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and degraded principle of the school, as if "nature" were indeed only another name for “ darkness”). 1 His life was like his art, being “one long contrast between splendour and misery, black shadow and shining light” (Scott). He made his way when quite a youth to Rome, where one day, as he was sketching in the streets, dressed in rags and eating crusts, he was picked up by a cardinal and taken into his household. They called him in Italy by the name Lo Spagnoletto, the little Spaniard (to distinguish from Lo Spagna, the Spaniard, see VI. 1032, p. 106). But Ribera could not brook the cardinal's livery, and stole away into poverty and independence again. He especially studied the works of Caravaggio, and went afterwards to Parma to study Correggio. Then he moved to Naples, where a picture dealer discovered his talent and gave him his daughter in marriage. A large picture of the Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew, which he painted about this time, was exhibited by the dealer on the balcony of his house, and created such a furore that the Spanish Viceroy, delighted at finding the painter to be a Spaniard, loaded him with appointments and commissions. This was the making of Ribera's fortune. He soon became very wealthy-never going out but in his carriage, and with an equerry to accompany him, and so hard had he to work to keep pace with his orders that his servants were instructed at last to interrupt him when working hours were fairly over. He kept open house-entertaining Velazquez, for instance, when the later visited Naples in 1630; but though lavish he was yet mean, and together with two bravos formed a cabal, which by intimidation and intrigue kept all other painters out of work in Naples. But his life ended, like his pictures, in darkness. His daughter was carried off by one of his great friends, Don Juan of
spoken of as lasting up to 1648, the second up to 1656, but he did not so much paint in these different manners at different times as adapt them to the different subjects severally in hand.
Mr. Ruskin, in his classification of artists from this point of view, calls them “ sensualists," reserving the traditional title "naturalists" to the greatest men, whose “subject is infinite as nature, their colour equally balanced splendour and sadness, reaching occasionally the highest degrees of both, and their chiaroscuro equally balanced between light and shade." This class represents the proper mean. In excess on one side are the “ purists" (Angelico, Perugino, Memling, Stothard), who “take the good and leave the evil. The faces of their figures express no evil passions: the skies of their landscapes are without storm ; the prevalent character of their colour is brightness, and of their chiaroscuro fulness of light." Then in excess on the other side are the “sensualists" (Salvator Rosa, Caravaggio, Ribera), who “perceive and imitate evil only. They cannot draw the trunk of a tree without blasting and shattering it, nor a sky except covered with stormy clouds ; they delight in the beggary and brutality of the human race ; their colour is for the most part subdued or lurid, and the greatest spaces of their pictures are occupied by darkness" (Stones of Venice, vol. ii. ch. vi.) Elsewhere Mr. Ruskin speaks of Caravaggio and Ribera as * the black slaves of painting" (Elements of Drawing, p. 317).
Austria, and Ribera was so overwhelmed with grief that he left Naples and was never more heard of.
The Virgin, accompanied here by St. John and Mary Magdalen, is weeping over the dead Christ-the subject termed by the Italians a Pietà. It is instructive to compare this Spanish treatment of it with an Italian Pietà, such as Francia's V. 180, p. 87. How much more ghastly is the dead Christ here! How much less tender are the ministering mourners !
244, A SHEPHERD WITH A LAMB.
Spagnoletto (1598-1648). See under 235, p. 384.
741. THE DEAD ORLANDO.
Ascribed to Velazquez.2 See under 1129, p. 376. The closing scene, according to one of the many legends, in the history of that “peerless paladin," Orlando, or Roland, who was slain at the battle of Roncesvalles, when returning from Charlemagne's expedition against the Saracens in Spain. Invulnerable to the sword, he was squeezed to death by Bernardo del Carpio. He lies, therefore, prostrate, but fully dressed and armed, his right hand resting on his chest, his left on the hilt of his famous sword. Over the dead man's feet there hangs from a branch a small brass lamp, the flame of which, like the hero's life, has just expired. On either side are the skulls and bones of other “paladins and peers who on Roncesvalles died."
1 This is the story told by Domenico, the Neapolitan historian. According to Cean Bermudez, following Palomino (the Spanish historian), Ribera died at Naples honoured and rich.
?" Velazquez has left a great number of striking pictures, each contain: ing a single figure. The Count de Pourtalès, in the collection at Paris, (from which this picture was bought in 1865), has an excellent specimen of one of these studies, called 'The Dead Orlando'" (Stirling's Annals of the Artists of Spain, 1848, p. 680). Other authorities ascribe the picture to Valdes Leal (1630-1691), whose most celebrated picture (at Seville) is called ". The Two Dead Men.'
"WHATEVER is to be truly great and truly affecting must have on it the
strong stamp of the native land. Not a law this, but a necessity, from the intense hold on their country of the affections of all truly great men. All classicality, all middle-age patent reviving, is utterly vain and absurd ; if we are now to do anything great, good, awful, religious, it must be got out of our own little island'
(RUSKIN : Modern Painters, vol. i. pt. ii. sec. i. ch. vii. $ 37). “Of the modern mind in England you may take Sir Joshua and
Gainsborough for not only the topmost, but the hitherto total, representatives ; total, that is to say, out of the range of landscape, and above that of satire and caricature. All that the rest can do partially, they can do perfectly. They do it, not only perfectly, but nationally ; they are at once the greatest, and the Englishest,
of all our school” (RUSKIN : The Art of England, Lecture iii.) Is there an English School at all? In the fullest sense of the term, there certainly is not. Every visitor who, after studying any one of the Italian Schools or the Dutch School, walks through the rooms devoted to the “English School," I cannot fail to be struck by the absence of uni
1 The term "English School" seems permissible in the National Gallery, inasmuch as there are also national galleries for Scotland and for Ireland. Moreover, the number of Scottish pictures here is inconsiderable, and though several of the painters represented were Irishmen, they all settled early in life in London.
formity in the latter. Instead of one general type of picture, modified only by individual peculiarities, he will find in the English rooms almost as many styles as there are painters. Here and there, indeed, if the collection of English pictures were more completely representative, traces would be found of common methods of technique, as well as of common ideals, amongst little groups of painters. There is a “PreRaphaelite School,” for instance (see p. 536), and a "Norwich School” (see p. 496). But, taking all the English pictures together, one cannot detect any uniformity of method and style, such as would justify the application, in the strict sense, of the term “English School.” It were a subject of great interest, which cannot, however, be pursued here, to determine why this is so. For one thing, there has been no such general diffusion of artistic taste amongst the English, as there was in mediæval Italy: hence there have been no general principles of art to which every English painter was constrained to submit. Neither has there been any attempt at systematic teaching within the artistic sect itself. Most of the leading English artists have studied in the Royal Academy schools, but the Academy has neither discovered nor enforced any definite and permanent code of artistic law. After leaving the Academy schools, the painters have generally gone their own way; the system of long and severe apprenticeship to an established master, which was the rule in Italy, has been almost entirely unknown in England. Some of the evil effects of our English licence in art matters will be obvious to every spectator. Take, for instance, the two greatest painters in two specially English branches of art-Reynolds in portraiture, and Turner in landscape. In charm there are very few Italian pictures against which Reynolds's will not hold their own; but whereas the Italian pictures are still, after three or four or five centuries, as fresh and firm as when they were first painted, Reynolds's, after less than one century, are already fading away before our eyes. “Reynolds filled the Halls of England,” says Mr. Ruskin, “ with the ghosts of her noble Squires and Dames." But alas ! they are now too many of them the ghosts of ghosts. With Turner's pictures the case is stronger still. In imagination and in gift for colour he is as great as any old master; yet, in what is after all the elementary business of a painter—the laying of colour durably on canvas — the “modern painter" is palpably inferior even to Canaletto. Nor is it only in technique that the evil effect is seen. It appears also in a certain indefiniteness of aim. “Tired of labouring carefully,” says Mr. Ruskin of Turner, “without either reward or praise, he dashes out into various experimental and popular works—makes himself the servant of the lower public, and is dragged hither and thither at their will; while yet, helpless and guideless, he indulges his idiosyncracies till they change into insanities; the strength of his soul increasing its sufferings, and giving force to its errors; all the purpose of life degenerating into instinct; and the web of his work wrought, at last, of beauties too subtle to be understood, his liberty, with vices too singular to be forgivenall useless, because magnificent idiosyncracy had become solitude, or contention, in the midst of a reckless populace instead of submitting itself in loyal harmony to the Art-laws of an understanding nation. And the life passed away in darkness; and its final work, in all the best beauty of it, has already perished, only enough remaining to teach us what we have lost” (Queen of the Air, $ 158). Such is the effect on painters of the highest power; in the case of inferiors, it is more disastrous still. “Under strict law, they become the subordinate workers in great schools, healthily aiding, echoing, or supplying, with multitudinous force of hand, the mind of the leading masters : ... helpful scholars, whose work ranks round, if not with, their master's, and never disgraces it.” But in England few, if any, of the great men have formed schools in which lesser men might be trained, nor has there been any consistency of public taste to guide their choice. Hence that "mania of eccentricity” which always strikes the foreign student of English painting. Hence also the “high purpose but warped power" of men of original talent, like Haydon and Barry