Promenades of an Impressionist  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Promenades of an Impressionist (1910) is a book by James Gibbons Huneker.

Contents

Praise

"SOME years ago, a Baltimore friend sent me to London a copy of Promenades of an Impressionist, by James Gibbons Huneker. I read it with amazement. " Do all up-to-date Americans write like this ? " I asked myself." --More authors and I, C. Lewis Hind

" We like best such sober essays as those which analyze for us the technical contributions of Cezanne and Rodin. Here Mr. Huneker is a real interpreter, and here his long experience of men and ways in art counts for much. Charming, in the slighter vein, are such appreciations as the Monticelli and Chardin." FRANK JEWETT MATHER, JR.,

in New York Nation and Evening Post.

Full text

PROMENADES OF AN IMPRESSIONIST


By JAMES HUNEKER


1910

TO: FREDERICK JAMES GREGG

-"Let us promenade our prejudices."--Stendhal(?)


CONTENTS

  I. PAUL CÉZANNE
 II. ROPS THE ETCHER
III. MONTICELLI
 IV. RODIN
  V. EUGÈNE CARRIÈRE
 VI. DEGAS
VII. BOTTICELLI

VIII. SIX SPANIARDS:

     "EL GRECO"
     "VELASQUEZ"
     GOYA
     FORTUNY
     SOROLLA
     ZULOAGA
 IX. CHARDIN
  X. BLACK AND WHITE:
     PIRANESI
     MERYON
     JOHN MARTIN
     ZORN
     BRANGWYN
     DAUMIER
     LALANNE
     LEGRAND
     GUYS
 XI. IMPRESSIONISM:
     MONET
     RENOIR
     MANET
XII. A NEW STUDY OF WATTEAU

XIII. GAUGUIN AND TOULOUSE-LAUTREC

XIV. LITERATURE AND ART
 XV. MUSEUM PROMENADES:
     PICTURES AT THE HAGUE
     THE MESDAG MUSEUM
     HALS OF HAARLEM
     PICTURES IN AMSTERDAM
     ART IN ANTWERP
     MUSEUMS OF BRUSSELS
     BRUGES THE BEAUTIFUL
     THE MOREAU MUSEUM
     PICTURES IN MADRID
     EL GRECO AT TOLEDO
     VELASQUEZ IN THE PRADO

CODA



PROMENADES OF AN IMPRESSIONIST



I. PAUL CÉZANNE

After prolonged study of the art shown at the Paris Autumn Salon you ask yourself: This whirlpool of jostling ambitions, crazy colours, still crazier drawing and composition--whither does it tend? Is there any strain of tendency, any central current to be detected? Is it young genius in the raw, awaiting the sunshine of success to ripen its somewhat terrifying gifts? Or is the exhibition a huge, mystifying _blague_? What, you ask, as you apply wet compresses to your weary eyeballs, blistered by dangerous proximity to so many blazing canvases, does the Autumn Salon mean to French art?

There are many canvases the subjects of which are more pathologic than artistic, subjects only fit for the confessional or the privacy of the clinic. But, apart from these disagreeable episodes, the main note of the Salon is a riotous energy, the noisy ebullition of a gang of students let loose in the halls of art. They seem to rush by you, yelling from sheer delight in their lung power, and if you are rudely jostled to the wall, your toes trod upon and your hat clapped down on your ears, you console yourself with the timid phrase: Youth must have its fling.



PROMENADES


And what a fling! Largely a flinging of paint pots in the sacred features of tradition. It needs little effort of the imagination to see hovering about the galleries the faces of--no, not Gérôme, Bonnat, Jules Lefèvre, Cabanel, or any of the reverend _seigneurs_ of the old Salon--but the reproachful countenances of Courbet, Manet, Degas, and Monet; for this motley-wearing crew of youngsters are as violently radical, as violently secessionistic, as were their immediate forebears. Each chap has started a little revolution of his own, and takes no heed of the very men from whom he steals his thunder, now sadly hollow in the transposition. The pretty classic notion of the torch of artistic tradition gently burning as it is passed on from generation to generation receives a shock when confronted by the methods of the hopeful young anarchs of the Grand Palais. Defiance of all critical canons at any cost is their shibboleth. Compared to their fulgurant colour schemes the work of Manet, Monet, and Degas pales and retreats into the Pantheon of the past. They are become classic. Another king has usurped their throne--his name is Paul Cézanne.

No need now to recapitulate the story of the New Salon and the defection from it of these Independents. It is a fashion to revolt in Paris, and no doubt some day there will arise a new group that will start the August Salon or the January Salon.

"Independent of the Independents" is a magnificent motto with which to assault any intrenched organisation.



PAUL CÉZANNE


If riotous energy is, as I have said, the chief note of many of these hot, hasty, and often clever pictures, it must be sadly stated that of genuine originality there are few traces. To the very masters they pretend to revile they owe everything. In vain one looks for a tradition older than Courbet; a few have attempted to stammer in the suave speech of Corot and the men of Fontainebleau; but 1863, the year of the _Salon des Refusés_, is really the year of their artistic ancestor's birth. The classicism of Lebrun, David, Ingres, Prudhon; the romanticism of Géricault, Delacroix, Decamps; the tender poetry of those true _Waldmenschen_, Millet, Dupré, Diaz, Daubigny, or of that wild heir of Giorgione and Tiepolo, the marvellous colour virtuoso who "painted music," Monticelli--all these men might never have been born except for their possible impact upon the so-called "Batignolles" school. Alas! such ingratitude must rankle. To see the major portion of this band of young painters, with talent in plenty, occupying itself in a frantic burlesque of second-hand Cézannes, with here and there a shallow Monet, a faded Renoir, an affected Degas, or an impertinent Gauguin, must be mortifying to the older men.

And now we reach the holy precincts. If ardent youths sneered at the lyric ecstasy of Renoir, at the severe restraint of Chavannes, at the poetic mystery of Carrière, their lips were hushed as they tiptoed into the Salle Cézanne. Sacred ground, indeed, we trod as we gazed and wondered before these crude, violent, sincere, ugly, and bizarre canvases. Here was the very hub of the Independents' universe. Here the results of a hard-labouring painter, without taste, without the faculty of selection, without vision, culture--one is tempted to add, intellect--who with dogged persistency has painted in the face of mockery, painted portraits, landscapes, flowers, houses, figures, painted everything, painted himself. And what paint! Stubborn, with an instinctive hatred of academic poses, of the atmosphere of the studio, of the hired model, of "literary," or of mere digital cleverness, Cézanne has dropped out of his scheme harmony, melody, beauty--classic, romantic, symbolic, what you will!--and doggedly represented the ugliness of things. But there is a brutal strength, a tang of the soil that is bitter, and also strangely invigorating, after the false, perfumed boudoir art of so many of his contemporaries.

Think of Bouguereau and you have his antithesis in Cézanne--Cézanne whose stark figures of bathers, male and female, evoke a shuddering sense of the bestial. Not that there is offence intended in his badly huddled nudes; he only delineates in simple, naked fashion the horrors of some undressed humans. His landscapes are primitive though suffused by perceptible atmosphere; while the rough architecture, shambling figures, harsh colouring do not quite destroy the impression of general vitality. You could not say with Walt Whitman that his stunted trees were "uttering joyous leaves of dark green." They utter, if anything, raucous oaths, as seemingly do the self-portraits--exceedingly well modelled, however. Cézanne's still-life attracts by its whole-souled absorption; these fruits and vegetables really savour of the earth. Chardin interprets still-life with realistic beauty; if he had ever painted an onion it would have revealed a certain grace. When Paul Cézanne paints an onion you smell it. Nevertheless, he has captured the affections of the rebels and is their god. And next season it may be some one else.

It may interest readers of Zola's L'Oeuvre to learn about one of the characters, who perforce sat for his portrait in that clever novel (a direct imitation of Goncourt's Manette Salomon). Paul Cézanne bitterly resented the liberty taken by his old school friend Zola. They both hailed from Aix, in Provence. Zola went up to Paris; Cézanne remained in his birthplace but finally persuaded his father to let him study art at the capital. His father was both rich and wise, for he settled a small allowance on Paul, who, poor chap, as he said, would never earn a franc from his paintings. This prediction was nearly verified. Cézanne was almost laughed off the artistic map of Paris. Manet they could stand, even Claude Monet; but Cézanne--communard and anarchist he must be (so said the wise ones in official circles), for he was such a villainous painter! Cézanne died, but not before his apotheosis by the new crowd of the Autumn Salon. We are told by admirers of Zola how much he did for his neglected and struggling fellow-townsman; how the novelist opened his arms to Cézanne. Cézanne says quite the contrary. In the first place he had more money than Zola when they started, and Zola, after he had become a celebrity, was a great man and very haughty.

"A mediocre intelligence and a detestable friend" is the way the prototype of Claude Lantier puts the case. "A bad book and a completely false one," he added, when speaking to the painter Emile Bernard on the disagreeable theme. Naturally Zola did not pose his old friend for the entire figure of the crazy impressionist, his hero, Claude. It was a study composed of Cézanne, Bazille, and one other, a poor, wretched lad who had been employed to clean Manet's studio, entertained artistic ambitions, but hanged himself. The conversations Cézanne had with Zola, his extreme theories of light, are all in the novel--by the way, one of Zola's most finished efforts. Cézanne, an honest, hard-working man, bourgeois in habits if not by temperament, was grievously wounded by the treachery of Zola; and he did not fail to denounce this treachery to Bernard.

Paul Cézanne was born January 19, 1839. His father was a rich bourgeois, and while he was disappointed when his son refused to prosecute further his law studies, he, being a sensible parent and justly estimating Paul's steadiness of character, allowed him to go to Paris in 1862, giving him an income of a hundred and fifty francs a month, which was shortly after doubled. With sixty dollars a month an art student of twenty-three could, in those days, live comfortably, study at leisure, and see the world. Cézanne from the start was in earnest. Instinctively he realised that for him was not the rapid ascent of the rocky path that leads to Parnassus. He mistrusted his own talent, though not his powers of application. At first he frequented the Académie Suisse, where he encountered as fellow-workers Pissarro and Guillaumin. He soon transferred his easel to the Beaux-Arts and became an admirer of Delacroix and Courbet. It seems strange in the presence of a Cézanne picture to realise that he, too, suffered his little term of lyric madness and wrestled with huge mythologic themes--giant men carrying off monstrous women. Connoisseurs at the sale of Zola's art treasures were astonished by the sight of a canvas signed Cézanne, the subject of which was L'Enlèvement, a romantic subject, not lacking in the spirit of Delacroix. The Courbet influence persisted, despite the development of the younger painter in other schools. Cézanne can claim Courbet and the Dutchmen as artistic ancestors.

When Cézanne arrived in Paris the first comrade to greet him was Zola. The pair became inseparable; they fought for naturalism, and it was to Cézanne that Zola dedicated his _Salons_ which are now to be found in a volume of essays on art and literature bearing the soothing title of Mes Haines. Zola, pitching overboard many friends, wrote his famous eulogy of Manet in the _Evenement_, and the row he raised was so fierce that he was forced to resign as art critic from that journal. The fight then began in earnest. The story is a thrice-told one. It may be read in Théodore Duret's study of Manet and, as regards Cézanne, in the same critic's volume on Impressionism. Cézanne exhibited in 1874 with Manet and the rest at the impressionists' salon, held at the studio of Nadar the photographer. He had earlier submitted at once to Manet's magic method of painting, but in 1873, at Auvers-sur-Oise, he began painting in the _plein air_ style and with certain modifications adhered to that manner until the time of his death. The amazing part of it all is that he produced for more than thirty years and seldom sold a canvas, seldom exhibited. His solitary appearance at an official salon was in 1882, and he would not have succeeded then if it had not been for his friend Guillaumin, a member of the selecting jury, who claimed his rights and passed in, amid execrations, both mock and real, a portrait by Cézanne.

Called a _communard_ in 1874, Cézanne was saluted with the title of anarchist in 1904, when his vogue had begun; these titles being a species of official nomenclature for all rebels. Thiers, once President of the French Republic, made a _bon mot_ when he exclaimed: "A Romantic--that is to say, Communist!" During his entire career this mild, reserved gentleman from Aix came under the ban of the critics and the authorities, for he had shouldered his musket in 1871, as did Manet, as did Bazille,--who, like Henri Regnault, was killed in a skirmish.

His most virulent enemies were forced to admit that Edouard Manet had a certain facility with the brush; his quality and beauty of sheer paint could not be winked away even by Albert Wolff. But to Cézanne there was no quarter shown. He was called the "Ape of Manet"; he was hissed, cursed, abused; his canvases were spat upon, and as late as 1902, when M. Roujon, the Director of the Beaux-Arts, was asked by Octave Mirbeau to decorate Cézanne, he nearly fainted from astonishment. Cézanne! That barbarian! The amiable director suggested instead the name of Claude Monet. Time had enjoyed its little whirligig with that great painter of vibrating light and water, but Monet blandly refused the long-protracted honour. Another anecdote is related by M. Duret. William II of Germany in 1899 wished to examine with his own eyes, trained by the black, muddy painting of Germany, the canvases of Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Cézanne, and Manet, acquired by Director Tschudi for the Berlin National Gallery. He saw them all except the Cézanne. Herr Tschudi feared that the Parisian fat would be in the imperial fire if the Cézanne picture appeared. So he hid it. As it was his Majesty nodded in emphatic disapproval of the imported purchases. If he had viewed the Cézanne!

At first blush, for those whose schooling has been academic, the Cézanne productions are shocking. Yet his is a personal vision, though a heavy one. He has not a facile brush; he is not a great painter; he lacks imagination, invention, fantasy; but his palette is his own. He is a master of gray tones, and his scale is, as Duret justly observes, a very intense one. He avoids the anecdote, historic or domestic. He detests design, prearranged composition. His studio is an open field, light the chief actor of his palette. He is never conventionally decorative unless you can call his own particular scheme decorative. He paints what he sees without flattery, without flinching from any ugliness. Compared with him Courbet is as sensuous as Correggio. He does not seek for the correspondences of light with surrounding objects or the atmosphere in which Eugène Carrière bathes his portraits, Rodin his marbles. The Cézanne picture does not modulate, does not flow; is too often hard, though always veracious--Cézannes veracity, be it understood. But it is an inescapable veracity. There is, too, great vitality and a peculiar reserved passion, like that of a Delacroix _à ribbers_, and in his still-life he is as great even as Manet.

His landscapes are real, though without the subtle poetry of Corot or the blazing lyricism of Monet. He hails directly from the Dutch: Van der Near, in his night pieces. Yet no Dutchman ever painted so uncompromisingly, so close to the border line that divides the rigid definitions of old-fashioned photography--the "new" photography hugs closely the mellow mezzotint--and the vision of the painter. An eye--nothing more, is Cézanne. He refuses to see in nature either a symbol or a sermon. Withal his landscapes are poignant in their reality. They are like the grill age one notes in ancient French country houses--little caseate cut in the windows through which you may see in vivid outline a little section of the landscape. Cézanne marvellously renders certain surfaces, china, fruit, tapestry.

Slowly grew his fame as a sober, sincere, unaffected workman of art. Disciples rallied around him. He accepted changing fortunes with his accustomed equanimity. Maurice Denis painted for the Champ de Mars Salon of 1901 a picture entitled Homage à Cézanne, after the well-known _hommages_ of Fantin-Latour. This _homage_ had its uses. The disciples became a swelling, noisy chorus, and in 1904 the Cézanne room was thronged by overheated enthusiasts who would have offered violence to the first critical dissident. The older men, the followers of Monet, Manet, Degas, and Whistler, talked as if the end of the world had arrived. Art is a serious affair in Paris. However, after Cézanne appeared the paintings of that half-crazy, unlucky genius, Vincent van Gogh, and of the gifted, brutal Gauguin. And in the face of such offerings Cézanne may yet, by reason of his moderation, achieve the unhappy fate of becoming a classic. He is certainly as far removed from Van Gogh and Gauguin on the one side as he is from Manet and Courbet on the other. Huysmans does not hesitate to assert that Cézanne contributed more to accelerate the impressionist movement than Manet. Paul Cézanne died in Aix, in Provence, October 23, 1906.

Emile Bernard, an admirer, a quasi-pupil of Cézanne's and a painter of established reputation, discoursed at length in the _Mercure de France_ upon the methods and the man. His anecdotes are interesting. Without the genius of Flaubert, Cézanne had something of the great novelist's abhorrence of life--fear would be a better word. He voluntarily left Paris to immure himself in his native town of Aix, there to work out in peace long-planned projects, which would, he believed, revolutionise the technique of painting. Whether for good or evil, his influence on the younger men in Paris has been powerful, though it is now on the wane. How far they have gone astray in imitating him is the most significant thing related by Emile Bernard, a friend of Paul Gauguin and a member of his Pont-Aven school.

In February, 1904, Bernard landed in Marseilles after a trip to the Orient. A chance word told him that there had been installed an electric tramway between Marseilles and Aix. Instantly the name of Cézanne came to his memory; he had known for some years that the old painter was in Aix. He resolved to visit him, and fearing a doubtful reception he carried with him a pamphlet he had written in 1889, an eulogium of the painter. On the way he asked his fellow-travellers for Cézanne's address, but in vain; the name was unknown. In Aix he met with little success. Evidently the fame of the recluse had not reached his birthplace. At last Bernard was advised to go to the Mayor's office, where he would find an electoral list. Among the voters he discovered a Paul Cézanne, who was born January 19, 1839, who lived at 25 Rue Boulegon. Bernard lost no time and reached a simple dwelling house with the name of the painter on the door. He rang. The door opened. He entered and mounted a staircase. Ahead of him, slowly toiling upward, was an old man in a cloak and carrying a portfolio. It was Cézanne. After he had explained the reason for his visit, the old painter cried: "You are Emile Bernard! You are a maker of biographies! Signac"--an impressionist--"told me of you. You are also a painter?" Bernard, who had been painting for years, and was a friend of Signac, was nonplussed at his sudden literary reputation, but he explained the matter to Cézanne, who, however, was in doubt until he saw later the work of his admirer.

He had another atelier a short distance from the town; he called it "The Motive." There, facing Mount Sainte-Victoire, he painted every afternoon in the open; the majority of his later landscapes were inspired by the views in that charming valley. Bernard was so glad to meet Cézanne that he moved to Aix.

In Cézanne's studio at Aix Bernard encountered some extraordinary studies in flower painting and three death heads; also monstrous nudes, giant-like women whose flesh appeared parboiled. On the streets Cézanne was always annoyed by boys or beggars; the former were attracted by his bohemian exterior and to express their admiration shouted at him or else threw stones; the beggars knew their man to be easy and were rewarded by small coin. Although Cézanne lived like a bachelor, his surviving sister saw that his household was comfortable. His wife and son lived in Paris and often visited him. He was rich; his father, a successful banker at Aix, had left him plenty of money; but a fanatic on the subject of art, ceaselessly searching for new tonal combinations, he preferred a hermit's existence. In Aix he was considered eccentric though harmless. His pride was doubled by a morbid shyness. Strangers he avoided. So sensitive was he that once when he stumbled over a rock Bernard attempted to help him by seizing his arm. A terrible scene ensued. The painter, livid with fright, cursed the unhappy young Parisian and finally ran away. An explanation came when the housekeeper told Bernard that her master was a little peculiar. Early in life he had been kicked by some rascal and ever afterward was nervous. He was very irritable and not in good health.

In Bernard's presence he threw a bust made of him by Solari to the ground, smashing it. It didn't please him. In argument he lost his temper, though he recovered it rapidly. Zola's name was anathema. He said that Daumier drank too much; hence his failure to attain veritable greatness. Cézanne worked from six to ten or eleven in the morning at his atelier; then he breakfasted, repaired to the "Motive," there to remain until five in the evening. Returning to Aix, he dined and retired immediately. And he had kept up this life of toil and abnegation for years. He compared himself to Balzac's Frenhofer (in The Unknown Masterpiece), who painted out each day the work of the previous day. Cézanne adored the Venetians--which is curious--and admitted that he lacked the power to realise his inward vision; hence the continual experimenting. He most admired Veronese, and was ambitious of being received at what he called the "Salon de Bouguereau." The truth is, despite Cézanne's long residence in Paris, he remained provincial to the end; his father before becoming a banker had been a hairdresser, and his son was proud of the fact. He never concealed it. He loved his father's memory and had wet eyes when he spoke of him.

Bernard thinks that the vision of his master was defective; hence the sometime shocking deformations he indulged in. "His _optique_ was more in his brain than in his eye." He lacked imagination absolutely, and worked slowly, laboriously, his method one of excessive complication. He began with a shadow, then a touch, superimposing tone upon tone, modelling his paint somewhat like Monticelli, but without a hint of that artist's lyricism. Sober, without rhetoric, a realist, yet with a singularly rich and often harmonious palette, Cézanne reported faithfully what his eyes told him.

It angered him to see himself imitated and he was wrathful when he heard that his still-life pictures were praised in Paris. "That stuff they like up there, do they? Their taste must be low," he would repeat, his eyes sparkling with malice. He disliked the work of Paul Gauguin and repudiated the claim of being his artistic ancestor. "He did not understand me," grumbled Cézanne. He praised Thomas Couture, who was, he asserted, a true master, one who had formed such excellent pupils as Courbet, Manet, and Puvis. This rather staggered Bernard, as well it might; the paintings of Couture and Cézanne are poles apart.

He had, he said, wasted much time in his youth--particularly in literature. A lettered man, he read to Bernard a poem in imitation of Baudelaire, one would say very Baudelairian. He had begun too late, had submitted himself to other men's influence, and wished for half a century that he might "realise"--his favourite expression--his theories. When he saw Bernard painting he told him that his palette was too restricted; he needed at least twenty colours. Bernard gives the list of yellows, reds, greens, and blues, with variations. "Don't make Chinese images like Gauguin," he said another time. "All nature must be modelled after the sphere, cone, and cylinder; as for colour, the more the colours harmonise the more the design becomes precise." Never a devotee of form--he did not draw from the model--his philosophy can be summed up thus: Look out for the contrasts and correspondence of tones, and the design will take care of itself. He hated "literary" painting and art criticism. He strongly advised Bernard to stick to his paint and let the pen alone. The moment an artist begins to explain his work he is done for; painting is concrete, literature deals with the abstract. He loved music, especially Wagner's, which he did not understand, but the sound of Wagner's name was sympathetic, and that had at first attracted him! Pissarro he admired for his indefatigable labours. Suffering from diabetes, which killed him, his nervous tension is excusable. He was in reality an amiable, kind-hearted, religious man. Above all, simple. He sought for the simple motive in nature. He would not paint a Christ head because he did not believe himself a worthy enough Christian. Chardin he studied and had a theory that the big spectacles and visor which the Little Master (the Velasquez of vegetables) wore had helped his vision. Certainly the still-life of Cézanne's is the only modern still-life that may be compared to Chardin's; not Manet, Vollon, Chase has excelled this humble painter of Aix. He called the Écoles des Beaux-Arts the "Bozards," and reviled as farceurs the German secessionists who imitated him. He considered Ingres, notwithstanding his science, a small painter in comparison with the Venetians and Spaniards.

A painter by compulsion, a contemplative rather than a creative temperament, a fumbler and seeker, nevertheless Paul Cézanne has formed a school, has left a considerable body of work. His optic nerve was abnormal, he saw his planes leap or sink on his canvas; he often complained, but his patience and sincerity were undoubted. Like his friend Zola his genius--if genius there is in either man--was largely a matter of protracted labour, and has it not been said that genius is a long labour?

From the sympathetic pen of Emile Bernard we learn of a character living in the real bohemia of Paris painters who might have figured in any of the novels referred to, or, better still, might have been interpreted by Victor Hugo or Ivan Turgenieff. But the Frenchman would have made of Père Tanguy a species of poor Myriel; the Russian would have painted him as he was, a saint in humility, springing from the soil, the friend of poor painters, a socialist in theory, but a Christian in practice. After following the humble itinerary of his life you realise the uselessness of "literary" invention. Here was character for a novelist to be had for the asking. The Crainquebille of Anatole France occurs to the lover of that writer after reading Emile Bernard's little study of Father Tanguy.

His name was Julien Tanguy. He was born in 1825 at Plédran, in the north of France. He was a plasterer when he married. The young couple, accustomed to hardships of all kinds, left Saint-Brieuc for Paris. This was in 1860. After various vicissitudes the man became a colour grinder in the house of Edouard, Rue Clauzel. The position was meagre. The Tanguys moved up in the social scale by accepting the job of concierge somewhere on the Butte Montmartre. This gave Père Tanguy liberty, his wife looking after the house. He went into business on his own account, vending colours in the quarter and the suburbs. He traversed the country from Argenteuil to Barbizon, from Ecouen to Sarcelle. He met Pissarro, Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, all youthful and confident and boiling over with admiration for Corot, Courbet, and Millet. They patronised the honest, pleasant pedlar of colours and brushes, and when they didn't have the money he trusted them. It was his prime quality that he trusted people. He cared not enough for money, as his too often suffering wife averred, and his heart, always on his sleeve, he was an easy mark for the designing. This supreme simplicity led him into joining the Communists in 1871, and then he had a nasty adventure. One day, while dreaming on sentry duty, a band from Versailles suddenly descended upon the outposts. Père Tanguy lost his head. He could not fire on a fellow-being, and he threw away his musket. For this act of "treachery" he was sentenced to serve two years in the galleys at Brest. Released by friendly intervention he had still to remain without Paris for two years more. Finally, entering his beloved quarter he resumed his tranquil occupation, and hearing that the Maison Edouard had been moved from the Rue Clauzel he rented a little shop, where he sold material to artists, bought pictures, and entertained in his humble manner any friend or luckless devil who happened that way. Cézanne and Vignon were his best customers. Guillemin, Pissarro, Renoir, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Oller, Messurer, Augustin, Signac, De Lautrec, symbolists of the Pont-Aven school, neo-impressionists, and the young _fumistes_ of schools as yet unborn, revolutionaries with one shirt to their back, swearing at the official _Salon_ and also swearing by the brotherhood of man (with a capital), assembled in this dingy old shop. Tanguy was a rallying point. He was full of the milk of human kindness, and robbed himself to give a worthless fellow with a hard-luck story some of the sous that should have gone to his wife. Fortunately she was a philosopher as well as an admirable housekeeper. If the rent was paid and there was some soup-meat for dinner she was content. More she could not expect from a man who gave away with both hands. But--and here is the curious part of this narrative of M. Bernard's--Tanguy was the only person in Paris who bought and owned pictures by Cézanne. He had dozens of his canvases stacked away in the rear of his establishment--Cézanne often parted with a canvas for a few francs. When Tanguy was hard up he would go to some discerning amateur and sell for two hundred francs pictures that to-day bring twenty thousand francs. Tanguy hated to sell, especially his Cézannes. Artists came to see them. His shop was the scene of many a wordy critical battle. Gauguin uttered the paradox, "Nothing so resembles a daub as a masterpiece," and the novelist Elémir Bourges cried, "This is the painting of a vintager!" Alfred Stevens roared in the presence of the Cézannes, Anquetin admired; but, as Bernard adds, Jacques Blanche bought. So did Durand-Ruel, who has informed me that a fine Cézanne to-day is a difficult fish to hook. The great public won't have him, and the amateurs who adore him jealously hold on to their prizes.

The socialism of Père Tanguy was of a mild order. He pitied with a Tolstoyan pity the sufferings of the poor. He did not hate the rich, nor did he stand at street corners preaching the beauties of torch and bomb. A simple soul, uneducated, not critical, yet with an instinctive _flair_ for the coming triumphs of his young men, he espoused the cause of his clients because they were poverty-stricken, unknown, and revolutionists--an æsthetic revolution was his wildest dream. He said of Cézanne that "Papa Cézanne always quits a picture before he finishes it. If he moves he lets his canvases lie in the vacated studio." He no doubt benefited by this carelessness of the painter. Cézanne worked slowly, but he never stopped working; he left nothing to hazard, and, astonishing fact, he spent every morning at the Louvre. There he practised his daily scales, optically speaking, before taking up the brush for the day's work. Many of Vincent von Gogh's pictures Tanguy owned. This was about 1886. The eccentric, gifted Dutchman attracted the poor merchant by his ferocious socialism. He was, indeed, a ferocious temperament, working like a madman, painting with his colour tubes when he had no brushes, and literally living in the _boutique_ of Tanguy. The latter always read _Le Cri du Peuple_ and _L'Intransigeant_, and believed all he read. He did not care much for Van Gogh's compositions, no doubt agreeing with Cézanne, who, viewing them for the first time, calmly remarked to the youth, "Sincerely, you paint like a crazy man." A prophetic note! Van Gogh frequented a tavern kept by an old model, an Italian woman. It bore the romantic title of The Tambourine. When he couldn't pay his bills he would cover the walls with furious frescoes, flowers of tropical exuberance, landscapes that must have been seen in a nightmare. He was painting at this time three pictures a day. He would part with a canvas at the extortionate price of a franc.

Tanguy was the possessor of a large portrait by Cézanne, done in his earliest manner. This he had to sell on account of pressing need. Dark days followed. He moved across the street into smaller quarters. The old crowd began to drift away; some died, some had become famous, and one, Van Gogh, shot himself in an access of mania. This was a shock to his friend. A second followed when Van Gogh's devoted brother went mad. Good Father Tanguy, as he was affectionately called, sickened. He entered a hospital. He suffered from a cancerous trouble of the stomach. One day he said to his wife, who was visiting him: "I am bored here... I won't die here... I mean to die in my own home." He went home and died shortly afterward. In 1894 Octave Mirbeau wrote a moving article for the _Journal_ about the man who had never spoken ill of any one, who had never turned from his door a hungry person. The result was a sale organised at the Hôtel Drouot, to which prominent artists and literary folk contributed works. Cazin, Guillemet, Gyp, Maufra, Monet, Luce, Pissarro, Rochegrosse, Sisley, Vauthier, Carrier-Belleuse, Berthe Morisot, Renoir, Jongkind, Raffaelli, *Helleu, Rodin, and many others participated in this noble charity, which brought the widow ten thousand francs. She soon died.

Van Gogh painted a portrait of Tanguy about 1886. It is said to belong to Rodin. It represents the naïve man with his irregular features and placid expression of a stoic; not a distinguished face, but unmistakably that of a gentle soul, who had loved his neighbour better than himself (therefore he died in misery). He it was who may be remembered by those who knew him--and also a few future historians of the futility of things in general--as the man who first made known to Paris the pictures of the timid, obstinate Paul Cézanne. An odd fish, indeed, was this same Julien Tanguy, little father to painters.

II. ROPS THE ETCHER

I

That personality in art counts, next to actual genius, heavier than all other qualities, is such a truism that it is often forgotten. In the enormous mass of mediocre work which is turned out annually by artists of technical talent seldom is there encountered a strong, well-defined personality. Imitation has been called the bane of originality; suppress it as a factor, and nine-tenths of living painters, sculptors, etchers would have to shut up shop. The stencil is the support of many men who otherwise might have become useful citizens, shoemakers, tailors, policemen, or vice-presidents. For this reason the phrase "academic" should be more elastic in its meanings. There are academic painters influenced by Corot or Monticelli, as well as by David, Gros, or Meissonier. The "academic" Rodin has appeared in contemporary sculpture; the great Frenchman found for himself his formula, and the lesser men have appropriated it to their own uses. This is considered legitimate, though not a high order of art; however, the second-rate rules in the market-place, let the genius rage as he will. He must be tamed. He must be softened; his divine fire shaded by the friendly screens of more prudent, more conventional talent. Even among men of genius up on the heights it is the personality of each that enters largely into the equation of their work. No one can confuse Whistler the etcher with the etcher Rembrandt; the profounder is the Dutchman. Yet what individuality there is in the plates of the American! What personality! Now, Félicien Rops, the Belgian etcher, lithographer, engraver, designer, and painter, occupies about the same relative position to Honoré Daumier as Whistler does to Rembrandt. How seldom you hear of Rops. Why? He was a man of genius, one of the greatest etchers and lithographers of his century, an artist with an intense personal line, a colossal workman and versatile inventor--why has he been passed over and inferior men praised?

His pornographic plates cannot be the only reason, because his representative work is free from licence or suggestion. Giulio Romano's illustrations to Aretino's sonnets are not held up as the representative art of this pupil of Raphael, nor are the vulgarities of Rowlandson, Hogarth, George Morland set against their better attempts. Collectors treasure the engravings of the eighteenth-century _éditions des fermiers-généraux_ for their capital workmanship, not for their licentious themes. But Rops is always the Rops of the Pornocrates! After discussing him with some amateurs you are forced to realise that it is his plates in which he gives rein to an unparalleled flow of animal spirits and _gauloiserie_ that are the more esteemed. Rops the artist, with the big and subtle style, the etcher of the Sataniques, of Le Pendu, of La Buveuse d'Absinthe and half a hundred other masterpieces, is set aside for the witty illustrator, with the humour of a Rabelais and the cynicism of Chamfort. And even on this side of his genius he has never been excelled, the Japanese alone being his equals in daring of invention, while he tops them in the expression of broad humour.

In the Luxembourg galleries there is a picture of an interesting man, in an etcher's atelier. It is the portrait of Rops[1] by Mathey, and shows him examining at a window, through which the light pours in, a freshly pulled proof. It depicts with skill the intense expression upon his handsome face, the expression of an artist absolutely absorbed in his work. That is the real Rops. His master quality was intensity. It traversed like a fine keen flame his entire production from seemingly insignificant tail-pieces to his agonised designs, in which luxury and pain are inextricably commingled.

He was born at Namur, Belgium, July 10, 1833, and died at Essonnes, near Paris, August 23,1898. He was the son of wealthy parents, and on one side stemmed directly from Hungary. His grandfather was Rops Lajos, of the province called Alfod. The Maygar predominated. He was as proud and fierce as Goya. A fighter from the beginning, still in warrior's harness at the close, when, "cardiac and impenitent," as he put it, he died of heart trouble. He received at the hands of the Jesuits a classical education. A Latinist, he was erudite as were few of his artistic contemporaries. The mystic strain in him did not betray itself until his third period. He was an accomplished humourist and could generally cap Latin verses with D'Aurevilly or Huysmans. Tertullian's De Cultu Feminarum he must have read, for many of his plates are illustrations of the learned Bishop of Carthage's attitude toward womankind. The hot crossings of blood, Belgian and Hungarian, may be responsible for a peculiarly forceful, rebellious, sensual, and boisterous temperament.

Doubtless the three stadia of an artist's career are the arbitrary classification of critics; nevertheless they are well marked in many cases. Balzac was a romantic, a realist, a mystic; Flaubert was alternately romantic and realist. Tolstoi was never a romantic, but a realist he was, and he is a mystic. Dostoïevski, from whom he absorbed so much, taught him the formulas of his mysticism--though Tolstoi has never felt the life of the soul so profoundly as this predecessor. Ibsen passed through the three stages. Huysmans, never romantic, began as a realistic pessimist and ended as a pessimistic mystic. Félicien Rops could never have been a romantic, though the _macabre_ romanticism of 1830 may be found in his designs. A realist, brutal, bitter, he was in his youth; he saw the grosser facts of life, so often lamentable and tender, in the spirit of a Voltaire doubled by a Rabelais. There is honest and also shocking laughter in these early illustrations. A _fantaisiste_, graceful, delicate--and indelicate--emerged after the lad went up to Paris, as if he had stepped out of the eighteenth century. Rops summed up in his book plates, title-pages, and wood-cuts, illustrations done in a furious speed, all the elegance, the courtly corruption, and Boucher-like luxuriousness that may be detected in the moral _marquetrie_ of the Goncourts. He had not yet said, "Evil, be thou my Good," nor had the mystic delirium of the last period set in. All his afternoons must have been those of a faun--a faun who with impeccable solicitude put on paper what he saw in the heart of the bosk or down by the banks of secret rivers. The sad turpitudes, the casuistry of concupiscence, the ironic discolourations and feverish delving into subterranean moral stratifications were as yet afar. He was young, handsome, with a lithe, vigorous body and the head of an aristocratic Mephistopheles, a head all profile, like the heads of Hungary--Hungary itself, which is all profile. Need we add that after the death of his father he soon wasted a fortune? But the reckless bohemian in him was subjugated by necessity. He set to work to earn his bread. Some conception of his labours for thirty-five years may be gleaned from the catalogue of his work by Erastène Ramiro (whose real name is Eugène Rodrigues). Nearly three thousand plates he etched, lithographed, or engraved, not including his paintings or his experiments in various mediums, such as _vernis mou_ and wood-engraving.

The coarse legends of old Flanders found in Rops their pictorial interpreter. Less cerebral in his abounding youth he made Paris laugh with his comical travesties of political persons, persons in high finance, and also by his shrewd eye for the homely traits in the life of the people. His street scenes are miracles of detail, satire, and fun. The one entitled Spring is the most noted. That legacy of hate, inherited from the 1830 poets, of the bourgeois, was a merry play for Rops. He is the third of the trinity of caricature artists, Daumier and Gavarni being the other two. The liberal pinch of Gallic salt in the earlier plates need not annoy one. Deliberately vulgar he never is, though he sports with things hallowed, and always goes out of his way to insult the religion he first professed. There is in this Satanist a religious _fond_; the very fierceness of his attacks, of his blasphemies, betrays the Catholic at heart. If he did not believe, why should he have displayed such continual scorn? No, Rops was not as sincere as his friends would have us believe. He made his Pegasus plod in too deep mud, and often in his most winged flights he darkened the blue with his satyr-like brutalities. But in the gay middle period his pages overflow with decorative Cupids and tiny devils, joyful girls, dainty amourettes, and Parisian _putti_--they blithely kick their legs over the edges of eternity, and smile as if life were a snowball jest or a game at forfeits. They are adorable. His women are usually strong-backed, robust Amazons, drawn with a swirling line and a Rubens-like fulness. They are conquerors. Before these majestic idols men prostrate themselves.

In his turbulent later visions there is no suspicion of the opium that gave its inspiration to Coleridge, Poe, De Quincey, James Thomson, or Baudelaire. The city of dreadful night shown us by Rops is the city through whose streets he has passed his life long. Not the dream cities of James Ensor or De Groux, the Paris of Rops is at once an abode of disillusionment, of mordant joys, of sheer ecstasy and morbid hallucinations. The opium of Rops is his imagination, aided by a manual dexterity that is extraordinary. He is a master of linear design. He is cold, deadly cold, but correct ever. Fabulous and absurd, delicious and abominable as he may be, his spirit sits critically aloft, never smiling. Impersonal as a toxicologist, he handles his poisonous acids with the gravity of a philosopher and the indifference of a destroying angel. There is a diabolic spleen more strongly developed in Rops than in any of his contemporaries, with the sole exception of Baudelaire, who inspired and spurred him on to astounding atrocities of the needle and acid. This diabolism, this worship of Satan and his works, are sincere in the etcher. A relic of rotten Romanticism, it glows like phosphorescent fire during his last period. The Church has in its wisdom employed a phrase for frigid depravity of the Rops kind, naming it "morose delectation." Morose Rops became as he developed. His private life he hid. We know little or nothing of it save that he was not unhappy in his companionships or choice of friends. He loathed the promiscuous methods by which some men achieve admiration. But secret spleen there must have been--a twist of a painter's wrist may expose his soul. He became a solitary and ate the bitter root of sin, for, cerebral as he is, his discovery of the human soul shows it as ill at ease before its maker. Flaubert has said that "the ignoble is the sublime of the lower slope." But no man may sun himself on this slope by the flames of hell without his soul shrivelling away. Rodin, who admires Rops and has been greatly influenced by him; Rodin, as an artist superior to the Belgian, has revealed less preoccupation with the ignoble; at least, despite his excursions into questionable territory, he has never been carried completely away. He always returns to the sane, to the normal life; but over the volcanic landscapes of Rops are strewn many moral abysses.


II

He had no illusions as to the intelligence and sincerity of those men who, denying free-will, yet call themselves free-thinkers. Rops frankly made of Satan his chief religion. He is the psychologist of the exotic. Cruel, fantastic, nonchalant, and shivering atrociously, his female Satan worshippers go to their greedy master in *fatidical and shuddering attitudes; they submit to his glacial embrace. The acrid perfume of Rops's maleficent genius makes itself manifest in his Sataniques. No longer are his women the embodiment of Corbière's "Éternel féminin de l'éternel jocrisse." Ninnies, simperers, and simpletons have vanished. The poor, suffering human frame becomes a horrible musical instrument from which the artist extorts exquisite and sinister music. We turn our heads away, but the tune of cracking souls haunts our ear. As much to Rops as to Baudelaire, Victor Hugo could have said that he had evoked a new shudder. And singularly enough Rops is in these plates the voice of the mediæval preacher crying out that Satan is alive, a tangible being, going about the earth devouring us; that Woman is a vase of iniquity, a tower of wrath, a menace, not a salvation. His readings of the early fathers and his pessimistic temperamental bent contributed to this truly morose judgment of his mother's sex. He drives cowering to her corner, after her earlier triumphs, his unhappy victim of love, absinthe, and diabolism. Not for an instant does he participate personally in the strained voluptuousness or terrific chastisements of his designs. He has all the old monachal contempt of woman. He is cerebrally chaste. Huysmans, in his admirable essay on Rops, wrote, "Car il n'y a de réellement obscènes que les gens chastes"; which is a neat bit of special pleading and quite sophistical. Rops did not lead the life of a saint, though his devotion to his art was Balzacian. It would be a more subtle sophistry to quote Paul Bourget's aphorism. "There is," he writes, "from the metaphysical observer's point of view, neither disease nor health of the soul; there are only psychological states." The _états d'âmes_ of Félicien Rops, then, may or may not have been morbid. But he has contrived that his wit in its effect upon his spectators is too often profoundly depressing and morbid and disquieting.

The triumphant chorus of Rops's admirers comprises the most critical names in France and Italy: Barbey d'Aurevilly, J.K. Huysmans, Pradelle, Joséphin Péladan--once the _Sâr_ of Babylonian fame--Eugène Demolder, Emile Verhaeren, the Belgian poet; Camille Lemonnier, Champsaur, Arsène Alexandre, Fromentin, Vittorio Pica, De Hérédia, Mallarmé, Octave Uzanne, Octave Mirbeau, the biographer Ramiro and Charles Baudelaire. The last first recognised him, though he never finished the projected study of him as man and artist. In the newly published letters (1841-66) of Baudelaire there is one addressed to Rops, who saw much of the unhappy poet during his disastrous sojourn in Brussels. It was the author of Les Fleurs du Mal who made the clever little verse about "Ce tant bizarre Monsieur Rops... Qui n'est pas un grand prix de Rome, mais dont le talent est haut, comme la pyramide de Chéops."

A French critic has called Rops "a false genius," probably alluding to the malign characters of the majority of his engraved works rather than to his marvellous and fecund powers of invention. Perverse idealist as he was, he never relaxed his pursuit of the perfection of form. He tells us that in 1862 he went to Paris, after much preliminary skirmishing in Belgian reviews and magazines, to "learn his art" with Bracquemond and Jacquemart, both of whom he never ceased praising. He was associated with Daubigny, painter and etcher, and with Courbet, Flameng, and Thérond.

He admired Calmatta and his school--Bal, Franck, Biot, Meunier, Flameng. He belonged to the International Society of Aquafortistes. He worked in aquatint and successfully revived the old process, _vernis mou_. A sober workman, he spent at least fourteen hours a day at his desk. Being musical, he designed some genre pieces, notably that of the truthfully observed Bassoonist. And though not originating he certainly carried to the pitch of the artistically ludicrous those progressive pictures of goats dissolving into pianists; of Liszt tearing passion and grand pianos into tatters. He has contributed to the gaiety of nations with his celebrated design: Ma fille! Monsieur Cabanel, which shows a harpy-like mother presenting her nude daughter as a model for that painter. The malicious ingenuity of Rops never failed him. He produced for years numerous anecdotes in black and white. The elasticity of his line, its variety and richness, the harmonies, elliptical and condensed, of his designs; the agile, fiery movement, his handling of his velvety blacks, his tonal gradations, his caressing touch by which the metal reproduced muscular crispations of his dry-point and the fat silhouettes of beautiful human forms, above all, his virile grasp which is revealed in his balanced ensembles--these prove him to be one of the masters of modern etching. And from his cynical yet truthful motto: "J'appelle un chat un chat," he never swerved.

A student and follower of Jean Francois Millet, several landscapes and pastorals of Rops recall the French painter's style. In his Belgian out-of-doors scenes and interiors the Belgian heredity of Rops projects itself unmistakably. Such a picture as Scandal, for example, might have been signed by Israels. Le Bout de Sillon is Millet, and beautifully drawn. The scheme is trite. Two peasants, a young woman and a young man holding a rope, exchange love vows. It is very simple, very expressive. His portraits of women, Walloons, and of Antwerp are solidly built, replete with character and quaint charm. Charming, too, is the portrait of his great-aunt. Scandal is an ambitious design. A group of women strongly differentiated as to types and ages are enjoying over a table their tea and a choice morsel of scandal. The situation is seized; it is a picture that appeals. Ghastly is his portrait of a wretched young woman ravaged by absinthe. Her lips are blistered by the wormwood, and in her fevered glance there is despair. Another delineation of disease, a grinning, skull-like head with a scythe back of it, is a tribute to the artist's power of rendering the repulsive. His Messalina, Lassatta, La Femme au Cochon, and La Femme au Pantin should be studied. He has painted scissors grinders, flower girls, "old guards," incantations, fishing parties, the rabble in the streets, broom-riding witches, apes, ivory and peacocks, and a notable figure piece, An Interment in the Walloon Country, which would have pleased Courbet.

It is in his incarnations of Satan that Rops is unapproachable. Satan Sowing the Tares of Evil is a sublime conception, truly Miltonic. The bony-legged demon strides across Paris. One foot is posed on Notre Dame. He quite touches the sky. Upon his head is a broad-brimmed peasant's hat, Quaker in shape. Hair streams over his skeleton shoulders. His eyes are gleaming with infernal malice--it is the most diabolic face ever drawn of his majesty; not even Franz Stuck's Satan has eyes so full of liquid damnation. Scattering miniature female figures, like dolls, to the winds, this monster passes over Paris, a baleful typhoon. The moral is not far to seek; indeed, there is generally a moral, sometimes an inverted one, in the Rops etchings. Order Reigns at Warsaw is a grim commentary on Russian politics quite opportune to-day. La Peine de Mort has been used by Socialists as a protest against capital punishment. Les Diables Froids personifies the impassible artist. It is a page torn from the book of hell. Rops had read Dante; he knew the meaning of the lines: "As the rill that runs from Bulicame to be portioned out amid the sinful women"; and more than once he explored the frozen circles of Gehenna. Victor Hugo was much stirred by the design, Le Pendu, which depicts a man's corpse swinging under a huge bell in some vast and immemorial, raven-haunted, decaying tower, whose bizarre and gloomy outlines might have been created by the brain of a Piranesi. An apocalyptic imagination had Félicien Rops.

III. MONTICELLI

I

Poor "Fada"! The "innocent," the inoffensive fool--as they christened that unfortunate man of genius, Adolphe Monticelli, in the dialect of the South, the slang of Marseilles--where he spent the last sixteen years of his life. The richest colourist of the nineteenth century, obsessed by colour, little is known of this Monticelli, even in these days when an artist's life is subjected to inquisitorial methods. Few had written of him in English before W.E. Henley and W.C. Brownell. In France eulogised by Théophile Gautier, in favour at the court, admired by Diaz, Daubigny, Troyon, and Delacroix, his hopes were cracked by the catastrophe of the Franco-Prussian war. He escaped to Marseilles, there to die poor, neglected, half mad. Perhaps he was to blame for his failures; perhaps his temperament was his fate. Yet to-day his pictures are sought for as were those of Diaz two decades ago, though there was a tacit conspiracy among dealers and amateurs not to drag his merits too soon before the foot-lights. In 1900 at the Paris Exposition a collection of his works, four being representative, opened the eyes of critics and public alike. It was realised that Monticelli had not received his proper ranking in the nineteenth-century theatre of painting; that while he owed much to Watteau, to Turner, to Rousseau, he was a master who could stand or fall on his own merits. Since then the Monticelli pictures have been steadily growing in favour.

There is a Monticelli cult. America can boast of many of his most distinguished specimens, while the Louvre and the Luxembourg are without a single one. The Musée de Lille at Marseilles has several examples; the private collections of M. Delpiano at Cannes and a few collections in Paris make up a meagre list. The Comparative Exhibition in New York, 1904, revealed to many accustomed to overpraising Diaz and Fromentin the fact that Monticelli was their superior as a colourist, and a decorator of singularly fascinating characteristics, one who was not always a mere contriver of bacchanalian riots of fancy, but who could exhibit when at his best a _justesse_ of vision and a controlled imagination.

The dictionaries offer small help to the student as to the doings of this erratic painter. He was born October 24, 1824. He died June 29, 1886. He was of mixed blood, Italian and French. His father was a gauger, though Adolphe declared that he was an authentic descendant of the Crusader, Godefroy Monticelli, who married in 1100 Aurea Castelli, daughter of the Duca of Spoleto. Without doubt his Italian blood counted heavily in his work, but whether of noble issue matters little. Barbey d'Aurevilly and Villiers de l'Isle Adam, two men of letters, indulged in similar boasts, and no doubt in their poverty and tribulations the oriflamme of aristocracy which they bravely bore into the café life of Paris was a source of consolation to them. But it is with brains, not blood, that painters mix their pigments, and the legend of high birth can go with the other fictions reported by Henley that Monticelli was an illegitimate offshoot of the Gonzagas; that he was the natural son of Diaz; that Diaz kept him a prisoner for years, to "steal the secret of his colours."

Like many another of his temperament, he had himself to thank for his woes, though it was a streak of ill-luck for him when the Prussians bore down on Paris. He was beginning to be known. A pupil of Raymond Aubert (1781-1857), he was at first a "fanatic of Raphael and Ingres." Delacroix and his violently harmonised colour masses settled the future colourist. He met Diaz and they got on very well together. A Southerner, handsome, passionate, persuasive, dashing, with the eloquence of the meridional, Monticelli and his musical name made friends at court and among powerful artists. In 1870 he started on his walk of thirty-six days from Paris to Marseilles. He literally painted his way. In every inn he shed masterpieces. Precious gold dripped from his palette, and throughout the Rhone valley there are, it is whispered--by white-haired old men the memory of whose significant phrases awakes one in the middle of the night longing for the valley of Durance--that if a resolute, keen-eyed adventurer would traverse unostentatiously the route taken by Monticelli during his Odyssey the rewards might be great. It is an idea that grips one's imagination, but unfortunately it is an idea that gripped the imagination of others thirty years ago. Not an _auberge_, hotel, or hamlet has been left unexplored. The fine-tooth comb of familiar parlance has been sedulously used by interested persons. If there are any Monticellis unsold nowadays they are for sale at the dealers'.

In him was incarnate all that we can conceive as bohemian, with a training that gave him the high-bred manner of a seigneur. He was a romantic, like his friend Félix Ziem--Ziem, Marcellin, Deboutin, and Monticelli represented a caste that no longer exists; bohemians, yes, but gentlemen, refined and fastidious. Yet, after his return to his beloved Marseilles, Monticelli led the life of an August vagabond. In his velvet coat, a big-rimmed hat slouched over his eyes, he patrolled the quays, singing, joking, an artless creature, so good-hearted and irresponsible that he was called "Fada," more in affection than contempt. He painted rapidly, a picture daily, sold it on the _terrasses_ of the cafés for a hundred francs, and when he couldn't get a hundred he would take sixty. Now one must pay thousands for a canvas. His most loving critic, Camille Mauclair, who, above any one, has battled valiantly for his art, tells us that Monticelli once took eighteen francs for a small canvas because the purchaser had no more in his pocket! In this manner he disposed of a gallery. He smoked happy pipes and sipped his absinthe--in his case as desperate an enemy as it had proved to De Musset. He would always doff his hat at the mention of Watteau or Rubens. They were his gods.

When Monticelli arrived in Marseilles after his tramp down from Paris he was literally in rags. M. Chave, a good Samaritan, took him to a shop and togged him out in royal raiment. They left for a promenade, and then the painter begged his friend to let him walk alone so as not to attenuate the effect he was bound to produce on the passersby, such a childish, harmless vanity had he. His delight was to gather a few chosen ones over a bottle of old vintage, and thus with spasmodic attempts at work his days rolled by. He was feeble, semi-paralysed. With the advent of bad health vanished the cunning of his hand. His paint coarsened, his colours became crazier. His pictures at this period were caricatures of his former art. Many of the early ones were sold as the productions of Diaz, just as to-day some Diazs are palmed off as Monticellis. After four years of decadence he died, repeating for months before his taking off: "Je viens de la lune." He was one whose brain a lunar ray had penetrated; but this ray was transposed to a spectrum of gorgeous hues. Capable of depicting the rainbow, he died of the opalescence that clouded his glass of absinthe. _Pauvre Fada!_



II

It is only a coincidence, yet a curious one, that two such dissimilar spirits as Stendhal and Monticelli should have predicted their future popularity. Stendhal said: "About 1880 I shall be understood." Monticelli said in 1870: "I paint for thirty years hence." Both prophecies have been realised. After the exhibition at Edinburgh and Glasgow in 1890 Monticelli was placed by a few discerning critics above Diaz in quality of paint. In 1892 Mr. Brownell said of Monticelli in his French Art--a book that every student and amateur of painting should possess--that the touch of Diaz, patrician as it was, lacked the exquisiteness of Monticelli's; though he admits the "exaggeration of the decorative impulse" in that master. For Henley Monticelli's art was purely sensuous; "his fairy meadows and enchanted gardens are that sweet word 'Mesopotamia' in two dimensions." Henley speaks of his "clangours of bronze and gold and scarlet" and admits that "there are moments when his work is as infallibly decorative as a Persian crock or a Japanese brocade." D.S. MacColl, in his study of Nineteenth-Century Painting, gives discriminating praise: "Monticelli's own exquisite sense of grace in women and invention in grouping add the positive new part without which his art would be the mannerising of Rousseau," while Arthur Symons in his Studies in Seven Arts declares all Monticelli's art "tends toward the effect of music... his colour is mood ... his mood is colour."

It remained, however, for Camille Mauclair, a Parisian critic in sympathy with the arts of design, literature, and music, to place Monticelli in his proper niche. This Mauclair has done with critical tact. In his Great French Painters, the bias of which is evidently strained in favour of the impressionistic school, in his L'Impressionisme, and in his monograph on Watteau this critic declares that Monticelli's art "recalls Claude Lorraine a little and Watteau even more by its sentiment, and Turner and Bonington by its colour... His work has the same subtlety of gradations, the same division into fragments of tones (as in Watteau's 'Embarkment for Cythera'), the same variety of execution, which has sometimes the opaqueness of china and enamel and sometimes the translucence of precious stones or the brilliancy of glass, metal, or oxides and seems to be the result of some mysterious chemistry... Monticelli had an absolutely unique perception of tonalities, and his glance took in certain shades which had not been observed before, which the optic and chromatic science of the day has placed either by proof or hypothesis between the principal tones of the solar spectrum thirty years after Monticelli had fixed them. There is magic and high lyric poetry in his art." I wrote of the Monticellis exhibited at the Comparative Exhibition in New York: "At the opposite end of the room there is A Summer Day's Idyll, upon which Monticelli had squeezed all his flaming tubes. It seems orchestrated in crushed pomegranate, the light suffusing the reclining figures like a jewelled benediction. Marvellous, too, are the colour-bathed creatures in this No Man's Land of drugged dreams... Do not the walls fairly vibrate with this wealth of fairy tints and fantasy?" But it must not be forgotten that he struck other chords besides blazing sun-worshipping. We often encounter landscapes of vaporous melancholy, twilights of reverie. 8888 Monticelli once told an admiring young amateur that in his canvases "the objects are the decorations, the touches are the scales, and the light is the tenor," thereby acknowledging himself that he felt colour as music. There was hyperæsthesia in his case; his eyes were protuberant and, like the ears of violinists, capable of distinguishing quarter tones, even sixteenths. There are affiliations with Watteau; the same gem-like style of laying on the thick pâte, the same delight in fairy-like patches of paint to represent figures. In 1860 he literally resuscitated Watteau's manner, adding a personal note and a richness hitherto unknown to French paint. Mauclair thinks that to Watteau can be traced back the beginnings of modern Impressionism; the division of tones, the juxtaposition of tonalities. Monticelli was the connecting link between Watteau and Monet. The same critic does not hesitate to name Monticelli as one of the great quartet of harmonists, Claude, Turner, Monet being the other three. Taine it was who voiced the philosophy of Impressionism when he announced in his Philosophie de l'Art that the principal personage in a picture is the light in which all things are plunged. Eugène Carrière also asserted that a "picture is the logical development of light." Monticelli before him had said: "In a painting one must sound the _C_. Rembrandt, Rubens, Watteau, all the great ones have sounded the C." His C, his key-note, was the magic touch of luminosity that dominated his picture. Like Berlioz, he adored colour for colour's sake. He had a touch all Venetian in his relation of tones; at times he went in search of chromatic adventures, returning with the most marvellous trophies. No man before or since, not even those practitioners of dissonance and martyrs to the enharmonic scale, Cézanne, Gauguin, or Van Gogh, ever matched and modulated such widely disparate tints; no man before could extract such magnificent harmonies from such apparently irreconcilable tones. Monticelli thought in colour and was a master of orchestration, one who went further than Liszt.

The simple-minded Monticelli had no psychology to speak of--he was a reversion, a "throw back" to the Venetians, the decorative Venetians, and if he had possessed the money or the leisure--he hadn't enough money to buy any but small canvases--he might have become a French Tiepolo, and perhaps the greatest decorative artist of France. Even his most delicate pictures are largely felt and sonorously executed; not "finished" in the studio sense, but complete--two different things.

Fate was against him, and the position he might have had was won by the gentle Puvis de Chavannes, who exhibited a genius for decorating monumental spaces. With his fiery vision, his brio of execution, his palette charged with jewelled radiance, Monticelli would have been the man to have changed the official interiors of Paris. His energy at one period was enormous, consuming, though short-lived--1865-75. His lack of self-control and at times his Italian superficiality, never backed by a commanding intellect, produced the Monticelli we know. In truth his soul was not complicated. He could never have attacked the psychology of Zarathustra, Hamlet, or Peer Gynt. A Salome from him would have been a delightfully decorative minx, set blithely dancing in some many-hued and enchanted garden of Armida. She would never have worn the air of hieratic lasciviousness with which Gustave Moreau inevitably dowered her. There was too much joy of the south in Monticelli's bones to concern himself with the cruel imaginings of the Orient or the grisly visions of the north. He was Oriental _au fond_; but it was the Orientalism of the Thousand and One Nights. He painted scenes from the Decameron, and his _fêtes galantes_ may be matched with Watteau's in tone. His first period was his most graceful; ivory-toned languorous dames, garbed in Second Empire style, languidly stroll in charming parks escorted by fluttering Cupids or stately cavaliers. The "decorative impulse" is here at its topmost. In his second period we get the Decameron series, the episodes from Faust, the Don Quixote--recall, if you can, that glorious tableau with its Spanish group and the long, grave don and merry, rotund squire entering on the scene, a fantastic sky behind them.

Painted music! The ruins, fountains, statues, and mellow herbage abound in this middle period. The third is less known. Extravagance began to rule; scarlet fanfares are sounded; amethysts and emeralds sparkle; yet there is more thematic variety. Voluptuous, perfumed, and semi-tragic notes were uttered by this dainty poet of the carnival of life. The canvas glowed with more reverberating and infernal lights, but lyric ever. Technique, fabulous and feverish, expended itself on flowers that were explosions of colours, on seductive marines, on landscapes of a rhythmic, haunting beauty--the Italian temperament had become unleashed. Fire, gold, and purple flickered and echoed in Monticelli's canvases. Irony, like an insinuating serpent, began to creep into this paradise of melting hues. The masterful gradations of tone became bewildered. Poison was eating the man's nerves. He discarded the brush, and standing before his canvas he squeezed his tubes upon it, literally modelling his paint with his thumb until it almost assumed the relief of sculpture. What a touch he had! What a subtle prevision of modulations to be effected by the careless scratch of his nail or the whip of a knife's edge! Remember, too, that originally he had been an adept in the art of design; he could draw as well as his peers. But he sacrificed form and observation and psychology to sheer colour. He, a veritable discoverer of tones--aided thereto by an abnormal vision--became the hasty improviser, who at the last daubed his canvases with a pasty mixture, as hot and crazy as his ruined soul. The end did not come too soon. A chromatic genius went under, leaving but a tithe of the gleams that illuminated his brain. Alas, poor Fada!



IV. RODIN

I

Rodin, the French sculptor, deserves well of our new century; the old one did so incontinently batter him. The anguish of his own Hell's Portal he endured before he moulded its clay between his thick clairvoyant fingers. Misunderstood, therefore misrepresented, he with his pride and obstinacy aroused--the one buttressing the other--was not to be budged from his formulas and practice of sculpture. Then the world of art swung unwillingly and unamiably toward him, perhaps more from curiosity than conviction. Rodin became famous. And he is more misunderstood than ever. His very name, with its memory of Eugène Sue's romantic rancour--you recall that impossible and diabolic Jesuit Rodin in The Mysteries of Paris?--has been thrown in his teeth. He has been called _rusé_, even a fraud; while the wholesale denunciation of his work as erotic is unluckily still green in our memory. The sculptor, who in 1877 was accused of "faking" his life-like Age of Brass--now at the Luxembourg--by taking a mould from the living model, also experienced the discomfiture of being assured some years later that, not knowing the art of modelling, his statue of Balzac was only an evasion of difficulties. And this to the man who had in the interim wrought so many masterpieces.

To give him his due he stands prosperity not quite as well as he did poverty. In every great artist there is a large area of self-esteem; it is the reservoir which he must, during years of drought and defeat, draw upon to keep his soul fresh. Without the consoling fluid of egoism, genius must perish in the dust of despair. But fill this source to the brim, accelerate the speed of its current, and artistic deterioration may ensue. Rodin has been called, fatuously, the second Michael Angelo--as if there could ever be a replica of any human. He has been hailed as a modern Praxiteles. And he is often damned as a myopic decadent whose insensibility to pure line and deficiency in constructional power have been elevated by his admirers into sorry virtues. Yet is Rodin justly appraised? Do his friends not overdo their glorification, his critics their censure? Nothing so stales a demigod's image as the perfumes burned before it by his worshippers; the denser the smoke the sooner crumble the feet of their idol.

However, in the case of Rodin the fates have so contrived their malicious game that at no point of his career has he been without the company of envy, chagrin, and slander. Often, when he had attained a summit, he would find himself thrust down into a deeper valley. He has mounted to triumphs and fallen to humiliations, but his spirit has never been quelled, and if each acclivity he scales is steeper, the air atop has grown purer, more stimulating, and the landscape spreads wider before him. He can say with Dante: "La montagna che drizza voi che il mondo fece torti." Rodin's mountain has always straightened in him what the world made crooked. The name of his mountain is Art. A born non-conformist, Rodin makes the fourth of that group of nineteenth-century artists--Richard Wagner, Henrik Ibsen, and Edouard Manet--who taught a deaf and blind world to hear and see and think and feel.

Is it not dangerous to say of a genius that his work alone should count, that his life is negligible? Though Rodin has followed Flaubert's advice to artists to lead ascetic lives that their art might be the more violent, nevertheless his career, colourless as it may seem to those who better love stage players and the watery comedies of society--this laborious life of a poor sculptor--is not to be passed over if we are to make any estimate of his art. He, it is related, always becomes enraged at the word "inspiration," enraged at the common notion that fire descends from heaven upon the head of the favoured neophyte of art. Rodin believes in but one inspiration--nature. He swears he does not invent, but copies nature. He despises improvisation, has contemptuous words for "fatal facility," and, being a slow-moving, slow-thinking man, he admits to his councils those who have conquered art, not by assault, but by stealth and after years of hard work. He sympathises with Flaubert's patient toiling days, he praises Holland because after Paris it seemed slow. "Slowness is a beauty," he declared. In a word, Rodin has evolved a theory and practice of his art that is the outcome--like all theories, all techniques--of his own temperament. And that temperament is giant-like, massive, ironic, grave, strangely perverse at times; and it is the temperament of a magician doubled by that of a mathematician.

Books are written about him. De Maupassant describes him in Notre Coeur with picturesque precision. He is tempting as a psychologic study. He appeals to the literary, though he is not "literary." His modelling arouses tempests, either of dispraise or idolatry. To see him steadily, critically, after a visit to his studios in Paris or Meudon, is difficult. If the master be there then you feel the impact of a personality that is as cloudy as the clouds about the base of a mountain and as impressive as the mountain. Yet a pleasant, unassuming, sane man, interested in his clay--absolutely--that is, unless you discover him to be more interested in humanity. If you watch him well you may find yourself well watched; those peering eyes possess a vision that plunges into your soul. And the soul this master of marbles sees as nude as he sees the human body. It is the union of artist and psychologist that places Rodin apart. These two arts he practises in a medium that has hitherto not betrayed potentialities for such almost miraculous performances. Walter Pater is quite right in maintaining that each art has its separate subject-matter; nevertheless, in the debatable province of Rodin's sculpture we find strange emotional power, hints of the art of painting and a rare musical suggestiveness. But this is not playing the game according to the rules of Lessing and his Laocoön.

Let us drop this old æsthetic rule of thumb and confess that during the last century a new race of artists sprang up from some strange element and, like flying-fish, revealed to a wondering world their composite structures. Thus we find Berlioz painting with his instrumentation; Franz Liszt, Tschaikowsky, and Richard Strauss filling their symphonic poems with drama and poetry, and Richard Wagner inventing an art which he believed to embrace the seven arts. And there is Ibsen, who used the dramatic form as a vehicle for his anarchistic ideas; and Nietzsche, who was such a poet that he was able to sing a mad philosophy into life; and Rossetti, who painted poems and made poetry that is pictorial. Sculpture was the only art that had resisted this universal disintegration, this imbroglio of the arts. No sculptor before Rodin had dared to break the line, dared to shiver the syntax of stone. For sculpture is a static, not a dynamic art--is it not? Let us observe the rules, though we preserve the chill spirit of the cemetery. What Mallarmé attempted to do with French poetry Rodin accomplished in clay. His marbles do not represent but present emotion, are the evocation of emotion itself; as in music, form and substance coalesce. If he does not, as did Mallarmé, arouse "the silent thunder afloat in the leaves," he can summon from the vasty deep the spirits of love, hate, pain, despair, sin, beauty, ecstasy; above all, ecstasy. Now the primal gift of ecstasy is bestowed upon few. In our age Keats had it, and Shelley; Byron, despite his passion, missed it, and so did Wordsworth. We find it in Swinburne, he had it from the first; but few French poets have it. Like the "cold devils" of Félicien Rops, coiled in frozen ecstasy, the blasts of hell about them, Charles Baudelaire can boast the dangerous attribute. Poe and Heine knew ecstasy, and Liszt also; Wagner was the master adept of his century. Tschaikowsky followed him close; and in the tiny piano scores of Chopin ecstasy is pinioned in a few bars, the soul often rapt to heaven in a phrase. Richard Strauss has shown a rare variation on the theme of ecstasy; voluptuousness troubled by pain, the soul tormented by stranger nuances.

Rodin is of this tormented choir; he is master of its psychology. It may be the decadence, as any art is in decadence which stakes the parts against the whole. The same was said of Beethoven by the followers of Haydn, and the successors of Richard Strauss will be surely abused quite as violently as the Wagnerites abuse Strauss to-day--employing against him the same critical artillery employed against Wagner. That this ecstasy should be aroused by pictures of love and death, as in the case of Poe and Baudelaire, Wagner and Strauss, must not be adjudged as a black crime. In the Far East they hypnotise neophytes with a bit of broken mirror, for in the kingdom of art, as in the Kingdom of Heaven, there are many mansions. Possibly it was a relic of his early admiration and study of Baudelaire that set Wagner to extorting ecstasy from his orchestra by images of death and love; and no doubt the temperament which seeks such combinations--a temperament commoner in mediæval days than ours--was inherent in Wagner. He makes his Isolde sing mournfully and madly over a corpse and, throwing herself upon the dead body of Tristan, die shaken by the sweet cruel pains of love. Richard Strauss closely patterns after Wagner in his Salome, there is the head of a dead man, and there is the same dissolving ecstasy. Both men play with similar counters--love and death, and death and love. And so Rodin. In Pisa we may see (attributed by Vasari) Orcagna's fresco of the Triumph of Death. The sting of the flesh and the way of all flesh are inextricably blended in Rodin's Gate of Hell. His principal reading for forty years has been Dante and Baudelaire. The Divine Comedy and Les Fleurs du Mal are the key-notes in this white symphony of Auguste Rodin's. Love and life and bitterness and death rule the themes of his marbles. Like Beethoven and Wagner he breaks the academic laws of his art, but then he is Rodin, and where he achieves magnificently lesser men would miserably perish. His large tumultuous music is for his chisel alone to ring out and sing.


II

The first and still the best study of Rodin as man and thinker is to be found in a book by Judith Cladel, the daughter of the novelist (author of Mes Paysans). She named it Auguste Rodin, pris sur la vie, and her pages are filled with surprisingly vital sketches of the workaday Rodin. His conversations are recorded; altogether this little picture has much charm and proves what Rodin asserts--that women understand him better than men. There is a fluid, feminine, disturbing side to his art and nature very appealing to emotional women. Mlle. Cladel's book has also been treasure-trove for the anecdote hunters; all have visited her pages. Camille Mauclair admits his indebtedness; so does Frederick Lawton, whose big volume is the most complete life (probably official) that has thus far appeared, either in French or English. It is written on the side of Rodin, like Mauclair's more subtle study, and like the masterly criticism of Roger Marx. Born at Paris in 1840--the natal year of his friends Claude Monet and Zola--and in humble circumstances, not enjoying a liberal education, the young Rodin had to fight from the beginning, fight for bread as well as an art schooling. He was not even sure of a vocation. An accident determined it. He became a workman in the atelier of Carrier-Belleuse, the sculptor, but not until he had failed at the Beaux-Arts (which was a stroke of luck for his genius) and after he had enjoyed some tentative instruction under the great animal sculptor, Barye. He was never a steady pupil of Barye, nor did he long remain with him. He went to Belgium and "ghosted" for other sculptors; indeed, it was a privilege, or misfortune, to have been the "ghost"--anonymous assistant--for half a dozen sculptors. He learned his technique by the sweat of his brow before he began to make music upon his own instrument.

How his first work, The Man With the Broken Nose, was refused by the Salon jury is history. He designed for the Sèvres porcelain works; he made portrait busts, architectural ornaments for sculptors, caryatides; all styles that are huddled in the yards and studios of sculptors he had essayed and conquered. No man knew his trade better, although we are informed that with the chisel of the _practicien_ Rodin was never proficient--he could not or would not work at the marble _en bloc_. His works to-day are in the leading museums of the world and he is admitted to have "talent" by the academic men. Rivals he has none, nor will he have successors. His production is too personal. Like Richard Wagner, Rodin has proved a Upas tree for many lesser men--he has reflected or else absorbed them. His closest friend, the late Eugène Carrière, warned young sculptors not to study Rodin too curiously. Carrière was wise, but his own art of portraiture was influenced by Rodin; swimming in shadow, his enigmatic heads have a suspicion of the quality of sculpture--Rodin's--not the mortuary art of so much academic sculpture.

A profound student of light and of movement, Rodin, by deliberate amplification of the surfaces of his statues, avoiding dryness and harshness of outline, secures a zone of radiancy, a luminosity, which creates the illusion of reality. He handles values in clay as a painter does his tones. He gets the design of the outline by movement which continually modifies the anatomy--the secret, he believes, of the Greeks. He studies his profiles successively in full light, obtaining volume--or planes--at once and together; successive views of one movement. The light plays with more freedom upon his amplified surfaces--intensified in the modelling by enlarging the lines. The edges of certain parts are amplified, deformed, falsified, and we see that light-swept effect, that appearance as if of luminous emanations. This deformation, he declares, was practised by the great sculptors to snare the undulating appearance of life. Sculpture, he asserts, is the "art of the hole and the lump, not of clear, well-smoothed, unmodelled figures." Finish kills vitality. Yet Rodin can chisel a smooth nymph for you if he so wills, but her flesh will ripple and run in the sunlight. His art is one of accents. He works by profile in depth, not by surfaces. He swears by what he calls "cubic truth"; his pattern is a mathematical figure; the pivot of art is balance, _i.e._, the oppositions of volume produced by movement. Unity haunts him. He is a believer in the correspondences of things, of the continuity in nature; a mystic as well as a geometrician. Yet such a realist is he that he quarrels with any artist who does not see "the latent heroic in every natural movement."

Therefore he does not force the pose of his model, preferring attitudes or gestures voluntarily adopted. His sketch-books, as copious, as vivid as the drawings of Hokusai--he is very studious of Japanese art--are swift memoranda of the human machine as it dispenses its normal muscular motions. Rodin, draughtsman, is as surprising and original as Rodin, sculptor. He will study a human foot for months, not to copy it, but to possess the secret of its rhythms. His drawings are the swift notations of a sculptor whose eye is never satisfied, whose desire to pin on paper the most evanescent movements of the human machine is almost a mania. The French sculptor avoids studied poses. The model tumbles down anywhere, in any contortion or relaxation he or she wishes. Practically instantaneous is the method adopted by Rodin to preserve the fleeting attitudes, the first shiver of surfaces. He draws rapidly with his eye on the model. It is a mere scrawl, a few enveloping lines, a silhouette. But vitality is in it; and for his purposes a mere memorandum of a motion. A sculptor has made these extraordinary drawings not a painter. It will be well to observe the distinction. He is the most rhythmic sculptor of them all. And rhythm is the codification of beauty. Because he has observed with a vision quite virginal he insists that he has affiliations with the Greeks. But if his vision is Greek his models are Parisian, while his forms are more Gothic than the pseudo-Greek of the academy. As W.C. Brownell wrote years ago: "Rodin reveals rather than constructs beauty... no sculptor has carried expression further; and expression means individual character completely exhibited rather than conventionally suggested." Mr. Brownell was also the first critic to point out that Rodin's art was more nearly related to Donatello than to Michael Angelo. He is in the legitimate line of French sculpture, the line of Goujon, Puget, Rude, Barye. Dalou did not hesitate to assert that the Dante portal is "one of the most, if not the most, original and astonishing pieces of sculpture of the nineteenth century."

This Dante Gate, begun more than twenty years ago, not finished yet, and probably never to be, is an astounding fugue, with death, the devil, hell, and the passions as a horribly beautiful four-voiced theme. I saw the composition a few years ago at the Rue de l'Université atelier. It is as terrifying a conception as the Last Judgment; nor does it miss the sonorous and sorrowful grandeur of the Medici Tombs. Yet how different, how feverish, how tragic! Like all great men working in the grip of a unifying idea, Rodin modified the old technique of sculpture so that it would serve him as plastically as does sound a musical composer. A deep lover of music, his inner ear may dictate the vibrating rhythms of his forms--his marbles are ever musical; not "frozen music" as Goethe said of Gothic architecture, but silent swooning music. This gate is a Frieze of Paris, as deeply significant of modern aspiration and sorrow as the Parthenon Frieze is the symbol of the great clear beauty of Hellas. Dante inspired this monstrous and ennobled masterpiece, but Baudelaire filled many of its chinks and crannies with writhing ignoble shapes; shapes of dusky fire that, as they tremulously stand above the gulf of fears, wave ineffectual desperate hands. Heine in his Deutschland asks:

    Kennst du die Hölle des Dante nicht,
      Die schreckliche Terzetten?
    Wen da der Dichter hineingesperrt
      Den kann kein Gott mehr retten.

And from the "singing flames" of Rodin there is no rescue.

But he is not all tragedy and hell fire. Of singular delicacy, of exquisite proportions are his marbles of youth, of springtide, and the desire of life. In 1900, at his special exhibition, Paris, Europe, and America awoke to these haunting visions. Not since Keats or Swinburne has love been sung so sweetly, so romantically, so fiercely. Though he disclaims understanding the Celtic spirit, one could say that there is Celtic magic, Celtic mystery in his work. He pierces to the core the frenzy and joy of love and translates them in beautiful symbols. Nature is for him the sole theme; his works are but variations on her promptings. He knows the emerald route and all the semitones of sensuousness. Fantasy, passion, even paroxysmal madness there are; yet what elemental power in his Adam as the gigantic first _homo_ painfully heaves himself up from the earth to that posture which differentiates him from the beasts. Here, indeed, the two natures are at strife. And Mother Eve, her expression suggesting the sorrows and shames that are to be the lot of her seed; her very loins seem crushed by the ages that are hidden within them. You may walk freely about the burghers of Calais, as did Rodin when he modelled them; that is one secret of the group's vital quality. About all his statues you may walk--he is not a sculptor of one attitude, but a hewer of men and women. Consider the Balzac. It is not Balzac the writer of novels, but Balzac the prophet, the seer, the great natural force--like Rodin himself. That is why these kindred spirits converse across the years, as do the Alpine peaks in that striking parable of Turgenieff's. No doubt in bronze the Balzac will arouse less wrath from the unimaginative; in plaster it produces the effect of some surging monolith of snow.

As a portraitist of his contemporaries Rodin is the unique master of character. His women are gracious, delicious masks; his men cover many octaves in virility and variety. That he is extremely short-sighted has not been dealt with in proportion to the significance of this fact. It accounts for his love of exaggerated surfaces, his formless extravagance, his indefiniteness in structural design; possibly, too, for his inability, or let us say lack of sympathy, for the monumental. He is essentially a sculptor of the intimate emotions; he delineates passion as a psychologist; and while we think of him as a cyclops wielding a huge hammer destructively, he is often ardent in his search of subtle nuance. But there is breadth even when he models an eyelid. Size is only relative. We are confronted by the paradox of an artist as torrential, as apocalyptic as Rubens and Wagner, carving with a style wholly charming a segment of a baby's back so that you exclaim, "Donatello come to life!" His slow, defective vision, then, may have been his salvation; he seems to rely as much on his delicate tactile sense as on his eyes. His fingers are as sensitive as a violinist's. At times he seems to model tone and colour. A marvellous poet, a precise sober workman of art, with a peasant strain in him like Millet, and, like Millet, very near to the soil; a natural man, yet crossed by nature with a perverse strain; the possessor of a sensibility exalted, and dolorous; morbid, sick-nerved, and as introspective as Heine; a visionary and a lover of life, very close to the periphery of things; an interpreter of Baudelaire; Dante's alter ego in his vast grasp of the wheel of eternity, in his passionate fling at nature; withal a sculptor, always profound and tortured, translating rhythm and motion into the terms of sculpture. Rodin is a statuary who, while having affinities with both the classic and romantic schools, is the most startling artistic apparition of his century. And to the century he has summed up so plastically and emotionally he has also propounded questions that only the unborn years may answer. He has a hundred faults to which he opposes one imperious excellence--a genius, sombre, magical, and overwhelming.



V. EUGÈNE CARRIÈRE

Death has consecrated the genius of three great painters happily neglected and persecuted during their lifetime--Manet, Monticelli, and Carrière. Though furiously opposed, Manet was admitted to the Luxembourg by the conditions of the Caillebotte legacy. There that ironic masterpiece, Olympe--otherwise known as the Cat and Cocotte--has hung for the edification of intelligent amateurs, though it was only a bequest of triumphant hatred in official eyes. And now the lady with her cat and negress is in the Louvre, in which sacrosanct region she, with her meagre, subtle figure, competes among the masterpieces. Yet there were few dissenting voices. Despite its temperamental oscillations France is at bottom sound in the matter of art. Genius may starve, but genius once recognised, the apotheosis is logically bound to follow. No fear of halls of fame with a French Poe absent.

Eugène Carrière was more fortunate than his two famous predecessors. He toiled and suffered hardship, but before his death he was officially acknowledged though never altogether approved by the Salon in which he exhibited; approved or understood. He fought under no banner. He was not an impressionist. He was not a realist. Certainly he could be claimed by neither the classics nor romantics. A "solitary" they agreed to call him; but his is not the hermetic art of such a solitary as Gustave Moreau. Carrière, on the contrary, was a man of marked social impulses, and when in 1889 he received the Legion of Honour, he was enabled to mingle with his equals--he had been almost unknown until then. He was the most progressive spirit among his brethren. Nowadays he is classed as an Intimist, in which category and with such men as Simon Bussy, Ménard, Henri le Sidaner, Emile Wéry, Charles Cottet, Lucien Simon, Edouard Vuillard, the Griveaus, Lomont, Lobre, and others, he is still their master, still the possessor of a highly individualised style, and in portraiture the successor to such diverse painters as Prudhon, Ricard, and Whistler.

Gabriel Seailles has written a study, Eugène Carrière, l'Homme et l'Artiste, and Charles Morice has published another, Eugène Carrière. The latter deals with the personality and ideas of one of the most original thinkers among modern French painters. We have spoken of the acerbity of Degas, of his wit, so often borrowed by Whistler and Manet; we have read Eugène Fromentin's delightful, stimulating studies of the old masters, but we doubt if Fromentin was as profound a thinker as Carrière. Degas is not, though he deals in a more acid and dangerous form of aphorism. It is one of the charms of the eulogy of M. Morice to find embalmed therein so many phrases and speeches of the dead painter. He was both poet and philosopher, let us call him a seer, for his work fully bears out this appellation. A grand visionary, he well deserves Jean Dolent's description of his pictures as "realities having the magic of a dream."

Carrière's career was in no wise extraordinary. He fled to no exotic climes as did Paul Gauguin. His only tragedy was the manner of his death. For three years previous he suffered the agonies of a cancer. His bravery was admirable. No one heard him complain. He worked to the last, worked as he had worked his life long, untiringly. Morice gives a "succinct biography" at the close of his study. From it we learn that Eugène Carrière was born January 29, 1849, at Gournay (Seine-Inférieure); that he made his first steps in art at the Strasbourg Academy; in 1869 he entered the Beaux-Arts, in Cabanel's class. Penniless, he earned a precarious existence in designing industrial objects. In 1870 he was made prisoner by the Prussians, with the garrison of Neuf-Brisach, and taken to Dresden, where he was confined in prison. After peace had been declared he resumed his studies at the Beaux-Arts. In 1877 he married--an important event in his art; thenceforward Madame Carrière and the children born to them were his continual models, both by preference and also by force of circumstances--he was too poor in the beginning to hire professional models. He spent six months in London, which may or may not account for his brumous colour; and in 1879, when he was thirty years old, he exposed in the Salon of that year his Young Mother, the first of a long series of Maternities. He was violently attacked by the critics, and as violently defended. During the same year he attempted to win the "prix de Rome" and gained honours for his sketch. Luckily he did not attain this prize; and, still more luck, he left the school.

In 1884 he received an honourable mention for a child's portrait; in 1885 a medal for his Sick Child, bought by the State; in 1886 Le Premier voile was bought by the State and he was proposed for a medal of honour and--singular dream of Frenchmen--he was decorated in 1889. He died March 27, 1906. Not a long, but a full life, a happy one, and at the last, glory--"_le soleil des morts_," as Balzac said--and a competence for his dear ones. And it is to the honour of such writers as Roger Marx, Anatole France, Hamel, Morice, Mauclair, Verhaeren, Geffroy, that they recognised the genius of Carrière from the beginning. In 1904 Carrière was made honorary president of the Autumn Salon and was the chief guest of these young painters, who really adored Paul Cézanne, and not the painter of an illusive psychology. I wrote at that time: "Carrière, whose delicately clouded portraits, so intimate in their revelation of the souls of his sitters, was not seen at his best. He offered a large decorative panel for the Mairie of the Thirteenth Arrondissement, entitled Les Fiancés, a sad-looking betrothal party ... the landscape timid, the decorative scheme not very effective... His tender notations of maternity, and his heads, painted with the smoky enchantments of his pearly gray and soft russet, are more credible than this _panneau_." Was Carrière a decorative painter by nature--setting aside training? We doubt it, though Morice does not hesitate to name him after Puvis de Chavannes in this field. The trouble is that he did not make many excursions into the larger forms. He painted a huge canvas, Les Théâtres Populaires, in which the interest is more intimate than epical. He also did some decorations for the Hotel de Ville, The Four Ages for a Mairie, and the Christ at the Luxembourg and a view of Paris. Nevertheless, it is his portraits that will live.

Carrière was, first and last, a symbolist. There he is related to the Dutch Seer, Rembrandt; both men strove to seek for the eternal correspondence of things material and spiritual; both sought to bring into harmony the dissonance of flesh and the spirit. Both succeeded, each in his own way--though we need not couple their efforts on the technical side. Rembrandt was a prophet. There is more of the reflective poet in Carrière. He is a mystic. His mothers, his children, are dreams made real--the magic of which Dolent speaks is always there. To disengage the personality of his sitter was his first idea. Slowly he built up those volumes of colour, light, and shadow, the solidity of which caused Rodin to exclaim: "Carrière is also a sculptor!" Slowly and from the most unwilling sitter he extorted the secret of a soul. We speak of John Sargent as the master psychologist among portraitists, a superiority he himself has never assumed; but that magnificent virtuoso, an aristocratic Frans Hals, never gives us the indefinite sense of things mystic beneath the epidermis of poor, struggling humanity as does Eugène Carrière. Sargent is too magisterial a painter to dwell upon the infinite little soul-stigmata of men and women. Who can tell the renunciations made by the Frenchman in his endeavour to wrest the enigma of personality from its abysmal depths?

As Canaille Mauclair says: "Carrière was first influenced by the Spaniards, then by Ver Meer and Chardin ... formerly he coloured his canvas with exquisite delicacy and with a distinction of harmonies that came very near to Whistler's. Now he confines himself to bistre, black and white, to evoke those dream pictures, true images of souls, which make him inimitable in our epoch and go back to Rembrandt's chiaroscuro." Colour went by the board at the last, and the painter was dominated by expression alone. His gamut of tones became contracted. "Physical magnetism" is exactly the phrase that illuminates his later methods. Often cavernous in tone, sooty in his blacks, he nevertheless contrives a fluid atmosphere, the shadows floating, the figure floating, that arrests instant attention. He became almost sculptural, handled his planes with imposing breadth, his sense of values was strong, his gradations and degradation of tones masterly; and he escaped the influences of the new men in their researches after luminosity at all hazards. He considered impressionism a transition; after purifying muddy palettes of the academics, the division-of-tones painters must necessarily return to lofty composition, to a poetic simplicity with nature, to a more rarefied psychology.

Carrière, notwithstanding his nocturnal reveries, his sombre colouring, was not a pessimist. Indeed, the reverse. His philosophy of life was exalted--an exalted socialism. He was, to employ Nietzsche's pithy phrase, a "Yes-Sayer"; he said "Yes" to the universe. A man of vigorous affirmations, he worshipped nature, not for its pictorial aspects, but for the god which is the leaf and rock and animal, for the god that beats in our pulses and shines in the clear sunlight. Nor was it vague, windy pantheism, this; he was a believer--a glance at his Christ reveals his reverence for the Man of Sorrows--and his religious love and pity for mankind was only excelled by his hatred of wrong and oppression. He detested cruelty. His canvases of childhood, in which he exposes the most evanescent gesture, exposes the unconscious helplessness of babyhood, are so many tracts--if you choose to see them after that fashion--in behalf of mercy to all tender and living things. He is not, however, a sentimentalist. His family groups prove the absence of theatrical pity. Because of his subtle technical method, his manner of building up his heads in a misty medium and then abstracting their physical non-essentials, his portraits have a metaphysical meaning--they are a _Becoming_, not a _Being_, tangible though they be. Their fluid rhythms lend to them almost the quality of a perpetual rejuvenescence. This may be an illusion, but it tells us of the primary intensity of the painter's vision. Withal, there is no scene of the merely spectral, no optical trickery. The waves of light are magnetic. The picture floats in space, seemingly compelled by its frame into limits. Gustave Geffroy once wrote that, in common with the great masters, Carrière, on his canvas, gives a sense of volume and weight. Whatever he sacrificed, it was not actuality. His draughtsmanship never falters, his touch is never infirm.

I have seen his portraits of Verlaine, Daudet, Edmond de Goncourt, Geffroy, of the artist himself and many others. The Verlaine is a veritable evocation. It was painted at one _séance_ of several hours, and the poet, it is said, did not sit still or keep silence for a moment. He was hardly conscious that he was being painted. What a head! Not that of the old faun and absinthe-sipping vagabond of the Latin quarter, but the soul that lurked somewhere in Verlaine; the dreamer, not the mystifier, the man crucified to the cross of aspiration by his unhappy temperament. Musician and child, here is the head of one of those pious, irresponsible mendicants who walked dusty roads in the Middle Ages. It needed an unusual painter to interpret an unusual poet.

The Daudet face is not alone full of surface character, but explains the racial affinities of the romancer. Here he is David, not Daudet. The head of De Goncourt gives in a few touches--Carrière is ever master of the essential--the irritable pontiff of literary impressionism. Carrière was fond of repeating: "For the artist the forms evoke ideas, sensations, and sentiments; for the poet, sensations, ideas, sentiments evoke forms." Never expansively lyrical as was Monticelli, Carrière declared that a picture is the logical development of light. And on the external side his art is a continual variation with light as a theme. Morice contends that he was a colourist; that the blond of Rubens and the russet of Carrière are not monochromes; that polychromy is not the true way of seeing nature coloured. Certainly Carrière does not sacrifice style, expression, composition for splashing hues. Yet his illuminating strokes appear to proceed from within, not from without. He interrogates nature, but her answer is a sober, not a brilliant one. Let us rather say that his colouring is adequate--he always asserted that a sense of proportion was success in art. His tone is peculiarly personal; he paints expressions, the fleeting shades that cross the face of a man, a woman, a child. He patiently awaits the master trait of a soul and never misses it, though never displaying it with the happy cruelty of Sargent and always judging mercifully. Notwithstanding his humble attitude in the presence of nature, he is the most self-revealing of painters. Few before him ever interpreted maternity as he has done.

Carrière is not a virtuoso. He is an initiator--a man of rare imagination. Above all, he escapes the rhetoric of the schools. His apprehension of character is that of sympathetic genius. He divines the emotions, especially in those souls made melancholy by sorrow; uneasy, complex, feverish souls; them that hide their griefs, and souls saturated with the ennuis of existence--to all he is interpreter and consoler. He has pictured the _Weltschmerz_ of his age; and without morbid self-enjoyment. A noble soul, an elevating example to those artists who believe that art and life may be dissociated. Carrière has left no school, though his spiritual influence has been great. A self-contained artist, going his own way, meditating deeply on art, on life, his canvases stand for his singleness and purity of purpose. On the purely pictorial side he is, to quote M. Mauclair, "an absolutely surprising painter of hands and glances."

In the sad and anxious rectitude of his attire the artistic interest in modern man is concentrated upon his head and hands; and upon these salient points Carrière focussed his art. Peaceful or disquieted, his men and women belong to our century. Spiritually Eugène Carrière is the lineal descendant of the Rembrandt school--but one who has read Dostoïevsky.



VI. DEGAS

Let us suppose that gay old misogynist Arthur Schopenhauer persuaded to cross the Styx and revisiting the earth. Apart from his disgust if forced to listen to the music of his self-elected disciple Richard Wagner, what painted work would be likely to attract him? Remember he it was who named Woman the knock-kneed sex--since the new woman is here it matters little if her figure conforms to old-fashioned, stupid, masculine standards of beauty. But wouldn't the nudes of Degas confirm the Frankfort philosopher in his theories regarding the "long-haired, short-brained, unæsthetic sex," and also confirm his hatred for the exaggerations of poet and painter when describing or depicting her? We fear that Schopenhauer would smile his malicious smile and exclaim: "At last the humble truth!" It is the presentation of the humble truth that early snared the affections of Degas, who has with a passionate calm pursued the evanescent appearances of things his entire life. No doubt death will find him pencil in hand. You think of Hokusai, the old man mad with paint, when the name of Degas is mentioned. He was born in Paris July 19, 1834--his full name is Hilaire Germain Edgard (or Edgar)--and there is one phrase that will best describe his career: He painted. Like Flaubert, he never married, but lived in companionship with his art. Such a mania could have been described by Balzac. Yet no saner art ever issued from a Parisian atelier; sane, clear, and beautiful.

Degas is a painter's painter. For him the subject is a peg upon which to hang superb workmanship. In amazement the public asked: How could a man in the possession of his powers shut himself up in a studio to paint ballet girls, washerwomen, jockeys, drabs of Montmartre, shopgirls, and horses? Even Zola, who should have known better, would not admit that Degas was an artist fit to be compared with such men as Flaubert and Goncourt; but Zola was never the realist that is Degas. Now it is difficult to keep asunder the names of Goncourt and Degas. To us they are too often unwisely bracketed. The style of the painter has been judged as analogous to the novelist's; yet, apart from a preference for the same subjects for the "modernity" of Paris, there is not much in Degas that recalls Goncourt's staccato, febrile, sparkling, "decomposed", impressionistic prose. Both men are brilliant, though not in the same way. Pyrotechnics are abhorrent to Degas. He has the serenity, sobriety, and impersonality of the great classic painters. He is himself a classic.

His legend is slender. Possessing a private income, he never was preoccupied with the anxieties of selling his work. He first entered the atelier of Lamotte, but his stay was brief. In the studio of Ingres he was, so George Moore declares, the student who carried out the lifeless body of the painter when Ingres fell in his fatal fit. There is something peculiarly interesting about this anecdote for the tradition of Ingres has been carried on by Degas. The greatest master of pure line, in his portraits and nudes--we have forgotten his chilly _pastiches_ of Raphael--of the past century, Ingres has been and still is for Degas a god on the peaks of Parnassus. Degas is an Ingres who has studied the Japanese. Only such men as Pollajuolo and Botticelli rank with Degas in the mastery of rhythmic line. He is not academic, yet he stems from purest academic traditions. He is not of the impressionists, at least not in his technical processes, but he associated with them, exhibited with them (though rarely), and is as a rule confused with them. He never exhibited in the Salons, he has no disciples, yet it is doubtful if any painter's fashion of seeing things has had such an influence on the generation following him. The name of Degas, the pastels of Degas, the miraculous draughtsmanship of Degas created an imponderable fluid which still permeates Paris. Naturally, after the egg trick was discovered we encounter scores of young Columbuses, who paint ballet girls' legs and the heads of orchestral musicians and scenes from the racing paddock.

Degas had three painters who, if any, might truthfully call themselves his pupils. These are Mary Cassatt, Alexis Rouart, and Forain. The first has achieved solid fame. The last is a remarkable illustrator, who "vulgarised" the austere methods of his master for popular Parisian consumption. That Renoir, Raffaelli, and Toulouse-Lautrec owe much to Degas is the secret of Polichinello. This patient student of the Tuscan Primitives, of Holbein, Chardin, Delacroix, Ingres, and Manet--the precepts of Manet taught him to sweeten the wiriness of his modelling and modify his tendency to a certain hardness--was willing to trust to time for the verdict of his rare art. He associated daily with Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Whistler, Duranty, Fantin-Latour, and the crowd that first went to the Café Guerbois in the Batignolles--hence the derisive nickname, "The Batignolles School"; later to the Nouvelle Athènes, finally to the Café de la Rochefoucauld. A hermit he was during the dozen hours a day he toiled, but he was a sociable man, nevertheless, a cultured man fond of music, possessing a tongue that was feared as much as is the Russian knout. Mr. Moore has printed many specimens of his caustic wit. Whistler actually kept silent in his presence--possibly expecting a repetition of the _mot_: "My dear friend, you conduct yourself in life just as if you had no talent at all." Manet good-naturedly took a browbeating, but the Academic set were outraged by the irreverence of Degas. What hard sayings were his! Poor Bastien-Lepage, too, came in for a scoring. Barricaded in his studio, it was a brave man who attempted to force an entrance. The little, round-shouldered artist, generally good-tempered, would pour a stream of verbal vitriol over the head of the unlucky impertinent.

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

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

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

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



VII. BOTTICELLI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



VIII. SIX SPANIARDS

"EL GRECO"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



"VELASQUEZ"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



GOYA

I

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

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

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

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

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

Curiously enough, this Goya, who from the first plucked success from its thorny setting, was soon forgotten, and until Gautier in 1840 recorded his impressions in his brilliant Voyage en Espagne, critical literature did not much concern itself with the versatile Spaniard. And Gautier's sketch of a few pages still remains the most comprehensive estimate. From it all have been forced to borrow; Richard Muther in his briskly enthusiastic monograph and the section in his valuable History of Modern Painting[2]; Charles Yriarte, Will Rothenstein, Lafond, Lefort, Condé de la Vinaza--all have read Gautier to advantage. Valerian von Loga has devoted a study to the etchings, and Don Juan de la Rada has made a study of the frescoes in the church of San Antonio de la Florida; Carl Justi, Stirling Maxwell, C.G. Hartley should also be consulted. Yriarte is interesting, inasmuch as he deals with the apparition of Goya in Rome, an outlaw, but a blithe one, who, notebook in hand, went through the Trastevere district sketching with ferocious rapidity the attitudes and gestures of the vivacious population. A man after Stendhal's heart, this Spaniard. And in view of his private life one is tempted to add--and after the heart, too, of Casanova. Notwithstanding, he was an unrivalled interpreter of child-life. Some of his painted children are of a dazzling sweetness.


GOYA


II

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

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

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

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

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

FORTUNY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



SOROLLA Y BASTIDA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



IGNACIO ZULOAGA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IX. CHARDIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



X. BLACK AND WHITE.

I

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

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



PIRANESI


I

"Battlements that on their restless fronts bore stars" is a line from Wordsworth that Thomas de Quincey approvingly quotes in regard to his opium-induced "architectural dreams," and, aptly enough, immediately after a page devoted to Piranesi, the etcher, architect, and visionary. You may find this page in The Confessions of an English Opium Eater, that book of terror, beauty, mystification, and fudge (De Quincey deluded himself quite as much as his readers in this autobiography, which, like the confessions of most distinguished men, must not be taken too literally): "Many years ago," he wrote, "when I was looking over Piranesi's Antiquities of Rome, Mr. Coleridge, who was standing by, described to me a set of plates by that artist, called his Dreams, which record the scenery of his own soul during the delirium of a fever. Some of them (described only from memory of Mr. Coleridge's account) represented vast Gothic halls, on the floor of which stood all sorts of engines and machinery expressive of enormous power put forth and resistance overcome. Creeping along the sides of the walls, you perceived a staircase, and upon it, groping his way upward, was Piranesi himself. Follow the stairs a little farther and you perceive it to come to a sudden, abrupt termination, without any balustrade, and allowing no step onward to him who had reached the extremity, except into the depths below. Whatever is to become of poor Piranesi? You suppose, at least, that his labours must in some way terminate here. But raise your eyes, and behold a second flight of stairs still higher, on which again Piranesi is perceived, by this time standing on the very brink of the abyss. Again elevate your eyes, and a still more aerial flight of stairs is beheld, and again is poor Piranesi on his aspiring labours, and so on, until the unfinished stairs and Piranesi both are lost in the upper gloom of the hall."

This plate was evidently one of the Carceri set--sixteen in all--which the etcher improvised after some severe cerebral malady. What would we not give to have heard the poet of Kubla Khan describing the fantastic visions of the Venetian artist to the English opium eater! The eloquence of the prose passage we have transcribed has in it some faint echoes of Coleridge's golden rumble. That these two men appreciated the Italian is something; perhaps they saw chiefly in his work its fantastic side. There was no saner craftsman than Piranesi apart from certain of his plates; no more solid construction in a print can be shown than his various interpretations of the classic ruins of Rome, the temples at Pæstum. He was a great engraver and etcher whose passion was the antique. He deliberately withdrew from all commerce with the ideas and art of his own times. He loved architecture for architecture's sake; not as a decoration, not as a background for humanity, but as something personal. It was for him what the human face was for Rembrandt and Velasquez. That he was called the Rembrandt of Architecture is but another testimony to the impression he made upon his contemporaries, though the title is an unhappy one. Piranesi even in his own little fenced-off coign of art is not comparable to the etcher of the Hundred Guilder print, nor are there close analogies in their respective handling of darks and lights.

It might be nearer the mark to call Piranesi--though all such comparisons are thorns in the critical flesh--the Salvator Rosa of architecture, for there is much of Salvator's unbridled violence, fantasy, and genius for deforming the actual that is to be encountered in some of Piranesi's works. His was not a classic temperament. The serene, airy, sun-bathed palaces and temples which Claude introduced into his foregrounds are seldom encountered in Piranesi. A dark Gothic imagination his, Gothic and often cruel. In his etching of public buildings at Rome or elsewhere, while he is not always faultless in drawing or scrupulous in observation, such was the sincerity and passion of the man that he has left us the noblest transcriptions of these stately edifices and monuments. It is in the rhythmic expression of his personal moods that his sinister romantic imaginings are revealed, and with a detail and fulness that are positively overwhelming.

It should not be forgotten that in the eighteenth and in the early part of the nineteenth centuries Piranesi achieved widespread popularity. He was admired outside of Italy, in England, in France, and Germany. A generation that in England read Vathek and Mrs. Radcliffe, supped on the horrors of Melmoth and Frankenstein, knew E.T.W. Hoffmann and the German romantic literature, could be relied on to take up Piranesi, and for his lesser artistic side. Poe knew his work and Baudelaire; we see that for De Quincey he was a kindred spirit. The English mezzotinter John Martin must have studied him closely, also Gustave Doré.

The Carceri (1750) of Piranesi are indoor compositions, enclosed spaces in which wander aimlessly or deliriously the wraiths of damned men, not a whit less wretched nor awful than Dante's immemorial mob. Piranesi shows us cavernous abodes where appalling engines of torture fill the foreground, while above, at vertiginous heights, we barely discern perilous passageways, haunted windows peering out upon the high heavens, stone-fretted ceilings that are lost in a magic mist. By a sort of diabolic modulation the artist conducts our eye from these dizzy angles and granitic convolutions down tortuous and tumultuous staircases that seemingly wind about the axis of eternity. To traverse them would demand an eternity and the nerves of a madman. Lower barbaric devices reveal this artist's temperament. He is said to have executed the prison set "during the delirium of fever." This is of the same calibre as the clotted nonsense about Poe composing when intoxicated or Liszt playing after champagne. It is a credible anecdote for Philistines who do not realise that even the maddest caprice, whether in black and white, marble, music, or verse, must be executed in silence and cold blood. Piranesi simply gave wing to his fancy, recalling the more vivid of his nightmares--as did Coleridge, De Quincey, Poe, Baudelaire, and the rest of the drug-steeped choir. We recall one plate of Piranesi's in which a miserable devil climbs a staircase suspended over an abyss; as he mounts each step the lower one crumbles into the depths below.

The agony of the man (do you recall The Torture by Hope of Villiers de l'Isle-Adam?) is shown in his tense, crouching attitude, his hands clawing the masonry above him. Nature is become a monstrous fever, existence a shivering dread. You overhear the crash of stone into the infernal cellarage--where awaits the hunted wretch perhaps a worse fate than on the pinnacles above. It is a companion piece to Martin's Sadak searching for the Waters of Oblivion. Another plate depicts with ingenuity terraces superimposed upon terraces, archways spaced like massive music, narrow footways across which race ape-like men, half naked, eagerly preparing some terrible punishments for criminals handcuffed and guarded. They are to walk a sharp-spiked bridge. Gigantic chains swing across stony precipices, a lamp depends from a roof whose outlines are merged in the gray dusk of dreams. There is cruelty, horror, and a sense of the wickedly magnificent in the ensemble. What crimes were committed to merit such atrocious punishment? The boldness and clearness of it all! With perspicacity George Saintsbury wrote of Flaubert's Temptation of Saint Anthony: "It is the best example of dream literature that I know--most writers who have tried this style have erred, inasmuch as they have endeavoured to throw a portion of the mystery with which the waking mind invests dreams over the dream itself. Any one's experience is sufficient to show that this is wrong. The events of dreams, as they happen, are quite plain and matter of fact, and it is only in the intervals that any suspicion occurs to the dreamer."

Certainly Piranesi remembered his dreams. He is a realist in his delineation of details, though the sweep and breadth of an ideal design are never absent. He portrays ladders that scale bulky joists, poles of incredible thickness, cyclopean block and tackling. They are of wood, not metal nor marble, for the art of Piranesi is full of discriminations. Finally, you weary. The eye gorged by all the mystic engines, hieroglyphs of pain from some impossible inquisition--though not once do we see a monkish figure--all these anonymous monkey men scurrying on what errand Piranesi alone knows; these towering arches, their foundations resting on the crest of hell (you feel the tremendous impact of the architectural mass upon the earth--no mean feat to represent or rather to evoke the sense of weight, of pressure on a flat surface); the muffled atmosphere in these prisons from which no living prisoner emerges; of them all you weary, for the normal brain can only stand a certain dose of the delirious and the melancholy. This aspect, then, of Piranesi's art, black magic in all its potency, need no longer detain us. His Temples of Pæstum sound a less morbid key than his Carceri, and as etchings quite outrank them.



II

Giambattista Piranesi was born at Venice in 1720. Bryan says that about 1738 his father sent him to Rome, where he studied under Valeriani, through whom he acquired the style of Valeriani's master, Marco Ricci of Belluno. With Vasi, a Sicilian engraver, he learned that art. Ricci and Pannini were much in vogue, following the example of Claude in his employment of ruins as a picturesque element in a composition. But Piranesi excelled both Ricci and Pannini. He was an architect, too, helping to restore churches, and this accounts for the proud title, Architect of Venice, which may be seen on some of his plates. He lived for a time in Venice, but Rome drew him to her with an imperious call. And, notwithstanding the opposition of his father, to Rome he went, and for forty years devoted himself to his master passion, the pictorial record of the beloved city, the ancient portions of which were fast vanishing owing to time and the greed of their owners. This was Piranesi's self-imposed mission, begun as an exalted youth, finished as an irritable old man. Among his architectural restorations, made at the request of Clement XIII, were the two churches of Santa Maria del Popolo and Il Priorato. Lanciani says that Il Priorato is "a mass of monstrosities inside and out." It is his etching, not his labour as an architect, that will make Piranesi immortal. He seems to have felt this, for he wrote that he had "executed a work which will descend to posterity and will last so long as there will be men desirous of knowing all that has survived the ruins of the most famous city of the universe."

In the black-and-white portrait of the etcher by F. Polonzani, we see a full-cheeked man with a well-developed forehead, the features of the classic Roman order, the general expression not far removed from a sort of sullen self-satisfaction. But the eyes redeem. They are full, lustrous, penetrating, and introspective. The portrait etched by the son of Piranesi, after a statue, discovers him posed in a toga, the general effect being classic and consular. His life, like that of all good workmen in art, was hardly an eventful one. He married precipitately and his wife bore him two sons (Francesco, the etcher, born at Rome, 1748--Bryan gives the date as 1756--died at Paris, 1810) and a daughter (Laura, born at Rome, 1750--date of death unknown). These children were a consolation to him. Both were engravers. Francesco frequently assisted his father in his work, and Bryan says that Laura's work resembled her father's. She went to Paris with her brother and probably died there. She left some views of Rome. Francesco, with his brother Pietro, attempted to found an academy in Paris and later a terra cotta manufactory.

The elder Piranesi was of a quarrelsome disposition. He wrangled with an English patron, Viscount Charlemont, and, like Beethoven, destroyed title-pages when he became displeased with the subject of his dedications. He was decorated with the Order of Christ and was proud of his membership in the London Society of Antiquaries. It is said that the original copper plates of his works were captured by a British man-of-war during the Napoleonic conflict. This probably accounts for the dissemination of so many revamped and coarsely executed versions of his compositions. His besetting fault was a tendency toward an Egyptian blackness in his composition. Fond of strong contrasts as was John Martin, he is, at times, as great a sinner in the handling of his blacks. An experimenter of audacity, Piranesi's mastery of the technique of etching has seldom been equalled, and even in his inferior work the skilful printing atones for many defects. The remarkable richness and depth of tone, brought about by continuous and innumerable bitings, and other secret processes known only to himself, make his plates warm and brilliant. Nobility of form, grandeur of mass, a light and shade that is positively dramatic in its dispersion over wall and tower, are the characteristic marks of this unique etcher. He could not resist the temptation of dotting with figures the huge spaces of his ruins. They dance or recline or indulge in uncouth gestures. His shadows are luminous--you may gaze into them; his high lights caught on some projection or salient cornice or silvering the August porticoes of a vanished past, all these demonstrate his feeling for the dramatic. And dramatic is the impression evoked as you study the majestic temples that were Pæstum, the bare, ruined arches and pillars that were Rome. It is Pæstum that is the more vivid. It tallies, too, with the Piranesi plates; while Rome has visibly changed since his day. His original designs for chimneys, Diverse Maniere d'Adornare i Camini, are pronounced by several critics as "foolish and vulgar." He left nearly two thousand etchings, and died at Rome November 9, 1778. His son erected a mediocre statue by Angolin for his tomb in Il Priorato. A manuscript life of Piranesi, which was in London about 1830, is now lost. Bryan's dictionary gives a partial list of his works "as published both by himself in Rome and by his sons in Paris. The plates passed from his sons first to Firmin-Didot, and ultimately into the hands of the Papal Government."

De Quincey's quotation of Wordsworth is apposite in describing Piranesi's creations: "Battlements that on their restless fronts bore stars"; from sheer brutal masonry, gray, aged, and moss-encrusted, he invented a precise pattern and one both passionate and magical.



MERYON


Until the recent appearance of the Baudelaire letters (1841-66) all that we knew of Meryon's personality and art was to be found in the monograph by Philippe Burty and Béraldi's Les Graveurs du XIX Siècle. Hamerton had written of the French etcher in 1875 (Etching and Etchers), and various anecdotes about his eccentric behaviour were public property. Frederick Wedmore, in his Etching in England, did not hesitate to group Meryon's name with Rembrandt's and Jacquemart's (one feels like employing the Whistlerian formula and asking: Why drag in Jacquemart?); and to-day, after years of critical indifference, the unhappy copper-scratcher has come into his own. You may find him mentioned in such company as Dürer, Rembrandt, and Whistler. The man who first acclaimed him as worthy of associating with Rembrandt was the critic Charles Baudelaire; and we are indebted to him for new material dealing with the troubled life of Charles Meryon.

On January 8, 1860, Baudelaire wrote to his friend and publisher, Poulet-Malassis, that what he intends to say is worth the bother of writing. Meryon had called, first sending a card upon which he scrawled: "You live in a hotel the name of which doubtless attracted you because of your tastes." Puzzled by this cryptic introduction, the poet then noted that the address read: Charles Baudelaire, Hôtel de Thébes. He did not stop at a hotel bearing that name, but, fancying him a Theban, Meryon took the matter for granted. This letter was forwarded. Meryon appeared. His first question would have startled any but Baudelaire, who prided himself on startling others. The etcher, looking as desperate and forlorn as in the Bracquemond etched portrait (1853), demanded news of a certain Edgar Poe. Baudelaire responded sadly that he had not known Poe personally. Then he was eagerly asked if he believed in the reality of this Poe. Charles began to suspect the sanity of his visitor. "Because," added Meryon, "there is a society of littérateurs, very clever, very powerful, and knowing all the ropes." His reasons for suspecting a cabal formed against him under the guise of Poe's name were these: The Murders in the Rue Morgue. "I made a design of the Morgue--an orang-outang. I have been often compared to a monkey. This orang-outang assassinated two women, a mother and daughter. Et moi aussi, j'ai assassiné moralement deux femmes, la mère et sa fille. I have always taken this story as an allusion to my misfortunes. You, M. Baudelaire, would do me a great favour if you could find the date when Edgar Poe, supposing he was not assisted by any one, wrote his tale. I wish to see if this date coincides with my adventures." After that Baudelaire knew his man.

Meryon spoke with admiration of Michelet's Jeanne d'Arc, though he swore the book was not written by Michelet. (Not such a wild shot, though not correct in this particular instance, for the world has since discovered that several books posthumously attributed to Michelet were written by his widow.) The etcher was interested in the cabalistic arts. On one of his large plates he drew some eagles, and when Baudelaire objected that these birds did not frequent Parisian skies he mysteriously whispered "those folks at the Tuileries" often launched as a rite the sacred eagles to study the omens and presages. He was firmly convinced of this. After the termination of the trying visit Baudelaire, with acrid irony, asks himself why he, with his nerves usually unstrung, did not go quite mad, and he concludes, "Seriously I addressed to Heaven the grateful prayers of a pharisee."

In March the same year he assures the same correspondent that decidedly Meryon does not know how to conduct himself. He knows nothing of life, neither does he know how to sell his plates or find an editor. His work is very easy to sell. Baudelaire was hardly a practical business man, but, like Poe, he had sense enough to follow his market. He instantly recognised the commercial value of Meryon's Paris set, but knew the etcher was a hopeless character. He wrote to Poulet-Malassis concerning a proposed purchase of Meryon's work by the publisher. It never came to anything. The etcher was very suspicious as to paper and printing. He grew violent when the poet asked him to illustrate some little poems and sonnets. Had he, Meryon, not written poems himself? Had not the mighty Victor Hugo addressed flattering words to him? Baudelaire, without losing interest, then thought of Daumier as an illustrator for a new edition of Les Fleurs du Mal. It must not be supposed, however, that Meryon was ungrateful. He was deeply affected by the praise accorded him in Baudelaire's Salon of 1859. He wrote in February, 1860, sending his Views of Paris to the critic as a feeble acknowledgment of the pleasure he had enjoyed when reading the brilliant interpretative criticism. He said that he had created an epoch in etching--which was the literal truth--and he had saved a rapidly vanishing Paris for the pious curiosity of future generations. He speaks of his "naïve heart" and hoped that Baudelaire in turn would dream as he did over the plates. This letter was signed simply "Meryon, 20 Rue Duperré." The acute accent placed over the "e" in his name by the French poet and by biographers, critics, and editors since was never used by the etcher. It took years before Baudelaire could persuade the Parisians that Poe did not spell his name "Edgard Poë." And we remember the fate of Liszt and Whistler, who were until recently known in Paris as "Litz" and "Whistler." With the aid of Champfleury and Banville, Baudelaire tried to bring Meryon's art to the cognisance of the Minister of Beaux-Arts, but to no avail. Why?

There was a reason. Bohemian as was the artist during the last decade of his life, he did not always haunt low cafés and drink absinthe. His beginnings were as romantic as a page of Balzac. He was born a gentleman _à la main gauche_. His father was the doctor and private secretary of Lady Stanhope. Charles Lewis Meryon was an English physician, who, falling in love with a ballet dancer at the Opéra, Pierre Narcisse Chaspoux, persuaded her that it would be less selfish on her part if she would not bind him to her legally. November 23,1821, a sickly, nervous, and wizened son was born to the pair and baptised with his father's name, who, being an alien, generously conceded that much. There his interest ceased. On the mother fell the burden of the boy's education. At five he was sent to school at Passy and later went to the south of France. In 1837 he entered the Brest naval school, and 1839 saw him going on his maiden voyage. This first trip was marred by the black sorrow that fell upon him when informed of his illegitimate birth. "I was mad from the time I was told of my birth," he wrote, and until madness supervened he suffered from a "wounded imagination." He was morbid, shy, and irritable, and his energy--the explosive energy of this frail youth was amazing; because he had been refused the use of a ship boat he wasted three months digging out a canoe from a log of wood. Like Paul Gauguin, he saw many countries, and his eyes were trained to form, though not colour--he suffered from Daltonism--for when he began to paint he discovered he was totally colour-blind. The visible world for him existed as a contrapuntal net-work of lines, silhouettes, contours, or heavy dark masses. When a sailor he sketched. Meryon tells of the drawing of a little fungus he found in Akaroa. "Distorted in form and pinched and puny from its birth, I could not but pity it; it seemed to me so entirely typical of the inclemency and at the same time of the whimsicality of an incomplete and sickly creation that I could not deny it a place in my _souvenirs de voyage_, and so I drew it carefully." This bit of fungus was to him a symbol of his own gnarled existence.

Tiring of ship life, he finally decided to study art. He had seen New Zealand, Australia, Italy, New Caledonia, and if his splendid plate--No. 22 in M. Burty's list--is evidence, he must have visited San Francisco. Baudelaire, in L'Art Romantique, speaks of this perspective of San Francisco as being Meryon's most masterly design. In 1846 he quit seafaring. He was in mediocre health, and though from a cadet he had attained the rank of lieutenant it was doubtful if he would ever rise higher. His mother had left him four thousand dollars, so he went over to the Latin Quarter and began to study painting. That he was unfitted for, and meeting Eugène Bléry he became interested in etching. A Dutch seventeenth-century etcher and draughtsman, Reiner Zeeman by name, attracted him. He copied, too, Ducereau and Nicolle. "An etching by the latter of a riverside view through the arch of a bridge is like a link between Meryon and Piranesi," says D.S. MacColl. Meryon also studied under the tuition of a painter named Phelippes. He went to Belgium in 1856 on the invitation of the Duc d'Aremberg, and in 1858 he was sent to Charenton suffering from melancholy and delusions. He left in a year and returned to Paris and work; but, as Baudelaire wrote, a cruel demon had touched the brain of the artist. A mystic delirium set in. He ceased to etch, and evidently suffered from the persecution madness. In every corner he believed conspiracies were hatching. He often disappeared, often changed his abode. Sometimes he would appear dressed gorgeously at a boulevard café in company with brilliant birds of prey; then he would be seen slinking through mean streets in meaner rags. There are episodes in his life that recall the career of another man of genius, Gerard de Nerval, poet, noctambulist, suicide. It is known that Meryon destroyed his finest plates, but not in a mad fit. Baudelaire says that the artist, who was a perfectionist, did not wish to see his work suffer from rebiting, so he quite sensibly sawed up the plates into tiny strips. That he was suspicious of his fellow-etchers is illustrated in the story told by Sir Seymour Haden, who bought several of his etchings from him at a fair price. Two miles away from the atelier the Englishman was overtaken by Meryon. He asked for the proofs he had sold, "as they were of a nature to compromise him"; besides, from what he knew of Haden's etchings he was determined that his proofs should not go to England. Sir Seymour at once returned the etchings. Now, whether Meryon's words were meant as a compliment or the reverse is doubtful. He was half crazy, but he may have seen through a hole in the millstone.

Frederick Keppel once met in Paris an old printer named Beillet who did work for Meryon. He could not always pay for the printing of his celebrated Abside de Notre Dame, a masterpiece, as he hadn't the necessary ten cents. "I never got my money!" exclaimed the thrifty printer. Enormous endurance, enormous vanity, diseased pride, outraged human sentiment, hatred of the Second Empire because of the particular clause in the old Napoleonic code relating to the research of paternity; an irregular life, possibly drugs, certainly alcoholism, repeated rejections by the academic authorities, critics, and dealers of his work--these and a feeble constitution sent the unfortunate back to Charenton, where he died February 14, 1868. Baudelaire, his critical discoverer, had only preceded him to a lunatic's grave six months earlier. Inasmuch as there is a certain family likeness among men of genius with disordered minds and instincts, several comparisons might be made between Meryon and Baudelaire. Both were great artists and both were born with flawed, neurotic systems. Dissipation and misery followed as a matter of course.

Charles Meryon was, nevertheless, a sane and a magnificent etcher. He executed about a hundred plates, according to Burty. He did not avoid portraiture, and to live he sometimes manufactured pot-boilers for the trade. To his supreme vision was joined a miraculous surety of touch. Baudelaire was right--those plates, the Paris set, so dramatic and truthful in particulars, could have been sold if Meryon, with his wolfish visage, his fierce, haggard eyes, his gruff manner, had not offered them in person. He looked like a vagabond very often and too often acted like a brigand. The Salon juries were prejudiced against his work because of his legend. Verlaine over again! The etchings were classic when they were born. We wonder they did not appeal immediately. To-day, if you are lucky enough to come across one, you are asked a staggering price. They sold for a song--when they did sell--during the lifetime of the artist. Louis Napoleon and Baron Haussmann destroyed picturesque Paris to the consternation of Meryon, who to the eye of an archæologist united the soul of an artist. He loved old Paris. We can evoke it to-day, thanks to these etchings, just as the Paris of 1848 is forever etched in the pages of Flaubert's L'Education Sentimentale.

But there is hallucination in these etchings, beginning with Le Stryge, and its demoniac leer, "insatiable vampire, l'eternelle luxure." That gallery of Notre Dame, with Wotan's ravens flying through the slim pillars from a dream city bathed in sinister light, is not the only striking conception of the poet-etcher. The grip of reality is shown in such plates as Tourelle, Rue de la Tisseranderie, and La Pompe, Notre Dame. Here are hallucinations translated into the actual terms of art, suggesting, nevertheless, a solidity, a sharpness of definition, withal a sense of fluctuating sky, air, clouds that make you realise the _justesse_ of Berenson's phrase--tactile values. With Meryon the tactile perception was a sixth sense. Clairvoyant of images, he could transcribe the actual with an almost cruel precision. Telescopic eyes his, as MacColl has it, and an imagination that perceived the spectre lurking behind the door, the horror of enclosed spaces, and the mystic fear of shadows--a Poe imagination, romantic, with madness as an accomplice in the horrible game of his life. One is tempted to add that the romantic imagination is always slightly mad. It runs to seed in darkness and despair. The fugitive verse of Meryon is bitter, ironical, defiant; a whiff from an underground prison, where seems to sit in tortured solitude some wretch abandoned by humanity, a stranger even at the gates of hell.

Sir Seymour Haden has told us that Meryon's method was to make a number of sketches, two or three inches square, of parts of his picture, which he put together and arranged into a harmonious whole. Herkomer says that he "used the burin in finishing his bitten work with marvellous skill. No better combination can be found of the harmonious combination of the two." Burty declared that "Meryon preserves the characteristic detail of architecture... Without modifying the aspect of the monument he causes it to express its hidden meaning, and gives it a broader significance by associating it with his own thought." His employment of a dull green paper at times showed his intimate feeling for tonalities. He is, more so than Piranesi, the Rembrandt of architecture. Hamerton admits that the French etcher was "one of the greatest and most original artists who have appeared in Europe," and berates the public of the '60s for not discovering this. Then this writer, copying in an astonishingly wretched manner several of Meryon's etchings, analysing their defects as he proceeds, asserts that there is false tonality in Le Stryge. "The intense black in the street under the tower of St. Jacques destroys the impression of atmosphere, though at a considerable distance it is as dark as the nearest raven's wing, which cannot relieve itself against it. This may have been done in order to obtain a certain arrangement of black and white patches," etc. This was done for the sheer purpose of oppositional effects. Did Hamerton see a fine plate? The shadow is heavy; the street is in demi, not total, obscurity; the values of the flying ravens and the shadow are clearly enunciated. The passage is powerful, even sensational, and in the Romantic, Hugoesque key. Hamerton is wrong. Meryon seldom erred. His was a temperament of steel and fire.



JOHN MARTIN, MEZZOTINTER


The sitting-room was long and narrow. A haircloth sofa of uncompromising rectitude was pushed so close to the wall that the imprints of at least two generations of heads might be discerned upon the flowered wall-paper--flowers and grapes of monstrous size from some country akin to that visited by the Israelitish spies as related in the Good Book. A mahogany sideboard stood at the upper end of the room; in one window hung a cage which contained a feeble canary. As you entered your eyes fell upon an ornamental wax fruit piece under a conical glass. A stuffed bird, a robin redbreast, perched on a frosted tree in the midst of these pale tropical offerings, glared at you with beady eyes. Antimacassars and other things of horror were in the room. Also a centre table upon which might have been found Cowper's poems, the Bible, Beecher's sermons, and an illustrated book about the Holy Land by some hardworking reverend. It was Aunt Jane's living-room; in it she had rocked and knitted for more than half a century. There were a few pictures on the wall, a crayon of her brother, a bank president with a shaved upper lip, a high, pious forehead, and in his eyes a stern expression of percentage. Over the dull white marble mantelpiece hung a huge mezzotint, of violent contrast in black and white, a picture whose subject had without doubt given it the place of honour in this old-fashioned, tasteless, homely, comfortable room. It bore for a title The Fall of Nineveh, and it was designed and mezzotinted by John Martin.

Let us look at this picture. It depicts the downfall of the great city upon which the wrath of God is visited. There are ghastly gleams of lightning above the doomed vicinity. A fierce tempest is in progress as the invading hosts break down the great waterways and enter dry-shod into the vast and immemorial temples and palaces. The tragedy, the human quality of the design, is summed up by the agitated groups in the foreground; the king, surrounded by his harem, makes a gesture of despair; the women, with loose-flowing draperies, surround him like frightened swans. A high priest raises his hand to the stormy heavens, upon which he is evidently invoking as stormy maledictions. A warrior swings his blade; to his neck clings a fair helpless one, half nude. There are other groups. Men in armour rush to meet the foe in futile agitation. On temple tops, on marble terraces and balconies, on the efflorescent capitals of vast columns that pierce the sky, swarms affrighted humanity. The impression is grandiose and terrific. Exotic architecture, ebon night, an event that has echoed down the dusty corridors of legend or history--these and a hundred other details are enclosed within the frame of this composition. Another picture which hangs hard by, the Destruction of Jerusalem, after Kaulbach, is colourless in comparison. The Englishman had greater imagination than the German, though he lacked the latter's anatomical science. To-day in the Pinakothek, Munich, Kaulbach holds a place of honour. You may search in vain at the London National Gallery for the paintings of a man who once was on the crest of popularity in England, whose Biblical subjects attracted multitudes, whose mezzotints and engravings were sold wherever the English Bible was read. John Martin, painter, mezzotinter, man of gorgeous imagination, second to De Quincey or the author of Vathek, is to-day more forgotten than Beckford himself.

Heinrich Heine in his essay, The Romantic School, said that "the history of literature is a great morgue, wherein each seeks the dead who are near or dear to him." Into what morgue fell John Martin before his death? How account for the violent changes in popular taste? Martin suffered from too great early success. The star of Turner was in the ascendant. John Ruskin denied merit to the mezzotinter, and so it is to-day that if you go to our print-shops you will seldom find one of his big or little plates. He has gone out of fashion--fatal phrase!--and only in the cabinets of old collectors can you get a peep at his archaic and astounding productions. William Blake is in vogue; perhaps Martin--? And then those who have garnered his plates will reap a harvest.

Facts concerning him or his work are slight. Bryan's dictionary accords him a few paragraphs. When at the British Museum, a few years ago, I asked Mr. Sidney Colvin about the Martins in his print-room. There are not many, not so many as in a certain private collection here. But Mr. Colvin told me of the article written by Cosmo Monkhouse in the Dictionary of National Biography, and from it we are enabled to present a few items about the man's career. He was born at Hayden Bridge, near Hexham, Northumberland, July 19, 1789. His father, Fenwick Martin, a fencing-master, held classes at the Chancellor's Head, Newcastle. His brothers, Jonathan (1782-1838) and William (1772-1851), have some claim on our notice, for the first was an insane prophet and incendiary, having set fire to York Minster in 1829; William was a natural philosopher and poet who published many works to prove the theory of perpetual motion. "After having convinced himself by means of thirty-six experiments of the impossibility of demonstrating it scientifically, it was revealed to him in a dream that God had chosen him to discover the great cause of all things, and this he made the subject of many works" (Jasnot, Vérités positives, 1854). Verily, as Lombroso hath it, "A hundred fanatics are found for a theological or metaphysical statement, but not one for a geometric problem."

The Martin stock was, without doubt, neurasthenic. John was apprenticed when fourteen to Wilson, a Newcastle coach painter, but ran away after a dispute over wages. He met Bonifacio Musso, an Italian china painter, and in 1806 went with him to London. There he supported himself painting china and glass while he studied perspective and architecture. At nineteen he married and in 1812 lived in High Street, Marylebone, and from there sent to the Academy his first picture, Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion (from Tales of the Genii). The figure of Sadak was so small that the framers disputed as to the top of the picture. It sold to Mr. Manning for fifty guineas. Benjamin West, president of the Royal Academy, encouraged Martin, and next year he painted Adam's First Sight of Eve, which he sold for seventy guineas. In 1814 his Clytis was shown in an ante-room of the exhibition, and he bitterly complained of his treatment. Joshua, in 1816, was as indifferently hung, and he never forgave the Academy the insult, though he did not withdraw from its annual functions. In 1817 he was appointed historical painter to Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold. He etched about this time Character of Trees (seven plates) and the Bard at the Academy. In 1818 he removed to Allsop Terrace, New (Marylebone road). In 1819 came The Fall of Babylon, Macbeth (1820), Belshazzar's Feast (1821), which, "excluded" from the Academy, yet won the £200 prize. A poem by T.S. Hughes started Martin on this picture. It was a national success and was exhibited in the Strand behind a glass transparency. It went the round of the provinces and large cities and attracted thousands. Martin joined the Society of British Artists at its foundation and exhibited with them from 1824 to 1831, and also in 1837 and 1838, after which he sent his important pictures to the Royal Academy.

In 1833 The Fall of Nineveh went to Brussels, where it was bought by the Government. Martin was elected member of the Belgian Academy and the Order of Leopold was conferred on him. His old quarrels with the Academy broke out in 1836, and he testified before a committee as to favouritism. Then followed The Death of Moses, The Deluge, The Eve of the Deluge, The Assuaging of the Waters, Pandemonium. He painted landscapes and water-colours, scenes on the Thames, Brent, Wandle, Wey, Stillingbourne, and the hills and eminences about London. About this time he began scheming for a method of supplying London with water and one that would improve the docks and sewers. He engraved many of his own works, Belshazzar, Joshua, Nineveh, Fall of Babylon. The first two named, with The Deluge, were presented by the French Academy to Louis Philippe, for which courtesy a medal was struck off in Martin's honour. The Ascent of Elijah, Christ Tempted in the Wilderness, and Martin's illustrations (with Westall's) to Milton's Paradise Lost were all completed at this period. For the latter Martin received £2,000. He removed to Lindsey House, Chelsea, in 1848 or 1849, and was living there in 1852, when he sent to the Academy his last contribution, Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. November 12, 1853, while engaged upon his last large canvases, The Last Judgment, The Great Day of Wrath, and The Plains of Heaven, he was paralysed on his right side. He was removed to the Isle of Man, and obstinately refusing proper nourishment, died at Douglas February 17, 1854. After his death three pictures, scenes from the Apocalypse, were exhibited at the Hall of Commerce. His portrait by Wangemann appeared in the _Magazine of Fine Arts_. A second son, Leopold Charles, writer, and godson of Leopold, King of Belgium, was an authority on costumes and numismatics (1817-89). His wife was a sister of Sir John Tenniel of _Punch_.

John Martin was slightly cracked; at least he was so considered by his contemporaries. He was easily affronted, yet he was a very generous man. He bought Etty's picture, The Combat, in 1825 for two or three hundred guineas. There are at the South Kensington Museum three Martins, watercolours, and one oil; at Newcastle, an oil. At the time of his decease his principal works were in the collections of Lord de Tabley, Dukes of Buckingham and Sutherland, Messrs. Hope and Scarisbruck, Earl Grey and Prince Albert. The Leyland family of Nantchvyd, North Wales, owns the Joshua and several typical works of Martin. Wilkie, in a letter to Sir George Beaumont, describes Belshazzar's Feast as a "phenomenon." Bulwer declared that Martin was "more original and self-dependent than Raphael or Michael Angelo." In the Last Essays of Elia there is one by Charles Lamb entitled Barrenness of the Imaginative Faculty in the Production of Modern Art. The name of Martin is not mentioned, but several of his works are unmistakably described. "His towered architecture [Lamb is writing of Belshazzar's Feast] are of the highest order of the material sublime. Whether they were dreams or transcripts of some elder workmanship--Assyrian ruins old--restored by this mighty artist, they satisfy our most stretched and craving conceptions of the glories of the antique world. It is a pity that they were ever peopled." "Literary" art critic as he was, Lamb put his finger on Martin's weakest spot--his figure painting. The entire essay should be read, for it contains a study of the Joshua in which this most delicious of English prose writers speaks of the "wise falsifications" of the great masters. Before his death the critics, tiring of him sooner than the public, called Martin tricky, meretricious, mechanical. To be sure, his drawing is faulty, his colour hot and smoky; nevertheless, he was not a charlatan. As David Wilkie wrote: "Weak in all these points in which he can be compared to other artists," he had the compensating quality of an imposing, if at times operatic, imagination. Monkhouse justly says that in Martin's illustrations to Milton the smallness of scale and absence of colour enable us to appreciate the grandeur of his conceptions with a minimum of his defects.

In sooth he lacked variety. His pictures are sooty and apocalyptic. We have seen the Mountain Landscape, at South Kensington, The Destruction of Herculaneum, at Manchester, another at Newcastle whose subject escapes us, and we confess that we prefer the mezzotints of Martin, particularly those engraved by Le Keux--whose fine line and keen sense of balance corrected the incoherence of Martin's too blackened shadows and harsh explosions of whites. One looks in vain for the velvety tone of Earlom, or the vivid freshness of Valentine Green, in Martin. He was not a colourist; his mastery consisted in transferring to his huge cartoons a sense of the awful, of the catastrophic. He excelled in the delineation of massive architecture, and if Piranesi was his superior in exactitude, he equalled the Italian in majesty and fantasy of design. No such cataclysmic pictures were ever before painted, nor since, though Gustave Doré, who without doubt made a study of Martin, has incorporated in his Biblical illustrations many of Martin's overwhelming ideas--the Deluge, for example. James Ensor, the Belgian illustrator, is an artist of fecund fancy who, alone among the new men, has betrayed a feeling for the strange architecture, dream architecture, we encounter in Martin. Coleridge in Kubla Khan, De Quincey in opium reveries, Poe and Baudelaire are among the writers who seem nearest to the English mezzotinter. William Beckford's Vathek, that most Oriental of tales, first written in French by a millionaire of genius, should have inspired Martin. Perhaps its mad fantasy did, for all we know--there is no authentic compilation of his compositions. Heine has spoken of Martin, as has Théophile Gautier; and his name, by some kink of destiny, is best known to the present generation because of Macaulay's mention of it in an essay.

The Vale of Tempe is one of Martin's larger plates seldom seen in the collector's catalogue. We have viewed it and other rare prints in the choice collection referred to already. Satan holding council, after Milton, is a striking conception. The Prince of Eblis sits on a vast globe of ebony. About him are tier upon tier of faces, the faces of devils. Infernal chandeliers depend from remote ceilings. Light gashes the globe and the face and figure of Satan; both are of supernal beauty. Could this mezzotint, so small in size, so vast in its shadowy suggestiveness, have stirred Baudelaire to lines that shine with a metallic poisonous lustre?

And there is that tiny mezzotint in which we find ourselves at the base of a rude little hill. The shock of the quaking earth, the silent passing of the sheeted dead and the rush of the affrighted multitudes tell us that a cosmic tragedy is at hand. In a flare of lightning we see silhouetted against an angry sky three crosses at the top of a sad little hill. It is a crucifixion infinitely more real, more intense than Doré's. Another scene--also engraved by Le Keux: On a stony platform, vast and crowded, the people kneel in sackcloth and ashes; the heavens thunder over the weeping millions of Nineveh, and the Lord of Hosts will not be appeased. Stretching to the clouds are black basaltic battlements, and above rear white-terraced palaces as swans that strain their throats to the sky. The mighty East is in penitence. Or, Elijah is rapt to heaven in a fiery whirlwind; or God creates light. This latter is one of the most extraordinary conceptions of a great visionary and worthy of William Blake. Or Sadak searching for the waters of oblivion. Alas, poor humanity! is here the allegory. A man, a midget amid the terrifying altitudes of barren stone, lifts himself painfully over a ledge of rock. Above him are vertiginous heights; below him, deadly precipices. Nothing helps him but himself--a page torn from Max Stirner is this parable. Light streams upon the struggling egoist as he toils to the summit of consciousness. Among the designs of nineteenth-century artists we can recall none so touching, so powerful, so modern as this picture. Martin was not equally successful in portraying celestial episodes, though his paradises are enormous panoramas replete with architectural beauties. His figures, as exemplified in Miltonic illustrations, are more conventional than Fuseli's and never naively original as are Blake's. Indeed, of Blake's mystic poetry and divination Martin betrays no trace. He is not so much the seer as the inventor of infernal harmonies. Satan reviewing his army of devils is truly magnificent in its depiction of the serried host armed for battle; behind glistens burning Tophet in all its smoky splendour. Satan in shining armour must be a thousand feet high; he is sadly out of scale. So, too, in the quarrel of Michael and Satan over the sleeping Adam and Eve. Blake is here recalled in the rhythms of the monstrous figures. Bathos is in the design of Lucifer swimming in deepest hell upon waves of fire and filth; yet the lugubrious arches of the caverns in the perspective reveal Blake's fantasy, so quick to respond to external stimuli. Martin saw the earth as in an apocalyptic swoon, its forms distorted, its meanings inverted; a mad world, the world of an older theogony. But if there was little human in his visions, he is enormously impersonal; if he assailed heaven's gates on wings of melting wax, or dived deep into the pool of iniquity, he none the less caught glimpses in his breathless flights of strange countries across whose sill no human being ever passes. There is genuine hallucination. He must have seen his ghosts so often that in the end they petrified him, as did the Statue Don Giovanni. Martin was a species of reversed Turner. He spied the good that was in evil, the beauty in bituminous blacks. He is the painter of black music, the deifier of Beelzebub, and also one who caught the surge and thunder of the Old Testament, its majesty and its savagery. As an illustrator of sacred history, the world may one day return to John Martin.



ZORN


Anders Zorn--what's in a name? Possibly the learned and amiable father of Tristram Shandy or that formidable pedant Professor Slawkenbergius might find much to arouse his interest in the patronymic of the great Swedish painter and etcher. What Zorn means in his native tongue we do not profess to know; but in German it signifies anger, wrath, rage. Now, the Zorn in life is not an enraged person--unless some lady sitter asks him to paint her as she is not. He is, as all will testify who have met him, a man of rare personal charm and sprightly humour. He, it may be added, calls yellow yellow, and he never paints a policeman like a poet. In a word, a man of robust, normal vision, a realist and an artist. False realism with its hectic, Zola-like romanticism is distasteful to Zorn. He is near Degas among the Frenchmen and Zuloaga among the new Spaniards; near them in a certain forthright quality of depicting life, though unlike them in technical and individual methods.

Yes, Zorn, that crisp, bold, short name, which begins with a letter that abruptly cuts both eye and ear, quite fits the painter's personality, fits his art. He is often ironic. Some fanciful theorist has said that the letters Z and K are important factors in the career of the men who possess them in their names. Camille Saint-Saëns has spoken of Franz Liszt and his lucky letter. It is a very pretty idea, especially when one stakes on zero at Monte Carlo; but no doubt Anders Zorn would be the first to laugh the idea out of doors.

We recall an exhibition a few years ago at Venice in the art gallery of the Giardino Reale. Zorn had a place of honour among the boiling and bubbling Secessionists; indeed, his work filled a large room. And what work! Such a giant's revel of energy. Such landscapes, riotous, sinister, and lovely. Such women! Here we pause for breath. Zorn's conception of womanhood has given offence to many idealists, who do not realise that once upon a time our forebears were furry and indulged in arboreal habits. Zorn can paint a lady; he has signed many gentle and aristocratic canvases.

But Zorn is also too sincere not to paint what he sees. Some of his models are of the earth, earthy; others step toward you with the candid majesty of a Brunhilda, naked, unashamed, and regal. They are all vital. We recall, too, the expressions, shocked, amazed, even dazed, of some American art students who, fresh from their golden Venetian dreams, faced the uncompromising pictures of a man who had faced the everyday life of his day. For these belated visionaries, whose ideal in art is to painfully imitate Giorgione, Titian, or Tiepolo, this modern, with his rude assault upon the nerves, must seem a very iconoclast. Yet Zorn only attempts to reproduce the life encircling him. He is a child of his age. He, too, has a perception of beauty, but it is the beauty that may be found by the artist with an ardent, unspoiled gaze, the curious, disquieting beauty of our time. Whistler saw it in old Venetian doorways as well as down Chelsea way or at Rotherhithe. Zorn sees it in some corner of a wood, in some sudden flex of muscle or intimate firelit interior. And he loves to depict the glistening curves of his big model as she stands in the sunlight, a solid reproach to physical and moral anæmia. A pagan, by Apollo!

As an etcher the delicacy of his sheathed lion's paw is the principal quality that meets the eye, notwithstanding the broad execution. Etching is essentially an impressionistic art. Zorn is an impressionist among etchers. He seems to attack his plate not with the finesse of a meticulous fencing-master but like a Viking, with a broad Berserker blade. He hews, he hacks, he gashes. There is blood in his veins, and he does not spare the ink. But examine closely these little prints--some of them miracles of printing--and you may discern their delicate sureness, subtlety, and economy of gesture. Fitzroy Carrington quotes the Parisian critic Henri Marcel, who among other things wrote of the Zorn etchings: "Let us only say that these etchings--paradoxical in their coarseness of means and fineness of effect--manifest the master at his best."

Coarseness of means and fineness of effect--the phrase is a happy one. Coarse is sometimes the needle-work of Zorn, but the end justifies the means. He is often cruel, more cruel than Sargent. His portraits prove it. He has etched all his friends, some of whom must have felt honoured and amused--or else offended. The late Paul Verlaine, for example, would not have been pleased with the story of his life as etched by the Swede. It is as biting a commentary--one is tempted to say as acid--as a page from Strindberg. Yes, without a touch of Strindberg's mad fantasy, Zorn is kin to him in his ironic, witty way of saying things about his friends and in front of their faces. Consider that large plate of Renan. Has any one so told the truth concerning the ex-seminarian, casuist, and marvellous prose writer of France? The large, loosely modelled head with its fleshy curves, its super-subtle mouth of orator, the gaze veiled, the bland, pontifical expression, the expression of the man who spoke of "the mania of certitude"--here is Ernest Renan, voluptuous disdainer of democracies, and planner of a phalanstery of superior men years before Nietzsche's superman appeared. Zorn in no unkindly spirit shows us the thinker; also the author of L'Abbesse de Jouarre. It is something, is it not, to evoke with needle, acid, paper, and ink the dualism of such a brain and temperament as was Renan's?

He is not flattering to himself, Zorn. The Henry G. Marquand, two impressions, leaves one rather sad. An Irish girl, Annie, is superb in its suggestion of form and colour. Saint-Gaudens and his model is excellent; we prefer the portrait. The Evening Girl Bathing is rare in treatment--simple, restrained, vital. She has turned her back, and we are grateful, for it is a beautiful back. The landscape is as evanescent as Whistler, the printing is in a delicate key. The Berlin Gallery contains a Zorn, a portrait striking in its reality. It represents Miss Maja von Heyne wearing a collar of skins. She could represent the Maja of Ibsen's epilogue, When We Dreamers Awake; Maja, the companion of the bear hunter, Ulfheim. As etched, we miss the massiveness, the rich, vivid colour, yet it is a plate of distinction.

Among his portraits are the Hon. Daniel S. Lamont, Senator "Billy" Mason, the Hon. John Hay, Mr. and Mrs. Atherton Curtis, and several big-wigs of several nations. An oil-painting is an impressionistic affair, showing some overblown girls dressing after their bath. The sun flecks their shoulders, but otherwise seems rather inclined to retire modestly. Evidently not the midnight sun.

We have barely indicated the beauties in which the virile spirit of Anders Zorn comes out at you from the wall--a healthy, large-hearted, girted Swede is this man with the Z.



BRANGWYN


The name of Frank Brangwyn may fall upon unresponsive ears; yet he has a Continental reputation and is easily the foremost English impressionist. New York has seen but little of his work; if we mistake not, there was a large piece of his, a Gipsy Tinker in the open air, hung several seasons ago at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Mr. Kennedy shows extraordinary etchings of his at the Wunderlich Galleries. We call them extraordinary not alone because of their size, but also because Brangwyn is practically the first among latter-day artists to apply boldly to etching the methods of the impressionists. Etching in its essential nature is an impressionistic art. We do not mean to assert that Brangwyn uses the dot or dash or broken dabs in his plates, for the very good reason that he is working in black and white; nevertheless a glance at his plates will show you a new way of conquering old prejudices. Whistler it was who railed at large etchings. He was not far wrong. In the hands of the majority of etchers a large plate is an abomination, diffused in interest, coarse of line; but Brangwyn is not to be considered among this majority. He is a big fellow in everything. Besides, Whistler was using the familiar argument, _pro doma sua_. The same may be said of Poe, who simply would not hear of a long poem (shades of Milton!) or of Chopin, who lost his way in the sonata form, though coming out in the gorgeous tropical land, the thither side of sonatas and other tonal animals.

Because Catullus and Sappho did not write epics that is no reason why Dante should not. It is the old story of the tailless fox. Brangwyn as well as Anders Zorn has been called a rough-and-ready artist. For exquisite tone and pattern we must go to Whistler and his school. Brangwyn is never exquisite, though he is often poetic, even epical. Look at that Bridge, Barnard Castle. It is noble in outline, lovely in atmosphere. Or at the Old Hammersmith--"swell," as the artist slang goes. The Mine is in feeling and mass Rembrandtish; and as we have used the name of the great Dutchman we may as well admit that to him, despite a world of difference, Brangwyn owes much. He has the sense of mass. What could be more tangibly massive than the plate called Breaking Up of the Hannibal? Here is a theme which Turner in The Fighting Téméraire made truly poetic, and Seymour Haden in his Agamemnon preserved more than a moiety of sentiment, not to mention the technical prowess displayed; but in the hulk of this ugly old vessel of Brangwyn's there is no beauty. However, it is hugely impressive. His landscapes are not too seldom hell-scapes.

The Inn of the Parrot is quaint with its reversed lettering. The Road to Montreuil is warm in colour and finely handled. How many have realised the charm of the rear view of Santa Maria Salute? It is one of the most interesting of Brangwyn's Venetian etchings. His vision of Saint Sophia, Constantinople, has the mystic quality we find in the Dutchman Bauer's plates. A Church at Montreuil attracts the eye; London Bridge is positively dramatic; the Old Kew Bridge has delicacy; the Sawyers with their burly figures loom up monstrously; the Building of the New Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, recalls, as treated by the impressionistic brush of Brangwyn (for the needle seems transformed into a paint-loaded spike), one of H.G. Wells's terrific socialistic structures of the year 2009. Remember that Brangwyn is primarily a painter, an impressionist. He sees largely. His dream of the visible world (and like Sorolla, it is never the world invisible with him) is one of patches and masses, of luminous shadows, of animated rhythms, of rich arabesques. He is sib to the Scotch. His father is said to have been a Scottish weaver who settled in Bruges. Frank saw much of the world before settling in London. He was born at Bruges, 1867. The Golden Book of Art describes him as a one-time disciple of William Morris. He has manufactured glass, furniture, wall-paper, pottery. His curiosity is insatiable. He is a mural decorator who in a frenzy could cover miles of space if some kind civic corporation would but provide the walls. As the writer of the graceful preface to the Wunderlich catalogue has it: "He gets the character of his theme. His art is itself full of character." Temperament, overflowing, passionate, and irresistible, is his key-note. In music he might have been a Fritz Delius, a Richard Strauss. He is an eclectic. He knows all schools, all methods. He is Spanish in his fierce relish of the open air, of the sights--and we almost said sounds--of many lands, but the Belgian strain, the touch of the mystic and morose, creeps into his work. We have caught it more in his oils than etchings. It is not singular, then, that his small etched plates do not hold the eye; they lack magnetic quality. It is the Titan, rude and raging, dashing ink over an acre of white paper, that rivets you. The stock attitudes and gestures he does not give you; and it is doubtful if he will have an audience soon in America, where the sleek is king and prettiness is exalted over power.



DAUMIER


Mr. Frank Weitenkampf, the curator of the Lenox Library print department, shows nineteen portfolios which hold about seven hundred lithographs by Honoré Daumier. This collection is a bequest of the late Mr. Lawrence, and we doubt if the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris surpasses it; that is, in the number of detached examples. There the works of the great artist are imbedded in the various publications for which he laboured so many years--such at _La Caricature, Les Beaux Arts, L'Artiste, Les Modes Parisiennes, La Gazette Musicale, Le Boulevard,_ and _Masques et Visages_. The Lawrence lithographs are representatives, though not complete; the catalogue compiled by Loys Delteil comprises 3,958 plates; the paintings and drawings are also numerous. But an admirable idea of Daumier's versatile genius may be gleaned at the Lenox Library, as all the celebrated series are there: Paris Bohemians, the Blue Stockings, the Railways, La Caricature, Croquis d'Expressions, Emotions Parisiennes, Actualités, Les Baigneurs, Pastorales, Moeurs Conjugales, the Don Quixote plates, Silhouettes, Souvenirs d'Artistes, Types Parisiens, the Advocates and Judges, and a goodly number of the miscellanies. Altogether an adequate exhibition.

Honoré Daumier, who died February 11, 1879, was almost the last of the giants of 1830, though he outlived many of them. Not affiliated with the Barbizon group--though he was a romantic in his hatred of the bourgeois--several of these painters were intimate friends; indeed, Corot was his benefactor, making him a present of a cottage at Valmondois (Seine-et-Oise), where the illustrator died. He was blind and lonely at the end. Corot died 1875; Daubigny, his companion, 1878; Millet, 1875, and Rousseau, with whom he corresponded, died 1867. In 1879 Flaubert still lived, working heroically upon that monument of human inanity, Bouvard et Pécuchet; Maupassant, his disciple, had just published a volume of verse; Manet was regarded as a dangerous charlatan, Monet looked on as a madman; while poor Cézanne was only a bad joke. The indurated critical judgment of the academic forces pronounced Bonnat a greater portraitist than Velasquez, and Gérôme and his mock antiques and mock orientalism far superior to Fromentin and Chasseriau. It was a glorious epoch for mediocrity. And Daumier, in whom there was something of Michael Angelo and Courbet, was admired only as a clever caricaturist, the significance of his paintings escaping all except a few. Corot knew, Daubigny knew, as earlier Delacroix knew; and Balzac had said: "There is something of the Michael Angelo in this man!"

Baudelaire, whose critical _flair_ never failed him, wrote in his Curiosités Esthétiques: "Daumier's distinguishing note as an artist is his certainty. His drawing is fluent and easy; it is a continuous improvisation. His powers of observation are such that in his work we never find a single head that is out of character with the figure beneath it. ... Here, in these animalised faces, may be seen and read clearly all the meannesses of soul, all the absurdities, all the aberrations of intelligence, all the vices of the heart; yet at the same time all is broadly drawn and accentuated." Nevertheless one must not look at too many of these caricatures. At first the Rabelaisian side of the man appeals; presently his bitterness becomes too acrid. Humanity is silly, repulsive; it is goat, pig, snake, monkey, and tiger; but there is something else. Daumier would see several sides. His pessimism, like Flaubert's, is deadly, but at times reaches the pitch of the heroic. He could have echoed Flaubert's famous sentence: "The ignoble is the sublime of the lower slope." Yet what wit, what humour, what humanity in Daumier! His Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are worth a wilderness of Dorés. And the Good Samaritan or The Drinkers. The latter is as jovial as Steen or Hals.

A story went the rounds after his death which neatly illustrates his lack of worldliness. His modesty was proverbial, and once Daubigny, on introducing him to an American picture dealer, warned him not to ask less than five thousand francs for the first picture he sold to the man. The American went to Daumier's atelier, and seeing a picture on the easel, asked, "How much?" The artist, remembering Daubigny's warning, answered, "Five thousand francs." The dealer immediately bought it, and on demanding to see something else, Daumier put another canvas on the easel, far superior to the one sold. The Yankee again asked the price. The poor artist was perplexed. He had received no instructions from Daubigny regarding a second sale; so when the question was repeated he hesitated, and his timidity getting the better of him, he replied: "Five hundred francs." "Don't want it; wouldn't take it as a gift," said the dealer. "I like the other better. Besides, I never sell any but expensive pictures," and he went away satisfied that a man who sold so cheaply was not much of an artist. This anecdote, which we heard second hand from Daubigny, may be a fable, yet it never failed to send Daubigny into fits of laughter. It may be surmised that, despite his herculean labours, extending over more than half a century, Daumier never knew how to make or save money.

He was born at Marseilles in 1808. His father was a third-rate poet who, suspecting his own gift, doubted the talent of his son, though this talent was both precocious and prodigious. The usual thing happened. Daumier would stick at nothing but his drawing; the attempt to force him into law studies only made him hate the law and lawyers and that hatred he never ceased to vent in his caricatures. He knocked about until he learned in 1829 the technics of lithography; then he soon became self-supporting. His progress was rapid. He illustrated for the Boulevard journals; he caricatured Louis Philippe and was sent to jail, Sainte-Pélagie, for six months. Many years afterward he attacked with a like ferocity Napoleon III.

Look at his frontispiece--rather an advertisement--of Victor Hugo's Les Châtiments. It is as sinister, as malign as a Rops. The big book, title displayed, crushes to earth a vulture which is a travesty of the Napoleonic beak. Daumier was a power in Paris. Albert Wolff, the critic of _Figaro_, tells how he earned five francs each time he provided a text for a caricature by Daumier, and Philipon, who founded several journals, actually claimed a share in Daumier's success because he wrote some of the silly dialogues to his plates.

Daumier was the artistic progenitor of the Caran d'Aches, the Forains--who was it that called Forain "Degas en caricature"?--Willettes, and Toulouse-de-Lautrecs. He was a political pamphleteer, a scourger of public scamps, and a pictorial muck-raker of genius. His mockery of the classic in art was later paralleled by Offenbach in La Belle Hélène. But there were other sides to his genius. Tiring of the hurly-burly of journalism, he retired in 1860 to devote himself to painting.

His style has been pronounced akin to that of Eugène Carrière; his sense of values on a par with Goya's and Rembrandt's (that Shop Window of his in the Durand-Ruel collection is truly Rembrandtesque). This feeling for values was so remarkable that it enabled him to produce an impression with three or four tones. The colours he preferred were grays, browns, and he manipulated his blacks like a master. Mauclair does not hesitate to put Daumier among the great painters of the past century on the score of his small canvases. "They contain all his gifts of bitter and profound observation, all the mastery of his drawings, to which they add the attractions of rich and intense colour," declares Mauclair. Doubtless he was affected by the influence of Henri Monnier, but Daumier really comes from no one. He belongs to the fierce tribe of synics and men of exuberant powers, like Goya and Courbet. A born anarch of art, he submitted to no yoke. He would have said with Anacharsis Cloots: "I belong to the party of indignation." He was a proud individualist. That he had a tender side, a talent for friendship, may be noted in the affectionate intercourse he maintained for years with Corot, Millet, Rousseau, Dupré, Geoffroy, the sculptor Pascal, and others. He was very impulsive and had a good heart with all his misanthropy, for he was an idealist reversed. The etching of him by Loys Delteil is thus described by a sympathetic commentator: "Daumier was very broad-shouldered, his head rather big, with slightly sunken eyes, which must, however, have had an extraordinary power of penetration. Though the nose is a little heavy and inelegant, the projecting forehead, unusually massive like that of Victor Hugo or of Beethoven and barred with a determined furrow, reveals the great thinker, the man of lofty and noble aspirations. The rather long hair, thrown backward, adds to the expression of the fine head; and finally the beard worn collarwise, according to the prevailing fashion, gives to Daumier's face the distinctive mark of his period." This etched portrait may be seen in several states at the Lenox Library.



LALANNE'S ETCHINGS


How heavily personality counts in etching may be noted in the etched work of Maxime Lalanne which is at the Keppel Galleries. This skilful artist, so deft with his needle, so ingenious in fancy, escapes great distinction by a hair's breadth. He is without that salt of individuality that is so attractive in Whistler. Of him Hamerton wrote: "No one ever etched so gracefully as Maxime Lalanne; ... he is essentially a true etcher... There have been etchers of greater power, of more striking originality, but there has never been an etcher equal to him in a certain delicate elegance." This is very amiable, and Joseph Pennell is quite as favourable in his judgment. "His ability," wrote Mr. Pennell in Pen Drawing and Pen Draughtsmen, "to express a great building, a vast town, or a delicate little landscape has never been equalled, I think, by anybody but Whistler." Mr. Pennell modestly omits his own name; but the truth is that Pennell is as excellent if not more individual a draughtsman as Lalanne, and when it comes to vision, to invention, and to the manipulation of the metal he is the superior of the Frenchman. The American etcher rates Lalanne's lines above Titian's. Whistler and Titian would be big companions indeed for the clever-mannered and rather pedantic Lalanne.

Let us admit without balking at Hamerton that his line is graceful. He belongs to the old-fashioned school which did not dream, much less approve, of modern tonal effects in their plates. A Lalanne etching is as clean and vivid as a photograph (not an "art" photograph). It is also as hard. Atmosphere, in the material as well as the poetic sense, is missing. His skies are disappointing. Those curly-cue clouds are meaningless, and the artist succeeds better when he leaves a blank. At least some can fill it with the imagination. Another grave defect is the absence of modulation in his treatment of a landscape and its linear perspective. Everything seems to be on the same plane of interest, nor does he vary the values of his blacks--in foreground, middle distance, and the upper planes the inking is often in the same violent key. Such a capital plate, for example, which depicts a fire in the port of Bordeaux is actually untrue in its values. Dramatic in feeling and not without a note here and there of Rembrandt, this particular composition fails, just fails to hit the bull's-eye.

After all, we must judge a man in his genre, as Keppel _père_ puts it. Maxime Lalanne's style is that of a vanished generation in etching. He was a contemporary of Meryon, but that unhappy man of genius taught him nothing. Born at Bordeaux in 1827, Lalanne died in 1886. He was a pupil of Jean Gigoux (1806-94), a painter whose gossipy souvenirs (1885) pleased Paris and still please the curious. (Gigoux it was who remained in Balzac's house when the novelist died; though he was not visiting the master of the house.) From this painter Lalanne evidently imbibed certain theories of his art which he set forth in his Treatise on Etching (1866).

Strangely enough, illustrator as he was, his transpositions into black and white of subjects by Troyon, Ruysdael, Crome, Constable, and many others are not so striking either in actual technique or individual grasp as his original pieces. Constable, for instance, is thin, diffuse, and without richness. Mezzotinted by the hands of such a man as Lucas, we recognise the real medium for translating the English painter. A master of the limpid line, Lalanne shows you a huddled bit of Amsterdam or a distant view of Bordeaux, or that delicious prospect taken on a spot somewhere below the Pont Saint-Michel, with the Pont Neuf and the Louvre in the background. He had a feeling for those formal gardens which have captured within their enclosure a moiety of nature's unstudied ease. The plate called Aux Environs de Paris reveals this. And what slightly melancholy tenderness there is in Le Canal à Pont Sainte-Maxence. There are several states of the "Villers" etching, an attractive land and seascape, marred, however, by the clumsy sameness of the blacks in the foreground.

Without possessing Meryon's grim power in the presentation of old Paris streets and tumble-down houses, Lalanne has achieved several remarkable plates of this order. One is his well-known Rue des Marmousets. This street is almost as repellent-looking as Rue Mouffetard at its worst period. Ancient and sinister, its reputation was not enticing. In it once dwelt a pastry cook who, taking his crony the barber into his confidence, literally made mince-meat of a stranger and sold the pies to the neighbours.

Messire Jacques du Breul, in his Le Théâtre des Antiquités de Paris (1612), remarks, not without critical unction, in his quaint French: "De la chair d'icelui faisit des pastez qui se trouvoient meilleurs que les aultres, d'autant que la chair de l'homme est plus délicate à cause de la nourriture que celle des aultres animaux." Every one to his taste, as the old politician said when he kissed the donkey. When you study the Lalanne etching of this gruesome alley you almost expect to see at the corner Anatole France's famous cook-shop with its delectable odours and fascinating company.

The scenes of Thames water-side, Nogent, Houlgate Beach, at Richmond, or at Cusset are very attractive. His larger plates are not convincing, the composition does not hang together; the eye vainly seeks focussing centres of interest. Beraldi was right when he said that Lalanne has not left one surpassing plate, one of which the world can say: There is a masterpiece! Yet is Maxime Lalanne among the Little Masters of characteristic etching. His appeal is popular, he is easily comprehended of the people.



LOUIS LEGRAND


The etched work of the brilliant Frenchman Louis Legrand is at last beginning to be appreciated in this country. French etchings, unless by painter-etchers, have never been very popular with us. We admire Meryon and Helleu's drypoints, Bracquemond, Jacquemart; Félix Buhot has a following; Lalanne and Daubigny too; but in comparison with the demand for Rembrandt, Whistler, Seymour Haden, or Zorn the Paris men are not in the lead. There is Rops, for example, whose etchings may be compared to Meryon's; yet who except a few amateurs seeks Rops? Louis Legrand is now about forty-five, at the crest of his career, a versatile, spontaneous artist who is equally happy with pigments or the needle. His pastels are much sought, but his dry-points have gained for him celebrity. Though a born colourist, the primary gift of the man is his draughtsmanship. His designs, swift and supple notations of the life around him, delight the eye by reason of their personal touch and because of the intensely human feeling that he infuses into every plate. Legrand was one of the few pupils of Félicien Rops, and technically he has learned much of his master; but his way of viewing men and women and life is different from that of the Belgian genius. He has irony and wit and humour--the two we seldom bracket--and he has pity also; he loves the humble and despised. His portraits of babies, the babies of the people, are captivating. Imagine a Rops who has some of Millet's boundless sympathy for his fellow-humans and you have approximately an understanding of Louis Legrand.

He is a native of Dijon, the city that gave birth to Bossuet, but Legrand is not that kind of Burgundian. Several critics pretend to see in his work the characteristics of his native Côte d'Or; that, however, may be simply a desire to frame the picture appropriately. Legrand might have hailed from the south, from Daudet's country; he is exuberant as he is astute. The chief thing is that he has abundant brains and in sheer craftsmanship fears few equals. Like Whistler, his principal preoccupation is to suppress all appearance of technical procedures. His method of work is said to be simplicity itself; obsessed by his very definite visions, he transfers them to the scratched plate with admirable celerity. Dry-point etching is his principal medium. With his needle he has etched Montmartre, its cabarets, its angels--in very earthly disguise--its orators, poets, and castaways, and its visiting tourists--"God's silly sheep." He has illustrated a volume of Edgar Poe's tales that displays a _macabre_ imagination. His dancers are only second to those of Edgar Degas, and seen from an opposite side. His peasants, mothers, and children, above all, babies, reveal an eye that observes and a brain that can co-ordinate the results of this piercing vision. Withal, he is a poet who extracts his symbols from everyday life.

This is what Camille Mauclair said of him at the time of his début:

"An admirably skilful etcher, a draughtsman of keen vision, and a painter of curious character, who has in many ways forestalled the artists of to-day. Louis Legrand also shows to what extent Manet and Degas have revolutionised the art of illustration, in freeing the painters from obsolete laws and guiding them toward truth and frank psychological study. Legrand is full of them without resembling them. We must not forget that besides the technical innovation [division of tones, study of complementary colours] impressionism has brought us novelty of composition, realism of character, and great liberty in the choice of subjects. From this point of view Rops himself, in spite of his symbolist tendencies, could not be classed with any other group if it were not that any kind of classification in art is useless and inaccurate. However that may be, Louis Legrand has signed some volumes with the most seductive qualities."

Gustave Kahn, the symbolist poet who was introduced to the English reading world in one of the most eloquent pages of George Moore, thinks that Legrand is frankly a symbolist. We side with Mauclair in not trying to pin this etcher down to any particular formula. He is anything he happens to will at the moment, symbolist, poet, and also shockingly frank at times. Take the plate with a pun for a title, Le paing quotidien ("paing" is slang for "poing," a blow from the fist, and may also mean the daily bread). A masculine brute is with clinched fist about to give his unfortunate partner her daily drubbing. He is well dressed. His silk hat is shiny, his mustache curled in the true Adolphe fashion. His face is vile. The woman cries aloud and protects herself with her hands. In Marthe Baraquin, by Rosny senior, you will find the material for this picture, though Legrand found it years ago in the streets. Unpleasant, truly, yet a more potent sermon on man's cruelty to woman than may be found in a dozen preachments, fictions, or the excited outpourings at a feminist congress. Legrand presents the facts of the case without comment, except the irony--such dismal irony!--of the title. In this he is the true pupil of Rops.

However, he does not revel long among such dreary slices of life. The Poe illustrations are grotesque and shuddering, but after all make believe. The plate of The Black Cat piles horror on horror's head (literally, for the demon cat perches on the head of the corpse) and is, all said, pictorial melodrama. The Berenice illustration is, we confess, a little too much for the nerves, simply because in a masterly manner Legrand has exposed the most dreadful moment of the story (untold by Poe, who could be an artist in his tact of omission). The dental smile of the cataleptic Berenice as her necrophilic cousin bends over the coffin is a testimony to a needle that in this instance matches Goya's and Rops's in its evocation of the horrific. We turn with relief to the ballet-girl series. The impression gained from this album is that Legrand sympathises with, nay loves, his subject. Degas, the greater and more objective artist, nevertheless allows to sift through his lines an inextinguishable hatred of these girls who labour so long for so little; and Degas did hate them, as he hated all that was ugly in daily life, though he set forth this ugliness, this mediocrity, this hatred in terms of beautiful art. Legrand sees the ugliness, but he also sees the humanity of the _ballateuse_. She is a woman who is brought up to her profession with malice aforethought by her parents. These parents are usually noted for their cupidity. We need not read the witty history of the Cardinal family to discover this repellent fact. Legrand sketches the dancer from the moment when her mother brings her, a child, to undergo the ordeal of the first lesson.

The tender tot stands hesitating in the doorway; one hand while holding the door open seems to grasp it as the last barrier of defence that stands between her and the strange new world. She is attired in the classical figurante's costume. Behind, evidently pushing her forward, is the grim guardian, a bony, forbidding female. Although you do not see them, it is an easy feat to imagine the roomful of girls and dancing master all staring at the new-comer. The expression on the child's face betrays it; instinctively, like the generality of embarrassed little girls, her hand clasps her head. In less than a minute she will weep.

Another plate, L'ami des Danseuses, is charged with humanity. The violinist who plays for the ballet rehearsals sits resting, and facing him are two young dancers, also sitting, but stooping to relieve their strained spines and the tendons of their muscular legs. The old fellow is giving advice from the fulness of a life that has been not too easy. The girls are all attention. It is a genre bit of distinction. Upon the technical virtuosity in which this etcher excels we shall not dwell. Some of his single figures are marvels. The economy of line, the massing of lights and darks, the vitality he infuses into a woman who walks, a man who works in the fields, a child at its mother's breast, are not easily dealt with in a brief study. We prefer to note his more general qualities. His humour, whether in delineating a stupid soldier about to be exploited by camp followers, or in his Animales, is unforced. It can be Rabelaisian and it can be a record of simple animal life, as in the example with the above title. A cow stands on a grassy shore; near by a stolid peasant girl sits slicing bread and eating it. Cow and girl, grass and sky and water are woven into one natural pattern. The humour inheres in several sly touches. It is a comical Millet. Very Millet-like too is the large picture, Beau Soir, in which a field labourer bends over to kiss his wife, who has a child at her breast. A cow nuzzles her apron, the fourth member of this happy group. The Son of the Carpenter is another peasant study, but the transposition of the Holy Family to our century. A slight nimbus about the mother's head is the only indication that this is not a humble household somewhere in France. Maternal Joy, Mater Inviolata are specimens of a sane, lovely art which celebrate the joys, dolors, and exaltations of motherhood. We prefer this side of the art of Legrand to his studies of sinister jail-birds, _hetairai_, noctambules, high kickers, and private bars, the horrors of Parisian night life. Whatever he touches he vivifies. His leaping, audacious line is like the narrative prose of a Maupassant or a Joseph Conrad. Every stroke tells.

His symbolical pictures please us least. They doubtless signify no end of profound things, yet to us they seem both exotic and puerile. We go back to the tiny dancers, tired to sleepiness, who sit on a sofa waiting to be called. Poor babies! Or to the plate entitled Douleur. Or to the portraits of sweet English misses--as did Constantin Guys, Legrand has caught the precise English note--or any of the children pieces. If he knows the psychology of passion, knows the most intimate detail of the daily life of _les filles_, Legrand is master too of the psychology of child life. This will endear him to English and American lovers of art, though it is only one of his many endowments. His wit keeps him from extremes, though some of his plates are not for puritans; his vivid sympathies prevent him from falling into the sterile eccentricities of so many of his contemporaries; if he is cynical he is by the same taken soft-hearted. His superb handling of his material, with a synthetic vision superadded, sets apart Louis Legrand in a profession which to-day is filled with farceurs and fakers and with too few artists by the grace of God.



GUYS, THE ILLUSTRATOR


Practitioners of the noble art of illustration are, as we know, modest men, but no matter the degree of their modesty they are all distanced by the record in shyness still maintained by Constantin Guys. This artist was once a living protest against Goethe's assertion that only fools are modest, and the monument recently erected to his memory in Paris is provocation enough to bring him ferrying across the Styx to enter a disclaimer in the very teeth of his admirers. So set in his anonymity was he that Charles Baudelaire, his critical discoverer, was forced to write a long essay about his work and only refer to the artist as C.G. The poet relates that once when Thackeray spoke to Guys in a London newspaper office and congratulated him on his bold sketches in the _Illustrated London News_, the fiery little man resented the praise as an outrage. Nor was this humility a pose. His life long he was morbidly nervous, as was Meryon, as was Cézanne; but he was neither half mad, like the great etcher, nor a cenobite, as was the painter of Aix. Few have lived in the thick of life as did Guys. To employ the phrase of Turgenieff, life, like grass, grew over his head. In the Crimean camps, on the Parisian boulevards, in London parks, Guys strolled, crayon in hand, a true reporter of things seen and an ardent lover of horses, soldiers, pretty women, and the mob. Baudelaire called him the soldier-artist. He resembled in his restless wanderings Poe's man of the multitude, and at the end of a long life he still drew, as did Hokusai.

Who was he? Where did he receive his artistic training? Baudelaire did not tell, nor Théophile Gautier. He went through the Crimean campaign; he lived in the East, in London and Paris. Not so long ago the art critic Roger Marx, while stopping at Flushing, Holland, discovered his baptismal certificate, which reads thus: "Ernestus Adolphus Hyacinthus Constantinus Guys, born at Flushing December 3, 1805, of Elizabeth Bétin and François Lazare Guys, Commissary of the French Marine." The baptism occurred January 26, 1806, and revealed the fact that he had for godfather an uncle who held a diplomatic position. Guys told his friends that his full family name was Guys de Sainte-Hélène--which may have been an amiable weakness of the same order as that of Barbey d'Aurevilly and of Villiers de l'Isle Adam, both of whom boasted noble parentage. However, Guys was little given to talk of any sort. He was loquacious only with his pencil, and from being absolutely forgotten after the downfall of the Second Empire to-day every scrap of his work is being collected, even fought for, by French and German collectors. Yet when the Nadar collection was dispersed, June, 1909, in Paris, his aquarelles went for a few francs. Félix Fénéon and several others now own complete sets. In New York there are a few specimens in the possession of private collectors, though the Lenox Library, as a rule rich in such prints, has only reproductions to show.

The essay of Charles Baudelaire, entitled Le Peintre de la Vie Moderne, to be found in Volume III of his collected works (L'Art Romantique), remains thus far the standard reference study concerning Guys, though deficient in biographical details. Other critical studies are by Camille Mauclair, Roger Marx, Richard Muther, and George Grappe; and recently Elizabeth Luther Cary in a too short but admirably succinct article characterised the Guys method in this fashion: "He defined his forms sharply and delicately, and used within his bounding line the subtlest variation of light and shade. His workmanship everywhere is of the most elusive character, and he is a master of the art of reticence." Miss Cary further speaks of his "gentle gusto of line in motion, which lately has captivated us in the paintings of the Spaniard Sorolla, and long ago gave Botticelli and Carlo Crivelli the particular distinction they had in common." Mauclair mentions "the most animated water-colour drawings of Guys, his curious vision of nervous elegance and expressive skill," and names it the impressionism of 1845, while Dr. Muther christened him the Verlaine of the crayon because, like Verlaine, he spent his life between the almshouse and a hospital, so said the German critic. Furthermore, Muther believes it was no mere chance that made of Baudelaire his admirer; in both the decadent predominated--which is getting the cart before the horse. Rops, too, is recalled by Guys, who depicted the gay grisette of the faubourgs as well as the nocturnal pierreuse of the fortifications. "Guys exercised on Gavarni an influence which brought into being his Invalides du sentiment, his Lorettes vielles, and his Fourberies de femmes."

It is not quite fair to compare Guys with Rops, or indeed with either Gavarni or Daumier. These were the giants of French illustration at that epoch. Guys was more the skirmisher, the sharpshooter, the reporter of the moment, than a creative master of his art. The street or the battle-field was his atelier; speed and grace and fidelity his chief claims to fame. He never practised his art within the walls of academies; the material he so vividly dealt with was the stuff of life. The very absence of school in his illustrations is their chief charm; a man of genius this, self-taught, and a dangerous precedent for fumblers or those of less executive ability. From the huge mass of his work being unearthed from year to year he may be said to have lived crayon in hand. He is the first of a long line of newspaper illustrators. His profession was soldiering, and legend has it that he accompanied Byron to Missolonghi. The official career of his father enabled the youth to see much of the world--Greece, the Balkans, Turkey, Persia, and perhaps India. On returning to France he became an officer of dragoons and for some time led the life of a dandy and man about town. With his memory, of which extraordinary tales are told, he must have stored up countless films of impressions, all of which were utilised years later.

In 1845 we find him installed at Paris, though no longer in the army. Then it was he began to design. He became contributor to many periodicals, among the rest the _Illustrated London News_ and _Punch_. For the former journal he went to the Crimean war as accredited art correspondent. The portfolio containing the Crimean set is now most sought for by his admirers. He is said to have originated the expression "taken on the spot," in the title of one of his instantaneous sketches. Few draughtsmen could boast his sure eye and manual dexterity. The Balaklava illustration is as striking in its way as Tennyson's lines, though containing less of poetic heroism and more ugly realism. Like the trained reporter that he was, Guys followed a battle, recording the salient incidents of the engagement, not overemphasising the ghastliness of the carnage, as did Callot or Goya or Raffet, but telling the truth as he saw it, with a phlegm more British and German than French. Though he had no Dutch blood in his veins, he was, like Huysmans, more the man of Amsterdam than the man of Paris. He noted the changing and shocking scenes of hospital life, and sympathy without sentimentality drops from his pen. He is drily humorous as he shows us some plumaged General peacocking on foot, or swelling with Napoleonic pride as he caracoles by on his horse. And such horses! Without a hint of the photographic realism of a Muybridge and his successors, Guys evokes vital horses and riders, those seen by the normal vision. The witching movement of beautiful Arabian steeds has not had many such sympathetic interpreters.

In Turkey he depicted episodes of daily life, of the courts of the Sublime Porte itself, of the fête of Baïram, which closes the fast of Ramadan. His Turkish women are not all houris, but they bear the stamp of close study. They are pretty, indolent, brainless creatures. In his most hurried crayons, pen-and-ink sketches, and aquarelles Guys is ever interesting. He has a magnetic touch that arrests attention and atones for technical shortcomings. Abbreviation is his watchword; his drawings are a species of shorthand notations made at red-hot tempo, yet catching the soul of a situation. He repeats himself continually, but, as M. Grappe says, is never monotonous. In love with movement, with picturesque massing, and broad simple colour schemes, he naturally gravitated to battle-fields. In Europe society out of doors became his mania. Rotten Row, in the Bois, at Brighton or at Baden-Baden, the sinuous fugues of his pencil reveal to succeeding generations how the great world once enjoyed itself or bored itself to death. No wonder Thackeray admired Guys. They were kindred spirits; both recognised and portrayed the snob mundane.

As he grew older Guys became an apparition in the life of Paris. The smash-up of the Empire destroyed the beloved world he knew so well. Poor, his principal pleasure was in memory; if he couldn't actually enjoy the luxury of the rich he could reproduce its images on his drawing-pad. The whilom dandy and friend of Baudelaire went about dressed in a shabby military frock-coat. He had no longer a nodding acquaintance with the fashionable lions of Napoleon the Little's reign, yet he abated not his haughty strut, his glacial politeness to all comers, nor his daily promenade in the Bois. A Barmecide feast this watching the pleasures of others more favoured, though Guys did not waste the fruits of his observation. At sixty-five he began to go down-hill. His habits had never been those of a prudent citizen, and as his earning powers grew less some imp of the perverse entered his all too solitary life. With this change of habits came a change of theme. Henceforth he drew _filles_, the outcasts, the scamps and convicts and the poor wretches of the night. He is now a forerunner of Toulouse-Lautrec and an entire school. This side of his career probably caused Dr. Muther to compare him with Paul Verlaine. Absinthe, the green fairy of so many poets and artists, was no stranger to Guys.

In 1885, after dining with Nadar, his most faithful friend, Guys was run over in the Rue du Havre and had his legs crushed. He was taken to the Maison Dubois, where he lived eight years longer, dying at the venerable age of eighty-seven, though far from being a venerable person. Astonishing vitality! He did not begin to draw, that is, for a living, until past forty. His method of work was simplicity itself, declare those who watched him at work. He seemingly improvised his aquarelles; his colour, sober, delicate, was broadly washed in; his line, graceful and modulated, does not suggest the swiftness of his execution. He could be rank and vulgar, and he was gentle as a refined child that sees the spectacle of life for the first time. The bitterness of Baudelaire's flowers of evil he escaped until he was in senile decadence. In the press of active life he registered the shock of conflicting arms, the shallow pride of existence and the mere joy of living, all in a sane manner that will ever endear him to lovers of art.

George Moore tells the following anecdote of Degas: Somebody was saying he did not like Daumier, and Degas preserved silence for a long while. "If you were to show Raphael," he said at last, "a Daumier, he would admire it; he would take off his hat; but if you were to show him a Cabanel, he would say with a sigh, 'That is my fault.'"

If you could show Raphael a croquis by Constantin Guys he would probably look the other way, but Degas would certainly admire and buy the drawing.



XI. IMPRESSIONISM

I - MONET


The impressionists claim as their common ancestors Claude Lorraine, Watteau, Turner, Monticelli. Watteau, Latour, Largillière, Fragonard, Saint-Aubin, Moreau, and Eisen are their sponsors in the matters of design, subject, realism, study of life, new conceptions of beauty and portraiture. Mythology, allegory, historic themes, the neo-Greek and the academic are under the ban--above all, the so-called "grand style." Impressionism has actually elevated genre painting to the position occupied by those vast, empty, pompous, frigid, smoky, classic pieces of the early nineteenth century. However, it must not be forgotten that modern impressionism is only a new technique, a new method of execution--we say new, though that is not exactly the case. The home of impressionism is in the East; it may be found in the vivid patterns woven in Persia or in old Japan. In its latest avatar it is the expression of contemporaneous reality. Therein lies its true power. The artist who turns his face only to the past--his work will never be anything but an echo. To depict the faces and things and pen the manners of the present is the task of great painters and novelists. Actualists alone count in the future. The mills of the antique grind swiftly--like the rich, they will be always with us--but they only grind out imitations; and from pseudo-classic marbles and pseudo-"beautiful" pictures may Beelzebub, the Lord of Flies, deliver us.

That able and sympathetic writer D.S. MacColl has tersely summed up in his Vision of the Century the difference between the old and new manner of seeing things. "The old vision had beaten out three separate acts--the determination of the edges and limits of things, the shadings and the modellings of the spaces in between with black and white, and the tintings of those spaces with their local colour. The new vision that had been growing up among the landscape painters simplifies as well as complicates the old. For purposes of analysis it sees the world as a mosaic of patches of colour, such and such a hue, such and such a tone, such and such a shape... The new analysis looked first for colour and for a different colour in each patch of shade or light. The old painting followed the old vision by its three processes of drawing the contours, modelling the chiaroscura in dead colour, and finally in colouring this black-and-white preparation. The new analysis left the contours to be determined by the junction, more or less fused, of the colour patches, instead of rigidly defining them as they are known to be defined when seen near at hand or felt... 'Local colour' in light or shade becomes different not only in tone but in hue."

To the layman who asked, "What is impressionism?" Mauclair has given the most succinct answer in his book L'Impressionisme: "In nature," he declares, "no colour exists by itself. The colouring of the object is pure illusion; the only creative source of colour is the sunlight, which envelops all things and reveals them, according to the hours, with infinite modifications... The idea of distance, of perspective, of volume is given us by darker or lighter colours; this is the sense of values; a value is the degree of light or dark intensity which permits our eyes to comprehend that one object is further or nearer than another. And as painting is not and cannot be the imitation of nature, but merely her artificial interpretation, since it has only at its disposal two out of three dimensions, the values are the only means that remain for expressing depth on a flat surface. Colour is therefore the procreatrix of design... Colours vary with the intensity of light... Local colour is an error; a leaf is not green, a tree trunk is not brown... According to the time of day, _i. e._, according to the greater or smaller inclination of the rays (scientifically called the angle of incidence), the green of the leaf and the brown of the tree are modified... The composition of the atmosphere... is the real subject of the picture... Shadow is not absence of light, but light of a different quality and of a different value. Shadow is not part of the landscape where light ceases, but where it is subordinated to a light which appears to us more intense. In the shadow the rays of the spectrum vibrate with a different speed. Painting should therefore try to discover here, as in the light parts, the play of the atoms of solar light, instead of representing shadows with ready-made tones composed of bitumen and black... In a picture representing an interior the source of light [windows] may not be indicated; the light circulating, circling around the picture, will then be composed of the _reflections_ of rays whose source is invisible, and all the objects, acting as mirrors for these reflections, will consequently influence each other. Their colours will affect each other even if the surfaces be dull. A red vase placed upon a blue carpet will lead to a very subtle but mathematically exact exchange between this blue and this red; and this exchange of luminous waves will create between the two colours a tone of reflections composed of both. These composite reflections will form a scale of tones complementary of the two principal colours.

"The painter will have to paint with only the seven colours of the solar spectrum and discard all the others;... he will, furthermore, instead of composing mixtures on his palette, place upon his canvas touches of none but the seven colours juxtaposed [Claude Monet has added black and white] and leave the individual rays of each of these colours to blend at a certain distance, so as to act like sunlight upon the eye of the beholder." This is called _dissociation_ of tones; and here is a new convention; why banish all save the spectrum? We paint nature, not the solar spectrum.

Claude Monet has been thus far the most successful practitioner of impressionism; this by reason of his extraordinary analytical power of vision and native genius rather than the researches of Helmholtz, Chevreul, and Rood. They gave him his scientific formulas after he had worked out the problems. He studied Turner in London, 1870; then his manner changed. He had been a devoted pupil of Eugène Boudin and could paint the discreet, pearly gray seascapes of his master. But Turner and Watteau and Monticelli modified his style, changed his way of envisaging the landscape. Not Edouard Manet but Claude Monet was the initiator of the impressionistic movement in France, and after witnessing the rout and confusion that followed in its wake one is tempted to misquote Nietzsche (who said that the first and only Christian died on the cross) and boldly assert that there has been but one impressionist; his name, Monet. "He has arrived at painting by means of the infinitely varied juxtaposition of a quantity of colour spots which dissociate the tones of the spectrum and draw the forms of objects through the arabesque of their vibrations." How his landscapes shimmer with the heat of a summer day! Truly, you can say of these pictures that "the dawn comes up like thunder." How his fogs, wet and clinging, seem to be the first real fogs that ever made misty a canvas! What hot July nights, with few large stars, has Monet not painted! His series of hayricks, cathedrals, the Thames are precious notations of contemporary life; they state facts in terms of exquisite artistic value; they resume an epoch. It is therefore no surprise to learn that in 1874 Monet gave the name (so variously abused) to the entire movement when he exhibited a water piece on the Boulevard des Capucines entitled Impression: Soleil Levant. That title became a catchword usually employed in a derisive manner. Monet earlier had resented the intrusion of a man with a name so like his, but succumbed to the influence of Monet. One thing can no longer be controverted--Claude Monet is the greatest landscape and marine painter of the second half of the last century. Perhaps time may alter this limit clause.

What Turgenieff most condemned in his great contemporary, Dostoïevsky--if the gentle Russian giant ever condemned any one--was Feodor Mikhailovitch's taste for "psychological mole runs"; an inveterate burrowing into the dark places of humanity's soul. Now, if there is a dark spot in a highly lighted subject it is the question, Who was the first impressionist? According to Charles de Kay, Whistler once told him that he, James the Butterfly, began the movement; which is a capital and characteristic anecdote, especially if one recalls Whistler's boast made to a young etcher as to the initiative of Corot. Whistler practically said: "Before Corot was, I am!" And he adduced certain canvases painted with the misty-edged trees long before--but why continue? Whistler didn't start Corot--apart from the chronological difficulties in the way--any more than Courbet and Manet started Whistler; yet both these painters played important rôles in the American master's art. So let us accept Mauclair's dictum as to Claude Monet's priority in the field of impressionism. Certainly he attained his marked style before he met Manet. Later he modified his own paint to show his sympathy with the new school. Monet went to Watteau, Constable, Monticelli for his ideas, and in London, about 1870, he studied Turner with an interest that finally bordered on worship. And why not? In Turner, at the National Gallery, you may find the principles of impressionism carried to extravagant lengths, and years before Monet. Consider Rain, Steam and Speed--the Great Western Railway, that vision of a locomotive dashing across a bridge in chromatic chaos. Or the Sea Piece in the James Orrock collection--a welter of crosshatchings in variegated hues wherein any school of impressionism from Watteau's Embarkment to Monet's latest manner or the _pointillisme_ of Signac and Seurat may be recognised. And there is a water-colour of Turner's in the National Gallery called Honfleur, which has anticipated many traits of Boudin and the Manet we know when he had not forgotten Eugène Boudin's influence.

Let us enjoy our Monet without too many "mole runs." As De Kay pointed out, it was not necessary for Monet to go to London to see Constables. In the Louvre he could gaze upon them at leisure, also upon Bonington; not to mention the Venetians and such a Dutchman as Vermeer. It is therefore doubly interesting to study the Monets at Durand-Ruel's. There are twenty-seven, and they range as far back as 1872, Promenade à Trouville, and come down to the Charing Cross Bridge, 1904, and the two Waterloo Bridge effects, 1903. It is a wide range in sentiment and technique. The Mills in Holland of 1874 is as cool and composed as Boudin. Sincerity and beauty are in the picture--for we do not agree with those who see in Monet only an unemotional recorder of variations in light and tone. He can compose a background as well as any of his contemporaries, and an important fact is overlooked when Monet is jumbled indiscriminately with a lot of inferior men. Monet knew how to _draw_ before he handled pigment. Some lansdcape painters do not; many impressionists trust to God and their palette-knife; so the big men are sufferers. Monet, it may be noted, essayed many keys; his compositions are not nearly so monotonous as has been asserted. What does often exhaust the optic nerve is the violent impinging thereon of his lights. He has an eagle eye, we have not. Wagner had the faculty of attention developed to such an extraordinary pitch that with our more normal and weaker nerves he soon exhausts us in his flights. Too much Monet is like too much Wagner or too much sunshine.

The breezy effect with the poplars painted flat is an example very unlike Monet. The church of Varengeville at Dieppe (1880) is a classic specimen; so is the Pourville beach (1882). What delicate greens in the Spring (1885)! What fine distance, an ocean view, in the Pourville picture! Or, if you care for subdued harmonies, there is the ice floe at Vétheuil (1881).

The London pictures tell of the older artist--not so vigorous, a vein of tenderness beginning to show instead of his youthful blazing optimism. Claude Monet must have had a happy life--he is still a robust man painting daily in the fields, leading the glorious life of a landscapist, one of the few romantic professions in this prosaic age. Not so vain, so irritable as either Manet or Whistler, Monet's nerves have never prompted him to extravagances. Backbiters declare that Monet is suffering from an optical degeneration--poor, overworked word! Monet sees better, sees more keenly than his fellow-men. What a misfortune! Ibsen and Wagner suffered, too, from superior brains. If Monet ever suffered seriously from a danger to his art it was--success. He was abused in the beginning, but not as severely as Manet. But success perched on Monet's palette. His pictures never seem to suggest any time but high noon, in spirit, at least. And he is never sad. Yet, is there anything sadder under the sun than a soul incapable of sadness?

In his very valuable contribution to the history of the cause, Théodore Duret, the biographer and friend of Whistler and Manet has in his Les Peintres Impressionistes held the scales very much in favour of Manet's priority in the field over Monet. It is true that in 1863 Manet had drawn upon his head the thunderous wrath of Paris by exhibiting his Déjeuner sur l'Herbe and Olympe--by no means a representative effort of the painter's genius, despite its diabolic cleverness. (It reveals a profound study of Titian, Cranach, and Goya.) But his vision was in reality synthetic, not analytic; he was a primitive; he belongs to the family of Velasquez, Ribera, Goya. He studied Hals--and with what glorious results in Le Bon Bock! He manipulated paint like an "old master" and did astounding things with the higher tones of the colour scale. He was not an impressionist until he met Monet. Then in audacity he outstripped his associates. Discouraged by critical attacks, his courage had been revived by Charles Baudelaire, who fought for Richard Wagner as well as for Poe and Manet. To the painter the poet scornfully wrote: "You complain about attacks? But are you the first to endure them? Have you more genius than Chateaubriand and Wagner? They were not killed by derision. And in order not to make you too proud, I must tell you that they are models, each in his own way, and in a very rich world, while you are only the first in the decrepitude of your art." Sinister and disquieting that last phrase, and for those who see in impressionism the decadence of painting (because of the predominance given to the parts over the whole) it is a phrase prophetic.

Manet is a classic. His genuine power--technically speaking--lies in the broad, sabre-like strokes of his brush and not in the niggling _taches_ of the impressionists--of which the _reuctio ad absurdum_ is pointillisme. He lays on his pigments in sweeping slashes and his divisions are large. His significance for us does not alone reside in his consummate mastery of form and colour, but in his forthright expression of the life that hummed about him. He is as actual as Hals. Study that Boy With the Sword at the Metropolitan Museum--is there anything superficial about it? It is Spanish, the Spain of Velasquez, in its beautiful thin, clear, flat painting, its sober handling of values. The truth is that Manet dearly loved a fight, and being _chef d'école_, he naturally drifted to the impressionists' camp. And it is significant that Duret did not give this virile spirit a place in his new volume, confining the estimate of his genius to the preface. Mauclair, on the contrary, includes Manet's name in his more comprehensive and more scientific study, as he also includes the name of Edgar Degas--Degas, who is a latter-day Ingres, plus colour and a new psychology.

The title of impressionism has been a misleading one. If Degas is an impressionist, pray what then is Monet? Pissarro, Sisley, Cézanne are impressionists, and in America there is no impropriety in attaching this handle to the works of Twachtmann, J. Alden Weir, W.L. Metcalf, Childe Hassam, Robert Henri, Robert Reid, Ernest Lawson, Paul Cornoyer, Colin Campbell Cooper, Prendergast, Luks, and Glackens. But Manet, Degas! It would have been a happier invention to have called the 1877 group independents; independent they were, each man pursuing his own rainbow. We may note an identical confusion in the mind of the public regarding the Barbizon school. Never was a group composed of such dissimilar spirits. Yet people talk about Millet _and_ Breton, Corot _and_ Daubigny, Rousseau _and_ Dupré. They still say Goethe _and_ Schiller, Beethoven _and_ Mozart, Byron _and_ Shelley. It is the result of mental inertia, this coupling of such widely disparate temperaments.

Nevertheless, divided tones and "screaming" palette do not always a picture make; mediocrity loves to mask itself behind artistic innovations. For the world at large impressionism spells improvisation--an easy-going, slatternly, down-at-the-heel process, facile as well as factitious. Albert Wolff must have thought these things when he sat for his portrait to Manet. His surprise was great when the artist demanded as many sittings as would have done the painstaking Bonnat. Whistler shocked Ruskin when he confessed to having painted a nocturne in two days, but with a lifetime experience in each stroke of the brush. Whistler was a swift worker, and while he claimed the honour of being the originator of impressionism--didn't he "originate" Velasquez?--he really belongs to the preceding generation. He was impressionistic, if you will, yet not an impressionist. He was Japanese and Spanish, never Watteau, Monticelli, Turner, or Monet.

MacColl has pointed out the weakness of the scientific side of impressionism. Its values are strictly æsthetic; attempts to paint on a purely scientific basis have proved both monotonous and ludicrous. The experiments of the neo-impressionists (the 1885 group), of Signac, Seurat, were not very convincing. Van Rhysselberge, one of the few painters to-day who practise _pointillisme_, or the system of dots, is a gifted artist; so is Anquetin. The feminine group is headed by the name of Berthe Morisot (the wife of Eugène Manet, a brother of Edouard and the great granddaughter of Fragonard), a pupil of Manet, the most individual woman painter that ever lived; and Mary Cassatt, a pupil of Degas, though more closely allied to the open-air school in her methods. Miss Cassatt possesses a distinguished talent. As a school impressionism has run down to a thin rill in a waste of sand. It is more technical than personal, and while it was lucky to have such an exponent as Claude Monet, there is every reason to believe that Monet's impressionism is largely the result of a peculiar penetrating vision. He has been imitated, and Maufra and Moret are carrying on his tradition--yet there is but one Monet.

We know that the spectral palette is a mild delusion and sometimes a dangerous snare, that impressionism is in the remotest analysis but a new convention supplanting an old. Painters will never go back to the muddy palette of the past. The trick has been turned. The egg of Columbus has been once more stood on end. Claude Monet has taught us the "innocence of the eye," has shown us how to paint air that circulates, water that sparkles. The sun was the centre of the impressionistic attack, the "splendid, silent sun." A higher pitch in key colour has been attained, shadows have been endowed with vital hues. (And Leonardo da Vinci, wonderful landscapist, centuries ago wrote learnedly of coloured shadows; every new discovery is only a rediscovery.) The "dim, religious light" of the studio has been banished; the average palette is lighter, is more brilliant. And Rembrandt is still worshipped; Raphael is still on his pedestal, and the millionaire on the street continues to buy Bouguereau. The amateur who honestly wishes to purge his vision of encrusted painted prejudices we warn not to go too close to an impressionistic canvas--any more than he would go near a red-hot stove or a keg of gunpowder. And let him forget those toothsome critical terms, decomposition, recomposition. His eyes, if permitted, will act for themselves; there is no denying that the principles of impressionism soundly applied, especially to landscape, catch the fleeting, many-hued charm of nature. It is a system of coloured stenography--in the hands of a master. Woe betide the fumbler!



II - RENOIR


The secret of success is never to be satisfied; that is, never to be satisfied with your work or your success. And this idea seems to have animated Auguste Renoir during his long, honourable career of painter. In common with several members of the impressionistic group to which he belonged, he suffered from hunger, neglect, obloquy; but when prosperity did at last appear he did not succumb to the most dangerous enemy that besets the artist. He fought success as he conquered failure, and his continual dissatisfaction with himself, the true critical spirit, has led him to many fields--he has been portraitist, genre painter, landscapist, delineator of nudes, a marine painter and a master of still-life. This versatility, amazing and incontrovertible, has perhaps clouded the real worth of Renoir for the public. Even after acknowledging his indubitable gifts, the usual critical doubting Thomas grudgingly remarks that if Renoir could not draw like Degas, paint land and water like Monet or figures like Manet, he was a naturally endowed colourist. How great a colourist he was may be seen at the Metropolitan Museum, where his big canvas, La Famille Charpentier, is now hung.

Charpentier was the publisher of Zola, Goncourt, Flaubert, and of the newer realists. He was a man of taste, who cultivated friendships with distinguished artists and writers. Some disappointment was experienced at the recent public sale of his collection in Paris. The _clou_ of the sale was undoubtedly the portrait of his wife and two children. It was sold for the surprising sum of 84,000 francs to M. Durand-Ruel, who acted in behalf of the Metropolitan Museum. Another canvas by Renoir fetched 14,050 francs. A _sanguine_ of Puvis de Chavannes brought 2,050 francs, and 4,700 francs was paid for a Cézanne picture.

The Charpentier Family, originally entitled Portrait de Madame Charpentier et Ses Filles, was painted in 1878, first exhibited at the Salon of 1879, and there we saw and admired it. The passage of the years has tempered the glistening brilliancies and audacious chromatic modulations to a suave harmony that is absolutely fascinating. The background is Japanese. Mme. Charpentier is seated on a canopy surrounded by furniture, flowers; under foot a carpet with arabesque designs. She throws one arm carelessly over some rich stuff; the hand is painted with masterly precision. The other arm has dropped in her lap. She is an interesting woman of that fine maternal type so often encountered in real France--though not in French fiction, alas! Her gaze is upon her children, two adorable little girls. A superb dog, a St. Bernard, with head resting on paws, looks at you with watchful eyes. One of the girls sits upon his shaggy hide. The mother is in black, a mellow reception robe, tulle and lace. White and blue are the contrasting tones of the girls--the blue is tender. A chair is at the side of a lacquer table, upon which are flowers. Renoir flowers, dewy, blushing. You exclaim: "How charming!" It is normal French painting, not the painting of the schools with their false ideal of pseudo-Greek beauty, but the intimate, clear, refined, and logical style of a man who does not possess the genius of Manet, Degas, or Monet, but is nevertheless an artist of copiousness, charm, and originality. Charm; yes, that is the word. There is a voluptuous magnetism in his colour that draws you to him whether you approve of his capricious designs or not. The museum paid $18,480 for the Charpentier portrait, and in 1877, after an exposition in the rue Le Peletier, sixteen of his paintings, many of them masterpieces, netted the mortifying sum of 2,005 francs.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born at Limoges, February 25, 1840. His father was a poor tailor with five children who went to Paris hoping to better his condition. At the age of twelve the boy was painting on porcelain--his father had picked up some rudiments of the art at Limoges. Auguste did so well, displayed such energy and taste, that he soon fell to decorating blinds, and saved, in the course of four years, enough money to enable him to enter the atelier of Gleyre. There he met Sisley, Bazille--afterward shot in the Franco-Prussian war--and Claude Monet. They became friends and later allies in the conflict with the Parisian picture public. Renoir made his first offering to the Salon in 1863. It was refused. It was a romantic bit--a nude lady reclining on a bed listening to the plucked music of a guitar. It seems that the guitarist, and not the lady, was the cause of offence. It is a convention that a thousand living beings may look at an undressed female in a picture, but no painted man may be allowed to occupy with her the same apartment. In 1864 Renoir tried again--after all, the Salon, like our own academy, is a market-place--and was admitted. He sent in an Esmeralda dancing. Both these canvases were destroyed by the painter when he began to use his eyes. In 1868 his Lise betrayed direct observation of nature, influenced by Courbet. Until 1873 he sent pictures to the Salon; that year he was shut out with considerable unanimity, for his offering happened to be an Algerian subject, a Parisian woman dressed in Oriental costume, and--horrors!--the shadows were coloured. He was become an impressionist. He had listened, or rather looked at the baleful pyrotechnics of Monet, and so he joined the secessionists, though not disdaining to contribute annually to the Salon. In 1874 his L'allee Cavalière au Bois de Boulogne was rejected, an act that was evidently inspired by a desire to sacrifice Renoir because of the artistic "crimes" of Edouard Manet. Otherwise how explain why this easily comprehended composition, with its attractive figures, daring hues, and brilliant technique, came to have the door of the Salon closed upon it?

The historic exposition at Nadar's photographic studio, on the Boulevard des Capucines, of the impressionists, saw Renoir in company with Monet, Sisley, and the others. His La Danseuse and La Loge were received with laughter by the discerning critics. Wasn't this the exhibition of which Albert Wolff wrote that some lunatics were showing their wares, which they called pictures, etc.? (No, it was in 1875.) From 1868 to 1877 Renoir closely studied nature and his landscapes took on those violet tones which gave him the nickname of Monsieur Violette. Previously he had employed the usual clear green with the yellow touches in the shadows of conventional _paysagistes_. But Pissarro, Monet, Sisley, and Renoir had discovered each for himself that the light and shade in the open air vary according to the hours, the seasons, the atmospheric conditions. Monet and Pissarro in painting snow and frost effects under the sun did not hesitate to put blue tones in the shadows. Sisley was fond of rose tones, Renoir saw violet in the shadows. He enraged his spectators quite as much as did Monet with his purple turkeys. His striking Avant le bain was sold for one hundred and forty francs in 1875. Any one who has been lucky enough to see it at Durand-Ruel's will cry out at the stupidity which did not recognise a masterly bit of painting with its glowing, nacreous flesh tints, its admirable modelling, its pervading air of vitality. Renoir was never a difficult painter; that is, in the sense of Monet or Manet or Gauguin. He offended the eyes of 1875, no doubt, but there was in him during his first period much of Boucher; his female nudes are, as Camille Mauclair writes, of the eighteenth century; his technique is Boucher-like: "fat and sleek paint of soft brilliancy laid on with the palette-knife with precise strokes around the principal values; pink and ivory tints relieved by strong blues similar to those of enamels; the light distributed everywhere and almost excluding the opposition of the shadows; vivacious attitudes and decorative convention."

Vivacious, happy, lyrical, Renoir's work has thus far shown no hint of the bitter psychology of Edgar Degas. His nudes are pagan, child women full of life's joy, animal, sinuous, unreasoning. His _genre_ tableaux are personal enough, though in the most commonplace themes, such as Déjeuner and The Box--both have been exhibited in New York--the luminous envelope, the gorgeous riot of opposed tones, the delicious dissonances literally transfigure the themes. In his second manner his affinities to Claude Monet and impressionism are more marked. His landscapes are more atmospheric, division of tones inevitably practised. Everything swims in aerial tones. His portraits, once his only means of subsistence, are the personification of frankness. The touch is broad, flowing. Without doubt, as Theodore Duret asserts, Renoir is the first of the impressionistic portrait painters; the first to apply unflinchingly the methods of Manet and Monet to the human face--for Manet, while painting in clear tones (what magic there is in his gold!), in portraiture seldom employed the hatchings of colours, except in his landscapes, and only since 1870, when he had come under the influence of Monet's theories. Mauclair points out that fifteen years before _pointillisme_ (the system of dots, like eruptive small-pox, instead of the touches of Monet) was invented, Renoir in his portrait of Sisley used the stipplings. He painted Richard Wagner at Palermo in 1882. In his third manner--an arbitrary classification--he combines the two earlier techniques, painting with the palette-knife and in divided tones. Flowers, barbaric designs for rugs, the fantastic, vibrating waters, these appear among that long and varied series of canvases in which we see Paris enjoying itself at Bougival, dancing on the heights of Montmartre, strolling among the trees at Armenonville; Paris quivering with holiday joys, Paris in outdoor humour--and not a discordant or vicious note in all this psychology of love and sport. The lively man who in shirt sleeves dances with the jolly, plump salesgirl, the sunlight dripping through the vivid green of the tree leaves, lending dazzling edges to profiles, tips of noses, or fingers, is not the sullen _ouvrier_ of Zola or Toulouse-Lautrec--nor are the girls kin to Huysmans's Soeurs Vatard or the "human document" of Degas. Renoir's philosophy is not profound; for him life is not a curse or a kiss, as we used to say in the old Swinburne days. He is a painter of joyous surfaces and he is an incorrigible optimist. He is also a poet. The poet of air, sunshine, and beautiful women--can we ever forget his Jeanne Samary? A pantheist, withal a poet and a direct descendant in the line of Watteau, Boucher, Monticelli, with an individual touch of mundane grace and elegance.

Mme. Charpentier it was who cleverly engineered the portrait of herself and children and the portrait of Jeanne Samary into the 1879 Salon. The authorities did not dare to refuse two such distinguished women. Renoir's prospects became brighter. He married. He made money. Patrons began to appear, and in 1904, at the autumn Salon, he was given a special _salle_, and homage was done him by the young men. No sweeter gift can come to a French painter than the unbidden admiration of the rising artistic generation. Renoir appreciated his honours; he had worked laboriously, had known poverty and its attendant bedfellows, and had won the race run in the heat and dust of his younger years. In 1904, describing the autumn exhibition, I wrote: "In the Renoir _salle_ a few of the better things of this luscious brush were to be found, paintings of his middle period, that first won him favour. For example, Sur la Terrasse, with its audacious crimson, like the imperious challenge of a trumpet; La Loge and its gorgeous fabrics; a Baigneuse in a light-green scheme; the quaint head of Jeanne Samary--a rival portrait to Besnard's faun-like Réjane--and a lot of Renoir's later experimentings, as fugitive as music; exploding bouquets of iridescence; swirling panels, depicting scenes from Tannhäuser; a flower garden composed of buds and blossoms in colour scales that begin at a bass-emerald and ascend to an altitudinous green where green is no longer green but an opaline reverberation. We know how exquisitely Renoir moulds his female heads, building up, cell by cell, the entire mask. The simple gestures of daily life have been recorded by Renoir for the past forty years with a fidelity and a vitality that shames the anæmic imaginings and puling pessimisms of his younger contemporaries. What versatility, what undaunted desire to conquer new problems! He has in turn painted landscapes as full of distinction as Monet's. The nervous vivacity of his brush, his love of rendered surfaces, of melting Boucher-like heads, and of a dazzling Watteau colour synthesis have endeared him to the discriminating." He may be deficient in spiritual elevation--as were Manet, Monet, and the other Impressionists; but as they were primarily interested in problems of lighting, in painting the sun and driving the old mud gods of academic art from their thrones, it is not strange that the new men became so enamoured of the coloured appearances of life that they left out the ghosts of the ideal (that dusty, battered phrase) and proclaimed themselves rank sun-worshippers. The generation that succeeded them is endeavouring to restore the balance between unblushing pantheism and the earlier mysticism. But wherever a Renoir hangs there will be eyes to feast upon his opulent and sonorous colour music.



III - MANET


In the autumn of 1865 Théodore Duret, the Parisian critic, found himself in the city of Madrid after a tour of Portugal on horseback. A new hotel on the Puerta del Sol was, he wrote in his life of Manet, a veritable haven after roughing it in the adjacent kingdom. At the mid-day breakfast he ate as if he had never encountered good cooking in his life. Presently his attention was attracted by the behaviour of a stranger who sat next to him. The unknown was a Frenchman who abused the food, the service, and the country. He was so irritable when he noticed Duret enjoying the very _plats_ he had passed that he turned on him and demanded if insult was meant. The horrible cuisine, he explained, made him sick, and he could not understand the appetite of Duret. Good-naturedly Duret explained he had just arrived from Portugal and that the breakfast was a veritable feast. "And I have just arrived from Paris," he answered, and gave his name, Edouard Manet. He added that he had been so persecuted that he suspected his neighbour of some evil pleasantry. The pair became friends, and went to look at the pictures of Velasquez at the Prado. Fresh from Paris, Manet was still smarting from the attacks made on him after the hanging of his Olympia in the Salon of 1865. Little wonder his nerves were on edge. A dozen days later, after he had studied Velasquez, Goya, and El Greco, Manet, in company with Duret, returned to Paris. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship.

About eight years ago Duret's definitive biography of Manet appeared, Histoire de Edouard Manet et de Son Oeuvre. No one was better qualified to write of the dead painter than Théodore Duret. A critic of perspicacity, his enthusiasm was kindled during the birth throes of impressionism and has never been quenched. Only a few years ago, after a tribute to Whistler, he wrote of Manet in the introduction to his volume on Impressionism, and while no one may deny his estimate, yet through zeal for the name of his dead friend he attributed to him the discoveries of the impressionists. Manet was their leader; he would have been a leader of men in any art epoch; but he did not invent the fulminating palette of Monet, and, in reality, he joined the insurgents after they had waged their earlier battles. His "impressionistic" painting, so called, did not date until later; before that he had fought for his own independence, and his method was different from that of Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Cézanne and the rest. Nevertheless, because of his notoriety--fame is hardly the word--he may be fairly called the leader of the school.

As a rule he was not an irascible man, if the unpleasant nature of the attacks upon him is taken into consideration. With the exception of Richard Wagner and Ibsen, I know of no artist who was vilified during his lifetime as was Manet. A gentleman, he was the reverse of the bohemian. Duret writes of him that he was shocked at the attempt to make of him a monster. He did not desire to become _chef d'école_, nor did he set up as an eccentric. When he gave his special exhibition his catalogue contained a modest declaration of the right of the artist to his personal vision. He did not pretend to have created a new school, and he asked the public to judge his work as that of a sincere painter; but even that mild pronunciamento was received with jeers. The press, with a few exceptions, was against him, and so were nearly all the artists of influence. Zola's aggressive articles only made the situation worse. Who was this Zola but a writer of doubtful taste and sensational style! The whole crowd of realists, naturalists, and impressionists--the Batignolles school was the mocking title given the latter--were dumped into the common vat of infamy and critical vitriol poured over them.

The main facts of Manet's career may be soon disposed of. His mother was Eugénie Désirée Fournier; she was the goddaughter of Charles Bernadotte, King of Sweden. Her father, a prefect at Pau, had rendered services to Bernadotte which the latter did not forget. When she married, in 1831, Auguste Manet, a distinguished judge of the Seine tribunal, Bernadotte made her many valuable presents and a dowry. Her three sons were Edouard, Eugène, and Gustave. They inherited from their rich grandfather, Fournier. Edouard was born at Paris, Rue Bonaparte, January 23, 1832. His brother Eugène became a doctor of medicine and later married one of the most gifted of women painters, Berthe Morisot, who died in 1895, after winning the praise of the most critical pens in all Europe. Edouard was intended for the bar, but he threw up his studies and swore he would become a painter. Then he was sent abroad. He visited South America and other countries, and kept his eyes wide open, as his sea-pieces proved. After his mother became a widow he married, in 1863, Susanne Leenhoff, of Delft, Holland. She was one of the early admirers of Schumann in Paris and played the A minor piano concerto with orchestra there, and, it is said, with success. She was an admirer of her husband's genius, and during all the turmoil of his existence she was a friend and counsellor.

The young couple lived with the elder Mme. Manet in the Rue de Saint-Pétersbourg, and their weekly reception became a rallying centre for not only _les Jeunes_, but also for such men as Gambetta, Emile Ollivier, Clemenceau, Antonin Proust, De Banville, Baudelaire, Duranty--with whom Manet fought a duel over a trifle--Zola, Mallarmé, Abbé Hurel, Monet, and the impressionistic group. Edouard entertained great devotion for his mother. She saw two of her sons die, Edouard in 1883 (April 30) and Gustave in 1884. (He was an advocate and took Clemenceau's place as municipal councillor when the latter was elected Deputy.) Mme. Manet died in 1885. The painter was stricken with locomotor ataxia, brought on by protracted toil, in 1881. For nearly three years he suffered, and after the amputation of a leg he succumbed. His obsequies were almost of national significance. His widow lived until 1906.

_Manet et manebit_ was the motto of the artist. He lived to paint and he painted much after his paralytic seizure. He was a brilliant raconteur, and, as Degas said, was at one time as well known in Paris as Garibaldi, red shirt and all. The truth is, Manet, after being forced with his back to the wall, became the active combatant in the duel with press and public. He was unhappy if people on the boulevard did not turn to look at him. "The most notorious painter in Paris" was a description which he finally grew to enjoy. It may not be denied that he painted several pictures as a direct challenge to the world, but a painter of offensive pictures he never was. The execrated Picnic, proscribed by the jury of the Salon in 1861, was shown in the Salon des Refusés (in company with works by Bracquemond, Cazin, Fantin-Latour, Harpignies, Jongkind, J.P. Laurens, Legros, Pissarro, Vollon, Whistler--the mildest-mannered crew of pirates that ever attempted to scuttle the bark of art), and a howl arose. What was this shocking canvas like? A group of people at a picnic, several nudes among them. In vain it was pointed out to the modest Parisians (who at the time revelled in the Odalisque of Ingres, in Cabanel, Gérôme, Bouguereau, and other delineators of the chaste) that in the Louvre the Concert of Giorgione depicted just such a scene; but the mixture of dressed and undressed was appalling, and Manet became a man marked for vengeance. Perhaps the exceeding brilliancy of his paint and his unconventional manner of putting it on his canvas had as much to do with the obloquy as his theme. And then he would paint the life around him instead of producing _pastiches_ of old masters or sickly evocations of an unreal past.

He finished Olympia the year of his marriage, and refused to exhibit it; Baudelaire insisted to the contrary. It was shown at the Salon of 1865 (where Monet exhibited for the first time) and became the scandal of the day. Again the painter was bombarded with invectives. This awful nude, to be sure, was no more unclothed than is Cabanel's Venus, but the latter is pretty and painted with soap-suds and sentimentality. The Venus of Titian is not a whit more exposed than the slim, bony, young woman who has just awakened in time to receive a bouquet at the hands of her negress, while a black cat looks on this matutinal proceeding as a matter of course. The silhouette has the firmness of Holbein; the meagre girl recalls a Cranach. It is not the greatest of Manet; one could say, despite the bravura of the performances, that the painter was indulging in an ironic joke. It was a paint pot flung in the face of Paris. Olympia figured at the 1887 exhibition in the Pavilion Manet. An American (the late William M. Laffan) tried to buy her. John Sargent intervened, and a number of the painter's friends, headed by Claude Monet, subscribed a purse of twenty thousand francs. In 1890 Monet and Camille Pelletan presented to M. Fallières, then Minister of Instruction, the picture for the Luxembourg, and in 1907 (January 6), thanks to the prompt action of Clemenceau, one of Manet's earliest admirers, the hated Olympia was hung in the Louvre. The admission was a shock, even at that late day when the din of the battle had passed. When in 1884 there was held at the École des Beaux-Arts a memorial exposition of Manet's works, Edmond About wrote that the place ought to be fumigated, and Gérôme "brandished his little cane" with indignation. Why all the excitement in official circles? Only this: Manet was a great painter, the greatest painter in France during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Beautiful paint always provokes hatred. Manet won. Nothing succeeds like the success which follows death. (Our only fear nowadays is that his imitators won't die. Second-rate Manet is as bad as second-rate Bouguereau.) If he began by patterning after Hals, Velasquez, and Goya, he ended quite Edouard Manet; above all, he gave his generation a new vision. There will be always the battle of methods. As Mr. MacColl says: "Painting is continually swaying between the _chiaroscuro_ reading of the world which gives it depth and the colour reading which reduces it to flatness. Manet takes all that the modern inquisition of shadows will give to strike his compromise near the singing colours of the Japanese mosaic."

What a wit this Parisian painter possessed! Duret tells of a passage at arms between Manet and Alfred Stevens at the period when the former's Le Bon Bock met for a wonder with a favourable reception at the Salon of 1873. This portrait of the engraver Belot smoking a pipe, his fingers encircling a glass, caused Stevens to remark that the man in the picture "drank the beer of Haarlem." The _mot_ nettled Manet, whose admiration for Frans Hals is unmistakably visible in this magnificent portrait. He waited his chance for revenge, and it came when Stevens exhibited a picture in the Rue Lafitte portraying a young woman of fashion in street dress standing before a portière which she seems about to push aside in order to enter another room. Manet studied the composition for a while, and noting a feather duster elaborately painted which lies on the floor beside the lady, exclaimed: "Tiens! elle a done un rendezvous avec le valet de chambre?"



XII. A NEW STUDY OF WATTEAU

New biographical details concerning Jean Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) may never be forthcoming, though theories of his enigmatic personality and fascinating art will always find exponents. Our knowledge of Watteau is confined to a few authorities: the notes in D'Argenville's Abrégé de la Vie des Plus Fameux Peintres; Catalogue Raisonné, by Gersaint; Julienne's introduction to the Life of Watteau by Count de Caylus--discovered by the Goncourts and published in their brilliant study of eighteenth-century art. Since then have appeared monographs, études, and articles by Cellier, Mollet, Hanover, Dohme, Müntz, Séailles, Claude Phillips, Charles Blanc, Virgile Joez, F. Staley, Téodor de Wyzewa, and Camille Mauclair. Mauclair is the latest and one of the most interesting commentators, his principal contribution being De Watteau à Whistler, a chapter of which has been afterward expanded into a compact little study entitled Watteau and translated from the French text by Mme. Simon Bussy, the wife of that intimate painter of twilight and poetic reverie, Simon Bussy, to whom the book is dedicated.

It is the thesis put forth and cleverly maintained by Mauclair that interests us more than his succinct notation of the painter's life. It is not so novel as it is just and moderate in its application. The pathologic theory of genius has been overworked. In literature nowadays "psychiatrists" rush in where critics fear to tread. Mahomet was an epilept; so was Napoleon. Flaubert died of epilepsy, said his friends; nevertheless, René Dumesnil has proved that his sudden decease was caused not by apoplexy but by hystero-neurasthenia. Eye strain played hob with the happiness of Carlyle, and an apostle of sweetness and light declared that Ibsen was a "degenerate"--Ibsen, who led the humdrum exterior life of a healthy _bourgeois_. Lombroso has demonstrated--to his own satisfaction--that Dante's mystic illumination was due to some brand of mental disorder. In fact, this self-styled psychologist mapped anew the topography of the human spirit. Few have escaped his fine-tooth-comb criticism except mediocrity. Painters, poets, patriots, musicians, scientists, philosophers, novelists, statesmen, dramatists, all who ever participated in the Seven Arts, were damned as lunatics, decadents, criminals, and fools. It was a convenient inferno in which to dump the men who succeeded in the field wherein you were a failure. The height of the paradox was achieved when a silly nomenclature was devised to meet every vacillation of the human temperament. If you feared to cross the street you suffered from agoraphobia; if you didn't fear to cross the street, that too was a very bad sign. If you painted like Monet, paralysis of the optical centre had set in--but why continue?

It is a pity that this theory of genius has been so thoroughly discredited, for it is a field which promises many harvestings; there is mad genius as there are stupid folk. Besides, normality doesn't mean the commonplace. A normal man is a superior man. The degenerate man is the fellow of low instincts, rickety health, and a drunkard, criminal, or idiot. The comical part of the craze--which was short-lived, yet finds adherents among the half-baked in culture and the ignorant--is that it deliberately twisted the truth, making men of fine brain and high-strung temperament seem crazy or depraved, when the reverse is usually the case. Since the advent of Lombroso "brainstorms" are the possession of the privileged. Naturally your grocer, tailor, or politician may display many of the above symptoms, but no one studies them. They are not "geniuses."

All this to assure you that when Camille Mauclair assumes that the malady from which Antoine Watteau died was also a determining factor in his art, the French critic is not aping some modern men of science who denounce the writings of Dostoïevsky because he suffered from epileptic fits. But there is a happy mean in this effort to correlate mind and body. If we are what we think or what we eat--and it is not necessary to subscribe to such a belief--then the sickness of the body is reflected in the soul, or vice versa. Byron was a healthy man naturally, when he didn't dissipate, and Byron's poems are full of magnificent energy, though seldom in the key of optimism. The revolt, the passion, the scorn, were they all the result of his health? Or of his liver? Or of his soul? Goethe, the imperial the myriad-minded Goethe, the apostle of culture, the model European man of the nineteenth century--what of him? Serenity he is said to have attained, yet from the summit of eighty years he confessed to four weeks of happiness in a long lifetime. Nor was he with all his superb manhood free from neurotic disorders, neurotic and erotic. Shelley? Ah! he is a pronounced case for the specialists. Any man who could eat dry bread, drink water, and write such angelic poetry must have been quite mad. Admitted. Would there were more Shelleys. Browning is a fair specimen of genius and normality; as his wife illustrated an unstable nervous temperament allied to genius. George Borrow was a rover, a difficult man to keep as a friend, happy only when thinking of the gipsies and quarrelling when with them. Would Baudelaire's magic verse and prose sound its faint, acrid, sinister music if the French poet had led a sensible life? Cruel question of the dilettante for whom the world, all its splendor, all its art, is but a spectacle. It is needless to continue, the list is too large; too large and too contradictory. The Variations of Genius would be as profound and as vast a book as Lord Acton's projected History of Human Thought. The truth is that genius is the sacrificial goat of humanity; through some inexplicable transposition genius bears the burdens of mankind; afflicted by the burden of the flesh intensified many times, burdened with the affliction of the spirit, raised to a pitch abnormal, the unhappy man of genius is stoned because he staggers beneath the load of his sensitive temperament or wavers from the straight and narrow path usually blocked by bores too thick-headed and too obese to realise the flower-fringed abysses on either side of the road. And having sent genius in general among the goats, let us turn to consumptive genius in particular.

Watteau was a consumptive; he died of the disease. A consumptive genius! It is a hard saying. People of average health whose pulse-beat is normal in _tempo_ luckily never realise the febrile velocity with which flows the blood in the veins of a sick man of genius. But there is a paradox in the case of Watteau, as there was in the case of Chopin, of Keats, of Robert Louis Stevenson. The painter of Valenciennes gave little sign of his malady on his joyous lyrical canvases. Keats sang of faëry landscapes and Chopin's was a virile spirit; the most cheerful writer under the sun was Stevenson, who even in his Pulvis et Umbra conjured up images of hope after a most pitiless arraignment of the universe and man. And here is the paradox. This quartet of genius suffered from and were slain by consumption. (Stevenson died directly of brain congestion; he was, however, a victim to lung trouble.) That the poets turn their sorrow into song is an axiom. Yet these men met death, or what is worse, met life, with defiance or impassible fronts. And the world which loves the lilting rhythms of Chopin's mazourkas seldom cares to peep behind the screen of notes for the anguish ambushed there. Watteau has painted the gayest scenes of pastoral elegance in a land out of time, a No-Man's Land of blue skies, beautiful women, gallant men, and lovely landscapes, while his life was haunted by thoughts of death.

The riddle is solved by Mauclaìr: These flights into the azure, these evocations of a country west of the sun and east of the moon, these graceful creatures of Watteau, the rich brocade of Chopin's harmonies, the exquisite pictures of Keats, the youthful joy in far-away countries of Stevenson, all, all are so many stigmata of their terrible affliction. They sought by the magic of their art to create a realm of enchantment, a realm wherein their ailing bodies and wounded spirits might find peace and solace. This is the secret of Watteau, says Mauclair, which was not yielded up in the eighteenth century, not even to his followers, Pater, Lancret, Boucher, Fragonard, whose pagan gaiety and artificial spirit is far removed from the veiled melancholy of Watteau. As we see Chopin, a slender man, morbid, sickly, strike the martial chord in an unparalleled manner, Chopin the timid, the composer of the Heroic Polonaise, so Watteau, morbid, sickly, timid, slender, composes that masterpiece of delicate and decorative joyousness, The Embarkment for Cythera, which hangs in the Louvre (a gorgeous sketch, the final version, is at Potsdam in the collection of the German Emperor). In these works we find the aura of consumption.

None of Watteau's contemporaries fathomed the meaning of his art: not Count de Caylus, not his successors, who all recognised the masterly draughtsman, the marvellous colourist, the composer of pastoral ballets, of matchless _fêtes galantes_, of conversations, of miniatures depicting camp life, and fanciful decorations in the true style of his times. But the melancholy poet that was in the man, his lyric pessimism, and his unassuaged thirst for the infinite--these things they did not see. Caylus, who has left the only data of value, speaks of Watteau's hatred of life, his aversion at times from the human face, his restlessness that caused him to seek new abodes--Chopin was always dissatisfied with his lodgings and always changing them. The painter made friends in plenty, only to break with them because of some fancied slight. Chopin was of umbrageous nature, Liszt tells us. Watteau never married, and never, as far as is known, had a love affair. He is an inspired painter of women. (Perhaps, because of his celibacy.) He loved to depict them in delicious poses, under waving trees in romantic parks or in the nude. A gallant artist, he was not a gallant man. He had the genius of friendship but not the talent for insuring its continuity. Like Arthur Rimbaud, he suffered from the nostalgia of the open road. He disappeared frequently. His whereabouts was a mystery to his friends. He did not care for money or for honours. He was elected without volition on his part as a member of the Academy. Yet he did not use this powerful lever to further his welfare. Silent, a man of continent speech, he never convinced his friends that his art was chaste; yet he never painted an indelicate stroke. His personages, all disillusionised, vaguely suffer, make love without desire--disillusioned souls all. L'Indifférent, that young man in the Louvre who treads the earth with such light disdain, with such an airy expression of sweetness and _ennui_, that picture, Mauclair remarks, is the soul of Watteau. And, perhaps, spills his secret.

Mauclair does not like the coupling of Watteau's name with those of Boucher, Pater, Lancret, De Troy, Coypel, or Vanloo. They imitated him as to externals; the spirit of him they could not ensnare. If Watteau stemmed artistically from Rubens, from Ruysdael, from Titian (or Tiepolo, as Kenyon Cox acutely hints) he is the father of a great school, the true French school, though his stock is Flemish. Turner knew him; so did Bonington. Delacroix understood him. So did Chardin, himself a solitary in his century. Without Watteau's initiative Monticelli might not be the Monticelli we know, while Claude Monet, Manet, Renoir are the genuine flowering of his experiments in the division of tones and the composition of luminous skies.

Mauclair smiles at Caylus for speaking of Watteau's mannerisms, the mannerisms that proclaim his originality. Only your academic, colourless painter lacks personal style and always paints like somebody he is not. Watteau's art is peculiarly personal. Its peculiarity--apart from its brilliancy and vivacity--is, as Mauclair remarks, "the contrast of cheerful colour and morbid expression." _Morbidezza_ is the precise phrase; _morbidezza_ may be found in Chopin's art, in the very feverish moments when he seems brimming over with high spirits. Watteau was not a consumptive of the Pole's type. He did not alternate between ecstasy and languor. He was cold, self-contained, suspicious, and inveterately hid the state of his health. He might have been cured, but he never reached Italy, and that far-off dream and his longing to realise it may have been the basis of his last manner--those excursions into a gorgeous dreamland. He yearned for an impossible region. His visions on canvas are the shadowy sketches of this secret desire that burned him up. It may have been consumption--and Mauclair makes out a strong case--and it may have been the expression of a rare poetic temperament. Watteau was a poet of excessive sensibility as well as the contriver of dainty masques and ballets.

In literature one man at least has understood him, Walter Pater. Readers of his Imaginary Portraits need not be reminded of A Prince of Court Painters, that imaginative reconstruction of an almost obscure personality. "His words as he spoke of them [the paintings of Rubens] seemed full of a kind of rich sunset with some moving glory within it." This was the Watteau who is summed by Pater (a distant kinsman, perhaps, of the Pater Watteau tutored) as a man who had been "a sick man all his life. He was always a seeker after something in the world, that is there in no satisfying measure, or not at all." Camille Mauclair eloquently ends his study with the confession that the mere utterance of Watteau's name "suffices to evoke in men's minds a memory of the melancholy that was his, arrayed in garments of azure and rose. Ah! crepuscular Psyche, whose smile is akin to tears!"



XIII. GAUGUIN AND TOULOUSE-LAUTREC

I - GAUGUIN


The key-note to the character of Paul Gauguin, painter and sculptor, may be found in his declaration that in art there are only revolutionists or plagiarists. A brave speech. And a proud man who uttered it; for unless he wished to avoid its implications he must needs prove his sincerity. In the short, adventurous, crowded life vouchsafed him, Paul Gauguin proved himself indeed a revolutionary painter. His maxim was the result of hard-won experiences. He was born at Paris June 7, 1848--a stormy year for France; he died at Dominique May 9, 1904. His father was a native of Brittany, while on his mother's side he was Peruvian. This mixed blood may account for his wandering proclivities and his love for exotic colouring and manners. To further accentuate the rebellious instincts of the youth his maternal grandmother was that Flora Tristan, friend of the anarchistic thinker Proudhon. She was a socialist later and a prime mover in the Workman's Union; she allied herself with Père Enfantin and helped him to found his religion, "Mapa," of which he was the god, Ma, and she the goddess, Pa. Enfantin's career and end may be recalled by students of St. Simon and the socialistic movements of those times. Paul's father, Clovis Gauguin, wrote in 1848 the political chronicle on the _National_, but previous to the _coup d'etat_ he left for Lima, there to found a journal. He died of an aneurism in the Straits of Magellan, a malady that was to carry off his son. After four years in Lima the younger Gauguin returned to France. In 1856 a Peruvian grand-uncle died at the extraordinary age of one hundred and thirteen. His name was Don Pio de Tristan, and he was reported very rich. But Paul got none of this wealth, and at fourteen he was a cabin-boy, feeble of health but extremely curious about life. He saw much of life and strange lands in the years that followed, and he developed into a powerfully built young sailor and no doubt stored his brain with sumptuous images of tropical scenery which reappeared in his canvases. He traversed the globe several times. He married and took a position in a bank. On Sundays he painted. His hand had itched for years to reproduce the landscapes he had seen. He made friends with Degas, Cézanne, Pissarro, Renoir, Monet, Guillaumin, and Manet. He called himself an amateur and a "Sunday painter," but as he was received on terms of equality with these famous artists it may be presumed that, autodidact as he was, his versatile talent--for it literally was versatile--did not escape their scrutiny. He submitted himself to various influences; he imitated the Impressionists, became a Neo-Impressionist of the most extravagant sort; went sketching with Cézanne and Van Gogh, that unfortunate Dutchman, and finally announced to his friends and family that "henceforward I shall paint every day." He gave up his bank, and Charles Morice has said that his life became one of misery, solitude, and herculean labours.

He painted in Brittany, Provence, at Martinique, in the Marquesas and Tahiti. He had parted with the Impressionists and sought for a new _æsthetik_ of art; to achieve this he broke away not only from tradition, even the tradition of the Impressionists, but from Europe and its civilisation. To this half-savage temperament devoured by the nostalgia of the tropics the pictures of his contemporaries bore the fatal stamp of the obvious, of the thrice done and used up. France, Holland, Spain, Italy--what corner was there left in these countries that had not been painted thousands of times and by great masters! The South Seas, Japan, China--anywhere away from the conventional studio landscape, studio models, poses, grimaces! At Pont-Aven in 1888, between trips made to Martinique and Provence, Gauguin had attained mastery of himself; Cézanne had taught him simplicity; Degas, his avowed admirer, had shown him the potency of the line; Renoir's warm colouring had spurred him to a still richer palette; and Manet had given him sound advice. A copy of the Olympe, by Gauguin, finished about this time, is said to be a masterpiece. But with Degas he was closer than the others. A natural-born writer, his criticisms of the modern French school are pregnant with wit and just observation. What was nicknamed the School of Pont-Aven was the outcome of Gauguin's imperious personality. A decorative impulse, a largeness of style, and a belief that everything in daily life should be beautiful and characteristic sent the painters to modelling, to ceramics and decoration. Armand Seguin, Emile Bernard, Maurice Denis, Filiger, Serusier, Bonnard, Vuillard, Chamaillard, Verkade, O'Conor, Durio, Maufra, Ranson, Mayol, Roy, and others are to-day happy to call themselves associates of Paul Gauguin in this little movement in which the idolatry of the line and the harmonies of the arabesque were pursued with joyous fanaticism.

Gauguin in an eloquent letter tells of his intercourse with Vincent Van Gogh, who went mad and killed himself, not, however, before attempting the life of his master. Mauclair has said of Van Gogh that he "left to the world some violent and strange works, in which Impressionism appears to have reached the limit of its audacity. Their value lies in their naïve frankness and in the undauntable determination which tried to fix without trickery the sincerest feelings. Amid many faulty and clumsy works Van Gogh has also left some really beautiful canvases." Before Gauguin went to Tahiti his Breton peasants were almost as monstrous as his later Polynesian types. His representations of trees also seem monstrous. His endeavour was to get beyond the other side of good and evil in art and create a new synthesis, and thus it came to pass that the ugly and the formless reign oft in his work--the ugly and formless according to the old order of envisaging the world.

In 1891 and 1892, at Tahiti, Gauguin painted many pictures--masterpieces his friends and disciples call them--which were later shown at an exhibition held in the Durand-Ruel Galleries. Paris shuddered or went into ecstasy over these blazing transcriptions of the tropics; over these massive men and women, nude savages who stared with such sinister magnetism from the frames. The violent deformations, the intensity of vision, the explosive hues--a novel gamut of rich tones--and the strangeness of the subject-matter caused a nine days' gossip; yet the exhibition was not a great success. Gauguin was too new, too startling, too original for his generation; he is yet for the majority, though he may be the Paint God of the twentieth century. Cut to the heart by his failure to make a dazzling reputation, also make a little money--for he was always a poor man--he left Paris forever in 1895. He was sick and his life among the Marquisians did not improve his health. He took the part of the natives against the whites and was denounced as a moral castaway. In 1904 he wrote Charles Morice: "I am a savage." But a savage of talent. In reality he was a cultivated man, an attractive man, and a billiard player and a fencer. Paint was his passion. If you live by the pen you may perish by the pen. The same is too often the case with the palette and brush hero.

Though Paul Gauguin failed in his search for a synthesis of the ugly and the beautiful, he was nevertheless a bold initiator, one who shipwrecked himself in his efforts to fully express his art. With all his realism he was a symbolist, a master of decoration. A not too sympathetic commentator has written of him: "Paul Gauguin's robust talent found its first motives in Breton landscapes, in which the method of colour spots may be found employed with delicacy and placed at the service of a rather heavy but very interesting harmony. Then the artist spent a long time in Tahiti, whence he returned with a completely transformed manner. He brought back from those regions some landscapes treated in intentionally clumsy and almost wild fashion. The figures are outlined in firm strokes and painted in broad, flat tints on canvas that has the texture of tapestry. Many of these works are made repulsive by their aspect of multicoloured, crude, and barbarous imagery. Yet one cannot but acknowledge the fundamental qualities, the lovely values, the ornamental taste, and the impression of primitive animalism. On the whole, Paul Gauguin has a beautiful, artistic temperament which, in its aversion to virtuosity, has perhaps not sufficiently understood that the fear of formulas, if exaggerated, may lead to other formulas, to a false ignorance which is as dangerous as false knowledge."

All of which is true; yet Paul Gauguin was a painter who had something new to say, and he said it in a very personal fashion.



II - TOULOUSE-LAUTREC


I once attended at Paris an exhibition devoted to the work of the late Count Toulouse-Lautrec. There the perverse genius of an unhappy man who owes allegiance to no one but Degas and the Japanese was seen at its best. His astonishing qualities of invention, draughtsmanship, and a diabolic ingenuity in sounding the sinister music of decayed souls have never been before assembled under one roof. Power there is and a saturnine hatred of his wretched sitters. Toulouse-Lautrec had not the impersonal vision of Zola nor the repressed and disenchanting irony of Degas. He loathed the crew of repulsive night birds that he pencilled and painted in old Montmartre before the foreign invasion destroyed its native and spontaneous wickedness. Now a resort for easily bamboozled English and Americans, the earlier Montmartre was a rich mine for painter-explorers. Raffaelli went there and so did Renoir; but the former was impartially impressionistic; the latter, ever ravished by a stray shaft of sunshine flecking the faces of the dancers, set it all down in charming tints. Not so Toulouse-Lautrec. Combined with a chronic pessimism, he exhibited a divination of character that, if he had lived and worked hard, might have placed him not far below Degas. He is savant. He has a line that proclaims the master. And unlike Aubrey Beardsley, his affinity to the Japanese never seduced him into the exercise of the decorative abnormal which sometimes distinguished the efforts of the Englishman. We see the Moulin Rouge with its hosts of deadly parasites, La Goulue and her vile retainers. The brutality here is one of contempt, as a blow struck full in the face. Vice has never before been so harshly arraigned. This art makes of Hogarth a pleasing preacher, so drastic is it, so deliberately searching in its insults. And never the faintest exaggeration or burlesque. These brigands and cut-throats, pimps and pickpurses are set before us without bravado, without the genteel glaze of the timid painter, without an attempt to call a prostitute a _cocotte_. Indeed, persons are called by their true names in these hasty sketches of Lautrec's, and so clearly sounded are the names that sometimes you are compelled to close your ears and eyes. His models, with their cavernous glance, their emaciated figures, and vicious expression, are a commentary on atelier life in those days and regions. Toulouse-Lautrec is like a page from Ecclesiastes.



XIV. LITERATURE AND ART

I - CONCERNING CRITICS


The annual rotation of the earth brings to us at least once during its period the threadbare, thriceworn, stale, flat, and academic discussion of critic and artist. We believe comparisons of creator and critic are unprofitable, being for the most part a confounding of intellectual substances. The painter paints, the composer makes music, the sculptor models, and the poet sings. Like the industrious crow the critic hops after these sowers of beauty, content to peck up in the furrows the chance grains dropped by genius. This, at least, is the popular notion. Balzac, and later Disraeli, asked: "After all, what are the critics? Men who have failed in literature and art." And Mascagni, notwithstanding the laurels he wore after his first success, cried aloud in agony that a critic was _compositore mancato_. These be pleasing quotations for them whose early opus has failed to score. The trouble is that every one is a critic, your gallery-god as well as the most stately practitioner of the art severe. Balzac was an excellent critic when he saluted Stendhal's Chartreuse de Parme as a masterpiece; as was Emerson when he wrote to Walt Whitman. What the mid-century critics of the United States, what Sainte-Beuve, master critic of France, did not see, Balzac and Emerson saw and, better still, spoke out. In his light-hearted fashion Oscar Wilde asserted that the critic was also a creator--apart from his literary worth--and we confess that we know of cases where the critic has created the artist. But that a serious doubt can be entertained as to the relative value of creator and critic is hardly worth denying.

Consider the painters. Time and time again you read or hear the indignant denunciation of some artist whose canvas has been ripped-up in print. If the offender happens to be a man who doesn't paint, then he is called an ignoramus; if he paints or etches, or even sketches in crayon, he is well within the Balzac definition--poor, miserable imbecile, he is only jealous of work that he could never have achieved. As for literary critics, it may be set down once and for all that they are "suspect." They write; ergo, they must be unjust. The dilemma has branching horns. Is there no midway spot, no safety ground for that weary Ishmael the professional critic to escape being gored? Naturally any expression of personal feeling on his part is set down to mental arrogance. He is permitted like the wind to move over the face of the waters, but he must remain unseen. We have always thought that the enthusiastic Dublin man in the theatre gallery was after a critic when he cried aloud at the sight of a toppling companion: "Don't waste him. Kill a fiddler with him!" It seems more in consonance with the Celtic character; besides, the Irish are music-lovers.

If one could draw up the list of critical and creative men in art the scale would not tip evenly. The number of painters who have written of their art is not large, though what they have said is always pregnant. Critics outnumber them--though the battle is really a matter of quality, not quantity. There is Da Vinci. For his complete writings some of us would sacrifice miles of gawky pale and florid mediæval paintings. What we have of him is wisdom, and like true wisdom is prophetic. Then there is that immortal gossip Vasari, a very biassed critic and not too nice to his contemporaries. He need not indulge in what is called the woad argument; we sha'n't go back to the early Britons for our authorities. Let us come to Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose Discourses are invaluable--and also to be taken well salted; he was encrusted with fine old English prejudices. One of his magnificent sayings and one appreciated by the entire artistic tribe was his ejaculation: "Damn paint!" Raphael Mengs wrote. We wish that Velasquez had. What William Blake said of great artists threw much light on William Blake. Ingres uttered things, principally in a rage, about his contemporaries. Delacroix was a thinker. He literally anticipated Chevreul's discoveries in the law of simultaneous contrasts of colour. Furthermore, he wrote profoundly of his art. He appreciated Chopin before many critics and musicians--which would have been an impossible thing for Ingres, though he played the violin--and he was kind to the younger men.

Need we say that Degas is a great wit, though not a writer; a wit and a critic? Rousseau, the landscapist, made notes, and Corot is often quoted. If Millet had never written another sentence but "There is no isolated truth," he would still have been a critic. Constable with his "A good thing is never done twice"; and Alfred Stevens's definition of art, "Nature seen through the prism of an emotion," forestalled Zola's pompous pronouncement in The Experimental Novel. To jump over the stile to literature, Wordsworth wrote critical prefaces, and Shelley, too; Poe was a critic; and what of Coleridge, who called painting "a middle quality between a thought and a thing--the union of that which is nature with that which is exclusively human"? There are plenty of examples on the side of the angels. Whistler! What a critic, wielding a finely chased rapier! Thomas Couture wrote and discoursed much of his art. Sick man as he was, I heard him talk of art at his country home, Villiers-le-Bel, on the Northern Railway, near Paris. This was in 1878. William M. Hunt's talks on art were fruitful. So are John Lafarge's. The discreet Gigoux of Balzac notoriety has an entertaining book to his credit; while Rodin is often coaxed into utterances about his and other men's work. There are many French, English, and American artists who write and paint with equal facility. In New York, Kenyon Cox is an instance. But the chiefest among all the painters alive and dead, one who shines and will continue to shine when his canvases are faded--and they are fading--is Eugène Fromentin, whose Maîtres d'autrefois is a classic of criticism. Since his day two critics, who are also painters, have essayed both crafts, George Clausen and D.S. MacColl.

Professor Clausen is a temperate critic, MacColl a brilliant, revolutionary one. The critical temper in either man is not dogmatic. Seurat, the French Neo-Impressionist, has defended his theories; indeed, the number of talented Frenchmen who paint well and write with style as well as substance is amazing. Rossetti would no longer be a rare bird in these days of piping painters, musicians who are poets, and sculptors who are painters. The unfortunate critic occasionally writes a play or an opera (particularly in Paris), but as a rule he is content to echo that old German who desperately exclaimed: "Even if I am nothing else, I am at least a contemporary."

Let us now swing around the obverse side of the medal. A good showing. You may begin with Wincklemann or Goethe--we refer entirely to critics of paint and painters--or run down the line to Diderot, Blanc, Gautier, Baudelaire, Zola, Goncourt, who introduced to Europe Japanese art; Roger Marx, Geoffroy, Huysmans, Camille Mauclair, Charles Morice, and Octave Mirbeau. Zola was not a painter, but he praised Edouard Manet. These are a few names hastily selected. In England, Ruskin too long ruled the critical roast; full of thunder-words like Isaiah, his vaticinations led a generation astray. He was a prophet, not a critic, and he was a victim to his own abhorred "pathetic fallacy." Henley was right in declaring that until R.A.M. Stevenson appeared there was no great art criticism in England or English. The "Velasquez" is a marking stone in critical literature. It is the one big book by a big temperament that may be opposed page by page to Fromentin's critical masterpiece. Shall we further adduce the names of Morelli, Sturge Moore, Roger Fry, Perkins, Cortissoz, Lionel Cust, Colvin, Ricci, Van Dyke, Mather, Berenson, Brownell, and George Moore--who said of Ruskin that his uncritical blindness regarding Whistler will constitute his passport to fame, "the lot of critics is to be remembered by what they have failed to understand." Walter Pater wrote criticism that is beautiful literature. If Ruskin missed Whistler, he is in good company, for Sainte-Beuve, the prince of critics, missed Balzac, Stendhal, Flaubert, and to Victor Hugo was unfair. Yet, consider the Osrics embalmed in the amber of Sainte-Beuve's style. He, like many another critic, was superior to his subject. And that is always fatal to the water-flies.

George III once asked in wonderment how the apples get inside the dumplings. How can a critic criticise a creator? The man who looks on writing things about the man who does things. But he criticises and artists owe him much. Neither in "ink-horn terms" nor in an "upstart Asiatic style" need the critic voice his opinions. He must be an artist in temperament and he must have a _credo_. He need not be a painter to write of painting, for his primary appeal is to the public. He is the middle-man, the interpreter, the vulgariser. The psycho-physiological processes need not concern us. One thing is certain--a man writing in terms of literature about painting, an art in two dimensions, cannot interpret fully the meanings of the canvas, nor can he be sure that his opinion, such as it is, when it reaches the reader, will truthfully express either painter or critic. Such are the limitations of one art when it comes to deal with the ideas or material of another. Criticism is at two removes from its theme. Therefore criticism is a makeshift. Therefore, let critics be modest and allow criticism to become an amiable art.

But where now is the painter critic and the professional critic? "Stands Ulster where it did?" Yes, the written and reported words of artists are precious alike to layman and critic. That they prefer painting to writing is only natural; so would the critic if he had the pictorial gift. However, as art is art and not nature, criticism is criticism and not art. It professes to interpret the artist's work, and at best it mirrors his art mingled with the personal temperament of the critic. At the worst the critic lacks temperament (artistic training is, of course, an understood requisite), and when this is the case, God help the artist! As the greater includes the lesser, the artist should permit the critic to enter, with all due reverence, his sacred domain. Without vanity the one, sympathetic the other. Then the ideal collaboration ensues. Sainte-Beuve says that "criticism by itself can do nothing. The best of it can act only in concert with public feeling ... we never find more than half the article in print--the other half was written only in the reader's mind." And Professor Walter Raleigh would further limit the "gentle art." "Criticism, after all, is not to legislate, nor to classify, but to raise the dead." The relations between the critic and his public open another vista of the everlasting discussion. Let it be a negligible one now. That painters can get along without professional criticism we know from history, but that they will themselves play the critic is doubtful. And are they any fairer to young talent than official critics? It is an inquiry fraught with significance. Great and small artists have sent forth into the world their pupils. Have they always--as befits honest critics--recognised the pupils of other men, pupils and men both at the opposite pole of their own theories? Recall what Velasquez is reported to have said to Salvator Rosa, according to Boschini and Carl Justi. Salvator had asked the incomparable Spaniard whether he did not think Raphael the best of all the painters he had seen in Italy. Velasquez answered: "Raphael, to be plain with you, for I like to be candid and outspoken, does not please me at all." This purely temperamental judgment does not make of Velasquez either a good or a bad critic. It is interesting as showing us that even a master cannot always render justice to another. Difference engenders hatred, as Stendhal would say.

Can the record of criticism made by plastic artists show a generous Robert Schumann? Schumann discovered many composers from Chopin to Brahms and made their fortunes by his enthusiastic writing about them. In Wagner he met his Waterloo, but every critic has his limitations. There is no Schumann, let the fact be emphasised, among the painter-critics, though quite as much discrimination, ardour of discovery, and acumen may be found among the writings of the men whose names rank high in professional criticism. And this hedge, we humbly submit, is a rather stiff one to vault for the adherents of criticism written by artists only. Nevertheless, every day of his humble career must the critic pen his _apologia pro vita sua_.



II - ART IN FICTION


Fiction about art and artists is rare--that is, good fiction, not the stuff ground out daily by the publishing mills for the gallery-gods. It is to France that we must look for the classic novel dealing with painters and their painting, Manette Salomon, by Goncourt. Henry James has written several delightful tales, such as The Liar, The Real Thing, The Tragic Muse, in which artists appear. But it is the particular psychological problem involved rather than theories of art or personalities that steer Mr. James's cunning pen. We all remember the woman who destroyed a portrait of her husband which seemed to reveal his moral secret. John S. Sargeant has been credited with being the psychologist of the brush in this story. There is a nice, fresh young fellow in The Tragic Muse, who, weak-spined as he is, prefers at the last his painting to Julia Dallow and a political career. In The Real Thing we recognise one of those unerring strokes that prove James to be the master psychologist among English writers. Any discerning painter realises the value of a model who can take the pose that will give him the pictorial idea, the suggestiveness of the pose, not an attempt at crude naturalism. With this thesis the novelist has built up an amusing, semi-pathetic, and striking fable.

There are painters scattered through English fiction--can we ever forget Thackeray! Ouida has not missed weaving her Tyrian purples into the exalted pattern of her romantic painters. And George Eliot. And Disraeli. And Bernard Shaw--there is a painting creature in Love Among the Artists. George Moore, however, has devoted more of his pages to paint and painters than any other of the latter-day writers. The reason is this: George Moore went to Paris to study art and he drifted into the Julian atelier like any other likely young fellow with hazy notions about art and a well-filled purse. But these early experiences were not lost. They cropped up in many of his stories and studies. He became the critical pioneer of the impressionistic movement and first told London about Manet, Monet, Degas. He even--in an article remarkable for critical acumen--declared that if Jimmy Whistler had been a heavier man, a man of beef, brawn, and beer, like Rubens, he would have been as great a painter as Velasquez. To the weighing scales, fellow-artists! retorted Whistler; yet the bolt did not miss the mark. Whistler's remarks about Mr. Moore, especially after the Eden lawsuit, were, so it is reported, not fit to print.

In Mr. Moore's first volume of the half-forgotten trilogy, Spring Days, we see a young painter who, it may be said, thinks more of petticoats than paint. There is paint talk in Mike Fletcher, Moore's most virile book. In A Modern Lover the hero is an artist who succeeds in the fashionable world by painting pretty, artificial portraits and faded classical allegories, thereby winning the love of women, much wealth, popular applause, and the stamp of official approbation. This Lewis Seymour still lives and paints modish London in rose-colour. Moore's irony would have entered the soul of a hundred "celebrated" artists if they had had any soul to flesh it in. When he wrote this novel, one that shocked Mrs. Grundy, Moore was under the influence of Paris. However, that masterpiece of description and analysis, Mildred Lawson in Celibates--very Balzacian title, by the way--deals with hardly anything else but art. Mildred, who is an English girl without soul, heart, or talent, studies in the Julian atelier and goes to Fontainebleau during the summer. No one, naturally, will ever describe Fontainebleau better than Flaubert, in whose L'Education Sentimentale there are marvellous pictures; also a semi-burlesque painter, Pellerin, who reads all the works on æsthetics before he draws a line, and not forgetting that imperishable portrait of Jacques Arnoux, art dealer. Goncourt, too, has excelled in his impression of the forest and its painters, Millet in particular. Nevertheless, let us say in passing that you cannot find Mildred Lawson in Flaubert or Goncourt; no, not even in Balzac, whose work is the matrix of modern fiction. She is her own perverse, cruel Mooresque self, and she lives in New York as well as London.

In both Daudet and Maupassant--Strong as Death is the latter's contribution to painter-psychology--there are stories clustered about the guild. Daudet has described a Salon on varnishing day with his accustomed facile, febrile skill; you feel that it comes from Goncourt and Zola. It is not within our scope to go back as far as Balzac, whose Frenhofer in The Unknown Masterpiece has been a model for the younger man. Poe, Hawthorne, Wilde, and Robert Louis Stevenson have dealt with the theme pictorial. Zola's The Masterpiece (L'Oeuvre) is one of the better written books of Zola. It was a favourite of his. The much-read and belauded fifth chapter is a faithful transcription of the first Salon of the Rejected Painters (Salon des Refusés) at Paris, 1863. Napoleon III, after pressure had been brought to bear upon him, consented to a special salon within the official Salon, at the Palais de l'Industrie, which would harbour the work of the young lunatics who wished to paint purple turkeys, green water, red grass, and black sunsets. (Lie down, ivory hallucinations, and don't wag your carmilion tail on the chrome-yellow carpet!) It is an enormously clever book, this, deriving in the main as it does from Manette Salomon and Balzac's Frenhofer. The fight for artistic veracity by Claude Lantier is a replica of what occurred in Manet's lifetime. The Breakfast on the Grass, described by Zola, was actually the title and the subject of a Manet picture that scandalised Paris about this epoch. The fantastic idea of a nude female stretched on the grass, while the other figures were clothed and in their right minds, was too much for public and critic, and unquestionably Manet did paint the affair to create notoriety. Like Richard Wagner, he knew the value of advertising.

All the then novel theories of _plein air_ impressionism are discussed in the Zola novel, yet the work seems clumsy after Goncourt's Manette Salomon, that breviary for painters which so far back as 1867 anticipated--in print, of course--the discoveries, the experiments, the practice of the naturalistic-impressionistic groups from Courbet to Cézanne, Monet to Maufra, Manet to Paul Gauguin. There are verbal pictures of student life, of salons, of atelier and open air. No such psychologic manual of the painter's art has ever appeared before or since Manette Salomon. It was the Goncourts who introduced Japanese art to European literature--they were friends of the late M. Bing, a pioneer collector in Paris. And they foresaw the future of painting as well as of fiction.



XV. MUSEUM PROMENADES

PICTURES AT THE HAGUE

There are two new Rembrandts in the galleries of the Mauritshuis, lent by Prof. A. Bredius, director of the Royal Picture Gallery at The Hague. Neither is an "important" picture in the professional sense of that word, but they are Rembrandts--at least one is indubitable--and that suffices. The more credible of the pair is a small canvas depicting Andromeda manacled to the rocks. Her figure is draped to the waist; it is a solid Dutch figure, ugly as the one of Potiphar's wife (in an etching by Rembrandt), and no deliverer is in sight. The flesh tones are rather cold, a cadaverous white, but it is a Rembrandt white. The picture as a whole is sketchy and without charm or mystery. Nevertheless, the lion's paws are there. The other shows us a woman reading at a table. The colouring is warm and the still-life accessories are richly and minutely painted. Not a likely Rembrandt, either in theme or notably so in treatment. We must bow, however, to the judgment of the learned Bredius who made the ascription. These two works are not as yet in the catalogue. It is a pity the catalogue to this gallery is not as complete as those of the Rijks Museum. To visitors they offer an abridged one, dated 1904. There are since then many new pictures, notably a sterling Chardin, marvellously painted, and an excellent landscape by Van Cuyp, both loans of Dr. Bredius.

Otherwise this little collection is as choice and as entertaining as ever. The usual tourist makes at once for the overrated Young Bull by Paul Potter and never looks at the magnificent Weenix across the room, the Dead Swan, with its velvety tones. The head of a young girl by Vermeer, with its blue turban and buff coat, its pearl earrings, is charming. And the View of Delft seems as fresh as the day it was painted. The long façade of the houses and warehouses and the churches and towers facing the river are rendered with a vivacity of colour, a solidity in drawing, and an absence of too marked literalism which prove that this gifted artist had more than one style. The envelope is rich; there is air, though it be stagnant. Down-stairs is an allegorical subject, The New Testament, which is not very convincing as a composition, but warm in tint. The Diana and Her Companions must have inspired Diaz and many other painters. But the real Vermeer, the Vermeer of the enamelled surfaces and soft pervasive lighting, is at Amsterdam.

No place is better than The Hague for the study of the earlier Rembrandt. Dr. Tulp's Anatomical Lecture is, after the Potter bull, the most gazed-at canvas in the Mauritshuis. It is not in a good condition. There are evidences of over-varnishing and cobbling; nor is it a very inspiring canvas. The head of Dr. Tulp is superb in characterisation, and there is one other head, that of a man with inquiring eyes, aquiline profile, the head strained forward (his name is given in the critical works on Rembrandt), which arrests the attention. An early composition, we are far from the perfection of The Syndics. The self-portrait of the painter (1629) is a favourite, though the much-vaunted feather in the head-gear is stiff; perhaps feathers in Holland were stiff in those days. But the painters flock to this portrait and never tire of copying its noble silhouette. The two little studies of the painter's father and mother are characteristic. One, of the man, is lent by Dr. Bredius. Rembrandt's brother (study of an old man's head) shows a large old chap with a nose of richest vintage. The portrait is brown in tone and without charm. The Susanna Bathing is famous, but it is not as attractive as Simeon in the Temple, with its masterly lighting, old gold in the gloom. The Homer never fails to warm the cockles of the imagination. What bulk! What a wealth of smothered fire in the apparel! The big Saul listening to the playing of David is still mystifying. Is Saul smiling or crying behind the uplifted cloak? Is he contemplating in his neurasthenia an attempt on David's life with a whizzing lance? His sunken cheeks, vague yet sinister eye, his turban marvellous in its iridescence, form an ensemble not to be forgotten. David is not so striking. From afar the large canvas glows. And the chiaroscuro is miraculous.

The portrait of Rembrandt's sister, the Flight Into Egypt, the small, laughing man, the negroes, and the study of an old woman, the latter wearing a white head-dress, are a mine of joy for the student. The sister's head is lent by Dr. C. Hofstede de Groot, the art expert.

There are only thirty-odd Rembrandts in Holland out of the five hundred and fifty he painted. Of this number eighteen are in the Mauritshuis. Holland was not very solicitous formerly of her masters. Nowadays sentiment has changed and there is a gratifying outcry whenever a stranger secures a genuine old master. As for the copies, they, like the poor, are always with us. America is flooded every year with forged pictures, especially of the minor Dutch masters, and excellent are these imitations, it must be confessed.

There are only four specimens of Frans Hals here; portraits of Jacob Pieterez, Aletta Hanemans, his wife; of William Croes, and the head of a man, a small picture in The Jolly Toper style. The lace collar is genuine Hals.

Let us close our catalogue and wander about the galleries. German and English are the tongues one hears, Dutch seldom, French occasionally. The Potter bull with the wooden legs is stared at by hundreds. As a picture painted by a very young man it is noteworthy. The head of the beast is nobly depicted. But what of the remainder of this insignificant composition with its toad and cows, its meaningless landscape? The Weenix swan is richer in paint texture. The Holbeins are--two anyhow--of splendid quality. Of the Rubenses it is better to defer mention until Antwerp is reached. They are of unequal value. The same may be said of the Van Dycks. Look at that baby girl standing by a chair. A Govert Flinck. How truthful! The De Heems are excellent fruit and flower pieces. Excellent, too, the Huysums, Hondecoeters, and Weenixes. There is a dead baby of the Dutch school (1661) which is as realistic as a Courbet. We admired the small Memlic, or Memling, and, naturally, the Metsus, Mierevelts, and Mierises. The Holy Virgin and Infant Christ, by Murillo, is tender and sleek in colour. It hangs near the solitary Velasquez of the museum, a portrait of Charles-Baltasar, son of King Philip IV of Spain. It is not a remarkable Velasquez.

The Pieter Lastman, a Resurrection of Lazarus, is of interest because this painter was a preceptor of Rembrandt. William Kalf's still-life is admirable, and the Aert Van den Neer moonlight scene (purchased 1903) is a lovely example of this artist. Indeed, all the minor Dutchmen are well represented. Potter's much-praised Cow in the Water is faded, and the style is of the sort we smile over at our own Academy exhibitions. The Van Goyen waterscapes are not all of prime quality, but there are two that are masterpieces. Amsterdam excels in both Van Goyens and Jacob Ruisdaels. The Distant View of Haarlem of the latter proved a disappointment. The colour is vanished quite, the general effect flat. The Bol portrait of Admiral de Ruyter is a sterling specimen. The Van de Veldes and Wouvermans are excellent. The Good Housekeeper of Dou, a much-prized picture, with its tricky light and dark. The Teniers and Ostades no longer interest us as they did. Perhaps one tires soon of genre pictures. The inevitable toper, the perambulating musician, the old woman standing in a doorway, the gossips, the children, and the dog not house-broken may stand for the eternal Ostade, while the merry-makings of David Teniers are too much alike. However, this touch of spleen is the outcome of seeing so many bituminous canvases.

Probably in no other painter's name have so many sins been committed as in Rembrandt's. His _chiaroscuro_ is to blame for thousands of pictures executed in the tone of tobacco juice. All the muddy browns of the studio, with the yellow smear that passes for Rembrandtish light, are but the monkey tricks of lesser men. His pupils often made a mess of it, and they were renowned. Terburg's Despatch is an interesting anecdote; so too Metsu's Amateur Musicians. There are the average number of Dutch Italianate painters, Jan Both and the rest, men who employed southern backgrounds and improvised bastard Italian figures. Schalcken's candlelight scenes are not missing, though Dou leads in this rather artificial genre. And every tourist led by a guide hears that Wouvermans always introduced a white horse somewhere in his picture. You leave Holland obsessed by that white animal.

Naturally the above notes hardly scratch the surface of the artistic attractions in this Hague gallery. Not the least of them is to look out on the Vyver lake and watch the swans placidly swimming around the emerald islet in the middle. The Mauritshuis is a cabinet of gems, and months could not stale its variety. There are important omissions, and some of the names in the catalogue are not represented at top-notch. But the Rembrandts are there, and there are the Potters, the Rubenses, the Van Dycks, the Jan Steens--his Oyster Feast is here--the landscape and marine painters, not to mention the portraiture, the Murillo, Palma Vecchio, and the Titian. The single Roger van der Weyden, an attribution, is a Crucifixion, and hangs near the Memlig. It is an interesting picture. Of the sculpture there is not much to write. Houdon, Hendrick de Keyser, Verhulst, Falconet, Blommendael, and Xavery make up a meagre list.

At Baron Steengracht's house--admission by personal card--on the Vyverberg there is a wonderful Rembrandt, Bathsheba After Her Bath, a golden-toned canvas, not unlike the Susanna over at the Mauritshuis. It was painted in 1643, about a year after he had finished The Night Watch, a jewel of a Rembrandt and the clou of this collection. There are some weak modern pictures and examples by Terburg, Metsu, Flinck, Jordaens, Cuyp, Potter, Brouwer--the smoker, a fine work; a Hobbema mill and others. In the Municipal Museum, full of curiosities in furniture, armour, and costumes, there is a gallery of modern paintings--Israel, David Bles, Mesdag, Neuhuys, Bisschop, J. Maris, Weissenbruch, Bosboom, Blommers, and Mauve. There are also Mierevelts, Jan Ravensteyns, Honthorst, Van Goyen, Van Ceulen, and a lot of shooting-gallery (Doelen) and guild panoramas; there are miles of them in Holland, and unless painted by Hals, Van der Heist, Elias, and a few others are shining things of horror, full of staring eyes, and a jumble of hands, weapons, and dry colours. But they are viewed with religious awe by the Dutch, whose master passion is patriotic sentiment.

There is the Huis ten Bosch (The House in the Wood), the royal villa, a little over a mile from The Hague, in which De Wit's grisailles may be seen. The Japanese and orange rooms are charming; the portraits by Everdingen, Honthorst, Jordaens, and others are of historic interest.



THE MESDAG MUSEUM

When we were last at The Hague the Mesdag Museum had just opened (1903). There was no catalogue, and while the nature of this great gift to the city was felt it was not until a second visit (in 1909) that its extraordinary value was realised. The catalogue numbers three hundred and forty-four pictures by modern artists, and there is also a valuable collection of objects of art, bronzes, pottery, furniture, and tapestries. Philip Zilcken (a well-known Dutch etcher) in his introduction calls attention to the rare quality of the Mesdag Museum and tells us that Mr. and Mrs. Mesdag van Houten bought for their own pleasure without any thought of forming a gallery for the Dutch nation. That came later. W.H. Mesdag is the well-known marine painter whose paintings may be seen in almost every gallery on the Continent. A native of Groningen (1831), he studied under Roelofs and while in Brussels lived with his relative, Alma-Tadema; the latter is a Frieslander. Mesdag excels in marines, painting great sweep of waters with breadth and simplicity. His palette is cool and restrained, his rhythmic sense well developed, and his feeling for outdoors truly Dutch. He belongs to the line of the classic Dutch marinists, to Van der Velde, Backhuizen, and Van Goyen. His wife, a woman of charm and culture, died in the spring of last year. She signed her work S. Mesdag van Houten. Her gift lies in the delineation of forest views, interiors, portraits, and still-life. Her colour is deep and rich.

A cursory walk around the various rooms on the Laan van Meerdervoort impresses one with this idea: with what envy must any curator of any museum in the world study this collection. Mesdag began gathering his treasures at a time when the Barbizon school was hardly known; when a hundred other painters had not been tempted by the dealers into overproduction; when, in a word, fancy prices were not dreamed of. The Alma-Tademas are among his best, little as we admire his vital marbles and lifeless humans. An early portrait of his wife is here. Bastien-Lepage has a preparatory sketch for Les Foins. Indeed, the Mesdag Museum is rich in _frottis_, painted-in pictures, by such men as Rousseau, Daubigny, Diaz, Vollon, Millet, Dupré. As we admire the etchings of Mari Bauer, it was a new pleasure to see half a dozen of his paintings, chiefly scenes in the Orient. The same misty, fantastic quality is present; he manipulates his colour, thinly laid on, as if it were some sort of plastic smoke. Impressionistic as are these canvases, there is a subdued splendor in them all. Bauer feels the East. His etchings recall Rembrandt's line; but his paintings are miles away in sentiment and handling. Bisschop (1828-1904) is represented by a fine still-life, and among the various Blommers is one with children playing in the water and on the sands; vividly seized, this example.

The late Théophile de Bock was an interpreter of nature and his brush-work was fat and rich. His work is well known in America and gains in value every day (he died in 1904). There are fourteen specimens here of his best period. The Emile Bretons are early and therefore different from his commercial productions. Of the Corots, twelve in number, we did not see an insignificant one, not a weak one. The famous Early Morning and View at Villeneuve-lès-Avignon are hung. The first depicts a group of trees; to the right a narrow stream in which is reflected a cloudless sky. In the centre two women in white caps. The second is more elaborate in composition. The middle distance is occupied by picturesque buildings dating probably from the Middle Ages. In the foreground four persons are under the shadow of some trees. An unusual scheme for Corot. His well-known characteristics are present in the dozen; the tremulous leafage, the bright, pure light, the Italian softness. And what do you say to a half-dozen Courbets, all of his strong period, landscapes, still-life, a nude study, a dead roe, a sunlit path, and a lake scene! Good Courbets are not numerous, and these are good. The nude is a woman recumbent upon draperies. The _pâte_ is heavy but vital, the flesh tones glowing, and the silhouette firm, yet delicate. The portrait of the artist by himself is massive. It was probably painted in Ste. Pélagie.

Coutures two, twenty-five Daubignys, and one of his son Karl. Daubigny the elder is here in all his manners, dark pictures with big foregrounds, intimate bits of wooded interiors, sand-hills, streamlets, moonlights, coast scenes, evening effects, sunsets at sea, twilights, sheep, broken rocks, and a study in crayon.

Decamps and Delacroix come next in order. There are three of the former, among the rest his Poacher, and three of Delacroix, one a portrait of himself. Seven of Diaz, painted when his colour was most sonorous and brilliant, are here, with a study of an undraped female figure. La Mare is a sunlight effect in the forest of Fontainebnleau. Dupré has seven to his account, several of great tonal beauty. The one Fortuny is an elaborate etching of his Anchorite. The Josef Israels are strong. Jacque pigs and sheep; Klinkenberg's view of the Binnenhof; Mancini's bewildering chromatic blurs and sensuously rich gamut, and seventeen in number. This painter is seldom encountered in America. He should be better known; while his ideas are not particularly significant he is colourist for colour's sake, as was Monticelli. The three brothers Maris, Jakob, Willem, and Matthys (the latter living in London), are to be seen here in unexampled states. Mauve, too, with fourteen pictures. Both the Mesdags, Taco Mesdag, a brother and his wife are present. Also Ter Meulen, a gifted Dutch artist. We have seldom seen better George Michels. The Monticelli up-stairs is an unusual subject. It is a mountain path in the south of France. The sun is disappearing behind a cluster of trees. Rocks in the foreground. The scheme of colour is low for Monticelli, the forms sharply accented. He could see line when he wished. The smaller example is an interior, as rich as Monticelli knew how to lay the colours on.

Seven Millets, one the large exhibition picture Hagar and Ishmael, another the wonderful Resting Vintager. Alone these Millets would cause a sensation if exhibited elsewhere. The Hagar seems a trifle too rhetorical for the simple-minded painter. Brown predominates in the colour scale, the composition is rather conventional, an echo, perhaps, of the artist's Delaroche apprenticeship, but the Vintager is a masterpiece. Seated among the vines in the blaze of the sun, he is resting and has removed his heavy sabots. The relaxed attitude after arduous labour is wonderfully expressed. The atmosphere indicates stifling sultriness.

Ricard, Roelofs, Theodore Rousseau--halt! There are twelve of this French master, dramatic and rich. Descente des Vaches dans le Jura is the celebrated canvas refused at the Salon, 1834. But it is too bituminous in parts. A greater composition, though only a drawing, is Les grands chênes du vieux Bas-Bréau. Four large trees illumined by sun-rays. Two Segantinis, a drawing in chalk and pastel; Storm Van's Gravesande; seven Troyons, one, Le retour du Marché, a masterpiece; Vollon, still-life, fish, ivory goblets, violets; Weissenbruchs; Zilcken etchings and two De Zwarts. There is old Rozenburg pottery, designed by Colenbrander, scarce to-day; Dutch and Gothic brass, Oriental portières and brass, old Delft, Japanese armour, various weapons and lanterns, Gobelin tapestry, carved furniture, Dutch and Scandinavian, and a magnificent assortment of Satsuma pottery, Cmail cloisonné, Japanese bronzes, Persian pottery, Spanish brasses, majolica and bronzes and sculptures by Mattos, Constantin, Meunier, and Van Wijk--the list fills a pamphlet. Next door is the studio of the aged Mesdag, a hale old Dutchman who paints daily and looks forward to seeing his ninety years. In Holland octogenarians are not few. The climate is propitious; above all, the absence of hurry and worry. To see The Hague without visiting this collection would be a regrettable omission.



HALS OF HAARLEM

In writing of Holland more is said of its windmills than its flowers. It is a land of flowers. Consider the roll-call of its painters who their life long produced naught but fruit and flower pieces. Both the De Heems, the cunning Huysums, whose work still lives in the mezzotints of Earlom--like David de Heem, he was fond of introducing insects, flies, bees, spiders, crawling over his velvety peaches and roses--Seghers, Van Aelst and his talented pupil Rachel Ruysch, Cuyp, Breughel (Abraham), Mignon, Van Beyeren, Van den Broeck, Margaretha Rosenboom, Maria Vos, Weenix, A. Van der Velde, Kalf, and many others who excelled in this pleasing genre. Their canvases are faded, the colours oxidised, but on the highways and by-ways the miracle is daily renewed--flowers bloom at every corner, fill the window-boxes of residences, crowd the hotel balconies, and are bunched in the hands of the peddlers. A cart goes by, a gorgeous symphony of hues. Roses, chrysanthemums, dahlias, daisies, tufts of unfamiliar species, leaves that are as transparent lace, blushing wild roses, and what not. Ivy is used for practical purposes. On the steam-yacht _Carsjens_ at Leyden a wind screen is composed of ivy; you feel enclosed in a floating garden. Along the Vivjer berg, fronting the house of Baron Steengracht, is a huge boat-shaped enclosure of stone. It is full of ivy growing low. Dutch landscape gardeners are fertile in invention. They break the flat lines of the landscape with all sorts of ingenious surprises; bosky barriers, hedges abloom, elm-trees pared away to imitate the processional poplars of Belgium and France, sudden little leafy lanes--what quips and quirks we have come across a few miles away from the town! To see Haarlem and its environs in June when the bulb farms are alight with tulips must be a delightful spectacle. In the fall of the year you are perforce content to read the names of the various farms as the train passes. The many-coloured vegetable carts remind you that Snyders and Van Steen painted here.

The Groote Kerke, St. Bavo, at Haarlem, is a noble pile with a tall tower. One of its attractions is the organ (built in 1735-38) by Christian Müller; it was until a few years ago the largest in the world. Its three manuals, time-stained, sixty stops and five thousand pipes (thirty-two feet the longest) when manipulated by a skilful organist produce adequate musical results. We had the pleasure of hearing the town organist play Bach for an hour. He began with a few Bach chorales, then came A Mighty Fortress is Our God; followed by the A minor prelude and fugue, and the Wedge fugue. The general diapasonic quality is noble, the wood stops soft, the mixtures without brassy squealing, and the full organ sends a thrill down your spine, so mellow is its thunder. Modern organs do not thus sound. Is the secret of the organ tone lost like the varnishing of Cremona fiddles and the blue of the old Delft china? There are no fancy "barnyard stops," as John Runciman has named the combinations often to be found in latter-day instruments. You understood after hearing the Haarlem organ why Bach wrote his organ preludes and fugues. Modern music, with its orchestral registration, its swiftness and staccato, would be a sacrilege on this key-board.

The bronze statue of Coster did not unduly excite us. The Dutch claim him as the inventor of printing, but the Germans hang on to Gutenberg. At Leyden there is a steam train to Katwyk-aan-See; at Haarlem you may ride out to Zandvoort, and six miles farther is the North Sea Canal. But as the Katwyk and Zandvoort schools flourish mightily in the United States we did not feel curious enough to make the effort at either town. Regrettable as was the burning of the old church at Katwyk, perhaps its disappearance will keep it out of numerous pictures painted in that picturesque region. Of course it will be, or has been, rebuilt. We walked in the forest of Haarlem and did not once think of 125th Street; the old town is slightly unlike its modern namesake. What a charm there is in this venerable forest. The Dutch of Amsterdam, less than half an hour away, come down here on Sunday afternoons for the tranquillity and the shade. You must know that the sun-rays can be very disturbing in July. The canals intersecting the town are pretty. They may be sinks of iniquity, but they don't look so. Naturally, they exhale mephitic odours, though the people won't acknowledge it. It is the case in Venice, which on hot August afternoons is not at all romantic in a nasal sense. But you forget it all in Haarlem as you watch a hay barge float by, steered by a blond youngster of ten and poled by his brothers. From the chimney comes a light smoke. Soup is cooking. You remember the old sunlit towpath of your boyhood; a tightening at your heart warns you of homesickness, or hay fever. Oh, to be on the Erie Canal, you exclaim, as you sneeze.

But the Town Hall Museum is hard by. It is the glory of Haarlem as the Rijks Museum is the glory of Amsterdam and Holland. A pull at the bell and the door is opened, a small fee is paid, and you are free to the room where are hung ten large paintings by the inimitable Frans Hals. Here are the world-renowned Regent pictures set forth in chronological order. Drop the catalogue and use your own eyes. The first impression is profound; not that Hals was profound in the sense of Rembrandt's profundity, but because of the almost terrifying vitality of these portraits. Prosaic men and women, great trenchermen, devourers of huge pasties, mowers down of wine-bottles and beer-tankards, they live with such vitality on the canvases of Hals that you instinctively lower your voice. The paint-imprisoned ghosts of these jolly officers, sharpshooters, regents, and shrewd-looking old women regents are not so disquieting as Rembrandt's misty evocations. They touch hands with you across the centuries, and finally you wonder why they don't step out the frame and greet you. Withal, no trace of literalism, of obvious contours or tricky effects. Honest, solid paint, but handled by the greatest master of the brush that ever lived--save Velasquez. How thin and unsubstantial modern painting is if compared to this magician, how even his greatest followers, Manet and Sargent, seem incomplete. Manet, with his abridgments, his suppressions, his elliptical handling, never had the smiling confidence of Hals in facing a problem. The Frenchman is more subtle, also more evasive; and there is no hint in him of the trite statement of a fact that we encounter in Bartholomew Van der Heist--himself a great painter. Hals had not the poetic vision of Rembrandt, but he possessed a more dexterous hand, a keener eye. Judged according to the rubric of sheer paint, sheer brush-work, not Rubens, not Van Dyck, was such a virtuoso. Despite his almost incredible swiftness of execution, Hals got closer to the surfaces of what is called "actual" life than any of the masters with the exception of the supreme Spaniard.

At Haarlem you may follow his development; his first big picture painted in 1616; his last in 1664. He died at eighty-four. But at eighty odd he painted two important canvases, the portraits of the regents and of the lady regents. More summary as regards the execution, with a manifest tendency toward simplifications, these two pictures are very noble. The group of ladies, each a portrait of character, pleases some more than the male group. They are not so firmly modelled, and into them all has crept a certain weariness as of old age; but what justness of expression, what adjustment of puzzling relations! One lady follows you over the gallery with her stern gaze. It recalls to us the last judgment look which a maiden aunt was wont to bestow upon us years ago. The men regents will live into eternity if the canvas endures. The shiny varnish is not pleasing, yet it cannot destroy the illusion of atmosphere that circulates about the vigorously modelled figures at the table. What a colourist! What nuances he produces on a restrained key-board! The tones modulate, their juxtaposition causes no harsh discords. The velvet black, silvery grays, whites that are mellow without pastiness, and the reds and yellows do not flare out like scarlet trumpets; an aristrocratic palette. Really you begin to realise that what you formerly considered grandfather tales are the truth. The great painters have been and are not with us to-day. It is not a consoling pill to swallow for apostles of "modernity." Hals is more modern than Sargent.

These corporation and regent pieces are chronologically arranged. No. 88 is considered the masterpiece. It shows the officers of the Arquebusiers of St. Andrew, fourteen life-sized figures. Again each man is a portrait. This was painted in 1633. The Regents of the Elizabeth Hospital (1641) has been likened to Rembrandt's style; nevertheless, it is very Halsian. Why, that chamber is alone worth the journey across the Atlantic. Hals shows us not the magic of life but the normal life of daylight in which move with dignity men and women undismayed by the mysteries that hem them about. He has a daylight soul, a sane if not poetic soul, and few painters before him so celebrated the bravery of appearances, the beauty of the real.



PICTURES IN AMSTERDAM

I

The wonderful Rijks Museum is the representative home of old Dutch art. The Louvre, the Prado, the National Gallery excel it in variety, but the great Rembrandts are in it, and The Syndics and The Night Watch are worth a wilderness of other painters' work. The Night Watch has been removed from the old room, where it used to hang, facing the large Van der Heist, Captain Roelof Bicker's Company. But it is only in temporary quarters; the gallery destined for it is being completed. We were permitted to peep into it. The Night Watch will hang in one gallery, and facing it will be The Syndics, De Stallmeesters. Better lighted than in its old quarters, The Night Watch now shows more clearly the tooth of time. It is muddy and dark in the background, and the cracks of the canvas are ill-concealed by the heavy coating of varnish. If all the faults of this magnificent work are more plainly revealed its excellences are magnified. How there could have been any dispute as to the lighting is incredible. The new catalogue, the appendices of which are brought down to 1908, frankly describes the picture thus:

"The Night Watch, or the Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and of Lieutenant van Ruytenburg. The corps is represented in broad daylight, leaving the Doele of the Arquebusiers. At their head, standing in the foreground about the centre, are the Captain and his Lieutenant conversing. The former wears a dark dress, the latter a yellow costume with a white sash, causing a brilliant effect of light. Near the Captain, also standing out in full light, is a little girl, a dead white cock hanging from her waistband."

Then follow the names of the other personages in this strange scene.

A commonplace happening is transfigured by the magic of a seer into a significant moment arrested in eternity. Rembrandt is a window looking out upon eternity. It was quite like the logical minded Frenchman, Eugène Fromentin, himself an admirable painter, to pick this canvas full of flaws. The composition is, true enough, troubled and confused. The draughtsmanship leaves much to be desired; hands are carelessly painted, the grouping haphazard, without symmetry, the general rhythm full of syncopations, cross accents, and perverse pauses--empty spaces, transitions not accounted for. And yet this painting without personal charm--it is almost impersonal--grips your soul. It is not alone the emotional quality of the paint. There are greater colourists than Rembrandt, who, strictly speaking, worked in monochrome, modelling with light. No, not the paint alone, not the mystery of the envelope, not the magnetic gaze of the many eyes, but all combined makes an assault upon nerves and imagination. You feel that Captain Cocq is a prosaic personage and is much too tall in proportion to the spry little dandy Lieutenant at his side. Invested with some strange attribute by the genius of the painter, this Dutchman becomes the protagonist in a soundless symphony of light and shadow. The waves that emanate from the canvas suffuse your senses but do not soothe or satisfy. The modern nervous intensity, missing absolutely in Hals and his substantial humans, is present in Rembrandt. We say "modern" as a sop to our vanity, but we are the "ancients," and there is no mode of thought, no mood that has not been experienced and expressed by our ancestors. Rembrandt is unlike any other Dutch painter--Hals, Vermeer, Teniers, Van der Heist--what have these in common with the miller's son? But he is as Dutch as any of them. A genius is only attached to his age through his faults, said a wise man. Rembrandt is as universal as Beethoven, a Dutchman by descent, as Bach, a Hungarian by descent, as Michael Angelo and Shakespeare. But we must go to Leonardo da Vinci if we wish to find a brother soul to Rembrandt's.

There is a second child back of that iridescent and enigmatic girl with the dead fowl. And the dog that barks as Jan Van Koort ruffles his drum, what a spectre dog! No, the mystery of The Night Watch is insoluble, because it is the dream of a poet. Its light is morning light, yet it is the mystic light of Rembrandt, never seen on sea or land. In The Syndics, that group of six linen-drapers, Rembrandt shows with what supreme ease he can beat Hals at the game of make-believe actuality. Now, according to the accustomed order of development, The Night Watch should have followed The Syndics. But it preceded it by two decades, and the later work contains far better painting and a sharper presentment of the real. The Night Watch is Rembrandt's Ninth symphony; but composed before his Fifth, The Syndics. One figure in this latter picture has always fascinated us. It is of the man, Volkert Janz, according to Professor J. Six, who stoops over, his hand poised on a book. Rembrandt has seldom painted with more sensitiveness eyes, subtle corners of the mouth, and intimate expression. This syndic is evidently superior to his fellows, solid, sensible Dutch men of affairs.

There is a landscape, purchased in 1900, a stone bridge, lighted by rays darting through heavy storm clouds. It is the Rembrandt of the etchings. Lovely is the portrait of a young lady of rank, though the Elizabeth Bas, in another gallery, will always be the masterpiece in portraiture if for nothing else but the hands. The Jewish Bride is bulky in its enchantments, the phosphorescent gleams of the apparel the chief attraction. The Toilet is heavy Rembrandt; while the anatomical lecture is repulsive. But the disembowelled corpse is more corpse-like than the queerly foreshortened dead body in the picture on anatomy at The Hague. The warrior's head, supposed to be a portrait of his father, is an ancient copy and a capital one. Old dame Elizabeth Bas, with her coif, ruff, and folded hands, holding a handkerchief, is a picture you return to each day of your stay.

Hals at Amsterdam is interesting. There is the so-called portrait of the painter and his wife, two full-length figures; the Jolly Toper, half-length figure, large black hat, in the left hand a glass; and the insolent lute-player, a copy, said to be by Dirck Hals, the original in the possession of Baron Gustave Rothschild at Paris. And a fine copy it is.

The three Vermeers are of his later enamelled period. One is a young woman reading a letter; she is seen in profile, standing near a table, and is dressed in a white skirt and blue loose jacket. The Letter shows us in the centre of a paved room a seated lady, lute in hand. She has been interrupted in her playing by a servant bringing a letter. To the right a tapestry curtain has been looped up to give a view of the scene. The new Vermeer--purchased from the Six gallery in 1908--is now called The Cook; it was formerly known as The Milkmaid. A stoutly built servant is standing behind a table covered with a green cloth, on which are displayed a basket of bread, a jug of Nassau earthenware, and a stone pot into which she is pouring milk from a can. The figure, painted almost full length, stands out against the white wall and is dressed in a lemon-coloured jacket, a red-brown petticoat, a dark-blue apron turned back, and a white cap on the head. The light falls on the scene through a window to the left, above the table.

This masterpiece is in one of the cabinet galleries. It displays more breadth than the Lady Reading a Letter, and its colouring is absolutely magical. The De Hoochs are of prime quality. Greater art is the windmill and moonlit scene of Hobbema, as great a favourite as his Mill, though both must give the precedence to the Alley of Middleharnais in the Royal Academy, London. But where to begin, where to end in this high carnival of over three thousand pictures! The ticketed favourites, starred Baedeker fashion, sometimes lag behind their reputation. The great Van der Helst--and a prime portraitist he is, as may be seen over and over again--is The Company of Captain Bicker, a vast canvas. When you forget Hals and Rembrandt it is not difficult to conjure up admiration for this work. The N. Maes Spinner is very characteristic. Cuyp and Van Goyen are here; the latter's view of Dordrecht is celebrated. So is the Floating Feather of Hondecoester, a finely depicted pelican. The feather is the least part of the picture. Asselijn's angry swan is an excellent companion piece. We wish that we could describe the Jan Steens, the Dous, the Mierises, and other sterling Dutch painters. There is the gallery of Dutch and Flemish primitives about which a volume might be written; their emaciated music appeals. In expressiveness the later men did not excel them. The newest acquisition, not mentioned in the catalogue supplements, is the work of an unknown seventeenth-century master, possibly Spanish, though the figures, background, and accessories are Dutch. Two old men, their heads bowed, sit at table. Across their knees are napkins. The white is from a Spanish palette. A youth attired in dark habiliments, his back turned to the spectators, is pouring out wine or water. The canvas is large, the execution flowing; perhaps it portrays the disciples at Emmaus.

The portraits of Nicholas Hasselaer and his wife Geertruyt van Erp, by Hals, in one of the cabinets, are painted with such consummate artistry that you gasp. The thin paint, every stroke of which sings out, sets you to thinking of John Sargent and how he has caught the trick of brush-work--at a slower tempo. But not even Sargent could have produced the collar and cuffs. A Whistler, a full-length, in another gallery, looks like an unsubstantial wraith by comparison. Two weeks' daily attendance at this excellently planned collection did no more than fix the position of the exhibits in the mind. There is a goodly gathering of such names as Israels, Mesdag, Blommers, and others at the Rijks, but the display of modern Dutch pictures at the Municipal Museum is more representative. The greatest Josef Israels we ever saw in the style is his Jew sitting in the doorway of a house, a most eloquent testimony to Israels' powers of seizing the "race" and the individual. Old David Bles is here, and Blommers, De Bock, Bosboom, Valkenburg, Alma-Tadema, Ary Scheffer--of Dutch descent--Roelofs, Mesdag, Mauve, Jakob Maris, Jongkind, and some of the Frenchmen, Rousseau, Millet, Dupré, and others. The Six gallery is not so accessible as it was some years ago. No doubt its Rembrandts and Vermeers will eventually find their way into the Rijks Museum.



II

Who was Herri met de Bles? Nearly all the large European galleries contain specimens of his work and in the majority of cases the pictures are queried. That fatal (?) which, since curators are more erudite and conscientious, is appearing more frequently than in former years, sets one to musing over the mutability of pictorial fortunes. Also, it awakens suspicions as to the genuineness of paint. Restorations, another fatal word, is usually a euphemism for overpainting. Between varnish and retouching it is difficult to tell where the old master leaves off and the "restorer" begins. Bles, for example, as seen in the Rijks Museum, is a fascinating subject to the student; but are we really looking at his work? The solitary picture of his here, Paradise, is so well preserved that it might have been painted a year ago. (It is an attribution.) Yet this painter is supposed to have been born at Bouvignes, 1480, and to have died at Liège, 1521. He was nicknamed Herri, for Hendrick, met de Bles, because he had a tuft of white in his hair (a forerunner of Whistler). The French called him Henri à la Houppe; the Italians "Civetta"--because of the tiny owl he always introduced into his work. He was a landscapist, and produced religious and popular scenes. Bles has had many works saddled upon him by unknown imitators of Metsu, Joost van Kleef, Lucas, and Dürer--who worked at Antwerp between 1520 and 1550. Thierry Vellert was also an imitator. In the old Pinakothek, Munich, there is a Henricus Blesius, which is said to be a counterfeit, and others are in Karlsruhe, Milan, Brussels, and at the Prado.

The circular picture in the Rijks shows us in various episodes Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden from the Creation until the Fall. Around the edge are signs of the zodiac. The colour is rich, the figures delicate. The story is clearly told and is not unlike a "continuous performance." You see Adam asleep and over him stoops the Almighty; then Eve is shown. The apple scandal and the angel with the flaming sword are portrayed with a vivid line that recalls the miniaturist. A rare painter.

Roeland Savery is an artist whose name, we confess, was not known to us until we saw his work in the Rijks. The rich _pâte_ and bouquet-like quality of his colour recall Monticelli. His compositions are composed, like Monticelli's, but much more spirited than the latter. A stag hunt, a poet crowned at the feast of animals, Elijah fed by the ravens, and the fable of the stag among the cows prove the man's versatility. He was born about 1576 and died at Utrecht, 1639. A pupil of his father, he first worked in Courtrai. The Bronzino Judith holding the head of Holophernes is a copy, the original hanging in the Pitti Palace. At Vienna there is a replica. Among the Bols (Cornelis, 1613-66) the portraits of Roelof Meulenaer and his wife, Maria Rey, attract because of their vitality and liberalism. Then we come across the oft-engraved Paternal Advice, by Gerard ter Borch (1617-81). Who doesn't remember that young lady dressed in white satin and standing with her back to you? The man in officer's uniform, admonishing her, is seated next to a woman drinking from a wine-glass. The texture of the dress and the artfully depicted glass are the delight of amateurs. As a composition it is not remarkable. The man is much too young to be the father of the blond-haired lady, and if the other one is her mother, both parents must have retained their youth. The portrait of Helena van der Schalcke is that of a quaint Dutch child standing; a serious little body carrying a basket on her right arm like a good housewife. It is a capital Ter Borch. Two beautiful Albert Cuyps are painted on the two sides of a copper panel. On one side two merchants stand at a wharf; on the other two men sit sampling wine in a cellar. The colour is singularly luminous.

Let us pass quickly the Schalckens and Gerard Dous. Dou's self-portrait is familiar. He leans out of a window and smokes a clay pipe. The candle-light pictures always attract an audience. Govert Flinck (1615-60, pupil of Rembrandt) is a painter who, if he lived to-day, would be a popular portraitist. Wherever you go you see his handiwork, not in the least inspired, but honest, skilful, and genial. Look at the head of the tax-collector Johannes Wittenbogaert, covered with a black cap. So excellent is it that it has been attributed to Rembrandt. Boland, we believe, engraved it as genuine Rembrandt. Gerard van Honthorst's Happy Musician is another picture of prime quality, and a subject dear to Hals. Hoogstratten's Sick Lady is an anecdote. The young woman does not seem very ill, but the doctor gravely holds up a bottle of medicine and you feel the dread moment is at hand. How to persuade the patient to swallow the dose? She is stubborn-looking. The Pieter de Hoochs are now in the same gallery with Rembrandt's Jewish Bride. These interiors, painted with a minute, hard finish, lack the charm and the colour quality of Vermeer. With sunlight Hooch is successful, but his figures do not move freely in an atmospheric envelope, as is the case with Vermeer's. The Small Country House is the favourite. In front of a house a well-dressed man and woman are seated at a table. She is squeezing lemon juice into a glass. Behind her a servant is carrying a glass of beer, and farther away a girl cleans pots and pans. The composition is the apotheosis of domestic comfort, conjugal peace, and gluttony. We like much more The Pantry, wherein a woman hands a jug to her little girl. The adjoining room, flooded with light, is real.

There is one Van der Helst we could not pass. It looks like the portrait of a corpulent woman, but is that of Gerard Bicker, bailiff of Muiden. A half-length figure turned to the left, the bailiff a well-fed pig, holds a pair of gloves in his right hand which he presses against his Gargantuan chest. His hair is long and curly. The fabrics are finely wrought. Holbein the younger is represented by the portrait of a young man. It is excellent, but doubtless a copy or an imitation. To view five Lucas van Leydens in one gallery is not an everyday event. His engravings are rare enough--that is, in good states; "ghosts" are aplenty--and his paintings rarer. Here they are chiefly portraits. Rachel Ruysch, the flower painter, has a superior in Judith Lyster, a pupil of Frans Hals. She was born at Haarlem, or Zaandam, about 1600, and died 1660. She married the painter Jan Molener. Her Jolly Toper faces the Hals of the same theme, in a cabinet, and reveals its artistic ancestry. Judith had the gift of reproducing surfaces. We need not return to the various Maeses; indeed, this is only a haphazard ramble among the less well-known pictures. Consider the heads of Van Mierevelt; those of Henrick Hooft, burgomaster of Amsterdam, of Jacob Cats, and of his wife Aegje Hasselaer (1618-64). Her hair and lace collar are wonderfully set forth. Must we stop before Mabuse, or before the cattle piece of the Dutch school, seventeenth century? A Monticelli seems out of key here, and the subject is an unusual one for him, Christ With the Little Children. The Little Princess, by P. Moreelse, has the honour, after Rembrandt, of being the most frequently copied picture in the Rijks. The theme is the magnet. A little girl, elaborately dressed, is seated. She strokes the head of a spaniel whose jewelled collar gives the impression of a dog with four eyes. In Vermeer's Young Woman Reading a Letter is a like confused passage of painting, for the uninstructed spectator. She wears her hair over her ear, an ornament clasping the hair. At first view this is not clear, principally because this fashion of wearing the hair is unusual in the eyes of a stranger.

Jan van Scorel was born at Schoorl, near Alkmaar, 1495. He studied under Jacob Cornelis at Amsterdam and with Jean de Maubeuge at Utrecht. He died at Utrecht, 1562. When travelling in Germany he visited Dürer at Nuremberg; resided for a time in Italy. The Italian influence is strong, particularly in his Mary Magdalen, which formerly hung in the town-hall of Haarlem. A replica is in the residence of the head-master of Eton College, England. Mary is shown seated, richly attired. She holds in her right hand a box of perfume, her left hand, beautifully painted, rests on her knee. Behind is a mountainous landscape, distinctly Italian, beside her a tree. The head is north Lombardian in character and colouring, the glance of the eyes enigmatic. A curiously winning composition, not without _morbidezza_. Scorel has five other works in the Rijks. The Bathsheba is not a masterpiece. Solomon and the Queen of Sheba is conventional, but the Harpsichord Player was sold at Paris as late as 1823 as a Bronzino. Perhaps it is only attributed to Scorel. It is unlike his brush-work. The Painting of a Vault, divided into nine sections, five of which represent the Last Judgment, is a curiosity. The portrait of Emperor Charles V. as Pharaoh is pointed out by the gallery attendant, who then retires and diplomatically coughs in the middle distance.

The Mancini (pupil of Morelli and W.H. Mesdag) is entitled Poor Thing. A little girl stands in a miserable room; mice run over the floor. The colouring is rich. There are admirable Jakob Marises; but we wish to follow in the track of the old fellows. Adrian van Ostade's Baker is so popular that it is used for advertising purposes in Holland. The baker leans out of his door, the lower half closed, and blows a horn. Palamedes evidently repainted the same picture many times. An interior with figures, seated and standing; same faces, poses, accessories. Same valet pouring out wine; variants of this figure. A Merry Party is the usual title. At The Hague in the Mauritshuis there is another such subject; also in Antwerp and Brussels. But a jolly painter. Steen and Teniers we may sidestep. Also the artificial though graceful Tischbein. There is a Winterhalter here, a mannered fashionable portrait painter (he painted the Empress Eugénie), and let us leave the Titians to the experts. When you are in Holland look at the Dutch pictures. A De Vos painted topers and fishermen with gusto, and there is Vinckboons, who doted on scenes of violence. Fancy Vollon flowers in the midst of these old Dutchmen. The Frenchman had an extraordinary feeling for still-life, though more in the decorative Venetian manner than in Chardin's serene palette, or the literalism of Kalf. Whistler's Effie Deans, presented by the Dowager Baroness R. van Lynden in 1900, is not one of that master's most successful efforts. It is a whole-length figure painted in misty semi-tones, the feeling sentimental, un-Whistlerian, and, as we before remarked, wraith-like and lacking in substance when compared to Hals.

There is actually a Wouverman in which no white horse is to be discovered. On Van der Werff and the romantic landscapist Wynants we need not dwell. The miniatures, pastels, and framed drawings are of goodly array. Of the former, Samuel Cooper (portrait of Charles II.), John Hoskins, Peter Oliver, Isaac Oliver, Laurence Crosse, and others. English, Dutch, and French may be found. The Liotard and Tischbein pastels are charming. In the supplements of the catalogue we find underscored a Descent from the Cross, an anonymous work of the Flemish school (fifteenth century, second half). The dead Christ is being lowered into the arms of his mother. It is evidently a copy from a lost original in the style of Rogier van der Weyden. There are such copies in Bruges and elsewhere. Another composition is labelled as an anonymous work of undetermined school. The Christ hangs on the cross, on His right are the Virgin Mary, the holy women and St. John; on His left jeering soldiers and scribes. On either side of the composition is the figure of a saint much larger in size than the other figures; St. Cosmus on the left, St. Damian on the right. The background is a hilly landscape. An authority ascribes the work to the Catalonian school, date about 1440. There were giants in those days. Antonello da Messina has the portrait of a young man. It is an attribution, yet not without some claim to authenticity. The Jan Provosts are mostly of close study, especially The Virgin Enthroned. A certain Pieter Dubordieu, who was living in Amsterdam in 1676 (born in Touraine), painted the portraits of a man and a woman, dated 1638. Vivid portraits. We must pass over the striking head of Hanneman, the Lucas Cranach (the elder), and the thousand other attractive pictures in this gallery. The Rijks Museum could be lived with for years and still remain an inexhaustible source of joy.



ART IN ANTWERP

After passing Dordrecht on the way down to Antwerp the canals and windmills begin to disappear. The country is as flat as Holland, but has lost its characteristic charm. It has become less symmetrical; there is disorder in the sky-line, more trees, the architecture is different. Dutch precision has vanished. The railway carriages are not clean, punctuality is avoided, the people seem less prosperous, few speak English, and as you near Antwerp the villas and roads tell you that you are in the dominion of the King of Belgium. But Antwerp is so distinctly Flemish that you forget that bustling modern Brussels is only thirty-six minutes away by the express--a fast train for once in this land of snail expresses. No doubt the best manner of approaching Antwerp is by the Scheldt on one of the big steamers that dock so comfortably along the river. However, a trip to the vast _promenoir_ that overlooks the river gives an excellent idea of this thriving port. The city--very much modernised during the past ten years--may easily be seen in a few days, setting aside the museums and churches. The quay promenade brings you to the old Steen Castle, and the Town Hall with its _salle des marriages_, its mural paintings by the industrious Baron Leys--frigid in style and execution--will repay you for the trouble. The vestibules and galleries are noteworthy. We enjoyed the façades of the ancient guild houses on the market-place and watching the light play upon the old-time scarred front of the cathedral that stands in the Place Verte. Then there are the Zoological Garden, the Plantin Museum, the Théâtre Flamand, the various monuments, and the spectacle of the busy, lively city for those who do not go to Antwerp for its art. You may even go to Hoboken, a little town in the suburbs not at all like the well-known Sunday resort in Jersey.

The Royal Museum is displayed in a large square. It is a handsome structure and the arrangement of the various galleries is simple. The Rubenses, thirty-odd in all, are the _pièce de résistance_, and the Flemish and Dutch Primitives of rare beauty. Bruges is better for Memling, Brussels for Van der Weyden, Ghent for the Van Eycks, yet Antwerp can boast a goodly number of them all. She exceeds Brussels in her Rubenses for the larger altar pieces are here, just as at Amsterdam the Rembrandts, while not numerous, take precedence because of The Syndics and The Night Watch. The tumultuous, overwhelming Peter Paul is in his glory at Antwerp. You think of some cataclysm when facing these turbulent, thrilling canvases. If Raphael woos, Rubens stuns. In the company of Michel Angelo and Balzac or Richard Wagner he would be their equal for torrential energy and vibrating humanity. Not so profound as Buonarroti, not so versatile as Balzac, he is their peer in sheer savagery of execution. Setting aside the miles of pictures signed by him though painted by his pupils, he must have covered multitudes of canvas. Like men of his sort of genius, he ends by making your head buzz and your eyes burn; and then, the sameness of his style, the repetition of his wives and children's portraits, the apotheosis of the Rubens family! He portrayed Helena Fourment and Isabella Brandt in all stages of disarray and gowns. He put them together on the same canvas. He did not hesitate to show them to the world in all their opulent nudity. Their white skins, large eyes with wide gaze, their lovely children appear in religious and mythologic pictures at every turn you make in this museum. You become too familiar with them. You learn to know that one wife was slenderer than the other; you also realise that other days had other ways. Titian painted the portrait of a noble dame quite naked and placed her husband, soberly attired, near by. No one criticised the taste of this performance. Manet, who was no Titian, did the same trick and was voted wicked. He actually dared to show us Nana dressing in the presence of a gentleman who sat in the same room with his hat on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MUSEUMS OF BRUSSELS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



BRUGES THE BEAUTIFUL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



THE MOREAU MUSEUM

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

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

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

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

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



THE MOREAU MUSEUM


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

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

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



PICTURES IN MADRID

I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



EL GRECO AT TOLEDO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



VELASQUEZ IN THE PRADO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CODA

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

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

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





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