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Promenades of an Impressionist by James Huneker

Part 5 out of 5

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wide gaze, their lovely children appear in religious and mythologic
pictures at every turn you make in this museum. You become too
familiar with them. You learn to know that one wife was slenderer than
the other; you also realise that other days had other ways. Titian
painted the portrait of a noble dame quite naked and placed her
husband, soberly attired, near by. No one criticised the taste of this
performance. Manet, who was no Titian, did the same trick and was
voted wicked. He actually dared to show us Nana dressing in the
presence of a gentleman who sat in the same room with his hat on.

The heavy-flanked Percheron horses are of the same order as the Rubens
women. The Flemings are mighty feeders, mighty breeders,
good-tempered, pleasure-loving folk. They don't work as hard as the
Dutch, and they indulge in more feasting and holidays. The North seems
austere and Protestant when compared with this Roman Catholic land.
Its sons of genius, such as Rubens and Van Dyck, painted pictures that
do not reveal the deeper faith of the Primitives. No Christ or Mary of
either Van Dyck or Rubens sounds the poignant note of the
Netherlandish unknown mystic masters.

But what a banquet of beauty Rubens spreads for the eye! With him
painting reached its apogee, and in him were the seeds of its
decadence. He shattered the Florentine line; he, a tremendous
space-composer when he so wished, wielded his brush at times like a
scene-painter on a debauch. The most shocking, the loveliest things
happen on his canvases. Set the beautiful Education of the Virgin, in
this gallery, beside such a work as Venus and Vulcan at Brussels, and
you will see the scale in which he sported. Or the Virgin and Parrot,
with a child Christ who might have posed as a youthful Adonis, and the
Venus Frigida--both in Antwerp. A pagan was Rubens, for all his
religion. We prefer the Christ Crucified between Two Thieves or the
Christ on the Cross, the single figure, to the more famous Descent at
the Cathedral. But what can be said that is new about Rubens or Van
Dyck? In the latter may be noted the beginnings of deliquescence. He
is a softened Rubens, a Rubens aristocratic. The portraits here are
prime, those of the Bishop of Antwerp, Jean Malderus, and of the young
girl with the two dogs. His various Christs are more piteous to behold
than those of his master, Rubens. The feminine note is present, and
without any of the realism which so shocks in the conceptions of the
Primitives. Nevertheless we turn to his portraits or to the little boy
standing at a table. There is the true key of Van Dyck. He met Rubens
as a portraitist and took no odds of him.

Lucas Cranach's Adam and Eve is a variation of the picture in the
Brussels gallery. A Gossaert portrait catches the eye, the head and
bust of a man; then you find yourself staring in wonderment at the
Peter Breughels and Jerome Bosches with their malodorous fantastic
versions of temptations of innumerable St. Anthonys. The air is thick
with monsters, fish-headed and splay of foot. St. Anthony must have
had the stomach of an ostrich and the nerves of a politician to endure
such sights and sounds and witches. Such females! But Peter and his
two sons are both painters of interest. There are better Teniers in
Brussels, though Le Chanteur is admirable. Ostade's Smoker is a
masterpiece. Only four Rembrandts, the portrait of a woman, according
to Vosmaer and W. Burger that of his wife Saskia; a fisherman's boy,
the Burgomaster, and the Old Jew. Dr. Bode thinks that the last two
are by Nikolas Maes. The portrait of Eleazer Swalmius--the so-called
Burgomaster Six--is finely painted as to head and beard. The Antwerp
Museum paid two hundred thousand francs for the work. We must not
forget mention of a David Teniers, a loan of Dr. Bredius, a
still-life, a white dead goose superb in tone.

Of the two Frans Halses, the portrait of a Dutch gentleman is the
better; the other was formerly known as the Strandlooper van Haarlem
and shows the vigorous brush-work of the master. It is the head of a
saucy fisher-boy, the colour scheme unusual for Hals. The Quentin
Matsys pictures are strong; among others the portrait of Peter Gillis
with his shrewd, strongly marked physiognomy. This is a Matsys town.
Every one looks at his old iron well beside the Cathedral and recalls
the legend of the blacksmith, as every boy remembers here Hendrik
Conscience and the Lion of Flanders. Van Reymerswael's The Tax
Gatherers, sometimes called The Bankers or The Misers, hangs in the
museum; that realistic picture with the so highly individualised
heads, a favourite of the engravers, holds its own. Both the Boutses,
Albrecht and Dirck, are shown in their Holy Families, and both are
painters of ineffable grace and devotion.

Four Memlings of seductive beauty light the walls. One is a portrait
of Nicolo Spinelli. Christ and His Angels, the angels playing in
praise of the Eternal and other angels playing various instruments.
The two Van Eycks, Huibrecht (Hubert) and Jan, are well represented.
The St. Barbara, by Jan, is repeated in the Bruges Museum The Donateur
or Donor is a repetition of the original at Bruges. The Adoration of
the Lamb is a copy of the original at Ghent. There is tender beauty in
Jan's St. Barbara, and infinite motherly love expressed in his Holy
Virgin. Hugo van der Goes's portrait of Thomas Portunari is a marvel
of characterisation. Terburg has a mandolin player and Hobbema a mill
scene. The Van Orleys are interesting, and also the Van Veens. Gerard
David, a painter of exquisite touch and feeling, shows a Repose in
Egypt. Lucas Cranach's L'Amour is one of his Virgins transposed to the
mythological key. We have barely indicated the richness of this
collection, in which, of course, Rubens plays first fiddle--rather the
full orchestra. And with what sonority and luminosity!

At the Cathedral his three masterpieces draw their accustomed
audiences with the usual guide lecturing in three languages, pointing
out the whiteness of the cloth in the Descent and the anatomy in the
Ascent. This latter work is always slighted by sightseers because
Baedeker, or some one else, had pronounced its composition "inferior"
to the Descent, but there are many more difficult problems involved in
the Ascent. Its pattern is not so pleasing as the Descent, the subject
is less appealing, and more sternly treated. There are more virile
accents in the Ascent, though it would be idle to deny that in paint
quality there is a falling off. Both pictures show the tooth of time
and the ravages of the restorers. At St. Jacques, with its wonderfully
carved pulpit, the St. George of Rubens hangs in a chapel. It has
darkened much during the last twenty years. Also there is another
Rubens family group with wives and other relatives. They thought well
of themselves, the Rubens family, and little wonder.

The modern pictures at the museum are of varying interest--Braekeleer,
Stobbaerts, Verlat, Scheffer, Cabanel, David (J.L.), Wiertz, Wauters,
Wappers, some elegant Alfred Stevenses, De Bock the landscapist,
Clays, Van Beers, Meunier, Breton, Bouguereau, and a lot of
nondescript lumber. In the spacious approach there is one of
Constantin Meunier's famous figures. You rejoice that he followed
Rodin's advice and gave up the brush for the chisel. As a painter he
was not more than mediocre.

The four Van der Weydens in the gallery of Primitives are not all of
equal merit. The Annunciation is the most striking. The early master
of Memling is distinguished by a sweetness in composition and softness
in colouring. Mention must be made of the De Vos pictures by the
Cornelis, Martin, and Simon. A portrait of Abraham Grapheus by the
first-named is one of the most striking in the museum, and the
self-portrait of the latter, smiling, is brilliant. Rombouts is a sort
of Adrian Brouwer; his Cavaliers Playing at Cards recalls Caravaggio.
Daniel Mytens's portrait of a lady is Rubenesque.

And all that choir of elevated souls unknown to us by name, merely
called after the city they inhabited, such as the Master of Bray, or
by some odd device or monogram--what cannot be written of this small
army which praised the Lord, His mother and the saints in form and
colour, on missals, illuminated manuscripts, or on panels! The Antwerp
Museum has its share of Anonymous, that master of whom it has been
said that "he" was probably the master of the masters. Antwerp is a
city of many charms, with its St. Jacques, St. Andres (and its carved
pulpit), St. Paul and the Cathedral, and its preservation of the
Flemish spirit and Flemish customs; but for us its museum was all in


Considering its size and significance, Brussels has more than its
share of museums. At the beginning of the Rue de la Regence, near the
Place Royale, stands the imposing Royal Museum of old paintings and
sculpture. The Museum of Modern Art is around the corner and adjoins
the National Library, which is said to harbour over six hundred
thousand volumes. In the gallery of old art the effect of the
sculptors' hall, which is in the centre and utilises the entire height
of the building, is noble. The best sculpture therein is by Rodin and
Meunier; the remainder is generally academic or simply bad. Rodin's
Thinker, in bronze, is a repetition of the original. After the
wreathed prettiness of the conventional school--neither Greek nor
Gothic--and the writhing diablerie of Rodin imitators the simplicity
and directness of Constantin Meunier is refreshing. He was a man whose
imagination became inflamed at the sight of suffering and injustice.
He is closer to Millet than to his friend Rodin, but he lacks the
sweetness and strength of Millet. Selecting the Belgian workman--the
miner, the hewer of wood and drawer of water, the proletarian, in a
word--for his theme, Meunier observed closely and reproduced his
vision in terms of rugged beauty. The sentiment is evidently
socialistic. Like Prince Kropotkin and the brothers Reclus, the
Belgian sculptor revolts against the cruelty of man to man. He shows
us the miner crouched in a pitiful manner finding a pocket of coal;
men naked to the waist, their torsos bulging with muscles, their small
heads on bull necks, are puddlers; other groups patiently haul heavy
carts--labour not in its heroic aspect, but as it is in reality, is
the core of Meunier's art. That he is "literary" at times may not be
denied, but power he has.

The early Flemish school of the fifteenth century is strongly
represented in several of the galleries up-stairs. And Rogier de la
Pasture, otherwise known as Rogier van der Weyden, is shown in five
pictures, and at his best. The Chevalier with the Arrow, a bust
portrait, will be familiar to those who have visited the Rijks Museum,
where a copy hangs. The robe is black, the hat, conical, is brown, the
background blue-green. The silhouette is vigorously modelled, the
expression one of dignity, the glance penetrating, severe. What
characterisation! The Christ is a small panel surpassingly rich in
colour and charged with profound pity. The body lies in the arms of
the Mother, Magdalen and John on either side. The sun is setting. The
subject was a favourite of Weyden; there is a triptych in Berlin and a
panel at The Hague. This Brussels picture has evidently been shorn of
its wings. There are replicas of the Virgin and Child (No. 650 in the
catalogue) at Berlin, Cassel, and Frankfort, also in the recently
dispersed collection of Rudolph Kann. Another striking tableau is the
head of a woman who weeps. The minutest tear is not missing.

Hubert and Jan Van Eyck's Adam and Eve are the wings (volets) from the
grand composition in the Cathedral of St. Bavo, Ghent. They are
gigantic figures, nude, neither graceful nor attractive, but
magnificently painted. These portraits (they don't look as if they had
been finished in paradise) of our first parents rather favour the
evolutionary theory of development. Eve is unlovely, her limbs lanky,
her bust mediaeval, her flanks Flemish. In her right hand she holds the
fatal apple. Adam's head is full of character; it is Christ-like; his
torso ugly, his legs wooden. Yet how superior to the copies which are
now attached to the original picture at Ghent. There the figures are
clothed, clumsy, and meaningless.

Dierick Bouts's Justice of Emperor Otho III is a striking picture. The
subject has that touch of repulsive cruelty which was a sign of the
times. Hans Memling's Martyrdom of St. Sebastian is another treasure;
with his portraits of a man, of Guillaume Morel and of Barbara de
Vlandenberg making an immortal quartet. The head of the man is the
favourite in reproduction. Morel is portrayed as in prayer, his hands
clasped, his expression rapt. A landscape is seen at the back. The
Virgin Surrounded by Virgins, by an unknown master of the fifteenth
century (school of Bruges), is one of the most amazing pictures in the
collection. It has a nuance of the Byzantine and of the hieratic, but
the portraits are enchanting in their crystalline quality. Quentin
Matsys' Legend of St. Anne is much admired, though for sincerity we
prefer The Passion of the Master of Oultremont. Gerard David's
Adoration of the Magi is no longer attributed to him. It was always in
doubt: now the name has been removed, though the picture has much of
his mellowness. Dr. Scheuring, the old man with the shaved upper lip,
beard, and hair over his forehead, by Lucas Cranach, and Jean
Gossaert's Chevalier of the Golden Fleece, are masterly portraits. Van
Cleve, Van Orlay, Key--perhaps a portrait of the bloody Duke of
Alva--also one of himself, Coello's Maria of Austria, are among the
sterling specimens in this gallery.

We need not expect to find duplicated here the Rubens of Antwerp. The
most imposing example is the Adoration of the Magi, while his
portraits of the Archduke Albert and his Archduchess, Isabella, are
perhaps the best extant. The Calvary is a splendid canvas, full of
movement and containing several members of the well-known Rubens
family. Such devotion is touching. You find yourself looking for
Isabella Brandt and Helena Fourment among the angels that hover in the
sky above the martyred St. Lieven. The four negro heads, the Woman
Taken in Adultery, a Susanna (less concerned about her predicament
than any we have encountered), a curious and powerful portrait of
Theophrastus Paracelsus (Browning's hero), with a dozen others, make a
goodly showing for the Antwerp master. Otho Vaenius (Octave Van Veen),
one of the teachers of Rubens, is hung here. There are nearly a dozen
Van Dycks, of prime quality all. The Crucifixion, the portrait of an
unknown gentleman wearing a huge ruff and the winning portrait of a
Flemish sculptor, Francesco Duquesnoy, (on a stand), give you an
excellent notion of his range, though better Van Dycks are in France
and England.

The portrait of an old man, by Rembrandt, is beginning to fade, but
that of an old woman is a superior Rembrandt. Of Frans Hals there are
two fine specimens; one, a portrait of Willem van Heythusen, is a
small picture, the figure sitting, the legs crossed (booted and
spurred) and the figure leaning lazily back. On his head a black felt
hat with a broad upturned brim. The expression of the bearded man is
serious. The only Jan Vermeer is one of the best portraits by that
singularly gifted painter we recall. It is called The Man with the
Hat. Dr. Bredius in 1905 considered the picture by Jean Victor, but it
has been pronounced Vermeer by equal authorities. It was once a part
of the collection of Humphry Ward. The man sits, his hand holding a
glove resting negligently over the back of a chair. He faces the
spectator, on his head a long, pointed black hat with a wide brim. His
collar is white. A shadow covers the face above the eyes. These are
rather melancholy, inexpressive; the flesh tints are anaemic, almost
morbid. We are far away from the Vermeer of the Milkmaid and the
Letter. There is something disquieting in this portrait, but it is a
masterpiece of paint and character.

The Old Lady Dreaming, by N. Maes, and the Jan Steen (The Operator)
are good though not remarkable examples. Jacob Jordaenses flood the
various galleries; Rubens run to seed as far as quality, yet
exhibiting enormous muscularity, is the trait of this gross painter.
The King Drinks--his kings are always drinking or blind drunk--his
nudes, which look like the contents of the butcher shops in Brussels,
attract throngs, for the anecdote is writ large across the wall, and
you don't have to run to read. Panoramas would be a better title for
these robust compositions. David Teniers's La Kermesse is the most
important work he ever finished. It is in good preservation. Amsterdam
has not its superior. There is an ordinary El Greco, a poor Goya, and
a Ribera downstairs. The French art is not enlivening.

Philip Champaigne's self-portrait is familiar: it has been reproduced
frequently. Jean Baptiste Huysmans, a landscape with animals; he is
said to be an ancestor of the late Joris Karel Huysmans. The Mors
(Antonio Moro) is of value. But the lodestone of the collection is the

The pictures in the modern gallery are largely Belgian, some French,
and a few Dutch and English. It is not a collection of artistic
significance. In the black-and-white room may be seen a few original
drawings of Rops.

The Musee Wiertz is worth visiting only as a chamber of horrors. When
Wiertz is not morbid and repulsive he is of the vasty inane, a man of
genius gone daft, obsessed by the mighty shades of Rubens and Michael
Angelo. Wiertz was born in 1806 and died in 1865. The Belgian
Government, in order to make some sort of reparation for its neglect
of the painter during his troubled and unhappy lifetime, acquired his
country residence and made it a repository of his art. The pictures
are of a scale truly heroic. The painter pitted himself against Rubens
and Michael Angelo. He said: "I, too, am a great painter!" And there
is no denying his power. His tones recall the _pate_ of Rubens without
its warmth and splendour. When Wiertz was content to keep within
bounds his portraits and feminine nudes are not without beauty. He was
fanciful rather than poetic, and the picture of Napoleon in hell
enduring the reproaches of his victims (why should they be there?) is
startling. Startling, too, are the tricks played on your nerves by the
peepholes. You see a woman crazed by hunger about to cook one of her
murdered children; beheaded men, men crushed by superior power, the
harnessed body of Patroclus, Polyphemus devouring the companions of
Ulysses, and other monstrous conceptions, are all painted with
reference to the ills of the poor. Anton Joseph was a socialist in
sentiment. If his executive ability had been on a par with his ideas,
and if those ideas had been less extravagant, the world would have had
one more great painter; but his nervous system was flawed and he died
a melancholic, a victim to misplaced ideals. He wished to revive the
heroic age at a time of easel pictures. He, the half genius, saw
himself outwitted by the sleek paint of Alfred Stevens. Born out of
his due time, a dreamer of dreams, Wiertz is a sad example of the
futility of looking backward in art.


On the way up from Brussels to Bruges it is well to alight at Ghent
for a few hours. There are attractions enough to keep one for several
days, but as our objective was St. Bavon (St. Bavo, or Sint Baafs) we
did not stay more than the allotted time. And an adventurous time it
was. The Ostend express landed its passengers at the St. Pierre
station and that meant the loss of half an hour. The Cathedral is
reached by the tramway, and there we found that as an office was about
to be sung no one would be allowed in the ambulatory until after its
completion. It was pouring live Belgian rain without; already the
choristers in surplices were filing into the choir. Not a moment to be
spared! The sacristan was a practical man. He hustled us into a side
chapel, locked the heavy doors, and left us in company with the great
picture of the brothers Hubert and Jan Van Eyck. A monk knelt in
prayer outside, the rain clouds made the lighting obscure. We were
hemmed in, but by angels and ministers of grace. The chanting began.
Atmosphere was not needed in this large and gloomy edifice, only more
light. Gradually the picture began to burn through the artificial
dusk, gradually its glories became more perceptible. Begun by Hubert
in 1420 and finished by Jan in 1432, its pristine splendour has
vanished; and the loss of the wings--the Adam and Eve are in Brussels,
the remaining volets in the Berlin Museum--is irreparable despite the
copies. But this Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, with its jewelled
figures of the Christ, of St. John the Baptist, St. Cecilia, and the
central panel with its mystical symbolism, painted in sumptuous tones,
the lamb on the altar, the prophets and ecclesiastics in worship, the
singing angels, is truly an angelic composition.

The rain had ceased. A shaft of sunshine pierced the rosy glass
windows and fell upon the hieratic figure of the bearded Christ, which
glowed supernally. In the chancel the Psalms had died away and the
only sound was that of sandals shuffling over marble floors. The man
turned the lock. It was a return to the world as if one had
participated in a sacred ceremony.

Bruges is invariably called Bruges-la-Morte, but it is far from being
dead, or even desperately melancholy. Delft, in Holland, after nine
o'clock at night, is quieter than Bruges. Bruges the Dead? No, Bruges
the Beautiful is nearer the truth. After reading Rodenbach's morbid
romance of Bruges-la-Morte we felt sure that a stay in Bruges would be
like a holiday in a cemetery. Our experience dispelled this unpleasant
illusion. Bruges is in daylight a bustling and in certain spots a
noisy place. Its inhabitants are not lugubrious of visage, but
wideawake, practical people, close at a bargain, curious like all
Belgians, and on fete days given to much feasting. Bruges is
infinitely more interesting than Brussels. It is real, while modern
Brussels is only mock-turtle. And Bruges is more picturesque, the food
is as well flavoured, there are several resorts where ripe old
Burgundy may be had at not an extravagant price, and the townsfolk are
less grasping, more hearty than in Brussels.

The city is nicknamed a Northern Venice, but of Venice there is
naught, except the scum on the canal waters. The secular odour of
Bruges was not unpleasant in October; in August it may have been. We
know that the glory of the city hath departed, but there remain the
Memlings, the Gerard Davids, at least one Van Eyck, not to mention
several magnificent old churches.

Let us stroll to the Beguinage. Reproductions of Memling and Van Eyck
are in almost every window. The cafes on the square, where stands the
Belfry of Longfellow's poem, are overflowing with people at table. It
is Friday, and to-morrow will be market day; with perhaps a fair or a
procession thrown in. You reach the Cathedral of St. Sauveur (Sint
Salvator), erected in the tenth century, though the foundations date
back to the seventh. The narrow lane-like street winds around the rear
of the church. Presently another church is discerned with a tower that
must be nearly four hundred feet high, built, you learn, some time
between the tenth and fourteenth centuries. Notre Dame contains the
tombs of Charles the Bold and Mary of Burgundy, a lovely white marble
statue of the Virgin and Child ascribed with justice to Michael
Angelo, and a fine bow-window. We pass the Hospital of St. Jean, turn
up an alley full of cobblestones and children, and finally see the
canal that passes the houses of the Beguinage. The view is of
exceeding charm. The spire of Notre Dame and the apsis may be seen up
(or is it down?) stream. A bridge cuts the river precisely where it
should; weeping willows to the left lend an elegiac note to the
ensemble, and there is a gabled house to the right which seems to have
entered the scene so as to give an artist the exact balance for his
composition. Nature and the handicraft of man paint pictures all over

We enter the enclosure with the little houses of the beguines, or lay
sisterhood. There is nothing particular to see, except a man under a
tree admiring his daubed canvas, near by a dog sleeps. The sense of
peace is profound. Even Antwerp seems a creation of yesterday compared
with the brooding calm of Bruges, while Brussels is as noisy as a
boiler shop. The Minnewater (Lac d'Amour) is another pretty stretch,
and so we spent the entire day through shy alleys, down crooked
streets, twisting every few feet and forming deceptive vistas
innumerable, leading tired legs into churches, out of museums, up
tower steps.

That first hard stroll told us how little we could know of Bruges in a
day, a week or a month. Bag and baggage we moved up from Brussels and
wished that the clock and the calendar could be set back several
centuries. At twilight the unusual happened: the Sandman appeared with
his hour-glass and beckoned to bed. There is no night in Bruges for
the visitor within the gates; there is only slumber. Perhaps that is
why the cockneys call it Bruges the Dead. The old horse that drags the
hotel bus was stamping its hoofs in the court-yard; the wall of St.
Jacques, eaten away by the years, faced us. The sun, somewhere, was
trying to rub its sleepy eyes, the odour of omelet was in the air, and
all was well. This is the home-like side of its life. It may still
harbour artists who lead a mystic, ecstatic existence, but we met none
of them. Poetic images are aroused at dusk along the banks of canals,
bathed in spectral light. Here Georges Rodenbach, that poet of
delicate images, placed his hero, a man who had lost a beloved wife.
He saw her wraith-like form in the mist and at the end went mad.

The Memlings hang in a chamber at the Hospital St. Jean; the Chasse of
St. Ursula is a reliquary, Gothic in design. They consist of a dozen
tiny panels painted in exquisite fashion, with all the bright clarity
and precision of a miniaturist, coupled with a solidity of form and
lyric elegance of expression. They represent the side of Memling's art
which might be compared to the illuminators of manuscripts or to the
artificers in gold and precious stones. There is a jewelled quality in
this illustration of the pious life and martyrdom of St. Ursula at
Cologne. But it is not the greatest Memling, to our thinking. A
portrait of Martin van Nieuwenhoven, the donator of the diptych, La
Vierge aux Pommes, is as superb a Memling as one could wish for. The
little hairs are a sign of clever, minute brush. It is the modelling,
the rich manipulation of tones (yes, values were known in those
barbarous times), the graceful fall of the hair treated quite as much
en masse as with microscopic finish; the almost miraculous painting of
the folded hands, and the general expression of pious reverie, that
count most. The ductile, glowing colours make this a portrait to be
compared to any of the master's we have studied at London, Berlin,
Dresden, Luebeck, Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels. But Bruges is the
natural frame for his exalted genius.

If the Van Eycks were really the first to use oil-colour--a fable, it
is said--Memling, who followed them, taught many great Italian
painters the quality and expressiveness of beautiful paint. There is
the portrait of Sybilla Sambetha, the serious girl with the lace veil.
Did any of the later Dutch conjurers in paint attain such
transparency? The Mystic Marriage of St. Catharine, a triptych with
its wings representing the beheading of St. John the Baptist--the
Salome is quite melancholy--and St. John at Patmos, is one of the
world pictures. The Adoration of the Magi, with its wings, The
Nativity, and Presentation in the Temple, is equally touching. For me
Memling's Descent from the Cross sounds deeper music than
Rubens--which is operatic in comparison. The Virgin type of Van Eyck
is less insipid than the Italian; there is no pagan dissonance, as in
the conception of Botticelli. Faith blazed more fiercely in the
breasts of these Primitive artists. They felt Christ's Passion and the
sorrow of the Holy Mother more poignantly than did the Italians of the
golden renaissance. We have always held a brief for the Art for Art
theory. The artist must think first of his material and its technical
manipulation; but after that, if his pulse beat to spiritual rhythms
then his work may attain the heights. It is not painting that is the
lost art, but faith. Men like the Van Eycks, Rogier van der Weyden,
Memling, and Gerard David were princes of their craft and saw their
religion with eyes undimmed by doubt.

James Weak has destroyed the legend that Hans Memling painted his St.
Ursula for the benefit of St. Jean's Hospital as a recompense for
treatment while sick there. He was a burgher living comfortably at
Bruges. The museum is a short distance from the hospital. Its Van Eyck
(Jan), La Vierge et l'Enfant--known as the Donator because of the
portrait of George van der Paele--is its chief treasure, though there
is the portrait of Jan's wife; Gerard David's Judgment of King
Cambyses, and the savage execution companion picture; Memling's
triptych, St. Christopher bearing the Christ Child, and David's
masterpiece, The Baptism of Christ. Holbein never painted a head with
greater verisimilitude than Van Eyck's rendering of the Donator. What
an eye! What handling, missing not a wrinkle, a fold of the aged skin,
the veins in the senile temples, or the thin soft hair above the ears!
What synthesis! There are no niggling details, breadth is not lost in
this multitude of closely observed and recorded facts. The large eyes
gaze devoutly at the vision of the Child, and if neither Virgin nor
Son is comely there is character delineated. The accessories must fill
the latter-day painter avid of surface loveliness with consuming envy.

But it is time for sleep. The Brugeois cocks have crowed, the sun is
setting, and eyelids are lowering. Lucky you are if your dreams evoke
the brilliant colours, the magical shapes of the Primitives of Bruges
the Beautiful.


Out of the beaten track of sight-seers, and not noticed with
particular favour by the guide-books, the museum founded by Gustave
Moreau at 14 Rue de la Rochefoucauld in Paris, is known only to a
comparatively few artists and amateurs. You seldom hear Americans
speak of this rare collection, it is never written about in the
magazines. In September, 1897, Moreau made a will leaving his house
and its contents to the State. He died in 1898 (not in 1902, as
Bryan's dictionary has it), and in 1902 President Loubet authorised
the Minister of Public Instruction to accept this rich legacy in the
name of the republic. The artist was not known to stranger countries;
indeed he was little known to his fellow-countrymen. Huysmans had
cried him up in a revolutionary article; but to be praised by Huysmans
was not always a certificate of fame. That critic was more successful
in attracting public attention to Degas and Rops; and Moreau, a born
eclectic, though without any intention of carrying water on both
shoulders, was regarded suspiciously by his associates at the
Beaux-Arts, while the new men he praised, Courbet, Manet, Whistler,
Monet, would hold no commerce with him. To this day opinion is divided
as to his merits, he being called a _pasticheur_ or else a great
painter-poet. Huysmans saw straight into the heart of the
enigma--Gustave Moreau is poet and painter, a highly endowed man who
had the pictorial vision in an unusual degree; whose brush responded
to the ardent brain that directed it, the skilled hand that
manipulated it; always responded, we say, except in the creation of
life. His paintings are, strictly speaking, magnificent still-life. No
vital current animates their airless, gorgeous, and sometimes
cadaverous surfaces.

Like his friend Gustave Flaubert, with whom he had so much in common
(at least on the Salammbo side of that writer), Moreau was born to
affluence. His father was a government architect; he went early to the
Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and also studied under Picot. In 1852 he had a
Pieta in the Salon (he was born April 6,1826), and followed it the
next season with a Darius and a large canvas depicting an episode from
the Song of Songs. The latter was purchased for the Dijon Museum. At
the Universal Exhibition of 1855 he showed a monster work, The
Athenians and the Minotaur. He withdrew from the public until 1864,
when his Oedipus and the Sphinx set Paris talking. He exhibited until
1880 various canvases illustrative of his studies in classic
literatures and received sundry medals. He was elected a member of the
Academie des Beaux-Arts in 1888, replacing Boulanger. He was decorated
in 1875 with the Legion of Honour and made _officier_ in 1883. When a
member of the Institute he had few friends, and as professor at the
Beaux-Arts he disturbed the authorities by his warm praise of the
Primitives. Altogether a career meagre in exciting incident, though
singularly rich and significant on the intimate side.

A first visit to the museum proved startling. We had seen and admired
the fifteen water-colours at the Luxembourg, among them the famous
Apparition, but for the enormous number of pictures, oil,
water-colour, pastels, drawings, cartons, studies, we were unprepared.
The bulky catalogue registers 1,132 pieces, and remember that while
there are some unfinished canvases the amount of work executed--it is
true during half a century--is nevertheless a testimony to Moreau's
muscular and nervous energy, poetic conception, and intensity of
concentration. Even his unfinished pictures are carried to a state of
elaboration that would madden many modern improvisers in colour. Apart
from sheer execution, there is a multitude of visions that must have
been struggled for as Jacob wrestled with the Angel, for Moreau's was
not a facile mind. He brooded over his dreams, he saw them before he
gave them shape. He was familiar with all the Asiatic mythologies, and
for him the pantheon of Christian saints must have been bone of his
bone. The Oriental fantasy, the Buddhistic ideas, the fluent knowledge
of Persian, Indian, and Byzantine histories, customs, and costumes
sets us to wondering if this artist wasn't too cultured ever to be
spontaneous. He recalls Prester John and his composite faiths.

There was besides the profound artistic erudition another
stumbling-block to simplicity of style and unity of conception. Moreau
began by imitating both Delacroix and Ingres. Now, such a precedure is
manifestly dangerous. Huysmans speaks with contempt of promiscuity in
the admiration of art. You can't admire Manet and Bastien-Lepage--"le
Grevin de cabaret, le Siraudin de banlieue," he names the gentle
Bastien; nor ought you to admire Manet and Moreau, we may add. And
Huysmans did precisely what he preached against. Moreau was a man of
wide intellectual interests. Devoid of the creative energy that can
eject an individual style at one jet, as a volcano casts forth a rock,
he attempted to aid nature by the process of an exquisite selection.
His taste was trained, his range wide--too wide, one is tempted to
add; and thus by a conscious act of the will he originated an art that
recalls an antique chryselephantine statue, a being rigid with
precious gems, pasted with strange colours, something with mineral
eyes without the breath of life--contemporary life--yet charged with
its author's magnetism, bearing a charmed existence, that might come
from a cold, black magic; monstrous, withal possessing a strange
feverish beauty, as Flaubert's Salammbo is beautiful, in a remote,
exotic way.

However, it is not fair to deny Moreau human sympathies. There are
many of his paintings and drawings, notably the latter, that show him
as possessing heart. His handling of his medium though heavy is never
timid, and at times is masterly. Delacroix inspired many of his
landscape backgrounds, as Ingres gave him the proportions of his
female figures. You continually encounter variations of Ingres, the
sweet, serene line, the tapering feet and hands. Some critics have
discerned the toe forms of Perugino; but such mechanical measurements
strain our notion of eclecticism. Certainly Moreau studied Bellini,
Mantegna, and Da Vinci without ever attaining the freedom and
distinction of any of them. His colour, too, is often hard and cold,
though not in the sumptuous surfaces of his fabrics; there Venetian
splendour is apparent. He can be fiery and insipid, metallic and
morbid; his Orientalism is at times transposed from the work of his
old friend the painter Chasseriau into the key of a brilliant, if
pompous rhetoric.


This herculean attempt at reassembling many styles in a unique style
that would best express a certain frozen symbolism was the amiable
mania his life long of Moreau. He compelled the spirits to come to his
bidding. The moment you cross the threshold of his house the spell
begins to work. It is dissipated by the daylight of Paris, but while
you are under the roof of the museum you can't escape it. Nor is it as
with Rossetti, a mystic opiate, or with Wiertz, a madman's delirious
fancy. Moreau was a philosophic poet, and though he disclaimed being a
"literary" painter, it is literature that is the mainspring of his
elevated and decorative art. Open at random the catalogue full of
quotations from the painter's pen and you encounter such titles as
Leda and the Swan, treated with poetic restraint; Jupiter and Semele,
Tyrtaeus Singing During the Combat, St. Elizabeth and the Miracle of
the Roses, Lucretia and Tarquin, Pasiphae, the Triumph of Alexander,
Salome, Dante and Virgil, Bathsheba, Jason and the Golden Fleece. All
literatures were ransacked for themes. This painter suffered from the
nostalgia of the ideal. When a subject coincided with his technical
expression the result approximates perfection. Consider the Salome, so
marvellously paraphrased in prose by Huysmans. The aquarelle in the
Luxembourg is more plastic, more jewelled than the oil; Moreau often
failed in the working-out of his ideas. Yet, never in art has a
hallucination been thus set before us with such uncompromising
reality. The sombre, luxurious _decor_, the voluptuous silhouette of
the dancing girl, the hieratic pose of the Tetrarch, even the aureoled
head of John, are forgotten in the contemplation of Salome, who is
become cataleptic at sight of the apparition. Arrested her attitude
her flesh crisps with fear. Her face is contracted into a mask of
death. The lascivious dance seems suspended in midair. To have painted
so impossible a picture bears witness to the extraordinary quality of
Moreau's complex art. Nor is the Salome his masterpiece. In the realm
of the decorator he must be placed high. His genius is Byzantine.
Jupiter and Semele, with its colossal and acrian architectures, its
gigantic figure of the god, from whose august head emanate spokes of
light, is Byzantine of a wild luxuriousness in pattern and fancy.
Moreau excels in representing cataracts of nude women, ivory-toned of
flesh, exquisite in proportion, set off by radiant jewels and
wonder-breeding brocades. His skies are in violent ignition, or else
as soft as Lydian airs. What could be more grandiose than the Triumph
of Alexander (No. 70 in the catalogue)? Not John Martin or Piranesi
excelled the Frenchman in bizarre architectural backgrounds. And the
Chimeras, what a Baudelairian imagination! Baudelaire of the bitter
heart! All luxury, all sin, all that is the shame and the glory of
mankind is here, as in a tapestry dulled by the smoke of dreams; but
as in his most sanguinary combats not a sound, not a motion comes from
this canvas. When the slaves, lovely females, are thrown to the fish
to fatten them for some Roman patrician's banquet, we admire the
beauty of colour, the clear static style, the solidity of the
architecture, but we are unmoved. If there is such a thing as
disinterested art it is the claustral art of Moreau--which can be both
perverse and majestic.

His versatility amazes. He did not always paint the same picture. The
Christ Between Two Thieves is academic, yet attracts because the
expression of the converted thief is remarkable. The Three Magi and
Moses Within Sight of the Promised Land do not give one the fullest
sense of satisfaction, as do The Daughters of Thespus or The Rape of
Europa; yet they suggest what might be termed a tragic sort of
decoration. Moreau is a painter who could have illustrated Marlowe's
fatuous line, "Holla, ye pampered jades of Asia," and superbly; or,
"See where Christ's blood streams in the firmament." He is an exotic
blossom on the stem of French art. He saw ivory, apes, and peacocks,
purple, gold, and the heavens aflame with a mystic message. He never
translated that message, for his was an art of silence; but the
painter of The Maiden with the Head of Orpheus, of Salome, of Jason
and Medea, of Jupiter and Semele, will never fail to win the
admiration and homage of those art lovers who yearn for dreams of
vanished ages, who long to escape the commonplaces of the present.
Gustave Moreau will be their poet-painter by predilection.

Once in the streets of prosaic Paris he is as unreal as Rossetti or
the Pre-Raphaelites (though their superior as one who could make
palpable his visions). In the Louvre--where the _Salon Carre_ is
little changed--Manet's Olympe, with her every-day seductiveness,
resolves the phantasies of Moreau into thin air. Here is reality for
you, familiar as it may be. It is wonderful how long it took French
critics to discover that Manet was _un peintre de race_. He is very
French in the French gallery where he now hangs. He shows the lineage
of David, one of whose declamatory portraits with beady eyes hangs
near by. He is simpler than David in his methods--Mr. C.S. Ricketts
critically described David as possessing the mind of a policeman--and
as a painter more greatly endowed. But Goya also peeps out from the
Olympe. After seeing the Maja desnuda at the Prado you realise that
Manet's trip to Madrid was not without important results. Between the
noble lady who was the Duchess of Alba and the ignoble girl called
Olympe there is only the difference between the respective handlings
of Goya and Manet.



The noblest castle in Spain is the museum on the Prado. Now every
great capital of Europe boasts its picture or sculpture gallery; no
need to enumerate the treasures of art to be found in London, Paris,
Vienna--the latter too little known by the average
globe-trotter--Berlin, Dresden, Cassel, Frankfort, Brussels, Bruges,
Antwerp, Amsterdam, Florence, Rome, Naples, St. Petersburg, or Venice.
They all boast special excellences, but the Prado collection contains
pictures by certain masters, Titian, Rubens, Correggio, and others,
that cannot be seen elsewhere. Setting aside Velasquez and the Spanish
school, not in Venice, Florence, or London are there Titians of such
quality and in such quantity as in Madrid. And the Rubenses are of a
peculiar lovely order, not to be found in Antwerp, Brussels or Paris.
Even without Velasquez the trying trip to the Spanish capital is a
necessary and exciting experience for the painter and amateur of art.

The Prado is largely reinforced by foreign pictures and is sadly
lacking in historical continuity whether foreign or domestic schools.
It is about ninety years old, having been opened in part (three rooms)
to the public in November, 1819. At that time there were three hundred
and eleven canvases. Other galleries were respectively added in 1821,
1828, 1830, and 1839. In 1890 the Queen-mother had the Sala de la
Reina Isabel rearranged and better lighted. It contained then the
masterpieces, but in 1899, the tercentenary of Velasquez's birth, a
gallery was built to hold his works, with a special room for that
masterpiece among masterpieces Las Meninas. Many notable pictures that
had hung for years in the Academia de Nobles Artes de San Fernando, at
the Escorial Palace, and and the collection of the Duke of Osuna are
now housed within the walls of the Prado. At the entrance you
encounter a monumental figure of Goya, sitting, in bronze, the work of
the sculptor J. Llaneses.

The Prado has been called a gallery for connoisseurs, and it is the
happiest title that could be given it, for it is not a great museum in
which all schools are represented. You look in vain for the chain
historic that holds together disparate styles; there are omissions,
ominous gaps, and the very nation that ought to put its best foot
foremost, the Spanish, does not, with the exception of Velasquez. Of
him there are over sixty authentic works; of Titian over thirty. Bryan
only allows him twenty-three; this is an error. There are fifteen
Titians in Florence, divided between the Uffizi and the Pitti; in
Paris, thirteen, but one is the Man with the Glove. Quality counts
heaviest, therefore the surprise is not that Madrid boasts numbers but
the wonderful quality of so many of them. To lend additional lustre to
the specimens of the Venetian school, the collection starts off with a
superb Giorgione; Giorgione, the painter who taught Titian his magic
colour secrets; the painter whose works are, with a few exceptions,
ascribed to other men--more is the pity! (In this we are at one with
Herbert Cook, who still clings to the belief that the Concert of the
Pitti Palace is Giorgione and not Titian. At least the Concert
Champetre of the Louvre has not been taken from "Big George.") The
Madrid masterpiece is The Virgin and Child Jesus with St. Anthony and
St. Roch.

It is easy to begin with the Titians, one of which is the famous
Bacchanal. Then there are The Madonna with St. Bridget and St. Hulfus,
The Garden of the Loves, Emperor Charles V. at Muehlberg, an equestrian
portrait; another portrait of the same with figure standing, King
Philip, Isabella of Portugal, La Gloria, The Entombment of Christ,
Venus and Adonis, Danae and the Golden Shower, a variation of this
picture is in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, the other in the National
Museum, Naples; Venus Listening to Music, two versions, the stately
nude evidently a memory of the Venus reposing in the Uffizi: Adam and
Eve (also a copy of this by Rubens); Prometheus, Sisyphus--long
supposed to be copies by Coello; Christ Bearing the Cross, St.
Margaret, a portrait of the Duke of Este, Salom, Ecce Homo, La
Dolorosa, the once admired Allocution; Flight Into Egypt, St.
Catalina, a self-portrait, St. Jerome, Diana and Actaeon, The Sermon on
the Mount--the list is much longer.

There are many Goyas; the museum is the home of this remarkable but
uneven painter. We confess to a disappointment in his colour, though
his paint was not new to us; but time has lent no pleasing _patina_ to
his canvases, the majority of which are rusty-looking, cracked,
discoloured, dingy or dark. There are several exceptions. The nude and
dressed full-lengths of the Duchess of Alba are in excellent
preservation, and brilliant audacious painting it is. A lovely
creature, better-looking when reclining than standing, as a glance at
her full-length portrait in the New York Hispanic Museum proves. One
of Goya's best portraits hangs in the Prado, the seated figure of his
brother-in-law, the painter Bayeu. The Family of Charles IV, his
patron and patroness, with the sheep-like head of the favourite De la
Paz, is here in all its bitter humour; it might be called a satiric
pendant to that other Familia, not many yards away, Las Meninas. There
are the designs for tapestries in the basement; Blind Man's Buff and
other themes illustrating national traits. The equestrian portraits of
Charles IV and his sweet, sinister spouse, Queen Maria Luisa, reveal a
Goya not known to the world. He could assume the grand manner when he
so willed. He could play the dignified master with the same
versatility that he played at bull-fighting. But his colour is often
hot and muddy, and perhaps he will go down to that doubtful quantity,
posterity, as an etcher and designer of genius. After leaving the
Prado you remember only the Caprices, the Bull-fights, and the
Disaster of War plates; perhaps the Duchess of Alba, undressed, and in
her dainty toreador costume. The historic pictures are a tissue of
horrors, patriotic as they are meant to be; they suggest the
slaughter-house. Goya has painted a portrait of Villanueva, the
architect of the museum; and there is a solidly constructed portrait
of Goya by V. Lopez.

The Raphaels have been reduced to two at the Prado: The Holy Family
with the Lamb, painted a year after the Ansedei Madonna, and that
wonderful head of young Cardinal Bibbiena, keen-eyed and ascetic of
features. Alas! for the scholarship that attributed to the Divine
Youth La Perla; the Madonna of the Fish; Lo Spasimo, Christ Bearing
the Cross, and several other masterpieces. Giulio Romana, Penni, and
perhaps another, turned out these once celebrated and overpraised
pictures--overpraised even if they had come from the brush of Raphael
himself. The Cardinal's portrait is worth the entire batch of them.

There is a Murillo gallery, full of representative work, the most
important being St. Elizabeth of Hungary Tending the Sick, formerly in
the Escorial. The various Conceptions and saints' heads are not
missing, painted in his familiar colour key with his familiar false
sentiment and always an eye to the appeal popular. A mighty magnet for
the public is Murillo. The peasants flock to him on Sundays as to a
sanctuary. There the girls see themselves on a high footing, a
heavenly saraband among woolly clouds, their prettiness idealised,
their costume of exceeding grace. After a while you tire of the
saccharine Murillo and his studio beggar boys, and turn to his
drawings with relief. His landscapes are more sincere than his
religious canvases, which are almost as sensuous and earthly as
Correggio without the magisterial brush-work and commanding conception
of the Parma painter. To be quite fair, it may be admitted that
Murillo could make a good portrait. Both in Madrid and Seville you may
verify this.

A beautiful Fra Angelico, a beautiful Mantegna open your eyes, for the
Italian Primitives are conspicuous by their absence. Correggio is
magnificent. The well-known Magdalen and Christ Risen, Noli Me
Tangere! His Virgin with Jesus and St. John is in his accustomed
melting _pate_. One Del Sarto is of prime quality, The Virgin, Jesus
and St. John, called Asunto Mistico at the Prado. Truly a moving
picture, by a painter who owes much of his fame to Robert Browning.
His Lucrezia is a pretty portrait of his faithless wife. There are
Lotto, Parmigianino, Baroccio, Tintoretto, Bassano, Veronese, Domenico
Tiepolo, and his celebrated father the fantastic Giambattista
Tiepolo--not startling specimens any of them.

In the Spanish section Ribera comes at you the strongest. He was a
personality as well as a powerful painter. Consider his Martyrdom of
St. Bartholomew. Zurbaran follows next in interest, though morbid at
times; but of Berragueta, Borgona, Morales, Juanes, Navarette,
Coello--an excellent portraitist, imitator of Moro--La Cruz, Alfonso
Cano, Luis de Tristan, Espinosa, Bias del Prado, Orrente, Esteban de
March--two realistic heads of an old man and an old woman must be set
down to his credit--Ribalta, influenced by Caravaggio, in turn
influencing Ribera--Juan de las Roelas (el Clerigo), Del
Mazo--son-in-law of Velasquez, and responsible for dozens of false
attributions--Carreno de Miranda, Jose Leonardo, Juan Rizi V. Iriarte,
the two Herreras, the elder a truculent charlatan, the younger a
nonentity, and others of the Spanish school may be dismissed in a


The secret of Titian's colour, the "Venetian secret," was produced,
some experts believe, by first painting a solid monochrome in tempera
on which the picture was finished in oil. Unquestionably Titian
corrected and amended his work as much as did Velasquez. It is a
pleasing if somewhat theatric belief that Titian and Velasquez,
duelled with their canvases, their rapier a brush. After inspecting
many of the Hals portraits the evidences of direct painting, swift
though calculated, are not to be denied. This may account, with the
temperamental equation, for the less profound psychological interest
of his portraiture when compared with the Raphael, Titian, Velasquez,
and Rembrandt heads. Yet, what superiority in brush-work had Hals over
Raphael and Rembrandt. The Raphael surfaces are as a rule hard, dry,
and lustreless, while Rembrandt's heavy, troubled paint is no mate for
the airy touch of the Mercutio of Haarlem. But Titian's impasto is
lyric. It sings on the least of his canvases. No doubt his pictures in
the Prado have been "skinned" of their delicate glaze by the
iconoclastic restorer; yet they bloom and chant and ever bloom. The
Bacchanal, which bears a faint family resemblance to the Bacchus and
Ariadne of the London National Gallery, fairly exults in its joy of
life, in its frank paganism. What rich reverberating tones, what
powers of evocation! The Garden of the Loves is a vision of childhood
at its sweetest; the surface of the canvas seems alive with festooned
babies. The more voluptuous Venus or Danae do not so stir your pulse
as this immortal choir of cupids. The two portraits of Charles V--one
equestrian--are charged with the noble, ardent gravity and splendour
of phrasing we expect from the greatest Venetian of them all. We
doubt, however, if the Prado Entombment is as finely wrought as the
same subject by Titian in Paris; but it sounds a poignant note of
sorrow. Rembrandt is more dramatic when dealing with a similar theme.
The St. Margaret with its subtle green gown is a figure that is
touching and almost tragic. The Madonna and Child, with St. Bridget
and St. Hulfus, has been called Giorgionesque. St. Bridget is of the
sumptuous Venetian type; the modelling of her head is lovely, her
colouring rich.

Rubens in the Prado is singularly attractive. There are over fifty,
not all of the best quality, but numbering such works as the Three
Graces, the Rondo, the Garden of Love, and the masterly unfinished
portrait of Marie de Medicis. The Brazen Serpent is a Van Dyck, though
the catalogue of 1907 credits it to Rubens. Then there are the
Andromeda and Perseus, the Holy Family and Diana and Calista. The
portrait of Marie de Medicis, stout, smiling, amiability personified,
has been called one of the finest feminine portraits extant--which is
a slight exaggeration. It is both mellow and magnificent, and unless
history or Rubens lied the lady must have been as mild as mother's
milk. The Three Graces, executed during the latter years of the
Flemish master, is Rubens at his pagan best. These stalwart and
handsome females, without a hint of sleek Italian delicacy, include
Rubens's second wife, Helena Fourment, the ox-eyed beauty. What blond
flesh tones, what solidity of human architecture, what positive beauty
of surfaces and nobility of contours! The Rondo is a mad, whirling
dance, the Diana and Calista suggestive of a Turkish bath outdoors,
but a picture that might have impelled Walt Whitman to write a sequel
to his Children of Adam. Such women were born not alone to bear
children but to rule the destinies of mankind; genuine matriarchs.

Rembrandt fares ill. His Artemisia about to drink her husband's ashes
from a costly cup reveals a ponderous hand. It is but indifferent
Rembrandt, despite several jewelled passages. Van Dyck shows at least
one great picture, the Betrayal of Christ. The Brazen Serpent only
ranks second to it; both are masterpieces, and Antwerp must envy the
Prado. The Crown of Thorns, and the portraits, particularly that of
the Countess of Wexford, are arresting. His Musician, being the
portrait of Laniere the lute-player, and his own portrait on the same
canvas with Count Bristol, are cherished treasures. The lutist is
especially fascinating. That somewhat mysterious Dutch master, Moro,
or Mor (Antonis; born in Utrecht, 1512; died at Antwerp, 1576 or
1578), is represented by more than a dozen portraits. To know what a
master of physiognomy he was we need only study his Mary Queen of
England, the Buffoon of the Beneventas, the Philip II, and the various
heads of royal and noble born dames. The subdued fire and subtlety of
this series, the piercing vision and superior handicraft of the
painter have placed him high in the artistic hierarchy; but not high
enough. At his best he is not far behind Holbein. That great German's
art is shown in a solitary masterpiece, the portrait of an unknown
man, with shrewd cold eyes, an enormous nose, the hands full of
meaning, the fabrics scrupulous as to detail. Next to this Holbein,
whose glance follows you around the gallery, are the two Duerers, the
portrait of Hans Imhof, a world-renowned picture, and his own portrait
(1498), a magical rendering of a Christ-like head, the ringlets curly,
the beard youthful, the hands folded as if in prayer. A marvellous
composition. It formerly hung too high, above the Hans Imhof; it now
hangs next to it. A similar head in the Uffizi is a copy, Sir Walter
Armstrong to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Flemish schools are to be seen in the basement, not altogether a
favourable place, though in the afternoon there is an agreeable light.
Like Rubens, Jan van Eyck visited Spain and left the impress of his
style. But the Van Eycks at the Prado are now all queried, though
several are noteworthy. The Marriage of the Virgin is discredited. The
Virgin, Christ and St. John under the golden canopy, called a Hubert
van Eyck, is probably by Gossaert de Mabuse, and a clever
transposition of the altar piece in St. Bavon's at Ghent. The Fountain
of Life, also in the catalogue as a Jan van Eyck, has been pronounced
a sixteenth-century copy of a lost picture by his brother Hubert. We
may add that not one of these so-called Van Eycks recalls in all their
native delicacy and richness the real Van Eycks of Bruges, Ghent, and
Brussels; though the Virgin Reading, given as Jan's handiwork, is of a
charm. The Depositions, attributed to Rogier van der Weyden (De la
Pasture), are acknowledged to be old sixteenth-century copies of the
Deposition in the Escorial. The altar piece is excellent. But there is
a fine Memling, glowing in pigment and of beautiful design, The
Adoration of the Kings, a triptych, like the one at Bruges. In the
centre panel we see the kings adoring, one a black man; the two wings,
or doors, respectively depict the birth of Christ (right) and the
presentation in the temple (left). There is a retablo (reredos) in
four compartments, by Petrus Cristus, and two Jerome Patinirs, one, a
Temptation of St. Anthony, being enjoyable. The painter-persecuted
saint sits in the foreground of a freshly painted landscape, harassed
by the attentions of witches, several of them comely and clothed. To
be precise, the composition suggests a much-married man listening to
the reproaches of his spouses. Hanging in a doorway we found a Herri
Met de Bles that is not marked doubtful. It is a triptych, an
Adoration, in which the three kings, the Queen of Sheba before
Solomon, and Herod participate. A brilliantly tinted work this, which
once hung in the Escorial, and, _mirabile dictu_, attributed to Lucas
van Leyden. No need to speak of the later Dutch and Flemish school,
Teniers, Ostade, Dou, Pourbus, and the minor masters. There are
Breughels and Bosches aplenty, and none too good. But there are
several Jordaens of quality, a family group, and three heads of street
musicians. We forgot to mention an attribution to Jan van Eyck, The
Triumph of Religion, which is a curious affair no matter whose brain
conceived it. The attendant always points out its religious features
with ill-concealed glee. A group of ecclesiastics have confounded a
group of rabbis at a fountain which is the foundation of an altar; the
old fervour burns in the eyes of the gallery servitor as he shows you
the discomfited Hebrew doctors of the law. We may dismiss as harmless
the Pinturicchio and other Italian attributions in these basement
galleries. There is the usual crew of Anonimos, and a lot of those
fantastic painters who are nicknamed by critics without a sense of
humour as "The Master of the Fiery Hencoop," "The Master of the
Eccentric Omelet," or some such idiotic title.

Up-stairs familiar names such as Domenichino, Bassano, Cortona,
Crespi, Bellino, Pietra della Vecchia, Allori, Veronese, Maratta,
Guido Reni, Romano need not detain us. The catalogue numbers of the
Italian school go as high as 628. The Titians, however, are the glory
of the Prado. The Spanish school begins at 629, ends at 1,029. The
German, Flemish, and Holland schools begin at 1,146, running to 1,852.
There are supplements to all of the foregoing. The French school runs
from 1,969 to 2,111. But the examples in this section are not
inspiring, the Watteaus excepted. There is the usual Champagne,
Coypel, Claude of Lorraine (10), Largilliere, Lebrun, Van Loo, Mignard
(5); one of Le Nain--by both brothers. Nattier (4), Nicolas Poussin
(20), Rigaud, and two delicious Watteaus; a rustic betrothal and a
view of the garden of St. Cloud, the two exhaling melancholy grace and
displaying subdued richness of tone. Tiepolo has been called the last
link in the chain of Venetian colourists, which began with the
Bellini, followed by Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Palma Vecchio,
Bonifazio, Veronese--and to this list might be added the name of the
Frenchman Watteau. Chardin was also a colourist, and how many of the
Poussins at this gallery might be spared to make room for one of his
cool, charming paintings!

The Prado about exhausts the art treasures of Madrid. In the Escorial,
that most monstrous and gloomiest of the tombs of kings, are pictures
that should be seen--some Grecos among the rest--even if the palace
does not win your sympathy. In Madrid what was once called the
Academia de San Fernando is now the Real Academia de Bellas Artes. It
is at 11 Calle de Alcala and contains a Murillo of quality, the Dream
of the Roman Knight, Zurbaran's Carthusians, an Ecce Homo by Ribera,
of power; the Death of Dido by Fragonard; a Rubens, St. Francis, the
work of his pupils; Alonzo Cano, two Murillos, Domenichino, Tristan,
Mengs, Giovanni Bellini; Goya's bull-fights, mad-house scenes, and
several portraits--one of the Due de la Paz; a Pereda, a Da Vinci (?),
Madrazo, Zurbaran, and Goya's equestrian portrait of Charles IV. A
minor gathering, the debris of a former superb collection, and not
even catalogued.

There are museums devoted to artillery, armour, natural sciences, and
archaeology. In the imposing National Library, full of precious
manuscripts, is the museum of modern art--also without a catalogue. It
does not make much of an impression after the Prado. The Fortuny is
not characteristic, though a rarity; a sketch for his Battle of
Tetuan, the original an unfinished painting, is at Barcelona. There
are special galleries such as the Sala Haes with its seventy pictures,
which are depressing. The modern Spaniards Zuloaga, Sorolla,
Angla-Camarosa are either not represented or else are not at their
best. There is a Diaz, who was of Spanish origin; but the Madrazos,
Villegas, Montenas, and the others are academic echoes or else feeble
and mannered. There are some adroit water-colours by modern Frenchmen,
and there is a seeming attempt to make the collection contemporary in
spirit, but it is all as dead as the allegorical dormouse, while over
at the Prado there is a vitality manifested by the old fellows that
bids fair to outlast the drums, tramplings, and conquests of many
generations. We have not more than alluded to the sculpture at the
Prado; it is not particularly distinguished. The best sculpture we saw
in Spain was displayed in wood-carvings. The pride of the Prado is
centred upon its Titians, Raphaels, Rubenses, Murillos, El Grecos,
and, above all, upon Don Diego de Silva, better known as Velasquez.


Toledo is less than three hours from Madrid; it might be three years
away for all the resemblance it bears to the capital. Both situated in
New Castille, Madrid seems sharply modern, as modern as the early
nineteenth century, when compared to the mediaeval cluster of buildings
on the horseshoe-shaped granite heights almost entirely hemmed in by
the river Tagus. It is not only one of the most original cities in
Spain, but in all Europe. No other boasts its incomparable profile,
few the extraordinary vicissitudes of its history. Not romantic in the
operatic moonlit Grenada fashion, without the sparkle and colour of
Seville or the mundane savour of Madrid, Toledo incarnates in its
cold, detached, proud, pious way all that we feel as Spain the
aristocratic, Spain the theocratic. To this city on a crag there once
came, by way of Venice, a wanderer from Crete. Toledo was the final
frame of the strange genius of El Greco; he made it the consecrate
ground of his new art. It is difficult to imagine him developing in
luxuriant Italy as he did in Spain. His nature needed a sombre and
magnificent background; this city gave it to him; for no artist can
entirely isolate himself from life, can work in _vacuo_. And El
Greco's shivering, spiritual art could have been born on no other soil
than Toledo. He is as original as the city.

The place shows traces of its masters--Romans, Goths, Saracens, and
Christians. It is, indeed, as much Moorish as Christian--the narrow
streets, high, narrow houses often windowless, the inner court
replacing the open squares that are to be found in Seville. Miscalled
the "Spanish Rome," Gautier's description still holds good: Toledo has
the character of a convent, a prison, a fortress with something of a
seraglio. The enormous cathedral, which dates back to Visigothic
Christianity, is, next to Seville's, the most beautiful in Spain. Such
a facade, such stained glass, such ceilings! Blanco Ibanez has written
pages about this structure. The synagogues, the Moorish mosque, the
Alcazar are picturesque. And then there are the Puente de Alcantara,
the Casa de Cervantes, the Puerta del Sol, the Prison of the
Inquisition, the Church of Santo Tome--which holds the most precious
example of Greco's art--the Sinagogo del Transito, the Church of San
Vicente--with Grecos--Santo Domingo (more Grecos); the Convent, near
the Church of San Juan de los Reyes, contains the Museo Provincial in
which were formerly a number of Grecos; many of these have been
transferred to the new Museo El Greco, founded by the Marquis de la
Vega-Inclan, an admirer of the painter. This museum was once the home
of Greco, and has been restored, so that if the artist returned he
might find himself in familiar quarters. Pictures, furniture, carvings
of his are there, while the adjoining house is rebuilt in a harmonious
style of old material. Remain various antique patios or court-like
interiors, the sword manufactory, and the general view from the top of
the town. El Greco's romantic portrayment of his adopted city is as
true now as the day it was painted--one catches a glimpse of the scene
when the contrasts of light and shadow are strong. During a
thunderstorm illuminated by blazing shafts of Peninsular lightning
Toledo resembles a page torn from the Apocalypse.

The cathedral is the usual objective; instead, we first went to the
church of Santo Tome. It is a small Gothic structure, rebuilt from a
mosque by Count Orgaz. In commemoration of this gift a large canvas,
entitled El Entierro, depicting the funeral of Orgaz, by El Greco, has
made Santo Tome more celebrated than the cathedral. It is an amazing,
a thrilling work, nevertheless, on a scale that prevents it from
giving completely the quintessence of El Greco. No doubt he was a
pupil of Titian; Gautier but repeated current gossip when he said that
the Greek went mad in his attempt to emulate his master. But
Tintoretto's influence counts heavier in this picture than Titian's, a
picture assigned by Cossio midway between Greco's first and second
period. Decorative as is the general scheme, the emotional intensity
aroused by the row of portraits in the second _plan_, the touching
expression of the two saints, Augustine and Stephen, as they gently
bear the corpse of the Count, the murky light of the torches in the
background, while overhead the saintly hierarchy terminating in a
white radiance, Christ the Comforter, His mother at His right hand,
quiring hosts at His left--all these figures make an ensemble that at
first glance benumbs the critical faculty. You recall the solemn and
spasmodic music of Michael Angelo (of whom El Greco is reported to
have irreverently declared that he couldn't paint); then as your
perspective slowly shapes itself you note that Tintoretto, plus a
certain personal accent of morbid magnificence, is the artistic
progenitor of this art, an art which otherwise furiously boils over
with Spanish characteristics.

Nothing could be more vivid and various than the twenty-odd heads near
the bottom of the picture. Expression, character, race are not pushed
beyond normal limits. The Spaniard, truly noble here, is seen at a
half-dozen periods of life. El Greco himself is said to be in the
group; the portrait certainly tallies with a reputed one of his. The
sumptuousness of the ecclesiastical vestments, court costumes, ruffs,
and eloquent hands, the grays, whites, golds, blues, blacks, chord
rolling upon chord of subtle tonalities, the supreme illumination of
the scene, with its suggestion of a moment swiftly trapped forever in
eternity, hook this masterpiece firmly to your memory. It is not one
of the greatest pictures in the pantheon of art, not Rembrandt,
Velasquez, Hals, Raphael, Michael Angelo, Titian, or Rubens; yet it
stands close to them all because of its massed effect of light, life,
and emotional situation. We confess to liking it better than the
Gloria at the Escorial Palace. This glorification of a dream of Philip
II does not pluck electrically at your heart-strings as does the
Burial of Count Orgaz, though the two canvases are similar in

The Expolio is in the cathedral; it belongs to the first period,
before El Greco had shaken off Italian influences. The colouring is
rather cold. The St. Maurice in the chapter hall of the Escorial is a
long step toward a new method of expression. (A replica is in
Bucharest.) The Ascension altar piece, formerly in Santo Domingo, now
hangs in the Art Institute, Chicago. At Toledo there are about eighty
pieces of the master, not including his sculpture, retablos; like
Tintoretto, he was accustomed to make little models in clay or wax for
the figures in his pictures. His last manner is best exemplified in
the Divine Love and Profane Love, belonging to Senor Zuloaga, in The
Adoration of the Shepherds, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the
Assumption at the Church of St. Vicente, Toledo. His chalky whites,
poisonous greens, violet shadows, discordant passages of lighting are,
as Arthur Symons puts it: Sharp and dim, gray and green, the colour of
Toledo. Greco composed his palette with white vermilion, lake, yellow
ochre, ivory black. Senor Beruete says that "he generally laid on an
impasto for his flesh, put on in little touches, and then added a few
definite strokes with the brush which, though accentuated, are very
delicate... The gradations of the values is in itself instructive."

His human forms became more elongated as he aged; this applies only to
his males; his women are of sweetness compounded and graceful in
contour. Some a mere arabesque, or living flames; some sinister and
fantastic; from the sublime to the silly is with Greco not a wide
stride. But in all his surging, writhing sea of wraiths, saints,
kings, damned souls and blest, a cerebral grip is manifest. He knew a
hawk from a handsaw despite his temperament of a mystic. "He who
carries his own most intimate emotions to their highest point becomes
the first in a file of a long series of men"; but, adds Mr. Ellis: "To
be a leader of men one must turn one's back on men." El Greco, like
Charles Baudelaire, cultivated his hysteria. He developed his
individuality to the border line across which looms madness. The
transmogrification of his temperament after living in Toledo was
profound. Born Greek, in art a Venetian, the atmosphere of the
Castilian plain changed the colour of his soul. In him there was
material enough for both a Savonarola or a Torquemada--his piety was
at once iconoclastic and fanatical. And his restlessness, his
ceaseless experiments, his absolute discoveries of new tonalities, his
sense of mystic grandeur--why here you have, if you will, a Berlioz of
paint, a man of cold ardours, hot ecstasies, visions apocalyptic, with
a brain like a gloomy cathedral in which the _Tuba Mirum_ is
sonorously chanted. But Greco is on the side of the angels; Berlioz,
like Goya, too often joined in the infernal antiphonies of Satan
_Mekatrig_. And Greco is as dramatic as either.

Beruete admits that his idol, Velasquez, was affected by the study of
El Greco's colouring. Canaille Saint-Saens, when Liszt and Rubinstein
were compared, exclaimed: "Two great artists who have nothing in
common except their superiority." It is bootless to bracket Velasquez
with his elder. And Gautier was off the track when he spoke of Greco's
resemblance to the bizarre romances of Mrs. Radcliffe; bizarre Greco
was, but not trivial nor a charlatan. As to his decadent tendencies we
side with the opinion of Mr. Frank Jewett Mather, Jr.: "Certain
pedants have written as if the world would be better without its
disorderly geniuses. There could, I think, be no sorer error. We need
the unbalanced talents, the _poetes damnes_ of every craft. They strew
the passions that enrich a lordlier art than their own. They fight
valiantly, a little at the expense of their fame, against the only
unpardonable sins, stupidity and indifference. Greco should always be
an honoured name in this ill-destined company."

In the Prado Museum there is a goodly collection. The Annunciation,
The Holy Family, Jesus Christ Dead, The Baptism of Christ, The
Resurrection, The Crucifixion--a tremendous conception; and The Coming
of the Holy Ghost; this latter, with its tongues of fire, its
flickering torches, its ecstatic apostles and Mary, her face flooded
by a supernal illumination, mightily stirs the aesthetic pulse. The
Prado has two dozen specimens, though two of them at least--a poor
replica of the Orgaz burial, and another--are known to be by El
Greco's son, Jorge Manuel Theotocopuli; of the numerous portraits and
other pictures dispersed by time and chance to the four quarters of
the globe, we have written earlier in this volume, when dealing with
the definitive work on this Greek by Senor Manuel B. Cossio. El Greco,
through sheer intensity of temperament and fierce sincerity, could
pluck out from men who had become, because of their apathy and
grotesque pride, mere vegetable growths, their very souls afire; or if
stained by crimes, these souls, he shot them up to God like green
meteors. To be sure they have eyes drunk with dreams, the pointed
skull of the mystic, and betray a plentiful lack of chin and often an
atrabilious nature. When old his saints resemble him, when young he
must have looked like his saints, Sebastian and Martin. With his
ardent faith he could have confuted the Gnostic or the Manichean
heresies in colourful allegory, but instead he sang fervid hosannahs
on his canvases to the greater glory of Christ and His saints. Perhaps
if he had lived in our times he might have painted heads of
fashionable courtesans or equivocal statesmen. But whether primitive
or modern, realist or symbolist, he would always have been a painter
of dramatic genius. He is the unicorn among artists.


Fearful that your eye has lost its innocence after hearing so much of
the picture, you enter the tiny room at the museum on the Prado in
which is hung Las Meninas--The Maids of Honour, painted by Velasquez
in 1656. My experience was a typical one. I went hastily through the
larger Velasquez gallery in not only a challenging but an irritable
mood. The holy of holies I was enraged to find, seemingly, crowded.
There was the picture, but a big easel stood in the foreground
blotting out the left side; some selfish artist copying, some fellow
thrusting himself between us and the floating illusion of art. In
despair I looked into the mirror that reflects the picture. I
suspected trickery. Surely that little princess with her wilful,
_distrait_ expression, surely the kneeling maid, the dwarfs, the
sprawling dog, the painter Velasquez--with his wig--the heads of the
king and queen in the oblong mirror, the figure of Senor Nieto in the
doorway, the light framing his silhouette--surely they are all real.
Here are the eternal simplicities. You realise that no one is in the
room but these painted effigies of the court and family of Philip IV;
that the canvas whose bare ribs deceived is in the picture, not on the
floor; that Velasquez and the others are _eidolons_, arrested in space
by the white magic of his art. For the moment all other artists and
their works are as forgotten as the secrets in the lost and sacred
books of the Magi. There is but one painter and his name is Velasquez.

This mood of ecstatic absorption is never outlived; the miracle
operates whenever a visit is made to the shrine. But you soon note
that the canvas has been deprived of its delicate glaze. There are
patches ominously eloquent of the years that have passed since the
birth of this magisterial composition. The tonal key is said to be
higher because of restorations; yet to the worshipper these
shortcomings are of minor importance. Even Giordano's exclamation:
"Sire, this is the theology of painting," falls flat. Essence of
painting, would have been a truer statement. There is no
other-worldliness here, but something more normal, a suggestion of
solid reality, a vision of life. The various figures breathe; so
potent is their vitality that my prime impression in entering the room
was a sense of the presence of others. Perhaps this is not as
consummate art as the voluptuous colour-symphonies of Titian, the
golden exuberance of Rubens, the abstract spacing of Raphael, the
mystic opium of Rembrandt; but it is an art more akin to nature, an
art that is a lens through which you may spy upon life. You recall
Ibsen and his "fourth wall." Velasquez has let us into the secret of
human existence. Not, however, in the realistic order of inanimate
objects copied so faithfully as to fool the eye. Presentation, not
representation, is the heart of this coloured imagery, and so moving,
so redolent of life is it that if the world were shattered and Las
Meninas shot to the coast of Mars, its inhabitants would be able to
reconstruct an idea of the creatures that once inhabited old Mother
Earth; men, women, children, their shapes, attitudes, gestures, and
attributes. The mystery of sentient beings lurks in this canvas, the
illusion of atmosphere has never been so contrived. In the upper part
of the picture space is indicated in a manner that recalls both
Rembrandt and Raphael. Velasquez, too, was a space-composer.
Velasquez, too, plucked at the heart of darkness. But his air is
luminous, the logic of his proportion faultless, his synthesis
absolute. Where other painters juxtapose he composes. Despite the
countless nuances of his thin, slippery brush strokes, the picture is
always a finely spun whole.

When Fragonard was starting for Rome, Boucher said to him: "If you
take those people over there seriously you are done for." Luckily
Frago did not, and, despite his two Italian journeys, Velasquez was
not seduced into taking "those people" seriously. His recorded opinion
of Raphael is corroborative of his attitude toward Italian art. Titian
was his sole god. For nearly a year he was in daily intercourse with
Rubens, but of Rubens's influence upon him there is little trace. Las
Meninas is the perfect flowering of the genius of the Spaniard. It has
been called impressionistic; Velasquez has been claimed as the father
of impressionism as Stendhal was hailed by Zola as the literary
progenitor of naturalism. But Velasquez is too universal to be
labelled in the interests of any school. His themes are of this earth,
his religious paintings are the least credible of his efforts. They
are Italianate as if the artist dared not desert the familiar
religious stencil. His art is not correlated to the other arts. One
does not dream of music or poetry or sculpture or drama in front of
his pictures. One thinks of life and then of the beauty of the paint.
Velasquez is never rhetorical, nor does he paint for the sake of
making beautiful surfaces as often does Titian. His practice is not
art for art as much as art for life. As a portraitist, Titian's is the
only name to be coupled with that of Velasquez. He neither flattered
his sitters, as did Van Dyck, nor mocked them like Goya. And consider
the mediocrities, the dull, ugly, royal persons he was forced to
paint! He has wrung the neck of banal eloquence, and his prose, sober,
rich, noble, sonorous, rhythmic, is to my taste preferable to the
exalted, versatile volubility and lofty poetic tumblings in the azure
of any school of painting. His palette is ever cool and fastidiously
restricted. It has been said that he lacks imagination, as if creation
or evocation of character is not the loftiest attribute of
imagination, even though it deals not with the stuff of which
mythologies are made.

We admire the enthusiasm of Mr. Ricketts for Velasquez, and his
analysis is second to none save R.A.M. Stevenson's. Yet we do protest
the painter was not the bundle of negations Mr. Ricketts has made of
him in his evident anxiety that some homage may be diverted from
Titian. Titian is incomparable. Velasquez is unique. But to describe
him as an artist who cautiously studied the work of other men, and
then avoided by a series of masterly omissions and evasions their
faults as well as their excellences, is a statement that robs
Velasquez of his originality. He is not an eclectic. He is a man of
affirmations, Velasquez. A student to his death, he worked slowly,
revised painfully, above all, made heroic sacrifices. Each new canvas
was a discovery. The things he left out of his pictures would fill a
second Prado Museum. And the things he painted in are the glories of
the world. Because of his simplicity, absence of fussiness, avoidance
of the mock-heroic, of the inflated "grand manner," critics have
pressed too heavily upon this same simplicity. There is nothing as
subtle as his simplicity, for it is a simplicity that conceals
subtlety. No matter the time of day or season of the year you visit
Velasquez, you never find him off his guard. Aristocratic in his ease,
he disarms you first. You may change your love, your politics, your
religion, but once a Velasquez worshipper, always one.

Mr. Ricketts, over-anxious at precisely placing him, writes of his
"distinction." He is the most "distinguished" painter in history. But
we contend that this phrase eludes precise definition. "Distinguished"
in what? we ask. Style, character, paint quality, vision of the
beautiful? Why not come out plumply with the truth: Velasquez is the
supreme harmonist in art. No one ever approached him in his handling
save Hals, and Hals hardly boasts the artistic inches of Velasquez.
Both possessed a daylight vision of the world. Reality came to them in
the sharpest guise; but the vision of Velasquez came in a more
beautiful envelope. And his psychology is profounder. He painted the
sparkle of the eyes and also the look in them, the challenging glance
that asks: "Are we, too, not humans?" Titian saw colour as a poet,
Velasquez as a charmer and a reflective temperament. Hals doesn't
think at all. He slashes out a figure for you and then he is done. The
graver, deeper Spaniard is not satisfied until he has kept his pact
with nature. So his vision of her is more rounded, concrete, and
truthful than the vision of other painters. The balance in his work of
the most disparate and complex relations of form, space, colour, and
rhythm has the unpremeditated quality of life; yet the massive
harmonic grandeurs of Las Meninas have been placed by certain critics
in the category of glorified genre.

Some prefer Las Hilanderas in the outer gallery. After the stately
equestrian series, the Philip, the Olivares, the Baltasar Carlos;
after the bust portraits of Philip in the Prado and in the National
Gallery, the hunting series; after the Crucifixion and its sombre
background, you return to The Spinners and wonder anew. Its subtitle
might be: Variations on the Theme of Sunshine. In it the painter
pursues the coloured adventures of a ray of light. Rhythmically more
involved and contrapuntal than The Maids, this canvas, with its
brilliant broken lights, its air that circulates, its tender yet
potent conducting of the eye from the rounded arm of the seductive
girl at the loom to the arched area with its leaning, old-time
bass-viol, its human figures melting dream-like into the tapestried
background, arouses within the spectator much more complicated _etats
d'ame_ than does Las Meninas. The silvery sorceries of that picture
soothe the spirit and pose no riddles; The Spinners is a cathedral
crammed with implications. Is it not the last word of the art of
Velasquez--though it preceded The Maids? Will the eye ever tire of its
glorious gloom, its core of tonal richness, its virile exaltation of
everyday existence? Is it only a trick of the wrist, a deft blending
of colours by this artist, who has been called, wrongfully--the
"Shakespeare of the brush"? Is all this nothing more than

Mr. Ricketts justly calls Las Lanzas the unique historic picture.
Painted at the very flush of his genius, painted with sympathy for the
conquered and the conqueror--Velasquez accompanied the Marquis of
Spinola to Italy--this Surrender of Breda has received the homage of
many generations. Sir Joshua Reynolds asserted that the greatest
picture at Rome was the Velasquez head of Pope Innocent X in the Doria
Palace (a variant is in the Hermitage Gallery, St. Petersburg). What
would he have said in the presence of this captivating evocation of a
historic event? The battle pieces of Michael Angelo, Da Vinci, and
Titian are destroyed; Las Lanzas remains a testimony to the powers of
imaginative reconstruction and architectonic of Velasquez. It is the
most complete, the most natural picture in the world. The rhythms of
the bristling lances are syncopated by a simple device; they are
transposed to another plane of perspective, there in company with a
lowered battle standard. The acute rhythms of these spears has given
to the picture its title of The Lances, and never was title more
appropriate. The picture is at once a decorative arabesque, an
ensemble of tones, and a slice of history. Spinola receives from the
conquered Justin of Nassau the keys of the beleagured Breda. Velasquez
creates two armies out of eight figures, a horse and fourteen
heads--here is the recipe of Degas for making a multitude carried to
the height of the incredible. His own portrait, that of a grave,
handsome man, may be seen to the right of the big horse.

The first period of his art found Velasquez a realist heavy in colour
and brush-work, and without much hint of the transcendental realism to
be noted in his later style. The dwarfs, buffoons, the AEsop and the
Menippus are the result of an effortless art. In the last manner the
secret of the earth mingles with the mystery of the stars, as
Dostoievsky would put it. The Topers, The Forge of Vulcan, are
pictures that enthrall because of their robust simplicity and vast
technical sweep though they do not possess the creative invention of
the Mercury and Argus or The Anchorites. This latter is an amazing
performance. Two hermits--St. Antony the Abbot visiting St. Paul the
Hermit--are shown. A flying raven, bread in beak, nears them. You
could swear that the wafer of flour is pasted on the canvas. This
picture breathes peace and sweetness. The Christ of the Spaniard is a
man, not a god, crucified. His Madonnas, masterly as they are, do not
reach out hands across the frame as do his flower-like royal children
and delicate monsters.

The crinolined princess, Margarita, with her spangles and furbelows,
is a companion to the Margarita at the Louvre and the one in Vienna.
She is the exquisite and lyric Velasquez. On his key-board of
imbricated tones there are grays that felicitously sing across alien
strawberry tints, thence modulate into fretworks of dim golden fire.
As a landscapist Velasquez is at his best in the Prado. The various
backgrounds and those two views painted at Rome in the garden of the
Villa Medici--a liquid comminglement of Corot and Constable, as has
been pointed out--prove this man of protean gifts to have anticipated
modern discoveries in vibrating atmospheric effects and colour-values.
But, then, Velasquez will always be "modern." And when time has
obliterated his work he may become the legendary Parrhasius of a
vanished epoch. To see him in the Prado is to stand eye to eye with
the most enchanting realities of art.


When a man begins to chatter of his promenades among the masterpieces
it may be assumed that he has crossed the sill of middle-age. Remy de
Gourmont, gentle ironist, calls such a period _l'heure insidieuse_.
Yet, is it not something--a vain virtue, perhaps--to possess the
courage of one's windmills! From the Paris of the days when I haunted
the ateliers of Gerome, Bonnat, Meissonier, Couture, and spent my
enthusiasms over the colour-schemes of Decamps and Fortuny, to the
Paris of the revolutionists, Manet, Degas, Monet, now seems a life
long. But time fugues precipitately through the land of art. In
reality both periods overlap; the dichotomy is spiritual, not

The foregoing memoranda are frankly in the key of impressionism. They
are a record of some personal preferences, not attempts at critical
revaluations. Appearing first in the New York _Sun_, the project of
their publication in book form met with the approbation of its
proprietor, William Mackay Laffan, whose death in 1909 was an
international loss to the Fine Arts. If these opinions read like a
medley of hastily crystallised judgments jotted down after the manner
of a traveller pressed for time, they are none the less sincere. My
garden is only a straggling weedy plot, but I have traversed it with
delight; in it I have promenaded my dearest prejudices, my most absurd
illusions. And central in this garden may be found the image of the
supreme illusionist of art, Velasquez.

Since writing the preceding articles on El Greco and Velasquez the
museum of the Hispanic Society, New York, has been enabled, through
the munificent generosity of Mr. Archer M. Huntington, to exhibit his
newly acquired El Grecos and a Velasquez. The former comprise a
brilliantly coloured Holy Family, which exhales an atmosphere of
serenity; the St. Joseph is said to be a portrait of El Greco; and
there also is a large canvas showing Christ with several of his
disciples. Notable examples both. The Velasquez comes from the
collection of the late Edouard Kann and is a life-size bust portrait
of a sweetly grave little girl. Senor Beruete believes her to
represent the daughter of the painter Mazo and his wife, Francisca
Velasquez, therefore a granddaughter of Velasquez. The tonalities of
this picture are subtly beautiful, the modelling mysterious, the
expression vital and singularly child-like. It is a fitting companion
to a portrait hanging on the same wall, that of the aristocratic young
Cardinal Pamphili, a nephew of Pope Innocent X, also by the great

* * * * *




12mo. $1.50

"Mr. Huneker is, in the best sense, a critic; he listens to the music
and gives you his impressions as rapidly and in as few words as
possible; or he sketches the composers in fine, broad, sweeping
strokes with a magnificent disregard for unimportant details. And as
Mr. Huneker is, as I have said, a powerful personality, a man of quick
brain and an energetic imagination, a man of moods and temperament--a
string that vibrates and sings in response to music--we get in these
essays of his a distinctly original and very valuable contribution to
the world's tiny musical literature."--J. F. Runciman, in London
Saturday Review.


12mo. 31.50

Contents: The Lord's Prayer in B--A Son of Liszt--A Chopin of the
Gutter--The Piper of Dreams--An Emotional Acrobat--Isolde's
Mother--The Rim of Finer Issues--An Ibsen Girl--Tannhaeuser's
Choice--The Red-Headed Piano Player--Brynhued's Immolation--The Quest
of the Elusive--An Involuntary Insurgent--Hunding's Wife--The Corridor
of Time--Avatar--The Wegstaffes give a Musicale--The Iron Virgin--Dusk
of the Gods--Siegfried's Death--Intermezzo--A Spinner of Silence--The
Disenchanted Symphony--Music the Conqueror.

"It would be difficult to sum up 'Melomaniacs' in a phrase. Never did
a book, in my opinion at any rate, exhibit greater contrasts, not,
perhaps, of strength and weakness, but of clearness and obscurity. It
is inexplicably uneven, as if the writer were perpetually playing on
the boundary line that divides sanity of thought from intellectual
chaos. There is method in the madness, but it is a method of
intangible ideas. Nevertheless, there is genius written over a large
portion of it, and to a musician the wealth of musical imagination is
a living spring of thought"--Harold E. Gorst, in _London Saturday
Review_ (Dec. 8, 1906).



A Book of Dramatists

12mo. $1.50 net

CONTENTS: Henrik Ibsen--August Strindberg--Henry Becque--Gerhart
Hauptmann--Paul Hervieu--The Quintessence of Shaw--Maxim Gorky's
Nachtasyl--Hermann Sudennann--Princess Mathilde's Play--Duse and
D'Annunzio--Villiers de l'lsle Adam--Maurice Maeterlinck.

"His style is a little jerky, but it is one of those rare styles in
which we are led to expect some significance, if not wit, in every
sentence."--G.K. Chesterton, _in London Daily News._

"No other book in English has surveyed the whole field so
comprehensively."--The Outlook.

"A capital book, lively, informing, suggestive."--London Times
Saturday Review.

"Eye-opening and mind-clarifying is Mr. Huneker's criticism; ... no
one having read that opening essay in this volume will lay it down
until the final judgment upon Maurice Maeterlinck is reached."--Boston


A Book of Temperaments


12mo. $1.25 net

CONTENTS: Richard Strauss--Parsifal: A Mystical Melodrama--Literary
Men who loved Music (Balzac, Turgenieff, Daudet, etc.)--The Eternal
Feminine--The Beethoven of French Prose--Nietzsche the
Rhapsodist--Anarchs of Art--After Wagner, What?--Verdi and Boito.

"The whole book is highly refreshing with its breadth of knowledge,
its catholicity of taste, and its inexhaustible energy."--_Saturday
Review, London._

"In some respects Mr. Huneker must be reckoned the most brilliant of
all living writers on matters musical."--_Academy, London._

"No modern musical critic has shown greater ingenuity in the
attempt to correlate the literary and musical tendencies of the
nineteenth century."--_Spectator, London._




Stendhal, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Anatole France, Huysmans, Barres,
Hello, Blake, Nietzsche, Ibsen and Max Stirner.

With portrait of Stendhal, unpublished letter of Flaubert, and
original proof page of "Madame Bovary."

12mo. $1.50 net

"The best thing in the book happily comes first, the essay on
Stendhal. Closely and yet lightly written, full of facts yet as
amusing as a bit of discursive talk, penetrating, candid and very
shrewd, this study would be hard to beat in English, or, for that
matter, in French. It is, too, the best of the essays as regards
discrimination. There are no shades of Stendhal's genius, whether
making for good or for ill, that are missed by this analyst, and,
moreover, both the lights and shadows are justly distributed... He
seeks to show you the color of a man's mind, and it is evidence of his
validity as an essayist that straightway he interests you in the color
of his own. He is an impressionist in criticism... Such an essayist is
Mr. Huneker, a foe to dulness who is also a man of brains."--Royal
Cortissoz in _New York Tribune._


"As a critic, whether of music, the plastic arts, of poetry or fiction
or philosophy, he is of those who never attain finality; but he is
always stimulating, provocative of thought, and by virtue of this
quality, not invariably possessed by critics, he is entitled to a
distinctive place in American letters."

Edward Clark Marsh in _The Forum._



12mo. $1.50 net

Contents: A Master of Cobwebs--The Eighth Deadly Sin--The Purse of
Aholibah--Rebels of the Moon--The Spiral Road--A Mock
Sun--Antichrist--The Eternal Duel--The Enchanted Yodler--The Third
Kingdom--The Haunted Harpsichord--The Tragic Wall--A Sentimental
Rebellion--Hall of the Missing Footsteps--The Cursory Light--An Iron
Fan--The Woman Who Loved Chopin--The Tune of Time--Nada--Pan.

"The author's style is sometimes grotesque in its desire both to
startle and to find true expression. He has not followed those great
novelists who write French a child may read and understand. He calls
the moon 'a spiritual gray wafer'; it faints in 'a red wind'; 'truth
beats at the bars of a man's bosom'; the sun is 'a sulphur-colored
cymbal'; a man moves with 'the jaunty grace of a young elephant.' But
even these oddities are significant and to be placed high above the
slipshod sequences of words that have done duty till they are as
meaningless as the imprint on a worn-out coin.

"Besides, in nearly every story the reader is arrested by the idea,
and only a little troubled now and then by an over-elaborate style. If
most of us are sane, the ideas cherished by these visionaries are
insane; but the imagination of the author so illuminates them that we
follow wondering and spellbound. In 'The Spiral Road' and in some of
the other stories both fantasy and narrative may be compared with
Hawthorne in his most unearthly moods. The younger man has read his
Nietzsche and has cast off his heritage of simple morals. Hawthorne's
Puritanism finds no echo in these modern souls, all sceptical,
wavering and unblessed. But Hawthorne's splendor of vision and his
power of sympathy with a tormented mind do live again in the best of
Mr. Huneker's stories."--London Academy (Feb. 3, 1906).

* * * * *


The Man and His Music

12mo. $2.00

"No pianist, amateur or professional, can rise from the perusal of his
pages without a deeper appreciation of the new forms of beauty which
Chopin has added, like so many species of orchids, to the musical
flora of the nineteenth century."--The Nation.

"I think it not too much to predict that Mr. Huneker's estimate of
Chopin and his works is destined to be the permanent one. He gives the
reader the cream of the cream of all noteworthy previous commentators,
besides much that is wholly his own. He speaks at once with modesty
and authority, always with personal charm."--Boston Transcript.

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