DUTCH PAINTING.

Books Recommended: As before Fromentin, (Waagen's) Kügler; Amand-Durand, Œuvre de Rembrandt; Archief voor Nederlandsche Kunst-geschiedenis; Blanc, Œuvre de Rembrandt; Bode, Franz Hals und seine Schule; Bode, Studien zur Geschichte der Hollandischen Malerei; Bode, Adriaan van Ostade; Brown, Rembrandt; Burger (Th. Thoré), Les Musées de la Hollande; Havard, La Peinture Hollandaise; Michel, Rembrandt; Michel, Gerard Terburg et sa Famille; Mantz, Adrien Brouwer; Rooses, Dutch Painters of the Nineteenth Century; Rooses, Rubens; Schmidt, Das Leben des Malers Adriaen Brouwer; Van der Willigen, Les Artistes de Harlem; Van Mander, Leven der Nederlandsche en Hoogduitsche Schilders; Vosmaer, Rembrandt, sa Vie et ses Œuvres; Westrheene,Jan Steen, Étude sur l'Art en Hollande; Van Dyke, Old Dutch and Flemish Masters.

THE DUTCH PEOPLE AND THEIR ART: Though Holland produced a somewhat different quality of art from Flanders and Belgium, yet in many respects the people at the north were not very different from those at the south of the Netherlands. They were perhaps less versatile, less volatile, less like the French and more like the Germans. Fond of homely joys and the quiet peace of town and domestic life, the Dutch were matter-of-fact in all things, sturdy, honest, coarse at times, sufficient unto themselves, and caring little for what other people did. Just so with their painters. They were realistic at times to grotesqueness. Little troubled with fine poetic frenzies they painted their own lives in street, town-hall, tavern, and kitchen, conscious that it was good because true to themselves.

At first Dutch art was influenced, even confounded, with that of Flanders. The Van Eycks led the way, and painters like Bouts and others, though Dutch by birth, became Flemish by adoption in their art at least. When the Flemish painters fell to copying Italy some of the Dutch followed them, but with no great enthusiasm. Suddenly, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, when Holland had gained political independence, Dutch art struck off by itself, became original, became famous. It pictured native life with verve, skill, keenness of insight, and fine pictorial view. Limited it was; it never soared like Italian art, never became universal or world-embracing. It was distinct, individual, national, something that spoke for Holland, but little beyond it.

In subject there were few historical canvases such as the Italians and French produced. The nearest approach to them were the paintings of shooting companies, or groups of burghers and syndics, and these were merely elaborations and enlargements of the portrait which the Dutch loved best of all. As a whole their subjects were single figures or small groups in interiors, quiet scenes, family conferences, smokers, card-players, drinkers, landscapes, still-life, architectural pieces. When they undertook the large canvas with many figures, they were often unsatisfactory. Even Rembrandt was so. The chief medium was oil, used upon panel or canvas. Fresco was probably used in the early days, but the climate was too damp for it and it was abandoned. It was perhaps the dampness of the northern climate that led to the adaptation of the oil medium, something the Van Eycks are credited with inaugurating.