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Whether or not Sir Joshua Reynolds is entitled to be ranked among the very greatest painters, there can be no question that he has a place among the most famous, not only on account of his actual painting, but also because of the influence exerted by his whole-hearted devotion to his art, and his strong character in forming, out of such unpromising elements, a really vigorous school of painting i

So far as it concerns pictures painted upon panel or canvas in tempera or oils, the history of painting begins with Cimabue, who worked in Florence during the latter half of the thirteenth century.

Dr Waagen thus summarises the history of painting in the Netherlands during the interval of about a century and a half that elapsed between the death of Jan van Eyck in 1440 and the birth of Peter Paul Rubens in 1577.

Not until the year of Gainsborough's death, 1788, was there born another landscape painter. This was John Crome, and he too came from the east of England, nearest to Holland, being born in Norfolk, the neighbouring county to Gainsborough's native Suffolk. Within ten years more, two still greater landscapists were born, also in the east, Constable in Essex, still closer to Sudbury, and Turner in London.

David Teniers the elder, who was born at Antwerp in 1582, received the first rudiments of his art from Rubens, who soon perceived in him the happy advances towards excelling in his profession that raised him to the head of his school. The prejudice in favour of his son, David Teniers the younger, is so great that the father is generally esteemed but a middling painter; and his pictures not worth the inquiry of a collector.

By the will of God, in the year 1240, we are told by Vasari, Giovanni Cimabue, of the noble family of that name, was born in the city of Florence, to give the first light to the art of painting.

In the preceding chapters we have traced the development of painting for five centuries—from the beginning of the fourteenth, that is to say, to the end of the eighteenth—in Italy, in the Netherlands, in Germany, in Spain, and lastly in France and England. In the nineteenth the story is confined to the last two alone, as with one or two minute exceptions the art of painting had by this time entirely ceased to be worth consideration in any of the others.

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