HUBERT AND JAN VAN EYCK

In 1383, on the death of Louis de Maele, his son-in-law Philip the Hardy, Duke of Burgundy, assumed the government of Flanders. In the same year Philip founded the Carthusian Convent at Dijon and employed a Flemish painter named Melchin Broederlam to embellish two great shrines within it. To the strong-handed policy of Philip and his successors during the ensuing century may be attributed the rise of Netherlandish art which, though existing before their time, required their vigorous repression of intestine feuds to give it an opportunity of developing. Under Louis and his predecessors Flanders and its cities had risen to great commercial importance, but its rulers had neither the strength nor the prestige to keep the turbulent spirit of their subjects in due bounds. The school of painting which now arose so rapidly to perfection under the Dukes of Burgundy thus owed a portion of its progress to the wealth and independence of the commercial classes. The taste, power, and cultivation of a Court gave it an additional spur; and the clergy throwing in their weight, added their support in aid of art.

Two wings of one of the Dijon shrines are still preserved in the museum there, and in these Messrs Crowe and Cavalcaselle observe the characteristics of much that was to follow:—"Although Melchior's style was founded on the study of the painters of the Rhine, his composition was similar to the later productions of the Flemish school. A tendency to realism already marks this early Fleming, and is the distinctive feature of a manner in which the painter strives to imitate nature in its most material forms. Idealism and noble forms are lacking, but Broederlam is a fair imitator of the truth. Distinctive combination and choice of colours in draperies, and vigorous tone, characterise him as they do the early works at Bruges and other cities of the Netherlands which may be judged by his standard." And again, "the painter evidently struggled between the desire to give a material imitation, and the inspirations of graceful teachers like those of Cologne.... Penetrated with similar ideas the early Flemings might under similar circumstances have risen to a sweet and dignified conception of nature; and if we fail to discover that they attained this aim we must attribute the failure to causes peculiar to Flanders. Amongst these we may class the social status of the Flemish painters, whose positions in the household of princes subjected them perhaps to caprices unfavourable to the development of high aspirations, or the contemplation and free communion with self which are the soul of art."

It is interesting to compare these observations, so far as they refer to the realism which characterises Netherlandish painting, with those of Dr Waagen, who it will be seen explains it on the broader grounds of national temperament. "Early Netherlandish painting," he contends, "in its freedom from all foreign influence, exhibits the contrast between the natural feeling of the Greek and the German races respectively in the department of art—these two races being the chief representatives of the cultivation of the ancient and the modern world. In this circumstance consists the high significance of this school when considered in reference to the general history of art. While it is characteristic of the Greek feeling—from which was derived the Italian—to idealise,—and to idealise, be it observed, not only the conceptions of the ideal world but even such material objects as portraits,—by the simplification of forms and the prominence given to the more important parts of a work of art, the early Netherlanders, on the other hand, conferred a portrait-like character upon the most ideal personifications of the Virgin, the Apostles, Prophets, and Martyrs, and in actual portraiture aimed at rendering even the most accidental peculiarities of nature, like warts and wrinkles, with excruciating fidelity.

"While the Greeks expressed the various features of outward nature—such as rivers, fountains, hills, trees, etc.—under abstract human forms, the Netherlanders endeavoured to express them as they had seen them in nature, and with a truth which extended to the smallest details.

"In opposition to the ideal, and what may be called the personifying tendency of the Greeks, the Netherlanders developed a purely realistic and landscape school.

"In this respect the other Teutonic nations are found to approach them most nearly, the Germans first, and then the English."

But whatever may have been the causes which produced the distinguishing features of Netherlandish painting, we have still to enquire the origin from which the practice of painting in northern Europe proceeded. For in taking Melchior Broederlam as a starting-point we are only going as far back—with the exception of certain rude wall paintings—as the earliest examples take us; and having seen how in Italy the whole history of the art is traceable to Cimabue, Duccio, and Giotto, through the Byzantines, at least a century before Broederlam comes under our notice, we might naturally conclude that it was from Italy that it spread to Cologne, and from Cologne to the Netherlands. So far as is known, however, this was not the case, and we must look elsewhere than to Italy for the influences which formed this school. Nevertheless it was a collateral branch of the same stock—Byzantine art—and the family resemblance comes out none the less strongly from the two branches having developed under different circumstances. In Italy, as we have seen, the Byzantine seed, sown in such fertile soil, attained suddenly a great luxuriance. In the north, transplanted by Charlemagne to Aix-la-Chapelle in the ninth century, it grew slowly and more timidly, but none the less surely, under the cover of Monasticism, in the manuscripts illuminated with miniatures; and thus when it did burst forth into fuller blossom, the boldness of the Italian masters, who worked at large in fresco, was wanting, and a detailed and almost meticulous realism was its chief characteristic. Another point worth noticing is that though primarily introduced for religious purposes, as in Italy, namely the decoration of the cathedral erected by Charlemagne at Aix-la-Chapelle, the paintings in his palace showed forth events in his own life, such as his campaigns in Spain, seiges of towns and feats of arms by Frankish warriors. At Upper Ingelheim, likewise, his chapel was adorned with scenes from the Old and New Testaments, while the banqueting hall exhibited on one wall the deeds of great Pagan rulers, such as Cyrus, Hannibal, and Alexander, and on the other those of Constantine and Theodosius, the seizure of Acquitaine by Pepin, and Charlemagne's own conquest over the Saxons and finally himself enthroned as conqueror. Although no trace remains of these paintings, contemporary manuscripts executed by his order are still in existence in the libraries of Paris, Trèves, and elsewhere from which we can form some idea of the style in which they were rendered and of the source from which they were derived.

Of these we need only mention the Vulgate decorated by John of Bruges, painter to King Charles V. of France, in 1371, which contains a portrait of the king in profile with a figure kneeling before him, and a few small historical subjects. From these it is evident that the art of painting, at any rate in little, had made considerable progress in the Netherlands at that date, and the express designation of pictor applied to John of Bruges, while the ordinary miniaturist was called illuminator, shows the probability of his having painted pictures on a larger scale. The high development of realistic feeling as it first appears to us in the pictures of Hubert and Jan van Eyck is thus partly accounted for, especially when we also consider the wholesale destruction of larger works of art that took place in the disturbed condition of the Netherlands in the sixteenth century. The main points, however, to be borne in mind is that whereas Cimabue and Duccio started painting on walls under the influence of Byzantine teachers, Hubert van Eyck, a century later, began painting on wooden panels under that of illuminators and painters in books.

To these, nevertheless, there must be added another scarcely less important, namely, that the early Italians were ignorant of the use of what we now call oil paints, and worked entirely in tempera—that is to say, there was no admixture of oil or varnish with their pigments. To Hubert van Eyck is attributed the invention of the modern practice, as Vasari relates with more colour than historic truth in his life of Antonello da Messina, who is supposed to have carried it into Italy. Be that as it may, the works of the van Eycks and their successors are all in oils, and there is no doubt that the employment of this medium from the first considerably influenced the style, colour, and execution of all the works of this school.

Hubert van Eyck who according to the common acceptation was born in the year 1366 at Maaseyck, a small town not far from Maestricht, must have been settled before the year 1412 in Bruges, when we hear of him as a member of the Brotherhood of the Virgin with Rays.

There can be little doubt that Hubert van Eyck was acquainted with the work of this John of Bruges, and that it had a considerable influence on him. But while on the one hand he carried the realistic tendencies of such works to an extraordinary pitch of excellence, it is evident that in many essential respects he was actuated by a more ideal feeling and imparted to the realism of his contemporaries, by means of his far richer powers of representation, greater distinctness, truth to nature, and variety of expression. Throughout his works is seen an elevated and highly energetic conception of the stern import of his labours in the service of the Church.

The prevailing arrangement of his subjects is symmetrical, holding fast to the earliest rules of ecclesiastical art. His heads appear to aim at an ideal beauty and dignity only combined with actual truth to nature. His draperies exhibit the purest taste and softness of folds, the realistic principle being apparent in that greater attention to detail which a delicate indication of the material of the drapery necessitates. Nude figures are studied from nature with the utmost fidelity; undraped portions of figures are also given with much truth, especially the hands. But what is the principal distinguishing characteristic of his art is the hitherto unprecedented power, depth, transparency and harmony of his colouring. Whatever want of exact truth there may be in the story as related by Vasari's story of the discovery of oil painting, there is no doubt that Hubert Van Eyck succeeded in preparing so transparent a varnish that he could apply it without disadvantage to all colours.

The chief work by Hubert Van Eyck is the large altar-piece painted for the cathedral of S. Bavon at Ghent;—parts of this have been removed and are now in the Berlin Gallery, and supplemented with excellent copies of the rest, the whole of the wonderful composition may there be well studied; a large photograph of the whole altar piece may also be seen in the library at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which shows how the work was originally designed. It was painted for Jodocus Vyts, Burgomaster of Ghent, and his wife Elizabeth, for their mortuary chapel in the cathedral.

The subject of the three central panels of the upper portion is the Deity seated between the Virgin and S. John the Baptist. Underneath these, of the same width, is the famous Adoration of the Lamb. These together formed the back of the altar-piece, and were covered by wings which opened out on hinges on either side.

The three large figures of the upper part are designed with all the dignity and statuesque repose belonging to an earlier style, and they are painted on a ground of gold and tapestry, as was constantly the practice in earlier times: but united with the traditional type we already find a successful representation of life and nature in all their truth. They stand as it were on the frontier of two different styles, and from the excellence of both form a wonderful and most impressive whole. The Heavenly Father sits directly fronting the spectator, in all the solemnity of ancient dignity, His right hand raised to give the benediction to the Lamb and to all the multitude of figures below; in His left hand is a crystal sceptre; on His head the triple crown, the emblem of the Trinity. The features are such as are ascribed to Christ by the traditions of the Church, but noble and well proportioned; the expression is forcible, though passionless.

The tunic and the mantle of this figure are of a deep red, the latter being fastened over the breast by a clasp, and falling down in ample folds over the feet. Behind, as high as the head, is a hanging of green tapestry which is ornamented with a golden pelican—a symbol of the Redeemer. Behind the head the ground is gold, and on it in a semicircle are three inscriptions describing the Trinity as almighty, all-good, and all-bountiful. The figures of S. John and of the Virgin display equal majesty; both are reading holy books, as they turn towards the centre figure. The countenance of S. John expresses ascetic seriousness, but in that of the Virgin we find a serene grace and a purity of form which approach very nearly to the happier effects of Italian art.

The arrangement of the lower central picture, the worship of the Lamb, is strictly symmetrical, as the mystic nature of the allegorical subject might seem to

PLATE XXI.—JAN VAN EYCK  JAN ARNOLFINI AND HIS WIFE  National Gallery, London
PLATE XXI.—JAN VAN EYCK
JAN ARNOLFINI AND HIS WIFE
National Gallery, London

have demanded; but there is such beauty in the landscape, in the pure atmosphere, in the bright green of the grass, in the masses of trees and flowers—even in single figures which stand out from the four principal groups—that we no longer perceive either hardness or severity in this symmetry.

The landscape of this composition and that part of it containing the patriarchs and prophets are generally supposed to have been completed by Jan Van Eyck (c. 1385-1441), whose name till within a comparatively recent period had almost obscured that of Hubert. For although there is little doubt that the elder brother was the first to develop the new method of painting, yet the fame of it did not extend beyond Belgium and across the Alps until after the death of Hubert, when the celebrity it so speedily acquired throughout Europe was transferred to Jan Van Eyck. Within fifteen years after his death, 1455, Jan was commemorated in Italy as the greatest painter of the century, while the name of Hubert was not even mentioned. It was Jan van Eyck to whom Antonello da Messina is said by Vasari to have resorted in Bruges in order to learn the new style of painting; he alone also is mentioned in Vasari's first edition of 1550, Hubert not until the second edition in 1568, and then only incidentally.

Fortunately there are in existence various authentic pictures by Jan Van Eyck in which his original powers are more easily recognised than in the part he took in the execution of the great altar-piece at Ghent, in which he doubtless accommodated himself with proper fraternal piety both to the composition and to the style of his elder brother—who was also his master. In these we can see that he possessed neither the enthusiasm for the rich imagery and symbolism of the ecclesiastical art of the Middle Ages, nor that feeling for beauty in human forms or in drapery which belonged to his elder brother. His feeling, on the other hand, led him to the closest and truest conception of individual nature. Where he had to paint portraits only—a task which was most congenial to the tendency of his mind—he attained a life-like truth of form and colouring in every part, extending even to the minutest details, such as no other artist of his time could rival, and which art in general has seldom produced. In his actual brush work he shows greater facility than was ever attained by Hubert, by which he was enabled to render the material of every substance with marvellous fidelity.

What little we know of the personal history of Jan Van Eyck is of exceptional interest, inasmuch as we find him employed on diplomatic errands to foreign countries, like his great successor Rubens; and as it happens he landed in England, though not intentionally, in the course of one of these voyages, being driven into Shoreham and Falmouth by adverse weather. It was in 1425 that he was taken into the service of Philip III., Duke of Burgundy, as painter and "varlet de chambre," shortly after which he went to Lille. In the following year he was sent on a pilgrimage as the Duke's proxy, and again on two secret missions. In 1428 he went with the Duke's Embassy to the King of Portugal which was to sue for the hand of Isabella, the Portuguese princess. It was on this occasion that he was driven on to our shores. Arriving at Lisbon he painted two portraits of Isabella, one of which was sent home by sea and the other overland. After a happy and successful career he died in 1441 at Bruges, where he had married and settled down on his return from Portugal.

The most beautiful example of Jan Van Eyck's work in England is the portrait of Jean Arnolfini and Jeanne de Chenany his wife, now in the National Gallery (No. 186). This is dated with the charming inscription, "Johannes de Eyck fuit hic 1434"—that is to say, instead of simply signing the picture, he writes, "Jan Van Eyck was here, 1434." No other picture shows so high a development of the master's extraordinary power and charm. Besides every other quality peculiar to him, we observe here a perfection of tone and of chiaroscuro which no other specimen of this whole period affords. It is recorded that Princess Mary, sister of Charles V. and Governess of the Netherlands, purchased this picture from a barber to whom it belonged at the price of a post worth a hundred gulden a year. Among its subsequent possessors were Don Diego de Guevara, majordomo of Joan, Queen of Castile, by whom it was presented to Margaret of Austria. In 1530 it was acquired by Mary of Hungary, and later it returned to Spain. In 1789 it was in the palace at Madrid, and soon after it was taken by one of the French Generals, in whose quarters Major-General Hay found it after the battle of Waterloo.

Two other portraits in the National Gallery bear the signature of Jan Van Eyck. No. 222, An elderly man, head and shoulders, on the frame of which is the painter's motto, "als ich can," and his signature, "Johannes de Eyck me fecit anno 1433, 21 Octobris." The other, No. 290, is a younger man, half length, standing inside an open window, on the sill of which is inscribed "Τιμὁθεος," and "Léal Souvenir," and below the date and signature, "Actum anno domini 1432, 10 die Octobris a Iohanne de Eyck."

Among the Netherlandish scholars and followers of the Van Eycks of whom any record has been preserved some appear to have been gifted with considerable powers, though none attained the excellence of their great precursors. Although a number of works representing this school still exist in the various countries of Europe, yet compared with the actual abundance of them at one time they constitute but a scanty remnant.

Though not actually a pupil of Jan Van Eyck, Roger Van der Weyden acquired after him the greatest celebrity. As early as 1436 he filled the honourable post of official painter to the city of Brussels. The chief work executed by him in this capacity was an altar-piece for the Chamber of Justice in Hôtel de Ville. According to the custom of the time, it set forth in the most realistic fashion examples of stern observance of the law for the admonition of those placed in authority. The principal picture showed how Herkenbald, a judge in the eleventh century, executed his own nephew (convicted of a grave crime, but who would otherwise have escaped the penalty of the law) with his own hands; and how the sacramental wafer which, on the plea of murder, was denied to him by the priest, reached the lips of the upright judge by means of a miracle. The wings contained an example of the justice of the Emperor Trajan. These pictures are unfortunately no longer in existence, having probably been burned when Brussels was besieged in 1695.

In the Museum of the Hospital at Beaune is one of the most important of his works still in existence, The Last Judgment, though in this it is generally supposed he was assisted by Dirk Bouts and Hans Memling. It contains several portraits, notably those of the Pope, Eugenius IV., who stands behind the Apostles in the right wing, and next to him Philip the Good. The crowned female in the opposite wing is probably Philip's

PLATE XXII.—JAN VAN EYCK  PORTRAIT OF THE PAINTER'S WIFE  Town Gallery, Bruges
PLATE XXII.—JAN VAN EYCK
PORTRAIT OF THE PAINTER'S WIFE
Town Gallery, Bruges

second wife, Isabella of Portugal, whose portrait Jan Van Eyck went to Lisbon to paint before her marriage. On the outer sides are excellently painted portraits of the founder of the Hospital, Nicolas Rolin, and his wife. This work has been classed with the Van Eycks' Adoration of the Lamb, and the Adoration of the Shepherds by Hugo Van der Goes, as crystallizing the finest expression of early northern painting.

In 1450 he visited Italy, where he painted the beautiful little altar-piece which is now in the Städel Institute at Frankfort, for Piero and Giovanni de'Medici.

Another very fine example of his work is the triptych, now in the Berlin Museum, executed for Pierre Bladelin. In the centre is the Nativity, with a portrait of Bladelin kneeling, and angels. On the one side is the annunciation of the Redeemer to the ruler of the West—the Emperor Augustus—by the agency of the Tiburtine Sibyl; on the other to those of the East—the Three Kings—who are keeping watch on a mountain, where the child appears to them in a star.

One of the largest as well as of the finest of the master's works is a triptych in the Munich Gallery—the Adoration of the Kings, with the Annunciation and the Presentation in the Temple in the wings. The figure of the Virgin in the Presentation is particularly pleasing for its simple and unaffected realism. S. Luke painting the Virgin, also in the Munich Gallery, is ascribed to Roger.

No painter of this school, the Van Eycks even not excepted, exercised so great and widely extended an influence as Roger Van der Weyden. Not only were Hans Memling—the greatest master of the next generation in Belgium—and his own son, also named Roger, his pupils, but innumerable works other than pictures were produced, such as miniatures, block-books, and engravings, in which his form of art is recognisable. It was under his auspices that the realistic tendency of the Van Eycks pervaded all Germany; for it was only after the death of Jan Van Eyck, in 1441, that the widespread fame of Roger Van der Weyden induced Germans to visit his studio at Brussels. Martin Schongauer, one of the greatest German masters of the sixteenth century, is known to have been his pupil, and it is certain that there must have been many others.

It is in Hans Memling (c. 1435-1494), whom Vasari states to have been the pupil of Roger, that the early Netherlandish School attains the highest delicacy of artistic development. His poetical and profoundly human qualities had a special attraction for the "Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood" inaugurated by Rossetti and Holman Hunt in the middle of the nineteenth century. This unusual tenderness of feeling is probably also the origin of the legend that Memling was taken into the Hospital of S. John at Bruges—where he painted most of his masterpieces—as a sick soldier after the battle of Nancy. In feeling for beauty and grace he was more gifted than any painter except Hubert Van Eyck, and this quality, conspicuous amid the somewhat ugly realism of most of his contemporaries, has ensured him perhaps a little more popularity than is rightly his share. Compared with the works of his master, Roger Van der Weyden, his figures are certainly of better proportions and less meagreness of form; his hands and feet truer to nature; the heads of his women are sweeter, and those of his men less severe. His outlines are softer, and in the modelling of his flesh parts more delicacy of half tones is observable. His colours are still more luminous and transparent. On the other hand he is inferior to Van der Weyden in the carrying out of detail, such as the materials of his draperies or the rendering of the full brilliancy of gold.

In 1467 Memling was a master painter at Bruges, and painted the portrait of the medallist, Nicolas Spinelli, which is now in the Royal Museum at Antwerp, and a small altar-piece now at Chatsworth. His most famous works, those in the Hospital at Bruges, belong to a somewhat later date, the Shrine of S. Ursula not being completed till 1489. The Adoration of the Kings and the altar-piece were some ten years earlier. The famous shrine of S. Ursula is about four feet in length, and the whole of the outside is adorned with painting. On each side of the cover are three medallions, a large one in the centre and two smaller at the sides. The latter contain angels playing on musical instruments; in the centre on one side is a Coronation of the Virgin, on the other the Glorification of S. Ursula and her companions, with two figures of Bishops. On the gable-ends are the Virgin and Child with two sisters of the hospital kneeling before them, and S. Ursula with the arrow, the instrument of her martyrdom, and virgins seeking protection under her mantle. On the longer sides of the reliquary itself, in six rather larger compartments, is painted the history of S. Ursula.

Of about the same period, possibly a little earlier, is the Marriage of S. Catherine, which is also in S. John's Hospital at Bruges. The central figure is that of the Virgin, seated under a porch, with tapestry hanging down behind it; two angels hold a crown over her head: beside her is S. Catherine kneeling, whose head is one of the finest ever painted by Memling. Behind her is an angel playing on the organ, and further back S. John the Baptist. On the other side kneels S. Barbara, reading: behind her another angel holds a book to the Virgin, and still further back is S. John the Evangelist, a figure of great beauty, and of a singularly mild and thoughtful character. Through the arcades of the porch we look out, on either side of the throne, on a rich landscape, in which are represented scenes from the lives of the two S. Johns. The panel on the right contains the beheading of the Baptist, on the left the Evangelist in the Isle of Patmos, where the vision of the Apocalypse appears to him—the Almighty on a throne in a glory of dazzling light, encompassed with a rainbow.

The whole forms a work strikingly poetical and most impressive in character; it is highly finished, both in drawing and composition.

Ian Gossaert (c. 1472-1535), called Jan van Mabuse from his native town of Maubeuge, was the son of a bookbinder who worked for the Abbey of Sainte-Aldegonde. It is possible therefore that he might have formed an early acquaintance with illuminated manuscripts before studying the art of painting in the studio of a master. Memling, Gerard, David, and Quentin Massys have been suggested as his instructors, but it is not known for certain that he was actually a pupil of any of them. In 1508 he went to Italy, where he appears to have been greatly influenced both by the work of the Renaissance painters and by the antique. The Adoration of the Kings, which was lately purchased from Castle Howard for the National Gallery for £40,000, was painted before he went to Italy.

Towards the end of the fifteenth century, in consequence of the transfer of commerce from Bruges to Antwerp, this latter city first became and long continued the centre of art, and especially of Netherlandish painting. Here it is that we find Quentin Massys, the greatest Belgian painter of this later time. He was born

PLATE XXIII.—JAN MABUSE  PORTRAIT OF JEAN CARONDELET  Louvre, Paris
PLATE XXIII.—JAN MABUSE
PORTRAIT OF JEAN CARONDELET
Louvre, Paris

probably in 1466. His father is said to have been a blacksmith and clockmaker, and there is a tradition that Quentin only forsook the hammer for the brush at instigation of a tender passion for a beautiful lady. Be that as it may, he is an important figure in the history of Belgian art. He distinguishes, broadly speaking, the close of the last period and the beginning of the next. A number of pictures representing sacred subjects exhibit, with little feeling for real beauty of form, such delicacy of features, beauty and earnestness of feeling, tenderness and clearness of colouring and skill in finish, as worthily recall the religious painting of the Middle Ages, though at the very end of them. In his draperies, especially, we observe a charm which is peculiar to Massys. At the same time, in the subordinate figures introduced into sacred subjects, such as the executioners, etc., he seems to take pleasure in coarse and tasteless caricatures.

In subjects taken from common life, such as money changers, loving couples, or ugly old women, he uses his brush with evident zest, and with great success. The pictures of his later period are also distinguished from those of other painters by the large size of the figures, which for the first time in his country are of three-quarters or even actual life size.

Among his most original and attractive pictures are the half-length figures of Christ and the Virgin. These must have been very popular in his own time, for he has left several repetitions of them. Two heads of this class are at Antwerp, and two others of equal beauty are in the National Gallery in one frame (No. 295).

The most celebrated of his subject pictures is that known by the name of The Misers, or The Money Changers, at Windsor Castle—of which there are numerous copies, and this is not supposed to be the original. The Money Changer and His Wife at the Louvre is undoubtedly his.

Lucas van Leyden, as he was called (his real name being Luc Jacobez), was born in 1494, and died in 1533. He was a pupil of a little known artist, Cornelis Engelbrechstein, who was a follower if not a pupil of Memling. Lucas was an artist of multifarious powers and very early development. He painted admirably—though his authenticated works are very scarce—drew, and engraved. He pursued the path of realism in the treatment of sacred subjects, but with less beauty or elevation of mind. His heads are generally of a very ugly character. At the same time his form of expression found sympathy in the feeling of the period, and by the skill with which it was expressed, especially in his engravings, attracted a number of followers. In scenes from common life he is full of truth and delicate observation of nature, though showing now and then a somewhat coarse sense of humour. One of his most important works is a large composition of The Last Judgment, which is at Leyden.

Very early in the sixteenth century—beginning in fact, as we have seen, with Jan Mabuse in 1508—the Netherlandish and German artists made it the fashion to repair to Italy, attracted by the reputation of the great masters; so that from this time onwards their work ceases to exhibit the purely northern characteristics of their predecessors. For it appears that precisely those qualities most opposed to their own native feeling for art made the deepest impression on their minds; more especially such general qualities as grandeur, beauty, simplicity of forms, drawing of the nude, unrestrained freedom, boldness, and grace of movement—in short, all that is comprised in art under the term "ideal."

But the attempt to appropriate all these qualities could lead to no successful result. Being based on no inherent want on the part of their own original feeling for art, it became only the outward imitation of something foreign to themselves, and they never therefore succeeded in mastering the complete understanding of form, or in adopting the true feeling for beauty of line or grace of movement; and in aiming at them they only degenerated into artificiality, exaggeration in drawing, and violence in attitude. The pictures of this class, even of religious subjects, have accordingly but little to attract the eye, and when they selected scenes from ancient mythology, and allegories decked out with an ostentation of learning, the result is positively disagreeable.

The most satisfactory productions of this period will be found in the department of portrait painting, which, by its nature, threw the artist upon the exercise of his own original feeling for art. As in every other respect this epoch is far more important as a link in the chain of history than from any pleasure arising from its own works, it will be sufficient to mention only the more important painters and a few of their principal pictures.

The first painter who deserted his native style of art was, as before mentioned, Jan Mabuse. After the large Adoration of the Kings in the National Gallery the most important picture of his pre-Italian period is the Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane at Berlin. Nearly all his works subsequent to 1512, by which time he had settled in Brussels, are characterised by all the faults above mentioned. Their redeeming quality is their masterly treatment. Among those of religious subjects the smallest are as a rule the best. The Ecce Homo at Antwerp, so frequently copied by contemporary painters, is a specimen of masterly modelling and vigorous colour. He is less successful with his life-size Adam and Eve, of which there are repetitions at Brussels, Hatfield, Hampton Court and Berlin. But his most unpleasing efforts are the mythological subjects such as the Danaë at Munich, and the Neptune and Amphitrite at Berlin. On the other hand, his portraits are attractive both from being more original, and less influenced by his acquired mannerisms of style Four of these are in the National Gallery, and the Girl weighing Gold Pieces, in the Berlin gallery, is also worthy of mention.

Bernard van Orley, born at Brussels in 1471, is characterised in the catalogue of the National Gallery as "taking his place after Massys and Mabuse on the downward slope of Netherlandish painting." He has been immortalised by the fine portrait head of him by Albert Dürer which is now in the Dresden Gallery. He was Court painter to Margaret of Austria, Governess of the Low Countries, and retained the same post under her successor, Mary of Hungary. He is said to have visited Rome in 1509, and there made the acquaintance of Raphael, whose influence is certainly apparent, though hardly his inspiration, in theHoly Family in the Louvre. A more Netherlandish work, both in feeling and in treatment, is the Pietà in the Gallery at Brussels.

Ian Scorel, born in 1495, was a pupil of Mabuse, and appears to have been the first to introduce the Italian style into his native country—Holland. When on a pilgrimage to Palestine he happened to pass through Rome at the time his countryman was raised to the papal dignity as Adrian VI., and after painting his portrait he was appointed overseer of the art treasures of the Vatican. Returning to Utrecht, where he died, he painted the picture of the Virgin and Child, with donors, which is now in the Town Hall.

A fine portrait by Scorel of Cornelius Aerntz van der Dussen is in the Berlin Gallery.

The decided and strongly realistic style in which Quentin Massys had painted scenes from common life, as for instance the Misere or Money Changers, became the model for various painters in their treatment of similar subjects. First among these was his son, Jan Massys, born about 1500, who followed closely but rather clumsily in his father's footsteps, and need only be mentioned for carrying on the tradition. More interesting were the Breughels, namely, Pieter Breughel the elder, born about 1520, called Peasant Breughel, and his two sons Pieter and Jan. Old Breughel is best studied at Vienna, where there are good examples of his various subjects, notably a Crucifixion and The Tower of Babel—both dated 1563—and secular scenes like A Peasant Wedding and a Fight between Carnival and Lent, which are full of clever and droll invention.

His elder son, Pieter, was called Hell Breughel, from his choice of subject. He is far inferior to his father or to his younger brother Jan, called Velvet Breughel, born in 1568. Though more especially a landscape painter, Jan also takes an important place in the development of subject pictures, which, though seldom rising above a somewhat coarse reality, are of a lively character, and worthy forerunners of the more accomplished productions of Teniers, Ostade, and Brouwer.

It is in portrait painting, however, that the Netherlandish School chiefly distinguished itself during its decline in the seventeenth century, and had all its sons remained in the country to enhance its glory, it is probable that the effect on the general practice of painting would have been more than beneficial. But portrait painters have not always been content to sit at home and wait for sitters to come to them, especially when the state of society in which they happen to find themselves makes waiting rather a long and tedious process. From the Reformation onwards, for over two centuries, there was a steady demand for portrait painters in England, and after the foundation of a really English school of painting by Reynolds in the middle of the eighteenth century, the stream of foreign, especially Netherlandish, talent never entirely ceased to flow. But confining ourselves for the present to the sixteenth century, we find that all the considerable Netherlandish portrait painters were employed for the most part outside their own country.

Typical of these is Joos van Cleef, of Antwerp, who died in 1540. According to Vasari he visited Spain and painted portraits for the Court of France. At all events it is certain that he worked for a time in England, where the great success of Sir Antonio Mor is said to have disordered his brain. The few pictures that can be assigned to him with any certainty thoroughly justify the high reputation he enjoyed in his time—the two male portraits for example at Berlin and Munich, the portraits of himself and his wife at Windsor, and his own at Althorp. His style may be classed as between that of Holbein and Antonio Mor. His well-drawn forms are decided without being hard, and his warm and transparent colouring recalls the great masters of the Venetian School.