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is properly a portrait of themselves; whether they describe the inside or outside of their houses, we have their own people engaged in their own peculiar occupations; working or drinking, playing or fighting. The circumstances that enter into a picture of this kind, are so far from giving a general view of human life, that they exhibit all the minute particularities of a nation differing in several respects from the rest of mankind.” Hence on the other side their fondness for landscape,-a landscape excellent in many ways, but cabin'd, cribbed, and confined, like their own dykes. “Of deities or virtues, angels, principalities, or powers, in the name of our ditches, no more. Let us have cattle, and market vegetables” (Modern Painters, vol. v. pt. ix. ch. vi. § 11). 202. DOMESTIC POULTRY.
Melchior de Hondecoeter (Dutch : 1636–1695). “A beautiful brood of young chickens in the foreground. The cock was Hondecoeter's favourite bird, which he is said to have taught to stand to him in a fixed position as a model” (Official Catalogue). 240. CROSSING THE FORD.
Nicolas Berchem (Dutch : 1620–1683). Berchem, like Both, is one of the Dutch painters who lived rather after the great period of Dutch art, and had lost touch of the purely national spirit. He is an Italianiser; and although his pictures were mostly painted in Holland, they were generally of Italian scenes. The mannerism and monotony of his works accord with what is told of his life. In 1665, when at the height of his reputation, he sold his labour to a dealer, from early in the morning to four in the afternoon, for ten florins a day. His wife, it appears, kept the purse, and is said to have doled him out very scanty supplies,-a precaution which was perhaps necessary, as Berchem had a weakness for Italian drawings, his collection of which sold at his death for 12,800 florins. 154. THE MUSIC PARTY.
David Teniers, the younger (Flemish : 1610-1694). Teniers, though a Fleming by birth, belongs rather to the Dutch School in style-being one of the principal genre painters, of whom most of the other leading masters are Dutch. His art stands, how. ever, in direct relation to that of the Flemish painters preceding him, through the want of spiritual motive common to him and to them. But Teniers and the genre painters carry this banishment of spiritual motive a step farther. “Rubens often gives instructive and magni. ficent allegory (e.g. 46, p. 243); Rembrandt, pathetic or powerful fancies, founded on real Scripture reading, and on his interest in the picturesque character of the Jew. And Van Dyck, a graceful rendering of received scriptural legends. But (with Teniers) ... we lose, not only all faith in religion, but all remembrance of it. Absolutely now at last we find ourselves without sight of God in all the world. ... Farthest savages had, and still have, their Great Spirit, or, in extremity, their feather-idols, large-eyed; but here in Holland we have at last got utterly done with it all. Our only idol glitters dimly, in tangible shape of a pint pot, and all the incense offered thereto, comes out of a small censer or bowl at the end of a pipe.” The place of Teniers in art history is, therefore, so far as the ideals of art go, that he is, par excellence, “the painter of the pleasures of the ale-house and cardtable” (Modern Painters, vol. v. pt. ix., ch. vi. $S 10, 11; ch. viii. & II). This limitation of subject is the more deliberate and the more significant for its contrast to the social standing of the artist himself. It is doubtful whether he ever entered Rubens's studio, but he married Velvet Breughel, a former ward of Rubens's, who acted as witness at the marriage. He was refined in person, enjoyed the highest patronage, and was the friend of courtiers and princes. The Archduke Leopold-William, Governor of the Netherlands, appointed him his private painter, and gave him an office in his household. Queen Christina of Sweden and Philip IV. of Spain were also amongst his patrons. Yet he remained throughout life essentially the painter of the pot-house.
In what then does the merit of his pictures consist? It is in the honesty of his manner. He “ touched with a workmanly hand, such as we cannot see rivalled now;" and he seems “never to have painted indolently, but gave the purchaser his thorough money's worth of mechanism."1 Hence it is that Sir Joshua Reynolds, though condemning Teniers's vulgarity of subject, yet held up his pictures as models to students who wished to excel in execution.
This and the companion picture, 158, are good illustrations of what has been said above. The human specimens are ugly and vulgar; the pottery is pretty, and beautifully painted. Notice for instance the “æsthetic” jug in each picture.
* Mr. Ruskin goes on, however, to point out that this “ patient merit or commercial value in Dutch labour" is by no means inconsistent with that insensitiveness which is the soul of vulgarity. On the contrary “the very mastery these men have of their business proceeds from their never really seeing the whole of anything, but only that part of it which they know how to do. Out of all nature they felt their function was to extract the grayness and shininess. Give them a golden sunset, a rosy dawn, a green waterfall, a scarlet autumn on the hills, and they merely look curiously into it to see if there is anything gray and glittering which can be painted on their common principles" (Modern Painters, vol. v. pt, ix, ch. viii. § 1).
239. A MOONLIGHT SCENE.
Aart van der Neer (Dutch : 1619-1682). A good example of “the penetrating melancholy of moonlight” for which this painter (a native of Amsterdam) is famous. 158. BOORS REGALING.
Teniers (Flemish : 1610–1694). See under 154, p. 212. 166. A CAPUCHIN FRIAR.
Rembrandt (Dutch : 1607-1669). See under 672, p. 223. 775. AN OLD WOMAN (dated 1634).
Rembrandt (Dutch : 1607–1669). See under 672, p. 223.
An old lady, eighty-three years of age (as the inscription shows), painted by Rembrandt when he was twenty-seven. His mother was from the first a favourite sitter of his, and hence, perhaps, the affectionate fidelity with which he always painted the wrinkled faces of old age. 223. DUTCH SHIPPING.
Ludolf Bakhuizen (Dutch : 1631-1708). Bakhuizen comes second in the succession of Dutch sea-painters to W. Vandevelde, and the reader is referred to the remarks on that painter (see under 150, p. 215) for the general characteristics of them both. Whereas, however, Vandevelde preferred calms, Bakhuizen preferred storms, and even “ voluntarily exposed his life several times,” says a compatriot, “ for the sake of seizing, in all its horrible reality, the effects of rough weather ” (Havard : The Dutch School, p. 255). It cannot be said, however, that the result was very successful. There is, adds the same critic, a hardness about his forms and a want of transparency in his colours “ which cannot be counter balanced by the fury of upheaved waves or the furious driving of the heavy clouds across the sky." Bakhuizen, before he took to painting, was successively a book-keeper (his father was town-clerk of Emden) and a writing-master. Perhaps it is to his experience in the latter capacity that the hardness and “ peruke-like” regularity of his waves are due. In his own day, however, his sea-pieces were very greatly esteemed. The King of Prussia was among his patrons, and the Tzar, Peter the Great, frequently visited his studios, and even himself took lessons of him. He was also an etcher, and the British Museum possesses a fragment of a sketch-book of his. 1060. TWO VEDETTES ON THE WATCH. Wouwerman (Dutch: 1619-1668). See under XII. 878, p. 292.
150. A GALE AT SEA.
Willem Vandevelde, the younger (Dutch : 1633–1707). William Vandevelde, the younger, was the son of an artist of the same name, and the two together were the most famous seapainters of their time. The father was specially commissioned by the East India Company to paint several of their ships. The son was for a time engaged in painting the chief naval battles of the Dutch. In 1675 they were both established in England, living at Greenwich, as painters to King Charles II., who granted each of them a pension of £100 a year; the father “for taking and making draughts of seafights ;” and the son “for putting the said draughts into colours.” The Vandeveldes, thus employed, "produced,” says Macaulay, "for the king and his nobles some of the finest sea-pieces in the world.” “The palm," says Walpole, “is not less disputed with Raphael for history than with Vandevelde for sea-pieces.” But in no branch of art has the English School of this century made more conspicuous advance than in sea-painting, and those who are fresh from reminiscences of Turner or Lee, or, amongst living artists, of Hook and Moore and Brett, will hardly be inclined to agree at this day with such high praise of Vandevelde. “It is not easily understood,” says Mr. Ruskin, “considering how many there are who love the sea, and look at it, that Vandevelde and such others should be tolerated. Foam appears to me to curdle and cream on the wave sides, and to fly flashing from their crests, and not to be set astride upon them like a peruke; and waves appear to me to fall, and plunge, and toss, and nod, and crash over, and not to curl up like shavings; and water appears to me, when it is gray, to have the gray of stormy air mixed with its own deep, heavy, thunderous, threatening blue, and not the gray of the first coat of cheap paint on a deal door."
" It is not easy to understand," perhaps, but two helps towards understanding may be mentioned in Mr. Ruskin's own words. First, previous painters—including even the Venetians, sea-folk though they were — had all treated the sea conventionally. Vandevelde and his fellows, at any rate, endeavoured to study it from nature. Bakhuizen, as we have seen, like Turner after him, used to go to sea in all weathers, the better to obtain “impressions." Hence the Dutch sea - painting did mark an advance, and how great was its influence on later artists and sea-lovers we know from the case of Turner, who “painted many pictures in the manner of Vandevelde, and always painted the sea too gray, and too opaque, in consequence of his early study of him.” And this gray and opaque rendering of the sea by the Dutch was to some extent due to natural causes. “Although in artistical qualities lower than is easily by language expressible, the Italian marine painting usually conveys an idea of three facts about the sea,- that it is green, that it is deep, and that the sun shines on it. The dark plain which stands for far-away Adriatic with the Venetians, and the glinting swells of tamed wave which lap about the quays of Claude, agree in
giving the general impression that the ocean consists of pure water, and is open to the pure sky. But the Dutch painters, while they attained considerably greater dexterity than the Italian in mere de. lineation of nautical incident, were by nature precluded from ever becoming aware of these common facts; and having, in reality, never in all their lives seen the sea, but only a shallow mixture of sea-water and sand ; and also never in all their lives seen the sky, but only a lower element between them and it, composed of marsh exhalation and fog. bank; they are not to be with too great severity reproached for the dulness of their records of the nautical enterprise of Holland. We only are to be reproached, who, familiar with the Atlantic, are yet ready to accept with faith, as types of sea, the small waves en papillote and peruke-like puffs of farinaceous foam, which were the delight of Bakhuizen and his compeers ”1 (Modern Painters, vol. i. pt. ii. sec. v. ch. i. § 20; vol. iii. pt. iv. ch. xviii. $ 30; On the Old Road, i. 283; Harbours of England, p. 18). 1074. AN OYSTER SUPPER.
Dirk (brother of Frans) Hals (Dutch : 1589-1656). 149. A CALM AT SEA. W. Vandevelde (Dutch : 1633–1707). See under 150, p. 215. 1004. AN ITALIAN LANDSCAPE. Nicolas Berchem (Dutch : 1620-1683). See under 240, p. 212. 1002. FLOWERS, INSECTS, AND FRUIT.
Jacob Walscappelle (Dutch : painted about 1675).
1 An amusing instance of the naïve ignorance of the sea which underlaid much of the excessive admiration of Vandevelde is afforded by Dr. Waagen, for many years director of the Berlin Gallery, and author of Treasures of Art in England. At the end of a passage describing his “ first attempt to navigate the watery paths," he says: "For the first time I understood the truth of these pictures (Bakhuizen's and Vandevelde's), and the refined art with which, by intervening dashes of sunshine, near or at a distance, and ships to animate the scene, they produce such a charming variety on the surface of the sea." “For the first time !" exclaims Mr. Ruskin (Arrows of the Chace, i. 16, 17), "and yet this gallery - bred judge, this discriminator of coloured shreds and canvas patches, who has no idea how ships animate the sea until -charged with the fates of the Royal Academy - he ventures his invaluable person from Rotterdam to Greenwich, will walk up to the work of a man whose brow is hard with the spray of a hundred storms, and characterise it as 'wanting in truth of clouds and waves.'" Dr. Waagen, it should be explained, had, on the strength of his first “navigation of the watery waves," pronounced Turner's works inferior in such truth to Vandevelde. Clearly Dr. Waagen, more fortunate than most of our foreign visitors, had a calm crossing.