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  • 1908
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announced, the pope, Leo X., wept and cried _”Ora pro nobis!”_ while the Ambassador from Mantua wrote home that “nothing is talked of here but the loss of the man who at the close of his six-and-thirtieth year has now ended his first life; his second, that of his posthumous fame, independent of death and transitory things, through his works, and in what the learned will write in his praise, must continue forever.”

Raphael painted two hundred and eighty-seven pictures in his thirty-seven years of life.


It is said that the “Sistine Madonna,” while painted from an Italian model–doubtless the lady whom Raphael so dearly loved–has universal characteristics, so that she may “be understood by everyone.”

He lived only three years after painting this picture and it was the last “Holy Family” painted by him. The Madonna stands upon a curve of the earth, which is scarcely to be seen, and looming mistily in front of her is a mass of white vaporous clouds. On either side are figures, St. Sixtus (for whom the picture was named) and St. Barbara. Beside St. Sixtus we see a crown or tiara; and the little tower at St. Barbara’s side is a part of her story.

Barbara was the daughter of an Eastern nobleman who feared that her great beauty might lead to her being carried off; therefore he caused her to be shut up in a great tower. While thus imprisoned Barbara became a Christian through the influence of a holy man, and she begged her father to make three windows in her gloomy tower: one, to let the light of the Father stream upon her, another to admit the light of the Son, and the third that she might bathe in the light of the Holy Ghost. Both St. Barbara and St. Sixtus were martyrs for their faith.

This Madonna is painted as if enclosed by green velvet curtains, which have been drawn aside, letting the golden light of the picture blaze upon the one who looks; then upon a little ledge below, looking out from the heavens, are two little cherubs–known to all the world. They look wistful, wise, roguish, and beautiful, with fat little arms resting comfortably upon the ledge. Raphael is said to have found his models for these little angels in the street, leaning wistfully upon the ledge of a baker’s window, looking at the good things to eat, which were within. Raphael took them, put wings to them, placed them at the feet of Mary, and made two little images which have brought smiles and tears to a multitude of people. The “Sistine Madonna” hangs alone in a room in the Dresden Gallery.

Among Raphael’s greatest works are: The “Madonna della Sedia” (of the chair), “La Belle JardiniŠre,” “The School of Athens,” “Saint Cecilia,” “The Transfiguration,” “Death of Ananias” (a cartoon for a series of tapestries), “Madonna del Pesce,” “La Disputa,” “The Marriage of Mary and Joseph,” “St. George Slaying the Dragon,” “St. Michael Attacking Satan” and the “Coronation of the Virgin.”



_Dutch School_
_Pupil of Van Swanenburch_

Here are a few of the titles that have been given to the greatest Dutch painter that ever lived: The Shakespeare of Painting; the Prince of Etchers; the King of Shadows; the Painter of Painters. Muther calls him a “hero from cloudland,” and not only does he alone wear these titles of greatness, but he alone in his family had the name of Rembrandt.

One writer has said that the great painter was born “in a windmill,” but this is not true. He was born in Leyden for certain, though not a great deal is known about his youth; and his father was a miller, his mother a baker’s daughter.

When the Pilgrim Fathers, who had sought safety in Leyden, were starting for America, where they were going to oppress others as they had been oppressed, Rembrandt was just beginning his apprenticeship in art.

He was born at No. 3, Weddesteg, a house on the rampart looking out upon the Rhine whose two arms meet there. In front of it whirled the great arms of his father’s windmill, though he was not born in it; and of all the women Rembrandt ever knew, it is not likely that he ever admired or loved one as passionately as he admired and loved his mother. He painted and etched her again and again, with a touch so tender that his deepest emotion is placed before us.

Rembrandt had brothers and sisters–five: Adriaen, Gerrit, Machteld, Cornelis, and Willem. Of these, Adriaen became a miller like his father, and presumably the old historic windmill fell to him; Willem became a baker, but Rembrandt, the fourth child, it was determined should be a learned man, and belong to one of the honoured professions, such as the law. So he was sent to the Leyden Academy, but here again we have an artist who decided he knew enough of all else but art before he was twelve years old. He found himself at that age in the studio of his first art-master, Jacob van Swanenburch, a relative, who had studied art in Italy, and was a good master for the lad; but Rembrandt became so brilliant a painter in three years’ time, that he was sent to Amsterdam to learn of abler men.

The lad could not in those days get far from his adored mother; so he stayed only a little time, before he went back to Leyden where she was. There was his heart, and, painting or no painting, he must be near it.

Until the past thirty years no one has seemed to know a great deal of Rembrandt’s early history, but much was written of him as a boorish, gross, vulgar fellow. Those stories were false. He was a devoted son, handsome, studious in art, and earnest in all that he did, and after he had made his first notable painting he was compelled by the demands of his work to move to Amsterdam for good. He hired an apartment over a shop on the Quay Bloemgracht; it is probable that his sister went with him to keep his house, and that it is her face repeated so frequently in the many pictures which he painted at that time. This does not suggest coarse doings or a careless life, but permits us to imagine a quiet, sober, unselfish existence for the young bachelor at that time.

Soon, however, he fell in love. He saw one other woman to place in his heart and memory beside his mother. His wife was Saskia van Ulenburg, the daughter of an aristocrat, refined and rich. He met her through her cousin, an art dealer, who had ordered Rembrandt to paint a portrait of his dainty cousin. Rembrandt could have been nothing but what was delightful and good, since he was loved by so charming a girl as Saskia.

He painted her sitting upon his knee, and used her as model in many pictures. First, last, and always he loved her tenderly.

In one portrait she is dressed in “red and gold-embroidered velvets”; the mantle she wore he had brought from Leyden. In another picture she is at her toilet, having her hair arranged; again she is painted in a great red velvet hat, and then as a Jewish bride, wearing pearls, and holding a shepherd’s staff in her hand. Again, Rembrandt painted himself as a giant at the feet of a dainty woman, and in every way his work showed his love for her. After he married her, in June 1634, he painted the picture, “Samson’s Wedding,” “Saskia, dainty and serene, sitting like a princess in a circle of her relatives, he himself appearing as a crude plebeian, whose strange jokes frighten more than they amuse the distinguished company. … The early years of his marriage were spent in joy and revelry. Surrounded by calculating business men who kept a tight grasp on their money bags, he assumed the r“le of an artist scattering money with a free hand; surrounded by small townsmen most proper in demeanour, he revealed himself as the bold lasquenet, frightening them by his cavalier manners. He brought together all manner of Oriental arms, ancient fabrics, and gleaming jewellery; and his house became one of the sights of Amsterdam.” His existence reads like a fairy tale.

It is said that Saskia strutted about decked in gold and diamonds, till her relatives “shook their heads” in alarm and amazement at such wild goings on.

Before he married Saskia he had painted a remarkable picture, named the “School of Anatomy.” It represents a great anatomist, the friend of Rembrandt–Nicholaus Tulp,–and a group of physicians who were members of the Guild of Surgeons of Amsterdam. It is so wonderful a picture that even the dead man, who is being used as a subject by the anatomist, does not too greatly disturb us as we look upon him. The thoughtful, interested faces of the surgeons are so strong that we half lose ourselves in their feeling, and forget to start in repulsion at sight of the dead body. A fine description of this painting can be found in Sarah K. Bolton’s book “Famous Artists” and it includes the description given by another excellent authority.

The artist was twenty-six years old when he painted the “School of Anatomy.” This picture is now at The Hague and two hundred years after it was painted the Dutch Government gave 30,000 florins for it.

Rembrandt painted a good many “Samsons” first and last–himself evidently being the strong man; and the pictures beyond doubt express his own mood and his idea of his relation to things. After a little son was born to the artist, he painted still another Samson–this time menacing his father-in-law but as the artist had named his son after his father-in-law,–Rombertus–we cannot believe that there was any menace in the heart of Rembrandt–Samson. Soon his son died, and Rembrandt thought he should never again know happiness, or that the world could hold a greater grief, but one day he was to learn otherwise. A little girl was born to the artist, named Cornelia, after Rembrandt’s mother, and he was again very happy.

Meantime his brothers and sisters had died, and there came some trouble over Rembrandt’s inheritance, but what angered him most of all, was that Saskia’s relatives said she “had squandered her heritage in ornaments and ostentation.” This made Rembrandt wild with rage, and he sued her slanderers, for he himself had done the squandering, buying every beautiful thing he could find or pay for, to deck Saskia in, and he meant to go on doing so.

At this time he painted a picture of “The Feast of Ahasuerus” (or the “Wedding of Samson”) and he placed Saskia in the middle of the table to represent Esther or Delilah as the case might be, dressed in a way to horrify her critical relatives, for she looked like a veritable princess laden with gorgeous jewels.

One of his pictures he wished to have hung in a strong light, for he said: “Pictures are not made to be smelt. The odour of the colours is unhealthy.”

The first baby girl died and on the birth of another daughter she too was named Cornelia, but that baby girl also died, and next came a son, Titus, named for Saskia’s sister, Titia, and then Saskia died. Thus Rembrandt knew the deepest sorrow of his life.

He painted her portrait once again from memory, and that picture is quite unlike the others for it is no longer full of glowing life, but daintier, suggestive of a more spiritual life, as if she were growing fragile.

It is written that “from this time, while he did much remarkable work, he seemed like a man on a mountain top, looking on one side to sweet meadows filled with flowers and sunlight, and on the other to a desolate landscape over which a clouded sun is setting.” With Saskia died the best of Rembrandt. He made only one more portrait of himself–before this he had made many; and in it he makes himself appear a stern and fateful man. It was after Saskia’s death that he painted the “Night Watch,” or more properly, “The Sortie.”

Rembrandt’s home, where he and Saskia were so happy, is still to be seen on a quay of the River Amstel. It is a house of brick and cut stone, four stories high. The vestibule used to have a flag-stone pavement covered with fir-wood. There were also “black-cushioned, Spanish chairs for those who wait,” and all about were twenty-four busts and paintings. There was an ante-chamber, very large, with seven Spanish chairs covered with green velvet, and a walnut table covered with “a Tournay cloth”; there was a mirror with an ebony frame, and near by a marble wine-cooler. Upon the wall of this _salon_ were thirty-nine pictures and most of them had beautiful frames. “There were religious scenes, landscapes, architectural sketches, works of Pinas, Brouwer, Lucas van Leyden, and other Dutch masters; sixteen pictures by Rembrandt; and costly paintings by Palma Vecchio, Bassano, and Raphael.”

In the next room was a real art museum, containing splendid pictures, an oaken press and other things which suggest that this was the workroom where Rembrandt’s etchings were made and printed.

In the drawing-room was a huge mirror, a great oaken table covered with a rich embroidered cloth, “six chairs with blue coverings, a bed with blue hangings, a cedar wardrobe, and a chest of the same wood.” The walls were literally covered with pictures, among which was a Raphael.

Above was a sort of museum and Rembrandt’s studio. There was rare glass from Venice, busts, sketches, paintings, cloths, weapons, armour, plants, stuffed birds and shells, fans, and books and globes. In short, this was a most wonderful house and no other interior can we reconstruct as we can this, because no other such detailed inventory can be found of a great man’s effects as that from which these notes are taken: a legal inventory made in 1656, long after Saskia had died and possibly at a time when Rembrandt wished to close his doors forever and forget the scenes in which he had been so happy.

Holland being truly a Protestant country, its artists have given us no great Madonna pictures, although they painted loving, happy Dutch mothers and little babes, but on the whole their subjects are quite different from those of the painters of Italy, France, and Spain.

Rembrandt’s studio was different from any other. When he first began to work independently and to have pupils, he fitted it up with many little cells, properly lighted, so that each student might work alone, as he knew far better work could be done in that way. It is said that his pictures of beggars would, by themselves, fill a gallery. He had a kindly sympathy for the poor and unfortunate, and tramps knew this, so that they swarmed about his studio doors, trying to get sittings.

There is a story which doubtless had for its germ a joke regarding the slowness of an errand boy in a friend’s household, but which at the same time shows us how rapidly Rembrandt worked. The artist had been carried off to the country to lunch with his friend Jan Six, and as they sat down at the table, Six discovered there was no mustard. He sent his boy, Hans, for it, and as the boy went out, Rembrandt wagered that he could make an etching before the boy got back. Six took the wager, and the artist pulled a copper plate from his pocket–he always carried one–and on its waxed surface began to etch the landscape before him. Just as Hans returned, Rembrandt gleefully handed Six the completed picture.

He was a great portrait painter, but he loved certain effects of shadow so well that he often sacrificed his subject’s good looks to his artistic purpose, and very naturally his sitters became displeased, so that in time he had fewer commissions than if he had been entirely accommodating.

His meals in working time were very simple, often just bread and cheese, eaten while sitting at his easel, and after Saskia died he became more and more careless of all domestic details.

Rembrandt finally married again, the second time choosing his housekeeper, a good and helpful woman, who was properly bringing up his little son, and making life better ordered for the artist, but he had grown poor by this time for he was never a very good business man. His beautiful house was at last sold to a rich shoemaker. Every picture latterly reflected his condition and mood. He chose subjects in which he imagined himself always to be the actor, and when his second wife died he painted a picture of “Youth Surprised by Death”; he had not long to live. He became more and more melancholy; and sleeping by day, would wander about the country at night, disconsolate and sad. Finally, when he died, an inventory of his effects, showed him to be possessed of only a few old woollen clothes and his brushes The miracle in Rembrandt’s painting is the deep, impenetrable shadow, in which nevertheless one can see form and outline, punctuated with wonderful explosions of light. Nothing like it has ever been seen. It is the most dramatic work in the world, and the most powerful in its effect. Other men have painted light and colour; Rembrandt makes gloom and shadow living things.

This miracle-worker’s funeral cost ten dollars; he died in Amsterdam and was buried in the Wester Kirk.


This picture is generally known as “The Night Watch,” but it is really “The Sortie” of a company of musketeers under the command of a standard bearer. Captain Frans Banning-Cock and all his company were to pay Rembrandt for painting their portraits in a group and in action, and they expected to see themselves in heroic and picturesque dress, in the full blaze of day, but Rembrandt had found a magnificent subject for his wonderful shadows, and the artist was not going to sacrifice it to the vanity of the archers.

This picture was called the “Patrouille de Nuit,” by the French and the “Night Watch,” by Sir Joshua Reynolds because upon its discovery the picture was so dimmed and defaced by time that it was almost indistinguishable and it looked quite like a night scene. After it was cleaned up, it was discovered to represent broad day–a party of archers stepping from a gloomy courtyard into the blinding sunlight. “How this different light is painted, which encircles the figures, here sunny, there gloomy!… Rembrandt runs through the entire range of his colours, from the lightest yellow through all shades of light and dark red to the gloomiest black.” One writer describes it thus: “It is more than a picture; it is a spectacle, and an amazing one… A great crowd of human figures, a great light, a great darkness–at the first glance this is what strikes you, and for a moment you know not where to fix your eyes in order to comprehend that grand and splendid confusion… There are officers, halberdiers, boys running, arquebusiers loading and firing, youths beating drums, people bowing talking, calling out, gesticulating–all dressed in different costumes, with round hats, plumes, casques, morions, iron corgets, linen collars, doublets embroidered with gold, great boots, stockings of all colours, arms of every form; and all this tumultuous and glittering throng start out from the dark background of the picture and advance toward the spectator. The two first personages are Frans Banning-Cock, Lord of Furmerland and Ilpendam, captain of the company, and his lieutenant, Willem van Ruijtenberg, Lord of Vlaardingen, the two marching side by side. The only figures that are in full light are this lieutenant, dressed in a doublet of buffalo-hide, with gold ornaments, scarf, gorget, and white plume, with high boots, and a girl who comes behind, with blond hair ornamented with pearls, and a yellow satin dress; all the other figures are in deep shadow, excepting the heads, which are illuminated. By what light? Here is the enigma. Is it the light of the sun? or of the moon? or of the torches? There are gleams of gold and silver, moonlight coloured reflections, fiery lights; personages which, like the girl with blond tresses, seem to shine by a light of their own…. The more you look at it, the more it is alive and glowing; and, even seen only at a glance, it remains forever in the memory, with all its mystery and splendour, like a stupendous vision.” Charles Blanc has said: “To tell the truth, this is only a dream of night, and no one can decide what the light is that falls on the groups of figures. It is neither the light of the sun or of the moon, nor does it come from the torches; it is rather the light from the genius of Rembrandt.”

This wonderful picture was painted in 1642 and many of the archer’s guild who gave Rembrandt the commission would not pay their share because their faces were not plainly seen. This picture which alone was enough to make him immortal, was the very last commission that any of the guilds were willing to give the artist, because he would not make their portraits beautiful or fine looking to the disadvantage of the whole picture. This work hangs in the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam. He painted more than six hundred and twenty-five pictures and some of them are: “The Anatomy Lesson,” “The Syndics of the Cloth Hall,” “The Descent from the Cross,” “Samson Threatening His Step Father,” “The Money Changer,” “Holy Family,” “The Presentation of Christ in the Temple,” “The Marriage of Samson,” “The Rape of Ganymede,” “Susanna and the Elders,” “Manoah’s Sacrifice,” “The Storm,” “The Good Samaritan,” “Pilate Washing His Hands,” “Ecce Home,” and pictures of his wife, Saskia.



_English School_
_Pupil of Thomas Hudson_

When Reynolds was “little Josh,” instead of “Sir Joshua” he grew tired in church one day, and sketched upon the nail of his thumb the portrait of the Rev. Mr. Smart who was preaching. After service he ran to a boat-house near, and with ship’s paint, upon an old piece of sail, he painted in full and flowing colours that reverend gentleman’s portrait. After that there was not the least possible excuse for his father to deny him the right to become an artist.

The father himself was a clergyman with a good education, and he had meant that his son should also be well educated and become a physician; but a lad who at eight years of age can draw the Plympton school house–he was born at Plympton Earl, in Devonshire–has a right to choose his own profession.

At twenty-three years of age Sir Joshua was painting the portraits of great folk, and being well paid for it, as well as lavishly praised. His first real sorrow came at a Christmas time when he was summoned home from London where he was working, to his father’s deathbed.

After that the artist turned his thoughts toward Italy, but where was the money to come from? Earning a living did not include travelling expenses, but a good friend, Captain Keppel, was going out to treat with the Dey of Algiers about his piracies, and learning that the artist wished to go to Italy he invited him to go with him on his own ship, the _Centurion._ So while the captain was discussing pirates with the dey, Sir Joshua stopped with the Governor of Minorca and painted many of the people of that locality. Thence on to Rome!

Strange to say, Raphael’s pictures disappointed the English artist, and he said so; but Michael Angelo was to Reynolds the most wonderful of painters, and he said that his pictures influenced him all the rest of his life. He wished his name to be the last upon his lips, and while that was not so, yet it was the last he pronounced to his fellow Academicians in his final address.

It was in Italy that a distressing misfortune came upon Sir Joshua. He meant to learn all that a man could learn in a given time of the art treasures there, and while he was working in a draughty corridor of the Vatican, he caught a severe cold which rendered him deaf. He continued deaf till the end of his life and had to use an ear-trumpet when people talked with him.

When he got back to England, Hudson, his old master, said discouragingly: “Reynolds, you don’t paint as well as when you left England.” On the whole his reception at home, after his long absence, was not all that he could have wished, but he took a place in Leicester Square, settled down to live there for the rest of his life, and went at painting in earnest.

Although artists criticised him more or less after his return, the public appreciated him and very soon orders for portraits began to pour in upon him, and the flow of wealth never ceased so long as he lived. It was said that all the fashionables came to him that did not go to Gainsborough, but those who were partial to Sir Joshua declared that all who could not go to him went to Gainsborough. The two great artists controlled the art world in their time, dividing honours about equally. It was said that all those women and men sat to Sir Joshua for portraits “who wished to be transmitted as angels… and who wished to appear as heroes or philosophers.”

Sir Joshua was a charming man, generous in feeling–as Gainsborough was not–and his closest friend was Dr. Johnson, the most different man from the artist imaginable, but Reynolds’s art and Johnson’s philosophy made a fine combination, each giving the other great pleasure. Besides Johnson, his friends were Goldsmith, Garrick, Bishop Percy, and other famous men of the time. These and others formed the “Literary Club” at Sir Joshua’s suggestion. About that time there was the first public exhibition of the work of English artists, and Sir Benjamin West and Sir Joshua Reynolds built the Royal Academy for that first exhibition, with the help of King George’s patronage. Joshua Reynolds was knighted when he was made the first president of that great body.

Soon after the Academy was established, Reynolds began a series of “discourses,” which in time became famous for their splendid literary quality, and some people, knowing his close friendship with Burke and Dr. Johnson, declared that the artist got one of them to write his “discourses” for him. This threw Johnson and Burke into a fury of resentment for their friend, and the doctor declared indignantly that “Sir Joshua would as soon get me to paint for him as to write for him!” Burke denied the story no less emphatically. Besides these speeches, which were a great advantage to the members of the Academy, Sir Joshua instituted the annual banquet to the members, and King George–who just before had given the commission of court painter to one less talented than Sir Joshua–bade him paint his portrait and the queen’s, to hang in the Academy. This was a great thing for the new society and advanced its fortunes very much.

Barry and Gainsborough were both churlish enough to envy Sir Joshua and to quarrel with his good feeling for them, but both men had the grace to be sorry for behaviour that had no excuse, and both made friends with him before they died–Gainsborough on his death-bed.

Toward his last days the artist was attacked with paralysis, but grew better and was able to paint again; then he began to go blind–he was already deaf–and this affliction made painting impossible. Shortly before his death, he undertook to raise funds for a monument to his dead friend, Dr. Johnson, but he grew more and more ill, “and on the 23d February, 1792, this great artist and blameless gentleman passed peacefully away.”

That he was very painstaking in his work is shown by an anecdote about his infant “Hercules.” “How did you paint that part of the picture?” some one asked him. “How can I tell! There are ten pictures below this, some better, some worse”–showing that in his desire for perfection he painted and repainted.

So untiring was he in seeking out the secrets of the old masters that he bought works of Titian and Rubens, and scraped them, to learn their methods, insisting that they had some secret underlying their work. So anxious was he to get the most brilliant effects of colours that he mixed his paints with asphaltum, egg, varnish, wax, and the like, till one artist said: “The wonder is that the picture did not crack beneath the brush.” Many of these great pictures did go to pieces because of the chances Sir Joshua took in mixing things that did not belong together, in order to make wonderful results.

Sir George Beaumont recommended a friend to go to Reynolds for his portrait and the friend demurred, because “his colours fade and his pictures die before the man.”

“Never mind that!” Sir George declared; “a faded portrait by Reynolds is better than a fresh one by anybody else.”

The same tender, sensitive and devoted nature which caused Sir Joshua’s mother to weep herself blind upon her husband’s death, belonged to the artist. All of his life he was surrounded by loving friends, and his devotion to them was conspicuous. He, like Drer and several other painters, was a seventh son, and his father’s disappointment was keen when he took to art instead of to medicine. So little did his father realise what his future might be, that he wrote under the sketch of a wall with a window in it, drawn upon a Latin exercise book: “This is drawn by Joshua in school, out of pure idleness.”

But by the time Joshua was eight years old and had drawn a fine “sketch of the grammar-school with its cloister… the astonished father said: ‘Now, this exemplifies what the author of “perspective” says in his preface: “that, by observing the rules laid down in this book, a man may do wonders”–for this is wonderful.'”

Sir Joshua laid down–even wrote out–a great many rules of conduct for himself. Some of these were: “The great principle of being happy in this world is not to mind or be affected with small things.” Also: “If you take too much care of yourself, nature will cease to take care of you.”

When Samuel Reynolds, Joshua’s father, consulted with his friend Mr. Craunch, as to whether a boy who made wonderful paintings at twelve years of age, would be likely to be a successful apothecary, he told Craunch that Joshua himself had declared that he would rather be a good apothecary than a poor artist, but if he could be bound to a good master of painting he would prefer that above everything in the world. This was how he came to be apprenticed to Hudson, the painter. Young Reynolds’s sister paid for his instruction at first–or for half of it, with the understanding that Reynolds was to pay her back when he was earning. At that time Reynolds wrote to his father: “While I am doing this I am the happiest creature alive.”

One day, while in an art store, buying something for Hudson, Reynolds saw Alexander Pope, the poet, come in, and every one bowed to him and made way for him as if for a prince. Pope shook hands with young Reynolds, and in writing home, describing the poet, the artist said that he was “about four feet six inches high; very humpbacked and deformed. He wore a black coat and according to the fashion of that time, had on a little sword. He had a large and very fine eye, and a long handsome nose; his mouth had those peculiar marks which are always found in the mouths of crooked persons, and the muscles which run across the cheeks were so strongly marked that they seemed like small cords.” This is a masterly description of one famous man by another.

He finally was dismissed from his master’s studio on the ground that he had neglected to carry a picture to its owner at the time set by Hudson, but the fact was the older artist had become jealous of the work of his pupil, and would no longer have him in his studio.

Afterwards, while he was painting down in Devonshire–thirty portraits of country squires for fifteen dollars apiece–he said: “Those who are determined to excel must go to their work whether willing or unwilling, morning, noon, and night, and they will find it to be no play, but, on the contrary, very hard labour.” This shows that Reynolds’s idea of genius was “an infinite capacity for hard work.”

While Reynolds was on his memorable journey to Rome, he made several volumes of notes about the pictures of great Italian artists–Raphael, Titian, etc. And one of those volumes is in the Lenox Library, New York City. He made a most characteristic and delightful remark in regard to his disappointment in Raphael’s pictures. “I did not for a moment conceive or suppose that the name of Raphael, and those admirable paintings in particular, owed their reputation to the _ignorance_ … of mankind; on the contrary, my not relishing them, as I was conscious I ought to have done was one of the most humiliating things that ever happened to me.”

He loved home and country so much that while in Venice he heard a familiar ballad sung in an opera, and it brought the tears to his eyes because of its association with “home.”

His young sister, was so undecided in her ways and opinions as to make it impossible for Reynolds long to live with her, but she undertook to be his housekeeper when he returned to London, and she also tried to copy his pictures Reynolds said the results “made other people laugh, but they made me cry.”

Reynolds painted the portraits of two Irish sisters–the Countess of Coventry and the Duchess of Hamilton–two of the most beautiful women in all the British Empire. “Seven hundred people sat up all night, in and about a Yorkshire inn, to see the Duchess of Hamilton get into her postchaise in the morning, while a Worcester shoemaker made money by showing the shoe he was making for the Countess of Coventry.” Sir Joshua declared that whenever a new sitter came to him, even till the last years of his life, he always began his portrait with the determination that that one should be the best he had ever painted. Success was bound to attend that sort of man.

He painted every picture almost as an experiment; meaning to learn something new with every work, and he spent more than he made in perfecting his art. As he said: “He would be content to ruin himself” in order to own one of the best works of Titian.

His deeds of kindness are beyond counting. He rescued his friend Dr. Johnson from debt–thereby saving him from prison; and when a young lad, “a son of Dr. Mudge,” who was very anxious to visit his father on the occasion of his sixteenth birthday, grew too ill to make the journey. Reynolds said gaily: “No matter my boy. _I_ will send you to your father.” He painted a splendid portrait of the boy and sent it to Dr. Mudge. This gift of a picture, however, was very unusual with Reynolds, who, unlike Gainsborough who gave his by the bushel to everyone, declared that his pictures were not valued unless paid for. When Sir William Lowther, a gay and rich young man of London, died, he left twenty-five thousand dollars to each of thirteen friends, and each of the thirteen commissioned the painter to make a portrait of Lowther, their benefactor. His work room was of interest: “The chair for his sitters was raised eighteen inches from the floor, and turned on casters. His palettes were those which are held by a handle, not those held on the thumb. The stocks of his pencils were long, measuring about nineteen inches. He painted in that part of the room nearest to the window, and never sat down when he painted.” The chariot in which he drove about had the four seasons allegorically painted upon its panels, and his liveries were “laced with silver”; while the wheels of his coach were carved with foliage and gilded.

Sir Joshua knew that it paid to advertise, and as he had no time to go about in that gorgeous chariot he made his sister go, for he declared that people seeing that magnificent coach would ask: “Whose chariot is that?” and upon being told could not fail to be impressed with his prestige. The comical inconsequence of this anecdote concerning a man so important robs it of vulgarity.

The graceful anecdotes told of Reynolds are without number, but one and all are to his advantage and show him to have been good and gentle, a devoted and high-bred man.


This is generally considered one of the finest of Sir Joshua’s pictures, if not the most beautiful of all. He was such a welcome guest at the houses of grandees that perchance he had noticed the lovely duchess playing with her still more lovely baby, and thought what a charming picture the two would make. As a representation of the artist’s ability to portray grace and sweetness it can hardly be surpassed. He painted it in 1786, half a dozen years before his death, and it now hangs in Chatsworth, the home of the present Duke of Devonshire.

Other well known Reynolds paintings are “The Hon. Ann Bingham,” “The Countess of Spencer,” the “Nieces of Sir Horace Walpole,” and the “Angels’ Heads” in the National Gallery.



_Flemish School_
_Pupil of Tobias Verhaecht_

The story of Peter Paul Rubens, whose birthday falling upon the saint days of Peter and Paul gave to him his name, is hardly more interesting than that of his parents, although it is quite different. The story of Rubens’s parents seems a part of the artist’s story, because it must have had something to do with influencing his life, so let us begin with that.

John Rubens was Peter Paul’s father, and he was a learned man, a druggist, but he had also studied law, and had been town councillor and alderman in the town where he was born. Life went easily enough with him till the reformation wrought by Martin Luther began to change John Rubens’s way of thinking, and he turned from Catholic to Lutheran.

From being a good Catholic John Rubens became a rabid reformer; and when, under the new faith, the Antwerp churches were stripped of their treasures, the magistrates were called to account for it. John Rubens, as councillor, was among those summoned. The magistrates declared that they were all good Catholics, but a list of the reformers fell into the Duke of Alva’s hands and Rubens’s name was there. This meant death unless he should succeed in flying from the country, which he instantly did. That was in 1568, when he had four children, but Peter Paul was not one of them–since he was a seventh son.

The Rubens family went to live in Cologne, where the father found his learning of great use to him, and he was honoured by being made legal adviser to Anne of Saxony who was William the Silent’s second queen. John Rubens’s behaviour was not entirely honourable and before long he was thrown into prison, but his good wife, Maria Pypelincx undertook to free him. He had treated her very badly, but her devotion to his cause was as great as if he had treated her well. Despite his wife’s efforts he was kept a prisoner in the dungeon at Dillenburg for two years, and afterward he was removed to Siegen, the place where Peter Paul was born.

In the sixteenth century there were no records of any sort kept in the town of Siegen, and so we cannot be absolutely sure that Peter Paul was born there, but his mother was certainly there just before and after the date of his birth, which was the 29th of June 1577. After his birth, his father was set free in Siegen and allowed to go back to the city in which he had misbehaved himself. In Cologne he became once more a Catholic, and he died in that faith. Meantime, ten years had passed since Peter Paul’s birth, and both his father and mother were determined above all things their son should have a fine education, quite unlike other artists, for the boy seemed capable of learning. While he was still very small he could speak to his tutor in French, to his mother in Flemish, and to his father in Latin. Besides these languages he spoke also Italian and English. Before he was an artist, Rubens, like Drer and Leonardo da Vinci, was a child of rare intelligence. As a little chap he went to Antwerp with his mother–this was after his father’s death–and in Belgium he took for the first time the r“le of courtier, in which he was to become so successful later in life. The charming little fellow, dressed in velvet and lace, took his place in the household of the Countess of Lalaing, in Brussels.

Very soon after entering that household, Rubens was permitted by his mother to leave it for the studio of the painter who was his first master, though not the one who really taught him much. Rubens did not stay there long, but went instead to the studio of Adam van Noort, an excellent painter of the time. After that he studied under another artist, who was both a scholar and a gentleman, Van Veen, and with him Peter Paul was able to speak in Latin and in his many other languages, while learning to paint at the same time.

Thus we find Rubens’s lot was always cast, not among the rich, but among the intelligent, the well bred, and the cultivated. This fact alone would prepare us to anticipate pleasant things for him and from him.

In those days of guilds, there were many rules and regulations. Van Noort, Rubens’s teacher, was dean of the painters’ guild and through his influence the guild recognised Rubens as “master,” which meant that he was qualified to take pupils; thus he was pupil and teacher at the same time.

One is unable to think of Rubens as having low tastes, as being morose, erratic, or anything but a refined, gracious, and brilliant gentleman. He began well, lived well, and ended well.

None of his teachers really impressed their style of art upon him. He was the model for others. Rubens became nothing but Rubens, but all the art world wished to become “Rubenesque.”

Rubens went to Mantua to see the art of Italy, and while there he met the Duke of Mantua who was Vincenzo Gonzaga, the richest, most powerful personage of that region and time. The duke engaged Rubens to paint the portraits of many beautiful women–just the sort of commission that Rubens’s pupil, Van Dyck, would have loved; but Rubens’s art was of sterner stuff, and the work by no means delighted him. He had great ideas, profound purposes, and wished to undertake them, but just then it seemed best that he perform that which the Duke of Mantua wanted him to do; hence he set about it.

Later Rubens went to the Spanish court, not as a painter, but as a cavalier upon a diplomatic mission. Bearing many beautiful presents to King Philip III., he went to Madrid, where his elegance, manly beauty, dashing manner, and ability to speak several languages made him a wonderful success. He remained for three years at the court and studied the methods of Spanish painters. He also painted the members of the Spanish court, as Velasquez had done, but they looked like people of another world. The Spanish aristocracy had always been painted with pallid faces, languid and elegant poses; but Rubens gave them a touch of the life he loved–made them robust and apparently healthy-minded. Of all great colourists, Rubens took the lead. Titian with his golden hues and warm haired women was very great, but Rubens, “the Fleming” as he was called, revelled in richness of colouring, and flamed through art like a glorious comet.

Rubens had long been wanted in his own country. His sovereigns, Albert and Isabella, wished him to return and become their painter, but they were unable to free him from his engagements in Italy and Spain. At last Rubens received word that his mother, whom he loved devotedly, was likely to die, and what kings could not do his love for her accomplished.

Although his patron, the Duke of Mantua, was absent, and his consent could not be secured, Rubens set off post-haste to his mother’s home. He arrived in Antwerp too late to see Maria Pypelincx, who had died before he reached her. Once more on his native soil, Albert and Isabella determined to induce him to remain. He had intended to go back to Mantua and continue his work under the duke, but since he was now in Belgium he decided to stay there, and thus he became the court painter in his own country, which after all he greatly preferred to any other.

He was to have a salary of five hundred livres ($96) a year, also “the rights, honours, privileges, exemptions, etc.” that belonged to those of the royal household; and he was given a gold chain. In this day of large doings there is something about such details that seems childish, but a “gold chain” was by no means a small affair at a time when $96 was considered an ample money-provision for an artist.

That gorgeous gold chain, a mark of distinction rather than a reward, is to be seen in all its glory in one of Rubens’s great paintings. The artist himself is mounted upon a horse, the chain about his neck, while he is surrounded by “no fewer than eight-and-twenty life-size figures, many in gorgeous attire, warriors in steel armour, horsemen, slaves, camels, etc.” This picture, “The Adoration of the Magi,” was twelve feet by seventeen, and was painted at the town’s expense. It was later sent to Spain and placed in the Madrid Gallery.

One of the greatest honours that could come to students of that day, was to be admitted to Rubens’s studio to paint under his direction, and it is said that “hundreds of young men waited their turn, painting meanwhile in the studios of inferior artists, till they should be admitted to the studio of the great master.”

Rubens was a king among painters, as well as a painter patronised by kings.

He had two wives, and he married the first one in 1609. Her name was Isabella Brant. Sir Joshua Reynolds said of her: “His wife is very handsome and has an agreeable countenance, but the picture is rather hard in manner”–by which he meant a picture which Rubens had painted of her. One of his greatest privileges when he was engaged at the court of Albert and Isabella, had been that he need obey none of the exactions of the Guild of St. Luke, none of their rigid rules concerning the employment of art students. Rubens could take into his service whom he pleased, whether they had been admitted as members of the guild or not, though to be a member of the guild was a testimony to their qualifications. In the end, this did a good deal of harm, for Rubens employed students to do the preliminary work of his pictures, who had not been his pupils and who were not otherwise qualified. Thus we read criticisms like that of Sir Joshua’s; and many of Rubens’s pictures are marred in this manner.

A story is told of Van Dyck and other pupils of Rubens breaking into the master’s studio and smudging a picture which Van Dyck afterward repaired by painting in the damaged portion most successfully. We are also told in connection with Rubens’s picture, “The Descent from the Cross,” that Van Dyck restored an arm and shoulder of Mary of Magdala, but certainly Van Dyck did not become a pupil of Rubens till some time after that picture was painted.

The work of a wonderful period in Rubens’s art was completely destroyed. In two years time he painted forty ceilings of churches in Antwerp, all of which were burned, but there is a record of them in the copies made by De Witt, in water colours from which etchings were afterward made. This work of Rubens was the first example of foreshortening done by a Flemish painter.

Above all things Rubens liked to paint big pictures, on very large surfaces, as did Michael Angelo. “The large size of picture gives us painters more courage to present our ideas with the utmost freedom and semblance of reality. … I confess myself to be, by a natural instinct, better fitted to execute works of the largest size.” He wrote this to the English diplomat Trumbull in 1621.

In the midst of Rubens’s greatest success as a painter came his diplomatic services. It was desirable that Spain and England should be friends, and Rubens always moving about because of his work, and being so very clever, the Spanish powers thought him a good one to negotiate with England. While on a professional visit to Paris, the English Duke of Buckingham and the artist met, and this seemed to open a way for business. The Infanta consented to have Rubens undertake this delicate piece of statesmanship, but Philip of Spain did not like the idea of an artist–a wandering fellow, as an artist was then thought to be–entering into such a dignified affair. The real negotiator on the English side, was Gerbier, by birth also a Fleming, and strange to tell, he too had been an artist. The English engaged him to look after their interests in the affair, and as soon as Philip learned that their diplomat was also an artist, his prejudices against Rubens as a statesman, disappeared. So it was decided that the two Flemings, artists and diplomats, should meet in Holland to discuss matters. About that time Sir Dudley Carleton wrote to Lord Conway: “Rubens is come hither to Holland, where he now is, and Gerbier in his company, walking from town to town, upon their pretence of taking pictures, which may serve him for a few days if he dispatch and be gone; but yf he entertayne tyme here long, he will infallibly be layd hold of, or sent with disgrace out of the country … this I have made known to Rubens lest he should meet with a skorne what may in some sort reflect upon others.”

The two clever men got through with their talk, nothing unfortunate happened, and Rubens got off to Spain where he laid the result of his talk with Gerbier before the Spanish powers. He was given a studio in Philip’s palace, where he carried on his art and his diplomacy. The king became delighted with him as a man and an artist, and as well as attending to state business, he did some wonderful painting while in Madrid. He was there nine months or more, and then started off for England to tell Charles I. of Philip III.’s wishes. But upon his arrival he learned that a peace had just been concluded between France and England, and all was excitement.

He was received in England as a great artist; every honour was showered upon him, and when he made Philip’s request to Charles, that he should not act in a manner hostile to Spain, Charles agreed, and kept that agreement though France and Venice urged him to break it.

Charles knighted Rubens while he was in England, and the University of Cambridge made him Master of Arts. The sword used by the king at the time he gave the accolade is still kept by Rubens’s descendants.

While he was in London Rubens was very nearly drowned in the Thames going down to Greenwich in a boat.

When he first went from Italy to Spain on a mission of state, he carried a note or passport bearing the following lines: “With these presents” (he took magnificent gifts to Philip, among them a carriage and six Neapolitan horses) “comes Peter Paul, a Fleming. Peter Paul will say all that is proper, like the well informed man that he is. Peter Paul is very successful in painting portraits. If any ladies of quality wish their pictures, let them take advantage of his presence.” When he visited England there was no longer need of such introduction; he went in all the magnificence that his genius had earned for him.

Rubens was always a happy man, so far as history shows. He married the first time, a woman who was beautiful and who loved him, as he loved her. He was able to build for himself a beautiful house in Antwerp. In the middle of it was a great _salon_, big enough to hold all his collection of pictures, vases, bronzes, and beautiful jewels. There was also a magnificent staircase, up which his largest pictures could be easily carried, for it was built especially to accommodate the requirements of his work.

Rubens’s greatest picture was painted through a strange happening when this beautiful house was being built. The land next to his belonged to the Archers’ Guild and when the workmen came to dig Rubens’s cellar, they went too far and invaded the adjoining property. The archers made complaint, and there seemed no way to adjust the matter, till some one suggested that Rubens make them a picture which should be accepted as compensation for the harm done. This Rubens did, and the picture was to be St. Christopher–the archers’ patron saint; but when the work was done “Rubens surprised them” by exhibiting a picture “of all who could ever have been called ‘Christ-bearers.'” This was “The Descent from the Cross”–not a single picture but a picture within a picture, for there were shutters folding in front of it, and on these was painted the archers’ patron, St. Christopher.

Rubens’s daily life is described thus: “His life was very methodical. He rose at four, attended mass, breakfasted, and painted for hours; then he rested, dined, worked until late afternoon; then, after riding for an hour or two one of his spirited horses, and later supping, he would spend the evening with his friends.

“He was fond of books, and often a friend would read aloud to him while he worked.” This is a pleasant picture of a reasonable and worthy life.

It is said that once he painted eighteen pictures in eighteen days, and it is known that he valued his time at fifty dollars a day.

His pupil, Van Dyck, being pushed for money, turned alchemist and tried to manufacture gold, but when Rubens was approached by a visionary who wanted him to lend him money by which he might pursue such a work, promising Rubens a fortune when he should have discovered how to make his gold, the artist laughed and said: “You are twenty years too late, friend. When I wield these,” indicating his palette and brush, “I turn all to gold.”

Many are the delightful anecdotes told of Rubens. It is said that while he was at the English court he was painting the ceiling of the king’s banqueting hall, and a courtier who stood watching, wished to say something _pour passer le temps_, so he asked: “Does the ambassador of his Catholic Majesty sometimes amuse himself with painting?”

“No–but he sometimes amuses himself with being an ambassador,” was the witty retort, which showed how he valued his two commissions.

When King Charles I. knighted Rubens he gave him, beside the jewelled sword, a golden chain to which his miniature was attached. If Rubens had gone about with all the chains and decorations given him by kings and other great ones of the earth he would have been weighted down, and would have needed two pairs of shoulders on which to display them.

Rubens’s first wife died; and when he married again, he was as fond of painting pictures of the second wife as he had been of the first. The name of the second was Helena Fourment, and she is called by one author “a spicy blonde.” Certainly she was very gay, big, and robust, and only sixteen years old when she married Rubens who was then a man of fifty-three. Of one picture, “The Straw Hat,” for which he is supposed to have used his wife’s sister as model, he was so fond that he would not sell it at any price.

Rubens had a rare mother, as shown in her letters to her husband, John, when he was in prison for his wrongdoing. It would seem that such a mother must have a strong, forceful son, and Rubens is less of a surprise than many artists who had no such influence in their childhood. The history of Rubens’s mother is worthy of being told even had she not had a famous son who painted a beautiful picture of her.

Rubens’s “Holy Families” are like those of no other painter. The Virgin, the Child, all the others in the picture, are quite different from the Italian figures. These are human beings, good to look upon; full of love and joy, softness and beauty.

It was his learning that first won favour for him in Italy. The Duke of Mantua hearing him read from Virgil, spoke to him in Latin, and being answered in that tongue was so charmed that the foundation of their friendship and the duke’s patronage was laid. In Italy he was called “the antiquary and Apelles of our time.”

His nephew-biographer writes of him: “He never gave himself the pastime of going to parties where there was drinking and card-playing, having always had a dislike for such.”

As Rubens grew in fame, he found that many were jealous of him, and on one occasion a rival proposed that he and Rubens each paint a picture upon a certain subject and leave it to judges to decide which work was the best–Rubens’s or his own.

“No,” said Rubens. “My attempts have been subjected to the scrutiny of connoisseurs in Italy and Spain. They are to be found in public collections and private galleries in those countries; gentlemen are at liberty to place their works beside them, in order that comparison may be made.” This was a dignified way of disposing of the case.

Rubens loved to paint animals, and he had a great lion brought to his home, that he might study its poses and movements.

The flesh of his figures was so lifelike that Guido declared he must mix blood with his paints. He was called “the painter of life.”

Rubens, a seventh child, had also seven children, two belonging to his first wife, five to the second.

Many stories are told of his patience and his kindness. It is said that at one time his old pupil, Van Dyck, returned to Antwerp after an absence, greatly depressed and in need of money. Rubens bought all his unsold pictures, and he did this charitable act more than once, and is known to have done the same thing for a rival and enemy, out of sheer goodness of heart.

Kings and queens came to the Rubens house, people of many nations did him honour; and toward his closing days, when gout had disabled him, ambassadors visited him, since he could not go to them.

In a description of his death and burial which took place at Antwerp we read: “He was buried at night as was the custom, a great concourse of citizens … and sixty orphan children with torches followed the body.” He was placed in the vault of the Fourment family, and as he had requested, “The Holy Family” was hung above him. In that picture, we find the St. George to be Rubens himself; St. Jerome, his father; an angel, his youngest son, while Martha and Mary are Isabella and Helena, his two wives.

He left many sketches “to whichever of his sons became an artist, or to the husband of his daughter who should marry an artist.” But there were none such to claim the bequest.


The little girl behind Jesus is supposed to represent his future bride, the Christian Church. The thoughtful, far-seeing look upon the face of the Christ-child, though it does not clash with His youthful charm, is meant to suggest that He has a premonition of His work in the world. The other joyous little figures also demonstrate the artist’s love for children. He brings them into his pictures, as cherubs, wherever he can, and they are frequently just as well painted and more universally appreciated than his stout women. In this picture he has a good opportunity to show his adorable flesh tints, combined with the movement and freedom naturally associated with child life.

The original painting is in the Court Museum at Vienna, but it has always been so popular that many copies of it have been made, and one of these is in the Berlin Gallery.

_(See Frontispiece_)

This picture hangs in the Lichtenstein Gallery at Vienna; the two boys, eleven and seven years of age, are the sons of Rubens by his first wife, Isabella Brant; and Albert, the elder of the two, greatly resembles his mother. He is evidently a student, for he wears the dress of one and carries a book in one hand. The other is placed affectionately upon the shoulder of his little brother, Nicolas, whose face, figure, and attire are all much the more childish of the two.

Critics consider this painting to mark the Highest point which Rubens reached in portraiture. It has all the colour, character, and vitality of his best work. Some of his other pictures are: “Coronation of Marie de Medicis,” “The Kirmesse,” “Slaughter of the Innocents,” “Susanna’s Bath,” “Capture of Samson,” “A Lion Hunt” and “The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus.”



_American and Foreign Schools_
_Pupil of Carolus Durand_

This artist was born in Europe, of American parents; thus we may say that he was “American,” though he owed nothing but dollars to the United States, since his instruction was obtained in Italy and France, and all his associations in art and friendship were there. He was probably the most brilliant of the artists termed American. His great mural work in the Boston Public Library, is hardly to be surpassed.

Above all, Sargent’s portraits are masterly. He was famous in that branch of art before he was twenty-eight years old. Among his finest portraits is that of “Carmencita,” a Spanish dancer, who for a time set the world wild with pleasure. The list of his famous portraits is very long.

Sargent’s father was a Philadelphia physician; who originally came from New England, but the artist himself was born in Florence. He was given a good education and grew up with the beauties of Florence all about him, in a refined and charming home. He was the delight of his master, Carolus Durand for he was modest and refined, yet full of enthusiasm and energy. In his twenty-third year he painted a fine picture of his master. Sargent was a musician as well as a painter; a man of great versatility, as if the gods and all the muses had presided at his birth.


In this picture of the famous Spanish dancer Sargent shows all the life and character he can put into a portrait. The girl seems on the point of springing into motion. She is poised, ready for flight and the proud lift of her head makes one believe that she will accomplish the most difficult steps she attempts. The painting is in the Luxembourg, Paris.

Other noted Sargent portraits are “Mr. Marquand” in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Lady Elcho, Mrs. Arden, Mrs. Tennant,” “Mrs. Meyer and Children,” “Homer St. Gaudens,” “Henschel,” and “Mr. Penrose.”



_Venetian School_
_Pupil of Titian_

Tintoretto was born with an ideal. As a young boy he wrote upon his studio wall: “The drawing of Michael Angelo, the colouring of Titian,” and that was the end he tried to reach. His father was a “tintore”–a dyer of silk, a tinter–and it was from the character of that work the artist took his name. He helped his father with the dyeing of silks, while he was still a child, and was called “II tintoretto,” little dyer.

As the little tinter showed great genius for painting, his father placed him in Titian’s studio, but for some reason he only stayed there a few days, long enough, however, to permit us to call him a pupil of Titian; especially as he wrote that master’s name upon his wall and determined to imitate him. After his few days with Titian, Tintoretto studied with Schiavone and afterward set up a studio for himself.

As a determined lad in this studio of his, Tintoretto tried every means of developing his art. He studied the figures upon Medicean tombs made by Michael Angelo, taking plaster casts of them and copying them in his studio. He used to hang little clay figures up by strings attached to his ceiling, that he might get the effect of them high in air. By looking at them thus from below he gained an idea of foreshortening.

Although this artist nearly succeeded in getting into line with Michael Angelo, he did not colour after the fashion of his master, Titian. Tintoretto was about twenty-eight years old before he got any very big commission, but at that age a chance came to him. In the church of Santa Maria del Orto were two great bare spaces, unsightly and vast, about fifty feet high and twenty broad. In that day anything and everything was decorated with masterpieces, and it was almost disgraceful for a church to let such a space as that go unfrescoed. Tintoretto saw an opportunity, and finally offered to paint pictures there for nothing if the church would agree to pay for the materials he needed. The church certainly was not going to refuse such an offer, even if Tintoretto was not thought to be much of an artist at the time. If the work was poor, one day they could choose to have it repainted. Thus Tintoretto got his first great opportunity. He painted on those walls “The Last Judgment” and “The Golden Calf.” They made him famous, and gained him the commission to paint the picture which is used as an illustration here.

The brothers of the Scuola di San Rocco asked him to compete with Veronese, in painting the ceilings after he had done four pictures for their walls.

Tintoretto consented, and Veronese and two others who were in the competition set about making their sketches which they were to present for the brothers’ consideration. Finaly the day of decision came. All were assembled, the artists armed with sketches of their plans.

“Where are yours, Tintoretto?” the others asked. “We expect a drawing of your idea.”

“Well, there it is,” the artist answered, drawing a screen from the ceiling. Behold! he had already painted it to suit himself. The work was complete.

“That is the way I make my sketches,” he said.

Though the work was magnificent it had not been done according to the monks’ ideas of business and order. They objected and objected.

“Very well,” the artist cried; “I will make the ceiling a present to you.” As there was a rule of their order forbidding them to refuse a present, they had to accept Tintoretto’s. This did not promise very good business at the time, but the work was so splendid and Tintoretto so reasonable that they finally agreed to give him all the work of their order–nearly enough to keep him employed during a lifetime. After that he painted sixty great pictures upon their walls.

He painted so much and so fast that he did not always do good work, and one critic declares that “while Tintoretto was the equal of Titian, he was often inferior to Tintoretto”–which after all is a very fine compliment.

His life was so tranquil and uneventful that there is little to say of it; but there is much to say of his art. He lived mostly in his studio, and when he died he was buried in the Santa Maria del Orto–the church in which he had done his first work.

Veronese had given to Venice a brilliant, glowing, rich, ravishing riot of colour and figures, but Tintoretto was said to rise up “against the joyful Veronese as the black knight of the Middle Ages, the sombre priest of a gloomy art.” Tintoretto was of stormy temperament, and upon one occasion he proved it by thrusting a pistol under a critic’s nose, after he had invited him to his studio; it is this half savage spirit that may be seen in his paintings. He had deep-set, staring eyes, it is said, a furrowed brow and hollow cheeks, indicative of his passionate spirit. He painted very few female figures, but mostly men. When he did paint a woman, she looked mannish and not beautiful. When he painted gorgeous subjects, like doges and senators, he gave to them gloomy backgrounds, awe-inspiring poses, and he seldom painted a figure “full-face” but three-quarter, or half, so that he did not give himself a chance to present human figures in beautiful postures. He is said to have been the first who painted groups of well-known men in pictures intended for the decoration of public buildings. One great critic has written that “while the Dutch, in order to unite figures, represented them at a banquet, Tintoretto’s _nobili_ (aristocrats) were far too proud to show themselves to the people” in so gay and informal a situation. With the coming of Tintoretto it was said “a dark cloud had overcast the bright heaven of Venetian art. Instead of smiling women, bloody martyrs and pale ascetics” were painted by him. He dissected the dead in order to learn the structure of the human body. In his paintings “his women, especially, with their pale livid features and encircled eyes, strangely sparkling as if from black depths, have nothing in common with the soft” painted flesh which he pictured in his youth while he was following Titian as closely as he could. As he grew older and his art more fixed, he followed Michael Angelo more and more. Titian’s colouring was that of “an autumn day” but Tintoretto’s that of a “dismal night.” Yet these very qualities in Tintoretto’s work made him great.


This painting in the Academy at Venice tells the story of how a Christian slave who belonged to a pagan nobleman went to worship at the shrine of St. Mark. That was unlawful. The nobleman had his slave taken before the judge, who ordered him to be tortured. Just as the executioner raised the hammer with which he was finally to kill the slave, St. Mark himself came down from heaven, broke the weapon and rescued the slave.

The figure of the patron saint of Venice is swooping down, head first, above the group, his garments flying in the air. A bright light touches the slave’s naked body, as he lies upon his back, the executioner having turned away and raised his hammer aloft, while others have drawn back in fright at the appearance of the patron saint. We may imagine that Tintoretto was trying to acquire this power of painting wonderful figures hovering in the air when he hung his little clay images from the ceiling of his studio years before. Other pictures of his are: “The Marriage of Bacchus and Ariadne,” “Martyrdom of St. Agnes,” “St. Rocco Healing the Sick,” “The Annunciation,” “The Crucifixion,” and many others.



(Pronounced Tit-zee-ah’no (Vay-chel’lee)) _Venetian School_
_Pupil of Giovanni and Gentile Bellini_

Titian was a child of the Tirol Mountains, handsome, strong, full of health and fine purposes, even as a boy. He was born in a little cottage at Pieve, in the valley of Cadore, through which flows the River Piave; and he wandered daily beside its banks, gathering flowers from which he squeezed the juices to paint with. When he grew up he became a wonderful colourist, and from his boyhood nothing so much delighted him as the brilliant colours flaunted by the flowers of wood and field.

Gathered about his good father’s hearth were many children, Caterina, Francesco, Orsa, and the rest, living in peace and happiness, closely bound together by love. Titian had a gentle, loving mother named Lucia, while his father was a soldier and an honoured man. In the little town where they lived, he was councillor and also superintendent of the castle and inspector of mines, no light honours among those simple country people. Doubtless Titian inherited his splendid bearing and his determined character from his soldier father.

Even while a little child, the man who was destined to become a great artist began his work with the juices of the wild-flowers, which he daubed upon the wall of the humble home in the Tirol valley, making a Madonna with angels at her feet and a little Jesus upon her knee. But if Titian was a great painter, he was never even a fair scholar. He went to school, but would not, or could not, study. His father soon saw that he was wasting his time and being made very unhappy through being forced to do that for which he had no ability; so he was soon released from book-learning and sent to Venice, seventy-five miles from home, to learn art. In Venice, the Vecelli family had an uncle, and it was with him that Titian lived, though he studied first with Sebastian Zuccato, the head of the Venetian guild of mosaic workers, and a pretty good teacher in his way. He was not able to teach Titian very much, for the boy was an inspired artist and needed a good master; so, after a little, the family held a consultation and it was decided that Titian should become the pupil of Gentile Bellini, a very clever artist indeed. There was an interesting story told about this master which made the Vecellis feel that their boy would do well to be under the influence of a kind-hearted man, as well as a genius. It seems that Bellini’s fame had become so great that the Sultan had sent for him to paint the portraits of himself and the Sultana. Bellini went gladly to Turkey to do this; but he took with him certain pictures to show his patron. Among them was one of St. John the Baptist having his head cut off. The Sultan looked at it, and cutting heads off being a large part of his business, he saw that Bellini had not scientifically painted it, and in order to show him the true way to conduct such matters, he sent for a slave and ordered his head chopped off in Bellini’s presence. Bellini was so terrified and sickened by the dreadful sight that he fled from Turkey and would not paint its ruler, the Sultana nor anyone else who had to do with such cruel things as he had witnessed.

It was into this man’s studio that Titian went as a young boy, but after a little he displeased Gentile Bellini, who complained that his pupil worked too fast, and therefore could not expect to do great work. He declared that picture painting was serious and careful work, and that Titian was too careless and quick. As a matter of fact, Titian was too wonderful for Bellini ever to do much for; and since he could not get on with him, he went to another master–Gentile Bellini’s brother, Giovanni. One of Titian’s chief troubles in the studio of Gentile had been that he was not allowed to use the gorgeous colouring he loved, but in the brother’s studio he found to his joy that colour was more valued, and he was given more freedom to use it. Also there was a young peasant pupil with Giovanni, who, like Titian, loved to use beautiful colours, and he and the newcomer became fast friends.

The other artist’s name was Giorgione, and he had the most delightful ways about him, winning friends wherever he went, so it was no wonder that the warm-hearted Titian sought his companionship. One day those two young comrades left their master’s studio, to have a good time off by themselves. There was a stated hour for their return; but they had spent all their money, and forgot that Giovanni Bellini was expecting them home. When they did return the door was closed and locked. What were they to do? They did the only thing they could. As comrades in misfortune they joined forces, set up a studio of their own, and went to work to earn their living as best they might. At first it was hard sledding, but in time they got a good job, namely to decorate the walls of a public building in Venice which was used by foreign merchants for the transaction of their business, a sort of “exchange,” as we understand it. This was the Fondaco de’ Tedeschi, and it had two great halls, eighty rooms, and twenty-six warehouses. It was indeed a big undertaking for the two young men, and they divided the business between them. Their joy was great, their cartoons successfully made and the work well begun, when, alas, they fell to quarreling simply because someone had declared that Titian’s work upon the building was a little better than Giorgione’s.

This dispute parted the two friends, who had had good times together, and it must have been Giorgione’s fault, because Ludovico Dolce, one who knew Titian well, said that “he was most modest … he never spoke reproachfully of other painters … in his discourse he was ever ready to give honour where honour was due … he was, moreover, an eloquent speaker, having an excellent wit and perfect judgment in all things; of a most sweet and gentle nature, affable and most courteous in manner; so that whoever once conversed with him could not choose but love him henceforth forever.” That is a most loving and splendid tribute for one man to pay another. Not long after Giorgione died, and Titian took up his unfinished work, doing it as well as his own.

There was a brilliant and mature artist called Palma Vecchio, in Venice, and Titian painted in his studio, where he saw and loved Vecchio’s daughter, Violante. The young artist was not very well off financially, and therefore could not marry; hence he was not specially happy over his love affair. About that time he took to painting after the manner of Vecchio, through being so much influenced by his soft feelings for the older artist’s daughter. He used the lovely Violante again and again for his model, and many of the beautiful faces which Titian painted at that time show the features of his lady-love. With his new love Titian’s serious work seemed to begin, and at twenty-one he painted his first truly great picture, “Sacred and Profane Love.” To day this picture hangs upon the walls of the Borghese Palace, in Rome.

Raphael painted a great many pictures, but Titian must have painted more. At least one thousand have his signature.

Now came wars and troubles for Venice. The Turks, French, and Venetians became at odds, and during the strife many fine works of art were lost, among them many of Titian’s pictures. He had painted bishops, also the wicked Borgias, and many other great personages, but all of these are gone and to this day, no one knows what became of them.

At last Titian began one of his greatest paintings, “The Tribute Money,” and he set about it because he had been criticised. Some German travellers in Venice visited Titian’s studio, and though they found his work very fine, one of them said that after all there was only one master able to finish a painting as it should be finished, and that was the great Drer. The German pointed out the differences between Titian’s method and Drer’s, and declared that Venetian painters never quite came up to the promise of their first pictures. Drer’s wonderful pictures were quite different from Titian’s, inasmuch as his work was fuller of detail and careful finishing, but Titian was as great in another way. His effects were broader, but quite as satisfying. However, the German criticism put him on his mettle, and he answered that if he had thought the greatest value of a painting lay in its fiddling little details of finishing, he too would have painted them. To show that he could paint after Drer’s fashion, as well as his own, he undertook the “Tribute Money,” and the result was a wonderful picture.

Soon Rome sent for Titian. The Florentines, Raphael and Michael Angelo, were already there doing marvellous things, but the pope wished to add the genius of Titian to theirs and made him a great offer to go and live in Rome and do his future work for that city. This was an honour, but amid all his fame and the homage paid him, Titian had remembered the old home in the vale of Cadore. It was there his heart was, and he determined to return to the home of his boyhood to do his best work. So he sent his thanks and refusal to the pope, and he wrote as follows to his home folks, through the council of his town:

“I, Titian of Cadore, having studied painting from childhood upward, and desirous of fame rather than profit, wish to serve the doge and signorini, rather than his highness the pope and other signori, who in past days, and even now, have urgently asked to employ me. I am therefore anxious, if it should appear feasible to paint the hall of council, beginning, if it pleases their sublimity, with the canvas of the battle on the side toward the Piazza, which is so difficult that no one as yet has had the courage to attempt it.”

Then in stating his terms he asked for a very moderate sum of money and a “brokerage” for life. The Government did not have to think over the matter long. Titian’s father had been honoured among them, Titian’s genius was well known, and the commission was gladly given him. As soon as he got this business affair settled he moved into the palace of the Duke of Milan “at San Samuele; on the Grand Canal, where he remained for sixteen years,” so says his biographer.

Titian’s affairs were not yet entirely smooth, because both of the Bellinis having painted for his patrons, they naturally considered Titian an intruder, and thought that the work should have been given to them. They did all they could to make trouble for the younger artist, but after a time Titian came into his rights, receiving his “brokerage” which gave to him a yearly sum of money 120 crowns, $126.04. His taxes were taken off for the future, provided he would agree to paint all the doges that should rule during his lifetime.

Titian undertook to do this, but he did not keep his word, for he painted only five doges, though many more followed. He had no sooner received his commission from the council of his native place than he began to neglect it, and to paint for the husband of the wicked poisoner–Lucretia Borgia–whose name was Alfonso d’Este, the Duke of Ferrara. It was for him he painted the “Venus Worship,” now in the Museum of Madrid, also “The Three Ages,” which belongs to Lord Ellesmere, and the “Virgin’s Rest near Bethlehem,” now in the National Gallery. Afterward he painted “Noli Me Tangere,” which is in the same London Gallery.

There is a picture of great size in the Academy of Arts in Venice, which was first seen on a public holiday nearly four hundred years ago. It is the “Assumption of the Virgin,” first shown on St. Bernardino’s day, when all the public offices were closed by order of the Senate, and the whole city had a gay time. This occasion made Titian the most honoured artist of his time, but still the Venetians had cause to complain; because now their painter took so much work in hand that he nearly ceased doing the work on the council hall. The council sent him word that unless he attended to business the paintings should be finished by some one else and he would have to pay the new artist out of his own pocket; but in waywardness he paid no attention to this summons. Lucretia Borgia died, and her husband having never loved her, fell at once in love with a girl of a lower class, who was very good and worthy to be loved. The duke wanted Titian to paint them both, and so once more the great painter neglected his contract with the council. The girl’s name was Laura, and Titian painted her and the duke in one picture, which now hangs in the Louvre.

At last, after seven years of his neglecting to do his promised work the council became enraged and threatened to take the artist’s property away from him. That frightened Titian very much, and he began frantically to work on the battle piece on the hall wall. It was about this time that he married. He had probably forgotten Violante in the passing of so many years; at any rate it was not she whom he married, but a lady whose first name was Cecilia. Soon he had a little family of children, but one of them was destined to make Titian very unhappy. This was Pomponic who became a priest, but he was also a wicked spendthrift, and kept his father forever in trouble, trying to pay his debts and keep him out of scrapes. Another son became an artist; not great like his father, but very helpful and a comfort to him. Then his wife died, and Titian had loved her so dearly that for a long time he had not the heart to paint much. His sister, Orsa, came to live at his home and take care of his motherless children.

He left the palace on the Grand Canal and bought a home north of Venice, with beautiful gardens attached, and there he lived and worked, entertaining the most illustrious men. Titian’s house and gardens became the show place of the country, so many geniuses and famous people visited there. It was there that he painted “The Martyrdom of Saint Peter,” and the picture was so loved by the Venetians that the signori threatened with death any one who should take the picture from the chapel where it hung. In spite of this caution the picture was burned in the fire that destroyed the chapel in 1867.

Titian was now getting to be old, but he was yet to do great work and to have kingly patrons. Charles V. visited Bologna, and, seeing Titian’s great work, wanted him to paint his portrait. So the artist went to Bologna and painted the portrait of the king, clothed in armour, but without any head-covering, making Charles V. look so fine a personage, that he was delighted. Charles said he had always been painted to look so much uglier than he really was that when people who had seen his portraits, actually saw himself they were pleasantly disappointed. While Titian was painting his picture, Lombardi, the sculptor, wished above all things to see Charles, so Titian said: “You come with me to the sittings, and act as if you were some apprentice, carrying my colours and brushes, and then you can watch the king as easily as possible.” Lombardi did as Titian suggested, but he hid in his big and baggy sleeve a tablet of wax, on which to make a relief picture of Charles. One day the king surprised the sculptor and demanded to be shown what he was doing. Thereupon he was so much pleased that he commissioned Lombardi to make the model in marble. While the king was sitting for two portraits to Titian, the artist one day dropped his brush. The king looked at the courtiers who were lounging about watching the work, but none of them picked it up, so the king himself did so. Titian was distressed over this and apologised to the king. “There may be many kings,” said Charles, “but there will never be more than one Titian–and he deserves to be served by Caesar himself.” After that he would allow no other artist to paint his portrait, declaring that Titian alone could do it properly, and for the two pictures Titian received two thousand scudi in gold, was made a Count of the Lateran Palace, of the Aulic Council and of the Consistory; with the title of Count Palatine and all the advantages attached to those dignities. His children were thereby raised to the rank of nobles of the empire, with all the honours appertaining to families with four generations of ancestors. He was also made Knight of the Golden Spur, with the right of entrance to court. This was great return for two portraits of a king, but it shows what a king could do if he chose.

Titian had a brother who also became an artist, less famous than himself, and it was that brother, who, when their father died in the Cadore home, went back to care for the old place and to keep it in readiness so that the famous Titian might return to it for rest and peace. Foreign sovereigns had invited Titian to end his days with them, but they could not tempt him from that vale of Cadore nor his country home in Venice.

All this time he had been neglecting the work upon the hall of council, and at last, the councillors gave the work to another, took away Titian’s “brokerage” and told him he must return to Venice all the moneys they had given him for twenty years back. This finally cured him of his neglect, and he went to work in earnest painting so rapidly that he finished the work in two years.

Before he died Titian went to Rome, where he painted Pope Paul’s portrait, and the story is told that when the portrait was set to dry upon the terrace–which it probably was not,–the people who passed took off their hats to it, thinking it was the pope himself.

Besides his bad son and his good one, Titian had a beautiful daughter whom he painted again and again. He went to Augsburg once more to paint King Charles, who for that work added a pension of five hundred scudi to what he had already done for him. This made the artist “as rich as a prince, instead of poor as a painter.” King Philip II. loved art as his father had, and he took a painting of Titian’s with him to the convent of Yuste, where he went to die, wishing to have it near to console him. In those days art had become a religion for high and low. Great personages still went to Casa Grande, Titian’s Venetian home, where he entertained like a prince. No one knew better than he how princes behaved, and when a cardinal came to dine with him, he threw his purse to his servant, crying: “Prepare a feast, for all the world is dining with me!” Henry III. of France visited Titian and ordered sent to him every picture of which he had asked the price.

His friends stood by him all his life, but in his old age his beautiful daughter, Lavinia, died, leaving behind her six children for him to love as his own. The brother had died before that, in the old home at Cadore, and at more than eighty years of age Titian was still painting from morning till night. About this time he sent to King Philip “The Last Supper,” which was to be hung in the Escorial. The monks found it too high to fill the space, and though the artist in charge, Navarrette, begged them to let it be, they cut a piece off the top, that it might be hung where they wanted it. Titian had so far had to pay no taxes, but at that time an account of his property was demanded and this is what he owned: “Several houses, pieces of land, sawmills, and the like,” and he was blamed because he did not state the full value of his possessions. At ninety-one he painted a picture which became the guide of Rubens and his brother artists, so wonderful was it. Again, at ninety-nine he began a picture, which was to be given to the monks of the Frari in return for a burial place for the artist within the convent walls, but he never finished it. He died during the time of the plague, but of old age alone, though his son, Orzio, died of the disease. The alarm of the people was so great that a law had been passed to bury all who died at that time, instantly and without ceremony, but that law was waived for the painter. Titian, in the midst of a nation’s tragedy was borne to the convent of the Frari, with honours. Two centuries later the Austrian Emperor commanded the great sculptor, Canova, to make a mausoleum above the tomb.

It was said that shortly before he died Titian began to be less sure in his use of colours, and would often daub on great masses, but his students came in the night and rubbed them off, so that the master never felt his failing.

As King Charles had said, there was never but one such artist in the world.

Titian prepared his canvas by painting upon it a solid colour to serve for the bed upon which the picture itself was to be painted. To quote more exactly from a good description–some of these foundation colours were laid on with resolute strokes of his brush which was heavily laden with colour, while the half-tints were made with pure red earth, the lights with pure white, softened into the rest of the foundation painting with touches of the same brush dipped into red, black, and yellow. In this way he could give the “promise” of a figure in four strokes. After laying this foundation, he turned his picture toward the wall and left it there for months at a time, frequently turning it around that he might criticise it. If, during this time of waiting, he thought any part of the work already done was poor, he made it right, changing the shape of an arm, adding flesh where he thought it was needed, reducing flesh where it seemed to him out of proportion, and then he would again turn the canvas face to the wall. After months of self-criticism and retouching he would have the first layer of flesh painted upon his figures, and a good beginning made. “It was contrary to his habit to finish at one painting, and he used to say that a poet who improvises cannot hope to form pure verses.” He would often produce a half-light with a rub of his finger, “or with a touch of the thumb he would dab a spot of dark pigment into some corner to strengthen it; or throw in a reddish stroke–a tear of blood so to speak–to break the parts … in fact when finishing he painted more with his fingers than with his brush.” He used to say, “White, red, and black, these are all the colours that a painter needs, but one must know how to use them.”


Previous to the time of Titian, it had been the custom to paint portraits of beautiful ladies merely to their waists, just far enough to show their hands. He went further, and produced “knee portraits,” which gave him an opportunity to paint their gorgeous gowns as well. He has done so in making this picture of his daughter Lavinia, probably just before her marriage to Cornelio Sarcinelli which took place in 1555. She is attired in gold-coloured brocade with pearls about her neck. Her dress, combined with the dish of fruit she holds so high, gives Titian the colour effects he always sought. A yellow lemon is specially striking, and the red curtain to the left harmonises with the whole. The uplift of the arms and the turn of the head give the desired amount of action. It is not Titian’s customary style of work; he seldom did anything so intimate and personal, and the picture is the more interesting on that account. It is in the Berlin Gallery.

Some of Titian’s famous pictures are: his own portrait; “Flora,” “Holy Family and St. Bridget,” “The Last Judgment,” “The Entombment,” “The Magdalene,” “Bacchanal,” “St. Sebastian,” “Bacchus and Ariadne,” and “The Sleeping Venus.”



_Pupil of the Royal Academy_

If the occupation of a shepherd produced a poet, no less did an artist of the first water come out of a barber shop. Turner’s father was a jolly little fellow who dressed hair for English dandies and did all of those things which in those days fell to men of his profession. It was in this little shop that the great artist grew up. Father Turner was ambitious for his son, who was anxious to study art. The less said of the artist’s mother the better, for she was a termagant and finally went crazy, so that the father and his little boy were soon left alone, to plan and work and strive to make each other happy. The pair were never apart.

Turner’s art beginning was at six years of age, on the occasion of a visit his father paid to a goldsmith of whose hair curling and peruquing he had charge. Perched upon a chair too high for a little boy’s comfort, and feeling that it took his father very long indeed to satisfy the customer, Joseph’s eye lighted upon a silver lion which ornamented a silver tray. He studied every detail of that lion while waiting for his father, and finally when they got home, he sat down and drew it from memory. By tea time he had a lion in full action upon the paper. This delighted his father above everything, and it was settled then and there that the little fellow should have a chance to learn art.

The father could not give much time to his upbringing, but he taught him to be honest and kind-hearted and to save his money. His playground was generally the bank of the Thames, and under London Bridge where, roving with the sailors, he learned to love the ships, the setting-suns and evening waters from a daily study of them.

He did not do much at school, because the other pupils at New Brentford, learning that he could draw wonderful things upon the schoolroom walls, used to do his “sums” for him, while he sketched for them. After a while father Turner began to hang up some of his son’s sketches upon the walls of the barber shop, among the wigs and curls and _toup‚es_, and he put little tags upon them, telling the price. The extraordinary work of his little boy began to attract the attention of the jolly barber’s patrons, and by the time he was twelve years old the child had a picture upon the walls of the Royal Academy–a far-cry from barber shop to Academy!

One authority says that this first exhibition occurred in his fourteenth year, but by that time he was a pupil of the Academy, and it is not unlikely that he had shown his mettle before.

He now began to earn his own living, but he still dwelt in the barber shop with his father. While in the Academy he coloured prints, made backgrounds for other painters, drew architect’s plans, and in that way made money. He had been sent to a drawing master to study “the art of perspective,” but having no mathematical knowledge he had been unable to learn it, and the teacher had advised his father to put little Turner to cobbling or making clothes. However, William was to learn perspective, and even to be made master of that branch of art in the Academy itself.

In after years, when he had become a great artist, someone spoke pityingly of the drudgery he had had to do to make money as a young boy–referring to his painting of backgrounds and the like. “Well! and what could be better practice?” Turner answered cheerfully.

He used to go to the house of Dr. Munro, who lived in fine style on the Strand. This gentleman owned Rembrandts, Rubenses, Titians, and other great masterpieces, and in that house the “little barber” had a chance to see the best of art, and also to copy it. This was a great opportunity for him and he made the most of it. Besides the chance for study, he earned about half a crown an evening and his supper, for his copying.

Turner was the first painter to make “warm moonlight.” All other artists had given cold, silvery effects to a moonlit atmosphere, but Turner had seen a mellow, sympathetic moon, and he first showed it to others. About this time he went travelling; for an engraver of the _Copper Plate Magazine_ had engaged the young boy to go into Wales and make sketches for his work. Turner set off on a pony which a friend had lent him, with his baggage done up in a bundle–it did not make a very big one–and thus he voyaged. It was a fine experience, and he came home with many beautiful scenes on paper, which he in after years made into complete pictures. Next he made the acquaintance of Thomas Girtin, the first in his country of a fine school of water-colour painters, and this acquaintance grew into a close friendship. The two were devoted to each other and worked together at any sort of mechanical art work that would bring them a living. When Girtin died Turner said: “Had Tim Girtin lived, I should have starved,” showing how highly he valued Girtin’s work.

Turner is said to have been “a stout, clumsy little fellow, who never cared how he looked. He wore an ill-fitting suit, and his luggage tied up in a handkerchief was slung over his shoulder on a cane. Sometimes he carried a small valise and an old umbrella, the handle of which he converted into a fishing rod, for Turner dearly loved both hunting and fishing.”

The hero travelled a great deal, because above every thing he loved the fields and streams, and to tramp alone. It is said that it was his habit to walk twenty-five miles a day, seeing everything on the way, letting no peculiarity of nature escape him. His sketchbook was a curiosity, because he not only made sketches in it, but jotted down his travelling expenses, what he thought about things that he saw, and all the gossip he heard in the towns through which he passed. Because he liked best to travel alone he was called “the Great Hermit of Nature.”

One memorable day–of which he thought but little at the time–he stopped on the road to make a sketch of Norham Castle. Later he completed the picture, and it became famous, so successful that from that hour he had all the work he could do. Years afterward, when passing that way again in company with a friend, he was seen to take off his hat to the castle.

“Why are you doing that?” his friend asked, in amazement.

“Well, that castle laid the foundation of my success,” he answered, “and I am pleased to salute it.”

During his young manhood Turner had fallen in love with a girl, and planned to marry, but after he returned from one of his country trips he found she had married another, and from that moment the artist was a changed man. He had been generous and gay before, now he began to save his money, so that people thought him miserly–but he was forgiven when it became known what he finally did with his fortune. After the young woman deserted him he wandered more than ever, and one of his fancies was to keep boys from robbing birds’ nests. He looked after the little birds so carefully that the boys named him “old Blackbirdy.” He had already begun those wonderful pictures of ships and seas, and his house was ornamented with full-rigged little ships and water plants, which he carefully raised to put into his pictures. By that time he had bought a home of his own in the country, and his father the barber went to live with him. The old man’s trade had fallen off, because the fashions had changed, wigs were less worn, and hair was not so elaborately dressed. In the country home the old man took charge of all the household affairs, prepared his son’s canvases for him, and after the pictures were painted it was the ex-barber who varnished them, so that Turner said, “Father begins and finishes all my pictures.” There the father and son lived, in perfect peace and affection, till Turner decided to sell the place and move into town, “because,” said he, “Dad is always working in the garden and catching cold.”

Meanwhile he had been made master of perspective in the Academy, and it was expected that he would lecture to the students, but he was not cut out for a lecturer. He was not elegant in his manners, nor impressive in his speech. On one occasion, when he had risen to deliver a speech, he looked helplessly about him and finally blurted out: “Gentlemen! I’ve been and left my lecture in the hackney coach!”

During these years he had tried to establish a studio like other masters and to have pupils and apprentices about him; but the stupid ones he could not endure, having no patience with them, and he treated all the fashionable ones so bluntly they would not stay; so the idea had to be given up.

He became a visitor at Farnley Hall in Yorkshire, where a friend, Mr. Hawksworth Fawkes lived, and in the course of his lifetime Fawkes put fifty thousand dollars worth of Turner’s pictures upon his walls. The Fawkes family described Turner as a most delightful man: “The fun, frolic, and shooting we enjoyed together, and which, whatever may be said by others of his temper and disposition, have proved to me that he was, in his hours of distraction from his professional labours as kindly hearted a man and as capable of enjoyment and fun of all kinds as any I ever knew.”

Another friend writes: “Of all light-hearted, merry creatures I ever knew, Turner was the most so; and the laughter and fun that abounded when he was an inmate of our cottage was inconceivable, particularly with the juvenile members of our family.”

The story of his disappointment in marriage is an interesting one. It is said that the young lady whom he loved was the sister of a schoolmate. They had been engaged for some time, but while he was on one of his travels his letters were stolen and kept from the young woman. She believed he had forgotten her, and her stepmother, who had taken the letters, persuaded the girl to engage herself to another. Turner returned just a week before her marriage and tried to win her back, but although she loved him, she felt herself then bound to her new suitor and therefore married him. Her marriage was very unhappy and her misery, as well as his own, distressed the artist till his death. Almost all his life, in spite of his seeming gaiety, he worked like a slave, rising at four o’clock in the morning and working while light lasted. When remonstrated with about this he would sadly say: “There are no holidays for me.”

All his ways were honest and simple, and his election to the Academy was very exceptional in the way it came about. Most Academicians had graces and airs and good fellowship to commend them, as well as their works, but Turner had none of these things. He had given no dinners, nor played a social part in order to get the membership. When the news was brought him that he was elected, some one advised him to go and thank his fellow Academicians for the honour, as that was the custom; but Turner saw no reason in it. “Since I am elected, it must have been because they thought my pictures made me worthy. Why, then should I thank them? Why thank a man for performing a simple duty.” In half a century Turner was absent only three times from the Academy exhibitions, and his membership was of very great value to him.

At this time Turner had an idea for an art publication to be called _Liber Studiorum_. He meant to issue this in dark blue covers and to include in each number five plates. There was to be a series of five hundred plates altogether, and these were to be divided, according to subject, into historical, landscape, pastoral, mountainous, marine, and architectural studies. After seventy plates had been, published, the enterprise fell through, because no one bought the periodical, and there was no money to keep it going. The engraver of the plates, Charles Turner, became so disgusted with the failure that he even used the proofs of these wonderful studies to kindle the fire with. Many years later, a great print-dealer, Colnaghi, made Turner, the engraver, hunt up all the proofs that he had not used for kindling paper, and these he bought for œ1,500.

“Good God!” cried Charles Turner, “I have been burning banknotes all my life.”

Some years later still œ3,000 was paid for a single copy of the _Liber Studiorum_.

Turner was a most conscientious man, and many stories are told of his manner of teaching. He could not talk eloquently nor give very clear instructions, talking not being his forte, but he would lean over a student’s shoulder, point out the defects in his work, and then on a paper beside him make a few marks to illustrate what he had said. If the artist had genius enough then to imitate him, well and good; if not, Turner simply went away and left him. His own ways of working were remarkable. He often painted with a sponge and used his thumbnail to “tear up a sea.” It mattered little to him how he produced his effects so long as he did it. His impressionistic style confused many of his critics, and it is told how a fine lord once looked at a picture be had made, and snorted: “Nothing but daubs, nothing but daubs!” Then catching the inspiration, he leaned close to the canvas, and said: “No! Painting! so it is!”

“I find, Mr. Turner,” said a lady, “that in copying your pictures, touches of red, blue and yellow appear all through the work.”

“Well, madam, don’t you see that yourself, in nature? Because if you don’t, heaven help you!” was the reply.

“Once, after painting a summer evening, he thought that the picture needed a dark spot in front by way of contrast; so he cut out a dog from black paper and stuck it on. That dog still appears in the picture.”

Another time he painted “A Snow-storm at Sea,” which some critics called “Soap-suds and Whitewash.” Turner, who had been for hours lashed to the mast of a ship in order to catch the proper effect, was naturally much hurt by the criticism. “What would they have!” he exclaimed. “I wonder what they think a storm is like. I wish they’d been in it.”

Turner was conscientiously fond of his work, and when he sold a picture he said that he had lost one of his children.

He grew rich, but he never was knighted, because his manners were not fine enough to suit the king. He wished to become President of the Royal Academy, but that was impossible because he was not polished enough to carry the honour gracefully.

After selling his place in the country Turner bought a house in Harley Street, where he lived a strange and lonely life. A gentleman has written about this incident, which shows us his manner of living:

“Two ladies called upon Turner while he lived in Harley Street. On sending in their names, after having ascertained that he was at home, they were politely requested to walk in, and were shown into a large sitting-room without a fire. This was in the depth of winter; and lying about in various places were several cats without tails. In a short time our talented friend made his appearance, asking the ladies if they felt cold. The youngest replied in the negative; her companion, more curious, wished she had stated otherwise, as she hoped they might have been shown into his sanctum or studio. After a little conversation he offered them biscuits, which they partook of for the novelty–such an event being almost unprecedented in his house. One of the ladies bestowing some notice upon the cats, he was induced to remark that he had seven, and that they came from the Isle of Man.”

Thus we learn that Turner’s desolate house was full of Manx cats, and of many other pets. When he had moved elsewhere–to 47 Queen Anne Street–one of the pictures he cared most for, “Bligh Shore,” was put up as a covering to the window and a cat wishing to come in, scratched it hopelessly. The housekeeper started to punish it for this but Turner said indulgently, “Oh, never mind!” and saved the cat from chastisement.

The place he lived in, where his “dad was always working in the garden and catching cold,” he called Solus Lodge, because he wished his acquaintances to understand that he wanted to be alone. One picture painted by him to order, was to have brought him $2,500; but when it was finished the man was disappointed with it and would not take it. Later, Turner was offered $8,000 for it, but would not sell it.

Turner again fell in love, but his bashfulness ruined his chances. He wrote to the brother of the lady. “If she would only waive her bashfulness, or, in other words, make an offer instead of expecting one, the same (Solus Lodge) might change occupiers.” Faint heart certainly did not win fair lady in this case, for she married another. Before he died Turner was offered $25,000 for two pictures which he would not sell. “No” he said. “I have willed them and cannot sell them.” He disposed of several great works as legacies. One