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Estelle M. Hurll

The student of Van Dyck's art naturally classifies the painter's works into four groups, corresponding chronologically to the four successive periods of his life. There was first the short period of his youth in Antwerp, when Rubens was the dominating influence upon his work. The portrait of Van der Geest, in the National Gallery, belongs to this time.

We often read in history of the rejoicing throughout a kingdom over the birth of a prince: messengers are sent from place to place to proclaim the glad news, congratulations and gifts follow, every possible care is taken for the nurture and protection of the precious young life.

It has been reserved for our own day to produce two superb works by English writers on Van Dyck. The first to appear was that by Ernest Law, "a storehouse of information," on the paintings by Van Dyck in the Royal Collections. The second is the definitive biography by Lionel Cust: "Anthony Van Dyck; An Historical Study of his Life and Works." The author is the director of the English National Portrait Gallery, and has had exceptional opportunities for the examination of Van Dyck's paintings. His work has been done with great thoroughness and care.

by Estelle M. Hurll

We have been looking at fifteen pictures designed by Raphael. They are but a few of the great number painted either wholly or in part by the master, or painted by his pupils from designs and sketches made by him. He was thirty-seven years old when he died, and it was said that he died on his birthday. His life was brimful of activity as a painter.

In early days an Italian in addressing a lady used the word Madonna, which, like the French word Madame, means My Lady. Now he says Signora; Madonna would have to him an old-fashioned sound. To the rest of the world this word Madonna has come to be applied almost wholly to the Virgin Mary, with or without the child Jesus; and as Raphael painted a great many pictures of the Madonna for churches or other sacred places, a name has been given to each, drawn usually from some circumstance about it.

No one of the old Italian masters has taken such a firm hold upon the popular imagination as Raphael. Other artists wax and wane in public favor as they are praised by one generation of critics or disparaged by the next; but Raphael's name continues to stand in public estimation as that of the favorite painter in Christendom. The passing centuries do not dim his fame, though he is subjected to severe criticism; and he continues, as he began, the first love of the people.

In the story of Abraham, as related in our Bible, we read of the wandering and adventurous life of the patriarch as he moved from place to place. In process of time he became "very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold." He was as brave as he was industrious. When Lot, his brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, was taken captive by some foreign kings who had conquered the king of Sodom, Abraham armed his large company of servants and went to the rescue. He recovered not only his nephew, but all the booty which the victors had taken.

Within the last forty years the methods of criticism as applied to art have undergone so many changes that there has been a rapid succession of biographers and critics of Raphael until the student reader of to-day scarcely knows whom to believe. The time was when Vasari, in his important "Lives of the Painters," was the accepted source of information, and all current writers borrowed unquestioningly from him both facts and opinions; but the old chronicler was too often influenced by popular gossip and personal prejudice to be depended upon.

Another of the Bible scenes which Raphael painted was one which is told in the New Testament concerning the Lord Jesus and his Apostles. Some of these, as Peter and Andrew, James and John, were fishermen who lived near the lake of Gennesaret in Galilee, and had spent most of their lives in their boats. They had been much with their Master, and sometimes left their boats to go with him through the country, when he talked with them and healed the sick, and told the glad tidings, for that is what the word Gospel means.

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