problem is solved, as
Besnard or Degas has solved it, successfully, but in purely personal
manner. It is the picture in the Metropolitan Museum that is bound to
attract attention, as it is a technical triumph; but it is not very

We saw dark-eyed, graceful manolas on balconies--this truly Spanish
motive in art, as Spanish as is the Madonna Italian--over which are
thrown gorgeous shawls, smiling, flirting; with languorous eyes and
provocative fans, they sit ensconced as they sat in Goya's time and
centuries before Goya, the Eternal Feminine of Spain. Zuloaga is her
latest interpreter. Isn't Candida delicious in green, with black
head-dress of lace--isn't she bewitching? Her stockings are green. The
wall is a most miraculous adumbration of green. Across the room is
another agent of disquiet in Nile green, Mercedes by name. Her
aquiline nose, black eyes, and the flowers she wears at the side of
her head bewilder; the sky, clouds, and landscape are all very lovely.
This is a singularly limpid, loose, flowing picture. It has the paint
quality sometimes missing in the bold, fat massing of the Zuloaga
colour chords. The Montmartre Cafe concert singer is a sterling
specimen of Zuloaga's portraiture. He is unconventional in his poses;
he will jam a figure against the right side of the frame (as in the
portrait of Marthe Morineau) or stand a young lady beside an
ornamental iron gate in an open park (not a remarkable portrait, but
one that pleases the ladies because of the textures). The head of the
old actor capitally suggests the Spanish mummer. And the painter's
cousin, Esperanza! What cousins he boasts! We recall The Three
Cousins, with its laughing trio and the rich colour scheme. Our
recollection, too, of The Piquant Retort, and its brown and scarlet
harmonies; of the Promenade After the Bull-fight, which has the
classical balance and spaced charm of Velasquez; and that startling
Street of Love overbalances any picture except one in this exhibition,
and that is The Bull-fighter's Family. The measuring eye of Zuloaga,
his tremendous vitality, his sharp, superb transference to canvas of
the life he has elected to represent and interpret are at first sight
dazzling. The performance is so supreme--remember, not in a niggling,
technical sense--a half-dozen men beat him at mere pyrotechnics and
lace _fioritura_--that his limitations, very marked in his case, are
overlooked. You have drunk a hearty Spanish wine; oil to the throat,
confusion to the senses. You do not at first miss the soul; it is not
included in the categories of Senor Zuloaga. Zuloaga, like his
contemporary farther north, Anders Zorn, is a man as well as a
painter; the conjunction is not too frequent. The grand manner is
surely his. He has the modulatory sense, and Christian Brinton notes
his sonorous acid effects. He paints beggars, dwarfs, work-girls,
noblemen, bandits, dogs, horses, lovely women, gitanas, indolent
Carmens; but real, not the pasteboard and foot-lights variety of
Merimee and Bizet. Zuloaga's Spain is not a second-hand Italy, like
that of so many Spanish painters. It is not all bric-a-brac and
moonlight and chivalric tinpot helmets. It is the real Spain of
to-day, the Spain that has at last awakened to the light of the
twentieth century after sleeping so long, after sleeping,
notwithstanding the desperate nudging it was given a century ago by
the realist Goya. Now, Zuloaga is not only stepping on his country's
toes, but he is recording the impressions he makes. He, too, is a
realist, a realist with such magic in his brush that it would make us
forgive him if he painted the odour of garlic.

Have you seen his Spanish Dancers? Not the dramatic Carmencita of
Sargent, but the creature as she is, with her simian gestures, her
insolence, her vulgarity, her teeth--and the shrill scarlet of the
bare gum above the gleaming white, His street scenes are a transcript
of the actual facts, and inextricably woven with the facts is a sense
of the strange beauty of them all. His wine harvesters, venders of
sacred images, or that fascinating canvas My Three Cousins--before
these, also before the Promenade After the Bull-fight, you realise
that by some miracle of nature the intensity of Goya and his sense of
life, the charm of Velasquez and his sober dignity are recalled by the
painting of a young Spanish artist who a decade ago was unknown. Nor
is Zuloaga an eclectic. His force and individuality are too patent for
us to entertain such a heresy. A glance at Jacques-Emile Blanche's
portrait of the Spanish painter explains other things. There is the
physique of a man who can work many hours a day before an easel; there
are the penetrating eyes of an observer, spying eyes, slightly cruel;
the head is an intellectual one, the general conformation of the face
harmonious and handsome. The body is that of an athlete, but not of
the bull-necked sort we see in Goya. The temperament suggested is
impetuous, controlled by a strong will; it has been fined down by
study and the enforced renunciations of poverty-haunted youth. Above
all, there is race; race in the proud, resolute bearing, race in the
large, firm, supple, and nervous hands. Indeed, the work of Zuloaga is
all race. He is the most Spanish painter since Goya.


Zola, as reported by George Moore, said of Degas: "I cannot accept a
man who shuts himself up all his life to draw a ballet girl as ranking
co-equal in dignity and power with Flaubert, Daudet, and Goncourt."
This remark gives us the cue for Zola's critical endowment; despite
his asseverations his naturalism was only skin deep. He, too, was
swayed by his literary notions concerning the importance of the
subject. In painting the theme may count for little and yet a great
picture result; in Zola's field there must be an appreciable subject,
else no fiction. But what cant it is to talk about "dignity." Zola
admits ingrained romanticism. He would not see, for instance, that the
Degas ballet girls are on the same plane as the Ingres odalisques;
that a still-life by Chardin outweighs a big canvas by David; and it
must be admitted that the world is on the side of Zola. The heresy of
the subject will never be stamped out, the painted anecdote will
always win the eye of the easily satisfied majority.

It may be remembered that the great Spaniard began his apprenticeship
to art by copying still-life, which he did in a superlative manner;
his Bodegones, or kitchen pieces, testify to this. Chardin, who led as
laborious an existence as Degas, shutting himself away from the world,
studied surfaces with an intensity that Zola, the apostle of realism,
would have misunderstood. Later the French painter devoted himself
with equal success to genre and figure subjects; but for him there was
no such category as still-life. Everything of substance, shape,
weight, and colour is alive for the eye that observes, and, except
Velasquez, Vermeer, and a few others, no man was endowed with the eye
of Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin, an eye microscopic in intensity and
that saw the beautiful in the homely.

Edmond Pilon has published a comprehensive little monograph in the
series Les Maitres de L'Art. M. Pilon is as sympathetic as he is just
in his critical estimates of the man and his work. There is not much
to relate of the quotidian life of the artist. His was not a romantic
or a graceful figure among his contemporaries, the pastellist La Tour,
Fragonard, and the rest, nor had his personality a jot of the
mysterious melancholy of Watteau. His artistic ancestry was Dutch; in
the footsteps of De Hooch, the younger Teniers, Vermeer, Terburg,
Kalf, he trod, rather plodded, producing miracles of light, colour,
finish. A long patience his career, he never indulged in brilliancy
for the mere sake of brilliancy; nevertheless he was an amazing
virtuoso of the brush. He was born in the Rue de Seine, Paris,
November 2,1699. His father, Jean Chardin, a joiner, was a man of
artistic instinct whose furniture and marquetrie were admired and in
demand. The lad began his tuition under Cazes, but soon went to the
atelier of Coypel. Later he worked under the eye of Carle Vanloo in
the restoration of the large gallery at Fontainebleau. His painting of
a barber-chirurgeon's sign drew upon him the notice of several artists
of influence and he became a member of the Academy of St. Luc. When he
exhibited for the first time in public, in the Place Dauphine, 1728,
Watteau had been dead seven years; Coypel, Allegrain, Vanloo, Troy,
and the imitators of the pompous art of Le Brun were the vogue. Colour
had become a conventional abstraction; design, of the most artificial
sort, the prime requisite for a sounding reputation. The unobtrusive
art of Chardin, who went to nature not to books for his inspiration,
was not appreciated. He was considered a belated Dutchman, though his
superior knowledge of values ought to have proved him something else.
Diderot, alone among the critics of his epoch, saluted him in company
with the great Buffon as a man whom nature had taken into her

In 1728 he was received at the Academy as painter of fruit and
flowers. He married his first wife, Marguerite Saintan, in 1731, and
his son, J.B. Chardin, was born the same year. In 1735 he lost his
wife and infant daughter, and the double blow drove him into
retirement, but he exposed his pictures from time to time. He was made
counsellor of the Academy in 1743, and in 1744 married the second
time, a widow, Francoise Marguerite Pouget by name. This was a happy
marriage; Madame Chardin, a sensible, good-tempered bourgeoise,
regulated the household accounts, and brought order and peace into the
life of the lonely artist. Hereafter he painted without interruptions.
He received from the king a pension of five hundred francs, his son
obtained the prix de Rome for a meritorious canvas, and if he had had
his father's stable temperament he would have ended an admirable
artist. But he was reckless, and died at Venice in a mysterious
manner, drowned in a canal, whether by murder or suicide no one knew.
Chardin never recovered his spirits after this shock. The king offered
him lodging in the gallery of the Louvre (Logement No. 12). This was
accepted, as much as he disliked leaving his comfortable little house
in the Rue Princesse. As he aged he suffered from various ailments and
his eyes began to give him trouble; then it was he took up pastels.
December 6, 1779, he died, his wife surviving him until 1791.

He was a man of short stature, broad-shouldered and muscular. Liked by
his friends and colleagues for his frankness, there was a salt savour
in his forthright speech--he never learned to play the courtier. His
manners were not polished, a certain rusticity clung to him always,
but his honesty was appreciated and he held positions of trust.
Affectionate, slow--with the Dutch slowness praised by Rodin--and
tenacious, he set out to conquer a small corner in the kingdom of art,
and to-day he is first among the Little Masters. This too convenient
appellation must not class him with such myopic miniaturists as
Meissonier. There are breadth of style, rich humanity, largeness of
feeling, apart from his remarkable technique, that place him in the
company of famous portrait painters. He does not possess what are
called "general ideas"; he sounds no tragic chords; he has no spoor of
poetry, but he sees the exterior world steadily; he is never obvious,
and he is a sympathetic interpreter in the domestic domain and of
character. His palette is as aristocratic as that of Velasquez: the
music he makes, like that of the string quartet, borders on

At his debut he so undervalued his work that Vanloo, after reproaching
the youth for his modesty, paid him double for a picture. Another time
he gave a still-life to a friend in exchange for a waistcoat whose
flowery pattern appealed to him. His pictures did not fetch fair
prices during his lifetime; after more than half a century of hard
work he left little for his widow. Nor in the years immediately
subsequent to that of his death did values advance much. The engraver
Wille bought a still-life for thirty-six livres, a picture that to-day
would sell for thousands of dollars. At the beginning of the last
century, in 1810, when David was ruler of the arts in Paris, the two
masterpieces in pastel, now in the Louvre, the portraits of Chardin
aux besicles, and the portrait of Marguerite Pouget, his second
spouse, could have been bought for twenty-four francs. In 1867 at the
Laperlier sale the Pourvoyeuse was sold for four thousand and fifty
francs to the Louvre, and forty years later the Louvre gave three
hundred and fifty thousand francs to Madame Emile Trepard for Le Jeune
Homme au Violon and l'Enfant au Toton. Diderot truly prophesied that
the hour of reparation would come.

He is a master of discreet tonalities and a draughtsman of the first
order. His lighting, more diffused than Rembrandt's, is the chief
actor in his scene. With it he accomplishes magical effects, with it
he makes beautiful copper caldrons, humble vegetables, leeks, carrots,
potatoes, onions, shining rounds of beef, hares, and fish become
eloquent witnesses to the fact that there is nothing dead or ugly in
nature if the vision that interprets is artistic. It is said that no
one ever saw Chardin at work in his atelier, but his method, his
_facture_ has been ferreted out though never excelled. He employs the
division of tones, his _couches_ are fat and his colour is laid on
lusciously. His colour is never hot; coolness of tone is his chief
allurement. Greuze, passing one of his canvases at an exhibition, a
long time regarded it and went away, heaving a sigh of envy. The
frivolous "Frago," who studied with Chardin for a brief period, even
though he left him for Boucher, admired his former master without
understanding him. Decamps later exclaimed in the Louvre: "The whites
of Chardin! I don't know how to recapture them." He might have added
the silvery grays. M. Pilon remarks that as in the case of Vermeer the
secret of Chardin tones has never been surprised. The French painter
knew the art of modulation, while his transitions are bold; he
enveloped his objects in atmosphere and gave his shadows a due share
of luminosity. He placed his colours so that at times his work
resembles mosaic or tapestry. He knew a century before the modern
impressionists the knack of juxtaposition, of opposition, of tonal
division; his science was profound. He must have studied Watteau and
the Dutchmen closely. Diderot was amazed to find that his surpassing
whites were neither black nor white, but a neuter--but by a subtle
transposition of tones looked white. Chardin worked from an
accumulation of notes, but there are few sketches of his in existence,
a _sanguine_ or two. The paucity of the Velasquez sketches has piqued
criticism. Like Velasquez, Chardin was of a reflective temperament, a
slow workman and a patient corrector.

The intimate charm of the Chardin interiors is not equalled even in
the Vermeer canvases. At the Louvre, which contains at least thirty of
the masterpieces, consider the sweetness of Le Benedicite, or the
three pastels, and then turn to the fruits, flowers, kitchen utensils,
game, or to La Raie Ouverte, that magnificent portrait of a skatefish,
with its cat slyly stealing over opened oysters, the table-cloth of
such vraisemblance that the knife balanced on the edge seems to lie in
a crease. What bulk, what destiny, what _chatoyant_ tones! Here are
qualities of paint and vision pictorial, vision that has never been
approached; paint without rhetoric, paint sincere, and the expression
in terms of beautiful paint of natural truths. In Chardin's case--by
him the relativity of mundane things was accepted with philosophic
phlegm--an onion was more important than an angel, a copper stew-pan
as thrilling as an epic. And then the humanity of his youth holding a
fiddle and bow, the exquisite textures of skin and hair, and the
glance of the eyes. You believe the story told of his advice to his
confrere: "Paint with sentiment." But he mixed his sentiment with
lovely colours, he is one of the chief glories of France as a



Some Frenchman has called the theatre a book reversed. It is a happy
epigram. By a similar analogy the engraving or mezzotint might be
described as a reversed picture. And with still more propriety black
and white reproductions may be compared to the pianoforte in the hands
of a skilful artist. The pianoforte can interpret in cooler tones
orchestral scores. It gives in its all-formal severity the line; the
colour is only suggested. But such is the tendency of modern music
toward painting that the success of a pianoforte virtuoso to-day
depends upon his ability to arouse within his listeners' imagination
the idea of colour--in reality, the emotional element. The engraver
evokes colour by his cunning interplay of line and cross hatching; the
mezzotinter by his disposition of dark masses and white spaces.
Indeed, the mezzotint by reason of its warm, more sympathetic, and
ductile medium has always seemed more colourful in his plates than the
most laboriously executed steel engravings. In this sense the scraper
beats the burin, while the etcher, especially if he be a painter,
attains a more personal vision than either one of these processes.
"The stone was made for the mystics," say the Pennells. The revival of
lithography by contemporary artists of fame is very welcome.

Above all, the appeal of engraving, mezzotint, and etching is to the
refined. It is an art of a peculiarly intimate character. Just as some
prefer the exquisite tonal purity and finished performances of the
Kneisel String Quartet to the blare and thunder of the Philharmonic
Society; just as some enjoy in silence beautiful prose more than our
crude drama, so the lovers of black and white may feel themselves a
distinctive class. They have at their elbow disposed in portfolios or
spaced on walls the eloquent portraiture, the world's masterpieces,
marine views, and landscapes. There is no better way to study painting
historically than in the cabinet of an engraving collector.
Furthermore, divested of bad or mediocre paint--many famous pictures
by famous names are mere cartoons, the paint peeled or peeling
off--the student and amateur penetrates to the very marrow of the
painter's conception, to the very skeleton of his technical methods.



"Battlements that on their restless fronts bore stars" is a line from
Wordsworth that Thomas de Quincey approvingly quotes in regard to his
opium-induced "architectural dreams," and, aptly enough, immediately
after a page devoted to Piranesi, the etcher, architect, and
visionary. You may find this page in The Confessions of an English
Opium Eater, that book of terror, beauty, mystification, and fudge (De
Quincey deluded himself quite as much as his readers in this
autobiography, which, like the confessions of most distinguished men,
must not be taken too literally): "Many years ago," he wrote, "when I
was looking over Piranesi's Antiquities of Rome, Mr. Coleridge, who
was standing by, described to me a set of plates by that artist,

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