PORTRAIT OF THE BURGOMASTER SIX.

This is the most finished and perfect of all the etchings of Rembrandt; and as it was done expressly for his friend and patron, we can easily imagine that the painter exerted himself to the utmost, so as to render it worthy of the subject. I have been at some trouble to get an account of the family of Jan Six, but have gleaned little from those books connected with the history of Holland. During the war with England, in the reign of Charles the Second, he was Secretary of State to the City of Amsterdam, and his family was afterwards connected with some of their most celebrated men. But what has rendered his name more famous than intermarrying with the families of Van Tromp or De Ruyter, is his patronage of Rembrandt—in the same way that Lord Southampton's name is ennobled by his patronage of Shakspere. We know he was devoted to literature as well as the fine arts, having left a tragedy on the story of Medea, a copy of which is mentioned in the catalogue of Rembrandt's effects, and an etching by the artist was prefixed to the work—viz., the "Marriage of Jason and Creusa;" the rare states of this print are before the quotation of the Dutch verses underneath—also the statue of Juno is without the diadem, which was afterwards added. I have mentioned that this portrait was a private plate; in fact, the copper is still in the possession of the family. In a sale which took place in 1734, for a division of the property among the various branches, fourteen impressions were sold, but brought comparatively small prices, from the number to be contended for. Two proofs, however, on India paper are still in the portfolio of his descendants, which in five years will, it is said, be brought to the hammer, as by that time the parties will be of age. These proofs will in all probability realize two hundred guineas each. The ease and natural attitude of the figure in this work are admirable: the intensity of the light, with the delicacy and truth of the reflected lights, are rendered with the strong stamp of genius; the diffusion of the light also, by means of the papers on the chair, and the few sparkling touches in the shadow, completely take this etching out of the catalogue of common portraiture. The only work I can at present think of that can be brought into competition with it, is the full-length portrait of Charles the First, by Vandyke, in the Queen's Collection, and which is rendered so familiar by Strange's admirable engraving.