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and wcmen whose taste is impeccable in music 
— or interior decoration — are lost in the realm 
of pure art. -\s Mr. Witt so aptly points out: 
''We long to feel at home in a collection of 
pictures, instead of lost in a strange world and 
out of touch with its inhabitants. Not a city 
of importance . . . but has acquired or is 
acquiring its picture galler}". Not a house or 
cottage but contains some form of pictorial 
art. Yet there is little or no literature dealing 
with pictures from the point of \"iew of how 
to look at them. Elaborate monographs of 
artists, philosophies of art. treatises on aesthet- 
ics, exhaustive disquisitions en the various 
schools of painting — all these exist in over- 
whelming abundance. But they demand years 
of patient study. .Ajid indeed there is no book 
written, or ever to be written, which wiO sud- 
denly transform the industrious and well-in- 
tentioned reader into the just and experienced 
critic. The art of seeing pictures is not con- 
tained in rules or formulae. Books alone can 
no more teach how to see pictures than how to 
paint them. -\nd another and most powerful 
deterrent to the careful considerarion of pic- 
tures is undoubtedly their vast multitude. The 
nun:be- "t works of the first order alone is 
indecu ;;.most discouraging. A great gallery 
contains, perhaps, seme thousands of pictures. 
of which many hundreds are of real merit. 
The difficulty" oi concentratinr the '-"■^n^'n 
on any particular pictT.:re is one ^'. r.cii e. en 
experienced critics feel keenly, especi.-.llv in a 
gallery where all is new and strange. The eye 
wanders from the picture 'n v.h'ch it --■•:!i 
be fixed to that which han^,- c. se r .be o: 
below. Unfortunatelv exigencies * s:-..ee and 



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lolly Pearson discuss the assets and the liiibiHties of 



HOW TO LOOK AT PICTURES, by Robert 
C. Witt. Illustrated, New York, Harcourt, Brace 
5. Co., 1921. j^^ „u.^ - 

IT is difficult to criticise a book which is intended 
not for you nor for me but for the great mass of 
the people who have not taken to art from the days 
of their early youth. "How to look at Pictures" 
has been written for those whose acquaintance with 
paintings is slight. That it is a successful attempt 
to explain art to the masses is proven by the fact 
that the present revised edition is the tenth since 
it was first published in 1903. Mr. Witt is a sound 
leader and the people would seem to appreciate 
sanity. T. C. 



REVIEWS, "j^-y^ 

Ho7v to Look at Pictures. By Robert Cler- 
mont Witt, B.A. (London : George Bell & Sons.) 
Price t^s. net. — If one in a hundred of the persons 
who declare that they do not understand art, but 
nevertheless protest their keen desire to do so, 
purchase a copy of this book, it should have an 
enormous circulation. On the whole Mr. Witt 
has done his work very well. He is modest, sane, 
catholic, and he is uninfluenced by the cant and 
the false atmosphere of mystery which have gathered 
round the craft of picture-making, ^^'e think that 
Mr. A\'itt would be the first to admit that there 
exist a vast number of human beings who, even 
when they have marked, learned, and inwardly 
digested his pages, will still be unable to " look 
at pictures " in his sense of the phrase. It is 
possible to develop a latent faculty, but it is 
impossible to create a faculty. A great many 

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HOW TO LOOK AT PICTURES 







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HOW TO LOOK AT 
PICTURES 



BY 

ROBERT CLERMONT WITT, M.A. 



Illustrated 






G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 

NEW YORK AND LONDON 

1906 






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1 



PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION 



THE warm welcome extended to these pages 
by art-lovers in the United States is respon- 
sible for the present edition addressed 
especially to American readers. For not only is 
America becoming ever more and more keenlj^ 
attracted by the theory and practice of Art- 
criticism, but she is also successfully laying all 
Europe under contribution for those works of art 
which seem to Americans to appeal most strongly 
to their interests and instincts. 

These works of art, many of them master- 
pieces, are finding their long home in the Mu- 
seums and Galleries with which public spirit is 
so generously' endowing the great cities, or are 
enriching the homes of men and women to whom 
the constant presence of beautiful things is no 
longer a luxury, but one of the necessities of a 
full and complete life. 

Yet for all this Europe still remains a vast 
store-house of beauty and delight, and it is hoped 
that both to those who have opportunities of 
visiting its treasures, as well as to those who 
enjoy at home the spoils which American enter- 
prise and art-knowledge have secured for them, 
this book may often be useful. 

R. C. W. 

London, January, 1906. 



vn 



PREFACE 

THIS little book makes no attempt to be 
original. It is intended for those who have 
no special knowledge of pictures and paint- 
ing, but are interested in them, and find them- 
selves from time to time in public and private 
galleries and exhibitions. It will, therefore, make 
no appeal to the artist, the expert or the profes- 
sional critic. Much art-criticism at the present 
day is so deeply erudite, or so special and scien- 
tific, that its influence is necessarily limited to 
those among the initiated who, after years of study 
and probation, can enter fully into its mysteries, 
and are therefore in no need of such simple sug- 
gestions as are offered here. 

In case it should be objected by readers of more 
exquisite sensibilities that in these pages the 
emotions excited by the beauty of pictorial art 
are ignored, or treated in too homely and matter- 
of-fact a manner, I would suggest that these more 
subtle and fleeting impressions of beaut}^ these 
aromas from another world, do not require to be 
called forth by words, but come unbidden in the 
fulness of time to every lover of pictures. More- 
over, recognising their pure essence and perfect 
delicacy, I have feared to mar by description that 
which no words can adequately render. 

Hbver, Kent, 1902. 



u 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

Introduction xi 

I. The Personai, Point of View . . . i 

II. Considerations of Date .... id 

III. The Influence of Race and Country . 21 

IV. ScHOOirS OF Painting 31 

V, The Artist 37 

VI. The Subject 47 

VII. HisTORiCAi, Painting 55 

VIII. The Portrait 62 

IX. Landscape 74 

X. Genre .90 

XI. Drawing 99 

XII. Colour no 

XIII. Light and Shade 123 

XIV. Composition 134 

XV. Treatment 145 

XVI. Methods and Materials .... 156 

Index 171 

xi 




ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

FnANS Hai^. Officers of the Guhd of Ar- 
QUEBUSiERS. Haari,em . . Frontispiece 

VEi,ASQUEz. The Surrender of Breda. Ma- 
drid 56 

Paul Veronese. The Family of Darius. The 

National Gallery 58 

FiLiPPiNO Lippi. Vision OF St. Bernard. Badia, 
Florence 62 

Reynolds. Portrait of Mrs. Siddons. Dul- 
wicH Gallery 64 

Gainsborough. Portrait of Mrs. vSiddons. 

National Gallery 64 

Van Dyck. Portrait of Lord Wharton. St. 
Petersburg 66 

Jan Van Eyck. Portrait of a Man with a 

Pink. Berlin 66 

DtJRER. Portrait of Holzschuher. Berlin . 70 

Ghirlandaio. Portrait of an Old Man. 

Louvre 7° 

Velasquez. Portrait of Philip IV. on Horse- 
back. Madrid 72 

Whistler. Portrait of His Mother. Luxem- 
bourg 72 

xiii 



xiv Illustrations 

PAGE 

Holbein. Portrait of Georg Gisze. Berlin 72 

Giotto. Joachim among the Sheepcotes. 

Arena Chapel, Padua 74 

Claude. The Queen of Sheba. National 
Gallery 76 

Turner. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Na- 
tional Gallery 78 

Jacob Ruysdael. The Windmill. Amsterdam 80 

COROT. Landscape. Louvre .... 82 

Bouts. St. Christopher. Munich ... 84 

Constable. The Hay-Wain. National Gal- 
lery 86 

Verrocchio (?) Portrait of a Lady. Poldi- 

Pezzoli, Milan 100 

Tintoretto. Bacchus and Ariadne. Ducal 

Palace, Venice 120 

Tintoretto. The Marriage of Cana Salute, 

Venice 126 

Rembrandt. Woman Taken in Adultery. Na- 
tional Gallery 128 

De Hoogh. Interior. National Gallery . 130 

Terburg. The Peace of Munster. National 
Gallery 132 

Orcagna (?). Coronation of the Virgin. Na- 
tional Gallery 132 

Michelangelo. The Temptation, Fall, and 

Expulsion. Sistine Chapel .... 134 

Raphael. Parnassus. Vatican . . .136 

Rubens. The Lion Hunt. Munich . . .138 



Illustrations xv 

PAGE 

Jan Stekn. Family of the Painter. The 

HAGtm 140 

MiLLiAs. The Carpenter's Shop. Private 
Possession 142 

Titian. Assumption of the Virgin. Academy, 

Venice 142 

Sargent. Carmencita. Luxembourg . . 154 

Bellini. Altar-piece. Frari, Venice . 166 




INTRODUCTION 



AMONG the most pathetic figures in the world 
must be counted the men and women who 
may be seen in an}- picture- gallers' slowly 
circumambulating the four walls with eyes fixed 
upon catalogue or guide-book, only looking up at 
intervals to insure that the}- are standing before 
the right picture. All unknowing the}- falter on, 
achieving only fatigue of body and mind, with a 
certain mournful satisfaction in a toilsome task 
nearing accomplishment. Again and again they 
find themselves looking at famous pictures with- 
out seeing them. They are conscious that some 
wonderful power lies hidden there, but they do 
not know the charmed word to release it. They 
feel sure they should be interested: at the same 
time they know they are bored. Whatever ap- 
preciation they have is too capricious, too purely 
personal to claim their confidence in its justice or 
intelligence. Its principles cannot bear analysis, 
and are rudely shaken under cross-examination. 
They do indeed deeply honour the names of the 
great masters upon the picture- frames; some slight 
acquaintance with them inspires reverence and 
respect, but where it goes beyond this it is for the 
most partundiscriminating and unreasoning hero- 
worship. The catalogue is of little use from this 
point of view. It merely gives the name and 
date of the artist and possibly his school, or. if 
more ambitious in its construction, some account 



XVll 



xviii Introduction 

of his life, with a bald, prosaic description of the 
picture, a description which only emphasises the 
absence of what the weary seeker after enjoyment 
hopes to find ready to his hand. 

We long to feel at home in a collection of pic- 
tures, instead of lost in a strange world and out 
of touch with its inhabitants. Not a city of im- 
portance in Kurope but has acquired or is acquir- 
ing its picture-gallery. Not a house or cottage 
but contains some form of pictorial art. Yet there 
is little or no literature dealing with pictures from 
the point of view of how to look at them. Elabo- 
rate monographs of artists, philosophies of art, 
treatises on aesthetics, exhaustive disquisitions on 
the various schools of painting — all these exist in 
overwhelming abundance. But they demand 
years of patient stud3\ And indeed there is no 
book written, or ever to be written, which will 
suddenl}^ transform the industrious and well- 
intentioned reader into the just and experienced 
critic. The art of seeing pictures is not contained 
in rules or formulae. Books alone can no more 
teach how to see pictures than how to paint them. 
And another and most powerful deterrent to the 
careful consideration of pictures is undoubtedly 
their vast multitude. The number of works of 
the first order alone is indeed almost discouraging. 
A great gallery contains, perhaps, some thousands 
of pictures, of which many hundreds are of real 
merit. The difficulty of concentrating the atten- 
tion on any particular picture is one which even 
experienced critics feel keenly, especially in a 
gallery where all is new and strange. The eye 
wanders from the picture on which it should be 
fixed to that which hangs close by, above or be- 
low. Unfortunately exigencies of space and ex- 
pense render the proper hanging of pictures almost 



Introduction ^i^ 

impossible. There are few collections so well 
hung as that in Trafalgar Square, and yet even 
there the frames jostle one another so closely that 
the eyQ tends to pass on, leaving the mind, as it 
were, a picture or two behind. There is no doubt 
that the enjoyment of even an inferior picture 
hanging alone or in scant company in the house 
of a friend is relatively greater than that of a col- 
lection of masterpieces crowded together in a 
great gallery. 

There are other diflSculties arising from the 
actual arrangement of pictures, especially in the 
great public collections. The plan favoured in 
the more conservative galleries of hanging to- 
gether in one central room a number of the most 
celebrated pictures without consideration of the 
schools to which they belong, a plan adopted in 
the Salon Carre of the Louvre, the Tribuna in the 
UfiBzi and the Sala de la Reina Isabel in the Prado, 
has many objections. In such a ' ' Holy of Holies " 
the opportunity of comparison with lesser works 
by the same artists, or with the best works of 
lesser artists, is lost, and the masterpieces tend to 
suffer from their very uniformity of excellence. 
Again, the pictures are thus, as it were, taken out 
of their context. An excellent example of the 
practical working of this system with its obvious 
drawbacks may be seen in the Louvre. Formerly 
Van Eyck's small, gem-like Madonna with the 
Chancellor Rollin used to hang inconspicuous and 
lost among the larger masterpieces of other schools 
in the Salon Carre. It has lately been removed 
to a small cabinet devoted to works of the early 
Flemish School, where this marvellous example of 
minute and delicate painting asserts its undoubted 
supremacy among its compatriots, hanging as the 
centre of attraction and in the place of honour. 



XX Introduction 

On the other hand, we have lost the opportunity 
of comparing one of the finest masterpieces of 
early Flemish painting with works occupying a 
like position in other schools. The more modern 
system, followed in the galleries of London and 
Berlin, and most of the great European collec- 
tions, of arranging the pictures according to their 
schools, and as far as possible in some chronologi- 
cal order, offers obvious advantages to the student. 
The rise and fall of schools, the gradual evolution 
of individual genius, the connection between 
master and pupil, may thus be easily traced. 

It must also be remembered that a spacious 
well-lighted gallery is not always the best setting 
for every picture. Old pictures were not painted 
with an eye to the uniform requirements of the 
modern picture- galler)', where individual wants 
cannot possibly be considered. Many were in- 
tended to serve as altar-pieces in the dim religious 
light of church or cathedral, often indeed designed 
to fit into the architectural framework of the altar. 
In some cases where the painter has consciously 
adapted his picture to such a position, much of 
its effect is lost in the cruel glare of a picture- 
gallery. Even so magnificent a work as Titian's 
Assumption appears comparatively hard and crude 
in colour in its new home in the Academy at 
Venice, though over the high altar of the Frari 
Church, for which it was painted, the bright 
blues, reds and 5^ellows would have been mel- 
lowed and subdued. Again, until but the other 
day how lost and purposeless appeared the vast 
series of canvases designed by Rubens for Marie 
de Medicis for the decoration of the Luxembourg, 
skied and scattered as they were about the long 
corridor in the Louvre, failing to dominate yet 
contriving to kill the surrounding crowd of smaller 



Introduction xxi 

pictures. Now, however, framed into the very 
walls of the spacious Salle Rubens, specially de- 
signed for their sole reception, they may be appre- 
ciated at their true value as one magnificent and 
consistent scheme of pictorial decoration rather 
than as a number of isolated units. 

Many pictures, notably those of the Dutch 
School, on the other hand, were painted to hang 
in the limited space and moderate light of a 
dwelling-room. These are lost on the large wall 
expanse of a high gallery lighted from the top. 
To them the system now being introduced wher- 
ever possible of small cabinets lighted by side 
windows instead of from the ceiling is admirably 
suited, care being taken that the light on the 
picture is adequate and falls from the side in- 
tended by the painter. 

These are among the more obvious and practical 
difficulties which meet us at the outset, and bear 
only indirectly on the study of pictures. There 
are many other points of view to consider in look- 
ing at pictures, which need only to be suggested 
to appeal at once to the spectator. They in their 
turn suggest others. The standpoint widens, and 
the spirit of criticism is awakened. Pictures 
which before 

we have passed 
Perhaps a hundred times, nor cared to see, 

acquire an interest, a fascination for us that is in 
the nature of a revelation. Our purely intellectual 
pleasure in the puzzles and problems of pictorial 
art, its historical and archaeological sides, grows 
to be of the keenest. Wholly distinct from these 
our aesthetic delight in the beauties of form and 
colour increases with each new discovery. En- 
joyment follows hard upon understanding. Every 



xxii Introduction 

branch of the graphic arts gains a special and 
peculiar interest. A collection becomes the meet- 
ing-place of familiar friends and faces. With ex- 
perience and knowledge, each picture falls into its 
place in the mind, is associated with others, sug- 
gests comparisons and parallels and a sense of 
the essential unity of pictorial art. A feeling of 
mastery over a whole world of beautiful forms 
and colours takes the place of impotent and vexa- 
tious uncertainty. True, there are many pretty 
quarrels to be picked. The critic who could say 
" I bite my thumb at no man " is not easy to find, 
and when discovered he would no doubt prove to 
be unworthy the title. But the controversial side 
of art-criticism, though it has a peculiar fascina- 
tion of its own, would be out of place in these 
pages, which are intended to offer suggestions 
rather than to make converts. 

There is no last word in art-criticism, or if there 
be it remains unspoken. It is impossible to w^ork 
out any complete theory which will answer all 
questions and solve all diflSculties. Many of the 
problems that inevitably arise must rest unsolved, 
the questions admitting of too many difierent 
answers. It is merel}'^ proposed here to set down 
some of the points of view which naturally occur 
to the spectator who stands before a picture. No 
attempt will be made to decide for the reader what 
pictures should or should not be especially ad- 
mired, but rather to enable him to see pictures in 
the fullest sense of the word, to understand and 
appreciate them, and to decide for himself what 
are the worthiest objects of his admiration. For 
it is the whole-hearted enjoyment which comes 
with growing powers of appreciation that gives 
painting, and indeed all art, its fascination for 
most of us. Sympathy and whatever of the artist 



Introduction xxfii 

there may be in each of us enables us to read 
something of our own into the most perfect picture 
ever painted, something of which even the painter 
never dreamed. Painting is no dry-as-dust sub- 
ject, a thing of museums, of value only when 
carefully catalogued and classified, and to be 
studied by the industrious apprentice with an eye 
to prospective advancement. Art is no substitute 
for science, but rather the adornment of life, com- 
pleting what without it were but imperfect. 




HOW TO LOOK AT 
PICTURES 



CHAPTER I 

THE PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW 

THE personal point of view is naturally the 
first to be touched upon. Criticism is as 
personal and as various as the art of paint- 
ing itself. In looking at a picture the spectator's 
own temperament and ideals, his education and 
experience will more than any other factors in- 
fluence his attitude towards it. And as these 
vary indefinitely with every individual, it is vain 
to attempt to analyse them at length. There are, 
however, some general considerations of interest. 
The spectator may be either an artist by train- 
ing and profession, or a laj^man with no special 
knowledge of the art of painting. Their points 
of view will almost necessarily differ. Artist and 
layman see with other eyes. They look for other 
things. The artist, in the full consciousness of 
his greater experience in matters artistic, is con- 
vinced of the essential superiority of the spirit and 
letter of his criticism over the superficial reasoning 



2 How to Look at Pictures 

of the amateur. The layman quotes the ancient 
proverb that onlookers see most of the game, and 
thanks God that he at least is not prejudiced in 
favour of anj' one narrow school or clique even as 
this artist. The antagonism is as old as art itself 
Speaking generally, the layman is in the right. 
Disraeli's witticism that the critics are those who 
have failed in literature or art contains but a grain 
of truth. The best art-critics certainly have not 
been artists. Ruskin, indeed, might have been 
either, but his case is somewhat exceptional. 
Onlookers do indeed see most of the game; but 
only if they know the rules. The great art-critic 
is as sadly to seek as the great artist, and is al- 
most as complex a being. He is born, not made. 
Even his birthright, however, will not suffice 
without wide and careful study. He must com- 
bine keen powers of observation, judgment and 
discrimination with something of the sacred flame 
and inspired enthusiasm of the artist. 

But, short of this, there is a sense in which we 
are all critics, in that we deliberately take upon 
ourselves to pass in judgment the pictures which 
hang before us. The point of view which gen- 
erally first finds expression is that of personal like 
or dislike, love or hate. It is indeed the most 
rudimentary form of criticism, and yet it contains 
something of the stuff of which criticism is made. 
Representing as it usually does an unreasoned 
and unintelligent personal prejudice in favour of 
any particular picture or school, it is valueless. 
Based on the other hand on experience, observa- 
tion, careful comparison and study, it becomes the 
last word of art-criticism. Praise or blame should, 
therefore, be not the first but the last point of 
view from which to regard pictures. The desire 
to understand should precede the wish to extol or 



The Personal Point of View 3 

condemn. Full understanding should in its atti- 
tude be appreciative rather than condemnatory. 
Tout conipre7idre est totit pardo7i7ier applies in art 
as in morals, and although this habit of mind can 
be exaggerated, may even lead to that "indifferent 
and tepid appreciation of all and sundry, especially 
if consecrated by age, ' ' v^rhich in the end is de- 
structive of the best interests of art, the general 
tendency, at least among beginners, is to err on 
the side of extreme severity and wholesale con- 
demnation. It is far easier to observe faults than 
to recognise excellences. It is not always easy 
to remember that even if the picture as a whole 
fails to please, it may contain charming passages 
of colour or subtleties of drawing which render it 
worthy of attention. On the other hand, the first 
impression of a seemingly attractive e^isemble may 
prove unable to bear closer analysis. We do not, 
indeed, feel in sympathy with every picture or 
even with every school of painting. The personal 
equation is too strong for that. But we can at 
least appreciate admirable qualities, whether in 
technique or style, wherever they exist. Some 
pictures there are to which, like certain books, we 
feel always drawn, in whose presence we enjoy a 
peculiar sense of intimacy and well-being. With 
these we like to live. Such inclinations are purely 
individual. Other pictures again, less intimate 
friends, are reserved for occasional intercourse, 
being less well adapted for our daily wants. But 
no such personal considerations can affect the 
question of the real value of a picture, though the 
test is too often applied. 

There are many to be found, especially among 
those whose want of knowledge and experience is 
their sole qualification to the title of unprejudiced 
critics, who profess to have so high a standard 



4 How to Look at Pictures 

that they will only look at the few great master- 
pieces in each collection, and entirely refuse to 
consider any picture falling short of these. " No- 
thing is so painful to me," said Sainte-Beuve, "as 
to see the disdain with which people often treat 
commendable and distinguished writers of the 
second order as if there were no room save for 
those of the first." And the protest is equally 
applicable to art. But if an attitude of undue 
severity is narrowing, the blind and bigoted ad- 
miration of an}^ one master or school is equally 
fatal. The great artist is indeed often a man of 
one idea, and that very fact the secret of his great- 
ness. But this is a peculiarity of the creative 
mind, and where admiration is exaggerated and 
unbalanced in the critic and excludes all other 
aspects of art, it can only stultify, not strengthen. 
The critic of but one idea is indeed poorly endowed 
for his vocation. Excellence in painting as in all 
else is comparative. A moderate picture hanging 
in a collection of vastly inferior works often sur- 
prises and delights the eye, while if placed among 
first-rate pictures it finds its true level. Yet even 
a fifth-rate picture has always some one or more 
redeeming quality to the trained and practised 
eye. There is scarcely a painting in any great 
collection, especially in one so carefully chosen as 
our National Gallery, which will not amply repay 
careful study. 

Granting, then, that criticism must from its 
very nature be personal, the question arises as to 
its value. The much abused " It is a matter of 
Taste" expresses the diflSculty in its most popular 
form. This is not the place to discuss the vexed 
question of authority in matters of art. But a 
real difficulty undoubtedly exists in the minds of 
many who have discussed and disputed the merits 



The Personal Point of View 5 

of this or that work of art. Is A's opinion as 
valuable as B's? By what right does C profess 
to judge between them? And to whom does the 
ultimate appeal lie ? The difficulty is one which 
must be faced. If my personal opinion as to the 
merits of any given picture is as valuable as that 
of my neighbour, independently of whether either 
has studied painting in all or any of its branches, 
then indeed there is no disputing about matters 
of taste. The absurdity of this position is self- 
evident. Again, it may happen that we have each 
of us devoted a long lifetime to the consideration 
and observation of pictures and yet differ widely 
in our estimate. Time alone can decide. " The 
greatest art," says Symonds, "communicates the 
greatest amount of satisfaction to the greatest 
number of normal human beings throughout the 
greatest length of time." And as a rough work- 
ing hypothesis this may serv^e our purpose, though 
it is far from proving a principle of uniform and 
universal application. 

The period of probation can indeed be no short 
one, for the disturbing and strange vagaries of 
fashion are overpoweringly strong. One genera- 
tion applauds what its successor despises. The 
heroes of the present are disregarded when their 
vogue is past. Our verdict upon our contempo- 
raries may be reversed by those who come after 
us. Our grandfathers admired the Italian painters 
of the seventeenth century, Guido and the Car- 
racci, and cared nothing for the Primitives. We 
have reversed this estimate, and the auction-room 
is the barometer which records these changes of 
fashion. Phases and vogues of this kind there 
must always be in which even the leaders of opin- 
ion will seem unanimous for the moment. All 
these come to the test of time. Slowly but surely 



6 How to Look at Pictures 

the artist finds his rightful place in the long roll 
of names. The exaggerations and enthusiasms 
of each generation fall into their true perspective. 
The dominating personalities of our own country, 
our own day, take quite other proportions when 
ranged alongside of the giants of other countries, 
other centuries. The most irreconcilable views 
resolve themselves into something like general 
unanimity. Old disputes and antagonisms tend 
to become buried in their own dust. And this 
growing consensus of opinion applies not only to 
the greatest masters but to the long list of names 
which rank after them. 

Unanimity indeed is impossible, and our work- 
ing hypothesis, if too closely pressed, shows signs 
of giving out. The truth is that, broadl)^ speak- 
ing and subject to the insensate changes of fashion, 
time does afford the surest test of real merit. It 
is now universally admitted that such men as 
lyconardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, Ru- 
bens, Rembrandt, Velasquez and Turner were 
artists of the most splendid genius; that others 
like Perugino, Luini, Memlinc, Teniers, Murillo 
and Hogarth were painters of great power but of 
less extraordinary attainments. It is only when 
we come to estimate the comparative position of 
the individuals among their peers that critics 
equally qualified to judge will be found in hope- 
less disagreement. And this must always be; the 
personal element plays so considerable a part with 
each of us. The enthusiast of realism will prize 
Velasquez before Raphael. Those who care above 
all for magnificent colour and exuberant vitality 
admire Rubens more than Leonardo. To Titian 
we go for grandeur and stately tranquillit}^ to 
Rembrandt for mystery and character, to Turner 
for imaginative vision, and according as we set 



The Personal Point of View 7 

store by these qualities we rank their exponents 
in our Calendar. 

Further, our own personal likings change with 
age and increased experience. The idols of child- 
hood and youth have often fallen before middle 
age. This is due, no doubt, to some extent to 
the growth of our powers of criticism, but it is 
also largel}-- temperamental and independent of 
the intellect. Fortunately the thought that our 
judgment of our immediate predecessors and con- 
temporaries is by no means infallible need not dis- 
courage. On the contrary, the need for careful 
judgment is the more imperative. On the opin- 
ions of the past and the present the verdict of the 
future will be founded. The unknown artist of 
to-day may come to be one of the greatest names. 
The idea adds dignity to the task of judging our 
contemporaries. There is the more need of bold 
and independent criticism which, without arro- 
gating to itself any finality, is prepared to stand 
by and justify its judgments. Only with experi- 
ence can the confidence that comes of the sense of 
power and mastery over the subject be attained. 
Courage in criticism is as valuable as in art itself. 
There is no antagonism between this courage and 
the authority which time and study have sanc- 
' tioned. Authority in contemporary art is based 
on study of the art which has gone before as well 
as on that of the present. For the wholly un- 
studied critic of modern painting to set up his 
horn against the trained and experienced student 
is presumption, not courage. But among those 
w'ho have qualified themselves to judge of pictures 
on which time has not yet pronounced a final ver- 
dict, there is room for the most fearless criticism. 
" To know what you prefer," said R. L. Steven- 
son, " instead of humbly saying ' Amen ' to what 



8 How to Look at Pictures 

the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have 
kept your soul alive." Honesty in criticism is 
terrified by the bogey of Authority. But Author- 
ity, with her exclusive list of great names, is only 
terrible to those who do not look into her title to 
the claim. We read that a certain well-known 
art-critic has declared that some one contemporary- 
artist is the greatest master of portraiture or land- 
scape, of animal painting or still life, the world 
has ever seen, or that the canvases of another are 
unworth}'- of even the most passing attention. If 
we know nothing of pictures or painting, we are 
fain to admit that his opinion as an authority 
must necessarily be of greater value than any we 
can offer in reply. But its weight is chiefly the 
outcome of his experience, and in so far as we 
can approach him in this we find that this same 
authority is only a more enlightened intelligence 
and understanding than our own. 

Great critical powers are of course far more than 
mere study and experience. The true critic, we 
have seen, has a genius or instinct for what is 
permanently beautiful in art which years of pa- 
tient labour will not bring. Taste has been 
admirably defined as Intuition plus Experience. 
Intuition, unfortunately, comes not by observa- 
tion. Experience, in the fullest sense of the 
word, is but slowly won. But apart from the ex- 
haustive study of art, which forms the life's work 
of the professional art-critic, there is a kind of 
novitiate in the rudiments of art-teaching which 
robs authority of some of its terrors, and gives 
courage and confidence to the student. The 
trained eye, so essential to the critic, is largely a 
matter of experience. It must not be thought 
that too much stress is being laid upon study in 
discussing the criticism of art. A picture is far 



The Personal Point of View 9 

more than an exercise for the mind, a book writ- 
ten on a single page, the coloured map of a mo- 
ment, a lesson on canvas. A great gallery is no 
mere dictionary of art, useful for reference and 
study. If this point of view is emphasised here, 
it is because without it the fuller understanding 
and pure enjoyment of a picture is wellnigh im- 
possible. And herein the personal point of view 
has its fullest scope. To arouse the powers of 
enjoyment, of abandonment to beauty as an end 
in itself, is the legitimate aim of art. If we look 
at pictures to understand, it is that thus we may 
come to enjoy them. It has been said that there 
has come upon art something of excessive earnest- 
ness and effort, out of harmony with its spirit. 
Pater, one of the most naturally gifted and subtle 
of modern critics, to whom the love of art was an 
instinct, a passion, merely emphasised this view 
when he fancifully but bitterly complained of 
" people who would never really have been made 
glad by any Venus fresh risen from the sea, and 
who praise the Venus of old Greece or Rome only 
because they fancy her grown now into something 
staid and tame." Herein at least the individual 
is unfettered, free to enjoy the fulness of beauty 
wherever he can find it. He may find it, like 
Flaubert, in the great masters of the past. " All 
I ask," he wrote, "is to retain the power of ad- 
miring the great masters with that enchanting in- 
timacy for which I would willingly sacrifice all 
else." Or he may seek it in the masterpieces of 
his own age, daring to direct an enlightened and 
whole-hearted enthusiasm upon the best he can 
discover, even though he may never hope to hear 
his judgment finally confirmed. 



CHAPTER II 



CONSIDERATIONS OF DATE 



GREAT art, it has been said, is for all time, 
and is therefore independent of time. It 
is of all ages, of every land. And if by 
this we merely mean that the creative spirit in 
man which produces a picture or a statue is com- 
mon to the whole civilised world, independently 
of age, race and nationality, the statement may 
stand unchallenged. 

Looking more closely at the forms under which 
this spirit manifests itself, there is indeed no end 
to their varietj^ and yet each bears a very re- 
markable family likeness to others produced in 
the same period and environment. The fact may 
be verified by visiting anj^ gallery where pictures 
of many different centuries and schools hang to- 
gether. There are, indeed, pictures by old mas- 
ters which strike us by their singularly modern 
appearance; but this merely emphasises the truth 
of the statement. Even the comparatively un- 
practised eye can generally get within a hundred 
years of. the age of a picture, the acute critic 
within a decade, and perhaps one of the first 
questions that suggests itself in looking at a pic- 
ture is this of the age in which it was painted. 
There are probably more disappointments in the 
presence of great and famous works of art through 
omitting to bear in mind this obvious point of 



lO 



Considerations of Date ii 

view than from any other cause. All great art is, 
to a considerable extent, the outcome of its own 
age, and the circumstances under which it was 
produced. It is through forgetting this that we 
too often expect mature art of a period of tentative 
endeavour, that we blame Memlinc for lacking 
the vigour and freedom of Rubens, or Crivelli for 
the absence of that breadth which characterised 
Tintoretto and Veronese. Our standard must 
vary immediately, and almost unconsciously, ac- 
cording as we are judging of a Primitive of the 
fourteenth century, of a ripe work of the high 
Renaissance, or of a painting by one of our own 
contemporaries. Every age has its own artistic 
methods and ideals, to which its painters give 
expression. The painters of one age are inter- 
ested in problems which are neglected by another. 
^ It is obvious that in art there is no law of con- 
tinuous progress and achievement. A period of 
development and florescence is succeeded by one 
of decline. A generation of giants gives place to 
a race of pigmies. The course of art is rather 
that of a succession of cycles, in which decay suc- 
ceeds activity at more or less regular intervals. 
A modern French critic has diagnosed the rise of 
these movements in the art of painting as the re- 
sult of a number of artists being struck by the 
same set of ideas. These men, finding that their 
thoughts and impressions are shared by them 
in common with the society in which they live, 
are encouraged thereby to the greatest activity. 
After a time, however, art ceases to be sincere 
and spontaneous, as the new inspiring ideas which 
animated them and made the period great lose 
their freshness and no longer express the general 
sentiment. A period of imitation and repetition 
sets in, and it is this that we call Decadence. 



12 How to Look at Pictures 

Again, in course of time, men grow weary of 
imitation. The}^ launcli out once more in other 
directions, and a new movement begins. But the 
new age does not necessarily work on the tradi- 
tions of the old, nor begin where the other left off. 
It does not at the outset consciously gather up the 
threads of all that has gone before. The difficulty 
experienced by many minds in reaHsing this fact 
is nowhere better illustrated than in the story of 
the young artist who, being asked whether he 
could surpass Fra Angelico, replied that, con- 
sidering all the progress which had been made 
since then, the laws of perspective and the mys- 
teries of light and shade which had been mastered, 
and all the work of subsequent generations, it 
would be no credit to him if he could not aspire 
to paint better. " Reasonable, but wrong," was 
the reply to this argument: reasonable, because 
were painting a matter of rules and formulae, de- 
veloping on a line of continuous and unbroken 
progress, the deduction had been a fair one; 
wrong, because the whole history of art bears wit- 
ness to its falseness. 

This is not the place to discuss the vexed ques- 
tion whether or no these successive cycles, these 
periods of alternate rise and decline in the art of 
painting, when viewed as a whole and from a dis- 
tance, do or do not make for continuity, for ulti- 
mate progress in the art. Is a wider range of 
activity an advance on one which was narrower, 
but in its technical qualities more uniformly per- 
fect ? Does modern painting sum up all that has 
gone before in the manner of a composite photo- 
graph and add something of its own, or has it, in 
spite of its broader vision, neglected and forgotten 
some of the fundamental principles of pictorial 
art? Were the old masters, with their obvious 



Considerations of Date 13 

limitations both of matter and manner, consciously- 
rejecting what they conceived to be beyond the 
reach of painting, or had they merely failed to 
realise then the full scope and possibilities of the 
painter' s craft ? Has everything possible in paint- 
ing been attempted or achieved, or are there still 
new worlds to conquer ? Such are some of the 
questions that naturally arise, questions to which 
almost every critic will give a dififerent answer. 
The periods of rise and fall are by no means 
regular. The upward movement may, as in the 
case of the Renaissance, take more than two cen- 
turies to reach its culminating point. The period 
of decline, in its turn, may be shorter or longer. 
In Italy there has been no great art movement 
since the decadence of the seventeenth century. 
German art lay fallow for centuries after the de- 
cline of the school founded by Diirer and Holbein. 
A whole wilderness of barren years separates the 
great Dutch masters of to-day from their ancestors 
of the seventeenth century. And this state of 
things is due to the many disturbing elements — 
political, social and religious — that come in from 
outside and prevent the regular operation of the 
principles of action and reaction in art ideas. It 
seems impossible to maintain that the crest of each 
wave is higher than that of its predecessor, though 
the advance of civilisation may perhaps tend to 
shorten the periods of decline. 

For most of us the history of painting begins 
with those crude gaunt altar-pieces bearing the 
superscription " Early Italian School," and ends 
with the current year's exhibitions at Burlington 
House and the Salons. If extremes meet, as it is 
said, it is surely not here. And when the paint- 
ing of all the intervening centuries is considered, 
the necessity of judging of each in the light of its 



1 4 How to Look at Pictures 

characteristic excellences and defects becomes the 
more apparent. 

With the thirteenth century, and the rise of 
Giotto and his followers in Ital}^ a wonderful 
awakening took place in the world of art. A 
new tradition in painting was formulated. A re- 
action set in against the dead and dying super- 
stitions of the past, and the revived activity in life 
and thought created a new spirit in art, full of 
energy and vitality, looking to the present rather 
than the past for its inspiration. By the time the 
fourteenth century was growing old, the move- 
ment had spread widely throughout Italy. In 
drawing, perspective, composition, colouring and 
chiaroscuro, the painters of this period indeed had 
still almost everything to learn. The Madonnas 
and Saints of the early Florentine and Sieuese 
artists are often almost pathetic in their want of 
anatomy. There is little or no modelling, and a 
total absence of light and shade; the flesh colours 
are purely conventional, the draperies arbitrary. 
The scope of painting was strictly limited. It 
was still wholly occupied with depicting the pains 
and penalties of ecclesiastical heterodoxy, the 
dogmas of the Church, and the lives and adven- 
tures of its Saints and heroes. It was still purely 
Christian, and for the most part monkish. More- 
over, it was still subservient to the requirements 
of architecture. 

In the fifteenth century, however, painting 
made the most extraordinary advance. Not onlj'- 
in Florence and Siena, but now in Umbria, Lom- 
bardy and Venice artists were springing up with 
all the vitalit}' and vigour of their predecessors 
united to greatly increased technical knowledge, 
lycarning from successive failures, and striking 
out in different directions, with fresh sources of 



Considerations of Date 15 

inspiration, new materials and greater freedom 
of choice, they pushed steadily on. The laws of 
perspective, unknown to the fourteenth century, 
were gradually evolved and applied. What Giotto 
had not even dared to attempt in this direction, 
Uccello tried and Mantegna achieved. The study 
of the nude, inspired by the sister art of sculpture 
and the discovery of antique models, was pursued 
by such ardent students as Pollaiuolo and Signo- 
relli. Pagan ideals and modes of thought came 
to rival and, in some cases, temporarily displace 
those of Christianity. 

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries too, 
contemporaneously with this great advance in 
Italy, the art of painting took root in Germany 
among the masters of Cologne, and at the same 
time blossomed forth in unexpected vigour and 
beauty in the Netherlands. Flemish art, under 
the brothers Van Eyck, Roger van der Weyden 
and Memlinc, seemed to need no years of infancy. 
From what has come down to us we gather that 
its earliest eflforts were bold and confident, its 
methods elaborate and accomplished. It led the 
way in portraiture and landscape, leaving Italy 
for the moment far behind in these directions. 

In the sixteenth century the advance was even 
more rapid and far more general. Italy, which 
had given birth to the movement, retained her 
pride of place, and Italian art now reached its 
fullest maturity. It was a century of marvellous 
activity and masterly achievement. It might al- 
most seem as though nothing in painting re- 
mained to be learned. Never had colour been so 
boldly and successfully used as by the great Ve- 
netian painters Giorgione and Titian, Tintoretto 
and Veronese. The perfect draughtsmanship 
of the Florentine masters, Leonardo and Michel- 



1 6 How to Look at Pictures 

angelo, Raphael and Andrea del Sarto, had never 
before been equalled. In the North Diirer and 
Holbein inaugurated a renaissance in Germany 
at the same time that the great Italian masters 
bej^ond the Alps were in their fullest and most 
splendid activity. 

The seventeenth century witnessed a complete 
change in the distribution of artistic achievement. 
Italy, the first to rise, was the earliest to decline. 
She no longer produced, though she still con- 
tinued to influence. Lightness and grace became 
triviality and affectation. Strength and grandeur 
degenerated into heaviness and dulness. Ger- 
many too seemed to have outlivea her own art. 
But the Netherlands, with Rubens and Van Dyck, 
enjoj^ed a renaissance the more brilliant in that it 
coincided with the almost total eclipse of Italian 
art, and Holland gave birth to a school of painters 
at whose head stand Hals, Rembrandt and Ruys- 
dael. At the same time France, which had 
hitherto concerned herself more with the patron- 
age of Italian art than with founding a school of 
her own, gave to the world a stjde of painting 
bom of classical traditions, initiated by Claude 
and the Poussins. In this century too Spain, 
though hitherto almost unknown in the world of 
painting, brought forth two artists of widely 
different genius in Velasquez and Murillo: Ve- 
lasquez, the father of modern painting; Murillo, 
distinguished by far less originality but possessed 
of no little charm. 

With the advent of the eighteenth century 
Italian painting, with the exception of such 
painters of the second rank as Tiepolo and Cana- 
letto, Guardi and Longhi, had almost ceased to 
be. Spain has but Goya's name on her roll 
of fame; Germany, Flanders, Holland not one 



Considerations of Date 1 7 

painter of first-rate importance. France, with 
Watteau and Fragonard, elaborated the art of 
cultured artificiality on its most charming side, 
while Chardin sought his inspiration in homely 
efi'ects of domesticity and still life. And now, 
when painting elsewhere seemed to have ex- 
hausted its resources and lost all spontaneity, 
England for the first time advanced into the 
arena, and under Hogarth, Reynolds and Gains- 
borough enjoyed a late renaissance of her own. 

Lastly, in the nineteenth century, the age of in- 
dustry and commercial activity, we find a general 
revival of the art of painting throughout Europe. 
The tendency of nineteenth-century art has been 
to assert its independence of the centuries that 
preceded it, to rely no longer on a tradition with 
which the times were out of touch, to look forward 
rather than back, to learn from nature rather than 
from the old masters. Hence its chief character- 
istic is its endless diversity, its almost unlimited 
scope, the fearlessness with which it attacks prob- 
lems unassailed by the painters of any other age. 
Hence, too, the difl5culty of formulating its tend- 
ency, a difficulty enhanced by the close proximity 
to our own contemporaries which forbids our see- 
ing them in true perspective. 

With such fluctuations from century to century 
it is clear that our standard must vary proportion- 
ately. It is not that we can feel equally in sym- 
pathy with the products of every age. Our 
individuality is too strong. Moreover, each age 
has its peculiar manner, its own triumphs and 
failures, its characteristic excellences and defects. 
You do not ask perfection of draughtsmanship or 
modelling of the fourteenth century, mature land- 
scape art of the fifteenth, advanced realism in 
style or subject of the sixteenth. You do not go 



1 8 How to Look at Pictures 

to the seventeenth century for deep religious feel- 
ing, or to the eighteenth for naivete and natural 
charm. But the sense of disappointment and 
flagging interest that is so often experienced in 
looking at pictures does not arise from our con- 
sciously demanding certain qualities and charac- 
teristics of an}' given centurj^ and resenting their 
absence, but rather in our not knowing what each 
century has to offer, and therefore failing to recog- 
nise w'hatever special excellence it may possess. 
It is true in the presence of a great picture we 
often feel its beautj', its power over us, without 
a thought of when, where or by whom it was 
painted. We do not even ask these questions, 
and certainl}' we neither know nor care to learn 
their answers. The function of painting is not to 
exercise the intellect, but to please the eye. This 
is true, but it is not the whole truth. There are 
many pictures which cannot do all this for us, 
pictures that the eye would pass by but that the 
mind bids it pause and look again. Moreover, 
even where we linger most willingly under the 
sensuous spell of beauty, our knowledge does not 
freeze or contract our aesthetic appreciation. On 
the contrary, the student, the connoisseur, is your 
true enthusiast. He sees farther and tastes 
longer. 

And thus fully to understand a picture we must 
try to see it with the ej^es of the painter's own 
age, to recognise in his art what were his objects, 
his ideals, and what the ideals and qualities most 
revered and prized b}' his contemporaries. It is 
when we come to see that every picture should, 
to some extent at least, be regarded in the light 
of the time in which it was painted that it be- 
comes clear why the mere imitation of the style 
of a past age can never produce a great work of 



Considerations of Date 19 

art, and the many attempts made of late years, to 
paint pictures after the manner of Diirer, Holbein, 
Van Eyck, Filippo I^ippi or Gerard Don are 
doomed to failure from the outset. The fate of 
those who thus look back is that of Lot's wife. 
It is not that the mannerisms and methods of a 
painter cannot be in part reproduced and even the 
touch of time rendered again with some exact- 
ness, but the life of the picture will be but seem- 
ing, the interest forced and false, and the result 
altogether lacking in all the freshness and spon- 
taneity which form the charm of the old master. 
Pictures, even by the most gifted modem artists, 
produced by such a process, are mere phantoms 
of the Middle Ages. Moreover, these imitators, 
it has been well pointed out, *' have sought to 
transfer to their pictures not only the beauties but 
the defects of their great models, forgetting that 
early masters attract us not on account of their 
meagre drawing, hard outlines, erroneous perspec- 
tive and conventional glories, but, on the con- 
trary, in spite of these defects and peculiarities." 
The truth is that ' ' the most valuable lesson of 
the past teaches an artist to use the best methods 
of that past to execute what he wishes to paint, 
but to wish to paint what he himself sees and 
feels." 

There is one point which cannot be insisted on 
too strongly in dealing with these questions of 
chronology in painting. The common tendency 
to judge of all art, especially of the art of the 
present, by comparing it with previous art, often 
results in ignorant and prejudiced antipathy to all 
innovation or originality. This tendency, how- 
ever, based on what has been well termed " the 
traditional spirit of the public," is due not so 
much to excessive study of the history of the 



20 How to Look at Pictures 

development of art, but to the prevailing idea that 
between the art of the old masters and that of our 
own contemporaries there exists a hard and fast 
line of demarcation; that the so-called "old 
masters" are on a different level from the best 
masters of to-day, belong, indeed, to another cate- 
gory. Nothing is farther from the truth. Much 
of the worship of the old is due to intellectual 
cowardice begotten of ignorance. The old mas- 
ters are not always good. The halo with which 
they are surrounded is often unjustified. Many 
old pictures dating from the best periods are not 
to be compared with the productions of modern 
mediocrity. For in the same way that many of 
the finest works of the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries have been destroyed by misadventure, 
so accident has preserved for us others of quite 
inferior value. Painting in its broadest aspects 
preserves from age to age a real continuity. 
Styles may alter, but the essentials remain. The 
painters of to-day will be the old masters of to- 
morrow. And so it comes about that there is no 
phase of modern painting, however startling in 
its novelty, however audacious and revolutionary 
in its originality, which cannot be paralleled 
among the most universally respected of these 
same ' ' old masters. ' ' Giorgione was in his way as 
revolutionary as Manet, Rembrandt as Whistler, 
Hogarth as Madox Brown. Whenever tradition 
and only tradition has been the watchword of 
painting, art has declined, until the inevitable re- 
action sets in and experiment takes its place. 



CHAPTKR III 

THB inpi^uence; of race and country 



A INMOST as important a question as the date of 
the picture is the nationality of its painter. 
Whistler indeed has poured scorn upon this 
idea of nationality, maintaining that art is cosmo- 
politan, ' ' There is no .such thing as English 
art," he has told us; " we might as well talk of 
English mathematics." The paradox is brilliant 
but the analogy fallacious. The influence of 
nationality, of physical and political conditions 
has indeed been somewhat unduly emphasised, 
especially by the French critic and philosopher, 
Henri Taine. But it is obvious that the life, 
character and history of a nation must be to no 
small degree reflected in its art. Art is inevitably 
the expression of external conditions, modified 
though they be by the genius and personality of 
the artist. The painter's inspiration must ulti- 
mately be derived to a large extent from what he 
sees and hears around him in daily life and from 
the traditions which he has imbibed from child- 
hood. These he reproduces with more or less of 
exactness, according to his own temperament and 
habits. As a rule he takes what is nearest and 
therefore most familiar. The heavy, phlegmatic 
type of the native of Holland and the physical 
features of his country, with its low, level pastures 
intersected with canals, are faithfully portrayed 

21 



2 2 How to Look at Pictures 

in Dutcli art. So too the suuny skies of Italy, 
the regular, classical features of her people and 
the gracious beauties of her landscape are reflected 
in Italian painting. 

But even before we come to the characteristics 
of nationality, characteristics peculiar to a country 
or people, there are certain broader distinctions 
that have had a very real influence on the art of 
painting, especially during its early history-. Such 
are the distinctions that at once suggest them- 
selves between the art of Northern and that of 
Southern Europe. These are due to causes of in- 
finite variety, differences of race, climate, history 
and physical features, which cannot fail to in- 
fluence the art in which they are mirrored. 

Roughly speaking, the North of Europe is 
peopled by a Teutonic, the South by a Latin race. 
The reserved, intellectual Teuton differs as much 
from his vivacious, sensitive Latin cousin as the 
gray mists and clouds of the North from the bril- 
liant sunshine and clear skies of the South. The 
Teutonic nature is reflective rather than imagina- 
tive, and less developed upon the sensuous side 
than the Latin. This does not imply that it is 
less absorbed in the problems of art than the 
other, but only that it approaches them from a 
different side. These differences in temperament 
and character between the Teutons of the North 
and the Latin-speaking races of Southern Europe 
are so marked in the literature and manners of 
each that it would be strange if they were not 
emphasised in their art. Nor are they confined 
to the peoples alone. They are as pronounced in 
the climatic and physical conditions under which 
they live. 

In the North the climate is generally cold and 
damp, the atmosphere hazy. Long sunless periods 



Influence of Race and Country 23 

accustom the eye to prevailing tones of gray. 
Figures are not as it were silhouetted against a 
background of clear sky, but are seen rather as 
broad masses of colour and light and shade, losing 
themselves in a haze of atmosphere. Climate has 
its effect even upon the medium employed by the 
artist. Fresco-painting is almost unknown in the 
North, where the damp atmosphere rapidly de- 
stroys all but the most carefully protected pic- 
tures. So far from exposing them to the open 
air, it has even been thought necessary to cover 
those in our National Gallery with glass, in spite 
of the grave disadvantages of such a course. 

In the South this is in many respects changed. 
A warmer, sunnier climate and dry atmosphere 
make fresco suitable even for open courts and 
cloisters. Many such paintings have retained 
their original freshness for centuries. Moreover, 
in the South and especially in Italy the traditions 
of a classical past, whose remains were scattered 
over the length and breadth of the country, exer- 
cised an influence profound and enduring. The 
study of the nude was a passion in the country 
most suited for it by nature. This classicism 
seems to have affected the painting of the North 
but little, until in the seventeenth century Italian 
influence carried it all over Europe. The classi- 
cal spirit of the South was manifested also in the 
idealising tendency which characterises Italian 
art as compared with the greater realism of the 
North. The principles of selection and generali- 
sation were little understood in Germany and the 
Netherlands, where a tendency to insist upon par- 
ticular detail rather than general decorative effect 
characterised painting throughout the earlier 
period of its history. 

But even within these broader and more general 



24 How to Look at Pictures 

aspects of the art of North and South there are 
essentially national characteristics distinguishing 
the art of one country from that of another. 
These again apply especially, though not entirely, 
to the art of past generations, and are more clearly 
to be traced the farther we go back in the history 
of painting. They depend upon the social, po- 
litical and religious characteristics of the country, 
upon its types, customs and dress, its physical 
features, landscape and architecture. The travel- 
ler passing from one country into another, even 
from one province into another, is struck by the 
marked differences of type that meet him as he 
crosses the frontier. In the past these physical 
differences were accentuated by far greater di- 
versity of dress and mode of life than in these 
days of levelling civilisation. Yet even to-day 
we can easily distinguish Knglish from German, 
in spite of their common Teutonic origin, or 
French from Italian, though both be of Latin 
race. Although the painter may modify the 
types among which he lives, he seldom escapes 
entirely from them. They are as enduring as 
language itself. We may detect them in any 
gallery where pictures of different nationalities 
are hung. Without guide or catalogue it is often 
easy simply from the types portraj^ed to decide 
whether a picture be Italian, Flemish, Spanish 
or English. No one could mistake one of Jan 
van Eyck's plain-faced, high-browed Madonnas 
for any but a Flemish burgher's wife, a class to 
this day singularly devoid of grace or beauty. 
Again, how essentially Spanish are Murillo's 
dark-skinned, black-eyed beggar boys; and who 
could mistake the graceful and elegant types of 
Reynolds, Gainsborough and Romney, for any 
but well-born English men and women ? In Italy, 



Influence of Race and Country 25 

indeed, compounded as she was of many units, 
the distinction is carried even farther. The 
Florentine differed from the Venetian as though 
the two cities had varied, not only in forms of 
government and history, but even in nationality 
itself. We have but to compare the blonde, mas- 
sive types of Titian's or Palma's models with the 
slender forms and more intellectual features por- 
trayed by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio or Leonardo. 
Every country has its own ideal or type of beauty, 
which its artists help to define. Even in their 
religious pictures the Italian and Flemish masters 
chose their models from the men and women 
among whom they lived. In Filippo Lippi's A71- 
mmciation in the National Gallery the Virgin and 
the Angel Gabriel are simply a Florentine youth 
and maiden of his day, perhaps somewhat ideal- 
ised. Indeed, Filippo' s Madonna is often merely 
the portrait of his own wife, and Ghirlandaio' s 
frescoes teem with portraits of distinguished con- 
temporaries. 

Equall}^ distinctive of each country are the 
physical features of its landscape and the prevail- 
ing style of architecture. The hedge-rows, or- 
chards and green pastures, the thatched cottage 
and Gothic church, the rolling clouds and fitful 
gleams of sunshine are as characteristic of England 
as are the cypress and olive, the vineyards, the tall 
slender campanile, the blue skies and clear hori- 
zons of Italy. Perugino's landscape backgrounds 
with their steep blue slopes and winding valleys 
are as truly representative of the hill country 
about Perugia as are Constable's leafy lanes and 
homesteads of his beloved Eastern counties. 
Equally typical are the bare rocks and snowy 
peaks of the grim Spanish Sierras introduced into 
the backgrounds of Velasquez and Goya, while 



26 How to Look at Pictures 

Masaccio and Memlinc have perpetuated the tall, 
steep houses aud high gables of their native 
Florence and Bruges. But nowhere perhaps 
more than in Dutch art do we feel how great a 
part the physical features of the country have 
played. The Dutch masters of the seventeenth 
century, Van Goyen, De Koninck, Hobbema, 
Van der Heyden, set themselves with character- 
istic directness to reproduce every aspect of their 
low-lying level pasture lands, intersected by sil- 
very waterways and studded with windmills, their 
prim red-brick houses and vast whitewashed 
churches. And it was but natural that this 
nation, once mistress of the high seas, should 
have produced also a great school of marine 
painters. 

Equally important in its influence on art was 
the religion of the country. Modern painting is 
indeed but little affected by this consideration. 
Never has art been more independent of religion 
than at the present day. But its early history 
proves how profoundly painting was affected not 
only by the tenets, but also by the forms and 
ceremonies of the prevailing creed. Herein again 
some of the broader distinctions between North 
aud South may be traced. The religion of North- 
ern Europe is for the most part, though with some 
notable exceptions, Protestant; that of the South, 
Roman Catholic. In exclusively Catholic coun- 
tries like Italy and Spain, it is natural that the 
views of that Church should prevail in their art. 
The Church deeply colours the life of the people. 
Its teaching has always made a deliberate and 
powerful appeal to the senses and emotions. Paint- 
ing first arose as the handmaid of a Church which 
preached and taught by its pictures. The Southern 
mind was stored to the full with legends of the in- 



Influence of Race and Country 27 

numerable Saints of the Roman Calendar. Even 
when their virtues and saving powers were no 
longer respected, their stories and attributes re- 
mained familiar. Every church contained numer- 
ous altars, above each of which it was the desire 
and pride of the pious to raise a masterpiece. 
Thus Church pictures were everywhere in de- 
mand, and some of the finest altar-pieces of the 
Italian Renaissance were executed to the order of 
wealthy prelates or ecclesiastical bodies, or at the 
command of one of the great noble families for 
the adornment of private chapel or public hall. 
In the same manner, too, the walls of chapel or 
cloister were covered with frescoes, which should 
serve the double purpose of instruction and deco- 
ration. For the architectural arrangement of the 
churches of the South, with their endless series 
of chapels, small windows and abundant unbroken 
wall-space, gave opportunities to painting un- 
paralleled in the Gothic architecture of the North, 
with its muUioned windows filled with stained 
glass and its altarless aisles. In the same way 
the pageants organised by the ecclesiastical and 
civic authorities to celebrate the great religious 
festivals not only accustomed the eye to appreciate 
the spectacular effect of masses of vivid colour, 
but when reproduced on wall or canvas still 
further tended to identify Eatin Christianity with 
the art of painting. 

By the time Holland and England had begun 
to develop their national schools of painting, the 
Reformation had swept over Europe, cleaving its 
religious life into two distinct divisions. The 
Reformed Church had little sympathy with the 
art of painting, was indeed more than half sus- 
picious of it as an ally of the Roman faith. The 
ascetic creed of Calvin forbade any appeal to the 



28 How to Look at Pictures 

senses through the medium of music or painting. 
As a natural result of this feeling, scarcely a sug- 
gestion of religious inspiration exists either in 
English or Dutch art. In both countries painting 
developed independently of the Church, without 
its encouragement, but free from its restricting in- 
fluence. Art patronage in these countries was 
secular, not ecclesiastical. Their peoples affected 
no interest in the old monkish tales of the Saints 
or the legends of the Madonna. It is no wonder 
then that art was directed into other channels and 
took other forms, and that portraiture, landscape 
and genre became the most characteristic and 
therefore the most favoured. Instead of altar- 
pieces, we find huge life-size portrait-groups of the 
Dutch Guilds and Corporations, Regent pictures, 
as they are called. The finest series, that from 
the hand of Frans Hals, now adorning the long 
Municipal Gallery at Haarlem, represents the 
ofl&cers of the Guilds of Arquebusiers grouped 
round their banqueting tables in all the bravery 
of gala uniform and ceremonial. These are as 
peculiarly Dutch as the Fetes Galantes of Watteau 
and L,ancret, in which elegantly dressed noblemen 
and ladies dance minuets on the green turf or 
foregather about a marble fountain, are character- 
istically French. 

Thus, in choice of subject, in methods of treat- 
ment, even in such matters as the size of pictures, 
differences of nationality have been clearly marked, 
and as each has been the outcome of the special 
genius and requirements of the nation that pro- 
duced it, success has never attended the deliberate 
adoption of the characteristics of one country by 
the artists of another. The Italian masters and 
their successors, the Flemish painters of the seven- 
teenth century, were chiefly employed in covering 



Influence of Race and Country 29 

huge wall-spaces or canvases with scriptural, alle- 
gorical or mythological subjects. It was only to- 
wards the sixteenth century that easel pictures for 
private houses came into favour in Italy. The 
Dutch masters used the smallest possible panel or 
canvas on which to depict the portraits, the land- 
scapes and genre scenes, for which a great demand 
had arisen. 

Vain attempts have been made from time to 
time to counteract these national and climatic in- 
fluences. Many of the Flemish artists of the 
sixteenth century, Mabuse, Bernard van Orley 
and a host of others, abandoned their native art 
and flocked to Italy to study that of Rome. The 
results were deplorable from the first. They lost 
the habits of careful drawing and observation of 
their predecessors, and gained only in their place 
an exaggerated melodramatic stjde that may be 
recognised at once as the result of an alien in- 
fluence ill-assimilated. In the same way the huge 
allegorical and classical pictures of our English 
academic painters, Haydon, Barry and Fuseli, 
obviously modelled on Correggio, Raphael, 
Michelangelo and the great Venetians, are far 
more ridiculous than sublime. It is as though 
the artists were attempting to converse in a lan- 
guage wholly foreign to them. 

To-day differences of nationality have almost 
ceased to influence art. Facilities of travel have 
practically annihilated them. An English artist 
may find his teacher in Paris and his model in 
Venice. Two centuries ago, if a painter travelled, 
it was to Rome, as to the one artistic Mecca. 
Now he goes everj^where, to Paris, Munich, the 
East, to study, copy and assimilate whatever in- 
fluences cross his path. Photography and mod- 
ern processes of reproduction have increased this 



30 How to Look at Pictures 

denationalising tendency. The change was strik- 
ingly illustrated at the Paris Exhibition of 1900. 
In the L/Ouvre, grouped according to their re- 
spective countries, the Italian, Flemish, Dutch, 
German, French and English pictures need no 
description to identif}^ their nationality'. In the 
Grand Palais of the Exhibition the names of the 
same nations appeared over the doors of their re- 
spective rooms, but in many cases the most acute 
critic would have been unable to restore a wander- 
ing canvas to its own country. Art from this 
point of view has indeed become cosmopolitan. 
One other consideration, inseparably associated 
with the idea of locality, has more influence upon 
our estimate of pictures than is general!}' under- 
stood, the ?nilie7c in which they are seen. The 
growth of great representative collections, em- 
bracing the works of every countrj'^, every school, 
tends to dull our appreciation of this fact, A 
picture is happiest in the country in which it was 
painted. An Italian picture is alwa5'^s something 
of a foreigner in England or Germany. In Flor- 
ence it is difficult to tune one's mind to enjoy the 
fine Dutch and Flemish pictures in its galleries. 
Indeed only when we have seen the pictures that 
still remain in their own country can we fully 
appreciate those in exile. 




CHAPTER IV 



SCHOOLS OP PAINTING 



PICTURES are commonly classified according 
to Schools. We speak of the Schools of 
Italy and Spain, of the French and Dutch 
Schools of painting, including in these general 
terms a great variety of achievement. The word 
* ' School ' ' as applied to painting is, however, 
used in many other senses, sometimes illogical 
and always confusing unless the precise meaning 
attached to each is kept in view. We talk of the 
English School, the Florentine School, the School 
of Rubens, the Pre-Raphaelite School, the Im- 
pressionist School, the Barbizon School, and 
finally of a " School-picture." It is obvious that 
here this same hard-worked term is applied in at 
least three different senses. School may imply 
either a geographical division, a personal influence 
direct or indirect, or a group of artists who have 
adopted certain definite aims or characteristics. 

In its first and most familiar sense, then, the 
word "School" implies a geographical limit, 
usually though not exclusively coextensive with 
national divisions, and independent of considera- 
tions of time. It is as natural to speak of the 
French School or the English School of painting as 
of French or English literature. Nationality, as 
we have seen, plays as important a part in art as in 

-.31 



32 How to Look at Pictures 

all other departments of life. This is the broadest 
use of the term "School" in its geographical sense. 
For within the general limits of nationality there 
are many minor divisions based on locality, espe- 
cially in countries where, as in Italy and Ger- 
many, a number of distinct political units existed 
side by side. In the Middle Ages, the great 
period of her artistic energy, the term ' ' Italy ' ' was 
merely a geographical expression, and the label 
" Italian School" may be attached to many pic- 
tures which, though they bear a certain family 
likeness, have little in common. Thus, when we 
come to differentiate between the School of Tus- 
cany and that of Umbria, or between the Sienese 
and the Venetian Schools, we are using our geo- 
graphical distinction in a narrower sense to imply 
a district or town. I/Ocal as well as national 
characteristics, as we have seen, are most strongly 
marked in Italian art. Only a few miles separate 
Florence and Siena, both in the province of Tus- 
cany. Yet Florence betrays in her art that eager 
spirit of scientific inquiry which ever possessed 
her, while the art of Siena, devoid of science, was 
full of passionate religious fervour and flowing 
grace. Still more pronounced is the difference 
between Florentine and Venetian art. Even in 
Dutch art the painters group themselves into 
Schools according to the cities in which they 
worked. We speak of the Schools of Haarlem, 
I^ej^den, Amsterdam or Utrecht, though these 
cities are scarce a Sabbath-day's journey apart. 
The English, or more properly speaking the 
British, School, being later in date, has fewer local 
subdivisions, though even here we differentiate 
between the Schools of Norwich, Newlyn and 
Glasgow, each with its distinct characteristics. 
In this case, however, the distinction is perhaps 



Schools of Painting 33 

rather that of chosen aim than of unconsciously- 
expressed local idiosyncrasy. 

Another sense in which the word ' ' School ' ' is 
used is to express the personal influence of some 
great artist upon his pupils and imitators. The 
School or Atelier system has in our day almost 
disappeared. True, we speak of the School of 
Burne-Jones or Carolus-Duran, yet meaning some- 
thing much less definite than when under the 
terms School of Giotto or School of Rembrandt 
we sweep in a whole host of unknown and name- 
less artists, consciously working on given lines. 
In the Middle Ages, when the artist was less an 
individual than a member of a guild with its fixed 
rules to which he was bound to conform, the 
painter had but little scope for originality unless 
he possessed more than the ordinary share of 
talent. A j'-oung painter in the natural course of 
events was apprenticed to an artist of standing 
and repute, and put to such menial tasks as the 
grinding of colours or the preparing of panel or 
fresco for his master's use. In time small unim- 
portant commissions were intrusted to him, which 
he would execute under direction and supervision, 
the master himself perhaps adding the finishing 
touches. A strong family likeness must naturally 
appear in the w'orks of these pupils, painting 
under one influence and bound by the traditions 
of a common training. The more gifted and in- 
dependent would, however, assert their individ- 
uality, and in time set up their own studios and 
form their own schools. 

Thus the atelier of Giovanni Bellini was the 
great training-school for Venetian artists of the 
fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. To his 
School belonged Titian, Giorgione, Catena, Ba- 
saiti, Bissolo and a host of lesser luminaries. Of 
3 



34 How to Look at Pictures 

these, Titian and Giorgioue, who possessed 
genius of the highest order, passed beyond the 
BeUinesque traditions and formed new ones of 
their own. They may be said to belong to the 
School of Bellini only in the sense that from him 
they received the elements of their art. Indeed, it 
is often suggested that in his turn, Giorgione's 
poetical spirit was not without its influence on 
the master himself. But painters like Basaiti, 
Bissolo and a crowd of others we may strictly in- 
clude in the School of Bellini. As his assistants, 
they even signed their works with his name, and 
this with no fraudulent intent, the signature 
merely implying that the picture came from the 
atelier of the Capo-scuola. Many a picture dis- 
playing distinct BeUinesque characteristics, yet 
too poor in execution to be assigned to any known 
pupil, is simply labelled " School of Bellini," and 
falls into the category of "School-picture," a 
convenient term to designate a picture suggesting 
a master's influence but not to be attributed di- 
rectly to him or to any one of his known pupils. 
Criticism is active in assigning these waifs and 
strays to some newly discovered painter, of whom 
often little but the name is known. 

Rubens had a large school of pupils and assist- 
ants, who took their part in almost every great 
work that came from his studio. It is only in his 
very early pictures that we see pure Rubens, un- 
adulterated by assistants' work. His fame once 
made, commissions poured in, and anyone who 
has merely strolled through the galleries of the 
lyouvre, Munich, Vienna and Antwerp must 
realise how impossible it were for all these acres 
of canvas to be the work of one pair of hands. 
We can only wonder at the brain that could pro- 
duce so rapidly and the powerful personality that 



Schools of Painting 35 

so impressed itself upon others and made them 
work for him. The system was so openly ac- 
knowledged that a sliding scale of payment came 
into use, so much for a picture or portrait entirely 
b}' the artist himself, less where he had painted 
only the head, and still less where he had merely 
furnished the sketch and added some finishing 
touches. 

The influence of his master may generally be 
traced in an artist's work. It never passes wholly 
out of his style, though often left far behind as 
the pupil realises his own powers. Many points 
which puzzle us in looking at a great painter's 
work can be traced to some mannerism or habit 
adopted from his master in the impressionable 
years of youth. The pupil may surpass his mas- 
ter, as Leonardo surpassed Verrocchio, and Reyn- 
olds the prosaic Hudson; or the teacher may 
always remain as far above the pupil as Raphael 
towered over Giulio Romano, or Rembrandt over 
Bol, Eckhout and Gerard Dou. But the long 
chain of master and pupil can often be traced for 
many generations, and the pedigree of such a 
School as that of Florence drawn with consider- 
able accuracy from Giotto through Masaccio and 
Ghirlandaio to Michelangelo. But artistic pedi- 
grees are seldom so simple or pure. Cross-cur- 
rents indeed often disturb the flow of influence. 
They may come in from altogether foreign sources, 
as when some pupil, leaving his native city, estab- 
lishes himself in a new country or city under alien 
influences, whereby his pupils in their turn will 
display a double origin. So English painting 
was influenced by the German Holbein, the 
Flemish Van Dyck and his successors Lely and 
Kneller, who preceded the more purely English 
School of the eighteenth centurj-. 



3^ How to Look at Pictures 

The third sense in which the term "School " is 
used is to imply some common characteristic or 
definitely chosen aim uniting a group of painters, 
often of different nationalities. In this sense we 
speak of the Kclectic, the Romantic, the Pre- 
Raphaelite Schools. The Eclectic School arose 
in Rome and Bologna in the seventeenth century 
with the decline of Italian art. All spontaneity 
in painting had spent itself. Painters now set 
themselves to imitate the works of the great mas- 
ters, Raphael, Michelangelo and Correggio. Ac- 
cepting their names as embodying the noblest 
achievement in painting, these Eclectics set them- 
selves to select such characteristics from each 
great master as seemed most worthily to represent 
him, and by combining these to produce a whole 
which should be at least as worthy as the sum of 
the component parts. From Raphael they se- 
lected perfection of drawing, from Michelangelo 
grandeur of conception and mastery of anatomy, 
from Correggio striking effects of light and shade. 
It was indeed the apotheosis of conventionality. 
The only result, it has been said, of this desire to 
resuscitate the dead was to kill the living. 

In this sense also we speak of the Romantic 
School which arose in France in the nineteenth 
century in reaction against the prevailing severe, 
classical style, and the Pre-Raphaelite School in 
England, which also threw down the glove to the 
Academy and dared to defy the accepted tradi- 
tions of generations. 




CHAPTER V 

N^ THE ARTIST 

AS we have seen, the painter may be regarded 
as one of the units forming a nation at a 
particular period in its history, and also as 
a member of a school of artists. But ultimatel^^ 
it will be his own individuality, his personal 
genius that more than any of these will determine 
the place he is to hold in the world of art. 

To ascertain wherein lies the special individu- 
ality of a painter is almost as difficult a problem 
as to analyse his peculiar charm. We may find 
a clue to it, however, by comparing the work of 
some artist with that of his contemporaries, more 
particularly those of his own school. Certain 
characteristics will be found in all, some of which 
may perhaps be traced to a common master. 
These being deducted, so to speak, from the work 
of the individual, what remains will represent his 
own personal style, or, to use a current expression, 
his subjectivit5\ This fact is summed up in the 
well-known saying of Buffon, which applies to art 
as well as to literature: "Le style, c'estl'homme." 

The new scientific criticism associated with the 
name of Morelli is based on these principles, and 
has been applied with great minuteness to the 
study of early Italian painting. Just as every 
individual has his own distinctive handwriting, 
every author his favourite words and expressions, 

37 



38 How to Look at Pictures 

so evety painter has his own characteristic man- 
ner of rendering form, by which his works may 
be distinguished from others of the same school. 
Certain forms of hand and ear, of drapery and 
landscape background are peculiar to each early 
artist, who on the other hand, in his types and 
general conception, differs but little from his 
master and fellow-pupils. Thus Filippo Lippi's 
broad type of hand and ear, Paris Bordone's pe- 
culiar crumpled folds of drapery, Giulio Romano's 
full, fleshy upper lip are a kind of stamp, differ- 
entiating them from artists whom in other re- 
spects they closely resemble. In modern painting 
of course, with its greater realism, this test would 
not apply at all. It is only by a process of com- 
parison and elimination that we can estimate the 
individual contribution of a painter to the art of 
his day. However closely he may follow in the 
footsteps of some older painter or even of a con- 
temporary, if he be worthy the name of artist, his 
personality cannot fail to impress itself on his 
art. 

A striking example of a painter standing out 
above his contemporaries, and advancing almost 
at a bound so far beyond them as to leave them 
out of sight, is that of Velasquez. His prede- 
cessors and contemporaries were men of little 
note. Herrera and Pacheco but for their good 
fortune in having been his early masters would 
scarcely claim recognition. Beyond the fact that 
Velasquez enjoyed the patronage of a rich and 
powerful Court and the personal friendship of its 
sovereign, neither his circumstances nor surround- 
ings seemed to promise greatness, and this makes 
his achievements the more remarkable. 

It is in connection with this question of indi- 
vidualitj' in art that the problem of personal in- 



The Artist 39 

fluence inevitably arises. The influence of some 
painters over their contemporaries and successors 
has been overpoweringly great either for good or 
evil as the case may be. It is true that some of 
the greatest artists, Michelangelo for instance, 
have had few if any direct pupils associated with 
them, yet their influence has been none the less 
profound. On the other hand the influence of 
such great masters as Raphael, Titian, Rem- 
brandt and Rubens, each of whom stood at the 
head of a large School, can scarcely be exag- 
gerated. Of all these, Raphael's perhaps has 
been the most far-reaching, though not entirely 
for good. Of an intensely assimilative nature, 
he seized and perfected all the best qualities of 
those with whom he came in contact, yet without 
sacrificing his own individuality. It is this per- 
fection of style united to the marvellous fertility 
of his invention, which makes up his power and 
charm. While he lived to supply the ideas, his 
pupils seem to have caught something of his 
spirit. When he was dead, there being no possi- 
bility of improving upon the technical perfection 
of his art, and his creative power being no longer 
available, his followers fell into empty imitation. 
The name of Raphael has always been one to 
conjure with, but the true Raphael has been too 
often obscured by the so-called Raphaelesque. 
And in the same way the followers of Michel- 
angelo, unable to comprehend the true spirit of 
his genius, sought to surpass him by exaggerat- 
ing his defects. 

The influence of a great artist survives in his 
works long after he himself is dead. We can 
trace that of Titian in many of the pictures of 
Van Dyck, Delacroix and Watts. Rembrandt's 
works inspired, besides his immediate followers, 



40 How to Look at Pictures 

Reynolds, Wilkie, Lenbach and Israels, We can 
feel the impress of Rubens in Watteau, Hogarth, 
Bonnington and Stothard. And in thus con- 
sciously assimilating the influence of a great 
master there is no plagiarism, no petty pilfering, 
unworthy of an artist. 

Some light may be thrown on the artist's work 
by the consideration of his life and character. It 
is not that his painting necessarily reflects his 
life, or that his character is any criterion of his 
art, in spite of Michelangelo's theory that good 
Christians always paint good and beautiful figures. 
There are far too many exceptions to the rule. No 
one would imagine that such a painter as George 
Morland, who devoted himself almost exclusively 
to pictures of peaceful, country existence, farm- 
yard and stable scenes breathing the very spirit 
of rural domesticity, had spent the greater part 
of his life in towns, and that even in such atmo- 
sphere it had been noted for wildness and excess. 
And it is almost as great a surprise to find that 
Turner, one of the greatest landscape-painters the 
world has ever seen, should have been London- 
born and bred, and have passed his best years 
within its dingy confines. Vasari roundly accuses 
Perugino of irreligion, and yet no painter of any 
age has succeeded in conveying the spirit of 
Christianity with greater delicacy of sentiment. 
Other instances equally striking might be quoted 
to prove the opposite. When we remember the 
repulsive faces in Adrian Brouwer's pictures and 
the frequency with which he represented tavern- 
brawls we are not surprised to hear that he himself 
died young in consequence of his excesses. And 
do not Fra Angelico's visions of heaven testify to 
a life devoted to its contemplation? It were, 
however, idle to dogmatise on such a subject, 



The Artist 41 

and dangerous to argue from even the most 
tempting analogies. 

But in looking at pictures there is no doubt that 
questions often suggest themselves bearing upon 
the life and character, the circumstances and sur- 
roundings of the painter. What led him to 
choose the subject of his picture, to treat it as he 
has? Was it the spontaneous outcome of his 
genius, owing nothing to any picture before it, 
like Rembrandt's Night-Watch at Amsterdam or 
Giorgione's Sleeping Vemis in the Dresden Gal- 
lery? Was his motive ambition or rivalry, as 
when Sebastian del Piombo executed his Raising 
of Lazarus in the National Gallery to surpass the 
Transfiguration upon which Raphael was en- 
gaged, or Turner painted with Claude's master- 
pieces before his mind? Was it to obey the 
commission of some rich patron, as were Ra- 
phael's frescoes in the Vatican, painted for that 
tyrant of artists. Pope Julius II.? Did he paint 
as Rembrandt painted towards the end of his life, 
to keep his creditors at bay and provide for his 
family, or like Rubens and Reynolds for huge fees 
that even so could not drive the crowd of fashion- 
able sitters from the door ? Did he dash it in red- 
hot in a fine frenzy of inspiration as Tintoretto or 
Frans Hals would seem to have worked, or was 
it as with lyconardo the result of long years of 
toil, painted touch upon touch, with intervals of 
irresolution and despair before the end was 
achieved and the brush laid down? Did the 
subject of his picture form slowly in the painter's 
brain, built up piece by piece as the careful studies 
and drawings of many masters would lead us to 
suppose, or was it a glimpse of some scene in 
street or field that painted and framed itself, as it 
were, in a flash across his mind ? Only thus could 



42 How to Look at Pictures 

Whistler and Claude Monet have seized the im- 
pressions they delighted to depict. 

The subject once selected, the further question 
arises how far the artist's individuality has made 
itself felt. All great pictures bear the unmistak- 
able stamp of the personality that created them. 
It is far more than a mannerism, more even than 
a strongly pronounced style. The painter may 
allow much of himself to come into his work or 
little, and according as he is personal or imper- 
sonal we may judge of the man within and behind 
the artist. Some there are, especially painters of 
portraits, who so absorb themselves in their sit- 
ters that their own identity remains almost hid- 
den. With others it is the reverse. We seem to 
see the artist as well as the sitter when standing 
before a portrait by lyOtto or Andrea del Sarto, 
Rembrandt or Van Dyck, Gainsborough or Watts. 
We need no biography to tell us of the sternness 
of Michelangelo, of Raphael's blithe serenity, that 
Hals was a fellow of infinite merriment, Rubens 
a cavalier, Rembrandt a visionary, Van Dyck 
a courtier and man of the world, Reynolds a 
scholar. 

How extraordinarily complex are the personali- 
ties of some of the greatest masters, how perfectly 
simple those of others. Michelangelo was archi- 
tect, sculptor, painter, poet, and supreme in all. 
lyconardo excelled as painter, sculptor, architect, 
engineer, chemist and man of letters. Rem- 
brandt is as famous for his etching as for his 
painting. How simple, on the contrary, and in- 
deed in a sense limited both in style and character, 
are such early artists as Lorenzo di Credi or Car- 
paccio, and later the Dutch genre-painters Jan 
Steen and van Ostade, Metzu and Don, who were 
content to paint again and again the same subject 



The Artist 43 

in the same surroundings with but slight variation 
of incident or detail. 

No one can fail to have observed, both among 
painters of the present as of the past, how closely 
the pictures by each master resemble one another; 
how the artist, as it were, forms a peculiar style 
of his own which shows itself in every work no 
matter what its subject may be. In this he is fol- 
lowing out his own individual way of emphasis- 
ing a truth or presenting a new point of view. 
Giorgione's romantic treatment, Rembrandt's 
my.steries of light and shadow, Gainsborough's 
feathery touch, Corot's low- toned harmonies, 
Burne-Jones's ascetic types characterise their 
work, so that when walking through a gallery we 
can often recognise by whom each picture has 
been painted. At the same time due appreciation 
of this personality in style should discourage the 
peculiarly unhappy practice of contrasting the 
excellences of one painter with the faults of an- 
other, a comparison which is only unjust to both 
artists. 

Some few painters there are whose fame is 
greatly enhanced by their great rarity and the 
little we know of them. The fact that but one or 
two works from his hand are known to exist will 
often give an artist a prominence he scared}^ de- 
serves. Modern research is continually bringing 
to light some obscure and forgotten painter in 
whom our interest is as much antiquarian as 
artistic. 

Another point of view in connection with the 
artist and his picture is that of the period in his 
career at which he painted it. Was it a work of 
his 5'outh, produced before his style was full}- 
formed, or was it born later of a ripe experience ? 
The artistic life of every painter divides itself into 



44 How to Look at Pictures 

periods according to the important events and in- 
fluences that mould it. We may often recognise 
them without difficulty in his work. Yet many 
a master between the outset and the termination 
of his activity has produced pictures so totally dis- 
similar, that but for a certain individuality of style 
it is hard to believe they are from the same hand. 
The first period is, as a rule, the pupil stage, 
when the influence of his master is the strongest 
in his art. The pupil lacks the confidence even 
if he possesses the power of giving his individu- 
ality full scope. The manner and even the man- 
nerisms of his master are ever present to his mind, 
and reproduce themselves, perhaps unconsciously, 
in his pictures. With growing experience his 
own style becomes formed, and after a period of 
full maturity often shows signs of failing powers 
and eyesight. There is no better illustration of 
the gradual growth of the artist's power to its 
fullest development than in the Municipal Collec- 
tion at Haarlem, where Hals' s seven large por- 
trait-groups hang side by side the whole length 
of the main gallery. They date from 1616 to 1665 
thus covering half a century of the painter's 
career. Here we may note his style becoming 
broader and bolder, the colouring at first more 
daring and then again less pronounced, the posing 
and arrangement less and less conventional, and 
the whole treatment freer and more masterful. 
Rembrandt, whether as painter or etcher, is an- 
other striking example of marked and rapid devel- 
opment in style, and it is often difficult to believe 
that the finished closely-painted pictures of his 
early years, such as the Presentation in The Hague 
Museum, can be by the same hand that produced 
the Bathsheba in the Louvre, or the broadly con- 
ceived and vigorously executed portraits of the 



The Artist 45 

Syiidics in Amsterdam. There are indeed some 
few remarkable exceptions to the rule that the 
painter tends to grow broader in style as he ad- 
vances. The later works of Gerard Don — his 
famous Femme Hydropiqtie in the lyouvre and his 
yeinie Mere at The Hague, painted towards the 
close of his life — are perhaps the most highly 
finished of his pictures. 

How closely the periods of development in an 
artist's career correspond with changes in his sur- 
roundings is illustrated in the work of Van Dyck. 
His first period as pupil and assistant of Rubens 
at Antwerp shows him strongly under this over- 
powering influence. His portrait of Van der 
Geest in the National Gallery, painted at this time, 
used actually to be attributed to Rubens, and has 
only lately been correctly ascribed to the pupil. 
His second period opens with his visit to Italy, 
where he painted that magnificent series of Geno- 
ese portraits which betray the influence of Titian, 
and for some years after his return to Antwerp 
the spell of Italian colour and distinction pos- 
sessed him. The last period is that of his sojourn 
in England as painter to our King Charles I. and 
the Court of gallant Cavaliers and their fair ladies, 
where his natural instinct for elegance and refine- 
ment found full expression. So far did the gay 
painter associate himself with the spirit of his 
adopted land, that his series of English portraits 
in no wise suggest a foreign origin. 

Just as in certain j^ears of his life an artist may 
produce most of his finest work, so too he will 
have his most inspired and successful moments. 
And the obvious fact that his work will vary in 
quality — good, better and best — has been adduced 
to prove the fallacy of arguing that a disputed 
work must not be attributed to a famous artist on 



46 How to Look at Pictures 

the ground that it is not good enough for him. 
Yet surely the test is as fair as any other; it is a 
question of degree. Given a great reputation 
based upon works of undoubted authenticity and 
splendid merit, it is as reasonable to suppose that 
the artist would not have been responsible for an 
absolutely inferior picture though superficially in 
his manner, as to reject the attribution of a master- 
piece to a worthless artist on the ground that he 
could never have risen to such heights. At the 
same time even the greatest painters have their 
comparatively uninspired moments, and to expect 
nothing but masterpieces from an acknowledged 
master is to court disappointment. 




CHAPTER VI 

THE SUBJECT 

PICTURES are more ofteu looked at from the 
point of view of the subject they represent 
than from any other. It is so frequently 
the first consideration to enter the mind of the 
spectator that it is idle to regard it as of little or 
no consequence. At the same time there can be 
no doubt that the importance of the subject is 
often absurdly exaggerated, and it is equally cer- 
tain that it tends to diminish in proportion as our 
aesthetic appreciation increases. 

In early art the subject was from necessity the 
first consideration for both painter and public. 
Painting had other purposes to serve besides the 
aesthetic. Pictures were painted to preach and 
teach, to warn and encourage, to tell stories and 
record events. An altar-piece destined for a par- 
ticular chapel must depict some scene from the life 
of the Saint to whom the building was dedicated. 
Frescoes upon the wall of Municipal Palace or 
Council Chamber would naturally represent some 
special diplomatic or military triumph of the city, 
or an allegorical conception of its Government. 
Later, when easel pictures were designed for the 
adornment of private houses and painting became 
so cheap as to be within the reach of even 
the middle classes, the artist was free to paint 
whatever he desired, limited only by the size 

47 



48 How to Look at Pictures 

of his panel or canvas and the nature of his 
medium. 

To-day the tendency is rather to undervahie the 
importance of the subject as such, to insist upon 
the supreme value of its treatment, and to lay 
stress upon the fact that any subject, however 
trivial, ugly, even revolting, may in the artist's 
hands be transformed into a thing of beauty. 
Carried to its extreme such appeal to the senses 
through form and colour alone, without reference 
to the intellect, would differ but little from that 
made by a wall-paper or a fine piece of embroidery, 
both often beautiful in colour and design. But 
the intellectual or moral interest cannot be wholly 
lost sight of in a picture, which is not merely an 
arrangement of lines and colours, beautifully and 
harmoniously combined, and pleasing the eye by 
their order and variety. All art is essentially 
human and must appeal to what is conveniently 
if illogically termed the human side of our nature. 
To do so it must represent a subject of human 
interest. It is a question of comproinise. There 
is no doubt that an exaggerated importance has 
often been attached to the mere subject. Even 
the paradox that to the public a picture is inter- 
esting in proportion as it is antipictorial scarcely 
goes too far. 

The first question then to ask ourselves, when 
looking at a picture, is whether the subject be 
treated pictorially. Has the artist set himself to 
paint a picture, and not merely to illustrate a sub- 
ject by copying a model ? Has the subject passed 
through the fire of his imagination? If it fail 
under this test it fails in everything essential, a 
fact which cannot be too strongly insisted upon. 
A picture is no picture unless it be pictorial. As 
applied to modern art especially this truism is 



The Subject 49 

constantly overlooked by those who begin by 
criticising pictures and end in buying them. We 
cannot therefore wonder if even the painter tends 
to lose sight of this principle or consciously aban- 
dons it for a more lucrative and successful prac- 
tice, for to paint pictorially demands the most 
intimate knowledge of nature, not to be come by 
without patient study. Much modem painting 
fails because it is illustrative and nothing more, be- 
cause in telling a story it forgets to please the eye, 
because it appeals to sentiment alone, and has 
no sensuous or aesthetic charm, no true artistic 
beauty. There is no need to multiply examples. 
Each year's Academy is full of such pictures, 
possessing perhaps some suggestion of pathos, 
humour, or even dramatic intention, but failing 
in all else. 

In painting, then, the subject, though of interest 
and importance, is not the primary consideration. 
Taking a wide view of painting, the achievements 
of its greatest periods bear this out. When paint- 
ing has accomplished most, the mere subject has 
occupied the artist least. In periods of artistic 
mediocrity it comes again into prominence, as 
though seeking to make us forgetful of short- 
comings in treatment and technique. 

What then are these pictorial qualities which 
a picture must possess? Obviously qualities of 
line, colour and chiaroscuro, and their ordered 
and harmonious disposition. Besides these there 
is the actual manipulation of the colours, what 
has been called "the interest of pure paint," 
which appeals so strongly to the modern critic and 
too little to some modern painters. With these 
means at his command the painter approaches his 
subject. His treatment of it will depend on his 
own temperament and training. How unimportant 



50 How to Look at Pictures 

may be the subject he selects we have already- 
seen. I^ook at some genre piece of the best Dutch 
period. It may be almost devoid of intellectual in- 
terest and possess no moral significance whatever. 
The painter was as conscious of the fact as is the 
spectator of to-day, but he chose his subject not 
for its interest or importance, but because he saw 
its pictorial possibilities, and seized the oppor- 
tunity of depicting some beautiful effect of light, 
some harmony of colour, some felicity of compo- 
sition, some grace of line. As such it made a 
picture for him, and a picture, an object of pleasure 
for the eye, it will always remain, though it be 
after all but a ragged beggar or the interior of a 
tradesman's shop that he paints for us. Look at 
some picture by A. van Ostade of a village inn, 
where a group of rough peasant fellows sit drink- 
ing at their ease. The panel glows with rich 
though subdued colouring, the tone is exquisitely 
quiet and harmonious, the composition marvel- 
lously skilful. The incident is an everyday one, 
common enough in Holland as elsewhere. Van 
Ostade did not seek to attach any sentimental 
interest to his group, nor to excite our sympathy 
for what he at least must have considered a harm- 
less form of relaxation. The subject is his serv- 
ant. But something in this commonplace theme 
caught his eye, delighted his colour-sense, and in 
his hands became a picture. Contrast with this 
the comparatively unpictorial treatment of many 
English and German genre pictures, in which it 
is evident that the artist's chief aim is to tell a 
story, and to tell it as charmingly and sympa- 
thetically as he is able. The subject is his master. 
He conceives it in his mind, and then sets himself 
to paint a group to illustrate it, under the mis- 
taken belief that painting is literature masquerad- 



The Subject 51 

ing in disguise. His picture may have an 
intellectual, perhaps a moral interest, but it too 
often lacks the sensuous charm which is the 
essence of pictorial art. In a word it is unpic- 
torial. We feel this strongly when looking at 
the genre scenes by Collins, Newton and Leslie 
in the South Kensington Museum; still more 
in the Museum at Brussels where are exhib- 
ited the pictures of that ' ' philanthropic ranter ' ' 
Antoine Wiertz. 

But admitting the subject of a picture to be of 
comparative!}^ slight importance it is nevertheless 
often of considerable interest. The choice of sub- 
ject is very much a matter of the age in which the 
artist paints. Every age requires a range of sub- 
jects peculiar to itself, and within these again the 
dictates of fashion play a part. Broadly speaking 
the subjects demanded in the fourteenth century 
were legends of Saints and Madonna, and scenes 
from the Old and New Testaments. The next 
two centuries added to these last allegorical and 
mythological extravagances, illustrations from 
the poets and, above all, portraiture; while in the 
seventeenth, landscape and genre subjects and 
portraiture took the place of the older religious 
painting. The eighteenth century was the age 
of portraiture and historical painting, while the 
nineteenth, insatiable and all-embracing, appears 
to have taken the whole world for its province 
and made all subjects its own, there would seem 
to be nothing on the face of the earth which the 
painter has not at some time or another chosen to 
paint. Every age is represented, every country, 
every race, every season, every hour of day and 
night. Hardly a story has been told in prose or 
verse that has not been retold a hundred times in 
paint. 



52 How to Look at Pictures 

But al though such wealth of subject is at his 
disposal the painter's choice therein is limited by 
his powers. Turner was right to avoid as far as 
possible figure painting in which he was fully- 
aware of his weakness. The custom of two artists 
collaborating in the painting of a single picture 
arose either from the one painter's conscious want 
of ability in some particular direction or from his 
recognition of his collaborator's conspicuous pre- 
eminence therein. Collaboration was a recog- 
nised practice in the Netherlands. Even Ruysdael 
and Hobbema employed figure painters to relieve 
their landscapes. Rubens collaborated with Jan 
Breughel and Snyders, Cuyp with Van der Neer, 
Wynants with Adrian Van der Velde. Some 
painters indeed were masters of every kind of 
subject. Rembrandt was one of these giants of a 
hundred hands. Rubens was equally at home 
with religious pictures, court scenes, battle-pieces, 
landscapes, portraits, classical and allegorical 
themes. 

Yet for all this wealth of material to choose 
from, artists have often painted subjects which at 
first sight might appear the most unpromising. 
But for his strong artistic instinct and wonderful 
colour-sense, Rembrandt could never have made a 
picture out of so ghastly a subject as the A^iatomy 
Lesson at The Hague, or his Flayed Ox, seen per- 
haps in some butcher's shop near his home there. 
It is in allusion to Rembrandt that Mr. Colvin 
has pointed out the significance of the fact that 
this great Dutch master "succeeded in making as 
wonderful pictures out of spiritual abjectness and 
physical gloom as the Italians out of spiritual ex- 
altation and shadowless day." 

How far all subjects are equally suited to pic- 
torial treatment is a question too wide to be at- 



The Subject 53 

tempted here. The tendency of the inferior 
painter is to attract attention by the sensational 
nature of his subject rather than by the mastery 
of its treatment. Indeed, many artists have 
sometimes erred by representing scenes either so 
painful or so coarse that the taste is oflfended, 
however skilful the rendering and treatment. 
The tortures and torments of Saints and Martyrs 
rendered with faithful realism by the old Flemish 
painters, and in melodramatic effusiveness by the 
later Italians, illustrate this, in the same way as 
the exquisitely painted panels of vulgar scenes by 
the great Dutchmen Brouwer and Jan Steen. In- 
deed, the whole Dutch School is an example of 
the triumph of pictorial skill over subject. The 
types are nearly always ugly, sometimes even 
grotesquely deformed; yet the pictures produced 
are often masterpieces of painting, delighting the 
eye by their colour and appealing to us by their 
warm sympathetic treatment of life. 

For all the variety of subject at the painter's 
command, broadly speaking it may be said that 
all pictures fall into certain well-defined groups, 
and each of these again into smaller subdivisions. 
Charles Lamb has laughingly pointed a warning 
finger at ' ' that rage for classification by which in 
matters of Taste at least we are continually per- 
plexing instead of arranging our ideas." The 
danger lies rather in arguing by analogy from one 
class to another than in the classification itself. 

The three principal groups under which subjects 
may be classified are Historical, Landscape and 
Genre; while Historical pictures may be again 
subdivided into strictly Historical, Religious, 
Mythological and Allegorical, and Portraits. It 
is not contended that this division is a strictly 
scientific one. Nor will it be found that every 



54 How to Look at Pictures 

picture falls directly and naturally under one of 
these headings. On the contrary, pictures will 
readily suggest themselves that seem to be on the 
borderland of two or even three groups, but excep- 
tions like these leave the whole principle of classi- 
fication quite unaffected. 




CHAPTER VII 

HISTORICAI. PAINTING 

IN Historical painting it is inevitable that the 
subject represented should play an important 
part. By its associations, by its appeal to the 
memory or the emotions it should contribute an 
element of human interest for which the picture 
as a work of art is the richer. But even here to 
illustrate an incident is not the sole object of the 
historical painter. It is not his aim to focus into 
a moment of vision the pages of a book of history 
or biography, as in a kind of artistic shorthand. 
The painter and the historian have this indeed in 
common that each presents and perpetuates some 
great or small event of interest; but here the 
likeness ends. The painter has not merely to 
chronicle facts, but to present them in such 
pictorial fashion as will appeal to the eye and the 
imagination. 

The first group of Historical subjects will in- 
clude all pictorial representations of historical 
scenes and events, past or present. It embraces 
such pictures as Veronese's Family of Darius at the 
Feet of Alexajider, The Surrender of Breda by 
Velasquez, Terburg's Peace of Miinster, Copley's 
Death of Chatham, Makart's Entry of Charles V. 
into Antwerp and the Diamond Jubilee Procession. 
Thus the painter will select a subject from con- 
temporary history, a scene of which he may even 

55 



5^ How to Look at Pictures 

have been an eye-witness, or from a past whicli 
he must reconstruct for himself from descriptions 
and his own imagination. Veronese chose the 
humiHation of the Persian monarch less for the 
interest he felt in its historical significance than 
for the opportunity it gave him to depict a scene 
of gorgeous colour and pageantry. It was not 
the triumph of Greek civilisation over the Bar- 
barian that inspired him, but the vision his im- 
agination conjured up of a royal family in robes 
of state before a victorious general and his staff. 
I^ittle did he care for historical accuracy of cos- 
tume or tnise-en-schie. The wife and daughters 
of the Persian king are no Orientals in flowing 
draperies, but golden-haired Venetian ladies at- 
tired in the costume of the sixteenth century, and 
the setting is an Italian palace. In this Veronese 
was only following the dictates of his art. Most 
painting representing past events is full of the 
frankest anachronism. This is equally striking 
in the religious painting of the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries. It is quite usual to find Saints 
of every age and country gathered round the 
Madonna, or assembling at the foot of the Cross; 
and the city of Jerusalem or Bethlehem is often 
represented by the gabled houses and pinnacled 
walls and towers of the painter's own town. 

Historical painting may thus be so only in 
name, or in the sense that it records the life, archi- 
tecture and costume of the painter's own country 
and period rather than of the one he is ostensibly 
portraying. For a painter is not an antiquarian. 
We value historical accuracy less than more 
purely artistic qualities. At the same time mod- 
ern painters like I,eighton and Alma Tadema 
have combined antiquarian research and fastidious 
accuracy of detail with artistic presentment. In 




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Historical Painting 57 

the eighteenth century the old anachronisms were 
inverted. The prevailing taste was entirely classi- 
cal. Painters in quest of the Grand Style insisted 
that the figures of contemporary statesmen or 
warriors should be clad in Greek or Roman cos- 
tume. In the battle-pieces of Gerard and Girodet 
the soldiers of the Napoleonic Empire are repre- 
sented as Roman warriors armed with spear and 
shield instead of musket and pistol, and posed in 
heroic attitudes, suggestive rather of statuary than 
of the modern battlefield. It was West who, in 
his Death of General Wolfe, painted in 1 768, first 
dared in defiance of the prevailing artistic canons 
to dress his heroes in modern regulation uniform. 
This innovation created not only a scandal but an 
artistic revolution. It was indeed significant of 
the new era of naturalism which succeeded to the 
pseudo-classical regime. 

Historical painting includes, besides strictly 
historical scenes, all religious, mythological and 
allegorical subjects. It is difficult to estimate 
how much of its inspiration painting owes directlj' 
to the Bible. There is scarcely an incident either 
in Old or New Testament or in the Apocrypha 
lending itself to pictorial treatment, which has 
not been rendered again and again by successive 
artists with infinite variety. Until our own time 
almost every such scene had its traditional mode 
of representation, generally more or less faithfully 
followed. 

Religious subjects were, for the most part, pro- 
duced before the seventeenth century, at a time 
when painting was still closely allied to the 
Church. Mediaeval painters received most of 
their commissions from churches and monasteries, 
where sacred subjects alone were permissible. 
Consequently every collection of their pictures is 



58 How to Look at Pictures 

full of renderings of the Madonna and Child, 
legends of Saints and of the Monastic Orders, 
scenes from the Passion, visions of Heaven and 
Hell. Archangels and Apostles, Saints and 
Martyrs, whose uniform sanctity of expression 
might have caused serious embarrassment to the 
faithful, were distinguished by their historical or 
legendary attributes. The four Evangelists may 
be recognised by their emblems — the angel, the 
lion, the bull and the eagle. St. Catherine of 
Alexandria stands beside her broken wheel, St. 
Laurence carries his gridiron, St. Nicholas of Bari 
his golden balls, St. Francis is known by his 
brown habit and the stigmata, St. Dominic by 
the black and white dress of his Order and the 
lily he often holds, while the central figure is 
generally the Madonna enthroned with the Christ- 
child. The whole Christian Hagiology passes 
before us in robes of state. The types may vary- 
endlessly, but the traditional forms and composi- 
tion are preserved with astonishing pertinacitj^ to 
the very end of the fifteenth century. The Vene- 
tian painters of the Renaissance did indeed evolve 
a new and less formal setting for the religious 
picture in the Santa Conversazione. Dispensing 
with <^hrone and architectural background they 
paint the Virgin and attendant Saints gathered 
picnic-wise under pleasant trees in charming land- 
scapes. Such pictures, frank representations of 
Italian life of the day, are sacred only in name. 

From the Old Testament those incidents were 
generally chosen which corresponded with the 
teaching of the Church, or anticipated that of 
the Gospels. In the wall-frescoes in the Sistine 
Chapel the whole scheme is based on the repre- 
sentation of type and anti-type, Pinturicchio's 
Circumcision of the Sons of Moses facing his Bap- 






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Historical Painting 59 

tism of Christ, Cosimo Roselli's Moses Receivhig the 
Law on Mount Sinai over against his Sermon on 
the Mo2i7it. A favourite subject was the story of 
the Creation and Fall of Man, which, like that of 
St. Sebastian's Martyrdom, gave to early painters 
the rare opportunity of depicting the nude. 

In our own daj-, indeed, there has been some- 
thing of a return to favour of this class of religious 
subject, characterised, however, by the abandon- 
ment of traditional forms and naive anachronisms, 
and aiming rather at literal and historical ac- 
curacy of type and setting. Such pictures as 
those of Tissot are interesting to the antiquarian 
and Biblical student, but as artistic productions 
they are of little value. For the most part the 
kind of artistic temperament which in the fifteenth 
century would have chosen to depict the Annun- 
ciation, Crucifixion or Assumption is now directed 
towards allegorical or mystical subjects in which 
the artist seeks to embody in sensuously beautiful 
form some definitely moral or metaphysical idea. 

Subjects taken from Greek and Roman myth- 
ology have been appreciated for their pictorial 
possibilities by imaginative painters of all times 
and countries. The amours of Jove, the labours 
of Hercules, the trials of Psyche, have proved a 
perpetual source of inspiration. The highly cult- 
ured Italian of the Renaissance, with his passion 
for antiquity, delighted to represent the loves and 
hates, the exploits and escapades of Gods and 
Goddesses, the adventures of Nymph and Dr>'ad, 
Centaur and Satyr. This passion has since spread 
to every land, and still inspires a considerable part 
of modern art, which, however, instead of search- 
ing the classics for fresh incidents, seeks rather to 
retell the oldest myths in the most modern way. 

Allegorical subjects found favour somewhat 



6o How to Look at Pictures 

early in the history of painting, though the difl5- 
culty they offered of representing intelligibly a 
more or less obscure idea confined them to the 
simplest forms. Ambrogio Lorenzetti's great 
allegorical frescoes of Good and Bad Governmetit 
in the Town Hall at Siena, with the gigantic 
figure symbolising the Government of that city, 
surrounded by female forms personifying Peace, 
Justice and other virtues, explains its elaborate 
intention by the aid of lettered scrolls. Giotto's 
allegories of Hope and Despair, yustice and I71- 
justice, Faith and Inconstancy in the Arena Chapel 
in Padua are so much simpler and more direct 
that they do not need their inscriptions to make 
their meaning clear. The exact interpretation of 
Botticelli's Allegory of Spring, in the Academy 
of Florence, still baffles the art historian. The 
allegories of the Venetian painters Veronese and 
Tintoretto centred for the most part round their 
native city. Venice is represented everywhere as 
a beautiful woman in gorgeous robes, attended by 
symbolic figures of arts and industries, or cele- 
brating diplomatic or military triumphs. Rubens 
often selected purely allegorical subjects for some 
of his greatest canvases. His great Marie de 
Medicis series in the Louvre shows him at- 
tempting to combine historical with allegorical 
treatment. The eighteenth century saw the cul- 
mination of this love of allegorical expression. 
The vast canvases showing the apotheosis of this 
or that monarch, lifted in pompous ecstasy heaven- 
wards, with virtues supporting the royal person 
and the Muses singing his praises or chronicling 
his achievements, have no imaginative beauty to 
atone for their faults of execution. In modern 
painting allegory is chiefly used by artists with 
either spiritual or else merely mystical tendencies. 



Historical Painting 



6i 



Watts' s allegories oi Love and Life, Hope, Mam- 
mon, Love Steering the Boat of Hitmanity, are 
treated with simplicity of design and a fervour of 
feeling which proclaim the preacher behind the 
artist. 




CHAPTER VIII 



THE PORTRAIT 



PORTRAITURE, though included under his- 
torical painting, is so important and universal 
as to demand rather fuller consideration. As 
a distinct branch of painting it is as old as the art 
itself. From the days of the ancient Egyptians 
at least we can discern a craving on the part of 
the individual that his features shall be perpetu- 
ated by the skill of the painter no less than by 
the cunning of the sculptor. This very human 
instinct it is that accounts for the rise of a class of 
artists who, like Scott's Dick Tinto, " levy that 
tax upon the vanity of mankind which they can- 
not extract from their taste and liberality. ' ' 

The fine portrait heads discovered in much of 
their original freshness upon the mummy cases of 
seventeen centuries ago, of which examples may 
be seen in the National Gallery, express feelings 
common to every age, though the power to em- 
body them in paint has often been wanting. 
When we come to the Middle Ages we find the 
Italians of the fourteenth century painting types 
rather than individuals. Every artist for a cen- 
tury after Giotto adhered to a certain facial type. 
The power of differentiating individuals which is 
the basis of all portraiture first made its appear- 
ance in art in a subordinate form. The painter 
when representing a group of figures in the back- 

62 




Filippino Lippi. Vision of St. Bernard. Badia, Florence. 



The Portrait 63 

ground of some religious picture would often 
introduce his own portrait or that of some dis- 
tinguished friend or contemporar5\ To this fact 
we owe the existence of many of the most precious 
early portraits, including those of Dante and his 
friends in the Bargello at Florence attributed 
to Giotto, This practice became quite usual in 
the fifteenth century. Benozzo Gozzoli and Bot- 
ticelli introduced portraits of the chief members 
of the Medici family into their pictures of the 
Adoration of the Magi, while Ghirlandaio peopled 
his frescoes with Florentine celebrities and beau- 
ties of the day. In one of the frescoes of the 
Last Judgment at Orvieto, Signorelli represented 
himself and Fra Angelico, who had previously 
painted in the same chapel, as spectators. In the 
North, too, Hubert van Eyck introduced his own 
portrait and that of his brother Jan among the 
Just Judges on the wing of his great Ghent 
Adoration. 

Again, it was not unusual for the donor of an 
altar-piece to commemorate his own piety by 
stipulating that his portrait, and even those of 
his wife and family, should be incorporated in the 
picture which he was offering to appease Holy 
Church or some exacting patron saint. Familiar 
instances of these religious pictures with the 
donor will readily suggest themselves. Perhaps 
the earliest occurs in the altar-piece painted by 
Giotto for Cardinal Stephaneschi, now in the 
Sacristy of St. Peter's. In some instances the 
donor would appear inconspicuously in a corner 
of the picture, as in Filippino's Vision of St. Ber- 
nard in the Badia at Florence; in others he plays 
an actual part in the scene, as where Memlinc 
painted Brother John Floreins kneeling before the 
Child in the Adoration of the Magi at Bruges, or 



64 How to Look at Pictures 

Carpaccio represented the Doge Mocenigo in his 
votive picture in the National Gallery. Some- 
times the whole family of the donor is introduced 
either in the centre or upon the wings, as in Hol- 
bein's Madonna of the Burgomaster Meyer at 
Darmstadt, or in the great triptych of the Nativity 
by Hugo van der Goes, now in the UfSzi, Even 
Rubens painted on the wings of the altar-piece 
commissioned by Nicholas Rockox at Antwerp 
the portraits of the patron and his wife. 

The custom of painting the individual for his 
own sake without other pretext soon found gen- 
eral favour, and some of the earliest mediaeval 
portraits that have come down to us date from 
the fifteenth century and are the work of the 
Italian and Flemish masters, Uccello, Ghirlandaio, 
Piero della Francesca and Gentile Bellini, and of 
Jan van Eyck and Mem) inc. Many of these 
early Italian portraits are in profile, clear-cut 
against a dark background, suggesting the in- 
fluence of the portrait medals of the period. The 
difficulties of the full or three-quarters face were 
not attempted until somewhat later, Mantegna's 
portrait of Cardinal Scarampi at Berlin, painted 
about 1460, being perhaps the earliest. The 
Flemish portrait heads on the other hand were 
generally painted either in full or three-quarters 
face. 

The art of portraiture made great advances in 
the sixteenth century, becoming now free to de- 
velop unfettered by exigencies of composition and 
space. The ' ' New Manner ' ' with its greater 
breadth and fluency made itself felt. We no 
longer find the somewhat stiff representation with 
firm hard outlines and general tightness of exe- 
cution, but a more natural, lifelike rendering, 
fuller modelling, greater naturalism of flesh- 



Sir Joshua Reynolds. Mrs. Siddons as "The Tragic Muse." 

Duhvich Gallery. 

Reproduced from a photogravure of the Berlin Photographic Co., N. Y. 




Gainsborough. Portrait of Mrs. Siddons. Xational Gallerv. 



The Portrait 65 

painting. The spirit of portraiture accorded well 
with that of the Renaissance, with its insistence 
upon individuality and craving for fame and im- 
mortaHty. Thus it came about that the intro- 
duction of portraits into historical and religious 
pictures, so common in the fifteenth century, was 
gradually abandoned by later artists in favour of 
the independent portrait. The older practice was 
not, however, entirely given up. Titian and 
Veronese, supreme masters of portraiture, used it 
also to enhance the interest of their altar-pieces 
and religious pictures by introducing celebrated 
contemporaries. In Titian's Pilgrims of Emmaus 
in the Louvre, Charles V. and Philip II. figure in 
the parts of Pilgrim and Servitor, and among the 
guests and musicians in Veronese's Marriage of 
Cana in the same gallery appear Francis I., Mary 
of England and other notabilities, besides the 
painter himself with Titian and Bassano. Even 
in our own day this practice is not unknown. 
Millais echoed the old tradition when he brought 
portraits of friends and relations, his father, the 
two Rossettis, F. G. Stephens and others into his 
Lorenzo and Isabella in the Liverpool Gallery. 
Besides thus introducing famous personages a 
painter often took himself or his wife and children 
as his models. Filippo lyippi, Andrea del Sarto 
and Rubens continually painted their wives in the 
part of Madonna or Saint. Rembrandt's poverty 
and waning popularity towards the close of his 
life obliged him to paint himself and members of 
his family in lieu of other models. In the ab- 
sence of commissions artists can always resort to 
painting their own portraits, and this perhaps ac- 
counts for Rembrandt's numerous versions of his 
own features. 

In painting a portrait there are two considera- 



66 How to Look at Pictures 

tions, its likeness to the original and its artistic 
effect. The first involves the question of Truth, 
the second that of Beauty, and on his power of 
combining them depends the painter's success. 
It is no little that is demanded of him. He must 
be able to make a pleasing picture of the plainest 
face, and yet the picture must be so close to the 
original that nothing of the sitter's individuality 
is lost. The question of truth must be tested by 
independent eyes, for the sitter can never be an 
adequate judge of his own likeness. But he must 
do more than faithfully reproduce the colour of 
hair or eyes, the contours of cheek and chin, the 
texture of face and hands; he must be something 
of a psychologist to read the character, the very 
soul in the face. He must interpret, not merely 
copy. And to achieve beauty as well as truth his 
own genius will come into play, his own indi- 
viduality will be acting upon that of his original. 
Thus the personality of painter and of sitter will 
be in perpetual balance, and on their nice adjust- 
ment the quality of the picture will depend. It 
is just because of this part played by the artist 
that no two painters ever see or present their 
model in exactlj^ the same manner, any more 
than they will describe the same event in the 
same words. The portrait, therefore, becomes 
the individual interpretation of a man or woman, 
not a mere facsimile, such as a photograph can 
offer. 

A good example of this may be seen in the 
various renderings by some of the greatest artists 
of the eighteenth century of the famous actress 
Mrs. Siddons. In Sir Joshua Reynolds's pictures 
in Grosvenor House and the Dulwich Gallery, 
she is represented as the Tragic Muse, half woman, 
half goddess, posed in a magnificent attitude sug- 




Van Dyck. Philip, Lord Wharton. St. Petersburg. 



Reproduced from a photogravure of the Berlin Photographic Co., X. Y. 




Jan Van Eyck. Man with a Pink. Berlin. 
Reproduced from a photogravure of the Berlin Photographic Co., N. Y. 



The Portrait 67 

gestive of Michelangelo. In the National Gallery 
we have two renderings of her, one by Gains- 
borough, one by Lawrence, but no two portraits 
could be more dissimilar in their whole conception 
and feeling. Gainsborough's Mrs. Siddons re- 
flects something of that dignified melancholy 
which distinguishes all his portraits and is the 
direct impress of his own temperament. The 
portrait by Lawrence is conceived in a far less in- 
tellectual vein. The flesh-tints are brilliant, and 
the face has much of that seductive charm which 
in his hands was apt to degenerate at the cost of 
character into mere prettiness. Here then we 
have three portraits of one woman, all of them 
faithful likenesses yet all difierent, and this difier- 
ence is due to the personality of each artist as he 
interpreted the form he saw before him through 
the medium of his own imagination. 

But while it is true that a portrait reflects some- 
thing of its painter, the degree in which he will 
render the individuality of his model varies 
greatly. Some portrait-painters have been un- 
able to escape from a type of their own and read 
into every face their preconceived ideal. As a 
result there is a strong resemblance between all 
their portraits. Van Dyck gave something of 
his own natural elegance and distinction to every 
sitter, to Flemish burgher as to English noble- 
man. Look only at the hands in his portraits 
and you will find them always small and delicate 
with long tapering fingers. It is seldom that he 
took the trouble to individualise them. They 
may perhaps give the painter's idea of what 
hands should be, but they are not those of his 
sitter. Romney went even farther in this almost 
mechanical repetition. In many of his portraits 
the lack of individuality is woefully apparent. 



68 How to Look at Pictures 

His women are all sisters, his men cousins at the 
farthest, the same shaped eyes, the same curling 
lips do duty in countless faces like so many studio 
properties. There are always, of course, certain 
obvious points of resemblance between portraits 
of the same period, that depend to a great extent 
on superficial and accidental likenesses of dress 
and attitude, the fashion of wearing the hair, or 
the kind of iDackground chosen. But with many 
of these highly subjective painters, it is a matter 
of type rather than of fashion. 

In some portraits, on the other hand, it is clear 
that the sitter has been viewed impersonally, ob- 
jectively. The artist has aimed at representing 
faithfully what he saw before him, though in the 
actual painting he must always retain his own 
methods. The earlier portrait-painters as a rule 
aimed more directly at fidelity to nature than 
those of a later period. Consider for a moment 
such a portrait as that of Jan van Kyck's Ma7i 
with a Pink in the Berlin Museum, so wonder- 
fully etched by Gaillard. Every crow's-foot and 
wrinkle, every crease and furrow left by time or 
thought is reproduced with almost microscopic ac- 
curacy. We see every detail of face and hands as 
we should see them in the original if we peered 
closely into them, taking in but a small portion 
of the surface at a time. The full-length portraits 
of Arnolfiyii and his Wife in the National Gallery 
by the same artist illustrate a like relentless 
fidelity to the original. This plain woman and 
her gaunt figure of a husband stand there exactly 
as they stood to be painted. Diirer and Holbein 
show something of the same fidelity, the same 
scrupulously fine handling. In Diirer's portrait 
oi Michael Wolgemut in the Munich Gallery the 
unseen window-bars of the room are reflected in 



The Portrait ^9 

the pupils of the eyes, and in that of Holzschuher 
in the Berlin Museum you can almost count the 
hairs of the long flowing locks. Among the great 
portrait-painters perhaps none has kept the indi- 
viduality of his sitter more sternly before him 
than Velasquez. I^ook only at his Admh'al in 
the National Gallery or the Lady with a Fan in 
the Wallace Collection. These searching por- 
traits make their originals realities for us as 
though we had seen them in the flesh. The por- 
traits of Rembrandt and Hals too are superbly 
individualised. 

It would seem that this fidelity to nature might 
lead to the neglect of what is, after all, the essen- 
tial in a portrait as in every picture, that it please 
the eye by some quality of beauty. It might be 
objected that while in portraiture, if anywhere, 
the subject is of primary importance, if the original 
be ugly, mean or deformed, the picture can never 
become a great work of art or satisfy the natural 
desire for beauty. From this point of view the 
most that could be expected of such a portrait is 
that it should be of historical or personal interest 
as reminiscent of the sitter. If this reasoning 
were correct, the head of an old man with hideous 
bulbous nose, surpassing even that of Cyrano, 
could not fail to repel the eye. Yet this is ex- 
actly Ghirlandaio's subject in his wonderful por- 
trait in the Louvre of an Old Ma7i looking lovingly 
down upon his grandson, a portrait which wins 
and charms by its refinement and sweetness of 
expression. We cannot help believing it to have 
been a faithful likeness. We know that it makes 
a beautiful picture. Velasquez puts the matter 
beyond all doubt in his portraits of Philip IV. and 
Innoce7it X., the king's perhaps the coldest and 
least sympathetic face known to secular history, 



70 How to Look at Pictures 

the Pope's one of the most crafty in the whole 
line of Pontiflfs. Yet there are no finer portraits, 
no more splendid works of art in the "history of 
painting. Even his Court Dwarfs, thickset, 
stunted abortions, with heavy animal faces, com- 
pel admiration as pictures, as do Rembrandt's old 
Jewish shop-keepers, suspicious, greedy, mean 
if the painter has read their character aright, but 
transformed by the magic of his brush to marvels 
of art. 

We have seen that the Flemish and German 
portrait-painters of the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries rendered with faithful and minute ac- 
curacy the features of those who sat to them, 
producing portraits of striking realism and char- 
acterisation. The great Italian painters of the 
Cinque-Cento carried the art still farther. They 
insisted less on reproducing every line and 
wrinkle, every hair, with minute exactness, but 
painting with greater breadth and freedom they 
combined a masterly rendering of character with 
a splendour of decorative treatment unknown to 
the earlier painters. Raphael's Pope Leo X., 
Titian's Man with a Glove in the Louvre, Lotto's 
soul-searching portraits, Tintoretto's Doges, Ve- 
ronese's Grandees, rank among the masterpieces 
of the world. They were succeeded by the 
painters of the North, and in the seventeenth 
century the greatest names are to be found in the 
ranks of the Dutch and Flemish masters. Rubens 
and Van Dyck indeed link themselves with their 
Southern predecessors, combining in their por- 
traits something of the vigorous realism of the 
North with the freedom and splendour of the great 
Italians. In Holland there being no demand for 
religious art, painters were free to gratify to the 
full the desire of the republican burghers to see 




Diirer. Portrait of Holzschuher. Berlin. 
Reproduced from a photogravure of the Berlin Photographic Co., N. Y. 




Ghirlandaio. Portrait of an Old ]\Ian. Louvre. 



The Portrait 71 

themselves perpetuated in paint. Particularly in 
demand were the life-sized portrait-groups, repre- 
senting the members of guilds or governors of 
hospitals and almshouses, which are now such a 
striking feature of Dutch picture-galleries. 

Towards the eighteenth century portrait- 
painters, with few exceptions, lost all sense of 
individuality, likeness or sincerity. In England 
the foreigners I,ely and Kneller and their followers 
deliberately conventionalised the art of portraiture, 
and in their search for what they falsely conceived 
to be beauty lost all desire for truth. The collec- 
tion of Court Beauties of the time of Charles II. 
and William III. at Hampton Court by these two 
artists illustrates how entirely the power to indi- 
vidualise had been lost. The faces have neither 
character nor expression. There is an unvarying 
likeness between them that strikes the observer as 
false and absurd. So low had the art of por- 
traiture sunk by the middle of the century that 
the painters, mere hacks, working on purely 
mechanical lines, earned the contemptuous title 
of " face-painters." They were indeed craftsmen 
rather than artists, and craftsmen with little 
technical skill. Many of these sorry performers 
were unable to paint anything but the face, and 
had to emplo}' "drapery men " who made a regu- 
lar trade of painting in the dress and accessories. 
Private houses are full of these meaningless por- 
traits, whose only claim to interest is personal to 
the descendants. So stereotyped had the art of 
portraiture become, that we can well believe the 
story of the face-painter who found it so difificult 
to break with the prevailing custom of painting a 
gentleman with his hat under his arm that, when 
required to represent him wearing his hat, he 
added a second in the orthodox position. These 



72 How to Look at Pictures 

mechanical traditions were at last broken by 
Hogarth and the great English painters of the 
eighteenth century, who again raised portraiture 
to the dignified position of a fine art. The best 
works of Reynolds and Gainsborough take rank 
with the greatest portraits of any age. Elegance, 
refinement and grace of a quality unknown since 
the days of Van Dyck are their chief character- 
istics. Above all in their delineation of beautiful 
women and children do these masters of the classi- 
cal period of English art stand pre-eminent. 

Modern portrait- painting is distinguished by its 
extraordinary versatility. The names of Millais, 
Watts, Herkomer, Whistler, Sargent, Fantin- 
Latour, Carolus-Duran and lycubach suggest the 
variety of treatment which has marked the por- 
traiture of the last century. Perhaps the recent 
development of the science of photography has 
tended to deprive the mere face-painter of his 
vocation, while enhancing the dignity of the 
portrait-painter's art. 

In looking at portraits it is interesting to note 
with what infinite variety painters have treated 
the background. Some have posed their models 
among the surroundings which belong to them, 
as Van Eyck painted Arnolfini and his wife 
standing in their own dwelling-room at Bruges. 
Holbein shows us Georg Gisze the merchant in bis 
counting-house with scales, pen, ink and ledger 
at his side, and the astronomer Nicholas Kraizer 
with all his scientific instruments about him. In 
his portrait of Lord Heathfield in the National 
Gallery, Reynolds depicted in the background the 
Rock of Gibraltar lost in the smoke of artillery, 
in allusion to the memorable siege at which the 
general had won fame and honour. Sargent 
poses his women of fashion in the setting of ele- 







y 
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Holbein. Portrait of Georg Gisze. Berlin. 



The Portrait 73 

gant drawing-rooms. Other portrait-painters 
boldly adopt the simplest backgrounds, either 
lighter or darker in tone than the face of the 
model. Velasquez loved to throw up his figures 
against a luminous atmospheric space; Rembrandt 
encircles them in a halo of shadow; Diirer used a 
simple brown background slightly darker than 
the high lights of the face. Holbein when he 
dispensed with elaboration of detail adopted a 
plain warm blue or green; Titian and the Vene- 
tians a strong vibrating black, forcing the head 
into high relief. Some painters of the German 
School chose backgrounds of decorative tapestry 
or stencilled design, sometimes inscribing thereon 
the names of the person represented. With many 
of the Italians, and after them with Van Dyck 
and his School, the background became a matter 
of pure convention and the use of gray marble 
pillar and red curtain almost a matter of course. 
From a very early date landscape, either alone or 
with architecture, was used for a background. 
Memlinc and his contemporaries painted exquisite 
little glimpses of country seen through open 
Gothic windows behind their portraits. Later 
even landscape backgrounds became convention- 
alised, and instead of a vista of actual country. 
Van Dj'ck, Reynolds and Romney brushed in a 
mere suggestion of trees and clouds, a scenic 
efiFect broadly treated, to give the impression of 
distance and therefore to enhance that of relief. 




CHAPTER IX 

LANDSCAPE 

IT was comparatively late in the history of 
civilisation that natural scenery began to be 
appreciated for its beauty, and valued by the 
painter for its pictorial possibilities. The earth 
must be conquered and subdued before it can be 
enjoyed. Not until the Renaissance did men 
really become conscious that the world they lived 
in was fair to look upon. The longing to gaze 
over a wide panorama, which in the fourteenth 
century prompted Petrarch to ascend a mountain 
simply for the sake of enjoying the view from its 
summit, is one of the first symptoms of awaken- 
ing interest in landscape. So novel a proceeding 
suggested nothing short of madness to his con- 
temporaries. A mountain was to them only a 
stronghold against the enemy, or a tiresome ob- 
stacle to communication. 

lyike portraiture, landscape first appears as an 
incident in religious pictures, introduced merely 
as a decorative background to set off and relieve 
the figures, or to suggest that the scene takes 
place out of doors. A straight stem, topped with 
a few large flatly drawn leaves for a tree, impos- 
sibly shaped rocks against a flat blue sky, served 
in early art to suggest a landscape. Such is the 
landscape of Giotto's fresco oi Joachim among the 
Sheepcotes at Padua, where the introduction of a 

74 




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■J 



"0 

3 



o 
d 



O 



Jll 



Landscape 75 

flock of small sheep, somewhat wooden in draw- 
ing, emphasises the pastoral character of the 
scene. The same kind of landscape does service 
in the early frescoes of the Pisan Campo-Santo, 
and in countless paintings of the Giotteschi. 

But before long an adv^ance w'as made on these 
primitive, almost symbolical methods. Masaccio 
shows himself a pioneer in this as in all other 
branches of painting. He was the first of the 
Italians to observe the shapes of mountains and to 
render the effect of distance. His frescoes in the 
Brancacci Chapel in Florence, though injured 
and faded, proclaim him a master of atmospheric 
perspective. The landscape no longer stands up 
like a wall behind the figures, as in Uccello's 
diagrammatic Battle of St. Egidio in the National 
Gallery. But the Florentines were too much 
interested in the human form to spare any enthu- 
siasm for pure landscape. According to Leo- 
nardo, Botticelli contemptuously averred that a 
palette of colour thrown against the wall would 
leave a stain sufficiently defined to represent a 
landscape. Perugino indeed, for all his Floren- 
tine traditions, stands high as a painter of land- 
scape. His wide expanses of sunlit golden valley 
give to his pictures that serene, dreamy charm 
which is their most pleasant quality. He was one 
of the earliest to realise the beauty of a distant 
horizon, the depth and spaciousness of the sky, 
the diffused mellow light of a warm afternoon, 
characteristics which two centuries later consti- 
tuted the peculiar charm of Claude and Cuyp. 

It was at Venice, however, that landscape- 
painting developed most rapidly. Giorgione and 
Titian treated it with new and fuller appreciation. 
In Giorgione's beautiful little Tempest with Gypsy 
and Soldier in Prince Giovanelli's collection, the 



76 How to Look at Pictures 

stormy landscape is fully as important as the 
small figures, and we find ourselves wondering 
whether the landscape was painted for the figures 
or the figures introduced to enhance the effect of 
the landscape. Titian's Noli me Tangere in the 
National Gallery gives the same impression, and 
here indeed the figures are the least satisfactory 
part of the picture. In his great St. Peter Martyr^ 
which was destroyed by fire last century, the land- 
scape must have been of consummate beauty. 
Even Bassano, who with Titian has sometimes 
been called the father of landscape-painting, be- 
cause, unlike most of his predecessors, he worked 
from nature, never painted a landscape without 
figures and animals. In their treatment of land- 
scape the Italians never forsook that instinct for 
decorative effect, that insistence upon beauty at 
all costs, which characterises all their art. Real- 
ism in landscape was never their aim, nor would 
a realistic landscape have been at all in keeping 
with their ideally beautiful figures. 

It was otherwise in the North, where landscape 
played an important part from the first. The 
Van Eycks' Ghent altar-piece showed a true ap- 
preciation of landscape, and great skill in render- 
ing its features, from the blue mountains of the 
distance to the flowers that bejewel the grass, and 
the hedge of roses and vine. The Flemish 
painters realised too the beautiful effect of a land- 
scape with its sinuous and flowing lines seen 
through the rigid framework of architecture. 
We find this contrast in Jan van E3''ck's Madonna 
in the I,ouvre, and Van der Weyden's Madonna 
with St. Luke in Munich. Yet it was a wholly 
new departure when artists like Patinir, Diirer 
and Altdorfer set themselves to paint landscape 
entirely and whole-heartedly for its own sake, 




m:^:"^ 



Landscape 'j'] 

aiming at truth to nature rather than at purely- 
decorative eflfect. Patinir's landscapes indeed are 
often hard and even unpleasant in colour, as well 
as grotesque in their primitive, childish drawing 
of fantastic rocks and mountains. But to him 
perhaps belongs the honour of being the first to 
paint an independent landscape. Durer's water- 
colour landscapes, which seem to have been 
sketches made out of doors, testifj^ to an intimate 
appreciation of natural scenery and true love of 
colour. Altdorfer's little Layidscape with St. 
George in the Munich Gallery shows wonderful 
freshness, and true delight in the rendering of 
forest foliage. 

But it was not until the seventeenth century 
that landscape-painting became really important. 
That century witnessed the rise of two great 
Schools which were to dominate landscape art for 
generations to come, the School of so-called Ideal 
or Classical landscape headed by Claude, and the 
Naturalistic School, of which the Dutch painters 
were the pioneers. The rival schools hang side 
by side in every great collection. There is no 
mistaking the landscapes of Claude, with their 
glowing, golden skies and radiant, sunlight effects, 
their summery atmosphere, their stately pagan 
architecture. Be their ostensible subject mytho- 
logical or biblical, Egeria and her Nymphs, or 
The Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca, all breathe the 
same spirit. St. Ursula embarking with her 
Maidens, or the Queen of Sheba setting forth on 
her visit to Solomon, mere puppets in a magnifi- 
cent seaport, whose waters ripple at the base of 
lofty classical temples, are only introduced to 
give a touch of life to the scene, and perhaps a 
title to the picture. It was under the influence 
of Italy and Italian skies that Claude's genius 



78 How to Look at Pictures 

developed, au influeuce which gradually mastered 
him. To enjoy the studied and formal composi- 
tion of these idealised landscapes, we must 
frankly accept them as beautiful and elaborate 
arrangements, the result of a deliberately chosen 
point of view. That Claude and his followers 
were incapable of a more literal and realistic ren- 
dering of nature were no fair inference. No 
modern art student could display greater keen- 
ness in observation than the great Italianised 
French master, who spent long days and nights 
studying the scenery of the Roman Campagna. 
The distinction is not between what the rival 
schools could or could not do, but what each 
wished and set out to do. The atmosphere of 
Claude's landscape is that of an Italian garden 
with its straight walks, clipped edges, marble 
fountains and symmetrical groves, beautiful in 
its artificiality, but neither challenging nor losing 
by comparison with the informal beauty of an 
English lane or wooded upland. 

Claude's contemporary, Gaspar Poussin, never 
quite succeeded in catching his charm, though 
his landscapes are often grand and impressive. 
Claude's style found many imitators, who during 
a century and a half degraded classical landscape 
by their feeble, tasteless and bombastic produc- 
tions. Even our own painter Wilson, the Eng- 
lish Claude, fell into the error of trying to 
Italianise every scene he painted. The story is 
told of how, being commissioned by George III. 
to paint a picture of Kew Gardens, he sent the 
King an elaborate classical scene, in which all 
suggestion of Kew was lost. The very names of 
Wilson's pictures indicate the classical spirit in 
which he worked. It has been said of him that 
he had the fixed idea that the Creator had only 




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4) 



Landscape 79 

made nature to serve as a framework for the Grief 
of Niobe, and as a vehicle for classical architecture. 

Turner was the last and greatest exponent of 
Claudian tradition. As Haraerton says, he took 
up Claude's idealism and made it an idealism of 
his own. He certainly regarded himself as the 
rival of the earlier master, as may be seen at 
the National Gallery, where, in accordance with 
the terms of his will, two of his pictures hang side 
by side with two by Claude, challenging com- 
parison. But Turner's range was far wider than 
that of the older master, though it never included 
the intimate pastoral scenes so typical of E)ng- 
lish landscape. It has been remarked that he 
never painted an English hedgerow. Yet in the 
Turner room at the National Gallery we may see 
him in every one of his many phases, from the 
dark heavy seascapes of his youth to such glit- 
tering phantasies of his maturity as Ulysses Derid- 
ing Polyphemus, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and 
The Bay of BaicB. 

While the classical tradition of landscape was 
developed in the South by Claude and the Pous- 
sins, there was forming in the North of Europe a 
school which was to exercise quite as great an in- 
fluence on future art. The Dutch painters, with 
that strong naturalism which characterised all 
their art and unfettered by any traditions of a 
classical past, set themselves to reproduce the 
physical features of their native country. With 
Van Goyen, Hobbema, the Ruysdaels, Cuyp, De 
Koninck, William Van der Velde, we find the 
landscape beauties of Holland interpreted with 
exquisite feeling and technical skill, avenues of 
poplars, wide level plains dotted with church 
towers and windmills, quiet silvery canals, green 
water-meadows, broad estuaries with shipping, 



8o How to Look at Pictures 

under many skies, by moonlight or at dawn, in 
summer green or winter's snow, as the painters 
saw them and felt them, and loved to see and feel 
them. Yet for all their study of nature, Dutch 
landscape pictures, with their bronze greens and 
prevailing brown tones (sometimes the effect, as 
in Van Goyen's pictures, of the panel showing 
through the thin paint), lack that freshness of 
green and those lively effects of sparkle and glitter 
which the modern landscape artist understands so 
well. Some indeed among the Dutchmen, the 
brothers Both and Berchem, were Italian and 
classical rather than Dutch and naturalistic in in- 
tention, deliberately forsaking their native country 
for Italy and Italian skies. Again, the pine-clad 
slopes and wild mountain torrents of Everdingen 
and Jacob Ruysdael have a foreign origin. Ever- 
dingen was wrecked on the coast of Norway and 
spent some time painting the rugged beauties of 
that country, and his pupil Ruysdael, though he 
had never been there, frequently painted Nor- 
wegian scenery. 

In England, landscape in common with other 
branches of painting scarcely existed until the 
eighteenth century, when Wilson and Gains- 
borough opened the long series of English land- 
scape-painters. Gainsborough, upon a foundation 
of early study of nature and some acquaintance 
with Dutch landscape art, built up a magnificent 
style of his own, sometimes stately and decorative, 
recalling Rubens or Watteau, at others expressing 
the quiet, intimate charm of English woodland 
scenery. But it was in the nineteenth century 
that modern landscape art was born. It has in- 
deed been said that in the province of landscape 
the works of the old masters seem like the exer- 
cises of pupils in comparison with the perfection 



Landscape 8i 

of modern art. For now to the faithful rendering 
of the outward forms of nature is added an inti- 
mate appreciation of her every mood, a close 
personal relationship between the artist and his 
subject, in complete independence of past tradi- 
tion. Constable, the father of this new ideal of 
landscape art, declared that whenever he sat 
down, pencil or brush in hand, before some chosen 
scene, his first care was to forget that he had ever 
seen any picture. Realising that the beauty of 
landscape is largely dependent on the play of light 
in skj^, on trees and ground, he was the first to 
render the effect of the glitter and sparkle of sun- 
shine on foliage, the sense of quivering movement 
in the air and the vivid tones of nature. Con- 
stable's art worked a revolution both in England 
and France. Directly descended from him are 
the Barbizon painters, Rousseau, Corot, Dau- 
bigny, Diaz, Dupre, the glory of the modern 
French School. lyiving in the heart of the forest 
of Fontainebleau, each worked out his personal 
impression of the natural beauties around him. 
There is little in common between their work be- 
yond this personal and intimate love of nature. 
They painted from no fixed rules, but each, ac- 
cording to his temperament and the mood of the 
moment, recorded what he saw. This is the es- 
sential characteristic of modern landscape art, this 
penetrating beyond the outward form to the very 
soul of nature, as personally revealed to the artist. 
Again, in the care»and skill with which the 
painter now seeks to interpret and distinguish 
the characteristics of time and season, as also in the 
infinitely greater diversity of the moments of time 
selected, has modern landscape-painting advanced. 
In some of the landscapes of the old masters it is 
impossible to speak with any certainty as to the 



82 How to Look at Pictures 

season of the year or the hour of day they are in- 
tended to suggest. Until the nineteenth century 
nearlj'' all landscapes seem to have been painted 
in the full foliage of late summer. Winter is only 
recognisable by the presence of snow and ice. 
The tender hues of spring or the brilliant tints of 
autumn are seldom represented. Noonday light 
with its comparative absence of shadows was gen- 
erally preferred, and it is but seldom that sunrise 
or sunset effects were attempted. In modern 
painting far more is achieved in variety of light- 
ing. The glare of noon is now justly considered 
the worst not the best light for landscape-painting. 
So much of the beauty of landscape is due to the 
play of light that by it even the dullest view may 
be transformed into radiant beauty. The modern 
painter is often content to rely for his effect upon 
this alone. All hours of day are now seen to have 
their special and peculiar beauties and artistic 
possibilities. Whistler, it has been said, con- 
quered even the night. Modem painting has 
made night and day, dusk and dawn, her own. 
It is all of a piece with this greater realism that 
these subtleties of lighting, these fine distinctions 
of time, should be diligently pursued and faith- 
fully reproduced. The water-colour painters, in- 
deed, from the very nature of their medium, were 
in this respect in advance of the painters in oil. 
The speed with which water-colour can be used 
without long pauses to allow the pigments to dry, 
as in oil-painting, make it peculiarly suitable for 
catching fleeting atmospheric effects, momentary 
beauties of cloud and sunshine. 

But apart from the development of landscape- 
painting, we may further consider other points 
of view that often suggest themselves in looking 
at landscape art. The painter may aim at ele- 







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Landscape S;^ 

gance and grace of composition rather than at 
naturalistic treatment, Claude, indeed, often 
painted a landscape that never existed, or at least 
is wholly incapable of identification. Turner, a 
close observer of nature, took the greatest liberties 
with his subject, omitting, exaggerating, trans- 
posing as he pleased. His picture of Kilchurn 
Castle in the Highlands is a famous instance of 
his fearless exaggeration. The outlines of the 
hills against the sky are not only varied indefi- 
nitely from the rather monotonous original, but 
are raised to the height and dignity of mountains 
with the same superb assurance. And in this pic- 
ture Turner goes even farther; he entirely trans- 
forms the shape and position of the ruined castle 
on the shore of the lake, though it gives its name 
to the picture. Sometimes, on the other hand, 
the painter strives to render the features of the 
landscape as closely and accurately as possible, as 
though his object were topographical as well as 
aesthetic. The artist may indeed chance upon a 
piece of natural scenery that needs neither ar- 
rangement nor modification to form a picture, 
house or tree, road and bridge being so disposed 
that they fall directly into the painter's scheme 
without alteration. But this is not often the case. 
A landscape usually requires the selective hand of 
the artist to adapt it to pictorial form. And how- 
ever closely the painter may keep to his subject, 
he has his own individual manner of seeing things 
in landscape as in portraiture, and no two painters 
will see alike. At the same time, every painter 
identifies himself more or less with some par- 
ticular kind of scenerj'. It may be vast and 
wide-stretching, the landscape of Rubens, of De 
Koninck, of Turner, or as with Hobbema, Consta- 
ble and Corot, small in outlook and intimate. It 



84 How to Look at Pictures 

may be mountainous and terrible, the landscape 
of Switzerland or Norway, or level and smiling as 
in England and Holland. But grand scenery is 
by no means necessarily the most pictorial. Sal- 
vator Rosa grappled with its problems, yet often 
achieved nothing but stupendous pomposity. 
Turner succeeded with the Alps and Apennines, 
but, with the exception perhaps of Segantini, no 
other has dared so much as attempt the superb 
natural beauties of lofty mountains. 

Again in colour, landscape pictures vary, we 
have seen, from the warm browns of the old mas- 
ters to the brilliant and tender greens of modern 
painting. Compare one bj^ an old Dutch painter 
with its prevailing tones of brown — brown rocks, 
brown grass, brown trees — with one of the mod- 
ern French School. In tone and colour the con- 
trast is complete, and no one can doubt which is 
nearer to nature. These brown tones, often deep- 
ened by dark varnishes and changes in the pig- 
ments, gave rise in the eighteenth century to a 
firml}' rooted convention of landscape art. The 
green tints of nature were too often translated into 
the brown tones of an old Cremona fiddle. No 
landscape was considered complete without its 
brown tree in the foreground. When Constable 
defied these conventions and painted grass and 
trees as green as he saw them, he was taken to 
task by Sir George Beaumont, the great connois- 
seur of the da}^ for having omitted that artistic 
absurdity the browm tree, and even the painter's 
explanation that he had painted none because he 
found none in nature must have sounded to that 
age something of a splendid paradox. From his 
time the prevailing brown has given way to the 
sunlit greens, yellows and pearly grays found in 
nature herself. The problems of light and plein 




Bouts. St. Christopher. Munich. 



Landscape 85 

air which engross the modern painter admit of no 
conventional colouring. 

Perhaps in nothing is the skill of the landscape- 
painter more put to the test than in his rendering 
of the effects of distance. Foreground, middle 
distance and background should lead into one an- 
other, and carry the eye instinctively and without 
shock over the whole scene. The early painters 
found difficulties in these transitions and some- 
times ignored them altogether. In so charming a 
picture as Bouts' s St. Christopher, the right wing 
of an altar-piece at Munich, the artist has shown 
great skill in his rendering of the blue river, its 
ripples crested with white foam, and of the yellow 
sunset-sky reflected in the water. He has real- 
ised that the distance must not be as clear and 
bright as the foreground, but he has not been able 
to modulate, and there is no real middle distance. 
The brown rocks in the forefront of the picture 
meet the blue rocks in the background, and the 
water fades abruptly without transition. There 
is a peculiar charm in a landscape that carries the 
eye into unmeasured distances, where all defini- 
tion of form is merged in mysterious haze. It is 
the charm of Perugino, of Claude and of Turner, 
whose pictures satisfy and delight the eye with 
this feeling for infinite space. 

We often notice when looking at a landscape- 
painting how artfully the painter has contrived 
that the lines of the background emphasise and 
repeat those of the figures, trees and buildings 
of the foreground, bringing them together and 
making for unity of effect. Even where the 
lines are not actually repeated, foreground and 
background must be related to one another 
either by likeness or effective contrast. Painters 
like Cuyp and Troyon perfectly understood this 



86 How to Look at Pictures 

uecessit)^ and when they painted their favourite 
cattle large and prominent in the foreground they 
would insure a wide and spacious view in one 
part of the landscape to give the proper sense of 
space and absence of restraint. The effect is often 
enhanced by the use of a low, level horizon. 

Almost all painters have realised the value of 
introducing figures in their landscape scenes. In- 
deed, as we have seen, at one time the figures, 
however small and inconspicuous, gave a pretext 
for the landscape, and often furnished a name for 
the picture. Entire absence of life in a landscape 
is comparatively rare. Even a flight of birds in 
the sky suggests some movement to relieve the 
passivit}^ of nature, which without a sign of life 
is apt to be monotonous in art as well as in reality. 
Sometimes it happens that the landscape-painter 
has little or no skill in drawing figures. Turner's 
are sometimes woefully clums}^ and inadequate to 
their magnificent setting. We know that among 
the Dutch painters it was a recognised practice to 
employ a skilled figure-painter to supplement the 
deficiencies of the landscape artists. Such a di- 
vision of labour would be impossible in a modern 
impressionist landscape, where the figures form 
an integral part of the whole scheme and are not 
merely introduced to give it life. In much the 
same way the presence of some building, farm- 
house or windmill, helps to express the true pro- 
portion of the scene as well as to add an element 
of human interest for which the fairest landscape 
ever conceived may be the richer. Many great 
landscape-painters have introduced architecture 
into their pictures, be it the woodland cottage of 
Hobbema, the farms and homesteads of Constable, 
the stately classical piles of Claude or the fan- 
tastic palaces of Turner. 






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Landscape 87 

Beyond this many painters have made architect- 
ure their subject to the exclusion of all else. The 
pictorial effect of architecture pure and simple 
may be appreciated in the Italian scenes of Cana- 
letto and Guardi, in the ruined temples of Robert, 
in the church and street views of the Dutch mas- 
ters Berckheyde, Van der Heyden, Peter Neefs and 
De Witte in the seventeenth century, and of Bos- 
boom in our own day. Canaletto and Guardi' s 
Venetian street and canal scenes have not only 
pictorial but archaeological interest, as recording 
the appearance of famous buildings, many of 
which are now swept away. Canaletto excelled 
in elaborate composition and accurate perspective. 
To his pupil Guardi we look rather for charm of 
colour and atmospheric effects. Of the Dutch 
architectural painters some devoted themselves to 
street scenes and the exterior of churches and 
houses, often with the added charm of a waterway 
flanked by avenues of trees. Others delighted 
in spacious church-interiors which afforded equal 
scope for fine perspective and delicate treatment 
of light and colour. In our own country David 
Roberts and Prout are pre-eminently distinguished 
as painters of architecture. 

Reference has already been made to the paint- 
ing of the sky in landscape pictures. The first 
step was the substitution of a blue sky graduated 
to the horizon for the gold backgrounds in com- 
mon use until the fourteenth century and even 
later. The painting of sky and clouds is indeed 
a vital part of landscape art. Do the heavens 
frown or smile? Are they placid, or is there a 
sense of wind or at least of fresh air ? Is the 
sky transparent, light-reflecting, neither papery, 
heavy nor opaque ? Do the clouds float, sus- 
pended as it were in the blue, or sail majestically 



88 How to Look at Pictures 

by with proper sense of pomp and circumstance ? 
Has the painter fully rendered their very texture, 
making them neither woolly nor wooden, nor 
lacking the fulness of form by which they bulk 
large in the sky, conferring dignity upon the 
whole scene ? Compare the heavy marbled clouds 
of Patinir with the luminous silvery skies of 
Teniers. The superb effects of clear rain-washed 
skies, throwing into stronger relief the black 
passing thunder-cloud, were especially beloved 
by Ruysdael and Constable ; while for a bright, 
transparent firmament stretching cloudlessly into 
infinite regions of azure space Claude has never 
been surpassed. The part played by the sky in a 
landscape is more or less important, according as 
the line of horizon be low or, as in many modern 
pictures, so high that but a narrow band is seen 
above it. A low horizon gives greater space and 
distance, and affords scope for interesting and 
varied sky effects. 

Marine painting or seascape must be considered 
as a branch of landscape art. It developed side 
by side with landscape-painting proper. It is 
but seldom that we find the sea introduced into 
early pictures even into the background, though 
lakes and rivers are of frequent occurrence. There 
is indeed a little picture in the National Gallery 
by Niccolo da Foligno with a view of the sea in 
the distance. But it was in Holland that marine 
painting first began to play an important part, for 
the sea was both the glory and the menace of this 
low-lying naval power. What more natural than 
that a school of sea painters should arise under 
Van Goyen, De Vheger, William Van der Velde 
and Van der Cappelle? They painted placid 
coast-scenes for the most part, fishing boats and 
ships of war at anchor, with strong feeling for 



Landscape 89 

light and reflections upon the smooth surface of 
water. Backhuizen delighted in storms and ship- 
wrecks, risking his life in an open boat to study 
the effects of lofty waves and perilous seas. 
Turner's early sea-pieces, the Shipwreck, Calais 
Pier and Fishing Boats in a Breeze, exhibit much 
the same spirit, while in his quiet harbour scenes 
and waterways flooded with golden light, painted 
in rivalry with Claude, it is the placid beauty of 
deep, still water on which he dwells. Since 
Turner's time the sea has been painted in all its 
many moods. Courbet in his Wave in the Louvre 
has rendered the overwhelming power and ma- 
jestic curves of a single great rolling breaker. 
Mesdag and Henry Moore delight in expanses of 
ocean, with or without hint of land. The Cornish 
artists paint the sea from the shore. Indeed 
modern marine painting, like modern landscape, 
knows no limit to what it dares attempt. 




CHAPTER X 



GENRE 



GENRE pictures form the last of our three 
groups. The development of modern 
painting has certainly rendered them the 
most numerous and perhaps the most popular 
class, though from their very nature they occupy 
a less elevated position in the art of painting. 
The term ' ' Genre ' ' is used loosely enough to cover 
a multitude of pictures and artistic sins. It extends 
over so wide a field because the term is used not 
only in reference to the actual subject, but to the 
manner in which the picture is treated. From the 
point of view of subject merely genre-painting in- 
cludes all those pictures which do not attempt to 
represent special individuals or particular inci- 
dents, but types of people and ordinary events, 
such as are of continual and perhaps daily occur- 
rence in actual life. The subjects depicted are 
common rather than uncommon, trivial rather 
than important. A soldier handing a dispatch to 
his officer, a child playing with its doll, a group 
of men carousing at an inn, a number of school- 
boys engaged in snowbalHng, a woman puzzHng 
over a love letter, are all typically genre subjects. 
Again, pictures of so-called still life, arrangements 
of household utensils, flower and fruit pieces, may 
be conveniently grouped under this head. With 

90 



Genre 91 

geure, too, animal-painting must be considered. 
Thus from the point of view of subject, genre pic- 
tures will depict homely scenes and events, tell 
merry or sad stories, illustrate passages from 
books or plays, point a moral or perpetuate a 
joke, in fact be either domestic, anecdotal, liter- 
ary, dramatic or merely fanciful. 

On the other hand, pictures which at first sight 
and from the point of view of their subject alone 
would appear to belong to some other class may 
be considered as genre on account of the spirit in 
which they are treated. A purely religious or his- 
torical subject may be painted in such a homely 
matter-of-fact way, that it almost becomes a 
genre picture. This genre manner of painting 
may be found long before a purely genre subject 
was ever thrown upon a canvas. In its early 
days painting was too serious a business, with too 
many important tasks to accomplish, to busy it- 
self with subjects so trivial as a child's grief over 
a broken jug or the bargainings of a vendor of 
herrings. Thus the beginnings of genre-painting 
must be sought in the minor incidents in the re- 
ligious pictures of early art, in the frescoes and 
altar-pieces of Florentine painters like Ghirlandaio 
and Andrea del Sarto, of the Venetians Crivelli, 
Carpaccio and Bassano. How homely and inti- 
mate is Ghirlandaio' s treatment of the Death of 
S. Fina in the beautiful fresco at S. Gimignano. 
In Crivelli's Annunciation in the National Gal- 
lerj', the little bed-chamber of the Virgin, with its 
shelves over the bed stocked with bottles, plates 
and books, inevitably suggests the genre-painting 
of a later date, when these accessories would have 
been in themselves sufficient material for a picture. 
In his Dream of St. Ursnla in the Venice Acad- 
emy, Carpaccio shows the same interest in the 



92 How to Look at Pictures 

evetyday domestic side of life, treating it with 
perfect simplicity and candour, quite in the genre 
manner. We are less surprised to find touches of 
genre in the more homely religious pictures of the 
Northern painters. In an early German rendering 
of the Birth of the Virgin in the Munich Gallery, 
the domestic details of the scene have been elabo- 
rated with peculiar zest. The careful German 
housewife is giving out the linen from a well- 
stocked chest, two nurses superintend the child's 
bath, testing its temperature, while a maid pours 
in boiling water from a saucepan. 

But it was in the seventeenth century that genre 
first became a really independent branch of paint- 
ing. Pure genre was the particular contribution 
of the painters of the Netherlands. A homely 
people delighted in homely subjects. A some- 
what phlegmatic and material race knew no crav- 
ing for the mystical or the obscure, demanded no 
works of high religious significance, indeed their 
strict Calvinistic tenets permitted none. Their 
houses were small and their pictures must be small 
accordingly. The wealthy bo2irgeoisie of Holland 
delighted in that genre style of painting which 
has been well described as the very bourgeoisie of 
art. The Netherlands was indeed the land of 
genre-painting at its highest. Rembrandt treated 
religious scenes in a purely genre manner. Van 
Ostade, Brouwer, Terburg, Metzu, Jan Steen, 
Gerard Dou, Peter Breughel, Teniers, and a hun- 
dred other artists of their time, were all strictly 
genre-painters, whose like the world has never 
seen again. Van Ostade and Brouwer painted 
the dark interiors of taverns, peopled by drink- 
ing, brawling boers, and rendered them with in- 
comparable vigour and realism. Teniers treated 
indoor and outdoor scenes of daily life with equal 



Genre 93 

mastery. Terburg and Metzu loved rather the 
sumptuous splendours and substantial luxury of 
elegant domesticity in their own more civilised 
surroundings. Jan Steen excels by his perennial 
gaiety and frank pleasure-loving moods. Dou 
delighted in marvellously delicate finish and har- 
monious colouring. Nicolas Maes touches the 
tender and pathetic chord of human life, but it is 
true sentiment not false sentimentality with which 
he makes his appeal. Vermeer and De Hoogh 
revel in effects of sunlight flooding parlour or 
paved courtyard. But in the case of all these 
masters of genre, Jan Steen perhaps excepted, it 
is useless to look for any great individuality of 
expression or characterisation. They did not at- 
tempt to give it or value it if found. They 
painted ordinary men in ordinary situations, not 
heroes in a moment of crisis. Their subjects 
were those which spoke most directly to the spec- 
tator. They demanded no knowledge of history 
or archaeology, no religious belief, no book-learn- 
ing. They appealed to the common man and 
woman with intimate confidence, and they did 
not appeal in vain. George Eliot has emphasised 
this power of the Dutch masters in a familiar pas- 
sage: "It is for this rare, precious quality of 
truthfulness that I dehght in many Dutch paint- 
ings which lofty-minded people despise. I find a 
source of delicious sympathy in these faithful pic- 
tures of a monotonous, homely existence which 
has been the fate of so many more of my fellow- 
mortals than a life of pomp or of absolute indi- 
gence, of tragic sufleriug or of world - stirring 
actions. I turn without shrinking from cloud- 
borne angels, from prophets, sibyls and heroic 
warriors to an old v^oman bending over her 
flower-pot or eating her solitary dinner, while the 



94 How to Look at Pictures 

noonday light, softened perhaps by a screen of 
leaves, falls on her mob-cap and just touches the 
rim of her spinning wheel and her stone jug, and 
all those cheap common things which are the 
precious necessaries of life to her. ' ' 

The example thus given in Holland spread 
throughout Europe, and every country where 
painting has flourished has her genre-painters of 
note. Italy produced lyonghi, the Hogarth of 
the South, a master of real merit. Standing en- 
tirely alone and by far the greatest of French 
genre-painters is Chardin, whose quiet restful art 
seems almost out of touch with the artificiality of 
the eighteenth century. His Grace before Meat 
and Mere Laborieuse in the Louvre show him the 
equal of even the greatest of the Dutchmen. How 
mawkish and shallow appears the meretricious 
Greuze by the side of Chardin's dignified sim- 
plicity and reticence. But this period in France 
was dominated by a stjde of genre as different in 
character from that of Holland as is the Gallic 
temperament from the Dutch. Watteau, Lancret 
and Fragonard painted no rudd5'-faced women in 
homely garments, occupied with culinarj^ and 
domestic pursuits, no elaborate green-grocers' or 
poulterers' shops, but in their place elegantly 
dressed ladies and gentlemen of the Court, danc- 
ing elaborate minuets in satin shoes or feasting 
from exquisite china upon the greensward of some 
aristocratic chateau. If this be genre it is idyllic 
genre. As different again and more nearly allied 
to the genre of Holland is the stj'le of Meissonier, 
" the Dutch little master," as his friends called 
him. Although in colour he cannot compare with 
the best of the Dutch painters, Terburg and 
Metzu, in minute delicacy of execution he is 
scarcely inferior. In Spain Murillo, the contem- 



Genre 95 

porary of the Dutch masters, brought genre into 
fashion with his peasant boys and street arabs, 
broadly and vigorously handled. Even Velasquez 
in his salad days produced Bodcgones or kitchen 
scenes, an Old Woman Cooking Eggs and Two 
Yoimg Men at a Meal. Goya's genre was either 
diabolic in character or else painted in the ele- 
gant style of the contemporary French School. 
Modern genre-painting in Spain is represented 
by the fashionable Fortuny, a painter of specious 
brilliance and true Southern love of colour and 
display. 

English genre-painting begins with Hogarth, 
who treated art in the didactic spirit of the moral 
reformer. With a painter of less splendid genius 
this standpoint would inevitably have spelt ruin 
to his art ; but Hogarth was an artist before he 
became a reformer, and his fine series of Marriage 
a la Mode and The Rake s Progress are far from 
being mere sermons in paint. Hogarth's mantle 
fell upon Wilkie, who, however, painted without 
the earlier artist's didactic intention. Wilkie, the 
Scottish Teniers, as he has been called, con- 
sciously sat at the feet of his great Dutch and 
Flemish predecessors, and often painted with a 
work of Teniers or Van Ostade on an easel beside 
him. A glance at his pictures The Blind Fiddler 
and The Village Festival reveals how much he 
owed to earlier masters. The tendency of Eng- 
lish genre in the direction of stor5^-telling is here 
already strongly marked. The history of nine- 
teenth-century art in this country is largely the 
history of its genre- painters, of whom we can 
merely mention Mulready, Eeslie, Frith, Orchard- 
son and Alma Tadema. 

Judging from the annual exhibitions of modem 
painting in I,ondon, Paris, Munich and Vienna, 



96 How to Look at Pictures 

it would appear that genre is the most popular art 
of the da}^ In England at least it holds almost 
undisputed sway, especially in the form of anec- 
dotal or literary genre in its feeblest and most 
sentimental aspect. Pictures of this class are pro- 
duced in their thousands by painters of little or no 
artistic power, who seek to atone by the obvious 
prettiness of the incident for deficiency of skill 
and commonplace rendering. The best genre- 
painters never stoop to this device. The greatest 
care nothing whether they paint a pretty scene or 
not, since of any they can make a beautiful pic- 
ture. For in genre-painting, as we have already 
seen, the subject is of less importance than the 
manner in which it is treated. This is especially 
the case in pictures of still life. There may be 
but little to interest or please the unseeing eye in 
a group of common household utensils and fruit 
placed together upon a table ; but of these un- 
promising materials true artists like Chardin and 
the Dutchmen De Heem, Heda or Kalf will by 
skilful arrangement, b)^ bringing out unobserved 
subtleties of light and colour, by heightened con- 
trasts and harmonious composition, produce a 
true work of art. The painter of natures vi07'tes 
requires but the simplest materials, a few copper 
or brass pots and pans, a loaf of bread, a piece of 
raw meat, some pewter or earthenware kitchen 
utensils, with fruit or vegetables. Such subjects 
are naturally most effective when treated on a 
small scale. Vast canvases of dead game and 
fruit, such as those of Snyders, can scarcely fail 
of monotony, the very insignificance of the 
subject falling far short of the heroic propor- 
tions of its representation. Their merit lies 
almost exclusiv^ely in their brilliant technical 
qualities. A still-life picture should be like a 



Genre 97 

jewel burning and glowing with colour and re- 
flected light. 

In flower-painting, the materials, instead of be- 
ing the humblest and simplest, are the most 
beautiful and complex. Here too the artist's 
powers of .selection and arrangement will be 
called into play. In the faithful rendering of the 
form and texture of blossom and leaf, the Flemish 
artists Jan Breughel and Seghers are unsurpassed. 
Yet the stifi" grouping and cold, hard colour often 
rob their pictures of real charm and naturalism. 
In seizing upon the essential beauties of natural 
forms, in freer and less studied arrangements of 
foliage, in lighter and more graceful rendering, 
European flower-painters have been left far behind 
by the artists of Japan. 

Finally a word must be found for a class of 
painters who have chosen to devote themselves to 
the painting of animals. As might be expected 
in a land of pastures, many of the Dutch artists 
excelled in the painting of cattle. Pre-eminent 
among them are Cuyp, Paul Potter, Adrian Van 
der Velde, Karel du Jardin and Weenix, while 
Hondecoeter has no rival in the poultry-yard. 
Rubens and Snyders in Flanders are noted for 
their vigorous representation of animals in mo- 
tion. In our own time animal-painting has be- 
come an important and independent branch of art. 
In France the names of Courbet, Troyon and 
Rosa Bonheur, in Kngland those of Morland, 
Landseer, Briton Riviere and Swan readily sug- 
gest themselves. The animal-painter must render 
the characteristic movements and attitudes of the 
brute beast, as well as the texture of skin or fur. 
Above all he must catch the true animal expres- 
sion and not fall into Landseer's error of giving a 
sentimental, almost human look to his dogs and 



98 How to Look at Pictures 

horses. The scope of the animal-painter has been 
greatly extended by travel and photography since 
the days when Diirer drew and engraved his 
famous rhinoceros from hearsay and the slight 
pencil drawing made by an eye-witness of this 
quite unfamiliar animal. 




CHAPTER XI 



DRAWING 



THE simplest and most obvious method of 
representation in pictorial art is by the use 
of outline. To test this we have only to 
look at some example of early painting, in which 
light and shade and atmospheric effects are either 
entirely wanting or are still so elementary and 
subordinate that they scarcely plaj^ any part in 
the whole. The childhood of art is represented 
by the prehistoric cave-dweller scratching in out- 
line upon the rock with a sharp flint the familiar 
forms of reindeer and mammoth. These early 
beginnings may be likened to the first efforts of 
a child drawing figures of men and horses in the 
simplest and most conventional outlines. It is a 
further step when these boundary lines are filled 
in with flat washes of colour, a stage correspond- 
ing to the beginnings of the art of painting. 
Originally the graphic arts concerned themselves 
with two dimensions only, length and breadth, 
and outline was quite able to express these. Even 
when the representation of a third dimension, 
depth, came to be insisted on, outline still played 
an important part in producing, by means of linear 
perspective, the effect of solidity. 

In speaking of drawing, the word is of course 
not used here in its limited sense of representation 
in a particular medium, pen, pencil or charcoal, 

99 



loo How to Look at Pictures 

but in its broader sense as a means of expressing 
form. It is convenient for the moment to consider 
the actual drawing of a picture apart from its 
colour or light and shade, for, however intimately 
they are bound up together in theory, in practice 
we are perfectly clear of our meaning when we 
speak of the drawing of a picture being good or 
bad, accurate or careless. It is impossible indeed 
actually to separate form from colour, since in 
painting form is expressed in terms of colour. 
Yet if its colour be eliminated, as in a photograph, 
the drawing of the picture will be laid bare. A 
painter may be a good colourist and at the same 
time a bad draughtsman, or on the other hand he 
may spoil a finely drawn design by crude, dis- 
agreeable colouring. It is the greatest masters 
who unite a fine sense of form with a strong in- 
stinct for colour. Drawing is indeed the founda- 
tion of pictorial art, from its early days of carving 
a rude figure on a stone to the perfect mastery 
over the most intricate forms which we find in 
modern art. 

By the term "drawing " we mean more than the 
mere rendering of the outline of objects, a man or 
a mountain silhouetted against the sky. Drawing 
includes the definition of every detail of form 
within those boundary lines, the rendering of the 
shape of every feature, of the hair, of the dra- 
peries, of every rock and tree. It covers the 
painter's feeling for the shapes of things, their 
solidity, their roundness or squareness, the way 
they bulk before him, even their character so far 
as this depends upon their shape. 

The use of outline to define form is one of the 
conventions of the painter's art. It is true that 
in nature no such thing as a line exists. Forms 
melt into each other by i mperceptible gradations. 




Verrocchio (?) . Portrait of a Lady. Poldi-Pezzoli, Milan. 



Drawing loi 

Indeed it has often been contended that in pic- 
torial art drawing is nothing but the result of 
diflferences of colour, and that lines are merely 
successions of points at which coloured surfaces 
meet. The end of one colour, said Leonardo, is 
only the beginning of another, and ought not to 
be called a line. 'Iheoretically speaking, this is 
true, and mature art at least both sees and draws 
in masses of colour and hght and shade rather 
than in lines. If we examine a picture by Rem- 
brandt, Velasquez, Reynolds or Turner, we find 
no lines separating one form from another. The 
shapes of things are defined by patches of colour, 
not harshly juxtaposed, but with their edges 
broken or blurred. Art can, of course, reproduce 
nature only by means of some convention, and a 
well-defined outline is the most obvious means of 
indicating form. In early Italian art the actual 
drawing of the picture was of first importance, 
colour being used almost as an afterthought in a 
flat, conventional manner, to fill in the outlines. 
Indeed the Florentine painters never freed them- 
selves from a certain hardness of line. Before 
beginning to paint a picture, it was usual for 
them to draw on the prepared ground, often with 
pen and ink, every detail of figures, draperies, 
background and ornament. In such pictures as 
Filippo lyippi's Amiunciation and Botticelli's 
Mars and Vemis, both in the National Gallery, 
this hard, firm outline may easily be seen. The 
profile portraits of Verrocchio and other Floren- 
tine painters are tightly confined within sharply 
cut outlines, silhouetted against a dark back- 
ground, producing an effect of comparative flat- 
ness. Many of Holbein's portraits show the 
same characteristic. If he can relieve his flesh 
colour against the dark mass of the sitter's hair 



I02 How to Look at Pictures 

or hat he is content, but where it falls against a 
light background he is not above emphasising 
the form by a strongly-defined black line. The 
colouring of the picture is simple, and plays, as 
compared with the drawing, especially of the 
features, but a minor part ; indeed we have only 
to compare a painting by this master with one of 
his chalk-drawings to understand how little is due 
to the colour. Compare these with pictures by 
Titian, Correggio, Veronese, Rubens and Rem- 
brandt, where we scarcely ever find strong out- 
lines. Indeed where they do occur, as, for 
instance, in the figure of the Madonna in Titian's 
Assumption, they are the work of the restorer and 
not of the master. Colours blend into one an- 
other instead of being sharply separated and in- 
closed within boundarj^ lines. In either case a 
particular aspect of beauty is obtained. 

Many pictures owe their permanent value in art 
and their chief charm in our eyes to the peculiar 
feeling for line which the artist possessed, and to 
his skill and facilit}^ in draughtsmanship, just as 
others please by richness or harmony of colour, or 
the delicacy of their effects of light and shade. 
It has been said that every special virtue a paint- 
ing may possess is relative to its other virtues. 
Such pictures as Mantegna's Triuviph of Jidhis 
CcEsar at Hampton Court and Signorelli's Pa7i in 
the Berlin Museum charm the eye in the first in- 
stance by their wonderful feeling for line. Botti- 
celli's Pallas and Ce^itaur in the Pitti and his 
Cahcmny in the Ufl5zi, with their delicate, sinuous 
curves, appeal in the same manner. Ingres' s La 
Soiu'ce in the Louvre shows great sensitiveness to 
the subtle lines of the nude figure, though even 
its warmest admirers cannot approve his hard 
colour and expressionless features. David's re- 



Drawing 103 

dining figure of Madame Recamier shows ex- 
quisite beauty of line, and many of I^eighton's 
and Burne-Jones's pictures claim and win our 
admiration by the same quality. 

Drawing is one of the first points of view from 
which a picture is usually regarded, and there- 
fore one of the earliest to be criticised. We are 
all so familiar with the forms of natural objects, 
and especially of the human figure, that a grave 
error in their representation strikes us at once, 
though trifling faults of detail are often over- 
looked. It is far otherwise with colour, and still 
more so with Hght and shade. The most flagrant 
incongruities of colour and tone go unnoticed 
because the eye of the spectator is not trained to 
perceive them. In a picture representing a nude 
figure there would be ten critics to notice that the 
drawing of the shoulder or leg was careless or 
incorrect for one who would observe the faults 
in the colouring of the flesh or falseness of tone. 
While, therefore, many painters are distinguished 
by the excellence of their draughtsmanship, there 
are others who, whatever merits they may possess 
as colourists or chiaroscurists, fail sometimes con- 
spicuously in this respect. Their figures seem to 
stand shakily, as if a push would upset them. 
The feet, though touching the ground, do not 
rest upon it. The limbs appear pufiy and clumsy. 
In early painting inexperience and lack of know- 
ledge account for much. In other cases, even in 
comparatively modern times, want of training and 
inadequate study of the human figure are suf- 
ficient explanation. 

Sometimes indeed it happens that good 
draughtsmen deliberately sacrifice absolute cor- 
rectness of drawing in quest of elements of beauty 
that appeal more forcibly to them, as where to 



I04 How to Look at Pictures 

gain decorative effect or dignity and grandeur 
the painter exaggerates the height of a figure, or 
uses his artist's licence to bring its lines into har- 
mony with his design. This is especially the 
case with painters pre-eminent for their strong 
feeling for beauty of line. Botticelli has already 
been mentioned as illustrating this feeling. But 
his long, slender figures in the Allegory of Spring 
are physically impossible, though no one would 
question their fine decorative qualities. He used 
the human figure as so much pattern from which 
to weave his designs, disregarding structural pos- 
sibility. So, too, the drawing of Giorgione's 
Sleeping Ve7ius in Dresden is perhaps not abso- 
lutel}' correct. The right foot should be visible, 
though as its appearance would break the ex- 
quisitely flowing and sinuous lines of the reclin- 
ing figure, which again harmonise with and repeat 
the gently rising mountain slopes behind, the 
painter has deliberately suppressed it. 

But it is to inexperience, lack of knowledge or 
carelessness that inadequate draughtsmanship 
must generally be attributed. No one can be sur- 
prised to find faults and weaknesses of drawing 
in early painting. To the primitive masters the 
drawing of certain parts of the human figure, 
especially the hands and feet, presented almost 
insuperable difi&culties. They scarcely ever suc- 
ceeded in making them anything but wooden and 
lifeless in appearance. Claw-like extremities or 
stiff angular fingers are painfully common until 
comparatively late in Italian art. The drawing 
of the feet is still more peculiar. This was, of 
course, due partly to ignorance of anatomy and 
perspective, partly to tradition. As time went 
on, the substitution of the living model for the al- 
most symbolic treatment which had gone before, 



Drawing 105 

and an acquaintance with the laws of perspective 
and anatomy, brought greater sureness and ac- 
curacy of draughtsmanship. 

In our day painters receive in the life-school so 
thorough a grounding that faulty drawing is un- 
usual. Modern draughtsmanship is generally 
fluent and facile, if not always close and search- 
ing. Shaky figures and boneless, invertebrate 
forms which do not really stand upon their legs 
are scarcely the faults of this generation. The 
modern artist who has had a good training has 
hardly to think of his drawing as a difficulty to be 
overcome, though a subtle and refined instinct for 
form is always confined to the greatest. The 
problems of the proportions of the figure, the rela- 
tive size of head, trunk and limbs, problems which 
lyconardo and Diirer worked out experimentally 
with elaborate diagrams and formulae, have be- 
come the mere rudiments of the painter's art. 
Even the difficulties of representing men or ani- 
mals in motion are no longer as great as before. 
The observations made by instantaneous photog- 
raphy have contributed largely to greater ac- 
curacy, though not necessarily to greater beauty. 
For instance, we now know exactly how the legs 
of a horse actually move according to the gait or 
speed of the moment, and accuracy on so com- 
paratively trivial a matter is not unnaturally in- 
sisted upon when there is no longer any excuse 
for error. 

The drawing of the human figure must neces- 
sarily depend to a considerable extent on a know- 
ledge of anatomy. To the artist anatomy has 
often been a fetish; to the layman it has as 
often proved a bugbear. The explanation would 
seem to be that anatomj^ like perspective, is to 
be regarded as an aid to correct and beautiful 



io6 How to Look at Pictures 

drawing, and not as an end in itself. When An- 
tonio Pollaiuolo, one of the first enthusiasts for 
the science, painted his great St Sebastian in the 
National Gallery, he not unnaturally laid undue 
emphasis on the muscular construction of the 
figures, purposely representing them in every at- 
titude of violent strain. The secrets of anatomy 
were then in the nature of discoveries, and as a 
pioneer the painter desired to display his la- 
boriously acquired knowledge. Michelangelo's 
intimate familiarity with the human figure as a 
sculptor showed itself strongly in his painting, 
and this sculptor-painter's figures, whether nude 
or draped, invariably suggest a wholly ideal state 
of physical development and muscularity, which 
in his hands alone escaped exaggeration and 
brutality. His prophets, sibyls and youths on 
the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, brawny, mas- 
sive, colossal, inspire only awe, and convey the 
idea of marvellous, restrained power. His fol- 
lowers, Daniele da Volterra and his like, copied 
and exaggerated this muscularity and colossal 
treatment, but wholly failed to realise the in- 
herent majesty and grand self-composure of 
Michelangelo's nudes. 

The German and Dutch painters rarely at- 
tempted the nude, completely concealing the form 
under heavy draperies. Yet even in such cases 
some knowledge of the structure of the human 
form is essential. Although the body is entirely 
covered by drapery, the spectator shotlld be con- 
scious of its presence underneath. A finely drawn 
figure, however elaborately draped, must be as 
carefully constructed as a nude ; indeed many 
painters make nude studies of all their figures, 
adding the draperies afterwards. The draughts- 
man must indicate the roundness of the arm 



Drawing io> 

under the sleeve, the position of the limbs under 
the draperies. It is all the diflference between the 
living form and the lay figure. In this some of 
our great painters, Reynolds and Romuey, occa- 
sionally failed. Reynolds's well-known ignorance 
of anatomy, which none regretted more bitterly 
than the painter himself, was no doubt largely 
responsible for his indij0ferent modelling of hands 
and limbs. 

The treatment of draperies in all their infinite 
variety is in itself a test of good draughtsmanship. 
Draperies may add dignity to the figure or em- 
phasise the sense of movement ; they may be 
simple or elaborate, broadly rendered or broken 
into minute folds. Compare the voluminous 
fretted folds in pictures of the Flemish painters or 
of lyucas van lycyden and Diirer, with the broad 
simple masses used by the Venetians, or the 
slight, clinging draperies of Leighton and Albert 
Moore, which suggest every line and curve of the 
figure beneath. 

The question of linear perspective, so important 
an element of drawing, demands rather fuller 
mention. Even the untrained eye is quick to ob- 
serve any flagrant faults of perspective in a pic- 
ture. Linear perspective is the means by which 
the appearance of solid objects and their relative 
distance from the eye can be rendered on a flat 
surface. Drawing is itself a convention, by which 
objects of three dimensions, height, breadth and 
depth, are represented on a surface of two only, 
height and breadth. The third dimension, depth, 
is indicated by means of perspective. Perspective 
is both natural and scientific, a matter of eye and 
a matter of mathematical rules and formulae. Be- 
fore the discovery of its laws in the fifteenth cent- 
ury, painters had to trust entirely to the eye. 



io8 How to Look at Pictures 

Sometimes their perspective was correct, almost 
as it were b}^ accident, but really owing to their 
careful copying of nature ; more often it was gro- 
tesquely incorrect and impossible, and this fact 
gives primitive pictures much of their quaintness 
and lack of reality. The ground seems to stand 
up as a solid wall ; the roofs slope at impossible 
angles ; parallel lines fail to converge. The point 
of sight being often too high, we seem to look 
down into the picture, while the architecture 
seems to topple forward ; or, in the case of an in- 
terior, the room slopes up, and objects on a table 
look as though they were slipping ofiF it. In the 
pictures of Giotto and his School the architecture 
is absurdly out of proportion to the size of the fig- 
ures. These unfortunate giants could never in- 
habit the pigmy houses provided for them. The 
Florentine painter Uccello was one of the first 
who, obviously dissatisfied with the results of 
trusting to correctness of eye alone, set himself to 
work out the principles of perspective. Just as 
some of his contemporaries became enthusiastic 
students of the science of anatomy, so he sought 
to discover the key to the mysteries of " that 
beautiful thing Perspective." His Battle of Si. 
Egidio in the National Gallery shows the result 
of his studies, and illustrates both the problems 
and the difficulties of the science. But nothing 
can be farther from reality than the result 
achieved by this pursuit of scientific realism. 
Again, the difficulty of representing a recumbent 
figure, seen end- on, by means of foreshortening 
baffled the worthy Uccello for all his devoted 
study. We have only to compare his fallen soldier 
depicted thus in this picture with Mantegna's 
Dead Christ in the Brera to appreciate the later 
artist's triumph over the difficulty. In his mas- 



Drawing 109 

tery over perspective and foresliorteuing Man- 
tegna was rivalled only by his successor Correggio, 
whose painted cupola in the Cathedral at Parma 
is a tour de force. So far is the illusion carried 
by means of violent foreshortening that it is 
almost as though the roof were lifted off, and 
we could look above and beyond it into a sky 
peopled with flying figures. 

Some of the greatest masters of design have de- 
liberately transgressed the rigid laws of perspec- 
tive. Even Raphael did not consider himself 
strictly bound to observe them when a particular 
effect was at stake, and it has often been pointed 
out that in his School of Athens in the Vatican 
there are two vanishing points, one for the archi- 
tecture, another for the figures. The same criti- 
cism is made of Veronese's Marriage of Cana, in 
which also the capitals of the Doric columns are 
extraordinarily incorrect. A more modern in- 
stance of glaringly false perspective is the ceiling 
in one of Hogarth's engravings in the series of 
The Idle Apprentice. In point of fact no painter 
works with these scientific principles consciously 
before him. They are in the background of his 
mind, and, relying on his trained eye, he draws 
with just sufl&cient correctness of perspective for 
his purpose. Consequently, if we apply the prin- 
ciples of perspective in all their mathematical 
rigidity, many pictures which perfectly satisfy the 
eye will be found wanting. As Ruskin said of 
Turner, who was Professor of Perspective at the 
Royal Academy, he did not even know what he 
professed, and probably never drew a single 
building in true perspective in his life ; he drew 
them only with as much perspective as suited him. 



CHAPTER XII 



COLOUR 



WHEN looking at pictures it is not generally 
their colour that first attracts the ordi- 
nary spectator's interest. His attention 
is turned to the significance of the subject and 
the drawing of the picture before he seriously 
observes its colour. The reason may be found 
largely in the difficulty and resulting want of con- 
fidence in understanding it. Questions of colour 
seem so technical, so scientific in comparison with 
other considerations. We do not feel that we can 
evolve a perfectly satisfactory theory or explana- 
tion of them out of our inner consciousness. We 
may like or dislike the colouring of any particular 
picture, we may condemn it as impossible, or 
praise it for its brilliance, but it is with a half un- 
easy feeling which shrinks from cross-examina- 
tion and avoids particulars or analysis. And yet 
colour is of the very essence of painting. We 
have seen that, theoretically speaking, it includes 
form, and is therefore the basis of drawing. In 
the same way, as we shall see, it is inseparably 
bound up with chiaroscuro or light and shade. 

There is no need to do more than touch upon 
the scientific or physiological side of the question 
of colour in considering it as one of the chief ele- 
ments of beauty and interest in a picture. It will 
be enough to start with the familiar fact that 

no 



Colour 1 T I 

colours are the result of rays of white light falling 
upon various substances or pigments, each of 
which has the property of absorbing some of these 
rays and reflecting others. Thus red paint absorbs 
all other rays except red ones, which it reflects; 
violet absorbs all except violet rays, and so on. 
But in practice the effect is infinitely more com- 
plicated, because no substance can ever be com- 
pletely isolated, and each gives not only its own 
peculiar red or green or violet rays, but also re- 
flections from all adjoining substances. Further, 
each colour has its contrasting or complementary 
colour, green being the complementary of red, 
orange of blue, and yellow of violet. Thus after 
looking intently for a few moments at a patch of 
red on a white ground, the eye sees more or less 
distinctly that the red patch is surrounded by an 
aureole of its complementary, and on turning im- 
mediately to a plain white ground a patch of 
green is distinctly visible, an experiment familiar 
through the popular advertisement of Pears' 
Soap. 

Again, where there are two colours side by side, 
each surrounded by its complementary, these 
complementary colours will, by mixing where 
they meet or overlap, again -produce a new com- 
bination. We have said that the eye sees these 
complementary colours more or less distinctly, be- 
cause their distinctness actually depends on the 
presence of a white ground on which alone the 
complementary colour can be clearly perceived, 
and even then only after somewhat prolonged fix- 
ing of the eye. 

Another simple efiect of the laws of optics con- 
cerns the spectator as much as the painter. 
When going round a gallery with notebook or 
catalogue, the colouring of the pictures will 



112 How to Look at Pictures 

appear more brilliant from the fact of contin- 
ually looking up from the white paper. There 
are two further elementary laws to be borne in 
mind, that complementary colours when placed 
side by side heighten one another, while colours 
which are not complementary placed side by side 
diminish one another. Thus blue placed by the 
side of its complementary orange appears more in- 
tensely blue because it receives the addition of the 
blue which is the complementary of orange. 

These few laws are mentioned here only to em- 
phasise the complexity of the problems that meet 
the colourist. As stated in the form of scientific 
principles they are comparatively modern dis- 
coveries, almost of our own time ; but their prac- 
tical importance was fully realised centuries 
before, and Giorgione, Veronese and Rubens 
obeyed them none the less implicitly that they 
had not yet been formulated. Nor must it be 
thought that the artist of the present day paints 
his pictures by the light of these rules. For him 
they are largely negative ; he knows that if he 
paints a red skirt below a blue bodice the brilliance 
of both colours will be diminished, while a green 
field will appear less green against a blue sky. 
These same principles are unconsciously respected 
by every woman who chooses the colour of her 
dress with reference to her complexion. As 
Eastlake pointed out: " Flesh is nevermore glow- 
ing than when compared with red, never ruddier 
than in the neighbourhood of green, never fairer 
than when contrasted with black, nor richer or 
deeper than when opposed to white." 

Since the beginning of painting in the Middle 
Ages the use of colour has advanced through 
many stages, from the simple conventional colour- 
ing of the early fresco-painter to the highly elabo- 



Colour 11^ 



j> 



rated and realistic treatment of our own day. 
Go in the National Gallery from the Florentine 
room to the Venetian, from the Venetian to the 
Dutch, the Spanish or the English. What di£fer- 
ent colour-impressions we get from each : gay, 
glowing, sombre or cold. Leaving all other con- 
siderations out of sight, compare from this point 
of view of colour alone pictures bj^ Fra Angelico, 
Titian, Rembrandt, Hogarth and Claude Monet. 
Wherein lies the difference between these painters ? 
Partly, perhaps, in the different colours they used, 
but chiefly in the manner in which they used 
them. 

Primitive painters like Fra Angelico worked 
with few colours, keeping each distinct from the 
other. In painting a blue robe they would use 
paler blue for the high lights and a deeper blue 
for the shadows, regardless of the surrounding 
colours with their reflections and counter-effects. 
They relied almost entirely upon flat surfaces of 
simple colour, often in sharp, even crude contrast, 
with few shadows and few dark tones. Their 
colours are generallj^ wonderfullj' transparent and 
pure, the masses pleasantly disposed ; but for all 
their charm we cannot help feeling that here 
colouring is expressed in far simpler fashion than 
can be found in nature. The sky is of a uniform 
blue, behind brown rocks and dark green trees, 
whose foliage is often defined with touches of 
gold. Figures in bright green, crimson, blue or 
purple dresses, sometimes shot with gold, wearing 
richly gilded halos and ornaments, are grouped in 
more or less formal arrangement. The frequent 
use of gold in itself gives an appearance of un- 
reality. The effect may be pleasing, though 
wholly unlike nature. But it was as near nature 
as the artists could approach. We cannot believe 



114 How to Look at Pictures 

that Fra Angelico or Memlinc were deliberately 
and of set purpose simplifying the complex 
shades and tints of nature, as is often done by the 
decorative painters of our own day, and the truth 
is rather that their complexity as yet baffled the 
artist's skill. In Itah^ Carpaccio, Benozzo Goz- 
zoli and Perugino, and the German and Flemish 
painters Schongauer, Diirer and Van der Weyden, 
charm us by the brilliance and purity of their 
colour rather than by its subtlety or truth. Yet 
a certain hardness, a want of blending, is the more 
noticeable to us, who can contrast it with the 
maturer colouring of their successors. 

Again, many of these early painters, as we have 
seen, knew little of atmospheric or aerial perspec- 
tive, by means of which the effect of distance on 
colour is expressed. They painted distant objects 
as brilliant as those in the foreground, disregard- 
ing the fact that, according as things recede from 
the eye, they become not only smaller but changed 
in colour, generally faded and dulled by the inter- 
vening veil of atmosphere, until at last they are 
lost in a haze of blue. The distance in such pic- 
tures is generally defined and airless. A simple 
test of this blurring of colour by distance may be 
found in watching a red cart or tram receding down 
a long street. Its colour becomes little by little 
fainter and dimmer, and at last it is impossible to 
see that it is actually a bright red, though our 
knowledge that it is so sharpens our eyes and 
perhaps helps to deceive them. The temptation 
to the painter then is to paint a distant red cart 
red, because of his knowledge that it would so ap- 
pear if close at hand. This effect of distance on 
colour came onlj- gradually to be understood. 
Landscape backgrounds were rendered indeed 
with rather less of precision and minuteness than 



Colour 115 

foreground or middle distance, and with some- 
what paler colouring, but the actual changes of 
colour by distance were only realised in the six- 
teenth centur}-. 

The question of aerial perspective is intimately 
connected with that of tone. In painting a pic- 
ture it is not enough for the artist to imitate faith- 
fully the actual colour of each object within his 
range of vision, the bright blue of the sky, the in- 
tense green of the grass, the huntsman's scarlet 
coat. Each of these colours he might copy with 
the utmost fidelit}', but his canvas would present a 
series of pictures, not a picture, for there would 
be no unity, no connection, truth perhaps of iso- 
lated tints, but no general truth of colour. This, 
we have seen, was the mistake of all early 
painters. Tone, a word continually on the lips 
of modern artists and critics, implies the relation 
of all the colours to each other as determined by 
the amount of light which each reflects, or, to use 
a scientific term, the " value " of the colour in the 
scheme of the whole. The artist knows that a 
huntsman's coat is of a bright and glowing scarlet, 
but the knowledge will serve him nothing. He 
must actually forget it, and consider the scarlet 
coat merely as a colour patch, whose intensity and 
brilliance, whose very hue is determined relatively 
to its surroundings. It may appear as a dark 
patch against a brilliant sk}', or as a brightly 
lighted spot or mass of warm colour in sombre sur- 
roundings. Put a piece of red geranium against 
a gray wall with the light in front of it, and then 
hold it up against the bright sky. In the first 
case it will appear a bright red ; in the second it 
will look almost black, all its colour faded when 
oppo.sed to the brilliant light behind it. It is the 
painter's business to observe these modifications of 



ii5 How to Look at Pictures 

local colour, and in seeking truth of effect to at- 
tain it by accepting no colour as absolute, but to 
regard the scene before him as an area of lighted 
space, in which every colour is seen in its relation 
to the other colours and to the whole. A colour 
that is out of tone, too brilliantly lighted or too 
strong in proportion to the rest of the picture, 
should affect the eye just as a false note in music 
hurts the ear. Colour values are to the painter 
what harmonies are to the musician. Strict truth 
of tone is the aim of the modern colourist, w-ho 
looks back to Velasquez and the Dutchmen rather 
than to the more purely decorative colourists of 
the Renaissance. 

Splendour of colouring is not produced merely 
by the use of brilliant local colours. There is all 
the difference in the world between colours and 
colour, between a number of bright, unblended 
tints promiscuously spotted together in a kind of 
patchwork, and a consistent colour-scheme. In 
nature objects do not appear as simple masses of 
hard and uniform colour, but are broken into 
subtle gradations of endless variety, every tint bor- 
rowing something from its neighbour, every sur- 
face displaying reflections and counter-reflections, 
every colour exerting its influence by relation or 
contrast. The gradual realisation of these facts 
prepared the way for the first great colourists, 
Titian, Veronese and Correggio in the South, Ru- 
bens and Rembrandt in the North. The change 
was no sudden one. We may trace in Venetian 
art the gradual development of colour in the work 
of Giovanni Bellini and his pupils Giorgioue and 
Titian, greater breadth and freedom, increased 
boldness and more perfect harmony proclaiming 
the " New Manner." 

What is it then that distinguished the Venetian 



Colour 1 1 7 

as a colour-school above all others of that time ? 
Chiefly this, that in addition to their warm and 
brilliant tints they further bathed everything in a 
flood of rich golden light. It was frankly a con- 
vention. It is but seldom that the world glows as 
in their pictures. Nor indeed did they always 
employ brighter colours or a larger choice of 
colours than other painters ; on the contrary, they 
made frequent use of black, which is rarely found 
in early art. Tintoretto's paradox that black and 
white are the most beautiful colours is compre- 
hensible before such pictures as Titian's Man 
with a Glove in the Louvre, or Moroni's Lawyer 
in the National Gallery. It is only the great 
colourists who understand that black and white 
do not imply absence of colour. The black of 
velvet, silk or brocade, as the Venetians painted 
it, is as vibrating and rich, as luminous and satis- 
fying, as any crimson or purple. Equally many 
of them gained their finest effects by means of a 
few colours only, a simple palette. In Titian's 
Crowning with Thorns in the Munich Gallery he 
has used only four colours, black and white, red 
and orange ; yet the effect is rich and striking, 
and if the tints used in many a picture of splen- 
did colour-effect be counted, they will often prove 
but a poor half dozen. Typical examples of the 
opulence of Venetian colouring are Titian's Pre- 
sentation of the Virgin, Bordone's Fisherman Pre- 
senting the Ring of St. Mark to the Doge and 
Tintoretto's Miracle of St. Mark, all in the Acad- 
emy at Venice. The brilliant crimsons, yellows 
and blues are harmonised in a flood of golden 
light. In colour Paul Veronese differs in some 
respects from his Venetian contemporaries, and 
obtains equal brilliance by other means. He de- 
lights in cool blues and grays where Titian used 



ii8 How to Look at Pictures 

warm browns and reds, and the light in which 
he bathes his colours suggests the silvery- effect of 
early morning rather than the glowing gold of 
sunset. We find these same silver harmonies 
in many of Tintoretto's pictures, notably in his 
wonderful Bacclms and Ariad?ie in the Ducal 
Palace, the cool shimmering light of which con- 
trasts curiously with the golden glow of his 
Miracle of St. Mark. Moretto also uses these 
cool gray or silver tones. 

Rubens, the inheritor of the Venetian tradition, 
stands almost alone in the North for the boldness 
and originalit}^ of his colouring. No one painted 
with greater fearlessness and self-confidence. He 
saw colour in everything, and used it with the 
greatest audacity and decorative effect, delighting 
in warm yellows, browns, crimsons and even 
scarlet, a colour rarely used by the Venetians. 
Passing from his sumptuous canvases to the 
quieter pictures of his Dutch contemporaries we 
again find a strong feeling for colour, but differ- 
ently expressed. Rembrandt at the head of the 
School is as individual as Titian or Rubens. 
With him, as with Tintoretto and Correggio, 
colour and vigorous yet subtle chiaroscuro are in- 
separably bound up. In his pictures local colour 
is often lost in depths of luminous shadow. 
Broadly speaking, the chief characteristic of 
Dutch colouring is its fidelity and truth to nature. 
Not one of the Dutch painters but was a colourist, 
and this feeling for colour redeems many a coarse 
and unpleasant scene, and compensates for the 
frequent lack of beauty of face and form. The 
little genre scenes of Metzu, Terburg and De 
Hoogh are often gems of exquisite and harmoni- 
ous colour, with something of the brilliance of 
enamel. Nothing can surpass the faultless 



Colour 119 

colouring, deep, rich and glowing, of Terburg's 
Trumpeter Handhig a Dispatch in The Hague, or 
De Hoogh's Interior of a Dutch House in the 
National Gallery. In their painting of satin, 
velvet or fur, it was not only the colour but the 
very texture of the material they succeeded in 
reproducing. Terburg's white satin is as mar- 
vellous as De Hoogh's black velvet. 

When we compare the pictures of such colour- 
ists as Titian, Correggio, Rubens, Rembrandt, 
Watteau, Gainsborough, Turner, Delacroix, we 
find no two alike in their use of colour, though 
all are more or less true to nature. The great 
colourist never indeed aims merely at truth to 
nature, though his colour is always suggested 
by her. It has been said that colour may be 
either brilliant or harmonious, but is always suf- 
ficiently like nature if it does not oflFend the 
spectator. Truth is not the last word in colour. 
It is not a matter of truth, but of feeling. That 
colour can at times come perilously near the verge 
of extravagance and exaggeration may be seen in 
some of Turner's work. His most splendid effects 
are sometimes frankly impossible, atmospheric 
paradoxes, the dreams of his studio inspired by 
nature. He seizes upon sunset hues which in 
reality last but a fraction of a moment, and throws 
them in splendid profusion upon his canvas. Yet 
it would be hard to say that the whole effect is 
so unlike nature as to offend the eye, or that it is 
not justified by its beauty. It is the privilege of 
the artist to see farther than the rest of his fellows. 
Turner's reply to the lady who complained that 
she could not find in nature all the colours he 
had painted in his pictures, " Don't you wish you 
could, madam?" is based on a fuller under- 
standing of the painter's province than was the 



I20 How to Look at Pictures 

criticism. Perhaps more is to be learned of the 
magic of colour in nature from Turner, especially 
in his water-colours, than from any other painter. 
It is a common mistake to suppose that fine 
colour is necessarily gay, or that the best colour- 
effects are always the most striking. Turning 
from the pictures painted in the pure unbroken 
tints of the early Italian or Flemish masters to 
those of our own day, there is at first sight a loss 
of brilliance. • In so far as this is due to the 
modern painter's greater feeling for truth of tone, 
the loss is more than compensated, but it some- 
times happens that this modern practice of paint- 
ing in broken tints leads in unskilful hands to a 
certain sraeariness, producing a dirty or muddy 
effect of colour. One of the aims of the English 
Pre - RaphaeHte painters, disgusted with the 
brown, sad colouring of their contemporaries, was 
to obtain truth to nature by the use of purer 
colour. Returning to the methods of the primi- 
tive Florentine and Flemish masters, they_ faith- 
fully matched the local colour of every object in 
their pictures, sacrificing, however, unity of effect 
and achieving in consequence only partial truth. 
Even among quite modern painters there are 
some who, like Leighton, have never freed them- 
selves from this " tyranny of local colour." 
Again, the colour of a picture is often called brill- 
iant when it is really tawdry, dull because it is 
quiet, exaggerated when it is merely bold. Pic- 
tures of the East, with their unfamiliar scale of 
colour and lighting, are apt to strike the un- 
travelled spectator as crude and unnatural. In 
the same way, hot, violent tints are mistaken for 
rich, warm colour, while cool, pearly tones ap- 
pear to some cold and lifeless. As fine effects 
have been gained by the use of the colder colours 



Colour 121 

blue and gray as by the admittedly warmer reds, 
yellows and orange. It is well known that Gains- 
borough painted his famous Blue Boy in the Duke 
of Westminster's collection as a challenge to 
Reynolds, who had declared that a picture could 
not be made out of a cold colour while we get the 
effect of a hot summer day from many a modern 
landscape painted in a key of blues, grays and 
greens, without one touch of warm red or yellow. 
In nothing, perhaps, does an artist show his 
personal genius for colour more than in his paint- 
ing of flesh. There is every variety of complexion 
in art as in nature, from the healthy, ruddy flesh 
of Rubens to the green anaemic faces of Burne- 
Jones, from Giorgione's brown-faced Shepherd zxlA 
his golden-limbed Venus to the pink and white 
waxen creations of Netscher and Van der Werff. 
In the painting of flesh the Venetians and Cor- 
reggio are still unsurpassed. We find in them for 
the first time not only the colour, but the actual 
texture, of warm living flesh. There is no finer 
flesh-painting in the world than Correggio's 
Antiope in the lyouvre. In many pictures by the 
Venetians and Rubens we find admirable con- 
trasts between the fair skin of the women and the 
brown sunburnt faces and limbs of the men. In 
Titian's Holy Fa^nily in the National Gallery the 
Madonna and Child are admirably set off by the 
swarthy shepherd boy who kneels before them. 
This rich flesh-painting is in striking contrast 
with the hard, brick-red flesh of Giulio Romano 
and the Carracci, the greenish grays of Borgo- 
gnone or the brown of Leighton's nudes. Ru- 
bens' s magnificent rendering of flesh may be 
studied in all his pictures. Here too he followed 
the Venetians, adding to their lustre and brill- 
iancy something more of warm red. As Guido 



122 How to Look at Pictures 



Reni said, he surely must have mixed blood with 
his colours. He made frequent use, too, of 
crimson shadows, under eyes, nose, chin, and be- 
tween the fingers. In this he was followed by 
Van Dyck and the English painters Reynolds and 
Romney, who sometimes even defined the features 
with a red line. 





CHAPTER XIII 



I.IGHT AND shade; 



LIGHT and Shade, or Chiaroscuro, is in na- 
ture almost inseparable from colour, and 
the painter can hardly see them apart. But 
from the point of view of the spectator of a picture, 
as opposed to that of the artist, chiaroscuro may 
fairly be considered separately. 

Strongly defined light and shade is by no 
means necessary in pictorial art. Pure line draw- 
ing and purely decorative painting have little of 
it. The artists of Japan, whether working in 
black and white or in colours, achieve the most 
astoundingly successful rendering of solid form 
without the use of shadows. It is the tradi- 
tion of Japanese art to rely solely upon outline 
and flat colour to express form. Greek vase-paint- 
ing is also shadowless and flat. Early fresco- 
painting and some of the most successful mural 
painting of modern times consists in the use of 
broad flat masses treated decoratively with little 
modelling or relief. But European painting re- 
lies on the help of light and shade wherever 
modelling or the efiect of projecting and receding 
masses is required. The use of light and shade is 
indeed the basis of all modelling and all relief. 
By its means the subtlest and most delicate grada- 
tions of form may be rendered, even to the 
different planes upon flat surfaces. 

123 



124 How to Look at Pictures 

In its narrower but more generally accepted 
sense, the term " chiaroscuro" is used to express 
the broadest and strongest effects of light and 
shadow over the whole picture. After mentally 
eliminating line and colour, we can judge how 
far the effect is obtained by the distribution and 
the proportion of the light and shadow, always 
bearing in mind that it is only at some little dis- 
tance from a picture that its scheme of chiaroscuro 
can be adequately appreciated. 

Reynolds, when travelling in Italy as a student, 
was especially interested in the chiaroscuro of the 
great Venetian masters and jotted down in his 
notebook his own method of studying these effects 
detached from all other considerations. " When 
I observed," he writes, "an extraordinary effect of 
light and shade in any picture, I took a leaf out 
of my pocket-book and darkened every part of it 
in the same gradation of light and shade as the 
picture, leaving the white paper untouched to rep- 
resent the light, and this without any attention to 
the subject, or to the drawing of the figures. By 
this means you may likewise remark the various 
forms and shapes of those lights, as well as the 
objects on which they are flung, whether a figure 
or the sky, or a white napkin, animals, or utensils, 
often introduced for this purpose only. . . . 
Such blotted paper held at a distance from the eye 
will strike the spectator as something excellent 
for the disposition of light and shadow, though it 
does not distinguish whether it is a history, a 
portrait, a landscape, dead game or anything else; 
for the same principles extend to every branch of 
the art." 

Whether we use the term " chiaroscuro " in its 
wider or its more limited sense, the question is 
always one of gradations of light. All colour is 



Light and Shade 125 

modified by the degree of light or shadow falling 
upon it, as we noticed in the case of the red 
geranium held first against the light and then 
against a gray background. The amount and pro- 
portion of light or shade in a picture will of course 
depend upon the choice of the painter. He may 
consciously disregard chiaroscuro almost entirely 
to give an impression of flatness. He may em- 
phasise and exaggerate it beyond nature by the 
artificial devices of the studio, cutting off the light 
entirely on one side and concentrating it forcibly 
elsewhere. Any portrait will show the way in 
which it has been emploj^ed. If the light falls 
from the side, the shadows cast by the features 
will be so disposed as to give the due sense of re- 
lief, but they will differ from the deep shadows 
under eyes, nose and chin cast by a top light such 
as Hoppner, Raeburn and Lawrence continually 
used to obtain an easy and forcible effect of relief 
and modelling. Or he may prefer full outdoor 
effects, with the sunlight distributed broadly over 
the whole or falling fitfully from behind heavy 
clouds, touching near or distant objects with its 
gleams. 

We find examples of every method of chiaro- 
scuro in a picture-gallery. Early pictures, espe- 
cially those of the Florentine School, show the 
very simplest treatment of light and shade. This 
is partly due to the fact that the painters were 
accustomed to cover large wall-surfaces where, 
whether in mosaic or fresco, a broad flat treatment 
is the most effective. Just as a wall-paper with a 
pattern in high relief offends the eye, so wall- 
painting requires onlj'- so much relief as will make 
it intelligible. Giotto, skilled observer as he was, 
did not attempt to give the effect of light and 
shadow caused by the fire in his fresco of Sf. 



126 How to Look at Pictures 

Fraiicis before the Soldan in S. Croce at Florence. 
The blazing fire is represented as a dark mass 
against a lighter background, casting neither 
shadow nor reflection. In some early German 
pictures the flames of burning candles are mere 
touches of gold giving no suggestion of light. 
The Madonnas and Saints of the primitive Tus- 
can painters live in a shadowless world of their 
own. Where chiaroscuro is attempted it is gen- 
erally quite arbitrary, the light falling from dif- 
erent sides with no pretence to consistenc3\ 

The Venetian and Flemish painters emploj-ed a 
more vigorous chiaroscuro from the beginning, and 
the oil method which was introduced in the fif- 
teenth century lent itself to broader effects and 
greater depth of shadow. The ' ' New Manner ' ' of 
the sixteenth centurj-, as Vasari justh^ termed it, 
consisted largel}' in a greater unity of light and 
shade, a stronger feeling for modelling and relief, 
by means of which a far closer semblance to na- 
ture was obtained. With many artists chiaroscuro 
came to be no longer merelj' an aid to the repre- 
sentation of form but a source of aesthetic effect, 
an end in itself. The great chiaroscurists, Leo- 
nardo, Correggio, Tintoretto and Rembrandt, 
deliberateh- sought and found beauty in new and 
daring effects of light and shade. Compare them 
with their predecessors and the contrast is strik- 
ing. Instead of being uniforml}- distributed, the 
light is broken up so that but a fraction of the 
picture receives it, while the rest is in half 
shadow or deep, impenetrable gloom. According 
to Reynolds, the practice of the later Venetians 
appeared to be to allow not above a quarter of the 
picture for the light, including both principal and 
secondary lights, another quarter to be kept as 
dark as possible and the remainder in half shadow. 



Light and Shade 127 

' ' Rubens, ' ' he remarks, ' ' seems to have admitted 
rather more light thau a quarter and Rembrandt 
much less, scarcely an eighth ; by this conduct 
Rembrandt's light is extremely brilliant, but it 
costs too much, and the rest of the picture is 
sacrificed to this one object." 

The gradual appreciation of the aesthetic value 
of chiaroscuro opened out new and wider possi- 
bilities for pictorial art. By its means, objects 
and scenes, however fair in themselves, are en- 
dowed with an added halo of romance and beauty. 
Early art, in which everything was clear, hard 
and defined, knew nothing of the mystery-pro- 
ducing power of effects of half-light and deep ob- 
scurity. High lights gained an added brightness 
from contrast with deepest gloom. Shadows were 
found to be not black masses but luminous and 
full of colour. The influence of reflections, direct 
and indirect, on colour began to absorb attention. 
Painting gained both in scope and complexity. 
These were not the discoveries of one generation 
or of a single school, but little by little the search 
into the mysteries of light and shade by the pio- 
neers of chiaroscuro could not fail of its effect 
upon the art of painting. Leonardo, as Vasari 
narrates, not content with his darkest shadows, 
laboured constantly to discover the ground tone 
of others still darker, to the end that the light 
might thus be rendered yet more brilliant. The 
mysterious, unearthly effect of his Virgin of the 
Rocks in the Louvre is the result of this strong 
contrast between the bright light that illumines 
the faces and the deep obscurity of the surround- 
ings. Unfortunately his use of deep shadow was 
not without its baneful influence on contemporary 
painters like Fra Bartolommeo, who in their en- 
deavour to emulate Leonardo's effects of relief 



128 How to Look at Pictures 

blackened their shadows to the everlasting detri- 
ment of their pictures. To L,eonardo also is at- 
tributed the first deliberate adoption of indoor or 
studio light, with its carefully prearranged efifects. 
Tintoretto went farther, and to gain greater 
effect often made use of artificial light. His habit 
was to model little figures in wax or clay, placing 
them afterwards in a box with a lighted candle in 
order to study their chiaroscuro. In his hands 
light and shade became powerful instruments of 
dramatic expression. Many of his finest works 
at Venice, the Bacchus and Anad7ie in the Ducal 
Palace, the Anminciation in the Scuola di S. 
Rocco and the Marriage of Cana in the Salute, 
owe their chief beauty to the vigorous and force- 
ful chiaroscuro. Indeed many of Tintoretto's 
pictures depend entirely for their effect on his 
peculiar treatment of light and shade, in which 
local colour is entirely drowned. In the Bacchus 
and Ariad7ie the silvery light plays over the fig- 
ures and gleams on the naked flesh with subtle 
and delicate transparency. The complicated and 
effective lighting in the Marriage of Cana espe- 
cially excited the interest of the youthful Reyn- 
olds. ** This picture," he writes in his notebook, 
" has the most natural light and shadow that can 
be imagined. All the light comes from the several 
windows over the table. The woman who stands 
and leans forward to have a glass of liquor is of 
great service ; she covers part of the tablecloth so 
that there is not too much white in the picture, 
and by means of her strong shadows she throws 
back the table and makes the perspective more 
agreeable. But that her figure might not appear 
like a dark inlaid figure on a light ground her 
face is light, her hair masses with the ground, 
and the light of her handkerchief is whiter than 




Rembrandt. Woman Taken in Adulterv. National Gallerv, 



Light and Shade 129 

the tablecloth." If Tintoretto uses light to pro- 
duce dramatic eflfect, and Leonardo to enhance the 
subtle m5'ster)' of his creations, with Correggio it 
is the chief source of beauty, softening and sweet- 
ening all it touches. He is the Italian Rembrandt 
in his feeling for chiaroscuro, but a Rembrandt 
converted from gloom to sunshine, joyous, youth- 
ful, serene. 

The use of a forcible and striking chiaroscuro 
was carried beyond all legitimate limits by the 
followers and imitators of the great Italian chiaro- 
scurists, who in their endeavours to outvie their 
predecessors made for themselves a world of the- 
atrically contrasted light and darkness, peopled 
by grandiose, superhuman giants. Caravaggio is 
the head of these painters of extravagant effects, 
who earned for themselves the name of the 
" Tenebrosi," or Painters of Darkness. The 
Spanish painter Ribera, too, who founded his art 
on Correggio and Caravaggio, painted powerful 
and interesting effects of light and shade, which 
gave his pictures a peculiar interest. But in less 
capable hands the strong shadows used to enhance 
the effect of brilliant lighting ceased to be lumi- 
nous, vibrating and full of colour, and became 
cold, black and heav}'. Vigorous chiaroscuro 
degenerated into mere melodrama. 

It is when we come to Rembrandt that the 
whole mysterious beauty of chiaroscuro, with its 
power to lend a charm and dignity to the meanest 
subject, is revealed. In the work of his mature 
years he uses a system of inclosed radiance, the 
light breaking as it were from masses of deep and 
luminous shadow to fall keenly on some particu- 
lar object. This rich envelope of golden-brown, 
transparent shadow added a new glory to the 
masterly characterisation and sure modelling of 
9 



I30 How to Look at Pictures 

his figures. No oue before him had succeeded in so 
subduing the powers of day and night and bidding 
each perform its appointed part in pictorial effect. 
Does Rembrandt's briUiance of light really cost 
too much, as Reynolds suggests ? How is it pos- 
sible to accede to the proposition in the face of 
such masterly treatment as is displayed in the 
IVomaji Taken in Adultery in the National Gallery, 
the Pilgrims of Ein77tmis in the I^ouvre, the Rais- 
ing of the Cross in Munich, and the vast series of 
portraits of his middle and later periods, in which 
the light is focussed upon the most important pas- 
sage in the picture? Rembrandt's peculiar and 
personal treatment of chiaroscuro naturally ex- 
cited a host of followers and imitators. It is 
largely owing to his influence that the Dutch 
School is renowned for striking and poetical treat- 
ment of light. De Hoogh and Vermeer of Delft 
are almost modern in their treatment of light and 
shade. De Hoogh furnishes his simple, almost 
bare interiors with golden sunlight and rich 
colour. Vermeer delights in cool tones, blues and 
grays, and the effect of light pouring in through 
latticed window on wall and furniture. The 
same mysterious magic redeems the somewhat 
vulgar scenes of Adrian van Ostade and Brouwer, 
lifting them into the realm of beauty. 

Artists were not slow to perceive that by means 
of light and shade ever>' subject could be rendered 
interesting and beautiful. Reynolds's reply, 
w^hen at the height of his fame he was asked how 
he could bear to paint the ugly cocked-hats, bon- 
nets and wigs of his own time, " They all have 
light and shadow," must have seemed obvious 
enough to the great artist who, as a j-outh, had 
darkened the leaves of his pocket-book as he sat 
at the feet of Tintoretto and Veronese in Venice. 




De Hoogh. 



Interior. National Gallers- 



Light and Shade 131 

Even more have the painters of still life, of house- 
hold pots and pans, the implements and contents 
of the larder, proved that nothing is reallj' com- 
mon or unclean where observation and sympathy 
combine to perpetuate it in the form of art. 

Allusion has been made already to the veil or 
envelope of atmosphere intervening between the 
object and the eye. The nature or quality of this 
envelope depends on the amount of light upon it. 
This in its turn is determined by such considera- 
tions as the natural purity of the air, the time of 
day, the season of the year. According as the 
hght is pure and white or tinged with colour, the 
general effect will be cool or glowing. The light 
of early morning is perceptiblj' colder and more 
silverj' than the golden illumination of late after- 
noon. Again, the lighting of a picture may be 
natural or artificial, the hght of the studio or of 
the open air, and its influence upon near or distant 
objects must be correctly rendered. Truth of 
tone, or correct colour-value, for it is the same 
problem in another form, depends on the careful 
analysis and due appreciation of light, for tone is 
a question of the quantit}- of light reflecied by any 
given colour, which proves how intimate is the 
connection between colour and chiaroscuro. 

L,ight is the great unifying element in a picture. 
By consistent rendering of light and shade all the 
parts of the picture are brought into perfect rela- 
tionship. Compare such a picture as the Corona- 
tion of the Virgin in the National Gallery, ascribed 
to Orcagna, with its tier upon tier of saints and 
martyrs rising one behind the other, with Ter- 
burg's Peace of Miinster in the same collection. 
In the work of the Florentine there are no subtle 
gradations of tone, the light is inconsistent, being 
uniformly distributed over the foremost and most 



132 How to Look at Pictures 

distant figures. Those in the background are as 
brightly lighted as those in the foreground. In a 
word, there is no general scheme of light, each 
figure has been considered by itself. In Terburg's 
Peace of Mihister, on the contrar>% there is a well- 
considered scheme of light, a definite light-centre, 
to which every tone in the picture is related. He 
distinguishes with marvellous delicacy of tone the 
subtle differences between the figures in front and 
those behind and at the sides, giving to each its 
due proportion of light. The picture is a whole, 
not an aggregation of parts. 

It is this recognition of the unity of chiaroscuro 
which characterises modern art, and is the special 
heritage bequeathed by Velasquez to his artistic 
successors of to-day. Only by regarding the 
scene before him as a whole can a painter attain 
unity oi ensemble. With Velasquez this unity was 
a paramount consideration. He never looked at 
one part of the subject he was painting without 
.keeping in mind the general impression of the 
whole, the impression made upon the eye by a 
first glance. In this he differed from the older 
masters, the Venetians and Rubens, who sought 
unit}^ only by means of hue and decoratively dis- 
posed masses of colour, and practically ignored 
consistency of lighting and the finer subtleties of 
tone. Titian even went so far as to paint figures 
in full sunlight against a sunset sky. But there 
is painter's as well as poet's licence, and even in 
Watteau's most beautiful park and garden scenes 
the lighting is never that of the open air. 

It was in revolt against the general use of the 
subdued artificial light of the studio and in favour 
of more natural light effects, that a School of 
painters arose in France some thirty j^ears ago, 
and has since found sympathisers in every land. 




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Light and Shade 133 

The Plein-airists, as they are called, insisted on 
painting nature in the open air, and would hear 
nothing of studio landscapes. Intensely sensitive 
to momentary changes of light, which obviously 
require great rapidity of execution, they suc- 
ceeded in arresting and perpetuating effects un- 
known within doors, where the light remains long 
unchanged and is comparatively unaffected by 
considerations of hour or weather. The move- 
ment was directed in the first instance against the 
practice of painting landscapes almost entirely 
within doors, and consequently under conditions 
of light and atmosphere which could not possibly 
exist in nature. Even in winter the glass studios 
of the Plein-airists admit as nearly as possible the 
full light of the open air. Above all, they set 
themselves to interpret directly the effect of strong 
sunshine upon natural objects, its power of swal- 
lowing all local colour in a uniform silver haze. 
It was a step still farther in advance when the 
principles oiplein air were applied to indoor sub- 
jects. This new conception of light accounts no 
doubt, to some extent at least, for the absence in 
a collection of modern pictures of the low tones 
characteristic of the old masters. The general 
impression is distinctly brighter, even when we 
allow for the darkening influence of time. This 
more rational lighting of modern painting is in- 
deed a revolution from the stereotyped ' ' gallery 
tones" of the eighteenth century, but it needed 
all the artistic courage of a Constable or a Manet 
to break down a tradition so depressing and 
absurd. 



CHAPTER XIV 

COMPOSITION 

IT often happens when standing before a pic- 
ture which appears to be well drawn and 
pleasantly coloured, that we are conscious of 
something wanting. There seems to be no true 
centre, no rest for the eye, which loses itself in a 
maze of detail but gains no sense of unity or co- 
herence. This is probably because the picture is 
not well put together, the various elements not 
combined so as to produce one perfect whole ; 
in a word, the composition is faulty. For the 
painter, like the musician, has certain materials 
which, by skilful arrangement, he converts into a 
work of art. The musician deals with sounds, 
the painter with form and colour. And in both 
cases the work of art, be it symphony or picture, 
is the result of the harmonious combination of 
these elements. It is not enough that it should 
contain passages of undoubted beauty, if these 
be scattered and disconnected. A painter needs 
more than good draughtsmanship and a fine feel- 
ing for colour. He must also possess that sense 
of decorative proportion, of balance and unity, 
which prompts him to treat his picture as so much 
pattern, to weave his forms and colours into a 
well-considered scheme, in which all the parts are 
related to each other and to the whole. Many 
pictures lack this consistent disposition of their 

134 




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Composition 135 

component parts, with the result that we have, as 
it were, on one canvas several pictures, but no 
picture. The painter has thought more of each 
part, the morceau, than of the whole effect. 

Unity of composition is attained by several 
means, of which, as we have seen, harmonious 
line and consistent chiaroscuro are the most im- 
portant. The lines of a composition may repeat 
each other or be in direct contrast, but in either 
case they must be intimately related and lead up 
to the centre of the picture. Some pictures are 
knit together entirely by means of interlacing, 
harmonising lines, and though the scheme of 
light may be elementary and the colour spotted 
on almost as an afterthought, unity of composi- 
tion may still be preserved. The composition of 
most modern pictures is chiefly an affair of the 
careful distribution of hght, the painter seeking 
consistency of chiaroscuro and truth of tone before 
all else. 

Unity of action is also an important factor in 
good composition. There should be only one 
centre of interest, one principal figure or group, 
to which the rest of the picture is subordinate. 
This unity of action was entirely disregarded by 
many of the early painters, who in their desire to 
tell a story graphically often introduced several 
scenes into the same picture. This is done with 
curious effect in the fresco of The Omrch Militajit 
in the Spanish Chapel of S. Maria Novella in 
Florence, where the different incidents are not 
only piled on the top of each other, but the fig- 
ures even vary in size to suit the exigencies of 
space. In Masaccio's fresco of The Tribute 
Money in the Brancacci Chapel three distinct in- 
cidents are narrated, though in this case without 
losing unity of pictorial effect, the middle group 



136 How to Look at Pictures 

of Christ and his Apostles forming a true centre 
for the picture. Even Raphael in his Trans- 
figuration makes two distinct centres, the scene of 
the actual Transfiguration on the mountain and 
below, and, curiously enough in greater promi- 
nence, the secondar}^ incident of the healing of the 
demoniac. On the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, 
Michelangelo represented the Temptation, Fall 
and Expulsion from the Garden of Eden in one 
compartment. Though in such composite pictures 
unity of action is sacrificed, harmony of line and 
careful distribution of the masses help to preserve 
unity of composition. In Michelangelo's fresco 
the graceful lines of the figures draw the whole 
together, and there is no sense of isolation or rest- 
lessness. In the centre is the tree, from one side 
of which the tempter stretches out an arm to Eve, 
while Adam reaches for the fruit. On the right 
the avenging angel drives the guilty pair from 
Eden. The two groups, both composed of the 
same figures, balance one another perfectly, and 
the outstretched arms of the angel, the tempter 
and Adam link together the three principal 
masses. 

A somewhat similar difficulty confronts the 
painter of a portrait-group, where no sitter will 
consent to take a subordinate position. As we 
have seen, this problem had to be faced by the 
Dutch painters, when called upon to portray the 
members of some corporation or guild. To paint 
half a score of figures in a group may not be diffi- 
cult, but where each insists on individual con- 
sideration and equal prominence pictorial unity 
becomes well-nigh impossible. Many of these 
Regent pictures are nothing but charts, maps of 
faces, as it were. But the best artists, Hals and 
Ravesteyn, overcame the difficulty, and by skilful 




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Composition 137 

grouping and clever lighting contrived to infringe 
neither their patrons' wishes nor their own sense 
of harmonious composition. 

This diflSculty of grouping several figures to- 
gether was evaded by some of the early Italians, 
notably the Vivarini and Crivelli, who painted 
each figure of an altar-piece on a separate panel, 
uniting them afterwards in one common frame. 
In these " Anconas," where each figure appears 
in a separate framework, unity of composition is 
not attempted. Each saint is an independent be- 
ing, bearing but the most superficial relation to 
any other. Graduall}^ however, the framework 
between the figures was done away with, and 
definite attempts at harmonious grouping were 
made. 

It is obviousl)'^ easier to compose a picture of 
few and simple materials, of but one or two fig- 
ures, than to give coherence to a crowded scene. 
Yet even a picture of a single figure, a portrait, 
may be well or ill composed. It may crowd the 
frame, giving an uncomfortable sense of cramped 
space, or by being placed too much on one side or 
too high the figure may lose balance, and the 
picture seem lop-sided or top-heavy. How ad- 
mirably some portraits seem to fit their frames, 
without a feeling of either emptiness or crowding! 
Velasquez has wonderfully contrived to make us 
feel the depth of space surrounding the figure in 
his portraits. It sometimes happens that a 
painter, having begun his picture, feels that his 
subject is confined by the size of the canvas, and 
to meet this adds strips on either side to give a 
greater sense of space. The fresco-painter has no 
such opportunity. The size and shape of his 
wall-space are unelastic, and his picture must be 
composed to fit them. Raphael's Parnassus and 



138 How to Look at Pictures 

Mass of Bolsena in the Vatican are so finely com- 
posed that we scarcely realise how awkward were 
the spaces the painter was called upon to fill, a 
door cutting through the middle, leaving two 
diflScult corners. Again, his designs in the span- 
drels of the ceiling of the Farnesina may well be 
studied as triumphs of spacing. But apart from 
the peculiar difficulties affecting the fresco-painter, 
the actual composing of even a single figure needs 
experience and knowledge of space effect. We 
should have a sense of limitation and discomfort 
if, when designing a stooping figure, the artist so 
composed it that it w^ould be impossible for it to 
stand upright, or in the case of a figure in sus- 
pended action there were no room for the com- 
pletion of the movement. 

Still greater is the difficulty before the artist 
who has to give unity to a complex, crowded 
scene, to bring order out of disorder, and this 
without giving the impression of too elaborate ar- 
rangement or painfully acquired effect. For this 
kind of composition Rubens had a perfect instinct. 
At first sight his Lio7i Hunt in Munich gives an 
impression of wild disorder, horses, men and lions 
in a tangle of limbs and weapons. This is, of 
course, the artist's intention, a consciously sought 
effect of chaos, in which in reality there is perfect 
order and harmony. His Battle of the Amazons 
in the same gallery, and his Kerifiesse in the 
Louvre, are extravagantly crowded scenes with 
figures in every variety of attitude admirably 
composed, though with little apparent effort. In 
all the maze of figures the effect is never confused. 
In such large elaborate compositions the artist has 
always to bear in mind the fact that a picture 
must make an effective impression at the first 
glance. There must be some centre on which at- 




'S 



Composition 139 

tention is instinctively focussed. Afterwards the 
spectator may unravel the intricacies of the com- 
position, and enjoy the inter-relation of all the 
parts. It is here that Tintoretto's great Paradise 
in the Ducal Palace fails. There is too much for 
the eye to take in at a glance, and no point of 
vantage on which it can rest in the welter of fig- 
ures. The general impression is one of scattered 
confusion. 

As illustrating the difierent means b}^ which 
painters achieve unity of composition, we may 
compare the apparently careless, natural grouping 
of such pictures as Jan Steeu's Faviily of the 
Painter at The Hague, The Haymakers of Bastieu- 
Lepage or Millais's Carpenter's Shop with the 
formal symmetrical arrangement of Memlinc's 5/. 
yohn Altar-piece, Raphael's ►S/^i7W/>/^ or Titian's 
Assumption. In the first instances the composi- 
tion appears easy and unpremeditated. There is 
no attempt at symmetry, and the impression made 
by the pictures is one of spontaneity and truth to 
life. We can well believe that Jan Steen painted 
his picture from what he saw in the parlour of 
his own inn, where he and his friends were mak- 
ing merry. The Haymakers is a lifeHke repre- 
sentation of a man and woman resting from their 
labours under the glare of the noonday sun. The 
scene in the Carpenter' s Shop where the whole in- 
terest centres round the child Christ, who has 
hurt his hand on a nail, is one that the painter 
might have observed for himself in some modern 
workshop. How dififerently it would have been 
treated by one of the old masters! But for all the 
apparent ease of grouping in such pictures, a little 
research will in every case reveal the painter's 
care for order and balance. In well-composed 
pictures every detail is arranged with a view to 



I40 How to Look at Pictures 

the whole, every figure, every attitude duly con- 
sidered, and often the most apparently natural 
composition is the result of infinite study and re- 
flection. By way of testing the composition, take 
away or transpose a single figure and the effect 
will often be irretrievably marred ; add another, 
and the result may be to spoil the whole balance 
of the picture. 

When we turn to the second group of pictures 
our impressions are quite different. Instead of 
natural grouping we find formal orderly arrange- 
ment, and often perfect symmetry. In the Sposa- 
lizio the group of the Virgin and her maidens on 
the left is repeated on the right by that of Joseph 
and the disappointed suitors. In the middle 
stands the high priest, who joins the hands of 
bride and bridegroom, and the temple behind, 
with the steps leading up to it, completes the well- 
balanced composition. The reason for this formal 
arrangement is not far to seek. Such pictures as 
these were painted to hang in a definite place, to 
form part of the decoration of some church, where, 
from over high altar or side-chapel, they could be 
advantageously seen by the worshippers. Under 
these circumstances it is evident that the painter 
is not free to compose his picture independently 
of all considerations beyond his personal taste. A 
picture painted for a definite position must be de- 
signed to harmonise with its surroundings ; in a 
word, architectonic conditions must be fulfilled. 
The main lines of the composition must repeat 
and carry on the Hues of the building, or con- 
sciously contrast with them to give variety. It is 
essential that something of the symmetrical pro- 
portions of the architecture should find an echo in 
the picture painted to adorn it, that the painter 
should bring the grouping of the figures within 




to 



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Composition 141 

his frame to some extent into harmony with the 
lines and masses without. When Titian com- 
posed his great Assnmptmi for the high altar of a 
church in Venice, he little dreamed that one day 
the picture would be removed from its setting and 
hung in a picture-gallery, where its intention and 
decorative fitness are lost and forgotten. He in- 
stinctively adopted a less formal arrangement for 
an easel picture intended to hang upon the wall 
of a private palace, as was the BaccJnis and 
Ariadne now in the National Gallery, where the 
composition is irregular and unbalanced almost 
to confusion. 

The fresco-painter in particular is bound by 
considerations of the building he is called upon 
to adorn. He too must design his pictures so as 
to obtain the best effect from the place where they 
will be most frequently seen. For this purpose 
the simplest composition is often the best, and a 
careful arrangement of lines tells better than 
elaborate effects of colour or chiaroscuro. Leon- 
ardo's Last Supper is not only a magnificent com- 
position in itself, but is admirably designed for 
the end- wall of a spacious refectory, where as they 
sat at meals the monies could see the long table of 
the picture forming, as it seemed, part of the room 
itself, and, like the high table in a college hall, 
slightly raised above the rest. It was obviously 
convenient for this purpose to range the Apostles 
on the far side of the table, facing the room, with 
Christ in the middle ; and to vary this long line 
the painter has broken it into four groups, uniting 
them, however, with consummate skill through 
the expressive action of the hands. Veronese's 
Marriage of Ca?ia in the Louvre, and his Feast in 
the House of Levi in the Venice Academy, though 
not frescoes, were painted for a similar position, 



142 How to Look at Pictures 

aud much of their purpose is missed where they 
now hang among other pictures in a gallery. 
Correggio's desire to annihilate the architectural 
limits of the dome in the Cathedral of Parma, to 
pierce it, as it were, and make the spectator be- 
lieve he was gazing up into space, was a bold de- 
vice on the part of the painter, a tour de force of 
perspective and composition, which in any other 
hands could scarcelj^ have hoped to succeed. The 
antithesis of this kind of illusory composition is 
one often found in Venetian churches, where the 
painter by a trick of perspective makes a flat 
ceiling appear elaborately vaulted. 

With regard, however, to the formal grouping 
of the old Italian pictures, it is only fair to re- 
member that in many cases the artists were follow- 
ing the old-established traditions of composition 
favoured by the Church, from which they but 
gradually escaped to a more individual conception. 
Not until after studying some of the early sculp- 
tured reliefs and mosaics is it possible to realise 
how closely the painters of the Renaissance ad- 
hered to the designs of their predecessors. The 
traditional composition of the Baptism of Christ, 
as it ma)' be seen in mosaic in the Baptistery of 
St. Mark at Venice, was repeated with little 
change until the sixteenth century. Christ stands 
in the river in the middle of the picture, on one 
side St. John the Baptist from a rocky bank pours 
water over his head, on the other kneel three little 
angels holding Christ's garments. So Giotto ren- 
dered this incident in the Arena Chapel at Padua, 
and even Bellini kept to the old arrangement in his 
altar-piece at Vicenza, adding, however, a beauti- 
ful mountainous landscape setting aud a luminous 
sky. Again, the customary composition of the 
scene of the Transfiguration varied little from the 




Titian. Assumption of the \'irgin. Academy, Venice. 



Composition 143 

sixth ceutur>' to the sixteenth. Duccio's little 
Transfiguration in the National Gallery is scarcely 
less Byzantine than its prototypes, and even Ra- 
phael two hundred years later repeated the same 
grouping with but slight alteration. New sub- 
ject-matter alone called forth the artist's powers 
of invention and arrangement. When Giotto 
painted the legend of St. Francis in twenty-eight 
scenes on the walls of the Upper Church at Assisi, 
he had no older models to turn to. No painter be- 
fore him had translated the well-known story into 
pictorial form, and created a traditional rendering 
to be copied with little variation for centuries to 
come. Giotto was obliged to compose for himself, 
and with wonderful skill he designed these dra- 
matic though simple scenes, grouping his figures 
in the most expressive attitudes and uniting them 
in some common interest. Again, when mytho- 
logical and historical subjects came into fashion, 
there existed no established forms to follow, and 
artists were forced to originate their designs. 

In many pictures it will be found that the com- 
position can be inclosed within some simple and 
geometrical figure, such as a triangle or pyramid. 
Sometimes, indeed, it seems based upon the use 
of two such figures of different dimensions. Fra 
Bartolommeo was the first who deliberatel)^ 
adopted the pyramidal form of composition to 
gain grand monumental efiect. Nearly all his 
altar-pieces are designed on this principle. Ra- 
phael borrowed it from him, as we see in La Belle 
y ardiniere and many of the pictures of his second 
period. Titian uses it with supreme efiect in his 
Entombment in the Louvre, and Giorgione, though 
in a somewhat irregular form, in his Fete Cham- 
petre in the same gallery. By the seventeenth 
century pyramidal composition had become almost 



144 How to Look at Pictures 

a canon of art in Italy, and was repeated to weari- 
ness by Raphael's imitators. The pyramid, in- 
deed, like any other regular figure, gives a sense 
of rest to the eye, and carries with it a suggestion 
of strength and dignity. Even in the less formal 
compositions of the Dutch masters and of modern 
painters the grouping is often arranged somewhat 
on the lines of an irregular pyramid. Hogarth 
indeed in his Analysis of BeatUy recommended 
it as the best form of composition. 




CHAPTER XV 



TREATMENT 



IT must be obvious, even to the most casual ob- 
server, that painters appear to see the world 
of form and colour from which they derive 
their material in many different ways, from infi- 
nitely varying points of view, and record their 
observations in every conceivable manner. One 
seems to regard his canvas as a mirror in which 
he strives to reflect with unswerving fidelity and 
care the things around him, whatever they may 
be. Another, apparently treating nature as a 
storehouse, selects such familiar objects and 
scenes as appeal to him and invests them with a 
beautj' and distinction all his own. Yet another 
gives us fanciful unfamiliar effects suggestive of 
dream-life rather than of the everyday world 
around us. And the question inevitably arises 
whether all these ways of looking at nature and 
of painting her are proper to the painter's art. 
What does he seek to attain ? What means may 
he employ ? With the limitations imposed by his 
medium how far can he hope to succeed ? And 
with the answers to these questions a number of 
much - abused terms are bound up — Realism, 
Idealism, Classicism, Naturalism, Impressionism 
— which are convenient enough to express certain 
broad tendencies or points of view, but fail at 

lo 

145 



146 How to Look at Pictures 

once if used as labels in a rigid system of picture 
classification. 

One of the first questions to occur to most peo- 
ple in looking at a picture is whether or not it 
resembles nature. Should not every picture re- 
semble, even imitate, nature, and if so, how closely 
can it do so ? This is rudimentary criticism, but 
none the less of real importance. 

In a sense all painting must from the necessity 
of the case imitate nature, but equally of necessity 
it can only do so to a limited extent. Painting 
is after all a deception, a trick, a convention by 
which objects in three dimensions are represented 
in terms of two only, by means of line, colour, 
aud light and shade. The painter imitates nature 
in the sense that he takes natural forms for his 
models. But there, strictly speaking, imitation 
ends. Indeed, were it to be desired, complete 
imitation of nature is not to be attained in paint, 
if alone for the fact that the vast discrepancy in 
actual brilliance between the brightest pigments 
and the hues of nature can never be overcome. 
Even if colour photography were perfected its 
imitation of nature would be but partial. And 
further, the fact that the artist is a human being, 
not a machine, an individual with strong tastes 
and sympathies, implies that personal interpreta- 
tion of nature which is the very essence of pic- 
torial art. It is strange that the misconception 
of art as a slavish imitation of nature should 
have taken so strong a hold of men's minds. It 
is a fallacy hard to dispel. Burger expressed the 
whole truth when he wrote : "In the works which 
interest us the authors substitute themselves, so 
to speak, for nature. However commonplace the 
natural n:aterial may be, their perception of it is 
special and rare." 



Treatment 147 

When discussing portraiture and landscape we 
noticed that no two artists see the same thing 
alike and consequently never render it in exactly 
the same way. Even such a consideration as 
that of short or long sight has its influence in this 
assertion of individuality. It may be that, giving 
full rein to his fancy, the painter seeks rather to 
emphasise and develop those qualities and char- 
acteristics in his subject which most appeal to his 
own sympathies. These may tend strongly in 
one direction, in that of an intensely emotional 
and personal interpretation rather than in faithful 
and detailed reproduction of what his eyes record. 
His training, the influences about him, may pre- 
dispose him to such imaginative treatment. His 
mind may be stored with images nobler, more in- 
spired than those of his fellow-men. He may see 
with the eyes of the poet and invest all that he 
paints with the glory of his vision. His quest 
may be the unattainable in art, and his triumph 
to approach it ever so distantly. Such is the at- 
titude of the Idealist. On the other hand, the 
painter may consciously strive to reproduce the 
objects and scenes before him exactly as they ap- 
pear to his eye, omitting nothing, altering no- 
thing, concealing nothing in his quest after truth. 
This point of view is that of the Realist. 

Every artist is inevitably something of an Ideal- 
ist as well as something of a Realist. The terms 
cannot be mutually exclusive. We often hear it 
said that a subject has been treated realistically 
or ill a spirit of idealism, and it is a common 
practice to divide all painters into two great 
classes, Idealists and Realists. This division 
once accomphshed to the satisfaction of the would- 
be critic, his next step will almost inevitably be 
to consider either the one or the other as the only 



148 How to Look at Pictures 

true exponents of art. Yet each merely repre- 
sents a different point of view from which art may 
be regarded. Even in so far as these terms repre- 
sent opposite tendencies, misunderstanding has 
arisen through the confounding of quite alien 
issues. In the minds of many Idealism is associ- 
ated with religious art, and applies to the spiritu- 
ality of a Perugino or an Ary Scheffer, quite 
overlooking the intensely realistic treatment of 
religious subjects by a Roger van der Weyden or 
a Holman Hunt. Others connect it with moral 
teaching, oblivious of the fact that Hogarth was 
both the greatest moralist and the sternest realist 
of his time. Others again confuse it with the 
sentimentality of a Carlo Dolci or a Greuze, or 
with the artificiality of a I^e Brun or an Overbeck. 
In the same way Realism has become popularly 
identified with sensualism and vulgarity, with 
ugliness and deformity, heedless of the fact that 
it is connected with an attitude of mind, a point 
of view, and not with choice of subject. 

However misleading such associations, there is 
certainly a great deal in the history of painting to 
account for their prevalence. Raphael expressed 
the true spirit of Idealism when he declared that 
he drew men and women, not as they were, but 
as they ought to be. This became the aim of the 
artists who succeeded him, but their forms were 
too often empty and exaggerated, devoid alike of 
natural truth and of ideal beauty. It came to be 
generally accepted as a principle that nature was 
alwaj'S imperfect, weak or over-minute, and must 
be corrected by art. Reynolds, who was deeply 
imbued with Italian Idealism, declared that " the 
great artist will leave it to lesser men to paint the 
minute discriminations which distinguish one ob- 
ject of the same species from another, while he. 



Treatment 149 

like the philosopher, will consider nature in the 
abstract." Working in this spirit, many painters 
had no desire for searching truth to nature, but 
deliberately generalised everything they painted 
in the full belief that so they would achieve great 
art. These principles were often reduced to an 
absurdity by the would-be heroic painters of the 
eighteenth century in England and France. We 
find David, in his great picture of Ugolino and his 
two sons perishing of starvation in prison, invest- 
ing the dying figures with the most perfect classi- 
cal forms and proportions, well furnished with 
flesh and muscle, and carefully posed according 
to the ideas of composition accepted in his day. 
This bastard idealism, though the very negation 
of truth to nature, was yet widely removed from 
the true idealism of the great imaginative painters 
of all times. 

Idealism then in painting, taking the word in 
its broader sense, implies the free poetical interpre- 
tation of nature even at the sacrifice of literal truth. 
And indeed the demonstration of naked truth is 
never the sole aim and end of art. The idealist 
goes beyond it, sees farther, penetrates deeper into 
the soul of nature, his vision is more beautiful, 
more complete than ours. There is indeed ad- 
mittedly a point at which want of truth to nature 
becomes a fault, and the most daring painters 
have at times exceeded even the painter's licence. 
But short of shocking the spectator who possesses 
some power of imagination, by the presentment 
of something entirely unfamiliar even to his mind, 
this want of truth will not in itself detract from 
the beauty of a picture. It has been remarked 
with justice that but seldom in the history of 
painting has the exaggeration of untruthfulness, 
whether in form or colour, lost all that it had 



150 How to Look at Pictures 

sought to win by splendour of effect and boldness 
of treatment. One exception must indeed be 
made in pleading this only secondary importance 
of truth to nature. When Turner imagined a 
castle for his Rivers of France and called it the 
Chateau of Amboise, it mattered little that it was 
so different from the real castle of that name as to 
be practically unrecognisable. But with a por- 
trait it is different. It is not that the mere copy- 
ing of nature is sufficient here any more than in 
a landscape, but it is essential that the portrait 
should resemble the original. Even such irrecon- 
cilable Classicists as David and Ingres, devoted as 
they were to the pursuit of what was to be more 
beautiful, more sublime than nature, fully recog- 
nised the need for a more natural style, a greater 
realism in their portraits. 

In direct contrast with the aim of the idealist is 
that of the painter who desires to reproduce faith- 
fully what he sees, and values truth of effect more 
than imaginative qualities. The extreme of real- 
ism is reached when the effect achieved is that of 
a trompe I' ml, an illusion, cleverly contrived to 
cheat us into believing that art is nature, a 
painted surface a solid form. This trick, which 
from the days of Zeuxis has found its admirers, is 
successful only in proportion as it is inartistic. 
For, as we have seen, imitation of nature is not 
the intention of art. Even so great an artist as 
Veronese painted a number of these trompe Vceil 
in a villa near Castelfranco, which he was decorat- 
ing for a Venetian nobleman. As you enter the 
hall, a page in the costume of the sixteenth cent- 
ury, slashed doublet and trunk hose, looks in- 
quiringly at you from behind a half-open door. 
It is a moment before you realise that door and 
page exist only in paint. From a gallery running 



Treatment 151 

round one of the rooms, two ladies and a dog look 
down on the visitor. Again, ladies and gallery- 
are but the result of skilfully manipulated paint 
on the flat wall. These illusions, designed by the 
great Venetian painter in a spirit of play, can 
obviously not be taken seriously. The sternest 
realist understands the limits of his art, and 
knows that truth to nature is merely a compara- 
tive term. 

Truth in art has almost as many aspects as in 
morals or philosophy. The painter may under- 
stand it as truth of general effect, possibly to the 
neglect of truth of detail. A forest glade, a wide 
landscape, an interior with figures may be painted 
as they look when regarded as a whole in a mo- 
mentary glance, before the eye has time to take 
in details. On this side of truth to nature Impres- 
sionism lies. The Realist of broad effects and the 
modern Impressionist aim at truth of aspect or 
impression before all else. Their object is to re- 
present their impression of a scene received at a 
given moment, to record what they actually see 
rather than what by reasoning and closer exami- 
nation they know. They paint appearances, not 
facts. The ordinary man looks at nature in the 
light of certain preconceived ideas, founded upon 
conventional standards of some kind, any depart- 
ure from which is heresy. ' ' To such the grass is 
always green, the sky blue, and those distant de- 
tails which his memory helps to define, he hon- 
estly thinks he is actually seeing with his naked 
eye." The realist of impression rejects all such 
foregone conclusions, and is not afraid to paint 
grass purple if, owing to the peculiar effect of 
light or shadow, it so appears to him, though he 
knows it to be in fact green. Nor does he deliber- 
ately select the finest scenery or models and paint 



152 How to Look at Pictures 

them only when they are beautifully illuminated 
or composed. To him truth is beauty in a very 
wide sense. And so he often chooses what are to 
the spectator at first sight unfamiliar and unlovely 
phases of nature, seized at random and painted as 
they actually appear, not as the chromolithogra- 
phist or photographer might arrange them. It is 
this seizing and rendering of the more fleeting 
and unfamiliar aspects of nature that shocks many 
people who see for the first time the pictures of 
Whistler, Manet, Claude Monet and the many 
painters who work in their traditions. But the 
very fact that a picture strikes the inexperienced 
eye as impossible and untrue is often merely evi- 
dence that it represents some aspect or mood of 
nature which the spectator has never had the 
power of seeing for himself. It often happens 
that a momentary effect of sunlight on cloud or 
hill appears strange and unnatural even in nature. 
It will be still more so when transferred to a pic- 
ture, and it is not to be wondered at that one who 
has not seen it in nature will scarcely credit it in 
art. 

In the same way as there is a realism of general 
effect, so is there also a realism of detail. The 
painter who treats his subject minutely and with 
elaborate detail is equally with the other seeking 
truth, but it is truth of fact and not truth of ap- 
pearaaice. A modern critic has expressed it as 
the attempt to reproduce the appearance of things 
' ' seen as it were through a microscope, and after- 
wards painted at the proper distance more by 
memory of details previously discovered than by 
actual sight." The minute painting of detail in 
many Flemish and Italian pictures illustrates this 
attitude. When we look into a room we do not 
see everything at once. If the eyes be opened for 



Treatment 153 

a second only and then closed again, they receive 
but an impression more or less definite of the gen- 
eral efiect. But if we look carefully round on 
every side, into every corner, making notes of the 
shape and colour and lighting of every single ob- 
ject within our range of vision, and then paint 
them as accurately as we can, the result will cer- 
tainly be realistic. But such minute realism of 
detail is too often obtained at the sacrifice of the 
broader aspect of truth, truth of general effect. 

For instance, the English Pre-Raphaelites, 
Holman Hunt and Millais, in the fervour of reac- 
tion against the vague generalisation of contem- 
porary art, and following in the footsteps of their 
Italian predecessors of the fifteenth century, de- 
liberately emphasised and even exaggerated ac- 
curacy of detail and truth of local colour. When 
Millais paints a heap of straw on the ground in 
the corner of his Retiwn of the Dove he does not 
give the actual effect it would produce on the eye 
in that position, but paints it as if the whole atten- 
tion were concentrated upon each wisp at a time. 
It is the same with his colouring. Every patch 
of local colour is painted as it looks independently 
of the whole effect. In such pictures the eye can 
never lose and find itself again, and pictorial unity 
is sacrificed to the excessive elaboration of each 
part. This tendency is carried to excess in Hol- 
man Hunt's Shadow of Death at Manchester, 
where even the shavings on the floor are rendered 
with a realism as minute and searching as it is 
wearisome to the eye. 

Such conscientious and unswerving fidelity de- 
mands a treatment equally minute and painstak- 
ing. Minute treatment may indeed be combined 
with breadth of effect, as in the best Dutch mas- 
ters, Terburg and Metzu. Their delicacy and 



154 How to Look at Pictures' 

perfection of finish can hardly be surpassed, yet 
the detail does not force itself into notice. Meis- 
sonier's finish is almost of the same quality. The 
brush strokes are so minute as to be scarcely per- 
ceptible. Yet there is nothing niggling. The 
best of this scrupulously fine painting pleases as 
much by its beautiful texture and richness of 
colour as by its delicacy and sureness of technique. 
But this is not always the case. Gerard Dou, for 
example, often loses more than he gains by his 
extreme minuteness. Carried to excess the result 
seems laboured and affected, as if the painter 
cared more for skill of hand than for artistic pre- 
sentment. He is said to have spent days painting 
onl}^ the handle of a broomstick. Peter van 
Slingelandt's work claimed to stand the test of a 
magnifying glass. He boasted that one of his 
small pictures occupied him three years, one 
month being devoted exclusively to the ruffles 
and frills of a single figure. The result is mar- 
vellous, but it is not art. 

In the strongest contrast is the bold execution 
of those painters who have sought above all to 
give breadth of effect by dashing and vigorous 
brushwork. Hals, Rembrandt, especially in his 
maturity, Velasquez and Sargent display a sure- 
ness of eye and hand as remarkable as anything 
in the Microscopic School. The sense of power 
over the medium is even more apparent. The 
brush-marks are there for all to see just as the 
painter dashed them on with swift, nervous cer- 
tainty. How audacious the handling in Sargent's 
Carmencita ! There is strength and virility in 
such treatment that no other can suggest, and as 
fine a sense of completeness, of consummate 
achievement as is known in art. Hals' s Lazighing 
Cavalier is a magnificent example of vigorous 




Sargent. Carniencita. Luxembourg. 



Treatment 



155 



brushwork combined with wonderful delicacy in 
the working out of the pattern of the dress. To 
gain the whole effect of such pictures, the spec- 
tator must stand at some little distance, when the 
patches and splashes of colour fall each into its 
due place in the general scheme. As Rembrandt 
remarked to someone who was looking too closely 
into one of his paintings, pictures are intended to 
be looked at, not smelled. 




CHAPTER XVI 



METHODS AND MAT^RIAI^ 

MANY people who constantly visit galleries 
and even possess collections of their own, 
take little or no interest in the technical 
processes by which a picture is built up. Some 
indeed regard this side of painting as " scarcely 
superior to cookery. ' ' And indeed from the point 
of view of aesthetic enjoyment, there is no need to 
know exactly how a work of art has been pro- 
duced. To others again, and especially to the 
painter, a considerable portion of his pleasure 
comes from this very consideration. As he alone 
fully understands, so he is perhaps alone able 
fully to appreciate the difficulties with which the 
artist has had to contend and his success in over- 
coming them. He will know exactly how each 
effect has been gained. Sometimes this technical 
side of painting may occupy the painter-critic too 
much, almost, it would seem, to the exclusion of 
aesthetic pleasure, but certainly as a rule it is too 
little understood by the layman. 

The effect of a picture is largely determined by 
the materials used in painting it. As far as mod- 
ern painting is concerned, most people can readily 
distinguish between oil, water-colour and pastel. 
But this elementary experience is of little use in 
a study of old pictures, painted before the dis- 
covery of these now well-known methods. In 

156 



Methods and Materials 157 

painting a picture the artist has to decide not 
only what pigments he will employ, but also the 
ground on which they are to be painted, and the 
medium by which he will apply them. These 
grounds or foundations are either of wood, can- 
vas, plaster or copper ; the mediums employed 
various animal and vegetable oils and resins, and 
water. 

Several references have been made to fresco- 
painting, especially in connection with ItaUan art. 
Much of the Italian painting of the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries was executed directly on the 
plastered walls of churches, monasteries and 
palaces. This method is obviously suitable only 
in comparatively dry climates ; hence its almost 
exclusive connection with Italy. Even the Vene- 
tians found it impracticable in the damp air of 
their lagoons, and in its place used canvas 
stretched into wooden frames fastened on the 
walls. In true fresco, buon fresco, as the Italians 
call it, the colours, moistened with water, are 
painted on to a damp plaster ground, previously 
prepared on the wall. As this dries, a chemical 
process takes place, by which the colours are 
firmly bound in with the plaster, the painting 
thus becoming an integral part of the wall itself. 
As in this true fresco the work must be done 
v/hile the plaster is still damp, the painter prepares 
only so much of the wall-surface as he thinks he 
can paint in one day, at the end of which he 
scrapes away any plaster that is still uncovered. 
The next day he lays another expanse adjoining 
the surface already painted. It is possible in 
some frescoes, even by means of photographs, to 
detect these joints in the plaster, and thus to esti- 
mate how much the painter was able to accomplish 
in one day. In Michelangelo's Adam on the 



158 How to Look at Pictures 

ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, it is easy to see where 
the painter left off after each sitting. From its 
very nature fresco-painting demands broad, rapid 
treatment and great sureness of hand. Nothing 
can be altered when once the plaster has dried, 
unless indeed the artist entirely destroys his work, 
scrapes away the painted ground and lays a fresh 
one. Painters who were not suflBcientl}^ skilful to 
finish their work in one sweep, as it were, added 
afterwards touches a secco, when the plaster was 
dry. These additional touches were added in 
tempera. 

In the Middle Ages, before the introduction of 
an oil medium, tempera was universally used for 
altar-pieces and easel pictures, and even afterwards 
was not entirely discarded. In this method the 
ordinary medium for mixing and applying the 
colours was yolk of &gg, and it is in this sense that 
Vasari uses the term tempera. The colours were 
laid upon prepared panels, and were afterwards 
varnished. If fresco requires broad, rapid, effec- 
tive treatment, tempera lends itself to minute 
delicacy of touch, refinement and finish. The 
medium being one that dries rapidly, the colours 
are usually stippled on with fine sable brushes, in 
a succession of small strokes. Hence a certain 
dryness of effect and a want of depth, the colours 
not flowing and blending as in oil-painting. The 
permanence of the egg medium is one of its great 
advantages. Many pictures dating from four 
centuries ago appear as fresh and brilliant as 
though painted only yesterday. 

It was not until the fifteenth centur}'- that oil- 
painting came into general use. For centuries 
painters, aware of its valuable qualities, had ex- 
perimented with oil as a medium, but its thick- 
ness and clumsiness as compared with other 



Methods and Materials 159 

mediums had always seemed to render it unsuit- 
able for fine work. Yet tempera had its draw- 
backs also, in its very quality of dryness and want 
of flow. The discovery of an oil medium sufl5- 
ciently refined to be used in the most delicate 
painting belongs not to Italy but to the North, 
and was due to the Flemish painters Hubert and 
Jan van Eyck. It is, however, more than as- 
tonishing that the first picture which has come 
down to us in the new medium should display 
such perfect mastery of handling. The great 
altar-piece of the Adoratio7i of the Lamb shows no 
trace of inexperienced or tentative technique. 
The colours are warm and transparent, with a 
depth and gloss unknown to tempera-painting. 
It is clear that the difficulties inherent in the use 
of the new medium had been already overcome. 
What Van Eyck's discovery actually was remains 
a puzzle even to this day. He seems to have 
produced, by a mixture of certain oils and resin- 
ous substances, a medium which dispensed with 
the use of a final varnish, being medium and 
varnish in one. To render this sufficiently quick- 
drying and colourless was perhaps the most im- 
portant of the problems he managed to solve. 
The Flemish artists painted on careful!}^ prepared 
panels, overlaid with a white ground. Their 
method was to paint in the picture in grisaille 
with tempera, finishing it with transparent glazes 
of oil colour. 

This northern method was in due course intro- 
duced into Italy by Antonello da Messina towards 
the end of the fifteenth centur3^ Alread)' Do- 
menico Veneziano, Baldovinetti and Piero della 
Francesca, in their experiments with various 
vehicles, had attempted the use of an oil medium. 
Veneziano' s Enthro7ied Madonna and Piero' s 



i6o How to Look at Pictures 

Nativity, both in the National Gallery, are painted 
in oil, and the old legend of Castagno's murder of 
Veneziano for the sake of obtaining this secret 
points to the interest shown by Italian painters 
in the great question. Antonello's innovation 
worked a revolution in Italian art. The Italians, 
and especially the Venetians, used a more solid 
impasto than did the artists of the North, who 
painted somewhat thinly. The Venetians also 
preferred canvas or linen to wooden panels. As 
a ground canvas offers many advantages over 
wood. It is more easily obtainable, can be of any 
size and does not crack. Even its slight rough- 
ness of texture may be of use to the painter, who 
sometimes covers it so thinly with paint that the 
rough surface below is distinctly visible, just as 
the Dutch painters on panel would often allow a 
hint of the brown wood to show through the semi- 
luminous paint of sky or sea. The life, breadth 
and freedom displayed in the painting of the six- 
teenth century had been impossible without the 
introduction of this new method. Michelangelo 
alone among his contemporaries refused to work 
in oil, pronouncing it a method fit only for women, 
but time has scarcely justified this opinion. 

Different as the modern oil picture is from a 
tempera-painting, and even from the old Flemish 
method in that the varnish is generally applied 
over the finished picture, it is by no means easy 
in every case to determine the medium used in 
old pictures. Even experts hesitate to pronounce 
decidedly on some examples, such as Bellini's 
Blood of the Redeemer in the National Gallery, 
which seem to he on the borderland between the 
oil and the older &gz medium. The fifteenth 
century was in this respect a period of transition, 
the old method being gradually discarded in 



Methods and Materials i6i 

favour of a new one not as yet perfectly under- 
stood. Morelli himself says that in many cases 
it is impossible to say confidently what particular 
colours or varnishes the painter has made use of, 
nor even to decide whether the picture is painted 
entirely in tempera or finished with glazes of oil. 
But, generally speaking, there is a sufiiciently 
marked difference between the careful, minute 
and precise method of a typical tempera picture 
and the freer, more flowing effect of oil-painting. 
Compare, for example, in the National Gallery, 
Filippo I^ippi's Anyiunciation and St. John and 
Saints and Crivelli' s Ammna'atwn, all in tempera, 
with the pictures by Andrea del Sarto, Titian 
and Veronese. Here the distinction is marked 
and offers no question. The early Flemish oil- 
paintings, on the other hand, are as minute and 
delicate in execution as anything in tempera, but 
their greater flow and luminous depth, and the 
absence of small brush-marks, abundantly illus- 
trate the difference. Even after oil came into 
universal use as a medium, tempera was used by 
many artists for the underpainting, in the Flemish 
manner. Oil - painting indeed may be either 
transparent or opaque, applied in thin washes or 
glazes of transparent colour, allowing the under- 
painting to show through, or directly in thick 
masses of solid colour, giving a texture that sug- 
gests Gaudy's ideal of rich cream or cheese. 

Every painter has his own manner of actually 
laying the colours on the ground. Some pictures 
present a perfectly even surface, others show hills 
and dales of solid paint. Either manner may be 
used effectively or the reverse. How exquisite in 
the fineness of their texture and quality are the 
little pictures of Terburg, how dull and lifeless 
the smooth waxen surface of Van der Werfif or 



1 62 How to Look at Pictures 

Denner! What character do the works of Rem- 
brandt and Constable derive from their rough, 
rugged texture, the irregularities of surface cun- 
ningly contrived to catch the light and to cast 
almost imperceptible shadows! The coarse, un- 
pleasant texture of too many modern pictures is 
the result, not of deliberate intention, but of an 
inadequate appreciation of the actual beauties of 
paint. 

Water-colour only came into general use in the 
nineteenth century, and is almost exclusively as- 
sociated with English painting, though French 
and Dutch artists are now beginning to adopt it, 
and it was known to Diirer and Van Ostade. It 
is the most transparent of all mediums. The 
colours are merely washed on, the paper being left 
almost white for the high lights, though to-day 
many painters rely also on body colour. Owing 
to this transparency and its rapid-drying qualities, 
water - colour, as we have seen, is peculiarly 
adapted to catch every passing atmospheric or 
light effect, the most delicate and subtle nuances 
of tone, and it is enough to glance at the work of 
such classical exponents of water-colour as Co- 
zens, Turner, Girtin, Cotman, Varley, David Cox 
and De Wint to realise to what infinitely various 
treatment the medium lends itself 

Pastel, now a very fashionable method, is per- 
haps the least durable of all. It is as opaque as 
water-colour is transparent, its most beautiful 
qualities, as seen in the works of its great expo- 
nent, John Russell, being its velvety look, bloom 
and dull softness. These are lost by painters who 
fall into the error of treating pastel as they would 
oil colour, thus missing the characteristic beauties 
of both. From the fact of its dryness, so little 
medium being mixed with the colours that they 



Methods and Materials 163 

remain in powder, pastel pictures are inclined to 
be sensitive to movement or jar. 

In painting, as in all art, good craftsmanship is 
essential to success. An artist may be filled with 
noble ideas and fine inspiration, but if his hands 
refuse to obey the prompting of the mind, his 
good intentions can never take beautiful and 
permanent shape. His reputation will ultimately 
depend not more on his natural genius, his artistic 
sense, than on his sureness of eye and technical 
skill, his actual power over his materials. These 
are only to be gained by prolonged and severe 
training. Some possess these acquired quahties 
alone, and remain craftsmen to their dying day. 
Others, more artistically endowed, fail from lack 
of experience in technical matters, and their 
power is wasted in even more pitiful fashion. 
An artist's fame depends ultimately on the perma- 
nence of his work, and permanence can only be 
insured by knowledge, practice and good work- 
manship. Accident and ill-usage may indeed 
spoil or destroy the most carefully executed 
painting. The older a picture, the greater the 
risks it has run. But time is not the worst enemy 
to painting. Many a picture dating from the 
fourteenth or fifteenth century is in better condi- 
tion to-day than others of a much more recent 
date. Some of Reynolds's paintings perished 
almost in the artist's lifetime. Many of Turner's 
are already practically wrecks. And yet these 
are but a hundred years old, while innumerable 
Flemish and Italian pictures of the fifteenth cent- 
ury are in perfect preservation, despite the many 
vicissitudes of weather, dirt and travel they have 
endured. It is wonderful how much ill-usage a 
soundly painted picture can stand, without com- 
plete deterioration. Who would believe that Jan 



164 How to Look at Pictures 

van Kyck's portrait of his wife was discovered in 
the fish market of Bruges, completely concealed 
by dirt? Michelangelo's unfinished Entomb^neyit 
in the National Gallery was rescued from a some- 
what similar situation and sold in Rome for a 
mere song. 

Apart, however, from accident, the life of a 
picture depends on the way it is painted, on the 
materials used and the care taken to insure their 
endurance. A painter who uses bad pigments, 
untried mediums or ill - seasoned panels can 
scarcely expect his pictures to last. In such 
matters of craftsmanship the modern world, for 
all its science, is behind the Middle Ages, when 
technical skill and excellence of materials were 
justly insisted on as essential to painting. The 
long apprenticeship to be served before it was 
possible to qualify as a master-painter helped to 
insure a high standard, an apprenticeship not 
alone in the actual art of painting, but in the 
preparation of the materials used,-the grinding of 
the colours, manipulation of the medium and the 
laying of the ground. The artist thought it no 
shame to be his own colourman. These prelimi- 
naries are seldom undertaken by the painter of 
our day. There are no guilds to enforce the ap- 
plication of sound materials and workmanship. 
It is said of Gerard Dou that, when preparing his 
colours, in order to insure their puritj^, he made 
the windows of his studio air-tight to exclude 
dirt, entered slowly to raise the minimum of dust 
and waited for it to subside before venturing 
to take out his palette and brushes. The 
modern artist buys his pigments and varnishes 
ready made, with often the most scanty know- 
ledge of their chemical properties and probable 
changes. 



Methods and Materials 165 

Will the paintings of our day, such indeed as 
from the purely artistic point of view shall survive 
the verdict of time, endure for centuries as have 
those of Titian, Correggio and Rubens, or, to go 
■ even farther back, of Angelico, Roger van der 
Weyden and the Van Eycks ? If permanence be 
one of the conditions of artistic fame, it would 
seem that modern painters care far less for reputa- 
tion than did their predecessors of old. The glory 
has departed from many of Turner's most brilliant 
works, because of his carelessness in the prepara- 
tion of the colours he used and his extraordinary 
mixture of methods. Supreme master as he was 
of both oil and water-colour, he sometimes used 
both mediums in the same picture, treating oil in 
the manner of water-colour. We cannot wonder 
that his canvases are faded and cracked. Yet 
who would maintain that Turner was callous to 
fame. Turner whose will if nothing else proved 
his ambition to be remembered by posterity ? 

Other pictures have suffered and even perished 
because the painters experimented with their ma- 
terials, using untried pigments and varnishes. 
The wreck of Leonardo's Last Supper is chiefly 
due to his having painted it on the wall in oil in- 
stead of fresco, with the result that even his pupil 
Lomazzo declared it to be already completely 
ruined. The colour of his Mo7ia Lisa has already 
considerably faded. Rejmolds's works have suf- 
fered from the same reckless experimenting. 
There are comparatively few of his pictures that 
have not either darkened, faded or cracked. His 
Holy iv?;;/z/^, which formerly hung in the National 
Gallery, has been withdrawn on account of its 
ruined condition. A wit of the day, whose por- 
trait Sir Joshua had painted with such fugitive 
pigments that it faded almost immediately, 



1 66 How to Look at Pictures 

avenged himself for this premature decease iu the 
well-known epigram: 

Painting of old was surely well designed 
To keep the features of the dead in mind, 
But this great rascal has reversed the plan, 
And made his picture die before the man. 

This deterioration was largely the result of a 
liberal use of bitumen, that " plague of pictures," 
so much relied on by painters of that day both iu 
England and France. Many of the pictures of 
the eighteenth century have suflfered from the use 
of this as of other dangerous pigments. The deep 
shadows which now seem opaque, black and 
heavy, were once luminous, reflecting instead of 
absorbing light. Even comparatively brilliant 
colours lose their brightness, go in as it were, 
vivid landscape greens changing to dull indigo or 
even black, delicate flesh tints to a heavy brown, 
the whole picture becoming untoned. Whether 
or not they avail themselves of it, there can be 
no doubt that, with the advanced knowledge of 
chemistry that prevails in our day, painters have 
every means of determining, before using their 
pigments and mediums, exactly how each will be- 
have, which are permanent, which fugitive, which 
mutually destructive. The lapse of centuries has 
proved that it is not safe in oilrpainting to correct 
a mistake or make an alteration by covering it 
thinly with paint. In time, the underpainting 
will work through to the surface, and the altera- 
tion stand revealed. Such corrections or penti- 
menti, as the Italians called them, may be seen in 
several pictures iu the National Gallery, notably 
in Antonello da Messina's Salvator Mundi, where 
the position of the hand has been altered, and in 




> 






o 
o 
o 



1-. 






Methods and Materials 167 

Gainshorough' sMusidora, in which a superfluous 
leg is distinctly visible. 

Time, which can thus betray the artist' s original 
intention, plays a varying game with pictures, 
mellowing and maturing some, aging, and spoil- 
ing others by blackening or fading. Unlike 
architecture, painting is nevgr beautiful in ruin. 
Yet the tender hand of time may often bring into 
harmony colours which, when fresh, perhaps 
seemed crude and glaring. Where the workman- 
ship is sound, time tones and ripens, however 
pitilessly it may operate where it is bad. It is 
not, however, just to attribute the dusky appear- 
ance of all old pictures to the effects of time. No 
paintings could be blacker in tone than those of 
Tintoretto in the Scuola di San Rocco at Venice. 
We know from Vasari that they were so, even 
when newly painted. To fresco-paintings, indeed, 
the lapse of years is never kind, often exposed as 
they are to the effects of damp and changes of 
temperature. 

It is, perhaps, true to say that more pictures 
have been spoiled by restoration, whether in the 
form of cleaning or repainting, than from anj^ 
other preventible cause. Skilful and tactful re- 
storation may indeed give back to a picture some- 
thing of its first freshness and beauty, but it is 
often far better to leave well and even ill alone, or 
at least to do the minimum of doctoring. Where 
a picture has been repeatedly covered with coat 
upon coat of dark, heavy varnish, or has been be- 
grimed with the smoke of altar candles or the dirt 
of the sacristan's broom, much can be done to re- 
move them without injury to the painting. On 
the other hand, it too often happens that in so do- 
ing some of the delicate transparent surface-glazes 
are carried away, leaving the picture raw and 



1 68 How to Look at Pictures 

flayed, and where pictures are painted with an oil 
varnish, in the old Flemish method, cleaning 
spells certain injury, for the varnish is actually 
part of the picture. Some of the pictures even in 
the National Gallery have been thus over-cleaned, 
greatly to their detriment. 

Worse, however, than any over-cleaning is the 
drastic repainting which many pictures have suf- 
fered ; the careful retouching of parts that have 
been rubbed or cracked is legitimate enough, but 
the restorer seldom stops here. In some cases he 
daubs over the picture so completely as to alter its 
whole appearance. It is very little Laguerre has 
left us under its disguise of new paint of Man- 
tegna's superb Triumph of Julius Cczsar, now a 
ruin at Hampton Court. Such so-called ' ' restora- 
tion " is worse than criminal. Unfortunately the 
picture-restorer is but rarely an artist, and not 
always a man of taste and sympathy. In many 
cases in the great galleries the coarse repainting, 
especially of the eighteenth century, which dis- 
figured so many fine pictures, has been again re- 
moved, but enough may still be seen to show 
how common the practice had become and how 
pitiful the results. 

Lastly, a word may be said as to the framing 
of pictures. We are gradually breaking loose 
from the modern tradition of massive gilt frames 
for all and sundry, a tradition to which the Royal 
Academy, however, with characteristic conserva- 
tism, still clings. The fashion seems to have 
been initiated in England by I^awrence, who as 
its President was certain of a following; and 
gradually the narrow, unobtrusive, but well- 
designed frames used in the eighteenth century 
were superseded by a more showy style. To- 
day the suitable framing of a picture is rightly 



Methods and Materials 169 

considered of great importance, as contributing to 
the decorative effect of the whole. In this we are 
returning to the practice of the Renaissance, when 
the frame was often in its own way as beautiful 
in design as the picture set in it. Without in any- 
way drawing attention from the picture, the ex- 
quisite old blue and gold frames in which such 
pictures as Mantegna's San Zeno Altar-piece and 
Bellini's Frari Madonna are set add immeasurably 
to the beauty and dignity of the pictures within. 
Most of the great galleries have now returned to 
the original manner of framing old Dutch pictures 
in heavy black or brown frames, just as we see 
them hanging on the wall in Vermeer and Metzu's 
interiors. A Dutch genre picture looks out of 
place in a gilt frame, the quieter setting suiting 
it far better. 




KEY TO PRONOUNCIATIONS 



a as in ale, fate. 

A as in senate, chaotic. 

S. as in glare, care. 

S. as in am, at. 

a, as in arm, father. 

e as in eve. 

E as in elate, evade. 

6 as in end, pet. 

E as in fern, her, and as i 

in sir. 
i as in ice, quiet. 
I as in quiescent, 
i as in ill. 
o as in old. 
O as in obey, sobriety. 



6 as in orb, nor. 
6 as in odd, not. 
oi as in oil, foil, 
oo as in food, or as u in 

rude. 
ou as in mouse, 
ii as in mule. 
U as in unite, 
ii as in cut, but. 
u as in put, or as oo in /oof. 
ii as in urn, burn. 
g (guttural) as ch in bach. 
n (nasal) as French n in 

don. 



170 



INDEX 

Note. — TTie situation and number of every picture 
mentioned in the text will be found under the name of 
the painter. 

Academy, The Royal, 13, 36, 49, 109, 168. 

Allegories, 59, 60. 
' Alma Tadema, 56, 95, 

Alps, 84. 
"^ Altdorfer, 76. 

Landscape with St. George (Munich, No. 288), 77. 

Amsterdam, 32 ; pictures at, 41, 44, 80. 

Anachronism, 56, 59. 

Anatomy, 105, 106, 108. 

Ancona, 137. 

^ Andrea del Sarto, 65, 91, 161 ; as draughtsman, 15 ; his 
portraits, 42. 

* Angelico, Fra, 12, 40, 165 ; his colour, 113 ; portrait of, 

by Signorelli, 63. 
Animal painting, 91, 97. 

* Antonello da Messina, 159. 

Salvator Mundi (National Gallery, No. 673), 166. 
Antwerp, 34, 45 ; picture at, 64. 
Apennines, 84. 

Apsley House, Picture at, 95 (see under Velasquez). 
Architecture, 14, 27, 87, 108, 140, 
Arena Chapel, Padua, 60, 74, 142. 
Arnolfini, Portrait of, 68, 72. 

* Arquebusiers, Guild of, 28. 



' al'ma ta'dS-ma. * angel'ico. 

^ alt'dor-fer. * mes-se'na. 

' an-dra'a dSl sar'tO. * ar'kwE-bus-er'. 

171 



172 Index 

' Assisi, 143. 
Atelier system, 33, 34. 
Authority, 4, 7. 

Background, Treatment of, 25, 72, 74, 87, 114. 
Backhuizen, 89. 
2 Badia, The, Florence, 63. 
Baldovinetti, 159. . . 

Baptistery, St. Mark's, Venice, Mosaics in, 142. 
Barbizon School, 31, 81. 
Bargello, Florence, 63. 

Barrv, 29. 
' Bart'olommeo, Fra, 127, 143. 
Basaiti, 33, 34- . r ^ 

Bassano, 76, 91 ; portrait of, 65. 
* Bastien-Lepage. 

Haymakers (Luxembourg, No, 8), 139. 
Beaumont, Sir George, 84. 
Beauty in art, 66. 
Bellini, Gentile, 64. 
5 Bellini, Giovanni, 116 ; as head of a school, 33, 34. 
Altarpiece (Frari, Venice), 169 [Illustration]. 
Baptism (Sta. Corona, Vicenza), 142. 
Blood of the Redeemer (National Gallery, No. 1233), 
160. 
« Berchem, 80. 
^ Berckheyde, 87. 
Berlin, xiv ; pictures at, 64, 69, 73, 102. , , ^, 

Birth of the Virgin, Early German School (Munich, No. 

23), 92- 

Bissolo, 33, 34. 

Bitumen, 166. 

Bodegones, 95. 
« Bol, Ferdinand, 35. 
' Bologna, 36. 
1" Bonheur, Rosa, 97. 

Bonnington, 40. 



2 ba-de'a. ' bgrk hl-dg. 

* bar'tO-lom-ma'O. * bSl. _ 

* bas'tySn Ig-pazh'. ' bO-lo yna. 
« b61-le nF jO-van'nE. *" bO'nEr. 



Index 173 

' Bordone, Paris, his types, 38. 

Fisherman Presenting the Ring of St. Mark to the 
Doge (Academy, Venice, No. 320), 117. 
' Borgognone, 121. 
'Bosboom, 87. 
* Both, 80. 
' Botticelli, quoted, 75 ; his types, 25. 

Adoration of the Magi (UfiBzi, No. 1286), 63. 
Allegory of Spring (Academy, Florence, 80), 60, 104. 
Calunmy (Uffizi, No. 1182), 102. 
Mars and l^enns (National Gallery, No. 915), loi. 
Pallas and Centaur (Pitti Palace, Private Apart- 
ments), 102. 
Bouts, Thierry. 

St. Christopher (right wing of altarpiece, Munich, 
No. 109), 85 [Illustration]. 
Brancacci Chapel, Florence, 75, 135. 
Breughel, Jan, 52, 97. 
Breughel, Peter, 92. 
Briton-Riviere, 97. 
^ Brouwer, Adrian, 40, 53, 92, 130. 
"Bruges, 26, 72, 164; pictures at, 63, 139. 
Brussels, 51. 
Burger, quoted, 146. 
Burlington House, 13. 
Burne-Jones, 33, 43, 103, 121. 

Cabinets, xv. 
Calvin, 27, 92. 

9 Campagna, The, 78. 

10 Canaletto, 16, 87. 
Cappelle, Van der, 88. 

"Caravaggio, 129. 

'-' Carolus-Duran, 33, 72. 

'^Carpaccio, 42, 114. 

Dream of St. Ursula (Academy, Venice, No. 578), 89. 

Madonna with Doge (National Gallery, No. 750), 64. 

' bor-do'nA, ' brou'Er. 

^ bor'gO-nyo'nA. ^ bruzh. 

* b5s'bom. * kam-pa'nya. 

" bot. i» ka na-lgt'tO. 

5 bQt'ti-chgrii. " ka'ra-va'jO. 

•bru'kSl. '2 ka'rO'lus' du'ran'. 
12 kar-pa'chO. 



6 



8 



174 Index 

J Carracci, The, 5, 121. 

^ Castagno, 160. 

^ Castelfranco, 150. 

Catalogues, xi. 

4 Catena, 33. ^ ^, _, . ^ 

Catherine, St., of Alexandria, 58. 

»Chardin, 17, 96. 

Craci? before Meat (Louvre, No. 93), 94. 

La Mire Laborieuse (Louvre, No. 91), 94. 
Charles II., Court Beauties of the time of, 71. 
Charles v.. Portrait of, 65. 
0«r^A Militant, The (Sta. Mana Novella, Florence), 

135. 
Classical landscape, 77-79- 
Classicism, 23, 77, I45. I50- 
Classification of pictures, 53. 
Claude, 16, 42, 75, 77-79. 83. 85, 86, 88, 89. ^ 

Egeria and her Nymphs (Naples Museum, vi. No. 32 

bis) Ti 
Embarkation of St. Ursula (National Gallery, No. 

Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca (National Gallery, 

No 12) 77. 
Queen of Sheba (National Gallery, No. 14), 77 [Illus- 
tration]. 

Climate, 22, 23, 157. 

Clouds, 87. 

Collaboration, 52, 86. 

Collins, 51. 

Cologne, 15. 

Colvin, Sidney, quoted, 52. 

Complementary colours, iii, 112. 

Condition, 163. ^ a q. 

Constable, 25, 81, 83, 84, 86, 88, 133, 162 ; quoted, 81. 
The Hay-Wain (National Gallery, No. 1207), 86 [11- 
lustration]. 

Continuity in painting, 20. 

Death of Chatham (National Gallery, No. 100), 55. 
Cornish painters, 89. 



' kar-ra'chE. * Hf-^.^x' - 

^kas-ta'nyO. ,f^x^^^^"* 

3 kas-t61-fran'kO. ^^V "• 



Index 175 

' Corot, 43, 81, 83. 

Landscape (Louvre, No. 141 bis), 81 [Illustration]. 
Corporatiou pictures, 28. 
''Correg^io, 29, 36, 102, 116, 118, 120, 126, 129, 165. 
Aniiope (Lonvr&y No. 1118), 121. 
Frescoes (Cupola, Cathedral, Parma), 109, 142. 
Cosmopolitanism in art, 21, 30. 
^Cotman, 162. 
^ Courbet, 97. 

The Wave (Louvre, No. 147 a), 89. 
Cox, David, 162. 
^ Cozens, 162. 

® Credi, Lorenzo di, 42. ' 

■■Crivelli, 11, 137. 

Annunciation (National Gallery, No, 739), 91, 161. 
« Cuyp, 52, 75, 79, 85, 97. 
Cycles of art, 11, 12. 

* Dante, Portrait of, 63. 
Darmstadt, 64. 
'" Daubigny, 81. 
David, 150. 

Madame Ricamier (Louvre, No. 199), 103. 
Ugolino (Museum, Valence), 149. 
Decadence, u. 
" Delacroix, 39, 119. 

Denner, 162. 
12 Diaz, 81. 

'3 Disraeli, quoted, 2. 
"Dolci, Carlo, 148. 
Dominic, St., 58. 
Dou, Gerard, 19, 35, 42, 92, 93, 154, 164. 

Feniine Hydropique (Louvre, No. 2348), 45. 
Jeune Mire (Hague, No. 32), 45. 
Drapery, treatment of, 107. 
Drapery -men, 71. 



^ kO'ro'. * koip. 

2 kor-rgdjO. " dan'tA. 

3 kot'man. " dO bE'ynE'. 

4 koor'bA'. " d5-la krwa'. 
^ kuz'nz. '^ dE az . 

6 krA'dE. '^ diz-ra'li. 

^ krE-vgl'lE. " dol'chE. 



176 Index 

Dresden, Pictures at, 41, 104, 121. 
' Duccio. 

Transfiguration (National Gallery, No. 1330), 143. 
Dulwich Gallery, 66. 
Dupr£, 81. 
"Durer, 13, 16, 19, 68, 98, 105, 107, 114, 162 ; his back- 
grounds, 73 ; his landscape, 76, 77. 
Portrait of Holzschuher (Berlin, No. 557E), 69 [Il- 
lustration]. 
Portrait of Michael lVolge?nut {Munich, No. 243), 68, 
Dutch art, xv, 13, 22, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 53, 70, 79. 84, 
86, 87, 93, 106, 116, 118, 130, 136, 144, 160, 162. 
3Dyck, Van, 16, 35, 39, 42, 67, 70, 72, 122; his back- 
grounds, 73 ; periods of development, 45, 46 ; his 
portraits, 42, 67. 
Portrait of Lord Wharton (Hermitage, St. Peters- 
burg, No. 616), 67 [Illustration]. 
Portrait of Van der Geest (National Gallery, No. 52), 

45. 

Easel pictures, 29, 47, 141, 158. 

East, The, 29, 120. 

Eastlake, quoted, 112. 

Eckhout, 35. 

Eclecticism, 36. 

Eliot, George, quoted, 93. 

English art, 21, 28-30, 32, 35, 72, 162. 

Ensemble, The, 132. 

Envelope, The, 131. 

Evangelists, Emblems of the, 58. 
^ Everdingen, 80. 

s Eyck, The brothers Van, 15, 159, 165 ; portraits of, 63. 
Adoration of the Lamb (St. Bavon, Ghent), 63, 76, 

159- 
Eyck, Hubert Van, 159. 
Eyck, Jan Van, 19, 64, 159 ; his types, 24. 

Madonna with Chancellor Rollin (Louvre, No. 1986), 

xiii, 76. 
Man with a Pink (Berlin, No. 5 25 a), 68 [Illustration] 



' doo'chO. ^ van dik. 

« du'rEr, * a'vEr-ding-en. 

5ik. 



Index 177 



Portrait of Arnolfiui and his Wife (National Gal- 
lery, No. 186), 68, 72. 
Portrait of his Wife (Academy, Bruges, No. 2), 164. 

Face-painters, 71. 
' Fantiu Latour, 72. 
Farnesina, The, Rome, 138. 
Fashion, 5. 
Fetes Galantes, 28. 
- Flaubert, quoted, 9. 
Flemish art, 15, 25, 28-30, 53, 70, 76, 107, 120, 152, 

159. 163. 
Flesh-painting, 112, 121. 
Floreins, Portrait of John, 63. 

Florence, 14, 26, 30, 32, 35 ; pictures in, 60, 63, 64, 70, 
75, loi, 104, 126, 135. 
Academy, 60, 104. 
Badia, 63. 
Bargello, 63. 

Brancacci Chapel, 75, 135. 
Sta. Croce, 126. 
Sta. Maria Novella, 135. 
^ Pitti Palace, 70, 102. 
* Ufiizi, xiii, 64, 102. 
Florentine art, 14, 15, 75, 91, loi, 120, 125. 
Flower-painting, 97. 

* Fontainebleau, Forest of, 81. 
Foreshortening, 109. 

* For tuny, 95. 
""Fragonard, 17, 94. 

Framing, 168. 
Francis I., Portrait of, 65. 
Francis, St., 143. 
Frari Church, Venice, xiv, 169. 
French art, 28, 30, 84, 95, 162. 
Fresco-painting, 47, 123, 137, 141, 157, 158, 167. 
Frith, 95. 
8 Fuseli, 29. 



1 fan'tSn' (nasal «)la'toor'. ' fon (nasal) tAn'blO'. 

« flO bar'. « for-too nE. 

s pit te. ' fra'gO'nar'. 

* oof-fet'se. * fooz5-lF. 



178 Index 



' Gaillard, 68. 

Gainsborough, 17, 43, 72, 119 ; his landscapes, 80 ; por- 
traits, 42 ; types, 24. 
The Blue Boy (Duke of Westminster), 121. 
Musidora (National Gallery, No. 308), 167. 
Portrait of Mrs. Siddons (National Gallery, No. 683), 
67 [Illustration], 
Gandy, 161. 

Genoese portraits (Van Dyck), 45. 
- Genre-painters. 
Dutch, 42, 49, 50. 
English, 50. 
German, 50. 
Genre-painting, 49-51, 90-98. 
Gerard, 57. 

German art, 13, 30, 70, 106, 126. 
Ghent, St. Bavon, 63, 76, 159. 
2 Ghirlandaio, 25, 35, 64. 

Death of Sta. Fina (Collegiata, S. Gimignano), 91. 
Portrait of an Old Man (Ivouvre, No. 1332), 69 [Il- 
lustration]. 
Gimignano, San, 91. 
^Giorgione, 20, 33,43, 116; as colourist, 15, 112, 121. 
Fete Champetre Chonvre, No. 1136), 143. 
Shepherd with Pipe (Hampton Court, No. loi), 121. 
Sleeping- Venus (Dresden, No. 185), 41, 104, 121. 
Tempest with Gypsy and Soldier (Prince Giovanelli, 
Venice), 75. 
Giotteschi, 75. 

' Giotto, 14, 15, 33, 35 ; his perspective, 108 ; types, 62. 
Allegories (Arena Chapel, Padua), 142. 
Baptism of Christ (Arena Chapel, Padua), 60. 
Frescoes (Upper Church, Assisi), 143. 
foachim among the Sheepcotes (Arena Chapel, 

Padua), 74 [Illustration]. 
Portrait of Dante (Bargello, Florence), ascribed to, 

63- 
St. Francis before the Soldan (Sta. Croce, Florence), 

126. 
Stephaneschi Altarpiece (Sacristy, S. Peter's), 63. 



* ga'yar'. ^ ger'lan-da'yO. 

5 zhan'r'. * j6r-j6 nA. 

^ jOt'tO. 



Index 179 



'Giovanelli Collection, 75. 
** Girodet, 57. 
^Girtin, 162. 

Gisze, Portrait of Georg, 72. 

Glasgow, 32. 
'' Goes, Hugo van der. 

Nativity (UflBzi, No. 1525), 64. 

Gold, use of, 87, 113, 126. 
^ Goya, 16, 25, 95. 
"Goyen, Van, 26, 79, 88. 
' Gozzoli, Benozzo, 114. 

Adoration of the Alagi (Riccardi Palace, Florence), 

63. 

Grand Style, The, 57. 
*Greuze, 94, 148. 

Grosvenor House, Pictures at, 66, 121. 
^Guardi, 16, 87, 
1" Guido Reni, 5 ; quoted, 122. 

Guilds, Dutch, 28. 

Haarlem, 28, 32, 44. 

Hague, Pictures at The, 44, 52, 119, 139. 

Hals, Frans, 16, 41, 42, 69, 136, 154. 

Arquebusiers (Haarlem Museum, No. 87), 28, 44 
[Illustration]. 

Laughing Cavalier (Wallace Gallery, No. 84), 154. 
Hamburg, Picture at, 55. 
Hamerton, quoted, 79. 

Hampton Court, Pictures at, 71, 102, 121, 168. 
Hands, Painting of, 67, 104. 
Haydon, 29. 

Heathfield, Portrait of Lord, 72. 
Heda, 96. 
Heem, De, 96. 
Herkomer, 72. 

Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Picture at, 67. 
" Herrera, 38. 



1 jo'vE-nSl'lJ. ' goi'Sn. 
«zhE'rO-dA'. ' ' g6tsO-lE. 

2 ger'tin. ' grEz. 

/ « goos. ' gwar'dE. 

i*goya, "OgwedO. 

^ ~ -- >' ar-ra'ra. 



i8o Index 

Heyden, Van der, 26, 87. 

J Hobbema, 26, 52, 79, 83, 86. . ^ , . /. 

Hogarth, 6, 17, 20, 40, 72, 113, 148; ^ns Analysts of 
Beauty, 144. 
Idle Apprentice (Eugraving), 109. 
Marriage a la Mode (National Gallery, Nos. 113- 

118), 95- 
The Rake's Progress (Soane Museum), 95. 
2 Holbein, 13, 16, 19, 68, loi ; his backgrounds, 73; in- 
fluence on English painting, 35. 
Madonna of Burgomaster Meyer (Darmstadt), 64. 
Portrait of Georg Gisze (Berlin, No. 586), 72 [Illus- 
tration]. 
Portrait of Nicholas Kratzer {liovivre, No. 2713), 72 
^ Holzschuher, Portrait of, 69. 

* Hondecoeter, 97. 
Hoogh, De, 93, 119, 130, 

Interior of a Dutch House (National Gallery, No. 
834), 119 [Illustration]. 
Hoppner, 125. 
Hudson, 35. 
Hunt, Holman, 148, 153. 

Shadow of Death (Manchester, No. 31), 153. 

Idealism, 145, 147-151. 
Ideal landscape, 77. 
Imitation of past styles, 18. 
Impressionism, 145, 151. 
Impressionist School, 31. 
Individuality of artist, 42. 
Influence, 35, 39. 

* Ingres, 150. 

La Source (Louvre, No. 422), 102. 
Innocent X., Portrait of, 69. 
Israels, 40. 
Italian art, 15, 16, 22, 25, 28, 30, 32, 37, 53, 62, 70, 76, 

120, 152, 160, 163. 
Italian School (early), 13, loi. 

Japan, 97, 123. 



> hOb'bA-ma. ^ hOlts'shoo-Er. 

2 hOl'bin. ■* h6n'd£-koo'tEr. 

5 an' (nasal) gr'. 



Index 18 I 



'Jardin, Karel du, 97. 
Julius II., 41. 

Kalf, 96. 

Kensington Museum, South, 51. 

Kew Gardens, 78. 
^Kneller, 35, 71. 

Court Beauties of William III. (Hampton Court), 71. 
'Koninck, De, 26, 79, 83. 

Kratzer, Portrait of Nicholas, 72. 

Laguerre, 16S. 

I<amb, Charles, quoted, 53. 

Lancret, Fetes Galantes of, 28, 94. 

Landseer, 97. 

I/atin race, 22. 

Laurence, St., 58. 

Lawrence, 125, 168. 

Portrait of Mrs. Siddofis (National Gallery, No. 785), 

67. 
^Le Brun, 14S. 

^Leightou, 56, 103, 107, 120, 121. 
«Lely, Sir Peter, 35, 71. 

Court Beauties of Charles II. (Hampton Court), 71. 
'Lenbach, 40, 72, 
Leo X., Portrait of Pope, 70. 

Leonardo, 6, 35, 41, 105, 126, 127, 129 ; as draughtsman, 
15 ; complex personality of, 42 ; his types, 25 ; 
quoted, 75, loi. 
Last Supper {Sia. Maria delleGrazie, Milan), 141, 165. 
Mona Lisa (Louvre, No. 1601), 165. 
Virgin of the Rocks (Louvre, No. 1599), 127. 
Leslie, 51, 95. 
Leyden, 32. 
Lippi, Filippino. 

Vision of St. Bernard (Badia, Florence), 63 [Illus- 
tration]. 
* Lippi, Filippo, 19, 65 ; his types, 38. 

Annunciation (National Gallery, No. 666), 25, loi, 

161. 
St.fohn and Saints (National Gallery, No. 667), 161. 

> zhar'dan' (nasal). ^ la'ton. 

2 ngl'lEr. « le'li. 

^ ko'nink. ' ISn' bag (guttural). 

4 15-brEn' (nasal). » ijp'pg. 



I 82 Index 



Liverpool, 65. 
Lomazzo, 165. 
I/ombardy, 14. 
London. 

Burlington House, 13. 
Dulwich, 66. 

Hampton Court (see under). 
National Gallery (see under). 
' Soane Museum (see Hogarth), 95. 
South Kensington Museum, 51. 
Tate Gallery (see Watts), 61. 
Wallace Gallery, 69, 154. 
^Longhi, 16, 94. 
^Lorenzetti, Ambrogio. 

Frescoes of Good and Bad Government (Palazzo Pub- 
lico, Siena), 60. 

* Lotto, Lorenzo, 42, 70. 

Louvre, xiii, 30 ; pictures in the, xiii, xiv, 34, 44, 52, 60, 
65, 69, 70, 76, 81, 89, 94, 102, 108, 117, 121, 127, 
130, 138, 141, 143, 165. 

Lucas van Leyden, 107. 
^ Luini, 6. 

* Luxembourg, Pictures in the, xiv, 72, 139, 154. 

' Mabuse, 29. 
Madox Brown, 20. 

* Madrid, Prado, xiii ; pictures in the, 55, 69. 
Maes, Nicolas, 93. 

9 Makart. 

Entry of Charles V. into Antwerp (Hamburg, No. 

454), 55- 
Manchester, 153. 
"Manet, 20, 133, 152. 
" Mantegna, 15. 

Altar-piece (San Zeuo, Verona), 169. 

Dead Christ (Brera, No. 273), 108. 

Portrait of Cardinal Scarampi (Berlin, No. 9), 64. 

Triutnph of Julius Ccesar (Hampton Court), 102, 168. 

' son, * luks'an (nasal) boor'. 

2 lOn'gE. ' ma'buz'. 

3 lo'rSn-zgt'tE. « ma-dred'. 

* lotto. » makart. 

* loo-e'nE. '" ma'nA . 

" man-ta'nya. 



Index 183 



Maria Novella, Santa, Florence, 135. 
Marine painting, 88, 89. 
Masaccio, 26, 35, 75. 

The Tribute Money (Brancacci Chapel, Florence), 

135- 
'Medici, Portraits of the, 63. 
'Meissonier, 94, 154. 
Memlinc, 6, 11, 15. 26, 64, 114; his backgrounds, 73. 
Adoration of Magi (Hospital of St. John, Bruges), 63. 
St. John Altar-piece (Hospital of St. John, Bruges), 

139- 

* Mesdag, 89. 

^Metzu, 42, 92, 94, 118, 153, 169. 

* Michelangelo, 6, 29, 35, 36, 40, 42, 106, 160 ; as draughts- 

man, 15; complex personality, 42; his frescoes, 
Sistine Chapel, 106, 157 ; his influence, 39. 
Temptation, Fall and Expulsion (Sistine Chapel), 

136 [Illustration]. 
Entombment (National Gallery, No. 790), 164. 
Microscopic School, The, 154. 

* Milan. 

Brera, 108, 139-140. 
Poldi-Pezzoli, loi. 
Sta. Maria delle Grazie, 141, 165. 
' Millais, 72, 153 ; portrait of his father, 65. 

Carpenter' s Shop (Mrs. Beer), 139 [Illustration]. 
Lorenzo and Isabella (L,iverpool, No. 337), 65. 
Return of the Dove to the Ark (Oxford University 
Gallery, Combe Bequest), 153. 

* Moncenigo, Portrait of Doge, 64. 
^ Monet, Claude, 42, 113, 152. 

Moore, Albert, 107. 
Moore, Henry, 88. 
Morceau, The, 135. 
'" Morelli, 37, 161. 
Moretto, 118. 
Morland, George, 40, 97. 



» ma'dE-chE. « mil'an. 

2 mA'sO'nyA'. ' mil-la'. 

8 mgs dag (guttural). « mO-chS-ne'gO. 

^metsu. 9mO-nA'. 

* mE kSl-an jg-10. '» mO-r611E. 



i84 ^ Index 

' Moroni. 

Portrait of a Zaa'j^r (National Gallery No. 742), lib. 

Mosaics, 142. 

Mountains, 83. 
- Mulready, 95. 

Munich, 29, 95 ; pictures at, 34, 72, 76, 77, 92, II7> 130, 
138. 
sMurillo, 6, 16, 94 ; his types, 24. 

Mythological subjects, 59. 

Naples, 77. . . 

National Gallery, xii, xiv, 4, 113; pictures m the, 25, 
41, 45, 55, 57, 62, 64, 67, 69, 72, 75, 76, 77, 79, §7. 88, 
91, 96, loi, 106, 108, 117, 119, 121, 130, 131, 141, 
143, 160, 161, 164-166, 168. 

Nationality in Art, 21-30. 

Naturalism, 57, 145. 
4 Neefs, Peter, 87. 
^ Neer, Van der, 52. 

Netherlands, 15, 16, 23, 52, 92. 
^Netscher, 121. 

Newlyn, 32. 

New Manner, The, 64, 116. 

Newton, 51. 
' Niccolo da Foligno. 

Triptych (National Gallery, No. 1 107), 88. 

Nicholas, St., 58. 

North and South, 22-23, 26. 

Norway, 80, 84. 
8 Norwich, 32. 

Oil Painting, 158-161, 166. 
Old Masters, 20. 
« Orcagna, ascribed to. ,, ^t ^ \ 

Coronation of the Virgin (National Gallery, No 569), 
131 [Illustration]. 
Orchardson, 95. 
JO Orley, Bernard van, 29. 



2 mulready. ' da fO-le uyO. 

3 moo-rel'yO. no"^ .ricb. 
4nafs. .!9'':F5-"y^- 
^nar. ^ 



10 dr'll. 



Index 185 



' Orvieto, 63. 

2 Ostade, Adrian vau, 42, 92, 95, 130, 162 ; his tavern 
scenes, 50. 

Outline, 99-102. 
'Overbeck, 148. 

Oxford, Picture at, 153. 

^ Pacheco, 38. 

^ Padua, Arena Chapel, 60, 74, 142. 
Palma Vecchio, his types, 25, 
Paris, 29, 95. 

Exhibition, 1900, 30. 
Louvre (see under). 
Luxembourg (see under). 
Parma Cathedral, 109, 142. 
Pastel, 162. 

* Pater, Walter, quoted, 9. 
' Patinir, 76, 77, 88. 

Pentimenti, 166. 
Perspective. 

Aerial, 75, 85, 114, 115. 131- 

Linear, 14, 107-109. 

* Perugia, 25. 

9 Perugino, 6, 40, 114, 148 ; his landscapes, 25, 75, 85. 
Peter's St., Rome, 63. 
Petersburg, St., Picture at, 67. 
Petrarch, 74. 

Philip II., Portrait of, 65. 
Philip IV., Portrait of, 69. 
Photography, 29, 72, 100, 105, 146. 
'" Piero della Francesca, 64, 159. 

Nativity (National Gallery, No. 908), 160. 
" Pinturicchio. 

Circumcision of Sons of Moses and Baptism of Christ 
(Sistine Chapel), 58, 59. 
'■' Piombo, Sebastian del. 

Raising of Lazarzis (National Gallery, No. i), 41. 



' 6r-vya'tO. ' pa'tE'nEr', 

» 6s'ta-de. * pA-roojA. 

3 o'verbeck. * pa-roo-jenO. 

" pa-cha kO. '° pya rO d61 la fran-chSs'ka. 

5 padua. " pEn-too-rE'kE-o. 

6 fa'tA'. ^-^ pE-Om'bO. 



5 



i86 Index 

' Pisa, Campo-Santo, 75. 

Pitti Palace, Pictures in the, 70, 71, 102. 

Plein-airy 84, 133. 
* PoUaiuolo, Antonio, 15. 

Si. Sebastian (National Gallery, No. 292), 106. 

Potter, Paul, 97. 
' Poussin, Caspar, 78. 

Poussins, The, 16, 79. 

Prado (Madrid), xiii ; pictures in the, 55, 69. 

Pre-Raphaelites, 31, 36, 120, 153, 154. 

Primitives, 5. 

Prout, 87. 

Raebum, 125. 
'•Raphael, 6, 29, 35, 36, 42, 148 ; as draughtsman, 16 ; his 
influence, 39. 
Frescoes (Farnesina, Rome), 138. 
La Belle Jardiniere {JjyoMX^, 1496), 143. 
MassofBolsena (Vatican), 138. 
Parnassus (Vatican), 137 [Illustration]. 
Portrait of Fope Leo X. (Pitti, No. 40), 70, 
School of Athens (Vatican), 109, 138. 
Sposalizio (Brera, No. 270), 140, 141. 
Transfiguration (Vatican Gallery), 41. 
'Ravesteyn, 136. 

Realism, 38, 145, 148, 150, 153. 
^ R^camier, Portrait of Madame, 103. 
Reformation, 27. 
' Regent pictures, 28, 70, 136. 
Religion in art, 26, 27. 

'Rembrandt, 6, 16, 20, 33, 35, 39, 41, 42, 52, 69, 70, 73, 
92, loi, 102, 113, 116, 119, 126, 127, 129, 130, 154, 
162 ; his backgrounds, 73 ; periods of development, 
45 ; portraits of himself, 65 ; quoted, 155. 
Anatomy Lesso?i (Hague, No. 146), 52. 
Bathsheba (Louvre, No. 2549), 44, 
Flayed Ox (Ivouvre, No. 2548), 52. 
Night Watch (Amsterdam, No. 1246), 41. 
Pilgrims of Emmaus (Louvre, No. 2539), I30- 
Presentation in the Temple (Hague, No. 145) , 44. 

' pe'za. 4 ra'fa-el. 

* p61-la-yoo-olO. 5 ra'vg-stin. 

3 poo'san' (nasal). « rA-ka-myA'. 
' rgm'brant. 



Index 187 

Raising of the Cross (Munich, No. 327), 130. 
Syndics (Amsterdam, No. 1247), 45. 
Woman Taken in Adultery (National Gallery, No. 
45), 130 [Illustration]. 
' Renaissance, The, 13, 59, 65, 74, 116, 142, 169. 
Restoration of pictures, 167. 
''Reynolds, 17, 35, 40, 41, 42, 72, loi, 107, 121, 122, 130, 
163, 165 ; his backgrounds, 73 ; his types, 24 ; 
quoted, 124, 126, 128, 130, 148. 
Holy Family (formerly in National Gallery), 165. 
Portrait of Lord Hedthfield (National Gallery, No. 

Ill), 72. 
Portrait of Mrs. Siddons (Grosvenor House and 
Dulwich Gallery, No. 318), 67 [Illustration]. 
'Ribera, 129. 

* Robert, Hubert, 87. 
Roberts, David, 87. 

Rocco, Scuola di San, 128, 167. 
Rockox, Portrait of Nicholas, 64. 
Romano, Giulio, 35, 121 ; his types, 38. 
Romantic School, 36. 
Rome, 29, 36, 164. 

Doria Gallery, 69. 

Famesina, 138. 

St. Peter's, 63. 

Sistine Chapel (see under). 

Vatican, 41, 109, 138. 
Romney, 107, 122 ; his backgrounds, 73 ; his types, 24, 

67. 
Rosa, Salvator, 84. 
^Roselli, Cosimo. 

Moses Receiving the Law on Mt. Sinai and The Ser- 
mon on the i^/6>««/ (Sistine Chapel), 59. 
Rossettis, Portraits of the, 65. 

* Rousseau, 81. 

Rubens, 6, 11, 16, 31, 39, 40-42, 45, 52, 65, 70, 80, 83, 
97, 102, 112, 116, 118, 119, 121, 127, 132, 165; as 
head of a school, 34, 39. 

Battle of the Amazons (Munich, No. 742), 138. 

History of Marie de Medicis (Louvre, Nos. 2085- 
2108), xiv, 60. 



' rg-ne-sans'. * rO-bSr'. 

2 rgn'Oldz. * rO-zgl'lE. 

' rK-ba'ra. « roo-sO'. 



i88 Index 

Rubens— Continued. 

Kermesse (Louvre, No. 2115), 138. 

Lion Hunt (Munich, No. 734), 138 [Illustration], 

Rockox Altar-piece (Antwerp, Nos. 307-311), 64. 

Ruskin, 2, 

Russell, John, 162. 

* Ruysdael, Jacob, 16, 52, 80, 88. 

IVindinill (Amsterdam, No. 1233), 79 [Illustration]. 

Sainte-Beuve, quoted, 4. 

Sala de la Rein a Isabel, Prado, iii. 

Salle Rubens, Louvre, xv. 

Salon Carre, Louvre, xiii. 

Salons, The, 13. 

Salute, Venice, 128. 

Santa Conversazione, 58. 

Sargent, 72, 154. 

Carmencita (Luxembourg, No. 315), 154 [Illustra- 
tion]. 

Scarampi, Portrait of Cardinal, 64. 
2 SchefiFer, Ary, 148. 
^Schongauer, 114. 

Scott, Sir Walter, quoted, 62. 

Seascape, 88, 89. 
*Segantini, 84. 
^Seghers, 97. 

Siddons, Portraits of Mrs., 66, 67. 

* Siena, 14, 32 ; picture at, 60. 
Sienese art, 14, 32. 
Sierras, 25. 

' Signorelli, 15 ; portrait of, at Orvieto, 63 
Pan (Berlin, No. 79A), 102. 

Sistine Chapel, 58, 106, 135, 158. 

Sky, Painting of the, 87. 
^Slingelandt, Peter van, 154. 

Snyders, 52, 96, 97. 

Soane Museum, Pictures in the, 95. 

Spain, 16, 26, 94, 95. 

Spanish Chapel, The, Florence, 135. 



' rois'dal. ^ sS'gErs. 

- shgf-far'. « sE-ana. 

2 shon'gou-Er. ' se-nyO-rgllE. 

* sa'gan-te'nE. ^ sling'e-lant. 



1 

I 



Index 189 



Steeu, Jan, 42, 53. 92. 93- ^,, ^^ ^ , rm 

Family of the Painter (Hague, No. 169), 139 [Illus- 
tration]. 
Stephanescbi, Cardinal, 63. 
Stephens, F. G. Portrait of, 65. 
Stevenson, R. L., quoted, 7. 
Still Life, 90, 96, 131. 
' Stothard, 40 
Style, 37. 

Surface of a picture, 161. 
Swan, 97. 
Switzerland, 84. 
Symonds, J. A., quoted, 5. 

''Taine, Henri, 21. 
Taste, 4, 8, 53- 

Tate Gallery (see Watts), 6r. 
Tempera, 158-161. 
Tenebrosiy The, 129. 
^Teniers, 6, 88, 92, 95. 
Terburg, 92, 94, 119. I53. 161. 

Peace of Miinster (National Gallery, No. 89), 55, 

131 [Illustration]. 
Trumpeter Handtttg a Dispatch (Hague, No. 176), 
119. 
Teutonic race, 22. 

"Tiepolo, 16. . 

* Tintoretto, 11, 41, 60, 126, 128-130 ; ascolounst, 15, 118; 
at San Rocco, 129, 167 ; portraits of Doges, 70 ; 
quoted, 117. 
Aimunciation (Scuola di San Rocco), 12S. 
Bacchus and Ariadne (Ducal Palace, Venice), 118, 

128 [Illustration]. 
Marriage of Cana (Salute, Venice), 128 [Illustra- 
tion]. 
Miracle of St. Mark (Academy, Venice, No. 42), no. 
Paradise (Ducal Palace, Venice), 139. 
« Tissot, 59. 



1 stSth'Erd. "* tE-apO-lO. 

s ^^Q ^tintoretto. 

He-n'erz'. \ « tIs-sO'. 
tg-nya 



'■■\ 



190 Index 



' Titian, 6, 33, 39, 45, 75, 102, 116, 132, 161, 165 ; as col- 
ourist, 15, 113, 117, 119; his backgrounds, 73 ; his 
types, 25 ; portrait of, 65, 
Assumption, (Academy, Venice, No. 40), xiv, 102, 

139, 141 [Illustration]. 
Bacchus and Ariadne (National Gallery, No. 35), 

141. 
Crowning with Thorns (Munich, No. 1114), 117. 
Entombment (Louvre, No. 1584), 143. 
Holy Family (National Gallery, No. 4), 121. 
Man with a Glove (Louvre, No. 1592), 70, 117. 
Noli me Tangere (National Gallery, No. 270), 76. 
Pilgrims of Emmaus (Louvre, No. 1581), 65. 
Presentation of the Vitgin (Academy, Venice, No. 

426), 117. 
St. Peter Martyr (destroyed by fire) , 76. 
Tone, 115, 116, 131, 132. 
Transfiguration, The, 143. 
Tribuna, Uffizi, xiii. 
Trom.pe Pceil, 150. 
2 Troyon, 88, 97. 
Truth in art, 66, 119, 151. 

Turner, 6, 40, 83, 84, 86, loi, 109, 119, 162, 163, 165 ; his 
figures, 52, 86; quoted, 119; rivalry with Claude, 

41, 79- 
Bay of Ba^cs (National Gallery, No. 505), 79. 
Calais Pier (National Gallery,' No. 472), 89. 
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (National Gallery, No. 

516), 79 [Illustration]. 
Fishing Boats in a Breeze [National Gallery, No. 

813), 89. 
Rivers of France, 150. 

Shipwreck, The (National Gallery, No. 476), 89. 
Ulysses Deriding Polyphetnus (National Gallery, No. 

508), 79. 
Tuscany, 32, 126. 
Types, National, 24, 25. 

^ Uccello, 15, 64, 108. 

Battle of St. Egidio (National Gallery, No. 583), 75, 
108. 



tish'2.n. - trwa-yon' (nasal). 

* oo-ch51 10. 



Index 19^ 

Uffizi, xiii ; Pictures in the, 63, 64, 102. 
Umbria, 14, 32. 
Unity, Pictorial, 131, 135, 154. 
' Utrecht, 32. 

^ Valence (see David), 149, 150. 
Values, 116, 131. 
Varley, 162. 
^Vasari, quoted, 40, 126, 127, 158, 167. 

Vatican, 41, 108, 138. 
« Velasquez, 6, 16, 38, loi, 116, 132, 137, 154 ; Bodegones, 
95 ; his backgrounds, 25, 73 ; his dwarfs, 70 ; 
portraits of Philip IV., 69. 
Lady with Fan (Wallace Gallery, No. 88), 69. 
Old H^oman Cookins; Eggs (Sir F. Cook), 95. 
Portrait of an Admiral (National Gallery, No. 1315)) 

69. 
Portrait of Imiocent X. (Rome, Doria Gallery, No. 

113), 69. 
Portrait of Philip IV. (Prado, No. 1066), 69 [Illus- 
tration]. 
Surretidcr of Breda (Prado, No. 1060), 55 [Illustra- 
tion]. 
Two Young Men at a Meal (Apsley House), 95. 
^Velde, Adrian Van der, 52, 97. 
Velde, William Van der, 79, 88. 
Venetian art, 15, 29, 32, 33, 58, 73. 91. ^o7. 116-I18, 

121, 122, 126, 132, 157, 160. 
Veneziano, Donienico, 159. 

Enthroned Madonna (National Gallery, No. 1215), 

^59- 
Venice, 14, 29, 58, 75, 128, 130. 

Academy, Picttures in the, xiv, 91, 102, 117, 139- 

141. 
Baptistery, St. Mark's, 142. 
Ducal Palace, Pictures in the, 118, 128, 139. 
Frari Church, xiv, 169. 
Giovanelli Collection, 75. 
Salute, 128. 
Scuola di San Rocco, 128, 167. 



»ii'trgkt. \'^^:'^fy^\^x. 

•' va-lans'. ^A-las kAth. 

» vSl'dg. 



192 Index 



' Vertneer, 130, 169. 
-Verona, Sau Zeuo, 169. 

^Veronese, Paul, 11, 60, 70, 102, 117, 130, 161 ; as colour- 
ist, 15, 112, 116. 
Family of Darius (National Gallery, No. 294), 55, 

56 [Illustration]. 
Feast in the House of Levi (Academy, Venice, No. 

203), 141. 
Frescoes (Villa Maser, near Castelfranco\ 150. 
Marriage of Cana (I,ouvre, No. 1192), 65, 109, 141. 
^Verrocchio, 35, loi. 

Portrait of a Lady (Milan, Poldi Pezzoxl, No. 21), 
ascribed to, loi [Illustration]. 
^ Vicenza, Santa Corona, 142. 
Vienna, 34, 95. 
•"Vivarini, The, 137, 
Vlieger, De, 88. 
Volterra, Daniele da, 106. 

"Wallace Gallery, Pictures in the, 69, 154. 
"Water-colour, 82, 162. 
' Watteau, 17, 40, 80, 119, 132. 

Fetes Galantes of, 28, 94. 
"Watts, 39 ; his portraits, 42, 72. 
Hope (Tate Gallery, No. 1640), 61. 
Love and Life (Tate Gallery, No. 1641), 61. 
Love Steering the Bark of Humanity (Exhibited 

Royal Academy, 1902), 61. 
Mammon (Tate Gallery, No. 1630), 61. 
^"Weenix, 97. 

^"WerfF, Van der, 121, 161. 
West. 

Death of General Wolfe (Kensington Palace), 57. 
"U^'estminster, Duke of, 67, 121. 
'""Weydeu, Roger van der, 15, 114, 149, 165. 

Madonna with St. Luke (Munich, No. 100), 76. 
Whistler, 20, 42, 72, 82, 152 ; quoted, 21. 



' f?r-mar'. « veva-re'nE. 

^ vA-ro'na. ■> va'tO'. 

^ va rO-na. zA. * va niks. 

"» ver-rokE-O. » verf, 

* vE-cheu tsa. '•> vi d£u. 



Index 193 



Portrait of the Painter'' s Alother (Luxembourg, No. 
324), 71 [Illustration]. 
' Wiertz, Autoine, 51. 
Wilkie, 40, 95. 

B/ijid /""idd/er (Naiioual Gallerj', No. 99), 95. 
Village Festival, (National Gallery, No. 122), 95. 
William III., Court Beauties of the time of, 71. ■ 
Wilson, 78, 80. 
Wiut, De, 162. 
•^ Witte, De, 87. 
Wolgemut, Portrait of Michael, 68, 
' WynantS', 52. 

'Zeno, San, Verona, 169. 
'- Zeuxis, 150. 



• vertz. ■' wi'uants, 

•' vit tS. ' za'uO. 

* zeuxis. 



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