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CENTURY, 1884 



THE ALPS, 1904 

No MAN'S LAND (History of Spitsbergen), 1906 




a f A Y\ * n tfoi* > Vv'' "M avy 







THIS book, which now finally passes out of my hands, has not taken 
its intended form owing to the circumstances of the day. The 
text was written to accompany a much larger series of illustrations 
than it is now economically possible to issue at a price which the 
contemplated reader would be willing to pay. When the repro- 
duction of a picture is under the eyes of a reader description is 
superfluous, nor is it necessary to indicate at length points of re- 
semblance between two works of art when photographs of them can 
be directly composed. Lack of intended illustration may render 
a few passages somewhat obscure. Such illustrations as we are 
enabled to supply have been chosen carefully. Well-known 
pictures have seldom been selected for reproduction. Works 
difficult of access have been preferred to the well-known works of 
the famous. 

It is to be regretted that the present ownership of many of the 
pictures cited is not recorded. Collections are constantly being 
dispersed at auction. A continual stream of works of art crosses the 
Atlantic and each finds some new home, known only to dealers 
and American art-lovers. It is thus not possible, at any rate for 
me, to indicate the whereabouts of a considerable proportion of 
the pictures which I have studied in loan-exhibitions or in their old 
homes on this side of the ocean. 

One last word of thanks and remembrance may be added. The 
domain of art and of the lovers of art should be a kindly and a 
generous province. The love of any special kind of art forms a 
pleasant link between its lovers. Study of the pictures dealt with in 
this volume has brought me many friends, most of them far more 


gifted and informed than is the present writer. It is of them I 
am thinking while writing these words. To each I send a saluta- 
tion. When they read this book they may perhaps here and there 
recognize a personal message, always intended to be a kind one. 
To how many of them I owe hearty thanks for what they have 
taught me ! 

But most of all do I owe recognition and regard to one who has 
been by my side throughout all the years of my labours, and has 
shared with me their pleasures, their anxieties, and their toil. 
Together we have loved the art of the past. Together we have 
learned to open our hearts ever more widely to its beauties. In 
this atmosphere of sympathy, and largely because of it, I have been 
able to accomplish whatever of good there may be in this and other 
works that have come from my hand. Therefore to my wife, as 
in duty and affection bound, I dedicate this book. 


September 16, 1921. 



PREFACE ......... v 

INTRODUCTION ........ xv 

Its character A portal at Chartres The primacy of architecture The Mystics The Cologne 
painters Paradise pictures . . . . . . . , . . pp. 1-14 




The Duke of Berry Jacques Bandol The Paremont de Narbonne Jacquemart de Hesdin 
The style of Jacquemart Jean Malouel and others MglcElor Broederlam Claas Sluter- ,' 
The Puits de Moise . pp. 16-34 



The de Limbourg brothers The Paris landscapes Jacques Coene . . . pp. 35-41 



The Hours of Milan The Duke of Bavaria's landscapes Hubert van Eyck Hubert's 
assistants The fate of the manuscript ......... pp. 42-51 



An innovator in technique The Adoration of the Lamb Hubert's pictures The Richmond 
Three Maries Hubert's character .......... pp. 52-63 


The Adam and Eve His portraits His Madonnas Lost pictures His last work. pp. 64-73^- 



Mediaeval manners A court etiquette-book The Duke's dinner-table A ducal bedchamber 
A court-painter . . . . . . . . . . pp. 74-84 




Belfreys Confraternities An artist's education Festal occasions A fete at Antwerp 
Its effect on art pp. 85-100 



J-- Court-artists Events of his life His paintings The goldsmith's shop . pp. 101-110 



The influence of Dijon Conventional angels Systematic borrowing The Merode Annun- 
ciation The Flemalle panels The Werl wings Hulin's discovery Daret's life . pp. 111-128 



The Descent from the Cross Methods of portraiture Works of his early period The Seven 
Sacraments Mediaeval symbolism His refinement His visit to Italy Zanetto Bugatto The 
Middelburg altar-piece His portraits His imitators His death The St. Hubert Master 
Roger's followers . . . . . . . . " >'". V pp. 129-157 



Born at Haarlem His artistic origin Influenced by Roger Settled at Louvain His half - 
length Madonnas His mature work The Last Supper ...... pp. 158-172 




-J His early works Paintings on linen The Holyrood wings The death of the Virgin The 
Portinari triptych His convent life The Maitre de Moulins Ghent painters The Master of 
St. Giles pp. 173-192 



-y- At Ghent At Urbino The seven arts His portraits .... pp. 193-200 


_ite Albert van Ouwater Mediaeval gardens The Delft Virgo Master . . pp. 201-213 



v His early pictures Extended landscape His rapid progress His followers . pp. 214-221 




His origin The St. Bertin Master The Sforza triptych The Dantzig altar-piece The ^_ 
Chatsworth triptych Composite pictures The Shrine of St. Ursula His portraits Martin van ^\ 
Nieuwenhoven Studio pictures School pictures ..... pp. 222-245 

The decline of Bruges The Ursula Master The Lucia Legend Master Archaistic pictures 
The Andre Madonna pp. 246-255 



Albert Bouts Minor painters Colin de Coter The Afflighem Master The Magdalen 
Master Goswin van der Weyden ........ pp. 256-276 



At Haarlem His character At Bruges The Virgo inter Virgines As miniaturist At -^ 
Antwerp His last works . . pp. 277-291 /*" 



John Provost Jan van Eeckele Various pictures Isenbrant Lancelot Blondeel Peter 
Pourbus pp. 292-311 



Artists at Antwerp Antwerp's prosperity The Morrison Master Lombard influence His 
landscapes Early pictures The Bankers Marinus van Reymerswael His portraits His sons . 
Cornells Massys pp. 312-333 




His origin His early works His visions His maturity His allegories His late period vy 
His imitators pp. 334-347 -' A 



Patinir and Diirer Patinir and David Patinir at Antwerp Henry Patinir Mathias Cock 
Other landscape painters A persistent tradition ..... pp. 348-361 




Carondelet Mabuse's visit to Italy The Palermo triptych The Descent from the Cross His 
nudes His Madonnas His later portraits His failing powers Lambert Lombard pp. 362-379 



X A typical example The Master of Frankfurt Jan de Cock Friedlander's Groups Jan de 
Beer Peter Coeck of Alost Dirk Vellert PP. 380-396 



Jan Joest Barthel Bruyn Joos van Cleve Sotte Cleve .... pp. 397-418 



Early works Meeting with Diirer His portraits Work for Carondelet His tapestries 
His followers pp. 419-431 



The Alkmaar Master The Buys family Jan Mostaert Mostaert's portraits Was he 
Mostaert ? . . pp. 432-447 



Early works The Leyden Crucifixion His middle period His Crucifixions Jacob van 
Oostsanen His derivation His portraits His drawings . . . . ^ pp. 448-463 



His likeness His life Early engravings His precocity His early pictures A new style 
His portrait-drawings Influence of Diirer The Leyden Last Judgment His illness His 
death ... . . .pp. 464-485 



>His origin His travels Influenced by Bosch His peasant studies The proverbs His 
marriage The Adoration of the Magi The Months The land of Cockaigne Campine landscape 
His death ... ; , . ... . . . pp. 486-508 

INDEX OF WORKS OF ART ..... pp. 509-522 
GENERAL INDEX ....... pp. 523-529 



TRIVULZIO .......... Frontispiece 

PLATE I facing p. 18 

1. Charity. A Miniature from the Book of Hours of Jeanne de France, Queen 

of Navarre (c. 1336-43). p. 18. 

2. Statue of King Charles V in the Louvre, from the portal of the Celestins, 

Paris. p. 18. 

3. Rhine School (c. 1420). Paradise. Frankfurt Stadel Institut. p. 13. 

4. Sepulchral Effigy of Robert d'Artois by Jean Pepin de Huy (1318-20). 

Louvre. p. 18. 

PLATE II facing p. 28 

1 . School of Jacquemart de Hesdin. Coronation of the Virgin. Louvre. p. 23. 

2. Jacques Bandol. Charles V. Dedication page of MS. in the Meerman- 

Westreen Museum at The Hague. p. 19. 

^3. Melchior Broederlam. Flight into Egypt (1393-8). Dijon Museum. p. 28. 
4. Henri Bellechose (?). Altar-piece of St. Denis. Louvre. p. 27. 

PLATE III facing p. 38 

1 . Claas Sluter. Puits de Moise (1395-1403). Champmol Abbey, Dijon. p. 33. 

2. School of Sluter. Mourners on the Tomb of Jean Sans Peur, Duke of 

Burgundy. Dijon Museum. p. 31. 

3. The de Limbourgs. Coronation of the Virgin. Miniature in the Hours of 

Chantilly (fol. 60 v.). Chantilly. p. 37. 

4. The de Limbourgs. The Cite of Paris. Miniature in the Hours of Chantilly 

(fol. 6 v.). Chantilly. p. 38. 

PLATE IV facing p. 118 

1. The de Limbourgs. Banquet of John, Duke of Berry. Miniature in the 

Hours of Chantilly (fol. 1 v.). Chantilly. p. 77. 
^ 2. John van Eyck. Man's Portrait. Coll. J. G. Johnson (Philadelphia). 

p. 67. 
3. Robert Campin. St. Joseph making Mouse-traps. Wing of the Inghel- 

brechts Altar. Coll. Merode. p. 118. 

^ 4. Robert Campin. The Virgin of Salamanca. Metropolitan Museum, New 
York. p. 115. 



PLATE V facing p. 150 

1. Jacques Daret. Presentation in the Temple. A Panel of the Arras Altar- 

piece (1434). In America. p. 124. 

2. Peter Christus. St. Eloy as a Goldsmith (1449). Coll. Lehmann (New 

York). p. 109. 

3. Roger van der Weyden. Virgin and Child (fragment). Coll. Huntingdon 

(New York). p. 150. 

4. Roger van der Weyden. Man's Portrait. Coll. Dreicer (New York). p. 148. 

PLATE VI . . . facing p. 154 

\ 1. Roger van der Weyden. Crucifixion. Escorial. Not mentioned in the 

2. School of Roger. The Sforza Triptych (1459-62). Brussels Gallery. p. 145. 

3. School of Roger. A Saint and Donor (diptych), dated 1451. Present 

ownership unknown. p. 155. 

4. Master of St. Hubert. Exhumation of St. Hubert. National Gallery. p. 153. 

PLATE VII facing p. 178 

v 1. Dirk Bouts. Descent from the Cross. Chapel Royal, Granada. p. 159. 

2. Dirk Bouts. Hell. The Louvre. p. 168. 

3. Hugo van der Goes. Nativity. Wilton House. p. 176. 

4. Hugo van der Goes. Sir Edward Boncle and an Angel. Holyrood Palace. 

p. 178. 

PLATE VIII facing p. 198 

1. The Master of St. Giles. Mass in St. Denis. Coll. of Mrs. Stewart Mackenzie. 

p. 191. 

2. A Follower of Hugo van der Goes. Coronation of the Virgin. Buckingham 

Palace. p. 189. 

3. Justus of Ghent. A Courtier of Urbino. Bergamo Gallery. p. 158. 

4. Justus of Ghent. P. van Middelburg Lecturing. Windsor Castle. p. 198. 

PLATE IX . . . \ ."...'. . . / facing p. 208 

1. Albert van Ouwater. Raising of Lazarus. Berlin Gallery. p. 201. 

2. School of Ouwater. Raising of Lazarus. Mexico Museum p. 202. 

3. The Haarlem Sibyl Master (Ouwater ?). The Sibyl and Augustus. Frank- 

furt Stadel Institut. p. 203. 

4. Dutch School. Virgo inter Virgines. Lisbon. pp. 203, 209. 

PLATE X facing p. 220 

1. The Delft Virgo Master. Nativity. De Somzee Sale. p. 211. 

2. The Delft Virgo Master. Entombment. Liverpool Gallery. p. 212. 

3. Geertgen van Sint Jans. The Virgin's Kindred. Amsterdam Gallery. 

p. 216. 

4. Dutch School. The Holy Family. Dresden Gallery. p. 220. 

PLATE XI facing p. 254 

1. The Master of St. Bertin's. A Convent Scene. Predella Panel from the 

St. Bertin Altar-piece. Berlin Gallery. p. 223. 

2. French School. Virgin and Child with Jeanne de Bourbon (diptych panel). 

Chantilly. p. 226. 

3. A Bruges Artist (c. 1500). Virgin and Child. Jacquemart-Andre Museum, 

Paris. p. 254. 

4. The Ursula Master. A Pilgrimage Chapel. Panel from the St. Ursula 

Series. Convent of the Black Sisters, Bruges. p. 248. 


PLATE XII facing p. 264 

1. Albert Bouts. Madonna and Angel. Worcester Gallery, Mass. p. 258. 

2. The Brabant Master of the Solomons. Solomon worshipping False Gods. 

Amsterdam Gallery. p. 260. 

3. Colin de Coter. Madonna and Angels. Present ownership unknown. 

p. 264. 

4. Colin de Coter. SS. Michael and Agnes. Present ownership unknown. 

p. 264. 

PLATE XIII . . . facing p. 274 

1. A Brabant Master. Portrait of an Ecclesiastic. Present ownership un- 

known. p. 261. 

2. The Afflighem Master. Jeanne la Folle. Wing Panel of the Ziericzee Altar- 

piece. Brussels Gallery. p. 267. 

3. The Magdalen Master. Whig Panel with Portraits. Present ownership 

unknown. p. 269. 

4. Goswin van der Weyden. The Virgin's Kindred. Blakeslee Sale (New York). 

p. 275. 

PLATE XIV facing p. 294 

1. School of Geertgen (G. David ?). St. Dominic distributing Rosaries. Present 

ownership unknown. p. 277. 

2. G. David. The Dingwall Crucifixion. Present ownership unknown. p. 290. 

3. Jan Provost. Death and John Lanckart. Bruges Gallery. p. 294. 

4. G. David. Diptych of Joos van der Burg. Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Mass. 

p. 281. 

PLATE XV facing p. 306- 

1. Flemish School (1535). A Protestant Meeting at the Chateau de Rumbeke. 

Coll. of Count de Limburg-Stirum. p. 299. 

2. Quentin Massy s. Madonna and Saints. Coll. of Mr. C. B. O. Clarke. p. 323. 

3. Adrian Isenbrant. St. Luke. Present ownership unknown. p. 305. 

4. Lancelot Blondeel. Decoration in the Palais de Justice, Bruges. p. 306. 

PLATE XVI facing p. 344 

1. Quentin Massys. John Carondelet. Coll. Havemeyer. p. 328. 

2. Master of the Mansi Magdalen. Virgin and Child. Present ownership 

unknown. p. 329. 

3. Jerome Bosch. The Pedlar. Coll. Figdor (Vienna). p. 341. 

4. Jerome Bosch. Ecce Homo. Coll. J. G. Johnson (Philadelphia). p. 344. 

PLATE XVII facing p. 356 

1. Joachim de Patinir. Heaven and Hell. The Prado, Madrid. p. 354. 

2. Mathias Cock. A Drawing. Berlin Print Room. p. 357. 

3. Lucas Gassel. St. Jerome. Coll. Nijland. p. 355. 

4. Henry Patinir (?). St. Christopher. Coll. von Brenken. p. 356. 

PLATE XVIII facing p. 374* 

1. Mabuse. Madonna. Carlsruhe Gallery. p. 364. 

2. Antwerp School. Madonna. Coll. Bandelier, from Bolivia. p. 367. 

3. Mabuse. Emperor Charles V. Budapest Gallery. p. 370. 

4. Mabuse (by or after). Portrait of a Child. Gorhambury. Not referred 

to in the text. 


PLATE XIX f acin S P- 386 

1. Antwerp School. Virgo inter Virgines. Lisbon Palace. p. 381. 

2 The Master of Frankfurt. Magi. Present ownership unknown. p. 384. 

3. Jan de Cock. SS. Paul and Anthony. Coll. Liechtenstein (Vienna). p. 385. 

4. Antwerp Mannerist A. Magi. The Prado, Madrid. p. 386. 

PLATE XX .. facing p. 390 

1. Antwerp Mannerist B (Jan de Beer ?). Annunciation. Present ownership 

unknown. p. 387. 

2. Antwerp Mannerist C. Last Supper. Present ownership unknown. p. 389. 

3. Antwerp Mannerist D. Pieta. Carlsruhe Gallery. p. 389. 

4. Antwerp Mannerist E. Magi. Coll. of Lord Carew. p. 390. 

PLATE XXI * facing p. 406 

1. Dirk Vellert. Magi. Present ownership unknown. p. 393. 

2. Jan Joest. Christ at the Well. St. Nicholas', Calcar. p. 398. 

3. Barthel Bruyn. Nativity. Present ownership unknown. p. 399. 

4. Joos van Cleve. Madonna and Angels. Ince Hall, Liverpool. p. 407. 

PLATE XXII facing p. 420 

1. Joos van Cleve. St. John at Patmos. Present ownership unknown. p. 409. 

2. Joos van Cleve. Man's Portrait. Worcester Gallery, Mass. p. 411. 

3. Sotte (Cornelis van) Cleve. Man's Portrait. Antwerp Gallery. p. 415. 

4. Bernard van Orley. Madonna with Angels. Present ownership unknown. 

p. 421. 

PLATE XXIII facing p. 458 

1. The Master of Alkmaar. The Supper at Simon's. Budapest Gallery. 

p. 433. 

2. Jan Mostaert. West Indian Landscape. Van Stolk Museum, Haarlem. 

p. 442. 

3. Jacob van Oostsanen. Nativity. Present ownership unknown. p. 458. 

4. Cornelis Engebrechtsen. Christ with Prophets. Coll. Flersheim. p. 448. 

PLATE XXIV ... . . . . . facing p. 506 

1. Lucas van Leyden. Magi. Coll. Ryerson (Chicago). p. 471. 

2. Peter Bruegel. The Rhone Valley in Winter with Villeneuve in the distance. 

Vienna Gallery. p. 502. 

3. Peter Bruegel. A Drunken Husband. Present ownership unknown. p. 503. 

4. Peter Bruegel. The Hireling Shepherd. Coll. J. G. Johnson (Philadelphia). 

p. 506. 


UPWARD of thirty years ago I delivered, as Professor of Art at 
Liverpool, a set of lectures on the Early Flemish Painters the 
Van Eycks and their followers which were presently revised and 
published in a volume. It bears the date 1887, but was actually 
issued in the preceding year. The small number of persons who, 
in those days, were interested in such matters received with approval 
this modest volume. It is still a great pleasure to me to recall the 
kind letter it elicited from my beloved friend Professor John Ruskin. 
If I do myself the honour to print it here, I can surely at this date 
escape the accusation of using it for the purposes of advertisement. 



15th Nov., 1886. 


" I "am altogether and all round delighted with your book. 
The plates are perfection. The text seems to me as right as right 
can be, and deeply interesting. The little golden block on cover 
is as beautiful as old work. 

" Could your binder do a dozen for me in strong morocco or in 
white vellum ? I'll pay for the strongest and prettiest binding you 
can devise with him, for presentation copies to schools. 

" Ever your entirely pleased and affectionate, 

" J. R." 

I have often been asked to reprint Early Flemish Artists, but 
it was impossible honestly to do so, the book being hopelessly out 
of date. The whole subject has been minutely studied in the last 
thirty years ; many new discoveries have been made, much that 
was accepted has been disproved, so that scarcely a line of the original 


can stand. To reissue the book meant to rewrite it, and for that 
I had neither time nor inclination. The war, however, changed 
many things. It entirely revolutionized the life of students who 
were too old to serve the country in any of the ways open to the 
young and the middle-aged. By greatly reducing the output of 
research it gave time for reflection and revision. The passing 
months did not bring that fresh harvest of observations and 
discoveries which the brief intervals between publications used 
scarcely to be long enough to absorb. It was impossible in war- 
time to travel for research. Pending questions that needed a visit 
to this or that foreign museum for their solution had to hang up till 
the war was over. There was time, therefore, to go back over old 
ground and to reconsider matters of former interest. The immense 
tragedy of Belgium naturally drew the mind of anyone who had 
known her cities and been caught by the spell of her ancient art 
to retrace the memory of happier days. No one could say how 
many of the treasures that once seemed so safely housed and so 
carefully tended might not have been wrenched from their places 
of honour or destroyed. A dark pall of mystery enveloped their 
fate at the time when I was writing this book, and added a pathetic 
element to a subject always rich with the accumulated interests 
converging upon precious objects which have passed through 
centuries of peril. 

Thus, being at that time unemployable in war-work, I was led 
in the long months of suspense and anxiety to turn for relief to my 
old friends, who lie so quietly there, treasured up in the silent and 
changeless past the great mediaeval painters of the provinces 
which now form Belgium, Holland, and a part of France. I turned 
over my collection of photographs, looked up my notes, re-read 
my old book, and thus occupied, found myself beginning, almost 
before I knew it, the revision of that antiquated text. More than 
revision, however, proved to be necessary ; the whole had to be 
rewritten, not even on the old lines, for both the subject and the 
writer had changed. Current thoughts will not fit into obsolete 


sentences ; opinions which once seemed sound, seemed sound no 
longer. Still, the purpose of this new work and that old one is the 
same not to record and co-ordinate all the as yet discovered facts 
about painters and pictures, nor even to discuss all the works of any 
artist, however great, nor necessarily any work of every identified 
artist of the period, however small ; but to open the way for the 
ordinary intelligent person to enter into this particular domain of 
art, and there orient himself and find a solution of such difficulties 
as are to be encountered on the threshold. 

Three names are specially memorable in connexion with fruitful 
and efficient research into the history of our school : those of 
Mr. W. H. James Weale, Dr. Friedlander, and Professor G. Hulin 
de Loo. The first mentioned was the founder of the study. More 
than half a century ago, when resident at Bruges, he began to 
decipher the neglected archives of that ancient city, the home of 
so many artists in the fifteenth century. Several years of such 
work, and the scholarly publication of his discoveries from time to 
time, laid a solid foundation upon which later students have been 
able to build. It has been given to few men, as it was to him, to 
see his own excellent pioneer work ably carried forward to such 
remarkable results as till recently he lived to enjoy. Dr. Fried- 
lander and Professor Hulin, to name only the two most eminent of 
the later generation of workers, have had advantages which their 
predecessors did not possess. They have at their disposal the 
invaluable aid of photography, and they have lived in days when 
the whole apparatus of study has been elaborated : museum-cata- 
logues, sale-catalogues, specialist magazines, rapid and easy means 
of travel and communication, as well as the valuable organizations 
which great museums now provide. With such advantages and 
the co-operation of numerous efficient workers along the same or 
parallel lines, with archives searched and published by experts in all 
the old countries, it is not surprising that rapid and continuous 
progress was made in a study so fostered. Both the leading 
scholars I have named are in possession of a mass of as yet largely 


unpublished material which they have laboriously brought together, 
sifted, and are in continual process of co-ordinating. In due season 
we may look to both of them to give to the world more or less 
encyclopaedic works on a subject which is now large enough for the 
life-work of an individual. Since these words were written Dr. 
Friedlander has published (in part re-published) a suggestive series 
of essays on the principal artists discussed in the following pages. 
The book is entitled Von Eyck bis Bruegel. It is not, however, the 
comprehensive work we still look for from him. Both he and 
Hulin have succeeded in isolating, from the mass of existing pictures 
whose authorship had been forgotten, groups of works which they 
are able to assign with assurance to the hands of separate though 
unidentified artists. In a few cases even the name of the artist 
has been revealed, and an outline drawn of the cardinal dates and 
places of his activity. The notebooks of both these scholars 
assuredly contain many more conclusions of this kind than they 
have yet made known. If we can now point with confidence to 
pictures by such important painters as Robert Campin, Jacques 
Daret, John Prevost, Ambrosius Benson, Jan Mostaert, and several 
more, it is thanks in great measure to the work of these two gifted 
and industrious students. More numerous are the still anonymous 
artists whose works they have brought together under such invented 
designations as " the Master of the Amsterdam Virgo inter Vir- 
gines," " the Master of the Holy Blood," and so forth. The day, 
we hope, will come when the true names of some at least of these 
artists may be discovered. 

It is not my purpose in the following pages to attempt a com- 
plete digest of all this knowledge. For the ordinary lover of art 
the works of second-rate masters are not important. It is only 
the owner of a second-rate picture of a great school who really 
gains much from it the owner and the specialist student. The 
great men and the really great pictures are enough for those of us 
who desire to enjoy rather than to know. Neither do we much care 
for whom particular paintings were made, if they were persons 


whose names mean nothing to us and whose achievements did not 
leave any important mark on history. Dates and names, marriages 
that affect heraldic cognizances, and all manner of details of that 
sort are often invaluable as means of fixing the place of a work of art 
in the line of some painter's activity, and thus throwing important 
light upon his development. The result of such investigations 
suffices for us, and we need not cumber ourselves to repeat the 
laborious process by which pioneers have revealed precious facts. 
The important pictures are now well enough known. The great 
artists are identified and for the most part correctly named and 
more or less correctly dated. It is not likely that much of first-rate 
importance remains to be discovered, or that many pictures of high 
rank have yet to emerge from obscurity. The cities of Europe 
have been rummaged from garret to basement, and most of the 
forgotten treasures of the first rank brought to light. Let us 
therefore for the time content ourselves with what has been done 
for us thus far and thankfully approach the rich feast which the 
labours of so many have combined to prepare. 

The very day when the writing of this book was finished, I 
received an invitation to become the Director-General of the 
Imperial War Museum. Time has since been lacking for study of 
the publications issued in foreign countries during and since the 
war-years. That deficiency has been more than supplied by the 
expert help kindly extended to me by my friend Mr. Tancred 
Borenius in helping me to see this book through the press. My 
warmest thanks are due and are hereby rendered to him. 




TOWARD the close of the fourteenth century the art of the Low 
Countries, and that of France and the Rhineland also, were still 
essentially branches of the great mediaeval Gothic School, though 
a new life had entered into them and that new life was to change 
the face of civilization. But the Renaissance, if already heralded, 
had not yet dawned in the North. No one there was consciously 
looking back to the achievements of classical days and endeavouring 
to imitate and revive them. That was to happen, was indeed 
already beginning to happen, in Italy, but for another hundred 
years or more the North went its own way and pursued its own 
traditions and ideals whithersoever they happened to lead. We 
cannot, therefore, profitably launch forth on the stream of artistic 
production in the time of the Van Eycks without making ourselves 
to some degree acquainted with its upper reaches in the great realm 
of Gothic achievement. It is true that nowadays an author may 
assume in his readers a much larger acquaintance with the works of 
mediaeval art than was possible even thirty years ago. Travel has 
familiarized most intelligent persons, even in England, with the 
great cathedrals of France and the churches and palaces of Italy. 
The history of that romantic period is likewise more widely known 
than of yore. Such outstanding characters as St. Francis of Assisi 
are men of flesh and blood to many more than could have realized 
them a generation ago. It will suffice, therefore, in the first 
instance to quicken the reader's memory rather than to attempt 
his instruction. 

Notwithstanding all the knowledge of records, literature, and 


art of the mediaeval age, centrally represented by the thirteenth 
century, it remains, and always must remain, difficult for a modern 
man to enter into and feel at home in that age. Read, for 
instance, Mr. Coulton's notable work, From St. Francis to Dante, 
with its wealth of first-hand descriptive and contemporary reports 
of men, their sayings, and their astonishing deeds : it is assuredly 
not easy to imagine oneself living in such surroundings, acting on 
such motives, and incorporating such peculiar notions. That was 
indeed a world-epoch wholly different from this in which we live. 
A world-epoch is not a mere scale of succeeding events, but a vast 
symphony of action wrought out in the lives of countless men and 
women. Surely in no age except in the great days of Greece was 
the output of humanity more wonderful, more splendid than in the 
Gothic period. Ushered in by the Crusades, when all Western 
Europe went mad with an ideal, it gave birth to chivalry, to a 
wonderful conception of human unity as expressed in an imaginary 
world-empire spiritual and temporal, and to the most complete 
and in its day entirely lucid and acceptable harmony of social 
structure and faith. It was an age that built Venice and the great 
cathedrals, that covered Europe with monastic establishments in 
which an attempt was made to live for something higher than 
material satisfaction. It was an age in which the seraphic fire of 
Francis could blaze in splendour before the enraptured eyes of 
mankind an age that produced the kingship of St. Louis, 
the philosophy of Anselm, the enthusiasm for righteousness of 
Bernard of Clairvaux. It was an age, too, of song and wonder, of 
the almost Homeric Chanson de Roland and the strange world- 
wandering troubadours. But above everything else it was a great 
building age, when all that was most aspiring in the minds of men 
found expression in high-vaulted churches, rich with sculpture. 
Never were stones more gloriously builded together than by the 
thirteenth-century masons of royal France. Such a cathedral as 
that of Reims was not a mere specimen of what could then be made. 
It and one or two others, but it above them all, was the incorpora- 
tion of the collective life of the people who were at the head of their 
age in the culmination of a great world-epoch. The middle-age, 
as it were, resided in Reims, was therein embodied and entirely 
expressed. So long as that cathedral stood in all the glory of its 


unrivalled perfection of mass and detail, the middle-age still existed 
in full view of modern man. To destroy it was not merely to destroy 
a beautiful thing that foolish people might imagine could be replaced 
by another. It was to destroy the chief accomplishment of three 
hundred years of the labour of the civilized part of Europe, for 
Reims was in itself a thing commensurate with an epoch of 

No great Gothic building can be comprehended at a glance. 
The mass of it, the balance and building of it, do indeed impose 
upon a spectator an immediate effect, but it is in its details, in its 
ornaments and accessories, in its recondite parts gradually revealed, 
that the voice of the edifice is to be heard. Great Gothic churches 
were intended to be lived with. They were to instruct and delight 
a settled population the folk who had made great sacrifices to 
erect and adorn them. A Moslem religious edifice, such as the Taj, 
strikes the beholder at first view with the full force of its magnifi- 
cence and beauty. The first vision is the greatest. It is not so 
with a mighty Gothic cathedral. The impression produced by it 
grows with time and familiarity. The great mediaeval cathedrals 
were more than mere places of worship, prayer-books graven in 
stone. Each was the heart of a city's life. They symbolized and 
expressed all that mediaeval man believed of the world that was, 
is, and is to come. There was then no discord between the religion 
and the daily life of men, as they held it should be lived, nor, con- 
sequently, was a different style employed for the adornment of one 
kind of object or another. There was no special religious archi- 
tecture, or kind of decoration proper for a church and unsuitable 
elsewhere. Household implements were embellished with carvings 
of the subjects that found place in the portals of a cathedral. 
What the sculptor carved the painter also painted and the em- 
broiderer worked. Not till the Reformation did the wedge enter 
that was destined to sunder religion from daily life. Before it the 
two were but different aspects of one thing. 

Mediaeval art, like mediaeval religion, reflected every side of life 
and tried to express the many moods and humours of men. Just 
as folk -festivals and religious solemnities followed one another in 
the same building, alike under saintly and angelic patronage, so art 
changed from grave to gay, from serious to grotesque, in the faith 


that the eyes which regard mankind from Eternity's stillness look 
with equal favour upon hours of merriment and of worship, and 
find as much to approve in the labour of a man's hands as in the 
emotions of his puzzled heart. The life of Christ, to the Gothic 
mind, was a permeating influence throughout all human life. The 
husbandman at his plough and the churchman at his prayers were 
both performing a religious function. Hence the common intro- 
duction in cathedral portals and windows of the occupation of the 
months, these occupations being as much a part of the Christian 
religion as were the events of the life of Christ, its founder. 

In the Cathedral of Chartres the full-toned voice of a great 
mediaeval church may still be heard the things about which it 
spoke and the manner of its speaking. That cathedral possesses 
in tolerable condition three fine sculptured porches by which entry 
is made from north, west, and south. Let us take the north porch 
as typical of the rest. It tells chiefly of the Virgin and of her sweet 
influence, which, to the Gothic mind, embraced all the thoughts 
and actions of men and angels in the visible and invisible worlds. 
This porch contains three doorways, each filled above and on either 
side with sculpture. Over and before them is a richly wrought 
atrium. In all there are upward of seven hundred carved figures, 
large and small, many of a high order of beauty. 

The central figure is a colossal statue of St. Anne, holding the 
Virgin in her arms, and standing upon a bracket carved with the 
story of Joachim. Overhead the chief subjects are the Dormition, 
Assumption, and Coronation of the Virgin. Three incidents from 
the birth and early days of the infant Jesus are carved over the door 
on the left, their purpose being to tell the central fact of the Virgin's 
life ; in a corresponding position on the right are the Judgment 
of Solomon and the sufferings of Job as examples of Justice and 
Patience, the leading virtues of the Virgin herself. The setting for 
these central jewels is of an astonishing richness, every subject 
hereafter mentioned being so placed as to suggest sidelights of 
thought, by connexion with its neighbours above and below and 
contrast with those that balance it in corresponding positions. There 
are forty -two colossal statues, twenty-six of Saints and Prophets, 
two representing the Annunciation, two the Visitation, two the 
symbolical figures of Synagogue and Church, two the Active and 


Contemplative life, while the remaining eight are intended as monu- 
ments of the royal and noble personages by whose munificence or 
under whose rule this great work was done. These forty -two persons 
stand upon brackets carved with subjects illustrative of their lives. 
Around the arched-over part of each door come rows of angels in 
the voussures, some being the angels of the sun, moon, and stars. 
Then there are the physical and spiritual ancestors of the Virgin 
and a number of representatives of the human race in adoration of 
the Lady of Pity. To these succeed sets of carvings of chief 
incidents in the lives of Samson and Gideon, Esther and Judith, Tobit, 
Samuel, and David each chosen as example of one side or another 
of the ideal character. Further, we have the whole story of the 
Creation, the Fall, and the condemnation of man to a life of labour 
and sorrow. Here, therefore, the Occupations of the Months find 
place and with them the Signs of the Zodiac and figures emblematic 
of Summer and Winter. The Arts and Sciences follow, and the 
various modes of life, active and contemplative ; then, as warning 
and example, the ten Virgins of the parable, the twelve Fruits of 
the Holy Spirit, the fourteen Beatitudes of body and soul, and 
the seven Virtues overcoming the seven Vices. The whole is 
surmounted by a seated figure of God Most High in the attitude of 
benediction. This is but the decoration of a single portal of the 

Bear in mind that there is another porch as richly sculptured 
as this one, and a third less rich, as being the work of a previous 
generation which was feeling its way. The church within was 
as vocal as without. What paintings may have adorned its 
walls we know not, but its windows, filled with storied glass, 
still exist. Over each great porch is a vast rose window ; they 
represent respectively, the Last Judgment, the Glory of Christ, 
and the Glory of the Virgin. Beside these there are 125 double- 
light windows, 35 smaller roses, and 12 yet smaller. Almost 
all the painted glass with which these openings are enriched dates 
from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The windows were 
gifts, many presented by guilds of workmen of the town. In these 
the occupations of the trades are sometimes shown, subjects drawn 
directly from the folk-life of the day. Others were gifts from nobles, 
who are represented by figures in contemporary costume, though 


not portraits. One donor and his wife are shown playing chess 
and pray why not ? But the greater part of the pictures deals with 
incidents, in the lives of Christ and the Virgin and of some fifty 
saints. There are, besides, the Apostles, the nine orders of angelic 
hierarchies, the Patriarchs and Prophets of the Old Testament, the 
parables of the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, and the Ten 
Virgins, as well as illustrations of rarer types, such as the Virgin 
holding in her lap the Seven Gifts of the Spirit. One window shows 
a set of types and antitypes from the Old and New Testaments ; 
others have again the Occupations of the Months and the Signs of 
the Zodiac ; one with the Stem of Jesse is copied from a famous 
original, a few years older, which was at St. Denis and was likewise 
repeated at Le Mans, Canterbury, and elsewhere. A few are filled 
with a finely decorative grisaille. 

The range of subjects at the disposal of the Gothic artist was thus 
by no means small, yet it was in practice restricted to such com- 
positions as were understood and could easily be recognized by 
an unlearned public. An artist was not asked for novelty but for 
lucidity and a decorative effect. Painters, sculptors, embroiderers, 
miniaturists all alike worked in subordination to architecture. 
Most of the beautiful things made were intended to be used in, and 
to harmonize with, a great building. Everyone then knew that a 
female figure holding a lamp upside down was one of the Foolish 
Virgins, and that a woman with a wheel was St. Catherine. An 
artist had only to jog the memory of the spectator so far as subject 
was concerned, but he had more especially to delight his eye, and 
that was where his art came in. As rich decoration, not in sculpture 
only, but in painted sculpture, was an essential part of Gothic 
architecture at that time, so painting and all the other arts were 
mere handmaids of architecture. Throughout the Dark Ages, 
from the fifth to the tenth or eleventh century, the leading art had 
been that of the goldsmith, as in times of insecurity was not 
unnatural. By the thirteenth century even that had been brought 
under the sway of the architect, as any silver or gold bookbinding 
will show, for on them you will find figures in high relief under 
elaborate canopies, which would serve equally well as designs for 
the sculptured niches and their contained figures on any cathedral 
front. So, too, it was with painting. Pictures, whether on walls 


or the pages of manuscripts, were in truth coloured sculpture in 
architectural frames depicted on the flat. The background is of 
plain gold or resembles a decorated hanging or patterned wall- 
surface. Against this the figures are relieved in coloured silhouette. 
Thefr number is the least lucidity required. The grouping is simple 
and approximately symmetrical. Each figure is quiet in pose and 
drapery. Colours are flat ; few are employed, and those bright and 
pure blue, red, green, and so forth. All is reserved, direct, and yet 
brilliant. The figures, moreover, are of one type. They express 
one ideal character, except where vicious men have to be portrayed, 
and then the mediaeval artist fails. Faces are not intellectual, 
neither are they individual. They possess none of the qualities of 
a portrait. They depict types, not persons. 

What was the ideal thus everywhere attempting to get itself 
expressed by successive generations of artists in all countries of the 
west, and especially in France ? It was the ideal which generated 
the devotion of saint and monk and nun, and sent men in their 
thousands to the Holy Land to fight battles for an ideal Lord. It 
was the ideal which remade Europe after the Teutonic hosts had 
once almost destroyed it ; which raised the new peoples from the 
grovelling savagery of the invasions and taught them to be reverent, 
generous, just, and true. It was this which has bred whatever 
of manliness and righteous life is in us even to this present day ; an 
ideal which has fastened itself as permanently in our thoughts, let 
us hope, as in our language, and if it had left behind no greater 
monument than the name of " gentleman," would in that alone 
have bequeathed a richer heritage than many a conquering race in 
all its works of pride. 

For a hundred years, no more, harmony in government, social 
life, religion, and art was maintained about as perfectly as is possible 
in this imperfect, ever-changing world. By the fourteenth 
century the culminating days had passed. Feudalism was dying 
or dead. The monastic orders were growing corrupt. The 
pecuniary exactions of the Church were being resented. The 
balance of classes was becoming unstable. Most ominous of all, 
society was no longer completely permeated by a single ideal, 
dimly or grossly perceived by the masses, finely by the elect, suffi- 
ciently by all. When Jewish philosophers introduced the works of 


Averroes and the Moslem philosophers to the philosophers of 
Christendom, and thereby gave emphasis to the inevitable opposi- 
tion between Nominalist and Realist, the seed of the Reformation 
was sown. The Averroists of the thirteenth century William of 
St. Amour and the rest were succeeded in the fourteenth by Wicklif , 
in the fifteenth by Huss, and in the sixteenth by Luther. Revived 
individualism was sapping the foundations of mediaeval socialism 
alike in Church and State. In the thirteenth century religious 
ideas and ecclesiastical forms and government were in harmony. 
After the thirteenth century ideas were steadily changing, but 
forms were maintained by vested interests. An ultimate cataclysm 
was assured. 

For the student of art the fourteenth century spiritualists or 
" mystics " are a notable group of men, whose centre of life was in 
the valley of the Rhine. 1 That was an awful time of wars, famines, 
and the Black Death. In presence of these physical horrors sensi- 
tive souls were driven to turn from the material to the spiritual, 
from the darkness without to a light within. Such were Meister 
Eckhardt, Tauler, Suso, and many more. They had no thought 
of sundering themselves from the Church, but they raised their 
voices against the lewdness and luxury of Churchmen and the 
growing formalism of the folk. They did not preach penance, good 
works, and the like. They endeavoured rather to transfer to others 
the enthusiastic yearning of their own souls after God, after 
holiness, and the new life that followed upon an entire surrender 
of the soul to Christ. 


fcC The mystic," wrote Mr. Beard in his Hibbert Lectures, " is 
one who claims to be able to see God and Divine things with the 
inner vision of the soul a direct apprehension, as the bodily eye 
apprehends colour, as the bodily ear apprehends sound. His 
method, as far as he has one, is simply contemplation ; he does 
not argue or generalize, or infer ; he reflects, broods, waits for 
light. He prepares for Divine communion by a process of self- 
purification : he detaches his spirit from earthly cares and passions ; 
he studies to be quiet that his still soul may reflect the face of God. 

1 See A. Peltzer, Deutsche Mystik und die Kunst (Strassburg, 1899) and Repertorium 
fur Kunstwissenschaft, 1913, p. 297. 


He usually sits loose to active duty ; for him the felt presence of 
God dwarfs the world and makes it common : he is so dazzled 
by the glory of the one great object of contemplation, that he sees 
and cares for little else. . . . The mystic is always more or less 
indistinct in utterance : he sees, or thinks he sees, more than he 
can tell : the realities which he contemplates are too vast, too 
splendid, too many-sided to be confined within limits of human 
words. . . . Give a mystic the thought of God, and his mind wants 
and can contain no more : from a soul so filled, all peculiarities of 
ecclesiastical time and place drop away as useless shell or indifferent 
garment. This is the reason why the works of great mystics have 
always been the world's favourite books of devotion." 

Such were the mystics of the Rhine Valley and the Low Coun- 
tries " Brethren of the Free Spirit," "Friends of God," and 
other open or secret fellowships. Their leaders attracted large 
congregations. No organized movement at once resulted or was 
desired, but individual lives were changed and individual thought 
germinated. An all-sided effort, social, religious, political, industrial, 
artistic, had piled up the great Gothic cathedrals. The whole 
round of national life and thought was embodied in them. No such 
monumental result could come from the ferment of the mystics. 
Moreover, pomp of ceremonial, and all of doctrine and circumstance 
that it implied or involved, were discordant with their feelings. 
What they desired was more fervour in private devotion, more 
ecstasy of the soul in contact with the Divine. Whatever could 
help toward that they fostered ; all else was nothing to them. If 
we are to find mediaeval mysticism expressed in art, we shall have 
to look for it, not in the architecture of the thirteenth, but in the 
small and highly finished pictures and manuscript illuminations of 
the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 

After the Black Death, in the middle of the fourteenth century, 
a change took place in Gothic architecture and the allied arts. Its 
monumental character gradually deserted it. Great wall-spaces 
are fewer. Clustered columns become slenderer and more multiplex, 
tracery more intricate and less geometrical. Ornamental details 
increase in number and delicacy. Lines are more flowing ; vaulted 
roofs more complicated ; interiors more spacious and light. Archi- 


tecture, in fact, tends toward the picturesque. Sculpture advances 
with equal stride in the same direction. Rows of colossal figures, 
which in the thirteenth century stand in monumental calm, now 
begin to awake as to the actual world. They turn this way 
and that. They appear to be conversing one with another. The 
Virgin smiles. The Child lovingly strokes her cheek or extends 
His hand toward the spectator. 

Cologne was no great centre of Gothic architecture, but affords 
an interesting example of this change. Here are some noteworthy 
dates. Her cathedral was founded about the beginning of the last 
quarter of the thirteenth century, and its enormous choir was 
finished about the end of the first quarter of the fourteenth built 
in fact during the last half-century of the great Gothic building age. 
Then the building activity slackened. Years went by and little was 
added to the pile. The old socialistic architectural spirit, with all 
that it implied, ceased in the city about the time of the consecration 
of the choir. Turn now to the last half of the fourteenth century, 
and what do we see ? No longer a building activity, but a busy group 
of painters, Meister Wilhelm, perhaps, at their head, and all the 
Rhineland filling with pictures. That is one indication of the social, 
religious, and intellectual change that synchronized with the growth 
and prevalence of mysticism. Away off in distant Hamburg too, 
and in Bohemia, and up at the Rhine-head about Lake Constance, 
the same change was taking place in the last part of the fourteenth 
century : here sooner, there later, according to local circumstances ; 
but the limits of our subject cannot be so widely outstepped as to 
bring these movements into present consideration. A word or 
two about what happened in the Cologne region may suffice as 
typical of all. 

Meister Wilhelm has been named, but in fact when his name 
has been written down there is not much more to add that is known 
for certain about him. A certain Wilhelm, born at Herle near 
Cologne, bought a house in the city in 1357, seems to have attained 
a good position among the people, and died about 1380. He may 
have been the Meister Wilhelm of whom the Limburg Chronicle 
notes in connexion with the year 1380 that he was then active, 
and that he " painted a man as though he were alive." A few 
beautiful pictures of the Cologne School have come down to us 


from about that date. Whether any of them are by him who can 
say ? His name is a useful label for the period and style. 

The most extensive picture of the kind is the altar-piece in Cologne 
Cathedral, called the St. Clara altar, which, one would suppose, 
must have been painted by the head of the local school at the time. 
It is Gothically architectural enough in general aspect, with its 
rows of moulded arcading surmounted by cusped and crocketed 
pediments, but the paintings within these frames are not archi- 
tectural at all. Here the new spirit is plainly declared its playful 
tenderness, its slender grace, its " sweetness and light." There is 
none of the old stateliness, but a gentle domestic humanity instead. 
See how in the Nativity the Babe leans out from the manger and 
tries to reach His mother's cheek to kiss it, the while the ass licks His 
head, and the little angels, fluttering in the air above, make music on 
their rudimentary instruments. Or note how happily father and 
mother unite to bathe the Child in His tub, she tenderly holding 
Him, he pouring warm water over His back from a copper pot 
angels overhead busy as before. The spirit that animates the 
compositions determines also the human types : slenderness of 
body, purity of expression, grace and simplicity of flowing line. 
Of course the colouring is bright against the gold background, the 
patterns pretty, all details pleasantly decorative. Happiness is 
the keynote, happiness in domesticity in a world of people of good 
will. That was the kind of ideal place the much-tried folk of those 
days pictured as a haven of rest from the evils of this world. 

Or turn to the little Madonna pictures, intended doubtless for 
private oratories rather than church altars. They must have been 
numerous, though few have survived ; such are the Virgin with the 
pea-blossom at Nuremberg and the little triptych in Cologne 
Museum with Catherine and Barbara on the wings. 1 In the St. 
Clara altar we had incidents in the life of the Holy Family, but here 
we have Virgin and Child held up for adoration. Older generations 
in such case made of her a queen, majestic and aloof. Already at 
Amiens the Vierge doree had descended somewhat from that high 
estate ; now she has approached yet nearer to the human heart. 
She has become lovable as a woman, whom one need not fear to 

1 A foolish attempt was made a few years ago to throw doubt on the authenticity of 
this picture. How gladly would one buy of such a forger ! 


address, a gentle friend who calls for affection rather than homage, 
and will pour forth the protection of love rather than of power. 
Clearly into this presence only the pure of heart can happily enter, 
but they will find themselves indeed at home. 

The religion of the thirteenth century was a side of the whole 
life of a people. Barter and sale, manufacture and war, alike then 
presented a religious aspect. But if thereby the ordinary actions 
and affairs of life seemed to receive a divine sanction, the ideals of 
faith tended also to be dragged through the mire. When the 
enthusiasm of mediaeval faith lost some of its vitality, this dragging 
down of religion became painful to the more spiritually minded, 
and a reaction followed. It drove the mystery plays out of the 
churches into the market-places and produced other like changes. 
The movement of the mystics was part of this reaction. In one 
sense they tended to sunder religion from the daily life of ordinary 
folk. They laid stress upon a change of heart rather than upon 
ceremonies and conformities. Not the visible functions of the 
Church, but inward emotions were for them of prime importance. 
The acts of life were indeed to manifest the changed heart, but it 
was the change that was vital, not the acts. Thus, for them, private 
contemplation and private devotion were raised to the first place ; 
public worship sank to a lower level. The necessary worldliness and 
pomp of ceremonial of the great symbolic religion were distasteful 
to these forerunners of the Reformation. Hence the novel type of 
this mystical Madonna. This ideal Lady evidently would be out 
of place over a shop-door. She could be the dream of a poet or a 
pure maiden, but hardly the inspiration for a life of rough-and- 
tumble action in a workaday world. She belongs to the oratory, 
not the market-place. 

Another type of painting expressive of mystic ideals is the 
" Paradise " picture. The type did not come into existence much 
before the fifteenth century, one of the earliest examples being, 
perhaps, the central panel of a little triptych at Berlin with St. Eliza- 
beth and St. Agnes on the wings. It may date from about 1400. 
Here the Virgin and four Saintesses are seated upon a flowery sward. 
The naked Child in His mother's arms plunges His hand into 
Dorothy's flower-basket and will give a blossom to Catherine who 
holds out her dainty little bag for it. Barbara and Margaret 


contentedly look on. How different from the Gothic altar-pieces 
of less than a century before, in which each saint stands solemnly 
in his own niche, emblem in hand to tell his name ! This fanciful, 
wayward, mystic treatment comes nearer to the spirit of the old 
legends, framed when Christianity was young. Here, for instance, 
is the tale they told about this same Dorothy, fair and pious maiden 
of Cappadocia. 1 Condemned to death for her faith, she said, " So 
be it ; the sooner shall I stand in the presence of Him whom I most 
desire to behold, the Son of God, Christ mine espoused ! His 
dwelling is in Paradise ; by His side are joys eternal, and in His garden 
grow celestial fruits and roses that never fade." On her way to 
martyrdom, one Theophilus, a youth, called to her mockingly, 
" Ha ! fair maiden, goest thou to join thy bridegroom ? Send me, 
I pray thee, of the fruits and flowers of that same garden : I would 
fain taste of them." And Dorothy, looking on him, inclined her 
head with a gentle smile and said, " Thy request, O Theophilus, 
is granted." Whereat he laughed aloud. When she came to the 
place of execution, she knelt down and prayed ; and suddenly 
there appeared at her side a beautiful boy, with hair bright as sun- 
beams. In his hand was a basket with three apples and three fresh- 
gathered fragrant roses. She said to him, " Carry those to Theo- 
philus ; say that Dorothea hath sent them, and that I go before 
him to the garden whence they came, and await him there." The 
angel sought Theophilus and found him still in merry mood about 
Dorothy's promise. He set before him the basket of celestial flowers 
and fruit, saying " Dorothea sends thee these," and so vanished. 
Here is the very atmosphere of the mystic artist. The Gothic 
painter would have depicted a stately maiden standing upright in 
a niche with a basket in her hand. The artist of the mystic school 
lets his fancy play ; takes the old symbols and makes toys of them. 
His art becomes lyrical, and is invested with a new kind of charm 
which painting was better suited than sculpture to express. 

A well-known picture at Frankfurt, dating from some twenty 
years later, shows how quickly the new style grew. In it we have 
no ordered grouping of courtiers about a central queen, but a true 
mediaeval garden within the embattled outer wall of some castle 
enclosure, a raised bed of flowers up against it, and quantities of 

1 Mainly as told by Mrs. Jameson. 


blossoms growing out of the grass, as only in Dorothy's garden could 
they grow, untrammelled by the seasons. She is there picking 
cherries into her basket with her back unceremoniously turned to 
the Virgin, who is reading in a book, which might be a romance for 
all one can tell. Cicely and the Babe are strumming on a cithern. 
Elizabeth is drinking at a fountain. Three young knights form a 
group conversing together. The birds are all tame, the flowers 
in full blossom, the sky clear. What a delightful world ! No 
wonder the new ideas were found acceptable and the new style 

The monuments, which the central mediaeval age had created, 
remained a precious memorial and potential force of great power, 
capable of affecting individual men and women of any day with a 
sense of what was noblest in the heart of mankind at a great epoch 
of the world but the old spirit was gone. So it always must be 
in a universe for ever " becoming." 

" The old order changeth, yielding place to new, 
And God fulfils Himself in many ways." 

Only by dying can a man enter fully even into the whole of his 
own life. 



NECESSARY consideration of the growth of mysticism and the 
change it was destined to produce in the arts has led us away from 
the countries with which our study is to be mainly concerned 
the Low Countries. Situated as they are, they were open to 
influences both from the Rhine region and from France, but it was 
France to which their debt was greatest, and thither we must now 
turn our attention. Throughout the Gothic age France was the 
artistic and intellectual leader of all Europe north of the Alps ; 
even Italy did not escape her spell. All the arts that flourished in 
the culminating Gothic Age reached their highest level in France, and 
particularly in the domaine royale under the immediate patronage 
of the kings. This is not to say that all the great artists were French- 
men. The greatest architects were no doubt mainly French, but 
where the arts flourish most strongly thither men of artistic gifts 
are likely to be drawn ; thus Paris, especially in the fourteenth 
century, was a loadstone to them. 

For some reason, capable it may be of explanation but not yet 
explained, the people of what is now Belgium have throughout 
the centuries, even far back into Roman times, been gifted above 
the average of mankind with the power of artistic creation. Seven 
English churches contain remarkable fonts sculptured at Tournay 
and exported thence in the latter half of the twelfth century. 
The bronze font made by Renier de Huy, now in the church of 
St. Barthelemy at Liege, is adorned all round with sculptured 
figures in high relief. If correctly dated 1112 they surpass all 
contemporary sculpture elsewhere. They are remarkable for any 
date. The Meuse valley was a leading centre of metal- work, and 
so remained generation after generation. Many a young artist 



wandered forth thence to find employment and opportunity in 
France. Such, for instance, was Jean Pepin de Huy, who made 
the beautiful effigy of Robert, son of Mahaut d'Artois, now in the 
Louvre. Such also were Jean de Marville and Claas Sluter, of 
whom more anon. The employment in France of what we should 
now call Belgian artists became yet more frequent in the days of 
the four princely brothers, sons of that King John the Good who 
was taken prisoner at Poitiers by the Black Prince. These four 
men were the great art-patrons toward the end of the fourteenth 
and beginning of the fifteenth centuries : to wit, King Charles the 
Fifth of France, Louis Duke of Anjou, Philip the Hardy Duke of 
Burgundy, and John Duke of Berry. By them the splendid out- 
burst of art -production and its rapid development at that period 
were powerfully fostered. 

Thirty years ago little enough was known about the French 
schools of painting in the century preceding the Renaissance. Few 
were they who concerned themselves with the matter. Archives, 
however, had been and were being read and published, and quiet 
work was going forward. Its results were first shown to the world 
in the memorable exhibition of " French Primitives " open in 
Paris in 1904. Great painters, till then unknown to modern fame, 
at once took a recognized place in the history of art, which they 
have since held. 

Least spectacular of the four patrons I have named was that 
efficient monarch Charles the Wise. He employed scribes to write 
fine manuscripts for him, but it is clear that it was the text rather 
than the embellishment that appealed to him. He could not but 
be a considerable builder in the circumstances of his day. The 
old Louvre was perhaps his most notable monument, but we need 
not here concern ourselves with buildings. His brother Louis, 
Duke of Anjou, M. de Farcy tells us, " had a veritable passion for 
goldsmith's work, enamels, pearls, and jewels. It seems like a 
dream to read the description of some of his treasures, his * very 
noble and very rich ' crown, his great golden tabernacle, his throne 
of state, and so forth." Already in 1364 he possessed seventy -three 
tapestries, and about a dozen years later he commanded the famous 
Apocalypse set still existing in the Cathedral at Angers. The 
Duke of Burgundy, who also ruled over most of what is now Belgium, 


is a more important personage for us, because it was within the 
area of his dominions that the great developments took place 
which concern us so intimately. From Flanders to Dijon his sway 
extended ; it is not therefore at all surprising to find in the Bur- 
gundian capital many an artist whose home was in those provinces 
which in our day are no longer French. Moreover, these patron 
brothers, if rivals in the world of art, also often aided one another 
to find efficient craftsmen. The Duke of Burgundy could supply 
many a good sculptor and painter to his brothers, and thus 
helped to provide opportunities for artists young and old from his 
own lands. The brothers, too, would from time to time lend to 
one another artists in their employ for particular works, or permit 
another's craftsman to see and gather hints from some work that 
was in process of making. In this, as in many ways, they forwarded 
the development of art in the studios maintained by them. Beside 
a great number of finely illustrated manuscripts, the chief works 
made for the Duke of Burgundy that specially concern us were 
those that pertained to the building, adornment, and furnishing of 
the Carthusian Convent of Champmol, close to Dijon, which he 
built to be the burial-place of his house. 

As for the Duke of Berry, who was evidently the most artistic- 
ally gifted of the four, every kind of splendid thing that could then 
be made was produced in the utmost possible perfection for him. 
He built numerous chateaux of elaborate character all now practi- 
cally destroyed. His manuscripts were the most splendid, his plate 
the most sumptuous. The mere inventories of his goods bewilder 
the modern student. The artists in his service were a small army ; 
they were selected carefully and set to work with a correct under- 
standing of what could best be required of each. We need not 
here inquire how they were paid. The Duke needed vast sums of 
money and managed to raise them out of the pockets of his subjects. 
Most was, however, so well spent that if the public had taken more 
care of the product, France would be notably richer in precious 
works of art even than she is to-day. Only a small fraction of the 
Duke's treasures have survived, but each is a thing of high and 
sometimes almost incalculable value, measured in mere money. 
Greater, however, even than the actual output of fine works which 
came into existence at his bidding was the impulse he gave to the 


development of art, an impulse that endured long after he himself 
had ceased from all earthly activities. 

The style of French art, alike in sculpture, painting, and all 
other categories, when these four patrons began to affect it, was a 
style definite, elaborated, and logical. At no time was the lucidity 
and delicate fancy of the French mind better expressed in art than 
about the middle of the fourteenth century. The monumental 
dignity of a hundred years before, of which the sculptured portal 
of the Virgin in her cathedral at Paris is the central example, had 
given place to a more delicate, elaborate, and picturesque style. 
As it is always more profitable, in art matters at any rate, to deal 
with the concrete rather than the abstract, let us examine one or 
two characteristic examples of French fourteenth century work. 
The already cited effigy of Robert d'Artois (c. 1318-20) may be 
chosen to represent sculpture, while for painting we may take a 
fine page of some manuscript such as the Book of Hours of Jeanne 
de France, Queen of Navarre (c. 1336-43) which was in Mr. Yates 
Thompson's Library. It will be realized at a glance how completely 
both are inspired by the same spirit. Obviously what is admirable 
here is neither force nor any approach to naturalism, but delicacy 
and grace. A refined sense of decorative value guides and restrains 
the artist's hand. But the illustrations speak for themselves why 
toil to translate imperfectly into words the perfection of their direct 
appeal ? A little later and we shall find that the moment of serene 
Tightness has passed. The pages of a manuscript will be surrounded 
by similar borders, but the details will be coarser and more formal, 
more multitudinous too and intricate but not so satisfying. 
Guardian angels will not be conceived so simply, nor a Queen, such 
as this angel guides in charity, so entirely a being newly come from 
fairy-land to irradiate the earth with pity so gentle. 

To mark the change that set in about the beginning of the last 
third of the century, compare with Pepin de Huy's figure the 
standing effigy of King Charles V, set up about the year 1370 in the 
portal of the Church of the Celestins in Paris, and now in the Louvre. 
All the sweet grace is gone ; in place of it we find a bold naturalism. 
Here stands the man himself, " moult proprement fait," as Chris- 
tine de Pisan observed. Not Beauneveu but some much better 
artist made it, only we don't know who he was. The King's great 


DE FRANCE (1336-48). p. 18. 

2. KING CHARLES V (c. 1370). 
LOUVRE. p. 18. 

FRANKFURT. p. 13. 


PEPIN DE HUY (1318-20). p. 18. 

[To face page 18. 


nose imposed itself upon him, and he gave it full value. There 
had been other great noses before this one. St. Edmund had one, 
" valde eminentem," and so for that matter had Abbot Samson of 
St. Edmundsbury, but they are not recorded in art. The idio- 
syncrasies of the human form did not interest artists in the old 
days. But when the great nose of Charles V came along, the 
sculptors, draughtsmen, and miniaturists of his day gleefully seized 
upon it and multiplied the likenesses of it for everlasting memory. 
See what a hold it took of Jacques Bandol of Bruges, or he of it, 
in that astonishing dedication miniature of his, where he shows 
himself presenting his book to the King. That was in 1371. Com- 
pare his painting with the page of the Queen of Navarre's Book of 
Hours. It manifests the same change as the sculpture. An almost 
brutal realism has replaced the ideal grace and delicacy of a former 
day. This realism invaded France, but was not French. It was 
the Netherlandish spirit finding its own expression, and no longer 
content to subordinate itself to an imposed restraint. 

It may be objected that already about 1359 some artist, perhaps 
Girart d' Orleans, in the employ of the unfortunate King John 
in his exile in England, had painted the well-known portrait of him, 
which is perhaps the earliest testimony to the existence of the new 
tendencies. But we have no certainty that that picture was 
painted by a Frenchman, nor that it was painted in France. 
Jacques Bandol was evidently a Fleming. He did not live in Paris. 
He was already working for the King as early as 1368, in which 
year he received a house at St. Quentin as a royal gift. He comes 
into the refined French medium almost like a barbarian invader. 
His dedication miniature is a sure milestone from which we can 
reckon progress, and we need no better one. The realistic French 
painting of the fifteenth century was plainly under the influence 
of the schools of the Low Countries. In earlier centuries those 
schools had been tributary to France. Now the tables were being 
turned. Obviously the movement that effected the change cannot 
have arisen out of a French initiative. 

Though we have been able to cite two emphatic examples of the 
new spirit, dating from the very days of its first efficiency, it must 
not be supposed that a revolution was at once effected in the char- 
acter of the whole output of the artists working in France. Things 


do not so happen. The first generation of artists employed by the 
Dukes were men trained on the old lines and working in the old 
fashion, only slightly modified as time and the pressure of patronage 
decreed. Even Jacques Bandol, when in 1377 the King lent him 
to the Duke of Anjou to design tapestries for the adornment of the 
chapel in the castle at Angers, took with him a thirteenth century 
manuscript of the Apocalypse, richly illustrated, and was no doubt 
ordered to copy those miniatures for his designs. The manuscript 
is still in the Cambrai Library. The weaving was done at Paris 
on the looms of Nicolas Bataille. 1 It will be evident that little can 
be learned about Bandol's art from works thus designed and 

Every student of the art-history of France in this period knows 
the importance of a certain silk hanging, painted in monochrome, 
which is preserved in the Louvre, and known as the Parement de 
Narbonne. Such painted silks for the service of the altar are 
known to have been made by the King's painter, Girart d' Orleans 
(ob. 1378). He was at least the third in succession of an important 
family of painters to whom frequent reference is made in fourteenth 
century accounts, but if he was the artist who made King John's 
portrait he certainly did not paint this Parement. The name of 
Jean d' Orleans, who from 1364 on was one of King Charles V's 
painters, has likewise been associated with this work, but no one 
can certainly say who made it. Sure it is, according to Professor 
Hulin de Loo, that the painter of the Parement executed a set of 
miniatures in a manuscript commanded by the Duke of Berry, 
which we shall consider presently. That was between 1380 and 
1390. Jean d'Orleans is specially recorded as having made for that 
Duke, into whose service he passed about 1402, " une petites heures 
esquelles sont les heures de Notre Dame, etc.," but that may not be 
the manuscript in question, which was anything but small. 2 The 
painter of the Parement, whoever he was, was thoroughly impreg- 
nated with mid-fourteenth century traditions. There is nothing 
realistic about his style. He even makes the figure of Christ at the 

1 M. Guiffrey, Nicolas Bataille, tapissier parisien, sa vie, son ozuvre, et sa famille. 

2 It appears, however, that a " petites Heures " may be a big book and a " grandes 
Heures " a small one, the adjectives applying not to the size of the book but to the liturgical 
character of its contents. 


column a graceful pattern, while the cords that bind His hands are 
decoratively twined and knotted like a piece of fine basketwork ! 
Yet, when he comes to the portraits of Charles V and his Queen, 
even he betrays some slight sense of the new tendency, though he 
cannot help refining down the prominence of the great nose, instead 
of insisting on it like Flemish Bandol. 

It is, however, the painters employed by the Dukes of Berry 
and Burgundy who claim special attention and to whom we must 
turn. A large part of the library of the former has no doubt been 
destroyed, but M. Leopold Delisle knew of eighty-eight manuscripts 
made for him and still existing. 1 It will save trouble if we here set 
down the names of a few of the most important which we shall 
have occasion to mention from time to time. 

1. The Beauneveu Psalter (Bibl. nat. Paris, ms. fr. 13091). 
The Inventory of 1402 names Andre Beauneveu as painter of 
some of the miniatures. Seven were added by Jacquemart de 

2. The Grandes Heures (B.N.P., ms. lat. 919), finished in 1409, 
illuminated under the direction of Jacquemart. 

3. The P elites Heures of before 1402 (B.N.P., ms. lat. 18014), 
likewise by Jacquemart. 

4. The Tres Belles Heures (Bibl. roy. Brussels, ms. 11060), made 
under the direction of Jacquemart and containing miniatures by 
him. I shall refer to this as the Hours of Brussels. 

It is unfortunate that in the multitude of miniatures painted 
in manuscripts of this period so few should be identifiable as the 
work of definite artists. We can group together tentatively sets of 
works as apparently by one master, or by a master and his pupils. 
We can also find in inventories and books of accounts the names of 
a great many artists, but we seldom know what works to assign to 
any of them. In a few rare cases we are able to attribute with reason- 
able certainty some work or group of works to a named painter. 
One thus identified thereby receives advertisement, and may 
appear more eminent than he was. The reputation of Andre 
Beauneveu, for example, thus profits. He was not a first-rate 

1 Seventy-one in France, ten in England, three in Italy (two of them since burnt), 
three at Brussels, one at The Hague. 


artist. The painter of the Parement, on the other hand, gets less 
than his due, because his name is forgotten. 

Fortunately we can name one of the best painters, perhaps 
the best, employed by the Duke of Berry at a relatively early date. 
He was called Jacquemart de Hesdin. Hesdin in Artois, if that 
was his birthplace, had been the home of Countess Mahaut that 
great-niece of St. Louis and grandmother of a Duchess of Burgundy, 
through whom her inheritance passed into the possession of Philip 
the Hardy. At Hesdin she had maintained an important atelier 
of painters and artists of all kinds, so that Jacquemart may have 
started life with an artistic equipment acquired at home. Mahaut 
died in 1329. 1 Jacquemart can have been born about 1350. The 
gap is not a wide one. Whether he was educated at Hesdin or 
Paris, it was the traditions of the Paris School that Jacquemart 
acquired, and to them he adhered. There is nothing that can be 
called Flemish or realistic about his art. 

The Book of Hours (No. 4 above) now in the Brussels Library is, 
no doubt, the one described in the Duke of Berry's inventory of 
1402 as " tres richement enluminees et ystoriees de la main Jacque- 
mart de Odin." An examination of the book shows that the first 
two full-page pictures, which are in grisaille with the flesh parts 
tinted, are by a master, the remaining eighteen by an assistant, 
whom Count Paul Durrieu identifies 2 as the painter of miniatures in a 
quantity of other manuscripts and notably in the Hours of Marechal 
de Boucicaut, now in the Andre Collection. It is therefore only the 
first two grisaille pages that here concern us. By an unfortunate 
error these two grisaille miniatures were for some time attributed 
to Beauneveu, having been grouped with the twenty-four grisaille 
miniatures of prophets and apostles, certainly by him and his 
assistants, painted at the beginning of Beauneveu's Psalter (No. 1 
above). A more critical examination, 5 however, sufficed to 
demonstrate that there is no connexion between the work in these 
two groups, the stylistic differences being fundamental. Before 
the correction of this blunder obtained currency, and while the two 

1 As to Mahaut and her artistic activities, see A. Kemp-Welch, Of Six Mediaeval 
Women, London, 1913, pp. 83 ff. 

2 Revue de I' Art, June and July, 1906. 

* See R. de Lasteyrie in Mon. et Mem. Plot, iii. 


Brussels miniatures were being accepted as characteristic of Beau- 
neveu, other works were referred to him by their likeness to these, 
and much was written about Beauneveu when, in fact, Jacquemart 
was intended. 

Here, then, we have an important artist, at the head of his 
profession in France, whom we shall find to have been representative 
of French art in the last quarter of the fourteenth century. Besides 
being responsible for the production of the Hours of Brussels (No. 4) 
he is also plainly recorded in the Duke of Berry's inventory of 1413 
as having had the chief part in the Grandes Heures (No. 2 above) 
" tres notablement enluminees et historiees de grans histoires de 
la main Jaquemart de Hedin et autres ouvriers de monseigneur." 
The mixture of hands in this book is obvious, but it is not difficult 
to identify the work of the leading artist. Far more uniform and 
likewise by him, though not so recorded, is the P elites Heures 
(No. 3), and so are seven of the miniatures in the latter part of 
Beauneveu' s Psalter (No. 1). Recorded dates and a comparison of 
the ages of the Duke as depicted in the miniatures enable us to 
arrange these four books in the following chronological order, the 
first three being entered in the 1402 inventory : 

Between 1380 and 1402, the Petites Heures. 
Between 1390 and 1402, Beauneveu 1 s Psalter. 
Between 1390 and 1402, the Hours of Brussels. 
Finished in 1409, the Grandes Heures. 

On the ground of similarity of style to the foregoing, Mr. Roger 
Fry 1 attributes to the same artist : 

A sketch-book in Mr. Pierpont Morgan's collection. 
A drawing in the University Galleries at Oxford. 
A portrait of Richard II in Westminster Abbey. 

To the same school we must assign the splendid drawing, in the 
Louvre, of the Dormition and Coronation of the Virgin, the con- 
nexion of which with Bourges and the Duke of Berry was proved by 
Count Paul Durrieu. 2 It is the finest design of the school. If all 
these works are not actually by the hand of Jacquemart, they are 

1 See the Burlington Magazine, x, p. 31 ff., xv, p. 73, xvi, p. 51. 

2 Mon. et Mem., i, p. 187, with a fine reproduction. 


in any case thoroughly characteristic of the style and period of 
French art whereof he is the principal exponent. 

We know almost nothing about the life of this artist. He 
was in the service of the Duke of Berry by 1384, at which time he 
was married and living at Bourges. In 1398 his studio was in the 
Duke's chateau at Poitiers, and he had two assistants (valets). A 
certain John of Holland worked in the same studio. He accused 
Jacquemart's valets of stealing his colours. They fell to blows, 
and in the row Perrot Gurnier, John's brother-in-law, was thrust 
through with a sword and killed. Jacquemart then said, " Off 
with us ! Enough of it ! " the only words spoken by him that have 
come echoing down the centuries ! 1 For the rest we only know that 
he was alive and still in the service of the Duke in 1409, and that 
he was dead in 1413. 

Jacquemart's art, as has been said, appears little, if at all, 
affected by Flemish influence. To imagine that Jacques Bandol 
was his master is absurd. On the other hand, his compositions 
often seem akin to those of contemporary Italians. This is the case 
with the eighteen miniatures in the Brussels Hours which were 
painted by his assistant, who may have had some Italian training. 
The extraordinary throne on which the Virgin sits, in one of the 
first two miniatures by the master himself, can scarcely have been 
invented by one who knew nothing of Italy. Where else did he 
derive the notion of those startlingly Renaissance round arches ? 
However that may be, Jacquemart's art was essentially Parisian. 
He had a delicious decorative sense. Witness the background 
behind the same Virgin, a mere tissue of angels, charmingly inter- 
woven, which photography has thus far failed to reproduce. Richly 
decorated backgrounds are characteristic of his miniatures. The 
movement toward naturalistic landscape owed nothing to him. 
Even the half-naked golf -player, whom he selects to represent the 
Fool who " said in his heart there is no God," has a diapered wall 
for background to his ill-grassed links ! It is, above all, the draped 
human figure that Jacquemart loved to draw, and if the Morgan 
sketch-book is by him he was indeed a notable draughtsman. The 
most attractive leaves of it, beside the one with the sweet Virgin, 
are those covered with the heads of courtiers, several of them 

1 See Guerin in Arch. hist, du Poitou, xxiv, p. 299 cited by Bouchot. 


dressed for a bal masque. Froissart tells the story of the famous 
ball in 1393 at Paris, when King Charles VI and five of his courtiers 
had themselves sewed into costumes that turned them into the 
likeness of wild men, covered in fur from head to foot. The Duke 
of Orleans entering with torch-bearers had the misfortune to set 
the five courtiers on fire, and four of them were burnt to death. 
The fifth saved himself by jumping into the washing-up tub, and 
the King escaped, thanks to the presence of mind of the Duchess 
of Berry, and shortly thereafter went off his head. Nothing is less 
improbable than that these sketches commemorate so startling a 
tragedy. It is not the event, however, but the quality of the 
drawings, their delicacy, the fine modelling, the sense of form, 
that here concern us. I cannot do better than quote Mr. Roger 
Fry's admirable criticism : 

" The author of these designs shows himself not only as a 
supreme master of that linear design which had been till now the 
basis of the miniaturist's art, but as having a sense of plastic relief 
treated pictorially, which was altogether new to the artist of the 
fourteenth century. He has, moreover, an extraordinary sense of 
what that new relief can express in the rendering of character and 
mood in the human face. Character and dramatic purpose had, 
indeed, long before been marvellously conveyed by pose and 
gesture of the body as a whole, but in this sketch-book we see a 
predilection for the elaborate treatment of the head, which surprises 
us. When we look at the subtlety of gradation, at the sfumato of 
these heads, and appreciate the psychological imagination revealed 
in them, we can scarcely believe we are looking at the work of an 
artist who died between 1402 and 1413, while Masaccio and Lorenzo 
Monaco were still living, 1 so far does this French artist antedate 
the movement of Italian art in this particular ; so completely does 
he show himself as moving, tentatively and unscientifically, no 
doubt, but still as moving in the direction taken by Verrocchio 
and Leonardo a hundred years later." 

The Louvre drawing, whether by Jacquemart or another, is a 
more ambitious design. It may well have been for a great painting 

1 Masaccio born 1401, Lorenzo Monaco died 1425. 


to occupy the wall above the altar in a chapel in Bourges Cathedral. 
There is nothing Italian in its composition, but a wonderful rhythm 
of line that carries the eye up, through swirling groups of angels, 
to the seraph-ringed throne of the Trinity. Below is the Virgin 
on her bier with Apostles standing round. Further up, borne on 
a cloud of angels, she is being received by Christ descending toward 
her at the head of another angel-cloud, which twines down from 
the throne. There, at its foot, the Virgin again appears, kneeling, 
while the crown is held over her head. 

The spaciousness of the composition, the large blank areas of 
sky, the absence of formal symmetry find no parallel in the tightly 
packed, neatly balanced groupings in the miniatures. The artist, 
having a great wall to cover, was faced by a new kind of problem, 
and solved it with no little originality and skill. But a greater 
marvel is the beauty of his conception. A more lyrical rendering 
in paint of the Virgin's triumph was never, to my knowledge, 
contrived. Fra Angelico himself did not more ecstatically dream 
than he who beheld and recorded this fair vision. That the same 
man should have been involved in a homicidal brawl seems incon- 
gruous ; it is medievally far from impossible. 

Whether the famous portrait of Richard II was by Jacquemart 
seems doubtful. Richard was at Calais in 1396 on the occasion 
of his marriage to his second wife, Isabeau, daughter of Charles VI 
a child eight years of age ! If the picture is the work of a French 
artist it was probably painted then. Before its restoration by 
Mr. George Richmond, R.A., it retained considerable traces of the 
richly diapered gold background, now replaced by flat gold. The 
attribution to Jacquemart seems based- on insufficient evidence, 
the thin fingers, style of drapery, and other features relied on being 
common throughout the school of Paris at this time. 

Andre Beauneveu of Valenciennes comes before Jacquemart in 
chronological order (born about 1330-40, died after 1402). He 
owes most of his reputation to a " puff " by his fellow-townsman 
Froissart, who says that he was master of works in sculpture and 
painting to the Duke of Berry and a tremendously fine artist. 
That is an over-estimate. With the exception of the aforemen- 
tioned twenty-four Psalter-miniatures, which were probably rather 
designed than painted by him, all his known works are sculptures, 


not of the first order of merit. He made for Charles V his effigy, 
and those of his wife and of Kings John and Philip VI, his pre- 
decessors, all of which we can see in Paris to-day in a restored 
condition. They are not inspired works. Even if the marble 
St. Catherine in Notre Dame at Courtrai is his, it will not add to 
his reputation. The one thing in his favour is that the Duke of 
Burgundy thought it worth while to send the great Claas Sluter to 
Mehun, where Beauneveu was at work, to see what he was doing 
and to get ideas. One would have supposed that Beauneveu could 
have taught Sluter nothing. We need not linger over him. 

The Duke of Burgundy's group of Flemish painters might be 
more interesting if more of their work had been preserved. In the 
Louvre is a circular panel of the Trinity with the Virgin, St. John, 
and angels. On the back of it are the arms of the Duke of 
Burgundy. If his court-painter Jean Malouel (Malwel) made it 
he was an artist of merit. The style approaches that of Broederlam 
more nearly than that of any other artist ; but then there were so 
many unidentified Jean de Beaumetz, for instance, the court- 
painter whom Malouel succeeded, about whom the archives have 
much to say, but current Museum catalogues nothing. M. Salomon 
Reinach 1 attributes to the painter of the Louvre roundel the 
niiniatures in a manuscript in the University Library at Heidelberg 
which I have not seen. Malouel had worked at Paris for Isabeau 
de Baviere before entering Philip the Hardy's service. He began 
work for him in 1397 with a picture greatly pleasing to the Duke. 
In 1401 his wages were raised to half as much again as Sluter ever 

Malouel was followed in 1415 as Burgundian court-painter by 
Henri Bellechose, and of him, in the following year, Duke Jean Sans 
Peur ordered a picture of the Vie de St. Denis. This may be the 
large and ugly panel in the Louvre from Champmol Abbey with 
the Communion and Martyrdom of the Saint at the foot of a 
Crucifixion. A burly executioner is taking a second cut at the 
saint's neck with a huge chopper, swinging it in both hands over his 
head in a way most dangerous to bystanders. On the ground that 
the same extraordinary chopper appears in another Martyrdom 
of St. Denis in a manuscript Pontifical (B.N.P., ms. lat. 8886), and 

1 Gaz. Beaux-Arts, January, 1904, p. 55. 


for no other reason so far as I can see, Bouchot attributed that 
set of paintings to the artist of this altar-piece. It seems rather 
rough on the miniaturist. A better attribution to Bellechose is 
that by Professor Hulin de Loo of the little Pi eta in Troyes Museum ; 
unfortunately it is so damaged that small joy can now be had of it. 
We shall return to these pictures later in connexion with Robert 

A decidedly decorative, four-lobe-panel . triptych passed in 
1912 from the Weber Collection into the Berlin Museum. It dates 
from about 1390, and is said to have come out of Champmol. The 
central panel holds the Trinity, with an angel in each semicircular 
corner. The Trinity resembles that on the Parement de Narbonne. 
The four Evangelists are on the wings. The lobed form appears 
to have been not uncommon in France at the time, though this is 
perhaps the only example that has survived. It is a form common 
as a frame for sculptured decoration in the central Gothic age. 
Curiously enough it descends from the shape of a group of very 
beautiful jewelled brooches, much admired in Merovingian days, 
especially in the Rhine Valley in the seventh century a truly 
Gothic origin. 

Melchior Broederlam of Ypres is another painter employed by 
the Duke of Burgundy. Indisputable pictures by him fortunately 
survive. They were painted on the outsides of the wings of one of 
a pair of elaborately carved wooden altar-pieces, 1 copies of two 
which the Duke had seen and admired in the church at Tenremond 
and the Abbey of Bijloke near Ghent. He ordered Jacques de 
Beaze to carve them for his Abbey of Champmol. Evidently at 
this time the most elaborate and fussy Gothic was what appealed 
to the Duke's taste. In their present much regilt, repainted, and 
otherwise restored condition, the carvings, for all their multitudinous 
detail of arcading, crockets, and tracery, are not of any considerable 
merit. The figures are formal and stiff in their niches, the " his- 
tories " lacking in grip and expression. Broederlam's paintings 
stand on a higher level than the carvings to which they were 
subordinate. The subjects are patched together by help of some 
exaggeratedly slender architecture, such as Italian painters 
employed at this time and perhaps invented. The effect of this 

1 The paintings on the wings of the other have not survived. 


LOUVRE, p. 23. 


(1393-8). DIJON. p. 28. 


[To face page 28. 


kind of architectural linking would have been better if the artist's 
notions of perspective had been less rudimentary or the architecture 
more frankly decorative and better designed. The individual 
figure -subjects taken separately are, however, on the whole so 
delightful that one wonders some one did not saw them asunder 
in the good old days when such impieties were of no account ! Two 
of the backgrounds consist of mountain landscapes, with castles 
on the peaks an Italian trick. From the point of view of land- 
scape painting they are not very hopeful efforts, but they at all 
events witness to a desire, though as yet not to any power, of 
depicting Nature. It is in the figures that Broederlam attains some 
success. His Virgins are sweet, gentle, and not without beauty 
the face peeping forth from the enveloping folds of a voluminous 
cloak. A delightful little half-length Virgin and Child on a gold 
background (sold with the Aynard Collection at Paris in December 
1913 ; No. 34) is of similar type charmingly affectionate. The 
Child's eyes are as big as those Raphael was one day to paint in the 
head of his Sistine Babe. The draperies retain the undulating and 
sweeping curves, often returning on themselves, which were still 
normal in France. There is a lily in a pot, which might have come, 
pot and all, from Italy. In fact the wings, though not charming 
as a whole, are episodically delightful, and the more completely 
realized faces with their carefully studied expressions may be set 
alongside of Jacquemart's. 1 An Entombment in the Louvre, a 
small and finely finished upright panel with a bestarred gold back- 
ground, is closely connected in style with Broederlam, but I have 
not heard that anyone has attributed it to him. 

So much, then, for the painters of the Dukes. There were plenty 
more of them whose names are recorded and some interesting facts 
about them Jacques Coene, for instance, obviously an artist of 
importance but as we cannot point to their works it is merely 
tedious to read about them. 2 On the whole what we possess in 
the way of pictures by French artists, though often delightful, and, 
in the case of Jacquemart, of high merit, does not indicate the 
presence of any revolutionary genius among them in the last quarter 

1 The painting of these wings was done at Ypres, some time between the years 1392 
and 1398. 

2 But see Durrieu in Revue de VArt, April 10, 1904. 



of the fourteenth century. Jacques Bandol's miniature alone 
produces on a spectator the sense of a novel force endeavouring 
to find expression, but it stands solitary in its day, so far as sur- 
viving examples enable us to judge. 

When we turn to the Duke of Burgundy's sculptors, however, 
there is another story to tell. Here is originality, high genius also 
with new insight, new emotional forms, a new art-message to the 
world. I refer, of course, mainly to the great Claas Sluter. Sluter 
did not have to await the exhibition of 1904 to be dragged up from 
forgetfulness into fame ; indeed, I think he had never been quite 
forgotten, though his reputation had no doubt worn thin and thread- 
bare in rococo and Revolutionary days. The Puits de Moise, in 
the courtyard of the Charterhouse of Champmol near Dijon, was 
too considerable and imposing a mass of sculpture to be long 
forgotten, even when the convent was made into a mad-house. 
When I was last there, howling lunatics appealed to Heaven within 
easy earshot of the sculptured base of the crucifix which the revo- 
lutionists destroyed in their no less lunatical fury. Much else was 
smashed up at the same time, but a good deal saved, and Sluter' s 
reputation is secure. 

He first appears in the Duke of Burgundy's service in 1385 as 
one of several assistants to Jean de Marville or Menneville, the 
Flemish master-sculptor to the Duke. When Jean de Marville 
died in 1389 Sluter succeeded to his place. One of the chief works 
they had in hand was an elaborately sculptured tomb for Duke 
Philip, to be erected in the Champmol church. The making of 
great tombs was often a burdensome affair for the sculptor. Who 
does not remember Michelangelo's troubles, almost amounting to 
tragedy, with the tomb of Julius II ? A wealthy prince might project 
a splendid monument for himself, and have plans made and even 
contracts entered into ; but sooner or later work to be done for his 
posthumous glory was liable to be postponed in favour of other 
work for his present enjoyment. There would be time enough for 
the tomb. We are not going to die just yet. Meanwhile perhaps 
we want a sculptured fire-place for our own chamber ; let that first 
be provided. Thus the tomb is put off and its intended tenant 
dies before much has actually been done to prepare it. Jean de 
Marville did little more than make a design and direct the cutting 


out of the basement and some of the arcading to surround it. Then 
came Sluter and carried the work slowly forward, but when the 
Duke died in 1404 there was still much to be done, and Sluter in turn 
quitted the world. Glaus de Werve, another Fleming, took on the 
job and finally completed it in 141 1. 1 

The purpose of the Abbey of Champmol was neither more nor 
less than to provide a magnificent burying-place for the Burgundy 
Dukes of the House of Valois, and a proper supply of religious to 
pray for their souls. Hence the tomb was in fact the raison d'etre 
for the whole business, and fulfilled its purpose with due state till 
the communal council of Dijon in 1793 unceremoniously ordered 
it to be broken up ; and broken up it was. The pieces went here 
and there as luck took them, and it seemed as though that would 
be the end. But in 1827 a fickle public changed its mind and 
desired to have the mischief it had wrought undone. So the bits, 
as far as they were discoverable, were put together again, and now 
one can see the reconstituted remains, obviously incomplete and 
very thoroughly " restored," set up in Dijon Museum. The 
recumbent effigy of the Duke, a fine alabaster figure, lies on a great 
marble slab, beneath which are a row of canopied niches all around 
with " mourners " standing in them. There were ninety originally ; 
only forty have survived, and most were Glaus de Werve's handi- 
work, but in spirit and style, perhaps also in design, they surely go 
back to Sluter. Such " mourners " represented the funeral com- 
pany. They are already present on the monument of a bishop (of 
the year 1115) in St. Hilary's at Poitiers, 8 where they stand behind 
and at the head and foot of the defunct. Later they were placed 
at a lower level round the sarcophagus, as for instance on Bishop 
Hugo de Castellione's monument at St. Bertrand de Comminges. 
But Sluter's figures mourn as never stones had been shaped to 
mourn before. He entered into the romance of grief and sucked 
the very juice out of it. The emotion conveyed resides chiefly in 
the voluminous drapery. The men are muffled up in clothes, and 

1 A. Michel, Hist, de I 1 Art (Paris, 1907), iii, 1, pp. 394 ff. Janin Lomme of Tournay 
made the tomb for Charles the Noble at Pampeluna. It was ordered in 1416. It has 
mourners like those on Philip's tomb. Charles the Noble's mother was Jeanne of France, 
sister of Charles V and Duke Philip. The resemblance is thus not difficult to account for. 
See Gaz. Beaux- Arts, xl, 1908, pp. 89 ff. 

2 R. de Fleury, La Messe, vii, p. 158, pi. 596. 


it is the clothes that talk. Never were such eloquent clothes. Yet 
there are living bodies within them, and it is the hidden bodies that 
vitalize the draperies. All this was a new thing upon earth. Gothic 
drapery was expressive in its own fashion, but not in this fashion. 
It expressed things external to the figure clothed, not emotions 
arising within it. Jean Sans Peur's tomb had mourners too, 
imitated from Philip's, and most of them carved by Jean de Huerta. 
They also went astray at the French Revolution, and I fancy the 
two lots were mixed together, and have not been properly dis- 
entangled since. But all of them came out of Sluter's brain. All 
are delightful : so varied, so full of invention, so surprising, so 
everlastingly, almost humorously, fresh. The very Duke himself, 
to mourn whom they were made, might have chuckled over them 
but enough ! they must be seen and seen again, not described ; 
moreover, it is easy to see them, for are there not casts of them in 
many museums ? in the Victoria and Albert, for instance. Five 
pre-war francs, I believe, would buy a cast of one, which any 
wage-earner in these days can afford. 

A fine Gothic church-portal, such as those we considered at 
Chartres, was normally peopled, on either hand of one entering, by 
a row of statues, over life-size, standing side by side in monumental 
dignity. Later, as in the Celestins in Paris, this became the place 
for portrait figures of Founders, who down to Charles V's time 
retained much of the dignity of pose of ancient prophets. The 
portal of Champmol church had to be adorned, and Jean de Marville 
first, Claas Sluter after him, were charged to see to it. Of course, 
there were canopies and brackets and other elaborate decorative 
details to be fashioned in profusion as well as the statuary. The 
Virgin was to stand on the central pier between the two doors ; the 
Duke was to kneel on one side, the Duchess on the other, each with 
a patron saint standing behind. The portraits were designed and 
made by Sluter between 1391 and 1394, and the saints and Virgin 
were his also. These kneeling donors fixed a new type of funeral 
effigy. Marble personages thenceforward kept coming to kneel 
in churches all over France down to the eighteenth century, when 
a good many of them were sent back to stone-yards. How Duke 
Philip's figure escaped the iconoclasts I cannot say, but it did escape 
and remains one of the finest portrait sculptures anywhere to be 


seen. The Duchess is a failure by comparison, and, to make 
matters worse, her nose and a good piece more have been chipped 
away. But no one would look at her anyhow, with that beautiful 
St. Catherine close behind, so graceful and insinuating. No wonder 
the Virgin turns in her direction. There is nothing to show which 
way the Duke's eyes are looking. It is all very remarkable, but 
Sluter's chef d'ceuvre was still to come. 

The monastic buildings of the Chartreuse of Champmol, the 
same that now are either used for a mad-house or replaced by 
others so employed, were built round a quadrangular courtyard, 
with a well in the middle. It was decided to mark the site of that 
well by a stone crucifix, which should stand out high above it, and 
be a fine centre-piece. In 1395 the foundations for this massive 
group of statuary were put in. That was six years after Jean de 
Marville's death, so he had no hand whatever in this work. Sluter 
laboured at it from 1397 to 1400 with the help of his nephew 
Nicolas van de Werve and other Flemings. I gladly copy from 
Deshaisnes (p. 519) the following details. Jean Hust in 1398-9 
carved the delicate capitals ; at the same time Sluter and his 
nephew sculptured the figures of the Virgin and Christ for the 
central group, whereof only the torso of Christ survives (in Dijon 
Museum). In 1399-1401 they made most of the other figures 
which were to stand at the foot of the cross, and Prindale sculptured 
the Magdalen. All these have been destroyed. Sluter reserved 
for his own hand the six great statues of Prophets to surround the 
base. Most of them were in place in 1402 and Jean Malouel was 
painting them. It is this great base which has fortunately survived 
in excellent preservation. The names of the Prophets are Moses, 
David, Daniel, Isaiah, Zechariah, and Jeremiah. The astonishing 
Moses gave his name to the whole work Puits de Moise. 

Few mediaeval forms (except in the architectural framework) 
and almost nothing of the mediaeval spirit are here discoverable. 
We are in the presence of a new ideal, a new art epoch, and the 
essentials of the Renaissance are plainly manifest. It has often 
been said that Michelangelo would not have disdained these figures. 
The voluminous draperies are of course not what an Italian would 
have designed, but the spirit that animates them is the spirit of the 
new day the spirit that discovered new continents, that plunged 


joyously into the romance of an adventurous life and of adventurous 
thinking. Here too is the love of life expressed in stone the love 
of this earthly human life of ours such as it is, for better or worse, 
without much regard for another in some ideal regions of time and 
space. These folk are all immensely, transcendently human. 
Everything about them is emphatic. Never was a head balder than 
Isaiah's, nor a beard more patriarchally ample than Moses', nor 
facial expression more forceful than Daniel's. And each is endowed 
with an all-compelling dignity, proper to the great event they 
foresaw, and in presence of which they stand. 

Thus, in sculpture at any rate, the first year of the fifteenth 
century is marked by the complete expression of the coming ideal 
from the hand of the first important innovating genius of our part 
of the world. Sluter was the Donatello of the North, and was almost 
as great as Donatello. Moreover, in actual time Sluter was ahead. 
1401, when he was carving these figures, was. the very year in 
which the youthful Donatello and Brunelleschi left Florence for 
that important visit of theirs to Rome. It was the new spirit whose 
breath they felt that drove them forth. It was the same new spirit 
that had already kindled so mightily the imagination of Sluter. 
Bandol's ugly miniature was one of the first signs of its coming, 1 
but Bandol was not great enough to be more than a kind of well- 
oiled weathercock that manifests the direction of the first fitful 
puff of breeze coming from a new quarter. Sluter was the gale 
incarnate. After him no true artist could be satisfied with the 
old conventions and formulae. The new sculpture had come into 
being. The new painting would not slumber long. Where shall 
we find the first signs of its awakening ? In the breast of what 
painter, what school of the North will it quicken ? Surely the 
answer cannot be far to seek. 

1 So was the silver head of St. Frederick made in 1362 for St. Saviour's, Utrecht, by 
the goldsmith Elyas Scerpswert. 



WHILE Sluter and his assistants were thus busy at Dijon, the scribes 
and miniaturists of the Dukes of Berry and Burgundy were pursuing 
the even, or (if that glimpse into Jacquemart's studio be typical) 
the tumultuous, tenor of their way. The Duke of Burgundy died 
in 1404, but the Duke of Berry continued his activities a dozen 
years longer, and it is work done for him that need now alone 
concern us. With the knowledge that the patient research of 
many has placed at the disposal of all, we may direct our attention 
at once to two manuscripts and only two. These are : 

1. The Tres Riches Heures in the Library at Chantilly. 

2. The Tres Belles Heures de Notre Dame, which was divided 
into three main parts : 

(a) In Turin Library, with which it was burnt in 1903. 

(b) In the library of Prince Trivulzio at Milan. 

(c) In the library of Baron Maurice de Rothschild, and a few 
leaves in the Louvre. 

For brevity let us refer to these two manuscripts as the Hours 
of Chantilly and the Hours of Turin respectively. It will be more 
convenient to take the Hours of Chantilly first, though the other 
was begun long before it. 

When the Duke of Berry died in his Hotel de Nesle at Paris, 
on June 15, 1416, after seventy-six years of unceasing labour as 
patron of artists, an inventory and valuation of his wonderful 
collections were made. The highest valued among the manuscripts 
were two the Grandes Heures and another, but their magnificent 
gold and jewelled bindings were included in the estimate. Third 
came the incomplete and unbound quires of the Tres Riches Heures, 
which thus in fact, so far as the actual leaves of the book are 



concerned, was placed first in value among all the books. It is this 
manuscript we have now to study the last and finest manuscript 
made to the Duke's order, and incomplete when he died. Fortun- 
ately there is no doubt about the authorship, for the inventory of 
1416 describes what then existed as " plusieurs cayers d'une tres 
riches Heures que fasoient Paul et ses freres, tres richement his- 
toriez et enluminez." Other documents inform us that the said 
brothers were three in number, and that their names were Pol, 
Jehannequin, and Herman. They were nephews of Jean Malouel, 
the painter, and Malouel was their surname ; Guelderland was 
their country of origin, and they were commonly called " de 
Limbourg." It is probable, therefore, that the brothers Malouel 
came from the very same neighbourhood as those other brothers 
towards whom we are slowly working our way the Van Eycks. 
In 1398 the two younger brothers Jehannequin and Herman, 
orphan lads, were in Paris, apprenticed, by their uncle's care, to a 
Flemish goldsmith. In consequence of an outbreak of plague, they 
were brought away by order of the Duke of Burgundy and were 
journeying homeward, when, in passing through Brussels, they 
had the bad luck to be made prisoners of war, Six months they 
were kept in confinement till the painters and goldsmiths of Brussels, 
for love of their uncle, obtained their release on parole for one year, 
and in May 1400 the Duke of Burgundy kindly paid a ransom for 
them. 1 All this time there is no mention of the eldest brother Pol. 
It is probable that he was then spending his journeyman days in 
Italy. By what stages these young and promising artists passed 
out of the hands of the Duke of Burgundy into those of the Duke 
of Berry is not stated possibly on the death of the former in 1404. 
Thus Pol may have been that " German " artist in the employment 
of the latter who was bridegroom at a wedding in 1408 with the 
daughter of a rich but protesting bourgeois of Bourges, whose 
parental authority was overridden by the Duke, let us hope to the 
joy of two lovers. Ultimately all three brothers, by whatever 
stages, had come into the Duke of Berry's employment, and were 
working under the direction of the eldest, Pol. Attempts have 
been made to identify their earlier efforts in this and the other 

1 For these and other details about the brothers see a paper by G. Hulin in Bull, de la 
Soc. cTHist. et cTArcheol. de Gand, 1903, with references there to other authorities. 


manuscript. For us it is enough that the Hours of Chantilly was 
their undoubted work, and will here suffice as example of their 
accomplishment. Of course we have only -fco consider the pages 
illumjnated for the Duke of Berry, not the fcv'eftty-three large and 
thirty-eight small miniatures added between 1485 and 1489 by 
Jean Colombe to complete the decoration of the volume. 1 

To the Limbourg brothers are due thirty -nine large, two medium- 
sized, and twenty-four small miniatures. Only a few of these can 
we here pass in review. 

The most beautiful, the most thoroughly French picture in the 
book is that of the Coronation of the Virgin. At the first glance 
we recognize its affiliation to the fine Louvre drawing above dis- 
cussed in connexion with the work of Jacquemart. Here is less 
spaciousness, but the same swirling curves in the S-shaped com- 
position, the same clustering of angels into clouds, and a yet more 
perfect sense of the significance of line. Surely all that religious 
ecstasy ever imagined of virginal grace and purity, of the exaltation 
of the humble and meek, finds embodiment on this incomparable 
page. Details may remind us of Italian work the flames on brows, 
some facial types, and the like but these are trifles. In the 
presence of this picture we may think of Fra Angelico, but only 
because the same attractive ideal inspired both artists. There is 
no community of school uniting them. What we here behold is 
the outcome of a pure French tradition, following a direct line of 
development, drawn by an artist of equipment superior to his 
predecessors. It is the work of one who may have studied in Italy, 
and there acquired no little technical knowledge of colours and 
technicalities, but whose ideals had been formed at home in the 
school or atmosphere of Jacquemart, and who was strong enough 
to maintain them unimpaired even in the land of Giotto. That he 
gathered many a technical hint from the Giottists is proved by 
several of his designs of the accustomed round of religious subjects, 
especially in the case of architectural accessories. The Temple 
up whose steps the Virgin is mounting in the " Purification " is 
taken straight from Taddeo Gaddi's fresco in the Barroncelli chapel 
at Sante Croce in Florence, and so are the general composition 
and even some individual figures. The same building reappears 

1 All the illuminated pages have been well reproduced by Paul Durrieu (Paris, 1904). 


in other miniatures by our artist and was often copied in Italy. 
It would be a current type in Italian studios when he was a journey- 
man. 1 A thoroughly Italian decorative landscape also appears in 
the Visitation. The crowded Adoration of the Magi reminds us 
of the compositions of Gentile da Fabriano. In the Descent from 
the Cross, the Virgin and so much of the figure to the left of her 
as is visible are copied out of the great Crucifixion fresco in the 
Spanish chapel in Florence. A careful hunt might show other 
correspondencies, but these are enough to prove Pol's presence as 
a student on the banks of Arno. M. de Mely thinks that the nude 
in the Zodiac picture was copied from the Three Graces at Siena, 
but I believe that group had not been discovered in Pol's Italian 
days, and the resemblance is not convincing. For its date and 
country the painted nude is indeed somewhat remarkable, but less 
so than the equally nude full-length figure of Adam in Cluny 
Museum from St. Denis, which dates from the fourteenth century. 
The landscape backgrounds of most of the religious subjects present 
no special novelty. Thus, behind the Visitation, the contorted hills 
are of the very same type which we saw in Broederlam's paintings 
and might cite in countless other pictures of the period. It is all 
the more surprising to be faced on the pages of the Calendar and 
a few others with landscapes of the most startling realism. How 
is this to be accounted for ? Surely if the impulse came from the 
artist himself it would have been apparent in such a picture as that 
of the Garden of Eden ; but no less vivid representation of a 
real garden could be devised. The best solution of this question 
seems to be that the landscapes were directly ordered by the Duke. 
Two of them are actually views out of his windows in the Hotel 
de Nesle, looking up to the island of the Cite or across the Seine to 
the Louvre. Is it not probable that the Duke said to his artist, 
" Paint me those views as. I see them from this window," and that 
so it was done ? Most of the other landscapes contain the representa- 
tions of chateaux built by the Duke, or the chief cities within his 
governance. Curiously enough in the case of some, such as Mehun- 
sur-Yevre, while the castle is drawn with as much correct archi- 
tectural detail as was then possible, the landscape behind it is 

1 In the Louvre is a contemporary drawing, copied from Taddeo's fresco, which might 
possibly have come to France in Pol de Limbourg's luggage. 



DIJON. p. 33. 

(fol. 60 v.). p. 37. 

(fol. Gv.). P- 38. 

[To face page 38. 


thoroughly old-fashioned, corkscrew hills and all, that being the 
only kind of landscape the artist could invent. For the castle, 
no doubt, he had an architect's drawing to follow. The best 
landscapes are those in which no religious subject is involved, but 
where" the view itself is the subject. The Mont St. Michel is only 
so far an exception that the extremely well-dressed archangel and 
his spiky dragon are introduced into the sky, but the view itself 
has been directly drawn from nature. A further indication that 
these views were " orders," not an original idea of the painter, is 
that they are by different hands. Professor Hulin de Loo has 
separated them. Two of them present a marked opposition. The 
artist who painted April, May, and August (with Dourdan, Riom, 
and ^Etampes for background) delighted in the noble companies in 
front, and was not interested in the landscapes in which he had 
to place them ; he was contented to make them decorative ; but 
they bored him. He cannot possibly have painted more than the 
cottagers in February. The charming snow-scene was evidently 
studied with care and in detail from nature by another artist. 
That may have been, probably was, the man who did the views 
from the Hotel de Nesle, obviously with great enjoyment. To the 
best of his powers he observed Nature closely : witness his group 
of birds behind the sower and the reflections of people in the river 
from off the high bank. These matters did not bore him at all ; 
if one of the brothers was responsible for the landscape novelties, 
it was he, though I suspect him to have been responsive rather than 
responsible. It is to him that we owe the really wonderful picture 
of the Death of the Wild Boar in the Forest of Vincennes, facing 
the calendar for December. It has been reproduced and praised 
often enough. Most readers will remember the white castle towers. 

towers of the Castle in which the Duke of Berry had been born 
seventy-six years before standing out above the beechen forest, 
which is brown with withered leaves. In the midst of an open 
space the dogs have brought down their quarry. A huntsman, 
winds his horn. The other two are attending to the dogs. The 
selfsame group of boar and hounds appears in a sketch-book in 
Bergamo Town Library, attributed to Giovannino de' Grassi (ob.. 

1398), which once belonged to Lorenzo Lotto. Another sketch- 
book by the same artist belongs to Baron Edmund de Rothschild,, 


and contains similar dogs and hunting incidents. Here, then, is 
where Pol de Limbourg (if it was Pol) got his composition. Both 
cannot be copied from some common original because of the similar 
beasts in the Rothschild book, and an Italian draughtsman could 
hardly have had access to the French manuscript before 1485, which 
is much too late for the style of the sketch-books. A fifteenth 
century Florentine engraving l (Passavant V, p. 190, No. 104) con- 
tains a group of bears and dogs in some way related to the foregoing. 
It may be mentioned that the Bergamo sketch-book also contains 
drawings of ladies which show the kind of design common in the 
school by which the de Limbourgs were influenced. 2 

In 1416, then, the Duke of Berry died, and work on the manu- 
script suddenly stopped. Half-finished pictures were left as they 
were, and among them one depicting the Castle of Saumur. The 
architecture was drawn, but not the landscape, which Colombe 
completed seventy years later. The suggestion thus arises that in 
the case of some of these distant chateaux, a purely architectural 
draughtsman was employed, and that the de Limbourgs only put 
in the surroundings. It is, of course, possible. We may recall 
the tantalizing Jacques Coene of Bruges. He was a miniaturist, 
and if we could only find the Bible moralisee which was paid for in 
1404, and which had been painted by Coene, Imbert Stainer, and 
Hancelin de Hagenau, we should be able to judge how far the 
evidently important position Coene held was justified by his 
achievements. Count Paul Durrieu ' claims that Coene and 
Hancelin introduced naturalistic backgrounds before the de Lim- 
bourgs. It may have been so ; we have no proof. But Coene 
was certainly an architectural draughtsman. The Cathedral of 
Milan was founded in 1386. In 1399 the chapter made a contract 
with Coene and another, apparently to direct the work. He was 
" designare ecclesiam de fundamento usque ad summitatem " 

1 B. xiii, p. 145, No. 8. A copy of it is reproduced in P. Kristeller's Florentinische 
Zierstucke, Berlin, 1909. 

2 I am told that an Austrian lady has written about the Bergamo sketch-book ridiculing 
the idea that the de Limbourgs can have been indebted to it. I have not seen her publication. 
I published the drawing in the Burlington Magazine (Dec. 1910, p. 149) and indicated its 
connexion with the Hours of Chantilly. The Monatshefte fur Kunstwissensctiaft (vi, 438 ff .) 
afterwards republished them without acknowledgment. 

3 Revue de VArt, April 10, 1904 an important article. 


to design the church from foundation to summit. He must have 
been a proved architectural draughtsman to be thus employed ; 
perhaps it was only as such that he was employed. 1 The engage- 
ment did not last long and Coene was back in Paris in time to under- 
take the aforesaid Bible. Of course he was not the only archi- 
tectural draughtsman of his date. It is probable that we have the 
work of another in the Hours of Chantilly. 

With the further activities of the de Limbourgs we have nothing 
to do. Their interest for us centres in the landscapes they painted 
in the Hours of Chantilly and the fact that all of these date from 
before June 15, 1416, when the Duke of Berry died. Landscape 
art had been born, and these landscapes were so good that a hundred 
years later the artists employed on the Grimani Breviary could do 
no better than to copy them. They are not imaginative land- 
scapes. They open no door into a world of romance, except to us 
moderns for whom the facts of the past appear romantic in com- 
parison with the present. The important point about them is their 
veracity and that they yet decorate the page. Of course they gain 
greatly from age. They enable us to look at the Paris of 1416, and 
we are naturally more thankful than critical. Yet be as critical 
as we may we cannot decry their charm. The eyes of men had at 
last been opened to the beauty of the actual world the face of 
nature. It was certain that they would never again for long together 
be closed to it. Art had won a new domain, but to whom was 
this conquest due ? To this question we shall seek an answer in 
the following chapter. 

1 See Hulin, loc. cit., p. 23. 



THE Hours of Turin, that important manuscript which I have 
already mentioned as divided into three parts in the Turin, Trivulzio, 
and Maurice de Rothschild Libraries, now claims our close attention. 
It was begun for the Duke of Berry, the earliest set of miniatures 
in it being the handiwork of the artist who painted the Parement 
de Narbonne in the Louvre. Its principal pages are composed on 
a uniform design. The border is the usual foliated Gothic affair 
of French fourteenth century type, and this appears to have been 
made by the scribe who wrote the text or some other craftsman 
working in the scriptorium and completing each page with its border 
as it was written. The leaves were then turned over to the minia- 
turist. His business was to add (on the chief pages) a large minia- 
ture at the top, being of the full width of the text and taller than 
wide, also a decorative initial letter and a wide short miniature at 
the foot of the page. Often the initials and foot miniatures were 
done by an assistant while the big miniature was by his master. 
The " Parement " master first got under way, and decorated a 
certain number of leaves he and his helpers at a date which may 
be guessed to have been somewhere in the eighties of the fourteenth 
century. In this and all else about the division of the work between 
different hands I shall follow the conclusions of Professor Hulin de 
Loo, as stated in his elaborate monograph entitled the Heures de 
Milan. It was published with reproductions of the miniatures in 
the part of the manuscript which now belongs to Prince Trivulzio. 
His text takes account, in an appendix, of important articles by 
Count Paul Durrieu in the Revue archeologique (Paris, 1910, ii, 
pp. 30 ff. and 246 ff.). It was Count Durrieu who, in 1902, first called 
prominent attention to the Turin manuscript by publishing a set 



of reproductions of its illustrated pages and of those in the Louvre. 
Little did he then suppose that within a couple of years the original 
would have been utterly destroyed by fire and his reproductions its only monument. 1 It is unnecessary here to repeat 
references to all the literature on the subject ; they will be found 
duly set out in Hulin's work. The pages of the Maurice de 
Rothschild section have not been published, but they are not 
important for the purposes of the present chapter. 

The pages decorated by the " Parement " artist and a couple 
more which betray other hands are all the work that was done in 
the fourteenth century. In the early years of the fifteenth century 
(c. 1402-5) another hand was given a turn. He was a good enough 
painter of the school, but many of his miniatures were retouched 
all over some ten or a dozen years later, while the same fate over- 
took the pictures added by a third hand working, so Hulin says, 
between the years 1409 and 1413. By that time the book was 
getting pretty old-fashioned, and by no means up to the level of 
what the de Limbourgs could do. With the exception of the work 
in it by the " Parement " artist, it contained nothing first-rate, 
whilst the third hand was of far from outstanding merit. 

It may be suspected that when the Duke ordered the Hours of 
Chantilly, it was to take the place for which this earlier volume 
had originally been intended. What, however, was no longer good 
enough for the magnificent Duke was a first-class treasure for 
anyone else, and it was accordingly taken over by Robinet 
d'Estampes, guardian of the Duke's jewels and books, in exchange 
for another manuscript. This happened in 1412. The new owner 
divided it into two parts : the first, being far advanced toward 
completion, he kept ; the second he got rid of. The decoration of 
the first part was forthwith completed by two artists who do not 
concern us. This is the portion now belonging to Baron Maurice de 
Rothschild. The second part passed into the ownership of Duke 
William of Bavaria, who was likewise Count of Hainault and 
Holland and nephew of the Duke of Berry. The important date of 
this purchase is estimated by Hulin at about the end of 1414 or the 
beginning of the following year. As the Duke of Bavaria died 

1 Except a few miniatures reproduced in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts (1903, vol. xxix), pro- 
bably from the same negatives, but much better reproduced than in the complete publication. 


May 31, 1417, whatever was done to the manuscript for him was 
done within narrow limits of time. 

We may here at once observe that the most remarkable feature 
of the miniatures added for the Bavarian Duke was the landscape 
element in them. Thus we find landscapes painted here within the 
years 1415-17, the only other set of about the same date being 
those done by the de Limbourgs in the Hours of Chantilly before 
June 15, 1416, when the Duke of Berry died. Both sets were there- 
fore approximately contemporary, and there is no prima facie reason 
for attributing one set to an earlier date than the other. Hulin 
points out that Duke William was politically busy in France, helping 
to make the peace between the Houses of Burgundy and Orleans, 
which was concluded September 4, 1414, and that it was probably 
then that he bought his manuscript. He got it from the Duke of 
Berry's librarian ; it is therefore highly probable that at the same 
time the new landscapes were spoken of, and the subject of land- 
scape painting may have been discussed with the artistic Duke his 
uncle. Internal evidence alone can decide to which group of 
naturalistic landscapes priority is to be conceded. Why should 
the Duke of Bavaria on a visit to France have purchased a manu- 
script in which the text and borders were complete but the spaces 
for miniatures vacant? Obviously because he had a miniaturist 
ready to hand who could paint them. If it had not been so he 
would surely have purchased a finished manuscript. If he had 
his artist prepared it was because he had already employed him or 
seen what he could do. Nothing is more likely than that he had a 
specimen of his work with him to " put the nose out of joint " of 
his rich and magnificent uncle, as is the kindly way with art-patrons. 

But let us examine the miniatures which were actually painted 
for the Duke of Bavaria and see whither they lead us. In the 
first instance we need regard only the landscapes, whereof there 
are four of outstanding merit and beauty. In the first, small 
boats are sailing on the choppy waters of a river-estuary ; a city, 
crowned by a stately castle, rises from its margin, and hills roll 
away up-stream into the distance. The saintly legend illustrated 
is of no account ; the landscape is the subject. A second example 
is the background behind the Betrayal, with a fanciful picture of 
Jerusalem in the midst, rather faint in the oncoming twilight, 


and relieved against a splendid sunset sky, obviously studied from 
nature. Here is not merely a catalogue of details visible, Ibut a 
notable effect of light, beheld, enjoyed, remembered, and set down. 
The third, no less remarkable, is a scene crowded with people and 
commemorating a historical event. Two years after he had 
laboured to compose the differences of his quarrelling relations the 
same Duke of Bavaria went to England in May and June 1416 to 
assist in making peace between England and France after the 
campaign of Agincourt. On his way back he made a vow to Notre 
Dame de Poke near Veere in Zeeland, crossed the sea in twenty 
hours, safely landed, and forthwith accomplished his vow. Here 
he and his suite are seen safely ashore, met by Jacqueline, the 
Duke's daughter, and her ladies. 1 The tower of Veere is in the 
distance ; waves are breaking on the long curving line of shore ; 
there are beached ships, sailors at work, and other boats in the 
offing. The very spirit of the actual joyous world is expressed 
a fine summer day, a sky bright with harmless clouds, a pleasant 
breeze, laughing waters, and the whole wrought into an excellent 
pictorial unity. It is an " effect " once more. These three land- 
scapes, alas! vanished in the flames that consumed the Turin 
Library so soon after their importance had been pointed out, and 
before most of us, who would so greatly have cared, had occasion 
to set eyes on them. 

The fourth and artistically finest of the landscapes fortunately 
>till survives in the Trivulzio Library at Milan. This is not one 
)f the large miniatures, but a small one at the foot of a page. Hulin 
has published an enlargement of it, and it evidently would not 
suffer by being even further magnified. Two small figures in front 
depict the Baptism of Christ, but here again these are a mere excuse. 
The real subject is the landscape, and how surpassingly fine it is ! 
If one was to be spared, surely this is the one we must all have 
chosen. It is another river- view, not now at the mouth, but well 
up-stream. There is a castle on one shore and a few buildings on 
the other, but it is the river itself with its pleasant windings, its 
wooded banks, its mysterious and delightful distance above all 

1 Another interpretation of the event depicted has been suggested, but is not generally 
accepted. It rests upon the disputed likeness of one of the horsemen to the Duke of 



it is the mirror surface of the water, and the light reflected from it, 
brightest furthest away, that gives to this little picture so complete 
a charm. The river disappears round a corner, and we see no 
more of it, but further off we can yet trace where it must be winding 
in the valley whose remoter intricacies are suggested rather than 
depicted. Away off there, and all within a space that can be 
covered by the top quarter of a penny postage stamp, are hills 
behind hills, a windmill against the sky on one side, another castle 
on the other, and all manner of bewitching intricacies of complex 
natural form, such as Turner knew how to suggest by a magic that 
seemed peculiarly his own, till we found it already practised here 
400 years before him. Foreground details of rock and stone, bird, 
bush, and timber are no less carefully studied from nature ; yet 
with all this accuracy of detail, almost scientific, the artistic unity 
of the whole is preserved, and we are forced to feel ,the impression 
of that unity first, before we can let our eyes delight in the factors 
composing it. The de Limbourg landscapes, even the best of 
them, are not for a moment comparable to any of these. They are 
carefully transcribed : these are created. Here is a truly original 
artist looking for the first time among men on the face of nature, 
realizing her beauty, and making, not nature, but the beauty of 
nature the subject of his art. Between this man and the de 
Limbourgs there is no comparison. They are mere executants, a 
kind of photographers mechanically opening to us a view into the 
past ; but this man is a great originating genius, who shows us the 
Nature of no particular date, but that is always with us and in 
the hearts of those that love her. This is the Nature that was in 
his own heart, that had been transformed there, molten and recast 
there into a vision of beauty tied to no place or day but remaining 
lovely for all men and all time. 

Who was this man ? With one voice those who have right 
to an opinion replied (till Friedlander voiced a contrary opinion) 
Hubert van Eyck and no other. The painter of the Ghent altar- 
piece and the Richmond Three Maries, he and he alone at this time 
can be seriously thought of in connexion with such a masterpiece. 
Of course these were not his first efforts. Years of experience must 
have preceded so complete a mastery. The de Limbourgs made 
no such experiments. What their ideas of landscape were is shown 


in many a page of the Chantilly Hours. On some they even mix 
the old corkscrew hills with bits of naturalistic scenery. I suggest 
that when the Duke of Bavaria went to France in 1414, he may 
have taken with him an example or examples of Hubert's landscape 
and showed them to the Duke of Berry in Paris. The Duke with his 
keen artistic appreciation at once perceived their merit. He sent 
for Pol de Limbourg, showed them to him, and then, pointing out 
of the window to the Louvre across the Seine and the Cite further 
round, said, " Paint me those views like this." Thus I conceive the 
Chantilly landscapes to have been inspired, unless, indeed, Hubert 
himself was of the party. In no case can the de Limbourgs have 
been the originators and Hubert the follower. The man who 
painted this wonderful river scene, the like of which had never 
been imagined before, can have been indebted to no one less great 
than himself for the idea. He painted thus from the forceful impulse 
of a new ideal rising within him, and that new ideal was a part of the 
great power that was destined in a few generations to turn the 
whole world upside down, and not merely to revolutionize art. 

By the same artist as these four landscapes, whom I shall hence- 
forward speak of as Hubert van Eyck, are other no less remarkable 
miniatures in the precious manuscript. Turn to the large miniature 
on the same page as this little river landscape. It depicts the birth 
of St. John Baptist as taking place in the bedchamber of a Flemish 
palace. Here for the first time is an interior drawn with some 
approach to correct perspective. We might have called attention 
to the remarkable perspective in the river landscape which none 
of the de Limbourg views even distantly approximate, but the 
novelty is better expressed in this beautiful interior. More remark- 
able still is the sense of atmosphere in the room and the gradations 
of light. A door is open into a passage and the eye travels back 
along that into and across another room behind. There are 
people in these distances, and the light falls upon or between them, 
giving the complete illusion of depth and distance. Peter de Hoogh 
over two hundred years later would not have attained a com- 
pleter illusion. Moreover, room and passage contain furnishings 
and fittings tables, benches, three-legged chairs, spinning-wheel, 
cushions, dinanderie, and what not all charmingly and veraciously 
rendered. That, however, from the point of view of art is nothing 


and less than nothing. What does matter is the unity of pic- 
torial effect, the integral manner in which all these details are 
wrought together to a common co-operating effect of beauty. If 
no such chamber-interior had ever been depicted before, another 
extraordinarily like it was to be forthcoming a few years later. I 
refer to the room in which the Arnolfini pair stand in the National 
Gallery picture by John van Eyck. It is not the same room, but 
room and furniture are of similar style and both are transfused by 
the same admirable illumination. If Hubert van Eyck had not 
solved the problem as he did in this miniature and taught his secret 
to his younger brother, John would not have painted the Arnolfini 
interior as he did. The de Limbourg interior within which the 
Duke of Berry takes his New Year's feast is a far less excellent 
painting, though very decorative. 

The miniature that illustrates the Vigils of the Dead introduces 
us into the choir of a Gothic church, well drawn for its date, but 
with the figures of men and women on much too large a relative 
scale. A similar church-interior, but taken from the nave, appears 
in the panel at Berlin in which a relatively colossal Virgin is standing 
with the Child in her arms. Hulin records that the type of archi- 
tecture is Burgundian ; unfortunately the actual church has not 
been identified. 1 The Berlin picture is by Hubert, and perhaps 
not much later in date than the miniature, or it is a copy by John 
van Eyck after a lost original. 

We need not delay over the Finding of the Three Crosses by 
St. Helena, which would only confirm all that has been thus far 
set down, but we cannot dismiss without a word the large miniature 
of the Virgin surrounded by all the Holy Virgins (omnes sanctce 
virgines) or the yet more important little miniature at the foot of 
the page. The former is delightful for the youthful sweetness and 
gentleness of its types a characteristic which we shall hereafter 
find differentiating Hubert's Virgins and Babes from John's. At 
the foot of the page similar but more numerous saintesses are 
advancing in a landscape toward a little hill where the Lamb stands 
in a burst of golden rays. It is the selfsame composition which 

1 When, however, he suggests that the choir in miniature and picture are the same 
and taken from the same point of view, I am unable to follow him. They are similar, but 
taken from different points of view, and the two apses are different in design. 


was more elaborately wrought out in the great Ghent altar-piece 
of the Adoration of the Lamb. The more elaborate version, how- 
ever, loses something of the sweet simplicity so beautifully shared 
by all in the earlier bevy of maidens. 

Finally this page is notable for the new type of border by which 
it is surrounded. The painter has almost entirely erased the 
ordinary foliated Gothic border, already drawn on the vellum before 
it came into his hands, and has substituted for it an elaborate leafy 
scroll-work on a much larger scale, including a polecat, a monkey, 
a peacock, an angel, and a dragon. Where did he get the idea for 
this ? Obviously from Italy a country the artist may have already 
visited. Such borders were common in fourteenth century Italian 
manuscripts, examples of which must have been accessible in many 
libraries in the North. 

Four other large miniatures, two burnt at Turin, two existing 
at Milan, were painted by another artist, obviously a pupil or 
follower of Hubert. It has been suggested that these are early 
works by John van Eyck, but they may have been added at a later 
date by an imitative miniaturist. They depict God the Father 
enthroned, the Pieta, 1 the Agony in the Garden, and the Crucifixion. 
Only the last need detain us. All fall below Hubert's work in 
achievement, though there is a fine little peep of landscape at the 
back of one of them, but their inferiority is greater in emotional 
power than in technique. This artist shows himself a painstaking 
craftsman, little more. There is no fire of human faith of any kind 
as yet visible in him. The Crucifixion miniature is interesting for 
its background, with the great walled city, the number of tiny 
individuals away off in the distance, peopling the roads, the many 
houses, the over-multiplication of visible windows, and the curious 
great tower, I suppose meant for the Dome of the Rock. 8 But 

1 The subject at the foot of the page, which Hulin could not identify, also puzzled Ruskin 
when he saw it in a picture ascribed to the youthful Carpaccio at Venice. It is an incident 
in the Legend of the Holy Cross, when the Queen of Sheba, instead of walking over a bridge 
made of the Holy Wood, preferred to wade through a stream to meet Solomon. See the 
twenty-fifth woodcut of the Boec van den Houte : Veldener at Kuilenburg, March 6, 1483, 4to. 

2 A rather close connexion exists between this miniature and a picture of the same 
subject which is in the Franchetti Collection at Venice, whereof there is an unfinished copy 
in the Museo Civico at Padua. The unknown painter was evidently a follower of Hubert 
van fiyck, and it has been suggested that he may have worked in Holland. See Jahrb. 
d. Pr. Kss., 1902, p. 33, and 1905, p. 111. 


what especially interests us is the remote mountainous distance, 
as of an Alpine range across the horizon, and in front of that a 
two-spired church, which looks remarkably South German or Swiss. 
The man who painted this landscape had seen the Alps. Of course 
it may have been designed by Hubert or imitated, as suggested at 
a later date, but if John painted it he had been within sight of the 
Alps during his journeyman years, and had actually sketched 
landscapes when on his travels. Hubert, then, had taught him to 
study landscape from that new point of view during his years of 
apprenticeship. This, however, is a conclusion I hesitate to draw, 
preferring rather to attribute these remarkable hills to a later 
imitator, who had knowledge of such a picture as the Rolin 
Madonna. John, in after life, when his brother was dead, painted 
little landscape. Evidently landscape did not attract him. If 
any of the pages of the Hours of Turin were by John, it was merely 
his hand that made them ; they did not owe their conception to 
him, and least of all the landscapes. 

A third hand, also of the Van Eyck school, identified by Hulin, 1 
painted some charming little pictures, but this artist lacked the 
power of Hubert and the promise of John. It is tempting to 
imagine that here we have the hand of their sister Margaret, if 
they had a sister at all, whom a late tradition asserts to have been 
a painter. Her landscapes are nothing like as good as those of 
the others. To this hand four or perhaps five large miniatures '- 
are attributed, and some small ones and initials. We need only 
glance at that wherein a pilgrim on horseback is seen in danger 
of highwaymen. It comes nearer to the style of the de Limbourgs 
than any other of the set. The background is a wood like that of 
Vincennes. The foreground is merely undulating grass. No part 
is closely studied from nature. A little bat of a devil lays the heads 
of two of the brigands together. But the pilgrim, a charming figure 
with sweet expression, rides quietly forward, praying, and Christ 
blesses him from above. It is all well enough, and in a less remark- 
able volume could pass muster, but it falls far below Hubert's level. 

1 I say third, not third and fourth, because his I and J must surely have been one and 
the same. 

2 Christ teaching, Christ blessing, a Pilgrim on horseback, a King in his tent, and 
perhaps St. Jerome in his cell. 


When the work had reached this point the Duke of Bavaria 
died, and the Van Eycks' contribution came to an end. What hap- 
pened afterwards scarcely interests us. We do not know into 
whose hands the volume passed, but about the middle of the 
fifteenth century the missing miniatures and initials were supplied 
and the whole was finished. It was again cut in two. Half of it 
passed into the possession of the House of Savoy, and so ultimately 
through the Turin Library into the flames ; the other half entered 
the Trivulzio Library, probably about the beginning of the 
nineteenth century. 1 

1 Since the foregoing was written I have been able to read Friedlander's essay on the 
Van Eycks in his aforementioned work. He adopts the theory that we possess no work of 
Hubert's (except what he may have done on the Ghent altar-piece) and that all the Van 
Eyck pictures and the important miniatures are the work of John. This conclusion makes 
nonsense of the inscription on the altar-piece, and falsifies the tradition of the school . 
Whatever else the inscription may or may not say it clearly asserts that there were two 
artists, brothers, the elder Hubert, the younger John, and it praises Hubert as the greatest 
of artists. Granted that this was an exaggeration and may be set down to the partiality 
and gratitude of a younger brother, who owed his teaching to the elder, it could not possibly 
ive been allowed to appear on a picture painted for an influential donor, if it did not 
lore or less express a contemporary opinion. It is a relatively late tradition that ascribes 
le " invention of oil-painting " to John. Neither brother painted in oils as we understand 
phrase, but both employed on the Ghent altar-piece a new method of painting, which 
lust therefore have been initiated by Hubert, though it was carried to a higher point of 
development by John after Hubert's death. Our conclusions have got to square with 
recorded facts. No critic, however great, in the twentieth century can wipe out. an ancient 
because it does not suit his conclusions. It is the conclusions that must be wrong. 
That there were two brothers, both great artists, is as certain as any recorded fact in the 
distant past can be. One was much older than the other and was the teacher of the other. 
The elder was a very great artist. Their approximate relative ages are known. One 
of them in or about 1416 painted the aforesaid river-landscape. It is the mature work of 
the inventor of modern landscape-painting. It implies not less than ten years and prob- 
ably more like twenty of previous study and invention before such perfection could have 
been attained. The man who painted it must have been an originating artist by about 
1400. At that time John cannot have been more than a very young child. It is further 
evident that the Van Eyck type of panel-painting developed out of a miniaturist school. 
It retained traces of that origin for a hundred years. It is only Hubert who was old 
enough to have his roots in the miniature school in the days of its culmination. When 
Jacques Bandol was painting an artist such as Hubert might have arisen from the ranks of 
the miniaturists, but not much later. John is a picture-painter from the start. His 
master must have been of the generation of the transition. The obliteration of Hubert 
from the record seems to me to confuse and render illogical the origins of the Netherlandish 
School of Painting. If Hubert were not a recorded personage we should have to invent an 
individual to take the place which he exactly fills. 



WRITTEN records tell us nothing about Hubert van Eyck before 
the last years of his life, but we are not therefore left entirely in the 
dark about him. A probably sound tradition asserts that he and 
John were born at Maaseyck. As we have just seen, he was 
working for Duke William of Bavaria from 1414, perhaps many 
years earlier, till the Duke's death in 1417. His younger brother 
John was his pupil. Before 1417 Hubert had made his great 
innovation in landscape ; in the river- view he had carried the new 
art to a perfection never afterwards quite equalled by himself, and 
certainly not by anyone else for a century or more. In that picture 
too he had shown himself a master of atmospheric as well as of 
linear perspective, far in advance of any other painter in the North 
of Europe. If the painter of the river-view was not Hubert, we 
should have to postulate the existence of another and greater artist 
than he, who must have lived, revolutionized landscape-painting, 
learned and taught perspective, and died, without leaving a trace 
behind. It is nonsense to talk of the landscapes in the Hours of 
Turin as showing Hubert's " influence." They are either by him 
or by a greater. There is no alternative. If by him they are his 
best work of the kind. Here, then, we have a man at the top of his 
powers about 1416, who was to die ten years later, apparently not 
young. Obviously we may expect to find at least some other 
works remaining from his hand. 

The great Ghent altar-piece of the Adoration of the Lamb is, 
we know, mainly his. Tradition and an inscription, which nobody 
can quite translate, assert that much. All existing documents 
and later statements and records of any weight have been duly 
brought together, printed, and commented on by Mr. Weale in his 
monumental work on the two brothers. The reader is referred to 



that book for details, authorities, and references. The Ghent 
altar-piece and the other pictures, to which we shall presently refer, 
when compared with the panel-paintings of contemporary and older 
artists, are seen to have been executed by a new technical method. 
It used to be said that the Van Eycks invented oil-painting. The 
method in which these pictures are painted is not what modern 
artists understand by oil-painting, nor does it matter to us, who 
are not artists, but art-lovers (not cooks, but epicures), what the 
actual process was. The thing that is patent is that the process 
was novel, and that it came into use first in the days of Hubert 
and in pictures painted by him, while it was carried to greater per- 
fection in later days by John. Pictures done in the new method 
look brighter, richer in tone, more enamel-like in surface, and are 
evidently less tender and more durable as well as more brilliant 
and jewel-like in colour than those of an earlier date. Thus 
Hubert was an innovator in technique as well as in the style and 
subjects of his art. Of his experimental stages we know nothing, 
nor how much John may have helped him. 

The Adoration of the Lamb, with its nineteen large panels 
large, that is to say, in comparison with most of the other panel- 
pictures by the brothers must have taken many years to paint. 
It was finished at Ghent, May 6, 1432, for one Jodoc Vyt, 1 after the 
death of Hubert, who had left it incomplete to a greater or less 
degree, as to which the critics quarrel. The buildings in the back- 
ground have suggested to ingenious experts that the altar-piece must 
have been designed and begun for someone who lived within the 
diocese of Utrecht and ecclesiastical province of Cologne. The 
County of Holland is so situated, but Ghent, where Vyt lived and 
died and set up the picture, is not. Hence it has been suggested 
that the picture was designed and begun for Duke William of 
Bavaria, Count of Holland ; that it was interrupted at his death, 
and left on the painter's hands when he moved to Ghent ; that it 
was taken in hand again for Jodoc Vyt by Hubert, and again 
interrupted when Hubert died ; and that finally it was finished 
by John in the year 1432, as aforesaid. But the experienced 

1 For a life of Vyt see Bull. Soc. cThist. de Gand, xv, p. 84. He took in hand in 1420 
the decoration of the chapel in St. Bavon's for which the altar-piece was painted. He 
was a very rich man. 


Hulin has pointed out that great altar-pieces were not usually a 
princely weakness. Those we know about, belonging to this school 
and century, were ordered and paid for either by religious corpora- 
tions or by rich individuals, local or foreign. Financiers and 
merchants were tempted to this kind of expense, not princes. 

The picture itself is so well known, and reproductions of it are 
so easily accessible (an excellent water-colour copy is in the National 
Gallery) that I do not waste plates on photographs of it here. All 
the interior panels, when the wings are open, unite to illustrate the 
following passages from the Apocalypse of St. John : 

" I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with 
him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having his Father's 
name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from Heaven 
as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder ; 
and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps : and 
they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the 
four beasts, and the elders : and no man could learn that song 
but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were re- 
deemed from the earth. . . . These are they which follow the 
Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among 
men, being the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in 
their mouth was found no guile : for they are without fault before 
the throne of God." 

And again : 

"I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could 
number, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. . . 
These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have 
washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the 
Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God ; and he 
shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters, 
and shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." 

Upon the principal panel below is the Adoration of the Lamb ; 
on the lower panels of the wings on either side of it are the Just 
Judges and the Knights, the Saints and the Hermits advancing to 
adore. The noble figure of Christ, King of Heaven, seated between 
the Virgin and John Baptist (as He is usually represented in pictures 
of the Last Judgment), occupies the upper central portion, whilst 


in the corresponding parts of the wings on either side are choirs of 
playing and singing angels, and Adam and Eve representing the 
fallen, as the Virgin and John the redeemed, human race. 

Ajnong the knights are St. Michael and St. George, St. Maurice 
and Charlemagne. Knights and judges together represent the 
two sides of the active life. 1 The hermits and pilgrims, devoted to 
a life of contemplation, are opposed to them on the other wing. 
All four parties move along tortuous ways through a beautiful 
country toward the mystic altar of the Lamb. The nearer they 
approach, the more richly is the country wooded, and the clearer 
and purer is the overarching sky. About the altar itself on 
every side flowers burst into joyful bloom violets and pansies, 
cowslips, daisies, and lilies of the valley, all in their fairest colours. 
Behind are purple flags, lilies, roses, and vines in fullest strength of 
life and glow of blossom ; no stricken bud, no blighted leaf, no 
withered flower among them, for they grow in the soil of Paradise, 
where there is no decay. Even the stones in the brook are jewels, 
and the water of life washes them. 

Those who have already arrived are grouped in adoration on 
either side of the altar. Ranged in front are the Apostles, fourteen 
in number, including Paul and Barnabas ; behind are Popes, Bishops, 
and a body of the faithful. Over against them are the ancient 
prophets, those of the Jews in front, those of the Gentiles (including 
Homer, Plato, and -Aristotle) ranked behind, all alike inspired by 
the rays of spiritual illumination which fall from the hovering Dove. 
The fountain of life is placed in front, and the water of it flows 
through the ages along its jewelled bed. Behind, among the rose 
bushes, are the holy martyrs with palm branches in their hands ; 
among the lilies opposite to them are the martyred virgins, led by 
Barbara, Agnes, Catherine, and Dorothy. Angels with gorgeous 
rainbow-coloured wings kneel round about the altar, some in con- 
templation holding the instruments of the Passion, some in adora- 
tion gazing on the emblem of Divine love, some swinging their 
censers, the symbols of prayer, till they touch the words em- 

1 Suggestions have been made that the heads of some of these figures and others on 
the neighbouring panel may be portraits of the Duke of Berry, of the Emperor John VI 
Paleologus, and so forth. No general agreement has been arrived at. What one critic 
asserts, another denies. 


broidered in letters of gold, " Jesus the Way, the Truth, and the 
Life." As the keynote to the whole composition the painter has 
written, along the front of the altar, this text from his Latin 
Testament : " Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins 
of the world." 

Evidently we are confronted in these panels with an elaborated 
" Paradise picture " such as the Cologne artists had been the first 
to paint under the influence of the Mystics. Their paradises were 
in a less mundane region than this ; their saints and prophets were 
less human. But the spirit that breathes through all is the same. 
It is not the concrete spirit of France that meets us in Hubert's 
dream of heaven, but the mystic imaginings of the Rhine. That 
some direct influence from Cologne artists had reached Hubert is 
proved by the more than chance resemblances which can be traced 
between his Virgin in a Church and Meister Stephan's well-known 
Virgin belonging to the Archbishop of Cologne. 

Over the principal landscape panel are three others, each con- 
taining a large single figure. The central one is Christ as King of 
Heaven, with countenance majestically calm, intellectual power 
in the forehead, mild deep eyes, a strong hand, a dignified pose. 
The word Sabaoth can be read on the embroidered edge of His robe. 
He is crowned with a triple diadem as Lord of Heaven ; His hand 
grasps a sceptre ; the royal crown of earthly sovereignty is at His 
feet. Heaven is His throne ; earth His footstool. The symbol of 
self-sacrifice the Pelican nourishing her young with flesh plucked 
from her own breast is embroidered on the curtain behind. 
Below His feet is this inscription : " In His head life without death ; 
on His forehead youth without age ; joy without sorrow on His 
right hand; security without fear on His left." 

Scarcely less beautiful is the figure of the Virgin, the repre- 
sentative of all glorified women, as John Baptist of all glorified men. 
Specially interesting is the symbolism of her crown. The hair 
represents the strength of life, and the crown the obedience to 
Divine law that governs and restrains it. The Nazarite, who 
devoted himself to the Lord, let his hair grow in token that his 
life was no longer his own, to order it according to his pleasure. 
The Pagan cast a lock of his hair into the sacred river of his land, 
or burnt it to his god in the sacrificial fire, as a sign of his self- 


dedication. The fillet, therefore, that binds the hair symbolizes 

the obedience to eternal law which binds the life ; thus the crown 
primarily symbolizes obedience, and only secondarily command, 
because he alone is fit to order others who himself has learnt to 
obey. " He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear 
of God ; and he shall be as the light of morning when the sun 
ariseth." The crown of thorns is the parent of all others, and 
they, like it, alone become glorious by obedient wearing, even as 
the rod of martyrdom is changed into the martyr's palm. 

The most beautiful virtue of the Virgin, to the mediaeval mind, 
was her humility, and the symbol of that was the lily of the valley. 
" The Lord has regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden." Her 
crown is a crown of lowliness, a ring of wild and humble flowers 
the lily of the valley, the wild rose, and the rod lily, which the 
Angel of the Annunciation always bears. But in sign of her great 
reward the binding fillet of lowly obedience glitters with rubies 
and topaz and pearls ; the humble flowers toss themselves up in 
their joy, and are strong with unfading vigour ; the lilies and the 
harebells hold up their heads in the fulness of a larger life ; 
the petals of the wild roses glow with richer tones. And above the 
blossoms glitter their brothers of the night, a sevenfold coronal of 
stars. The crown of humility has become a crown of glory too. 

When the wings are closed we see the Annunciation, taking 
place in a room in Ghent, for there is a view of the Rue Courte-du- 
jour seen through the window. 1 Not long ago a large house in the 
Rue de Gouvernement was demolished, revealing the old walls of 
a building believed to have belonged to Jodoc Vyt. On its third 
floor a square window was discovered, of Romanesque type, exactly 
answering in position to the window in the picture. In the lower 
panels of the closed wings are the kneeling portraits of Jodoc Vyt 
and his wife, and statues of the two St. Johns. Prophets and 
Sibyls fill the lunettes over the Annunciation. 

As I have said, the critics quarrel over the respective shares 
of the work done by Hubert and John respectively. Without 
attempting to divide them in detail two facts are fairly obvious. 
The first is that the design of the whole was Hubert's. It is a single 
conception, and all the parts hang together with one exception. 

1 Mr. Weale thought the view was in Bruges. 


This brings us to the second secure fact. The figures of Adam and 
Eve are, in form, spirit, scale, and all else, entirely out of keeping 
with the rest. Whoever designed the whole did not design these. 
Whoever painted or directed the painting of the rest did not paint 
these. They belong to another world of art. Doubtless figures of 
the parents of the human race were intended by the man who 
ordered the altar-piece to occupy these positions, but Hubert would 
have made them range in scale with the playing and singing angels 
in the neighbouring panels, and assuredly did not intend them to 
be characterized by the coarse and hideous naturalism of these two 
wonderful but unlovely nudes. There is a similar discrepancy 
between the room interior on the other faces of these same panels, 
and the interior behind the Virgin and angel. They are not all 
parts of the same room. The horizontal lines do not fit straight 
across, and the lobby or gallery seen through the windows on right 
and left is inconsistent with the absence of any end wall, as of a 
tower or other termination to close the chamber on the left, which 
should have been visible through the open window. We may 
guess, therefore, that these two panels were not only painted, but 
redesigned by John after Hubert's death, and the Adam and Eve 
in every respect confirm that conclusion. As for all the rest, we 
need not trouble. John may have helped with this or the other 
panel, finished this or the other figure, but if he did he was carrying 
out the design of Hubert in entire subordination to him, and all 
the praise is Hubert's, not John's. 

There is one more anomaly pointing to a change of design. 
When the wings are open it will be observed that all the upper row 
of panels except those of Adam and Eve are designed with a per- 
spective which implies that the spectator is at a higher level than 
their floor. We look down upon the pavement under the feet 
of the three great figures and the playing and singing angels ; but 
our eye is below the level of the ground on which Adam and Eve 
stand. Here, then, is an obvious change of design which points 
beyond question to the intervention of a painter who did not 
design the rest. Similarly, when the wings are closed we look up 
to the four figures of Sibyls and Prophets at the top, but down on 
all the rest. A stronger proof could hardly be desired to indicate 
the limits of the independent work of the two brothers. 


In Hubert's Ghent period, John was not his assistant as he 
may have been when they worked for Duke William. Duke William 
died, as has been stated, in 1417. It used to be believed that both 
brothers were received into the Ghent painters' guild in 1419, but 
the copy of the records of that Guild no longer commands con- 
fidence. It is likely that, on the death of his patron, Hubert moved 
elsewhere at once, possibly to Ghent. John at any rate was not at 
Ghent between October 24, 1422 and September 11, 1424 ; for 
during that interval, and probably earlier, he was in the service of 
John of Bavaria, Count of Holland, at The Hague, and probably 
so continued till the death of the Count on January 5, 1425. Four 
months later John was appointed Court painter to Philip the Good r 
Duke of Burgundy, and thereupon took up his residence at Bruges. 
But enough of these wearisome details ! Broadly speaking, we may 
guess that when Duke William died John was taken over by his 
successor, and that when that patron died he passed into the service 
of Philip the Good. He can therefore have had but little share 
in the Adoration except perhaps in its very earliest, and certainly 
in its latest stages. 

We must now go back to the earlier pictures, for this necessary 
consideration of the Adoration has brought us to the close of 
Hubert's life before we are ready to take leave of him and his works. 

The will, dated 1413, of Jean de Visch, who was " grand bailli " 
of Flanders, bequeaths a picture by Hubert. Doubtless many 
other paintings were made by him before that. The following, in 
addition to the Adoration, are some pictures attributed to him : 

The Virgin and Child in a Church, in Berlin Kaiser Fried- 
rich Museum, or the original from which it was imitated. 

The Crucifixion, in Berlin, K.F.M. 

The (lost) original of the Virgin and Child by a Fountain, 
in Berlin, K.F.M. 

The (lost) original of the Fountain of Living Water, at 

The Three Maries at the Sepulchre, in the Cook Collection 
at Richmond. 

The Steenken Madonna, in the Gustave Rothschild Collec- 
tion, Paris (date c. 1418). 


St. Francis, in the Johnson Collection, Philadelphia ; a 
repetition of it at Turin. 1 

The Crucifixion and Last Judgment, wings of a lost Adora- 
tion of the Magi, 2 in the Hermitage, Petrograd. 

The Rolin Madonna in the Louvre. 

The small triptych at Dresden. 

In the Adoration and several of the pictures the flora, accurately 
painted by someone who had direct knowledge of the plants and 
trees from personal observation, includes the following : the Olive, 
the bitter or Seville Orange, the Cypress, the Umbrella or Stone 
Pine, the Date Palm, and the Dwarf Palm or Palmetto (Chamcerops 
humilis). The stone-pine is common in Central Italy. All the 
others are said to be found in South Italy. Again, in several of these 
pictures we find views of the Alps in the background, similar to 
that on one of the pages of the Hours of Turin. Mr. Weale also 
brought together the following noteworthy observations collected 
from various students. The figure of a man in a white toga and 
crowned with laurel in the foreground of the Adoration is borrowed 
from the antique ; so is a bronze statuette of Mars in the Steenken 
Madonna. A capital in the Dresden triptych shows sculptured 
decoration obviously suggested by a bas-relief on some Roman 
sarcophagus. The figures of the Virgin and John in the Berlin 
Crucifixion are derived from a Giottesque model. Architectural 
details in the Steenken Madonna are Italian in style, while the 
buildings in the background of it " include an unmistakable view 
of old St. Paul's (London) and a number of battlemented towers 
with pinnacles at the angles of a decidedly English character." If, 
then, Hubert painted many of these pictures, he must have been a 
considerable traveller. Nothing quickens the observation and 
delight in natural scenery like travel. Many a man who has taken 
his home scenery for granted and paid little attention to its beauty 
has been awakened to delight in nature by contact with what to 
him are novel kinds of country. How many, like Ruskin, may still 

1 The existence of a pair of pictures of St. Francis, which might conceivably be these, 
is vouched for by the will of Anselmo Adornes of 1470, who devised such pictures to his 
two daughters. Wings were to be added to them with portraits of himself and his wife. 
Archives des arts, etc., 1st series, t. i, p. 269. 

2 See Burlington Magazine, August 1911, p. 256. If this picture belonged to John 
Duke of Berry (Durrieu in Gaz. B.-A., i, 1920, pp. 77-105) it must date before 1416. 


date their " entry into life " from their first sight of the Alps ! Was 
it the splendour of the mountains that aroused in Hubert the 
desire to depict them and other natural objects, and so led him to 
become the first true landscape artist ? 

But he may have wandered yet further afield. In the back- 
ground of three pictures the Crucifixion in the Hours of Turin, 
that in the Berlin Museum, and the Richmond Three Maries 
there are cities intended to represent Jerusalem. All three show 
a great building, evidently intended for the Dome of the Rock. 
In the first two this building is purely imaginary, but the third is 
drawn or copied from a drawing by a man who had seen it and 
taken notes of it on the spot. Hubert, say some, obtained a drawing 
of it from a pilgrim. It is conceivable but improbable, for the 
reason that no one before Hubert himself is known to have made 
landscape drawings. A few years later it would have been different. 
Hubert's introduction of landscape drawing opened a new age, and 
a generation or two later there were plenty of people who might 
have thought of bringing home from their travels views of 
important sights or buildings. Thus in 1486 Erhard Reuwich 
published at Mayence Bernard von Breydenbach's account of his 
pilgrimage to the Holy Places and illustrated it with woodcuts, one 
of which depicts, for the first time in any book, Jerusalem as some 
member of the party drew it. Even then such representations 
were novelties. Pilgrimages to Jerusalem were common in the 
fifteenth century. Several courtiers of Burgundy went there under 
the leadership of Bertrandon de la Brocquiere in the years 1432-3 
- a kind of personally conducted party and there were plenty of 
such pilgrimages. It is just possible that Hubert was a member of 
such a party. 

Whether Hubert himself visited Jerusalem and sketched the 
Mosque of Omar or not, it remains an important fact that to the 
best of his ability he placed the event he had to depict as occurring 
in a definite locality. But he went further. The Three Maries 
visited the Sepulchre at break of day. No artist had troubled him- 
self about such details before. They had been content to express 
the religious emotion which an event was supposed to embody. 
Hubert set himself to realize the event as an historical fact. Hence, 
in his picture, it is the hour of dawn. The sun has just risen, but 


is hidden from view by crags in the foreground. The low light 
catches brightly a distant building on a hill-top, less brightly the 
domes and pinnacles of the city. Eastward the sky is full of warm 
illumination, but to the south it is cold only the tops of cumulus 
clouds in that direction being lofty enough to catch the light. 

The original of the Fountain of Living Water was in the Chapel 
of St. Jerome in Palencia Cathedral up to 1783. It had disappeared 
before 1815. In composition it presents features in common with 
the Adoration of the Lamb. Its three-staged design appears to 
have been borrowed from the mystery plays. On the lowest tier, 
in front on the left, is a kneeling man with hands raised. The 
same man is portrayed in a little fragment in Berlin, supposed to 
be part cut from a larger picture. There is no reason to think 
that they are portraits of the artist, still less that the smiling 
horseman prominent in the Adoration is Hubert or the youth 
behind him John. If the painter has anywhere introduced his own 
or his brother's portrait, it is further to the left, but one of the two 
individuals squeezed in there was probably the donor. The ascrip- 
tion of this picture to Hubert is, however, not entirely convincing. 
Christ, the Virgin, and St. John fall in dignity far below corre- 
sponding figures in the Adoration, and can scarcely have been 
designed by him. They are more like John's less inspired creations. 
That whoever composed the picture was working under Hubert's 
influence is at least probable. It is, however, evident that the 
artist who painted the picture, were he even Luis Dalmau of 
Valencia, was carrying on the traditions of Hubert, and perhaps 
working directly under his influence. We have, however, only a 
copy to go by, and deductions from copies are insecure. 

That Hubert was a good portrait-painter is demonstrated by the 
kneeling donors on the outside of the wings of the Adoration. 
Poor old Jodoc Vyt is a wholly credible personage of feeble intelli- 
gence and weak character, who must have owed much of his success 
in life to the powerful, competent, and sweet woman whom he had 
the luck to marry. A man's portrait at Hermannstadt, to be dated 
before 1425 or even 1420 by the fashion of the hat, is by some like- 
wise ascribed to Hubert. Others have wished to attribute to him 
the " Esquire of the Order of St. Anthony " at Berlin, one of the 
finest of the whole group of Van Eyck portraits ; while the fat 


donor in the Leipzig Gallery has been seen and rendered very much 
like Vyt in the Adoration wing. 1 

All the works attributable to Hubert bring us into contact, not 
only with a great artist of original genius and high imagination, 
but with a man of noble and attractive nature. The serenity and 
gentleness of his Virgins and saints, the tenderness of his children, 
the sweet and wholesome atmosphere of the world in which his 
fancy played, are all clear evidences of his own nature. If in 
painting the Adoration of the Lamb he had the direction of some 
learned cleric, as is probable, it is no less certain that the pictorial 
conception of the whole, its great unity as the embodiment of an 
imaginative theme, were his and his only. The various parts and 
personages are not fitted together to order this saint here, that 
Apostle there ; they have, as it were, crystallized into form and 
place inevitably as the outcome of the creative rather than the con- 
structive power of a many-sided man of genius. Few artists have 
left their mark more indelibly upon the generations that followed 
them. Painters in the Low Countries, and after them those of 
France, contentedly for several generations followed the lines he 
laid down. They adopted and elaborated his technique. They 
learnt from him to look with fresh eyes on the world of nature and 
man about them, and to embody their dreams and recognitions of 
beauty in the forms of nature herself. It appears that they soon 
forgot Hubert's name and credited their indebtedness to his younger 
brother, but Hubert lived on in them all the same, and his works 
remain, even to the present day, a delight to all lovers of art, and 
an influence upon artists which is still far from worn out. 2 

1 A little panel of St. George and the Dragon, belonging to General de Plaoutine and 
recently shown at the Burlington Fine Arts Club, is a marvel of minute painting in 
detail. It recalls some of the best miniatures in the Hours of Turin, but surpasses them 
and all other pictures of the Van Eyck period in microscopic finish. In Weale's Van 
Eyck it is attributed to Hubert. Mr. Roger Fry (The New Statesman, Jan. 1, 1921) 
attributes it to a miniaturist working in the tradition of Campin, but of this tradition I 
could discover no trace. 

2 For information about artists, contemporary with Hubert, working at Ghent, see 
L. Maeterlinck, Une ecole primitive inconnue, Brussels, 1913. Several documents are 
there published proving that Hubert was at the head of a large and active studio which 
contracted for great schemes of decoration and especially for the entire decoration of 
Vyt's chapel (including the stained glass window) and (in 1425-6) for Robert Poortier's 
chapel in St. Saviour's, Ghent. 



WHEN Hubert van Eyck died in 1426 it is possible and even likely 
that he left behind him other unfinished work beside the Adoration 
of the Lamb. Such may have been the condition of the Virgin of 
Chancellor Rolin, a famous picture in the Louvre ; such perhaps 
also that of the Dresden triptych. The landscape in the former 
must surely be Hubert's. John did not paint landscapes of that 
kind, so far as we can judge. M. de Mely seems to have proved that 
the view is of the city of Lyons seen from the monastery of Ainay, 
looking up the Saone past the lie Barbe to the distant Alps. On 
the other hand, the hard and unspiritual Virgin, the tubby graceless 
Child are John's all over, and so is the grim head of the Chancellor. 
It is, however, the landscape here that enraptures every beholder. 
The figures belong to the solid earth on which John firmly stood, 
his eyes steadily fixed on the men and women of his day. 1 

The same dignified and picturesque architecture of Romanesque 
character, which perhaps made its first appearance in Hubert's 
Steenken Madonna, is likewise found in other pictures attributable 
to John beside the Dresden Madonna. Thus it is a prominent 
feature in the Annunciation at Petrograd and in the Rolin Madonna, 
in both of which Hubert may have had a hand, as well as in the 
Pala and Maelbeke Madonnas of 1436 and 1441, which of course were 
wholly John's. Hubert at all events was the first to employ it, 
and that in a day when nobody else thought of anything but Gothic. 
The fact that antique elements are found in combination with this 
round-arched architecture when used by Hubert may supply an 
explanation. In Italy, it is to be supposed, Hubert saw and was 
pleased by the remains of Roman buildings. Classical architecture 

1 Hulin in Bull. Soc. (THist. de Gand, xv, p. 91, cites a record of a portrait by John 
van Eyck of the year 1414, representing a Moorish king ; but he questions the date. 



attracted him, as at this very time it was attracting the most 
advanced artists of Italy. He had not time (it was a life-work even 
for Leo Battista Alberti) to master the principles of that style, but 
the round arch, at all events, made its form agreeable to him. On 
his return home there were no Roman buildings for him to imitate, 
so he fell back upon Romanesque, and if he had now to paint a 
Virgin and Child in a church we may be sure that he would have 
chosen a Romanesque, not a Gothic church to enclose her, though a 
tower of Italian Gothic type appears in the Steenken Madonna. 

John seems to have been less attracted by Romanesque than his 
brother. The Petrograd Annunciation and the Dresden triptych 
may have been designed and begun by Hubert, or if wholly by John, 
then at a time when Hubert's influence over him was fresh and 
strong. Hubert, however, would hardly have inserted into the 
latter the Gothic canopies we there find. Some years later John, as 
we shall see, after having given full fling to his own preferences, 
seems to have been drawn again towards some of the forms and 
feelings of his dead brother's works, and it was then that he again 
employed the Romanesque architecture, which in his paintings of 
the intervening period had been entirely replaced by Gothic. 

The respective shares of Hubert and John in the Dresden trip- 
tych and the Petrograd Annunciation need not be further defined 
than thus : in the former the pervading spirit is clearly Hubert's, 
less clearly in the latter. In both, however, Hubert's ideal is 
dominant. Where, as in the Adoration, the two brothers painted 
different parts, each after his own design, a striking contrast is 
evident. To most people of to-day John's Adam and Eve are a 
blot on that picture. In fairness let us here record that these two 
figures were the most admired part of it in the old days. Diirer 
noted of this picture that "it is a most precious painting, full of 
thought, and the Eve, Mary, and God the Father are specially 
good." I have read that it was popularly called the " Adam and 
Eve picture," which if true shows the public taste. The reason 
for this high reputation was, of course, because here for the first 
time were two nude human figures veraciously studied from life, 
and truthfully depicted in every detail. These were not imaginary, 
but actual human beings. The thing that has never been done 
before is always astonishing, but it does not follow that, in art, it 


is beautiful or worth doing again. Moreover, the figures are raised 
aloft and correctly foreshortened, as Hubert's three great figures 
were not. It was all a wonder in its day, but none to us. Photo- 
graphy will do that kind of thing every bit as well, while, if you 
want the mere facts of life, the cinematograph will give them to you 
yet more completely. Art has higher functions than the exact 
rendering of visible things, as was recognized long before the present 
much bephotographed days. 

Some bare facts, gleaned from archives and the like storehouses, 
are known about John van Eyck's life after he entered the service 
of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, on May 19, 1425. l Soon 
after that date he was sent to live at Lille in a house the Duke 
rented for him, but he was often away. Thus in 1426 he went on 
a pilgrimage for the Duke and on two secret missions, one of them 
perhaps wife-hunting. In 1428 he accompanied the Duke's great 
wife-hunting embassy to Portugal, his business being to paint the 
Lady Isabella, the King's daughter. He sent home by sea and 
land two portraits of her. There was a long delay before an answer 
could be received from the Duke. The embassy employed the 
interval journeying about Spain and visiting various courts and 
cities. The negotiations being finally successful, the Duke's 
marriage with Princess Isabella was solemnized by deputy. Bride 
and embassy returned to Flanders together, suffering much from 
sea-sickness, being nearly wrecked off Land's End, and experiencing 
many other adventures on the way. They reached her new home 
in December 1429, and another and more splendid marriage cere- 
mony was performed between Philip and Isabella in person. It 
was in honour of this event that the Duke of Burgundy founded 
the Knightly Order of the Golden Fleece. John van Eyck now 
settled at Bruges in great good favour with his patron. He bought 
a house, and presently married a lady named Margaret, but her 
family name is forgotten. Her portrait and that of John Arnolfini's 
wife look like those of sisters. She bore a child in 1434, to whom 
the Duke was godfather ; at least one more was born later. In 
1435 John painted six of the statues on the exterior of Bruges 
Town Hall. Next year he went on another secret mission for the 
Duke. In 1441 he died, and his widow received a pension. 

1 Set forth in full detail in Weale's Van Eyck, q.v. 


If it were not for his existing pictures all the above laboriously 
collected information would enable us to know little about the kind 
of person John van Eyck was. But the pictures are eloquent 
enough. If all of them could be brought together into a room, 
most persons who saw them would agree in preferring the small 
pictures to the large ones, and the portraits, as a group, to the 
religious subjects. Let us, then, take the portraits first. Any one 
of the following may be accepted as example of the rest and doubtless 
also of the many more which time has utterly devoured or are only 
now insufficiently represented by copies. 

1431. Cardinal Albergati, Vienna ; drawing for it at 

1432. The " Leal Souvenir " portrait of a man, National 

1433. The Man in a Red Turban, National Gallery. 

1434. John Arnolfini and Wife, National Gallery. 

1434, or perhaps later. Half-length of John Arnolfini, 
Berlin K.F.M. 

1435 ? Baldwin de Lannoy, Berlin K.F.M. 

1436 or earlier. George van der Paele, Hampton Court. 
1436. John de Leeuw, Vienna. 

1439. Margaret, John van Eyck's wife, Bruges Museum. 
An Esquire of the Order of St. Anthony, Berlin K.F.M. 
A donor, half-length, Leipzig. 

Bust portrait of a man with a sharp nose, Johnson Collection, 

They are a ruthless set of portraits, each individual beheld, and 
then not merely depicted, but judged beyond all appeal /^Cardinal 
Albergati emerges well from the trial ; a man of strong character, 
in whom we note the marks of a tumultuous nature brought under 
control ; a diplomatist, capable, thoughtful, and resolute ; a great 
contrast to the low-bred and rather stupid though good-tempered 
subject of the Leal Souvenir. The red-turbaned man, who may 
have been John van Eyck himself (it looks like a portrait done from 
a mirror), is the finest of the series, the subtlest, the most finished. 
Here is a wary, observant, and canny person, refined, not likely to 



go blundering through the world, but to tread delicately and with- 
out tripping in the difficult ways of courts and courtiers, if that 
should be where the chances of life took him. As for Arnolfini the 
Lord deliver us from being caught as debtors to the like of him ! 
A sharp man of business if ever there was one, Jesuitical, mean, 
sly, and self-satisfied ; nevertheless there is reason to think that 
he and John van Eyck got along well together. Baldwin jde 
Lannoy, who. went on that wife-hunting expedition for the Duke 
to ~Portugal,is a man of very different type grim, determined, 
narrow perhaps, but trustworthy. What he undertook he would 
accomplish, the Fates permitting. John de Leeuw in his turn 
impresses the spectator as a quiet person, gentle, affectionate, 
perhaps sentimental, observant rather than pushing. He was a 
rich goldsmith of Bruges, but the ring in his hand refers rather to 
an approaching marriage than to his craft. His wife will probably 
be a happier woman than Arnolfini's. As for Margaret van Eyck, 
her husband may be reckoned fortunate ; she possesses considerable 
intelligence and discernment, no little determination, and probably 
some quiet humour. She will make a capable housewife and 
sensible companion. Thus we might go on. Each picture tells its 
story so plainly that any competent novelist could set all these 
individuals talking for us without the least difficulty. An imaginary 
conversation between them by Landor would be worth pages of 
descriptive writing. With the exception of the Arnolfinis, who 
stand full-length in their own beautifully furnished room, all the 
others are busts or half-lengths without accessories. The Arnolfini 
room existed when Mr. Weale lived at Bruges, and the very ring 
remained in the beam from which the chandelier used to hang but 
the chandelier was gone. What a pity ! 

John's small Madonnas likewise possess great charm for their 
jewel-like quality, and the perfection with which they are finished. 
In the Madonna of Ince Hall, of 1433, both Virgin and Child possess 
much of the sweetness we have learnt to associate with the work of 
Hubert, and surely nothing could be more delightfully painted than 
the little accessories and furnishings of the chamber. Unfortun- 
ately no photograph does this delightful panel any approach to 
justice. The Frankfurt Madonna of the same year reveals John 
almost at his ugliest as a painter of children, though in the Paele 


Altar-piece, finished in 1436, he was to reach a lower depth. 
Everyone is ugly in that yet splendid work, and everyone except 
St. Donatien is more or less awkward. The aged donor is altogether 
mercilessly portrayed, a lump of a man, coarse, self-indulgent, a 
narrow-minded bigot of little intelligence. As for his patron, 
St. George, the best he can do in approaching the Throne is to take 
off his hat with an awkward gesture and point to his unattractive 
protege. But St. George's armour is superb, and so is all else except 
the people in this astounding picture. There is a still uglier bust- 
portrait of the same donor, an original study done on canvas, in the 
Gallery at Hampton Court ; perhaps what we behold in the altar- 
piece is the best Van Eyck could make of him, working at leisure 
upon his sketch from life. That this picture was highly considered 
is shown by several echoes and imitations of it in subsequent 
works of art, painted as far off as Avignon. 

More delightful than the most charming of the foregoing, or at 
least as delightful as the Madonna of Ince Hall, is a little Virgin 
by a fountain in Antwerp Museum, which bears the date 1439. 
Here John is almost copying Hubert, and is entirely reproducing 
Hubert's types of Virgin and Child ; but he invents a new and 
better background a richly woven hanging or dorser, upheld by 
two fluttering angels, the very butterflies of Heaven, and behind 
them a garden-bank with a hdge of flowers at its back. It may 
have been Petrus Christus who so carefully copied this Madonna 
group, setting it within a sculptured Gothic niche, in a picture, 
once Beresford Hope's, but now in the Metropolitan Museum at 
New York. 1 

I have referred among the works of Hubert to the charming 
little panel-picture of the Virgin, standing in the nave of a Gothic 
church, which is one of the most precious jewels of the Berlin 
Museum. Perhaps this also is a late work by John, copying Hubert, 
and should be grouped with the Virgin by the Fountain. A similar 
church, as has been noted, appears in one of Hubert's miniatures 
(at Milan) in the Hours of Turin, but the treatment of the archi- 
tecture in the panel-picture, with its beautiful display of the 

1 Mr. Weale (p. 161) cites me as stating that this picture was " painted by John 
himself," but he does not state, and of course did not know, that in so asserting I was merely 
setting down what he himself had told me, I at that time not having seen the picture. 


incidence of light and its improved perspective, points to the inter- 
vention of the hand and intelligence of John. A careful silver- 
point drawing of the same subject, differing in some details from 
the picture, was published in the Prussian Museums Annual for 1915, 
the writer claiming it as the handwork of John himself. The 
excellent reproduction does not suffice to guarantee this contention, 
which may, however, be upheld if the drawing itself stands mature 
examination and obtains a consensus of approval. The Berlin 
picture has every appearance of being the left half of a diptych. 11 
was well copied as such by a good Bruges artist in the year 1499, 
the pendant being the portrait of Christian de Hondt, Abbot of the 
Dunes (Antwerp Museum). 

A singular work, by all accepted as Van Eyck's, is the delightful 
monochrome drawing on panel of St. Barbara in Antwerp Museum. 
It is signed, and dated 1437. The lady, a handsomely dressee 
Flemish girl, is seated on the ground with a book in her lap and 
palm branch in her hand. She is just a typical Van Eyck figur 
But what is not at all typically Van Eyck is the elaborately drawi 
landscape full of busy little figures in front, with countless fields 
stretching away to a remote distance and hill-town by a river. 
These little people are all co-operating to build for St. Barbara 
colossal Gothic tower of finest fifteenth century character, raisee 
magically^ without scaffolding. There are cranes and workmen 01 
the top still carrying it up, but of course so intricate a structure 
could not thus have been built. That, however, is of no consequence 
We are in fairy-land where ordinary rules do not apply. Un- 
fortunately the sky has been covered with a mess of blue. Apai 
from it, the delicacy of intricate lines by which the whole is wrought 
out is just so much magic. But was it John who drew them 
One may reply, who else could ? If it was he, then here at the ene 
of his days we find another return to the preferences of Hubert, foi 
this landscape would have delighted him. As a landscape com- 
position it is not at all in his style. There are none of his hills, ane 
there is much more happening than in any of his foregrounds. 
Perhaps John was asked thus to treat the subject. Did he intene 
to colour the picture, but left it incomplete ? We can hardly thinl 
so. It is the blue sky that was not intended. John probably 
it as he intended it to be, an outline drawing on a prepared panel, 


a sheer tour de force, which neither he nor anyone else was likely to 

Beside portraits and religious pictures 1 John van Eyck is also 
recorded 2 to have painted a globe of the world with all known 
countries correctly depicted upon it according to the science of his 
day, and some genre pictures. Such was a picture of a bath-room 
with a lady coming from the bath. She was but " slightly veiled 
with fine linen drapery," and her back was reflected in a mirror. 
There was also a wonderful landscape background. The descrip- 
tion of this lost painting suggests to everyone who has seen a curious, 
finely painted little panel in Leipzig Museum that that may be a 
copy of another work of the same class by the master. There is 
the nude woman, the light drapery, a dog, a landscape through the 
window, but no bath, for this is not a bathing scene but some 
incident of witchcraft concerned with operations on a wax heart. 
Lord Huntingfi eld's Collection contains a painting by Van Haecht 
that introduces us into the interior of an art-gallery, with sculptures 
around on the floor and pictures on the walls. When this was 
shown at an Old Masters' Exhibition at Burlington House (1907) 
everyone recognized one of these pictures as probably a Van Eyck. 
It depicts another nude lady at her toilet standing beside her 
washing-basin. A convex mirror hangs on the window mullion, 
and there are other accessories beside the lady's maid who stands 
near her mistress, fully clothed in a stout red dress, a very 
superior kind of maid indeed. 

The last picture begun by John van Eyck, and left unfinished 
when he died in July 1441, was a triptych, ordered by Nicholas van 
Maelbeke, the twenty-ninth provost of St. Martin's, Ypres (1429-45). 
Sketches in Nuremberg and the Albertina show how far work 
on the central panel had progressed, and relieve Van Eyck from 
responsibility for the terrible portrait of the donor. Both Virgin 
and Child again recall the tender types of Hubert, and so does the 
Romanesque architecture, but the pictures on the wings cannot 

1 A lost example among the latter, referred to in a recently discovered document, is 
a picture of St. George on horseback (panel, four by three palms), " de mestre Johannes, 
lo gran pintor del illustre duch de Burgunya," bought on May 2, 1444 by a Valencian 
merchant for the King (Alfonso V). See Jose Sanchis y Sivera, Pintores medicevales en 
Valencia, Barcelona, 1914, as quoted by A. L. Mayer, Monatshefte, vii, 1914, p. 298. 

2 Weale, pp. 174 ff. 


even have been designed by John. It is, however, impossible to 
judge a work so tampered with in its own day and so badly handled 
since. No one would have suggested John van Eyck's name in 
connexion with it had not the historical record been convincing. 
Mr. Weale considered that, if John had lived to complete it, it would 
have been his masterpiece ; I cannot share that conviction. 

It is asserted that in this picture the perspective is for the first 
time correct, the lines converging toward a single vanishing point. 
Hubert discovered, or was taught, the theory of a vanishing point 
for separate parts of a picture, but he never arrived at using less 
than two vanishing points in a single composition. Even Breeder - 
lam had learned that parallel lines in a single horizontal plane 
should have a vanishing point, a principle applied in the fourteenth 
century in the School of Siena, from which he may have derived 
it, but both Hubert and John generally employed separate vanishing 
points for lines in different horizontal planes. When these points 
happened to come near together, as in the Rolin Madonna, the 
perspective is almost correct. It used to be said that the Frankfurt 
Madonna of 1457 by Petrus Christus is the earliest dated example 
of the use of a single vanishing point in the North of Europe ; but 
it was difficult to believe that so unimaginative and unoriginal an 
artist as Christus should have been to that extent inventive. We 
can accept the advance readily enough at the hand and from the 
intelligence of John van Eyck, for his art bristles with intelligence. 
Here, then, we have him carrying forward the studies and inventions 
of his elder brother, as he likewise improved and developed the 
new style of laying on colours which Hubert had originated. On 
the elder brother's death the younger seems for a time to have 
emancipated himself from the potent influence under which his 
early years were passed. In the Adam and Eve he appears 
to have abandoned all Hubert's ideals, and to have felt able to 
give free play to his own eyes, mind, and hand, entirely to please 
himself and to express his own strong love of reality of things and 
people as they actually appear under the searching gaze of a cool 
observer. This reaction lasted for a few years, but ultimately 
wore itself out, so that in his last years John became Hubert's 
follower with as much docility as he can have shown in his days 
of actual pupilage. 


So much, then, for John van Eyck's paintings. Before con- 
sidering his school and the effect he and his elder brother produced 
upon the art of their day, and of the generations that followed them, 
it will be well to glance briefly at the human medium in which their 
work was done the court and industrial cities of Flanders in the 
fifteenth century ; but for that we must open a new chapter. 

NOTE. The original of the Holy Face or full-faced Head of Christ by John van Eyck, 
referred to on page 119 below, has recently been discovered at a local auction and 
acquired by Messrs. Browne & Browne, of Newcastle, who were kind enough to bring it 
to London for me to see, and to give me a photograph of it. 



NOTHING is more difficult for a modern individual, who does not make 
the study of some particular past age the chief occupation of his 
life, than to picture to himself what were the circumstances, condi- 
tions, and manners of life of another individual at some remote point 
of time. We read of wars and dynasties, of changes of government 
and the formation or splitting up of kingdoms and empires, but all 
this tells us nothing of the home-life of families and societies, and 
the changes that took place in their daily round. When we find all 
the Roman villas in Britain abandoned and destroyed about the 
same time, and new centres of habitation replacing them, we have 
no difficulty in concluding that a great change in social life must 
have occurred ; but it is excessively difficult to form an idea of the 
degree of barbarism that followed, or indeed whether the invading 
Saxons brought with them a higher or a lower standard of living 
than that of the bulk of the natives of Britain in Roman days. 
Again, we possess some notion of the stages by which the comforts 
and conveniences of life and the manners of decent people have been 
improved and developed since, say, about the days of Elizabeth. 
There are plenty of houses then built and still inhabited to help us 
visualize the life in them, and those houses are rich in portraits, 
furniture, and even actual costumes and implements used by suc- 
cessive generations, while contemporary literature aids to complete 
the picture. But by what stages, domestic and social, civilized 
life developed from the barbarism of the period of the Invasions to 
the relative civilization of the sixteenth century few people have 
any idea. How many educated persons, if suddenly plunged into 
the domestic life of a family in any century between the seventh 
and the fifteenth, would recognize even the approximate date they 
were landed in, unless it were by the current style of architecture 
about them. To date their surroundings by the manners of the 



people would perhaps be beyond the powers of the most learned 
antiquary. In order to give precision to this point of difficulty 
let us consider one or two concrete instances, selected almost at 

Philip Augustus, who came to the throne of France in 1180, 
was married in the church of the Abbey of St. Denis. History 
happens to present us with a kind of snapshot photograph of the 
behaviour of the congregation at one moment of that ceremony. 
The royal bride and bridegroom were standing before the altar, 
some of their courtiers in close attendance, but the crowd so pressed 
in upon them that a high official laid violently about him with his 
staff to beat the people back. In so doing he broke a hanging 
lamp overhead, and the oil poured on to the persons of the King 
and Queen ! It is easy to fill out the picture. The crowd must 
have pressed and jostled up to within a yard or two of the Sovereign 
at the very focus of a most important state function. The court 
manners of the twelfth century may be inferred. 

I recall another story, but cannot lay hands upon my authority. 
A certain Plantagenet king, perhaps Edward I, in company with 
his queen, was giving audience in Rochester Castle to a statesman 
in a position corresponding to that of a modern prime minister. 
The room in which this audience took place still exists. It was 
the royal bedchamber. A flash of lightning struck the castle and 
actually passed between king and queen. Owing to that startling 
event the situation happens to have been described in detail. The 
king and queen were sitting side by side on the edge of their bed. 
The minister stood before them. The room is quite small, and 
everyone passing to and from the ramparts had to go through it. 
Imagine King George and Queen Mary seated side by side on the 
edge of a bed in a small bedroom giving audience to Mr. Lloyd 
George, while the Windsor Castle police on their rounds kept passing 
through the room ! Such were court manners in the days of the 

tThat invaluable book, Mr. Coulton's From St. Francis to Dante, 
.s a mine of information as to thirteenth century manners. Every 
page of it is worth reading. He shows us, for instance, St. Louis, 
King of France, and his brothers visiting a convent of friars. After 
they had knelt before the altar " his brethren looked round for 


seats and benches, but the King sat on the ground in the dust, as I 
[Salimbene] saw with mine own eyes, for that church was unpaved. 
And he called us to him, saying, ' Come unto me, most sweet 
Brethren, and hear my words ' ; and we sat round him in a ring 
on the ground, and his blood-brethren did likewise." What a 
picture ! St. Louis indeed, wherever and however he appears, is 
always the most perfect gentleman of the Middle Ages, but the bulk 
of the folk of his day had manners that would disgrace a Bulgarian 

It was the slow formulation of the usages of chivalry that 
effected the important change in the manners of the upper class, 
which are still but slowly penetrating down through layers of the 
population and may ultimately make Europe and America civilized 
continents. It seems to have been during the fourteenth century 
that the most considerable change was effected, especially in and 
about the court of France and the courts of the princely art-patrons 
we have referred to. No one can fail to recognize the charming 
manners of the splendidly dressed ladies and gentlemen in the 
April miniature of the Hours of Chantilly, but the picture of the 
Duke of Berry at dinner, for all the fine garments and plate and 
the beautiful furniture, implies table-manners very far removed 
from modern composure. Pet dogs scavenging among the dishes 
on the table, a number of courtiers crowding irregularly about, a 
strew of plates apparently scattered anyhow on the cloth such 
details obviously imply a still rudimentary art of behaviour. Yet 
about that same dinner there was, in fact, no small attempt at 
formalism, as we shall see. 

The cultivation of manners and the art of living were as well 
attended to in the court of Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy as 
anywhere else in North Europe at that date. Of course they were 
accompanied by much priggishness and absurd etiquette, but the 
fact that etiquette was attended to at all is the important point. 
Somewhere about the year 1490 a noble lady of the court of the 
Duke of Burgundy compiled a little book on court etiquette, which 
is a social document of considerable interest. The authoress was 
Alienor, Vicomtesse de Furnes. Her mother, Isabelle de Souze, 
had come to Flanders in 1429 (in the same company as John van 
Eyck) as maid-of-honour to Isabella of Portugal, third wife of Duke 


Philip the Good. The little Alienor spent her days at court from 
her seventh year, and grew to be a very Mrs. Grundy. She recorded 
not merely her own observations, but what her mother had told her, 
as well as some at least of the precedents recorded by an earlier 
authority, a Countess of Namur (born 1372, married 1391). The 
period from which she drew her precedents was thus almost exactly 
a century, from about 1390 to about 1490. During that time court 
etiquette seems to have settled down into certain fixed forms which 
toward the end of it tended to be relaxed. This relaxation pro- 
voked our authoress to set down what she considered the traditional 
rules, in order to their better maintenance as against the upstart 
forwardness of a mere ruck of countesses, viscountesses, and 
baronesses, of whom, as she says, there are such a multitude in the 
many kingdoms and countries. A sixteenth-century copy of her 
little manuscript came into the hands of M. de la Curne de Sainte- 
Palaye, and was included by him in his Memoir cs sur Vancienne 
Chevalerie 1 under the title " Les Honneurs de la Cour." I propose 
in the first instance to illustrate her remarks by aid of the aforesaid 
famous miniature in the Hours of Chantilly, which represents John 
Duke of Berry at dinner in or about the last year of his life, 1416. 

The officers of the household present at the banquet should 
(according to our authoress) be the following : the chevalier 
d'honneur, the cupbearer, the butler, the esquire carver, and the 
varlet servant. There are also one or more " tasters." As she 
says that the chief servant in a mere count's household should not 
carry a baton, it seems to follow that the richly dressed personage 
with a baton, standing behind the Duke and calling out " Aproche ! 
aproche ! " is the chevalier d'honneur. The others are readily dis- 
tinguishable. The cupbearer is in front on the left, holding in his 
hand a covered cup very like the famous gold cup in the British 
Museum, which actually belonged to this same Duke of Berry. The 
esquire carver, with spurs on heel, is engaged in his task, cutting 
up a dish of birds with a big carving-knife. Just such a knife, 
which belonged to Jean Sans Peur, Duke of Burgundy, is in the 
British Museum, and another, of Philip the Good, is in the museum 
at Le Mans. 2 The man standing beside the carver is perhaps the 

1 Nouvelle edition, Paris, 1781, t. ii, pp. 183-267. 

2 See Archceologia, vol. Ix, p. 425. 


varlet servant, while the man at the end of the table, who looks as 
though he were sitting down, but is probably meant to stand, is 
likewise carving. The garments of these men are embroidered with 
the badges of the Duke. 1 Our authoress is emphatic that, when a 
prince is being served, the server should carry a napkin over his 
shoulder ; in the case of lesser stars the napkin is to be carried 
over the arm. It will be noticed that the carver has his napkin 
over his left shoulder. She tells us that there should be two table- 
cloths, one of which should hang down at two sides of the table, 
but what is to be done with the other she does not mention. The 
salt-cellar is to be placed in the middle of the table, where in fact 
we see it, right in front of the Duke, who, of course, occupies a 
central position. This salt-cellar was the famous piece of plate 
called the " Saliere du Pavilion " in the Duke's inventories. It 
is in the form of a " nef " and has a bear modelled on one end 
and a swan on the other, these being two of the Duke's devices. 
The swan is also seen on the embroidered dorser * over the Duke's 
head, of which more anon. She says that the salt-cellar should be 
covered with a cloth, and so should the bread and the other dishes 
of dry food, and the cup should likewise be covered. We see no 
cloths covering anything in our miniature, so that this detail must 
have been a later regulation. It is to the Lady de Furnes one of 
high importance, to which she makes frequent and insistent refer- 
ence. It is only for princes that such covering cloths should be 
used, and when two or more princes are entertained together it 
is only the highest that is to be so honoured. Thus, when the 
Dauphin and the Duke of Burgundy dine together, the Dauphin's 
dishes, cups, and bread are to be covered, not the Duke's. The 
covered bread should have been beside the salt-cellar, as well as 
two little silver bowls and some cut sippets of bread wrapped in a 
napkin to be used by the taster in tasting each dish of meat when 
placed on the table. 

Possibly the tasting apparatus is hidden by the carver ; the man 
beside him may be the taster. Trenchers or plates, says our lady, 
are to be of silver, and not more than four of them are to be placed 

1 Except the carver's, but he probably wore them on the side turned from us. 

2 She writes it " dorseret," Anglice " dorser." The bench-covering to match was 
called in English a " banker." See Archceological Journal, September 1915, p. 260. 


against the salt-cellar. In the miniature the plates seem to be 
inside the " nef," which can scarcely have held both them and salt. 
Perhaps it was only called a salt-cellar, the vessel that actually held 
salt being the smaller upright object seen beyond it on the* right. 
The covered goblet, she says, is to be placed at the end of the table 
and a little tasting cup beside it. However that may have been 
when the table was laid, the butler in the miniature now has it in 
his right hand, and perhaps holds the tasting cup in his left (appar- 
ently upside down). At all events the saucer-like thing in his hand 
is a drinking vessel, for immediately over the butler's head in the 
picture is an individual actually drinking from such a dish. A man 
behind him is putting something into his mouth, so that conceivably 
these two may be the tasters, but no one seems to be paying any 
attention to them, and they almost look as though they were 
getting a bit for themselves on the sly. 

The Duke is sitting with his back to the great fireplace. A 
big fire is burning on the hearth, and the tops of the flames can be 
seen above the circular screen that protects the Duke's back. Those 
not so protected hold up their hands, either to warm them or to 
screen their faces. Over the Duke's head is a dai's or dorser of 
state. " As for the fashion of a dorser," says our lady, " seeing 
that many people don't know what one is, a dorser should be as 
wide as three widths of cloth of gold, and made just like the canopy 
of a bed. A dorser above and behind a dresser must not rise above 
it more than a quarter or half an ell, and it has flounce and fringe 
like the canopy of a bed. The part behind the dresser is bordered 
from top to bottom on both sides with a different material from the 
centre, and the border should be about a quarter of the whole width, 
and the same for the canopy." The dorser in the Countess of 
Charolais's chamber was of cloth of gold " cramoisy," bordered 
with black velvet, and the velvet was embroidered in fine gold with 
the device of Duke Philip the Good which was a flint and steel. 
The Duke of Berry's dorser is embroidered along the border with 
lis swans and sprigs of orange leaves, another of his many devices, 
portion of the dresser is seen on the left, but there is no appearance 
of any dorser over that. The dressers were likewise matters of 
state about which our authoress is very particular. Thus the 
[ueen of France had a dresser with five shelves, and no one of 



less rank ought to have so many. It was regarded as a usurpation 
when the Duchess of Burgundy set up a dresser with five shelves. 
The proper number for Burgundy princes of the royal house was 
four. Lesser folk should have three, two, or one, according to 
their rank. A Burgundian princely dresser should have four fine 
shelves, each of the fuU width of the dresser and covered with a 

The top of the dresser and all the shelves were charged with plate 
vessels of crystal set in gold and jewels, vessels of pure gold, and 
other cups and basins. On the Duke's dresser were three drageoirs 
of gold and jewels, one worth 40,000 ecus, another 30,000. These 
drageoirs were vessels to hold sweetmeats, and it was the preroga- 
tive of the person second in rank in a room to offer the drageoir to 
the person of highest rank on the occasion of a ceremonial visit. 1 
Only the two lower shelves of the Duke of Berry's dresser are visible 
in the miniature, the others being outside its limits. 

The Duke sits on a long bench in front of the fire. This type 
of bench is frequently depicted in fifteenth-century pictures ; very 
clearly, for example, in one of Robert Campin's wings of the Werl 
altar of 1438, now at Madrid. There St. Barbara is sitting on such 
a bench with'her back to the fire, and it will be observed that the 
back of the bench could be swung over if required, so that a person 
might sit upon it facing the other way. There was a long foot-rest 
on the side away from the fire, and the end of a similar foot-rest 
can be seen under the Duke's table on the left. The Duke's bench 
was no doubt similar in construction, but it is enveloped in a 
striped rug which also covers the long footstool below ; this, I sup- 
pose, was the " banker." The only person seated at table with 
him is an ecclesiastic. He may have been the Bishop Martin 
Gouge, who was his treasurer and afterward one of his executors ; 
an amateur also of fine manuscripts, it appears. It is at all events 
evident that he is an honoured dependent. He and the five 
principal household officials, as well as one obvious menial and 
the boy feeding the dog, wear no hats. All others are covered. 
M. Durrieu suggests that, as the miniature illustrates January, it is 

1 This bit of etiquette lingered on till the French Revolution and gave occasion to an 
amusing incident in the bedroom of La Grande Mademoiselle described in one of Madame 
de Sevigne's letters. 


probably a New Year's feast that we are shown, and the people to 
whom the chevalier d'honneur calls out " Approach ! approach ! " 
are members of the Duke's household coming to offer him the 
good wishes of the season, and the gifts they were accustomed 
to present on that auspicious anniversary not without hopes of at 
least equivalent returns. Possibly among the incomers the brothers 
de Limbourg, who painted the miniatures in the Chantilly Hours, 
may be depicted. Who can say ? It is worth noting that the table, 
being supported on trestles, was intended to be removed at the 
end of the repast, and that the floor is carpeted with a plait-work 
of rushes. 

The position of the Bishop on the Duke's right hand was not, 
according to the Lady de Furnes, the most honourable. She 
relates that when the Duke had to distinguish between two ladies 
of not quite equal rank, he put the one higher in rank on his left 
hand and the lower on his right. The left or more honourable 
side was called " below " and the right " above." She who was 
placed on his left was below his heart and thus in the most honour- 
able position. So, at all events, the old people who had paid long 
attention to such matters assured our authoress. This is one of 
the provisions, I suppose, of which she writes that they have been 
" so well ordained and debated at the courts of kings and queens 
by great princes and nobles as well as by heralds and kings-of-arms 
that no one ought to fail to keep and observe them both at the 
present time and in times to come." The gentleman, therefore, 
who gives his left arm to the lady he takes into dinner conforms to 
ancient custom. 

Unfortunately I am not able to produce a miniature to illustrate 
the elaborate account our authoress gives of a ducal Burgundian 
bedchamber prepared for an accouchement. Every detail was 
matter of estate, except the fire burning on the hearth, which our 
Mrs. Grundy is careful to say depends not on etiquette but upon 
the season ! It should be noted that a lady's bedroom was her 
reception room also. In it, in the case of a princess, there must 
be two great beds, side by side, with an alley between, and a great 
high-backed chair at the end of it, " comme ces grandes chaises du 
temps passe." There must also be a couch on wheels before the 
fire, like a truckle-bed, such as they used to push under great beds. 


A canopy of green damask fringed with green silk must cover the 
two beds, and green satin curtains to hang from it all round the beds 
except across the opening of the alley. That could be closed by 
other curtains on rings which overlapped the fixed ones, and could 
be drawn together. There was also a curtain which was kept 
bunched up, but could be let down between the beds. A queen of 
France, but no less person, might have yet another curtain, drawn 
right across the room from side to side, enclosing the end where the 
beds were. The couch also had its canopy and green satin curtains. 
The walls were hung with green silk and the floor covered with 
velvet tapestry, laid as flat as possible, up to the door and between 
the beds and all around. The beds were covered with ermine rugs 
lined with violet cloth, wider than the fur, and these rugs fell down 
and spread on the floor. There were fine sheets and a bolster and 
pillow covered with the same fine linen. The great chair was 
covered all over with cloth of gold and had a cushion to match. 
These beds were so much matters of estate that a pair of them 
was provided in the nursery chamber of the infant Mary of Bur- 
gundy, while her cot was before the fire under a canopy. Lesser 
nobles had only one bed, and their couch must not be before the 
fire but in a corner of the room. Against the wall of the ducal bed- 
chamber was a four-shelved dresser, laden with plate ; and in a 
corner beside it was a little low table with drinking vessels. The 
antechamber is likewise carefully described. It was called " La 
Chambre de Parement." Here was one large bed with canopy and 
so forth of crimson satin embroidered with great gold suns. This 
bed was not made up as though to be slept in, but " covered like a 
bed in which no one sleeps." There was a little chair beside it. 
The walls were hung with red silk, and the floor carpeted with a 
velvet tapestry. There was a very large three-tier dresser laden 
with massive silver-gilt plate. 

Green hangings were de rigueur for a royal confinement. Queens 
of France in ancient days, said Mme. de Namur, used to be confined 
in bedrooms all of white, but the mother of King Charles VII set 
the fashion of green, and since then all princesses have followed 
her example. 

As for the ordinary run of nobles, says our authoress, they must 
not have a " lady of honour," but a " Dame de Compagnie," and 


not maids-of-honour, but just maids, and the old lady who looks 
after them must be called Jeanne or Margaret or whatever, but 
certainly not " the mother of the maids." In such houses food 
must not be " tasted " nor must things be kissed before presenta- 
tion to the lord or the lady, nor must there be dorsers, nor must 
they call their relations " beau-cousin " but plain " mon cousin." 
Nor must such folk wear the richest stuffs and ornaments only 
proper for royalty, nor be served at table with napkin on shoulder. 
Nor must such ladies' trains be carried by women, but by some page. 
And finally there's no sense in saying that, " though such and so 
was the old fashion, now we live in another world " ; that is not a 
sufficient reason for breaking old and ordained customs. But our 
authoress is far from satisfied with the way things are going : 

"Toutes fois depuis dix ans anca aucunes Dames du pays de 
Flandres ont mis la couche devant le feu, dequoy Ton s'est bien 
mocque, car du temps de Madame Isabelle de Portugal, nulles du 
pays de Flandre ne le fasoient : mais un chacun fait a cette heure 
a sa guise : par quoy est a doubter que tout irat mal, car les estats 
sont trop grants comme chacun scayt et dit." 

It was to the sumptuous monarch of the court into which we 
have thus glanced that John van Eyck was the official painter. 
He was not, however, regarded only as a painter ; he was the Duke's 
artist, bound to produce to order all kinds of designs, whether for 
costumes, pageants, tapestries, or what not, and to apply his 
skill to the decoration of any objects that might be entrusted to 
him. The painting of pictures was merely one of his functions. In 
fact, in France and the territories of the Duke of Burgundy, at the 
end of the fourteenth and beginning of the fifteenth centuries, the 
painting of panel-pictures was exceptional work, little done by any 
save court-painters. It is not destruction by mobs or time that 
has made French and Flemish panel-pictures of that date so rare. 
There never were many. The court-artist was a man mainly 
employed about the decoration of the apparatus of court-life. 
Only occasionally was he called upon to paint a panel-picture. 
Beaumetz and Malouel both painted on walls at Champmol and 
elsewhere. Few panel-pictures are recorded by them and other 
court-painters. John van Eyck was the last of the old style of 



court-painters, and the first who made panel-painting his main 
business. It was during and after his lifetime that picture- 
painting on panels began to become popular in France and the 
Netherlands especially in the Netherlands. Of course the making 
of such works could not escape guild-regulations. But John van 
Eyck, because he was in the employ of the prince, was free from 
the restrictions imposed upon their members by the guilds. A 
given craftsman might be thus emancipated from rule and 
custom, but he did not thereby escape from the temper and 
spirit of the time as formulated and expressed by the guilds. 
The whole industry of Northern Europe, not the work of artists 
only, was organized and conditioned by the guilds. Flanders was 
at this period perhaps the most industrious and most prosperous 
district in the North. We shall not be in a position to enter 
into the spirit of Flemish Art till we know something about the 
temper in which the industries and commerce of Flanders were 
carried on. 



before the fifteenth century, the blossoming period of 
Blemish art, the provinces of Flanders and Brabant were famous 
for their wealth throughout all Europe. Already in the thirteenth 
jentury a queen of France could say with disgust that the wives of 
the burghers of Ghent were as rich and as splendidly bej ewelled as 
herself. This wealth the peoples of the Low Countries owed partly 
to the geographical situation of their land, but chiefly to their own 
national character. Part of their country was a redeemed swamp 
which none but a hardy race could have chosen for a home. The 
energy which enabled them to beat back the ever-threatening sea 
was not likely to be satisfied with that conquest alone. They were 
an amphibious race and their ships soon found a way to an ever- 
widening circle of distant ports. Commerce came naturally to 
them, for their country was situated at one end of the trans-European 
trade-route, which led from Bruges to Venice and thus linked 
England and the Baltic ports with the cities of the Levant and the 
distant East. But the burghers of Flanders were not only carriers, 
they were makers too. They were the weavers of Europe. Their 
ships brought raw wool, shorn from the backs of the sheep of the 
Surrey downs, and these fleeces they wove into gold. The Wool- 
sack, upon which the Lord Chancellor still sits, was symbolic of the 
wealth of England ; the Golden Fleece, which Duke Philip the 
Good chose as emblem of the order of chivalry founded by him at 
Bruges, was symbolic of the industry of the Low Countries. The 
history of the period with which we are concerned is largely the 
history of the Woolsack and its Golden Fleeces. 

The Bruges of to-day presents few signs of its ancient splendour. 
Its public buildings have been either battered or entirely removed. 
Of the palaces of its merchant princes, all have disappeared except 
two. In the fifteenth century buyers and sellers from every land 



resorted to Bruges for their trade. The merchant of Venice and 
the Jew of Lombard Street encountered one another on her quays 
and in her exchanges. Sailors and traders from all parts of the 
world made her streets lively with the varied colouring of their 
bright costumes. They came and went, and each left something 
behind him. The wealth of England met the wealth of the East 
in the market-halls of Bruges. The representatives of twenty 
foreign princes dwelt within the walls of this capital of the Dukes 
of Burgundy, at the cross-roads of the highways of the North. In 
those days, says Mr. Weale, " the squares " of Bruges " were 
adorned with fountains ; its bridges with statues in bronze ; the 
public buildings and many of the private houses with statuary am 
carved work, the beauty of which was heightened and brought out 
by gilding and polychrome ; the windows were rich with storied 
glass, and the walls of the interiors adorned with paintings in dis- 
temper or hung with gorgeous tapestry. If but little of all this 
now remains, it must be borne in mind that, during the past three 
centuries, Bruges has seen its works of art exported by Spaniards, 
destroyed (when not sold) by Calvinist iconoclasts and French 
Revolutionists, and carried off by picture-dealers of all nations." 
Ghent, Louvain, Mechlin, Ypres, and several other neighbouring 
towns were vast manufacturing centres. Louvain could muster 
150,000 men, amongst whom no fewer than 4,000 were master 
weavers employing many hands. The suburbs of the town were 
crowded. At Ghent the weavers' guild alone numbered 40,000 
members. The city could turn out a force of 80,000 men. Day 
by day the great bell summoned the workmen to their tasks, and 
the surging crowd that hurried forth rendered the streets impassable. 
Life in such towns flowed in no gentle current. Civic feeling was 
intense. The token of a town's freedom and individuality was the 
belfry tower. Many of these towers remain, looking down in their 
hoary age upon the withered glory whose blossoming they beheld. 
Like some human being in a second childhood, they prattle aim- 
lessly of the past, and at the old stated intervals some still chime 
forth the notes which once summoned the throng of thousands to 
their daily toil, or dismissed them at evening to their rest. Now 
no multitude listens to their call, but the hoarding of the bill-poster 
echoes it back in irreverent scorn. 


The close knitting together of religious, social, and political 
life, which characterized the Middle Ages throughout Europe, is 
plainly exemplified by the organization of industry in the Flemish 
commercial centres. Going back beyond the limit of precise know- 
ledge about social history, it is clear that, in early days, when 
industries began once more to raise their heads after the anarchic 
period of the barbarian invasions, the workers in some places 
joined themselves together, by a loose kind of bond, for religious 
and social purposes. In time all the men engaged in a trade, or in 
two or three connected trades, were thus linked together into con- 
fraternities, the intention of which was often purely religious, the 
members being bound to be present at the funeral of any one of 
them, to pray for his soul, to attend certain anniversaries, and so 
forth. These religious services were no doubt often followed by 
social gatherings ; at any rate the bond once formed was not slow 
to develop. It was the time when everyone had to struggle for his 
rights ; when cities were wresting charters of self-government 
from their feudal lords, and when every industry had to resist pillage 
from all quarters. In this lengthy struggle men with common 
interests had to stand shoulder to shoulder for their common weal. 
Thus all the workers at one trade fought together to obtain favour- 
able conditions for their work ; and so, by action, the society, or 
guild as it was called, became strong. The guilds of a town came 
to include most of the intelligent citizens. Community of interest 
forced the guilds, in their turn, to unite together against the feudal 
lord. From this union of the guilds sprang municipal government, 
the guild becoming the political unit. Thus guilds represented 
the three sides of mediaeval life, and were at once social, political, 
and religious institutions. 

For a self-governing municipality certain buildings were neces- 
sary. A belfry was the first requirement, and in early days its 
various storeys served for prison, magisterial court, and record 
office. But as the requirements of a growing town increased, a 
town-hall had to be added to the tower. The oldest existing belfry 
is that at Tournay, whilst the finest is the famous tower of Ghent, 
over which swings the Golden Dragon famed in story. The first 
of the fine town-halls was that at Bruges ; it served as model for 
the still more elaborate edifice at Brussels, from which again the 


town-halls at Louvain and Audenarde were freely imitated. In 
addition to a belfry and a town-hall for governmental purposes, 
and of churches for religious purposes, two kinds of public buildings 
were still required namely, market-halls for the sale of various 
commodities, especially cloth, and guild-halls for the several trade 
guilds. Of cloth-halls the finest recently existing was the noble 
structure at Ypres, erected in the best age of architecture, and 
one of the most splendid municipal buildings in the world. Being 
no longer required for its ancient purpose, it served of late as Hotel 
de Ville. The Market-hall connected with the belfry at Bruges is 
likewise a famous building, striking nowadays as a monument of 
the city's former importance. The guild-halls unfortunately exist 
in very small numbers now. Traces of some of them can be found 
buried in the midst of modern plaster ; as, for example, the Maison 
des Charpentiers at Antwerp. In Ghent two very fine guild-halls 
are fortunately preserved, but even they are only battered speci- 
mens, and presumably could not compare with the splendidly- 
built and sumptuously furnished houses which were the pride of 
the more wealthy corporations. Amongst the five hundred palaces 
of marble or hammered stone, burnt at Antwerp in the days of the 
Spanish Fury, many no doubt were guild-halls. But our interest 
now is not so much with the buildings as with the institutions they 
were raised to house. 

Guilds in the fifteenth century, whatever their first origin may 
have been, consisted of two classes, according as they were chartered 
or unchartered. The unchartered guilds were voluntary associa- 
tions of men and women under the patronage of some saint, usually 
for a religious purpose. Such, for example, was the confraternity 
of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows founded at Bruges, the members 
of which possessed a chapel in the cathedral, paid a certain con- 
tribution in support of religious services held within it, bound them- 
selves to fulfil stated religious duties, and participated in the 
spiritual advantages which this piety merited. Such confra- 
ternities were often formed for charitable purposes, supporting 
perhaps a hospital, or relieving the sick and destitute. Sometimes 
they were of the nature of benefit or burial societies. At all events 
they were numerous and multiform. There were also shooting 
societies or clubs of men-at-arms, the members of which met 


together and indulged in sport and social intercourse. The three 
great shooting places at Antwerp were important sights of the 
town, and when Diirer was staying there he tells of his being 
taken to see them. In Antwerp Museum is an entertaining 
picture of a fete of the local Archers painted about 1480-90. 
They are enjoying themselves in the open air or within a fine 
Gothic building close by. 

Equally numerous throughout the Low Countries were the 
guilds of the Rhetoricians. They were associations of artisans 
for purposes of amusement. The members composed lengthy 
poems which they recited to their society, and every year meetings 
were held in this or the other town to which delegates were sent 
from all the country round. Dramatic and musical exhibitions 
were also an important part of their business. These guilds of 
Rhetoric, in fact, performed many of the functions of the modern 
periodical press ; they attained considerable political influence, 
and the Government, being unable to suppress them, did what it 
could to secure their support by flattery. 

The chartered guilds were, however, the most influential. No 
man could work for pay in a town unless he was in the service of 
the Prince, or was a freeman of the town. Moreover, he was not 
allowed to exercise a trade unless he belonged to the guild of that 
trade. It was only as a member of a chartered guild that a work- 
man occupied a recognized and stable position. In the socialistic- 
ally constructed Middle Ages independent units were regarded with 
little favour. Every man had to join a recognized association 
before he could secure his rights, and every association not only 
conferred rights but exacted the fulfilment of duties. The guild 
entered into and influenced every relation of the workman's life, 
and it is impossible to discuss any subj ect connected with mediaeval 
industry without considering the guilds. 

Painting, to the mediaeval mind, was a craft like any other, 
and was therefore organized in the usual way. A painter did not 
look upon himself and was not regarded as a person superior to 
ordinary discipline. Fifteenth century painters lived like other 
craftsmen, and were paid for the work they did according to a 
fair scale of remuneration. They lived for the most part simply, 
working unobtrusively and hard, and their work was first of all 


good and next beautiful. That, at any rate, was the intention 
which the painters' guilds had in view to secure good and honest 
work on the one hand and to secure just and prompt payment for 
it on the other. The guild, therefore, intervened in the education 
of the youthful artist. The lad had to be bound apprentice for a 
series of years to a recognized master of the craft, who from that 
day forward stood to him very much in the relation of parent to 
child. The master was responsible for the apprentice's education, 
moral and technical. The boy lived under his roof, served him at 
table, and about the house, and had to fulfil his bidding in all 
respects. The master, on the other hand, was bound to give him 
instruction in all matters connected with his craft. He was also 
regarded as responsible for his moral and religious education. That 
this duty was seriously regarded is shown by the following entry 
in the diary of Neri di Bicci on the occasion of his receiving an 
orphan as apprentice without premium : "to accomplish this 
charity and for him this good, I took him to be my spiritual son, 
with intention and desire to make him virtuous and obedient and 
to teach him to live in the fear of God." l 

The methods of painting in those days included numerous 
processes. The artist had to know how to prepare his panel and 
what should be the nature and quality of the wood. He had to 
be able to prepare and lay on the coating of fine plaster or gesso, 
which formed the ground upon which the colours were laid. The 
evenness of this coating and the firmness with which it adhered to 
the wood were important for the durability of the picture. Further, 
he had to know how to make every implement and every colour he 
wanted, for there were no artist's material shops in those days. 

Neither the method of tempera, nor the improved method of the 

1 Readers interested in the ways and ordinances of the old painters' guilds may refer 
to the following among many other publications. For the Statutes of the Painters' Guild 
at Mons, see Devillers, Le passe artistique de Mons. For Valenciennes, see Revue univer- 
selle des Arts, t. x, p. 315. For Ghent, see V. van der Haeghen, La Corporation des peintres 
. . . de Gand, and later publications by Professor Maeterlinck and Professor G. Hulin. 
Also see A. van der Willigen, Les Artistes de Haarlem ; D. van der Casteele, Keuren 1441- 
1774, Lime d 1 admission ... a /a Ghilde de St. Luc de Bruges ; E. Baas, La peinture flam, 
et son enseignement sous le regime des Confreries de St. Luc, in Mem. de 1'Acad. de Belgique, 
1881 ; Hans Floerke, Studien zur niederl. Kunst, Leipzig, 1905 ; M. Houtart, Jacques 
Daret, p. 20. 


Van Eycks, in which varnish was used as a medium for laying on 
all the surface colours, was a simple process. Moreover, the pre- 
paration of oils and varnishes required skill. When engraving upon 
woodland copper-plate was invented artists were at first expected 
to be able to design for the wood-cutter, and this involved a further 
knowledge of tools and processes, including some dexterity with 
the printing press. At Tournay the sculptors went to painters for 
their designs, and everywhere sculpture was not finished till the 
painter had coloured it. Moreover, any artist might be called 
upon to make a drawing, and that was in a day when cheap lead 
pencils did not exist. He might have to work with the silver-point, 
and then his paper required special preparation, which he had to 
provide with his own hand ; or he might work in chalk or charcoal, 
and the selection of materials had to be done by himself; there 
was no dealer to do it for him, unless the guild stepped in, as we 
shall see it sometimes did. The difference in the circumstances of 
ancient and modern artists is thus very great. The modern student 
has only to go to a shop, buy what his master tells him, and then learn 
to use it. The student in old days had to know how to make what- 
ever he required. Certain colours, indeed, like ultramarine which 
came from Venice and brick-red made in Flanders, could be bought ; 
but artists had to know exactly what they wanted, and to be able 
to discriminate between good and bad materials. There was no 
go-between to undertake the task of selection for them. 

With so much to learn, a lad had a good five years' work before 
him when he commenced his apprenticeship, though in some towns 
the period was only three years ; it varied according to the locality. 
If the master was an artist of real power, and the apprentice a lad 
capable of reverence, it is hard to imagine any arrangement better 
suited for enabling the one to bring his influence to bear upon the 
other, and thus to secure greater permanence and a more certain 
chance of expression, even after his own death, for the ideas that 
perhaps his technical skill had not been sufficient to formulate in 
works of art ; and for enabling the other to enrich his youthful 
and enthusiastic mind with seeds of thought and high ambitions 
beyond the power of his years. On the other hand, this method 
of education was not likely to encourage originality. It tended 
to the output of good work of uniform type closely following a 


developed tradition and keeping in well-worn grooves. In the 
diaries and autobiographical sketches which Diirer has left us, we 
gain clearer glimpses than almost anywhere else into the inner life 
of a northern artist. He does not say much about his pupil days, 
except that his father delighted in him because he was diligent in 
trying to learn, and that in the workshop of his master Wolgemut 
he had much to suffer from his fellow-apprentices. No doubt in 
those rough days a sensitive lad would not find his prentice days 
very easy, especially if he were one among several high-spirited boys. 
In that fashion, however, he had to gather his learning together, 
and results prove it to have been no very bad fashion either. 

Apprenticeship ended, the youth emerged, not yet a full artist, 
but a journeyman. He could now work for pay under any master 
he chose, and in some towns there were guilds of journeymen, 
though of course such guilds were not among the chartered bodies, 
and must not be confused with the regularly organized painters' 
guilds, with which we are now dealing. During his years of 
journeymanship the young craftsman frequently (I believe, gener- 
ally) went away from home and wandered to various towns, working 
everywhere for hire, and at the same time gathering experience of 
men and an enlarged knowledge of the various methods of his craft 
as practised in different localities. For an artist these years of 
wandering were of great value. If originality was to be developed 
in him, now was the time. He came in contact with a wider range 
of subjects than his own town could have supplied to him ; he saw 
the masterpieces of many great painters ; his eye was cultivated ; 
his hand, already disciplined, was able to give permanent form to 
whatever struck him as worthy of note. Diirer travelled over 
South Germany in his years of wandering, and spent time in several 
cities. This journey producd a marked effect upon him. Every- 
where he had nature before him, and he studied her face with 
the enthusiasm of youth in novel surroundings. He was awa] 
from parents and home for four years, about the usual duration oi 
the period of journeymanship. At the end of that time any youtl 
of ordinary industry and ability was in a position to take his stanc 
as a competent workman, fully prepared and educated in all th( 
foundation principles of his craft, and with eye and hand practise< 
to fulfil the bidding of the mind. I suspect, however, that sucl 


wide journeying afield was more a German than a Netherlandish 

After giving proof of his abilities to the satisfaction of the 
appointed officers of the guild, the workman was now, upon pay- 
ment^ of certain fixed fees, raised to the status of a master of the 
craft. He had to take solemn oaths of honesty, and to promise 
that his work should be done as in the sight of God. Henceforward 
he was a man ; his status was fixed. He had a vote along with his 
fellows for the appointment of the officers, and he had his share in 
the property of the guild. His duties and rights were definite. 
At this time also it was customary for him to take a wife. He 
was to become a citizen and a householder. But he was no more 
free as a master than he had been before as apprentice or journey- 
man. The guild, through its appointed officers, still continued to 
watch over his work. He was not allowed to use any except recog- 
nized materials and tools. If bad materials were found by the guild 
inspectors in his possession, they were destroyed and he was fined. 
He had to work according to the best known methods, and any 
instances of scamping brought to the knowledge of the authorities 
were punished. The guild again stood between him and his 
customers. Every contract he entered into had to be registered 
in the company's books. His finished work must be valued by the 
appointed officers, and if the price had been settled in advance they 
were called upon to state whether the work came up to the standard 
contracted for. In case of a dispute between the artist and his 
employer the guild officers were called in to settle it, and to see that 
an honest bargain was honestly fulfilled. 

When an artist bought raw materials he had to bring them to 
be approved ; when he bought tools he had to bring them to be 
marked with the sign of the guild. I remember a regulation of a 
certain guild of leather- workers which provided that if any member 
was fortunate enough to acquire a lot of leather of more than 
ordinary excellence, he was bound to hand over half of it to the 
guild at the price he paid for it, so that his fellows might share his 
good fortune. Similar regulations may have been enforced by 
painters' guilds. The guild in some places acted as wholesale buyer 
and retailed to its members at wholesale prices the materials they 
required for their work. But guild members were not restricted 


to purchasing from the guild alone. It was only when a favourable 
chance of buying a large quantity of materials occurred that the 
guild stepped in, and the members could share in the good fortune 
if they pleased. The various painters' guilds of the Low Countries 
were federated together by a loose sort of bond. At stated 
intervals delegates from all the guilds in the country met in some 
town or other, and spent a few days in social intercourse, discussing 
matters of common interest, and no doubt at such meetings new 
methods and improvements discovered in one part of the country 
were made known to the representatives of men working in other 
districts. The remarkable uniformity in types and processes used 
all over the Low Countries, which would otherwise be difficult of 
explanation, was doubtless due to this periodical meeting. It was 
not an unmixed advantage. 

As the workman advanced in fame and in the confidence of his 
companions he became liable to election as an officer of the guild, 
and if elected he was obliged to serve. His duty might then be 
to collect the contributions of the members, not only those levied 
by the guild for its own purposes, but the taxes levied by the 
town and the State, for all of which the guild was responsible. Or 
he might be appointed to value work done, or to inspect the tools 
and materials used by the members. Large sacrifices of time 
might be required for these services, and the only reward given 
for them was the dignity pertaining to the position and the influence 
it carried with it. A guild officer was a man of consideration in a 

The relations which different guilds bore one to another were 
defined by law. Certain superior guilds interfered directly in the 
government of the town, whilst others did not ; and this distinction 
gave rise at one time to serious local disorders. Another question 
not settled without much litigation related to the crafts allowed 
to be exercised by the members of a guild. It occasionally hap- 
pened that two guilds claimed the exclusive right to a certain kind 
of work. As a rule, the work which belonged to the members of 
one guild was forbidden to members of all the others. For example, 
there were separate guilds at Bruges for painters and illuminators. 
Painters were not allowed to make miniatures, and miniaturists 
were forbidden to paint pictures. The Guild of St. Luke 


included painters, saddlers, glass-makers, and mirror-makers ; 
that of St. John illuminators, calligraphers, binders, and imagiers. 
This division seems unnatural, but if we follow the history of the 
thing back to early times it is readily explained. The illuminators' 
guild was of much later origin than that of the painters. Even 
before the illuminators were enrolled into a guild at Bruges, it was 
decided by a lawsuit that illuminators might only use water-colours, 
and that the making of pictures in oil-colours, or with gold and 
silver, was the exclusive right of members of the corporation of 

The only exception was, as aforesaid, in the case of an artist 
in the direct employ of the Prince. He was allowed to do any work 
that might be demanded of him without being called upon to make 
himself a member of the corresponding guild ; for, it must be borne 
in mind, a competent workman could by payment become a member 
of any guild of his own craft. It was not necessary that he should 
have received his education by serving apprenticeship to a master 
of that particular guild. Once educated in the approved manner, 
the payment of an entrance fee to the local guild made him free 
to work in that locality. 

Such, then, was the nature of a guild in relation to the organiza- 
tion of industry ; it was equally important as an institution for 
social intercourse. Very few guild-houses remain in which the 
interior has not been entirely changed ; but one at Liibeck contains 
the large room on the ground-floor in its old state. That room was 
the meeting-place of the guild-members. It resembled a tavern- 
parlour, and is divided into bays, each with a table and benches 
in it, like the room in the old " Cock " eating-house in Fleet Street, 
now no more. There at evenings the members came together to 
drink and converse after the labours of the day. Compare these 
conditions with the barrenness of a modern working-man's life, and 
it will be admitted that the mediaeval arrangement was far superior. 
On great days more elaborate gatherings tgok place. The members 
and their wives dined together, and sometimes entertained illustrious 
guests. Read, for instance, Diirer's account of the entertainment 
given to him by the Painters' Guild at Antwerp : 

" On Sunday, which was St. Oswald's Day [August 5, 1520], 


the painters invited me to their guild-hall with my wife and maid- 
servant. They had a quantity of silver-plate, and costly furniture, 
and most expensive food. All their wives were with them, and as 
I was led in to table, every one stood up in a row on either side, 
as if they had been bringing in some great lord. Among them 
were men of very high standing, all of whom behaved with great 
respect and kindness towards me, saying that in whatever they 
could be serviceable to me they would do everything for me that 
lay in their power. And while I sat there in such honour, the 
syndic of the magistrates of Antwerp came with two servants to 
me, and gave me four cans of wine in their name, and said to me 
that they wished thereby to do me honour, and assure me of their 
good-will. For that I returned them my humble thanks, and 
offered them my humble services. Next came Master Peter, the 
town carpenter, and gave me two cans of wine with the offer of his 
services. When we had long been merry together, up to a late 
hour of the night, they accompanied us home in honour with 
lanterns, and prayed me to rely confidently on their good-will, and 
to remember that in whatever I wanted to do they would all be 
helpful to me. So I thanked them and lay down to sleep." 

Such social gatherings, in which the newly-instituted young 
master could meet men of high position in the town on a footing of 
equality, were of great value, bridging over, as they did, the gulfs 
that tend to arise between different grades of society. Notwith- 
standing the aristocratic organization of mediaeval life, the strong 
line of division between rich and poor did not exist. That has been 
one of the most conspicuous products of the cry for " Liberty, 
Equality, and Fraternity," under the echoes of which the reality 
of all three was banished from the soil of Europe. 

Guilds further took an important part in all public rejoicings 
and festivals. If a prince were to be received in state, the guilds 
organized the reception, each undertaking its part. On the great 
fete days, the guilds marched in procession through the town, many 
of them adorning their part of the show with wagons bearing 
tableaux vivanix, usually representing either some event in sacred 
history or an assemblage of emblematic figures. Of such pro- 
cessions the most famous were the Omegang at Louvain and that 
which paraded the streets of Antwerp on Lady Day. Durer has 
left a description of the latter, telling how 


" the whole town was gathered together, craftsmen and others of 
every class, each dressed in his best according to his position. Every 
rank and guild had its sign by which it could be known. Between 
the groups (forming the procession) great, costly candles were borne, 
and old-fashioned long French trumpets of silver. And between were 
also many pipers and drummers such as they have in Germany. 
The whole was carried on with much din and blowing of trumpets. 
I saw pass through the streets, in ranks widely separated one from 
another, the Guilds of the Goldsmiths, the Painters, the Masons, 
the Broderers, the Sculptors, the Joiners, the Carpenters, the Sailors, 
the Fishermen, the Butchers, the Leatherers, the Weavers, the 
Bakers, the Tailors, the Cobblers, workmen of all kinds, and many 
craftsmen and tradesmen who serve the needs of life. There were 
likewise the merchants and traders, and all their hands. Then 
came the clubs of men-at-arms with guns, bows, and crossbows ; 
also the travellers and pedlars. Then came the town watchmen, 
and then a great company of very stately people, nobly and costly 
habited. Before them, I forgot to say, went all the religious 
orders, and some who had made foundations, all in their various 
habits, very piously. There was also in this procession a great 
body of widows who support themselves with the work of their 
hands, and observe a special rule. All of them were clothed from 
head to foot in white linen made specially for them, very pitiful to 
look upon. Amongst them I saw persons of high estate. Last of 
all came the Canons of Our Lady's Church, with all the priests, 
scholars, and treasurers. Twenty persons bore the image of the 
Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus, adorned in the most gorgeous 
fashion, to the honour of the Lord God. In this procession were 
brought along many heart-gladdening things splendidly arranged. 
For there were many wagons with plays upon ships and other 
stages, such as the company and order of the Prophets ; and then, 
from the New Testament, the Annunciation, the Three Kings upon 
great camels and other strange beasts most cleverly done ; also how 
Our Lady fled into Egypt, most pious to behold, and many more 
things which for shortness I omit to mention. Last of all came a 
great dragon, whom St. Margaret with her maidens led by a girdle ; 
she was specially pretty. St. George came after her with his esquire 
a fine knight in armour. Also there rode in this company youths 
and maidens beautifully and expensively dressed according to the 
fashion of many countries, representing various saints. From 
beginning to end this procession took more than two hours to pass 
by our house, and in it there were such a number of things that I 
never could write them all in a whole book, so I leave well alone." 


Such being the chief industrial and social aspects of a mediaeval 
guild, let us consider for a few moments its religious functions. In 
the first place it must be borne in mind how great importance the 
manner of a man's death and burial and the prayers afterwards 
offered up on his behalf had in the opinion of the people of the 
fifteenth century. It was easy enough for a rich man to make 
arrangements for the foundation of memorial masses for the 
delivery of his soul out of the pains of purgatory, but less well-to-do 
folk had not the same facilities. Here, then, the guild stepped in, 
and its work in this respect was by no means the least important 
in the opinion of the men of those days. The guild either owned a 
chapel outright or rented one from the authorities of some church. 
This chapel they furnished with an altar, an altar-piece, curtains 
for the same, chalice, paten, and so forth, for the service of the altar, 
vestments for an officiating priest, deacon, and sub-deacon, and 
often a good many more things besides. All these were the property 
of the guild, not of the church ; and they are always mentioned 
in the inventory of a guild's substance. In addition to this chapel, 
the guild secured and paid for the services of officiating clergy on 
certain occasions, the payments being frequently made in accord- 
ance with a regularly drawn up and signed agreement, which stated 
with utmost minuteness what the services were to be, and with 
what elaboration of music, candles, and the like they were to be 
performed. On certain occasions commemorative services were 
held for the souls of all those members of the guild who had passed 
away. If a member of a guild died in poor circumstances he was 
duly buried with all Christian rites at the expense of the Fraternity. 
Connected with these directly religious acts the guild likewise 
exercised charity in its corporate capacity. If the widow and 
children of a member were left destitute, it was often the custom 
to relieve them at the expense of the whole body and see to the 
education of the children. 

The existence of this religious side in a guild produced an 
unforeseen but important result. If a rich man wished to found 
a memorial mass or other service in perpetuity he often preferred 
to leave his money in trust with some guild, which was bound to 
see that his intentions were carried out and to be present in person 
at the said service. In return for this they likewise received a 


certain sum by the same agreement. A good deal of property came 
in this way into the hands of the guilds, and the governing body 
grew in importance. The ordinary revenues of the guild were 
derived from contributions levied upon the members and fees paid 
at entrance. The tendency of all such corporate bodies in those 
days was to grow rich. Their wealth, however, though partly spent 
in good cheer, was in the main devoted to the furtherance of the 
interests of their special craft. 

In conclusion, it may be well to note briefly some of the principal 
effects which the guild system produced upon the person of the 
artist, and thus upon his art, for all art is but the product and 
reflection of the conditions of the artist's mind and the manner of 
its working. In contrast to the present day, we may note the 
absence of the effects of competition. Works of art produced for 
exhibitions labour under the great disadvantage that they must be 
made striking. In the multitude of their companions they must 
make their mark. The old art of the guilds was quiet and reserved. 
The workman was taught to make his work first of all things sound. 
There was small demand for " striking " pictures : altar-pieces for 
churches or domestic oratories, memorial paintings of a religious 
character, and portraits were the kind of pictures called for. All 
had needs be durable. The altar-piece was intended to last as long 
as the memorial mass founded by the pious donor. Everything 
in those days was intended to last. Diirer says with just pride of 
one of his pictures that 300 years later it would be as fresh as the 
day he painted it ; and so in truth it would have been had not the 
flames devoured it. Neither in his work nor in his mode of life was 
a fifteenth century painter subjected to the stimulus of competition, 
as almost everybody is to-day, either consciously or unconsciously. 
The mere making and spending of a little more money would in no 
wise have bettered his social standing. His rise in the world was 
in the main dependent on the opinion his fellow-artists had of him, 
and that opinion was based upon the soundness and workmanlike 
quality of the thing he made. Such conditions were favourable to 
the development of a school of art whereof thoroughness was a 
virtue. It was not merely the result of chance that the brothers 
Van Eyck invented their peculiar method of painting by which they 
were enabled to produce pictures of almost unlimited durability 


and of unsurpassable finish, provided sufficient care were bestowed 

upon the work. The spirit of the day and the methods of 

the day were reflections one of another. When men live in a 

scramble, they will paint in haste and buy in haste. In old days 

they went more leisurely to work. Take any picture of this old 

Flemish school and regard it carefully, you will find that only so 

do its beauties strike you at all. At the first glance you are liable 

to pass it by. When you get to know it a little you find it 

impresses you more strongly, till at last you cannot but pause long 

and often before it in wonder and admiration. This completeness 

is due to the essential character of the artist's environment ; it will 

be found everywhere where similar conditions obtained. Many of 

John van Eyck's pictures must have taken him months to paint ; 

some not less than years. Diirer, who came rather later than the 

period now under consideration, but whose spirit was singularly 

like that of the Flemish artists, spent the greater part of seven years 

over six pictures. A man was not continually wanting to go on to 

something fresh. Every work he undertook was intended to be 

monumental, so he did his planning with care as became a thing of 

dignity. The spirit in which the work was done and the method 

of doing it reacted one on another. 



THE art of a day is the outcome and expression of the life of contem- 
porary society as seen and felt by artists working for that society 
and living in that medium. Social organisms, as I have elsewhere 
written at length, 1 have a life of their own, altogether different 
in kind from the life of the individuals that compose them. 
It is out of the corporate life of the day that the artist's ideal 
arises, the art of the day being the highest and clearest expression 
of the common ideal. Both Hubert and John van Eyck were 
court artists, and John, at any rate, lived in the atmosphere 
of courts during all the years of his independent activity. If 
he painted for others than his prince and leading courtiers, it was 
only for the richest merchants, such as the Arnolfmi, or for prominent 
churchmen. There was no force operative upon him at any time 
to make him a popular painter appealing to the multitude. Thus, 
his art is aristocratic. His portraits would satisfy men whose 
business it was to know and handle other men. They bear the 
impress of a small and high society whose chief interest was 
mutually to understand the characters of one another. Discern- 
ment of character is the secret of success in courts, politics, and 
large commercial affairs. John van Eyck stands in the first rank 
among the discerning portraitists of all time, whose works still 

Aristocracies tend to appreciate a solid and substantial splendour. 
Tinselly effects dazzle the plutocrat. The Flemish plutocracy was 
not emancipated, aesthetically or socially, from the control of 
the strongly rooted aristocracy above it, nor had it begun to 
infuse its vices into their veins. Thus the rich colouring, the 

1 The Crowd in Peace and War. London (Longmans), 1915. 



glowing surfaces, the jewel-like finish of John's pictures were 
decreed quite as much by the taste of his patrons as by his own. 
If he came to possess matchless skill in rendering glorious pieces 
of goldsmith's work or richly embroidered and brocaded stuffs, 
it was again because his patrons loved jewelry and brocades and 
prided themselves upon the possession of such things. In Van 
Eyck Duke Philip possessed exactly the type of painter that the 
taste of his rank and day would most admire. He himself, his 
father, his grandfather, and their princely relatives, had worked 
hard during three generations to supply their courts with just 
such an art as this. 

From Jacquemart, Malouel, Broederlam, and their school up 
to the culminating power of John van Eyck, there had been a 
steady progression along the lines determined by courtly exigencies 
and tastes. Hence John's art was not and did not aim at being 
popular. Hubert's great picture possessed, by its mere size and 
elaboration, a certain popular appeal, but there was nothing 
popular about its design. John never painted a popular picture, 
if we except the ugly panels of Adam and Eve, which astonished 
by their novelty. We do not find John's pictures, nor even his 
types, widely spread abroad by copyists and imitators. Sixty 
or seventy years after his death, archaistic artists harked back 
to them during a few years of dilettantism, but the generation 
that immediately followed him did not imitate him, with the 
single exception of Peter Christus. John, in fact, formed no 
school. Details of his pictures were borrowed, such as the window 
with the orange on its sill from the Arnolfini portrait, and the 
convex mirror in its background. These keep cropping up from 
time to time down to the middle and even the end of the seven- 
teenth century, but that is very different from the monotonous 
repetition of a few designs which became a habit in the Netherlands 
schools after John was dead. Few of his paintings attained a 
wide publicity. They were made for individuals and enjoyed 
by them in the privacy of their own palaces or chapels. The 
Pala altar-piece, indeed, was in a public position, over the high 
altar of St. Donatian's at Bruges, but that was not a picture in 
the least likely to be imitated as a whole. A first glance shows 
that it would not be " popular." 


The painters with whom we must presently deal were in 
different case. They were all guild men. The guild system 
held them in thrall for better or worse. But John was free from 
that thraldom. The only contemporary from whom he borrowed 
was his own brother and master. Evidently he made no secret 
of the methods of his craft, or his inventions and improvements 
in technical processes. They quickly became the common posses- 
sion of the whole Netherlandish school and gave to it a prestige, 
even as far away as Italy, which is a little hard for us to understand. 
But if John was not secretive, the school as a whole seems to have 
tried to be so ; for we have evidence of the court influence brought 
to bear by princely Italian patrons to secure for some of their 
own artists, sent to the Netherlands for that purpose, access 
to Flemish and Brabantine studios, and admission to the mysteries 
of the new method of painting. We may also recall the story of 
Antonello da Messina, on which new light has recently been shed. 

The only known painter who has any claim to be considered 
a pupil of the Van Eycks was Peter Christus. He copied the 
compositions of both brothers, and may have come into possession 
of their studio stock-in-trade. His original work does not bear 
the Van Eyck stamp. Merely copying does not make a follower. 
Otherwise, as I have said, John formed no school. One might 
guess that he did not associate very intimately with his fellow- 
artists, but lived rather in and about the court on a higher social 
level than an ordinary craftsman. For these reasons the pictures 
of the Van Eycks stand out with peculiar distinction from the 
general run of even the best Netherlands paintings of the century. 
The rest belong to the school, and owe much to it; but those , 
of the two great brothers and, to a less degree, of their contem- 
porary Robert Campin, are their very own. Each is a thing 
apart, created by an individual for an individual, largely free, . 
therefore, from those emotional elements which come from and 
appeal to a public. There is a considerable intellectual factor 
in John's appeal. He paints with understanding warmed by 
emotion, but his emotions are well controlled. Fra Angelico 
is recorded to have gone down on his knees, his eyes streaming 
with tears, when he painted Christ on the Cross, and we can well 
believe it. John's eyes under like circumstances would have 


remained very dry. His Virgins are as plainly the women of his 
v own place and day as is his wife. Their throne is not in any heaven 
of poetic fancy, but in John's studio in Sint Gillis Nieu Street, 
Bruges, or wherever he might be painting. He will paint you 
the thing he sees with all the rich and pleasant colour and play 
of penetrating light he can devise, those things also being visible 
to him ; and he will paint them as well as his powers, patience, 
and wonderful skill can accomplish ; but you must not ask him 
to bear you up into realms of fancy. His imagination plays 
only with fact, and rejoices in the wonder of what his eyes so 
beautifully behold. 

The school-painters that were to follow him had different 
standards and lived in a different medium. With them the 
court arts, which had been founded and developed by the four 
N princely patrons and their immediate successors, became the 
heritage of a large burgher class, enriched by manufacture and 
commerce. From the middle of the fifteenth century onward, it 
is no longer the court but the plutocracy that sets the tone of 
Netherlandish art. The consequence is what might be expected. 
Originality tends to evaporate. The new patrons wanted a 
definite class of goods, something up to sample, and the guilds 
existed to provide it. They would guarantee to the artist his 
pay, and to the buyer the goods contracted for. Fortunately 
for us, the " samples " were of high quality, and the consequent 
output remained remarkably good for many decades. 

Before proceeding to deal with the popular school, which 
descended from Campin, who was the Van Eycks' contemporary, 
it will be more convenient to consider, out of its strictly 
chronological sequence, the work of the one known artist, Peter 
Christus, who directly followed the Van Eyck tradition. Thanks 
to Mr. Weale's researches, we know a few dates and other skeleton 
facts about his life. He was born at Baerle near Tilbourg in North 
Brabant, not long after 1400. He bought a house and settled 
in Bruges in 1443, acquired the freedom of the city in the following 
year, and settled down for life to exercise his craft there. Where 
he learnt it no one knows ; not at Bruges, from John van Eyck, 
for he was dead three years before Christus came to that city, 
but possibly from Hubert, though all the critics swear to the 


contrary. 1 Dates on a few pictures enable us to follow him at 
work during the forties, and we know that he was summoned 
to Cambrai in 1453 to make three copies of a miraculous picture 
of the Virgin. They were finished in 1454. He was probably in 
Italy in 1456. 2 His name appears in unimportant entries at Bruges 
in the sixties. He died there in 1472 or 1473. 

It has been thought that the hand of Peter may be traced in 
a certain group of miniatures in the Hours of Turin. If that 
could be proved, the personal connexion between Hubert and 
our artist would be established. We come a step nearer, however, 
with the delightful little panel at Berlin in which St. Barbara 
presents the kneeling monk, Herman Steenken, to the Virgin 
and Child. As Steenken died in April 1428, it would seem that 
the picture must have been painted before then. The composition 
of it is obviously derived from a similar picture by Hubert (with 
the addition of another saintess) now in the G. de Rothschild Collec- 
tion in Paris, but the landscape and a number of details are changed, 
and so are the facial types. Steenken in the Rothschild picture 
is exactly the same in pose and drapery, but his face is several 
years younger. If Peter painted the Berlin example, it shows him, 
not more than two years after Hubert's death, carrying on the 
Van Eyck tradition with no little exactitude. Moreover, the 
Berlin picture is in many respects reminiscent of the group of 
miniatures above referred to. The landscape with the evening 
light in the sky, the multiplicity of details in the city and river 
below, the fading away of the distance into light, are all so many 
links with the art of Hubert, though they are not copied from the 
particular picture which was obviously set before Christus by 
Steenken for a model. As for the portrait, the snub nose has 
become snubbier, the fat cheeks more bloated, the mouth grosser 

1 If he did not lear^i from one of the Van Eycks, who else was there who could have 
taught him their method of painting ? 

2 The inclusion in 1456,-vamong the prawigionati of the Duke of Milan, of one 
"Piero di Burges" can be quoted in favoj^of the view that Christus visited Italy. On 
the list are also one "Maestro Zannino, who is doubtless Zanetto Bugatto, and one 
" Antonello da Sicffia," whom we need feel no hesitation in identifying with Antonello 
da Messina; whose affinity to the Flemish School is thus fully explained. See C. de 
Mandach in Mon. et Mem. Piot., xvi, 1909, pp. 196 sqq. (following up a suggestion of 
Dr. L. Venturi's). 


than when the reverend father sat to Hubert. Age, alas ! did not 
spiritualize him. 

In a Madonna * in New York Museum (once in the Beresford- 
Hope Collection), we find Christus copying Hubert again, for the 
figures are taken straight from the same original as that repeated 
by John van Eyck in the little Virgin by the Fountain. Christus, 
however, sets her in an elaborate Gothic niche, adorned with 
sculptured figures of the Church, the Synagogue, and so forth. 
The architecture is weedy and over-slender, but accorded with 
the taste of the day. It is possible to imagine some connexion 
between this Madonna and the miraculous Virgin of Cambrai, 
whereof certain engravings exist. That was a Byzantine picture, 
very famous in its day, and likely to have been known to the 
Van Eycks. If the existing copy of the Fountain of Living Water 
at Madrid was painted by our artist, as has often been suggested, 
it may be grouped satisfactorily with other works of his early 
period. The same is true of a panel at Copenhagen, half a diptych 
or the wing of a picture, to which a late Flemish painter, often 
described as Van Dyck, added a Virgin and Child for St. Anthony's 
protege to kneel to. Mr. Weale insists that the painter of the 
donor's panel was Hubert himself, and cites in proof the will, 
dated 9th March, 1426, of Robert Poortier, of Ghent, in which 
he bequeathed a picture of St. Anthony painted by Master Hubert. 
Of course, it might have been this very picture, if only it had 
been painted by Van Eyck, but almost every critic agrees that it 
displays the handiwork of Christus, though the composition 
may be thought to resemble that of the greater artist, while there 
is nothing to prevent Hubert from having painted a St. Anthony 
which has disappeared. Moreover, the bag worn by the kneeling 
donor actually appears in another picture by Christus, the portrait 
in the National Gallery, though that coincidence might be explained. 

These pictures, if they are accepted as the work of Christus, 
certainly tend to the conclusion that he learned his art in the 
studio of Hubert van Eyck. They are painted with delicacy of 
touch and fineness of detail, and the nearer they come to the style 
of the master the better they are. The Crucifixion at Worlitz 
shows our artist considerably less dependent upon his prototype. 

1 Friedlander does not ascribe this picture to Christus. 


Certain critics have denied that it can be by Christus at all, and 
have claimed it for some other Netherlander, painting in Italy. 
The panel is not of oak, but of poplar, which points to the South, 
but the picture upon it presents no obvious Italian characteristics, 
though one can imagine them if one tries. We have reason 
to believe that Christus visited Italy and taught Antonello da 
Messina the Van Eyck method. As for the treatment of the 
subject, it is as little dramatic as can be. Everyone's emotions 
are mechanical. All are actors, and bad at that. There is, 
however, a single figure of considerable charm the white-robed 
Magdalen raising her clasped hands aloft. Her little round head, 
her soft hair, her white dress, are pretty with a sweet simplicity ; 
but the figure is here out of place, though it would have been 
at home in the Steenken Madonna. Beside her stands another 
woman, who turns her back. We have seen something like her 
elsewhere. Surely she has been borrowed from the entourage of 
Robert Campin ! Possibly the works of that bold master had 
impressed Christus and turned him from his old ways, though 
Campin would have scorned the groggy-legged soldiers on the 
right and the general feebleness of emotion throughout. 

We cannot pass without mention the Frankfurt Madonna, 
dated 1447 (others read 1457) ; but what a travesty of sweet 
St. Francis is this standing figure by the throne ! The picture 
is interesting because, after John van Eyck's unfinished altar-piece, 
it is, as stated above, the earliest with a date in which the perspective 
leads correctly to a single vanishing point. Moreover, the carpet 
on the floor is very like one introduced by John into his Lucca 
Madonna, and is generally said to be the same. The painting is 
workmanlike, but manifests once for all how little of religious 
imagination or fervour there was within the solid head of Christus. 
When, however, he came down from heaven to earth he was more 
at home. Witness his far from contemptible portraits. They 
are not comparable to Van Eyck's, of course, nor even to Campin's, 
but how grateful we are for them, none the less ! Earliest in 
date may be the Salting picture, perhaps the left half of a diptych, 
which shows us a young man reading his hours and wearing the 
same bag as the protege of St. Anthony. Moreover, there is a 
family likeness between the youth and that personage, and the 


bag is more likely to be an heirloom than any piece of studi 
property. When one has one's portrait painted one does not we 
studio properties. He is not a brilliant individual, this yout 
with the weak mouth and the wide-opened eyes stolid, rather, 
and harmless, who might scramble through life without disaster 
It would be a pleasure to see more of the landscape. The doorwa 
on the left is adorned with sculptures recalling those in the Ne 
York Madonna. 

A pair of portraits equal in dimensions and matching one anoth 
in background are the Edward Grimston in the Verulam Collectio 
and the lady at Berlin, the former dated 1446. Man and wif< 
we guess them to be Grimston's first wife, if she was painted in 
the same year. 1 According to Waagen, the original frame bore 
the painter's name, and recorded the fact that the lady w 
a Talbot. It is remarkable that Christus should blunder so i 
the drawing of eyes. The lady can hardly have been so cockeye 
as he makes her. He does better with Grimston. To me hi 
picture seems later in date than hers, but the condition of the tw 
works may be responsible for the divergence. At all even 
Christus painted the man in a bolder style than before, blocking 
out the masses of shadow with original force, but pursuing the like- 
ness into less detail than the Van Eycks. 

A portrait of a Carthusian monk as a saint is in the collection o 
the Marquis de Dos Aguas at Valencia, and has recently bee 
published by Friedlander. It is a completer presentment of 
human character than any of the foregoing. The head is modell 

1 The trouble is that the name of Grimston's first wife is not known. It woul 
be such a comfort if we could prove that she was a Talbot. Franks in Arcficeologia ( 
p. 470) shows that her arms were probably " Gules three bars gemelles argent," and he 
adds that she was probably a member of Margaret of Anjou's suite. She must have 
accompanied Grimston to Flanders if Christus painted her portrait, but the ten pub- 
lished volumes (1863-1906) of Inventory of Documents of the Archives departementales 
du Nord (Lille), though they mention Grimston and his fellow-envoy Kent in 1446, at 
dates covered by the entries from Rymer, ignore any wife. In the Calendar of Entries 
in the Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland : Papal Letters, vol. x (ed. 
J. A. Twemlow), 1915, p. 305, an entry under date March 16, 144J, refers to " Edward 
Grymyston, nobleman, esquire, lord of Helsterwyk (= Elsternwick in Holderness), and Alice 
his wife, noblewoman," but nothing is said of her parentage. The above facts were 
obtained for me by Mr. H. Clifford Smith, of the V. & A. Museum, from his colleague 
Mr. A. van de Put, who kindly searched all available authorities. 


in great detail, especially about the brow ; the expression is sly. 
The man might be on the verge of smiling, but remains mightily 
observant. The body is enclosed in the robe of his order, massively 
blocked out as a good designer of wood-sculpture would have 
designed it. The handling of the light is admirable. Christus 
should have confined his attention to portraiture. The world 
of dreams was no place for him. He did not dwell with imagined 
saints. Like most of the people of his day, he was truly interested 
only in the world and the men of the day. In painting them he 
did not waste his time. 

An entertaining picture of the interior of a goldsmith's shop, 
painted in the year 1449, shows an advance in the same direction 
toward summary treatment. It was long well known in the 
Oppenheim Collection at Cologne and now belongs to Mr. Philip 
Lehmann, of New York. It is usually said to represent an incident 
in the legend of St. Eloy and St. Godeberta, and is reported to 
have belonged to the Corporation of Goldsmiths at Antwerp. 
It may, however, be doubted whether the halo round the gold- 
smith's head is original. All three heads are obviously portraits ; 
the bride and bridegroom, who have come to buy a wedding-ring, 
doubtless primarily intended that such they should be. Whether 
they put themselves into the position of legendary personages 
matters nothing to us, for it is a mid-fifteenth century shop in 
Bruges that we are shown, not the seventh century studio of 
Dagobert's treasurer and artist. The goldsmith is extraordinarily 
like Dunois, Bastard of Orleans (born 1402), as depicted in advanced 
years in a portrait attributed to Fouquet, but the resemblance is 
probably accidental. In any case, the three portraits are well 
enough, though they lack animation, and are a little like coloured 
wooden figures. What makes the goldsmith's picture popular 
is the shop and the goods that are for sale. Mr. H. Clifford Smith, 
in a delightful monograph, 1 in which he has studied and explained 
every detail, tells us that the bridegroom wears the badge of the 
Dukes of Guelders. Wherever we see a convex mirror we naturally 
suspect imitation of Van Eyck's Arnolfini picture. This is to go 
too far. But when that mirror reflects two approaching persons, 

1 The Goldsmith and the Young Couple . . . by Petrus Christus. London, privately 
printed, 1915 ; and Burlington Magazine, September 1914. 


as here and in Campin's Werl wings, the dependence becomes 
probable, especially in this case where a marrying couple are in 
question. As for the scales, weights, coins, and the stock-in-trade, 
Mr. Clifford Smith explains and identifies them all, pointing out 
in particular the " tongue-stones " or fossilized sharks' teeth 
similar to those yielded by the black crag at Boom, near Antwerp. 
The ewers, cups, a crystal reliquary, the rings, brooches, bag, and 
all the rest, quicken the envy of a modern collector, which is 
equivalent to saying that they are well rendered. 

Also from 1449 dates a half-length Madonna nursing the 
Child, now in the collection of Count Matuschka-Greiffenau, 
Schloss Vollrads, near Wiesbaden, which some years ago was 
discovered beneath a Late Renaissance Crucifixion painted over 
Chris tus' composition. 1 

The last known picture by our artist is a Mourning over the 
Body of Christ, in the Brussels Gallery, to be dated in or after the 
year 1460, as Hulin proved from the shaven heads. An earlit 
version of the same subject is in the New York Museum, but that 
in the Schloss Collection in Paris appears to be either a copy of 
lost original or an imitation by some follower. In the Brussel 
picture there are further traces of the influence of Campin and evei 
of Roger. The landscape has lost the old charm and the rocl 
are beginning to crack up. The composition is scattered, thougl 
better than in the earlier Crucifixion, the best indeed that Christus, 
working hard, could devise. He also tried to be pathetic, and h( 
painted all the heads with a good deal of care ; but the work, 
a whole, leaves us cold and enables us to part from the artist without 
regret. A French picture of the same subject in the Louvre, 
painted toward the end of the century, may owe something to the 
Brussels panel. But enough of Christus ! If the reader is not 
bored with him, the writer is, and joyfully turns to more interesting 

1 See reproduction in the Cicerone, 1910, plate facing p. 224. The signature anc 
date are on the frame, as was the case with the portrait of Grimston's wife. 



ROBERT CAMPIN l was an important artist of the same generation 
as John van Eyck. He must have been born about 1378, seeing 
that he was 28 years old when he settled in Tournay about 1406. 
Obviously, therefore, he was a formed artist before that date. 
Where did he come from ? Where did he get his education ? 
Out of what school did he arise ? We have no picture by him 
of date early enough to aid us in answering these questions. The 
Tournay accounts contain numerous references to work done by 
him, but not to pictures. He had to paint statues, coats-of-arms, 
banners, and, once, a considerable piece of wall-decoration with 
equestrian figures of the Kings of France and Aragon. He would 
likewise have been called upon to design the sculptures he after- 
wards had to decorate, for such was the custom at Tournay. 
But from all the records we only learn that Campin prospered. 
Walloon historians not unnaturally wish to believe that so early 
and considerable an artist was of French-speaking origin. They 
note that the name Campin is not uncommon in Hainault, notably 
at Valenciennes, where it occurs frequently at this period ; and 
they further, and with obvious force, point out that on a critical 
occasion our Robert received potent protection from the Duchess of 
Hainault, when he had been condemned to a year's exile because 
of his dissolute life. Nevertheless, it is tempting to look else- 
where for his origin. His very name suggests the Limbourg 
Campine in the neighbourhood of Maastricht, whence came the 
Van Eycks and the de Limbourgs and other famous artists of 
this generation. At Maastricht was an important school of art of 
ancient standing to which all of these men were debtors. Further, 

1 See M. Houtart, Jacques Daret, a pamphlet published (without date) by Casterman 
at Tournay. 



when Robert Campin settled at Tournay he brought with him 
his wife, Isabella of Stockhem, and Stockhem is " a village on the 
left bank of the Maas within a short distance of Maaseyck." Thus 
persons of Flemish prejudices have likewise a case : adhuc sub 
judice Us est. 

There is a good deal of fifteenth century Tournay sculpture 
existing, chiefly in the form of mural memorial reliefs, with man 
and wife kneeling before the Virgin, and the like subjects. Little 
in any of them known to me recalls the design or the style of Campin. 
He cannot have formed his style at Tournay. Unless he had 
come in contact with the Van Eycks, how did he learn to emplo 
then* method of laying on colour ? By 1430 or 1440, no doub 
the process had become more or less generally diffused in Flande 
and thereabouts, but Campin was at the top of his productivity 
then and soon about to go out of business. We are almost 
driven to conclude, with Hulin, that Campin must have worked 
under the Van Eycks when they were in the service of William 
of Bavaria. In the Prado at Madrid is a well-known picture 
containing, framed by incomplete architecture, the Marriage 
of the Virgin and the legendary incident preceding it. The temple 
scene is under an open-sided dome supported on decorated columns, 
two of which Mr. Weale assured us resemble two in the Cathedral 
of Tournay. He likewise states that the sections of certain mould- 
ings, which the artist carefully displays, prove that the picture 
cannot be later in date than 1425. It is thus contemporary with 
Hubert van Eyck's work on the Adoration of the Lamb, and, 
probably, also with the original of the Fountain of Living Water, 
likewise at Madrid. Analogies with the latter picture are evident, 
especially among the discomfited Jews. There is in both the 
same trick of people turning their back, similar awkward gestures, 
and so forth. Simultaneity and origin in a common artisti 
medium might account for such resemblances, but not easily 
Campin is revealed by this picture as a vigorous awkward artis 
with considerable capacity for narration, a liking for the bizarr 
an interest in peculiar types of people and agitated expressio 
a relative indifference to formal beauty even in women, 
eagerness to crowd folk together and make them all busy abou 
one another plenty of action and reaction of character, and 




choice of good, rich colours, brightly mosaic'd together. The 
most attractive figure is that of a woman with turbaned head- 
dress, who turns her back. Her hair is elaborately arranged, 
and she wears a cloak with jewelled borders. Such a figure is 
characteristic of our artist. 

But Dr. Winkler has pointed out another possible origin for 
some, at least, of the elements of Campin's style. If he derived 
a factor of his art from Hubert or the Maastricht School, there 
are other factors in it not thence derived. These, according 
to Dr. Winkler, were of Burgundian origin. To talk of a Bur- 
gundian school of art in the days of Duke Philip the Hardy, or his 
son John, is premature. There were many artists in the employ 
of the Duke, but by no means all of them worked at Dijon. 
Broederlam, for instance, had his studio at Ypres. Still, the 
building and decoration of Champmol Abbey brought a number 
of important artists together, and they must have reacted upon 
one another, and, as we can see, did so react. Panel -pictures 
produced in that medium were not numerous, but there were 
some, and of them a few survive. They may be attributed to 
the first quarter of the fifteenth century. The Martyrdom of 
St. Denis altar-piece, the roundel of the Pieta, and another small 
Pieta (all three in the Louvre), another Pieta at Troyes, diptychs 
in the Morgan Collection and the Bargello, and triptychs in the 
Mayer van den Bergh (Antwerp) and the Berlin Museums exemplify 
the kind of paintings to which we refer. The first two of the 
above and the Troyes Pieta were probably painted at Dijon. 
The St. Denis altar-piece in the Louvre may be chosen as repre- 
sentative for present purposes. Little doubt is there but that it 
came from Champmol Abbey. It may well have been the picture 
which Henri Bellechose of Brabant was ordered to paint for Duke 
Jean Sans Peur, and was paid for in the year 1416. That, however, 
was ten years after Campin was settled at the head of a painter's 
business at Tournay. Moreover, we may as justifiably put the 
picture forward as an example of Brabant as of Dijon work. It 
might even be argued that resemblances in it to what Campin 
painted may have been derived from him, and that Bellechose of 
Brabant may have studied the earlier work of Campin of Tournay. 
Resemblances of style are, in fact, discoverable, as Winkler explains, 


line by line and detail by detail all obvious, however, by com- 
parison of photographs, without need of words. The Louvre picture 
is ugly enough in its present condition, and probably always 
was, but it is forceful. Anyone can see that this is art with a 
future, not decadent like the work of the late fourteenth century 
miniaturists. It possesses in common with the Madrid Marriage 
of the Virgin the force and some of the ugliness. If we take the 
St. Denis as example of what Brabant or Dijon, if you please, 
could produce in the way of pictures about 1415, then Campin'j 
picture, to my thinking, shows what resulted from crossing that 
style with the style of Hubert van Eyck, and expressing it, no1 
in the old method of tempera, but in the new method of laying 
on colours, which Hubert had invented. 

It is a far cry from the style of Campin, as revealed in any 
of his known pictures, to that of contemporary Italian art ; ye 
a faint echo of Italy did somehow reach the Tournay studio at 
one moment of his career, and he was destined to pass it on to ai 
ever-widening circuit of imitators. We find it in a much-copi( 
picture of the Virgin, who stands in the apse of a church with 
harp-playing angel on one side of her and a lute-playing angel 
on the other. Incidentally, we may mention that the white-robee 
Virgin is often characteristic of Madonna pictures painted foi 
Spain, and that many, perhaps most, of the examples of Campin's 
Madonna have come out of Spain in recent years. It is not necessai 
to conclude that Campin went to Spain. There was much picture 
traffic between Spain and the Netherlands in the fifteenth century. 
The Madrid Marriage of the Virgin, for instance, was doubtless 
made for a Spanish patron, seeing that on the back of it are twe 
painted imitations in stone-colour of sculptured figures in niches 
one of them the Spanish St. Jago of Compostella, the othe 
St. Clara, who was scarcely less popular in Spain. 

It is not, however, with Campin's white Virgin that we are 
concerned, but with the two angels, the harpist and lutist. 
Whence did they come flying over to Tournay ? The answer is, 
from Italy. The enthroned Virgin with angels about her was 
Byzantine type taken up in Italy at an early date, as the famous 
Rucellai Madonna in Florence proves. It was not, however, until 
the end of the fourteenth century, I believe, that Italian angel 


began to learn music. Orchestras of angels become common in 
Florence and all over Italy in the fifteenth century, but it is not 
the orchestras that we have to deal with, only this pair the harpist 
and lutist on either hand of a Virgin and Child. Once you begin 
to look for them you find them cropping up all over Europe in 
the fifteenth century : a pair readily recognizable and always 
obviously descending by a well-marked tradition. It was Campin 
who gave them vogue in North Europe, but he did not invent them. 
Sometimes the lute is replaced by a viol a trifling change 
but with that exception the pair travel together from studio to 
studio and from country to country. 

By whom they were first invented I cannot say, not having 
hunted through all the galleries and churches of Europe, but the 
first appearance I am able to record is in an altar-piece by Agnolo 
Gaddi (ob. 1396). * They also kneel on one knee on either side of 
a signed Madonna by Taddeo di Bartolo, dated 1400, which is in 
the church of St. Caterina della Notte at Siena ; and they appear 
seated in a retable by the same artist, dated 1403. I find them 
again in two other pictures in the Perugia gallery, both painted 
by the Umbrian Giovanni Boccati da Camerino (one dated 1447), 
as well as in a Madonna which was in the Nevin sale (1907, No. 235), 
and in a painting in the Johnson Collection at Philadelphia attri- 
buted by Berenson to Francesco di Gentile da Fabriano. It would 
be easy to multiply Sienese and Umbrian examples, but let these 

By some agency a travelling manuscript illuminator or what 
you please to guess these angels came over the Alps and down 
the Rhine, stopping at Mayence on the way, where a nameless 
but attractive painter, about the year 1420, introduced them into 
the Ortenberger altar-piece now in Darmstadt Museum. Thence 
they travelled on to Tournay, and were painted by Campin, stand- 
ing on either hand of the Madonna in question. Two examples of 
this Madonna were at one time simultaneously on view in London ; 
some critics thought one was the original and some thought the 
other. They are now in the National Gallery and the Metropolitan 
Museum in New York ; it is quite likely that both came from 
Campin's shop. The design must have attained immediate success, 

1 Reinach's Repertoire, i, 191. 



for no less than twelve ancient repetitions of it are known, and 
others appear to have passed through sale-rooms and vanished. 1 
It is thus certain that Campin's picture had great vogue in its 
day and is sure to have attracted the attention of contemporary 
painters. It is the first instance of that copying and recopying 
of a popular type which became so frequent and is so wearisome 
in the work of commonplace Netherlands guild -painters of the 
last third of the fifteenth and early years of the sixteenth centuries. 
It is worth note in passing that the Child in Campin's picture 
is very like Hubert van Eyck's babies, and very unlike the ordinary 
run of John's, while the sentiment with which the Virgin clasps 
it is thoroughly Hubertesque ; perhaps even the idea of the Virgin 
standing within a church may have been derived from the picture 
we discussed above. Campin's central group in its turn was imitated 
more than once, but for the Virgin and Child alone it was another 
picture by him a roundel that had greatest vogue, and was 
copied even oftener than the work we are discussing. 2 

Memling appears to have been the next Netherlander to bring 
' the angel pair into his pictures. We find them on either side of 
the Virgin in the beautiful Uffizi panel. She of the viol has stopped 
playing to offer an apple to the Child, but the harpist twangs 
away. In another painting of similar character belonging to 
the Duke of Westminster, an admirable work by a follower in 
the next generation, the viol angel is walking off in the back- 
ground sent on an errand, perhaps, or merely bored. Both these 
pictures contain Italian elements in the architecture and accessories, 
so that it may be claimed that the angels also came over from 
Italy direct and not by way of Tournay. This, however, cannot 
be said of those in Gerard David's triptych in the Louvre, which 
are obviously Campin's, and so are those in the pretty Madonna 
in the Johnson Collection at Philadelphia. Another tiny pair 
are carved as arm-bosses on the throne in the same artist's Stem 
of Jesse at Dijon. These are by no means the only occasions 

1 Winkler mentions thirteen, but his Robinson and New York examples are the 
same picture. 

2 The best example of the roundel is in the Johnson Collection at Philadelphia. The 
number of copies is legion. Curiously enough, it sometimes appears as pendant to another 
roundel with music-making angels. 


when David took a hint from Campin. Other followers of Memling 
repeated the theft, but it would be tedious to make a mere list 
of their pictures. Miniaturists also painted them in Flemish 
manuscripts. 1 

An indifferent early Netherlands engraver, known as the 
" Master of the Death of Mary " (not to be confused with the 
painter so designated), borrowed this angel-pair and, launching 
them aloft, engraved them hovering over the Virgin's head. Other 
Flemish engravings of the type may exist. The Rhenish en- 
graver " E. S." likewise employed them (Lehrs, No. 83), and 
it is still more remarkable to come across them in a careful 
drawing by the boy Albert Diirer, done in the year 1485, at least 
twelve months before he entered as apprentice into Wolgemut's 
studio. This drawing may have been copied from some lost print. 
Without lingering to search through all the galleries of German 
pictures, it will suffice to note that by 1500 the two angels were 
at home in Styria, where a local painter depicted them, each 
standing on a pedestal, in a picture now in the Liechtenstein 

As these angels had flown over the Alps to the Netherlands, 
so presently they took their course thence over the Pyrenees 
to Spain. This was to be expected, seeing that Campm's type 
was so numerously represented there. They are found in one of 
a series of paintings (wrongly ascribed to David) in the Archbishop's 
Palace at Evora, which was reproduced by the Arundel Club. 
Their latest appearance, as far as I can discover, is in a picture 
attributed to Vicente Juan de Juanes, which is or was in the King 
of Roumania's collection at Bucharest. 

If the reader has not skipped these dull paragraphs, he will 
have derived from them an idea of how Flemish painters, whether 
contemporaries or of succeeding generations, borrowed frankly 
from one another and repeated popular features. Sometimes 
they copied with exact fidelity ; more often they copied freely, 
but they had no hesitation in taking good things wherever they 
found them, and this was true of the best as of the worst. 

One of the most famous of Campin's pictures is the Inghel- 

1 For example, in a mid-fifteenth century Book of Hours in the Jeffery Whitehead 
Collection, once exhibited at the Burlington Fine Arts Club. 


brechts Annunciation triptych, belonging to the Merode family 
in Brussels. It owes some of its reputation to the fact that shortly 
after it had been identified as the work of our artist, when he was 
just being disentangled from Roger van der Weyden, to whom 
his pictures were previously assigned, the owners shut the picture 
up, and for a long series of years allowed nobody to see it ! Not 
till the Golden Fleece Exhibition at Bruges in 1907 did it again 
emerge into publicity and justify its fame. It is undoubtedly 
a most interesting work, for all its bad perspective and rudimentary 
figure-drawing. Such scientific details, as a matter of fact, are 
neither here nor there with a work of art, which may be good 
without them or bad though possessing them all in strict 
regularity. The whole picture is in fact pleasant to look upon. 
It charms the eye. It is a fine thing to see and stirs the cockles 
of delight. It also contains many entertaining details such a 
nice pot on such a nice table, and such a bench ! What would 
we not give could we find them for sale in an old furniture shop ? 
Thus it is with all the details of the room. They are more 
prominent here, and there seem to be more of them, than in Van 
Eyck's Arnolfini. That is because Van Eyck was more entertained 
by the people and the light, Campin by the bric-a-brac. He 
also could paint portraits well enough, as the left wing of the 
triptych proves, but far more entertaining than the donors to 
him and to us is St. Joseph on the other wing. You may, indeed 
must, call him St. Joseph, but he is, in fact, a very respectable 
and comfortably dressed master-carpenter of Tournay about 
1425-30. He has finished making, of all things in the world, 
a mouse-trap ! and he has put another out on the flap-table 
outside his window to attract customers. Why should St. Joseph 
make mouse-traps ? Colin de Coter gave him the same job in 
the background of his picture of St. Luke painting the Virgin, but 
Colin was a bold plagiarist of Campin. What a nice little work- 
shop it is ! just as nice in its way as the Virgin's chamber, and 
for us especially attractive because of the view out of the window. 
It must always have been a pleasant view. Campin evidently 
liked it, for he painted it again with unimportant changes in 
other pictures. Presumably it was a view of some square in 
Tournay with a side-street leading out of it toward a big church, 


HOURS (fo!. 1 v.). p. 77. 

p. 67. 

p. 118. 

NEW YORK. p. 115. 

[To face pa^e 118. 


but I can find nothing in that city that agrees with it. To us, 
however, it is a view, not so much of this or that particular place, 
but straight into the fifteenth century ! There we have the real 
thing the houses, the shops, the people, the churches, just as 
they used to look, before anyone had talked of town-planning, 
all so charmingly set out, so prettily designed, so well built, and 
in such admirable common proportions and harmonious style. 
Never since those days has any city of Europe presented a like 
unity of style and harmony of good effect. But we cannot linger 
over every picture of our master. The Salting Virgin in the 
National Gallery must pass with a mere mention, and as for lost 
pictures of which only copies remain the Tomyris and the Jael, 
for instance well ! they also have now been mentioned, and that 
shall suffice. In the J. G. Johnson Collection is a panel with 
two large-scale heads of Christ and the Virgin. The former may 
owe something to the Head by John van Eyck, which is only known 
to us by copies. This is the earliest example of such a pair. Later 
Netherlands artists frequently repeated this type either on one 
or on two separate panels. The latest well-known example is 
the picture by Quentin Massys at Antwerp, whereof there is a 
school replica in the National Gallery. Even in that, the affiliation 
to Campin's original remains evident. 

In 1427, which may be about the time we have reached in 
Campin's activities, a notable change took place in his affairs. 
He received two important pupils : on March 5 Rogelet de la 
Pasture, whom we generally and unfortunately call Roger van 
der Weyden, and on April 12 Jacquelotte (or Jacques) Daret. 
So the Tournay registers tell us, and it seems straightforward 
enough until we note that when Roger began his apprenticeship 
he was already 27 years of age. It is still more surprising to 
read that, on the 17th of November of the previous year, the city 
of Tournay presented eight measures of wine to " Maistre Rogier 
de la Pasture." We know what such presents of wine imply. 
We have already cited Diirer's account of his entertainment 
by the Painters' Guild of Antwerp, and how " the Syndic. of Antwerp 
came, with two servants, and presented me with four measures 
of wine in the name of the Town Councillors of Antwerp, and 
they had bidden him to say that they wished thereby to show their 


respect for me and to assure me of their good- will." Again, 
on October 18, 1427, the town of Tournay presented four measures 
of wine to the painter John (almost surely Van Eyck), who was 
attending the banquet of the Tournay Guild. If Roger was Master 
Roger in 1426, how did he come to be apprentice Roger in 1427 ? 
Some reply that apprentice Roger must have been a different person, 
and that only the Master Roger of 1426 was the famous Roger 
van der Weyden. But Roger van der Weyden's numerous well- 
known pictures prove him to have been powerfully influenced by 
Campin so powerfully that he must have been his pupil. Suppose, 
then, the Master Roger of 1426 to have been another person. He 
must have been eminent for the town to give him eight measures 
of wine and the great John only four. Why, then, do we never 
hear or read of him again ? It is a puzzle and the explanation 
is what you please. The two entries probably apply to the same 
person. The copyist may have blundered about the dates. The 
original document does not exist, I believe. 

Roger, then, in 1427, was the honoured Master of some craft, 
and became an apprentice in painting to Campin. Daret also 
may have been well advanced in art, for almost as soon as he 
left Campin in 1432 he received a very important commission, 
not likely to have been given to a young untried journeyman. 
We may therefore conclude that these young artists were a 
valuable addition to Campin's forces, and while they were with 
him he probably painted two great triptychs represented now 
by panels in the Frankfurt gallery the triptych of the Descent 
from the Cross and the triptych said to have been in the Abbey 
of Flemalle or that of Falin near Sedan. To the same period 
may also be assigned the Madonna at Aix in Provence and the 
Nativity at Dijon. 

The Descent from the Cross triptych is known from a copy on 
a small scale in Liverpool Gallery, which came from the Hospital 
of St. Julian at Bruges, the only fragment of the original remaining 
being the upper part of the right (or sinister) wing at Frankfurt. 
There can be no doubt that the wings at Liverpool repeat the 
originals, but was the central panel really a Descent from the 
Cross ? The wings appear to belong to a Crucifixion. Now, 
in Bruges Cathedral is a Crucifixion in which the Thieves are 


copied from those on the Frankfurt wings, so perhaps the original 
central panel had a Christ on the Cross. 1 It is not a matter of 
much importance, for it is clear that the central panel at Liverpool 
depicting the Descent is copied from a picture by Campin, and it 
is one of which there is another copy known,* and by which Roger 
was powerfully influenced. As for Campin's Flemalle triptych, 
we possess only the wings, with their life-size figures of the Virgin 
and St. Veronica * on the front and the Trinity in monochrome 
on the back of one of them. The subject of the centre-piece 
is unknown, if ever there was a central painting at all. 

The design of Campin's Descent from the Cross is preserved in 
the Liverpool copy ; its quality is vouched for by the Frankfurt 
fragment. It must have been a notable work. The figures were 
life-size ; the action dramatic, if awkward. There were splendid 
draperies richly coloured. There were horrors of wounds depicted 
with blood-curdling veracity. How the whole must have over- 
whelmed the people for whom it was painted ! A gorgeous 
decorative effect was aimed at, and to that end the background 
was of richly patterned gold. Campin intended it to be as dramatic 
as possible, and he had, no doubt, plenty of opportunity to receive 
suggestions from mystery plays in which he had beheld this same 
scene acted in the market-place of Tournay or elsewhere. Grant 
that his composition lacks rhythm of line, that the figures are 
awkwardly grouped ; there is yet a certain splendour about the 
thing that is undeniable, whilst the wings reach a height of 
distinction which perhaps might be cited as throwing some doubt 
upon the centre-piece. That, however, we must remember is only 
visible to us through the dim medium of poor copies. 

The Flemalle wings speak for themselves ; they are imposing 
not merely in size but by an essential dignity which belongs to 

1 There is yet another copy of the wing Thieves in an engraving by the so-called 
" Master of 1466." In that they are combined with a copy of Roger van der Weyden's 
Descent. So that we have them at Liverpool combined with a Descent copied from 
Campin, at Bruges combined with a Crucifixion, and in the engraving combined with a 
Descent by Roger. Perhaps there never was any painted centre-piece at all, and the 
wings may have been shutters to a group of sculpture. There is no known centre-piece 
for the Flemalle wings, either. 

8 A miniature among those added at Bruges to the Hours of Turin about 1445-50. 

3 A beautiful drawing, some say for, others after, the St. Veronica is in the Fitzwilliam 
Museum at Cambridge. 


the age out of which their maker arose. 1 It was by these panels 
that Campin emerged in modern days from a long oblivion. Whei 
attention began to be paid to such matters, it was recognized thai 
Roger van der Weyden could not have painted them ; they musl 
be the work of some other artist, who was provisionally named 
" the Master of Flemalle." Other pictures were from time 
time grouped with them, till finally it became evident that th( 
only recorded artist whose date and known career matched this 
group of works was Robert Campin. Conservative writers still, 
however, continue to call him by the non-committal designatioi 

Turn we next to the Madonna 1 in the Gallery at Aix in Provence, 
where she sits on a solid bench floating in the air. Nothing less 
accordant with the idea of flotation can be conceived, but for al 
that the picture pleases. Other artists imitated this same arrange 
ment. There is an echo of it in the beautiful diptych of Jeanne 
de Bourbon at Chantilly by an unidentified master. When critics 
fail to place a picture they generally fall foul of it and call it 
second-rate, as has happened in this case. But the Chantilly 
picture is not second-rate at all ; it is one of the most delightful 
works of about 1460-5, painted probably by a Frenchman who was 
a follower of Campin, had seen some of the works of Roger, and 
had passed through the same artistic medium out of which 
emerged both Memling and the painter of the panels of the shrine 
of St. Omer Abbey, who is often identified with Simon Marmion. 
From the Chantilly picture, in turn, the Maitre de Moulins took 
the idea and the pose of his admirable Virgin, enthroned in the 
sky among angels, the altar-piece of Moulins Cathedral, which 
was painted in the last year or two of the century. 

Two pictures remain to us and a drawing of a third which belong 
to Campin's last period, that is to say, after Roger and Daret had 
left him. They are the wings (at Madrid) of an altar-piece painted 
for Heinrich von Werl, dated 1438, and a Crucifixion in the Berlii 

1 A proof of their early date is the existence (noted by Hulin) of a copy of the fi 
of the bad Thief in a MS. of 1430. 

2 Hulin thinks the picture was painted for Eaucourt Abbey in Artois in the days o 
Abbot Pierre TEscuyer. A copy of it at Douai came out of St. Bertin's Abbey at 
St. Omer. 


Museum. The drawing is in the Louvre a Virgin seated in a room 
on a bench between saints and donors. There is nothing striking 
about the Werl wings. St. Barbara is seated in a delightful 
room on the usual bench, with her back to a bright fire, which 
does not smoke, but perhaps that is because the window is open 
so that we can see in the distance workmen building her tower. 
On the other wing the donor is kneeling with a very leggy 
John Baptist standing behind him. For quiet, unadvertising 
excellence, these are, perhaps, Campin's best paintings. 

Heinrich von Werl was a notable Professor at Cologne 
University who, in this same year, 1438, was present at the Council 
at Basle. It has been noted that painters of the Upper Rhine 
district show knowledge of Campin's style and were influenced 
by him. That, of course, may have been because some of them 
came to the Netherlands to study, but it is also possible that 
Campin himself was at the Council when he painted this picture. 
The weakest part of it, scientifically, is the way the Virgin sits 
on the bench, but it is almost correct. All his life long Campin 
had trouble with sitting people. He began with merely dropping 
them anyhow on the floor as in the Merode Annunciation, or 
miraculously supporting them in front of the bench, as in the 
Salting Madonna. As time went on, he managed to give the idea 
of their being propped up on an invisible stool under their draperies,, 
as in the Petrograd Madonna (who was thought by an astoundingly 
dense critic to be about to smack the Child lying on her lap !).. 
In the Aix picture the Virgin is at last put upon her bench, though 
not properly seated on it she rather sits in it, as though the 
seat were hollowed, and there are traces of this mistake lingering 
even in the Werl St. Barbara, but in the Paris drawing the difficulty 
is at last overcome. I mention these unimportant blunders because 
they have helped students to discover the chronological order 
of the pictures, and thus to manifest the artist's development. 

The portrait of Werl on the wing-panel is a good presentment 
of the man, but if one wants to know what Campin could do in 
the way of portrait-painting one must turn to the National Gallery 
heads of a well-balanced, reliable, intelligent husband, and his. 
eminently good, conventional little wife excellent, well-to-do, 
soundly dressed burgher folk, the like of whom in quantity would 


make a strong nation. A monk's portrait-bust at Berlin shows 
the best Campin could make of a far less estimable person, a 
fat, self-indulgent, fussy, anxious kind of man, with all sorts of 
tendencies to contend against in himself and no appearance of 
either power or desire to resist them. Campin gives us the fact 
about the people brutally, not delicately like John van Eycl 
Thus they looked to the bold spectator. He does not trouble 
has not the gift, to penetrate below the surface. A comparison 
between John's Canon de Pala and Campin's Monk shows better 
than words the difference of quality between the two artists. 

It is known that Campin lived, or was said to have lived, " a 
dissolute life." It may have been so, or perhaps he was merely 
mixed up in local politics, and thus described in the kindly 
fashion of political opponents. He is long dead and gone to another 
dissolution. But he has left behind him pictures which folk 
have found it pleasant to take care of for nearly five hundred 
years, so that much may be forgiven to him. After all, our output 
is the thing that concerns those that follow us, and Campin's 
output was more than respectable. Not only his works but 
his influence continued, and for the best part of a century 
reminiscences of his inventions keep appearing and reappearing 
in pictures painted by artists who never saw him and many of whom 
had never, perhaps, heard his name. Thus it comes about that 
lost pictures by him can be identified by copies and imitations of 
later date, the hunting-up of which is a pleasant sport for specialists, 
but would only weary the reader for whom this book is intended. 
For him enough has been written about Campin ; perhaps too much. 
He died in the year 1444. 

Before dealing at length with that most important artist, 
Campin's pupil, Roger van der Weyden, it will be best to finish 
with his fellow-pupil and contemporary, Jacques Daret. Four 
panels of an altar-piece by him have been identified in recent years. 
Two are in America and two in the Berlin Museum. Their subjects 
are the Visitation, the Nativity, the Adoration of the Magi, and the 
Presentation in the Temple. They are interesting pictures, but 
would not delay us long were it only with the pictures that we ha( 
to acquaint ourselves. The most interesting fact about them 
now and to us, is that they were proved by Professor Hulin to be 


by this said Jacques Daret, and the proof was one of the most 
conspicuous and brilliant contributions to the history of the 
early Netherlands painters that even so great a student and 
investigator of the subject has rendered. For the outlines of 
the life of Daret had been revealed with unusual completeness 
by existing archives ; but what was the good of such knowledge 
unless we could point to pictures by him ? It was known that 
both he and Roger were Campin's pupils. Roger's work was 
also known. It was guessed, but not proved, that Campin was the 
painter of the pictures grouped together as by " the Master of 
Flemalle." As soon, however, as the four panels above mentioned 
were demonstrated to be by Daret, it became at once obvious that 
Daret's master must have been " the Master of Flemalle." But 
records asserted that Campin was Daret's master. Campin, 
therefore, was the same as "the Master of Flemalle," and painted 
the pictures attributed to him. A corner-stone of the highest 
structural value was thus firmly fixed for the great historical 
gallery of Netherlands art. 

Lesser investigators have brought to light this or the other 
small fact, or have linked together this or the other particular 
picture or pictures as the work of a single hand. The addition, 
correction, and co-ordination of the mass of such observations 
have slowly built together the rising fabric of our knowledge 
of the so long forgotten or neglected past ; but every now and 
then some crucial discovery is made, usually as the result of 
patient research by a man of exceptional industry and ability, 
which binds together and vivifies the collective observations of 
minor observers and enables a whole new chapter of art-history 
to be written. Such a discovery was this of Professor Hulin's ; 
we cannot afford to pass it over lightly. 

The man of action looks upon the student as a " dry 
antiquarian " ; but research is as much a sport as big game 
shooting. Just as the whole emotion of a battle can be expressed 
in music, so all the sport of a fox-hunt may be experienced in 
research. The little discoveries are, each in its turn, so many 
chases ending in a " kill " ; the thrill of discovery is the incentive 
to this sport. It is only physical exertion that is lacking, but 
that is no essential part of sport ; it is a delightful accompaniment 



of most sports, not of all. The pursuit, the checks, the disap- 
pointments, the excitement when the scent is found or refound, 
the quarry in sight, overtaken, captured these are the elements 
of which sport is built up. The student who pursues and makes 
a discovery enjoys them all ; but his pursuit lasts for weeks, 
months, it may be years ; and the quarry, when he catches am 
holds it, is a thing won for ever and added to the stock of precious 
and fruitful knowledge. Let one who has tried several forms of 
sport be permitted to assert that the sport of research is perhaps 
the best of all. I have never shot a tiger and never shall, but I 
can well imagine the feelings of a hunter who has laid low the 
mighty monarch of the jungle. Such almost exactly are the 
feelings of the discoverer who at length finds the clue that explains 
the course of history, and brings order into the chaotic records 
and remains of some period of the distant past. 

The important panels we must now consider formed part of the 
painted exterior of the shutters of a sculptured altar-piece, made 
for Jean du Clercq, Abbot of St. Vaast's at Arras (1428-62), 
one of the councillors of Duke Philip the Good ; that was the 
clue which old documents yielded to Hulin's patient research. 
They proved that the Abbot was immensely proud of his new 
altar-piece, which had but recently been set up before the visit 
of an important papal embassy on the 9th of July, 1435. The 
legate was that same Cardinal of Santa Croce, Niccol6 Albergati, 
whose portrait (as we have seen) John van Eyck painted at this 
time. The legate was conducted by the Abbot to see the new 
altar-piece, and he "took pleasure in admiring the pictures." 
So much for the question of date. The Abbot's accounts preserve 
the name of the artist who painted both panels and sculptures- 
he was Jacques Daret, then dwelling at Arras. But Daret, in 
January 1433, was established at Tournay. Hence the work must 
have been begun not earlier than some time in 1433 and finished 
before July 1435. 

It fortunately happened that another patient student, M. 
Maurice Houtart, working through the archives of Tournay, had 
already discovered and published in the above cited pamphlet a 
number of important facts about the lives of Robert Campin and 
Jacques Daret. From this we learn that the Darets were an 


established family of craftsmen settled in Tournay, where Jacques 
was born about the year 1403. He was put at an early age to live 
and work in the household of Campin, but it was not till he had 
so worked for nine years that he began a five years' formal appren- 
ticeship, just about the time when Master Roger entered into 
a like relation with Campin. These apprentices must have 
been valuable assistants from the start an unusual condition of 
affairs, one would suspect. In October 1432 Daret became a 
master-painter, and was immediately thereupon appointed provost 
of the guild ! Next year he went off to Arras to work for the 
Abbot, and thenceforward, whether at Arras, Tournay, or else- 
where, he was, no doubt, well employed. It is specially noteworthy 
that in 1468 he was summoned to Bruges and there worked for 
eleven weeks at the head of a number of artists, whose business 
was to furnish the decorations for the wedding of Charles the 
Rash and Margaret of York and that is the last we hear about 
him. Daniel Daret, his half-brother and pupil, succeeded John 
van Eyck as official painter of Philip the Good, but nothing is 
known of his work. 

As for the four important panels themselves, the obvious 
fact about all of them is their close dependence on Campin. It 
could scarcely have been otherwise. After thirteen years con- 
tinuous work from boyhood under one master, Daret could not 
have failed to receive a deep impression from his art. It would 
be easy to cite analogies for every picture, but an examination 
of one the Visitation (Berlin) will suffice. It is the panel 
which contains also the kneeling portrait of the donor. The 
event takes place in the open air, with a landscape stretching 
away, a fine moated castle in the background, and a road winding 
off in another direction to a secluded village. It is not a bit like 
one of the Van Eyck landscapes, but it is well enough. The 
Abbot is not a beauty, but the artist couldn't help that, so he hung 
his coat-of-arms on a tree close by, gave him a fine crozier to hold, 
and put his jewelled mitre on the ground before him details which 
the old chronicler of St. Vaast fortunately set down, so that we know 
this must be the picture he was referring to. The Virgin and 
St. Elizabeth are obviously figures of Campin's invention. Their 
types are common in his pictures, especially the Virgin's, with 



hair turned back over the ear and waving down over her shoulders. 
One would guess that Campin must have painted a Visitation which 
Daret imitated here, as did Roger also about the same time. Daret 
is a clumsier painter than Roger decorative, loving brilliant 
colours, the maker of things cheerful to look upon, but no great 
artist for all that, and in the long run, one suspects, better employed 
in decorations for court functions than on altar-pieces. No 
other pictures by him are known for certain, but this one suffices, 
not primarily for its beauty, but for the important historical clue 
that Hulin had drawn from it. Over the artist himself we need 
not linger. 1 

1 For Professor Hulin on Jacques Daret, see The Burlington Magazine, xv (1909) 
pp. 202-8, and xix (1911), pp. 218-25. 



IT is a pity that the name of this important artist should be 
remembered under the form written at the head of this chapter. 
Being a French-speaking person, he would not have called himself 
" Van der Weyden," but " de la Pasture," as, in fact, the name 
is written in those Tournay registers above referred to, where 
his existence is first recorded. Some of us, whom the dire mis- 
fortunes of the Great War brought in contact with many Belgian 
wounded and refugees, have begun to grasp the fact that modern 
Belgium is peopled by two several races, dwelling side by side 
but differing fundamentally from one another. We divide them 
broadly into Flemings and Walloons, the former speaking a language 
which foreigners can scarcely distinguish from Dutch, the latter 
talking French. The Netherland provinces in the fifteenth century 
were similarly peopled by Flemish-speaking and French-speaking 
folk. To the former belonged the Van Eycks, to the latter Roger 
de la Pasture. Artists of these two groups, however similar the 
technique and design of their pictures may have been, and though 
they employed the same conventions, do, in fact, manifest their 
race in their works, the Flemings and Dutch being of one sort, 
the Walloons and French of another. Yet it is inadvisable to 
divide our subject along this line of cleavage, because artists of 
both kinds lived and worked side by side, acting and reacting 
on one another so intricately and intimately that they have to be 
regarded as belonging to a single school. The school, in fact, 
swallowed up whomsoever came within its vortex, and that whether 
he arrived as a formed artist, a master of the craft, or a budding 
student. Dutch Bouts and German Memling alike received the 
common stamp, though to the end their racial difference is observ- 
able in the work of their hands. Campin alone is hard to analyse. 



He was the first important painter, settled in the French-speaking 
part of the country, to catch the new spirit and learn the new style 
and methods, but his paintings are not characterized by French 
lucidity, so evident a feature in the work of his pupil Roger. Flemish 
force rather than French grace is manifest in Campin's pictures, 
though it would not be wise to base conclusions or arguments 
on qualities so difficult to identify and almost impossible to demon- 
strate to an unsympathetic or hostile critic. 

As already stated, one Master Rogier de la Pasture was hos- 
pitably entertained and honoured at a banquet at Tournay on 
November 17, 1426 ; in the following March one Rogelet de la 
Pasture became the apprentice of Robert Campin in that same 
city. The statements appear to be contradictory ; the copyist 
of the register may have blundered over name or dates ; but it 
is probable that both entries apply to the same artist. 1 In 1426 
Roger was some 27 years old, having been born in 1399 or 
1400, probably in a house in la Roc Saint-Nicaire at Tournay of 
which his father Henry de la Pasture was the recorded owner 
in 1408. He came of a family of metal-workers, long settled 
in industrious Tournay, though it is the tradition of sculpture 
rather than metal-work that can be traced in Roger's earliest 
pictures. A Henry de la Pasture is recorded as a sculptor working 
in 1424 for the Duke of Brabant at Louvain ; he is thought to 
have been Roger's father. Sculptors, anyhow, were much to the 
fore in Tournay, as already noted, and Roger received early 
impressions from the busy local school. 

In 1432 Roger completed his service under Campin and became 
a master-painter. In 1436 he is mentioned as town-painter of 
Brussels. For that city he made the much-admired " Justice " 
pictures which Diirer saw, but we cannot, the flames of war having 
devoured them in 1695. The only record of their composition may 
be in certain tapestries in the Museum at Berne, which the Swiss 
captured from Charles the Rash. 8 At the best, however, tapestries 

1 Basing his contentions on this passage and on the vague statements of early writers 
Wiirzbach has tried to split Roger into two different individuals, with no better success, 
as it seems to me, than Durand-Greville had with his bisection of Peter Christus. 

2 Doubt has been thrown upon the supposed relation of the tapestries to the burnt 
pictures (Repertorium, 1913, p. 303) ; but Kaufmann (Rep. 1916, p. 15) upholds it and 


throw little light upon the quality of painted originals. If we accept 
as one of Roger's earliest existing works the famous Descent from 
the Cross in the Chapter House of the Escorial, which was painted 
for Notre Dame outside the walls of Louvain, it forms an admirable 
foundation for the study of our master. This is no tentative work, 
but the product of a fully formed and thoroughly independent 
artist, with an ideal all his own and power to give it vigorous 
expression. Obviously, he was here designing in terms of sculpture. 
There is little depth to the group of figures, no more than was 
supplied by the shallow gilt box or frame in which the group is 
represented as contained. The clever contemporary woodcarvers 
of that day could easily have sculptured this design in oak ; and 
painters, whose chief business even then was to colour sculpture 
rather than to paint pictures, would have used the same colours 
and ended by turning out a work that would have produced almost 
the same effect as the picture itself. Anyone can see at a glance 
how strong an impression Roger had derived from Campin. But 
the pupil has surpassed the master in several very important 
respects. Campin 's compositions are confused and haphazard com- 
pared with this. Here is a rhythm of line, a balance of mass, an 
informal symmetry, far beyond Campin's attainment. The lucidity 
of France has mastered, drilled, and brought into order his helter- 
skelter assemblages of folk. Moreover, Roger intelligibly employs 
the common language of humanity to express emotion. These 
people are, in fact, sorrowful. Their gestures, their looks, are 
those of grief. The Liverpool copy of Campin's Descent no doubt 
does small justice to the original, yet, making every allowance, 
how far that picture must have fallen behind this in emotional 
vividness ! Roger's appeal to the feelings of his contemporaries 
was lucid and direct. Hence the great popularity and wide- 
spread influence of his work. The Van Eycks were greater 
artists, but they did not provoke such emulation and imitation 
as Roger. They satisfy the elect of every age ; he appealed more 
strongly to the fifteenth century public. The style and ideal of 
the Van Eycks never became common guild-property, but the 

claims that a head in the tapestries is a self-portrait of Roger. The face produces a very 
different impression from the likeness at Arras, though feature for feature the two are 
not, perhaps, absolutely inconsistent with one another. 



guilds fastened on Roger's compositions and gave them wide 

Another of Roger's earliest independent works was even more 
popular and more frequently copied than the Descent ; I refer 
to the picture of St. Luke making the portrait of the Virgin and 
Child. If any surviving example is the original, it must be that 
in Boston Museum, for a photograph of which I have to thank the 
kindness of the Director. I have never seen the picture. Full- 
sized contemporary copies are in the Galleries at Petrograd 
and Munich, and in the collection of Count Wilczeck at Vienna. 
An etching, after a picture containing the Virgin and Child alone, 
illustrated the catalogue of the De Beurnonville sale (Paris, 1881). 
Another excellent full-length copy of the same figure, but with 
greyhounds instead of people in the background, belonged to 
Sir Francis Palmer. As for half-length repetitions and imitations 
of the Virgin and Child, they are very numerous, mostly dating 
from about the year 1500. The best of them known to me is on 
the diptych of Joos van der Burg, which is in the Fogg Museum at 
Cambridge, U.S.A. The portrait appears to have been painted 
by Gerard David in or soon after 1496, the date on the back of 
one of the panels. The frequency with which this picture was 
copied may be due to the fact that it was the altar-piece of a 
chapel of a Guild of Painters, for which position the subject is 
evidently suitable. Roger obviously borrowed the general com- 
position from the Van Eycks' Rolin Madonna, but he painted 
on a larger scale, in more summary fashion, and he produced 
a picture more easy of general comprehension. The decorated 
columns of his portico recall Campin's Marriage of the Virgin, 
but such details in no way diminish the spontaneity and originality 
of the work as a whole. It is natural to inquire whether he did 
not use his own head as model for St. Luke ; but a drawing 
in the Arras Collection inscribed as his own portrait depicts a 
different kind of man. Roger cannot have been as old when he 
painted this Madonna as St. Luke looks. On the other hand, 
there is at Hermannstadt a portrait which is claimed by an old 
inscription on the back to be of Roger by Bouts. It might depict 
the same model as St. Luke at a later period of his life ; but as it 
is a sixteenth century picture, and has nothing to do with Bouts, 


the authority of the inscription is feeble. The Arras drawing has 
the better claim to preserve the lineaments of our artist. 

It is an interesting fact that St. Luke contents himself with 
making a silver-point drawing of the Virgin from the life. He will 
paint "his picture from the drawing. That was the general custom 
of fifteenth century portrait-painters. Sitters were busy folk and 
probably did not realize the necessity of giving an artist plenty of 
time. Thus Niccolo Albergati was, as we know, drawn with the 
silver-point by John van Eyck, for we possess the drawing with 
notes as to details of colour written on it. From that drawing 
the picture was painted. Such, also, was generally Holbein's 
method ; we happen to know that he only had one hour's sitting 
from Christina for the beautiful full-length picture in the National 
Gallery. Many of the Windsor Holbein drawings were authorities 
for the existing paintings done from them. By the sixteenth 
century, however, it is evident that some artists at least painted 
portraits direct from the model when they could. Massys and 
Mabuse must have done so, at least in some cases, unless existing 
paintings deceive me. Moreover, Colin de Coter, when he imitated 
this very Madonna by Roger, put brushes and palette into the 
hands of St. Luke and set up a panel on an easel before him, thus 
indicating a change in studio customs. 

Several small, finely finished paintings, accepted as Roger's 
by a previous generation of historians, were taken away from him 
and divided between two imagined followers by recent critics, 
who would have nothing to write about if they were not allowed 
to rob dead painters of their works and attribute them to artists 
of their own invention. Friedlander, with his usual sanity, 
gives them all back again, and shows that they are to be regarded 
as early works by our master. They are the following : 

A diptych of the Virgin and St. Catherine at Vienna. 
A seated Virgin in a niche, at Lord Northbrook's. 
A Visitation in the Speck von Sternburg Coll. (Lutzschena). 
Another framed as a diptych with a kneeling and much 

over-painted donor, in Turin Gallery. 
An Annunciation in the Louvre. 
Another at Antwerp. 



The St. Catherine in the Vienna diptych is closely connected 
with the St. Barbara in Campin's Werl diptych of 1438. The 
Louvre Annunciation l contains dinanderie and other details 
likewise to be found in the same panel. The hand of Christ in 
the Mary triptych (to be referred to presently) is identical with 
the Baptist's hand in the Werl wing. Here it certainly looks as 
though Campin was the borrower, but there may have been a 
yet earlier original by him which has been lost. The Visitations 
may both descend from Campin, for this composition was used by 
Daret about 1434 in the Arras picture, and the probability is evident 
that he took it with him from Campin's studio, and that Roger 
derived it from the same source. 8 Thus, in all these little pictures 
we find Roger manifesting the influence of his master, not slavishly 
but independently, taking what he needed and using it freely for 
his own purposes and altered according to his own design. 

In both the littJe Madonnas the Virgin, beautifully robed, is 
framed within a Gothic niche adorned with sculpture excellently 
designed and rendered. Of all the architectural sculpture found 
in fifteenth century pictures of the school, this is best. The 
grace of the little figures and groups is undeniable. The artist's 
touch, moreover, is charming. There is quality even in his tiny 
spots of light. The hands, the features, the pose, the grouping- 
all is full of art. Both the Visitations are deservedly admired. 
The head of St. Elizabeth in that at Turin so impressed a good 
Antwerp painter of some fifty years later that he copied it in 
an altar-piece at Maria-Ter-Heyde. Moreover, the buildings in 
the background were certainly sketched and freely repeated at 
home by the German painter to whom the St. Ulrich Church at 
Augsburg owes a well-known picture of the legend of its patron 
saint. The Antwerp and Louvre Annunciations fixed a type 
often followed by artists of the next generation, such as the painter 
of the well-known Sterzing altar-piece, who used to be identified 
with Hans Multscher. A fine drawing of the Virgin's head and 

1 The right hand of Gabriel should hold a sceptre, which must have been painted 
out. It appears in the copy of the Louvre picture, which was No. 217 in the Sedelmeyer 
sale of 1907. 

2 An early sixteenth century Bruges school copy of the same composition was No. 17 
in the Winter Exhibition of the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1905-6, lent by Mr. Henry 
Oppenheimer. Other repetitions are named by Winkler (p. 80). 


two of the head of the Child, all in the Print Room of the British 
Museum, are ascribed by Winkler to the painter of this group of 
pictures and may be comfortably passed on to Roger himself. 

Roger's early success as a painter of pathetic subjects led, we 
may suppose, to a demand for more of such pictures from him 
and his imitators. To his early period belong also the Vienna 
Crucifixion, that in the J. G. Johnson Collection, and the Pietas 
(by him or painted in his studio) which are in Lord Powis' collection 
and the Brussels and Berlin Galleries ; perhaps, also, another 
important triptych with a Descent from the Cross, known to us 
only from copies. The Vienna Crucifixion is one of his most 
distinguished works for excellence of composition, delicacy of 
handling, and refinement of feeling. It is the central panel of a 
small triptych with the Magdalen and St. Veronica on the wings. 
Little angels mourning as they flutter in the sky remind us of 
earlier bird-like spirits of the kind in the margins of such manu- 
scripts as the Hours of Turin, but Roger gave them a new vivacity 
and a deeper pathos. A wide, decorative landscape forms the back- 
ground, but it is not comparable to those of Hubert van Eyck. 
French-speaking artists of this century had no such feeling for 
and delight in landscape as was common to the Flemings and the 
Dutch. We must wait for the landscape backgrounds of Bouts 
to point the way which was to be followed by Massys, Patinir, 
and the rest, and was to lead on to the great Dutch landscape school 
of the seventeenth century. This Crucifixion of Roger's was often 
imitated, notably in three good school-pictures at Dresden, 
the Prado, and Don Pablo Bosch's Collection (Madrid), each in its 
turn claimed for an original by the Master. 1 They are, however, 
all imitations, made up with figures copied from this and the 
other identifiable original. The portraits of the donor and his 
wife on the Vienna panel show Roger at his best. She, indeed, 
has little charm of expression, but his face is illuminated with an 
ecstatic smile, which draws its origin from the mystics and indicates 

1 Another allied version is a triptych which passed through the hands of Messrs. 
Agnew, who kindly gave me a photograph of it (Gray, 28501). The principal group 
agrees with the Vienna original; a kneeling Mary replaces the donors. The Magdalen 
and St. Veronica appear reversed on the wings with an extra figure beside each. This 
picture and the National Gallery Christ taking leave of the Virgin (No. 1086), which Winkler 
attributes to a follower of Campin, may be by the same hand. 


the religious medium from which Roger received his inspiration. 
The lady is well dressed and well posed. The fashion of her 
costume enables us to fix as approximately contemporary the agree- 
able half-length likeness of another woman, now in the Museum 
at Berlin. Two other female portraits, one in the National Gallery 
and the other at Worlitz, are of later date. 

A lithograph reproduced in the Revue de VArt Chretien 
(1906, p. 297) is the only accessible representation of a picture 
of the Circumcision, which at that time was in private possession 
in Paris. The scene is laid in the church of Notre Dame at Dijon. 
From the fashion of the donors' costumes, the picture seems to 
be of about this date. Apparently it possesses elements which 
suggest the authorship of Campin or Roger. It is evidently an 
important picture, but the lithograph suffices only to quicken the 
desire to behold the original. 

An important votive picture by Roger in which the kneeling 
lady resembled the donoress in the Vienna Crucifixion was sketched 
in its place in the Convent of Batalha, Portugal, by the painter, 
D. A. de Sequeira, late in the eighteenth century. 1 It showed the 
enthroned Virgin between kneeling portraits of Duke Philip the 
Good, his son Charles, and the Duchess Isabella of Portugal. It 
must have been painted about 1448-9. Perhaps some day it may 
reappear. Here, again, the sketch reveals only the composition, 
not the quality of the work. 

Of the three Pietas, Lord Powis' is the best, but that at Brussels 
may likewise be by Roger ; the Berlin example is probably the 
work of an assistant. All three have the same central group 
of Christ and the Virgin, but differ in other figures. In compo- 
sition the Brussels example is best and unites all the actors by a 
common emotion, so that doubtless this represents Roger's original 
composition, the patching-in of donors and saints in the others 

1 This has been attributed to Campin, but the costume is of the same fashion as that 
worn by Margaret of York, so that the date must be too late for Campin. The Worlitz. 
lady's fashion is almost the same. 

2 See Comptes Rendus, Acad. d. Inscrip. (Paris), 1913, p. 717. A picture dated 1478 
at Chateau de Montmirey-la-Ville (Jura), painted by a Flemish artist, includes a portrait 
of Philip the Good, after the Madrid original referred to below, and portraits of Isabella 
of Portugal, the young Charles the Rash, and two deceased children, with saints. See 
Bull. Soc. antiq. de France, 1911, p. 155. 


being obviously prescribed. No other painting by our master 
shows an effect corresponding to that of the arch of yellow sky, 
naming through red and deepening into dark blue, which 
effectively enframes the figures. The Magdalen is tender and loving 
in her grief, far more attractive than that peculiar figure with 
the awkwardly, almost impossibly raised and disjointed arms, 
which appears on the great Madrid Descent, and was so often copied, 
even the Master himself repeating it. But this Magdalen is graceful, 
and with all her simplicity far more pathetic than the other. 
Peter Christus seems to have borrowed a suggestion from her for 
the Pieta painted in his last years. As for the lost Deposition, 
we know its composition from a drawing in the Louvre and a 
late copy at Naples, while Prof. Becker (Leipzig) owns a draw- 
ing copied from one of its wings. 1 Was the original necessarily 
by Roger ? Everyone seems to think it was ; but I have my 
doubts. Anyhow, it is lost, and no amount of argument will 
bring it into existence again. A Descent from the Cross at Munich 
(104) is thought to be a copy of another lost Roger, known also 
from other imitations. 

In The Hague Gallery is a Mourning over the Dead Christ, 
somewhat later in date and with more figures than the group 
just noticed. It was painted for Nicholas le Ruistre. Though 
often ascribed to a good pupil, Friedlander attributes it to Roger's 
own hand. 2 Nicodemus, if it be he, with his hand raised to his 
cap, is a richly dressed courtier, the donor a correspondingly 
worldly ecclesiastic with a face altogether devoid of emotion, in 
marked contrast to the sorrowing people he is supposed to be 

The Seven Sacraments altar-piece at Antwerp, rather earlier 
in date than The Hague picture, is linked to the preceding group 
by the Crucifixion in the foreground of the central panel. It 
may be noted in passing that a woman seated on the ground reading 
in a book bears strong resemblance to the fine fragment with a 
similar figure in the National Gallery, one of Roger's earliest 
works, in which he shows himself closely dependent on Robert 
Campin. A woman's head on the opposite wing should also 

1 Burlington Mag., January 1914. 

See Rev. Univ. des Arts, 1885, ii, p. 168, and Oud Holland, 1901, p. 141. 


be observed as apparently suggested by John van Eyck's portrait 
of his wife, which Roger must have seen and admired. The arms 
on this altar-piece are those of the Tournay Chapter and of Bisho] 
John Chavrot (1437-60), for whom it was probably painted about 
1446. The Crucifixion is emblematically introduced into the 
nave of a fine Gothic church, 1 where, at the altar against the choir- 
screen, a priest is elevating the Host. The symbolism is obvious. 
The other six sacraments are depicted in the side-chapels of the 
aisles on the two wings. The authorship of this attractive picture 
has been unduly questioned. It will be noted that an angel holding 
a scroll hovers over each side-chapel. These angels are of different 
colours. The angel of Baptism is white, of Marriage blue, of 
Ordination purple. The colours were not used at haphazard. 
They are emblematic. Thus, in the three-panel altar-piece oi 
Granada, dating from this period of Roger's career, we are shoi 
three incidents in the life of the Virgin : her joy over the new- 
born Babe, her sorrow at the foot of the Cross, her consolatioi 
when Christ appears to her after the Resurrection. In the first 
her robe is white, and the border embroidered with the won 
" My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." In the second hei 
robe is blood-red. In the third it is blue. In the similarly con- 
structed altar-piece of John the Baptist, the robe held by an angel 
for the newly baptized Christ to wear is purple, the colour of the 
angel of Ordination. 1 

Such symbolism is a mechanical affair, but it was very popular 
throughout the Middle Ages, while the use of definite liturgical 
colours for different times and seasons goes back to a remote 
antiquity. This kind of forced and artificial symbolism culminated 
about the twelfth century. A single citation will suffice to show 
how the mediaeval mind confused or delighted itself in such gym- 
nastic. Hugo de St. Victor,* writing a chapter on the vestment 

1 M. Lemaire thinks that it is Ste. Gudule's of Brussels as it appeared in mid- 
fifteenth century. 

2 In a fifteenth century book, entitled Kintscheyl Ihesu, the following emblematic 
colours are prescribed : for Purity, white ; for Perseverance, blue ; for Fear, grey J 
for Tribulation, black ; for Truth, gold ; for Love, red ; for Peace, green. Countless 
such mediaeval prescriptions might be cited. Thus, " Virgines siquidem in capite aliquam 
coronulam albam, Martyres rubeam, et Doctores virides gestabant." Jos. Angles' 
Flores Theol., p. 398. 

3 De Officiis Ecclesiasticis, chap. xlv. 


called the Amice, says, " Every detail is symbolical in Christian 
costume as in the old Law. In the sacred vestments their colour, 
their material, their position, bear reference to the four elements 
of the world, the two hemispheres of heaven, the signs of the 
Zodiac. They signify that all things are subject to Him whose 
place is taken by the priest within the vestments. The Church 
received the sacred vestments from the ancient Law. The humeral, 
which they called the ephod and we name the amice, covers the 
head, neck, and shoulders, and is attached by two strings to the 
chest. Thus it signifies the hope of eternity, in respect of which 
the Apostle tells us : 4 Put on the breastplate of righteousness.' 
We cover with the amice the head, which is the seat of all the senses, 
that we may serve God by the hope of good everlasting ; we sur- 
round with it the neck, through which the voice passes, so that we 
may place a guard upon it by the same hope, and that it may 
only resound to God's praise. We cover with it the shoulders, 
which bear burdens in order to learn to bear patiently the Saviour's 
yoke. We confine our bosom with the cords of the amice in 
order to repress unjust and futile thoughts." That kind of writing 
is a mere convention, which, once acquired, could be indefinitely 
applied. Anything could be made emblematic of any idea what- 
soever. Monkish readers of the Middle Age seem not to have been 
bored by whole treatises composed on these lines. For us Roger's 
pictures are neither better nor worse for embodying the last relics 
of this sort of symbolism, but in their day they may have been 
assisted to popularity by it. 

It has been claimed that our artist also supplied designs of 
the Seven Sacraments to the embroiderers of the splendid set of 
Burgundian vestments which the Swiss captured from Charles the 
Rash, and are now preserved in the Berne Museum. 1 Some draw- 
ings in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford ! and in the E. de Roth- 
schild Collection in Paris are obviously connected with these same 
embroideries. They may be sketches for the designs or made by 
some pupil from them. In any case, they are interesting examples 
of work done in Roger's studio, though hardly by the master himself. 

1 See complete set of reproductions in J. Stammler, Der Paramentenschatz . . . zu 
Bern, 1895. 

2 Published by the Vasari Soc., viii, 15-18 ; and Burlington Mag., Jan. 1914. 


Returning to the three-panel altar-pieces of Granada and Berlin, 
it should be observed that one panel of the former, long ago stolei 
out of the Chapel Royal there, passed through the Ossuna Collectioi 
and the hands of Messrs. Duveen into private possession. Thei 
is a well-known ancient copy or studio-replica of the whole at Berlii 
which came out of the Convent of Miraflores ; of the Berlin Johi 
the Baptist triptych a similarly good repetition on a smaller scale 
is at Frankfurt. It is possible that the Granada original was first 
at Miraflores, and that when it was taken away and given to 
the Chapel Royal the copy was substituted at the Abbey. At 
all events, we have record of the gift to Miraflores in 1445, but 
the work must have been done before 1438. The tradition that 
the original picture was presented by Pope Martin V to King 
John II can scarcely be true, because the Pope died in 1431, 
and Roger did not leave Campin till the following year. It 
must be admitted that the influence of Campin is strong in this 
picture, as Winkler points out, but the identity of Christ's right 
hand in the third panel with that of John the Baptist in Campin's 
Werl wing of 1438 is not due to imitation of Campin by Roger, 
but of Roger by Campin. Calling the two pictures, for brevity's 
sake, the Mary and John altar-pieces, it will be observed that 
the arrangement of both is similar, with a sculptured portal as a 
frame to each panel ; but there are noteworthy differences. Thus, 
there is an emblematically coloured angel with a scroll above 
each subject in the Mary altar, none in that of John. In the 
former the arches are round, in the latter pointed. The archi- 
tectural features of the background in the Mary altar are like those 
in Campin's pictures, not so in the John altar. As time went on, 
then, Roger freed himself from the Romanesque traditions which 
Hubert had introduced, perhaps under Rhenish influence, and 
gravitated away toward the forms of French Gothic. The intro- 
duction of many subsidiary incidents as commentary on the 
principal subjects is also a Gothic invention, which we saw in full 
use in the portals at Chartres. A beginner in mediaeval studies 
will find profit in identifying each group of sculpture in the vous- 
sures of the portals. Those above the Nativity, for instance, 
represent incidents connected with the birth and infancy of 
Christ, those above the apparition of Christ to His mother with 


post-Resurrection legends, the Resurrection itself occurring in 
the background. The subjects sculptured in the capitals must 
also be observed and the legends on the scrolls. All have been 
carefully planned. The decorative effect of the whole is what 
appeals to the modern eye, but the meaning had much to do 
with the pleasure of the spectator for whom Roger painted. 

All these pictures are marked by a notable quality of refinement. 
Roger's art is essentially refined. It thus contrasts with the 
art of the Van Eycks and of Campin. This is a bold statement, 
but it can be justified. There is refinement in Hubert's work, 
but it is a personal quality. Robert's is the refinement of a school. 
It is an inherited tradition. It is French ; not personal, but 
national. It is the same quality that we discover in the Parement 
de Narbonne or in the miniatures of Jacquemart. It is, in a 
sense, decadent ; that is to say, it is the outcome of a long-practised 
stereotyped style. The massive Gothic forms of the twelfth 
century gave place to a restrained monumental type in the 
thirteenth, and that, in the fourteenth, gradually exchanged 
strength for delicacy and force for grace. By the end of the 
fourteenth century, we may call the Gothic style decadent if we 
please, but it was obviously refined, and this refinement was 
carried to the highest level in the schools of Paris. It is this 
refinement that Roger inherited, and he was the first to combine 
it with important qualities that belonged to the new school. 
Bandol, Sluter and the sculptors, Campin, the Van Eycks these 
were the men in whom the new tendencies were vigorous, but 
refinement was not their forte. In fact, the movement they 
fashioned was a reaction against the decadent refinement of the 
late Gothic style. Their work is forceful, massive, veracious 
aggressively veracious at times. Roger combined as much of 
that veracity and force as he could assimilate with a large element 
of the old refinement, and thus fashioned a style exactly suited 
to the general taste of the people who counted in his day the 
people who had or controlled the expenditure of such money 
was available to pay for works of art. For creative ability, 
lassive intelligence, deep human insight, Roger is not comparable 
the Van Eycks. He was narrow beside them, but he was lucid, 
comprehensible, pleasing, and refined ; thus he attained a reputation 



and an influence much wider than that directly commanded by his 
greater contemporary. 

Roger's reputation spread far. Soon after leaving Camph 
he had settled at Brussels, had become town-painter, and had 
begun to lay the foundation of a local school. There was no 
important school of painting then at Bruges. It was at Brussels 
that the manufacture of popular pictures began under Roger's 
impulse. But before that school had attained importance, an 
event occurred in Roger's life to which we must now refer. It 
was his visit to Italy. When he left home and when he returned 
we do not exactly know, but Facius records that he was in Rome 
for the Jubilee of 1450. He also reports Roger to have said that 
what he most admired there was Gentile da Fabriano's work in 
the Lateran basilica. A well-known little Madonna with four 
saints at Frankfurt is a monument of this journey, and was 
probably painted at Florence. On a shield at the foot of it is a 
charming fleur-de-lys, obviously Florentine, perhaps suggested 
by that most beautiful of all such formal flowers which is sculptured 
and inlaid into the famous Campanile. Cosmas and Damian are 
two of the attendant saints ; the others are Peter and John the 
Baptist patrons respectively of Cosimo de' Medici and his sons 
Piero and Giovanni. Obviously, the picture must have been painted 
for some member of the House of Medici. It is difficult to discover 
in it any trace of Italian influence, except in the composition of 
the figures. The Virgin stands in the midst under a canopy, 
in form like that of a shower-bath, just such a canopy as is used 
in the late picture by Campin known to us from the Louvre drawing, 
but Roger uses two little angels to hold up the curtains, as 
angels are often employed by Italian artists. Otherwise, the 
picture is wholly Netherlandish. An imitation of it by some 
unidentified follower is in the Cook Collection at Richmond, 
the background and saints being different and an angel holding 
the crown over the Virgin's head. An unusual Holy Family, 
which was in the Crespi Collection at Milan (phot. Anderson), 
may have been painted by the same pupil. In it the Virgin is 
seated in the open air before a hilly and rather Italian landscape. 
The Child, lying on her lap, leans forward and embraces a full- 
sized cross maintained in an upright position by a flying angel. 


A donor, presented by St. Paul, kneels before her. Both these 
works are school-pictures of good quality. 

An Entombment in the Uffizi, by Roger himself, may have 
been painted in Italy or immediately after his return home. In 
composition it differs from the type current in the Netherlands, 
the figure of Christ being seen from in front instead of sideways. 
Was there, perchance, any connexion between the Entombment 
in the National Gallery, by some attributed to Michelangelo, and 
this, either direct or through some earlier example influencing 
both ? The head of Nicodemus (the central figure) seems to be 
a portrait of Roger himself ; at all events, it is very like the Arras 
drawing thus inscribed. Crowe and Cavalcaselle thought that 
this picture might be identical with the central panel of a triptych 
which Cyriacus of Ancona saw in 1449 at Lionello d'Este's at 
Ferrara, and they were probably right. If not painted at Ferrara, 
it must have been done after a visit of Roger to that court, because 
there was a portrait of Lionello on one of the wings. 1 By great 
good luck another portrait of that prince by Roger has come down 
to us, fully authenticated, with arms and motto on the back. 
It is a strange example of the direct impression of a peculiar and 
most individual personality expressed in latest Gothic terms. 
The spirit of flamboyant tracery is in his fingers and his nose ! 
Every long line that his appearance can yield is selected, and 
yet the man himself is there not subtly studied as by John van 
Eyck, but tastefully seen and refinedly portrayed in a manner 
as different as possible from that of contemporary Florentine 
painters. This cannot have been the wing of the picture recorded 
by Cyriacus. Otherwise the triptych would have been of the same 
form as that once buried in the almost inaccessible collection 
of Lady Theodora Guest, but now visible to all the world in 
the Louvre. That was probably a memorial painting set up soon 
after the death in 1452 of Jehan Bracque of Tournay. His daughter 

1 From Lionello's accounts, we learn that arrangements were made on December 31, 
1450, for Roger to be paid for it at Bruges. So he was probably at home again by that 
date. The kneeling Magdalen in the foreground was copied into a picture now in Brussels 
Gallery which was in the Church of Notre Dame at Bruges. It was the altar-piece 
of the Guild of the Drie Sanctinnen and was painted before 1489 by the Bruges artist 
nicknamed "the Master of the St. Lucia Legend." This rather militates against the 
idea that Roger's original was painted in Italy. 



(ob. 1499) bequeathed it to her grandson, and there are later 
mentions of it. 1 The figures depicted are all half-lengths : Christ 
between the Virgin and St. John the Evangelist in the centre, 
SS. John Baptist and Magdalen on the wings, a wide sweep of 
landscape uniting them all. The most delightful part of this 
composition is the wing-panel with the Magdalen. She is charming. 
If England has had the bad luck to lose her, we may congratulate 
ourselves on still possessing, in the Print Room of the British Museum, 
Roger's own original silver-point study for her a work of finest 
quality. Such original drawings are excessively rare. Only one is 
known by John van Eyck, the silver-point life sketch of Albergati. 
By Roger we have this and one or two more for example, the 
delicately outlined and modelled head of a Virgin in the Louvre, 
which Winkler identified. It is fortunate that the British Museum 
likewise possesses, from the Salting Collection, another fine drawing 
of this same Magdalen. Anyone might have been forgiven had 
he mistaken it for an original ; but when the two drawings are 
placed side by side, the one drawn by the master for the picture, 
the other copied by a first-rate follower from it, the difference is 
obvious. A copy by the same hand of another Virgin and a 
third in the Bonnat Collection at Bayonne may be mentioned. 
All are of fine quality, but not on a level with Roger's own work. 
Roger's Italian experiences and observations made little direct 
impression on his art, but he seems to have left a good reputation 
behind him. This is proved by two interesting letters, which have 
been published by Malaguzzi Valeri. 8 The first, dated December 26, 
1460, is from the Duke of Milan to the Duke of Burgundy, 
recommending his painter Zanetto Bugatto, who was going to 
the Duke of Burgundy's dominions to study under a certain great 
painter, named, perhaps by accidental error, William. The second, 
dated May 7, 1463, is from the Duchess of Milan to Roger, thanking 
him for the liberality with which he has revealed to her painter 
the secrets of his art ; that is to say, of the Flemish method of apply- 
ing colours. When this correspondence was published, critk 
not unnaturally remembered a certain troublesomely problematic 
triptych in the Brussels Gallery, painted in the style of Roger 

1 See Gaz. d. Beaux-Arts, Oct. 1913. 

2 In Pittori Lombardi del Quattrocento, Milan, 1902. 


and containing in the foreground, below the Crucifixion, the portraits 
of Francesco Maria Sforza, his wife Bianca Visconti, and their 
son Galeazzo Maria Sforza. 1 Their ages indicate about 1460-2 
as the date of the painting. The work, not wholly, at any rate, 
by Roger himself, might well have been painted in his studio ; 
why not, then, by Bugatto ? A fatal objection appears to be 
the utter absence of any Italian element in it whatever. It is 
hard to believe that a formed Italian artist could thus rapidly 
have abandoned all his home traditions and taken on the style 
of Roger, unless, indeed, we are to postulate that every detail 
was drawn on the panel by the Brussels master and the painting 
done by Bugatto with colours mixed for him. Even thus, we 
should expect some Lombard element to peep through. The wings 
are by another hand and will be referred to hereafter. Bugatto 
died in 1476. He is often mentioned as official portraitist or 
painter in the Milanese account books. It is difficult to believe 
that the existence of this triptych was in no way connected with 
Bugatto's visit to Roger, even though he had no hand in the work. 8 
Princely patrons were not the only Italians to remember 
Roger with respect. Facius and Cyriacus both mention him honour- 
ably. Antonio Filarete praises him. Giovanni Santi celebrated 
him in verse. He was remembered by Guicciardini. When 
he was at home again and the last and most influential period of 
his career began, he was the recognized head of the Netherlands 
schools ; his works were known in Spain and Italy by the best 
connoisseurs ; his studio was sought by students from the Rhine 
and other parts of Germany ; and it is evident that the best painters 
of France looked up to him and probably regarded him as the head 
of their school. The Master E.S. and after him Martin Schongauer, 
the two most popular engravers in the Rhine schools, fell under 
his influence and spread it abroad. His compositions were copied 
or imitated by painters all over Germany, and it was to him more 
than to any other single artist that the widespread reputation 

1 J. Mesnil in Onze Kunst, 1908 and 1909, suggests that the triptych may have been 
painted for Alessandro Sforza, Francesco's brother. 

2 On the type of pictures with which the name of Zanetto Bugatto may most naturally 
be associated compare Malaguzzi Valeri, in Rassegna d'Arte, 1911, pp. 193 sqq., and 1912, 
p. 48. 


of " the great artists of the Netherlands " in the last half of the 
fifteenth century was due. 

When Chancellor Rolin wanted a great altar-piece for the 
Hospital he founded in 1442-3 at_Beaune, Roger was obviously 
the man to supply it. There are reasons for thinking that it 
must have been finished before the Italian journey, though I have 
seen it asserted that the order was not given until 1451. The 
style of Roger is visible through all its many panels, but not 
everywhere his hand. The main subject, stretching across from 
panel to panel when the doors are open, is the Last Judgment. 
It is not dramatically impressive. The finest figure is that of 
white-robed St. Michael standing in the midst, weighing souls, 
with trumpeting angels fluttering about a vision that withdraws 
the eye from the unimpressive Christ above. The Virgin is like- 
wise a beautiful figure, but the subject was not suited to Roger's 
genius and the parts are better than the whole. The fussy and 
meaningless gesticulation of so many hands gets on one's nerves. 1 

Treasurer Bladelin, founder of__Middelburg, followed the 
example of the Chancellor, and ordered from Roger a triptych 
for the altar of his own new church. He had the luck to obtah 
the painter's masterpiece in this kind. Here are no sculptura 
arches, no multiplicity of commenting details, but, for the centra 
panel, a simple, dignified, spacious, and delightful representation 
of the Nativity, with a very beautiful Virgin, some charming 
angels, and the best that could be done with the kneeling donor, 
whose head makes amends for his legs. Netherlandish and m 
German painters were content to repeat this type for the treatmenl 

1 Pope Eugenius gave authority for the dedication of the Hospital to St. Anthony. 
Pope Nicholas (1447-55) permitted the dedication to be changed to St. John Baptist 
It is Anthony who appears on the outside of the wings, which would scarcely have beer 
painted till the important parts of the picture were finished. The Pope alongside of the 
Duke within is generally called Eugenius I know not on what authority. It woulc 
seem, therefore, that the picture was at least far advanced, if not finished, by 1447. 
Winkler is wrong in stating that both saints appear on the outsides of the wings. The 
do not. 

2 Two other great altar-pieces in France were likewise in their turns attributed to 
Roger : the retable of Ambierle Abbey (Loire), dated 1466 (i.e. two years after Roger's 
death), and the Crucifixion retable of the Parlement of Paris, of about 1475, now in tl 
Louvre. Both show the continuing influence of our artist upon the best painters of 


of the Nativity which Roger thus fixed, but it was a pity that he 
did not choose a more attractive model for the Babe. The altar- 
piece for St. Columba's at Cologne must have been painted about 
the same time (say, c. 1455-9). A similar street-view is in the 
background of both. The subjects selected were the Adoration of 
the Magi with the Annunciation and Presentation for the wings. 
Numerous imitations show how well their treatment pleased the 
taste of the day. The magnificently clothed and proudly up- 
standing figure of the Moorish King (who used to be miscalled a 
portrait of Charles the Rash 1 ), the hooded Virgin, and the turbaned 
girl behind her with the basket of doves these are the figures 
upon which a modern eye will rest with pleasure. The forms 
of religious art are preserved and even popularized, but all inspira- 
tion is gone ; yet as a decorative background to an altar these 
panels must have been effective. 

A mere mention of the retable painted for John Robert, Abbot 
of Cambrai, will suffice. It is now in the Prado. It was ordered 
in 1455 and finished within four years, but the work was mainly, 
if not wholly, done by assistants, and the design harks back to 
the old-fashioned type of the John and Mary triptychs. 

Whether Roger was stimulated to greater activity in portrait- 
painting by his visit to Italy, or whether a growing reputation 
led to his being more frequently employed by sitters, certain it 
is that the bulk, if not all, of his existing men's portraits, except 
Lionello's, date from the years following his return from the South. 
The Berlin likeness of Charles the Rash, as Count of Charolais, 
approximates most closely in treatment to that of Lionello. Un- 
fortunately, the face does not illuminate his character as history 
reveals it. One would call him lethargic, sensual, and stupid, 
evidently the son of his father, but lacking his father's brains. 
The Philip de Croy (Antwerp) and the Knight of the Golden Fleece 
(Brussels), holding an arrow as prize-winner in some archery con- 
test, are of maturer quality, both distinguished works. If they 
lack the close impartial analysis of John van Eyck, they replace 

1 The tradition that portraits of Philip the Good and his son appeared on this picture 
may have arisen from a confusion with another picture on which they, as well as Isabella 
of Portugal, were portrayed in adoration before the Virgin and Child. It was dated 1449 
and was last heard of in Spain (Rev. ArcheoL, 1914, p. 101). See above, p. 136. 


it by a perception of refinement which was foreign to the sym- 
pathies of the greater artist. Philip de Croy's panel must have 
belonged to a diptych or triptych, and the same is true of the 
Lusent Froimont at Venice (recently returned to Belgium) and 
the much damaged Jean de Gros, which was in the Kann 

A man's portrait of finest quality which turned up in the far 
west of the Dominion of Canada and was for sale in London in 
1916 (about 8 in. by 6 in.) depicts a middle-aged courtier of very 
refined expression, with hair cut low above the eyebrows, and 
hands joined in attitude of prayer ; it also was probably the half 
of a small diptych. The face is in three-quarters to the left, the 
expression attentive and alert. This is the type of portrait in 
which Memling most approximates to Roger. It was probably 
painted about the time when he was working in Roger's studio. 1 
Equally fine in their way are the Duke Philip at Madrid and the 
head in the Kaufmann Collection. 

As for Philip Philip the (anything but) Good in the Madrid 
portrait, he stands revealed for all time, the crafty sensualist with 
the faun ears. Able and selfish he looks, and I suppose he was, 
but liksvise a gentleman who had learned and could practise an 
art of living ana appearing. This portrait exists in numerous 
copies, but less in number than those of another type, in which 
he wears a black turban-shaped hat a chapperon bourellee, of a 
form fashionable in his day. 8 The original of this type is not known. 
Winkler attributes it to Roger. It has also been ascribed to 
John van Eyck, but none of the copies suggest the intervention 

1 The picture is in all material parts excellently preserved. There is a small flaw 
under the jaw and the background has been repainted. The remainder is untouched. 
It is now (1921), I believe, in the collection of Mr. Dreicer, of New York. 

2 This Burgundian fashion of head-covering was adopted in Italy, where the parts 
of it were named as follows : There was first a ring-shaped frame of wire or other light 
material. It was called a mazzocchio, and Paolo Uccello played with it as a complicated 
figure to draw in perspective. The mazzocchio was covered with a piece of stuff, the 
broad end of which stuck out and was called a foggia. At the opposite side of the head 
a long piece of stuff was attached. It could be used as a scarf and could be taken off 
and left at home in fine weather. This piece was called a becchelto. The whole was in 
Italian a capuccio, in German a Sendelmutze. The mazzocchio was popular for men. 
Women wore another sort of turban-frame called in Italy a balzo ; there is an example 
of it on the head of Ilaria del Caretto. See Jahrb. Pr. Kss. 1915, p. 13. 


of his matchless insight, though that may be the fault of the 
copyists. The version now in Bruges Gallery had for pendant 
a portrait of Michelle de France, the wife he married in 1409, 
but she died in 1422, and Philip's portrait must be later. Those 
who attribute the original to Peter Christus have most chances on 
their side. It should, however, be remembered that portraits 
of the Duke by other artists are recorded : one done in 1436 by 
Michel Estelin, of Cambrai, another of about the same date by 
Hue de Boulogne and Jean de Maisoncelle ; as neither painters 
nor pictures are known it behoves us to be careful in attributing 
portraits of doubtful style to other artists. The maturest and 
most searching of all Roger's portraits was in the Kaufmann 
Collection ; it is of a good man, much chastened by life, who has 
attained experience and wisdom by suffering. He will endure 
unto the end in what he judges right. A valuable counsellor he 
might be, trustworthy and not deceitful. The suggestion that 
he may have been the Treasurer Bladelin of the Middelburg altar- 
piece is not accepted. 

At Antwerp is a fine portrait of a Man with a Dart, which 
has often been attributed to Roger or called a copy of a lost original 
by him. It seems to be the work of some Tournay painter or a 
Frenchman, but may here find brief mention. It needed a good 
artist to endow this person with so obvious a dignity. A grim 
man, if ever there was one, a forceful fighter, hard, domineering, 
unsympathetic, meaning to be master of his fate. The painter 
did well to show him to the waist. The broad treatment of the 
costume and the set of the figure are in keeping with the pose 
of the head and expression of the face. 

To sum up, Roger, as a portrait-painter, was the leading artist 
of his generation. If he lacked the massive intelligence and 
penetrating insight of John van Eyck, he possessed the power 
of endowing his subjects with distinction. Everyone knows how 
Van Dyck learned in Genoa and taught in England how well- 
bred people should look. Roger, to a less degree, performed a 
similar function for Knights of the Golden Fleece. Civilization 
was a young plant in the Netherlands in the days of Duke Philip. 
The big men were still, like Elizabethan statesmen, little more 
than well- clad and well-fed artisans, sometimes of genius. They 



knew how to dress and how to build. Roger showed some of 
them how they ought to look. He gave them distinction. 

We have noted in the case of three of Roger's portraits that 
they appear to have formed part of diptychs. The other half 
of each would probably have been a half-length Virgin and Child. 
Where are these pictures ? and did he not paint others ? The 
type of full-length standing Madonna was employed by Campin, 
as in the Flemalle wing, and Roger used it in his Florentine 
picture. It is probable that he made other full-lengths that have 
been lost to us. One such seems to have been imitated about 1511 
by Goswin van der Weyden, the Antwerp painter of the memorial 
of the Donation of Calmpthout, now at Berlin. We may possess 
a fragment of a full-length seated Madonna, like the Virgin with 
St. Luke, in the admirable picture, now in the Huntingdon Col- 
lection, New York, which I so well remember when it belonged to 
my late worthy friend Mr. Henry Willett, one of the most skilful 
and fortunate collectors of his time. 

Critics find much entertainment in the reconstruction of lost 
originals, for which the repeated copyings and imitations that 
went forward in Netherlands studios provide plentiful material. 
It has been suggested that Roger, when in Italy, noted the growing 
popularity of the sculptured half-length Madonna bas-reliefs, 
then so commonly made by the best artists of Florence, and that 
on his return home he set the fashion of similar paintings, which 
had a rapid success and were so eagerly called for that his followers 
were soon busily employed in turning them out. Two such half- 
length Virgins claim to be originals : one is in the Berlin Museum, 
the other was in the Matthys Collection (Brussels), both of 
about 1460. They are reversed repetitions of one another with 
some variations, and the type was frequently imitated. Both 
are themselves variations of the upper part of the Virgin with 
St. Luke. So frequent is the repetition of this type, especially 
in the Bruges studios about the year 1500, as to lead to the 
assumption that an important original may have existed in some 
church at Bruges. I feel far from certain that the guess is correct. 
Pattern cartoons or drawings of great finish such as those above 
described seem to have been common studio properties in those 
days, and they could supply material for repetition as efficiently 


p. 124. 

2. P. CHRISTUS. ST. ELOY (1449). 
COLL. LEHMANN. p. 109. 

HUNTINGDON. p. 150. 

COLL. DREICER. p. 148. 

[To face page 150. 


as the originals themselves. Campin's original of the Virgin 
with the music-making angels probably went to Spain. His 
Marriage of the Virgin almost certainly went there. Yet both 
were .repeated in the Netherlands again and again in whole or 
in detail. Moreover, we know that something in the nature of 
annual art-congresses of painters recurred in the Netherlands 
toward the end of the fifteenth century, at which much may have 
been done in the way of exchange of designs. Whatever the means, 
the fact is that, henceforward for several decades and with increasing 
frequency, the designs, first of Roger and presently of some of his 
followers and their contemporaries, began to be used as patterns 
to be repeated either exactly or with more or less freedom by 
painters of the school, engravers and miniaturists following suit. 
-It is hard to accept the hypothesis that a famous original of each 
of Roger's Madonna types existed in a prominent position in 
some Bruges or Brussels church where other painters could copy 
or imitate it, and that every one of these pictures should chance 
to have been destroyed while so many other pictures by him 
have survived. Is it not more likely that these repetitions of 
types are an example of the way the guild system and the taste 
of patrons operated upon the artists of that district and day ? 
When a patron ordered a Madonna may he not have chosen the 
type from patterns in the artist's possession ? Patterns do not 
necessarily imply an original picture, but only an original design. 
I remember Mr. Weale telling me that he had read contracts in 
which a painter was thus tied down. From the time when the 
making of pictures became a common industry in the Netherlands 
and painters were rapidly increasing in numbers, the practice of 
copying and imitating flourished. Originality was not asked 
for by patrons nor stimulated by the guild system and its educa- 
tional organization. When a pupil had worked, like Daret, for 
a dozen years under a single master, always living in his house, 
it required an unusually strong nature to emerge with much 
originality left. What the guild system successfully produced was 
sound and workmanlike execution of typical designs. No one 
wanted originality. There were no crowded annual exhibitions ! 

The Virgin of St. Luke, as already stated, became common 
in the half-length form, the best existing example being in the 


Fogg Museum at Cambridge, Mass. Another type of Virgin and 
Child which was even more frequently repeated far down into 
the sixteenth century shows the Child standing on His Mother's 
knee and reaching up to kiss her. Winkler would attribute the 
original to Roger, and gives a long list of copies. 1 Reinach suggests 
that the composition may go back to Van Eyck. Early examples 
are the Homes memorial picture at Berlin (590 A), a picture that 
was in the Cernuschi sale (Paris, 1900, No. 144), another in the 
Carvalho Collection (Paris, phot. Giraudon, 1008), and a drawing at 
Dresden. Other often repeated Madonna-types thought to have 
been fixed by Roger are the Virgin with a Flower and Winkler's 
Virgin holding the Child with both hands ; 2 and they are not all. 
I am tempted to add to these recreations of Winkler another 
lost Roger Madonna the Madonna with the Sleeping Child. 
There must have existed a particularly venerated picture of this 
type. It is represented by two existing paintings on silk or lawn 
of about the year 1500. One from the Mercier Collection at Niort 
was shown in the French Primitives' Exhibition of 1904 (No. 357) ; 
the other appeared in the Warren sale at New York (1903). The 
background was old rose-colour diapered with crimson, the Child's 
robe of gold shaded with red, the Virgin's blue with red sleeves 
and a blue cloak edged with gold. These pictures do not make 
us think of Roger. They represent an earlier type which he, in 
turn, imitated. All the existing versions date from the beginning 
of the sixteenth century. There are several from the workshop 
of the Brussels Master of the Magdalen Legend, others by Joos 
van Cleve and his assistants, and by the Parrot Master. Th( 
best of these is an excellent version by Joos van Cleve, which w* 
in the Odiot sale (No. 6, Paris, 1889). It is scarcely possible to deni 
that he painted it with a version by Roger before him. The Virgin's 
head is an obvious copy after a Roger original and is almost identical 
(in reverse) with the head of the beautiful Louvre drawing (Giraudon, 
418). In another version, likewise by Joos van Cleve, the Virgin's 

1 An example was in the Grimaldi sale (1899, No. 279), and I have had for upws 
of thirty years a photograph of another which was imported into Long Island, U.S.A. 
early in the nineteenth century and is, doubtless, still in a private collection in New Yorl 

s Examples of this type are in the Winthrop Collection (New York) by the Ursula Master, 
others at Brussels and Amsterdam, and in the M. van Gelder Collection (Uccle), also 
miniature in a MS. (No. 1857) in the Vienna Library. See Winkler's Flemalle, p. 71. 


head has been entirely altered, and she has been made to smile 
or, rather, to grin. This picture is in the Fitzwilliam Museum 
at Cambridge. Another version of the same school was in the 
Pablo Bosch Collection, but the head is again changed. A small 
half-length Madonna, of which a photograph was kindly given to 
me by Messrs. Dowdeswell, who owned the early sixteenth- 
century original, also shows an evident dependence upon Roger, 
but in this the Child has opened His eyes. The Roger tradition is 
less obvious in the Magdalen Master's examples, but discoverable 
in that in The Hague Collection. It is significant that the type 
should have been popular in Brussels. The Parrot Master's 
version is directly dependent upon Joos van Cleve's type. 

Roger happened to come at the moment when circumstances 
and the taste and growing wealth of a considerable number of 
individuals involved and imposed the development of a certain 
kind of painting. The day that called for it provided also the 
guild system and determined the character and quality of its 
output. It was the chance of the time of his coming that raised 
Roger to so high a position. He could not have broken the way 
into a new world of art as the Van Eycks did. His was not a 
creative or exploratory mind. But he could do excellent work 
along a made route, improving, co-operating, continuing. He 
was an admirable craftsman with a true sense of style, well suited 
to be master at the head of a growing school, solidly founded on 
tradition, and conservatively maintained. It was the goodness 
of the work of the Netherlanders, its uniform high quality, its 
sound methods, its careful finish, its religious docility, that made 
its products so highly valued even in Italy. Roger fitted exactly 
into that frame. When he died on June 16, 1464, he left behind 
him plenty of well-trained followers to hand on to the next genera- 
tion the efficient instrument of art-production which he had helped 
to fashion. The Municipal Council gave a pension to his widow, 
but they appointed no painter in his place, having many years 
before decided that he should have no successor. One wonders why. 

A very good pupil and follower of Roger was the painter of 
a well-known and delightful picture in the National Gallery 
(No. 783), which is certainly one of the most entertaining works of 
the Netherlands schools : I refer to the Exhumation of St. Hubert, 


the eighth century Bishop of Liege. For thirty years or more 
I have had among my photographs an etched copy of a drawing 
of this same composition which was in the Weigel Collection. 
I am told that it has lately been published as the design for our 
painting. It is, however, only a sixteenth century copy of it 
by a skilful sketcher who noted down in French the principal 
colours. The picture shows us the episcopally robed body of the 
Saint, raised from his grave in front of the high altar of an 
unidentified church, amid a crowded group of onlookers, many 
of them evidently portrayed from the life. There is a chdsse 
upon the altar intended, no doubt, to receive the relics of the 
Saint, which it is far too small to hold, if the body had been as 
complete as the painter makes it. It was the proper thing to relate 
that a Saint's body was found intact and fresh, and so the painter 
had thus to depict it. The chdsse depicted is a well-designed 
fifteenth century example and probably actually existed. 1 The 
retable seems of earlier date. Over the altar is the statue of 
St. Peter, to whom the church may have been dedicated. Among 
the onlookers is an emperor in a robe embroidered with the lilies 
of France. He is bald-headed. Can he be intended to represent 
Charles the Bald ? We are reminded of the well-known and 
approximately contemporary painting of the Mass of St. Giles 
by a different artist. Like this, it shows a legendary event taking 
place in fifteenth century surroundings in the choir of a church, 
which we are fortunately able to identify as that of the Abbey 
of St. Denis. There, as here, the neighbourhood of the altar 
can be enclosed by curtains running on rods carried by four metal 
columns surmounted by figures of angels. Such columns are the 
last surviving trace of the great stone ciboria by which in earlier 
days altars were wont to be covered, as we may see at St. Ambrose's 
Church in Milan and elsewhere. At the head and foot of St. 
Hubert's grave is a mitred ecclesiastic. The one at the foot, 
swinging a censer, has been thought to resemble the art-loving 
William Fillastre, Abbot of St. Bertin's at St. Omer (1450-73] 
and Bishop of Toul, whose likeness is known to us from picture 

1 A ch&sse made for the Chapel of St. Sebastian at Nuremberg and still to be seen in 
that city comes nearest in type to the chasse in the picture, but is of rather later date. 
See Becker and von Hefner-Alteneck, ii, pi. xliv. 

TYCH (1459-62). BRUSSELS. p. 145. 


(1451). p. 155. ST. HUBERT. NATIONAL GALLERY. p. 1515. 

[To face page 154. 


and manuscripts attributed to Simon Marmion. I am afraid 
the similarity is only superficial. Curiously enough, the picture 
must have been seen and remembered by Albert Ouwater, who 
borrowed ideas from it away off at Haarlem. Whoever the 
painter may have been he was an admirable draughtsman and comes 
in several respects very close to Roger. The finely clad youth 
on the right would not have thus appeared had not Roger previously 
painted that splendid upstanding Moorish king in the Cologne 
Magi. We can still trace the Campin tradition in the grouping of 
the onlookers and the way the faces peep in between one another. 
There is a delightful variety of character and expression. Alto- 
gether, one can stand before the picture long and often with 
entertainment and pleasure such as more pretentious and famous 
works fail to provide. 

The same artist painted a Marriage of the Virgin (in Antwerp 
Cathedral) which possesses many of the merits of the St. Hubert, 
though in a less degree. Reminiscences of Campin are there 
also discoverable. Winkler has acceptably attributed to him an 
important drawing, in the British Museum, of a religious pro- 
cession bearing the Viaticum. Churchmen in front are carrying 
banners and singing. They have just emerged from the gate 
of a town, through which their lay followers are still coming. 
A portion of the drawing has, unfortunately, been cut out. It 
is claimed that the copy of Roger's Descent from the Cross, which 
was in the Edelheer Chapel of the recently burned church of 
St. Peter at Louvain, was also made by this artist. That picture 
is dated 1443. The ascription to him of a female portrait of fine 
quality in the Heseltine Collection is less confidently asserted. 
It certainly bears considerable resemblance to two heads in the 
company present at the Exhumation. Let us hope that this 
painter's name may yet be discovered. He was an artist of no 
little merit. 

A pair of wings of fine quality and bearing the date 1451 were 
for sale at the Spanish Gallery in London about 1908. On the 
outsides was an Annunciation painted against a red background 
sewn with stars. The insides showed the donor and his wife with 
their patron-saints, but instead of the saints presenting their 
proteges, some chief event in the saint's legend is depicted on 


each. Thus, behind the donor, is the Crucifixion of St. Peter, 
with an elaborate landscape background. In that, and in the 
landscape on the other wing, jutting rocks are introduced which 
seem prophetic of the forms later delighted in by artists of the 
Patinir School. The group of onlookers about the Emperor 
includes models and employs poses that bear more than a slight 
resemblance to those presently characteristic of the Dutch School, 
but the donor's portrait is in the style formulated by Roger, and 
the painter was evidently one of his pupils. The same observation 
applies to the portrait of the lady, who recalls no one so much as 
the donoress on the Vienna Crucifixion. An angel in the back- 
ground is more like Bouts than Roger. The name of the lady's 
saint remains a mystery, though several incidents in his career 
are depicted. Thus, far away in the background, he is seen beside 
the bed of a man with an angel kneeling on the floor. Then he 
is just outside the building with two camels which men are loading. 
Next he is talking to another religious within the doorway of a 
church, and perhaps the lonely individual deep in thought leaning 
against a rock is he also. Finally, he is kneeling in the foreground 
while the angel holds his two camels a little way behind. Some- 
body may be able to fill in the gaps of the story, but it will make 
no difference to our appreciation of a very charming picture, 
which does not depend for its beauty upon any " meaning." A 
curious coat-of-arms bearing only a large sword and a key was 
not interpreted by Mr. Weale, who called attention to the picture. 1 
It may be provisionally ascribed to some unidentified Dutch pupil 
of Roger, an artist of singular promise, perhaps known to us by 
later work in a more independent style. 

In conclusion, we may briefly mention a pair of panels, called 
the diptych of Philip Hinckaert, castellan of Tervueren, who died 
in 1460. The pictures, or one of them, may have been set up 
as his memorial. Both, at any rate, are by a single painter. 1 
The Crucifixion is a rude and painful work introducing figures 

1 Rev. de VArt chret., 1905, p. 361. Sword and key are the emblems of St. Paul 
and St. Peter, or of the civil and ecclesiastical powers. They can hardly be the bearings 
of a layman's shield. A rather similar coat-of-arms is sculptured in the Lady Chapel 
at Winchester Cathedral. It bears a sword crossed with a pair of keys. 

2 Now in the Crews Collection. Bruges Exhibition (1902), No. 31. 


taken directly from Roger, but the landscape behind them 
contains some delightful passages and shows that the painter was 
modern enough to find more delight in depicting nature than in 
repeating traditional designs. The other panel with its interesting 
portrait of the knight and its uninteresting Virgin and Saint 
confirms this judgment, but the embroidered tabard and the 
flourishes and generally decorative treatment of the coats-of-arms 
and other devices prove the painter to have retained a good deal 
of mediaeval love for Gothic decoration, though he patches it about 
in a casual way, and has lost understanding of the structural unity 
by which such decoration needed to be held together. 

Note to p. 143. Evidence against the identification of the Uffizi Entombment with 
part of the triptych seen by Cyriacus has been adduced by Dr. Warburg, who thinks 
that he has found mention of the former in the inventory of the Villa Careggi in 1492. 
The existing portrait of Lionello, which belonged to Sir Edgar Speyer, is now at New 
York in the collection of Mr. M. Friedsam. 




AT some date before 1440, Roger was ordered to paint that three- 
panel Mary altar-piece discussed in the previous chapter. The 
order was probably given on behalf of John II, King of 
Castile (1406-54), for whom also the similar John altar-piece may 
likewise have been painted. Not much later two other altar-pieces 
were ordered with which we must now deal. One is the large 
triptych with life-size figures in the Chapel Royal at Granada, 
the Descent from the Cross being the middle subject, the Crucifixion 
and Resurrection on the wings ; the other, in the Prado, is a 
well-known little triptych with the Annunciation, Visitation, 
Nativity, and Epiphany in separate compartments, which was for 
a long time wrongly ascribed to Peter Christus. It is the earliest 
example of the four-panel type of triptych the usual large central 
panel being divided into two equal in size to one another and to 
the wing panels which is common in the Brabantine, especially 
in the Brussels School down to the end of the first quarter of the 
sixteenth century. 1 In all the above four pictures the subjects are 
framed within arches like portals, with carefully designed sculptured 
groups in the voussures. All were probably painted for export 
to Spain, while of three there exist contemporary copies or studio 
replicas. Two of these four pictures are by Roger, the other two 
by someone else. The similarities of design common to them 
were, no doubt, due to the commands of the patron who himself, 
or by some ecclesiastic in whom he had confidence, prescribed 
the details. 

The Granada triptych has not been photographed as a whole, 
but there exists an excellent contemporary copy or, perhaps, 

1 The detached group of six little panels at Strasbourg attributed to Memling likewise 
formed a small four-panel triptych, the remaining pair belonging to the outsides of the 



replica of it on a smaller scale, which is kept in the house of the 
Rector of the Collegio del Patriarca at Valencia, and this has been 
well reproduced. 1 The originals of both the Mary three-panel 
altar-piece and the Descent triptych reached the Chapel Royal, 
Granada, from the same donor, and came from the inheritance 
of the daughter of King John II. A direct connexion in design 
between these two pictures is rendered obvious by a moment's 
inspection. The three arches of the one and the central arch of 
the other are round, and their sculptures are similarly arranged. 
The spandrels have triangular decorations. There can be no doubt 
of the relation, nor that the Mary altar-piece set the type. That, 
as we know, was painted by Roger van der Weyden. Who was 
the painter of the other and of the four-panel triptych ? The 
reply can scarcely be longer doubtful : he was Dirk Bouts. Let 
us pause a moment to define the limits of our considerable ignorance 
concerning this man. 

That he was born at Haarlem is certain, and the date of his 
birth was probably the year 1400. Molanus, indeed, says that he 
died on the 6th of May, 1400, aged 75, but the 1400 is an obvious 
misprint or mis writing for 1475, the year in which we know him 
to have died. The truth of this statement about his age is con- 
firmed by the portrait of himself which he introduced into the 
background of the Last Supper, painted between 1464 and 1468. 
That is the likeness of a man nearer 70 than 60 years of age. His 
parents must have been decent people, because they owned a silver 
goblet which he inherited from them ; and they lived in a good 
house where Dirk was born. Van Mander, nearly two hundred 
years later, could point to it as still standing. It had an old- 
fashioned gable-end decorated with medallions in relief. Did 
Bouts think of them when he painted the circular medallions in 
the spandrels of the wings of the Granada triptych ? 

In 1447 he married at Lou vain Catherine van der Brugghen 
of that city, member of a family nicknamed Mettengelde (as who 
should say " the golden ") ; thirteen years later, when her parents 
were dead, she inherited a big house in Louvain and other property, 
so that Bouts married well. They had two sons, Dirk and Albert, 
and two daughters, who were nuns. Both sons were painters. 

1 Gaz. d. Beaux-Arts., Oct. 1908. 


Dirk died young, but Albert has left us a number of second-rate 
pictures at which we may glance later on. In 1473, two years 
before his death, Bouts married a second wife, who likewise was 
well-to-do. He left her the bulk of his property, but asked to 
be buried beside his first wife, from which we may conclude what 
we please. 

The question naturally arises, where did Bouts learn his art ? 
He came to Louvain probably about 1440, when he was already 
middle-aged. His pictures contain a strong element which is 
peculiar to them and to the pictures of his followers, but is not 
Flemish or Brabantine. That he gained much from contact 
with Roger is obvious, but he did not derive the stem of his art 
from him. The Roger element was a graft. We can find analogies 
between the style of Bouts and that of Ouwater, Geertgen, and 
other Dutch painters, but what they possess in common was not 
derived from Roger. The great Dutch originator was Bouts. 
It is true that John van Eyck was employed by John of Bavaria, 
Count of Holland, to decorate his palace at The Hague, and that 
he worked there for about two years from October, 1422 ; thus 
it is tempting to think that Bouts may have worked there under 
him, or that Van Eyck may have laid the foundations of a Dutch 
school of painting in which Bouts grew up, but we have no evidence 
that such was the case. Dr. Vogelsang 1 has brought together 
examples of miniature paintings made in Holland at this period, 
but none of them show the least influence of the Van Eyck school 
nor any likeness to the personal style of Bouts. The vaulted 
roof of the Church of St. Walburga at Zutphen is adorned with 
a painted decoration dating from the first half of the fifteenth 
century.* These are not the earliest paintings in the church, 
for some on the walls must be of the fourteenth century, and a 
Virgin and Child with a mounted knight tilting below her, may 
even be of late thirteenth century date, good and spirited work. 
The vault paintings are the best preserved. They consist of a 

1 Hollandische Miniaturen, Strassburg, 1899. 

2 Reproductions in G. van Kalcken, Peintures Ecclesiastiques du moyen-age, Eglise 
Ste. Walburge de Zutphen, Haarlem, 1914. The later group of fifteenth century vault 
paintings are reproduced on plates 9-12 and 41-6. Plates 25, 26, 29,30, 36-9 may 
depict works mainly of the fourteenth century, but the pictures are so badly damaged 
that little can be gathered from the reproductions. 


decorative enrichment of the groining, with fanciful and elaborate 
flourishes about the intersections, and vignettes in the spandrels. 
The latter are either half-lengths of the Virgin, Sibyls, pagan 
Prophets, and Evangelists, or incidents in the Christian legend. 
The' half-lengths emerge from formal clouds or flowers, and are 
delightfully and variously invented. The costumes are fan- 
tastical, yet indicate plainly enough a date in the first half of 
the century. The treatment is like that of an enlarged miniature. 
In order that the pictures might be effective at a distance, as 
they are, the figures were strongly and carefully outlined and 
comparatively lightly shaded. The painter of the Sibyls of Zutphen 
must be reckoned a praiseworthy artist, but it is hard to discover 
in his work the marks of a definite local style. Not from him 
nor from any other artist did Bouts derive the elements of his 
style. That seems to have been his own creation. He, there- 
fore, and no other is to be regarded as the founder of the Dutch 
School, for which so brilliant a future was in store. 

An ambitious young Dutch painter, feeling his way at any time 
between the years 1420 and 1440, would naturally be drawn toward 
the provinces of the South Netherlands. After 1432 the active 
and prosperous studio of Roger van der Weyden at Brussels 
would be the attractive centre. Thither, apparently, Dirk Bouts 
went, not as an apprentice, but as an " improver." He and 
Roger were about of an age, but Roger had had more advantages. 
The simplest hypothesis to explain all the known circumstances 
assumes that Bouts became Roger's assistant not many years 
after Roger had left Campin, that he remained with him for a 
while, and that he then set up as an independent painter at 
Brussels for a longer or shorter period before moving on to settle 
at Louvain. 

The elements of the style which Bouts brought with him 
from Haarlem can be most clearly distinguished in what is, perhaps, 
his earliest extant painting the four-panel triptych at Madrid. 
Friedlander has now definitely ascribed it to Bouts, and I am 
glad to have his confirmation of an opinion I had already formed. 
Various details connect it with the Granada Descent, the most 
obvious being the treatment of the voussure-sculptures and the 
roundels in the spandrels. Compare those above the Madrid 


Annunciation with those above the Granada Descent. There 
is no corresponding relation to Roger's sculptured groups in the 
Mary and John three-panel altar-pieces. A similar relation 
holds between the carved canopies and the Prophets in both. 
The most striking divergence is in the melon-shaped heads of the 
women, an awkwardness of type Bouts had shaken off when he 
came to paint the second picture. It is evident that both were 
painted in the immediate entourage of Roger, for the Madrid 
Visitation is identical in design with that which we have seen Roger 
twice and Daret once employing, having themselves probably 
inherited it from Campin. The building and the garden in the 
Liitzschena example recur textually in the background at Madrid. 

That Bouts continued to learn much from Roger is proved 
by the Granada triptych. The Virgin fainting at the foot of the 
Cross on the Crucifixion wing, the other Virgin and St. John 
by the Descent, the Magdalen wringing her hands, the flying angels, 
all come from Roger. The whole composition of the Resurrection 
wing is borrowed from a group in the background of one of 
the panels of his Mary altar-piece. The Descent is related both 
to Campin and to Roger, but to Campin probably through Roger. 
On the other hand, nothing could be more emphatically Dutch 
than some of the figures and types ; for instance, the man in profile 
standing at the foot of the Crucifixion. The landscape also is pure 
Bouts. He was far superior as a landscape painter to Roger 
and all other of his contemporaries and predecessors, except 
Hubert van Eyck. The four-panel triptych shows his landscape 
style already developed. He must have brought that with him 
from Haarlem. 

With this picture we cannot but group the well-known and 
very puzzling Entombment, painted in tempera on linen, which 
is in the National Gallery. It has been attributed to Roger, to 
Bouts, and finally to some other nameless master. A glance 
shows that one of the weeping Maries, who is wiping her eye with 
part of her white headdress, appears both in the Entombment 
and on the Crucifixion wing, though with a change of gesture. 
Here the landscape is again pure Bouts, and a very beautiful 
landscape it is. On the other hand, Bouts at no period of his 
career could have designed such a group as this. He was always 


a poor designer of groups of figures. He merely patches them 
together within the area of his picture with a childish simplicity 
that makes one smile. Even by the last years of his life he had 
attained little skill in this direction. But the Entombment 
is one of the best composed pictures in the whole range of fifteenth 
century Netherlands paintings. The designer must have been 
Roger if the painter was Bouts. Roger's, too, are several of 
the types of head ; those, for instance, of the two laymen and 
that of the Virgin. Bouts' Christ-type also differed from this. 
Paintings in tempera on linen appear to have been made in con- 
siderable numbers in the Netherlands. Tournay was a centre 
of their manufacture, but had no monopoly. Hugo van der Goes 
painted many such. They were largely exported to Italy. They 
served as a cheaper substitute for tapestry, and rooms were hung 
with them. In the nature of things few have survived. The 
National Gallery example is one of the best existing. If the 
small, jewel-like panel pictures of the school preserve a certain 
sense of spaciousness and are seldom finical, it may be because 
painters were practised in working on a bolder scale in the other 

These three pictures, then, I attribute to the beginning of 
Bouts' career in Brabant, and guess them to have been painted 
in Roger's workshop in the late thirties or perhaps the early forties. 
With them I would group the Annunciation at Petrograd and the 
Pieta in the Louvre, of which latter there is a copy at Frankfurt. 
The Magdalen wears one of those white headdresses which are 
characteristic of the painter's early period. The composition, 
though not exactly borrowed from Roger, was at least suggested 
by the same Mary altar-piece to which Bouts was already so 
deeply indebted. 

A Crucifixion in the K. F. Museum (Berlin) belongs to 
this early period of Bouts' career. It is important because all 
along the horizon of it there rise the towers and gates of Brussels, 
making it probable that the picture was painted there. We can 
identify the tower of the Hotel de Ville, the belfry of the Church 
of St. Nicholas, and the great Porte de Hal. 

Two or three portraits may be placed in this early group. We 
may name the bust of a well-to-do citizen which is in the Warneck 


Collection, 1 and another which, from the Oppenheim Collection, 
has passed into the New York Museum. The latter is half of a 
diptych, the man portrayed being about 45 years of age, approxi- 
mately Bouts' contemporary. It has been called a self-portrait, 
but doubtfully. A pair of portraits on one panel, for sale in 
London in 1908, were attributed to our artist by a writer in the 
Monatshefte. If they were by him they must have been painted 
early in his career. 

By 1447, whatever direct relation there may have been between 
Bouts and Roger had ceased, and Bouts was well and independently 
started at Louvain, where the building of the beautiful town- 
hall was just beginning. Roger did a good deal of work for, and 
even at, Louvain, of which city he had the freedom, but Brussels 
must always have been his headquarters. The canny Bouts 
(for he evidently was canny look at his two well-to-do wives) 
the canny Bouts, I say, was obviously wise to settle down away 
from the very centre of his contemporary's activity. Artists are 
not given to over- valuing one another's merits. It is probable 
that Bouts thought himself he certainly was, in some important 
respects the artistic superior of Roger. Roger could design 
better compositions, but Bouts could beat him at painting. There 
is a solid excellence about Bouts' work, a rich brilliancy of effect, 
a naive, informal charm, owing nothing to guilds and schools 
and borrowings, which Roger could not rival. These merits may 
not have impressed the people of that day as they impress us. 
Clearly, Roger was the popular artist the man to whom rich 
patrons would go first. Bouts had nothing of the courtly 
about his art, nor, to judge by the face of him, about his person. 
He looks of the burghers burgherish middle-class double-distilled. 
So he left Brussels, if that was where he first went, and settled 
at Louvain, and thereout, in process of time, " sucked he no small 
advantage." That he prospered is as evident as his nose on his 
face. Of course, he made money and, equally of course, he saved 
it. Perhaps he had " the fault of the Dutch " an admirable 
person none the less. 

Paul Heiland, earnestly striving in the year 1902 to obtain 
his doctor's degree, constructed a useful thesis on Bouts. In it 

1 Golden Fleece Exhibition, Bruges (1907), p. 80 in the memorial illustrated volume. 


he tried to recreate the design of a great lost polyptych by our 
artist, which should have been in some Cologne church, where 
numerous German artists cribbed from it. Two of its inner 
wing panels were the Munich Betrayal and the Nuremberg Resur- 
rection. The hypothesis did not " catch on," and most people 
are content to accept those two as the whole of the interior faces 
of the wings of a lost Crucifixion, the outside faces being the 
grisaille St. Johns at Munich and Worlitz. Whether the picture 
was at Cologne or elsewhere, certain it is that these two panels 
find many an echo in German art. After Roger, Bouts was the 
Netherlands painter whose influence is most evident in Germany, 
and especially in the Cologne School of those days. If we were 
writing the history of German art this matter would here demand 
an attention which, as it is, we are not called to render. 

We may suppose ourselves now to have accompanied Bouts 
past the year 1450 ; we are approaching the days of his artistic 
maturity. Of the two panels under consideration, the Nuremberg 
Resurrection repeats the composition used on the Granada trip- 
tych with necessary changes involved by the different shape of 
the panel. The Munich Betrayal is more original and has positive 
merits of importance. The throng of folk is, of course, poorly 
composed, with too little room for the bodies under the heads, 
but the variety of facial types and expressions is remarkable, 
and so is the rendering of moonlight in the background and of 
torchlight on the distant group before the door of Annas. This 
appreciation of light links Bouts with the Van Eycks, especially 
with John, and is the germ of that later development out of which 
Rembrandt was to arise. It is all very rudimentary here, but 
Bouts knew quite well what he was aiming at. He had posed 
the problem which his Dutch followers, Geertgen and Gerard 
David, were to tackle in their turn and successive generations 
after them. 

The grisaille saints, once framed as the backs of these panels, 
were obviously turned over to an assistant, who must have been 
trained under Campin. The careful Heiland points out that the 
shadows cast by these stone- coloured figures have a distinctly 
>utlined penumbra, though his optical explanation of it is incorrect, 
>ut then he was not asking for a degree in mathematics ! Having 


noted this fact, he proceeded penumbra-hunting through all 
the pictures of the school, and lo ! only with Campin did he fin 
penumbras of this kind. All other painters shade off the edge 
of their shadows or leave them sharp. It is a neat observation, 
but leads to no very useful conclusion. If Bouts had used 
penumbras himself we must have concluded that Campin had 
taught him too, but these grisailles are not by the hand of Bouts. 

When our artist painted Lord Penrhyn's picture of St. Luke 
drawing the Virgin's portrait, he must have been at least 50 years 
of age, if, as seems almost certain, St. Luke is the painter's own 
portrait. This picture is not a repetition of Roger's composition, 
though it is obviously a reminiscence of it. Here, also, St. Luke 
makes his drawing in silver-point. His easel and painting things 
are away off in his studio, as we can see through the open door. 
The Virgin is far from beautiful and the Child decidedly bandy- 
legged and awkward of gesture, but the picture is admirably 
painted, and the landscape framed in the round-arched arcading 
is a real joy. A half-length Madonna in the Antwerp Gallery 
(No. 28) has the same bandy-legged baby on the lap of a more 
attractive mother, but here again it is the clothes and the trees 
and the colour of the whole that we admire, by no means th 

The following half-length Virgins are also attributed to Bou 
by Friedlander : 

National Gallery (Salting Collection), No. 2575. 

Berlin K.F.M., No. 727. 

A picture in the Davis Collection, Newport, R.L 

A replica in the Carrand Collection, Bargello, Florence. 

Frankfurt, Stadelinst., No. 108A (Pourtales Sale, 1865). 

A picture belonging to Count F. Pourtales, reproduced 

on p. 9 of the illustrated volume on the Berlin 

Loan Exhibition of 1898. 

The last of these pictures is similar to the Antwerp example in 
style and obviously by the same painter. The Berlin and Salting 
Madonnas are likewise generally accepted as by Bouts ; the former 
is obviously suggested by Roger's Virgin with St. Luke, but is a 
less close imitation than the general run of school repetitions 



of that type. Bouts was never a slavish follower of a master. 
The Davis Madonna is superior to the copy at Florence, which 
cannot be an original. It has been attributed to Hugo van der Goes 
or to an unknown artist, but though it presents some disquieting 
features it comes nearer to Bouts than to any other named painter. 
The Child puts up His face to kiss His Mother and passes His arm 
round her neck. The gesture is borrowed from that type of 
Virgin and Child which Winkler refers back to a lost original 
by Roger. A beautiful half-length in the J. G. Johnson Collection 
(No. 341) by a follower of Roger almost repeats the same com- 
position, though there the Virgin does the kissing. So does a 
picture attributed to Memling in the Wernher Collection (London), 
while in a Gerard David belonging to M. Martin le Roy (Paris) the 
Davis type is almost repeated as far as the heads are concerned. 
Two drawings in the Boymans Museum at Rotterdam show female 
heads with the same peculiar form of nose which characterizes 
the Davis Virgin. As for the Madonna at Frankfurt, it is hard 
to think that Bouts had anything to do with it. The full and 
suave forms of her features, the character of the drapery every- 
thing points to a pupil of Roger in very close sympathy with that 
master. The picture has also been attributed to Memling, but it 
is no nearer to him than to Bouts. It is a work of the school of 
Roger and may have been painted in his studio. But for the 
Child no one would have thought of Bouts in connexion with it. 

The National Gallery likewise possesses a full-length Virgin 
enthroned between St. Peter and St. Paul. The Saints rest their 
hands on the arms of the throne, Peter holding a book for the 
Virgin to read from, Paul offering a flower to the Child. An 
enthroned Virgin with angels standing thus beside the throne 
is an ancient Byzantine subject, revived in Italy by Duccio and 
Cimabue. It is evident that the type was known and imitated 
in the Netherlands in the days of Bouts. He himself must have 
painted such a picture, for in the Von Lanna Collection at Prague 
was a drawing of two angels copied from it. They are 
in the positions assumed by Peter and Paul. Clearly the type 
with angels was the original and this with the two saints a later 
variation of it. In the Castellaci Collection at Ragusa is a Madonna, 
wrongly attributed to Memling, which repeats Bouts' type with 



the angels, and there is another by a Bouts' follower, slightb 
more divergent, in the Chapel Royal at Granada. 1 Here, then, 
at last, we have a successful design by Bouts one that his con- 
temporaries and followers were glad to repeat. He did not oftei 
attain that kind of popular success. 

Moses and the Burning Bush, brilliantly painted on a picture- 
wing, which I well remember in the possession of the late Henry 
Willett, found a worthy home in the collection of my late friend 
Mr. J. G. Johnson, of Philadelphia. The missing pendant must 
have shown Gideon and his fleece, for Albert Bouts imitated the 
pair at a later date. The picture does not owe its charm to th< 
drawing of the figures, which are mercifully hidden from v 
within their ample draperies. Yet there is something delightfi 
about them, too Moses painted twice over, once quite literally 
pulling off his boots and seated on the ground to accomplish that 
unromantic operation in the most matter-of-fact fashion. The 
bush flames unconvincingly. Never was a painter more liter* 
than Bouts. There is the bush, and there are the flames. What 
more can you want ? But the delicately drawn flowers, the detail 
of rock and sheep and distant slopes, the placing of them, and 
the true sense of beauty with which they are handled, delight the 
eye, by a witchery all the painter's own. 

A pair of panels of equal dimensions, one in the Louvre, th< 
other at Lille, seem to belong together, as wings of a lost centre- 
piece. One wing depicts Paradise, the other Hell ; obviously 
a Last Judgment must have been between them. It is tempting 
to identify the altar-piece with a Last Judgment which Bouts 
was ordered to paint by the municipal authorities of Louvain foi 
the Salle des fichevins in the town-hall. The order was given on 
May 12, 1468, and the picture delivered in 1472. Unfortunately, 
we know that the height of that panel was six feet, whereas these 
wings are only 115 cm. high, or less than four feet. Moreover, 
though we might readily enough assign the Hell wing to as late 
date as 1470, it is difficult to carry the Heaven so far down. In- 
deed, this problem still remains : the two panels do not appeal 
to be contemporaneous. In the Hell the nudes are admirably 
drawn and the faces more passionately expressive than in any 

1 Reinach, Repertoire, i, 182, gives the outline of a repetition of this. 


other work by Bouts, but in the Heaven the drawing of the lightly 
clad figures is poor, and four out of the five faces in the foreground 
are depicted in profile for no better reason than to save the trouble 
of foreshortenings. We might escape the difficulty by ascribing this 
wing to some assistant, were it not for the beauty of the landscape 
and the gorgeous splendour of the brocade, jewels, and wings 
of the angel who obligingly turns his back on us that we may 
the better marvel at his attire. They say at Lille that this wing 
came from the Abbey of Tongerloo, near Louvain, another reason 
for not identifying the altar-piece with that made for the Town 
Hall. It may be claimed that resemblances exist between the 
Hell and Roger's Beaune altar-piece, a figure at the extreme right 
of the latter, for instance, being paralleled by one in the former ; 
but the temper of the two works is different. It is hard to 
believe that the artist, who so stolidly depicted the martyrdom 
of St. Erasmus, a picture which Bouts supplied before 1464 to the 
Church of St. Peter at Louvain, can have thus dramatically conceived 
the tortures of the damned. Only the fine drawing of the nudes 
is common to the two works, yet the quality of surface is not 
the same ; the bodies in hell possess a lithe grace which seems 
inconsistent with Bouts' stolid ideal. Can it be that our artist 
was here helped by some very brilliant assistant whose identity 
has yet to be discovered ? 

Whoever painted this wonderful Hell was likewise responsible 
for the Martyrdom of St. Hippolytus in St. Saviour's at Bruges, 
in which the figure of the martyr might have been taken straight 
out of the Louvre Hell. Several critics have attempted to strike 
this painting out of the list of the works of Bouts, but they have 
failed to convince those authorities who are best worth convincing. 
Here, again, we have a larger proportion of profile faces than chance 
would have provided among eight people. The models, too, 
are of Bouts' well-recognised types. Hippolyte de Berthoz and 
Elizabeth de Keverswych his wife, the kneeling donors on the left 
wing, have obviously been painted in by another artist, and very 
beautifully painted too. He has had to change the colour of 
part of the pre-existing landscape to make it harmonize with the 
violet in the costume of the donors. This new painter was none 
other than Hugo van der Goes, whose strongly personal style 


is easy to recognize. We may account for his intervention in tw 
ways : either the picture was left unfinished when Bouts die 
or the donors living at Bruges could not conveniently sit to o 
artist at Louvain. The latter is the more probable hypothesis 
as the landscape was finished before the introduction of the portraits 

The Munich Magi triptych, painted for members of the Snor 
family of Malines, is best grouped with the two preceding pictures 
Doubts have been cast in its case also on the authorship of Bout: 
and it must stand or fall with the others. It is either Bouts a 
his best or by a nameless painter who had learnt from him and i 
some respects surpassed him. Whatever may be said of the 
middle panel, I find it difficult not to recognize the hand and still 
more the mind of Bouts in these two wings. Here the figures, 
for all their large dimensions, are subordinate to the wonderful 
landscapes. That behind St. Christopher, with the rippled water, 
the back-stretching river, the red orb of the setting sun, the atmo- 
spheric perspective, and the brilliantly dyed and illuminate 
heavens, marks a stage in the development of landscape paintin 
A generation later landscape and figure painters occasionally com 
bined their efforts to produce a single picture. I have sometime; 
wondered | whether Bouts may not have introduced the custom 
He was remembered as a landscape painter, the first man to 
so designated. May he not, in his late years, have become 
enamoured of landscape painting as to have devoted his chie 
efforts to that branch of art, and retained the services of an able 
assistant, trained by himself, to paint in the figures which he had 
designed ? 

From March, 1464, to February, 1468, Bouts was entire! 
occupied with his masterpiece, the Last Supper, ordered by the 
Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament established in St. Peter's 
Church at Louvain. As long as that picture was on hand he bound 
himself to paint nothing else, so that all other pictures painted by 
him must have been done before or after those dates. As he die 
in 1475, there were only seven years left to him after the Last Supp 
was delivered. In those seven years he painted the two lar 
panels for the Town Hall, as well as the lost Last Judgment ; 
we cannot, therefore, attribute to this latest period the whole of 
the preceding group. Yet, if, with Hulin, we put the St. Hippolytus 




to the very end of the master's career, the Hell and the Snoij 
triptych must go with that. Bouts could not have done so much 
work in the time. Either, therefore, these pictures are largely 
the work of an assistant, or they belong to the period before 1464. 
The former hypothesis seems to me the more probable. But who 
can the assistant have been, and what happened to him when 
Bouts died ? To these questions I can suggest no answer. 

The probable date of the Erasmus triptych is 1458. A modern 
inscription on the frame is probably some workman's blundered 
copy of an older one. He has painted the year thus : 
MCCCC4XVIII. If we like to read that 1468 we may do so, 
but the divergence in style between this picture and the Hippolytus 
makes it impossible to group them in the same period of one 
artist's activity. To 1462 belongs the best of Bouts' portraits, 
a half-length in the National Gallery, which bears a superficial 
resemblance to the painter himself, but certainly is not of him. 
It is an amiable likeness of an honest, middle-class individual, 
painted with no little skill, and specially admirable in the handling 
of light. It illuminates not only the face but the character. 
Marcantonio Michiel seems to have seen this picture in a house 
at Venice and mistaken it for the work of Roger, or perhaps it 
is the learned commentators on Michiel who are mistaken. 

There is much to be seen in, but little that we need stop to 
say about, the Last Supper altar-piece. Its wings were divided 
between Munich and Berlin, and only the central panel remained 
in the church to be rescued the other day from the flames of war. 
All five panels are now reunited in Belgium. Each individually 
has merit, but they were not designed with any relation (save 
of subject) to one another. There is no balance or rhythm uniting 
the compositions, and each gains by separation from the rest. 
The great central panel is pre-eminent. The figures are arranged 
with almost the formality of a drill-sergeant about a square table. 
Bouts himself, as the butler, stands beside the credence. Another 
portrait perhaps of the learned man who prescribed the subjects 
stands behind Christ, while two youths, who may be the artist's 
sons or assistants, are seen through the kitchen hatch. The room 
is airy, well-lit, spacious, and charmingly furnished, drawn in 
excellent perspective (the tiled floor and beam ceiling helping) 


a most delectable late Gothic chamber. As we examine the panel 
we receive a better sense of looking into an enclosed space of a 
certain depth than many early Northern pictures afford. There 
is little enough of sentiment expressed. The figures are of Bouts' 
well-known types, stolid, and, for all the gesturing of their hands, 
emotionless. Yet it is a delightful picture to look at so brightly 
coloured, so solidly painted, such careful work, visibly intended 
to endure, wrought to the edges with the same finish as in the 
middle : about as honest a piece of workmanship as the worl< 
holds. The strength and the limitations of the master are plainb 

With this picture we may leave the good man. What he after- 
wards painted was of less moment and tells us nothing fresh. There 
are the two panels at Brussels of the Justice, or rather Injustice, 
of Otto III, in which the same limitations are observable, and more 
evident because the figures are on a larger scale, but if the faces 
are lacking in expression they attain a higher level in the solid 
rendering of character than in any other of his works. There 
were to have been two more pictures of the series, but Bouts 
died before he could take them in hand, and Hugo van der Goes 
was called in to value his unfinished work. Friedlander points 
out that only the second picture was entirely finished ; considerable 
parts of the foreground figures of the other had to be completed 
by a less skilful hand after Bouts' death. One picture added 
in 1909 to the Berlin Gallery must have been among those Bouts 
left incomplete or that were on hand in his workshop. The land- 
scape and the figure of Christ walking by the Jordan were alone 
finished. Not Hugo himself but some follower of his painted ii 
the closely packed group of John the Baptist pointing out the 
Redeemer to his followers. It is not a great work. Indeed, if 
Bouts' handiwork in any part of it be admitted it may be held to 
show that he had already accomplished the best that he was capable 
of. His day was done, and there were others, several of them 
trained by himself, ready to take his place and carry on the 
traditions he had done much to strengthen and develop. 



A MORE emphatic contrast than that between the temperaments 
of Dirk Bouts and Hugo van der Goes could not easily be cited. 
The one canny, narrow, painstaking, industrious, slow, definite in 
aim and aiming only at what he could surely hit ; the other bold, 
fiery, uncertain, passionate, aiming at large, striving for more 
than he could accomplish, prolific, immensely able, and by nature 
an artist to the finger-tips. The work of Bouts has endured 
in wonderful condition ; that of Hugo has, for the most part, 
vanished. The lesser man still stands before us complete ; the 
greater is but a torso. 

The origin of Hugo and his shaping are unrecorded. From 
his name it has been guessed that his family, himself perhaps, 
may have come from Ter Goes in Zeeland ; but there is no occasion 
to go so far afield. We know of him as a man of Ghent only, and 
the name in his day was not uncommon in Flanders. As an artist 
he was Flemish. As for the genesis of his art we can only surmise. 
He is reputed to have been a pupil of John van Eyck, but as 
his birth-year can scarcely be carried back as far as 1430, that 
is practically out of the question. Such resemblances to and 
reminiscences of the Van Eycks as we find in his work are accounted 
for by the recorded fact that he was a great admirer of the Ghent 
altar-piece, which he had the opportunity of studying as often 
as he pleased. Was he, perhaps, a pupil of Roger ? The influence 
of that master upon him can be traced, but if Hugo had been his 
apprentice we should expect it to be more prominent. We can 
also observe in his pictures factors that remind us of Robert 
Campin. The National Gallery (658) contains an admirable little 
Death of the Virgin, which appears to stand about half-way 
between Campin and Hugo. There is a view out of a window into 

13 173 



a town-square, such as Campin loved to introduce into his back- 
grounds, and there are many other Campinesque features, but the 
rugged, peasant-like Apostles, their cramped attitudes, their 
expressions, the heavenly apparition over the Virgin's head these 
elements and many more suggest a close relation with the picture 
of the same subject painted by Hugo in his middle period. No 
question can arise as to the relative date of the two. The National 
Gallery version is the earlier by more than a decade. It was an 
admired picture, for two other versions of it have survived (Berlin 
K.F.M., 528s, and Prague, No. 501). I imagine the London 
example to be or to represent an early work by our artist. 

Hugo's style also occasionally manifests the influence of Bouts, 
but not strongly nor more than such knowledge of his work as 
we know him to have possessed would account for. The simplest 
hypothesis seems to be that he was born, brought up, and educated 
in Ghent, as, in fact, a contemporary entry in the Louvain archives 
expressly states ; l yet there are difficulties in the way of that 
solution. It is clear that he and Justus of Ghent came out of the 
same school, and Justus became a master in the Antwerp Guild 
in 1460. Guicciardini, a respectable authority, affiliates Hugo also 
to that city. Justus moved over to Ghent in 1464 and purchased 
the freedom of the guild there. Hugo did the same in 1467, and 
Justus was one of his sureties ; this does not confirm, though it 
does not necessarily refute, the hypothesis that Hugo was a Ghent 
man. Though he became a master in the Ghent guild in 1467, 
he was already living and working there in 1465, perhaps in the 
studio of Justus. Not being free of the local guild, he could not 
have been in business on his own account. It is all very con- 
fusing, and we can only look to the future to extricate us from 
this maze of uncertainties. They would not disturb us in the case 
of a lesser man, but Hugo van der Goes was a very great artist 
who ranks with the Van Eycks, Quentin Massys, and Peter Bruegel 
among the giants of the early Netherlands school. It is therefore 
important to understand the origins of his art. 

The prolific and independent period of Hugo's career lies 
between 1467 and the time when he went mad in 1481. The 
output of those fourteen years was large. He not only painted 

1 See Crowe & Cavalcaselle, chap. vi. 


the works which have come down to us, several of them on an 
unusually big scale for Netherlands pictures, but he made wall- 
paintings and decorative pictures in tempera on linen whereof 
the barest remnants survive. He was the only Flemish artist - 
whose imagination demanded that he should paint on a large 
scale. He would not have needed to split up the Ghent altar- 
piece into a dozen panels and eight several compositions ; he would 
have enjoyed covering the whole surface with a single subject. 
Could he have spread himself over the walls of Italy, his powers 
would have attained a fuller development. Under his circum- 
stances of place and day, even the large panels he was ultimately 
enabled to employ were at first denied to him, and he had to begin, 
like his fellows, painting little pictures. 

The reader must bear in mind that no two critics agree in 
arranging this artist's extant work in the same chronological 
order. 1 Even the three great pictures are transposed anew by 
almost every writer, and the Berlin critics who have two of them 
always under their eyes cannot agree which to place before the 
other. Moreover, the most trustworthy and experienced of them 
change their minds on the chronological question. Thus Dr. Fried- 
lander, whose competence everyone admits and whose conclusions 
are accepted in nine cases out of ten, counted the Liechtenstein ' 
Magi among the works of Hugo's early period in 1903, grouping 
it with the Vienna diptych, but in 1916 he emphatically states 
that he does not consider it early, and that it is separated from 
the Vienna diptych by a wide divergence of style. 

Everyone admits the immaturity of a small half-length Madonna 
at Frankfurt (No. Ill), in a carved heraldic frame with wings 
added by an inferior painter. 2 The hatched gold background 
was a Brabantine feature. The little work is full of promise and 
an unusual vigour, expressed in the detailed observation of the 
Virgin's hands and the activity and intelligence of the Child, 
but the group seems hemmed in rather than decorated by the 
frame. The Vienna diptych (283) with the Fall on one wing, 
the Deposition on the other, and St. Genevieve outside, shows 

1 See H. Sander in Repertorium, 1912, Heft vi. 

2 The portraits on them are of William van Overbeke and his wife, who were married 
in 1478. 


a rapid advance. Our ugly first parents with their underbred 
figures and awkward extremities are easily forgiven for the sake 
of the rest. Goes troubled little about formal beauty at this time, 
preferring details on which his incisive touch could fasten 
and outlines that were emphatic. The temptress, a kind of brilliant 
lizard with a woman's head, is the most attractive of the group, 
for all her devilry. An ensnarer of like type appears in a fifteen! 
century French manuscript in the British Museum (Add. 15248). 
Where did Hugo find an original for the elaborately drawn orange 
tree in front ? It is not copied from the Adoration of the Lam 
but may have been suggested by it. The flowers in the foregroun 
were studied from nature. In the Deposition he has allowed him 
self some dependence on Roger for types, but designed the whol 
freely and freshly. A common emotion links the figures togethe 
and dictates forms, gestures, and expressions, but they had 
be very carefully wrought out ; he was not yet able to fling 
his passionate figures forth from the white heat of his creativ 
imagination, but the promise of that exuberance is here apparen 
To the same early period I would ascribe two pictures mark 
by a symmetry of design which does not recur later on. The 
first is Lord Pembroke's Nativity, where the Child lies in sue 
a square stone manger as is common in Dutch pictures of th 
subject. The two peasants whose heads are prominent on th 
left are far from presenting that strong and sympathetic chara 
terization with which Hugo was to endow their fellows in lat 
works. A painful care in composition is here also evident an 
less prominently marks the Adoration of the Magi, known to 
by copies at Bath and in the collection of Senor de Osma at Madri 
(sold in 1919). All the foregoing are immature works. We ca: 
trace the artist's endeavours to find his way into a new world of 
art not opened by his predecessors. Till this stage was pass 
he had not reached his own country, but was working toward i 
I imagine that all these pictures may be assigned to a date befo 
1467. In that year he not only became a master-painter at Ghen 
but was employed as director of the decorations there for th 
accession-fete of Charles the Rash surely a position of unusu 
importance to be held by a newly graduated master unless h 
had reached maturity elsewhere. Possibly he took out his maste 


ship in the local guild in order that he might fulfil this function. 
He was similarly employed at Bruges, though as subordinate to 
Daniel de Rycke, to paint street decorations for the fetes of the 
marriage of the Duke to Margaret of York in 1468. Indeed, it 
was as a painter of decorative linen sheets that he seems to have 
come to the front and, perhaps, attained his first repute in Bruges. 
We have already referred to works of this character. Their large 
scale, the opportunity for bold design they would afford, the speed 
with which they must necessarily have been painted if they were 
to be cheap, these and the like conditions would have rendered the 
making of them a pleasant task for Hugo. In work of this kind 
and possibly in designs for tapestries l and glass windows the large 
style of his mature period took its origin. 

One picture exists done by him in tempera on linen. It 
belongs to a rather later period of his career, and so, perhaps, 
does a fragment at Christ Church, Oxford, bearing the heads of 
the Virgin and St. John, all maybe that remains of a famous Descent 
from the Cross, the design of which is generally attributed to him. 
The whole composition is preserved in a drawing and several 
painted copies, two in Bruges, two in Ghent, and others scattered 
over Europe as far away as Naples and Lisbon. Van Mander 
highly praises a window in St. James's Church, Ghent, containing 
the same subject from a design by Hugo. 

A large drawing at Christ Church, Oxford, is either a design 
for or a copy of a decorative painted linen by him. It relates 
an incident in the story of Jacob and Rachel. The somewhat 
stiff and formal lines of the composition would not be unsuitable 
either for a large wall-painting or for the decoration of a linen 
sheet. To a similar class belonged the overmantel painting which 
decorated a room in the house of James Weytens. Lucas de Heere 
wrote a sonnet in its honour, and Van Mander described it as existing 
in his day. That, however, was painted in oils. The original 
has disappeared, but copies exist, the best being in the Museum 

1 Tapestries of the Annunciation and the Magi in the Gobelins Museum at Paris are 
claimed as Brussels weavings from designs by Hugo, and with them Destree associates 
the Magi Antependium in the Cathedral Treasury at Sens, presented by Cardinal Charles 
de Bourbon. All three seem to me to have been designed by artists of the school of 
Roger, influenced to some degree by Goes. See J. Destree, Exposition d'Art ancien 
Bruxellois in the Jubile national de 1905. 


of Decorative Art at Brussels. The subject is the meeting of David 
and Abigail. It is recorded that one of the ladies in the picture 
was the daughter of the house to whom the painter was at that 
time paying his court. The background groups remind us of 
others in the Adoration of the Lamb, but the picture lacks the 
fairyland atmosphere of that work. It introduces us to a world 
of actuality and fine women splendidly attired. 

The precious little triptych in the Liechtenstein Collection 
which depicts the Adoration of the Magi composes the figures 
according to a new and obviously artificial formula. Everyone 
notices the pyramidal structure of the central group, but no one 
has yet discovered whence Hugo borrowed the scheme which was 
more commonly employed thus formally in Italy than in the North. 
Some influence from Bouts appears in the figure of the second king 
on the left, which might almost have been drawn by him. The 
peasants looking in through a window link themselves to those 
in Lord Pembroke's picture rather than to the notable originals 
that everyone remembers who has once beheld the Portinari 
altar-piece at Florence. We are, fortunately, able to indicate 
the date of this little triptych by the evident approximate contem- 
poraneity of the portrait on its right wing and that of the donor 
on one of the wings at Holy rood. The latter is probably rather 
the later of the two, but only by a little. Its date can be fixed 
with reasonable security. The Holyrood wings were the shutters 
of the altar-piece of the Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity 
at Edinburgh, and must have been painted no later than the year 
1472. Sir Edward Boncle, Provost of Trinity College, dedicated 
the altar-piece and doubtless ordered it when on a visit to his 
brother Alexander, who was one of the leading Scottish merchants 
settled in Bruges. Hugo was thus able to paint his portrait from 
life. He is kneeling in front of an organ which two angels an 
playing. This may represent the organ toward the cost of whic 
King James III in 1466 had contributed 10. Provost Bond 
is in the very same position and costume as the donor upon th 
wing of the Liechtenstein triptych, but the Scotsman's drape 
is a little better and more freely handled. On the insides of th 
wings are royal portraits James III protected by St. Andrew, 
the same model as St. Thomas in the Portinari picture, and a hea 

1. DIRK 15 

p. 159. 

p. 1G8. 

WILTON HOUSE. p. 176. 


[To face page 178. 


on the left of the Berlin Nativity ; behind him his brother Alexander, 
the heir apparent ; on the opposite wing Queen Margaret, daughter 
of Christian I of Denmark, protected by St. Canute. The saints 
and backgrounds were the work of Hugo, but the royal portraits 
of some less skilful artist who will have added them in Edinburgh. 
The fourth side of these wings bears the Trinity on " the Throne 
of Grace." The composition was obviously derived from the type 
set by Campin and frequently repeated by his followers. 1 The 
donor's panel is finest of the four and is a noble work, dignified 
in composition, and setting forth in monumental fashion the distin- 
guished presence of the strong and capable Provost. Hugo thought 
of Van Eyck's St. Cecilia when he was painting the angel at the 
organ, but he lifted her left hand from the keys and laid it on 
the donor's shoulder. A hymn to the Trinity is inscribed on the 
open pages of the music-book. Friedlander supposes that the 
young prince behind the king is his son, the future James IV, 
but he was only eight years old when Hugo went mad, and by no 
possibility can the wings be dated after 1478, at which time the 
boy was only six years old. But the kneeling prince can scarcely 
be less than sixteen and must, therefore, represent not the king's 
son, but his brother Alexander, Duke of Albany, who up to 1472 
was heir-presumptive. That, therefore, is the latest possible 
date for this painting. Indeed, when we remember that the 
royal portraits were obviously added in Scotland and were no 
part of Hugo's work, an interval of time amounting to a year 
may be added, and we may safely conclude that the panels left 
our artist's hands no later than 1471. The Liechtenstein triptych 
may be thrown back to 1470 as about its latest probable date. 

I make bold to introduce and group together as painted by 
our master about this time, that is to say, 1471-3, two pictures 
evidently of about the same date, whereof one is usually ascribed 
to the last year of Hugo's activity. Let us first dispose of the less 
important. It is a diptych, or, at least, a pair of companion 
pictures, painted in tempera on linen. The subject of one is a 
Descent from the Cross, of the other a group of mourners. The 
latter still exists in a damaged condition at Berlin. The former 

1 Examples may be cited in the Louvain Museum, the Hermitage, S. Alessandro 
at Bergamo, and on the Berne Museum vestments. 


is represented by a version at Altenburg, said to be a copy in 
tempera on linen, and by another copy on panel in the Bargello 
at Florence. Imitations of both were made at later dates, and the 
originals must have had a certain prestige, or the designs been 
kept as useful patterns in some Netherlands workshops. Tempera 
paintings of religious subjects on linen were commonly made for 
export, being light and easy to carry. 

The Deposition sheet is connected with the more important 
picture we next have to consider by the facial type and treatment 
of the head of a bearded man behind the dead Christ. The same 
head might have been employed unchanged for an Apostle in the 
other picture, which depicts the Death of the Virgin, a large painting 
on panel now in the town-gallery of Bruges, which Hugo painted 
for the Abbey of the Dunes. This has generally been considered 
the latest of his extant works, an assumption which has brought 
confusion into the deduced sequence of them. The reader should 
observe that Martin Schongauer in his engraving of the same 
subject shows knowledge of Hugo's composition, and that Schon- 
gauer's engraving was copied by Wenzel von Olmiitz in 1481. An 
interval of nearer ten years than two is likely to have separated 
the original painting from the engraving at second-hand. For 
these reasons I venture to place the Bruges Death of the Virgin 
about the year 1472 rather than 1479, where previous writers have 
located it. Hugo's vigour here found a completer expression 
than in any of his earlier works. He has passed out of the area 
of precedent and tradition and taken an independent standpoint 
of his own. The bed is not beheld sideways as in the National 
Gallery picture, but end-on; technical difficulties of drawing and 
foreshortening are thus increased, but triumphed over. The change 
brings the hovering Christ into a central position over the Virgin's 
head, but that heavenly vision adds nothing to the power of 
the imagined event. Hugo had to bring it in ; he did not introduce 
it by choice. It is evident that only the human beings in the 
room below were generated by a true creative force within him ; 
the others were constructed, not born. Every face and figure of 
an Apostle had lived in the artist's imagination before it appeared 
on his panel. Hence the vividness of their vitality. The figures 
fit together like old friends accustomed to one another's company. 


The affection that unites them is obvious. The spectator's 
sympathy goes out to them willingly. Just so we can believe 
such a group might have behaved and looked. If only the figure 
of Christ had been omitted we should be better pleased. Below 
all is fact and Hugo's realm ; above is fancy, and of that 
he had no gift. But the eye is held by the living people. It 
wanders satisfied and interested from face to face. We ask no 
questions and make no criticisms. All that is upon the earth 
is wholly credible in this picture, and it suffices. Hugo from the 
first had delighted in the study of hands and found in them as 
much character as in heads ; here he surpassed all his previous 
efforts and made the hands powerfully expressive. The general 
effect of the whole picture is one of force. The types are peasant- 
like and rugged with features lined and strained for mere delight 
in their ruggedness. The painter must have been passing through 
some stage of high exultation when he thus painted, thus conceived. 
The result is not great art, but it is the raw material out of which 
by the toil and discipline of life great art may presently arise. 
Regarded as an immature transitional work of a tempestuously 
developing artist, the picture finds a logical position at this 
moment of Hugo's career, but placed at the end of it would 
be incongruous. 

We thus, in the course of an orderly evolution, arrive at the 
first and best known of his great pictures the Portinari triptych, 
now in the Uffizi at Florence, whither in our own day it has been 
removed from that hospital of Santa Maria Nuova in which its 
donor placed it. It is one of the largest Flemish pictures extant. 
An artist of Hugo's fiery nature probably painted fast, but the 
method of the Van Eycks which he employed could not be rushed. 
So big a picture would fill the working hours of not less than three 
years. The apparent ages of the donor's children, whose birth- 
dates are known, enable us to estimate that the wings, which 
would be finished last, were painted about 1475. In that year 
Hugo laid down his office of dean of the painters' guild and retired 
into the Augustinian Roode-Clooster, near Brussels. We may 
guess that he delivered the altar-piece before taking that step. 
It is the only picture authentically recorded as his work, and by 
universal assent it is regarded as one of the finest products of 


Netherlands art. Probably no other artist of the school could 
have painted on so large a scale with success. The local method 
was to divide the area of a big picture into parts and make each 
a separate painting. Hugo's practice with decorative linens 
made it pleasurable to him to work on this life-size scale. The 
central panel contains the Nativity. The Virgin kneels before 
the new-born Babe, on whom the chief light falls, not from it 
proceeding as commonly but erroneously stated. Joseph, having 
kicked off his sandals, adores from a remoter position. Angels 
with richly coloured wings and robes kneel around or hover in 
the air like gathering birds. From one side the shepherds are just 
approaching, their faces full of wonder and delight. Portinari 
and his two boys on the left wing are under the protection of 
St. Anthony and St. Thomas. His wife and daughters with their 
patron saints, Magdalen and Margaret, occupy the other wing. 
The influence of Van Eyck may be traced, but little of Roger ; 
a small angel or two in the background alone recall him. 

Hugo was not by nature mystical or religious. His work seems 
to imply a love of good cheer and the joys of life. His youth 
is likely to have been stormy, his temperament too tempestuous 
for his will. Perhaps he fled into the convent for protection 
which he could not provide for himself. The realism of the work 
tells its own tale ; even John van Eyck and later Peter Bruegel 
were not at heart more realist than he. The heads in the picture 
are vigorous portraits. Portinari is displayed as a man of position 
and refinement. The boys, quelled into quietness for the moment, 
are potential of mischief. Equally well realized are the lady and 
her little girl. They and their saints are painted with a delicate 
and reverential hand. The Magdalen is, perhaps, the finest full- 
length figure of a woman drawn in the Netherlands in those days. 
Not here, however, was the painter's interest most keenly concen- 
trated, but in the shaggy male saints and the shepherds ; for thei 
he found acceptable models in the peasantry of the countryside. 
They live before us on this panel, no ideal Corydons, but the very 
men themselves, fresh from the fields and villages of the neighbour- 
hood. Their horny hands, rude features, and awkward gestures 
guarantee their genuineness. Obviously, they had not been sought 
for this one occasion. Hugo must have studied such folk long and 


often in their homes, and familiarized himself with their lives and 
ways by careful observation, as Peter Bruegel did three-quarters 
of a century later. The only mediaeval class that still survives 
in Europe is the agricultural labourer. Such as he still is in out-of- 
the-way places, such he always has been. The bent figures of 
these three have been shaped by their labour. Their faces have 
been hardened and sculptured by exposure, frost, and storm. 
The composition is not formal Hugo has passed beyond need 
of a formula it begins to be subtle. The aspect of haphazard 
is deceptive. The figures are placed and designed with skill in 
their relation to one another. All the component parts have 
been carefully studied and ably combined. The student will not 
fail to note the excellent painting of the flowers and their pots 
in the foreground. Such flower-painting was to be carried on by 
Hugo's successors at Ghent and Bruges, the Binninks and Horeii- 
bouts, and their assistant miniaturists. The whole picture is a 
comprehensive assemblage of facts, but of facts illumined by 
imagination. The world in which Hugo lived was not a dreamland, 
but out of its actualities he constructed waking dreams that seem 
as real as life itself. 

Perhaps just before Hugo's retirement from the world, he 

lay also have painted those two delicate portraits of Hippolyte 
de Berthoz and his wife which he added to the landscape already 
prepared for them by Bouts on one of the wings of the triptych 
painted by that artist. Bouts died in 1475 and Goes was employed 
to value his unfinished work. This may have been part of it, and 
Hugo may have then been invited to make good the deficiency. 

)n the other hand, if Bouts had ever intended to paint the portraits 
limself he would surely have begun with them, not with the 
landscape. The reader will remember what was written above 
ibout Bouts as a landscape painter. I suspect that this is another 
example of his late habit of confining his work mainly to landscapes 
ind confiding the figures to other hands. On this occasion Hugo, 
perhaps, dealt more freely with his share of the work than would 
have been permissible if Bouts had not died. As it was, he could 
do what he pleased, and he painted over a portion of the distance 
ind changed its tint to make it harmonize with the colours of 
the costumes in the foreground. The two portraits are painted 



with exceeding delicacy and are a further proof of the direction 
toward which Hugo's art was tending. He was passing out of 
his period of rough and brutal strength into one of greater refine- 
ment and reserve. Now or little later he may also have painted 
the fine pair of heads of a donor and his patron St. John Baptist 
on a panel at Amsterdam (984A), which may be a portion cut out 
of a larger wing-panel. The reverent attention of the donor, 
whose eyes are fixed on some heavenly vision to which his saint 
directs him, is admirably rendered. It is not merely the man's 
fixed character that is here set down, but a transient expression ; 
we must wait for Massys before we shall find a face more efficiently 
illuminated by a passing mood. 

By great good luck, we possess an account of Hugo's life in 
the Convent in Roodendaal written by a fellow-monk, Brother 
Ofhuys of Tournay ; some translated and condensed selections 
from it are here appended : "I was a novice," he writes, " when 
Van der Goes entered the convent [in the autumn of 1475, says 
Sander]. He was so famous a painter that men said his like was 
not to be found this side of the Alps. In his worldly days he did 
not belong to the upper classes ; nevertheless, after his reception 
into the Convent and during his novitiate, the Prior permitted him 
many relaxations more suggestive of worldly pleasure than of 
penance and humiliation, and thus awakened jealousy in many 
of our brethren, who said, ' Novices ought not to be favoured, 
but kept down.' Often noble lords, and among others the Arch- 
duke Maximilian, came to visit him and admire his pictures. 1 
At their request, he received permission to remain and dine with 
them in the guest-chamber. He was often cast down by attacks 
of melancholy, especially when he thought of the number of 
works he had to finish. His love of wine, however, was his greatest 
enemy, and for that at the guest-table there was no restraint. 
In the fifth or sixth year after he had taken the habit [i.e. in 1480 
or 1481], he undertook a journey to Cologne with his brother 
Nicholas and others. On the way back he had such an attack 
of melancholy that he would have laid violent hands on himself 
had he not been forcibly restrained by his friends. They brought 
him under restraint to Brussels and so back to the convent. 

1 Art-loving Max, afterwards Emperor, was at Roodendaal in 1478. 


The Prior was called in, and he sought by the sounds of music 
to lessen Hugo's passion. For a long time all was useless ; he 
suffered under the dread that he was a son of damnation. At 
length his condition improved. Thenceforward, of his own will, 
he gave up the habit of visiting the guest-chamber and took 
his meals with the lay-brothers." This cannot have lasted long, 
for he died in 1482. 

From the foregoing, it is evident that Hugo did not take the 
cowl in order to lay down the brush, but rather that he might 
devote himself to his art under quiet and orderly conditions of 
life without the distractions and temptations of the world. He 
laboured on for five years in the very ripeness of his powers, and 
though we have no doubt lost some of the work then produced, it 
is reasonably certain that the two important pictures now to be 
considered were painted at this time. They are the Nativity and 
the Adoration of the Magi, both comparatively recent additions 
to the Berlin Gallery and both painted on a large scale. Each is 
about eight feet in width, the Nativity some three feet high, the 
Adoration being about half as tall again. Such dimensions imply 
that the panels formed parts of larger assemblages and did not 
contain compositions complete in themselves. In the case of 
the latter, existing copies and a drawing at Basle of about 1501 
by Holbein the Elder enable us to assert that the panel was sur- 
mounted originally by a triangular pediment filled with angels 
and supplying the air and space overhead which the truncated 
composition so obviously lacks. Both pictures came out of 
Spain, but the existence of the Holbein drawing implies that one of 
them, at least, was not painted for that country. It is unrecorded 
when or under what circumstances the Convent of Monforte, 
its last owner, obtained it. The history of the other picture does 
not reach back more than a few decades. 1 

The Adoration of the Magi is Hugo's maturest and most perfect 
work ; the Nativity serves well to link it with the Portinari triptych. 
We may therefore assume that the Nativity in point of time 
may have slightly preceded the Magi. The wide low form of the 
panel set a difficult problem in composition. Our artist simplified 

1 Bertaux (meeting of the Acad. des Inscrip,, Dec. 9, 1910) contended that both 
pictures adorned a single altar and were parts of one altar-piece. 



his task by filling each end with the half-length figure of a prophet. 
The pair are employed to draw and hold aside curtains, after the 
manner of angels in late Gothic Italian tombs of Pisan type, 
thus displaying or revealing the mystic group to the spectator. 
The figures composing it are arranged with an approximation to 
symmetry unusual with Hugo, and the cherubs instead of being 
scattered about as at Florence are concentrated behind the crib. 
Virgin and angels possess more formal beauty of type than we have 
met in his pictures before, while the shepherds are less close to 
nature, less vigorously and sympathetically studied from life, than 
those we recently admired. It is evident that Hugo is living 
in a new atmosphere. He has not gone to the class of toilers 
for his models for prophets and saints, as was his former wont, 
neither is Joseph the shaggy carpenter of the Portinari triptych, 
but a better kempt if not a better bred individual. The same 
model recurs in that lost Adoration of the Magi imitated by Gerard 
David in the fine picture at Munich and known by a stricter copy 
at Berlin. The original must likewise belong to the cloistered 
period of the artist's career. The kings and attendants in it 
are marked by the greater mildness and serenity of these last 
days. It is not so well composed as the Berlin Nativity, the 
painter being troubled what to do with so many legs in the kneeling 
position, which was always a difficulty for him. 

Hugo's daily association with a better class of companions 
in the convent and his contact with people of rank obviously 
had an effect. His last picture, the splendid Monforte Magi, 
manifests it. He is no whit less vital than before, but he deals 
with other than the peasant class. The types he now selects 
are refined. This is specially observable in the pages attendant 
in the background. They are well-bred, well-combed, and well- 
dressed. There is no nonsense of imagined super-piety about 
them. Hugo did not include them among the adorers, but interested 
them in watching the movements of a member of the royal suite. 
There are some excellent portraits among the subsidiary figures : 
a man in a blue cap is thought to be the likeness of the artist. 
Who can say ? The composition is the best he ever attained, and 
free from monotony or awkwardness of pose. The setting is 
not remarkable and does not distract attention from the figures, 


and especially the heads, on which the painter lavished his pains. 
The colouring is brilliant and beautiful, but it is by the wonderful 
handling of the light that the whole is solidified and transfigured. 
There is no need to assume the advent of an Italian or other foreign 
influence. The ripe powers here exercised are the artist's own, 
developed along normal lines and enriched by the experience of 
a laborious life. He might have gone on to a yet higher achieve- 
ment had health and strength permitted, for he was still learning, 
still putting forth and unfolding the buds that grew on his vigorous 
stem into splendid flowers. But with this picture, as far as posterity 
was concerned, his life-work was done. The days of gloom settled 
upon him and in 1482, as aforesaid, he died in the comfortable 
surroundings of a sympathetic brotherhood. He was buried in 
the cloister-garth of the convent, and at a later date an epitaph 
was set up to his memory in the church. 

Hugo van der Goes was by far the most important artist in 
the city of Ghent in his day. Unfortunately, we are less well 
informed about the arts there than in any other of the leading 
art-centres in the Netherlands at that time, except Antwerp and 
Haarlem. It is obvious that Hugo exerted a strong influence 
upon his contemporaries, but it is a little difficult to trace. An 
excellent French artist appears to have been formed by him ; 
I refer to the attractive painter designated the Maitre de Moulins. 
One of his earliest known works is the Nativity, with Cardinal 
Rolin (ob. 1483) as donor, a picture preserved in the ]veche at 
Autun. The portrait, the peasants, and the angels alike assert 
their direct provenance from Hugo. Specially to be noted as 
taught by him is the drawing of the hands. A student who will 
compare the picture detail by detail with Hugo's works will not 
need to have the resemblances pointed out to him. A peculiar 
gesture of the hands which the Moulins Master employs in his 
Brussels Madonna and an Annunciation (probably in America) 
is likewise a trick borrowed from Hugo, as may be seen from the 
Florentine Nativity. The proportionate relation between Saint 
and donor on wing panels is common to both, and many more 
links might be cited. So close is the resemblance between pupil 
and master that two pictures have actually been attributed to 
Hugo which are now acknowledged to have been painted by 


the Maitre de Moulins the donor and Saint at Glasgow and th 
portrait of Cardinal Charles de Bourbon at Nuremberg. 

Two half-length portraits of man and wife in the Uffizi an 
often ascribed to the hand of Hugo van der Goes. They were 
however, painted by a skilful follower to whom likewise may 
ascribed a picture of a female Saint and donors which was in Lor 
Taunton's collection and is, at this time of writing, in the han 
of a London dealer. The rigidly posed Saint stands in the mids 
between a kneeling man and two women. The heads of thes 
portraits, rather too large for their bodies, are painted with 
delicacy considerably surpassing that of the rest of the pictur 
Evidently the artist was by preference a portraitist, and had littl 
interest in saints and such-like. The background gives a vie 
into a convent chapel, and the picture was doubtless painted 
for some nunnery. It is in works of this kind that the perishing 
of the old religious art of the Gothic age and its replacement by 
the realism of the Renaissance can be plainly traced. 

If, some day, the work of Gerard van der Meire is identified, 
our present ignorance about the Ghent School of painting will 
be diminished. Meanwhile, the reader may be reminded that 
that city was an important centre of miniature painting. It 
was, as Hulin has pointed out, the home of two prolific and famo 
families of miniaturists : the Binninks and the Horenbaut 
Alexander Binnink became a master in the Painters' Guild earl 
in 1469. He married Cathelyne van der Goes, considered by Huli 
to be a sister of the great master. Their sons, Simon and Pa 
Binnink, were both famous miniaturists whose works are known 
Count Durrieu has identified a number of manuscripts as th 
work of their father, Alexander. He originated the style of wor 
which found its most elaborate expression a generation lat 
in the famous Grimani Breviary and other allied manuscripts 
How far the influence of Van der Goes can be traced in this schoo 
a reader who has access to characteristic manuscripts will be able 
to judge. It was not small. 

One noteworthy follower of Goes has been disentangled b 
Winkler 1 and indicated as the painter of three good pictures, 
to which Friedlander would add several more. He was doubtless 
1 Berlin Mus. Amtl. Ber., Jan. 1916. 





a Ghent artist. His most considerable work is a group of the 
Virgin surrounded by her relatives which hangs in the Ghent 
Museum. There is nothing very inspiring about it. The type 
of composition appears to have been a local product. A half- 
length Madonna, with the Child standing uncertainly on a cushion, 
is by the same artist and may be seen in the Antwerp Museum. 
More attractive than either of these is an Annunciation on two 
round-topped panels at Berlin, with a long view through pleasant 
rooms and a sunlit corridor behind. This man was no great 
artist, though agreeable enough, and need not apologize for having 
lived, as most of us should. 

Hulin also locates as works of the Ghent School an Adoration 
of the Magi in the Fry Collection at Bristol (Bruges Exhibition, 
1902, No. 323) and another of unexplained subject which is in the 
Chapel of the Holy Blood at Bruges (same Exhibition, No. 45). 
They are identified as of Ghent by resemblances to a historically 
important triptych with the Crucifixion which hangs in St. Bavon's. 
It is not a great work of art, but definitely local. The name of 
Gerard van der Meire attached to it is a mere guess, in favour 
of which nothing can be said. Long and ugly noses are 
characteristic of these pictures, but also some conspicuously 
short ones. Was Ghent in difficulty with the human nose ? That 
organ as treated in a curious picture of Christ among the Doctors, 
belonging to the Due d'Arenberg at Brussels (Dusseldorf Ex., 1904, 
No. 143), might suggest a Ghent origin for it also ; but some have 
thought to trace in it reminiscences of Campin, not easy to discover. 
For other information about the Ghent School the local Museum 
and its catalogue are the best authorities. 

A far better artist than the foregoing, though of a later period 
than we are here generally discussing, was he who painted a triptych 
now in Buckingham Palace. The subject is the Coronation of 
the Virgin in the midst of a numerous company of the heavenly 
host, who are depicted below and on the wings. Those in front, 
seen from behind, looking upward are rather awkwardly posed, 
but there is no little charm in the kneeling ranks of saints further 
up on either hand, and the painting of costumes, crowns, and 
other accessories is the work of an accomplished technician. He 
does not, indeed, rise to the height of his subject in the central 



group, but how could we expect him to when and where he lived ? 
He and his like were truly interested only in actual living human 
beings. Dreamland was no longer for them. Hence it is the portrait- 
like heads and the fine costumes that most attract us in the picture, 
as they most interested its painter. Upon them he lavished his 
stores of observation and all his acquired skill. The influence 
of Hugo van der Goes is here evident enough ; but was the picture 
painted in Ghent ? Some have thought that it contains elements 
which are French. The future must decide. To the same painter 
I venture to attribute a pretty Virgo inter Virgines in the Benziger 
de Glutz Collection at Soleure. There are the same attractive 
women in both and similar elaborate thrones, but the background 
of the latter picture is closely packed with landscape detail- 
women plucking flowers from a rose-trellis in a garden, a little 
hermitage under a rock, a knight riding towards it, and apparently 
an incident in the Legend of St. Anthony. Both pictures belong, 
however, to a time about coincident w r ith the early days of the 
activity of Mabuse, and are only mentioned here because of their 
apparent affiliation to the school of Van der Goes. 

Another artist, who may have been a Netherlander, though 
it is evident that he worked chiefly in France, is the Master oi 
St. Giles. He takes his name from two beautifully painted wing- 
panels concerned with the Legend of St. Giles, one of which hi 
already been referred to in connexion with the Exhumation oi 
St. Hubert. It belongs to Mrs. Stewart Mackenzie ; the other is 
in the National Gallery. Friedlander says that two pictures oi 
a Bishop's legend sold in the Baron de B. Auction (Paris, 1883) 
may have formed part of the same altar-piece. 1 They depict a 
Bishop, standing before a cathedral, blessing some sick folk, am 
the same Bishop (perhaps Remigius) baptizing a king (Clovis). 
On the National Gallery panel the Saint is protecting the fawn. 
The foreground is occupied by numerous figures remarkable 
for the excellent painting of their clothes, and still more for th( 
variety of the human types and the unwearied minuteness with 
which the faces and hands are studied. In the background 
a wide-extending arid beautiful landscape, including a towi 
depicted in much detail. Canon Nicolas of Nimes claims thai 

1 In the Repertorium, xvi, p. 105, Tschudi put together the work of this artist. 


this town is none other than Saint-Gilles in the South of France, 1 
with all the churches standing in correct relation to one another 
as they stood before the destruction wrought by the religious 
wars of the sixteenth century. If this identification is accepted, 
the artist must have been a considerable traveller, for the other 
panel proves him to have spent some time at the Abbey of 
St. Denis, otherwise he could not have depicted the high altar 
and its surroundings in the church with such accuracy as in 
Mrs. Stewart Mackenzie's picture. Again, we have the same 
brilliant colouring and the same patient realization of the heads and 
hands of his models, all obviously studied from life. I have written 
at length in Archceologia (vol. Ixvi, p. 103) on the architecture 
and decorative objects depicted the golden frontal of Charles 
the Bald, the Cross of St. Eloy, la Sainte Couronne, the shrine 
of St. Louis, and the monument of Dagobert and need not here 
repeat the facts there set down. The artist's weakness in per- 
spective is apparent in the foreground, though he succeeds in the 
more difficult task of projecting the complicated architecture 
aloft on his flat panel. It is thought that he may derive, though 
perhaps indirectly, from Hugo van der Goes, and I have therefore 
introduced him at this point, but the connexion is not close. He 
takes an important position among the early painters of interiors 
alongside of the St. Hubert Master, Ouwater, Geertgen, and 
another Dutchman, who had many successors in later generations. 
To him also are ascribed a pair of wing-panels in the Kaufmann 
Collection. One of these, depicting the Presentation in the Temple, 
has for background the first example of Renaissance architecture 
ever introduced into a picture of this school. It was not of the 
artist's invention, but copied by him, with understanding, from 
an engraving after a drawing by Bramante, the date of which 
is not earlier than 1495. The well-designed figures on a sculptured 
frieze above the background niche, though not in the original, 
take their place with no appearance of intrusion a proof how well 
the painter had grasped the spirit of the new kind of design. This 
artist has also been credited with a Christ before Pilate at Prague, 
a Betrayal in the Cardon Collection, a half-length Madonna which 
was at Kleinberger's in Paris, and a St. Jerome kneeling in a 

1 Une nouvelle hist, de St.-G. ; Nimes, 1912. 



landscape in Berlin Museum. The last-mentioned is an early 
example of a type of subject which became a favourite with Gerard 
David, Ysenbrandt, and their school, following the example 
of several Venetians. The landscape resembles that in the Saint- 
Gilles picture, but the detailed rendering of plants in the fore- 
ground is even more elaborate and recalls the careful studies of 
vegetable life Diirer was beginning to make about the same 
time. Such simultaneities are no proof of personal connexion, 
but they indicate the tendencies of the day to a closer interest 
in nature a tendency which likewise found expression in the 
cultivation of gardens. Another conspicuous example of minute 
nature-study of the same date is in a picture of St. Christopher 
at Dessau (No. 245) wrongly attributed to Diirer. The plants 
in the foreground are studied with the same detail and for the 
same delight in their natural form as by the Master of St. Giles, 
but by some German artist with whom neither he nor Diirer is 
likely to have come in contact. The St. Giles Master's subject- 
pictures have already led us to regard him as a good portrait - 
painter, but only a single pair of formal portraits have been, as 
yet, referred to him. They are at Chantilly and depict a man 
and wife of the burgher class strong faces, scarred and moulded 
by no easy life, and knobbly like knots of wood ; pathetic pictures 
both of them, and creditable to their maker, who here also shows 
himself of the same artistic kindred as Hugo van der Goes, but 
neither he nor the Maitre de Moulins caught that master's fire. 
They were influenced by him and learned much from him, but 
they were not of the same fibre as he. In all that was strongest 
and best in it Hugo's art was personal, original, incommunicable. 
Forms and methods he could hand on, but not the spirit which 
gave them life. That was born in him, led him a wildish life-dance, 
stamped itself indelibly upon whatever he made, and died with 
him. It was authentic genius. 



Joos VAN WASSENHOVE was admitted to free mastership in the 
Antwerp Painters' Guild in the year 1460. That is the first mention 
we have of him. Whence he came, who was his teacher, when 
and where he was born there is silence on these and all other 
matters connected with his origin and his shaping. We may guess 
that he was born between 1430 and 1435, but no one knows. Later 
than 1435 he cannot have been born. He was therefore of about 
the same age and generation as Hugo van der Goes, probably 
a little older than he. Apparently Joos did not prosper at Antwerp. 
Till Bruges seriously declined Antwerp was unimportant, and 
in 1460 Bruges was at the top of her prosperity. On October 6, 
1464, Joos purchased the freedom of the Guild at Ghent, and, 
no doubt, moved himself and his goods over from Antwerp to 
that city. What works he painted at this time are unknown. 
It has been suggested that this and the other unattached picture 
may have been done by him in these early days a Crucifixion 
in the J. G. Johnson Collection, a couple of half-length Madonnas 
but there is no general agreement about them. The young artist 
remains hidden and we cannot yet remove the veil. Perhaps 
he was working as a tapestry designer. There is a large piece in 
Boston Museum with the Creation, Nativity, Baptism, Crucifixion, 
and figures of Apostles and Prophets, given to him by Bernath, 
which may owe him its design. Who can say ? The head of 
Christ in the Baptism is very like that in a picture to come, and 
there are other resemblances. Enough to arouse a suspicion, 
but not to assure confidence. 

In 1467 the archives again speak. On the 5th day of May 
Hugo van der Goes obtained the freedom of the Ghent Guild, 
and Joos was one of his sureties, while in the following January 



Joos and Hugo together were sureties on a like occasion for Sanders 

Binnink, the miniaturist, who became connected by marriage 

with Hugo, probably his brother-in-law. It seems to follow that 

Hugo and Joos were intimate and that Joos was, if anything, 

the senior. Joos can scarcely have been Hugo's pupil, though 

the two may have been fellow-pupils in some unidentified studio at 

Antwerp, Ghent, or elsewhere. If their art shows a common factor, 

that will have come to both from a common source rather than 

to one from the other. In this same year 1467 they were employed 

together by the Ghent authorities to paint heraldic decorations 

for a pageant, but that and the suretyship for Binnink are the 

last mention of Joos in Flemish documents. Thenceforward he 

vanished from the Netherlands and is heard of there no more. 

There is, indeed, one echo of him from far away. It comes in the 

accounts of an executor of the estate of one Van der Sikkel, who 

died in 1474 and had been the owner of the house rented by Hugo. 

It appears that Hugo, on behalf of his landlord, had advanced a 

sum of money to our Joos toward the expenses of a journey to 

Rome ; Hugo was given credit for this payment as part of his 

rent. So Joos went " to Rome " some time between 1468 and 1474, 

probably about 1470, as we shall see. 

It was not, however, in Rome that he settled, but in Urbino, 
there to work for the Duke on the decoration of his study in the 
new Palace. Vespasiano de Bisticci, the Duke's librarian, records 
that his master sent to Flanders for a skilful master (an maestro 
solenne) for that purpose, because he " knew no one in Italy who 
understood how to paint in oil-colours." Joos, who is hence- 
forward to be known as Maestro Giusto da Guanto, was obviously 
the said maestro solenne for reasons that will be immediately 
apparent. His chief work in the study was to paint the twenty- 
eight pictures of philosophers which still exist in the Barberini 
Palace at Rome and the Louvre, half and half, as well as certain 
portraits and other decorative pictures elsewhere in the Palace. 

Soon after his arrival, however, he received another commission, 
and this time there is no doubt about the artist's name, for the 
payments to him are recorded. It came from the Urbino Con- 
fraternity of the Holy Sacrament. That body had been ambitious 
to possess a fine painting for their altar and had for some time 


been saving up and begging together money to pay for it. Already 
between 1466 and 1469 the predella had been painted for it by 
Paolo Uccello and duly paid for. Then in 1469 Piero della Francesca 
had come by invitation to Urbino to consider whether he would 
paint the main picture, but perhaps the money available did 
not suffice for him ; at any rate, he did not do the work. In 
September 1470 the wood for the great panel was purchased ; 
the joinery of it was finished in February 1471. Probably this 
was only put in hand when arrangements had been completed 
with Joos, and that is why we believe him to have reached Urbino 
in 1470. The picture was delivered in 1474 and set up over its 
altar. It now hangs in the town gallery and is the only absolutely 
authenticated painting by our artist. 

The Flemish origin of the work, its relationship to that of 
Hugo van der Goes, leap to the eye at a first glance. Not the 
Last Supper, but the Institution of the Sacrament, an ancient 
Byzantine subject, is here chosen as obviously suitable for the 
altar-piece of this confraternity. Christ, a strangely posed 
figure, stands before the table in the midst, distributing the Host, 
which the Apostles kneel to receive. In no other picture known 
to me, of this or any date, is reverence more solemnly represented 
than here. These shaggy men, almost as rude as the peasants of 
Hugo, are overwhelmed by emotion, which expresses itself, not 
in the face alone, but animates the whole body. Angels, again 
like Hugo's, hover in the air, and one stands holding the flask of 
wine. Behind we see the Duke addressing a richly clad personage 
who is none other than the Venetian Caterino Zeno, 1 at this time 
present at Urbino as special envoy from Uzun Hasan, Turkoman of 
the White Sheep, who reigned in the parts of Armenia and Persia 

1 The White Sheep Dynasty (1378-1502) was founded by a grant of lands in Armenia 
and Mesopotamia by Tamerlane. Diarbekr was the capital. Uzun Hasan (ob. 1478) 
and his son Yakub (ob. 1485) were its best-known chieftains. Uzun Hasan's wife was 
daughter of Calo Johannes, one of the last Emperors of Trebizond. Caterino Zeno, 
merchant of Venice, was her sister's son-in-law. He was sent by Venice to persuade 
Uzun Hasan to attack Mohammed II, who had recently captured Constantinople (1453). 
In 1472 hostilities were opened, but not with success. Then Uzun Hasan sent Caterino 
Zeno to rouse the princes of Christendom, but he failed to do so. Thereupon Uzun 
Hasan withdrew from further attack on the Ottoman power. See P. M. Sykes y History 
oj Persia, vol. ii, p. 220, and the Hakluyt Society's volume, Travels of Venetians in 


in those days. This figure is obviously almost borrowed from that 
of the Prince in Bouts' Martyrdom of St. Erasmus. Further 
back, just within the door, is a woman with a child in her arms 
The child is Federigo's son, the future Duke Guidobaldo ; the 
woman may be his recently deceased mother, Battista Sforza, 
who died in July 1472, when her baby was about six months 
old. They say that her portrait in the Uffizi by Piero della 
Francesca resembles this. 1 

The family likeness in types and design between this altar- 
piece and the work of Hugo is obvious. It has been assumed that 
the likeness is due to the influence of Hugo upon Joos. Can 
that be the true explanation ? If Joos left Ghent in 1470 or even 
in 1469 and Hugo began to work there, perhaps as his assistant, 
in May 1467, there was hardly time for the younger artist to 
make so strong an impression on the older. It seems to me 
far more likely, bearing in mind the evident friendship uniting 
them, that they had been in close relation at some earlier period 
of their career, and may have learned their art together in the 
studio of a common master. Hugo as the stronger naturally 
influenced the other, and the effect is evident if we compare the 
Urbino altar-piece with Hugo's at Florence. Such traditions, 
such style, as Joos had acquired at home and brought to Italy 
with him, he displayed in this picture. Of Italian infiltration there 
is as yet little trace ; but in the eight-and-twenty philosophers 
it begins to be apparent. One might call them Flamingo-Italians. 
Some of the faces are taken from Italian originals, but the hands 
are always the hands of Flanders. The draperies are half and 
half. The head of Ptolemy is almost copied from that of John 
the Baptist in the Ghent altar-piece, as Destree pointed out. 
Of course, Joos had a humanist scholar at his elbow to direct him 
and sometimes a model to follow. He did not invent Petrarch. 
Always, too, there was the atmosphere of Italy about him and Italian 
work to look at. Perhaps he made a friend or two among the 
artists in his new home. Was Piero della Francesca one of them, 
or Melozzo ? It has been claimed for Joos that he painted the 

1 It is stated (in Monatshefte, 1912, p. 460) that six of the twelve panels of the wings 
of this altar-piece still exist in Urbino Cathedral, and that they contain another half- 
dozen Apostles, one a-piece, like sculptures in niches. 


kneeling portrait of Duke Federigo into Piero's altar-piece which 
is in the Brera. Co-operation tries human relations. There was 
Giovanni Santi, Raphael's father, working in Urbino in these 
days. , It is thought that he may have helped Joos with the 
twenty-eight. Giovanni, in later days, wrote a rhymed chronicle 
in honour of his Duke, w r ith special reference to the work of artists 
under his patronage. He says nothing about Justus of Ghent. 
We may infer that he was jealous of the intruder from the North, 
and we may guess that he did not stand alone in that emotion. 
Equally clear, however, is it that the Duke was well satisfied 
with the foreigner's service ; and well he might be, for the philo- 
sophers are excellently painted and must have made the room 
they adorned quite an interesting place. What a pity they were 
not left where they belonged ! Nowadays they have faded in colour 
and grown dark and dirty -looking, but patient examination 
reveals finely composed figures, each duly solid and rather vividly 
conceived grave and reverend signiors every one. Each was 
explained by inscribed verses, which have been recorded, and 
beneath the double row of paintings was the beautiful intarsia 
panelling still in place. 

About this time Joos also painted, for some high place upon 
the wall, the portrait of Federigo, reading in a book, with his 
(say, four-year-old) son by his side. One would suppose that the 
place for this picture would be in the library. A full description 
of that room exists ; it was mainly surrounded by bookcases. 
Adjacent was a chamber for which those seven Liberal Arts seem 
to have been painted whereof two are in the National Gallery 
and another two at Berlin. They have caused the critics much 
divergent discourse, some claiming them for one artist, some for 
another, but the more part (till recently) voting for Melozzo da 
Forli. It is always pleasant to think that a picture may be by 
Melozzo : he was an attractive painter ; not profound nor highly 
imaginative, nor, in fact, any way great, but quite delightful all 
the same, with a certain Tightness of design and pleasing faculty 
of choosing nice models and posing and clothing them agreeably. 
The four surviving Arts certainly recall Melozzo in design, but 
Joos in execution. It is hardly possible to think that a Fleming 
could have become so Italianized in six years as to have been entirely 


responsible for these pictures. He had indeed advanced a long 
way from Flanders in the philosophers, but some Italian may have 
helped him with them. The Arts, however, are more than double 
the distance further along that road. If the hand is, as I believe, 
the hand of Joos, the design may owe much to Melozzo's help. 
Destree, however, has justly pointed out that Ghent traditions 
are not absent, and that the head of Music is imitated from the 
Virgin's in the Van Eyck altar-piece. This alone suffices to 
disprove the authorship of Melozzo. 

For some other position in one of the Duke's rooms a lecture- 
room, perhaps, if there was one our artist, and none but he, both 
designed and painted a decorative picture which has found its 
way in a battered condition into Windsor Castle. This also 
was to be fixed upon a wall, and, as with the philosophers, so, too, 
with the people here visible, they are depicted as seated in a 
gallery into which we can look from below through the inter- 
spaces of a colonnade. Here is Federigo again with the boy 
Guidobaldo by his side, now some six years old. The Duke in 
this, as in the preceding portrait, wears the insignia of the Order 
of the Garter, conferred on him in 1474 by Edward IV. Behind 
the princes are three courtiers seated in a row, all attending to 
the discourse of an appallingly long-nosed professor, who is holding 
forth from a pulpit facing them. Federigo is evidently enjoying the 
lecture, and his face is bright and attentive, but everyone else 
looks bored and the professor boring. I can never see this picture 
without remembering Matthew Arnold's description of a Social 
Science Congress : a " room in one of our dismal provincial 
towns ; dusty air and jaded afternoon daylight ; benches full 
of men with bald heads and women in spectacles ; an orator lifting 
up his face from a manuscript written within and without . . . 
and in the soul of any poor child of nature who may have wanderec 
in thither, an unutterable sense of lamentation and mourning 
and woe ! " I suspect many of the new humanists were like th< 
glaciers of which Douglas Freshfield said, " It's doubtful whether 
they excavate, but it is certain that they bore." Fortunately, 
we are not the audience, but spectators, and not of the scene, but 
of a picture of it, the most delightful picture ever painted 
our artist ; so spacious is it, so beautifully composed, so sereneb 

ST. DENIS. p. 191. 




LECTURING (1478-80). WINDSOR. p. 198. 
[To face page 198. 


competent. Nothing is out of place, nothing too much. The 
crowding and bungling characteristic of so many Northern artists 
have been refined away. 

The courtier on the extreme right of the picture meets us 
again on a little panel in the gallery at Bergamo, which has been 
ascribed to Mabuse and later to the Ursula Master. It was, in 
fact, painted by Joos. Possibly the sitter may not be the same as 
the courtier in question, but assuredly the painter of both is the 
same. What a proper young man he looks ! a well-disciplined 
secretary, perhaps. A narrow brocaded curtain hangs behind the 
head, with fragments of landscape visible to right and left of 
it. They are obviously Flemish, these bits of landscape, with 
waters, bridges, manor-house, hills, trees, and so forth which form 
the normal ingredients of Flemish landscape backgrounds. Italy 
goes for a good deal in the painting of the head, but for nothing 
at all in the landscape. If the attribution of this portrait to Justus 
is accepted, as it seems to me that it must be, he will also have to 
be regarded as the painter of another bust-portrait in the James 
Mann Collection, which bears a striking resemblance to it in style, 
but has a plain background. The subject is likewise an Italian, 
who may, perhaps, be identical with another of the Urbino lecturer's 
audience seated behind the Duke Federigo. 1 

Of other works attributed to Joos I can say little. There is 
an embroidered vestment, a pluviale, in Gubbio Cathedral for which 
he may have supplied designs. The head of a Salvator Mundi 
in the Gallery at Citta di Castello (room ii, No. 18) is assigned to 
him by Venturi, and the photograph confirms the gift. We are 
also tempted to agree with Bernath in attributing a much-damaged 
Adoration of the Magi in Trevi Museum to our artist. The kings 
resemble his peasant-apostles. I see no reason to assign to him 
the Mater Dolorosa in the Palazzo Corsini at Rome, still less 
the Madonna there. Another Adoration of the Magi belonging 
to the Compagna della Misericordia at Volterra is known to 
me only by a bad photograph. It may have some connexion 
with Joos. 

That, for the moment, is all I have to say about him. He 
was an interesting though not highly gifted artist, full of good 

1 See Burlington Mag., Jan. 1917. 



feeling and able to go on learning and developing as far along in 
his career as we can follow him. Neither his beginnings nor his 
endings are known to us. He appears ; he disappears. The 
registers are silent, so far as we yet know. But the galleries 
and churches of Europe are many, and some day they may yield 
to a rightly prepared observation pictures recognizable as the work 
of his early or latest days. If every north country artist who went 
to Italy had gained as much and lost as little as Joos van Wassenhove 
the world would be richer by many masterpieces. 



A NAME tantalizing to the historian of Art is that of Albert Simonsz 
van Ouwater. Van Mander knew of his existence and had seen 
a retable by him in the great church at Haarlem. It was called 
the Roman altar-piece, because pilgrims to Rome had erected it. 
That was why it depicted the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, 
full-length standing figures, and for predella a curious landscape 
with pilgrims in it marching, resting, eating, and drinking. 
Predellas were a rare feature in Netherlands altar-pieces, but 
we shall meet with them again in Holland. Albert, con- 
tinues our author, was clever at depicting heads, hands, 
draperies, and landscape. Unfortunately, the picture no longer 
exists. Van Mander had also seen a monochrome copy of another 
painting by the same master, in which the Raising of Lazarus 
was shown, as occurring within a church, after the manner of 
a mystery -play, the Apostles on one side, Jews on the other, beside 
some nice figures of women, and, away behind, folk peeping in 
at the miracle. The original was greatly admired by Heemskerk, 
but the Spaniards had looted it at the siege of Haarlem and carried 
it away. By great good luck this picture emerged a few years 
ago at Genoa in the hands of a family who remembered that it 
had come to them as a royal gift from Spain. The Berlin Museum 
snapped it up, and we all had great hopes that by its help we might 
be able to identify other works by the same master. Things have 
not so turned out. Critics have attempted to group other pictures 
with it, but no general agreement has been arrived at and it remains 
still unique the artist's sole memorial. 

It has already been referred to above, as evidently imitated 
in general arrangement from the Exhumation of St. Hubert, a 
picture which can hardly have been painted before 1460, probably 
later. We may, therefore, guess for the Lazarus 1470 as an 



approximate date. A glance shows that it is not one of the great 
pictures of the fifteenth century. Rather light in tone, somewhat 
rudimentary in composition, conventional in lighting, quite 
undramatic, it is the work of a man of no high imagination, but 
painstaking, studious, and a competent craftsman. It is easy tc 
see how much he depended upon his predecessors. The figure 
standing on the extreme right shows his indebtedness to Bouts, 
in whose studio he may have worked as pupil or assistant. The 
group of Jews recalls a corresponding group in the foreground of 
the Van Eyck Fountain of Living Water. The architecture, also, 
with its slender columns, sculptured capitals, and windows of 
bottle-glass, is borrowed from the Van Eycks. The crowd peeping 
through the door-hatch finds several prototypes, but it is here 
exceptionally well rendered, the depth of it being truthfully 
suggested, with a body implied under each head. In the same way, 
the groups to right and left have a depth which we miss in those 
designed by Bouts. Poor St. Peter is anything but an imposing 
figure. He resembles a second-rate showman, saying " That's 
how it's done ! >: Most attractive is the Mary standing on the 
left, a sweet, well-dressed, well-posed little Dutch lady, perhaps 
painted from the life. " This," says Van Mander, " is all that 
Time has preserved for us of the work of this old master to save 
his name from oblivion." Archives tell us nothing more, except 
that in 1467 a grave was made in the church of St. Bavon at 
Haarlem for " the daughter of Ouwater." She can scarcely have 
been a young child ; so we may guess with a wide margin of error 
that the father was born about 1420. There are reasons to think 
that he may have lived till 1480 or later. 

Far away in the San Carlos Museum of Mexico is a painting, 1 
obviously by a follower of our artist. Its subject is the same as 
the foregoing, and many of the individual figures are borrowed 
from it, but an attempt has been made to hide the debt by changing 
their positions. The figure of Christ is obviously copied ; nor 
was this the only artist who found it useful, for Gerard David 
almost repeated it on a panel in the Dublin Gallery. The back- 
ground of the Mexico picture is likewise borrowed, this time from 
the Sibyl and Augustus at Frankfurt (No. 97). The figures in 

1 Reproduced in the Archiv fur Kunstgeschichte, pi. 60. 


that stand within the courtyard of a palace. The gateway is 
behind on the left, approached by a bridge over a moat. Beside 
the gate is a broad opening leading down from the court to the 
water and the swans. On the other side of this opening is a little 
garden-patch, and beyond it a wing of the house with a colonnaded 
portico. These features are repeated in reverse order in the Mexico 

The painter of the Sibyl undoubtedly likewise painted a Madonna 
which belongs to Mrs. Stephenson Clarke, at Haywards Heath. 1 
Another enthroned Virgin with angels under a garden portico is 
in the Chapel Royal at Granada. It looks, in the photograph, 
as though it also might have been painted by him in Bouts' studio ; 
at all events, the brocade on the back of the seat is identical with 
brocades in pictures undoubtedly painted by Bouts. If, however, 
this picture is by the senior master, as is quite possible, it plainly 
shows where the Sibyl Master derived his inspiration and fixes 
the period in Bouts' career when the young Dutchman was his 
pupil. A beautiful Virgo inter Virgines, which belonged or 
belongs to the King of Portugal and was (perhaps is) in the 
Necessidades Palace at Lisbon, may likewise be his work. I can 
only judge it from the good photograph published by the Arundel 
Club. It is wrongly ascribed to the Delft painter known as the 
Master of the Amsterdam Virgo inter Virgines, with whom we shall 
presently deal. It may well have been by his teacher. A Marriage 
of the Virgin in the J. G. Johnson Collection, which Valentiner 
attributes to the Sibyl Master, is not, I think, by him. Our artist 
is very careful about the perspective of his backgrounds ; the 
painter of the Johnson picture is the reverse. On the other hand, 
the figures in the Marriage are more vivacious and co-operative ; 
it is evidently the work of an artist of the Haarlem School of 
about this date. 

If the small group of pictures thus defined as the work of the 
Sibyl Master (especially the Frankfurt and Clarke panels) are 
compared with Ouwater's Lazarus, some striking correspondencies 
will be observed. Note, for instance, the pose of the woman in 
the Sibyl picture, who has her left hand under her skirt ; it is the 
same as that of one of the Maries in the Lazarus. Note, too, 

1 Bruges Exhibition (1902), No. 43. 



the similar gestures of the small hands. Observe the carefi 
painting of the heads and how each of them is independent of 
the others, like a number of portraits cut out and fitted together 
but not really related to one another. The type of the hands 
is the same. The figures stand in the same balanced fashion 
upon their well-drawn feet. I suggest that the Sibyl Master may 
have been Ouwater himself, and I leave the reader to follow out 
the comparison in detail. 

The Sibyl Master, whether Ouwater or not, is a pleasing though 
not a great artist. He interests us more by his backgrounds 
than his figures ; yet his pictures are satisfactory as integral 
wholes. The charm of a work of art does not lie in true drawing 
or correct perspective, or learned foreshortenings, or any sucl 
photographic accuracies, but in the thing as a whole, the balance 
and rhythm of it, the harmony of its parts, the good pattern, the 
agreeable complex of forms and colours, which are all independei 
of the drill-sergeant's proprieties. If an artist has beauty withii 
him and the power to express it, so long as he does express it 
may use what means he pleases. Though the Sibyl Master bli 
dered over his parts he succeeded with each whole. He made 
agreeable pictures, decorative, pleasant to live with and by imagim 
tion to wander in. It is noteworthy that he possessed the merit 
attributed to Ouwater by Van Mander ; weU-painted heads 
extremities, draperies, and landscape. According to Marcantonic 
Michiel, there were in the house of Cardinal Grimani at Venie 
in 1521 " molte tavolette de paesi per la maggior parte de mane 
de Alberto de Olanda." Van Mander says that it was the opinioi 
of the oldest painters (of his day) that it was at Haarlem that the 
proper way to paint landscape was first adopted. It is a little 
difficult to interpret this remark in the light of our knowledge 
of the landscapes of Hubert, but after him Bouts was the chief 
landscape innovator and he brought his landscape style with 
him from Holland and only developed it at Louvain. The Sibyl 
Master's pictures, however, do innovate in that they prolong the 
landscape into the foreground by painting the figures as actually 
within gardens. The gardens are not background details, but 
part of the foreground. Leaving that astonishing genius Hubert 
van Eyck out of account, the most considerable landscapes before 


this time were those of Dutch Bouts : the St. Christopher wing 
at Munich and the Paradise wing at Lille. In both of these the 
landscape is piled up by a peculiar convention and the foreground 
seems to be looked down upon from an elevation. The Sibyl 
Master brings the eye of the spectator lower and so gives to the 
foreground greater importance. He was the first artist to paint 
gardens as though he loved them. Gardens had appeared as un- 
important background accessories before this time, but not painted 
for their own sake. 1 

One of the earliest mediaeval gardens into which we can peer, 
if garden it can be called, is that shown on the Paradise picture 
of about 1420 by a Rhine painter, which is at Frankfurt. Evidently 
what we see is some corner of an outer bailey. There is a raised bank 
against the wall and flowers are growing upon it. Otherwise all 
the flowers grow out of the grass. A table and fountain complete 
the furnishings of the place. The wall behind the bank may be 
replaced by a flower-trained trellis as in another picture at Soleure 
by the same painter. A much more elaborate trellis-work just 
rises above the bailey-wall in the de Limbourg miniature which 
depicts the old Palace on the island in the Seine at Paris. Here 
is a long pleached alley ending in a treillage dome, and such pleached 
alleys, close around the outer wall, appear in many other pictures 
in Sir Herbert Cook's Virgin with St. Catherine, for instance, 
and in another of the Calendar miniatures by the de Limbourgs. 
The Duke of Berry's castles have no gardens, nor do any appear 
in the Hours of Turin. The only garden in any picture by the 
Van Eycks is that of the Virgin by a Fountain described in a 
previous chapter. It is the Hortus Inclusus emblematic of the 
Virgin. We have to come down past the middle of the century 
before true gardens make their appearance in Netherlands pictures. 
They are for the most part small rectangular enclosures within 
the outer yard of a great house or castle. Sir Frank Crisp 
discovered one or two little bourgeois gardens of which he gives 

1 The best collection of garden backgrounds from pictures is the late Sir Frank Crisp's 
Mediaeval Gardens (Guide to Friar Park, Henley-on-Thames). Several gardens were 
actually remade on these old designs at Friar Park. A short paper on this subject by Prof. 
E. Kiister is published in the Repertorium, 1919, pp. 148-158. See also A. Grisebach, 
Der Garten (Leipzig), with many illustrations. 


reproductions, but they do not differ in type from those belonging 
to wealthier folk. The garden seen through the window in the 
Annunciation, once in the Kann Collection and attributed to 
Van der Weyden, may be taken as typical. The attribution of 
the picture to that artist has been contested, and it is worth 
mention that in no picture universally accepted as by Roger is 
a garden- view introduced. A similar garden is in the background 
of a wing picture of two saints attributed to Roger at Berlin, 
but its authenticity is on a level with that of the Annunciation. 
If Roger painted them it was in his last years, and he took the 
idea of the garden backgrounds from Bouts. Campin and Daret 
are innocent of gardens. So are Geertgen, Hugo van der Goes, 
Justus, and Albert Bouts. The only picture attributed to Memling 
which has a garden is the Virgin with St. George, in the National 
Gallery, and its authenticity is doubtful. But to return to 
the Annunciation attributed to Roger : we see through a window 
into a yard surrounded by a high battlemented wall. There 
is a gateway in the angle with a half-timber storey above the 
arch, and over it an attic with dormer windows ; a round staircase 
tower is built against the side of this little edifice. Anyone entering 
through this gate comes at once upon the garden, occupying all 
the area of the yard except a broad roadway from the gate to 
the house. A high raised bank, built up of bricks but containing 
soil like a large wooden window-box, surrounds the enclosure 
and is broken by openings at the ends of the rectangular paths 
that subdivide the enclosed area. Grass and, perhaps, sorm 
flowers grow on these banks, which seem to have been freely usec 
as seats. Sometimes such a bank, with the two ends returm 
(like an exedra) and with or without a trellis behind, is made 01 
purpose for a seat and placed in the midst of a flowery sward. 
The area of the garden is divided into rectangular beds, likewise 
raised on low brick walls and sometimes also protected by a railing 
or trellis a few inches high. In the beds are plants or grass witl 
flowers emerging from it. Against the wall we see two little trees 
in pots. They have been cut and trained into a formal shape 
a large circle below, a smaller one above it, and a knob at the 
top. Here is the beginning of modern topiary work such as the 
Romans had fashioned in their day. 


Sir Frank Crisp reproduced several miniatures with formal 
trees. In the earliest the branches springing from the top of a 
standard are trained out at right angles by aid of a sort of light 
wheel fixed horizontally in place. Perhaps the standard is merely 
the stem of the wheel, up which the plant is supposed to grow. 
Then we come across two or even three of these wheel frames 
one above another. Sometimes the wheel is quite small and 
the plant, visibly curling up the stick that supports it, grows 
out of a pot. One amusing miniature reproduced by him shows 
two churchmen, like the hermits Paul and Anthony, having a 
jollification in the desert by the kind provision of angels. Truth 
to tell, they are not eating but drinking. There is not even a 
fragment of bread to this intolerable deal of sack. They have 
a large jug on the table and brimming cups in their hands. They 
are patting one another on the shoulder in perfect contentment, 
while an angel comes flying up with another jugful and yet another 
angel is miraculously making more wine for them from the grapes 
of a conveniently ripening vine close at hand ! All this, however, 
is not to our point, but only the tree under which they sit. That 
is trained into two circular storeys by aid of two rings to which 
the branches have been fastened. When the rings had done 
their work they were removed, as we can observe in many pictures 
of this period. 

The same gate-house and garden as in the Rogeresque 
Annunciation are again depicted in a triptych with the Last 
Supper which belongs to the Seminary at Bruges, 1 a work in which 
the influence of Bouts is visible. Like the Annunciation it may 
have been painted in Brussels. The same gate-house, if I mistake 
not, but with the yard-walls differently attached, is in the Madonna 
in the Carvallo Collection, which Winkler cites as derived from a 
supposed lost Roger Madonna kissing the Child. 2 Here, however, 
the garden is different. It occupies the same position relatively 
to the yard, and is enclosed by a built bank ; in the centre of the 

1 Bruges Loan Exhibition, 1902, No. 42, phot. Bruckmann. 

2 The garden in the Dresden drawing after the same picture is different, but quite 
simple, with raised bank and beds and a shaped tree. The wall behind carries a little 
roof supported on projecting struts, such as is sometimes used to protect wall fruit a 
unique example so far as I know. As all the early versions of the picture are backed by 
gardens I cannot believe the original to have been by Roger. 


enclosure is a fine Gothic fountain and a flowery mead around it 
but no square beds. A similar garden, again, is in the backgrounc 
of the Legend of St. Lucia in the Church of St. Jacques at Bruges 
the picture from which the Lucia Master has been named. 

The Sibyl Master's garden in Ihe Clarke Madonna is more 
elaborate than these and is not a mere detail seen through a window, 
but fills the whole foreground of the picture. We find ourselves 
again in the outer yard of a manor-house. A raised bed is against 
the wall, others are in the centre of the yard, and there is one of 
those built-up seats for the Virgin to sit on. This house has 
fine portico opening on to the garden and a peacock on the wall 
Portico and peacock recur in many such scenes, and swans, too 
as here, upon the moat. The raising of the beds was to save them 
from being walked over by careless folk entering the courtyard 
and making short cuts. Such garden patches are often surrounded 
by a paling or low trellis-work. A very elaborate little garden of 
this kind, occupying only a part of the yard, is seen in a charming 
Virgin and Child with St. Anne, which is in the Louvre, an anony- 
mous Dutch picture. The saintly personages and four much- 
puzzled singing angels are within the portico abutting on the 
garden. Here the beds are more numerous, there are plants 
and shaped trees in pots placed about, and the whole thing is better 
tended than usual. The Ursula Master liked to surround his gardens 
with what appears to be an iron railing with roses trained over it. 
This railing seems to enclose almost the whole area of the yard, 
leaving only a roadway between it and the surrounding walls. 
We see it best in his picture of the enthroned St. Anne in the 
Kaufmann Collection, the throne being under the portico. It 
likewise appears in the Madonna which was in Sir Charles Turner's 
sale (No. 9) and in the portrait in the J. G. Johnson Collection. 
The most prettily painted of all the little gardens is a miniature 
in a manuscript of the Decameron (Vienna Lib., No. 2617), repro- 
duced by Sir Frank Crisp. It is just an oblong of grass enclosed 
by one of those built-up banks on which a pretty lady is sitting. 
Roses are trained over a finely forged iron railing at her back, 
and the entrance to the enclosure is a narrow Gothic porch, 
against and over which the flowers grow ; but this is Italian work. 
Thoroughly northern is the garden in one of the Justice pictures 


1465). BERLIN. p. 201. 

MEXICO. p. 202. 

p. 203. 

\To lace page 208. 


painted by Bouts in his last years for Louvain. It is a castle 
garden this time, walled off from a great park-like enclosure, 
and there are two adjacent squares, each within its own railing. 
One contains the flower-garden proper, with small square beds, 
the like of which, reproduced with all attainable accuracy, you 
might have seen at Friar Park in Sir Frank Crisp's days. The 
second square probably enclosed a fountain. 

Elaborate gardens such as one in a French miniature in a 
British Museum manuscript of the Romance of the Rose (Harl. 
4425), or better still in the above-mentioned Virgo inter Virgines 
at Lisbon were divided up into several squares, each with its 
low wall or railing. One of these squares contained the rectangular 
flower beds, another a flowery mead, a third an orchard with a 
fountain. The fountain might be replaced by a pool, like that into 
which Narcissus gazes in the same Harleian manuscript. Many 
gardens contained a pavilion, of the kind called a " Gloriette." 
In these pavilions we see people having a good time, and there is 
generally a table covered with a cloth and light refreshments, 
not excluding jugs of wine. Early sixteenth century miniatures 
of the Binnink and allied schools contain plenty of gardens of 
the type we have been considering, but no novelties. The 
enclosures tend to grow larger ; that is all. Even so late as the 
seventeenth century, examples survive, as, for instance, in the 
outer bailey of the Castle of Saarbrucken, shown in one of 
Merian's etchings. It is a fifteenth century garden in all but 

It would seem, then, that truthfully depicted garden back- 
grounds were first introduced by Bouts. At all events, it is the 
followers of Bouts who first gave them vogue, and the best of 
them were painted at Haarlem. That town was destined to 
become, and still in our own day remains, a great horticultural 
centre. Its fame arose with the introduction of the tulip, but 
the fact that the cultivation of that blazing bulb was so keenly 
pursued in the Haarlem district is proof that horticulture had 
already taken a firm hold upon the well-to-do burghers settled 
thereabout. In these Haarlem pictures we may trace the first 
beginnings of the garden development which was to follow, just 
as the Haarlem School was also the forerunner of the wonderful 



painting-schools that were to flourish in Holland in the seventeenth 
century. 1 

Upward of thirty years ago, I devoted myself to serious study 
of the woodcut illustrations in books printed in the Netherlands 
in the fifteenth century. There already existed a list of all the 
known publications, and I travelled over Europe from library to 
library till an example of each had passed through my hands 
and the cuts in it had been examined and catalogued. The result 
was a volume entitled Woodcutters of the Netherlands (Cambridge, 
1884), which attracted little attention when it was published. 
The bulk of the small edition was, I believe, destroyed. Now, 
when students want it, it is practically unobtainable. It remains 
the only work on its subject and is not likely to be replaced. The 
book contains one rather important error due to the youth and 
inexperience of the author. It groups the cuts under woodcutters 
according to their style, whereas it ought to have grouped them 
under designers. The poor little prints seemed to me so rude and 
amateurish that I could not believe them to have been designed 
by artists. Many of the simplest may, perhaps, have been designe 
by the craftsmen who cut them, but the majority, it now seems 
obvious to me, must have been drawn on the blocks by artists 
and degraded in the cutting by unskilful engravers. With the 
passage of time, my memory of the subject has grown dim ; 
am disinclined to go poring into a number of old books in the 
library of the British Museum merely to refresh my knowledge 
of some very feeble works of art. A few of the more important 
groups of cuts are, however, fairly distinct in my memory, am 
among them I can easily recall those assembled together 
by " the Second Delft Woodcutter." Their peculiar hideousness 
made them memorable. How I loathed them ! Reproductioi 
of a few of them are at hand, and it is now evident enough to me 
that it was not the designer but the woodcutter who was at faull 
If we could see the original drawings they would probably be foum 
quite meritorious. The dates of the first appearances of the blocl 

1 It is worth mention that the earliest known publication on gardens issued in the 
Netherlands was a poem by Columella, entitled De Cultura Hortorum, printed by J. de 
Breda at Deventer in 1486 or 1487 just the tune when gardens were finding their waj 
into the backgrounds of pictures. 


lie between 1483 and about 1492, perhaps later. Dr. Friedlander 
acutely noted that the designer of these cuts worked in the 
style of an easily identifiable artist, who painted the pictures 
which have been grouped together by him under the invented 
name of the " Master of the Virgo inter Virgines," whom we 
may call the Virgo Master for short. It is almost impossible to 
resist the conclusion that designer and painter were one and the 
same individual. 1 No less than sixteen pictures have been assigned 
with some confidence to him, 2 and to these we must briefly attend. 
It is obvious that an artist who was at work at Delft by 1483 
cannot have been a pupil of Geertgen van St. Jans, who can scarcely 
have been born before 1465. Resemblances that may be found 
between their work are due either to a common medium or to 
the influence of one of them upon the other. The Virgo Master 
must have been the senior and must be dealt with first. Whether 
he went to Haarlem and studied under Ouwater, or where he picked 
up his education, cannot now be affirmed. An Adoration of the 
Shepherds, which was in the de Somzee Collection, may be his 
earliest surviving work and seems to negative the teaching of 
Ouwater. If other pictures of a local Delft School had been pre- 
served we might have found features of similarity in them. As it is, 
this picture stands alone with marked peculiarities and some virtues 
of undiscoverable pedigree. The Child lies in the manger like an 
image on a tray, and there are many other awkward features, but 
the Virgin is a sweetly imagined personage, well matched by the 
man who leans over behind her. Quaintly round-headed and 
shy shepherd boys kneel in the midst, and a group of thin-necked, 
jutting-chinned angels hover aloft. The bewildered ox and the 
astonished ass, with his high human forehead and erected ears, 
are not for a moment to be forgotten. They are comic to a degree. 
In fact, the whole picture is comic to us, but evidently without 
any intention of the artist to make it so. He went to work in 
all conceivable good faith, and this was the best he could make of 
the subject. How in the world he came to invent such postures 

1 An equally important or even better artist must have designed the woodcuts 
characteristic of the press of Bellaert of Haarlem. 

2 See Friedlander's list in the Berlin Jahrbuch, 1910, part ii, to which a picture in the 
J. G. Johnson Collection (No. 349) has to be added. 


for those elfin roundheads is hard to imagine, but there they are, 
and we would not have them changed on any account. 

This artist was, in fact, a very serious person, with a tragic 
element in him, as a picture in the Liverpool Gallery shows. It 
depicts the dead body of Christ borne toward the grave by His 
friends. We have seen many examples of this subject treated by 
other Netherlands artists, always with a quantity of accompanying 
detail flowers in the grass, trees, a distant town, fields, hills, 
and what not. Here are neither flowers nor grass nor any amenities, 
but bare and desolate ground broken into desert lumps, treeless, 
waterless, lifeless ; only a narrow glimpse showing afar off the 
world of men. It is a place of death, of tombs and solitude, 
whither only the dead come and whence they that bring them 
hasten away. The people are almost as strange as the place- 
folk with hollow cheeks, worn with sorrow. There is nothing 
of tradition about it all. The artist's own vision has beheld it 
thus and set it down as best he could. It is strange in such a 
picture to find so rich a costume as that of Nicodemus, or the 
jewelled headdresses of the Maries. There is, in fact, a curious 
mingling here of primitive and decadent. Soon the decadent was 
to triumph with Engebrechtsen and Jacob van Oostsanen, though 
not for long. Holland came relatively late into the field. The 
flowering time of Flemish art was almost over before the Dutch 
school was firmly established. It had not time to become inde- 
pendent before the decadence of mediaeval art set in, so that 
the second generation of Dutch painters was affected by the failure 
which was overtaking all the mediaeval schools. Primitivism and 
decadence were here almost simultaneous. 

The severity, the abnegation of all extraneous detail, which 
mark the Liverpool picture also characterize an Annunciation in 
the Museum at Aix-la-Chapelle. It is happening in a room, we 
must suppose, but all we are shown is a bed in the background, 
a rest for the Virgin's prayer-book, and a pot for a flower. The 
attention must not be withdrawn from the personages engaged. 
Their draperies, which are very expressive the Virgin's so straight 
and reposeful, the angel's in a flutter tell the artist's tale. All 
the story is in them, and they suffice. I will not delay over the 
Crucifixions in the Uffizi and the Glitza Collection (Hamburg) 


which this master was made to paint. A demand for ghastly and 
populous Crucifixions marks the close of the Gothic epoch and 
the coming of the Renaissance, especially in Germany. They 
possess none of the old symbolism and dignity, but are mere 
exhibitions of blackguardism below and frightfulness above. 
We turn from them to more profitable objects of contemplation. 
A Magi altar-piece in Salzburg Museum * and two Adorations 
at Berlin of the Shepherds in the Kaufmann Collection, of the 
Magi in the Museum show our artist in his most developed stage. 
He has overcome many of his early troubles with composition. 
He is able to draw better and to tell his story no less well. His 
types have become slenderer ; his art remains aloof and a little 
weird. At no time did he grow to be a great master, but he justified 
his existence, not alone by leaving a problem for Friedlander to 
solve, but by painting pictures which it is worth while to preserve 
for their own sake and the interest we can still take in them after 
four and a half centuries. 2 

1 Onze Kunst, xi (1909), p. 73, with reproduction. Another Magi triptych in the 
Flehite Collection at Amersfoort is in his style ; as it was set up in memory of a man who 
died in 1526 it must be the work of a follower. 

2 An important anonymous Dutch, probably Haarlem, Master working at this time 
painted about the year 1480 a large and populous picture of the Adoration of the Magi, 
for some years in the hands of Messrs. Sully, of Bond Street. The picture is brightly 
coloured after the manner of a stained-glass window. It is of unusual composition, the 
train of the kings, divided into two parts and filling the background on either side, con- 
sisting of horsemen in violent activity. The Virgin, under a sort of emblematic building 
in the midst, open on all four sides, is of Dutch type, remotely similar to Geertgen's. 
Elements that recall the early work of Gerard David also obtrude themselves. The artist 
is a venturesome rather than an able draughtsman, and may easily be recognized by the 
peculiarly stiff upper lips of almost every one of his faces. It is improbable that so 
solid and for his place and day so capable a painter should be represented by only one 
surviving picture, and that of such exceptional dimensions. 



GEERTGEN VAN SINT JANS is, after Bouts, the most important 
and most interesting Dutch artist of the fifteenth century. He 
was born at Leyden and became a pupil of Albert van Ouwater 
at Haarlem. We know neither the year of his birth nor of his 
death, but only that he was 28 years old when he died. It 
is related, perhaps fabled, that Diirer said of him " here was a 
born painter." Evidently painting came naturally to him like 
music to a " prodigy." Van Mander is our authority for what is 
known about his short life. He says that " little Gerard " lived 
with the knights of St. John at Haarlem, whence he acquired 
his surname. There he painted a triptych with the Crucifixion 
in the centre. This and one of the wings perished in the religious 
troubles, but the other wing, now sliced into two separate panels, 
front and back, is in the Gallery at Vienna. These pictures are 
the starting-point for our knowledge of the artist's style ; but 
here it will be more convenient to accept the results arrived at by 
the consensus of many critics and proceed to the consideration 
of Geertgen's work as a whole without retracing the steps of 

Perhaps the earliest of his surviving pictures is a little diptych 
at Brunswick, with the Virgin, Child, and St. Anne on one wing, 
a donor and St. Barbara on the other, and saints on the back. 
The two front subjects form a single picture and ought to show 
the influence of the young artist's master if that is to be seen in 
any work of his. What leaps to the eye is the resemblance of 
the background to the backgrounds of the Sibyl Master. Nothing 
could be more obvious. From him, then, we should say Geertgen 
must have learned ; and it is recorded that he was Ouwater's 
pupil. Here, then, is another argument for the identity of Ouwater 
and the Sibyl Master. It will be remembered that in the Sibyl 



picture there is an opening or water-gate to the moat. It is a 
feature that we find in two paintings by Geertgen. The Sibyl 
Master is the first to introduce storks. Geertgen also brings 
them in. The bearded man on the right in the Sibyl picture 
becomes one of Geertgen's favourite types (vide both the Amsterdam 
pictures) ; and so we might go on, but the reader can make such 
comparisons for himself. Friedlander finds a resemblance between 
the donor-half of the Brunswick diptych and Peter Christus. It 
is obvious in St. Barbara, yet she is no less like the Virgin in 
Ouwater's Lazarus ; as for the kneeling donor we have none 
by Ouwater with which to couple him, nor any proof that the 
Christus influence did not reach Geertgen through Ouwater. How 
else could it have reached him ? There is no suggestion that he 
ever left Holland. For the work of a youth the diptych is remark- 
ably good excellent in composition, balance, and the suggestion 
of space and air, well drawn, with a delightful landscape. The 
pupil equals the master from the start. Those who accept as 
Geertgen's the Nativity at Amsterdam (950B) will have to assign 
it also to this early period. 

The Prague triptych comes next, an Adoration of the Magi 
with donors and their saints on the wings, and another walled 
garden with raised bank all round, the parent of the sunk gardens 
which were to perpetuate the mediaeval type down to our own day. 
He that wanders westward in Kensington Gardens will find the 
like, somewhat more developed. The Magi group does not escape 
the influence of Van der Weyden, but it is an influence merely of 
type, indirect and remote. The peopled background is Geertgen's 
own. There were plenty of peopled backgrounds before, but not 
like this. The prolific freedom of invention here shown is new. 
The figures live ; they have things to do ; they animate the street. 
Away off is a man on horseback who reminds me of the St. Martin 
in the J. G. Johnson Collection. That picture has been boldly, 
but not impossibly, ascribed to little Gerard. Some of the figures 
in the Prague triptych are very original. Such is the man in the 
long cloak who turns his back on us. A boy's head, just over 
the shoulder of the Moorish king, is a new type, with the light upon 
it and the soft hair. Heads like this are in that entertaining 
triptych in the National Gallery, which shows a church lit up 


internally with a yellow glow. Friedlander has attributed it and 
a few other less good pictures to the Master of the Morrison triptych, 
but it is little more than a copy after some lost Geertgen of excellent 
quality. The two women walking in the wood in the background 
of the left wing are a reminiscence of the Sibyl Master's Madonna. 
Another woman of the kind is in the courtyard in a curious picture 
attributed to the early Leyden School in Amsterdam Museum (43A). 

A strange picture by Geertgen at Amsterdam is that in which 
all the kinsfolk of the Virgin are brought together within the 
nave of a church, the children squatting on the floor or reaching 
out to one another from their mothers' laps, while in the back- 
ground before the choir-screen groups of men talk together and 
a youthful servitor is lighting the candles high above the altar. 
The altar itself, too, is peculiar, for there is a group of sculpture 
actually on it Abraham about to slay Isaac --and these coloured 
wooden figures are as real as the living personages, differing only 
from them in scale. The slender marble columns and carved 
capitals obviously came from Ouwater, and so does that love of 
landscape which caused the painter to introduce and open a pair 
of most unlikely doors at the east end of the north aisle, so that 
grass and trees might be seen. There is no effect of interior 
illumination any more than in Ouwater's Lazarus ; a studio light 
reveals the figures. The types are now all definitely Geertgen's 
own, those that he was to adhere to for the rest of his few days- 
quaint people of puritanical aspect, like " pensive nuns, devout and 
pure, sober, steadfast, and demure " ; but the children have a new 
and more solid humanity than those found in Brussels or Bruges- 
sturdy little ruffians with eager movements and stodgy, expression- 
less faces. The nameless Westphalian who painted a group of the 
same Holy Kindred, which forms the centre of a triptych in the 
Wiesen Church at Soest, must have had this picture in mind 
and may have learned his art from Geertgen. 

Another Adoration of the Magi, at Amsterdam, shows our 
artist's rapid growth in grace an easier composition, a more 
assured touch, but the eyes still staring after the fashion caught 
from Ouwater. A perfectly beautiful bit of nature illuminates 
the foreground of the landscape. It is a reed-margined pool of still 
water, with flags in blossom, and a crane on a tiny island. The 


skill of touch, the sense of beauty, not merely in the thing but in 
the rendering of the thing, the admirable arrangement of unadver- 
tised detail all these merits were Geertgen's own contribution 
to the art of his day, not the result of any master's teaching. 

We thus come in orderly sequence to what is perhaps Geertgen's 
most attractive work, the St. John Baptist, not so much in a wilder- 
ness as in a park. The picture slipped through Christie's for 
a trifle on Ascot Cup day and a few years later was snapped up 
by the alert director of the Berlin Museum. It is not the pensive 
Saint who pleases us, though he is well enough ; still less is it his 
very formal and very primitive lamb, apparently stuffed as well 
as nimbed ; but it is the beautiful wide-spreading landscape that 
holds our attention, its glades and trees, and the sunlit towers 
of a castle peeping up in the distance. The trees are painted 
with a novel and picturesque touch which is in itself both decorative 
and suggestive of natural form and only appears in this instance. 
Such park-like vistas as here we behold were not, however, entirely 
novel. Something of the same kind had been depicted by Bouts in 
his Paradise at Lille and by Van der Goes in the Fall at Vienna. 
Memling at about this same time was introducing park-like land- 
scapes behind some of his portraits, and notably as background 
to his Virgo inter Virgines in the Louvre, a feature imitated by 
an unidentified follower in the picture of the same subject which 
is in Buckingham Palace. Geertgen can hardly have seen any 
of these works, though he may have heard of the Bouts from one 
of that painter's Dutch pupils. Probably this landscape is alto- 
gether his own idea, but we must remember that, according to 
Van Mander, Ouwater was famed for important innovations in 
landscape painting, and Geertgen's indebtedness to him on that 
score can only be guessed. At all events, here we have a remarkable 
and extended landscape which surpasses all of those above- 
mentioned and foretells Patinir and others who were to come. 
It does not lack for detail : flowers, birds (a wagtail, a crane, and 
others), rabbits, deer, a little brook, a pond, and beyond the nearer 
trees a blue distance and hills in three grades of tone with the white 
ind light-blue sky over all. Mediaeval traditions linger in the 
lounded earth, but the general effect of the whole must in its 
lay have been ultra-modern. 


The Resurrection of Lazarus in the Louvre and the two Vienna 
panels must be accounted among the latest works of the young 
master. They show a wonderful maturity when considered as 
the output of a youth in his twenties. How much better he 
tells his tale than Ouwater ! Compare Peter here, bending forward 
astonished and almost incredulous, with the second-rate showman 
in Albert's painting at Berlin. There is just a reminiscence of 
that work in the two Maries, for instance, and the group of Jews. 
Look at the brocaded individual with his hand behind him who 
turns his back on us. The fat-faced Pharisee on the left is a 
novel type; I have sometimes wondered whether Andrea Solario 
saw him and took note. A dimly surviving memory of the Sibyl 
Master lingers in the background, but how little this youth owes 
to anyone compared with the great flood of original power that 
welled up within himself ! The portrait of the donor is as fine 
as any Van der Goes could have painted, a dignified and able 
personage, contrasting strangely with the cowering little female 
on the opposite side, who seems to wish she had never been born. 

John the Baptist reappears on one of the Vienna panels, bu 
in the form of bones which the Emperor Julian the Apostate i 
causing to be burnt. The picture is rather a chaos of people an 
incidents arbitrarily divided from one another by such unnatur 
humps and lumps of ground and rocks as Memling was to use for 
a like ill purpose. But we forget the weakness in presence of th 
group of portraits of the Knights of St. John at Haarlem, amon 
whom Geertgen lived and for whom he painted the altar-piece. 
Friedlander puts the date of it to about 1493. If that is accepted, 
Ouwater to be his master must have lived on to the eighties of th 
fifteenth century, which is not impossible, even if he was born a 
early as 1420. But to return to the portraits. Observe the grav 
individual who stands in front, gesturing with the horizonta 
left hand. The same gesture is characteristic of a portrait i 
the J. G. Johnson Collection, which is dated 1489, and preserv 
the likeness of Peter Veenlant, " Consul Schiedamensis." Th 
rendering of the face is entirely in accord with the attribution 
of this fine portrait to Geertgen. That he was already feeling his 
way toward the more vivid and dramatic style, which the next 
generation of Dutch painters was to carry to exaggeration, 


demonstrated by the group of Julian and his courtiers. That was 
a road which Geertgen travelled safely, as did Lucas van Ley den. 
The two geniuses almost touch one another at this point. 

More successful as a pictorial whole is the other side of the 
wing, where the dead Christ is being mourned by His friends. 
It was a subject which at that time almost every painter had to 
treat for some patron or other, but none of little Gerard's prede- 
cessors or contemporaries attained his measure of success. Here 
the pathos of the scene is felt and transmitted. Roger counts 
for something in the composition. There is his Magdalen wringing 
her hands, but how much more credibly here ! All howling and 
hysterics are banished, but a deep feeling is expressed and each 
displays it according to his kind. Moreover, the figures are put 
together with a skill that completely hides itself, so naturally 
do they occupy their places. The pyramidal group in the centre 
with the upright supports on either hand did not come by chance. 

A word must be said about the Nativity in the Kaufmann 
Collection, which astonishes by the emphasis of its chiaroscuro. 
Earlier attempts had been made, even as far back as by the 
de Limbourgs, to paint night. Bouts, as we saw, made an experi- 
ment. But here is real darkness, cloven by the miraculous light 
that strikes upward from the Child, illuminates the Virgin and the 
angels, and even dimly reveals the face of poor Joseph in the 
corner. 1 It is not exactly done as Rembrandt would have done it, 
but the problem which Rembrandt solved is here posed, and, 
knowing what we do, we can see that Geertgen not only posed 
it but made a long stride toward the solution. As to other pictures 
attributed to our artist, a bare mention of some must suffice. 
There is a half-length Madonna in the Hollitscher Collection, 
another in the Ambrosian Library at Milan, and a powerfully 
tragic Man of Sorrows at Utrecht a painful but wonderful picture. 
We must also remember the view of St. Bavon's at Haarlem, a 
painting mentioned by Van Mander ; if, as generally supposed, it 
is the picture now in that very church, it is a formal architectural 
perspective. Similar pictures of St. Lawrence's at Alkmaar and 
St. Peter's at Leyden are known, but they make no claim to a 
distinguished parentage. 

1 This effect was imitated by Jan Joest, Mabuse, and Barthel Bruyn. 


The number of Geertgen's followers was considerable, far greater 
than can possibly have been the number of pupils of an artist who 
died at the age of 28. Among those whom he influenced were 
Jacob Cornelis van Oostsanen, Jan Mostaert, Jan Joest of Calcar, 
and Gerard David. 

A few words will suffice to dismiss an anonymous follower of 
Geertgen who is known by the more than ordinarily awkward 
name " the Amsterdam Lucia Master." It would save a lot of 
annoyance if these nameless folk could be provisionally christened 
Jones, Meyer, or the like, till their true names are discovered ; 
but scientific students all the world over are incredibly bad at 
naming anything, whether it be a flower, a bug, or a mountain. 
Look at the names on the map of a newly explored region ! Only 
the ignorant can name nowadays. This Lucia person who 
must not be confused with another Bruges-Lucia-Master was 
a very poor painter. Any merit to be found in his pictures comes 
straight from his master. Beside the panel in the Amsterdam 
Gallery, from which he draws his lumbering designation, he is 
also endowed with a Crucifixion in the Archiepiscopal Museum 
at Utrecht and a Descent from the Cross in the Figdor Collection 
at Vienna, all uninteresting. 

By a different, far better painter is a picture at Dresden, which 
shows the interior of a delightful Gothic room. It has the nicest 
kind of a tiled floor, and it is divided into two bays, one groined, 
the other floored overhead with beams. There is a hooded fireplace 
and three sorts of windows with armorial glass, and though the 
furniture is sparse what there is would gladden a collector's heart. 
I should choose the bench with the linen-fold back on which the 
Virgin sits, and I should expect the brocaded cloth over its back 
to be thrown in. The reader may have St. Anne's armchair. 
Both of them will be nicer to look at than to sit on, but every modern 
house contains enough seats of which the reverse is true. The 
room is full of light, and the picture as a whole is charming. 
The light enters through the windows and fades in the shadowed 
corners. It is not a mere studio light enveloping a group, after- 
wards framed or backed by the structure of a church or chamber. 
That was the best that Ouwater and even Geertgen could make 
of such a subject. This artist, therefore, was not a mere follower, 


LIVERPOOL p. 212. 

p. 211. 


KINDRED. AMSTERDAM. p. 216. p. 220. 


but an innovator, a painter of some importance. From his hand 
came also two half-length groups of the Virgin and Child with 
St. Anne, one in Utrecht Museum, the other sold in the Stein auction 
in 1899 and later in the Michel van Gelder Collection. Both paint- 
ings are thought to show the influence of the Delft Virgo Master. 
They are admirable works in their simple fashion, and fully confirm 
the favourable impression made by the Dresden panel. Let us 
hope that more pictures by this important artist may hereafter 
be identified. 

Another excellent painting of the primitive Dutch School 
is in that assemblage of interesting works, the J. G. Johnson 
Collection, one of the few American galleries gathered on the 
principle of buying good pictures without regard to names. On 
the panel in question is painted a representation of John the Baptist 
pointing out Christ to his disciples. The landscape and the feeling 
show indebtedness to Geertgen, and here again it seems that other 
pictures by this same painter must be forthcoming. He should 
easily be recognizable by the sharply pointed, naked feet of his 
men. One could prick oneself on their great toes ! 

A seated Virgin in Berlin Museum, with a kneeling ecclesiastic 
before her presented by St. Michael, was exhibited at Utrecht 
Exhibition (No. 176) in 1913. It is a picture possessing many 
agreeable qualities, the St. Michael being of original type and 
unconventionally introduced. Cohen says that its nameless painter 
was also the author of a triptych with an enthroned Virgin at 
Antwerp (Nos. 561-3) with St. Christopher and St. George on the 
wings, and of an Assumption in the Provincial Museum at Bonn. 1 
But enough about these nameless craftsmen. Famous artists 
summon our attention elsewhere. 2 

1 Cohen in Zeits.f. b. Kunst, 1913-14, part ii. 

2 Other works more or less close to Geertgen are : 

Descent from the Cross, Munich, Nos. 84-5. 
Crucifixion, Modena, No. 33. 
Crucifixion, Cologne Museum. 
Ecce Homo, a pen-drawing in Berlin K.F.M. 
St. James, Emden Sale (Berlin, 1910). 

Betrayal and Entombment, wings in the Collection of Comte de Valencia 
de San Juan, in the Museo Archeologico, Madrid. 




THE Duke of Devonshire's triptych, painted for Sir John Donne 
about 1468, is the earliest identified picture by Memling that can be 
dated. It is the work of a mature artist. In the background of 
the dexter wing is the painter's own portrait. He is a man about 
33 years of age. Painting and portrait are in agreement. The 
beginnings of the artist must lie behind this mature work. We 
may thus conclude that he was born about 1430-35, and that 
he was approximately the contemporary of Justus of Ghent and 
Hugo van der Goes. The form of his Christian name, Hans, proves 
him to have been a German. Had he been a Fleming his name 
would have been Jan. An entry in the diary of a Bruges notary 
confirms this conclusion. " Oriendus erat Magunciaco," it says. 
He was, in fact, born in the principality of Mayence. Momlingen in 
that diocese may have been the place from which he took his name. 
He must have come early to the Netherlands, for there is no trace 
of the Germanic style in his art. He and John van Eyck are the 
typical Flemish painters. When we speak of Flemish art it is of 
the work of those two men we first think, though neither of them 
was a Fleming by birth. They stand for the Flemish, just as Bouts 
and his followers for the Dutch, or Campin and Roger for the 
Walloons. It is not therefore possible to put Memling's arrival in 
the Netherlands later than about his twentieth year, say in 1455. 
He may have arrived younger, but there is no record of him in 
Bruges or anywhere else before 1467, so we have to guess what he 
may have been doing in those twelve years or more, where was he 
studying, and what master taught him his craft. A veil hides his 
beginnings as completely as those of Justus and Hugo. Internal 
evidence alone can decide. Vasari and Guicciardini, indeed, tell us 
that he was a pupil of Roger van der Weyden, but their authority 



is too remote to be valuable in face of the fact that Memling's 
pictures show no such intimate relation to Roger's art as a long 
pupilage would be likely to effect. Memling was influenced by the 
work of Roger, perhaps by contact with him, but can hardly have 
been his apprenticed pupil. He was likewise strongly influenced 
by Bouts, but neither can Bouts have been his master. We know 
the work of several followers of Bouts. The seal of the master 
is indelibly set on them. Memling received no such stamp. 

There comes a moment in the growth of every style of art when 
the school or group of artists who adopt and practise it definitely 
emerges. Before that emergence we meet with a succession of 
individuals men of marked and original power, such as the Van 
Eycks or Campin who, in the endeavour to express themselves, 
discover and manifest the principles of form and the artistic ideals 
which, after them, become the common heritage and property of a 
whole group of their successors. Thus far we have been for the 
most part concerned with the work and character of such original, 
such road-making, artists. But most of the young painters who 
began their active career after the middle of the fifteenth century 
lack the individualism of their predecessors. They express the 
ideal of a school in the forms and methods invented and perfected 
by the Van Eycks, Campin, Roger, and Bouts. The trace of those 
leaders may be observed simultaneously in their work. Moreover, 
the formed Netherlandish style reigned not only over the artists of 
Flanders and Brabant, but over those also of the neighbouring 
provinces, including an area within the modern French frontier. 

Let us turn aside for a moment to examine a set of pictures, 
illustrative of the legend of St. Bertin, which may throw some light 
on this portion of our subject. They decorate the shutters which 
once enclosed the shrine of the Saint in his abbey at St. Omer. 
The shrine was made between 1453 and 1459 at Valenciennes to 
the order of Abbot William Fillastre, perhaps by the goldsmith- 
brothers Stechlin. The silver-work disappeared in the French 
Revolution, but the panels of the shutters may still be seen in the 
Berlin Museum and the National Gallery. They are so beautifully 
painted that Rubens declared he would willingly pay for them 
as many gold ducats as it would take to cover them The several 
incidents of the Saint's legend are divided from one another by 


architectural openings showing various interiors a method of 
division afterwards employed by Memling. The incidents are 
monastic events happening within a convent, so that figures of 
monks predominate, all very meek and humble persons. One of 
them resembles Van Eyck's portrait of the Esquire of the Order 
of St. Anthony at Berlin. The convent expression marks the faces 
of even the few laymen in the piece. A cloistered atmosphere is 
all-pervading. The landscape is as gentle and suave as the men, 
though there is little room for landscape distances or background 
incidents. A builder or two at work, an individual seated outside 
a castle's gate, a ferry-boat on a calm river, and some tiny dots of 
men very far away are all we can see, the peace of the later after- 
noon being upon them also and on the waters and the slender 
pines and in the clear sky. Though the sun must be shining it 
casts no strong shadows ; nothing is strong or bold, everything 
tender and peaceful. An interesting feature round the cloister is 
the wall-painting of the Dance of Death, of which we catch two 
glimpses. It resembles in design that whereof the restored wreck 
may be seen at St. Mary's, Lubeck. Young lay-folks are walking or 
sitting comfortably beneath the picture, untroubled by its threaten- 
ings. In this work there is little definite trace of the influence of 
any of the masters we have studied, but the atmosphere is that 
which we shall presently find in Memling's pictures, though the 
forms are not his. It has been assumed that the painter of these 
panels must have been Simon Marmion of Valenciennes, who was 
born and apparently educated at Amiens, where he is last heard of 
in 1454. He is next mentioned in 1458, when we find him in com- 
fortable circumstances at Valenciennes, ergo he must have had a 
good commission such as these paintings. The trouble is that, 
though Marmion is often mentioned and praised as a miniaturist ; 
there is no record of his ever painting a picture. He was certainly 
the head of a prosperous miniaturist's atelier, and several costly 
manuscripts are attributed to him and his assistants. 1 One, at any 
rate, of these manuscripts was decorated for the same patron who 
paid for the shrine, but though some resemblance can be traced 

1 See Reinach in Gaz. Beaux-Arts, 1903, i, p. 264; Monuments et Memoires Plot, 
1904 ; Winkler in the Berlin Jahrbuch, 1913, pp. 251 ff. ; Renault in Revue ArcheoL, 1907, 
p. 119, and 1908, p. 108 ; L. de Fourcaud in Rev. de Vart anc. et mod., 1907, p. 321. 


between the miniatures and the above-mentioned paintings it is 
not of a sufficiently conclusive quality to assure the attribution 
of pictures and miniatures to the same hand. 

Attempts have, of course, been made to group with the St. Bertin 
series other paintings, more or less resembling them in style. Thus 
there is in the Louvre a picture of the finding and identification 
of the True Cross, which has been called a late work by Marmion. 
To him also is given a Crucifixion from St. Bertin's now in the J. G. 
Johnson Collection (No. 318), and another in the Corsini Gallery 
(No. 756). A Christ before Herod also in the Johnson Collec- 
tion (No. 763) is thought to belong to the same group, to which 
Friedlander adds a Mater Dolorosa and a Man of Sorrows, both at 
Strasburg. I do not feel the force of any of these attributions. 
Nor do I think that an interesting picture at Chantilly is in better 
case. It depicts Charles the Rash and other courtiers carrying into 
the Church of Bouvignes the chasse of St. Perpetua after it had 
been saved from the sack and destruction of Dinant in 1466 a 
piece of " frightfulness " which stains the memory of the prince 
for all time. 

Whoever painted the St. Bertin panels can hardly have been 
entirely educated at Amiens in the years around 1450. No known 
pictures of 1450 or thereabout from the North of France can be 
classed with it. It was only in or near Flanders that the painting 
method of the Van Eycks could then have been as thoroughly 
acquired as it was by this master. True, he shows no trace of the 
influence of Roger or of Bouts, but that proves nothing. There 
were other centres of art in the South Netherlands of which we are 
in almost complete ignorance. Valenciennes more probably taught 
him than Amiens. 

A similar but more refined and more spontaneous spiritual 
emotion pervades three small pictures, illustrative of saints' legends, 
all painted by one unidentified artist. Some have thought him to be 
of Bruges, but his home is more likely to have been on the soil of 
what is now France. He must have been working in the years sur- 
rounding 1460, but even as to his date there are differences of opinion. 
His most delightful picture is a panel belonging to Baron Bethune 
(Alost), on which is painted a white-robed saint, walking barefoot 
through a desert or wintry region along a strip of pretty carpet 


and with a bunch of roses in his hand. He is such a charming 
person, so simple in pose and sweet in expression, and heaven only 
knows whither he is going or what it is all about. There are 
leafless trees here and there, and piled unreal rocks, and a great 
Romanesque church away in the background. It is all white and 
grey, except for the carpet and the roses and the clear sky. They 
call it St. Bruno retiring to the Chartreuse, but the subject is quite 
immaterial. The picture has an artistic existence of its own, and is 
a thing essentially beautiful, which renders us careless as to whom 
or what it is intended to depict. It exists as a vision, concrete, 
self-contained, self-sufficing. To the same painter are attributed 
two less perfect but very enjoyable works, both likewise quite 
small. One is in the Brussels Gallery (No. 35), the other in the 
Van de Walle Collection. 1 In both we see a preacher addressing a 
small congregation. Somewhat of the same quiet charm lingers in 
them as in the St. Bruno, but the artist shows a singular competence 
in dealing with the expressions of the onlookers, who are all visibly 
though quietly affected by what they hear. The work looks per- 
fectly simple and easy; no elaboration of detail, no astonishing 
aspect of finish to make a spectator put up a lens, but an admirable 
competence throughout, and an instinct for the unity and decora- 
tive harmony of the whole. Was he a Flemish painter ? I think not. 

In connexion with the origins of Memling, another word may 
be said about the Chantilly diptych of Jeanne de Bourbon. It 
is not by the St. Bertin artist, nor of his school, but it seems to be 
pervaded by a similar atmosphere in so far as the dissimilarity of 
subject permits. It was probably painted within the modern 
French border, by an artist in whom the traditions of Campin and 
Roger were alive, but there is in it an element derived from neither 
of these masters, which finds expression in the charming angel 
supporting the shield. If we knew where, in or soon after the year 
1460, that angel was painted, we should know where to look for the 
studio from which Memling emerged. 

Yet another picture of about the same date, 1459-62, cannot be 
neglected when we are discussing the origins of Memling. It is the 
Sforza triptych in the Brussels Gallery, which came from the Zam- 
beccari Collection at Bologna, and has been already referred to in 

1 Bruges Exhibition (1902), No. 344. 


connexion with Roger van der Weyden and the Lombard painter 
Zanetto Bugatto. The date of the central panel is fixed at about 
1460-2 by the apparent ages of Francesco Maria Sforza, Bianca 
Visconti, and their son Galeazzo Maria, whose portraits appear 
upon it. The central panel and the wings are by different hands, 
but painted at approximately the same time, as we judge from the 
likeness of Duke Philip the Good, which is on the left wing. The 
centre-piece was obviously done in the studio of Roger or by a 
pupil deeply imbued with his style. The wings appear to be by 
Memling. It used to be generally accepted that they must have 
been painted by him when, as the authorities above cited assert, 
he was working under Roger. If the Virgin of the Nativity on the 
left wing and angels near her resemble others repeated over and 
over again in Memling's later pictures, the type of the two female 
saints opposite shows a strong Roger influence. The John Baptist 
standing behind them descends from Campin, through Roger, and 
in Memling's hands will presently be transformed into the type 
to which he gave vogue a type repeated in a seventeenth century 
etching by J. van Oost, falsely inscribed as the portrait of Memling 
by himself. Obviously a man of the aspect of this Saint could not 
be the painter of such pictures as Memling's. 1 

I am thus led to conclude that Guicciardini's information is 
substantially correct, and that Memling did work under Roger for a 
longer or shorter period. Roger's late pictures, the Middelburg 
and Columba altar-pieces, are those most evidently echoed in 
Memling's work, so that it was probably while they were being 
painted that the young German artist had access to Roger's studio. 
Even if this be granted we are still without explanation of the 
origin of Memling's style, for though it is influenced by Roger it is 
not borrowed from him. The suspicion lurks in my mind that 
Memling may have studied first and longest in some centre of art 
such as Valenciennes, in the French Netherlands, where the solid 
foundation of his style was laid, and that it was only as a formed 
artist that he felt the influences of Roger, and presently of 
Bouts also. 

The great Last Judgment altar-piece in St. Mary's Church at 

1 The inventory of Margaret of Austria's pictures, made in 1524, describes a triptych 
of which the central panel was by Roger, the wings by Memling. Revue archeol., 1850, p. 60. 


Dantzig is to be numbered among the puzzling pictures of the 
Flemish School. Original documents which tell so much about it 
are obstinately silent as to the painter's name. We know that it 
was ordered by Angelo di Jacopo Tani, the representative of the 
Medici in Bruges, and his wife Catarina Tanagli. The work was 
finished in 1472, and was destined for Florence, but the ship that 
carried it was illegally made prize of war by Dantzig vessels, so that 
the altar-piece never reached its destination, but was set up in the 
church of their city, where it remains till this day. The painted 
area, including both faces of the wings, is about 72 square feet. 
Weale has counted the number of figures depicted, and they are 
upwards of 150, mostly nudes. It must have taken many years 
to design and paint so extensive a work ten or twelve, says Weale, 
but surely it might have been done in six. Bouts took four years 
over his Last Supper triptych, but this is bigger and more elaborate. 
It may therefore have been begun shortly before 1467, the year in 
which Memling is first mentioned at Bruges. To him it is commonly 
ascribed, but many good critics have doubted his authorship. 

The composition follows traditional lines. Christ is seated 
aloft on a rainbow, accompanied by the Virgin, John Baptist, the 
Apostles, and trumpeting angels. On the ground beneath Him 
stands armour-clad St. Michael weighing souls. The dead are rising 
from the earth and being drafted off to right and left toward Heaven 
on the dexter wing or Hell on the sinister. The donors and their 
saints (like statues in niches) are depicted on the backs of the wings. 
Some of the blessed are likely to be portraits of members of the 
Italian colony in Bruges, the lineaments of Thomas Portinari, for 
instance, being recognizable in the figure in the mounting scale. A 
gravestone is said to bear the date 1467, the year in which Angelo 
Tani made his will, though his actual death is not recorded, and 
about when Memling came to Bruges and apparently began his 
independent career. We are dimly reminded of the Last Judgment 
painted by Stephan Lochner at Cologne some years earlier, especi- 
ally in the architecture of the Gate of Heaven, with its sculptured 
lunette, its pediment, and the angels in the gallery above it. This 
can hardly be a chance resemblance. Still more close, however, 
is the connexion with Roger's Beaune altar-piece, notably in the 
figures of Christ and the Virgin, where direct imitation is undeni- 


able. The Hell in the Louvre, which we considered when dealing 
with Bouts, must also be remembered. A figure on the Dantzig 
wing with arms clasped and upraised finds a close parallel in the 
panel, attributed to Bouts ; the latter, however, may be the later 
in date. Notwithstanding all these resemblances Tani's altar- 
piece stands out as the work of a painter who was an independent 
and creative artist, apparently influenced by both Roger and 
Bouts, but not under the direction of either. Many figures and 
heads call up the name of Memling. The white-robed angel behind 
St. Michael's right hand seems to be " Memling all over " ; the 
resemblances to his work among the apostles, the angels, and the 
blessed are numerous ; and yet we hesitate. There are also trifling 
details of similarity, such as the painting of the broken ground at 
the foot of the Paradise wing, and other such tell-tale minutise. 
It may be hard to arrive at a certain decision, but those who claim 
that Memling painted this altar-piece before his style was finally 
formed can back their contention with strong arguments. How so 
important a commission came to be given to so young a man, what 
he had previously produced to authenticate his powers these and 
the like obscurities remain for future historians to clear up if 
they can. 

We may now proceed to consider the main portion of Memling's 
career on which his accepted pictures throw all needful light. A 
volume in the " Classics of Art " contains an ugly but useful series 
of reproductions of them all. Henceforward, from about 1466 till 
his death in 1494, he resided and worked at Bruges, the commence- 
ment of his activity there and that of Hugo van der Goes at Ghent 
being about simultaneous. It is remarkable that Memling's name 
does not appear in any guild-register that has been preserved. It 
has been suggested that he was in the Duke of Burgundy's service, 
for only painters thus retained could exercise their art in a city 
without belonging to the guild. In 1467 Philip the Good died, 
Charles the Rash succeeded to the Dukedom of Burgundy, and 
Memling's career at Bruges began. Next year Charles was married 
to Margaret of York, and a number of English courtiers attended 
the wedding. Sir John Donne of Kidwelly and his wife were of the 
number, and he embraced the opportunity to order the picture now 
at Chatsworth with portraits of himself, his wife, and a daughter 


kneeling before the enthroned Virgin. The Knight, who died in 
1469, wears the collar of the Yorkist Order of the Rose and Sun, 
conferred on him by Edward IV. In this picture the whole art of 
Memling is enshrined. He gives us here practically all that he had 
to give. There is nothing more rare, more novel, or more profound 
in any of his later works, and for this reason, because his art is wholly 
conventional. Subject and treatment alike are the outcome of 
conventions which successive generations of artists and churchmen, 
had elaborated. Take the subject first : it is not an event that ever 
happened, or could have happened, but a symbolical assemblage of 
emblematic figures, the meaning and intention of which were clearly 
understood by everybody because the convention was as much 
common knowledge as are the letters of the alphabet. The Virgin 
and Child were repeated from earlier models. The Genoese velvet 
dorser, the Anatolian rug, the columned portico, the undulating 
riverine landscape background, the swans on the water and the 
peacock on the wall every one of these features belonged to the 
stock-in-trade of the school. So did the saints with their standard 
attributes and the tiled floor, intended to help with the perspective 
illusion. Moreover, the perspective itself and the modelling, the 
figure-drawing, the chiaroscuro and every other technical detail, 
were adapted to the painting of this sort of picture. The complete 
science of perspective had not yet been discovered, but enough to 
fulfil the needs of this conventional art. When Memling was asked 
for figures in violent action or high passion, he failed with them. 
He and his contemporaries only knew as much as was necessary 
for the kind of pictures at that time in general demand. Compare 
such a painting as this with the Ghent altar-piece of the Van Eycks ; 
the difference is obvious. There almost everything is novel, it is 
all the invention of the artist. Neither the subject nor the treat- 
ment is traditional. No fully equipped school stands behind the 
craftsman. But behind Memling are two generations of artists, 
striving, inventing, improving technique, succeeding or failing 
with their experiments. Memling inherited the results of their 
labours. His hand is to no small degree guided by their brains. 
He is the best, the most refined, the most complete exponent of the 
school. Every picture of his that has merit is essentially a school 
picture. This is why any single picture by Memling is delightful, 


but a collection of several is monotonous. It would be pleasant 
to have a single Memling in one's house, but boring to be compelled 
to live with many. The same Virgin, the same mild saints, the 
same -angels, the same expressions on the countenances of donors, 
the same postures and gestures, the same kind of landscape, the 
same endless afternoon light it is all charming enough for once, 
but does not gain by repetition. Memling was the Perugino of the 

Far be it from me, therefore, to invite the reader to inspect the 
succession of all Memling's known pictures one by one. Any good 
example of the artist's work suffices, though of course there are 
degrees of charm between one and another. His most extensive 
work was the large triptych painted to adorn the high altar of the 
chapel of the Hospital of St. John at Bruges. The two St. Johns 
stand beside the enthroned Virgin on the centre panel, and the 
two wings are devoted to them, while on the exterior are portraits 
of the four donors with their saints. Weale shows sufficient reason 
for concluding that the picture was ordered in or before 1475. It 
was finished in 1479.- There is a touch of human interest in the back- 
ground, where (again citing Weale) is a view of the Bruges town- 
crane in Flemish Street, with Brother Jodoc Williams, master of 
the hospital, superintending the wine-gauging. " The house in 
course of construction to the left at the corner of the Coornblomme 
Street is that named Dinant, and the little Romanesque church in 
the distance is that of St. John, demolished at the end of the 
eighteenth century." 

The limitations of Memling's powers are easily perceived by 
comparing the pictures on the wings with the centre-piece. The 
latter is a group of Madonna and saints, typical figures constructed 
according to rule. It is therefore charming, though not improved 
by its large scale. The wing pictures the Baptist's martyrdom 
and the Evangelist's Vision lack every dramatic element, and 
though the parts are well enough, each whole lacks both unity and 
force. The Apocalyptic incidents are merely diagrammatic. More 
delightful to my thinking is the small replica of the central panel 
which belonged to Sir Joshua Reynolds and is now in the New 
York Museum. It was painted for another donor, who kneels behind 
St. Catherine. 


The most satisfying of Memling's triptychs is the Floreins altar- 
piece, likewise in St. John's Hospital. It is on a small scale, and 
finely finished. Even the outsides of the wings, usually so dull, 
are beautiful. They show the Baptist and St. Veronica, each seated 
on the ground in a beautiful landscape and framed within a 
sculptured arch. In these sculptured arches, and in the subjects 
within them, the influence of Roger is more plainly apparent than 
in any other picture by Memling. He has had the St. Columba 
triptych in mind, and has freely borrowed from it both for the 
Adoration of the Magi and the Presentation in the Temple, but in 
borrowing he has refined, simplified, and perfected the composition. 
The Nativity on the other wing is no less obviously borrowed from 
the central panel of Roger's Middelburg altar-piece, and is likewise 
improved in the borrowing. 1 Here, in fact, the conventional treat- 
ment of these religious subjects reaches perfection. Design and 
treatment are in complete harmony. Excellent composition, 
delightful finish, charming figures, and a sweet spirit are united or 
expressed. This kind of art could no further go. After it there 
was nothing to expect save repetition, decadence, and then some- 
thing new, something altogether different. A realized ideal is like 
a flower that has fully blossomed. It must fade. 

Memling painted two pictures peculiar for the multitude of 
incidents they try to unite on a single panel. They are the Seven 
Sorrows of the Virgin at Turin and the so-called Seven Joys at 
Munich. The former was finished in 1478, the latter is dated 1480. 
Mr. Weale appears to me to have proved 2 that the Turin picture was 
painted for Memling's friend William Vrelant the miniaturist, and by 
him presented to the Booksellers' Guild of Bruges. It depicts the 
principal incidents of the Passion from the Entry into Jerusalem 
at one corner to Christ on the road to Emmaus at the other. Most 
of the area is occupied by a chaotic assemblage of buildings (for 
Jerusalem) with all sorts of archways, openings, and courtyards 
contrived, each to contain some incident. The method of isolation 

1 An earlier and more independent version by Memling is at Copenhagen (phot. Braun, 
44253), another in the Clemens Collection at Munich, Bruges Exhibition (1902), No. 80. 

2 Burlington Mag., Feb. 1908, p. 309. German critics for the most part hold that this 
is the picture of the Passion which Vasari records as having been painted by Memling for 
Thomas Portinari. A comparison of the donor's portraits here with those of Portinari 
and his wife shows this to be impossible. They are totally different people. 


is, in fact, that employed in the St. Bertin altar-piece. Probably 
such a painting would be appreciated by a miniaturist. Individual 
scenes are often both beautifully and skilfully rendered, but the 
effect pf the whole is chaotic. This did not prevent Peter Bultync 
from ordering a similarly constructed picture for presentation to the 
guild of the Tanners. Here Jerusalem is pushed further back, and 
humps of earth or rock are employed to divide the open-air subjects. 
Events connected with the Journey and Adoration of the Magi 
occupy most of the space. We see the Wise Men afar off, each on 
the top of a separate mountain beholding the star. We can observe 
their three caravans meeting and proceeding together to visit Herod. 
The Massacre of the Innocents follows, and then the Adoration of 
the Magi, which is the principal event, in the foreground. After it 
the Kings hurry away. They embark on three ships, the first of 
them already growing very small in the distance. To left and right 
are other incidents in the life of the Virgin : the Annunciation and 
Nativity on one side and post-Resurrection events on the other, 
with the Dormition and Assumption of the Virgin in the furthest 
corner. Passion subjects were unsuited to Memling's genius, but 
happier scenes are entirely in his line. Nothing could be more de- 
lightful in its kind than the apparition of the angel to the shepherds. 
The story of the Kings' journey, for all its patching about, is delight- 
fully told, and the picture as a whole is full of interest One can 
stand close to it and wander about in it in imagination with pleasure. 
But the whole lacks unity and produces no integral effect. As 
an altar-piece it must have been singularly ineffective. If each 
subject had been painted separately on a panel to itself and the 
series framed together in suitable assemblage the result would have 
been better. That was how Memling's pictures of the Ursula 
legend had to be dealt with, for they were made to adorn the shrine 
of the Saint, and, according to the fashion of the day, it had to be 
constructed like a little building with arcaded walls and gabled ends. 

The shrine has long ago taken an accepted place among the 
most generally admired works of fifteenth century painting, so 

,t I need waste no words in praising it. The artist treats the 
incidents of the legend as a fairy-tale, which must always be told as 
though there could be no possible doubt of the truth of every word. 
The eleven thousand virgins of English noble birth, all bareheaded 


and clothed in the rich costumes of the fifteenth century Burgundian 
court, go sailing up the Rhine, tightly packed together in little 
boats. There is something of Flemish literalness in it all, and 
yet it is a literalness of a fanciful kind. Each scene looks like 
a picnic. There is the real Cologne in the background, the ship 
(a real ship) at the quay, and twelve young ladies landing on the 
shore. But for the presence of an angel in the background we 
should not have supposed that anything miraculous was intended. 
It is in the sudden changes, the surprising succession of events, 
that the fairy element comes in, just as in any other fairy-tale where 
the fascination lies in rapid mutations of scene and circumstance by 
supernatural agency, though each individual incident, taken alone, 
may be perfectly natural and ordinary. Princesses and milkmaids 
are common enough mortals, but the sudden elevation of a milk- 
maid to be a princess, the sudden transformation of surroundings 
and attire, is the surprising work of the fairies, and the charm of 
the tale lies in the surprise. Even so is it with Memling's pictured 
tale. In one panel you see the pretty company landing at Basle, 
and without a moment's pause starting off one after another along 
the road to Rome, each so wrapped up in her own thoughts that 
no two walk together side by side. They step along daintily with 
the skirts of their dresses held carefully up. Then comes the magic 
transformation. In the next panel the four or five hundred miles 
of journey, with its Alpine fastnesses, its forests, and its dangers of 
every kind, have been safely accomplished without fatigue, and we 
find ourselves in Rome, watching the arrival of the un-travel- 
stained company. Along the level country road, in through the 
gate, and up the street of the city they come to the portal of a 
church, where Pope and Cardinals are assembled to receive them, 
while at the same moment Prince Conon, Ursula's betrothed, like- 
wise arrives with his knights, and all joyfully receive baptism at 
the hands of the priests. We do not see them again until the time 
of their departure from Basle in company with Pope, bishops, and 
cardinals on their return journey. The picture is of exceeding 
beauty the little ship packed with such well-dressed and gently 
demeanoured personages, the Pope seated in the midst, radiant of 
countenance and pouring forth words of holy wisdom, to which 
the devout company pay reverent and delighted attention. The 


remaining two panels contain the martyrdom : in the first the 
maidens are being shot down, and Prince Conon dies in the arms 
of his bride ; the other panel is reserved for the death of the glorious 
Ursula alone. But these martyrdom pictures are quite unreal. 
The soldiers are perfect gentlemen. Their chiefs look on with 
smiling wonder and a kind of reverent delight. The beholder, at 
a first glance, may receive some notion of violence and the like, 
but another look is reassuring. Clearly no harm is being done ; 
it is only a pantomime. The soldiers, who look as though they were 
shooting arrows at the maidens, soon win our confidence. For all 
their acting, their eyes betray them, and we trust them instinctively. 
From a hasty glance we might think the girls in the boat were being 
killed, but we soon see that they are not ; they throw their arms 
about and shrink behind the gunwale as if they were frightened ; 
but they are bad actresses ; we see through it all at once, and the 
innocent deception raises a smile. The unreality of the whole affair 
is emphasized by the introduction of the portrait of a famous 
contemporary as the archer, who is pretending to shoot St. Ursula. 
Weale showed that he is none other than Selim, son of Mahommed II 
and brother of Bajazet II, who was taken prisoner at Rhodes in 
1488. Pinturicchio sketched him and his suite from life and 
painted him in the Appartemento Borgia and elsewhere. 

It was in connexion with this imprisonment of his brother 
that Bajazet II in 1492 sent certain precious relics as a gift to 
Innocent VIII, and among them an emerald on which two heads 
were engraved in intaglio, fabled to be likenesses of Christ and 
St. Paul. This may have been a fourth century Roman gem, with a 
pair of heads in profile facing one another, and intended to repre- 
sent St. Peter and St. Paul. Many examples of that design of early 
Christian date are known. 1 It appears that the heads on this gem 
were repeated in some late fifteenth century Italian medals, the 
St. Paul closely resembling the antique original. Christ's head, 
however, though in some points like the antique St. Peter, was not 
copied directly from the gem, but from a Flemish painting based 
upon it. The best and earliest existing example of this painting 
is a head of Christ in Berlin Museum, which used to be ascribed to 
Tohn van Eyck, but in fact was not painted long before 1500. The 

1 See Garrucci, pi. 435. 


jamb and spring of a background arch on the right side show it to 
be the half of a panel on which the heads of Christ and the Virgin 
were once united. A "cut-out" plaquette at Berlin (Cat., ii, 
pi. 74, No. 997) contains the complete composition, and so does 
a Limoges enamel in the British Museum. 1 The Flemish picture 
in question does not here concern us, for it belongs as little to 
the workshop of Memling as to that of the Van Eycks. Suffice 
it to say that it gave currency to a type that was frequently 
copied under the impression that it preserved the actual lineaments 
of Our Lord. 

It might easily be predicted that the Madonna pictures of such 
an artist as the foregoing examples of the work of Memling show 
him to have been would not fail to possess unusual charm. The 
earliest to which a date can be assigned is the full-length standing 
Virgin of 1472 in the Liechtenstein Collection, in which we may 
trace the influence of Roger, but the later half-length in the same 
gallery (even if it be a copy) is more characteristic of his best period. 
Loveliest of all is the Madonna in Prince Radziwill's Collection 
(Berlin), the scene being to all intents and purposes the bedroom 
of Van Eyck's Arnolfini. The grace of the group of Virgin and 
supporting angels, the sweetness of sentiment, the beauty of the 
treatment, the perfect harmony of the whole were not surpassed 
in any other of Memling's works. His finest and maturest half- 
length Virgin is on Martin van Nieuwenhoven's diptych of 1487, 
a picture frequently imitated by such followers of Memling as he 
who painted a well-known Madonna belonging to Lord Northbrook 
and one which is or was in the Sommier Collection. A contemporary 
copy of it with added angels (one playing a Jew's harp !) was found 
at a baker's in Bruges, employed as the lid of a flour barrel, the 
middle part being thus badly damaged ; it now belongs to Baron 

The most delightful of all Memling's Madonnas are among the 
last pictures he painted, those, to wit, in the Vienna and Uffizi 
Galleries. In each a richly vestmented angel drops the lute to 
offer an apple to the Child. On the other side is either an angel or 
a donor. Glimpses of landscape are seen to right and left of the 

1 For many of the above cited facts I am indebted to Mr. G. F. Hill, who has treated 
the question at length in a revised edition of his Portraits of Christ. 


dorser of the throne, and the whole is surmounted and framed by 
an elaborately decorated round arch, with cherubs (whether alive 
or sculptured one can hardly tell) suspending festoons across it. 
Cherubs and festoons obviously owe their origin to Italian influence, 
but it is not necessary to send Memling to Italy to fetch them. 
Arch, cherubs, and festoons had much success, and were often 
imitated by painters of the next generation ; indeed, it is from them 
that we can trace the first beginnings of that tendency which, 
thirty years or more later, was to be manifested in the works of the 
Antwerp Mannerists. 

Portraits of donors introduced into many of the pictures we 
have noticed would suffice to demonstrate that Memling was a 
good portrait-painter. We are not, however, restricted to them, 
being fortunately able to enjoy many pictures by him which are 
portraits pure and simple. With one or two unimportant excep- 
tions they include little more than the bust, and an intruded hand 
or pair of hands of the sitter. The earlier examples of tenest have 
plain backgrounds, the later landscapes. If Memling at any time 
held the office of Court Painter to Charles the Rash, we should 
have had some princely portraits from his hand, but neither originals 
nor copies have come down to us. The best portrait of Margaret 
of York is in the Nardus Collection (Paris), but it betrays neither 
the hand nor the eye of Memling. It has been suggested that the 
kneeling King in the Floreins Magi of 1479 is a likeness of Duke 
Charles and that the St. Catherine and St. Barbara in the John 
altar-piece of the same date in the Hospital of St. John depict Mary 
of Burgundy and Margaret of York respectively. It is possible; 
but such likenesses introduced into religious pictures, and for which 
the persons depicted gave no sittings, cannot possess the qualities 
we look for in a portrait. Two repetitions of a bust of Anthony 
" le grand Batard de Bourgogne " exist in the galleries at Dresden 
and Chantilly, but both are copies of some original. He wears the 
Order of the Golden Fleece, conferred on him in 1456, while from 
his apparent age the original picture cannot have been painted 
ter than 1460. It is more forceful, more dramatic, than any 
ither known portrait painted by Memling, and, though commonly 
ascribed to him, implies an artist of more fiery nature, such as Hugo 
van der Goes. The stolid, not to say surly, individual whose bust 


is at Hampton Court x offers a more characteristic example of 
Memling's early portraiture. It is careful, observant, and workman- 
like, but lacks vivacity, rendering merely the aspect of the face in 
settled repose. The same observation may be made with respect 
to a whole group of portraits painted about 1467 to 1472. They 
appear to depict Italians. 2 Earliest of them is the Machiavellian 
Man with a Pink in the J. P. Morgan Collection, probably a 
member of the Italian Colony, in character, disposition, and dis- 
tinction far removed from the local burgher-class of Bruges. In 
the 1904 Exhibition of French Primitives at Paris, sitter and artist 
were both claimed for Frenchmen, but neither claim is admissible. 
No uncertainty of authorship attaches to the Antwerp portrait of 
an Italian medallist, who can scarcely have been other than Niccolo 
di Forzore Spinelli, called Niccolo Fiorentino (1430-1514), great- 
nephew of the painter Spinello Aretino. He was engaged as seal- 
engraver to Duke Charles in 1467 and the following year, at which 
time Memling must have painted the picture. It is the first of 
his portraits with a landscape background, thoroughly Flemish in 
character, but with a palm-tree introduced in reference to the 
southern origin of the medallist. The medal held in his hand 
indicates his craft. He wears a skull-cap beneath which his dark 
curly hair bushes forth around the face. The outlying hairs are 
drawn individually against brow or sky. 1 Similar in composition 
and treatment is the portrait of another Italian, which is in the 
Corsini Gallery at Florence, the landscape including one of those 
semicircular roads which Memling often introduced. The bus 
portrait of a fat-faced, humorous, blase-looking man at Brussels 
belongs to the same group. Otto Seeck claims him for Niccolo 
Strozzi. A pair of portraits in the New York Museum represent 
Thomas Portinari and his wife, Mary Baroncelli, the same that 
we have seen on the wings of Hugo's great triptych at Florence. 



1 It bears the number 276 painted on to the panel, but I cannot find it in the catalogue. 
Friedlander attributed it to Memling, Winkler to the same pupil of Roger who painted th 
Malines Archer's votive picture (Antwerp, No. 818). 

2 The condition of the portrait of James of Savoy in Basle Museum is so bad that it 
is impossible to decide whether it is an overpainted original or copy. The general aspect 
of the design is suggestive of Memling. 

3 The early portrait at Copenhagen by Memling is perhaps about contemporary with 
the Spinelli. 


They were married in 1470, when the bride was only 14 years 
of age. Here they are not more than two or three years 
older, though the lady has already put on matronly airs of 
sobriety. She wears a costly necklace, which her husband could 
well afford to pay for. Her connexion, the wife of Pierantonio 
Baroncelli, whose portrait in the Uffizi was painted by a follower 
of Hugo's some seventeen years later, owned a more elaborate 
enamelled necklace of similar type. Why did not their de- 
scendants take care of these charming works of the goldsmith's 
art, instead of sending them to the melting-pot ? If the creative 
instinct is strong in man, it is matched by a no less powerful 
impulse to destroy, and what we call Fashion is the efficient agent 
for both activities. 

In none of these pictures do we find such revelation of character 
as is the glory of the best portraits of the Flemish School, or of 
Memling's maturer days. They are people whose minds are in 
repose ; they might almost be sitting to a photographer. Yet 
beneath this still passivity there is life. Each face is ready to 
express emotion when emotion arises. The perfection and delicacy 
of the modelling manifest the vitality that distinguishes the faces 
from masks. They are not wooden, for all their momentary fixity. 
The flesh is soft, potentially changeful, and of a multifold plasticity. 
As with Memling's religious paintings, so with his portraits, they do 
not gain by being gathered together. Each is more enjoyable 
when seen alone. Each gains by familiarity. The families of these 
sitters must have been well pleased with the portraits, their obvious 
sincerity, their completeness, their comfortable companionship. 
The painter acted as a mirror. He reflected the face of each subject 
in repose. Hence Mending was to some extent at the mercy of his 
patrons. If a sitter possessed personal charm it might appear, 
as it does in the portraits of three lads, all again, I think, Italians, 
one formerly in the J. E. Taylor Collection, another in the Venice 
Academy, the third in the Dun Collection (formerly Lord Wemyss'). 
The first is of a peculiar type with a strangely long flat cheek ; for 
him Fate may have held remarkable experiences in store. The 
second is a dreamer, perfectly suited to Memling's vision and treat- 
ment, and wholly realizable by him. The last is a little older, with 
a budding moustache upon his lip, a spick-and-span youth with a 



determined expression, his personality beautifully expressed within 
the fixed limits of Memling's formula. 

As Memling advanced in years, he obtained a deeper insight 
into some types of character, rather by quickened sympathy than 
by developed critical power. It is to sympathy that we owe the 
great charm felt in the portraits of a married pair of mature age 
now divided between the Berlin and Louvre Galleries. The man's 
is truly a great portrait life itself. Character and expression alike 
are there, and we feel that if painter and sitter were unacquainted 
to start with they must have parted warm friends. The wife's 
likeness is a worthy pendant. 1 Yet more delightful and for a lik< 
reason is the New York (Altman Coll.) bust-portrait of a mellow 
and kindly old gentleman, exceptional among Netherlanders whos 
likenesses have come down to us. He may be supposed to have 
cultivated to perfection " Part d'etre grandpere." Here are 
the tenderness, sympathy, and insight needed for such a mastei 
piece of portraiture. 

With these delightful pictures we may group the Frankfurt 
man in a high cap with eyes very close together and a suppressc 
smile. The kindly diplomatic individual lives before us. When 
he turns and looks our way, he will surely speak ; we need only 
wait a moment. In all these pictures Memling endows his subject 
with vitality and expression not earlier found, beside giving us 
f uller idea of the general character of the personages portrayed tl 
we receive from the preceding group. Two portraits, of 1480, 
Brussels express the likenesses of William Moreel (Morelli) and 
wife, who appear again upon the St. Christopher altar-piece of 14* 
in the Bruges Academy. Weale would have us believe that the 
Flemish lady called the "Sibylla Sambettia," painted in 1480, was 
their daughter Mary ; but she is obviously older than her supposed 
mother. The picture is in the Hospital of St. John. Memling 
lacked the power of a Rembrandt to endow with charm the likene 
of an unattractive person. 

A man and wife on a pair of wings at Hermannstadt have be 
ill-treated by restorers ; it is, however, not their fault only that the 
little boy behind the one and the dog behind the other both look 

1 Another portrait of an old woman in a white head-dress, in the C. von Hollitsche 
Collection at Berlin, is likewise attributed to Memling. I have not seen it. 


though they were stuffed ! In several of the afore-mentioned 
pictures the attitude chosen is that of prayer, with hands joined. 
Such must have been wings for diptychs or triptychs from which 
the jostlings of time have separated them ; but an admirable 
diptych of 1487 has been preserved for us entire by the pious care 
of the Hospitallers of Bruges. It shows one of Memling's best 
Madonnas on the dexter leaf and the half-length of Martin van 
Nieuwenhoven on the sinister. The work was designed and 
executed with unusual care. A learned mathematician once pointed 
out to me indications of the pains taken with the proportions of the 
various parts, which are indeed excellent. The artist has availed 
himself of the traditional " Coupe d'or " ; traces of the funda- 
mental triangle can still be observed on the jamb of the window 
behind Martin's right shoulder. The likeness is worked out with 
much thoroughness and well deserves the high repute in which 
it is held. The man himself is evidently something of a fool, but 
Memling hides his weakness by a treatment exceptionally dramatic. 
The Hague bust-portrait of a disillusionized individual, for whom 
the world is much out of joint, must be of about the same date. It 
exemplifies the seriousness of Memling's outlook upon mankind in 
his last period. Compare it with the Spinelli of twenty years 
before. The convention in both is approximately the same, but 
how different is the treatment ! The landscape has become merely 
decorative. The hair is still the frame to the face, but the face 
itself is painted with a solidity, an understanding of form and 
sense of mass, an appreciation of and insight into character far 
ahead of the earlier work. 

Three panels of equal dimensions containing half-lengths, one 
dated 1487, are in the Uffizi and at Berlin. The last is a Madonna ; 
the other two display St. Benedict and a praying donor. It has 
been thought that they may have been framed together, but their 
backgrounds are not in agreement. Even the Uffizi pair, which 
came out of the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova at Florence, do not 
make a very satisfactory diptych. If they belong together the 
young man's name was doubtless Benedetto, and the suggestion 
that he was Benedetto Portinari obtains support. The Portinari 
were closely associated both with Bruges and the said hospital. 
Memling has not made the youth interesting, but he has thoroughly 


enjoyed painting the Saint, one of his best portraits. How gladly 
would we identify the model ! 

We are thus led to conclude that Memling was highly successful 
as a portrait-painter, but within a restricted area. He could paint 
only those with whom he was in sympathy, and they were not the 
powerful ones of the earth. Men of gentle heart like himself he 
could immortalize. His own portrait is in entire agreement with 
what we learn of him from his works, as of course it had to be. A 
painter's face and his pictures are alike modelled by his character ; 
the one cannot belie the other. Memling's face is peculiar ; the 
upper and lower parts of it are in disagreement. He has a weak, 
retreating chin and an underhung lower jaw, but he possesses a 
fine brow, steady, observant, persistent, intelligent eyes, and the 
well-formed nose of a capable man. 1 If we must choose a single 
word to define his expression we might call it " aspiring." This 
man will work hard, without excitement and without passion. He 
will prefer things pure, lovely, and of good report. He will be the 
friend of quiet and kindly folk. He will pursue the even tenor of 
his way. His pictures prove him to have possessed an artist's 
eye for a picture as a whole. If his sympathies did not embrace 
the wide gamut of human capacity and emotion, they were broad 
enough to include all that was in harmony with his own ideal. His 
paintings are complete, each within its intended area. They are 
integral. They suffer neither from the too-much nor the too-little. 
Execution matches conception. Idea and form are at one. They 
may not greatly stir the imagination, but they please the eye. Their 
merit may perhaps best be measured by the fact that of all Nether- 
landish painters Memling has most attracted the affection of 
posterity, though he has failed to excite its wonder. In the Elysian 
fields he walks with Fra Angelico ; but if we are to select an Italian 
parallel to him as an artist Perugino must be our choice. The two 
men would have understood one another. 8 

Memling, besides being himself an industrious painter, must have 

1 Marcantonio Michiel saw a portrait of Memling in Cardinal Grimani's collection at 
Venice in 1521. It depicted a man " circa di anni 65, piutosto grasso che altramente e 

2 A half-length St. Barbara, the property of Sir George Radford, not mentioned, so 
far as I can discover, by any writer on Memling, appears to be a genuine work, judging 
from a photograph. 


given work in his studio to several assistants. Hence no two 
critics agree in drawing up a list of his works, for some accept as by 
his own hand paintings which others ascribe to pupils or helpers. 
When an artist designs a picture and himself paints the more 
important parts of it, it is his picture ; but is it his if only the design 
and the oversight have come from him ? Or what are we to say of 
a replica of some finished work done under his eye, touched here 
and there by his hand, and probably sold by him as his own work ? 
Evidently there can be all grades of authenticity between a painting 
entirely conceived, drawn, coloured, and finished by the artist 
himself, and one for which he provided only a preliminary sketch, 
leaving all the work to be carried out by some trusted assistant, 
who in his turn may have had the help of a drapery-man or 
landscapist for certain parts. Friedlander seems to me to include 
in his list of Memling's pictures several belonging to the studio class. 
Such is the half-length Madonna in the Kaufmann Collection, an 
imitation of which one stage further removed from our artist was 
in the Bourgeois sale (1904). Both are versions of the Madonna of 
the Nieuwenhoven diptych, which was Memling's own from start to 
finish. Again, there are two enthroned Madonnas at Berlin neither 
of which seems to express fully the mind and hand of our artist ; 
indeed, a famous critic felt the deficiency so strongly that he was 
tempted to call the example formerly in the Thiem Collection a 
forgery. To me it appears like the work of an assistant done 
under the master's eye in the last period of his life. The beautiful 
enthroned Virgin with St. George in the National Gallery, though 
perhaps sold out of Memling's studio and painted with his co- 
operation, can hardly be entirely his handiwork, while the half- 
length Madonna in the same Gallery looks like the work of an 
assistant throughout. I can only accept with similar reserve the 
Buda-Pesth triptych, the St. Jerome in the Burckhardt Collection 
at Basle, the Louvre St. Sebastian, and the six little panels in the 
Strasburg Museum. As for the organ panels at Antwerp from 
Najera Abbey in Spain, about the authenticity of which opinion 
has been so divided, no one any longer doubts Memling's responsi- 
bility for their design, but an experienced assistant could have done 
the actual painting as well as he, for to paint on so large a scale 
was not Memling's gift. I will not deny that he may have put his 


hand to these pictures, but there is no evidence on the face of them 
that compels us to think so. 

A stage further removed from the master-mind are the works 
evidently by his followers, some of which can be grouped together 
as by one or another recognizable but nameless individual. Refer- 
ence has been made above to the painter of the Northbrook Virgin 
and another in the Sommier Collection, both shown at Bruges in 
1902 (Nos. 140 and 215). There is a third half-length at Boston 
which seems not far removed from them. The painter must have 
been one of Memling's direct pupils. Further research will probably 
add to his list. Another follower may claim the Deposition in the 
Otlet sale, which came out of a convent of Carmelite nuns at 
Valladolid, and was shown at the Golden Fleece Exhibition (1907, 
No. 197) ; his also was the Crucifixion which belonged to the Hon. 
John Hay at Washington, and perhaps also the Deposition triptych 
which was burnt when in the Kaufmann Collection, 1 though that was 
considered by good authorities to be an early work of Memling 
himself. Recurring again to the enthroned Madonna in Berlin 
from the Thiem Collection, it will be profitable to compare it with 
similar pictures at Frankfurt (No. 109) and in the Chapel Royal 
at Granada. The stone thrones in the last two with their sculp- 
tured decorations are exactly alike, and resemble that in the first ; 
the Virgin's skirt draperies are identical in both, and the sentiment 
of all three pictures is similar, yet no two of them are by the same 
hand. All three pictures are obviously of Memling's school, but 
each is removed a little further than its predecessor from the 
master's own work. Memling's pretty Virgo inter Virgines in the 
Louvre is well imitated in a diptych at Munich, where the donor 
is presented by St. George and the two halves have a common 
foreground and landscape. An Adoration of the Magi which was 
in the Odiot sale (1889), and before that in the Ocampo Collection, 
bears the forged signature " El Bosco fe." It is a picture of fine 
quality painted at Bruges about 1490 by an artist of some inde- 
pendence, though strongly under the influence of Memling. A 
triptych in the Palazzo Durazzo at Genoa with the Descent from 
the Cross and attendant figures, all half-lengths, shows imitation 
of the diptych by Hugo van der Goes. A copy at Granada of one 

1 Bruges Exhibition (1902), No. 92. 


of the wings of that diptych is attributed to Memling on reasonable 
grounds. In the Pacully Collection (Paris) was a St. Ildefonso 
kneeling before the Virgin painted by an artist who must have been 
formed by Memling. The picture was shown at the Bruges Exhibition 
(1902, No. 111). Several details connect it with the St. Bertin 
panels. The architecture of the screen and the head of the saint 
may be cited. This would lead us to look for the artist in Hainault, 
but no other picture by him has been recognized. 

Portraits attributed to Memling, but to which doubt attaches, 
are in the Uffizi, the Cardon Collection (Brussels), and elsewhere. One 
which may have been genuine was offered to me for purchase about 
thirty years ago in Italy. I have not seen it since. Spurious 
Memling portraits, by an identified modern forger of great skill, 
have made their appearance in auction-rooms in recent years. I owe 
to M. Salomon Reinach an admirable coloured reproduction of one 
of them, a clever work. Photographs of others have appeared in 
some illustrated sale-catalogues. 

No drawings by Memling are known, but a portrait-head in 
Rotterdam Museum, another in Mr. Henry Oppenheimer's collection, 
a fine Saint's head in the Louvre, and a St. George with Princess 
and Dragon formerly in the Lanna Collection have been attri- 
buted to him by different critics. 

The foregoing are merely a selection, representative but very 
far from complete, of existing works which may be attributed to 
Memling's studio or to his immediate followers. It is hard to draw 
the line between followers and imitators. The impression made 
by Memling upon artists of the next generation was deep and 
abiding. He also influenced his contemporaries to a greater or less 
extent. Before passing on to the work of the Bruges School after 
Memling's death those contemporaries must receive such attention 
at our hands as each of them may seem to deserve. 



WHEN Memling died in 1495 the great days of Bruges were over 
The prosperity of the city as a centre of trade and manufacture 
had been high under the fostering care of Duke Philip the Goo 
His great riches his income was twice that of the Pope wer 
drawn from the general wealth of his industrious subjects and from 
the trade largely handled by foreign merchants, especially Italians 
and Spaniards. He had done the best he knew to encourage them, 
and had battened on their success. In 1456 Bruges numbered 
150,000 inhabitants, a vast population for a mediaeval city. As 
many as a hundred and fifty foreign ships were known to enter her 
docks in a single day. Here the Duke generally resided ; hither 
he came for all the greatest ceremonies of his reign, such as the 
celebration of his nuptials with Isabella of Portugal and the 
foundation of the Order of the Golden Fleece. But when Charles 
the Rash succeeded his father in 1477, evil times followed, and both 
nature and the politicians combined to ruin what industry had 
produced. The Zwyn, by which vessels obtained access to Bruges 
from the sea, set itself determinedly to silt up. Vigorous efforts 
were made to resist its evil tendency, but the sand conquered, and 
Bruges presently ceased to be a port of any consequence. After 
1494 sea-going ships could no longer reach her. Soon afterward 
no less than five thousand of her citizens were unemployed, and 
emigration was rapidly taking place. Even so the city might have 
maintained its settled position as a world-exchange, had it not been 
for political disturbances, seditions, and the blunders of govern- 
ment. When security disappeared the great merchants vanished 
with it, and settled at Antwerp, just as about a century later and 
for a like reason the more enterprising of them were to abandon 
Antwerp for Amsterdam. As Bruges declined Antwerp advanced. 




Maximilian and Mary had been married at Bruges in 1477 ; it was 
at Antwerp that the wedding of Philip the Fair and Joanna of 
Aragon took place. Bruges became a city of memories, Antwerp 
of hopes. Bruges of necessity clung to the past, Antwerp looked 
to the future. The arts of the two cities were affected by the spirit 
of the folk. The artists of Bruges were conservative ; those of 
Antwerp adventurous. No new thing will come out of the failing 
centre. It is to Antwerp that we must turn to watch the birth of 
the Flemish Renaissance. That was incorporated by Antwerp as 
Bruges had incorporated the later middle-age. 

To write the history of a decline is a thankless task. We watch 
growth with pleasure, decay with disgust. If, however, instead 
of fixing our eyes as historians upon the fortunes of a school of art, 
we turn as amateurs to individual works, though produced at a 
time of decay, many will be found to possess qualities of beauty. 
They may be compared to fading leaves, harbingers of winter, yet 
in themselves brilliant and a little weird, twisting into strange 
forms out of which life is passing, but at any given moment, when 
we forget their doom, visibly and positively beautiful. 

Despairing to make the discussion of them interesting, I 
relegated to the end of the last chapter such mention as could not 
be avoided of a number of school-pictures, close to Memling in 
style, painted by unidentified artists. There remain, however, a 
few anonymous painters, contemporaries and followers of Memling 
at Bruges, to whom groups of works have been assigned. The 
most important of these men has been nicknamed the " Master of 
the Ursula Legend," or, for short, the Ursula Master. No doubt 
his name is one of several recorded in the Bruges registers, but we 
have no means of identifying it. He must have been active during 
about the last twenty-five years of Memling's life, say 1470-95, 
and may have predeceased or survived the master who had so 
strong an influence upon him. He does not, however, appear to 
have been Memling's pupil. For all we know he may have been 
the Pieter Casenbroot, cited by Hulin as a leading Bruges artist, 
who became a master in 1459 and lived on into the early years of 
the sixteenth century, frequently holding high positions in his 
guild. No works by Casenbroot are known. But there are 
several other artists in like case, so we must make shift with the 


nickname for our painter. The altar-piece wings in the Convent 
of the Black Sisters at Bruges are his most considerable work, 
telling the Legend of St. Ursula on eight panels, and introducing 
full-length figures of the proud Church and a much more attractive 
Synagogue on two more. Assistants decorated the backs witl 
inferior grisailles. The interest of these pictures lies largely in th< 
fact that they are an illustration of the legend earlier in date thu 
Memling's. Neither artist borrowed from the other ; but Memlii 
makes of each incident a picture, the Ursula Master's are illustra- 
tions and nothing more. The latter contain some nice figures, 
fine costumes, entertaining incidents, elaborate architectural back- 
grounds drawn in poor perspective, and quite a number of genre 
details which admit us to sight of the way things were done in the 
vanished past. None of them is so amusing as that of the Voyage 
of the Virgins by another unidentified artist, which made a brief 
appearance in the sale-room and has vanished again. 1 There the 
ladies were packed in three boats floating near the walls of a castle, 
and all its battlements and bridges were filled with young knights 
in armour, dozens of them, greatly excited, as well they might be, 
with so much beauty drifting by. They launch boats and hasten 
towards the pretty girls with gestures of delight. Martyrdom is 
the last thing that artist was thinking of. 

The most interesting of the Ursula Master's panels is the eighth, 
in which he introduces us into the church where the relics of 
St. Ursula are the object of veneration by a number of pilgrims. It 
is the best representation that remains to us of what the interior of a 
mediaeval pilgrimage church was like, and how the pilgrims behaved. 
The relics are in a fine chdsse above the altar-piece, on which is a 
picture of the saint with her maidens gathered beneath her mantle. 
Pilgrims approach from the main body of the church and kneel on 
the chapel floor around the altar. Most of them are well-to-do 
folk, but one looks like a sort of professional pilgrim, dressed for the 
part, bottle and all. The furniture of the altar is worth notice. 
A sister stands at the end of it, with an open book and a number of 
coins lying alongside, the gifts of previous pilgrims, I suppose, and 
hint of what is expected from the new-comers. Further back at a 

1 I have a photograph of it. It was No. 14 in some sale of about 1890-1900. It 
measured 23 x 41 cm. and on the back were saints against a red background. 


table another sister is selling some unidentifiable objects, appar- 
ently stick-like in form candles perhaps, but they may be pilgrim's 
signs. Votive offerings are fastened to a bar over her head a 
sword and models of arms, legs, whole bodies, a ship, and so forth- 
memorials of favours desired or obtained. There is a notable 
atmosphere of everyday use and wont about the whole scene the 
atmosphere of the market-place rather than of a religious act. 
Though the picture gives us little aesthetic pleasure it is an invalu- 
able document of record. 

The little ladies of St. Ursula recall the Wise and Foolish 
Virgins in a curious picture at Berlin, the upper and lower parts of 
which are obviously by different hands. Aloft is the Last Judgment 
painted by some follower of Roger, to whom also the resurrected 
nudes of the middle distance are due, but the Virgins in the fore- 
ground, if not by the Ursula Master, are by a painter closely allied 
to him. An altar-piece in the Kaufmann Collection is our artist's 
most finished work on a large scale. It is a thoroughly conven- 
tional picture : an enthroned St. Anne in the midst with the 
Virgin seated on the step below and the Child in her lap. Four 
saints stand or sit around, and to left and right are landscape 
distances beyond a walled garden in all essentials the same com- 
position as that of Memling's triptych of Sir John Donne. Helped 
by a strong convention and a good model the Ursula Master here 
attains a better pictorial unity than in the series from which he 
is named. Another St. Anne with Virgin and Child, identical in 
types, is found presenting Anne de Blasere on the surviving half of 
a memorial diptych, which, after disappearing from view at a Paris 
sale in 1852, has reappeared in the collection of Mr. Philip Lehman 
in New York. 1 Both these pictures date from about 1480. A 
small altar-piece by our artist is in the town gallery at Freiburg i. B. 
Another, a Virgin and Child with four saints, which was in the 
Beurnonville and Mege sales, has been wrongly attributed to him. 
It is by some follower of Bouts. 

The Ursula Master was also employed to paint the half-length 
Madonnas so fashionable in his day. Examples by him are in the 

1 Reinach's Repertoire, i, p. 130; F. J. Mather in Art in America, Oct. 1915, p. 269. 
Anne de Blasere's first husband was a Nieuwenhoven, doubtless a relative of Memling's 


Museum at Aix-la-Chapelle, in the Winthrop and Morgan Collections 
in New York, and in the Van Stolk Collection at Haarlem (No. 444). 
The first-mentioned repeats a well-known composition by Roger 
which was frequently reproduced in the first decade of the sixteenth 
century. The Winthrop panel reproduces another Roger school 
type, in which the Virgin holds the Child with both hands. To 
these types our artist has added angels, in the one case a pair of 
them holding a crown over the Virgin's head, in the other grouped 
into a living arch above her. Neither feature was original. Pairs 
of crown-holding angels were a school property, and the arch of 
angels finds a parallel in pictures by the Maitre de Moulins and 
several other named or nameless painters. The more the Ursula 
Master depended upon school traditions, the better were his 
pictures. He was sounder as craftsman than as designer. His 
own imagination did not carry him far. 1 

He was also employed to make portraits. In the Episcopal 
Seminary at Bruges is a wall-panel decoratively painted with the 
likenesses of Maximilian and Mary of Burgundy, effectively treated 
for their position and purpose. 8 A more serious and finished work 
is the bust-portrait of a young man with hands joined, which is now 
in the J. G. Johnson Collection (No. 327). This was obviously half 
of a diptych. The other half can scarcely have been a Madonna, 
because she appears in the background of the portrait-panel, seated 
on a throne in a garden courtyard with the harping and luting angel 
pair beside her. One of the towers of Bruges is in the backgrounc 
on one side, the landscape on the other being borrowedfrom Memlin^ 
The young man portrayed is neither a beauty nor a genius, and the 
artist has done nothing to put forward even the best that was in him, 
but has painted him with serious care. If his head looks wooden, 
probably so it was. Other portraits assigned to this artist are not 
by him, and have already been described as the work of Justus 
of Ghent. 

The Bruges Master of the Lucia Legend was so named by Fried- 
lander after a picture in the Church of St. Jacques. It is an 

1 Other Madonnas by him were in the Spitzer and Sir Charles Turner sales. Fried- 
lander attributes to him a diptych in the Fairfax-Murray Collection dated 1486, and 
triptych formerly belonging to the Duke of Parma. 

* Reproduced in the Vienna Jahrbuch for 1913. 


assemblage of three incidents side by side on a long panel, divided 
one from another by a slender decorated column. In one of them a 
couple of oxen harnessed to ropes are trying to move the saint, who 
stands .unconcerned and, as it were, rooted to the ground. Even 
her drapery is not affected by the cords. Nothing could be less 
dramatic. There is no pull to the oxen and little astonishment on 
the faces of the spectators. The subject was entirely beyond the 
artist's powers. He suffered from the general limitation of his 
school. If he possessed any originality, it showed itself in the build 
of his women. He makes them disproportionately tall in relation 
to the size of their heads and hands. We can observe a tendency 
to cheapen the work, to produce an effect with least expenditure of 
means. Thus the brocaded dorser behind the judge, instead of 
being painted with the elaborate care and love for its rich detail 
which the Van Eycks had devoted to such decorative pieces, is 
merely an outlined pattern on a coloured ground. On the other 
hand, the faces of male models interest this artist in proportion as 
they manifest character. His women are dolls, but his bad men 
are at least human. His most important picture was the altar- 
piece for the guild of the Drie Sanctinnen, now in Brussels 
Museum. Weale says that it was set up in the Church of Our Lady 
at Bruges in 1489. It depicts the Virgin and Child surrounded by 
ten saintesses, with flower-hedges behind them on either side, and 
a landscape background. Gerard David belonged to the guild in 
question, and must often have said his prayers in the presence of 
this picture. We shall see that he in his turn imitated it, just as 
its painter had borrowed parts of it from his predecessors. Thus he 
copied the Virgin and Child out of Memling's Donne triptych and 
the Magdalen, who kneels in front, from Roger's Entombment in 
the Uffizi. Fortunately none of the ladies are standing, so that we 
are not troubled with any over-long proportions in their figures. 
Moreover, their heads seem relatively larger, and perhaps the 
artist had overcome that weakness. St. Catherine, instead of having 
a broken wheel for emblem at her feet, wears a garment embroidered 
all over with wheels a novel treatment. Some of the women seem 
to have been painted as portraits from the life, and there is more 
variety in their poses and grouping than might be expected. The 
chord of colour of the whole work is unusually light, and the picture 


may have served pretty well as a decoration over an altar-piece, bul 
no one can call it a great work of art. It marks a stage of decline 
and shows how the traditions of the best days of the school were 
beginning to wear out. We know of two more St. Catherines by th( 
same painter, one in the J. G. Johnson Collection (No. 326), the 
other in Pisa Gallery both single standing figures before landscape 
backgrounds, in which, as in both pictures above described, th( 
towers of Bruges stand up against the sky. These are mature 
works, with heads no longer over-small. They are decorative anc 
pleasing, not lacking in a certain dignity, nor calling upon the 
artist for the exercise of powers of observation, composition, 01 
imagination which he did not possess. A triptych with a Piel 
on the central panel and a saint on each wing was for sale at the 
Spanish Gallery in London in 1916. It shows a more elaborate 
view of Bruges than the others, but the town is placed by a brof 
river in a hill country. St. Catherine is once more the best figure 
It is evident that this Lucia Master might have been a good portrail 
painter, and someone may yet identify existing portraits as his 
Misfortune of birth placed him in a day when the fashion was t( 
demand religious pictures from artists devoid of religious feeling 
There was neither passion nor fervour in him. What entertaine 
him was the faces of men, faces of well-marked character and varie 
expression. He cared little about saints, and had no imagination 
to bear him into fairy -land. Bruges was his home, and he meant 
you to know it. He would sooner have painted her actual streets 
and gardens than the Elysian fields, and the people he met every 
day than the inhabitants of Paradise. Unfortunately for him he 
had to make his bread and butter by painting saints according to 
formula. He probably did with them the best he could. If he were 
known by only one picture we might have passed him by, but when 
a group is identified as by a single painter he has to be noticed. 

In Buckingham Palace is a brilliantly painted picture (a con- 
temporary copy according to Bodenhausen) by an otherwise 
unknown Bruges artist, akin to but more gifted than the Ursula 
Master. The subject is the Virgo inter Virgines. They are grouped 
on a flowery mead, the Virgin seated on a bank. The nascent 
influence of Gerard David is perceptible as well as memories oi 
Memling and of the Lucia Master. Small angels support a carpet 


canopy high in the air above the Virgin. Bodenhausen thinks that 
in the original this was a dorser behind the throne, but is it not 
rather a sign of the approach of that bizarre treatment of figures and 
accessories which characterized the Antwerp Mannerists of the next 
half- century ? The picture in question dates from about 1480. 

Delicate and delightfully painted triptychs of about the same 
date, but by artists more gifted and skilled than the two upon whom 
we have spent so much space, are in the Sigmaringen 1 and Berlin * 
Galleries respectively. The former is marked with the year 1473. 
Portraits of a pair of donors are on the wings of each, the central 
panel of one bearing a Madonna, of the other a Crucifixion. They 
are instinct with the spirit of the early works of Memling. A 
wedding picture, which when in the Duke of Sutherland's possession 
was fabled to depict the marriage of Henry VI and Margaret of 
Anjou, is less good though interesting work of about 1475. It is 
worth comparing with a similar subject painted in one of the com- 
partments of the polyptych from Ghistelles, near Bruges, which 
passed into the Dollfus Collection. 

Toward the close of the century Bruges painters, beside repeat- 
ing as they freely did the compositions of Roger, and multiplying 
his half-length Madonnas almost indefinitely, turned their attention 
to the Van Eycks and Campin and introduced an archaistic fashion 
which became rather popular. We shall find that it affected even 
so original a painter as Quentin Massys and that it was continued 
far down into the sixteenth century. The multiplication of heads 
of Christ of the type above described (p. 235) is hardly a fair example, 
for such pictures were considered a true likeness. A better early 
instance is a triptych which was in the Otlet sale (No. 5) where the 
Crucifixion on the central panel is taken from Hubert van Eyck, 
while the donors and saints on the wings are painted in the Bruges 
style of about 1480. A Magdalen has been introduced embracing the 
foot of the Cross, and the composition thus enriched was presently 
taken over by Quentin and repeated three times. A Bruges 
artist of about 1480 would not have painted the Thieves as he did 

1 Bruges Exhibition (1902), No. 49. The donors were the Burgomaster Jan de Witte 
and his wife. 

2 Amtliche Berichte, Nov. 1907. The donors were Pieter van de Woestyne and 
his wife. 



in a Crucifixion in the J. G. Johnson Collection (No. 323) if he had 
not been acquainted with Campin's original, but he did not make a 
direct copy of them as was done some twenty years later by a fellow- 
townsman who produced the large Crucifixion which still remains 
in its place in St. Saviour's at Bruges. Another nameless artist 
copied, 1 with changes, the Virgin and Child from Van Eyck's 
Dresden triptych. More charming is the repetition of Van Eyck's 
Virgin in a Church which yet another Bruges painter made as half 
of a diptych for Christian de Hondt, Abbot of the Dunes, in the 
year 1499 ; an excellent portrait of the Abbot kneeling at a prie- 
dieu in his comfortable well-furnished chamber occupies the other 
wing. On the outside, when the diptych was closed, was a grisaille 
of Christ as Salvator Mundi and the coats-of-arms of Abbot and 
monastery at the foot. A later Abbot, Robert Leclercq (1519-57), 
a round-headed, underbred, comfortable-looking person, gave this 
diptych to an artist of his day, who coloured the grisaille Christ, 
painted the later Abbot's arms over the earlier, and filled the blank 
panel with an excellent portrait of Leclercq. The diptych thus 
embellished is one of the gems of the Antwerp Gallery. 

The last and most beautiful of the Bruges archaistic paintings 
of the latest days of the fifteenth century to which we need refer is 
the half-length Madonna in a landscape which is in the Jacquemart- 
Andre Gallery in Paris. A Bruges tower in the background identi- 
fies the artist's home. The admirable landscape almost carries us 
back to Hubert. The gravity of the treatment, the dignified 
drapery, the completeness of the modelling are characteristic of an 
earlier day, but there are many details which fix the date at about 
the year 1500 or possibly even later. Few, if any, Madonna pictures 
of the school can be put on an equality with this singularly dignified 
and puzzling work. It was at one time tentatively ascribed to John 

Most Flemish artists were not of this kind. They were generally 
at heart men of this world. Their imaginations did not play easily 
with heavenly things. They were seldom by nature religious. The 
direct fact belonged to them. If they had to paint a martyrdom 
they set down the plain brutal story without passion and without 
hope. Ribera's Apollo skinning Marsyas and Gerard David's Unjust 

1 The picture belongs to Mrs. Simpson Carson. Burlington Mag., April 1909, p. 49. 

PANEL. BERLIN. p. 223. 


p. 254. 

CHAPEL. BRUGES. p. 248. 

[To face page 254. 


Judge are like subjects, but Ribera clouded his drama in the majesty 
of shadow. David set the hideous event in the open light of the 
market-place. There is nothing mystical about mid or late fifteenth 
century religious art. The foreign element in Memling carried 
him a little further away from literalness, but not far. John van 
Eyck's Arnolfini portrait contains the live core of all great Flemish 
art. There exists no Madonna picture of the school that can be 
placed on a level with the best of the Italians. The Andre Madonna 
is fine, is perhaps as fine as any produced in the North, but the seers 
of the South beheld the heavens opened. No such vision shone 
beyond the Alps. 



AFTER the death of Roger van der Weyden at Brussels in 1464 
and that of Dirk Bouts at Louvain in 1475, no painter of the first 
rank remained in either of those cities. Leaders of the next genera- 
tion of artists were Memling at Bruges and Hugo van der Goes at 
Ghent, with that independent genius, Jerome Bosch, to follow : 
we shall deal with him in due course, but must leave him out of 
count for the moment. The artists who were to be active in the 
generation that followed Memling's were being born about the time 
when Roger died. Chief were : 

Albert Bouts of Louvain . . born about 1460 

Colin de Coter of Brussels . . ,, 1460 

Gerard David of Bruges . . ,, ,, 1460 

Goswin van der Weyden of Brussels ,, 1463-5 
Quentin Massys of Louvain and 

Antwerp . . . . ,, in 1466 

Mabuse of Antwerp . . . ,, about 1465-70 

Of these men, Bosch, Massys, and Mabuse were original artists, 
who heralded and exemplified a new artistic epoch. Albert Bouts, 
Colin, Goswin, and David were conservatives who continued the 
traditions and often closely imitated the works of their great pre- 
decessors : Colin those of Campin, David of Memling, Albert 
Bouts of his father Dirk Bouts, and Goswin of his grandfather, 
Roger. The four conservatives were not without merits of their 
own, as we shall see, but they were the ripe, even over-ripe, fruit of 
the old tree, and their art led on to no future development. With 
them we close a chapter of art-history ; with the others, the 
progressives, a new chapter opens. We will deal in this and the 
succeeding chapter with the four conservatives and some of their 



unnamed contemporaries. It will be convenient to take Albert 
Bouts first. 

When Dirk Bouts died his two sons, Dirk and Albert, carried 
on the business of picture manufacturers at Louvain. Dirk junior 
died in 1491, leaving a son who worked as a painter at Mechlin, 
but no pictures by either father or son are known. Albert Bouts 
lived to a ripe age ; a considerable number of existing pictures are 
attributed to him on tolerably solid grounds. He was a few years 
older than Quentin Massys, having been born about or a little 
before 1460. He married twice in 1481 and 1491. He died, almost 
a centenarian, in 1549. His identification, due to Hulin's observa- 
tions, is derived from one of two pictures at Brussels, both repre- 
senting the Assumption of the Virgin (Nos. 534, 535), and evidently 
by the same hand. Molanus records that Albert Bouts painted 
a picture of this subject and presented it to the Church of 
St. Peter at Louvain. The Brussels triptych (534) appears to be 
the work in question, for the arms held by an angel over the heads 
of the donors on the sinister wing are composed as follows : below, 
the bearings of the painters' guild ; above, in chief, a pair of crossed 
quarrels or arbalest-bolts, called bout in Flemish (in punning 
reference to the name of Bouts) ; over all the initial A for Albert. 
The identification seems complete. Here, then, we have the por- 
traits of Albert and his second wife. With such a face the man 
could not be a genius, but he looks and doubtless was an honest 
fellow, the hard-working and prosperous head of a competent 
picture factory. 

We need not concern ourselves with more than a small selection 
)f the many works now attributed with reasonable probability 
to him. None of them is inspired ; none strikes out a new line ; 
>ut they are solidly and well painted, and have stood the test of 
time. If Quentin went to Albert to learn the technique of painting, 
went to a good school. The afore-mentioned Assumption is 
work of the master's maturity, and shows him at his worst 
id most elaborate. He was probably immensely proud of it, 
laving filled it with every detail he could collect within the area 
)f the panels. In former days the triptych was attributed to 
r an der Goes, and we can easily perceive why. Imitation of 
r an der Goes is visible in it, especially in some of the Apostles' 


heads. But Albert generally contented himself with slavishly 
following, almost copying, his father's designs. Dirk Bouts' 
patterns must have formed a valuable part of his studio equipment. 
Thus the son's Last Supper at Brussels repeats the composition of 
the father's notable picture at Louvain. The Supper at Simon's in 
the same gallery is a hard version, with some changes, of the picture 
by the elder Bouts, now at Berlin. One of the pair of wings, 
formerly belonging to Mr. Crews but now in the collection of 
Mr. Leopold Hirsch (London), copies the Moses before the Burning 
Bush, which is in the J. G. Johnson Collection. 

The Munich and Berlin Annunciations are among the younger 
artist's most successful works, but their success is due to the close- 
ness with which they follow the formula of a previous generation. 
The St. Christopher in the J. G. Johnson Collection 1 goes back to 
the father's admirable wing at Munich ; and so we might continue 
were it worth while. Though Albert Bouts was thus unoriginal, 
his pictures are not without a value of their own dependent upon 
their decorative quality. This is less true of the larger ones. 
The smaller they are the better. Thus there is in the possession 
of Professor Mather at Princetown a delightful little enthroned 
Virgin before a landscape, still in the frame the artist chose for 
it, with a God the Father painted by him in its curved pediment. 
The artist repeated this composition with a different background 
on a little panel, which passed through the hands of Messrs. Dowdes- 
well. 2 The brilliancy of the colours and the fineness of the work- 
manship endow both with undeniable charm, while the necessary 
traditional character of the design relieved the painter from any 
call upon his inventiveness. Another little Madonna in the hands 
of Mr. Max Rothschild in 1916 is a repetition, as far as the figures 
are concerned, of the enthroned Virgin in the Chapel Royal at 
Granada, and possesses similar merits. A St. Jerome in Penitence 
in the Kaufmann Collection (with a tiny Magdalen carried aloft 
by angels in the background and other legendary incidents) is an 
example of the artist's conservatism. We have only to compare 

1 In the Louvre is a drawing (Phot. Giraudon, 420) closely connected with this picture. 

2 I owe photographs of these two pictures to the kindness of the Spanish Gallery 
and Messrs. Dowdeswell respectively. In the Museum at Worcester, Mass., U.S.A., 
is a good example of this artist's Madonnas a Virgin and Child with an Angel. 


it with the similar Jeromes of the David School to see how far 
Albert Bouts lagged behind the fashion. He could not, however, 
entirely fail to move with the times. The Assumption triptych 
or a ,pair of wings likewise in the Kaufmann Collection (Berlin), 
both of his mature period, shows, if not an advance, at all events 
some change in style from that of his father. The landscape 
is original disagreeably so. However far off the trees may be, 
they are painted as separate growths like weeds in a bed. Rocks 
are tiresomely broken up into pieces and fitted together as by a 
rude cyclopean mason. Detail is added to detail, and the distance 
is as full of hard and sharp features as the foreground. The old 
love of fine finish has degraded here into a pettifogging multi- 
plication of insignificant minutiae. 

Albert Bouts' shop provided devotional pictures of well-recog- 
nized types for those requiring them. Such were the heads of 
the Man of Sorrows and the Mater Dolorosa, either singly or in 
pairs, whereof many examples still exist. It will suffice to mention 
a pair in the Ruffo de Bonneval Sale and other replicas in the 
Hoogendijk Collection and the Lyons Museum. There are more 
elsewhere. In these all the horrors of the bloody Crown of Thorns, 
wounded hands, and the like are insisted on without any dramatic 
power or evocation of pity. Slightly different in detail, but 
similar in type, are a pair in the Bock Collection, 1 of which replicas 
or copies might be named. In all these examples, the old tradition 
of the local school is closely adhered to. But there exists a single 
head of Christ, not crowned with thorns, which was in the 
De Somzee Collection, and is greatly superior to the foregoing group. 
This was attributed to Quentin Massys, and bears a superficial 
resemblance to his handiwork. Its merit is due to the fact that it 
follows closely the original by John van Eyck, now in the possession 
of Messrs. Browne & Browne, of Newcastle. If the ascription to 
Albert Bouts is correct and it is by no means certain it shows him 
at his best, not however pointing the way for Quentin Massys, but 
rather imitating him at a time when he had advanced far beyond 
the highest point ever attained by Albert. 

A nameless artist of about 1480, whom I will call for purposes 
of identification the Master of the Solomons, painted for his master- 

1 Dusseldorf Ex. (1904), No. 145. 


piece a picture now in Cologne Museum (No. 422). His style 
combines the traditions of Roger and Bouts, but he was probably 
a pupil of the latter. The picture in question 1 is a four-panel 
altar-piece of Brabantine type. The four inside panels are filled 
with incidents away off into the far distance, and the horizon is made 
high to accommodate as many as possible. The foregrounds of the 
two panels on the left contain Christ's Charge to Peter and the 
Visitation, the latter a repetition of the type popularized by Roger. 
The other two relate the prosperity and the trials of Job. There 
are portraits of the donor and his wife with their arms, but they 
do not seem to have been identified. The whole work is not, in fact, 
a picture at all, but an assemblage of illustrations, a monument 
of industrious ingenuity, not of artistic creation. A portion 
depicts the nude and suffering Job giving money to one of three 
trumpeters, apparently to induce them to stop their noise and go 
away. Trumpeters of like type and with cheeks no less inflated 
take part in another ceremonial depicted by the same painter 
on a panel in the Amsterdam Gallery (No. 342). There, Solomon 
is seen sacrificing a rather pathetic goat before a somewhat comic 
idol. 8 The crowded figures are large in proportion to the panel ; 
a reduction has consequently to be made in the scale of the archi- 
tecture to fit everything in. The street scene in the background 
gives a pleasant glimpse into a picturesque mediaeval town. By 
the same artist are a pair of wings, with Solomon again, which were 
in the Cardon Collection (Brussels). 3 The four kneeling donors 
in the foregrounds of them hold crosses in sign that they were 
all dead. This was doubtless their memorial. Two miracles 
of a Saint in the Dublin Gallery, an altar-piece in the Cologne 
Museum, and the wings of a small carved altar-piece in the Radowitz 
Collection at Madrid, are all assigned to this painter I forget by 
whom. He was not an important artist, neither was he a mere 
imitator. His designs are his own. His personality is seen through 
his work and is not weak. His pictures are decoratively coloured, 
and their details often entertaining. 

1 Purchased at the Fechenbach sale, 1889, reproduced in the sale catalogue. See 
Zeits. /. christl. Kunst, May 1889, p. 50. 

2 In 1787 it is said to have belonged to W. A. Kien van Sitters. 

3 Bruges Ex. (1902), No. 110. 


Here is perhaps as good a point as any for mention of another 
inferior artist who worked about this time either at Louvain 
or Brussels, and is known to us by two pictures, a Last Supper 
in the Seminary at Bruges and a portrait which was in the Gold- 
schmidt Collection. 1 In the former we may note initials in the 
window-glass. The painter evidently came like Albert out of 
the school of Dirk Bouts, and borrowed from that master many 
a hint for his Passover wing. But it was not from him that he 
took the round table for the Last Supper, a feature commoner 
in French than in Netherlandish pictures. He was rather a quaint 
artist, painting features on too large a scale for heads and heads 
too big for bodies. He makes his people very narrow across the 
shoulders, but that is lucky for them seeing how they had to crowd 
themselves so very closely together to get into the picture at all. 
He painted his furniture and other accessories with taste, under- 
standing, and enjoyment ; even his queer little people are attractive 
in their dwarfish fashion, and possess a good deal of character. 
The aged, sunken-cheeked ecclesiastic who looks forth with rever- 
ence from the Goldschmidt panel might have come straight out 
of the Last Supper. He is a dear old thing, never very effective 
as a man of the world, but quite at home in a cloister. How he 
ever came to think of having his portrait painted is a mystery ; 
as it evidently formed part of a diptych it may have been done in 
his memory, and set up in a church by his relatives. It is strange 
how attractive a second-rate artist's pictures may be if he is a 
genuine person painting what is in him, and not merely what he 
thinks to be in someone else. I have noted above that the garden 
seen through the window of the Supper Chamber is the same as 
that behind the Ashburnham Annunciation now in New York 
Museum. Both pictures must have been painted in the same place, 
which may have been either Brussels or Louvain. 

While Albert Bouts was working at Louvain, Colin de Coter 
must have been the leading artist at Brussels ; he was certainly 
the best there of his day whose works are extant. His merit 
is of recent recognition, and he does not yet occupy in general 
esteem the position which is his due. It is only by guessing that 
we fix Colin de Coter's birth at about 1460. He may have been 

1 Bruges Ex. (1902), Nos. 42 and 381. 


born earlier, but not early enough to have been Roger's pupil. 
His style was strongly influenced by Roger, but the pictures he 
chiefly admired were Campin's. Whoever taught him was merely 
a medium for conveying the ideas and technique of those masters 
to his head and hand. It can scarcely be doubted that he was 
the Colin of Brussels who in 1493 had his name inscribed as a 
master-painter in the books of the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke. 
He must already have been accomplished in painting on a large 
scale, or he would not straightway have been charged by the 
Guild to paint the figures of angels on the vault of their chapel 
of St. Luke in the Cathedral. He may have taken up his master- 
ship at Antwerp in order to be eligible to carry out that commission. 
It will be remembered that angels in a like position in the vault 
of St. Peter's at Louvain were ascribed to Roger by Hulin ; they 
no longer exist. The Antwerp angels would have been of similar 
character. Though Colin had this connexion with Antwerp 
and may have spent much time in that new art-centre, he remained 
essentially a Brabanter, and Brussels was the true home of his 
courtly art. 

The central panel and sinister wing of a triptych by him are 
in the Louvre. There is no doubt about their authorship, for the 
wing is signed " Colin de Coter painted me at Brussels in Brabant." 
The chief subject is a Trinity with four angels, an obvious copy 
of some lost original by Campin. Another copy of it is in Louvain 
Museum. The central group made its first appearance upon one 
of Campin's panels now at Frankfurt. We have already noted 
how Hugo van der Goes imitated it, while the free repetition in 
a church at Bergamo is mentioned by Friedlander as approximating 
in style to Colin. There is likewise a late copy in the Brussels 
Gallery. According to Cohen the lost wing may have contained 
a portrait of Mme d'Averoult before Christ, but that would not 
be a suitable pendant to the three weeping Maries on the wing 
that survives. There are strong reasons for thinking that John 
the Evangelist and the Mater Dolorosa were on the missing panel. 
Even the three women may not have been an original composition 
of Colin's, but the grace of the finely clothed Magdalen in front 
was evidently his own. He was so pleased with her and witl 
the (assumed) corresponding figure of St. John that he repeate( 


them alone on another pair of wings, one formerly in the Kaufmann, 
the other in the Widener Collections. They are notable life-size 
figures ; the Magdalen with her yet richer attire and her personal 
charms can never have failed to arrest attention. Pictures by 
Netherlands painters, in which the figures are on a large scale, 
generally look like small pictures seen through a magnifying- 
glass. But Colin, like Hugo van der Goes, delighted in size for 
its own sake. He imagined on the larger scale. He painted 
monumentally and produced withal a fine effect of colour. The 
Kaufmann Magdalen is one of the earliest appearances in that 
character of the elaborate Antwerp courtesan, outcome of a rich 
plutocracy. During the next half-century she embraces the 
Cross in most Crucifixions, and brings with her into pictures mas- 
querading as religious an incongruous and even shocking element. 
Here she is merely a beautiful woman, delicately distressful in 
her gorgeous brocades. With the change of the art-centre from 
Bruges to Antwerp the mediaeval religious spirit passed out of 
Netherlandish art. It had never been very strong, not even with 
Memling, but typical fifteenth century artists took the mediaeval 
ideal for granted, though without fervour. The old religious 
forms became a mere convention, like the shapes of the letters 
of the alphabet, for artists impregnated with Renaissance feeling. 
It was not so with Colin. The old ideal meant something to him, 
and he vibrated, if faintly, to the thrill which had convulsed the 
frames of a Bernard or a Francis. 

It must be admitted that little emotion is visible in Colin's 
Virgin with St. Luke (Louvre) from the Church of Vieure (Allier), 
a picture authenticated with an inscription similar to that recorded 
above. It is badly composed, with evident reminiscences of 
Roger's popular composition, but with forms and details borrowed 
from Campin. The Virgin sits on a bench in front of a fireplace, 
like Campin' s Barbara. St. Joseph is employed making mouse- 
traps, as with Campin, and the room-interior likewise resembles 
his. If St. Luke is a portrait of Colin himself he must have been 
over fifty years of age when he painted it. Antiquarians will be 
interested to note the artist's equipment : his colours in shells, his 
tray for brushes, his small palette, his easel, and the panel framed 
in advance. The extraordinary oblong-faced Child reappears in 


the picture of an enthroned Virgin which was sold by Messrs. 
Colnaghi to an American purchaser. In this also the figures are 
approximately life-size, and the scene is the interior of a room so 
small that bed, side-table, and chair almost fill it, so that there 
is only just space beneath the joists overhead for the crown-holding 
angels to flutter in. Their facial types are reminiscent of Campin, 
but the Virgin's of Roger. 

A pair of wings in a collection at Tourcoing console us for the 
absence of portraits by him. Philip the Fair and a number of 
men kneel on one side, Jeanne la Folle and women on the other. 
The women are rather attractive in their white head-dresses, but 
the men, with one or two exceptions, are a forbidding lot and already 
wear that aspect of wooden bigotry characteristic of the sixteenth 
century portrait-groups of religious fraternities in the Catholic 
Netherlands, so many of which have come down to us. In the 
Bruges Exhibition of 1902 a number of them were hung together 
in some rooms on the upper storey, where visitors seldom lingered. 
I well remember being taken up there one day by an eminent 
art-historian, now no more, who said to me : " I love to sit quietly 
in this room, all by myself, and to look at these likenesses of the 
old orthodox lot who had themselves thus painted. Bigotry 
stands out upon every face, and stupidity too. Could you imagine 
a more wooden-headed lot ? As historical documents these pic- 
tures are priceless, but I wonder how the Churchmen who control 
this exhibition dare to exhibit them all together 1 " 

If, as the ages of the princely pair denote, these wings were 
painted shortly before 1500, the striking panel * we have next to 
consider must have been painted in the early years of the sixteenth 
century. It shows the artist at least finding himself and no longer 
dependent upon Campin for ideas. It is a wing of what must have 
been a very fine triptych. Two beautiful figures stand side by 
side, simple full-lengths St. Michael and St. Agnes with just 
a glimpse of landscape between them and the decorative silhouettes 
of some trees against a clear sky. The whole is admirable decora- 
tion, with the vertical lines of rich and heavy draperies insisted 
on, and faces and hands drawn and modelled with grace and dex- 
terity. The composition of the figures, though apparently simple, 
1 It passed through the hands of the Spanish Gallery, London. 


p. 258. 

p. 260. 

p. 264. 

GALLERY. p. 264. 

\To face page 264 


is highly accomplished. St. Michael's morse, approximately square 
in shape four semicircular lobes with a triangle between each 
pair is a strange survival of a form of jewelled brooch which was 
fashionable among the upper classes in Merovingian days, especially 
along the Rhine. An equally noble St. Michael is he who weighs 
the souls in a great Last Judgment picture, sawn into six fragments, 
probably at Cologne at some unrecorded date, and scattered among 
several purchasers. The St. Michael is in the Virnich Collection at 
Bonn. St. Peter at the Gate of Heaven (below on the left) and 
St. John Baptist with six Apostles in the clouds (above on the right) 
are in the Munich Gallery, while the Hell fragment has been 
identified by Cohen in another private collection on the Rhine. 1 
The complete picture was some ten feet high and may have been 
the painter's masterpiece. Probably all the fragments . exist and 
may some day be put together again. Let us hope so. Colin 
would not thus have painted the subject if he had not known 
Roger's Beaune altar-piece. The St. Michael is closely imitated 
from that, but not copied. The lines of the drapery are simpli- 
fied ; the angel's type is Colin's own. It is permissible to wonder 
why the " saved " man in front should look so angrily at St. Peter, 
who is about to admit him to Paradise. The facial expression of 
men was not Colin's strong point, but the sweet lady behind makes 

If the crowded Descent from the Cross at Stuttgart is really 
by Colin, it must be the work of his last days, and consoles us for 
the loss of other pictures of that period. Another version was in 
the Museo Civico at Messina. Only the upper part of Christ's 
figure and the heads of His supporters are visible, and they are 
large and coarsely painted. The composition was perhaps generally 
suggested by that small crowded upright type of Descent so fre- 
quently repeated by Roger's followers. A triptych, also of the 
)escent, in the Brussels Gallery (No. 580), is likewise cited by 
riedlander as possibly a later work of Colin's, or may more merci- 
fully be attributed to a follower characteristic Brabantine work, 
he says, of about 1515. We will not quit Colin on so depressed a 
level, for there still remains a notable Madonna which may be 
ittributed to him. It belongs to Messrs. Colnaghi, to whom I 

1 Jahrbuch Pr. Kss., 1910. 


am indebted for an excellent photograph of it. The Virgin sits 
in a stone niche with her feet on a corbelled out pedestal a sculp- 
turesque figure as was intended. The frill round the edge of her 
white head-cloth is still a feature descending from Campin, and the 
Child's face, though not so oblong as of yore, is of the old type. 
The Virgin's drapery with its large sweep goes back to the Van 
Eycks, yet the picture is not an imitation, but a creation and one 
of the latest of the great school. We shall find among the early 
works of Massys another example to put with it, and that is all. 
The old ideal was wearing out. The world was desiring something 
fresh. Colin de Coter was not the man to supply it. He lived 
too late for high fame. His pictures must have become old- 
fashioned before they had time to grow venerable. The paintings 
of the great originators never wholly lost prestige. Van Eyck was 
always a revered name even in the seventeenth century. But 
Colin was bound to be soon forgotten. Not one of his great altar- 
pieces and he must have painted several has come down to us 
intact. We have only odd panels, separated wings, and detached 
fragments to judge him by. Even this last Madonna appears 
to have been an outside panel of a triptych. Enough, however, 
remains to show that Colin was a considerable personage, of large 
vision, some imagination, and a sense of style and dignity, conserva- 
tive, reserved, unadventurous, but a sound craftsman and a serious 
artist. He fills an honourable though not prominent niche in 
the Temple of Fame. 

We must deal summarily with the pupils and followers of Colin ; 
it passes the wit of the present writer to make them interesting. 
In the church of St. Rombaut at Malines are a pair of panels wit 
incidents in the life of the saint. Friedlander says that one of 
them was painted by the Master of the Magdalen Legend, the other 
by the Master of the Orsoy Altar-piece nicknames of his invention 
and that the two painters were both Brussels artists, influenced 
by or pupils of Colin, unless one of them was the pupil of the 
other. The Orsoy Altar-piece, 1 a work of the early sixteenth century, 
is in a church at that place near Wesel. To the same workshop 
he ascribes a Nativity and Circumcision in the Brussels Gallery 
(No. 541), both incidents included on one panel. The Nativity 

1 Diisseldorf Ex. (1904), No. 91 ; pi. 24 in the illustrated Memorial Volume. 


and kneeling portrait of the donor are reminiscent of Van der Goes ; 
the Circumcision already foreshadows the style which we associate 
with Antwerp and particularly with that group of artists who used 
to be gathered together under the false name of Bles. Luckily 
for the donor, he had his head painted in by another and more 
gifted artist, who could fashion a workmanlike portrait. The 
rest of the picture is a mere school product, the single (and un- 
fortunate) note of originality being in the three figures hoisted 
aloft on to a rickety kind of churchwarden-gothic scaffold, 
apparently attached only to the picture-frame ! Each figure 
stands on a small circular pedestal. The angel in the centre has 
the unfair advantage of wings to help him keep his balance, but 
the neatly dressed lady and gentleman beside him will surely 
soon become giddy and fall headlong on to the group below. 

The Virgin and St. John beside the Crucifix in a picture at 
Oporto stand likewise upon pedestals, though far less exalted ones, 
forming part of the stone margin of a well-head of the Water of 
Life. 1 The Royalties of Portugal and their suite kneel around. 
As King Manuel was married in 1519 and died in 1521, the picture 
may be dated about 1520. It is the work of a court-painter at 
Brussels, and plainly shows the continuing influence of Colin. 

Incidents in the Life of the Virgin and the Passion decorate 
eight panels in the Brussels Gallery ; they came out of the Abbey 
of Afflighem. Better painted, more original, and more interesting, 
are a pair of wings at Brussels (No. 557) belonging to a Last Judgment 
which is in the Ramlot Collection at Ghent. The triptych was 
painted for the Town Hall at Ziericzee, and shows SS. Lievin and 
Martin on the outsides of the wings ; on the insides full-length 
portraits of Philip the Fair and Jeanne la Folle. These portraits 
(but not the centre-piece) are attributed to the Afflighem Master, 
and show him to have left behind much of the Roger tradition 
and to have fallen under the influence of Colin de Coter. The 
princely pair are handsomely dressed and attractive in the glory 
of their youth, the date of the picture being about 1498. The 
landscape backgrounds have been recognized as located at Brussels. 
That behind the Prince is the open-air tribunal named the Bur- 
gendael, adjacent to the city walls. Vorsterman's print of 1650 

1 The picture is in the Santa Casa de Misericordia, and was published by Friedlander. 


enables the site to be identified. Similarly, Sanderus' print oi 
the same year explains the tower-like timber building within th( 
enclosure behind the Princess. It is the summer-house, " la Folie 
de Feuillye," which had been made in Spain and was set up in 
Brussels. No nails or other ironwork were used in it. If th( 
lower part were not hidden we could count the four storeys of th( 
structure, and see that it stood on eighteen columns rising out 
of a lake. A bridge adorned with heraldic beasts like those al 
Hampton Court led across to it, and there were steps by whicl 
bathers could descend to the water. 1 The same building appej 
in the background of a design for tapestry drawn by Bernan 
van Orley in 1525. The drawing is in the Louvre. 2 

In a day of small things even the pictures of so second-rat 
an artist as the painter known as the Master of the Magdalei 
Legend have an interest, at least to their owners and to the 
historian. A considerable body of work has been identified as his, 
so that chance may yet reveal his name. 3 A triptych by him ii 
the Palazzo Durazzo-Pallavicini at Genoa has for its central pam 
a half-length Virgin and Child with St. Francis and rather a ni< 
village landscape as background. 4 The Child, with His obloi 
cheeks, shows affiliation to Colin, but the type of the group is that 
called " The Virgin and Child with a Flower," a type which Winklt 
imagines Roger to have invented. Three other examples of ii 
by the Magdalen Master are known. 5 The first existing repn 
sentative of the type is by the Westphalian " Scrolls " engraver 
done before 1470 ; several other repetitions of it exist dating about 
151020, the latest perhaps by Bernard van Orley (Colonna Gallei 

1 See the illustrated volume on the Golden Fleece Exhibition (Bruges, 1907, pp. 27 
and Revue de VArt, September 1908. It has been suggested that Jacob van Laethe 
may have been the painter, and the donor Jacques van Cats, whose family patron wa 
St. Martin. The picture was originally set up in the Tribunal of the Town Hall of Zieric 
and later moved into the church of St. Lievin. There is a copy of the wings in Amsterdz 

2 See W. A. Baillie-Grohman, Sport in Art, p. 73. 

3 For Friedlander's list, see Repertorium, xxiii, pt. iii, p. 12. 

4 Another group of the same three which was in the Bourgeois sale (1904) was wron^ 
attributed to this painter probably on account of St. Francis' very pointed nose. 

5 In the Mayer van den Bergh and Wallace Collections and one sold by Bohlt 
(a full-length). 


Another type of Madonna, equally unoriginal, adopted by the 
Magdalen Master is that of the Virgin with the Child asleep on her 
arm. 1 This type we also discussed in connexion with Roger. 
These are not all the Magdalen Master's known Madonna pictures, 
but may suffice. He takes his name from a couple of panels with 
scenes from the legend of Mary Magdalen, which were exhibited 
at Bruges (1902, Nos. 282, 283), and have since changed hands. 
One shows the lady in her gay days, riding out a-hawking on a 
very wooden mount, though the painter would be much disappointed 
if he could hear us so describe it, for he evidently worked hard at 
that and the other horses. The faces lack expression and the dog 
is like a sheep, yet there is a pleasing sense of joie de vivre in the 
whole, and the background is charming. The companion piece, 
in which the converted sinner is preaching in the open air, is per- 
functory as far as the figures are concerned, but again redeemed 
by its landscape and the ship sailing away " out into the west." z 
The frequency with which the saint was painted at this period was, 
as I have indicated above, a sign of the times, when there was a 
boom in live Magdalens. This artist was not a great portrait- 
painter, though a careful one. Some of his best heads appear 
in an excellently preserved pair of wings till recently in the posses- 
sion of Messrs. Dowdeswell, the donors being identifiable as Charles 
le Clercq, his father Philip Annock, and the wife's deceased mother. 
Less excellent are the busts of a clergyman and St. Philip on a 
square wing which was in the Willett Collection part of one of 
those memorial diptychs common at this date, especially in France. 5 
From these pictures and most others of the school and period 
the delicacy of the old art has passed. They are painted heavily 
and summarily. The broad treatment of the seventeenth century 
is foreshadowed. The old enamel surface could not be produced 
in this fashion, nor was it asked for. It was only proper to the 
small, jewel-like, highly finished panels of the Van Eyck school. 
Work done on a larger scale called for a new technique. The days 

1 Peltzer sale (Amsterdam, 1914), No. 2. 

2 The Budapest " Supper at Simon's " attributed to this artist was, in my opinion, 
painted by the Alkmaar Master. 

3 In Wauter's catalogue of the Brussels Gallery the du Quesnoy triptych is attributed 
to a Master of the Magdalen Legend, but this cannot be the same painter as Friedlander's 
Master of that name. 



were passing when patrons would pay an artist to spend five years 
on a single picture. Quicker handling and correspondingly lower 
prices per square foot were a sign of developing, or at least changing, 
technical processes, though a long journey had to be made between 
Van Eyck and Rembrandt. Those interested in painters' methods 
and their evolution will find even in the indifferent work of six- 
teenth century artists a fruitful subject of study. Such matters 
lie outside the province of the amateur. If he cares about 
pictures for the sake of their beauty, he will not linger unduly over 
the work of the Master of the Magdalen Legend. 

A Nativity in the Brussels Gallery is worth a moment's notice. 
The figures are treated as mere decorative patches an angel 
planted in the midst for the sake of a pair of wings symmetrically 
raised as a central pattern, the other figures balanced to right and 
left against one another, posed and related not unskilfully, but 
void of emotion. A garden with formal beds shows through the 
Annunciation windows and there are monograms in the leaded 
glass, but whether the artist's or the donor's is not ascertained. 
Louvain and Brussels pictures of this date often display such 
window-glass monograms. The extreme length and slenderness 
of the saintesses on the outside of the wings is noteworthy as a sign 
of the times, and they may be compared in this respect with some 
on a sheet of drawings which was in the Von Lanna Collection. 1 

A painter, not, I believe, a Netherlander, may here find brief 
mention. He can be recognized by the astonishing display he 
makes with hands and fingers. They stick out all over his composi- 
tion, and he gives immense pains to the finish of every nail and 
knuckle. Such, at all events, is the prominent characteristic 
of his Louvre picture of an Ecclesiastic Preaching. He stands on 
a skeleton pulpit, in the porch of a church. What his small 
audience lacks in numbers it makes up for in enthusiasm and good 
looks, at least in the case of two ladies who appear to have gone 
to a goldsmith for their hats and to a very expensive dressmaker 
for their clothes. The menfolk closely surrounding them are 
of a respectable antiquity, but there are some younger sparks 
in the background, and a rather sly humorist of a boy peeping 
out from the church door. The same horribly sanctimonious 

1 Albertina publication, No. 1292. 


preacher, I believe, reappears coming along the street which leads 
away off to the Church of St. Gudule. Were it not for the presence 
of this church is it really St. Gudule's ? no one would have 
called -this a Brussels picture, but looked for its author somewhere 
in the North of France, perhaps as far away as Amiens. M. de 
Mely, having read upon the collar of the kneeling man in front 
the decorative letters " Apelli Vitali," rushes to the conclusion 
that this is the artist's signature, and that he was an Italian. 
There is, however, no Italian element in his art. The same artist 
must have been the painter of a delightful little half-length por- 
trait of a man which is at Woerlitz. He is seen through a round 
arched window with a coat-of-arms over his head. Behind him, 
we look into the interior of a church where a priest is elevating the 
Host. A copy with many changes in colours and accessories is 
in the National Gallery (Salting Collection). It is inscribed on 
the frame, " Lovis XI Roy de France." Its painter has misunder- 
stood the badly-drawn half-opened book in the original, and has 
made of it a nondescript object which would be very puzzling 
if we did not know what it is he was trying to reproduce. The man 
in the Woerlitz picture is not Louis XI, though ugly enough for him. 
The painter was probably a Frenchman. 

We may fitly conclude this sketch of the work of second-rate 
Brabantine painters with a glance at what has recently been 
revealed about Goswin van der Weyden, Roger's grandson. His 
principal activity was not in Brussels, but Antwerp. In fact, 
he painted the first sixteenth century Antwerp picture of which 
the date is certainly known. His rediscovery is due to the labours 
of Professor Hulin, and the paragraphs that follow are little more 
than a brief abstract of papers published by him. The student 
desiring completer information will, of course, refer to them in 
the pages of the Burlington Magazine l and the Annual of the 
Prussian Museums. 2 The chief pictures attributed to Goswin, 
though not of the first rank, had long been recognized as of some 
importance, and obviously painted by a master who must have 
enjoyed repute in his day. The known outlines of his life are as 
follows. He was born in or shortly before 1465, probably at 
Brussels. His father, Peter, was a member of the painters' guild, 

1 October 1912, p. 26 ; November 1914, p. 71. 2 1913, pp. 59-88. 


and may have taught Goswin his craft. We first hear of the latter 
as living at Lierre and painting organ-shutters in 1492 for the 
collegiate church of St. Gummaire. He seems to have resided in 
that place till 1498. Then, or in the following year, he moved on 
to Antwerp, and in 1503 bought a house close to Quentin Massys. 
Both men were Brabanters, from Brussels and Louvain respectively 
cities closely related in artistic matters ; so the fellow-provincia 
may well have been drawn together. Goswin at once experienc 
the influence of his great contemporary, and showed it in his worl 
If he had not much to give he had a great deal to receive. Befor 
long he began to occupy official positions in the Antwerp Guild 
and his activity and prosperity may be measured by the fact tha 
he received no less than ten apprentices in twenty years. Fro 
1499 till his death soon after 1538 he was much employed by th 
Abbey of Tongerloo. He even occupied the position of Keepe 
of its town-house in Antwerp, and acted there as a sort of agen 
to the Abbots. 

The picture to which we must now turn was painted for th 
said Abbey and set up in 1505. It is thus, as above remarked, the 
earliest known dateable picture painted in Antwerp in the six- 
teenth century earlier than the large dated altar-piece of Quentin, 
though of course not earlier than some of the fine series of works 
by that great master, which, though not dated, may assuredly 
be placed chronologically before those that are. The picture 
in question was an altar-piece of the four-panel type, but double- 
storeyed, so that, when the wings were opened back flat, eight equal 
panels appeared, four in a row above the other four. Seven of 
these still exist and were till a few years ago in the possession of 
the Abbey. They then passed into the hands of Messrs. F. Muller & 
Co., of Amsterdam, for sale. 

Hulin discovers in them evidences both of a Brussels tradition 
and of the influence of Quentin. They illustrate in an entertaining 
narrative fashion, after the established Brussels manner, incidents 
in the legend of St. Dymphna, a local saint of supposed Irish 
extraction. The text of her legend had been published at Antwerp 
by the printer Back in 1496, and may have guided the artist in 
his selection of subjects and their design. Hulin points out the 
simple naturalism of the landscapes, devoid of over-abrupt rocks 


and wide expanses of distance. Not in them shall we find much 
evidence of Antwerp influences. Some of the figure-types recur 
in the Mannerists' pictures to be considered below, and here and 
there a leg is pushed forward or a knee bent with a little unnecessary 
prominence. There is also some tendency to multiply gestures 
and the by -play of subordinate characters, but this is not Manner- 
ism. That consisted in a particular spirit of restlessness and strain, 
which shall be more completely defined and discussed hereafter. 
It is enough here to note that Goswin cannot have been the founder 
of that style. 

The various panels of the Dymphna altar-piece can never 
have formed a decorative whole. The mere equality and rect- 
angular combination of them show how completely the decora- 
tive Gothic sense had departed. Gothic altar-pieces of the central 
period were designed under the traditions of architecture. As 
the fifteenth century passed we can observe the gradual evapora- 
tion of the architectural tradition. In the four-panel altar-pieces 
still more emphatically in this eight-panel example no trace of 
architectural structure survives. The panels are like so many in- 
dependent pictures hung as close together as possible on the walls 
of a picture gallery. Their dismemberment in the eighteenth 
century must have been more beneficial than harmful to their effect. 
When they were painted the habit of book-illustration had become 
fixed. The public were accustomed to the idea of illustrating a 
printed tale or poem with prints. The fine edition of Olivier 
de la Marche's Chevalier delibere, published at Schiedam between 
1498 and 1500, marked an important stage in the development 
of the illustrated book. Goswin' s panels are like so many book- 
illustrations. They contain narrative pictures as much intended 
to relate the story as were, for instance, the couple of dozen wood- 
cuts wherewith the Schiedam printer accompanied the text of 
the Life of Liedwy, which he issued in 1498. Illustration is a 
legitimate form of art, but not the highest form. Composition 
must be subordinate to lucidity. The old religious round of subjects 
had in a sense been illustrations, but by frequent repetition the need 
for lucidity had passed, and in the best days of mediaeval Christian 
art pictures were primarily decorative. Every spectator knew the 
meaning of the subjects, and did not need a lucid exposition 

of them. It was enough if the composition served as a reminder. 
But such pictures as these of the Dymphna legend must needs 
tell their tale. That was the painter's primary business, and the 
paintings must be judged accordingly. The nearer they come 
to actual depiction of incidents in everyday life the better are they. 
That of the two spies bribing the innkeeper's wife really enter- 
tains us, because it shows the people of the artist's own day amid 
their ordinary surroundings. Peter Bruegel would have painted 
the subject much better, but it is a subject he might have chosen. 
The almost exactly contemporary Seven Works of Mercy by the 
Master of Alkmaar are of this kind and approximately on Gos win's 
level. Both artists were unconsciously feeling their way into 
the new world of everyday, in which painters were presently t 
find as much to kindle their imaginations as their predecessors 
had found among the dwellers in the Kingdom of Heaven. 

The Dymphna panels are attributed to Goswin because they 
were painted at a time when he is known to have been employed 
by Tongerloo Abbey, and because we know of no other painter 
to whom they can be attributed with any like probability ; bu 
there exists a picture painted between the years 1511 and 1515 
which records prove to have been his handiwork. It is a Madonna 
with donors now in the Berlin Museum (No. 526). Its purpose 
was to commemorate a donation of lands at Calmpthout, made 
as far back as the thirteenth century. A first glance at the picture 
is disturbing, for to whatever extent the actual technique may 
suggest an early sixteenth century hand and it did, in fact, strike 
Hulin as the work of a contemporary of Quentin Massys before 
he knew anything whatever about the history of the picture- 
the design is obviously neither of that date nor of the thirteenth 
century, but of about the year 1450. In the centre we have a 
full-length Virgin of so exactly Roger van der Wey den's type that 
he must surely have designed it. A brocaded dorser (which Hulin 
identifies as borrowed from Quentin) hangs behind her. Donors 
kneel on either hand. A knight on our left with a tabard over 
his armour is very like Sir Philip Hinckert in the Roger-school 
picture once in the Crews Collection ; on the right is a lady closely 
corresponding in costume, pose, and feeling to the donoress on 
the Roger-school wings of 1451 described in a previous chapter 


p. 261. 

LA FOLLE (1498). BRUSSELS. p. 267. 

DOWDESWELL. p. 269. 

SALE. p. 275. 

[To lace page 274. 


A votive picture of like design and mid-fifteenth century date is 
in the Kunstliefde Museum at Utrecht, 1 the donor there being one 
Rues van Haemstede. The Berlin picture, therefore, is either a 
copy 0f one painted by Roger, or it was designed by Goswin strictly 
on the lines of a similar work by his grandfather. It is unfor- 
tunate that the single documentarily authenticated work by Goswin 
should be of this character. The only contemporary features are 
the bits of landscape, the foreground trees, and the additional 
donor on the left with his upturned face and enthusiastic expres- 
sion, in marked contrast to the stolidity of the donors of the older 
school ; these features, however, sufficed to enable Hulin to recog- 
nize several other works as by the same artist, but the promised 
proofs are not yet forthcoming. 2 

A third picture which groups well enough with these two 
was sold in New York at the Blakeslee sale in 1915 (No. 70). It 
depicts the kindred of Christ, 3 and does so with considerable 
originality and charm. The children are playing about the knees 
of the Virgin and St. Joseph, who sit in a very plain room with a 
landscape of Goswin' s style visible through a window. The rather 
peculiar sleeve of the Virgin's dress was designed by the same 
costumier as the sleeve worn by one of the girls in a roundel of the 
Prodigal Son at Basle a picture placed by Friedlander in his 
B group of Antwerp Mannerists and in a picture by Bernard van 
Orley. At a time when feminine fashions were quickly changing, 
this identity indicates for the pictures a common date, probably 
before 1510. 

Other pictures attributed to Goswin are an Adoration of the 
Magi in Buckingham Palace, a half-length Virgin at Hampton 
Court, a triptych which passed through the De Somzee and Hoe 
sales (Phot. Hanfstangl, No. 1089), a Martyrdom of St. George 
in the Kestner Museum at Hanover, 4 a St. Catherine triptych 
in the Cook Collection at Richmond, and the Colibrant triptych 

1 Reproduced in Martin's Altholldnd. Malerei, Leipzig, 1912. 

2 They were to be published in a second article in the Prussian Museums Annual, 
but the War no doubt prevented its appearance. 

8 I have to thank Mr. T. E. Kirby of the American Art Association for a photograph 
of this picture. 

* Monatshefte /. K., vi, pt. 12. The reasons for the attribution of this picture to 
Goswin are by me undiscoverable. 


at Lierre. These attributions are highly tentative, and we remain 
in the dark as to the arguments by which Hulin hoped to attach 
to our painter the very important Colibrant triptych. His attribu- 
tion of the Cook triptych was, however, definite. The Colibrant 
triptych of the Marriage of the Virgin, with the Annunciation 
and Presentation on the wings, was in the church at Lierre before 
the War. That was a very considerable work of no little merit, 
and its date is approximately 1515-17. The figures are balanced 
and dignified ; costume is subordinated to humanity, not the 
wearer to the costume ; the spacious architectural background 
is the actual interior of Lierre Church, containing the sumptuous 
stone screen which was its glory till the War overwhelmed it in 
common ruin with the church (Burlington Mag., Nov. 1914, p. 655.) 
Though most of these pictures are not united by any strong 
common bond of style, we may yet be willing to admit them as 
the possible work of a single artist, who down to the year 1517 
remained free of Antwerp mannerism ; but the St. Catherine in 
the Cook Collection and the Hoe triptych stand in a category 
by themselves. We cannot insert them at any point among the 
rest, so that if they are the work of Goswin they must have been 
painted after 1517. In both, but especially in the St. Catherine, 
Mannerism is prominent. The saint, indeed, a full-length figure, 
shows some restraint of tradition. Her costume is of fifteenth 
century fashion, and so is her facial type, but every other face and 
figure in the picture looks all the more modern by contrast. They 
are of new types. Many of the heads are bald or have a curious 
look of baldness, though enveloped in cap or turban. There is 
a man with a long swallow-tail beard of a kind common in pictures 
by the Mannerists. Architecture tends to be elaborate and fussy. 
Subordinate characters are all occupied talking, arguing, or reading 
together and the landscapes are no longer simple, I find it 
far from easy to accept these pictures as by the same hand as 
the rest, but Hulin seems to be assured of the identity ; we must 
await the full publication of his researches for satisfaction of our 
doubts. In any case, if Goswin did become affected by Mannerism 
it was a late phase with him and one which he owed to surrounding 
influences, not to his own spontaneous invention. 



GERARD, son of John, son of David of Oudewater (as his redis- 
coverer Weale called him), generally named Gerard David for 
short, was a Dutchman. As an artist, however, he is chief repre- 
sentative, not of the Dutch, but of the Bruges School after the 
death of Memling. He was born at Oudewater, near Gouda, in 
Holland, some time before 1460, and came to Bruges as a formed 
artist in 1483. On the following January 14th he was admitted 
a master-painter in the Bruges Guild. It can scarcely be doubted 
that he learned his art in Haarlem in the studio of Ouwater, and 
that Geertgen was his fellow-pupil. 1 There is by him in the Dublin 
Gallery, painted at the culmination of his career, a figure of Christ 
(half of ( a composition of Christ taking leave of His Mother), 
which is copied from the Christ in Ouwater 's Raising of Lazarus, 
a picture probably painted about 1470 or even a little later, the 
very time when David would have been Ou water's pupil. As 
for David's relation to his fellow-pupil and contemporary, Geertgen, 
a picture which was in Sir Charles Turner's collection * may throw 
some light on that. It used to be attributed to Geertgen himself 
or called a copy after a lost picture by him. The subject is con- 
nected with the Legend of St. Dominic and his distribution of 
rosaries. Resemblances to Geertgen are easily discoverable, but 
several of the types differ from his. In particular there are two 
heads on the right, one of a girl partly shrouded in a white head- 
cloth, the other of a man, and they resemble heads seen in pictures 
by David and nowhere else. If the reader will compare this 
picture with the pair of wings in Antwerp admittedly by David, 
he will find points of similarity. I will mention only the hands, 

1 I wonder whether Geertgen was called " little Gerard " to distinguish him from 
this other painter Gerard, his contemporary. 

2 Sold by auction at Berlin in 1908. 



where the depressions between the fingers are carried down the 
back almost to the wrist. The composition cannot have been 
David's, but the actual painting unites some of the characteristics 
of both the young artists and suggests an early mutual influence 
or co-operation. David's Dutch education is apparent in a triptych 
the centre-piece of which, with the Nailing of Christ to the Cross, 
is in the Layard Collection at the National Gallery, and the afore- 
said wings, with the holy women and other onlookers, at Antwerp. 
This is the earliest generally accepted picture by him. It is 
interesting rather than beautiful, and fuller of promise than 
performance. We need not delay over it. 

E. von Bodenhausen's excellent and scholarly book on David 
renders any lengthy discussion of his work here superfluous. 
That book has taken its place as authoritative and includes in its 
catalogue most of the master's known pictures. Others identified 
later on are discussed in an article by Bodenhausen and Valentiner 
in the Zeitschrift filr bildende Kunst (May 1911). A revised list 
has recently been issued by Friedlander. 1 Bodenhausen's bool 
contains all the references the student will require, especially thos< 
to Weale's first publication of his various discoveries in archives 
recording facts relating to David. We may therefore deal here 
in the briefest manner with the known events of his life. 

Soon after his arrival in Bruges he attained a good position 
in the town and, in and after 1488, office in the Guild. In 1496 
he married Cornelia, daughter of Jacob Cnoop, a prominent local 
goldsmith. In 1508 he joined the Confraternity of Our Lady of 
the Dry Tree, at the head of which was the Duke, while the members 
were for the most part nobles and leading citizens. 1509 is the 
date of the Rouen altar-piece which David painted and presented 
to the Carmelite nuns of Sion in Bruges. In 1515 he joined the 
Antwerp Guild, whether merely on the occasion of a visit for some 
special purpose or with the idea of settling in that increasingly 
prosperous art-centre ; in any case he remained resident at Bruges 
and died there in 1523, leaving behind him an unmarried daughter. 

Three Nativities (at Budapest, in the Kaufmann Collection, 
and in private possession in Paris), a pair of wings with saints ii 

1 Von Eyck bis Bruegel (Berlin, 1916). See also Winkler in Monatshefte f. K., 1913, 
p. 272. 


the Kaufmann Collection, and the Sedano triptych in the Louvre 
are characteristic early works. Of the three Nativities, the Paris 
example comes first. 1 It is pure Haarlem work, very simple in 
composition, the Virgin of Geertgen's earliest type (compare his 
Brunswick diptych), the kneeling angels like his in the Amsterdam 
Nativity. The only original touch is the shepherd boy looking 
in at the doorway of the roofless building. Slightly more advanced 
is the Budapest picture, in which the boy has come further 
forward, the angels turn their very Dutch backs upon us, and an 
elaborate landscape fills the distance. A similar Virgin, similar 
angels and landscape reappear in the Kaufmann version, but the 
other figures are different, and the shepherd boy is now, I think, 
a portrait of the young artist himself. Joseph has become a clean- 
shaven person in whose portrait-like head some friend of the artist 
may be commemorated. The two landscapes are interesting. 
They include a curious circular building surrounded by flying 
buttresses which David introduced into some of his backgrounds 
to the end of his days ; it was borrowed from him by other artists. 
There is nothing to show that any of these Nativities was painted 
after he left Holland. In style they are Dutch. But when we 
come to the little Kaufmann wings, we find David beginning to 
study the Van Eycks, for the wooded background behind John 
the Baptist is imitated from a wing of the Adoration of the Lamb. 
Friedlander points out that the Child in the Sedano triptych in 
the Louvre, another early work, must have been suggested by John 
van Eyck's infant Christ in the Paele Madonna, while in a some- 
what later version of the same composition (Coll. J. G. Johnson, 
No. 329) and in other pictures the carpet is also taken from the 
same source ; but he fails to observe that in both cases the harping 
and luting angels come out of Campin's Virgin of Salamanca. 8 
In the Louvre picture David also borrows the general arrangement, 
as well as the little cherubs aloft holding festoons, from Memling's 
picture in the Uffizi, the angels in which likewise descend from 
Campin, but David went back to the original source for them. 

1 In 1874 this was in the Collection of the Due de Galliera, Phot. Braun, 16361. 

* Bodenhausen and Valentiner also ascribe to David's early period a roundel of the 
Virgin and Child in the J. G. Johnson Collection, which is copied from an often-repeated 
type invented by Campin. 


Thus in his earliest period we find our artist indebted to the Van 
Evcks, Campin, and Memling, beside his Dutch masters. More- 
over, he does not merely learn from his predecessors by study of 
their methods, but takes forms, figures, arrangements, and even 
details directly from them. He is more than influenced by them ; 
he is a confessed borrower. Later on he similarly borrowed from 
Roger, the Bruges Lucia Master, and three Netherlands engravers 
the Master of Zwolle, W-, and the Master of the Playing Cards. 
It is evident, therefore, that originality in composition was not his 
strong point. We have already seen that a lack of it is characteristic 
of the whole Netherlandish school at this time. 

If David had not possessed countervailing merits of his own, we 
need not have further concerned ourselves with him and his work, 
but that he did possess such merits is proved by the desire of every 
gallery to possess his pictures, the prices paid for them, and the 
honour in which they are hung. In the early group under con- 
sideration the charm is present, and it is independent of borrowing ; 
it is David's own. I think that the essential element in this charm 
is the painter's genuineness. He was old-fashioned, but genuinely 
so. It was not a pose. He was constitutionally religious. One 
might imagine him at home with the Brethren of the Common 
Life or any of the mystic fellowships whose days of vitality were 
coming to an end when David was born. The atmosphere of his 
pictures is like that of The Imitation of Christ. David was the only 
Northern artist who ever painted a St. Francis at all acceptably. 
The little wing picture of the Stigmatization is almost credible. 
The painter felt and rendered something of the ecstasy of the 
Saint. In face and figure he is wholly wrapt up in his vision. The 
contrast between him and the unfelt John the Baptist on the 
pendant is remarkable. The latter is a mere emblem, emotion- 
less, meaningless. The former is intoxicated with God. David's 
nature seems to me to have been a deeper one than Memling's. 
There is much in common in the spirit of their art, but Memling, 
for all his dexterous and pleasant handling, is more superficial, 
more like a man who adapts himself, easily and naturally enough, 
yet still adapts himself, to the taste of the little society for whom 
he worked. David needed no adaptation. He painted what and 
how he really liked to paint. Memling's best pictures are his 


portraits. David painted few portraits except of devotional donors. 
Friedlander attributes to him the half-length likeness of an ecclesi- 
astic, with the towers of Bruges in the background, which has 
long been a puzzle in the National Gallery. Possibly the portrait 
of Joos Van der Burg on the diptych in the Fogg Museum at Cam- 
bridge, Mass., dated 1496, may also be his. I have not seen it. 
The Virgin and Child are copied from Roger's St. Luke. The 
landscape background is in David's style, and the notable gravity 
of the worshipping donor and of his gaunt-faced patron, St. Jodoc, 
is in the reverent spirit of our artist. 1 

With his conservative religious tendencies, David had no tempta- 
tion to devise original treatments for the round of sacred subjects 
he had to paint. To borrow was but to follow the good old tradi- 
tion. What David did not and could not have borrowed was the 
reverential mood that governed his hand. Forms and details 
he could pick up here and there as he saw what pleased him, but 
his art was not in the forms. Its vitality was deep within himself. 
Alike in the naivete of his earliest works and the complete harmony 
and expressiveness of the later, the spirit is the same. A single 
pure and simple character is behind them all. It follows that 
the handiwork of the man is of a piece with his nature. We need 
not look to him for technical innovations nor fear to be put off 
with a slipshod technique. There is nothing cheap about David's 
art. If half a hundred or more of his pictures have survived the 
misuse of men through half a thousand years it is because their 
maker was a thoroughly sound and conscientious craftsman. 
His methods were those of the Van Eycks, and of the best of their 
successors throughout the fifteenth century. All that was personal 
to him about them was his selection and combination of colours. 
His best pictures have a richness all their own. Later, under the 
influence of Quentin Massys, he adopted a lighter chord. Whether 
we care for the ideal that he expressed or not, no one can help 
enjoying the aesthetic pleasure his works yield to the eye. It is 
reposed and comforted when turned upon them and away from 
the discords of normal surroundings. 

In 1488 David's position was so assured in Bruges that the 

1 The top of David's favourite circular buttressed building can be seen at the foot 
of Calvary in the landscape. 


magistrates entrusted him with a commission to paint two Justice 
pictures commemorative of " the execution of the judge Peter 
Lanchals and other members of the late administration, who, 
having been found guilty of corruption and malversation, had been 
condemned to death." The paintings were to show Sisamnes 
arrested by Cambyses, and Sisamnes being flayed alive. Poor 
David ! No subjects could have been less in his line, for he was 
not a dramatic artist. He went slowly to work, took ten years 
over the job, and no doubt had the assistance of learned persons. 
He acquitted himself well enough with the first picture, and even 
makes us feel the cold perspiration breaking out on the unjust 
judge's head as the king upbraids him ; but the second is purely 
horrible. Ill-informed persons have praised it as a careful study 
from nature, imagining that a human skin could thus be detached 
exactly as one skins a rabbit ! But it cannot. David, luckily 
for him even in that day of horrors, had never watched a man being 
flayed alive. He had to do the best he could with what was to 
be seen at a butcher's. He tried to supply what was asked of him. 
There is something hideously practical in the way the victim 
is fastened to the operating-table. Perhaps the local torture- 
chambers supplied that idea. But it is all too dreadful to dwell 
on, and David must have been as glad as we are to turn from 
the disgusting business. Here also, by the by, he used again 
Memling's cherubs and festoons, beside introducing as bas-reliefs 
two enlargements of famous antique gems, one the well-known 
Medicean Apollo and Marsyas, a copy of which is worn by Botti- 
celli's fair Florentine lady with the golden hair in the Stadel Gallery 
at Frankfurt. 

Among the pictures painted by David before 1500 must be 
reckoned the Munich Adoration of the Magi which Friedlander 
identified (by comparing it with an inferior copy at Berlin) as an 
imitation of a lost original by Van der Goes. The date of another 
Magi picture by David at Brussels can be roughly inferred from 
the fact, observed by Weale, that a miniature copy of it appears 
in a manuscript which had already arrived in Spain in 1497. A 
Pieta in the J. G. Johnson Collection carries on the Roger tradition ; 
the wings belonging to it are in the Collection of Mr. Philip Lehman 
of New York. It shows the artist's growing ability, especially 


in the treatment of landscape, and will serve to introduce us to 
the culminating period of his artistic career. The Annunciation 
on the outsides of the wings was to be developed by him later in 
another version. In the earlier the form of the panels necessitated 
simple standing postures for both figures, but in the Sigmaringen 
panels he gave to Gabriel drapery agitated by swift movement 
and a more commanding gesture of the hand. At Frankfurt 
is a good studio picture of the same subject, probably designed 
by him, which is yet further developed. 

In David's mature period he painted on a larger scale. His 
altar-piece in the Bruges Museum is a good example of his accom- 
plishment at this time. The donor was John des Trompes, who 
is introduced on one wing with his boy ; his first wife, Elizabeth 
van der Meersch, and their four daughters face him on the other. 
As she died in 1502 the centre panel, with the Baptism and the 
insides of the wings, must have been painted by that date. The 
outsides were added later, but before 1510, seeing that they bear 
a Virgin and Child adored by Magdalena Cordier, the second wife, 
who died in that year. The Baptism is remarkable for its extensive 
and elaborate landscape, and specially for the carefully studied 
ripples on the water and their reticulation by reflexion from the 
banks proof that David went to Nature and not only to previous 
landscape painters for ideas. The ivy climbing up a tree trunk, 
the accurately depicted flowers, the air perspective, and other 
features confirm this observation. David brought his landscape 
style with him from Holland. Two of his early Nativities contain 
extensive landscapes, and prove that he possessed a sketchbook 
of studies from nature. In the background of the Budapest 
picture is a charming mediaeval village, obviously from a sketch. 
There is also high up on the right a bit of cliff of horizontally 
stratified rock, which must actually have been seen and noted. 
He repeated the village in the Kaufmann Nativity, and much later 
in the National Gallery Adoration of the Magi. The rock-cliff, 
but rising out of grass at a low level, reappears in the Kaufmann 
Nativity. The kind of rocks thus adopted by David are found 
in his landscapes to the end. He never made them overhang, 
nor did he develop them fantastically like most Flemish painters 
of his and the next generation. He did not find these rocks at 


Haarlem ; he must have seen them on his way through a hill] 
district. The nearest approach to them in an earlier picture 
are those in the Van Eyck St. Francis, but they are not the same. 
David was fond of wide sloping or gently domed areas of meadow. 
His distant hills are vaguer and more bathed in air than, for instance 
Bouts'. The skyline is sometimes very soft, outlining distant hill 
in successive ranges melting away behind one another, as foi 
instance in the National Gallery St. Jerome (No. 2596), a work oi 
the artist's last years. In depicting trees and woods he advancec 
beyond his predecessors. If he took a hint from the dense back- 
ground of a wing of the Adoration of the Lamb he worked 01 
the suggestion in the presence of nature. He thronged his tre 
together and introduced figures among them in the shade. He 
found delight in varieties of foliage and different habits of growtl 
A good example of his accomplishment in this kind is the we 
in the middle distance behind Salviati in the National Gallei 
wing, or that behind the Virgin and Child in the picture in the 
Stoop Collection. 

The Marriage at Cana in the Louvre was painted about 15( 
or a little later for the same John de Sedano above mentioned. 
The view through the window includes "the old palace of the 
Liberty of Bruges, the church of St. Donatian, and some of il 
dependent buildings," as they appeared at the time from the porcl 
of St. Basil's, in which church the Confraternity of the Holy Bloe 
had their chapel. It is evident that the personages in the Cam 
picture were studied from life. We fortunately possess a 
fragments of one of David's sketchbooks containing such studie 
They were in the Von Lanna Collection, and one is now in tl 
Stadel Institute. That includes the likeness of the bride, but not 
in the position finally adopted for her. 2 

The Virgo inter Virgines at Rouen (of 1509) and the Marriage 
of St. Catherine in the National Gallery are important pictures o 
David's best period. The former, as aforesaid, was painted for th 

1 John de Sedano joined the Guild of the Holy Blood in 1503, so the picture canno 
have been painted earlier. 

2 Burlington Mag., May 1908, p. 155. Another drawing at Frankfurt is attribute) 
to David by Winkler, but to Bouts by the Museum authorities. It is more like the wor 
of David than Bouts, but is it by either ? 


Carmelite Nuns, the latter for Richard de Visch van der Capelle, 
Cantor of St. Donatian's. 1 They are among our artist's most 
beautiful works. In a corner of the Rouen picture David has 
introduced his own portrait, identified as such by an inscribed 
drawing of it at Arras. In type and expression it agrees perfectly 
with the self-revelation of the pictures themselves. Some of the 
saints and angels around the Virgin are beautiful women, and one 
is certainly the prettiest in any primitive Netherlands picture. 
The general arrangement of the composition is borrowed from that 
very dull work the Altar-piece of the Drie Sanctinnen by the 
Bruges Lucia Master. In it Catherine's wheels are woven into the 
pattern of the brocade of her dress ; here they are set as ornaments 
in her crown, and Barbara wears her tower in like fashion an 
ingenious way of introducing emblems. 

In the Munich Gallery, in that of the Academy of St. Luke 
at Rome, and in the Arco- Valley and von Heyl Collections are 
associated versions of the Virgo inter Virgines. Bodenhausen thinks 
that behind them all is a lost original by David. He points out 
that the Buckingham Palace picture, already noticed by us (p. 252), 
painted by a Bruges artist about 1480, represents a yet earlier 
lost original to which (or to this very repetition of it) David was 
indebted. The Roman picture stands nearest to this earlier 
version, especially in the landscape ; the Munich example is 
closest to David. The subject was one peculiarly suited to the gifts 
and preferences of David and his followers. The Child on the 
Virgin's lap in the Roman altar-piece is fingering a bunch of 
grapes. David was so pleased with this innovation that he 
employed it again in the Rest by the Way in the J. P. Morgan 
Collection and in the Madonna-panel of the Genoa triptych 
(Palazzo Brignole Sale). The former picture is representative of 
an attractive group of Madonnas in which the landscape is a more 
important element than ever before in Madonnas of the school. 
Examples that may be cited are those belonging to the Frank Stoop 
and Nemes Collections. They were evidently popular works, and 

1 His cantor's staff lies beside him on the ground ; it was given to St. Donatian's 
in 1337 (Beffroi, i, p. 337). Few cantors' staves have come down to us. That which 
belonged to the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris is in the Cabinet des Medailles, the head of it 
being an antique chalcedony bust of a Roman emperor in a fourteenth century setting. 
Another (of the thirteenth century) was in the Magniac sale. 


were frequently imitated or repeated in the Master's own studio. 
Patinir and painters of his group developed the type by greatly 
reducing the scale of the figures and enlarging the scope of the 
landscape, so that it became the real subject, the figures mere 

A striking picture of St. Michael and the dragon is at Vienna 
(No. 626). It is highly finished on a small scale (66 x 53 cm.). 
The devils do not show the inventive ingenuity of Jerome Bosch, 
but they are reduced to a proper insignificance by the beauty of the 
archangel and the fine sweep of his drapery. They resemble 
the devils in the Ars Moriendi block-book. The design is based 
on a lost engraving by the Master of the Playing Cards, known to us 
from a pen-and-ink copy in the British Museum. 8 It is interesting 
to observe that the paintings on the outsides of the wings recall 
the style of David's old fellow-pupil Geertgen in one of his earliest 
works the Brunswick diptych. On the insides of the wings are 
St. Jerome and St. Anthony of Padua. The former almost 
exactly reproduces the same figure on one of the panels at Genoa, 
now framed in a triptych with the above-mentioned Virgin and 
Child with the Grapes. All three panels belonged to a larger 
composition. The St. Anthony reappears among the panels of 
the St. Anne altar-piece, which is now broken up and scattered. 
That figure was suggested by an engraving of St. Augustine by 
the Master of Zwolle. It should also be mentioned that David 
found St. Michael's crosier in one of Martin Schongauer's prints. 
The three great panels in the Widener Collection with St. Anne, 
St. Nicholas, and St. Anthony of Padua are the largest and 
emptiest works by David. Six small panels with illustrations of 
the legends of those saints, which are in the Wantage Collection 
and belong to the same altar-piece, show how much happier he was 
when working on a small scale. A panel of the Pieta, which passed 
through the Nemes Collection to somewhere in America, also 
belonged to the same polyptych, and there may have been more 

1 Repetitions of the whole with slight changes belong to the Pablo Bosch and Antwerp 
Galleries. A half-length replica of the Bosch Virgin with a different background is in 
the possession of Messrs. Agnew. These come very close indeed to the Master's own 
handiwork, and he probably sold them out of his studio. He may have painted on all 
of them himself. 

1 Reproduced in the Berlin Jahrbuch, xviii, p. 46. 


beside. The Wantage pictures show David at his best as a 
narrative painter. The puzzled father of three dowerless girls, 
the reverent donkey, and St. Anthony's Fish-congregation are 
rendered with the naive good faith essential to the proper telling 
of fairy-tales. Such pictures, brightly coloured, would still be the 
joy of any nursery. 

At Bruges no artist might paint pictures who was not a member 
of the painters' guild, nor miniatures unless he belonged to the 
guild of miniaturists. Weale has shown that Gerard David 
belonged to both and was the first considerable painter of whom 
that was true. His wife also was a chartered miniaturist. Can we 
find any work of this kind ascribable to either ? Three miniatures, 
framed as a triptych, and said to have come out of the Abbey 
of the Dunes, were shown at the Bruges Exhibition in 1902 
(No. 130). Mr. Weale discovered and attributed them to Cornelia 
Cnoop upon the authority of an old inscription written on the 
back. The Virgin and Child are copied from the Nemes Madonna, 
with a landscape background which reappears on a page of 
Binnink's Heures dites de Hennesey. It includes the chateau 
of Louis de Gruuthuuse at Oostcamp near Bruges. Technically, 
it is on a level with many of the pages in the Grimani Breviary 
and associated manuscripts. The search for manuscripts in the 
decoration of which David may have taken part has been hotly 
pursued. 1 The latest choice has fallen on some miniatures in the 
Breviary of Isabella of Spain in the British Museum (Add. MS. 1851), 
where the Magi miniature is a version of David's copy of the lost 
Van der Goes and the Nativity recalls his early painting now 
at Budapest. At what period of his life is David likely to have 
painted two miniatures which in style group themselves with his 
own paintings of different dates in his career ? If the John at 
Patmos is added a third style must have been employed simul- 
taneously with the other two. If, however, we attribute these 
miniatures to followers the difficulty vanishes. David's designs 
and types were frequently copied by miniaturists of the partnership 
which co-operatively produced such famous manuscripts as the 
Venice Grimani Breviary, the Vienna Hortulus animae, and 
others of that well-defined group of late fifteenth and early sixteenth 

1 See Monatshefte f. K. t 1913, p. 274. 


century date ; but it does not follow that David was head of the 
workshop [that contracted to make them. The Horebouts, th< 
Benninks, and other important recorded miniaturists have to b( 
remembered, and they may have repeated David's types withoul 
being in his employ. 

A near approach to a miniature by David, in scale and style, 
though not in technique, is to be found in a pair of small, finely 
painted diptychs with equal claim to genuineness and closely 
alike in subject. One is included in the Van Gelder Collection, 
the other in the National Museum at Munich. As works of art 
they are superior to any of the miniatures, all of which lack 
the quality of spontaneousness and pictorial invention witl 
which these little panels are instinct. Equally fine and finishe< 
is another little painting, now in the New York Museum. It is 
late work approximating in style to the Descent from the Cross 
presently to be referred to. It shows Christ taking leave of the 
Holy Women, and is a tenderly pathetic rendering of a subject 
which to David at any rate was not hackneyed. He did not feel 
called upon to depict a passionate and gesticulating grief such 
presently was to become popular the noisier the less convincing. 
These people are gravely sad, yet make their passion felt. 
similar emotional expression in figures drawn on a large scale 
was impossible to David, nor indeed could he imagine the majestic 
in any form, as his heads of Christ in the Johnson and Schickler 
Collections amply prove. He was at home in a world of humility 
and gentleness ; and it is in such a picture as that of the Holy 
Family belonging to M. Martin Le Roy (Paris), where little more 
than the three heads are shown, that he attracts our admiration 
almost our affection. 

When, in 1515, David had his name inscribed in the books of 
the Antwerp Guild, he must have spent or intended to spend 
some time in that busy and progressive city. He will have founc 
many of the artists there impregnated with ideals different froi 
his own and striving to attain novel effects that cannot hav( 
appealed to him as very desirable. It is evident, however, that he 
felt the influence of the place and especially of his great contem- 
porary Quentin Massy s, who was at work there exciting th< 
admiration and emulation of his fellows. The Le Roy picture 


betrays this influence, though David did not have to borrow from 
Massys the motive of the kiss. That, as we know, had been used 
by followers of Van der Weyden. Large heads of the kind had 
been painted by Memling and another artist whose picture is in 
the J. G. Johnson Collection (No. 341) and others were made by 
Mostaert. 1 More obviously diverted by Antwerp pressure is a 
half-length Virgin and Child in the Traumann Collection, whereof 
there are variations or copies in the de Forest Collection at New 
York, at Brussels and Strasburg, and in the Palazzo Brignole 
Sale at Genoa, beside others that have passed through the sale- 
room in recent years. The type is vulgarly called the " Soup 
Madonna," because the Virgin is feeding the Child with a spoon 
from a bowl on the table before her. This domestic incident of 
homely character was very modern, very Art nouveau in its day ; 
it evidently hit the popular taste. The Virgin's type approximates 
to that of the ladies as afterwards painted again and again in 
various characters by Ambrose Benson, the Master called of the 
Half Lengths, and Joos van Cleef. Antwerp influence is again 
observable in a Virgin with Saints belonging to the New York 
Historical Society. Here the landscape is of novel character for 
David. It is one of those very extensive landscapes full of detail 
and incident which we associate with the name of Joachim de 
Patinir and shall have more to say about hereafter. Possibly 
in this case David employed a professed landscapist to paint in 
the background for him. 

A pair of pictures in the National Gallery the Three Kings 
and the Deposition approximately of the same size (about two feet 
square) which came to their present home together and have been 
together as far back as their history can be traced, were probably 
parts of a single work. The former is the only picture which bears 
David's signature. The name " Oudewater " was impressed into 
the paint while it was still wet by being written with the sharp 
end of a brush-stick. This was pointed out five-and-twenty 
years ago or more by Sir Walter Armstrong, yet the critics, except 
Friedlander, cannot see the Master's hand in either picture, though 
that he designed both is not denied. The Deposition shows the 
co-operation of an assistant, but the Magi is for the most part 

1 In the Schleissheim and Clemens Collections. 


by the Master himself. It adopts the lighter chord of colour which 
David now borrowed from Massy s. The village in the background, 
as mentioned above, is a repetition of one of the sketches made in 
his Dutch days. In the Deposition the Virgin embraces the head 
of Christ, tenderly pressing it against her cheek with her right hand. 
This motive was often repeated by David's followers in half- 
lengths or merely heads, as at Petrograd, The Hague, and elsewhere. 
It has been pointed out that the composition goes back to Geertgen, 
and this though Massy s' famous picture of the same subject, dated 
1511, must have been known to David. 

To the final period of his career belongs what is perhaps hi 
most dramatic work, a Descent from the Cross, last heard of i 
the possession of Messrs. Colnaghi, previously in the Dingw 
and Driver Collections. The figures are shown at full-length 
Half-length copies are numerous and one or more have been claime 
for the Master himself. The Antwerp influence here discovere 
by other writers is not visible to me. On the contrary, thi 
composition is an example of David's enduring conservatism 
A comparison with Bouts' Descent in the Chapel Royal at Granad 
shows that he had that picture in mind in designing this one 
The frontal position of Christ, the Virgin holding His hand, th 
attitude of St. John, all these features are similar in both, whil 
the Mary on the right with her hand to her cheek was obviousl 
suggested by a figure on Bouts' Crucifixion wing, which reappears 
in the National Gallery Entombment. What, however, is not 
imitated is the grave and tender emotion so genuinely infused into 
these figures by the later artist, an emotion which the stolid Bouts 
could not be expected to feel, still less to render. 

Some three-quarter length pictures of the same subject, closely 
connected in design with this, have been called copies of it. 1 
But they are not copies. Bodenhausen thought the Carvalh 
example to be an original by David. Whether that is true or not 
it is probable that David painted a three-quarter length version 
reducing the number of figures to adapt the composition to 

1 A Pieta with only two figures, Christ's head being held by the Virgin at arm's 1 
was in the Kaufmann Collection, and is attributed to David, but doubtfully. 

2 They are in the Uffizi (No. 846), the Hoschek, Peralta, and Carvalho Collection! 
and in Saragossa Cathedral, and there is a drawing in the British Museum. I hav 
written at greater length on this group of pictures in the Burlington Magazine, 1916 


compacter form. In both designs the cross is placed obliquely 
on the right side of the picture, and this is the position it occupies 
in the Berlin Crucifixion, where the Centurion standing on the right 
is the same model with the same belt and costume as the man on 
the ladder in the full-length Descent ; the Mary with her hand 
to her cheek likewise reappears. The pains taken by the artist in 
this work are notable. Never did he devote more care to working 
out his individual figures, their grouping, and the play of light 
upon them ; the landscape also is fuller than usual of elaborate 

Of the other two Crucifixions painted by David, 1 that at Genoa 
is the more remarkable. It is, indeed, our artist's most original 
and impressive work. The figures are but three, and those most 
dignified. Not only are they the fewest possible, but the drapery 
is of great simplicity, the strong vertical line in St. John's robe being 
a note of form that gives character to the whole composition. 
The landscape is also compressed beneath a low horizon-line and 
consists of the plainest elements, treated with purposeful in- 

Thus we take leave of the Master on a high level. The end 
of his life was near when he painted this picture. It shows 
him constant to the ideals he had pursued throughout his career 
and reaping the fruit of that persistence, not in a power to dazzle 
the spectator by originality of invention or novelty in technical 
skill, but in a more perfect rendering of fine emotion, impressive 
because entirely controlled, and in full concord with accepted 
tradition and reverence for that which " we have heard with our 
ears and our fathers have told us." 

1 In New York Museum and the Palazzo Brignole Sale at Genoa. 



WE must deal more briefly with the group of later Bruges artists, 
not in that their work is unattractive, but because their art leads 
no whither and is mainly carried along by the momentum of the 
past. They are in fact second-rate men, who with one exception 
put in practice what they had been taught : conscientious workers, 
but not originators. They were made by their school ; they did 
not shape it. Only in recent years has the memory of them beer 
recovered and some of their pictures identified. 

The exception above mentioned was John Provost of Mons, 
the date of whose birth is not recorded. He joined the Antwerp 
Guild in 1493, but passed on to settle at Bruges in the following 
year, in which Memling died. He remained there till his own death 
in 1529. Thus he followed David at an interval of about a decade, 
and died six years after him. His identification with Bruges 
was so complete that Diirer supposed him to have been born there. 
No less than thirty-four or thirty-five pictures have been attributed 
to him, mainly through the initiative of Hulin or Friedlander. 
He married four wives in succession ; one of them was the widow 
of Simon Marmion. It may have been owing to this connexion 
that he purchased the freedom of Valenciennes in 1498, but he 
does not seem to have lived there. He repeatedly filled offices 
in the Bruges Guild, and performed the miscellaneous tasks 
expected of a painter. He drew maps, designed architecture, 
and carried out works of decoration. Albert Diirer made his 
acquaintance at Antwerp in September 1520, accompanied him 
to Bruges, and stayed in his house there in April 1521. On both 
occasions he drew his host's portrait, once in charcoal and once 
in silver-point. We may probably conclude that Provost spent 
the winter of 1520-1 in Antwerp. 

Friedlander indicates a Pieta in the Von Back Collection at 



Szegedin as one of his earliest works. It is by no means charac- 
teristic of the Bruges school of about 1490. Provost had evidently 
learned his art elsewhere, probably at his birthplace, Mons. The 
queer drawing of eyes and some other tricks which Hulin has pointed 
out as peculiar to Provost are already apparent in this picture. 
His attempt to render emotion fails. Details are painted sketchily 
and not with the painful minuteness characteristic of his work 
in later years. Four other pictures, not easily accessible, are 
grouped with this by Friedlander. 1 

They are followed by a slightly more mature group : an 
Adoration of the Magi at Berlin, a Last Judgment in the Ruffo 
de Bonneval Collection, a Madonna in the National Gallery, a pair 
of wings in the J. G. Johnson Collection. In these pictures 
we can see the result of the artist's study of his contemporaries 
both at Bruges and Antwerp. Reminiscences of David and even 
Memling can be discovered in the Johnson wings. The Last 
Judgment, archaic in sentiment and design, shows Renaissance 
feeling in the drawing of the nudes. David was again in Provost's 
mind when he was designing the Berlin Three Kings, though 
here likewise the new spirit peeps through. This and the other 
detail have been pointed out as proof that our artist was not 
ignorant of the work of Mabuse and Massy s. 

In the Virgin and Child by a Fountain, at Piacenza, Provost 
has found himself, though he went back to Van Eyck for the 
fountain. The sweetness of the Virgin, the boisterousness of the 
fluttering angels, the delicacy and daintiness of the whole in all 
its parts, these are Provost's own accomplishment about the 
beginning of his middle period. The hedge of roses above the 
garden bank was a feature he more than once introduced. Plants 
trained on a wooden trellis in a similar position appear behind the 
Saint and Saintess on a pair of wings of about 1520, one in the 
Prado, the upper part of the other in the Louvre. They show 
Provost at his best. He was a lover of gardens and painted 
flowers with delicacy and care. In these two figures and the 

1 In the list of Provost's pictures in Von Eyck bis Bruegel (p. 187), Friedlander names 
only two at Madrid, the Prado wing and a Pieta in the Traumann Collection, but in his 
text (p. 120) he names also a Pieta (phot. Laurent 2630) as in the Prado and a Magi 
in some unparticularized private collection. 


contemporary Abraham and Sarah belonging to Count Paul 
Durrieu we find Provost advancing with the stride of his day. 
The dog in the latter may even have been taken from Diirer. 
The movement, the freedom of gesture, and the architectural 
accessories indicate that our artist did not remain hidebound 
to Bruges traditions. 

In the Museum at Bruges is a dull-coloured but remarkable 
picture, which, by the fashion of the cap worn by one of the 
figures, can be dated to about 1520-1, that is to say, to the time 
when Provost was in Antwerp. It shows the influence of the 
artists then working in that city. We behold one Jan Lanckart, 
a merchant, in his office with open ledger and money-bags on the 
table before him. He is evidently in an agitated state of mind, 
and well may be, for there is Death on the other side of the table 
either paying down or picking up money and receiving or giving 
a receipt. A third individual with pointing finger stands behind, 
and may be a likeness of the artist himself. It resembles the kind 
of self-portraits painters of that day used sometimes to introduce 
into the backgrounds of their pictures. Among Diirer' s portraits, 
drawn in charcoal about this date, is one in the British Museum 
(Lippmann, No. 284) which bears a striking resemblance to this 
head. It is perhaps the likeness of our artist made by Diirer at 
Antwerp in September 1520, just about the time when Provost 
must have been painting this picture. The reader will remember 
the numerous money-changers and merchants in their offices 
painted by Massys and his followers, notably by Marinus van 
Reymerswale. They were evidently popular in Antwerp. The 
first of them was perhaps Massys' picture in the Louvre, which 
may be dated 1514. St. Jerome in his cell was also painte 
with the like multiplication of accessories. Diirer' s St. Jerom 
now at Lisbon, was a work of the same character. It see 
likely that Provost had that picture in his mind when designing 
his " Merchant and Death." Hence he may have derived the 
suggestion of Lanckart's pointing finger, his open book, and 
some of the accessories. Diirer's skull, if the drawing for it i 
turned round, agrees with Provost's, though the latter looks 
if done from memory or a very rapid sketch. The ugly old mer- 
chant is portrayed with much animation and a painter's feelin 


for the value of large surfaces and massive features, which are 
emphasized by contrast with the still-life minutiae in the back- 
ground. But Provost was not a good portrait-painter and had no 
gift for penetrating the secrets of a character. An interesting 
fragment, with a donor's head, in the Johnson Collection exhibits 
his limitations in this respect. Better are the donors on the 
wings of the Buckingham Palace triptych, a characteristic work 
of the artist's central period. The over-elaborate architecture 
of the Virgin's throne and goldsmithy of the croziers marks the 
coming of the Fantastic which rioted in Antwerp studios from 
about this time forward. But the picture is pleasingly lit and 
the traditional composition well balanced and wrought out in 
workmanlike fashion. A Madonna at Amsterdam is of the same 
period as the preceding, but here the donor's portrait is the 
weakest part of the picture. 

In none of these works does Provost display the charms of a 
colourist. His compositions are good, he often draws well, his 
accessories are finely finished. He paid a good deal of attention 
to the design of his draperies, as the wings at Paris and Madrid 
may be cited to show. The faces of his women are attractive. 
Landscape was not his forte and is reduced to unimportance in 
his backgrounds. 

We luckily possess two pictures of Provost's late period 
which can be dated, the Deipara Virgo of 1524 at Petrograd and 
the Last Judgment of 1525 at Bruges. The latter was painted 
for the Town Hall and is the only work documentarily recorded 
as by him. The whole superstructure of attributions has been 
cleverly erected on this simple foundation. In both pictures the 
influence of contemporary Antwerp painters is so apparent that 
even without Durer's record we could have known that Provost 
must have made a stay of some duration in that lively city and 
learned things there that Bruges could not have taught him. 
In the Deipara Virgo the elaboration of feminine costume, which 
turned Antwerp saintesses into fashionable and expensive ladies, 
is also visible, though without the extravagance beloved on the 
Scheldt. The subject, as Hulin tells us, was a favourite one at 
Bruges not only with painters of the early sixteenth century but 
also for tableaux vivants. Thus he cites those exhibited on the 


occasion of the Joyous Entry of Charles V in Bruges in 1520, when 
the third prize went to the man who had designed and furnished 
the costumes of the actors, and notably those for the Sibyls and 
Prophets, who, as here, no doubt were introduced foretelling the 
Virgin-Mother. 1 

The building up of so intricate and artificial a composition, 
if at that time it implied little creative ability, was only attainable 
by much learning and some ingenuity. The Last Judgment is 
Provost's most pretentious work and shows him at his learnedest. 
He has advanced as a draughtsman. The little woman putting 
on her celestial robes is a pleasing vision. The large-scale Heavenly 
Host makes the picture top-heavy and comes so low down that 
if a man in the foreground were to stand up he would knock 
his head against the clouds. Angels blow out of their trumpets 
the letters of the calls to elect and damned like peas out of a pea- 
shooter. It is all entirely artificial and devoid of the dramatic 
quality without which such a subject is meaningless, but it unites in 
a clever mosaic, like the well-fitted bits of a jigsaw puzzle, all the 
expected elements and depicts them in competent fashion. We may 
thus take leave of Provost with some respect but with little regret. 

Brief mention in passing may be given to another Bruges artist 
who stands in Provost's neighbourhood. He painted a seated 
round-faced Virgin with two Saints which is in the Uffizi (No. 666), 
a second-rate imitation of Memling. He likewise painted a Virgin 
on the crescent moon which was in the Willett Collection. 8 Three- 
quarters of that picture are filled with the heavenly host among 
clouds, quite uninteresting, but the lowest quarter contains one of 
the most beautiful landscapes painted at that time ; if it stood 

1 An important and earlier picture of the same subject, by which however Provost 
seems to have been uninfluenced, is a triptych in the Church of St. James at Bruges. 
The figures on the central panel are half-lengths. The unidentified painter is known as 
the Master of the Holy Blood. An artist of some merit, he derives his name from a 
Descent from the Cross, painted about 1519, and presented, probably by Jan van der 
Straeten in that year, to the Confraternity of the Holy Blood. Four pictures by him were 
exhibited at the Bruges Exhibition in 1902, and others are mentioned in Hulin's Catalogue 
Critique of that exhibition. There is a list of his works in Friedlander's volume on the 
Berlin Loan Exhibition of Renaissance Art (1898), p. 20. He flourished at Bruges about 
1510-25, but worked under the influence of Massys and Joos van Cleeve, to the latter 
of whom some of his pictures have been attributed. He was a dull painter. 

2 Bruges Exhibition (1902), No. 208. 


alone its merit would have received more notice. The view is 
of a river passing near some cottages, under a bridge, and then 
meandering through fields and round the base of a castle-crowned 
cliff to vanish in a wooded and hilly distance. The colouring is 
rich, the composition well chosen, and the effect of light striking 
low very well rendered. It is possible that the painter of this view 
was a landscapist pure and simple, and that he was employed as 
such by the anonymous and inferior figure-painter to whom the 
rest of the picture is due. 

A second-rate but not uninteresting Bruges artist who was a 
follower, if not a pupil, of John Provost is known to us from two 
pictures. By his signed initials he can scarcely have been other 
than a recorded member of the Bruges Guild, Jan van Eeckele. 
Coming from elsewhere, he joined the guild in 1534, filled various 
offices in it, and died in or soon after 1561. His son became a 
master-painter in 1548, so that the father may have been born 
about 1500 or before. Van Mander mentions a Bruges painter 
under the name of Hans Vereycke, probably the same man. The 
form of the Christian name, like Memling's, suggests that he was 
a German. He was nicknamed Klein Hansken. Apparently 
he is not to be confused with another Cleen Hansken, who was 
Hans van der Elburcht, a follower of Patinir, of whom more 
hereafter. The picture which shows Jan van Eeckele imitating 
Provost is a Madonna with St. Bernard in Tournay Museum. 
In the background are other incidents in the Saint's legend. Hulin 
thinks it may be dated far along toward the middle of the six- 
teenth century, a remarkable survival of fifteenth century forms 
and traditions. Nothing is more conservative than pious emotion. 
There are plenty of English Churchmen to-day who are not happy 
worshipping except in a Gothic church. That was why the 
Liverpool public when they decided in recent years to build a big 
cathedral decreed that it must be in the Gothic style. Conserva- 
tively pious folk in the sixteenth century similarly hung on to the 
old types of religious picture and gave employment to conservative 
artists. The Spanish market, so important to Netherlands painters 
at this time, expressed a similar demand. The only other known 
picture initialled by Van Eeckele is a half-length Mater Dolorosa 
in Bruges Cathedral. A woodcut of the same design and the 



accompanying text printed by Gerard Leeu at Antwerp in 1492 
in a " Seven droefheyden O.L.V.," and a copy of the same cut 
printed by Janszoen at Leyden in 1500 in a " Leven O.L.V.," 
prove that Van Eeckele's picture repeated the design of an original 
in the church of Ara Coeli at Rome, whereof there were other copies 
at Abbenbroek and Romerswale in Zealand. There is another copy 
with the addition of angels overhead at Munich by Quentin 
Massys' follower, the Master of the Manzi Magdalen (No. 105). 
They show the influence of Quentin Massys, but it does not follow 
that they are, as has been claimed, copies of a lost copy made by 
him, of which we have no record. An Italian version of the 
same Roman original was in Charles Butler's Collection. 1 

It will be convenient at this point to deal summarily with a 
few anonymous Bruges pictures which cannot be entirely passed 
over. There is, for instance, that Consecration of a Bishop which 
used to masquerade as the Consecration of Thomas a Becket by 
John van Eyck, on the basis of a forged inscription. 1 Though 
the picture is not by or of the period of the Van Eycks, it was 
painted by a good artist about the year 1500 or later. For a time 
he was thought to have been the young Mabuse, but that idea is 
given up. Another picture by the same hand, likewise at Chats- 
w r orth, depicts an episode in the life of some Benedictine saint. 
The composition of the crowd is in both cases rather primitive, a 
perspective of tonsured crowns. On the other hand, the draperies 
are well designed, and some of the older faces are dignified and 
moderately expressive. The open-air background is curiously 
Italian, even specifically Venetian in its openness and the type 
of figures that animate it ; one can also imagine a Venetian 
reminiscence in the palace architecture. Weale suspected that the 
painter had some connexion with England I know not on what 

To Mr. R. C. Sutton-Nelthorpe belongs a picture of St. Francis 
abandoning his father, which has puzzled all the critics. Hulin 
hoped, rather than believed, that it might be by John Provost, 
but this hope has been abandoned. It dates from about 1520. 
St. Francis is giving his clothes to his father, who seems quite eager 

1 Reproduced in the Art Journal, November 1884, p. 336. 

* How the forgery was made is described in the Burlington Magazine, March 1907. 


to get them. A handsomely vestmented Bishop extends a wing 
of his cope over the naked lad. If he and another bystander are 
putting their fingers to their eyes to avoid seeing his nakedness 
they do it in a most ineffective manner ; but perhaps they are 
intercepting tears, equally ineffectively. For all that the picture 
is a good one, well composed with figures in natural momentary 
positions and variety of character in the faces. 

An important-looking triptych which belonged to Messrs. 
Durlacher and was shown at the Dusseldorf Exhibition in 1904 
(No. 154) has been no less of a problem. Friedlander wrote about 
it at length, 1 finding in it influences from Hugo van der Goes, 
[emling, and Gerard David, and such resemblances to the work of 
[senbrant as to make him suspect that it might be an early work 
by him. As always happens when anything proves too tough a 
nut for the critics to crack, they presently turn and abuse it. 
The latest writer to tackle it has done so, and now we are told 
it is a very poor affair. In reality it is an excellent work by an 
immature artist of the later Bruges school who in the Adoration 
of the Magi has remembered David, in the Presentation Memling. 
The basket on the ground in the Nativity is the same that we find 
in the studio replica (in the Pablo Bosch Collection) of Gerard 
David's Stoop Madonna. Patinir had a basket rather like it, 
but not the same one. I suspect the painter of the Durlacher 
triptych to have been the same assistant in David's studio to 
whose hand the Pablo Bosch picture is due. Both works are 
assigned roughly to about the year 1515. 

An original and entertaining picture belongs to Count de 
Limburg-Stirum and used to be at the Chateau de Rumbeke near 
Roulers, to which indeed it most essentially belonged, for it depicts 
a scene in the park of that chateau, and the building itself appears 
in the background, as it remained almost unaltered till the War. 
Only the spire upon the tower was gone. Whether the building 
still survives, I know not. When shown at the Bruges Exhibition 
(No. 273) the orthodox Catholics who controlled that admirable 
show permitted the picture to be described as " Un fete de famille 
en plein air." The learned Hulin was able to identify the persons 
as belonging to the Thiennes family and the date as approximately 

1 Jahrbuch Pr. Kss., 1904, p. 114. 


1535, but lie did not state, what was pointed out to me by the late 
M. Henri Hymans, that the assemblage is obviously a Protestant 
meeting, and that is why they are singing hymns and some of 
them are kneeling. One of the servants seems much agitated by 
the arrival in the background of a cavalcade and cartload of visitors 
just driving up to the chateau. The admirable landscape shows 
the continuing influence of Gerard David. Apart from its agre 
able artistic quality, the picture is an interesting document of soci 
history. It will be a pity if it also has been swallowed up b 
the War. 

A single picture is authentically recorded as the work of a 
Bruges artist named Albert Cornelis. It is a Coronation of the 
Virgin painted between 1517 and 1522 and hangs in the church of 
St. James at Bruges. Cornelis is mentioned in 1513 as a burgher 
of Bruges and in 1518 as a guild-officer. In the years from 1515 
to 1530 he is recorded as selling pictures in the half-yearly markets. 
In 1532 he died. The photographic translation of his picture into 
black and white gives an unfairly favourable impression of it, 
for the colouring has a cheap and poor appearance. It is one of 
the most crowded works of the school, and the great multitude 
of figures are grouped together not unskilfully. Bodenhausen 
throws doubt upon the degree of Cornelis' responsibility for it 
and refuses to draw from it many inferences as to his style. 
The influence of Gerard David is visible enough, but more still 
are we reminded of the work and even the hand of Ambrosius 
Benson, a painter resident and very active at Bruges for several 
years. It has likewise been suggested that Isenbrant may have 
had a hand in the painting. Cornelis undertook to paint all the 
nude and other principal parts with his own hand, but from the 
records of a lawsuit ' we learn that his actual accomplishment of 
a proper share of the work was disputed. The Court held other- 
wise, so the doubt which has been thrown upon his substantial 
responsibility for the picture seems groundless. 

Adrian Isenbrant was a prominent Bruges painter between 
the years 1510 and 1551 ; indeed, after Gerard David he seems 
to have been the leading artist in the city. He was not educated 
there, but came from somewhere else and bought the freedom of 

1 Le Beffroi, i, p. 18. 


the local painters' guild in the year above mentioned. He soon 
rose to a good position in it, and filled various offices at different 
times between 1515 and 1548. In July 1551 he died. When 
such a multitude of obviously Bruges School pictures of the first 
half of the sixteenth century have survived it is practically certain 
that among them must be works by a painter so prominent and so 
long active. The co-operative investigations of many students 
have grouped together as the work of a single artist a large number 
of pictures, none of them signed, none attached by any old document 
to a named painter, but all produced within the period of Isenbrant's 
recorded activity. The first name suggested for their author 
was that of Jan Mostaert, but the known facts of his life were at 
variance with the implications of the pictures themselves. To 
make a long story short, only what is known of Isenbrant does 
satisfy them, and they are now ascribed to him by general consent, 
though actual proof that he painted any one of them has not 
yet been discovered. 

The two largest pictures thus attributed to the Master we 
have now to consider were triptychs, one of 1518 at St. Mary's, 
Liibeck, the other of about 1520 at Grancey-le-Chateau (Cote d'Or). 
I have not seen the Liibeck picture for forty years, and my memory 
of it is very dim ; the Grancey-le-Chateau triptych I have never 
seen at all. To judge from rather indifferent photographs neither 
of them is a picture that would long hold the attention of any 
spectator who was not an art-historian. Friedlander, I believe, 
deprived Isenbrant of the Liibeck altarpiece and ascribed it to an 
anonymous painter of 1518, to whom also he attributed certain 
other works. Later on he found a place for that artist among his 
Antwerp Mannerists, with whom we shall presently deal. Whether 
the Grancey triptych should be similarly handled I know not. 
The head of one of the Apostles in it is said to be a fine portrait of 
David himself in advanced years ; it is considered the finest and 
most carefully painted head by Isenbrant. If that is true it only 
confirms what his other pictures so frequently indicate the close- 
ness of his relation to David, whose assistant he may well have 
been for several years. Some of his paintings, such as the Munich 
and Arco- Valley examples of the Virgo inter Virgines, appear to be 
opied from originals by David ; others may have been done from 


that master's designs. Nor was it only David that Isenbrant 
copied. There is in the Kaufmann Collection a repetition of the 
central panel of the well-known little triptych by Mabuse now 
at Palermo, which shows a close but not slavish imitation of 
the original. He also painted a separate imitation of the Adam 
and Eve on the outside of the wings ; the picture was in the 
Emden Collection (No. 53). In other cases he borrowed from the 
engravings of Martin Schongauer and Diirer, and he put unde 
contribution some of the popular paintings of his Netherlandis 
predecessors. In all this he was merely carrying on the imitativ 
habit of his school and providing the kind of pictures his patro 

There is at Munich a pretty Virgin and Child in a landscape 
one of those numerous Rests by the Way on the Flight into Egypt 
then so popular. 1 They gave opportunity for the introductio 
of wide extending landscapes with entertaining distances and inci 
dents, and enabled a painting of a religious subject to be endowe 
with a great deal of mundane charm. The Virgin and Child ar 
identical in design with those in the versions of the Virgo inte 
Virgines above mentioned. Joseph in the background knocking 
dates off what is intended for a date-palm had already appeared 
exactly thus in a Rest by David which was in the Kann Collection 
Even the landscape was evidently not of Isenbr ant's invention 
and the whole picture may well have been designed by or eve 
copied after David. The kind of landscape Isenbrant designe 
when left to his own resources is exemplified in the Mary Magdale: 
praying in the (very fertile) desert which was in the De Somze 
Collection. It is characterized by a number of jutting rocks tha 
look like the lobes of great cactus plants, with domed trees amon 
them, cottages and castles dotted about, and villages in the remote 
distance. No photograph can give any idea of the charm of th 
picture ; that resides in its rich and glowing colour. Equall 
dependent upon the same qualities are the two wings with figures 
of saints from the same collection. Nothing could be more du 
or uninspired than the figures themselves the straight-legged, 

1 In Canterbury Museum is a pretty " Rest by the Way " by Isenbrant, with a Vii 
dressed in blue, seated in a landscape. In the background are worshippers adoring a 
statue of Neptune. The picture is in good condition. 


spindle-shanked John Baptist and the mild Jerome. But the 
latter's fine red robe against the green background is a joy to look 

A more advanced work of the type of the Magdalen is a triptych, 
on one of the wings of which she again appears. It was in the 
R. Kann Collection. Jerome in Penitence is the subject of the central 
panel. Why the religious folk of that time were so devoted to 
St. Jerome is doubtless known, but the explanation has not reached 
me. He was as popular with Italian and especially with Venetian 
painters as with Netherlanders. Some of Bellini's pupils and certain 
Bruges painters approximate rather closely in style when painting 
this Saint. Several of these penitent Jeromes are attributed to 
Isenbrant * and all are charming pictures, but in them also our 
artist rests upon David, who set the type he was content to follow. 
This triptych and another rather smaller one, which belonged to 
my late friend Dr. Lippmann and was his particular pride, are 
examples of the best that Isenbrant could accomplish. They are 
painted with exceeding fineness and brilliancy. They delight the 
eye the moment it rests upon them. There is an individual 
softness and grace about the little figures that was Isenbrant's 
own. They have an appearance of unusual finish and consequent 
preciousness, as though a very skilful craftsman had devoted much 
time to them. This is true even of the grisaille subjects on the 
outside of the Lippmann wings. The Netherlands produced few 
sweeter figures than that of the Virgin in this Visitation. Such a 
little altar-piece was perfectly adapted for the oratory of some 
young and pious but also well-to-do lady of its day. The archi- 
tecture of the niches behind these grisailles has an obvious connexion 
with that in the Palermo Mabuse, which Isenbrant must have 
copied about this time. 

Of like charm but somewhat later date are two much admired 
pictures in the Northbrook Collection : a Virgin seated in a 
handsomely sculptured and inlaid marble niche of Renaissance 
character, and a Virgin appearing above the altar to St. Ildephonso 
in a church of wildly fantastic architecture. With these we may 
also group a mass of St. Gregory in a similar church a picture 

1 For example, one in the Fetis sale (1909), No. 106, and one in the J. G. Johnson 
Collection, No. 357. 



which passed through the hands of Messrs. Agnew. It woul< 
be easy to have a surfeit of such sweets as the Northbrook Madonna. 
It is very pretty, but no one could call such art great. It is oi 
the sugar-candy of pictures. There is no religious emotion in it, 
but only a religious convention. A Buddhist would not discovei 
that it was a religious painting at all, though the colouring pleas< 
the universal human eye. As for the sculptured backgroum 
that must have been borrowed from someone. It is not Isenbrant' s 
invention. Nor is it merely the suggestion of it that came froi 
Italy ; some Italian must have designed it. Architecture inventec 
by Isenbrant, as in the St. Ildefonso, is wild stuff a mixture oi 
extravagant Renaissance and Gothic forms, impossibly combined. 
He had no understanding of the Renaissance spirit in architecture 
or of its root in a revolt against the unstructural over-elaboratioi 
of late Gothic. As long as forms were complicated and combina- 
tions novel, that was enough for Isenbrant and his patrons, 
his mind, however, they were not thought of as architectural, but 
merely as decorative pictorial elements which he could mingle 
together and patch about among his graceful figures to produce 
a decorative painted whole. It must be admitted that, at his 
best, he thus attained some charming results. 

The Mass of St. Gregory 1 indicates that Isenbrant did not 
remain unaffected by the developments that went forward at 
Antwerp and other art centres around him. Here the people 
are all agitated by emotion which they have to express by gesture, 
by the twisting about of their draperies, turning of the head, am 
other departures from the restraint and dignity of the fifteentl 
century school. Moreover, the actual paint is made as it were t( 
sparkle with bright touches on vestments, mitres, and metallic 
adjuncts. It is all of a piece with the agitated architecture, but 
the result is decorative and in its way delightful. 

An unusually large-scale pair of three-quarter lengths of Christ 
as the Man of Sorrows and the Virgin as Mater Dolorosa, united oi 
a single panel, are in New York Museum. They show Isenbrant 
in his most pretentious and least charming mood. They are 
theatrical, artificial, unconvincing. The nobility which Van Eyck 
infused into the great figures of the Ghent altar-piece is absent 

1 I know the picture only from a photograph kindly given to me by Messrs. Agnew. 


here. The spirit which created those imposing manifestations 
was gone from the earth. Nothing remained but a formula which 
Isenbrant employed with technical dexterity and without a suspicion 
of its emptiness in his hands. He had already, a few years before 
(say about 1530), painted a memorial diptych, half of which, with 
a seated Mater Dolorosa, it still in Notre Dame at Bruges a con- 
fused and unsatisfactory composition. The Virgin sits in not 
unpathetic grief upon an ill-proportioned carved throne ; but she 
loses all dignity and the picture all unity of effect by the ill-adjusted 
paintings of various incidents in the Passion on the wall behind 
her, which distract the attention and add nothing to the general 

Apart from the above-mentioned portrait head of David, 
Isenbrant is not credited with eminence as a portrait-painter. 
A half-length of St. Luke holding a Madonna-panel is thought 
to be a likeness of himself. The face matches the attribution. 
It is that of a mild and inefficient Dante, lacking all tragic emotion. 
His pursed-up, proper lips, his large dull eyes, his unlined face, 
belong to a quiet, rather pedantic person. He has sensitive hands 
which might well be skilful. He would be a quiet, virtuous, 
painstaking, even meticulous person, but with nothing great 
about him. In the Doria Gallery and elsewhere are half-length 
pictures of little ladies, as saints, attributed to him, some of 
which are probably portraits. They lack individuality. They 
are all of a kind. Isenbrant was not the only painter of such half- 
lengths, nor was he the inventor of the type, which became very 
fashionable. It is associated prominently with the unidentified 
Brussels artist named the Master of the Half-lengths, and several 
other painters turned out examples of the type, which seems to 
have been specially popular in France. 

Isenbrant, in his turn, like David, was at the head of a manu- 
factory of pictures, and supplied a number for export, especially 
to Spain. His assistants repeated his designs and imitated his 
style. Evidently the products of the workshop were popular. 
Pictures attributable to it rather than to him are numerous. 
In some his hand may have done a share of the work ; in others 
only his design is discoverable. Others, again, are mere imitations. 
We need not linger over such an output. Even the mere studio 


pictures often have a certain charm, but it is one inherited from 
the past a fading charm, essentially decadent. 

Other artists who worked at Bruges during the sixteenth 
century must receive our brief attention before we are free to 
turn to the work of greater men elsewhere. They are Lancelot 
Blondeel, Peter Claeissins the Elder, and Peter Pourbus. What 
is known of the first-mentioned was put together by Mr. Weale 
and published in the numbers of the Burlington Magazine of 
November and December 1908, to which the reader is referred for 
all details. Blondeel was born at Poperinghe in West Flanders 
in 1496. He started life as a mason, but was admitted a master- 
painter at Bruges in 1519. He married, served offices in his 
guild, and in 1561 he died. His most outstanding work is not a 
painting but an elaborately carved chimneypiece, which he 
designed 1 in 1528 for the Council Chamber of the Hotel of the 
Liberty of Bruges, now the court-room of the Palais de Justice. 
It was finished in 1532. Blondeel won the order after a compe- 
tition, and was then sent to other towns to consult with sculptors 
and experts, among whom the painter Mabuse is mentioned. 
The fireplace and mantelpiece were of black marble and alabaster, 
the overmantel and ceiling of oak. The alabaster mantelpiece 
was designed and sculptured by Guy Beaugrant, who also carved 
the five large oak figures. The heraldry was approved by Toison 
d'or. The overmantel was intended to commemorate the victory 
of Pavia and Treaty of Madrid (1526). The central oak figure is 
Charles V, with his parents on his right hand and his grand- 
parents, Ferdinand and Isabella, on his left. A throne, numerous 
cherubs, portrait medallions,' and many coats-of-arms fill the 
remainder of this somewhat overburdened composition. It 
matches the exuberant taste of the day, which Blondeel 
thoroughly relished. All his paintings that have come down to 
us express the same extravagance. He turned his back on the 
old traditions and belonged heart and soul to the new world. 
He inherited the skill of hand and power of draughtsmanship 
which had been developed by the old masters, but none of their 
restraint. Where he got his inspiration is obvious. It was 
from Italy. Even if the picture in Tournay Cathedral is not 

1 Apparently also the ceiling. 


p. 323. 


COLNAGHI p. 305. 



[To face page 306. 


by him it shows in an advanced form the same influx of Italian 
influence. It is, however, not the spirit of Italy that has been 
caught, but merely the forms. A prototype for each of them 
could be cited were it worth while. Blondeel was essentially a 
decorator. He was often employed to design decorative statues, 
ironwork, tapestries, house-fronts, carved doors, candlesticks, and 
whatever was needed of an expensive sort. He also designed 
woodcuts, but none are known. 

Four decorative banners, recorded as painted by him for various 
corporations, still exist. They depict religious subjects or per- 
sonages framed in or projected against such a mass of intricate 
decoration as to be almost overwhelmed by it. One cannot deny 
that the work is clever. When fresh it may have been brilliant and 
effective. The ornamental parts are done in brown on a gold ground. 
They can hardly be called even remotely architectural, but resemble 
intricate metal-work of a highly fanciful character. A single 
detail cited by Weale shows where the artist sought suggestions. 
In the banner of the Painters and Saddlers which is in St. Saviour's 
at Bruges, dated 1545, the capitals of the pilasters of the Virgin's 
throne agree with those in the basilica of Nerva at Rome, and must 
have been copied from the Flemish edition (published in 1539) of 
Serlio's treatise on architecture. The Virgin and Child are no 
less obviously of Italian derivation. Yet, for all this Italianizing 
the spirit remains late Gothic Gothic gone wild or over-ripe. 
Though locally novel it is decadent art, which led ultimately 
nowhither. We shall meet with other artists similarly affected 
and need not longer delay over this one, but we cannot quit him 
without mentioning that in 1550 he and Scorel were charged with 
the perilous task of restoring the great Ghent altar-piece of the 
brothers Van Eyck. 

Peter Claeissins the Elder was neither the first nor the last 
artist of his family, for there was a Peter Claeis living and working 
at Bruges before him. The Peter 1 with whom we are concerned 
was 60 years old when he signed his own portrait (if it be his 
own portrait) in 1560. He became a master- painter in the 
Bruges Guild in 1530. In 1544 he joined the Booksellers' Guild 
as an illuminator. He was still working in 1553. Three of his 

1 See Weale in the Burlington Mag., July 1911, p. 198. 


sons were likewise painters, Giles, Anthony, and Peter by name. 
Pictures by all of them are known. Of the portrait above 
mentioned two versions exist : one in Christiania Gallery, the other 
in the Cook Collection at Richmond. They are bust portraits, 
the former signed with the painter's full name, but it does not look 
like a man 60 years of age. 

An early work, marked with his monogram, 1 which belongs 
or belonged to Mr. Haest of Antwerp, is a repetition of that old 
type of the Virgin embracing the Child which Winkler believes 
to have been invented by Roger. Numerous half-length examples 
of this composition emanated from Bruges in the first half of the 
sixteenth century, and they may have been manufactured in 
Claeissins' studio, though one at any rate (in the M. J. Rikoff Coll.) 
is attributed to Isenbrant and must have been painted in his 
entourage. Thus Claeissins was among the last artists at Bruges 
to hang on to the old school. If a Virgin's head in the Louvre 
(No. 1587) is also his it confirms the same tendency. But he could 
not escape the influences of his day, however little he was suited 
to adopt them. One of his latest works, a Resurrection of 1573 
in St. Saviour's at Bruges, shows him doing his best to be fashion- 
able, with an Apolline Christ and agitated soldiers in classical 
attitudes a wretched picture. His portraits do him more 
credit. Two of Abbots of the Dunes still exist. 2 The first is of 
Antonius Wydoot, 33rd Abbot,' a grimly bigoted and rather stupid 
person, kneeling to some lost central subject of a triptych. The 
garden that intervenes between him and the remoter dunes shows, 
by classical columns and fountain with a nude figure of Hercules, 
that the Renaissance had begun to affect garden design. In the 
background on the right we can see a stone staircase leading up 
from the marble-lined pool to a formal rosary, into the secrets 
of which we are not permitted to penetrate. The portrait of 
the other Abbot, the 36th, Robert Holman by name, is dated 
1571, and is a portrait pure and simple. This is a man of more 
intelligence than his predecessor, but likewise dour. He sits in 

1 Bruges Exhibition (1902) ; not in the catalogue. 

2 Bruges Exhibition (1902), Nos. 305 and 309. 

3 A portrait of this same abbot is on the wing of a polyptych in St. Giles' Church, 
Bruges, painted by Peter Pourbus in 1564. 


an X-chair with a book of devotion open in his hand and all 
things proper for an ecclesiastic of position. Subject and treatment 
are well matched, but it is permissible to inquire whether a likeness 
showing so much insight can have been by the same hand as the 
foregoing. If it be accepted as his we shall be led to conclude 
that at the age of 71 the painter was still progressive. 

The last Bruges artist on our list was a solider and better 
craftsman than these others, so that it is a pleasure to turn from 
their pictures to his. This Peter Pourbus, son of John, was born 
at Gouda in Holland a few years before 1520. He joined the Bruges 
Painters' Guild in 1543, and married the daughter of Lancelot 
Blondeel. He has been called " the last representative of the 
School of Bruges." He prospered, lived in a fine house named 
" Rome," and had the best-arranged studio Van Mander ever 
saw. He died in 1584, an energetic and busy individual, praised 
by Van Mander as " a good painter of figures, compositions, and 
portraits done from nature." The same author also records 
that he was a good " cosmographer or geometrician," in which 
quality he painted on a great canvas a delineation of the region 
called the Franc of Bruges as beheld from the top of the tower 
of Les Halles. A copy of it is preserved in the town-hall. Another 
work imposed on him in 1578 was to draw up a plan for the defence 
of the city, as to which he wrote and delivered a " learned 
memorandum . ' ' 

Van Mander declares that his best work was an altar-piece 
painted for his native town, Gouda, but this has disappeared. 
Several altar-pieces and other religious pictures by him exist, 
for the most part signed and dated. Such at Bruges are : 

1551 The Last Judgment, The Museum. 

1556 The Mater Dolorosa, St. James'. 

1559 The Last Supper, The Cathedral. 

1562 The Last Supper, Notre Dame. 

1564 A Polyptych, St. Giles'. 

1574 The Magi, Notre Dame. 

1578 The Resurrection, St. James'. 

We need not delay over them except to notice that though 
ably painted they possess the artificialities and affectations almost 


unavoidable in religious pictures of the date, and depend on the 
donors' portraits, where such accompany them, for the chief 
interest they can offer to a modern eye. It is as a painter of 
portraits that Peter Pourbus is still held in honour. Some of his 
even passed muster for years as Holbeins. They were far the 
best portraits painted at Bruges in their day ; they did not, 
however, draw their merit from the traditions of the local school, 
but from the influences of the contemporary development every- 
where going forward. Thus in the Mater Dolorosa in St. James' 
the central panel is a modernized version of Isenbrant's picture in 
Notre Dame and gains nothing by its modernization ; but the 
donors on the wings are vital human beings, definite personalities 
carefully studied, dressed in rich and dignified attire. As the old 
religious feeling quitted the formative arts and began to inspire 
music, the interest in and love of the visible world and actual 
people alive in it increased, and this whether the artists were or 
were not conscious of the change. However closely they might 
cling to traditional arrangements and types of sacred subjects and 
personages, they could not escape from the mundane atmosphere. 
In endeavouring to render religious emotion they arrived no further 
than a stage effect. Their saints are actors, their scenes tableaux 
vivants. We may, therefore, turn away from the altar-pieces of 
Peter Pourbus to admire his portraits. 

Friedlander states that he has identified an early group of 
them belonging to the decade before 1550, but I cannot find that 
he has recorded their names, and they have not come under my 
observation. A pair in the Bruges Museum, dated 1551, are and 
deserve to be well known. They depict John Fernagant and his 
wife in a room in a house at the corner of the Rue Flamande 
and the Place de la Grue at Bruges. Through a window we are 
shown a most interesting view of the square as it then looked, with 
a huge crane worked by a treadmill and two brothers of the 
Hospital of St. John watching the assemblage of various barrels 
of wine. Further off is the tower of the Chapel of St. John, and the 
view is closed on the right by a detailed representation of the 
painted fagade (dated 1542) of a merchant's house named Ten 
Hane (The Cock). We can get from this a better idea of how the 
streets of Bruges looked in those days than from pages of descrip- 


tions and records. Another view of the same lumbering crane 
with men in its treadmill will be found on the October page of the 
Calendar in a Flemish manuscript at Munich (No. 23638). Both 
the Fernagants are young. It was with older faces, especially 
those of men, that Pourbus was most successful. The Vienna 
Gallery is best provided with examples attributed to him, whereof 
the stern Don Pedro Guzman, Count of Olivarez, may be taken as 
representative. He served in the wars under Charles V and was 
Majordomo to his successor. Here is no posing or pretence, no 
pious attitudinizing, but a plain statement of fact. Thus this 
man looked ; thus he stood. He is not beheld with any profound 
vision or magical understanding, yet competently seen and set 
down by one who, craftsmanlike, understood the craft of painting. 
There is art in the simplicity of the thing and an excellent convention 
that in those days was a common artistic property all countries 
over from Rome to Antwerp. The face is grave and strong, that 
of a man wont to deal with men. There is life under the skin 
and power of movement implied in the still attitude. To paint 
thus, though it was the gift of the day, was no small accomplish- 
ment. Along such lines development was to lead to a Rembrandt 
and a Hals. We can follow the course of artistic production at 
Bruges no further, but must now return to an earlier date and 
observe how artists in other places were likewise led to abandon 
the old conventions and launch forth to discover and exemplify 
the ideal of the new day then waxing over civilized Europe. 



IT is a relief to turn from these competent, industrious, but 
conventional Bruges painters to an artist of originality and genius, 
who, endeavouring to solve the problems and express the emotions 
of his own day, linked his art as much to that of the future, which 
he helped to fashion, as to the past whose traditions he inherited. 
Such a man was Quentin Massys. He was born at Louvain about 
the year 1466 ; in 1491 he was admitted as a master into the guild 
of St. Luke at Antwerp, where he spent all, or at any rate most, 
of the active days of his career as a painter ; and there he died 
in 1530. 

Lampsonius, who was born only two years after Massys' death 
and was therefore in a much better position than modern critics 
to know the facts concerning his life, relates that Quentin was 
first of all a blacksmith. Whether he abandoned that craft in 
consequence of illness or because the girl he loved preferred a 
painter for a husband is to us immaterial. Beth accounts are 
ancient and both may be true. We are in no position to question 
their accuracy. Unreliable modern traditions point to certain 
pieces of ironwork at Antwerp as by him. One John Massys, 
not Quentin' s father, is known to have worked as blacksmith for 
Antwerp Cathedral in the fifteenth century, so that a confusion 
might easily arise. We are not told who was Quentin's master 
nor where he learned to paint. Van Mander, indeed, states that 
he had no master, but a man cannot become a great painter without 
any teaching, so we are driven back to Massys' own pictures for 
information. In a previous chapter we have discussed the art of 
Louvain as expressed by Albert Bouts when Quentin was young. 
It was not a very brilliant art, but it possessed a sound technique, 
so that Quentin need not have left his native city to acquire all the 
technical knowledge he needed to become a painter, but he would 



have found little impulse there toward a modern and lively artistic 
ideal. At Lou vain he could study the art of the past ; he must 
seek the inspiration of the future elsewhere. He found it at Antwerp. 

In the great days of fifteenth century Flemish art the days of 
the Van Eycks, Roger, and Van der Goes Antwerp was not an 
important centre of painting. Many painters were employed 
there in the last quarter of the century, as has been remarked above, 
but none were eminent. The guild-books tell us their names, but 
where are their pictures ? The importance of Antwerp as a centre 
of art-production in the sixteenth century provokes a desire to 
know something about the beginnings of the local school. The 
investigation has not failed to employ the competent energies of 
Professor Hulin, but he has to confess that thus far they have 
not been richly rewarded. His observations are summarized in an 
important article in the Annual of the Prussian Museums (1913, 
p. 68), the gist of which is as follows. In the quarter-century from 
1480 to 1505 there arrived to work in Antwerp a great number 
of artists, several of them even from as far away as Cologne, the 
Lower Rhine, and Westphalia. More than a dozen of the incomers 
were Dutchmen, nine came from Bruges, eight or more from 
Brabant. Some, especially the Bruges men, did not make a long 
stay. Their old-fashioned style can scarcely have been popular 
in a new, go-ahead city. Several may not have been picture- 
painters at all, but house-decorators, glass -painters, and so forth ; 
nevertheless the production of pictures by the whole group must 
have been large. Records enable our authority to identify as the 
heads of important workshops Lieven van Lathem the Court 
painter, Henry van Cleve (master of John Sanders van Hemessen), 
Simon van Herlam, James Lombard of Mons, Giles van Everen 
(master of John de Beer), and Goswin van der Weyden, all outsiders. 
Local artists of importance were Anthony van der Heyden, John 
Snel, Jacob Thonis, Henry and John van Wueluwe, Aerd Terlinck, 
and John de Coninck. Quentin Massy s in 1491 and John Gossaert 
de Mabuse in 1503 added themselves to this busy crowd. 

Where are the pictures painted in the fifteenth century by these 
men ? They cannot all have vanished when so many Bruges 
pictures of the same date have survived. Yet Hulin can only 
point with certainty to a single picture as an undoubted Antwerp 


work before 1500. He even believes that he can identify the 
painter of it as Henry van Cleve, and adds the tantalizing statement 
that in 1911 he saw in the hand of a London dealer the double 
portrait of that painter and his wife dated 1496 and marked with 
the arms of the Antwerp Painters' Guild, but he does not tell us 
where the picture can be seen nor does he reproduce a photograph 
of it. Some wall-paintings, the remains of the decoration of an 
important room, still exist at Antwerp in the surviving part of a 
house, 1 de Witte Arend (the White Eagle), which belonged in the 
fifteenth century to the Rynck family. Reproductions of two 
figures depicting Sibyls will be found in the Bulletin monumental 
(1901, p. 608). They appear to be excellent work and are reminiscent 
of Bouts, but the name of the painter is buried in forgetfulness. 
They date from the last years of the fifteenth century. 

The unique panel-painting above mentioned is in the Antwerp 
Gallery (No. 529) and depicts what we might call a " beanfeast " 
of the local Archers' Guild. It was painted before 1493. Thus we 
are introduced to Antwerp as a city interested in its own 
contemporary life, especially on its festive side. To find a 
parallel we must go back to the " Garden of Love " of Philip the 
Good, painted about 1425 and known to us by a copy in Versailles 
Museum. Antwerp religious compositions of the coming decades 
were, in fact, as we shall presently learn, thoroughly worldly 
scenes masquerading as events in sacred history. Here there is no 
pretence. We are introduced to a mixed company of men and 
women having a good time in the garden of a chateau. Youths 
climb trees and pick apples for the ladies ; cups of wine are 
circulating ; flirtations are toward ; flags wave ; trumpeters blare ; 
the festivity is also proceeding within the halls of the chateau, 
as we can see through the windows. In the centre of the garden 
the head of the guild is seated on a throne under a canopy, attended 
by archers. He also is about to drink and a lady is offering him 
fruit, while comic dancers perform before him. The public of all 
ages looks on, through or over the railings. Thus the earliest 
Antwerp picture expresses the joy of life, and this remains the 
keynote of the school during a couple of centuries. 

Antwerp was exuberant. She was the Chicago of those days. 

1 14 Rue Reynders. 


The discovery of the Western Continent and of the route round 
the Cape was revolutionizing commerce. Those discoveries, how- 
ever, were not so much the cause as the consequence of developing 
enterprise. The peoples of the North were throwing off the 
bondage of the Hanseatic League, under whose auspices Bruges had 
flourished. Antwerp's growth and the decline of Bruges were due 
quite as much to the relative freedom of the new port as to the 
silting up of the Zwyn. Probably larger ships were now employed 
in the carrying trade ; if so, the Scheldt would have suited them 
better than the Zwyn at its best. Evidently the atmosphere of 
Antwerp was freer than that of Bruges with its strong mediaeval 
traditions. The former was a suitable medium for the propagation 
of humanistic culture. The Renaissance there found a home ; 
scholars such as Erasmus and Peter Gillis could live in or visit 
the city with enjoyment. Bruges was never a centre of the New 
Learning, still less of the Reformation. Hence, if in the last 
years of the fifteenth century Antwerp did not possess a great 
school of painting, it was full of hope and of ideas. Here a man 
might wisely choose to settle who felt within himself the power 
of that day and desired as an artist to express the emotions of the 
best and most forward of his contemporaries. Such a man was 
Quentin Massys. He, like Diirer, was more than a mere craftsman. 
We are told that he was likewise a musician and that he wrote verses. 
If Peter Gillis chose him to paint his portrait and that of Erasmus 
it was because he already knew him. Diirer visited him in his 
house. These are all the facts we possess, but they suffice to indicate 
what manner of man he was and that he was one of the alert in 
a very wideawake place and day. 

When he came to Antwerp and joined the guild in 1491 he 
was 25 years of age. There were other people of his name 
in the city, and they may have been his relations ; the John 
Massys who joined the same guild ten years later was, perhaps, 
his brother. Quentin' s pictures prove that Lou vain art traditions 
were pretty firmly rooted in his memory. If Albert Bouts taught 
him to paint, it was not Albert's pictures but those of his father 
that lingered in his memory. Thus the St. Luke painting the 
Virgin, known to us by Wierincx' engraving, was evidently sug- 
gested by Dirk Bouts' picture, as the Child's raised arm and turned 


head prove. Massys' three pictures of the Virgin kissing the 
Child go back to the similar composition by Bouts which is in the 
Carrand Collection at Florence. The St. Christopher at Antwerp 
(No. 29) used actually to be attributed to him. The Pieta in the 
Louvre is a finely finished early Massys, closely following a Bouts 
composition. Massys' version was popular and was often copied 
in whole or in part. An example in the church at Cracow claims 
to be an original. Other copies are at Louvain and Antwerp 
(No. 565). A fine version at Munich (No. 134), ascribed to Massys 
himself as far back as the year 1630, is now given by good critics 
to William Key. Single heads have been pointed out in pictures 
of all periods of Massys' career as examples of the continuance 
of Bouts' types. The only comparison worth troubling the reader 
to make is that between one of the executioners biting his lip 
in Bouts' martyrdom of St. Erasmus, and corresponding lip- 
biters stirring up the fire under St. John's cauldron on a wing of 
the Antwerp Pieta. The square-headed type of child which 
appears in Massys' earlier pictures is another feature that links 
him to his Brabantine predecessors and contemporaries. It is 
the type prominent, for example, in pictures by Colin de Coter 
and the Brussels Master of the Magdalen Legend. 

But Quentin was far from confining himself to study of Louvain 
pictures. He kept his eyes open all round. The well-known pair 
of heads of Christ and the Virgin at Antwerp, whereof the National 
Gallery possesses replicas, are free repetitions of heads in the Ghent 
altar-piece of the Van Eycks. The charming Madonna formerly 
in the Aynard Collection (Lyons) incorporates a suggestion borrowed 
from John van Eyck's Virgin and Child by a Fountain. That 
Massys also studied the productions of the Bruges School is mani- 
fested by the full-length seated Virgin at Brussels, by the delightful 
Carstanjen wings, and by the highly finished standing Virgin in a 
Chapel, where the architecture is enlivened by a pair of cherubs 
holding the ends of garlands, obviously borrowed from Memling. 
The original of this picture is at Lyons ; a copy belongs to the 
Duke of Newcastle. 

The Goldsmith and his wife in their shop, a well-known picture 
in the Louvre, suggests a yet closer imitation of some lost work 
of the date and style of John van Eyck or Roger. The costumes 


are those of about 1440, as the reader may convince himself by 
comparing the lady with the donoress on Roger's Vienna Crucifixion. 
Moreover, the character of the composition matches that date and 
recalls the St. Eloy of Peter Christus. The convex mirror in front 
is similarly significant. We might have imagined that this was 
an actual copy of some original of the school of Van Eyck made by 
Quentin in his youth. The panel, however, is dated, and, though 
the last figure is obscure, the first three are always read 151. 
Fornenbergh, who was a picture-restorer at Antwerp in the seven- 
teenth century, when the figures were probably more distinct, read 
the date 1514. Friedlander has vacillated between 1518 and 1519. 
An old copy in the Delia Faille sale was dated 1519. Evidently the 
date cannot be thrown back behind 1510. We have, therefore, 
proof of Quentin' s continued interest in fine work of the old 
school long after he had elaborated a new and very different 
style of his own. 

It has even been suggested that by some means Quentin had 
come in contact with the work of Geertgen. The guess may 
be hazarded that a certain unidentified painter who has left us a 
few interesting pictures, from one of which he is named " the 
Master of the Morrison triptych," may have been a link between the 
two. It is clear that he must have worked at Antwerp and that 
he fell within the range of Quentin' s influence, but before that he 
had been a close student of the work of Geertgen. An Adoration 
of the Magi, which was in the Sedelmeyer sale (1907, No. 231), 
shows him as an imitator, and the National Gallery triptych 
(the Virgo inter Virgines in front of a church with an interior 
flooded with yellow light) as a copyist of the Haarlem artist. 
That he stopped at Bruges and there imitated Memling is proved 
by the Morrison triptych itself, which is little more than a free 
copy of Memling' s triptych at Vienna. It may have been through 
him that Quentin acquired Memling' s festoon-holding boys and 
some Geertgen features. At Antwerp the Morrison master in 
turn laid Quentin under contribution. That he actually resided 
there is proved by the interesting view of the city which he intro- 
duced into the background of his Magi panel now in the J. G. 
Johnson Collection (No. 369). Quentin's Madonna at Lyons is 
the closest link between him and the Morrison master, to whom, 


indeed, it was actually attributed by Dulberg. Cohen likewise 
attributes to him the Madonna in the German Museum at Nurem- 
berg, there given to Quentin Massy s. As a painter he was an 
excellent technician, but appears to have lacked creative originality. 

A far more difficult and important point to determine is how 
far Quentin was indebted to the Italian art of his day. That 
he was so indebted is demonstrated by a small and highly finished 
Madonna and Child with a lamb, now in the Raczynski Collection. 
No one denies that these figures were painted by Quentin, though 
doubts have been thrown upon the landscape background, which 
has been claimed for Patinir or for some unidentified landscapist. 
We shall discuss Quentin as a landscape painter presently ; for 
the moment we are concerned only with the figures, and they 
are obviously copied from a design by Leonardo da Vinci. The 
complete design also included the figure of St. Anne ; Leonardo's 
picture of it in the Louvre is well known. That picture was 
in the first instance ordered of Filippino in the year 1500 for the 
Nunziata Church at Florence. He turned the commission over 
to Leonardo, who had already in 1499 at Milan made a cartoon of 
the subject, and in 1501 drew another, after which the picture 
was painted. It does not follow that Quentin ever saw either 
the picture or the cartoon, for the composition was frequently 
repeated by Leonardo's pupils by Salaino, for instance, for 
San Celso at Milan (in the Leuchtenberg Gallery at Petrograd), 
and by Flemish painters in Italy, examples being in Lord Yar- 
borough's collection and at Berlin. Quentin might have seen 
one of these copies. The picture seems to have been actually 
painted by Leonardo with the help of assistants at Milan between 
the years 1508 and 1512. In 1516 it was in Leonardo's studio 
at Amboise. The cartoon likewise went to France, for Louis XII 
wanted Leonardo to colour it. Hence, if Quentin ever saw either 
the original picture or the cartoon it must have been at Milan 
before 1516. 

This is far from being the only evidence of Leonardesque or, 
at least, Lombard influence experienced by our Master. Such 
influence is evident in the pictures of his ripest period, notably in 
the lost Madonna, of which there is a copy in Amsterdam Museum ; 
or is it only fancy that traces a connexion between its design and 


that, for instance, of La Colombina at Petrograd ? Leonardo's 
grotesque heads may have had some effect in prompting the 
Antwerp master to paint or, at least, to design those old Misers 
and other the like extravagant caricatures, which his followers 
were so fond of reproducing or imitating. His late Adoration of 
the Magi, now at New York, contains faces of the kind, and others 
will occur to every reader. None of these resemblances, however, 
compels the conclusion that Quentin actually visited Lombardy, 
but the hypothesis that he did so may be powerfully enforced by 
examination of the quality of the work of his best period. The 
delicacy and finish of the modelling of such a head as that of the 
weeping Magdalen on a fragment at Berlin brings Quentin very 
close to Lombardy. A similar community of spirit and technique 
is observable in the Antwerp half-length Magdalen, while the 
rocky element in several of Quentin's landscapes recalls the back- 
grounds of Leonardo. Strongest of all is the connexion in types 
of portraiture between Quentin and, say, Andrea Solario. Compare 
the admirable Liechtenstein Cardinal 1 with either Solario's Venetian 
Senator (of c. 1492-3) or his Longono (of 1505), both in the National 
Gallery. The place and proportion of figure on panel, the amount 
and character of the landscape, the decorative tree on either hand, 
the elevation of the horizon line all these elements are the same 
with the Italian and the Antwerp artist. The Northerner must 
have been the borrower, though it need not have been Solario 
from whom he borrowed, because Solario merely used the con- 
temporary Italian convention. An early Massys portrait in 
Chicago Museum, published by Friedlander, shows how he painted 
likenesses in the Flemish style before he experienced Italian influence 
-the difference is very marked. On the other hand, his portraits 
of Erasmus and Gillis painted in 1517 and the wonderful portrait 
of a yet later date at Frankfurt are examples of his fully developed 
personal style when he had welded together into a novel unity 

1 When in England this picture was called a portrait of Stephen Gardiner. It was 
a bad habit of English owners, especially in the seventeenth century, to attach names 
to portraits without any authority. The naming of this picture had, however, some 
basis of record. The late Rev. J. W. Loftie, who was a competent antiquary, informed 
me that he knew this picture when it belonged to a friend of his and was called a Holbein. 
At that time there was glued on the back of it an old bit of vellum inscribed in an Eliza- 
bethan handwriting, " Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester." 


all the factors of his learning and experience, and had passed 
beyond the imitation of any particular master or school. 

Without attempting to dogmatize, it seems to me that there is 
at least a probability that Massys paid a visit to North Italy. 
If he did so it must have been after the year 1511, when he finished 
the Pieta triptych now in Antwerp Museum. That and the 
Brussels triptych must have kept him busy at home for four or 
five years, and a direct Italian influence is not visible in them. 
If we are to bring him into contact with Leonardo we must carry 
him to Milan before 1516. We are left, therefore, with the four 
years 1512 to 1515 as the most likely time. In the Andre Collection 
is a remarkable head of an old man in profile painted on paper, 
fully signed and dated 1513. It is not a portrait but a " character- 
study." The Italian qualities in the work are obvious, though 
the suggestion that it is a likeness of Cosimo de' Medici taken 
from a medal is not accepted. If any existing work of Quentin's 
was done in Italy this is the most likely, and the fact that it is 
painted on paper accords with the circumstances of a traveller. 

Quentin appears to have been acquainted with Italian medals. 
To see them he need not have gone to Italy, for they were carried 
far and wide ; still, he would have had them brought more 
inevitably under his attention south of the Alps than in Antwerp. 
Erasmus distinctly states that Quentin cast a portrait of him in 
bronze quam Quintinus Antverpiae fundit aere. The Erasmus 
medal dated 1519 must assuredly be the likeness in question. 
We have no other sculpture by the artist with which to compare 
it. It is of Italian type. The fact that beside painting Erasmus' 
portrait Quentin made this experiment for him, doubtless at his 
prompting, indicates the existence of rather a close intimacy 
between artist and scholar. Quentin also came into personal 
contact with the two greatest Northern painters of his day 
Diirer and Holbein. Both in turn visited him in his house at 
Antwerp. Diirer's first call was made in August 1520, but the 
two artists probably often met during the following months which 
Diirer spent in Antwerp. Quentin was then 54 years old, Diirer 
49 ; both mature artists. Two men of such intelligence and 
independent originality must have had much of interest to 
say to one another and to note in one another's art. Both, as 


has been acutely observed, had this in common, that they were 
more infected with the humanistic spirit than with Renaissance 
forms. I trust it is not mere fancy that makes me see in their 
later work traces of a mutual influence. We possess three portraits 
painted by Diirer in 1521 : at Madrid, in the Gardner Collection 
(Boston), and the Van Orley at Dresden. The two former are 
unlike any he had previously produced, but have a kinship with 
Massys, or at least with his Frankfurt painting, though that may 
have been done later. On the other hand, the lost original of 
Quentin's St. Jerome in his study, whereof there is a copy at 
Vienna (No. 993), certainly owed something to Diirer's picture of 
the same subject which is now at Lisbon. 

Holbein must have visited Massys in 1526 on his way through 
Antwerp to England, when he carried an introduction from 
Erasmus to Peter Gillis, who was to send him to Quentin's 
house. He was then 27 years old, while Quentin was 60 ; he 
was therefore a young man in the receptive stage. Whether the 
two met again in 1528, when Holbein was returning to Basle, 
we know not. In 1532 Holbein was again in Antwerp en route 
for England, but Quentin had then been dead two years. By 
universal admission, Holbein's English portraits show that he 
did not come into contact with Quentin in vain. 

In landscape Massys was an important innovator. His great 
LouYain predecessor was the most advanced landscape painter of his 
day and impelled his followers, especially the Dutchmen, to make 
of landscape a serious study. A group of artists in the Meuse 
region developed a landscape school of their own, but they may have 
owed a good deal to Quentin, for according to Friedlander it was 
he who invented those wide-extending multifarious landscape 
backgrounds which we chiefly associate with Patinir. Bosch, 
however, had been before him. It has been customary to attribute 
to Patinir landscapes of this character in Quentin's pictures. 
One such background Patinir certainly painted for figures by 
his fellow-artist ; it is in the picture of the Temptation of 
St. Anthony at Madrid. Hulin would likewise attribute to Patinir 
the landscape behind the above-mentioned Leonardesque Madonna 
with the Lamb ; Friedlander differs. But other pictures in which 
Patinir had no share possess equally remarkable landscapes of 


the wide- extending sort. A good example is the Crucifixion in 
the Liechtenstein Collection painted about 1505. Here the land- 
scape is less reminiscent of Bouts than of David, whose favourite 
circular building appears in the city at the foot of a group of hills, 
a wide plain extending on the left to remoter mountains. No 
greater contrast could be chosen than that between this soft 
retreating distance with its airy spaciousness and the hard niggling 
backgrounds of Albert Bouts. Moreover, Massys' figures are in 
the landscape, which stretches backward and is not like a theatre 
drop-scene hung behind them. They possess the distinction of 
life, are carefully studied and soundly modelled, yet merge into 
their surroundings. Charming examples are two little penitent 
ladies, clothed only in their own hair, who sorrow very deeply 
and not ungracefully in the delightful companionship of flowers, 
grass, water, and hill-sides. The two little panels are in the 
J. G. Johnson Collection (Nos. 366, 367). There is a statement 
of no very great authority that Quentin visited the Rhine ; he 
would have done so on the road to Italy, but if he derived his notion 
of hills from that river he must first have beheld it several years 
before 1513. An inventory of 1642 claims to include a view of 
a place near Liege by Quentin. How glad we should be to see it 
if the ascription was correct ! 

We may now rapidly glance at a few of Quentin' s pictures 
in the light of the foregoing considerations as to the derivation 
of his art. The two early Madonnas at Brussels (Nos. 540 and 643) 
show how from the beginning he treated conventional subjects 
in a fresh and individual style. These are not, like the general 
run of Madonnas of the date, mere repetitions of old fixed types. 
Pose, models, composition all are novel. The Child has the Bra- 
bantine square head, but the Virgin with her rich mass of flowing 
hair framing a sweet face is the reverse of stale, and there is humour 
in the way the tiny fat-faced cherubs, who hold up the curtain, 
peep over to get a look, like children catching a surreptitious 
glimpse of a country circus. The drapery and pose of the full- 
length version are reminiscent of the Van Eycks. The Lyons 
Madonna shows how the love of impossibly decorative architecture, 
just then so common with local painters, attracted Quentin for 
a moment ; but the charm of the figures dominates it and the 


delicacy of the workmanship delights the eye. More pleasing, 
perhaps, than any of these is the Aynard Madonna with its quaintly 
and babyishly crowing Child, who throws out His arms stiffly 
and fills His mother's heart with joy. Here landscape occupies 
the background. 

An important and attractive Virgin and Child between SS. 
Catherine and Barbara turned up at the Linnell sale at Christie's 
in 1918, 1 and is in the collection of Mr. C. B. O. Clarke in London. 
It is a painting in tempera on linen, the figures being three-quarter 
lengths. It may date from about the year 1510. The Child's 
head is still of the cubical Brabantine type, and has not been re- 
placed by the curly-headed infant adopted by Massys after he had 
come into contact with Leonardo's designs. Barbara is the same 
model as Salome on the wing of the Antwerp triptych. Thus the 
picture seems to find its place between the altar-pieces of Brussels 
and Antwerp. The actual painting is very delicate. The charm 
sought for is expressed in a graceful linear composition. The 
modelling renders a low relief. Age has dimmed the colours, 
which originally formed a bright patchwork. Such fragile works 
do not easily survive four centuries. If one painting of the kind 
has come down to us from Massys he probably painted many more. 
Artists of this school and period from Van Eyck to Massys are 
known to us mainly by their most durable works. We have to 
remember that they may have acquired much of their skill by 
practice in producing pictures in tempera on linen, most of which 
have perished ; but many a panel-painting of finished technique, 
at which to-day we wonder, owes some, at least, of its accomplish- 
ment to work done in more perishable materials whose former ex- 
istence is thereby implied. 

The group of Crucifixions was destined to attract the imitative 
admiration of contemporary artists. Best of them is the Liechten- 
stein example already mentioned, of which there is a copy at 
Munich. Other versions of the same subject are in the National 
Gallery, the Mayer van den Bergh and Harrach (Vienna) Col- 
lections, and at Brussels. Hulin thinks the Mayer van den Bergh 
example the earliest. The Harrach and Brussels pictures are not 
by Massys himself. It is thought that one of the group may 

1 Reproduced in the Burlington Magazine, July 1918. 


repeat on a smaller scale the composition of the great altar-piece 
made by our master for Notre Dame at Antwerp, which was 
destroyed in the religious riots of 1566. Compared with the 
horrible and populous Crucifixions painted by several contemporary 
and earlier artists, these are a contrast and a relief. They are 
dignified, quiet, reserved, and truly devotional pictures, before 
which any true Christian might pray in peace. The figures are 
few. The Magdalen, in not too costly attire, embraces the foot 
of the Cross. The Virgin is pitifully sad. The landscapes differ 
in all, and show a development which the reader can observe for 
himself. The finely painted Pieta in the Louvre belongs to this 
group, and possesses similar merits. The little Carstanjen wings 
so delightfully treated, with colouring so agreeable, and a charming 
appearance of simplicity, cannot fail to please every beholder. 
A connexion might be imagined between this bushy, curly-headed 
St. John and the Widener wing by Colin de Coter, but was Massys 
the borrower ? Artists had painted saints on picture shutters 
for many generations, but not such as the St. Agnes here. She 
is fully human and lovable for her sweetness and her beauty too. 
It does not detract from her saintliness that she knows how to 
choose and to wear her clothes. An admirable taste pervades the 
work, and the technique is delicate and in a pleasing harmony with 
the design. 

If Quentin Massys were generally remembered by such paintings 
as these he would be commonly regarded with affection ; but 
we mainly associate him with his two great surviving triptychs, 
the Virgin's Kin (dated 1509) at Brussels and the Pieta of 1511 
at Antwerp. Both are remarkable and, indeed, were epoch-making 
works, but they are not pleasing. The latter shows considerable 
advance beyond the former in creative power. The figures are 
agitated with emotion beside being more human and technically 
more fully realized in the third dimension of depth than ever in 
the North before, yet they still remain a solid group like a mass 
of wood-carving. Here Massys stands forth as the lineal ancestor 
of Rubens. In these two triptychs the great gap between the 
Van Eycks and the Master who followed them two and a half 
centuries later is visibly bridged. Massys sounded the death- 
knell of mediaeval art, though still adhering to its forms. He 


infused into them the new spirit which was then revolutionizing 
West European civilization. 

Every artist's work becomes unfashionable a few decades 
after his death. His reputation has to pass through a period of 
eclipse ; but if his work be in fact first-rate, public appreciation 
is bound to return to it. Thus it happened to Massy s. It was 
in the circle of Rubens that his fame was revived. How easily 
Rubens could have painted the Herodias wing in his own style 
with no substantial alteration in essentials ! He recognized in 
Massy s a kindred spirit. 

Reference has already been made to the Louvre picture of the 
Banker and his Wife, and its probable dependence upon an earlier 
work. Followers of Massys multiplied imitations both of this 
and of a group of two men counting money and generally called 
" the Misers." Probably Quentin painted a version also of that, 
but if he did, it too seems to have been based on an earlier lost 
original dating from the same period of about 1440 as the original 
of the Banker and his Wife. Marcantonio Michiel records having 
seen in the Lampognano house in Milan " el quadretto a mezze 
figure del patron che far conto con el fattor ; fu de man de Zuan 
Heic, credo Memelino, Ponentino, fatto del 1440." The two 
originals of the time of John van Eyck, revived by Quentin' s 
imitations or copies, produced a numerous offspring. 1 

Taking the Banker and his Wife first, there was a -strict copy 
of it, dated 1519, in the Delia Faille sale (1903). Next we have a 
pair of examples at Sigmaringen and Antwerp, in which a messenger 
is coming in behind with a letter and there are other novel details. 
Thirdly, we have a set of examples by or after Marinus van Reymers- 
wael, dated in and after 1538, at Copenhagen, Dresden, Florence 
(Coll. Carrand), Madrid, Munich; Nantes, Valenciennes, and else- 
where. One of these, the Copenhagen picture, likewise contains 
the messenger-boy. On the Sigmaringen picture M. de Mely 2 
discovered that, of the inscribed documents depicted, one in Flemish 
purports to be the half-year account of Jan Obrechts for 1534, 
another to record a bargain made by Master Cornelis Ivan de 
Capelle, the painter who is better known as Corneille de Lyon. 

1 See Mr. Lionel Cust ki the Burlington Mag., February 1912, p. 252. 

2 Monuments et Memoir es Piot, xviii (1911). 


The composition generally known as the two Bankers or the 
Misers, but in fact depicting Excisemen, likewise appears in several 
versions differing in detail from one another, but there are only 
two markedly different types, one represented by the National 
Gallery (No. 944) version, the other by examples at Antwerp 
(No. 244), Bologna, Cologne (Coll. Oppenheim where now ?), 
Hagley, Munich (No. 136), Naples, and Windsor Castle. On 
a French document introduced into the Oppenheim picture, 
Mr. Weale also read the name of Cornelis van de Capelle, the 
paper professing to be a receipt for 2,000 livres received from the 
salt-tax on behalf of the King. 

These two occurrences of the name of the painter Corneille de 
Lyon not unnaturally led M. de Mely to conclude that the pictures 
on which the name appeared and such others as closely agree 
with them in style were the work of that artist. He is otherwise 
known to us as the painter of a delicate series of portraits of 
French ladies and gentlemen done on a small scale in a style 
resembling that associated with the Clouets. Between these 
portraits and the office pictures there is scarcely a quality in 
common. The bulk of the existing versions are evidently by 
Marinus, and many of them are signed. Other painters also 
repeated them. Thus Bernard de Ryckere (1535-90) kept a regular 
picture factory at Ajitwerp and is recorded to have turned out a 
number of copies of the Excisemen, and some of these may be 
among the versions now extant. Evidently such pictures were very 
popular, and more popular in the grosser form given to them by 
Marinus than as designed by Quentin. Marinus seems almost 
animated by hostility to the persons depicted. There is no trace 
of such a feeling or of caricature in Quentin' s original. His 
study in the Pourtales Collection of an ugly old lover cozened out 
of his purse by an Antwerp courtesan was likewise copied and 
imitated. There is an inferior version in the Antwerp Gallery 
which it seems an insult to Corneille to ascribe to him. Marinus 
was a coarse artist who worked for the vulgar rich at Antwerp in 
his day. He painted other pictures in a like style : a lawyer 
in his office, at Munich (No. 139, dated 1542) ; the Call of 
St. Matthew, in the Northbrook Collection ; St. Jerome in his cell 
in three different versions, in which he also followed the lead of 


Massys and even more closely of Diirer. It was a misfortune for 
Quejitin's reputation that these gross popular pictures by artists 
of his school were attributed to him in most of the galleries of 
Europe. His own originals, the Banker, the Courtesan, and 
St. Jerome, had none of the vulgar quality characteristic of the 
later versions and are exceptional in the great body of his fine work. 

For such pictures, however, there was a demand, and painters, 
like any other kind of craftsmen, exist to supply demands. It is 
the aim of the best of them to create a demand for their best 
work, but they may not always entirely succeed. Pictures of the 
class we are considering were called for. Quentin himself painted 
a few of them and probably designed some others, such as the 
Bargain over a Hen at Dresden (No. 804), but in the main they were 
carried out by assistants in the studio. The tendency is to ascribe 
them to Quentin's son Jan Massys. The Old Man with a Courtesan 
at Antwerp (No. 566) is of this class. 1 The assistants degraded 
Quentin's types, and Marinus degraded them still further. He 
similarly imitated and coarsened Quentin's types of Madonnas and 
portraits. We need not further concern ourselves with him. 

Incidental reference has already been made to some of 
Quentin's portraits, but a word must be said about them as a 
group. The Chicago panel shows him adopting the fifteenth 
century convention, though with a vividness of vision and insight 
that makes of a likeness a revelation. The Liechtenstein Cardinal 
is a statelier rendering proper to a personage of importance, but 
the whole body is still at rest, the face in repose. Of similar 
type is the Portrait of a Notary at Northwick Park, but there is 
something more instantaneous in the gesture of the momentarily 
arrested hand. When, however, we come to the pair of portraits 
of Erasmus and Peter Gillis we are conscious of an advance. The 
two pictures were painted in 1517 to be sent as a gift to Sir Thomas 
More, and the correspondence relating to them has been preserved. 
The original of the Erasmus is thought to be in the Stroganoff 
Collection (Rome). A tolerable copy is in the Corsini Gallery at 
Rome, others at Amsterdam and Hampton Court. The scholar 
sits in a reposeful attitude writing at his study table. Far more 

1 It has also been included in the group which M. de Mely would attribute to Corneille 
de Lyon. 


attractive is the Gillis, whereof the original remains in Lord Radnor's 
collection. It brings us in contact not merely with the man but 
with his charm. He must have been a delightful person. We see 
him at a moment when his mind is active. He has just finished 
speaking. His face is bright, his hand in the midst of gesture, 
his pose a passing one. Every part of him expresses a living, 
thinking, communicating personality. The charm is not in the face 
only, but in the whole man. No such portrait had been painted 
before, even in Italy. It carried portraiture to a higher level and 
set a difficult problem for Quentin's rivals. No wonder More 
was pleased. What a priceless present 1 Similar vitality and 
momentariness are revealed in the Man with the pair of eye- 
glasses which is in the Stadel Gallery at Frankfurt. Here the 
gesture is plainly that of one speaking, almost of a preacher. The 
face is even more fully expressive. All Quentin's knowledge of 
men and experience of life were required thus to behold, to com- 
prehend, and to depict. 

I have never seen the splendid portrait of the much portrayed 
John Carondelet which was in the Duchatel Collection in Paris 
and is now in America in that of Mr. Havemeyer. It must 
have been painted before 1525, when Bernard van Orley copied 
the head, and I can think of no other artist at that date who could 
have painted it, or the original of it if it be a copy, except Quentin. 
As a vital presentment of the man it is even superior to the best 
of the portraits of the same ecclesiastic by Mabuse. The picture 
was at one time attributed to Sotte Cleve, but the date alone renders 
the attribution impossible. Here again we have the same vitality, 
the keen momentary understanding vision, which distinguishes the 
Gillis and the Frankfurt picture. Such portraits stand far above 
Quentin's religious works, not because he was of an irreligious cast 
of mind, but because he lived in a day when the best men had begun 
to find the actual world more interesting than any dreamland, 
and human nature itself a sublime subject of study. Works 
of this type are not less imaginative than paintings of all the 
encircling hierarchies of Heaven. It was a truth some men were 
just beginning to realize. Of such was Quentin, and for such the 
work of his maturest years was done. From first to last he was at 
strife with the difficulties of his craft. He had to express by force 


the new vision, the new desires and emotions within him and the 
best- men of his day. Hence his new schemes of colour and 
composition. Always he aimed at nobility. He was content with 
no convention, not even one of his own making. He would press 
forward and forward still, and so his last works are in their own way 
as novel as any that went before them. The Van Eycks, Hugo 
van der Goes, Quentin Massys these were the four important 
original artists we have thus far been brought in contact with, 
nor need we linger to inquire which of ^t hem was greatest. 

It is remarkable that, notwithstanding Quentin's force, origi- 
nality, high reputation, and the influence he visibly exercised 
over the best of his contemporaries, he was not followed by a group 
of imitators, as, for instance, Roger van der Weyden and Memling 
were followed. Marinus and others repeated his compositions of 
a particular type, and Van Mander mentions an artist as excelling 
as a copyist of his works ; there were also his sons and a pupil or 
two ; but the generation of Antwerp painters who succeeded 
Quentin did not in any marked degree carry on his traditions 
or popularize his forms. It was a time of rapid changes, not of 
step-by-step development. There was one nameless artist whose 
work so resembles Quentin's that it was ascribed to him till Fried- 
lander separated it and named the painter the Master of the Mansi 
Magdalen. The picture in question is now in the Berlin Museum. 1 
It is a three-quarter length full-fronted Magdalen projected against 
a rocky landscape background. The figure has no real con- 
nexion with the landscape, which is like a painted hanging behind 
it. In style and type Quentin is closely followed ; the figure 
may actually have been designed by him. The work is carefully 
done, but it lacks the master's breadth, though it, to some degree, 
recalls his refinement. To the same hand is now likewise referred 
the Munich copy of the miraculous picture of the Virgin mentioned 
in a previous chapter in connexion with the Bruges painter John 
van Eeckele. A Madonna which was shown at Bruges in 1902 
(No. 372) and has since passed through more than one private 
collection is still close to Quentin, but has a landscape background 

1 Jahrb. Pr. Kss. 1915, p. 6. Hymans knew of a replica in a Rothschild Collection 
in Paris, and of a reduction at Antwerp (No. 243). There is also a half-length replica 
in the King of Rumania's Collection. 


better harmonizing with the figures. The design is a modification 
of the type of the Virgin Kissing the Child to which Bouts gave 
currency. The J. G. Johnson Collection contains a full-length 
Salvator Mundi, in which part of the landscape is copied in reverse 
from Diirer's engraving of St. Eustace (B. 57). Christ wears a fine 
embroidered robe and holds a splendid crystal orb surmounted 
by a gold cross elaborately niched, buttressed, and pinnacled, and 
the whole picture is an effective piece of decoration, but the head 
of Christ lacks every trace of nobility. Half-length repetitions 
of this type are numerous, several from the studio of Joos van 
Cleve. The design is attributed to Quentin. 1 Our painter laid 
Diirer more emphatically under contribution in his picture of Adam 
and Eve at Brussels, but though the forms are Diirer's the soft 
modelling is characteristic of Antwerp nudes of about 1550. There 
is an unpleasing emphasis on their nudity. They look like people 
accustomed to be draped and suddenly deprived of their clothes. 
This weakness is a Northern failing, observable also, for example, 
in Cranach's pictures of this kind and in those by the painter we 
have next to consider. The Entombment in the Ghent Museum 
was likewise copied by our artist from a Diirer print, the woodcut 
B. 44. Quentin appears to have had several painter sons. It is 
possible that the Master of the Mansi Magdalen may have been one 
of them, but he was neither Jan nor Cornelis, because the style 
of both is known from existing pictures, and the list of those 
authentically by Jan is a fairly long one. 

Jan Massy s appears to have been born in 1509 at Antwerp, and 
was a pupil of his father, but he did not become a master in the 
guild till 1531, the year after Quentin's death. Brief reference has 
already been made to pictures supposed to have been painted by 
him in his father's workshop. Owing to his heretical opinions, he 
was banished from Antwerp in 1543 and remained away until 1558. 
During those years he is supposed to have spent time in Italy. 
I think there are also signs of his having come in contact with the 
work of Mabuse and with French taste. From the date of his 
return it was his custom to sign and date his pictures ; we can thus 
follow the later stages of his art with certainty. He died it is 
said in poverty before the 8th of October, 1575, and left a painter 

1 There is also an engraving by the Master with the Crab (P. 40). 


son named Quentin to carry on the family craft, but without his 
grandfather's success. 

A half-length of the Virgin Kissing the Child which is in the 
Church of St. James at Antwerp shows how closely at first he fol- 
lowed his father's traditions. It stands much nearer to him than 
the corresponding picture by the Mansi Master. The picture 
imitated is the enthroned Madonna at Berlin, but the compact and 
satisfying composition of the Child's legs in that is here replaced 
by an awkward sprawl and is an early instance of Jan's incapacity 
to compose the limbs of his figures satisfactorily. His heretical 
tendencies rendered him inapt to paint the old round of religious 
subjects with enjoyment ; it is therefore not surprising to find him 
turning his attention to more modern types, and among these 
especially to nudes. It was for the sake of her possible nudity and 
personal beauty that he painted the half-length Judith which is 
now in the Museum at Boston. 1 This is the type of picture which 
is held to prove that Jan Massys studied in Italy ; the softness 
and delicacy of the modelling does, in fact, remind us of Lombard 
technique. But if anyone will compare it with the nude half- 
length of Diane de Poitiers by Fra^ois Clouet, which is at Richmond 
in the Cook Collection, he will, I think, find in both the same 
kind of peculiar nakedness which I have above referred to. That 
picture is assigned to about 1550, which may be the approximate 
date of Jan's. I suggest that both pictures were produced in a 
similar atmosphere and to gratify a like taste, which was French 
rather than Italian. It is nakedness for nakedness' sake rather 
than for the sake of beauty, such beauty as clothes the nudity of 
the Greeks, of Giorgione and of Velasquez. Another picture of 
the same subject which was in the Otlet sale (No. 3) is a less 
elaborate work, but displays the artist's striving after prettiness. 
This lady is not absolutely nude to the waist but covered with a 
perfectly transparent garment. The Venus in the original of 
Mabuse's lost Mars, Venus, and Cupid was similarly clad, and a 
like treatment in contemporary French pictures might be cited. 8 

1 It was shown at Bruges in 1902, No. 241. 

2 For example, the Sabina Poppaea in the Geneva Museum. At Althorp is an ideal 
portrait of Diane de Poitiers, very like the work of Jan. See the Burlington Magazine, 
November 1913, p. 89. 


It seems to me that in works of this class Jan Massys was following 
in the wake of Mabuse and of the Fontainebleau School rather 
than of any Italian. The Louvre David and Bathsheba, which 
is dated 1562, shows a slight further advance along the same lines, 
and exemplifies the artist's search for pretty models rather than 
any increasing power of painting beautifully. His delicate painting 
does not disguise the awkwardness of his composition. The faces 
of his women again recall Mabuse, but that master would never 
have been guilty of the inelegant pose of Bathsheba's limbs. The 
prominence of one and the ugly line and bad foreshortening of 
the other are so marked as to attract the attention away from the 
heads, on which the painter bestowed great pains. The Lot and his 
Daughters at Vienna (No. 991), dated 1563, belongs to the same 
group of works. 

It is noteworthy that while Annunciations, Visitations, Passion 
scenes, and the old round of subjects are lacking in the list of 
Jan Massys' works, their place is taken by some subjects which 
were to be commonly treated by Rembrandt and the Protestant 
Dutchmen of the seventeenth century. Beside the Judiths, 
Bathsheba, and Lot, he painted pictures of the Healing of Tobit, 
Elijah and the Widow of Sarepta, Elijah and Elisha, and the 
chaste Susanna. The only New Testament pictures recorded by 
him, except the early Madonna done under Quentin's immediate 
influence and perhaps in his studio, are a Virgin and Joseph turned 
away from the inn at Bethlehem, and the picture of St. Paul 
writing. Here, therefore, we definitely pass out of the old cycle 
into the new. We have left behind the mediaeval and come within 
the area of the modern, which it is not the purpose of these chapters 
to pursue. We may therefore at once pass on from Jan to his 
brother Cornelis Massys. 

The date of Cornelis' birth was probably 1513, and he also became 
a master-painter in the Antwerp Guild in 1531, the same year 
as his brother. He died after 1579. His known pictures are few : 
A Prodigal Son in the Amsterdam Museum (No. 1528), which is 
signed and dated 1538, and another of the same subject in the 
D. Reimer Collection ; a signed genre picture at Berlin dated 
1543 ; a Jealous Wife, mentioned by Hymans as in the Camberlyn 
d'Amougies Collection at Brussels, dated 1549, and repeating the 


composition of one of his engravings (B. 52). There are also land- 
scapes at Antwerp, Berlin (No. 675), and Dessau, of which we shall 
have a word to say in a later chapter ; that is all, nor will I guarantee 
the genuineness of every one of these. Cornelis' engravings are 
not very important. Two are portraits of Henry VIII (dated 
1544 and 1548). They depict the self-indulgent monarch in most 
unattractive form, a bloated and hideous creature, the self-made 
caricature of a human being. Life certainly took revenge on his 
looks if this was really his aspect. Other engravings are after 
Raphael and Georg Pencz. Several take us into the Old Testament 
cycle affected by Jan. They seem to imply that Cornelis led a 
wandering life. Several drawings by him exist, some signed with 
the same monogram as his pictures and prints. Among them are 
illustrations of the life of St. Elizabeth and a set of New Testament 
designs dated 1541. l They show that he could wield his pen with 
delicate precision, and that he adhered in his compositions to 
an old formula. His landscapes are his most meritorious work. 
In them he leans back on his father rather than on his father's 
friend Patinir. He was not an originating artist, and forms no 
link in any important chain of development. 

1 Von Eelking sale, 1902. 




JEROME BOSCH VAN AEKEN appears to have taken his second 
surname from the place of origin of his family (Aachen, Aix-la- 
Chapelle), and his first from Hertogenbosch (Bois-le-Duc), or 
Bosch for short, where he was probably born and certainly lived 
and died. If he had not been a native of that town he must have 
paid for his citizenship, and of such a purchase there is no trace. 
" Bosch," wrote Diirer in November 1520, " is a fine town, and 
has a most beautiful church." That was just four years after 
Jerome Bosch's death. " Insignis pictor," the local record calls 
him, and there is every reason to suppose that he was a prosperous 
and well-regarded man. That same church at Bois-le-Duc was 
new in Jerome's day. It was not merely a stately building but 
contained many works of art of local make, notably painted altar- 
pieces, carved and gilt, whereof the manufacture and export was a 
profitable industry in the place. It also held six paintings by our 
master, all vanished now into limbo. 

A striking portrait drawing of Jerome Bosch in the Arras 
Library (f. 275) * shows him in advanced years, aged certainly 
not less than sixty, even nearer seventy. Hence, as he died in 
1516, he must have been born about 1450. He is mentioned several 
times in the registers of the Confraternity of Our Lady between 
1488 and 1516, and it is recorded that he designed windows for a 
chapel in the Church in 1493 and painted a Last Judgment for 
Philip the Fair before 1504. That is all we are told about him 
by known documents. The portrait, however, is an authority of 
the first importance. The upper part of the face is astonishingly 
like Gladstone the same eagle eye and aspect of intellectual 
vigour. Here is a man of intense resolution, strong, keen, com- 
petent, and both serious and humorous. One would take him 

1 There is also a wretched engraved likeness by Philip Galle in the work of Lampsonius. 



for a statesman rather than a painter. Life left upon him the 
authentic stamp of greatness. 

At Bois-le-Duc was no important painter's workshop where 
the young Jerome could learn his craft. Whither, then, did he 
proceed ? Bois-le-Duc in North Brabant lies close to the border 
of the old County of Holland. It is almost exactly as far from 
Amsterdam as from Antwerp ; Leyden and Delft are a little nearer 
to it, Haarlem is a little further away. River traffic led easily 
to Rotterdam, but Antwerp was an overland journey or a very 
roundabout one by water. Brussels was yet more remote. In 
the fourteen-seventies Haarlem, perhaps also Delft and Utrecht, 
contained important painters' workshops. It looks as though a 
Bois-le-Duc apprentice with little money to spend would have 
been attracted rather to a Dutch than to a Brussels or Louvain 
master. Critics have thought to observe traces of the influence 
of Roger and Bouts in the works of Bosch. I can discover nothing 
of the kind. Cohen and Friedlander hit the mark when they 
point to the Delft Master of the Virgo inter Virgines, who was active 
by 1470 at latest, as his possible master. 

It is unfortunate that Bosch's early picture of the Nativity 
is known to us only by copies at Cologne and Brussels, but they 
suffice to fix its composition. The Child lies naked on a little straw 
in a square stone manger, breathed upon by ox and ass and adored 
by His parents, with a shepherd poking his head round the corner 
in characteristically Bosch fashion. No South Netherlandish 
Nativity of the period is thus arranged, but it is the composition 
employed by Geertgen (Kaufmann Coll.) and the Virgo Master 
(De Somzee Coll.). This suffices to demonstrate Bosch's Dutch 
affiliation. Other comparisions with the Virgo Master and with 
Geertgen can be made by the student for himself. Bosch, by 
whomsoever taught, was not anyone's follower. He was essentially 
original, a goer of his own ways, and that from the start. It is a 
mistake to think of him as a caricaturist. He was a naturalist ; 
but he sought in life for strong and characteristic types. Others 
had done that before him, notably Robert Campin, whose queer- 
headed and postured folk in such a picture as the Madrid Marriage 
of the Virgin will not have been forgotten by the student ; but it 
was not Campin who set Bosch upon the road he was to follow. 


At the Exhibition of French Primitives in Paris in 1904 a picture 
was shown (No. 94) which is not French but evidently Dutch 
of about 1460 to 1470. It belonged to Mr. C. T. D. Crews. The 
subject is the " Ecce Homo," and the style of the work is not 
far removed from that of the Virgo Master. There are few figures 
in it, only eleven in the foreground, but each of them is a character- 
study, and some of the heads are of exaggerated though not unnatural 
physiognomy such as Bosch afterwards depicted. When he painted 
the same subject he also arranged it on two different levels, as in 
this earlier admirable work, and he likewise wrote the words pro- 
ceeding out of the mouths of speakers in a line of Gothic writing 
exactly as in this picture. 

A similar spaciousness of composition marks another early 
work by our master the Adoration of the Magi, which passed from 
the Lippmann Collection into the New York Gallery. The scene 
is laid within the ruins of a castle, and the turf is as smooth between 
the walls as in the aisles of Tintern. In all this there is nothing 
particularly novel, but Bosch's incipient quaintness shows in the 
angels overhead and the great stretch of canvas they are spreading. 
The landscape background is also of the kind he made his own, 
far-sweeping, with tree-foliage in spots of light, as it appears in 
autumn when leaves are dry and the sun catches them. The dis- 
tance is peopled with the caravans of the Three Kings and other 
entertaining little figures, all doing something, as in Geertgen's 
backgrounds, a contrast to the mainly quiescent background figures 
in those by South Netherlanders. 

Another early Magi picture is in the J. G. Johnson Collection, 
but here the building is a ruined half-timbered farm, a kind of 
structure Bosch often introduced henceforward. To match the 
elaborate costume of the Moorish King one must go back to the 
" Jardin d' Amour " of Philip the Good. Similarly clothed figures 
appear in a Pisanello drawing at Oxford and in other contemporary 
Italian works. The birds perched on the roof may be noticed. 
Bosch loved birds and observed their varieties. He painted many 
and of many kinds. They are hardly ever absent from his pictures. 

Van Mander observed that Bosch's drapery was not broken 
into the multiplicity of angular folds affected by most contemporary 
and earlier painters of the school. This is true of his mature period, 


but broken Gothic drapery is one of the marks of his early work. 
A notable example of it is in the beautiful John at Patmos in the 
Berlin Museum. The figure of the Saint is one of the tenderest 
he ever painted. He is shown in profile, looking up, pen in hand 
ready to write. The dictating angel stands on a knoll behind, with 
peacock feathers embellishing displayed wings. A flat Maas 
landscape spreads away into the distance. John's eagle, a 
miserably skimpy bird, not studied from life, is stowed away in 
a corner of the foreground, balanced in the other corner by a little 
devil with an old man's head, the body and legs of a sort of beetle, 
and a serpentine tail, one of Bosch's early adventures into his 
quaint world of fiends. On the back of the panel are scenes from 
the Passion, not known to or now accessible by me. They may 
serve as link with the curious painted table-top in the Escorial. In 
the centre of that is an Image of Pity, around it scenes from every- 
day life in radiating segmental pictures, illustrative of the Seven 
Vices, while the corners are filled with medallions of the Four 
Last Things : Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell. The folk 
incidents are quite original and are intended to be truthful to the 
appearance and manners of the day. They are freely and easily 
designed by an artist who did not need to borrow compositions from 

A pair of wings in the J. G. Johnson Collection, which is 
unusually rich in the works of Bosch, are known to me only by 
photographs kindly sent to me by their owner. In one there are 
a couple of adoring Shepherds, in the other a group of the Magi 
on horseback beholding the appearance of the Star in the East. 
Perhaps they belong to a slightly later period, but may find mention 
here. They are at all events relatively early works. The search 
for peculiar types of countenance is not pronounced, but the 
tendency is visible. The panels are not of exactly the same dimen- 
sions and do not look like a pair of wings as the compositions do not 
balance, but they are of contemporary make. Both are admirably 
composed and the play of emotion that runs through the Magi 
group endows it with a vivid sense of life and actuality. Each 
of the nine several heads wears a hat of different fashion, intended 
to suggest Orientalism, for it was the headgear of Orientals that 
struck the Europeans of those days as their distinguishing 


peculiarity. It was only necessary to reproduce a turban or a fez 
to impose upon the popular audience of a mystery-play. The 
costumes worn by actors rather than actual observation of rare 
visitors from the East equipped Bosch and his contemporaries 
with designs for the Wise Men of the East and other Oriental 
characters. 1 

A curious picture called the " Curse of Folly " is not easy 
to place, but clearly belongs to Bosch's early period. It is in the 
Prado. The Dutch say of an eccentric person, " He has a stone in 
his head." Around the oval panel on which the subject is 
painted there is a legend in large Gothic letters which means, 
" Sir, cut out the stone. My name is Bibbert Das." The signifi- 
cance of the name escapes us. The fat fool is tied into a chair, 
and the operator, who wears a thing like a metal fool's-cap or an 
inverted funnel, is cutting into the crown of his bald head. A 
priest is encouraging the patient and holds in his hand a jug 
which may be imagined full of some comforting stimulant. The 
goodman's wife leans on a table and watches the progress of 
affairs, but why the leech should have chosen the top of her head 
to carry his book (if the book be his) instead of laying it on the 
table remains a mystery. The group is simply composed and 
placed in the open air before a wide flat landscape. Bosch has 
tried to imagine how such a performance might actually have 
occurred and so to depict it truthfully. The well-painted picture 
is the earliest known illustration of a proverb in pictorial form. 
Such subjects became popular at a later date ; with Bosch this was 
a novelty. The picture must have been surprising and delightful 
to a public fed up with Madonnas and the normal round of sacred 

The St. Anthony triptych in the Vienna Gallery shows how 
our artist was advancing. It may be regarded as marking the 
transition from his early to his middle period. The Penitence of 
St. Jerome is the subject of the central panel ; the wings are devoted 
to St. Anthony and St. Giles. We have not yet arrived at the 
complicated and multitudinous compositions which Bosch was to 
produce later on, but the signs of what was coming are here apparent. 

1 Another late addition to the J. G. Johnson Collection is a Christ among the Doctors, 
likewise ascribed to Bosch. 


The Jerome panel is relatively simple compared with what was to 
follow, but even so the reader would not be pleased if two or three 
pages were here devoted to a catalogue of its many details. Suffice 
it to say that the Saint, clothed in Gothic drapery, kneels before 
what appears to be a sculptured throne with a tree growing out 
of it. The sculptures are evidently intended to be emblematic, 
but of what I cannot say. One represents a slender figure (perhaps 
a skeleton) in the act of mounting a unicorn. In the middle distance 
is a fanciful arched island rising out of water, and there are a stork 
and beasts and birds. This bit of water-landscape is very like the 
work of Geertgen. An extraordinary tree which turns to metal 
and ends above in a flaming chimney no doubt signified something 
to Bosch. The Temptation of St. Anthony on the left wing is the 
first of his many renderings of this subject. There are plenty of 
quaint little devils in the foreground, but the striking feature is the 
distant landscape and the chapel and bridge silhouetted against the 
glare of a destructive fire. 

Bosch's landscapes, though full of details minutely studied from 
nature, are far indeed from being transcripts of actual views. 
They are as imaginary as his figures, and form an essential part of 
his pictorial compositions. Every subject he had to paint was 
beheld by him as a complete mental image provoked by his 
imagination. Actual objects and persons seen and stored away in 
his memory were the materials with which his fancy played, and out 
of which he created and with his mind's eye beheld sights wonderful 
and unprecedented. He painted visions of a world inhabited by 
a flora and fauna of his own. Landscape with him is as much 
designed in relation to the subject as are the figures. In this 
respect Bosch was an innovator. Moreover, in consequence of his 
desire to fill all the space at his disposal with emblematic comments, 
subsidiary groups, and queer incarnations, he wanted his landscape 
to be extensive as much of it as he could get. He therefore 
imagined himself aloft, as on the top of a cliff, looking down upon 
a wide-spread region. Thus he came to construct those panoramic 
far-extending views which were taken up by later painters, such as 
Patinir, and are more commonly associated with them than with 
their originator. Such landscapes are not found in the pictures 
of his earliest period. They are common in his latest. 


The Magi triptych in the Prado an excellent painting is 
a good example of about the date we have now reached. The 
Adoration is proceeding in front of a ruined, half-timber cottage. 
The Kings' caravans appear in the extensive landscape upon 
which we look down. Far away is a wonderful city with strange 
pyramidal and other buildings, perhaps intended to be Indian. 
Though the spectator is supposed to be in the air for the view, he is 
looking at the figures from the ground-level. By this strained 
convention they occupy the lowest five-fifteenths of the panels, 
the landscape the middle seven-fifteenths, and the sky the top 
three-fifteenths. The effect is not that of nature, but it would 
satisfy an unsophisticated eye. A like convention was employed 
by the artists of China and Japan. Any convention is permissible 
if the result pleases the people for whom the artist works. It is 
a mistake to suppose that artists are tied to nature or bound by 
optical laws. Art is absolutely free as to means ; the end is the 

In this picture Peeping Toms are multiplied. One has 
scrambled on to the roof a gnome of a fellow. Donors and 
saints are portrayed on the wings and prove that Bosch was no 
great portrait -painter. Their drapery with its long straight line 
exemplifies his new style. Justi remarks on the peculiar character 
of the gifts offered by the Kings. The first has laid upon the 
ground a golden model of Abraham's sacrifice. The second offers 
something curious in a pan ; the third an ostrich-egg adorned with 
paintings and surmounted by a hawk. 

The maturity of our artist is signalized by the splendid round 
picture of the Crowning with Thorns, which is in the Escorial. 
The faces are its striking feature. Later on Bosch would have 
caricatured them all, but now he studies them from the life. Such 
folk might exist. None is an impossibility. On the left is sharp- 
nosed Annas, the high-priest, with a crystal-headed staff of office 
in his hand as mean-looking a personage as can be imagined, 
and comic withal, with his tuft of hair pulled out at a hole in the 
top of his cap ! The self-satisfied shock-headed gentleman along- 
side of him is another type, thrown into the shade by the adjoining 
big-hatted soldier, a real brute, who enjoys the pain he is causing 
as he presses the thorns into Christ's head. The other two heads 


on the right are equally brutal, but none is mere brute and no more. 
They have their different characters and qualities ; each is a peculiar 
individual with brutality added. The head of Christ in the midst 
is the finest Bosch ever attained. It is more than that of a sufferer. 
He suffers, but maintains His dignity. Several other versions 
of this subject are now generally stated to be school imitations 
of this original. I do not believe it. They may be copies, but 
behind them originals existed which Bosch painted at a later date. 
We shall return to them presently. Later versions are more sum- 
mary ; this has been wrought out with elaborate care. To the same 
period must have belonged that composition of the Blind leading 
the Blind, an engraving of which was published in mid-sixteenth 
century by Jerome Cock. The leading blind man, who is already 
in the ditch, repeats the type of a figure in the Crowning with 
Thorns. His fellow is about to follow him, while another ditch 
further back is receiving a second pair. Peter Bruegel was to take 
a suggestion from this, as we shall hereafter learn. Whether the 
original was a picture or a drawing is not recorded, but that Bosch 
did paint pictures of the misfortunes of the blind is proved by the 
Royal Spanish Inventories. 1 

Another roundel, miscalled the Prodigal Son, a most interesting 
and original picture in the Figdor Collection (Vienna), may, I 
think, be assigned to about this date. A single, full-length figure 
in the centre of the panel holds the spectator's attention ; all 
else is subsidiary. But is this really the Prodigal Son ? What 
should he be doing with that big basket on his back and the cat's 
skin hanging from it? It is a pedlar who, likely enough, had 
killed the cat and stolen the skin, for I am sorry to say that he 
was a thief, and is painted at a moment of crime. What is he doing 
with two hats ? The one in his hand has just been stolen from 
the hatless and otherwise occupied individual in the background. 
It is, indeed, a fisherman's hat and has his float and cast pinned 
on to it. The very long fishing-rod leans up against the Swan 
Inn in the background. The thief is hurrying away unobserved, 
for the barmaid is being kissed by a soldier and the old woman in 
the kitchen is probably poor-sighted. An owl and a dog alone take 
notice of the crime. Inexplicable by me is the curious fact that 

1 Jahrb. Pr. Kss., 1889, pp. 141-4. 


Bosch has given to his thief the most refined face he ever painted. 
One would have supposed that here was a place for some degraded 
type, such as he afterwards introduced into many of his pictures. 
It will be found, however, that those types were a late development 
with him. Even his devil in the John at Patmos has the face of 
a gentleman. A thief-pedlar, however, might have been something 
less of an aristocrat. 

So pleased was Bosch with this picture that he reproduced 
the central figure in all essentials on the outsides of the wings 
of the Hay-waggon triptych now in the Escorial. The pedlar is 
older, no less refined, and not visibly dishonest. He certainly 
is taking no part in the highway robbery that is going on in the 
middle distance, but appears to be hurrying away from so dangerous 
a neighbourhood. Let us hope that time has taught him honesty 
and that the remote gallows are not for him, but for the ruffianly 
robbers. When the wings are opened we find ourselves faced 
by one of Bosch's complicated Allegories or " Dreams," as they 
were called in his day. What it all signifies is a problem scarcely 
worth laborious solution. The left wing is devoted to the Fall 
of angels and men, the right to Hell ; obviously, the intervening 
subject must tell of sin, its beginning on the one hand, its end on 
the other. Why the emblem chosen should be a hay-waggon, 
joyfully dragged Hellwards by devils, the reader must discover 
for himself. A crowd of common folk accompany it and try to 
climb on, many of them falling under the wheels and coming to 
grief. A cortege of Pope and Princes follows. On the top of the 
hay two couples, man and woman, are enjoying themselves, with 
a devil in front blowing a horn and an angel kneeling behind and 
looking up to Christ in clouds overhead. There are also a number 
of people doing things in the foreground. The whole is full of 
fancy, exuberant, exhaustless. The devils are of all sorts not 
so astonishing in the ingenuity of their invention as those Bosch 
created later, but varied enough. Equally great is the variety 
of the men and women, their attitudes, gestures, and characters. 
Such varied dramatic activity had appeared in no earlier work. 
It is all Bosch's own invention. This kind of picture was a great 
success ; it became popular with wealthy patrons, especially in 
Spain ; the artist was doubtless soon deluged with commissions 


for more of such Dreams. He had hit the public taste, and was 
now in a fair way to become the popular " insignis pictor " of his 

The Temptation of St. Anthony triptych at Lisbon and the 
panels of Heaven and Hell at Venice seem to be of about this 
period. The former was certainly a popular work, for more copies 
and imitations of it still exist than of any other picture by Bosch. 
The connexion between it and the Vienna example described above 
is slight. The curious throne-like object has now grown into a tower 
covered with pictures (the Golden Calf, the Grapes of Eshcol, etc.). 
A distant fire is beautifully painted, and the number of incidents 
has grown so great that both wings also are full of them. Queer 
devils have invaded the sky, and some are marvellously lit up like 
high cloudlets at sunset. A few exaggerated facial types make 
their appearance, but they are still a minority. The horizon line 
is relatively low, and the whole composition maintains a certain 
unity, and is not broken to pieces as in Bosch's later works of the 
kind. As for the meaning of all the incidents, let some more 
patient student work it out. The whole thing is like nothing so 
much as a scene in a modern Revu'e, and the logical connexion of its 
parts seems on about that level, but what would a manager not give 
for the aid of a designer with this kind and degree of queer fancy ? 

Bosch was probably prouder of his St. Anthony triptych at 
Lisbon than of his single panel devoted to the same Saint in the 
Prado, but the latter is more attractive to a modern eye by reason 
of its relative simplicity. Anthony cowers in the foreground of 
a delightful and restricted landscape with great trees near at hand 
and copses further off, such as Gerard David afterwards painted. 
The little devils are more quaint than ever, some of them resembling 
mechanical toys, yet alive. Bosch possessed the Dickens-like 
quality of being able to make incredible creatures live. His instinct 
for mechanisms would have made him much at home in the twentieth 
century. A fortified Elephant, of which he drew a design, fore- 
told the " Tanks." His little fiends here are small and mostly 
unobtrusive, tucked away in corners or perambulating in the 
distance. Bosch conceived of St. Anthony as a person like himself, 
tortured by his own feverish fancy ! Even the chapel in the back- 
ground is fantastically roofed. 


Two other important pictures of this period are Christ bearing 
the Cross in the Escorial and the Crucifixion of St. Julia at Vienna. 
The nature of the subject in each case involves the presence of 
men of low type, but there is only a single head that can be called 
fantastic. Both compositions are noble in character, and show 
Bosch at his best. Two buffetings of Christ are generally regarded 
as the work of painters imitating the roundel of the Crowning with 
Thorns. Examples known to me are one which was in the Magniac 
sale (in 1892) and one now in the J. G. Johnson Collection (No. 353). 
The former certainly is not and the latter may not be the handi- 
work of Bosch, but both must repeat independent designs by 
him. The Magniac picture is the earlier in type and is marked by 
the introduction of a head which is a caricature. In the Johnson 
example the exaggeration of repulsive features is carried further. 
We are standing on the verge of the last period of Bosch's career, 
when his fancy ran riot and the facial types it played with more and 
more exceeded the limits of natural forms. The Ecce Homo in the 
Kaufmann Collection shows progress in that direction, though in the 
blackguard crowd below Bosch may not have been intentionally 
distorting the human countenance to the degree of caricature, 
but merely endeavouring to depict evil men as he actually conceived 
the worst might look. In all three pictures now under consideration 
we have examples of hideous faces seen in profile with the mouth 
like a slit in a turnip, very characteristic of Bosch's late works. 

In another Ecce Homo in the J. G. Johnson Collection (No. 353) 
the faces are more madly evil and drawn in a yet more masterly 
fashion. If Bosch had carried exaggeration no further than here, 
criticism might have been silent. It is curious that as he devoted 
more of his attention and inventiveness to the vile creatures in 
Christ's surroundings he was less and less successful with the face 
and figure of Christ Himself, and this failure is already notable in 
the Johnson picture. It becomes more pronounced in the Pilate 
washing his hands at Princeton, N.J., and the Christ bearing His 
Cross at Ghent two of the master's latest pictures in which 
facial distortions are carried almost as far as in the caricatures 
of Leonardo. In the last-mentioned the whole area of the picture 
is practically occupied by heads ; in the other the amount of 
figures or drapery visible is unimportant. 


HAVEMEYER. r>. .328. 

FIGDOR. p. 341. 


[To /ace page 344. 


The Last Judgment in the Academy at Vienna is practically 
a "'Dream " picture. The Paradise wing retains a good deal of 
charm, but the Judgment and the Hell are a mass of unrelated 
groups and details full of ingenuity and wild fancy but lacking 
pictorial cohesion. They might be cut up into a score of separate 
pictures, almost with profit. The Pleasures of the World triptych 
at the Escorial is wilder, fuller of strange conceits beyond 
counting. In the background are astonishing contraptions which 
might be fountains or buildings or excrescences of rock and tree 
gone wrong. We are further than ever from nature, and the Dream 
has become the wildest kind of nightmare. A strange erection 
of similar type surmounts the peculiar Temple from which Christ 
is driving forth the money-changers in the picture belonging to 
Sir Claude Phillips. If the actual painting of that work was not 
done by Bosch the design was certainly his, and surely no one 
will deny the pictorial quality of the whole. Small wonder that 
these astonishing compositions attracted people in a day little 
used to such revolutionary originality. Nowadays nothing of 
the kind can surprise us, but at the close of the Middle Age when 
tradition was very strong, and it required a world-upheaval to 
escape from the bondage of scholastic formula, the originality 
and unconventionalism of Bosch must have seemed astonishing. 
It is no less remarkable that his innovations did not interfere 
with his orthodoxy in the opinion of the authorities of his day. 
Long after he was dead the question was raised whether in fact 
his pictures were heretical. It was replied that they could not 
be because the grim and gloomy Philip II of Spain had hung 
with them the rooms in which he lived and died. Nor was he the 
only princely admirer of Bosch's works. They enjoyed a wide 
popularity in the artist's lifetime, and were sought after both 
in Italy and Spain, especially in Spain. Justi has found mention 
of no less than thirty-six in Royal possession. 

The engravings which Alart du Hameel (ob. 1509) made from 
Bosch's designs brought his art into the homes of middle-class 
folk. As late as the advanced sixteenth century the enterprising 
Antwerp publisher of engravings, Jerome Cock, had no small 
success with the issue of prints made after Bosch's drawings and 
pictures. Bosch must have been a prolific draughtsman. Existing 


drawings by him are many. Several are reproduced in Paul Lafond's 
work on the master. No one, however, has yet devoted the needed 
research to draw up a complete list and distinguish between the 
genuine and the false. Thus an excellent drawing of a festivity 
in a peasant's house or inn, which is in the Albertina, has been 
twice reproduced as by Bosch. The composition is his, and an 
engraving of it was published by Cock, but the drawing in question 
is not by him. There is a genuine study for part of it in the 
British Museum depicting a disgusting episode of drunkenness. 
The draughtsman has introduced a fool's bauble behind the sufferer, 
and this same bauble lies in the foreground of the engraving, but 
does not appear at all in the Albertina drawing, which is the work 
of a clever sixteenth century copyist, and used to be attributed 
to Peter Bruegel. 

A slight and much damaged pen-and-ink drawing in the Louvre 
is interesting as an idea for a picture of a Charlatan performing 
the Three Thimble and Pea trick at a village fair before a group 
of stupid and astonished yokels. An entertaining picture of the 
same subject (a composition obviously connected with the drawing) 
is in the Municipal Museum at St. Germain-en-Laye, and has been 
ascribed to Bosch. There was also a variation of it with added 
incidents in the Crespi Collection (Milan). Neither is now accepted 
as genuine, but they must represent a lost original. Similarly, 
a Louvre drawing and a picture closely corresponding to it in the 
Benoit Collection in Paris represent a lost picture of a jollification 
in a boat dating from Bosch's middle period. 

His life was long and active and he was a prolific painter, yet 
the number of his extant pictures does not exceed thirty, although 
a great many reached the relative safety of important royal 
and other collections at an early date. The reason is that he fre- 
quently painted in tempera upon linen, a process of short durability. 
Even his panels are thinly painted. He was too exuberant to be 
willing to spend the time on a picture which the method in general 
vogue then involved. A fair number of works by him, now lost, 
are commemorated by copies, but these have not yet been 
critically sorted out from the imitations intended to be in his 
style made in numbers by such second-rate artists as Jan Mandijn 
and Peter Huys. 


With Bosch at second-hand we need not here concern ourselves. 
Enough of his genuine work survives to enable us to appraise him 
as a man, and the important contribution he made to the art 
treasures of his country and the traditions of the school. As a 
landscape painter he was influential upon his contemporaries. 
As a painter of genre his influence was stronger after he had been 
dead for many years than during his lifetime. One of his highest 
glories is the parental art-relation in which he stood to the great 
Peter Bruegel. Of that we shall have more to say hereafter. 
Here we have been concerned only with his own works, and it is 
with unusual reluctance that we take leave of a painter so refresh- 
ingly original compared with the dreary traditionalists who have 
occupied so much of our attention. 



FEW facts are known about Joachim de Patinir's life. He was 
probably born at Bouvignes l about the year 1475. In 1515 he 
bought the freedom of the Antwerp painters' guild, and in 1520 
a house in the Rue Courte 1'Hopital in that city. There Diirer 
visited him. The two artists must have got on well together, 
for there are several references to Joachim in Diirer's diary. Thus 
in August 1520 he writes : " Master Joachim has once dined with 
me and his apprentice once. 2 .1 made a tinted drawing for the 
painters. . . . Master Joachim's apprentice has again dined 
with me. I gave Master Joachim one florin's worth of prints for 
lending me his apprentice and his colours, and I gave his apprentice 
three - -(?) worth of prints." In March 1521 he notes, " I dined 
with Master Adriaen [Horebouts], Secretary to the Council of 
Antwerp, and he gave me the little panel painted by Master Joachim; 
it represents Lot with his Daughters." Next month he records 
having " drawn with the metal-point the portrait of Master Joachim 
and made him another likeness beside with the metal-point." The 
portrait drawing is not known to exist, but the engraved likeness 
of Patinir, wrongly attributed by Bartsch to Diirer (B. 108), was 
probably copied from it. The aspect of that is our only authority 
for the approximate date of Patinir's birth. A few days later 
(May 5) we read, " Master Joachim, the good landscape painter, 

1 Friedlander points out this confusion between Joachim and Henry Patinir in Van 
Mander's account : Joachim Patinir was born at Dinant according to Van Mander, 
at Bouvignes according to Guicciardini. Henry Patinir was born at Bouvignes according 
to Van Mander, at Dinant according to Guicciardini. Van Mander states (in his 
second edition) that Joachim Patinir became a Master at Antwerp in 1535 (instead of 
1515) ; it was Henry Patinir who became Master in 1535. Henry Patinir may be 
Herri met de Bles and may have been Joachim's nephew. 

2 Thus Patinir did have at least one apprentice in Antwerp, notwithstanding the 
silence of the guild books. This is not the only instance of their incompleteness in 
entering the names of apprentices. 



asked me to his wedding [his second marriage], and showed me all 
honour ; and I saw two fine plays there, and the first was especially 
pious and devout." We may easily guess that that second likeness 
which Diirer drew for his friend was of the lady so soon to be his 
bride. A fortnight afterward Diirer drew for Joachim " four small 
St. Christophers on grey paper " touched with white. A pen-and- 
ink drawing, dated 1521, in the Berlin Print Room, with nine 
St. Christophers sketched on it, may be connected with this possibly 
more finished design. The obvious intention was that Patinir 
should introduce the figures into the foreground of landscapes he 
contemplated painting. Finally, in June, shortly before Diirer 
started away to return home, he gave his friend a set of prints by 
Hans Baldung. Patinir died three years later, in 1524. 

As Patinir did not settle at Antwerp till he was about forty 
years of age, he must have received his education and practised 
his art for fifteen years or so elsewhere. His pictures bear traces 
of the influence of two masters, Jerome Bosch and Gerard David, 
but how and in what order these influences were applied we can 
only infer. Bois-le-Duc, up against Holland, and'Bouvignes on 
the Meuse, lie very far apart, and Bruges is not much nearer. 
It is worthy of remark, as pointed out originally by Weale, that 
the name inscribed immediately above Patinir's in the Antwerp 
guild-books is Gerard David's. The two may have gone to 
Antwerp together ; Patinir may have been David's assistant and 
worked especially on his landscape backgrounds. Under that 
supposition, did David employ him because he was a useful land- 
scape background man ? Or did he become proficient in landscape 
as the result of David's teaching ? Such questions are easy to 
ask, but convincing answers are hard to come by. In and after 
Patinir's mature days a group of artists, mainly Mosan, distinguished 
themselves as landscape painters. That is not a surprising fact, 
for it was the Mosan Hubert van Eyck who invented landscape art. 
Patinir may have brought his particular faculty with him to Bruges 
and enriched and developed it there in David's workshop. 

If we take the half-length Virgin in a landscape which belongs 
to Mr. Heseltine as an early work by Patinir 1 we may conclude from 

1 Hulin thinks it one of his latest works, but this seems to me quite impossible. If 
it be by Patinir at all, it must be very early. The type of the Virgin recalls the early 


it that his first landscapes possessed no very marked qualities of 
their own, but resembled the ordinary backgrounds of the date. 
Here we do not meet with David's rock-cliffs and the gently domed, 
down-like surfaces above them ; nor is there a river or any sweep 
of vision over a wide expanse. In fact, in this picture there is 
little trace of influence by Gerard David and none by Jerome 
Bosch. From it we should conclude that Patinir was apprenticed 
to neither of these artists. On the other hand, if we cast an eye 
down the succession of David's pictures we find in the Virgin of 
the J. P. Morgan Collection, which was painted about 1510, a 
landscape differing from those that had gone before. Moreover, 
in this picture the basket makes its appearance for the first time, 
lying on the ground beside the Virgin ; and it is important to observe 
that this same basket, though not found in the original Madonna 
by David which is in the Stoop Collection, is introduced into a 
copy of it which belonged to Don Pablo Bosch and another at 
Antwerp (No. 47). The copyist may have been Patinir. A similar 
basket appears also in Patinir' s own pictures, such as the Rests 
by the Way at Berlin, and in the Prado, another at Brussels with 
figures by Joos van Cleve, and the Kaufmann triptych. The picture 
last mentioned is in close relation with Bruges art of the early 
sixteenth century. The saint on the sinister wing might almost 
have stepped out of the Grimani Breviary, and the John Baptist 
is only a degree removed from Memling. The St. Christopher at 
Madrid is in type and scale likewise reminiscent of the same giant 
in the Grimani manuscript. 

The Preaching of John the Baptist which was in the Peltzer 
Collection, and to a less degree the signed Baptism at Vienna, may 
preserve a definite reminiscence of David's Baptism, which was 
finished about 1502. The remarkable landscape in that picture 
was clearly David's own, and marked a decided advance in the 
study of nature. In David's studio, at the time when work was 
being done on the central panel, there must have been much talk 
about landscape and about the careful drawing of plants and flowers 
from nature subjects then very interesting to the best painters 

Cologne School with the pointed forehead disproportionately high in relation to the 
features. Its globular form resembles the type employed by Mostaert. The attribution 
of the picture to Patinir is, to say the least, doubtful. 


and miniaturists in Bruges. We know from the lawsuits of Albert 
Cornells that a master-painter was only tied down by his contract 
to paint the flesh-parts in his picture, and might employ assistants 
for the rest, that is to say, for draperies and landscapes. It is 
hardly likely that David, then a very busy artist, would have failed 
to use such liberty in the actual painting of so considerable a land- 
scape background as that behind his Baptism. If he did so, and 
if in fact Patinir was his assistant, it is on this very background that 
he may first have been employed. That would account for the 
reminiscences of it observable in the pictures I have named, especially 
in the Peltzer panel, where the preaching goes on under a clump of 
trees, such as David invented. The resemblance in the Vienna 
picture, which is later, is less close. 

As long as Patinir worked on the backgrounds of David's 
pictures he would have been carrying out David's designs, not his 
own. If, however, David at any time allowed Patinir to design 
as well as paint landscape backgrounds for him, I should look for 
them in such pictures as the Salting St. Jerome and the J. P. Morgan 
Rest by the Way. The contrast between the landscapes behind 
the Salting and Frankfurt Jeromes by David is striking, the latter 
being as characteristic of David as the former is the reverse. When 
David returned from Antwerp, leaving Patinir behind to settle 
down there, the pictures which issued from the Bruges workshop 
were markedly devoid of extensive landscape backgrounds. Not 
till we come to the National Gallery Magi (wrongly called a mere 
school picture) do we find one again, and that is in its important 
part a copy of the village background used by David in the paintings 
of his earliest Dutch period. In his latest pictures, the Dingwall 
Descent and the Berlin Crucifixion, landscapes appear once more, 
but of a new type and perhaps marking the engagement of a 
new landscape assistant. For the foregoing reasons it seems to me 
probable that Patinir spent the years approximately from 1500 
to 1515 in the employ of Gerard David. If that were so, it would 
explain why so few independent works by him are discoverable 
which can be assigned to a pre- Antwerp period. The Heseltine 
Virgin (?), the Kaufmann triptych, the Peltzer Preaching, the Prado 
Rest by the Way, and possibly the Johnson Assumption of the 
Virgin, may be grouped together as perhaps made at Bruges. I 


should also add that Patinir once at least co-operated with Isenbrant, 
who copied for him some figures in a Diirer design to which he 
added the landscape. The picture, which I have not seen, is a 
Flight into Egypt, and was in the Thiem Collection at San Remo. 
We assume that when Patinir arrived in Antwerp he had had 
little experience in the design and composition of figure subjects. 
Perhaps it was now that he painted the remarkable picture in the 
Wesendonk Collection (Bonn) which is a landscape pure and simple, 
peopled only by small figures of huntsmen and lovers in the fore- 
ground and with tiny masses of soldiers further back storming 
a castle and looting a village. Here we meet with what anyone 
would call a typical Patinir view, beheld from a high standpoint 
and ranging over a wide and deep extent of hilly country. Some 
particular military event may be commemorated. The scene is 
full of incident and detail, so that the spectator can, as it were, 
wander about in the picture with continual entertainment. Yet 
the pictorial quality of the whole is not lost. One wonders why, 
when Patinir had thus hit upon a kind of subject altogether suited 
to his tastes and powers, he did not confine himself thenceforward 
to paintings of this type. Probably purchasers were still in the 
bondage of habit, and though they liked landscapes they also felt 
it proper that their pictures should carry religious titles. The 
presence of the basket in the Rests by the Way at Berlin and in 
the J. G. Johnson Collection suggests that these also cannot have 
been painted long after Patinir left Bruges. In the latter we again 
meet with a regiment of soldiers. The influence of Antwerp is 
perhaps manifested in the jutting and rather fantastic rocks which 
rise into the sky and were intended to produce a romantic effect. 
In both pictures they are employed tentatively. For the Berlin 
" Rest," Patinir borrowed the figures of the Virgin and Child from 
Robert Campin, repeating in futile fashion in the open air the gesture 
of the Virgin holding forth her hand to warm it at a fire. This 
is a proof, if proof were needed, how desperately hard up for 
invention our artist was when figures were in question. He could 
manage little figures in the distance like the companies of soldiers. 
It was those on a large scale in the foreground that were too much 
for him. A crowd of small figures violently active animates the 
middle distance of a Martyrdom of St. Catherine which exists in two 


versions. The original passed through the hands of Mr. Langton 
Douglas and has been lost sight of. The other, a school replica 
with some variations, is in Vienna Museum (No. 1093). The view 
is from high ground looking down upon a fortified place on the 
banks of an estuary, of course with jutting rocks, but the composition 
is not forced, nor is the distance unduly flattened out. 

Soon after Patinir was settled in Antwerp he must have formed 
good relations with several of the prominent figure-painters there, 
including the greatest, Quentin Massy s. The two co-operated 
in a picture of the Temptation of St. Anthony which is in the 
Prado, and Patinir evidently exerted himself to make the back- 
ground worthy of his distinguished partner. A Rest by the Way 
in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts l likewise appears to exemplify 
the co-operation of the same pair, but in this, according to Fried- 
lander, the landscape is copied from the middle panel of the Kauf- 
mann triptych, with alterations which are not in the manner of 
Patinir, so that Quentin may here have availed himself of the 
assistance of one of Patinir' s pupils. Quentin himself was a 
considerable innovator in landscape, as we have seen, and the two 
artists must have had at least one keen interest in common. The 
Master of the Half-lengths, according to Friedlander, painted 
the figures in three existing landscapes by Patinir a Virgin at 
Copenhagen, a John at Patmos in the National Gallery, and a 
Magi at Munich. Van Mander knew of a picture in which Joos 
van Cleve and Patinir co-operated. Though that has disappeared, 
a " Rest " in the Brussels Gallery (with the basket) has been 
pointed out as a plain instance of such co-operation. The trouble 
about it is, according to Friedlander, that this is no isolated 
instance of a landscape of Patinir's type in one of Joos' pictures, 
but that his landscapes generally are such ; from which we may 
conclude either that he painted landscapes in close imitation of 
Patinir, or that Patinir painted several landscapes for him. We 
shall return to this question hereafter. Finally, as was stated 
above, when Diirer was in Antwerp, Patinir, if he could not get 
him to paint foreground figures for him, succeeded at least in 
extracting from him four designs of St. Christopher. If he used 
them the pictures are not now forthcoming. 

1 Reproduced in the Bulletin of the Institute for November 1914. 


It must have been at Antwerp that Patinir came in contact 
with the work of Jerome Bosch and was considerably impressed 
by it. Without that impression he would never have painted 
the Heaven and Hell which is in the Prado. These regions occupy 
the two sides of the picture and are separated by the broad Styx, 
stretching straight away into the distance, with Charon ferrying 
a wretched little individual across. Hell is a simplified Bosch 
with a David wood in the foreground; Heaven an undulating 
country mounting upward from low woods in which white angels 
roam. A great crystal fountain rising out of it feeds the lagoon. 
Bosch again counts for a good deal in the St. Jerome at the Prado 
and that belonging to Mr. Henry Oppenheimer, while the ruinous 
half-timber hut and the upper chamber in the branches of a tree 
in the Escorial St. Christopher might have come out of one of his 

Though Patinir's surviving pictures are few, the number 
attributed to him in the catalogues of galleries and sales is large. 
Most are the work of imitators, a proof of the artist's popularity 
and influence upon contemporary craftsmen. He was less of an 
innovator in landscape than has generally been supposed. There 
is little in any work of his that had not been previously accom- 
plished by Jerome Bosch, David, or Quentin Massys, but what 
they did incidentally he did professionally. He summed up and 
gave currency to the new style, and his views, instead of being 
subsidiary to the figures in the foreground, reduced such figures 
to minor importance. It is impossible here to devote more than 
a few lines to Patinir's many imitators. To draw a clear distinction 
between them and the painters who treated landscape according 
to what soon became a general convention is hardly possible. We 
may say that Patinir fixed that convention and gave it currency. 
It is of interest to observe how it was utilized and by what further 
developments it was followed. 

There is in the National Gallery a well-known river-view 
probably on the Meuse, a landscape pure and simple, of higher merit 
than any up to that time painted. It used to be ascribed to Patinir 
as a matter of course, but he did not paint it, nor has the name 
of its author yet been revealed. The suggestion that he may 
have been Hans van der Elburcht is unacceptable. He was an 


inferior painter who adopted Patinir's conventions the foreground 
woojd, the isolated slender tree in front, land undulating down to 
water, rocks leaning over to one side, and so forth. Thus we 
judge from his single known picture, a small predella panel with 
the Fishing of St. Peter, once part of the altar-piece of the Fisher- 
men in Antwerp Cathedral. A better artist than this Hans was 
Lucas Gassel of Helmond, who worked perhaps in Brussels, perhaps 
also in Antwerp. He was a few years younger than Patinir, and 
a harder, heavier painter. He adopted Patinir's exaggerated rocks 
jutting up into points, but clothed them with a sparse vegetation, 
and treated the wide-extending parts of his views in a more sum- 
mary fashion, making them appear to contain far more details 
than a closer inspection reveals. The suggestion is made in a 
later chapter that he painted the landscape backgrounds in at 
least two of Joos van Cleve's pictures. Quentin Massys' son 
Cornelis likewise devoted attention to landscape, and there are 
signed examples of his work in this kind in the Galleries at Antwerp, 
Berlin, and Dessau. It is scarcely correct to call them imitations 
of Patinir. The Antwerp example shows a wide vista hedged by 
fantastic rocks but the land-forms are for the most part carefully 
studied from nature and the blending of buildings with them is 
well effected. The style is borrowed rather from Quentin than 
from Patinir. 

" Herri met de Bles," who was probably the above-mentioned 
Henry Patinir of Bouvignes, has been stripped he and his supposed 
school of the multitude of Mannerist pictures to which we shall 
hereafter devote a chapter. He remains a very ragged torso in 
much need of the restoration which students will, no doubt, presently 
effect. Van Mander professes to know little about him except 
what his then existing pictures could tell, and they were " mostly 
landscapes patched about with trees, rocks, and towns and peopled 
with numerous figures. He made," adds our author, " a number 
of little pictures." They were marked by patience and ease in the 
execution. He records that this artist's pictures were widely 
scattered, especially in Italy, where he enjoyed much celebrity, 
and that the Emperor possessed some of them. Were the four 
landscapes now at Vienna (Nos. 667, 670, 671, 672) of that number ? 
Van Mander knew of a large landscape in which a pedlar was asleep 


under a tree and monkeys were pillaging his pack. Peter Bruegel 
made a drawing of this subject which Jerome Cock had engraved 
and published ; and there exists at Dresden (No. 806) a painting 
which may be the very one mentioned by Van Mander. It contains 
an owl in a hole in a tree-trunk, and that is stated to have been the 
artist's mark, though it frequently occurs in pictures with which 
he had no connexion. 

Among pictures in Italian Galleries attributed to him on reason- 
able grounds we may mention a landscape with miners at work, 
in the Uffizi (No. 730) ; also four pictures at Naples John bap- 
tizing, Christ walking on the water, and two of the Good Samaritan. 
None of these pictures are known to me. A Preaching of John 
Baptist at Brussels (No. 40) from the Schonlank sale (1896), a 
St. Christopher which was shown at Diisseldorf in 1904 (No. 189), a 
Good Samaritan in Namur Museum, and a hill-side view in a Cologne 
sale (Nov. 1901, No. 53) may likewise be mentioned as forming with 
the preceding a body of work apparently homogeneous and reason- 
ably attributable to this master. Of the foregoing, the pictures 
which appear to be the earlier, such as the Vienna Rest by the Way 
(No. 667), approximate in style to Joachim de Patinir's, and con- 
firm the impression that our artist was his pupil, but as he advanced 
in years he developed a style of his own which approximates to 
that exemplified by Lucas Gassel. He multiplies detail to a fussy 
extent, indulges in fantastic rocks and such impossibilities as 
hills perforated by a supposedly natural arch or tunnel. In the 
St. Christopher of the Brenken Collection (Diisseldorf Exhibition) 
the figure of the Saint is copied from Diirer, but the landscape 
is all his own. It shows us a strait or fiord shut in by jutting hills. 
A storm rages on the water (though not in the trees), and threatens 
to wreck a ship, while others lie calmly at anchor. A whale drawn 
up on the shore is being flensed. The composition is more crowded 
and enclosed than usual in landscapes of that age. The artist's 
desire was to realize romance, and that must be counted unto him 
for merit. The Cologne picture is more abnormal and more 
modern. Such figures as it contains have to be sought for, so 
unimportant are they. The subject is just a hill-side scene between 
trees sloping up to a domed wooded summit. There are open 
patches of grass and there is a cottage, but otherwise naught save 


the sky above. The painter intended to make an untortured 
transcript of nature. It was a novel experiment. 

According to Van Mander, Mathias Cock, who was elder brother 
of the better remembered Jerome Cock, and son of the painter, 
Jan Cock, was an excellent landscape painter. 1 " He was the first 
to give to subjects of that kind the variety which was wanting 
to them, by following the Italian or antique style. He showed 
much imagination in composing his views." The meaning of this 
praise is not obvious. Guicciardini, an excellent authority, like- 
wise mentions him with honour, so that there can be little doubt 
of his importance in the line of the landscapists. His brother 
Jerome is said by Van Mander to have engraved several of his 
designs, and as we possess signed landscape prints by Jerome 
they may give us some idea of the style of Mathias. A washed 
pen-and-ink drawing signed by the elder brother and dated 1527 
was in a private collection in The Hague, but is unpublished if still 
discoverable. There is another landscape drawing in the Berlin 
Museum signed " Cocq " and dated 1541, which may be his. 
The excuse for it is an insignificant figure of St. Jerome in the 
foreground and a camel-caravan in the distance. The view is 
extensive, but not unnaturally so. It is, in fact, a study from 
nature looking from an elevation across and along a fertile valley ; 
near at hand is a fine church among trees. It is little enough to go 
by, and we are not sure that Mathias was the draughtsman, but 
it is easy to believe that he may have been, and to deduce confirma- 
tion of Lampsonius' statement that the sixteenth century had 
scarcely seen his equal as paysagiste. 

A still more important Flemish painter of landscapes in the 
middle of the sixteenth century was old Peter Bruegel, of whom 
we shall have more to say hereafter. He did not quite shake him- 
self free from the old notion that widest views were the best. Patinir 
and his followers painted as though they thought the world was 
flat, and if only you could get high enough and see far enough you 
might look away to the edge ! The curvature of the earth would 
render their most ambitious efforts impossible unless seen from 
a high floating balloon. In their case, therefore, such views were 
purely imaginary and are unconvincing. Old Peter, whose feet 

1 See Friedlander in Berlin KJF.M. Amtl. Ber., April 1915. 


were always solidly planted on the earth, did not err to that extent, 
and sometimes he did not err at all. If his view of Naples port 
on a gusty day is an invention, his storm at Vienna is a brilliant 
impression of actual fact, such as Hubert van Eyck in one of his 
marvellous miniatures had dimly but beautifully foreseen. Bruegel's 
winter scenes, such as the Hunters in the Snow, are not merely 
veracious studies from nature, but in that case, at least, noble 
landscape compositions with every feature rightly placed. The 
well-swept skating rinks near the village, looked down upon by 
snowy peaks, suggest a modern Swiss winter-sport centre, but 
for the happy absence of great hotels. If the Darmstadt picture 
of the Magpie on the Gibbet is old-fashioned in style and composi- 
tion and the Lobkowitz " June," except for its figures, reminiscent of 
Lucas Gassel, the backgrounds in Mr. Johnson's Hireling Shepherd 
and the Vienna Nest-Robbers are perfect and most original studies 
of domestic landscapes without exaggeration or emphasis, and each 
of them in entire harmony with the subject of the picture as a 
whole. The steep pine-clad hill-side in the foreground of the battle 
between Jews and Philistines (Vienna) proves how observant an 
eye and retentive a memory accompanied old Peter on his travels. 
That he did not rely on his memory alone a few pages of his sketch- 
books survive to testify, though most of them are wide vistas of 
the old-fashioned type. They are dated 1552 and 1553. In 
the sixties we meet with sketches of smaller subjects, such as a 
church among trees, but best of all is an undated drawing at New 
York which shows a whole row of cottages just as they stood along 
a village street, almost as Rembrandt might have drawn them. 
To all this we shall return in a later chapter. 

Hans Bol was likewise a deserving and much -travelled land- 
scape and miniature painter over whom we cannot linger. A 
drawing by him in the British Museum, identified by Mr. Campbell 
Dodgson, is of unusual interest because the picture painted from it 
can be seen at Dresden (No. 826). The sketch is a direct tran- 
script from nature a view along a canal. The picture follows 
it closely, with the wise addition of certain features which 
decidedly better the composition. But for a certain stiff formalism 
in the trees, modern landscape as conceived in the following 
century is already here exemplified. It is, however, noteworthy 


that Bol still felt the wisdom of introducing into the foreground 
the figures of Abraham and the Three Angels, so as to pro- 
vide for his picture a sacred title. In the landscape miniatures 
which he painted in his later days at Amsterdam he returned to 
the old tradition and forsook the naturalism he had temporarily 

Lucas van Valkenborch, a contemporary and perhaps for a 
time a pupil of Bruegel, failed to catch the new spirit which his 
master so notably expressed. His panoramic landscapes (such as 
a pair at Frankfurt) are animated by spirited figures, and in his 
skating scene he approximates to Avercamp. On the other hand, 
he likewise painted pictures, one, for instance, at Brunswick, 
with high rocks on one side and a flat landscape on the other, in 
the old convention with this difference, that the rocks are not 
structurally impossible and the flat lands make no attempt at 
extension to infinity. In fact, he follows nature in details but 
convention in the structure of his composition. 

Though in point of date lying well outside the extreme limits 
of this work, a word must be said about that important landscape 
painter Gillis III van Coninxloo, who formed a notable link between 
the old Flemish and the later Dutch schools of landscape. His 
merit was emphatically proclaimed by Van Mander and his leader- 
ship as a landscape artist by Lampsonius, yet he is little remembered. 
That must be our excuse for devoting a few paragraphs to him. 
A member of the prolific family of artists chiefly associated with 
Brussels, he was born in Antwerp in 1544, one of Jan van Coninxloo's 
sons. After passing through the hands of several masters he went 
off on his travels into France, but was back in 1570 at Antwerp, 
where he married and took up his mastership in the local guild. 
In 1585, after working there for fifteen years, he, like 30,000 more 
citizens of Antwerp, being Protestantly inclined with others of 
his family, found it best to quit. He went to Zeeland, then on to 
Protestant Frankenthal, where relations of his were already settled. 
He abode there about ten years hard at work. In 1597 he became 
a citizen of Amsterdam, married a second time, and there died in 
1607 in rather poor circumstances, but respected and imitated. 
His pictures are not easily found; Plietzsch 1 names several and 
1 Die Frankentkaler Maler, Leipzig, 1910. See also Jahrb. Pr. Kss., x, pp. 57-71. 


Hymans gives a list of sixteen engravings of works by him, to which 
three more have been added. 

In Dresden (No. 857) he is represented by a signed picture, 
dated 1588, and there are others of his Frankenthal period in the 
Ambrosiana at Milan and the Galleries at Schwerin and Petrograd. 
He started working on the old convention, but gradually exchanged 
it for a new style in which he abandoned the high point of view and 
far distances, gave up the customary corridors, and ceased to 
introduce fantastic and impossible rocks. He frequently co-operated 
with other painters, several times before 1581 with Martin van Cleve, 
confining himself to landscape and letting others paint the foreground 
figures. He often worked on a large scale. Van Mander cites a 
picture by him that was 15 feet wide. The existing canvas at 
Dresden measures over 6 feet by 4. He it was who introduced the 
convention : foreground brown, middle distance green, distance blue. 

His most important pictures were painted and his most valuable 
influence exercised during the last ten years of his life, which were 
spent at Amsterdam. He now chiefly painted forest scenes with 
hunters. Drawings by him of wood-landscapes are at Amsterdam, 
Dresden, and Carlsruhe. Two are in the Liechtenstein Collection, 
dated 1598 and 1604, and others are known. They are more 
direct impressions of nature than the earlier series. The old 
conventions are gone. The way is cleared and the route pointed 
out which successive generations were to follow with increasing 
experience and understanding. Van Mander says that Gillis 
first showed how foliage should be painted. These pictures 
confirm the statement. John Bruegel and Joos de Momper were 
pupils of his Antwerp days. At Frankenthal he taught Peter 
Schonbroeck and influenced if he did not teach Hendrik van der 
Borcht. At Amsterdam David Vinckboons, Hendrik Avercamp, 
Alexander Keirincks, Esaias van der Velde, and even Hercules 
Seghers are claimed as his immediate followers. Those were 
the men who founded the great Dutch school of landscape painting. 
The important historical position of Gillis van Coninxloo is thus 
assured. Van Mander, who wrote while Gillis was still living, 
says, " to declare in a few words what I think of him, I know no 
better landscape painter in our time, and I attest that his style is 
beginning to be generally followed." 


I can do little more than name such artists as Jacus and Roland 
Savery and Jacob de Gheyn. The last was an engraver and 
draughtsman who has left several good landscape drawings. 
Reproductions of two of them lie before me. One, in the British 
Museum, is of the old type high impossible rocks on the left, 
level water on the right. The other, at Frankfurt, is a sketch from 
the life on such a beach as Scheveningen's with the unloading of 
stranded fishing-boats a completely modern work. Thus the old 
tradition of what have been called " world-landscapes " was long 
in dying out. Even in the structure of some of the great creations 
of Rubens, such as the " Summer" at Windsor or the " Shipwreck 
of uEneas " at Berlin, elements can be traced of the convention 
which, if not invented by Patinir, received its first vogue from the 
success of his landscapes. 1 

1 Many of the pictures referred to in this chapter (in some cases with different 
ascriptions) may be found conveniently reproduced in Dr. L. von Baldass' monograph, 
" Die Niederlandische Landschaftsmalerei von Patinir bis Bruegel," in the Vienna 
Jahrbuch, vol. xxxiv, Heft 4, 1918. 



JEAN GOSSART, generally known in England and France by the 
name Mabuse, came from Mauberge in Hainault, where members 
of the family are recorded as far back as the fourteenth century. 
The year of his birth is unknown. Hulin would place it as early 
as about 1465. It is generally guessed at about 1470-5, but I 
think the earlier date the more probable, notwithstanding the 
reported former existence of a portrait with an inscription according 
to which he was fifty years old in 1528. Dr. Muller conjectures 
that he may have been the son of Jacop van Mauberge, an official 
of the Bishop of Utrecht, living in the castle of Duerstede. 1 In 
1503 one " Jennyn van Henegouwe " became a master in the Ant- 
werp painters' guild, and it is practically certain that this was our 
artist. He is likewise recorded in the same register as having 
taken pupils in 1505 and 1507. There is no later mention of him 
at Antwerp, for the good reason that in 1508 he went to Italy in 
the service of Philip of Burgundy, the fifth of Philip the Good's 
sixteen recorded bastard children, and that on his return he made 
his home elsewhere. 

We can point with some confidence to three pictures painted 
by Mabuse before this Italian journey. They are the Adoration 
of the Magi in the National Gallery, an Agony in the Garden at 
Berlin, and a portrait of Canon John Carondelet in the L. Hirsch 
Collection in London. The portrait is, perhaps, the earliest of 
the three. It may be described as of the Bruges School, and pro- 
claims the artistic parentage of Memling. Indeed, we can point 
to that master's portrait of a lady (misnamed the Sibylla Sambetha 
in the Hospital of St. John), which Mabuse must have referred to 
when painting the Canon, for he has put his hands into exactly the 
same position as hers. The convention is Memling's throughout, 

1 Onze Kunst, 1917, No. 3. 


and one is almost tempted to imagine that the sitter pointed to 
such a portrait as that of a young man now in the Dun Collection, 
and requested to be painted just like that. Yet here we have no 
slavish and uninspired imitation, but a likeness full of life, the lips 
mobile, the countenance lit up, the pose natural and easy. A 
young artist attaining such success with a first commission from 
a wealthy patron would not fail of recommendation from him. 

Carondelet, 1 who afterwards became Chancellor of Flanders, 
was himself the son of a Chancellor of Burgundy. He was born in 
1469 and was early appointed a Canon of St. Peter's at Anderlecht, 
near Brussels. In 1485 he became Canon of St. Donatian's at 
Bruges, and soon annexed various other comfortable pieces of 
ecclesiastical preferment. He became secretary to Charles V 
and member of his council at Mechlin in 1503, which must be 
somewhere about the date of this portrait. In 1527 he was made 
Provost of St. Donatian's and soon afterward Archbishop of 
Palermo. He died at Mechlin in 1545. Three times, as we shall 
see, Mabuse painted his portrait, so that Carondelet proved a steady 
patron, and the artist may have owed to his introduction the 
valuable relations he was enabled to form, and in particular that 
with Philip of Burgundy. 

The most important of the three early pictures is the Adoration 
of the Magi, formerly in the Carlisle Collection and now in the 
National Gallery. It was probably painted for the Abbey of 
St. Adrian's at Grammont in East Flanders, but how Mabuse came 
to get so large a commission thus early is unknown. We can only 
guess that Carondelet may have procured it for him, and we can 
easily believe that he again gave satisfaction, for the picture is 
still one of the best admired altar-pieces of the Early Netherlands 
School. Its reputation is due to its size, brilliant colouring, decora- 
tive quality, and minuteness of detailed finish. Its aspect of 
elaborate completeness imposes wonder upon the spectator and leads 
him to suspect that he is in the presence of a very serious work 
of art. Certainly, for a young artist not much over 25 years of 
age, it represents a great technical accomplishment. The painter 
must have come out of a good school and been a gifted man and a 
hard worker. Internal evidence once more leads us to Bruges, but 

1 See Weale in the Burlington Mag., March 1910, p. 341. 


this time to the studio of a living artist, none other than Gerard 
David, from whom Mabuse may have learnt his craft. In this 
Adoration of the Magi we find the solid fifteenth-century traditions 
thoroughly acquired and expressed. There is no trace of Antwerp 
or of the Renaissance except a little bit of sculptured frieze ; other- 
wise the ruined architecture is such Romanesque as the Van Eycks 
preferred. It is all quite scholarly the perspective carefully 
attended to, splendid stuffs well painted, elaborate late Gothic 
goldsmith's work, angels of recognizable pedigree put together 
with pains, but without poetic imagination. The young artist 
had not confined his attention to the local school alone ; he had 
studied the best contemporary engravings that came his way, 
especially Dlirer's. I think he took the general notion of his back- 
ground, with the round arch over it and the landscape seen through, 
from Diirer's well-known Nativity print of 1504. He certainly 
borrowed the dog on the right from Diirer's St. Eustace and the 
other dog from Martin Schongauer, such loans being a custom of 
the school from which he sprang. His only conspicuous failure in 
detail is with the badly foreshortened head of St. Joseph, and that 
is an error repeated in the St. Peter of the Berlin Agony. 

The latter picture is yet more obviously of Gerard David's 
school, and is again an uninspired work of much technical accom- 
plishment produced with infinite pains. The problem which 
Mabuse here set himself to solve was one of illumination, and if 
the spiritual tragedy is ignored it is because the artist's whole 
energies were concentrated on novel technical difficulties. We have 
already observed earlier painters wrestling with the same problem. 
Mabuse carried the solution a step further, but without a glimmering 
of an idea of the imaginative possibilities that may lurk within a 
mysterious chiaroscuro. 

In 1508 we know of a surety that our artist set off for Italy in 
the suite of Philip of Burgundy. His patron was a brilliant, 
highly educated, humanistic amateur, who is said to have been 
excellent company and to have studied the crafts of the painter and 
the goldsmith. His business in Italy was a diplomatic mission to 
Pope Julius II. He had held other political and military appoint- 
ments, but his heart was not in affairs, and as soon as he could he 
retired from them and gave himself up to cultured society. It is 


evident that his purpose was to devote attention in Italy to the 
works and monuments of antiquity ; if he took an artist with him 
it was as a traveller to-day would take a photographer to make for 
him as accurate a record as possible of the objects that pleased him. 
The kind of man he would be likely to inquire for was a good and 
accurate draughtsman; he could scarcely have found one at 
Antwerp better equipped than Mabuse. 

It is useless to look for pictures painted by our artist in Italy, 
or to expect to find in his later work evidence of much influence 
brought to bear upon him by the contemporary Italian artists 
with whom or whose work he came in contact. We have to give 
up the tempting ascription to him of the little diptych in the Doria 
Gallery, showing Messer Antonio Siciliano kneeling to a copy of 
Van Eyck's Virgin in a Church, which Marcantonio Michiel saw in 
the Vendramin House in Venice in 1530. Mabuse's working hours 
in Rome were entirely occupied in drawing those sacra vetustatis 
monumenta which formed his patron's chief interest. Unfortunately 
only one of the drawings is known to exist, a careful pen-and-ink 
sketch of the so-called Hermaphrodite (now in Naples Museum), 
which Friendlander found in the Academy at Venice (phot. Ander- 
son, 15093). Nor was it only these drawings that Philip brought 
home with him, but two solid sculptures of Julius Caesar and 
Hadrian, gifts from Julius II. He was back in Brussels on June 22, 
1509, but Mabuse had not finished his work till some months later, 
when he too returned and joined his patron at Middelburg, where 
Mabuse's brother, Nicasius Gossart the architect, also resided. 
He still remained in Philip's service, and that wandering and 
pretentious but second-rate artist Jacopo de' Barbari was his 
colleague. Both were employed to paint decorations for their 
master's chateau at Suytborg on Walcheren Island, between 
Flushing and Middelburg, though that was not Mabuse's sole or 
even principal work, nor was he by any means exclusively, perhaps 
not even mainly, employed by Philip. 

It is customary to attribute to the days immediately following 
Mabuse's return from Italy the painting of one of his most dis- 
tinguished works the elaborate little triptych at Palermo ; but 
I doubt if it was really made before 1511. When we remember 
that it was already in Sicily as long ago as the early years of the 


seventeenth century, and that Carondelet was Archbishop of 
Palermo, we can hardly fail to conclude that it was for him Mabuse 
painted it. Perhaps he left it to his Cathedral Church. During 
his lifetime it may have been the altar-piece of his domestic chapel, 
and thus accessible in Bruges to privileged artists. That it or 
a finished drawing of it was thus accessible is proved by the con- 
temporary copies by painters of the Bruges School, working about 
the year 1520. Isenbrant copied the middle panel twice (Colls. 
Kaufmann and Ed. de Rothschild), and painted a panel (former 
Coll. Emden) in imitation of the Fall on the outside of the wings. 
There are also copies, more or less close, in Lord Northbrook's 
collection and at Schloss Gnadenthal. 

No trace of Italian influence is visible either on the central 
panel or the wings. The architecture with its superabundance 
of complicated detail is as far removed from anything ever con- 
ceived in Italy as can be. Its traceries and carved foliations are 
too multitudinous to have been actually carried out even by an 
Antwerp wood-sculptor of the day, but are just the kind of thing 
an ingenious draughtsman might have been amused to design 
who was familiar with such complex wooden canopies as those, 
for example, which surmount the Antwerp School altar-pieces 
in the Engelbertus Chapel in Cologne Cathedral and the Church 
of St. Gereon in the same city. The landscapes are equally Nether- 
landish, while the figures of the Virgin and Saints are of Gerard 
David's type. As for the Cherubs, which have been attributed 
to an Italian parentage, they clearly derive their origin from Diirer, 
and are only in so far Italian as he was indebted to Italy for the 
thought of them. The central panel, therefore, and the interior 
of the wings of this wonderfully executed piece of pictorial elabora- 
tion are altogether Northern, and could even have been painted at 
Antwerp before Mabuse went to Italy. 

But when we close the wings and regard the exterior, no such 
possibility remains. The Adam and Eve with their arms so 
affectionately interlaced are obviously imitated from the first 
print (B. 17) in Diirer's small woodcut Passion, and that was not 
published as a whole till 1511. We cannot escape from this date 
by guessing that the print in question was issued separately before 
the publication of the whole series together as a volume. Doubtless 


many, perhaps most, of the blocks were designed as early as 1497, 
and may have been cut on the wood, printed, and sold separately 
from that time on, but this particular cut cannot have been one 
of those, for it unquestionably forms a pair both in design and in 
execution with the next print, the Expulsion from Eden (B. 18), 
and that is plainly dated 1510, while to confirm this date for the 
Fall we have only to compare it with an associated drawing 
of the subject (Albertina, L. 518) by Diirer's own hand, which also 
bears the date 1510. We are thus compelled to conclude that 
the outsides of the wings can scarcely have been painted before 
the publication of Diirer's small woodcut Passion in 1511. It 
is possible, but highly improbable, that the three inside panels 
were designed and painted by Mabuse at Antwerp before his visit 
to Italy, and that the outside picture was added later. But observe 
what even that hypothesis involves. Mabuse, after spending 
months over no other work than drawing copies of antique sculptures, 
mostly nudes, came home and painted these two nude figures, 
and based them, not on antiques, but on a Nuremberg artist's 
design. Evidently his studies in Italy produced little or no 
immediate effect upon his ideal of the human form. If later on, 
as we shall soon see, a change took place in his art, that change 
will have been due, not to a spontaneous development within 
himself, but to the promptings or orders of an employer. 

The Palermo triptych attracted the attention of imitators as 
well as copyists. Architecture of impossibly elaborate complexity, 
suggested by its canopies, crept into many of the pictures painted 
by the school of artists named by Friedlander the Antwerp Man- 
nerists of 1520. I am tempted to introduce one such picture to 
the reader at this point for the sake of the place where I chanced 
to meet with it, Bolivia to wit. It was afterwards acquired by 
that intrepid excavator of prehistoric Peruvians, the late Mr. A. F. 
Bandelier. He carried it away to New York, and later, I believe, 
to Europe, but where it may now be is unknown. It belonged 
to the descendants of one of the oldest Bolivian families, and 
was said to have been taken out by their founder. The picture 
represents a Virgin standing under a Mabuse canopy with the 
Child in her arms. He is stretching His hands toward an open 
book, for which the curly head and delicate hands of a kneeling 


angel in rich attire serve as a pulpit. The background is an 
extensive landscape. In the bottom right-hand corner is a sig- 
nature added later, " Joh. K. (?) Smits f. 1592." There is also 
an added owner's coat-of-arms in the middle between the initials 
A. B. In style the work agrees closely with that characteristic 
of Friedlander's Group E, and I believe it may actually belong to 
that group. The picture is about eighteen inches in height, and 
is in bad condition. 

The charming little half-length portrait in the National Gallery 
of a girl in the character of the Magdalen groups itself with the 
Palermo triptych for delicacy of treatment. She is not a beauty, 
but Mabuse could not help that ; what he nevertheless accomplished 
was to make this little likeness of her a thing full of charm, and, 
while throwing the homely face into full light, to entangle the 
attention of a spectator in the pretty intricacies of her costume, 
her characteristic hands, and the piece of plate they hold. The 
picture may have been painted in the artist's Antwerp period. 

With the Palermo triptych we may group a picture in the Prado 
showing the heads of Christ, the Virgin, and John Baptist, each 
under an elaborately carved canopy with a beautiful singing angel 
leaning out through a round opening above. Mabuse in this 
angel touched the highest point of beauty he ever attained. The 
fitting of the figure into the space, the forthputting of the wings, 
the multiple crumpling and decorative modelling of the drapery, 
and the sentiment of the little person are all delightfully imagined 
and expressed. Even the impossible architecture is pleasing in 
paint. The heads of the sacred personages were borrowed in a 
general way from the Van Eyck Ghent altar-piece. Whether all 
these pictures were painted before Mabuse left Antwerp or not, 
they form an inter-related group and are divided from those that 
come after them. If the Italian visit had coincided with this 
division, the stages of Mabuse' s development would have fallen 
into nicely sundered chapters, but they obviously did not. 

After these pictures were painted, a change occurred in the 
artist's style. It was doubtless exemplified in the great altar-piece 
of the Descent from the Cross, which he next took in hand. The 
picture was so famous in its day that Diirer went out of his way 
to see it at Middelburg. He found it better in execution than 


design, a judgment no one can now control, for after escaping the 
iconoclasts it was destroyed by a lightning-lit fire in 1568. The 
picture was large, with double wings, and is said to have taken 
fifteen years to paint. It was ordered by Maximilian of Burgundy 
for the Premonstratensian Convent at Middelburg, of which he was 
Abbot. Another Descent painted about 1520 (they guess), perhaps 
before the first had been finished, was in the Hermitage at Petrograd, 
and may be used as some indication of what the picture devoured 
by the flames was like. Diirer's criticism applies also to it. It 
is a clever piece of craftsmanship but a distraught composition, 
theatrical, passionate without true feeling, studied and put 
together but not beheld. The old formal dignity of the Byzantine 
and the great Gothic artists is here replaced by a sophisticated 
realism lacking all genuine emotion. Between such a Descent as, 
for instance, that emblemized rather than depicted in the superb 
ivory figures of the thirteenth century in the Louvre and a picture 
of the same subject by an artist of the type of Tintoretto, there 
is no satisfactory half-way treatment. Van Mander and his con- 
temporaries did not think so. The Petrograd picture which he 
saw in the possession of one Magnus at Delft pleased him greatly. 
He discovered beauty in the figures and draperies and sorrow in 
the expressions. 1 They fail to awaken a modern response. 

It is scarcely to be supposed that Mabuse did not paint a like- 
ness of his patron, Philip, and it is tempting to accept the portrait 
of a knight of the Golden Fleece in Amsterdam Museum, obviously 
by Mabuse, and traditionally so named, as giving us the aspect 
of this cultured personage. But there exists in the Macquoid 
Collection in London another portrait of the same individual 
wearing the initials F. E. on a badge in his hat, which has led 
to the suggestion that he may be another knight of the Golden 
Fleece, Count Floris of Egmont. As the man painted can scarcely 
be more than thirty years of age, the picture, if of Floris, must 
have been painted at latest by 1499, if of Philip by 1494. But 
the wearing of the Fleece upon a ribbon involves a date not earlier 
than 1516, so that both Philip and Egmont are excluded. 

Friedlander refers to the years about 1510 an attractive portrait 

1 There is a small Descent in the Traumann Collection which Weisz and Winkler 
give to Mabuse, but Friedlander takes away. 


of a young man in the Cook Collection (Richmond), and other 
portraits at Copenhagen and in the Liphart Collection, the last 
of which I have never seen. The Copenhagen picture is assuredly 
later by many years, and the Cook picture appears to me to come 
after the dated Carondelet of 1517. As a piece of character- 
painting it shows progress, the pout of the man's lips, the tilt of 
his nose, and the sidelong glance of his slit-like eyes figuring in 
strange harmony a thoroughly unpleasant character. His face 
expresses the sentiment of the New England farmer, " Them as 
is hogs to me, I'll be hogs to them." 

Three portraits, all I believe of about the year 1515, are linked 
together by the peculiar fashion of the hats worn by the three 
men. They are the above-mentioned Macquoid portrait, which 
may be a copy of a Mabuse by a different artist, the portrait of 
Charles V at Budapest, and a portrait at Copenhagen, called Chris- 
tian II. The Macquoid knight wears the Fleece on a collar ; 
in the Amsterdam Mabuse he wears it on a ribbon. The latter 
picture cannot, therefore, be before 1516 ; the former might be a 
year earlier. The hats in both are similar. The Macquoid pic- 
ture may be of 1515. The Charles V appears to me to be exactly 
of the age of his portrait by Van Orley, whereof there is a copy 
in the Louvre ; it shows a similar hat and is attributed to about 
1516. Friedlander would likewise attribute to Orley the Buda- 
pest picture, but to me it seems, as far as composition is concerned, 
a thoroughly characteristic Mabuse. As for the Copenhagen 
picture, it should be noted that Mabuse' s patron, Philip, in the 
very year 1515 which the date on the panel and the fashion of the 
hat proclaim, conducted Charles V's sister, Isabella, to her bride- 
groom, King Christian II of Denmark, and that nothing is less 
improbable than that he took Mabuse with him, and that Mabuse 
having painted the King at Copenhagen, perhaps to carry back 
to Charles, had the opportunity on his return to paint the likeness 
of the future Emperor. I shall have another word to say about 
this portrait in the chapter on Van Orley. 

An unattractive study at Hampton Court two rather coarse 
nudes in the characters of Adam and Eve dates from Mabuse's 
Middelburg period. It belonged to Henry VIII, and may have 
suited his robust taste ! It is exceeded in ugliness by a later 


version at Berlin and a drawing in the Albertina, and these are 
not -all of their kind, but let them suffice. More interesting is 
the altar-piece, now at Prague, which belonged to the Guild of the 
Painters at Mechlin and therefore had to represent St. Luke drawing 
the likeness of the Virgin. The figures are of minor importance, 
and are lost in the architecture and its sculptured decorations. 
Here Mabuse's Italian studies were brought to bear. He designed 
the finest kind of a corridor he could think of, with plinths and 
columns and architraves, mouldings and cornices, all in a bastard 
classical style, and he put sculptured figures about, one being 
imitated from the antique Boy with a Goose now at Naples, but 
he could have seen and copied it in the Savelli Collection in Rome 
when he was there. > Curiously enough he filled some of his classical 
panels with latest Gpthic tracery and figures, and introduced more 
late Gothic in the vie^v through the main archway, while his drapery 
is as folded and complicated as in any fifteenth-century Flemish 
picture. The result is an entertaining work, but not a fine one. 
It may have given a good deal of pleasure in its day, but for all 
its ingenuity it leaves us cold. 

The Neptune and Amphitrite at Berlin, dated 1516, was probably 
painted to decorate some room in Suytborg. The grouping was 
suggested by one of Jacopo de' Barbari's engravings, and the 
figures modified by imitation of Durer's print of Adam and Eve. 
The flesh is carefully modelled in grey. The architectural back- 
ground is again intended to be of classical type. It is the kind of 
picture that would doubtless have been pleasing to patron Philip. 
Of similar character is the Hercules and Deianira (of 1517) in the 
Cook Collection. However unattractive these nudes may be to 
us, the delicacy with which they are drawn and the carefulness of 
the soft and elaborate modelling cannot escape recognition. It is 
the types that are so ugly. It seems incredible that anyone could 
ever have thought otherwise. 

In 1517 that cultured and mature layman, patron Philip, was 
turned into a Bishop and endowed with the fat see of Utrecht. 
Thereupon Mabuse's Middelburg days came to an end. Suytborg 
Castle was abandoned, and the little court moved over to the 
episcopal residence of Duerstede. Mabuse seems now to have made 
his home at Utrecht, not that he stayed there all the time, any 


more than he had remained immovable at Middelburg. He 
had, for instance, in 1516 gone somewhere to paint portraits for 
Charles V of his sister Eleanore of Austria, as recorded payments 
tell us ; perhaps, also, of Charles himself. Another time he helped 
design a funeral pageant at Brussels. Later, in 1523, Regent 
Margaret sent for him to Mechlin to restore some of her pictures 
a fortnight's job. In 1527 Lucas van Ley den came to visit him 
(but that was after he had gone back to Middelburg) and gave him 
a great feast. Then the two set out together on a little tour to see 
their contemporaries in other centres, and a thoroughly good time 
they had, travelling on the Dutchman's private barge, and giving 
banquets wherever they stopped. Van Mander is our authority 
for the story and for an account of Scorel's experiences. This 
latter artist, apparently a puritanical person, thought to improve 
his art by studying a while under Mabuse, so he went to Utrecht 
and set to work ; but Mabuse had a way of taking him to the inns 
to drink, and it was Scorel who paid ; he found the frolics both 
expensive and dangerous, for there were rows, as whoso knows Dutch 
paintings of drinking shops in the seventeenth century can well 
believe. So Scorel said good-bye to Mabuse and went to study 
elsewhere. Modern critics with the superiority of entire ignorance 
declare Van Mander' s tale untrue, because, say they, Mabuse was 
evidently a very hard worker and left a comfortable competence 
to his family when he died. I have known other festive parties 
of whom the same statements might truthfully be made, but they 
frolicked none the less. Moreover, in Mabuse's case he left his 
fellow-revellers to pay the cost of his recorded jollifications, which 
seems canny at least, and helps to account for his bank-balance. 
One thing is certain, whether our artist was too festive or not, the 
hard work claimed for him was done and its results abide. The 
frolics are long over. 

Mabuse's change of residence seems to have brought him again 
into contact with Carondelet, for whom in this year 1517 he painted 
the diptych now in the Louvre with a really admirable portrait on 
one leaf and a Virgin and Child on the other, both wrought to 
a remarkable degree of finish. Mabuse's half-length Madonnas 
must have been very popular, for a considerable number survive 
and many more existed. There was a good one in the Kaufmann 


Collection ; another belongs to M. Max WasSermann in Paris. 
No one will expect them to be inspired religious works, but they 
are decorative and the babies very fat and curly-haired with large 
dark eyes and lips like ripe cherries. Yet another formed the 
dexter half of a diptych of which the portrait of a Man with a Rosary 
in the National Gallery was the other wing. A replica of it or the 
cut-down original is in the J. G. Johnson Collection, the archi- 
tecture in the background showing the connexion between the 
two. Another version of the Madonna is in the Prado with the 
background changed to make it stand comfortably alone a varia- 
tion which seemed unnecessary to Hans Baldung when he copied the 
original in 1530, as may be seen in the German Museum at Nurem- 
berg. No better example could be cited to show Mabuse's powers 
and limitations than this pair of panels, the figures on the one being 
manufactured to a formula, JJhat on the other splendidly seen, 
comprehended, and expressed. Yet two at least of Mabuse's 
Madonnas were so cordially admired in their day that they were 
copied again and again. The original of neither has come down to 
us. The first, which may be dated to about 1520, makes of the 
Virgin a richly dressed and finely coiffured lady with a long white 
veil falling down over the Child's Head. The composition is built 
up about this undulating band of white and its continuation below. 
Examples of this type are at Douai, Berlin, Cologne, Brussels, 
Worlitz, Schwerin, and a dozen more places. Friedlander says 
that the date of most of these copies is about 1550 and has an idea 
who may have painted them one Paulus van Aalst, son of Peter 

I will not weary the reader with more than the names of a few 
of the quasi-classical mythological subjects which in these years 
came from Mabuse's easel. There is a Venus and Cupid (dated 
1520) in the Schloss Collection, the design of the figures borrowed 
from two engravings by Marcantonio. At Rovigo is another 
Venus. A copy of a lost Hercules and Antseus, dated 1523, was 
shown at the Bruges Exhibition of 1902 (No. 225), and one after a 
lost Mars, Venus, and Cupid at the Golden Fleece Exhibition 
(No. 222). The latter displays in its clinging drapery the continuing 
influence of Jacopo de' Barbari. The last I need mention is .the 
Danae at Munich, which is both signed and dated (1527). All 


are terribly boring pictures on which the artist wasted rare abilities 
and great pains. They were probably painted to the order of ill- 
advised amateurs who would have done much better to sit to 
him for their portraits. 

In April 1524 Philip of Burgundy died, and Mabuse went back 
to Middelburg again and entered the service of Adolphus of Bur- 
gundy, lord of Veere, son of Philip and grandson of Anthony, 
another of Philip the Good's bastards. This new patron was 
a ponderous and severe person, very different from his predecessor. 
His lady was Anne van Bergen. Mabuse painted her and her 
boy in the character of the Virgin and Child, and the picture is 
known to us only by numerous copies. One of the best is at 
Longford Castle. A good portrait of the mother in her own 
character belongs to Mrs. Gardner at Boston, and another version 
to Lord Brownlow. A delightful little picture of her youngest 
daughter Jacqueline in the National Gallery shows a round-eyed, 
round-cheeked, round-headed little lass, who from the object she 
holds in her hand appears to be studying elementary astronomy. 
The ferocious Christian II of Denmark, when chased away from his 
kingdom in 1523, took refuge with Adolphus of Burgundy. Mabuse 
painted the portrait-group of his three children, either now or a 
year or two later. The original of this picture is at Hampton 
Court, and copies of it at Longford, Wilton, and Hornby. Why 
it should have been so much appreciated in England is a mystery. 
In the case of all four examples the children were called those 
of Henry VIII, regardless of the fact that their sexes do not fit. 
The picture is one of Mabuse' s most charming works. The eldest 
child, Hans, is in the middle between Dorothea and the baby 
Christina, who was to grow up into that Duchess of Milan immor- 
talized in the full-length portrait by Holbein which all the world 
knows in the National Gallery. The three little people are leaning 
over a table and are thus visible only from the waist up. They 
make a great deal of play with their hands, which are prominently 
thrust forward and painted with singular variety and minuteness. 
Mabuse also painted another portrait of their royal father, which no 
longer exists. It has been identified from an engraving made after 
it by Jacob Bincks. The probability is strong that the mother of 
these children, Isabella of Austria, Charles V's sister, was likewise 

1. M ABUSE. CARLSRUHE. p. 364. 

p. 367. 

p. 370. 

4. MABUSE (by or after). GORHAMBURY. 
p. 374. 

[To face page 374. 


portrayed by our artist, and Friedlander thinks he may have seen 
such a picture at an Italian dealer's. The portrait of her belonging 
to Count Tarnowski at Dzikow in South Poland, though attributed 
to Mabuse, is not accepted as a genuine work by him. When she 
died in 1526 the advice of Mabuse was asked about the design for 
her monument. The artist's introduction to this queen may have 
happened as far back as 1515, when, as aforesaid, his patron Philip 
conducted her as a bride to Denmark, and he may have gone in the 
royal suite. 

About this time Mabuse was greatly interested in hands. He 
had always drawn them with pleasure. In his early Adoration of 
the Magi in the National Gallery, the hands throughout are markedly 
graceful and studied. They have a yet greater prominence in the 
Madrid Christ between the Virgin and John Baptist. Yet in his 
early portraits they are quiescent and often conventional. In the 
very first, as we noted, they are almost copied from Memling. A 
similar conventionalism lingers on in the Amsterdam so-called Philip 
of Burgundy of about 1516. Just then Mabuse began to use his 
sitters' hands as a prominent, characteristic, and expressive feature. 
The admirable man's portrait in the F. B. Pratt Collection in New 
York may be cited as a conspicuous case in point. The hands are 
active and individual. They do not draw attention away from the 
head. They enforce it and help to make the whole of the visible 
part of the man expressive of his personality. In early portraits 
the head alone speaks. Neck and shoulders merely support it, 
and might be anyone's. Now into pose, gesture, the wearing of 
clothes, and all else Mabuse infuses the quality and nature of his 
human subject. The first example of the change is the Budapest 
Charles V. Was the innovation his own ? Possibly. But Massys 
was similarly affected about the same time, as we have observed in 
the portrait of Peter Gillis painted in 1517. The Pratt portrait 
must have been painted later than that, but the Charles V earlier. 
Carondelet, Mabuse' s constant patron, was a friend and correspon- 
dent of Erasmus. It is not impossible that he may have seen the 
double portrait and even procured sight of it for Mabuse, though 
that is a hardy guess. Mabuse, at any rate, may thus have heard 
of it, but such innovations are in the air. They express the move- 
ment of ideals in a society. Individual artists, the crowd-exponents, 


give to those ideals a visible form. The change in the attitude of 
men to religion, which caused pictures of sacred subjects at this time 
to become so unemotional for all their tearing of passion to tatters, 
was accompanied by a new interest in actual life, an increased 
individualism, a higher human self -consciousness. Changes in 
art-forms of necessity followed, and the gesturing hands of Massys, 
Mabuse, Sotte Cleve, and others proclaim the new age as definitely 
as do the writings of Erasmus or the tracts of Luther. 

Portraits of like significance are the man in a fur cloak in the 
National Gallery (No. 946) and the parade picture at Berlin, said to 
depict Charles of Burgundy, another of Philip the Good's left- 
handed grandchildren. Here was a man with a good opinion of 
himself, which he expressed in the splendour of his attire and 
accoutrements. No need to ask him, as Theodore Hook asked the 
swaggering gentleman in Pall Mall, " Pray, sir, might you be some- 
body in particular ? " He is not merely dressed in fine clothes ; he 
wears them ; they become in the picture a part of himself. His 
expression transcends his face and directs the folds of his cloak 
and the pointing of his finger. These hands, I think, indicate that 
Mabuse had paid a recent visit to Bruges, where his attention had 
been arrested by the wonderful hands in John van Eyck's Paele 
altar-piece. In Mabuse' s mood those hands were of overwhelming 
interest, so that he could never again forget them. Probably this 
Bruges visit had something to do with Carondelet, that comfortable 
pluralist who since 1520 had been provost of St. Donatian's. He 
wanted his portrait painted once more,and Mabuse may have gone to 
Bruges to paint it. Indeed, just now Carondelet was quite keen on 
being portrayed. About or before 1525 he sat to Quentin Massys for 
the fine three-quarter length in the Havemeyer Collection, and he 
caused Van Orley to make a repetition of it with some changes. 
The picture supplied by Mabuse, now in the Gutmann Collection at 
Vienna, is a fine presentment of Palermo's Archbishop just passing 
out of middle age. It is not, however, as Archbishop but as Provost 
of St. Donatian's that he here appears a monumental portrait 
indeed. Carondelet was a little man, short by nature and now grown 
stout. We behold him in his white fur-trimmed vestment, square- 
shouldered, his prayer-book clutched, rather than held, in his hands 
hands obviously drawn in reminiscence of those of Canon George 


van der Paele, who had died upward of eighty years before. Caron- 
delet's head is silhouetted against a dark background, adorned and 
framed with a decoratively inscribed moulding which tells with 
whom we are concerned a splendidly modelled head, square, solid, 
intelligent, thoughtful one of the best Mabuse ever painted. The 
opposite wing of the diptych (in Tournay Museum) carries a corre- 
sponding half-length of St. Donatian, obviously done in rivalry of 
Van Eyck's, carrying the same crozier and wearing the same jewelled 
mitre and embroidered vestments, but with another morse. That 
was also no doubt the actual property of the church a recent gift, 
Carondelet's maybe, for it is in the style of the early sixteenth 
century. This diptych alone would substantiate the high rank of 
Mabuse among artists of all ages. Anyone who will compare what is 
visible of the right hand in the bust portrait of a man at Copenhagen 
with the right hand of Carondelet in the diptych will need no further 
proof that the pictures are approximately contemporary, and the 
forceful rendering of character in both is similar. 

To turn from these portraits to the contemporary Madonna with 
a bunch of grapes at Berlin, or that other at Vienna with the 
sprawling child, or the yet more distressing Madonna with St. Luke 
which is likewise at Vienna, is an unpleasant shock. For all their 
executive cleverness they are without artistic existence and need 
not delay us one moment. Even the Man of Sorrows seated at the 
foot of a column, which was painted in 1527, and is known to us 
by a number of copies at Antwerp, Ghent, and elsewhere, leaves us 
altogether cold. Moreover, from this time forward the powers of 
the artist began to fail. He was about sixty years of age, had worked 
hard and played hard, perhaps not wisely ; had, in fact, burnt the 
candle at both ends. The fire had gone out of him when he painted, 
about 1530 they guess, the portrait of a man in the Holford Col- 
lection, a good enough but uninspired likeness of a stolid personage. 
The artist's days were nearing their end. We do not know exactly 
when he died, but he made his will, probably on his deathbed, on 
June 30, 1533 ; when his name is next mentioned in 1536 he was 
no longer living. 

I have not mentioned by any means all the known pictures by 
Mabuse, and have omitted many a Madonna and portrait, but cited 
enough to show what manner of man and artist he was. Weisz's 


monograph 1 and Friedlander's list and notes will enable the student 
to fill out the picture for himself. A few drawings by him are also 
known 8 and some prints which are named and commented on by 
Weisz. They add little to our knowledge of the painter. 

Mabuse did not form a retinue of followers. His works influ- 
enced his contemporaries, notably Bernard van Orley, and some of 
his pictures were abundantly copied, but such imitations as the 
Madonna in the Schnitzler (formerly Trotti) Collection, which was 
shown in the Golden Fleece Exhibition, and another at Berlin 
are rare. Portraits falsely attributed to him are commoner. 
Vasari wrote that " Giovanni di Mabuse fu quasi il primo che 
portasse d'ltalia in Fiandra il vero modo di fare storie piene di figure 
ignude e di poesie," a statement requiring much modification, for 
his nudes were borrowed rather from contemporary engravings 
than from study of the antique, and he owed more to Diirer than 
to the Italians. He may have done something to bring Italian 
influence to bear upon Northern artists, but not much. That was 
part of the great Renaissance movement. Changes of form fol- 
lowed changes of ideal, and were not produced by mere copying 
or imitation of the work of particular artists. 

The one man Mabuse may have strongly impressed was Lambert 
Lombard (born 1506) of Liege, who studied under him at Middel- 
burg. I do not propose to discuss his paintings, many of which 
and of his drawings, engraved in the sixteenth century, are known 
from the prints. 1 The pictures attributed to him in catalogues of 
galleries and sales are usually not his. Thus, one group of Last 
Suppers is by an anonymous painter now named after them ; 
other pictures are by an artist known as the pseudo-Lombard. 

1 E. Weisz, Jan Gossart, Parchim i. M., 1913. 

2 Figure designs in the Albertina and at Frankfurt and a late one for a Pieta at Berlin 
reproduced in Jahrb. Pr. Kss., 1915, p. 229. In this I can find no connexion with the 
Hugo van der Goes picture cited in the accompanying text, beyond the distant relation- 
ship of a common school. Quite lately Dr. Winkler has also published an important 
pen-and-ink drawing of the Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine, in the Print Room at Copen- 
hagen, signed on the hem of St. Catherine's dress " Henn in Gosar " ; and in this con- 
nexion it may be noted that up to 1516 the artist always uses the Flemish form for his 
Christian name, which he symptomatically afterward discards for " Joannes." See 
Winkler in the Berlin Jahrbuch, vol. xlii (1921), pp. 5 sqq. 

3 His work has been ably discussed by Prof. A. Goldschmidt in the Berlin Jahrbuch, 
vol. xl (1919), pp. 206 sqq. 


Some genuine existing paintings and drawings by him can be pointed 
out, but they are not eminent works of art. He is here mentioned 
because he was an interesting and cultured person, more important 
probably as an architect than as a painter, and as a teacher and 
talker about art than either. He was archaeologist, numismatist, 
poet, and orator, a kind of sixteenth-century Lord Leighton. 
He did not await a visit to Italy before studying the antique, but 
collected objects of Roman art discovered locally, and thus laid 
the foundations of a knowledge and taste which he enlarged when 
travelling to Rome in the suite of Cardinal Pole. Van Mander 
says that he also visited Germany and France. After these wan- 
derings he settled at Liege and opened a school in which many artists 
studied. The best known were Frans Floris, William Key, Hubert 
Golzius the antiquary, and Lampsonius, who is better remembered 
as writer than artist. It was recorded as remarkable that Lambert 
" could talk about his style, and in the presence of some old pictures 
could tell at what time they were painted," which faculties are 
delightful to exercise, but experience shows that so far from being 
helpful they are often injurious to the creative powers of a true 
artist. The value of Lambert Lombard's contribution to actual 
art-production in his own country is difficult to estimate. Northern 
artists have never been improved by their attempts to imitate the 
forms or to express the ideals of the south, but they have profited 
technically by a knowledge of foreign methods and processes. We 
are not informed about Lambert's routine of teaching. Possibly 
he did more to quicken the interest and understanding of intelligent 
amateurs than to develop in artists their powers of expression, but 
the wise men of his day held him in repute, and after his death at 
Liege in 1566 he was honourably remembered. 

Passing mention may also be made here of the Antwerp painter 
Lambert Rycx, who, in 1555, became a member of the Guild of 
St. Luke of his native city and subsequently (1557-9 and again 
1566-72, the probable year of his death) worked in Sweden. All 
the paintings executed by him in that country seem to have perished ; 
but a signed and dated Madonna by him (1548) was discovered a 
few years ago in London and shows him definitely under the 
influence of Mabuse. 1 

1 See on this artist and the picture in question (now in the collection of M. Carl 
Frisk, Stockholm) Borenius in the Burlington Magazine, August 1919, p. 56. 



THE name at the head of this chapter is that applied by Friedlander 
to a very active group of painters at work in Antwerp during the 
first quarter of the sixteenth century and especially during the 
second half of that period. The present writer professes no special 
knowledge of this group, and in what follows makes no pretence at 
originality. The pictures to be considered possess a decorative 
quality, but are the reverse of attractive to one whose main affections 
attach to the work of the fifteenth-century schools and who only 
descends to the sixteenth in order to study the fading away of the 
old ideal and of the style that it created. The Antwerp Mannerist 
pictures used to be vaguely classified together as of the school of 
Herri met de Bles. They were so called because a prominent 
painting of the group in the Gallery at Munich bore the signature 
Henricus Blesius. This signature is now known to have been 
forged. Bles was a landscape painter of a later generation, of whom 
we have already disposed. His true name was Henry Patinir ; 
he had nothing whatever to do with any of the works in question. 

The ungrateful task of bringing order into the chaos of this 
chapter of the history, of painting in Antwerp was undertaken by 
Dr. Friedlander. With uncommon opportunities and unrivalled 
patience he collected his materials through a long series of years. 
He piled up his list of the pictures as they emerged into the sale- 
rooms or the magazines of dealers, each in turn to disappear again 
by the absorption of the market. He classified tentatively, putting 
two and two together, inventing provisional masters him of the 
>4 flaming beard," and so forth. He enlarged, subdivided, regrouped, 
redistributed, and finally offered to students a still provisional 
classification, wherein seventy-five original pictures (with a tail 
of copies) are divided into five groups, named in non-committal 
fashion after the first five letters of the alphabet. The paper in 



which these results were made available appeared inl915 in the Annual 
of the Prussian Museums (pp. 65-91) ; future research concerning 
this branch of our subject must be based upon that. It is impossible 
at the present time to verify many of Friedlander's observations by 
inspection of originals, and even many photographs of them are 
inaccessible. How gladly would I have undertaken a short journey 
to inspect them in their homes when I was at leisure, but in 
time of war, as they say in India when a lady is not receiving, 
" the door is shut " ! Now the opportunity may have returned, but 
time is lacking. 

Before giving an abstract of Dr. Friedlander's results let us 
take a good and characteristic example of the type and examine 
it briefly. A triptych of the Holy Family surrounded by angels 
in a landscape, with Sts. Catherine and Barbara on the wings, 
will serve our purpose well. It belonged to the King, now presum- 
ably to the Government, of Portugal, and was reproduced by the 
Arundel Club (1906). l The subject is as old as the Flemish School of 
painting, and its general arrangement was fixed. There is nothing 
novel about that ; it is the treatment that is new. Instead of a 
dignified and solemn assemblage we have a group in movement. 
The artist has sought after every kind of variety variety of pose, 
of occupation, of accessories, of bright colours. If the angels have 
wings brilliant as a macaw's it is that they may wave them about 
and make an attractive pattern of them. Their draperies and 
ribbons flutter in complicated curls, not in any particular breeze 
but just jerked about according to the artist's whim. They turn 
their heads this way and that. Saints and angels have recently 
passed under the hands of a skilful and inventive hairdresser. Their 
costumes are of the most costly and in the latest fashion of an 
extravagant day, with slashings, jewelled trimmings, puffed sleeves, 
voluminous skirts and trains, and whatever else the contemporary 
Paquin could invent. Barbara carries a splendid ostrich feather. 
It almost looks as though she and Catherine had been dressing 
against one another. The light is fancifully disposed. It comes 
from no particular source, but is patched about decoratively. The 

1 An indifferent copy of the central group was in the Hoogendijk sale in 1912 
(No. 57), and a reversed imitation with many changes in the de Nedouchel sale at 
Brussels in 1902 (No. 22). 



landscapes are charming, so delicately touched, with soft distances 
and sparkling foliage. Nearer at hand are entertaining buildings 
with outside staircases and angels walking up and down them. 
There is a wonderful fountain, imitated from that in the back- 
ground of Mabuse's Virgin with St. Luke which was set up at Mechlin 
about 1515, thus approximately indicating the date of the Lisbon 
triptych. Who the painter was we know not, nor does Friedlander 
attribute any other work to his hand, but he was about the best of 
the group, and if the rest had attained as high a decorative level 
their productions would not have been so wearisome. 

The student should not fail to observe that in all these novelties 
there is no trace of Italian influence. Most people have a vague 
sort of idea that the change in the forms and ideals of Nether- 
lands artists observable in the early decades of the sixteenth 
century was due to contact with Italy. That notion is false. 
Both Massys and Mabuse may have crossed the Alps and modified 
their technique somewhat in consequence, but they did not change 
their ideals. The change in them and in their contemporaries 
followed a change in public taste ; not till that change had taken 
place did artists find it worth their while to introduce into their 
work definite Italian imitations. The style generated by the 
Antwerp Mannerists preceded the Italianizing days. It was a 
purely local product, and would have been followed by other 
developments leading on to another Rubens and a different Rem- 
brandt if no Netherlands artists had made the Italian pilgrimage. 
We need not, therefore, quit the Low Countries in search of an 
answer to the question, How did the style of the Mannerists arise ? 
It is, however, a question to which at the present moment no full 
or sufficient answer can be made. It would be natural to suppose 
that some leading artist gave the impulse and that the rest followed 
him. But no such leader has yet been identified. I think that 
Mabuse during his residence in Antwerp from 1503 to 1508, before 
his visit to Italy, may have been an impelling force in this new 
direction, though it was not exactly that which he himself followed, 
nor did the definite type of the Mannerists arise till after his 
departure for the South. Moreover, the reader must bear in mind 
that throughout the whole period when Mannerism was rampant at 
Antwerp there were other painters, the great Quentin Massys at the 


head of them, who never yielded to it. The conditions, in fact, were 
something like those in London in our own day, the Mannerists 
corresponding to the post-impressionists, working in the same city 
and day as a great artist like Sargent, but within an enclave and 
in a style of their own. The Mannerists were revolutionists. 
They lived in the midst of a rich and merry society with plenty of 
money to spend and a new world to spend it in. They were tired 
of the old courtly dignity, and they painted for the commercial, not 
a courtly class. What was novel, even if it were extravagant and 
bizarre, had attractions for them. If in name tied down to the 
old string of religious subjects, they could treat them in an irre- 
ligious and entertaining fashion, and they proceeded to do so. 
Buyers justified them ; as long as the taste lasted the Mannerists 
may have reaped a golden harvest. 

But the question still remains unanswered, where did the style 
come from ? If only we possessed a score of pictures known to 
have been painted in Antwerp between the years 1495 and 1510 
the answer would perhaps be easy. But up to 1505 we can point 
to few with certainty. Hulin now says that the man called the 
Master of Hoogstraten must have been painting in Antwerp before 
1500, and we have a group of pictures by him. 1 A Presentation 
in the J. G. Johnson Collection (No. 370) stands on about the 
level of the corresponding wing of the Colibrant triptych above 
referred to in connexion with Goswin van der Weyden a work 
of about 1515-17 but there is nothing manneristic about it. On 
the other hand, a Madonna in the same collection (No. 371), like- 
wise by the Hoogstraten artist, shows some Manneristic affinities, 
and so does one of his best works, which is in the Mayer van den 
Bergh Collection. It looks, then, as if he had been a follower rather 
than a leader ; nor do his panels in the Antwerp Museum convey 
a different impression. Another artist, known as the Master of 
Frankfurt, not first-rate in importance, is thought to have been 
bom before 1470, and to have worked at Antwerp as early as 
1500, 2 but he belonged to the rival group who followed Quentin 
Massys ; the Mannerists owed nothing to him. His nearest 
connexion with them was his notable copy of the saints on the 

1 Jahrb. Pr. Kss., 1913, p. 73. 

2 See H. Weizsacker's study of him, Zeits.f. christl. Kunst, x (1897), p. 1. 


wings of the above-mentioned Lisbon triptych. They are in the 
Pannwitz Collection at Grunewald near Berlin, and I have not 
seen them. He must have been influenced by Quentin in the 
first years of his mastership. There is no certainty that he was 
a Netherlander by birth ; he may quite as well have come from 
the Lower Rhine, drawn to Antwerp by the eminence of its art- 
school in Quentin' s days. A good many pictures have been 
identified as his. He was working at Frankfurt about 1504, and he 
painted the altar-piece now at Munich (Nos. 60-62) after 1511, 
for the Carthusians of Cologne. It is one of his latest works. 
The attempt to identify him with the recorded Frankfurt painter, 
Conrad Fyol, has been abandoned, but like Barthel Bruyn he 
belongs to the German rather than the Flemish School. In some 
respects he was akin to and perhaps influenced by Joos van Cleve, 
who likewise had Rhenish connexions. He copied Jan Joest's 
Nativity in a picture belonging to the Valenciennes Museum. 1 
His best work is the altar-piece of St. Anne (with details imitated 
from Campin) which is in the Frankfurt Historical Museum. If 
the speculative attribution to him of the portraits of a bride and 
bridegroom on a panel in the Auspitz Collection could be upheld 
we should have to admit that under the combined influences of 
the Hausbuch Master and Joos van Cleve, he learned in Germany 
to paint very attractive portraits, but the donors in his altar-pieces 
possess no such merits. We need not delay over him in this place. 
He must be discussed at length by writers on German art. 

Mention may here be made of another Antwerp artist whose 
quality is not to be measured by the little we know of him and the 
small number of his identified works. This is Jan de Cock, father 
of Mathias Cock, the landscape painter already referred to, and of 
Jerome Cock,* the engraver and publisher of engravings after the 
designs of his brother Mathias, Jerome Bosch, Peter Bruegel, and 
many more. We do not know the date of his birth, but he became 
a master in the Antwerp Guild in 1506, rose to be dean in 1520, 
and died before 1527. A picture in the Von Bissing Collection 
at Munich, representing St. Christopher in a landscape of Patinir 
type, has been recognized as by Jan de Cock from the inscription 

1 French Primitives Exhibition, No. 115, phot. Giraudon. 

2 See Friedlander in Berlin Amtl. Ber., April 1915. 


on an engraving after it, " pictum I. Cock." Its date was probably 
after Patinir's arrival at Antwerp in 1515. Other paintings by 
the same artist are a Crucifixion triptych (No. 47) and a Circum- 
cision (No. 45), both in Amsterdam Museum, and a landscape 
with the Hermits Paul and Anthony in the Liechtenstein Collec- 
tion. 1 The first two are works of traditional character, scarcely 
if at all Manneristic. The third is an original and delightful 
picture. The artist has, indeed, taken some inspiration from Diirer's 
woodcut (B. 107) of the same subject, but he has not indulged in 
facile imitation. The standing cross with bell attached is his 
only loan. The two old men are a pathetic pair seated on banks 
under trees, and gesturing at one another one, Bosch-like, shrouded 
in a great hood, the other in his own long hair. The gnarled tree- 
trunk in the foreground is not more weather-beaten, nor less uncanny 
the raven who has just tossed a loaf on the ground between them. 
The artist has felt the decorative value of his trees and rocks, and 
used their lights and darks wisely in the pattern of his piece. 
He has painted plants skilfully in the foreground and, with a just 
sentiment, almost closed out the distance. Yet more reminiscent 
of Bosch is a woodcut designed by Cock, but wrongly attributed 
to Bosch himself. 2 The temptation so to name it was strong, 
for the subject is the temptation of St. Anthony, and the quaint 
devils peeping over were obviously suggested by the Master from 
Bois-le-Duc. In none of these works do I find evidence of attach- 
ment to the Mannerist group. 

The notable triptych, which belonged to Messrs. Durlacher and 
was referred to above (p. 299), reminds us of the Mannerists in 
several of its details. The angels overhead with their flapping and 
curling draperies are Manneristic. St. Joseph might have stepped 
out of the Brussels Magdalen Altar-piece (Group C). The black king 
lifting his cloak to display his leg, the feather in the halberdier's 
cap, the type of the hairy king, and the architectural backgrounds 
all show a relation to the Mannerists, but as the David connexions 
point to a date nearer 1515 than 1510 the picture cannot be re- 
garded as a Manneristic innovation. It must be the work of a 
David pupil shortly after his arrival at Antwerp, and under the 

1 No. 204 in the Diisseldorf Exhibition (1904), and reproduced in the memorial volume. 

2 Reproduced in Lafond's Bosch. Marks on the tower appear to be the date, 1520. 


influence of a newly made contact with an existing and developed 


I now propose to deal with the five groups of the Mannerists 
as framed by Friedlander, but briefly, because the student must 
refer to the original article and the general reader will not care 
to devote much attention to the subject. Friedlander' s Group A, 
approximating in style to the Lisbon triptych, consists of five 
or six pictures, including that Adoration of the Magi at Munich which 
used to carry the forged signature Henricus Blesius. 1 In these 
pictures architecture is prominent, and the figures in three of them 
are on a relatively small scale. They pose and strut a good deal. 
The painting is delicate and means to look so. The artist is fond 
of feathers and likes to put two or three curly ones in a cap. 
He also makes a good deal of play with the calves of men's legs. 
The hair of the women is so tightly drawn back as to convey 
an impression of incipient baldness. The hats and headgear 
of men and women are fantastic. If the New York picture is by 
the same artist as the others, which I cannot believe, it is more 
attractive in every sense. The curly head of Francis seems an 
echo from Mabuse. 

Friedlander suggests the possibility that Group A may contain 
the earlier works of the master to whom the pictures in his Group B 
are due. These are sixteen in number. He thinks that they may 
be attributed to the recorded Antwerp painter, Jan de Beer, 
who was born about 1475. In 1490 he entered on his apprentice- 
ship under Gielis van Everen, a Brussels painter who had settled 
at Antwerp in 1477 and conducted a busy workshop there till 
his death hi 1512. Jan de Beer became a Master in the guild in 
1504. He took pupils, filled offices in the guild, had a son Aert, 
who was a good glass-painter. He was dead in 1536. The principal 
pictures belonging to this group in England are a triptych at 
Longford Castle, a panel painted on both sides in the Cook Collec- 
tion, and a Virgin with St. Anne in the Northbrook Collection. 
At Milan is a well-known Magi triptych and a Virgin with St. Luke. 
Two Prodigal Son roundels are at Basle, a triptych of the Nativity 

1 The others are Prado, Magi, No. 1171 (Anderson, 16,128) ; Coll. Pourtales wings 
(Burlington Mag., March 1908, p. 387) ; Ghent Mus., Magi ; Berlin K.F.M. (630 C.) ; 
Beheading of John Baptist ; and (doubtful) New York, St. Francis in Church. 

p. 381. 



MADRID. p. 386. 

[To face page 386. 


in Cologne Museum (Coll. Dormagen), and a Crucifixion in the 
Archbishop's Museum. Berlin has a triptych, the Cluny Museum 
a Magi, Turin a Pieta, and there was an Annunciation in the Emden 
sale (No. 88). There is also a signed drawing in the British 
Museum, dated 1520, which serves as slender link to attach the 
name of Jan de Beer to the whole group. Other published drawings 
by the same hand are a Death of St. Anne at Frankfurt, a Marriage 
of the Virgin in the Albertina, and a Pieta in the Van der Poll 
Collection at Haarlem. Friedlander names seven more. 

This considerable body of work expresses not merely a fashion 
but a personality, inventive, rather superficial, and with a sense 
of decorative rather than expressive values. Friedlander lays 
stress on the Milan triptych, as an example of his exuberant in- 
ventiveness, crowded as it is with conceits and overhead a-flap 
with angels, or rather with draperies containing angels. The 
Longford picture is less overwhelming but not less decorative. 
The saints on the wings, disproportionately large for the figures 
on the middle panel, are reminiscent of Bruges traditions, but 
coarsely invigorated and naturalized, in marked contrast with the 
purely fanciful beings who surround the enthroned Virgin. The 
Annunciation of the Emden Collection is perhaps De Beer's most 
attractive picture, exuberant with decorative detail. The angel 
comes hurrying and fluttering down, a marked contrast to the quiet 
Virgin at her prayers. The event takes place in an interior rich 
with carved and other architectural detail. An excellent sense 
of space is given, and we feel the depth and height of the enclosed 
area and the place of the figures in relation to their surroundings. 1 
A similarly just sense of space marks the painting on one side of 
the large panel in the Cook Collection, depicting the incident of 
Joseph's rod bursting into flower and the High Priest catching 
hold of him by the cloak when he was trying to slip away. The 
narrative interest is predominant, and the story well told, but 
the artist was almost as much entertained by his own combina- 
tion of sweeping curves of shoes, swords, feathers, and draperies. 
On the back is a Nativity of a type descending from Getrtgen, 
with the light proceeding from the Babe. Even the central 

1 There is a copy of this picture at Munich (No. 145), whilst such Annunciations as 
one in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge may owe something to it. 


square manger is a Dutch feature, introduced in the South by Hugo 
van der Goes, but the hysterical angels are of Antwerp and their 
day. The Basle roundels of the Prodigal Son, being in the nature 
of genre, owe more to life and less to fancy than the religious pictures. 
They contain some admirable figures. If the Berlin and Turin 
Pietas are by the same hand, they show a failing of power, and 
it is strange if an artist who designed the well-proportioned archi- 
tecture of the Emden Annunciation likewise designed the limbs 
of a building so out of harmony with one another as those of the 
ruin behind the Cluny Adoration. All these pictures are the pro- 
duct of whimsical invention rather than observation. The artist 
can seldom have employed models for his figures. He troubled 
little about the bodies inside the draperies. He was more con- 
cerned with pattern than subject, and more entertained by the 
multiplicity of his fancies than by objects and persons beheld 
by the eye ; but Friedlander is right to recognize in him a distinct 
artistic personality whose work was not lacking either in originality 
or in influence upon less mercurial contemporaries. When I look 
at his pictures and those of his fellow Mannerists I am reminded 
of the description which an old Dutch whaler gave of a rival. 
He called him " een Jonck ende outrequidant persoon sich zeer 
violentelijck comporterende " an overweening young fellow of 
violent behaviour. Such in the domain of art were the Antwerp 
Mannerists and such was Jan de Beer. 

The pictures included in Friedlander 's C group may be more 
summarily dismissed. The most popular of them was an Adora- 
tion of the Magi frequently copied and imitated. Friedlander 
recognizes as the original a version in the J. G. Johnson Collection 
(No. 383). Why so strained and artificial a composition should 
have been so much liked is difficult to understand. Other treat- 
ments of the same subject are in the Groote Collection at Kitsburg, 
and the Frankfurt, Carlsruhe, Hamburg, and Buckingham Palace 
Galleries. All lack the vivacity and inventiveness of Jan de 
Beer. They are merchantable commodities rather than works 
of art?. A couple of Madonnas are more attractive. In both, 
St. Catherine and another saint sit on the ground on either side of 
an enthroned Virgin. One, which was in the Dollfus Collection, 
is imitated from the De Somzee-Hoe triptych named above in 

GROUP C 389 

connexion with Goswin ; the other, formerly in the Barker Col- 
lection and auctioned in Paris in 1877, is modified from the same 
composition, with vines clambering over the back of the throne 
and playful cherubs replacing the arabesques in the frieze above. 1 
A closely similar cherub frieze is on the face of the mantel of the 
fireplace in a drawing at Rotterdam signed " Petrus van Aelst." 
The women are unusually pretty, and their dressmaker had merit. 
A relatively large Last Supper in the Kaufmann Collection, painted 
on linen, is a pleasant variety among the monotonous Adorations, 
and gives an opportunity for elaborate architectural decorative 
features. The sense of depth is lacking and there is little humanity 
about the figures, whose gestures are often absurd and the ex- 
pressions of their faces emphatically meaningless. On the other 
hand, the painting of decorative features is minute, the furniture 
carefully studied, the tiled floor elaborately heraldic, and the 
background full of entertainment. This painter would have been 
better employed as a house decorator, and that may have been his 

Another Last Supper is among the pictures of the D Group. 
It is connected with the preceding by the fashion of a chair and the 
introduction of a dog and bread-basket on the floor in front, but 
otherwise it is quite different. The figures, less well-drawn, 
are now crowded together, and the faces are more portrait-like ; 
but this and its fellows are dull works. The artist who painted 
the Linnich altar-piece and is called after it has been associated 
with this group. 8 

In his E group Friedlander includes thirty-three pictures 
beside copies of some of them. He had previously referred to the 
painter as " the Master of 1518 " from his eight painted panels 
thus dated (some borrowed from Diirer's woodcuts) which form 
the wings of a carved altar-piece of Antwerp provenance, set up 
in 1522 in St. Mary's at Lubeck and there still visible. His best- 
known picture is a triptych at Brussels (No. 560), with the supper 
at Simon s in the middle and the raising of Lazarus and Assumption 

1 A third version by another hand was No. 219 in the Golden Fleece Exhibition at 
Bruges in 1907. 

z Other works attributed to him are Nos. 317 and 546-550 in Cologne Museum, 
formerly attributed to Patinir, a Temptation at Nuremberg, a Sibyl in Vienna Academy 
(called Lucas van Leyden), and two panels at Schleissheim. 


of the Magdalen on the wings. It used to be attributed to Mabuse, 
and shows a certain dependence upon him, especially in the elaborate 
carved staircases and gallery behind. A picture well known to 
English students is an Adoration of the Magi belonging to Lord 
Carew. Friedlander has identified it as belonging to an altar-piece 
other panels of which were a Visitation and Flight in the National 
Gallery (Nos. 1082 and 1084), and a Christ among the Doctors 
in the Mayer van den Bergh Collection. There is little Mannerism 
about these paintings, but rather a visible dependence on the old 
Bruges tradition, so that we are led to suspect the painter to have 
been some pupil of Gerard David who settled in Antwerp. The 
thrusting forth of the knee by one of the kings and his young 
attendant points to Mannerist tendencies, but in abeyance. 1 The 
Brussels triptych shows a further departure from Bruges traditions, 
but rather under the influence of Mabuse than of Jan de Beer. 
The painter must, in fact, have seen Mabuse's Virgin with St. Luke 
of 1515, now at Prague, but originally at Mechlin, and taken from 
it the trick of perching putti on his cornices ; we thus obtain 
an approximate date for the triptych. Obviously the architectural 
flummery entertained him more than the figures, and their drapery 
more than their faces. The absurd misplacement of Christ's right 
foot exemplifies his carelessness in the rendering of depth. The 
picture lacks all sense of space. Friedlander groups with it a 
" Christ taking leave of the Virgin " at Berlin, but in that the 
figures are wrought out with far more care and solidity, and they 
are projected against a meritorious landscape. For all the wringing 
of hands the picture plentifully lacks sentiment and the action of 
Christ is almost disdainful. The Neuwied Adoration and that at 
Dresden (which may be only a copy of a lost original) are examples 
of his later period, and both are thoroughly impressed with 
Mannerism the Virgin seated low, the King's leg protruded, 
heads bent over to one side, draperies a-flutter, and fussy subordi- 
nate figures away off in the background. Friedlander cites half a 
dozen copies of the Dresden Magi, but states that most of them come, 
not from the studio of the artist who designed them, but from 
that of the so-called Master of the Last Suppers. He appears 

1 The Bolivian Madonna (cf. p. 367) may belong to this early period of the painter. 


p. 389. 

p. 387. 

p. 389. 

CAREW. p. 390. 

[To face page 390. 


to think that the latter took over and carried on the workshop 
of the former as any other tradesman might succeed to a going 
concern ; such was the level of mere manufacture to which the 
production of pictures had fallen at Antwerp in that very com- 
mercial day. 

Peter Coeck of Alost has by some been identified with this 
Last Supper painter, for reasons which may be good, but have not 
yet been fully declared. According to Van Mander, this " artistic 
and learned " person was pupil to Bernard van Orley. He became 
Master in the Antwerp Guild in 1527, studied in Italy, and was 
sent to Constantinople by Brussels tapestry-makers to get com- 
missions from the Sultan. He had Peter Bruegel for pupil and 
posthumous son-in-law. He was author, or rather translator, of 
books on architecture. In 1550, when in the service of Charles V 
as painter, he died at Antwerp. His chief work seems to have 
been the designing of tapestries. Among several pictures recorded 
as by him, mention is made of a small Last Supper which in 1544 
belonged to Peter Lizaert of Antwerp. It has been suggested that 
this was one of the small Last Suppers whereof several examples 
exist, dated in every year from 1527 to 1532. 1 Of that composition 
there is a poor engraving by Goltzius ; a print of it in the Dutuit 
Collection was inscribed in an old handwriting " Pierre van Aelst 
invenit." The painter of the Last Suppers must have been acquainted 
with Leonardo's design, which fact by no means suffices to send 
him to Italy, nor is the visible Italian influence Ferrarese, perhaps 
in details of the work conclusive. It might have been derived 
at second-hand. The composition is a great improvement upon 
that of the Kaufmann picture in Group C, but it belongs to the 
same school, and the types of several of the heads will be recognized 
as common property among the Mannerists. Here, however, 
Mannerism has passed by. Its redundancy has been pruned, its 
types monumentalized, and this has evidently been the result of 
Italian influence, so that there is a balance of probability in 
favour of an Italian visit before 1529 by the Master of the Last 
Suppers, whether he was called Peter Coeck of Alost or by some 
other name. At one time he was tentatively, but wrongly, identified 

1 The Duke of Rutland's is dated 1527. One that in 1885 belonged to Mr. S. Barlow 
of New York was dated 1528. 


with Lambert Lombard, for no other reason than because that 
painter is recorded to have executed a large wall-painting of the 
Last Supper in the north transept of St. Paul's at Liege in 1529. 
It was a mere guess that the panel pictures might repeat that 

No less than twenty-four pictures were attributed by Valen- 
tiner to this Master, now called of the Last Suppers, but he did 
not include the Last Suppers among them. 1 The key picture 
after which he named the painter was an Adoration of the Magi 
at Utrecht. It was guessed he might have been a pupil of Van 
Orley. Friedlander has taken a few items out of the list and put 
them into his E group, and he particularly points out that the wings 
of the Utrecht triptych are a more energetic and modern rendering 
of the figures in the Czernin Triptych by his E painter. A somewhat 
similar relation holds between the renderings of " Christ taking 
leave of His Mother," at Glasgow and Berlin, which are by the 
same two painters, and there are various little technical tricks 
(such as the method of painting the hair-parting) which unite them. 
It is, however, beyond the purpose of the present chapters to follow 
in any detail the work of these second-rate artists. The student 
who desires to do so must seek guidance elsewhere. 

Two Antwerp painters, whose names are fortunately known, 
likewise belonged to the Mannerist group. They are Adrian van 
Overbeke and Dirk Vellert. The former, who became master 
in the Antwerp Guild in 1508, painted an altar-piece five years 
later for Kempen. It exists, but I have not seen it. The other, 
Dirk Vellert, who used to be known as Dirk van Star from his 
signature till Gluck revealed his true name, was mainly a designer 
and maker of glass paintings. As the probable designer of the 
great set of painted glass windows which are the glory of the 
chapel at King's College, Cambridge, 2 he is of special interest 
to English amateurs. The date of his birth is unknown ; he became 
a master in the Antwerp Guild in 1511, the same year as Joos van 
Cleve. He was dean in 1518 and 1526. Diirer became his friend 
and they exchanged gifts, red paint from Vellert, woodcuts from 

1 See Repertorium, 1905, pp. 254 ff. 

2 See the Vienna Kss. Jahrbuch, xxii, pp. 10 ff., and articles by Beets in Onze Kunst, 
1906-7, and in the Burlington Magazine, October 1907, p. 33. 


Diirer, and Vellert entertained the Nuremberg artist at a banquet 
in May 1521. He is mentioned again in 1539-40 as supplying a 
window to the Cathedral. His last dated work is an engraving 
inscribed 1544. 

Friedlander's sharp eye and quick memory recognized in a 
triptych which was in the Lippmann Collection a painting by Dirk 
Vellert. It may be ascribed to his period of varied activity between 
the years 1520 and 1530. It is our justification for introducing 
the artist at this point. The picture, in which the figures are very 
well drawn, belongs decidedly to the Mannerist group and approxi- 
mates to the E series. The extraordinarily supercilious Virgin is 
almost comic, and so is the posturing of the King whose back is 
turned toward us. The facial type of the kneeling King is no less 
peculiar, but for all that the picture has obvious merit and one 
of the wings is charming. The thin and fluid paint has been applied 
by a thoroughly instructed craftsman. If Vellert painted few 
pictures it was not for lack of skill, but because he had other occu- 
pation. We are not ignorant what that was, because he is always 
spoken of as a glass -painter, and we possess a good number of 
designs for glass roundels by him and one actual cartoon in the 
Albertina for a five-light window. The roundel designs are numerous 
from the year 1523, mostly made in sets for windows of houses. They 
are excellently composed for their purpose and with obvious ease. 
They indicate that the Manneristic phase had passed. There 
are examples at Berlin, Weimar, the Albertina, Frankfurt, and 
in some private collections. The decorative purpose is evident 
in all. Gliick reproduced one actual glass roundel which is earlier 
than any of the designs. It is dated 1517, and signed with the 
artist's name, not with the initial and star which puzzled a previous 
generation of students. Here we find our artist borrowing figures 
from Italian engravings, but using them with freedom. It was 
the very year in which Mabuse was painting Italian imitations. 
With Vellert the imitating and borrowing phase passed ; by 1523 
he could design with readiest inventiveness. A roundel in the 
Chapel of the Holy Blood at Bruges is likewise ascribed to Vellert 
by Beets. 

The drawings give no indication of the intended colouring, and 
must have been guides for the assistants whose business it was to 


outline the full-size cartoons on which the colouring would be shown. 
As a draughtsman, Vellert is precise, vigorous, and assured. There 
is no fumbling about his lines, no appearance of hesitation or doubt. 
He fills the area given to him, balancing his masses and co-ordinating 
his lines to the spectator's entire satisfaction. The tradition of 
the Mannerists helped him here, or was it the other way about ? 
Did the popularity of stained glass react upon the panel- painters 
and make them so eager to fill all their space with figures and 
decoration ? 

Vellert' s friendship with Diirer may have stimulated in him the 
wish to try his hand at engraving. The presence of Lucas van 
Leyden in Antwerp in 1522 and the evidence of the success he and 
Diirer both had in the disposal of their prints may have decided 
Vellert to make the experiment. Probably Lucas gave him some 
technical instruction in the methods of the craft, for his first plates 
were produced by the same process of mixed etching and engraving 
which Lucas at that time employed, having himself learnt it from 
Diirer. Twenty engravings by Vellert are known, the earliest 
of them dated August 16, 1522. Four others followed, before the 
end of the year. They are small prints of fanciful subjects, a 
Child with a Dolphin, Bacchus on a barrel, and such like. Next 
year Vellert experimented with pure etchings, again small, but he 
evidently preferred the mixed process and returned to it for such 
more carefully designed and elaborately finished plates as the Virgin 
and Child with St. Bernard of 1524 l and the Virgin with St. Luke 
of 1526. In the latter year Vellert was for the second time Dean 
of the Guild of St. Luke, and must have made this engraving 
for the guild or its members. It is an admirable piece of decoration 
in black and white, fanciful, and but dimly suggestive of the solid 
world of actuality or of human emotion in the people portrayed. 
In the same year he designed a woodcut device also for his guild, 
and of this an impression has fortunately come down to us. That 
he made such a device at this time is recorded, and that it was cut 
on wood and printed on quarter- sheets for the guild. It was this 
record, coupled with the fact that the woodcut is signed with his 
initials, " D*V," that enabled Gliick to prove the identity of the 
so-called Dirk van Star with Dirk Vellert. 

1 The central panel of a triptych in the Prado (No. 2202) is copied from this print. 


A much larger engraving than any of these represents the 
Flood and bears the date 1544. It seems a long interval since 1526. 
Some competent authorities hold that the engraving dates from 
the twenties and that the plate was touched up and re-dated in 
the later year. One wonders why no impression of the original 
state of so large a plate should have survived. It is an elaborate 
effort rilled with figures in energetic action, but lacks the decorative 
quality of the prints we have been examining ; it is, moreover, a 
distraught composition ; the behaviour of the scattered folk is 
futile and the note of tragedy lacking. In any case it serves to 
emphasize the fact that after 1526 Vellert practically ceased to 
publish new engravings. We may assume that his glass -paint ing 
filled his time. 1526 is the date of important contracts for the 
windows at King's. They had, indeed, been ordered (or some of 
them) in 1516, but only four had been completed. By the new 
contract six windows were to be delivered within twelve months 
and twelve within the following four years. A later contract 
was for two more before May 1528 and other two before May 1531. 
The names of the contracting glaziers are unfortunately not recorded. 
Internal evidence points to Dirk Vellert as the most important 
designer of this great series. From 1526 on for several years he 
must have had his hands full, and the cessation of his engravings 
is explained ; nor do we find any dated drawings for glass roundels 
by him during these busy years till 1532. 

Vellert doubtless was responsible for many windows in other 
places which have been destroyed or escaped identification. Beets 
thinks he has found one in the church of St. Gervais in Paris and 
the design for it in the British Museum. 1 Whether this ascription 
be accepted or not, our artist may be content to rest his fame 
on the great and miraculously preserved Cambridge series, so 
rich and splendid in decorative effect. What they represent can 
still be discovered by whoso cares to examine them in detail. Those 
of us to whom they were familiar through the long years of our 
youth will probably be the first to admit that we were little conscious 
of their subjects but did not fail to revel in their splendour. I 
suspect it was the splendour far more than the subjects that 

1 Revue de VArt, xxi, pp. 393-6. 



employed the imagination of their creator. What he aimed at he 
attained, and that was well worth while. If it was necessary 
for the school to pass through the stage of Mannerism to reach 
this new glory, who shall decry the Mannerists or call down oppro- 
brium on their accomplishment ? Mannerism was a passing phase. 
It may have been a necessary one. 



THOUGH only four pictures by Jan Joest are known, he is an 
important link in the history of Netherlands painting. Fortunately, 
two of these pictures consist of many panels and give an extended 
idea of the artist's style and capacity. They are : 

Twenty panels of the wings of the high altar-piece in the 
church of St. Nicholas at Calcar. 

An altar-piece of eight panels in the Cathedral of Palencia. 

A Pieta at Sigmaringen. 

A Nativity in the Von Bissing Collection. 

Beside these there was a Nativity in the Kaufmann Col- 
lection, now thought to be a copy after a lost original by Jan 

The first occurrence of this artist's name is in a list of soldiers 
at Calcar in 1480. We do not hear of him again till the years 1505 
to 1508, when he was painting the Calcar wings. In 1505 we are 
told that Juan de Fonseca in Brussels ordered the Palencia picture. 
We next come across the painter at Haarlem, where he bought a 
house in 1510. In 1515 he was working for the church of St. Bavon 
there, and he was buried in it in 1519. 

Though nothing is recorded about Jan Joest' s master, it is 
fairly obvious that he received his education in Holland. The 
Kaufmann Nativity depends on Geertgen's picture, the angels 
in front being directly imitated in the one from the other. The 
square manger in the middle and the bright illumination proceeding 
from the Child are likewise the same in both. In the Pieta at 
Palencia Geertgen's white cloth is used. Such correspondencies, 
however, do not suffice to indicate so close a relation as that between 
master and pupil. In the Christ among the Doctors, another of 
the Palencia panels, a nearer connexion is observable with the 

27 397 


interesting Holy Family at Dresden by the Dutch Master who also 
painted the Virgins with St. Anne. The interiors in both are 
illuminated truthfully by the light entering at the windows, and 
the window-sills in both are sloped downward in the same fashion 
and with reference to the lighting. Correct illumination of figures 
by window-light is so rare in pictures of our school and period that 
this resemblance is important. The Dresden picture is some twenty 
years older than that at Palencia and might have been painted by 
Jan Joest's master. 

Jan Joest's pictures are not in themselves inspiring. The 
subjects are the old-fashioned round, and the treatment is conven- 
tional. They are all very much on a level, and one feels that the 
painter could have gone on turning out pictures of this class and 
quality in any required number. He knew his craft and might 
be a good teacher, but he supplied by help of a formula the lack 
of an original creative gift. His best picture is the central panel 
at Palencia with its two dignified and impressive figures. In the 
others the heads of sacred personages are emptily conventional, 
while those of onlookers are often so full of life and character that 
we may justly assign to Jan Joest the qualification of a good 
portrait- painter. Some of his heads are decidedly Dutch in treat- 
ment. One day perhaps portraits by him may be identified. 1 
He owned the gift of narration, which is best expressed where he 
was most free. Thus the Christ among the Doctors at Calcar and 
the Woman at the Well are interesting compositions and the puzzled 
theologians not devoid of humour. His figures are generally well 
balanced on their feet, and the quieter the pose the better the 
drawing. In gesture they lack vitality. Friedlander speaks 
highly of the small Nativity in the Von Bissing Collection, which 
I have not seen, but he appears to me to overrate the Pieta at 
Sigmaringen, which he reproduces in his book. Another Nativity 
in the J. G. Johnson Collection (No. 350) doubtfully attributed to 
Jan Joest by Valentiner is rejected by Friedlander. 

Two important artists are recognized as proceeding from 
Jan Joest : Barthel Bruyn and Joos van Cleve. The former 
was born in 1493, perhaps at Haarlem. The painter Bruyn, who 

1 A pair of good portraits at Nuremberg were at one time ascribed to him by Fried- 
lander, but he seems to have changed his mind about them. 


in 1490 was working there for St. Bavon's Church, may have been 
his father. He probably learnt his craft in Haarlem. We need 
deal with him but briefly because he is principally known for his 
work on the Rhine, especially at Cologne, where he appears to have 
settled, in or shortly before 1515, and where he died in honour and 
prosperity between 1553 and 1557. He was some eight or ten years 
younger than Joos van Cleve, but it is more convenient to deal 
with him first in this place. A Nativity formerly in the Kaufmann 
Collection, dated 1516, fixes his early dependence on Jan Joest. 
As the latter' s picture of the same subject was for many years 
with it in the same collection, their relation was long ago realized. 
Bruyn had to widen the composition, to its disadvantage, in order 
to introduce portraits of the donors. The likeness of the man 
one Peter de Clapis, Professor at the University of Cologne looks 
for all the world as though it had been painted by Mostaert. The 
Virgin's hands are the hands of the Kaufmann Jan Joest, but her 
head comes much closer to that by the same painter in the Nativity 
at Calcar. Even in the picture of the same subject at Essen, painted 
six to eight years later, the memory of his master's composition 
survives. Another early work painted by Bruyn under Jan Joest' s 
influence is a Coronation of the Virgin triptych in the Hax Col- 
lection at Cologne. The portraits on the wings are disproportion- 
ately large in relation to the figures on the central panel, and no 
doubt he found them more interesting, for he was a portrait- painter 
at heart, as were most of the good artists of that day. The donor 
is the same Peter de Clapis as above, but the resemblance in treat- 
ment to Mostaert' s is not here observable. The date of the picture 
is 1515, and it is the earliest production of Bruyn's Cologne period. 

Similarities between the works of Bruyn and Joos van Cleve 
are also numerous, so numerous, in fact, that the latter used 
to be called Bruyn's master. Their relative ages do not make 
that relation impossible, but it is regarded as more likely that 
while one was the assistant the other was the pupil of Jan Joest. 
Bruyn openly borrowed figures and groups from Van Cleve. Thus 
the Moor King in the Essen Magi is taken bodily from Van Cleve's 
small Dresden Magi, but both are tributary to an earlier com- 
position exemplified by the important Bruges-Antwerp triptych 
which belonged to Messrs. Durlacher, and to which we have referred 


in Chapter XXI (p. 299). The relation between the two artists is 
plainly expressed in Bruyn's St. Victor altar-piece of 1529 at 
Cologne, where he has introduced their portraits side by side, with 
Joos laying a patronizing hand on the painter's shoulder. It 
was at Cologne and in Bruyn's early maturity that Joos' influence 
was strongest a fact important for the life-story of the latter, 
as it implies either a lengthy residence by him in the Rhenish 
city or frequent visits to it. Bruyn remained under the influence 
of Joos van Cleve till Scorel returned from Italy, when he trans- 
ferred his allegiance to the new leader. 

The Weber Collection contained a picture by Bruyn of the Virgin 
with St. Anne, a donor, and a Saint, which not only approximates 
to Joos van Cleve but links on to the designs of the Master of 
Frankfurt. That painter, as aforesaid, made another close imitation 
of Jan Joest's Nativity in a picture now belonging to the Museum 
of Valenciennes. We know nothing about his education, but as 
he was at work in Antwerp about 1500, when Bruyn was only 
7 years old, and before anything is known about Jan Joest, it 
is a little difficult to know what conclusion we should draw from 
this coincidence. 

At Cologne Bruyn painted many portraits in a definite style of 
his own. It would be interesting to discover for how much of it 
he was indebted to Jan Joest, but materials for the comparison 
are not forthcoming. The resemblance of one early portrait to 
the work of Mostaert, who was almost twenty years his senior, 
suggests that he may also have stood in some kind of pupil relation 
to him. The remainder of Bruyn's career belongs to the history 
of German rather than of Netherlands painting and need not be 
discussed here. 

Joos van Cleve, whom it is now customary to accept as the 
painter of the many pictures which used to be grouped together 
under the name of " the Master of the Death of Mary," is first 
mentioned in 1511, when he was registered as a master-painter 
in the books of the Antwerp Guild. There are, however, a pair 
of wings by him in the Louvre, dated 1507, so that he was a master- 
painter in some other centre before then, unless he painted them 
in the service of Jan Joest, who sold them as his own. We may 
conclude that the year of his birth was perhaps nearer 1480 than 


1485. His full name was Joos van der Beke van Cleve the Elder, 
to distinguish him from his son, commonly known as Sotte Cleve, 
whose Christian name, however, was not Joos but Cornelis. He 
is mentioned several times in the Antwerp books, but between 
intervals long enough to permit of absences abroad. We have 
observed above that he must have spent a good deal of time at 
Cologne, for which city he executed many commissions. He 
also worked in Italy, in England, and in France. He died at 
Antwerp in 1540. 

Those Adam and Eve wings in the Louvre, dated 1507, are 
ascribed to him with assurance by Hulin, with less confidence 
by Friedlander. The figure types recur in his known works, as 
for instance, in the SS. George and Christina in the Cologne 
altar-piece of 1515. Joos' dependence upon Jan Joest for his 
teaching does not rest alone upon these wings, but is declared 
by the general character of his work. Another early picture, 
likewise in the Louvre, is the half-length Virgin and Child with 
St. Bernard, a simple and attractive work in which we can see some 
of the elements of the well-marked style he presently developed. 
The diamond-shaped Virgin and Child, sold in an Amsterdam 
auction (April 30, 1907) and later in the hands of Messrs. Durlacher, 
likewise dates from the early years of his career. 

A portrait of Maximilian, dated 1510, is in the Andre Col- 
lection. 1 It may have been painted at Bruges, but at any rate in 
Flanders. At this time our artist was paying attention to the 
work of his great predecessors. The half-length Madonna at 
Spiridon's was copied from the Lucca Madonna by John van Eyck, 
which is now at Frankfurt, and there exists in America another 
version with St. Joseph added. On a ledge or table in front are 
a bowl of fruit, a knife, a lily in a glass, and so forth a kind of 
accessories first, I believe, introduced on a foreground ledge in 
the Bruges School. 8 

A little later, but still early, conies the half-length Virgin 

1 Apparently the same picture, when in the Haro Collection, was in the French Primitive 
Exhibition (1904), No. 121. There is another version at Vienna and many repetitions 
exist. See the Vienna Kss. Jahrbuch, 1915, for a learned article on the portraits of 

2 An early example of a flower thus placed is by the Ursula Master ; fruit lies on a 
ledge in the anonymous Bruges Madonna of about 1500 in the Andre Collection. 


giving drink to the Child out of a glass. It was in the R. Kann 
Collection (No. 98). The cushion resembles that in the Louvre 
Madonna, and the landscape is of similar character in both pictures. 
It is a landscape of typically fifteenth century Bruges style. Slightly 
later is a very interesting Madonna, a seated three-quarter 
length, belonging to Madame Nielson in Paris. 1 It is linked to the 
Spiridon picture by almost the same foreground accessories, but the 
landscape is of the later wide-extended sort with the impossible 
rocks, and might be cited to indicate that the picture was painted 
in Antwerp. It offers, however, indications of the influence of 
Brussels. This type of Virgin with the Sleeping Child, often repeated 
by the Brussels Magdalen Master, was borrowed from Roger van 
der Weyden, as stated in a former chapter. The Virgin's head 
in the Nielson picture bears a close resemblance to that in Roger's 
Louvre drawing (photo. Giraudon, 428) ; it must, in any case, 
be copied from some Roger, for the type does not recur in the work 
of Joos and does not resemble that to which he gave currency. 
His hand is recognizable in the execution, the delicate flesh colouring, 
the careful modelling, and his temperament is expressed in the 
rather sugar-sweet sentiment of the group. A similar Virgin and 
Child are on one panel of a diptych in the L. de Liedekerke Collec- 
tion. 2 The other panel bears a portrait of the Carthusian general, 
William Bibaut of Thielt. A half-length Madonna in the Fitz- 
william Museum at Cambridge 5 follows the ordinary lines of the 
composition so far as the position of the figures is concerned. 
The artist had the unhappy idea to make the Mother smile with 
delight, and the nearest he could come to that expression was a 
broad and ugly grin, but the picture is famously painted and remains 
in excellent preservation. A school repetition in the collection 
of Don Pablo Bosch omits the grin and replaces the white 
headdress by one of those transparent veils so often introduced 
by our artist. 

A franker imitation of Roger is in the J. G. Johnson Collection 
(No. 373) a copy of his Descent from the Cross with only the 
landscape added, and that in the style, not of Antwerp, but of 

1 It was No. 6 in the Odiot sale (1889). 

2 See photo in Revue de VArt chret., 1913, p. 376. 

3 A copy in the Trotti Collection, Paris. 


Gerard David. Another and earlier picture of the same subject 
by our artist shows imitation of Campin's design. It is in the 
Dresden Gallery " the work of a beginner," Friedlander calls it. 
The same writer publishes as a product of Joos' early days the 
portrait of a lady in the Mayer van den Bergh Collection. The 
face is so delicately modelled as to seem rather flat and the eyes 
are incorrectly drawn, but it is a pleasing picture, all the same. 

Joos van Cleve also laid Gerard David under contribution, 
as may be seen in an elaborate Annunciation now in the Forges 
Collection in Paris. The general design is borrowed from Jan 
Joest's Calcar panel, but the figure of Gabriel owes much to David's 
in the Sigmaringen Annunciation of about 1510. 1 

In 1511 Joos van Cleve purchased mastership in the Antwerp 
Guild, and that city became his home for the rest of his days, 
though he left it from time to time to work elsewhere. He now 
came in contact with Quentin Massys and was a good deal influenced 
by him. The Louvre contains a half-length of Christ blessing, 
actually copied from the same Massys design as that also multiplied 
by the Master of the Mansi Magdalen. Various replicas of it exist. 
A corresponding devotional half-length of the Virgin appears in 
various collections. 2 A Crucifixion triptych in the Blumenthal 
Collection in New York (from the Thiem Collection) shows Joos 
imitating the Liechtenstein picture by Quentin or perhaps that 
larger altar-piece in Antwerp Cathedral which the Calvinistic 
rioters destroyed. The landscape is in the style of the same 
master. The Crucifixion triptych at Naples is similarly tributary 
to Quentin, and possesses the additional charm of some excellent 
children's portraits with those of their parents on the wings. Both 
triptychs belong to the early period of the artist. 

At about this point we may best introduce such pictures as 

1 The type of the Virgin kneeling in one direction and turning round toward the 
angel approaching her from behind was never popular at Antwerp, and only of late intro- 
duction at Bruges. It is rather a North French and German type. It is found in a 
drawing of about 1420 in the British Museum (Vasari Soc., iii, 13) ; in other drawings at 
Berlin (c. 1490) and Coll. Duval, in a picture of about 1475, which Weale would ascribe 
to John Hennequart (Burlington Mag., August 1910), in a picture of c. 1500 in the C