PAINTING IN SPAIN.

Claudio Coello (1635-1693), who, as we have said, has been called the last of the old Spanish masters, was intended by his father for his own profession, that of bronze-casting. But Claudio persuaded his father to allow him to study painting, and before the close of his life he became the most famous painter in Madrid. He was not only the court-painter, but also the painter to the Cathedral of Toledo and keeper of the royal galleries. It was not strange that he should feel that he merited the honor of painting the walls of the Escorial, and when this was refused him and Luca Giordano was selected for the work, Coello threw aside his brushes and paints, grew sad, then ill, and died a year later. His masterpiece is now in the Escorial; it represents the “Collocation of the Host.” His own portrait painted by himself is in the gallery of the Hermitage at St. Petersburg.

The school of Seville was the most important school of Spain. It is also known as the school of Andalusia. It dates from the middle of the fifteenth century, and its latest master, Alonso Miguel de Tobar, died in 1758.

Luis de Vargas (1502-1568), one of the earliest of the painters of the school of Seville, was a devout and holy man. He was accustomed to do penance, and in his room after his death scourges were found with which he had beaten himself, and a coffin in which he had been accustomed to lie and meditate upon death and a future life. It is said that Vargas studied twenty-eight years in Italy. His pictures were fine. His female heads were graceful and pure, his color good, and the whole effect that of grand simplicity. His picture of the “Temporal Generation of Our Lord” is his best work in Seville. Adam is kneeling in the foreground, and his leg is so well painted that the picture has been called “La Gamba.” In spite of his seriousness Vargas was a witty man. On one occasion he was asked to give his opinion of a very poor picture of “Christ on the Cross.” Vargas replied: “He looks as if he were saying, ‘Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do!’”

Pablo de Cespedes (1538-1608) was born at Cordova, and is an important person in the history of his time, for he was a divine, a poet, and a scholar, as well as an architect, sculptor, and painter. He was a graduate of the University of Alcalà, and excelled in Oriental languages. He studied art in Rome, and while there made a head of Seneca in marble, and fitted it to an antique trunk; on account of this work he was called “Victor il Spagnuolo.” Zuccaro was asked to paint a picture for the splendid Cathedral of Cordova; he declined, and said that while Cespedes was in Spain they had no need of Italian artists. The pictures of Cespedes which now remain are so faded and injured that a good judgment can scarcely be formed of them; but they do not seem to be as fine as they were thought to be in his day. His “Last Supper” is in the Cathedral of Cordova. In the foreground there are some jars and vases so well painted that visitors praised them. Cespedes was so mortified at this that he commanded his servant to rub them out, and only the most judicious admiration for the rest of the picture and earnest entreaty for the preservation of the jars saved them from destruction. He left many writings upon artistic subjects and an essay upon the antiquity of the Cathedral of Cordova. He was as modest as he was learned, and was much beloved. He was made a canon in the Cathedral of Cordova, and was received with “full approbation of the Cordovese bishop and chapter.”

Francisco Pacheco (1571-1654) was born at Seville. He was a writer on art, and is more famous as the master of Velasquez and on account of his books than for his pictures. He established a school where younger men than himself could have a thorough art education. Pacheco was the first in Spain to properly gild and paint statues and bas-reliefs. Some specimens of his work in this specialty still exist in Seville.

Francisco de Herrera, the elder (1576-1656), was a very original painter. He was born at Seville, and never studied out of Andalusia. He had so bad a temper that he drove his children and his pupils away from him. He knew how to engrave on bronze, and made false coins; when his forgery was discovered, he took refuge with the Jesuits. While in their convent Herrera painted the history of St. Hermengild, one of the patron saints of Seville. When Philip IV. saw his picture he forgave him his crime, and set him at liberty.

Francisco Zurbaran (1598-1662) was one of the first among Spanish painters. He was skilful in the use of colors, and knew how to use sober tints and give them a brilliant effect. He did not often paint the Madonna. His female saints are like portraits of the ladies of his day. He was very successful in painting animals, and his pictures of drapery and still-life were exact in their representation of the objects he used for models. He painted historical and religious pictures, portraits and animals; but his best pictures were of monks. Stirling says: “He studied the Spanish friar, and painted him with as high a relish as Titian painted the Venetian noble, and Vandyck the gentleman of England.”