The story of the Holbeins is quite unlike that of the Durers, and not nearly so attractive.
Some time before Hans was twenty years of age, the entire family had packed up and gone to live in Lucerne, while Hans and his brother, Ambrosius, went travelling together, as most young Germans went at that time before they settled down to the serious work of life. The last we hear of Ambrosius he had joined the painters' guild in Basel, and probably he died not long afterward, or at any rate while he was still young. There was in Basel a certain Hans Bar, for whose wedding occasion Hans Holbein designed a table, on which he pictured an allegory of "St. Nobody." This was very likely such work as our cartoonists do to-day, but being the work of Holbein, it had great artistic value. Besides that, he painted a schoolmaster's sign to be hung outside the door.
As an illustrator, Holbein made the acquaintance of several authors about that time and started on the high road to fame. He was a man of very little conscience or fine feeling, and there could hardly be a greater contrast than that between the clean sweet life of Durer and the brawling, unfeeling one that Hans Holbein led.
Durer married, had no children, but tenderly loved and cared for his wife, taking her with him upon his journeys and making her happy.
Holbein married and beat his wife; had several children and took care of none of them. His wife grew to look old and worn while he remained a gay looking sport, quite tired of one whom he had had on his hands for ten years. He wandered everywhere and left his family to shift for itself. One writer in speaking of the two men says:
"Durer would never have deserted his wife whom he took with him even on his journey to the Netherlands; and he was bound by the same tenderness to his native town. However much he rejoiced to receive a visit from Bellini at Venice, or when at Antwerp, the artists instituted, a torch-light procession in his honour, nothing could have moved him to leave Nuremberg." Durer loved his home; Holbein hated his.
Holbein had a cold, light-blue eye; Durer a soft and tender glance. While Durer lived he was the mainstay of his family—father and brothers. Holbein's father died in misery and his brother's life was disastrous, Hans doing nothing to serve them and looking on at their sufferings indifferently.
There is a court document in existence which tells the particulars of Hans Holbein's arrest for getting into a brawl with a lot of goldsmiths' apprentices during a night of carousal. The court warned him that he would be more severely punished if he did not cease his lawless life and he was made to promise not to "jostle, pinch, nor beat his lawful spouse." When he died he made no provision in his will for his family. There is a picture of his wife, Elizabeth Schmidt, to be seen in his "Madonna" at Solothurn Holbein used her for the model. She then was young and blooming and the model for the child was his own baby; at that time he found them useful.
His life of folly can hardly be excused by impulsiveness or emotion, for his pictures show little of either. He was best at portrait painting. At that time guilds and town councils wanted the portraits of their members preserved in some way, and it was the habit of painters like Holbein to form picturesque groups and give to such dramatic groupings the features of townsmen. Rembrandt did this much later than Holbein, when he painted the "Night Watch," or as it is more properly called, "The Sortie."
Probably Holbein's first important work was to make title pages for the second edition of Martin Luther's translation of the New Testament. This MS. was made about the time that Holbein's work began to be of interest to the public, and so the commission was given to him.
After a time this artist went to England with letters of introduction to Sir Thomas More, Chancellor to King Henry VIII. Sir Thomas treated him very kindly and set him to work making portraits of his own family. During the time he was living at More's home in Chelsea, the King himself, used frequently to visit there, and on one occasion he saw the brilliant portraits of the More family and inquired about the artist. Sir Thomas offered the King any of the pictures he liked, but Henry VIII. asked to see the artist. When brought before him, Holbein's fortune seemed to be made for the King asked him to go to court and paint for him, remarking that "now he had the artist he did not care about the pictures."
Holbein seems to have been a favourite with Henry and many anecdotes are told of his life at Whitehall, where he went to live. Once while Holbein was engaged upon a portrait, a nobleman insisted upon entering his studio, after the artist had told him that he was painting the portrait of a lady, by order of the King. The nobleman insisted upon seeing it, but Holbein seized him and threw him down the Stairs; then he rushed to the King and told what had happened. He had no sooner finished than the nobleman appeared and told his story. The King blamed the nobleman for his rudeness.
"You have not to do with Holbein," he said, "but with me. I tell you, of seven peasants I can make seven lords, but of seven lords I cannot make one Holbein. Begone! and remember that if you ever attempt to avenge yourself, I shall look upon any injury offered to the painter as done to myself."
It was Holbein who, visiting a brother artist and finding a picture on the easel, painted a fly upon it. When the artist returned he tried to brush the fly off, then set about looking for the one who had deceived him.
His portrait painting was so superb that he received many commissions.
Meantime, Sir Thomas More had fallen into disfavour with the King and was to lose his head, but it is written that the artist's portraits "betray nothing of this tragedy." He was as ready to climb to fame by the favour of his generous patron's enemies as he had been to accept the offices of Sir Thomas More. He painted the portraits of several of the wives of Henry VIII., and it may be said that there was a good deal of that monarch's temperament to be found in Holbein himself. Take him all in all, Hans was as detestable as a man as he was excellent as a painter.
In his adopted home in Lucerne, Holbein had painted frescoes, both on the inside and the outside of a citizen's house, and this house stood until 1824, when it was torn down to make way for street improvements, but several artists hastily copied the frescoes so that they are not entirely lost.
Before he left Germany for England, Holbein had been commissioned to decorate the town hall in Basel, and a certain amount of money was voted for the work, but after he had finished three walls, he decided that the money was only enough to pay him for what he had already done. The councillors agreed with him, but as money was a little "close" in Basel at that time, they felt unable to give him more, and so voted to "let the back wall alone, till further notice."
He painted one Madonna whom he surrounded with the entire family of Burgomaster Meyer, including even the burgomaster's first wife, who was dead. This work is called the "Meyer Madonna."
It is said that after Holbein's return to Basel he, with others, was persecuted for his "religious principles," but if this were true, his persecutors went to considerable pains for nothing, because Holbein was never known to have any sort of principles, religious or otherwise. He was neither a Protestant, nor a Catholic but a painter, a man without convictions and without thought. He did not care for family, country, friends, politics, religion, nor for anything else, so far as any one knows.
When he was asked why he had not partaken of the Sacrament, he answered that he wanted to understand the matter better before he did so. Thus he escaped punishment, and when matters were explained to him, he did whatever seemed safest and most convenient under the circumstances.
On his return to England, he settled among the colony of German and Netherland merchants, who were in the habit of meeting at a place called "The Steelyard," as their home and warehouses were grouped in that locality, with a guild hall and a wineshop they alone patronised.
While associated with his compatriots Holbein made portraits of many of them, and these are magnificent works of art. He painted them separately or in groups; in their offices and in their guild hall, as the case might be. The men whom he thus painted were: Gorg Gisze, Hans of Antwerp, Derich Berck, Geryck Tybis, Ambrose Fallen, and many others. He designed the arch which the guild erected upon the occasion of Anne Boleyn's coronation, and he painted Henry's next Queen, Jane Seymour.
Holbein painted many portraits of Henry VIII. and probably all those dated after 1537 were either copies or founded upon the portrait which Holbein made and which was destroyed with Whitehall.
While he painted for Henry, Holbein received a sort of retainer's fee of thirty pounds a year, but he may have received sums for outside commissions which he undertook. On one occasion, when he took a journey to Upper Burgundy to paint a portrait of the Duchess whom Henry contemplated making his next wife, the King gave him ten pounds out of his own purse. We have no record of vast sums such as Raphael received.
Henry did not succeed in making the Duchess his wife, so Holbein was sent to paint another—Anne of Cleves—that Henry might see what he thought of her before he undertook to make her his queen. Holbein did a disastrous deed, for he made Anne a very acceptable looking woman, (the portrait hangs in the Louvre) and Henry negotiated for her on the strength of that portrait. Later, when he saw her, he was utterly disgusted and disappointed.
Holbein, notwithstanding this trick, was employed to paint the next wife of Henry, and doubtless he also made the miniature of Catherine Howard which is in Windsor Castle. Holbein finally died of the plague and no one knows where he was buried. His wife died later, and it was left for his son, Philip, who was said to be "a good well-behaved lad," to bring honours to the family. He was apprenticed in Paris, and, settling later in Augsburg, he founded a branch of the Holbein family on which the Emperor Matthias conferred a patent of nobility, making them the Holbeins of Holbeinsberg.
PLATE—ROBERT CHESEMAN WITH HIS FALCON
This is one of the best of the many splendid portraits Holbein painted. It hangs in The Hague gallery. The gentleman was forty-eight years old and in the portrait he wears a purplish-red doublet of silk and a black overcoat, which was the fashion of the day, all trimmed with fur. He has curly hair, just turning gray. His left hand is gloved and on it he holds his falcon, while with the other hand he strokes its feathers.
Of all sports at that time, falconry was the most fashionable and every fine gentleman had his sporting birds. Robert Cheseman lived in Essex. He was rich and a leader in English politics. His father was "keeper of the wardrobe to Henry VIII." and he himself served in many public offices. He was one of the gentleman chosen to welcome Anne of Cleves when she landed on English soil to marry Henry VIII. These details were first published by Mr. Arthur Chamberlain and are taken from his sketch of Holbein and his works.
Among Holbein's other famous pictures are: "The Ambassadors," "Hans of Antwerp," "Christina of Denmark," "Jane Seymour," "Anne of Cleves," and "St. George and the Dragon."
WILLIAM HOLMAN HUNT
English (Pre-Raphaelite) School 1827— Pupil of Academy School
The story of the Pre-Raphaelites is all by itself a story of art. Holman Hunt was one of three who formed this "brotherhood"; and he, with one other, are the only ones whom some of us think worthy of giving a place in art. This is to be the story of the brotherhood rather than a story of one man.
The last great artist England had had before this extraordinary group, was J. M. W. Turner, truly a wonderful man, but after him England's painters became more and more commonplace, drawing further and further away from truth, There was one, J. F. Lewis, who went away to Syria and lived a lonely and studious life, trying to paint with fidelity sacred scenes, but he was not great enough to do what his conscience and desires demanded of him; and, finally, Constable declared that the end of art in England had come. But it had not, for up in London, in the very heart of the city, in Cheapside (Wood Street) there was born, in April, 1827, a child destined to be a brilliant and wonderful man, who was actually to rescue English art from death. Many do not think thus, but enough of us do to warrant the statement.
The new artist was Holman Hunt. He was the son of a London warehouseman, with no inclination whatever for learning, so that it seemed simply a waste of time to send him to school. This continually repeated history of artists who seem to know nothing outside their brushes and colours, is astonishing, but it is true that artists for the most part must be regarded as artists, pure and simple, and not as men of even reasonably good intellectual attainments, and more or less this accounts for their low estate centuries ago. One does not associate "learning" and the artist. When we have such splendid examples as Durer and two or three others we discuss their intellectuality because they are so unusual.
Holman Hunt was like most of his brother artists in all but his art. He hated school and at twelve years of age was taken from it. His father wanted him to become a warehouse merchant like himself, and he began life as clerk or apprentice to an auctioneer. He next went into the employment of some calico-printers of Manchester. The designing of calicoes can hardly be called art, even if the department of design had fallen to Holman Hunt's lot and we have no evidence that it did, but he started to be an artist nevertheless, there in the print-shop. He found in his new place another clerk who cared for art; and this sympathy encouraged him to fix his mind upon painting more than ever. He used to draw such natural flies upon the window panes that his employer tried one day to "shoo away a whole colony of flies that seemed miraculously to have settled." This gave the clerks much amusement, and also attracted attention to Holman Hunt's genius.
His very small salary was spent, not on his support, but in lessons from a portrait painter of the city. His parents did not like this, but they could not help themselves, and thus this greatest of the Pre-Raphaelites began his work.
The Pre-Raphaelites were a little group of men who believed that artists were drawing too much on their imaginations, not painting things as they saw them, and that the painter had become incapable of close observation. He worked in his studio, did not get near enough to nature, and instead of trying to follow along this line, this group of men, with their new and partly correct ideas, meant to go back further than the great masters themselves and present an elemental art. This was a part of their scheme and partly it was justified, but of all the men who undertook to make a new school, Holman Hunt was the only one who remained, and will remain forever, a representative. He alone stuck to the original purpose of the group and developed it into a truly great school; so that it is he alone we need to know.
After he began to take lessons of the portrait painter in London, he developed so quickly that he found by painting portraits three days a week, he could pay his own expenses, and the rest of the time he devoted to study. He tried to be admitted to the Academy schools twice and was twice refused before they would receive him.
It was there in the Academy the three original Pre-Raphaelites met for the first time; they were Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Millais. After entering the school Hunt painted and sold four excellent pictures, but they all seem to have been lost; nobody can trace them. He was not yet a "Pre-Raphaelite."
All this time Hunt was half ill because he knew that he was grieving his father of whom he was devotedly fond, and the strain of trying to work while he was unhappy nearly destroyed him. The pictures that he exhibited at the Royal Academy were so poor that the commission declared they should not only be removed but that Hunt ought really to be forbidden to exhibit any more. This must have been a great blow to the young and struggling artist, and to add to this trouble, his father was being jeered at for having such a good-for-nothing son. Hunt's pictures in the Academy were so much despised that his father was told his son was a disgrace to him, and we may be sure that did not help the young fellow, who meantime was earning a living, not by painting pictures, but by cleaning up those of another man. Dyce, who had painted on the walls of Trinity House, engaged him to clean and restore those paintings, and Hunt was doing this for his bread and butter.
At that time he became so downhearted and discouraged that he almost decided to leave England altogether and go to live in Canada away from his friends who jeered, and his family who reproached him; but just then Millais, one of the successful painters whom he had met in the Academy school, who could afford to be generous, came to Hunt's aid and gave him the means of living while he painted "The Hireling Shepherd." This was destined to be the turning point in Hunt's luck, for that painting was properly hung at the exhibition, and it received recognition. After that he painted a picture which he sold on the installment plan—being paid by the purchaser so much a month.
Meantime he owed his landlady a large sum, and he says himself that he "suffered almost unbearable pain at passing her and her husband week after week without being able to even talk of annulling his debts." In time he not only settled that bill which distressed him, but paid back his friend Millais the money loaned by him.
Hunt rarely took a commission, because to do so meant that he must paint a picture after the manner his employer wished, and Hunt had certain ideas of art in which he believed and therefore would not bind himself to depart from them; but after a little success, which enabled him to pay his bills, he did undertake a commission from Sir Thomas Fairbairn, and it was called "The Awakened Conscience." He finished this picture on a January day late in the afternoon, and that very night he left England, setting out upon a longed-for journey to the Holy Land, where he meant to study the country and people till he believed himself able to paint a truthful picture of sacred scenes. He refused to paint pictures of Eastern Jews who should look like Parisians, with Venetian backgrounds. He meant to paint Oriental scenes as nearly as he could, as they might have taken place.
He came back to his English home just two years and one month from the time he had left it, and he brought back a picture of the goat upon which the Jews loaded their sins and then turned loose in waste-places to wander and die. "The Scapegoat" was a great picture, but before he left England he had painted a greater—the one we see here—"The Light of the World."
He had depended upon the sale of the "Scapegoat" to pay his way for a time after his return home, and alas, it did not sell. More than that, his beloved father died and this added to his sense of desolation, for he had not been sufficiently successful before his death to justify himself in his father's eyes. These things so overwhelmed his sensitive mind with trouble, that his condition became very serious, and if certain good friends had not stood by him loyally, he would probably never have painted again.
He began at last another ambitious picture—"Finding of Christ in the Temple"—but while he was engaged upon this, he had to paint mere pot-boilers also in order to get on at all, and he says that half the time the great picture "stood with its face to the wall" while he was trying merely to earn bread and butter. The wonderful Louis Blanc tried once to plan a way by which all deserving people should have in this world equal opportunity to try. This has never been "worked out." It never will be, but Holman Hunt reminds us how much the world loses by not providing that "equal opportunity." No one deserves more than his chance; but such struggles of genius tell us that all is not fair.
Hunt persevered with this Christ in the Temple and when finished he sold it for 5,500 guineas—a larger sum than he had ever before been given for a painting.
He no sooner received his money for this great picture than off he went once more to the Holy Land. He was conscientious in everything he did, and never before had an artist painted scenes of Christ that carried such a sense of truth with them. The set haloes seen about the heads of the saints and of holy people even in Raphael's pictures and in those of the very greatest artists of his time, disappeared with Holman Hunt's coming. In the "Light of the World," the halo is an accident—the great white moon, happening to rise behind the Christ's head—and there we have the halo, simple, natural, only suggestive, not artificial. Then, too, in the "Shadow of Death," there is a menacing shadow of the cross—made upon the wall by Christ's body, as he naturally stretches out his arms, after his work in the carpenter shop.
There is not one false note that shocks us, or makes us feel that after all the story itself is affected and artificial. Everything that is symbolical is brought about naturally. They are sincere, truthful pictures that speak to the mind as well as to the eye.
Hunt's colouring and many other technical matters are often far from perfect, but there is something besides technicality to be considered in judging a picture.
For a time, while the three men, Hunt, Rossetti, and Millais, kept together, their pictures were signed P. R. B., as a sign of their league; but this did not last very long, and afterward Hunt signed his pictures independently.
After the "Brotherhood" had worked against the greatest discouragements for a long time, and felt nearly hopeless of success, John Ruskin, one of the greatest of critics and most fearless of men, who was so much respected that his words had great influence, suddenly published a defence of these Pre-Raphaelites. He declared that they were the greatest artists of the time, and while scorning their critics he applauded those three young men, till he turned the tide, and everybody began to know what truly brilliant work they were doing. Ruskin's words came, Hunt said, "as thunder out of a clear sky."
When the "Brotherhood" was formed the three young men thought they should have a paper—a periodical of some sort, in which they might tell of their purposes and express their ideas; and so Rossetti, who wrote as well as painted, proposed that they print such a periodical once a month, and call it the Germ; and the P. R. B's. were to be joint proprietors. Rossetti had first thought of a different title, Thoughts Toward Nature, and his brother, W. M. Rossetti, who was going to take charge of the monthly, thought that expressed the Pre-Raphaelites' idea; but it was finally agreed to call it the Germ. Only two numbers could be published by the Pre-Raphaelites, because nobody bought it and the young men's money gave out, but the printers came to the rescue, and put up the money to issue two or three more Germs.
Although that journal failed utterly, its four numbers were worth publishing, and are to-day worth reading. They were truly valuable, for they contained a story and poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, besides work of the other P. R. B's.
Above all things Hunt was conscientious in his work, trying with all his might to represent things as be believed them to be. When he made his "Scapegoat," he went to the shores of the Dead Sea to paint, accompanied only by Arab guides, and there he found the desolate, hard landscape for his picture. The hardships he experienced were very many. The wretched goat he took with him died in the desert of that dreary place after it had been no more than sketched in, but back in Jerusalem Hunt finished the goat. Ruskin's description of the picture helps one to feel all the desolation of the subject: "The salt sand of the wilderness of Ziph, where the weary goat is dying. The neighbourhood is stagnant and pestiferous, polluted by the decaying vegetables brought down by the Jordan in its floods, and the bones of the beasts of burden that have died by the way of the sea, lie like wrecks upon its edge, bared by the vultures and bleached by the salt ooze."
Even the superstitious Arabs would not go near the spot which Hunt chose as the scene of his picture, but Hunt endured all things, believing it due to his art.
When he painted "Christ in the Temple," he needed Jewish models, and it was almost impossible for him to get them. He could not let them know what they were to represent, or they would not have sat for him at all but he succeeded in painting the "first Semitic presentment of the Semitic Scriptures." In Jerusalem the Jews heard that he had come "to traffic with the souls of the faithful," and they forbade him to have any Jews come into his studio; so that he could not finish the picture there. Back in London he had to find his models in the Jewish school. He left the figures of Christ and the Virgin till the last and then painted them "from a lady of the ancient race, distinguished alike for her amiability and beauty, and a lad in one of the Jewish schools, to which the husband of the lady furnished a friendly introduction."
Thus, step by step, through the greatest difficulties, Holman Hunt established a new school of painting—allegory with a modern treatment which all could understand.
PLATE—THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
This is the most popular picture of a sacred subject, ever painted; and John Ruskin's description of it, here quoted, is the best ever written or that can be written. "On the left of the picture is seen the door of the human soul. It is fast barred, its bars and nails are rusty; it is knitted and bound to its stanchions by creeping tendrils of ivy, showing that it has never been opened. A bat hovers over it; its threshold is overgrown with brambles, nettles and fruitless corn.... Christ approaches in the night time, ... he wears the white robe, representing the power of the Spirit upon Him; the jewelled robe and breastplate, representing the sacredotal investitude; the rayed crown of gold, interwoven with the crown of thorns; not dead thorns, but now bearing soft leaves, for the healing of the nations.... The lantern carried in Christ's left hand is the light of conscience.... Its fire is red and fierce; it falls only on the closed door, on the weeds that encumber it, and on an apple shaken from one of the trees of the orchard, thus marking that the entire awakening of the conscience is not to one's own guilt alone, but to the guilt of the world, or, 'hereditary guilt.'...
"This light is suspended by a chain, wrapt around the wrist of the figure, showing that the light which reveals sin to the sinner appears also to chain the hand of Christ. The light which proceeds from the head of the figure—is that of the hope of salvation; it springs from the crown of thorns, and, though itself sad, subdued and full of softness, is yet so powerful, that it entirely melts into the glow of it the forms of the leaves and boughs which it crosses, showing that every earthly object must be hidden by this light, where its sphere extends."
If you will study every detail of this reproduction, finding all the objects—the apple, the rusty bolts—noting how the full risen moon has formed a natural nimbus for the sacred head, and then re-read what Ruskin has said, you will discover the rarest truths in Holman Hunt's picture. The several pictures which he painted, but which cannot now be found are: "Hark!" which was first exhibited in the Royal Academy; "Scene from Woodstock," "The Eve of St. Agnes," "Jerusalem by Moonlight," "The King of Hearts," "Moonlight at Salerno," "Interior of the Mosque of Omar," "The Pathless Water," "Winter," "Afternoon," "Sussex Downs," "Penzance," "The Archipelago," "Will-o'-the-Wisp," "Ivybridge," "The Foal of an Ass," "Road over the Downs," "The Haunt of the Gazelle," "'Oh, Pearl,' Quoth I," "Miss Flamborough," "The School-girl's Hymn." Portraits: Mr. Martineau; Mr. J. B. Brice. Small sketch of the "Scapegoat," "Sunset on the Sea," "Morning Prayer," "Bianca," "Past and Present," and "Dead Mallard."
Should you ever find one of these pictures bearing the initials P. R. B. or those of Holman Hunt, you will have made an interesting discovery and should make it known to others.
American 1825-1897 Pupil of Regis Gignoux
George Inness was destined to keep a grocery store as his father had kept one before him, and had grown rich in it. When George was a young man he was given a grocery store in Newark, New Jersey, a very small store indeed, and it is not surprising that the young man preferred art to butter and eggs. The Inness family had just moved from Newburg, probably the elder Innes seeking in Newark a good location for his son's beginning.
The first art-work Inness did was engraving; as he had been apprenticed to that business, but afterward he studied with Gignoux, a pupil of Delaroche.
At that time there was what is known as the Hudson River School. Its ideas were set and formal, and not very inspiring, aside from the subjects treated. Church was then a young man like Inness, and he was studying in the Hudson River School, but the young grocer struck out a line for himself.
He was forty years old before he got to Paris, but once there, he turned to the men at Barbizon—Rousseau, Millet, Corot, and the rest—for inspiration, and began to do beautiful things indeed. Rousseau became his friend, and the art of Inness grew large and rich through such influences.
Inness had inherited much religious feeling from his Scotch ancestors, and all his work was conscientious, very carefully done.
When Inness returned from Paris he was not yet well known. He went to Montclair, New Jersey, to live and it was there that he did his best work. Finally, after he was fifty years old, he became known as a truly splendid painter. He loved best to paint quiet scenes of morning, evening sunset, and the like. His pictures began to gain value, and one that he had sold for three hundred dollars jumped in price to ten thousand and more. His work is not equally good, because his moods greatly influenced him.
This picture in the George A. Hearn collection is full of the sense of restfulness that the works of this artist always convey. The trees are as motionless as the distant hills, and if the oxen are moving at all it is but slowly.
Some other Inness paintings are the "Georgia Pines," "Sunset on the Passaic," "The Wood Gatherers" and "After a Summer Shower."
SIR EDWIN HENRY LANDSEER
English School 1802-1873 Pupil of his father, John Landseer
It is pleasant to speak of one artist whose good work began in the companionship of his father; the case of Edwin Landseer is most unusual.
His father was a skilful engraver who loved art, and encouraged the cultivation of it in his son, as other fathers of painters encouraged them to become priests or haberdashers or bakers, as the case might be. Little Landseer's beginning has been described by his father as he and a friend stood looking upon one of the scenes of his childhood:
"These two fields were Edwin's first studio. Many a time have I lifted him over this very stile. I then lived in Foley Street, and nearly all the way between Marylebone and Hampstead was open fields. It was a favourite walk with my boys; and one day when I had accompanied them, Edwin stopped by this stile to admire some sheep and cows which were quietly grazing. At his request I lifted him over, and finding a scrap of paper and a pencil in my pocket, I made him sketch the cow. He was very young indeed, then—not more than six or seven years old.
"After this we came on several occasions, and as he grew older this was one of his favourite spots for sketching. He would start off alone, or with John (Thomas?) or Charles, and remain till I fetched him in the afternoon. I would then criticise his work, and make him correct defects before we left the spot. Sometimes he would sketch in one field, sometimes in the other, but generally in the one beyond the old oak we see there, as it was more pleasant and sunny."
All the Landseer men were gifted, and the mother was the beautiful woman whom Reynolds painted as a gleaner, carrying a bundle of wheat upon her head.
There were seven little Landseers, the oldest of them being Thomas, the famous engraver, whose reproduction of his brother's works will preserve them to us always, even after the originals are gone. The first of Edwin's drawings which seemed to his family worthy of publishing was a great St. Bernard dog, such a wonderful performance for a little fellow of thirteen that Thomas engraved it and distributed it all over England. Little Edwin had seen this beautiful dog one day in the streets of London in a servant's charge, and he was so delighted with its beauty, that he followed the two home and asked the dog's owner if he might sketch him. The St. Bernard was six feet four inches long "and at the middle of his back, stood two feet seven inches in height." A great critic said that this drawing was one of the very finest that any master of art had ever made, though it was done by a little child of thirteen years and it is also said that Landseer himself never did anything better than that little-boy work. A live dog who was let into the room with it—as critic, maybe—proved to be the most flattering of such, because he bristled instantly for a fight.
While the boy was still thirteen—which seems to have been a magic and not a tragic number to him—he exhibited pictures in the Royal Academy. These were a mule, and a dog with a puppy. In the stories of "Famous Artists" we are told that he was a fine, manly little chap with light curly hair and very well behaved. When he became a student of the Academy the keeper, Fuseli, used to look about among the students and cry: "Where is my little dog boy?" if Landseer was not in his place. The little chap's favourite dog was his own Brutus, which he painted lying at full length; and though the picture was small, it sold for seventy guineas. This means an earning capacity indeed, for a small boy.
When he was but seven years old he had made pictures of lions and tigers, each with a different expression from the other and each with a character of its own. Critics spoke specially of the tiger's whiskers as "admirable in the rendering of foreshortened curves." Tigers' whiskers were thought to be most difficult things to make, but in Landseer's pictures, they were as "natural as life." The great success of the artist's animal pictures was that he made them seem to have human intelligence, and it was also said that if one only saw the dog's collar, as Landseer painted it, he would know it to be the work of a great artist, that a great dog-picture must be attached to it.
At least one of his pictures had a remarkable history. He had been commissioned by the Hon. H. Pierrpont to paint a "white horse in a stable." After the painting was ready for delivery it disappeared, and for twenty-four years it could not be found. At last it was discovered in a hay-loft! It had been stolen by a servant and hidden there. In spite of the long years that had passed, Landseer sent it at once to the man for whom it had been made, with the message that he had not retouched it nor changed it in the least, "because," said he, "I thought it better not to mingle the style of my youth with that of my old age."
One of Landseer's early advisers had told him he must dissect animals to get the proper effects in painting them, as it was necessary for him to understand their construction. So, one time, when a famous old lion died in the Exeter Exchange menagerie Landseer got its body and dissected it, and immediately afterward he painted three great lion pictures: "The Lion Disturbed at His Repast," "A Lion Enjoying His Repast," and "A Prowling Lion."
Sir Walter Scott became so enchanted with Landseer's pictures that the great novelist came to London to take the young artist to his home at Abbotsford. "His dogs are the most magnificent things I ever saw," said Scott, "leaping and bounding and grinning all over the canvas."
Landseer lived in the centre of London till he was more than thirty years old, and then, looking for more quiet and space he bought a very small house and garden at No. 1, St. John's Wood. There was not much room in the house but it had a stable attached which made a fine studio, and there Landseer lived with a sister of his, for nearly fifty years. When he first wished to rent the house, the landlord asked him a hundred pounds premium which Landseer felt that he could not pay and he was about to give it up, when a friend declared that if the matter of money was all that prevented him, he was to rent it immediately, and he could repay him as he chose. Landseer then took the house, his friend paying down the premium, and Landseer returned the money twenty-pounds at a time, till all the debt was paid.
Landseer made this a famous and hospitable house, and it is said that more great people gathered under his roof than had ever gathered about any other artist with the exception of Sir Joshua Reynolds. That was the house in which Landseer's loving old father spent his last days and finally died. A story is told of the witty D'Orsay, who would call out at the door, when he went to visit the artist: "Landseer, keep de dogs off me, I want to come in and some of dem will bite me—and dat fellow in de corner is growling furiously."
On one of his several visits to Abbotsford, where he went many times after his first invitation, to enjoy Scott's delightful hospitality, he painted a famous dog of Sir Walter's called Maida, which died six weeks afterward.
There are several such stories about dogs who died rather tragically and were also painted by Landseer. The two King Charles spaniels which he painted both died soon after sitting to the great painter. They had been pets of Mr. Vernon, who commissioned the painting, and the white Blenheim spaniel fell from a table and was killed, while the King Charles fell through the railings of a staircase and was picked up dead. The great bloodhound, Countess, belonging to Mr. Bell who gave her picture to the Academy, was watching for her master's return one dark night and when she heard the wheels of his carriage, then his voice, she leaped from the balcony, but missed her footing and fell nearly dead at Mr. Bell's feet. That gentleman loved the dog so much that he was distracted, and taking her into his gig, knowing that she must die, he raced in to London again that same night, and rousing Sir Edwin, begged him to paint the dog before it was too late. Then and there was the sketch of the dying animal made.
Sir Edwin Landseer was the most versatile and entertaining of artists. He was a wit, and could also perform all sorts of sleight of hand tricks, besides being so quick with his pencil that his doings seemed miraculous. One evening, during a conversation with many friends, someone declared that in point of time Sir Edwin could do a record-sketch. One young woman spoke up and said: "There is one thing that even he cannot do—he cannot make two different pictures at the same time."
"Think not?" cried Sir Edwin. "Let us see!" Gaily taking two pencils, he rapidly drew a stag's head with one hand and a horse's head with the other.
Landseer became the guest of royalty, a favourite of Queen Victoria, whose dog Dash was one of the many famous dogs painted by him. Dash was the favourite spaniel of the Duchess of Kent, Victoria's mother; and the Queen's biographer says that she too loved him very much. On Coronation Day she had been away from him longer than usual, and when the great state coach rolled up to the palace steps she could hear Dash barking for her in the hall. "Oh," she exclaimed, "there's Dash," and throwing aside the ball and sceptre which she carried, she hurried to change her fine robes, in order to wash the dog. This is a very homelike and picturesque story, but it is possibly not true. Doubtless the little Queen heard the dog bark—and was glad to see him.
At Windsor Landseer painted another royal dog, Islay, the pet terrier of Victoria; also Dandie Dinmont, belonging to the Princess Alice; then Eos, who was Prince Albert's—King Edward's—dog. All the last years of Sir Edwin Landseer' life, the royal family were his devoted and comforting friends. The painter suffered much and during his visits to Balmoral he wrote to his sister how the Queen used to go several times a day to his room, to look after his comfort and to inquire about his condition. He wrote:
"The Queen kindly commands me to get well here. She has to-day been twice to my room to show additions recently added to her already rich collection of photographs. Why, I know not, but since I have been in the High lands I have for the first time felt wretchedly weak, without appetite. The easterly winds, and now again the unceasing cold rain, may possibly account for my condition, but I can't get out. Drawing tires me; however, I have done a little better to-day. The doctor residing in the castle has taken me in hand, and gives me leave to dine to-day with the Queen and the rest of the royal family.... Flogging would be mild compared with my sufferings. No sleep, fearful cramp at night, accompanied by a feeling of faintness and distressful feebleness."
When he was well, he was gay and cheerful; and Dickens, Thackeray, and many other noted men were his friends. We are told that above all things. Sir Edwin was a great mimic and that one night at dinner he threw everybody into fits of laughter by imitating his friend the sculptor Sir Francis Chantry. It was at the sculptor's table, where a large party was assembled. Chantry called Sir Edwin's attention, when the cloth was removed, to the reflection of light in the highly polished table.
"Come here and sit in my place," said Chantry, "and see the perspective you can get." Then he went and stood by the fire, while Landseer sat in his place. Seated then in Chantry's chair, Landseer called out in perfect imitation of his host: "Come, young man, you think yourself ornamental; now make yourself useful, and ring the bell." Chantry did so, and when the butler came in he was confused and amazed to hear his master's voice from where Landseer sat in Chantry's place at the table. The voice of his master from the head of the table ordered claret, while his master really stood before the fire with his hands under his coat-tails.
We are told that Landseer stood his pictures on their heads, or upon one corner or looked at them from between his legs, any way, every way, to get a complete view of them from all quarters. He went to bed very late and got up very late, but in the mornings, while lying in bed he mostly thought out the subjects of his pictures.
He was not much of a sportsman, preferring to paint animals rather than to kill them, and one day when hunting, he saw a fine stag before him. Instead of firing at it, he thrust his gun into a gillie's hands, crying: "Hold that! hold that!" and whipping out his pencil and pad he began to sketch the stag. Whereupon the gillies were disgusted that he should miss so fine a shot, and they said something to each other in Gaelic, which Sir Edwin must have understood, for he became very angry.
"It was a pity," wrote one who knew all his qualities, "that Landseer, who might have done so much for the good of the animal kind, never wrote on the subject of their treatment. He had a strong feeling against the way some dogs are tied up, only allowed their freedom now and then. He used to say a man would fare better tied up than a dog, because the former can take his coat off, but a dog lives in his forever. He declared a tied-up dog, without daily exercise, goes mad, or dies, in three years."
He had a wonderful power over dogs, and he told one lady it was because he had "peeped into their hearts." A great mastiff rushed delightedly upon him one day and someone remarked how the dog loved him. "I never saw the dog before in my life," the artist said.
While teaching some horses tricks for Astley's, he showed his friends some sugar in his hand and said: "Here is my whip." His studio was full of pets, and one dog used as a model used to bring the master's hat and lay it at his feet when he got tired of posing.
This charming man suffered a great deal before his death, and had dreadful fits of depression. During one of these he wrote: "I have got trouble enough; ten or twelve pictures about which I am tortured, and a large national monument to complete." That monument was the one in Trafalgar Square, for which he designed the lions at the base. "If I am bothered about anything and everything, no matter what, I know my head will not stand it much longer." Later he wrote: "My health (or rather condition), is a mystery beyond human intelligence. I sleep seven hours, and awake tired and jaded, and do not rally till after luncheon. J. L. came down yesterday and did her best to cheer me... I return to my own home in spite of kind invitations from Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone to meet Princess Louise at breakfast." Of the many anecdotes told of this great man, his introduction to the King of Portugal furnishes the most amusing. "I am delighted to make your acquaintance," the King said, "I am so fond of beasts."
Before he died he had made a large fortune from his work, and during his illness he was tended most lovingly by his friends and sister. One day, walking in his garden, much depressed, he said sadly: "I shall never see the green leaves again," but he did live through other seasons. He wished to die in his studio, and at one time when he was much distracted the Queen wrote him not to fear, but to trust those who were doing all they could for him, that her confidence in his physicians and nurses was complete. At last with brother, sister, friends and fortune about him the great animal painter died, and on October 11, 1873, and was buried with great honours in St. Paul's Cathedral.
PLATE—THE OLD SHEPHERD'S CHIEF MOURNER
Of all the dogs Landseer loved to paint, the sheep collie has the most character; and here he shows us one expressing in every line of his face and form the most profound grief. The Glengarry bonnet on the floor beside the shepherd's staff, the spectacles lying on the Bible, the ram's horn, the vacant chair, the black and white shawl known as a "Shepherd's plaid"—all these things have failed to comfort this humble follower. We can imagine him, not bounding ahead with a joyous bark, but walking staidly behind the coffin when it is borne away and laying himself down upon his master's grave, perhaps to die of starvation, as some of his kind have been known to do. The painting is one of the Sheepshanks Collection in the South Kensington Museum.
Among Landseer's other famous dog pictures are "Low Life and High Life," "Dignity and Impudence" and "The Sleeping Bloodhound," all in the National Gallery.
CLAUDE LORRAIN (GELLEE)
Classical French School 1600-1689 Pupil of Godfrey Wals
Of all the contrasts between the early and later lives of great artists, Claude Lorrain gives us the most complete.
He was born to make pastry. His family may have been all pastry cooks, because people of Lorrain were famous for that work; anyway as a little chap he was apprenticed to one. His parents were poor, lived in the Duchy of Lorrain and from that political division the Artist was named.
The town in which he was born was Chamagne, and his real name was Gellee. As a pastry cook's apprentice he served his time, and then, without any thought of becoming anything else in the world, he set off with several other pastry cooks to go to Rome, where their talents were to be well rewarded.
But how strangely things fall out! In Rome he was engaged to make tarts for Agostine Tassi, a landscape painter. His work was not simply to furnish his master with desserts, but to do general housekeeping, and it fell to his lot to clean Tassi's paint brushes. So far as we know, this was the first introduction of Claude Lorrain to art other than culinary.
From cleaning brushes it was but a step to trying to use them upon canvas, and Tassi being a good-natured man, began to give Lorrain instruction, till the pastry cook became his master's assistant in the studio. This led to a larger and larger life for the young Frenchman, and he copied great masters, did original things, and finally in his twenty-fifth year returned to France a full-fledged artist. He remained there two years, and then went back to Italy, where he lived till he died. The visit to France turned out fortunately because on his way back he fell in with one of the original twelve members of the French Academy, Charles Errard, who became the first director of the Academy in Rome. A warm friendship sprang up between the men, and Errard was very helpful to the young artist.
Nevertheless, Lorrain did not gain much fame till about his fortieth year, when he was noticed by Cardinal Bentivoglio, and was given certain commissions by him. He grew in Bentivoglio's favour so much that the Cardinal introduced him to the pope. The Catholic Church set the fashions in art, politics, and history of all sorts at that time, so that Lorrain could not have had better luck than to become its favourite. The pope was Urban VIII., whose main business was to hold the power of the Church and make it stronger if he could, so that he was continually building fortresses and other fortifications, and he had use for artists and decorators. Lorrain's fame outlasted the life of Urban VIII., and he became a favourite in turn with each of the three succeeding popes. All this time he was doing fine work in Italy and for Italy, besides receiving orders for pictures from France, Holland, Germany, Spain, and England, for his fame had reached throughout the world.
Besides leaving many paintings behind him when he died, he left half a hundred etchings; also a more precise record of his work than most artists have left. He executed two hundred sketches in pen or pencil, washed in with brown or India ink, the high lights being brought out with touches of white. On the backs of them the artist noted the date on which the sketch was developed into a picture, and for whom the latter was intended. The story is that his popularity produced many imitators, and that he adopted this means to establish the identity of his own work and distinguish it from the many copies made.
These sketches were collected in a volume by Lorrain and called "Liber Veritatis," and for more than a hundred years the Dukes of Westminster have owned this.
PLATE—ACIS AND GALATEA
This picture in the Dresden Gallery is a scene from the mythical story of a goddess who fell in love with the youthful son of a faun and a naiad. Thus she excited the jealous fury of the cyclops, Polythemus, who is seen in the picture herding his flock of sheep upon the high cliff at the right. Soon he will rise and hurl a rock upon Acis, crushing the life out of him, so that there will be nothing left for Galatea to do but to turn him into the River Acis, but meanwhile the lovers are unconscious and happy. Venus is reposing near them on the waves and Cupid is closer still, while the sea in the background seems to be stirred with a fresh morning breeze.
Some of the famous Lorrains in the Louvre are: "Seaport at Sunset," "Cleopatra Landing at Tarsus," and "The Village Festival."
MASACCIO (TOMMASO GUIDI)
(Pronounced Tome-mah'so Mah'sahch'cheeo) Florentine School 1401-1428 Pupil of Ghibertio, Donatello, and Brunellesco
This artist, who lived and died within the century that witnessed the discovery of America, was famous for more than his painting. He was the original inventor who first learned and taught the mixing of colours with oils, thus making the peculiar "distemper" unnecessary.
The story of Italian artists includes a history of their names, for the Italians seem to have had most remarkable reasons for naming children. For example, this artist, Masaccio, was born on St. Thomas's day, hence, his name of Tommaso. Presently, for short, or for love, he was called Maso, and to cap all, being a careless lad, his friends added the derogatory "accio," and there we have the artist completely named. He owed nothing of this to his father, who was plain, or ornamentally, Ser Giovanni di Simone Guidi, of Castello San Giovanni, in the Valdamo.
As a very little boy, it was plain to be seen that slovenly Thomas was going to be a great artist, and no time was lost in putting him to work with the best of masters.
He was a veritable inventive genius. Until his time difficulties in drawing had been overcome mostly by ignoring them. Since no artist had been able to draw a foreshortened foot, it had been the fashion in art to paint people standing upon their tiptoes, to make it possible for an artist to paint the foot. The enterprising Thomas came along and he decided that feet must be painted both flat and crossed, on tiptoe or otherwise; in short he did not mean to lose by a foot.
He worked at this problem day and night, till at last the naturally poised foot came into existence for the artist. Never after Masaccio's time did an artist paint the foot stretched upon the toes. Moreover, until his time flesh had never been painted of a remotely natural colour, so Masaccio set about combining colours till he made one that had the tint of real flesh. Thus he was the first to overcome the difficulties of drawing and the first to discover a mixture that would not leave a glazed, hard, unnatural appearance and be likely to crack and destroy the finest effort of an artist.
He worked during his youth in Pisa, where the "leaning tower" stands; then he worked in Florence, finally in Rome, but those early pictures are long since gone. It was a century of adventure and discovery as well as of art, and with so much change, so many wars and rumours of wars, many great art works were lost. Besides, the horrible plague swept Italy east, west, north, and south. Who was to concern himself with saving works of art, when human life was going out wholesale all over the land?
Masaccio was certainly very poor most of his life. He lived with his mother and his brother Giovanni, an artist like himself, but not nearly so brilliant. Masaccio could not spend his life in painting but had to eke out the family fortunes by keeping a little shop near the old Badia, and being pestered day and night by his creditors he was forced again and again to go to the pawn shop.
Somewhere about 1422, careless Thomas painted his greatest picture which was doomed to destruction too early for us to know much about it; but it was named "San Paolo" and it was painted in the bell-room of the Church of the Carmine in Florence. The figure for his model was an illustrious personage, Bartoli d'Angiolini, who had held many honourable offices in Florence for many years. A critic and friend of artists tells us that the portrait was so great it lacked only the power of speech.
In this picture Masaccio made his first great triumph in the foreshortening of feet.
He undertook to celebrate the consecration Of the Church of the Carmine, and for this he made many frescoes, among which was a correct painting of the procession as it entered from the cloisters of the church. "Among the citizens who followed in its wake, portraits are introduced of Brunellesco, Donatello, Masolino, Felice Brancacci (the founder of the chapel) Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, and others, including the porter of the convent with the key of the door in his hand."
This work was thought to be very wonderful because the figures grew smaller in the distance, thereby giving "perspective" for the first time. Imagine how crude a thing was painting in the day of careless Thomas.
That fresco is long since gone, but drawings of it still exist which tell us something of the people of Christopher Columbus's day—previous to their appearance, and their conditions.
After Masaccio had finished the procession he went back to his painting of the chapel and in the end covered three of its four walls with his works. Many of those paintings are scenes from the life of St. Peter, and several were worked at by other artists than Masaccio.
Masaccio was greater than Raphael, greater than Michael Angelo in so far as he pointed the way that they were to go, having solved for them all the problems that had kept artists from being great before him. Sir Joshua Reynolds says that "he appeared to be the first who discovered the path that leads to every excellence to which the art afterward arrived; and may therefore be justly considered one of the great fathers of modern art."
The artist lived but a little time, and was most likely poisoned. Nobody knows, but it is said that other painters were so wildly jealous of his original genius that they wished him out of the way, and his death was at least mysterious. He drew very rapidly and let the details go, caring only to represent motion and action. Because he painted so many portraits into his pictures there was great life and animation in them, and people said of him that he painted not only the body but the soul.
PLATE—ARTIST'S PORTRAIT [Footnote: Many artists have left us portraits of themselves, painted, no doubt, with the aid of a mirror, in a group or alone. This one of Masaccio in the Naples Museum, shows him to have been a picturesque model.]
Some of his known pictures are the frescoes in the church of St. Clemente in Rome; the frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel in the Church of the Carmine, "St. Peter Baptising" and the "Madonna and Child, with St. Anne," which is in the Accademia at Florence.
JEAN LOUIS ERNEST MEISSONIER
(Pronounced May-sohn-yay) French School 1815-1891 Pupil of Leon Cogniet
This artist was born at Lyons. His father was a salesman and an art-training seemed impossible for the young man because the Meissoniers were poor people. Nevertheless, he was so persevering that while still a young man he got to Paris and began to paint in the Louvre. He was but nineteen at that time, and his fate seemed so hard and bitter that later in life he refused to talk of those days.
He sat for many days in the Louvre, by Daubigny's side, painting pictures for which we are told he received a dollar a yard. We can think of nothing more discouraging to a genius than having to paint by the yard. It is said that his poverty permitted him to sleep only every other night, because he must work unceasingly, and someone declares that he lived at one time on ten cents a week. This is a frightful picture of poverty and distress.
Meissonier's first paying enterprise was the painting of bon-bon boxes and the decorating of fans, and he tried to sell illustrations for children's stories, but for these he found no market. A brilliant compiler of Meissonier's life has written that "his first illustrations in some unknown journal were scenes from the life of 'The Old Bachelor.' In the first picture he is represented making his toilet before the mirror, his wig spread out on the table; in the second, dining with two friends; in the third, on his death-bed, surrounded by greedy relations and in the fifth, the servants ransacking the death chamber for the property." This was very likely a vision of his own possible fate, for Meissonier must have been at that time a lonely and unhappy man.
There are many stories of his first exhibited work, which Caffin declares was the "Visit to the Burgomaster," but Mrs. Bolton, who is almost always correct in her statements, tells us that it was called "The Visitor," and that it sold for twenty dollars. At the end of a six years struggle in Paris, his pictures were selling for no more.
Until this artist's time people had been used only to great canvases, and had grown to look for fine work, only in much space, but here was an artist who could paint exquisitely a whole interior on a space said to be no "larger than his thumb nail." His work was called "microscopic," which meant that he gave great attention to details, painting very slowly.
During the Italian war of 1859, and in the German war of 1870, this wonderful artist was on the staff of Napoleon III. During the siege of Paris he held the rank of colonel, and he lost no chance to learn details of battles which he might use later, in making great pictures. Thus he gained the knowledge and inspiration to paint his picture "Friedland," which was bought by A. T. Stewart and is now in the Metropolitan Museum. He, himself, wrote of that picture: "I did not intend to paint a battle—I wanted to paint Napoleon at the zenith of his glory; I wanted to paint the love, the adoration of the soldiers for the great captain in whom they had faith, and for whom they were ready to die.... It seemed to me I did not have colours sufficiently dazzling. No shade should be on the imperial face.... The battle already commenced, was necessary to add to the enthusiasm of the soldiers, and make the subject stand forth, but not to diminish it by saddening details. All such shadows I have avoided, and presented nothing but a dismounted cannon, and some growing wheat which should never ripen.
"This was enough.
"The men and the Emperor are in the presence of each other. The soldiers cry to him that they are his, and the impressive chief, whose imperial will directs the masses that move around, salutes his devoted army. He and they plainly comprehend each other and absolute confidence is expressed in every face."
This great work was sold at auction for $66,000 and given to the Metropolitan Museum.
It is said that when he painted the "Retreat from Russia," Meissonier obtained the coat which Napoleon had worn at the time, and had it copied, "crease for crease and button for button." He painted the picture mostly out of doors in midwinter when the ground was covered with snow, and he writes: "Sometimes I sat at my easel for five or six hours together, endeavouring to seize the exact aspect of the winter atmosphere. My servant placed a hot foot-stove under my feet, which he renewed from time to time, but I used to get half-frozen and terribly tired."
So attentive was he to truthfulness in detail that he had a wooden horse made in imitation of the white charger of the Emperor; and seating himself on this, he studied his own figure in a mirror.
At last this conscientious man was made an officer of the Legion of Honour, having already become President of the Academy. Edmund About writes that "to cover M. Meissonier's pictures with gold pieces simply would be to buy them for nothing; and the practice has now been established of covering them with bank-notes."
Meissonier seldom painted the figure of a woman in his pictures, but all of his subjects were wholesome and fine.
One time an admirer said to him "I envy you; you can afford to own as many Meissonier pictures as you please!"
"Oh no, I can't," the distinguished artist replied. "That would ruin me. They are a good deal too dear for me."
In his maturity he became very rich, and his homes were dreams of beauty, filled with rare possessions such as bridles of black leather once owned by Murat, rare silver designed by the artist himself, great pictures, and flowers of the rarest description besides valuable dogs and horses. Yet it was said that "this man who lives in a palace is as moderate as a soldier on the march. This artist, whose canvases are valued by the half-million, is as generous as a nabob. He will give to a charity sale a picture worth the price of a house. Praised as he is by all he has less conceit in his nature than a wholesale painter."
On the 31st of January in his country house at Poissy, this great man, whose life reads like a romance, died, after a short illness. His funeral services were held in the Madeleine, and he was buried at Poissy, near Versailles, a great military procession following him to the grave.
PLATE—RETREAT FROM MOSCOW
In the painting of this picture we have already told how every detail was mastered by actual experience of most of them. Meissonier made dozens of studies for it—"a horse's head, an uplifted leg, cuirasses, helmets, models of horses in red wax, etc. He also prepared a miniature landscape, strewn with white powder resembling snow, with models of heavy wheels running through it, that he might study the furrow made in that terrible march home from burning Moscow. All this work—hard, patient, exacting work."
Some of his other pictures are "The Emperor at Solferino," "Moreau and His Staff before Hohenlinden," "A Reading at Diderot's" and the "Chess Players."
JEAN FRANCOIS MILLET
Fontainebleau-Barbizon School 1814-1875 Pupil of Delaroche
Two great artists painted peasants and little else. One was the artist of whom we shall speak, and the other was Jules Breton. One was realistic, the other idealistic. Both did wonderful work, but Millet painted the peasant, worn, patient steadfast, overwhelmed with toil; Breton, a peasant full of energy, grace, vitality, and joy.
Millet painted peasants as he knew them, and hardly any one could have known them better, for he was himself peasant-born. His youth was hard, and the scenes of his childhood were such as in after life he became famous by painting. Millet lived in the department of Manche, in the village of Gruchy, near Cherbourg. Manche juts into the sea, at the English Channel, and whichever way Millet looked he must have seen the sea. His old grandmother looked after the household affairs, while his father and mother worked in the fields and Millet must have seen them hundreds of times, standing at evening, with bowed heads, listening to the Angelus bell. He toiled, too, as did other lads in his position. His grandmother was a religious old woman, and nearly all the pictures he ever saw in his boyhood were those in the Bible, which he copied again and again, drawing them upon the stone walls in white chalk.
The old grandmother watched him, never doubting that her boy would become an artist. It was she who had named him—Francois, after her favourite saint, Francis, and it was she, who, beside the evening fire, would tell him legends of St. Francis. It was she alone who had time and strength left, after the day's work, to teach him the little he learned as a boy and to fix in his mind pictures of home. His father and mother were worn, like pack-horses, after their day in the fields. The mother very likely had to hitch herself up with the donkey, or the big dog, after the fashion of these people, as she helped draw loads about the field. Who can look for Breton's ideal stage peasants from Millet who knew the truth as he saw it every day?
Many years after his life in the Gruchy home, Millet painted the portrait of the grandmother whom he had loved so much that he cried out: "I wish to paint her soul!" No one could desire a better reward than such a tribute.
Millet had an uncle who was a priest and he did what he could to give the boy a start in learning. He taught him to read Virgil and the Latin Testament; and all his life those two books were Millet's favourites. Besides drawing pictures on the walls of his home, he drew them on his sabots. Pity some one did not preserve those old wooden shoes! He did his share of the farm work, doing his drawing on rainy days.
When he was about eighteen years old, coming from mass one day, he was impressed with the figure of an old man going along the road, and taking some charcoal from his pocket he drew the picture of him on a stone wall. The villagers passing, at once knew the likeness; they were pleased and told Millet so. Old Millet, the father, also was delighted for he, too, had wished to be an artist, but fate had been against him. Seeing the wonderful things his son could do, he decided that he should become what he himself had wished to be, and that he should go to Cherbourg to study.
Francois set off with his father, carrying a lot of sketches to show, and upon telling the master in Cherbourg what he wanted and showing the sketches, he was encouraged to stay and begin study in earnest. So back the old father went, with the news to the mother and grandmother and the priest uncle, that Francois had begun his career. He stayed in Cherbourg studying till his father died, when he thought it right to go home and do the work his father had always done. He returned, but the women-folk would not agree to him staying. "You go back at once," said the grandmother, "and stick to your art. We shall manage the farm." She sewed up in his belt all the money she had saved, and started him off again, for he had then been studying only two months. Now he remained till he was twenty-three, a fine, strapping, broad-shouldered country fellow. He had long fair hair and piercing dark blue eyes. All the time he was with Delaroche he was dissatisfied with his work—and with his master's, which seemed to Millet artificial, untrue. He knew nothing of the classical figures the master painted and wished him to paint, for his heart and mind were back in Gruchy among the scenes that bore a meaning for him. He wished to study elsewhere, and by this time he had done so well that one of the artists with whom he had studied went to the mayor of Millet's home town, and begged him to furnish through the town-council money enough to send Millet to Paris. This was done, and Millet began to hope.
He was very shy and afraid of seeming awkward and out of place. The night he got to Paris was snowy, full of confusion and strange things to him, and an awful loneliness overwhelmed him. The next morning he set out to find the Louvre, but would not ask his way for fear of seeming absurd to some one, so that he rambled about alone, looking for the great gallery till he found it unaided. He spent most of the days that followed gazing in ecstasy at the pictures.
He liked Angelo, Titian, and Rubens best. He had come to Paris to enter a studio, but he put off his entrance from day to day, for his shyness was painful and he feared above all things to be laughed at by city students. At last one day, he got up enough courage to apply to Delaroche, whose studio he had decided to enter if he could, as he liked his work best. The students in that studio were full of curiosity about the new chap, with his peasant air, his bushy hair and great frame, so sturdy and awkward. They at once nicknamed him "the man of the woods," and they nagged at him and laughed at the idea that he could learn to paint, till one day, exasperated nearly to death, he shook his fist at them. From that moment he heard no more from them, for they were certain that if he could not paint he could use his fists a good deal better than any of them. Delaroche liked the peasant but did not understand him very well, and Millet was not too fond of his painting, so after two years he and a friend withdrew from that studio and set up one for themselves. Thus eight years passed, the friends living from hand to mouth, doing all sorts of things: sign-painting, advertisements, and the like; and Millet, in the midst of his poverty, got married.
He went home, returning to Paris with his wife, and after starving regularly, he became desperate enough to paint a single picture as he wished. It seemed at the time the maddest kind of thing to do. Who would see ugly, toil-worn peasants upon his salon walls? Paris wanted dainty, aesthetic art, and an Academy artist would have scoffed at the idea; but the Millets were starving anyway, so why not starve doing at least what one chose. So Millet painted his first wonderful peasant picture "The Winnower," and just as the family were starving he sold it—for $100. He had done at last the right thing, in doing as he pleased. This was a sign to him that there was after all a place for truth and emotion in art. But the Millets must change their place of living, and go to some place where the money made would not at once be eaten up. Jacque—the friend with whom Millet had set up shop, and who also became famous, later—advised them to go to a little place he knew about, which had a name ending in "zon." It was near the forest of Fontainebleau, he said and they could live there very cheaply, and it was quiet and decent. The Millets got into a rumbling old cart and started in search of the place which ended in "zon" near the forest of Fontainebleau. Jacque had also decided to take his family there and they all went together. When they got to Fontainebleau they got down from the car and went a-foot through the forest.
They arrived tired and hungry toward evening, and went to Ganne's Inn, where there were Rousseau, Diaz, and other artists who like themselves had come in search of a nice, clean, picturesque place in which to starve, if they had to. Those who were just sitting down to supper welcomed the newcomers, for they had been there long enough to form a colony and fraternity ways. One of these was to take a certain great pipe from the wall, and ask the newcomer to smoke; and according to the way he blew his "rings" he was pronounced a "colourist" or "classicist." The two friends blew the smoke, and at once the other artists were able to place Jacque. He was a colourist; but what were they to say about Millet who blew rings after his own fashion.
"Oh, well!" he cried. "Don't trouble about it. Just put me down in a class of my own!"
"A good answer!" Diaz answered. "And he looks strong and big enough to hold his own in it!" Thus the newcomers took their places in the life of Barbizon—the place whose name ended in "zon," and Millet's real work began. His first wife lived only two years, but he married again. All this time he was following his conscience in the matter of his work, and selling almost nothing. In a letter to a friend he tells how dreadfully poor they are, although his new wife was the most devoted helpful woman imaginable, known far and near as "Mere Millet." The artist wrote to Sensier, his friend, who aided him: "I have received the hundred francs. They came just at the right time. Neither my wife nor I had tasted food in twenty-four hours. It is a blessing that the little ones, at any rate, have not been in want."
The revolution of 1848 had come before Millet went to Barbizon, and he like other men had to go to war. Then the cholera appeared, and these things interrupted his work; and after such troubles people did not begin buying pictures at once. Rousseau was famous now, but Millet lived by the hardest toil until one day he sold the "Woodcutter" to Rousseau himself, for four hundred francs. Rousseau had been very poor, and it grieved him to see the trials and want of his friend, so he pretended that he was buying the picture for an American. That picture was later sold at the Hartmann sale for 133,000 francs. Millet was now forty years old, and had not yet been recognised as a wonderful man by any but his brother artists. He was truly "in a class of his own." He had learned to love Barbizon, and cried: "Better a thatched cottage here than a palace in Paris!" and we have the picture in our minds of Millet followed patiently and lovingly by "Mere Millet" in the peasant dress which she always wore, that she might be ready at a moment's notice to pose for his figures. Then there were his little children and his sunny, simple, fraternal surroundings, which make his life the most picturesque of all artists.
His paintings had the simplest stories with seldom more than two or three figures in them. It was said that he needed only a field and a peasant to make a great picture. When he painted the "Man with the Hoe," he did it so truthfully, in a way to make the story so well understood by all who looked upon it, that he was called a socialist. No one was so much surprised as Millet by that name. "I never dreamed of being a leader in any cause," he said. "I am a peasant—only a peasant."
Of his picture "The Reaper" a critic wrote, "He might have reaped the whole earth." All his pictures were sermons, he called them "epics of the fields." He pretended to nothing except to present things just as they were, as he writes in a letter to a friend about "The Water Carrier:"
In the woman coming from drawing water I have endeavoured that she shall be neither a water-carrier nor a servant, but the woman who has just drawn water for the house, the water for her husband's and her children's soup; that she shall seem to be carrying neither more nor less than the weight of the full buckets; that beneath the sort of grimace which is natural on account of the strain on her arms, and the blinking of her eyes caused by the light, one may see a look of rustic kindliness on her face. I have always shunned with a kind of horror everything approaching the sentimental. I have desired on the other hand, that this woman should perform simply and good-naturedly, without regarding it as irksome, an act which, like her other household duties, is one she is accustomed to perform every day of her life. Also I wanted to make people imagine the freshness of the fountain, and that its antiquated appearance should make it clear that many before her had come to draw water from it.
At forty he was in about the same condition as he had been on that evening ten or twelve years before, when he had entered Barbizon carrying his two little daughters upon his shoulders, his wife following with the servant and a basket of food, to settle themselves down to hardship made sweet by kind comradeship and hope. Now a change came. Millet painted "The Angelus." He was dreadfully poor at that time and sold the picture cheaply, but it laid the foundation of his fame and fortune. He had worked upon the canvas till he said he could hear the sound of the bell. Although its first purchaser paid very little for it, it has since been sold for one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
At last, having struggled through his worst days, without recognition, and with nine little children to feed and clothe, he was given the white cross of the Legion of Honour; and as if to make up for the days of his starvation, he was nearly feasted to death in Paris. He was placed upon the hanging committee of the Salon, and took a dignified place among artists. He and Mere Millet travelled a little, but always he returned to Barbizon, till the war came and he had to move to Normandy to work. Afterward he returned to Barbizon, to the scenes and the old friends he loved so well, and there he died. He had come back ill and tired with the long struggle, and he instructed his friends to give him a simple funeral. This was done. They carried his coffin, while his wife and children walked beside him to the cemetery, and he was buried near the little church of Chailly, whose spire is seen in "The Angelas," and where Rousseau, whom he loved, had already been laid.
There in Barbizon, to-day, may be seen Rousseau's cottage and Millet's studio. "The peasants sow and reap and glean as in the days of Millet; Troyon's oxen and sheep are still standing in the meadow; Jacque's poultry are feeding in the barnyard. The leaves on Rousseau's grand old trees are trembling in the forest; Corot's misty morning is as fresh and soft as ever; while Diaz's ruddy sunsets still penetrate the branches; and the peasant pauses daily as the Angelus from the Chailly church calls him to silent prayer."
In "The Angelus" you may see far-off the spire of the church at Chailly, from which the bell sounds. The day's work is drawing to a close. The peasant man and woman have been digging potatoes—the man uncovering them, while his wife has been putting them in the basket. As the Angelus floats across the fields, the two pause and bow their heads in prayer. The man has dropped his fork and uncovered his head, and his wife has clasped her hands devoutly before her.
All the air seems still and full of tender sound and colour, and we, like Millet, seem "to hear the bell." This is the only picture he painted which is full of the sentimentality he so much disliked. It is a great picture, but we need to know the title in order to interpret it.
Besides this one, Millet painted "The Gleaners," "The Woodcutters," "The Sower," "The Man with the Hoe;" "The Water Carrier," "The Reaper," and many other stories of the peasant poor.
(Pronounced Claude Mo-nay) Impressionist School of France 1840—
Another—Manet—was the founder of this school among modern painters, but Monet is always considered his most conspicuous follower.
Monet's remarkable method of putting his colours upon canvas does not mean impressionism. He is an impressionist but also Monet—an artist with a method entirely different from that of any other. He belongs to what in France is called the pointillistes. The word means nothing more nor less than an effort to accomplish the impossible. If you stand a little way from a very hot stove you may be able to see a kind of movement in the air, a quivering of particles or molecular motion, and this is what the pointillistes try to show in their paintings—Monet most of all.
The theory is that by putting little dabs of primitive colours, close together upon canvas, without mixing them, just separate dabs of red, yellow, blue, etc., the effect of movement is produced. Needless to say, none of them ever have produced such an effect, but they have made such grotesque, ugly pictures that they have attracted attention even as a humpbacked person does.
The first who painted thus was a Frenchman named Seurat, who tried it after closely studying experiments made in light and colour by Professor Rood, of Columbia University. After him came Pissarro, and then Monet. America also has such a painter, Childe Hassam, but nobody is so grotesque as Monet.
He was born in Paris but spent most of his youth in Havre, where he met a painter of harbours and shipping scenes called Boudin. Through his influence Monet studied out-of-door effects, and was beginning to do fairly good work, when he was drawn as a conscript and sent to Algeria. It is written that Monet discovered that "green, seen under strong sunshine is not green, but yellow; that the shadows cast by sunlight upon snow or upon brightly lighted surfaces are not black, but blue; and that a white dress, seen under the shade of trees on a bright day, has violet or lilac tones." This only means that these things have been scientifically determined, not that the naked eye ever perceives them, and it is for the natural, unscientific eye that art exists. None of us see the separate colours of the spectrum, as we look about in every-day fashion upon every-day objects.
Professor Rood managed to produce an intelligent effect by putting separate colours on discs and whirling these round so that the colours mingled. Monet tried to do the same by dotting his original colours close together, and leaving the picture to its own destruction. It ought to revolve, if the scientific idea is to be carried out.
Nothing desirable can be made out of his pictures even when viewed from far off, while at close range they are simply grotesque, and photographs of them give the impression that the entire landscape is wabbling to the ground.
I wonder if anyone, small or grown up, can understand this: "It was indeed a higher kind of impressionism that Monet originated, one that reveals a vivid rendering, not of the natural and concrete facts, but of their influence upon the spirit when they are wrapped in the infinite diversities of that impalpable, immaterial, universal medium which we call light, when the concrete loses itself in the abstract, and what is of time and matter impinges on the eternal and the universal." Monet's pictures look just as that explanation of them sounds!
The same writer says that Monet was greater than Corot because he was more sensitive to colour; but if Monet had been as sensitive to colour as Corot, he could not have lived and looked at his own pictures.
PLATE—HAYSTACK IN SUNSHINE
The main feature of this picture is such a hay stack as never existed anywhere, of indescribable lurid colour, against a background of blue such as never was seen. All about there are violet and rose-coloured trees, and it is a picture that every child should know, because he is likely never to have another such opportunity.
Monet has made two interesting pictures of churches, one at Vernon, the other at Varangeville.
MURILLO (BARTOLOME ESTEBAN)
(Pronounced Moo-reel'oh Bar-tol-o-may' A-stay'bahn) Andalusian School 1617-1682 Pupil of Juan del Castillo
The story of Murillo has been delightfully told by Mrs. Sarah Bolton.
Like Velasquez, he was born in Seville, a city called "the glory of the Spanish realms," and was baptised on New Year's day, 1618, in the Church of the Magdalen.
Murillo's father paid his rent in work, instead of in money. He made a bargain with the convent who owned his house that he would keep it in repair if he might have it free of rent, so there Gaspar Esteban and his wife, Maria Perez, settled. "Perez" was the family name of Murillo's mother, who had very good connections; one of her brothers, Juan del Castillo, being a man who encouraged all art and had an art school of his own. Little Murillo therefore had encouragement from the start, an unusual circumstance at a time when parents rarely wished to think of their sons as painters. As a matter of fact, his mother would have preferred that he should become a priest, but she was kind and sensible, and put no difficulties in the way of the little Murillo doing as he wished.
The story goes that the Perez family had been very rich, but, however it may have been, that was not the case when the artist was born. One day after his mother had gone to church, Murillo being left at home alone, retouched a picture that hung upon the wall. It was a picture of sacred subject—"Jesus and the Lamb." He thought he could make some improvements in it, so he painted his own hat upon the head of Jesus and changed the lamb into a little dog. His mother was a good deal shocked at what seemed to her an irreligious act, though it showed the family genius. After that the boy was found to be painting upon the walls of his schoolroom, and making sketches upon the margins of his books, though he did little else at school.
He had one sister, Therese, and they were left without father or mother before the artist was eleven years old.
It was at that time that he received the name of "Murillo" by which he is known.
It came about thus: After the death of his parents he went to live with his mother's sister, the Dona Anna Murillo, who had married a surgeon called Juan Agustin Lagares, and since the little artist was to live with his aunt, he soon became known by her family name. There, in her home, he and his sister Therese, were brought up, but he was not to become a surgeon like his uncle-in-law, but an artist like his uncle Juan, the teacher in Seville. That uncle took him in hand, taught the boy to draw, to mix colours, to stretch his canvas, and soon Murillo's genius won the love of master and pupils.
In peace and reasonable comfort he served a nine years apprenticeship, and painted his first important, if not especially great, pictures. These were two Madonnas, one of them "The Story of the Rosary." St. Dominic had instituted the rosary; using fifteen large and one hundred and fifty small beads upon which to keep record of the number of prayers he had said; the large beads representing the Paternosters and Glorias and the small ones, the Aves. This practical way of indicating duties helped the heedless to concentrate their attention, and did much to increase the number of prayers offered. Indeed, it is said that "by this single expedient Dominic did more to excite the devotion of the lower orders, especially of the women, and made more converts, than by all his orthodoxy, learning, arguments, and eloquence." It was this incident in the history of the Catholic Church that Murillo commemorated.
When the artist was twenty-two years old, his uncle, Juan del Castillo, broke up his home and went elsewhere to live, leaving the artist without home or means, and with his little sister to take care of. Without vanity or ambition, but with only the wish to care for his sister and to get food, the marvellous painter took himself to the market place, and there, wedged in between stalls, old clothes, vegetables, all sorts of wares, like a wanderer and a gypsy, he began his career.
At the weekly market—the Feria or fair, opposite the Church of All Saints—his brotherly, kindly feeling for the vagabonds he daily met is shown in the treatment he gives them in his wonderful pictures. During the two years that he worked in that open-air studio he had flower-girls, muleteers, hucksters all about him, and he painted dozens of rough pictures which found quick sale among the patrons of the market. What Velasquez was doing in the court of Madrid, Murillo was doing in the streets of Seville; the one painting cardinals, kings, and courtiers; the other painting beggars, gamins, and waifs. Between the two, the world has been shown the social history of Spain as it then existed.
Through a peculiar happening, the American Indian saw the beauties of Murillo's work before Europe was even conscious there was such a man. In his old home, his uncle's studio, Murillo had had a dear comrade, Moya. They had not met for two years or more, and when they did come together again Moya told Murillo he had been travelling, that he had been to Flanders with the Spanish army, and thence to London, in both places seeing gorgeous paintings and other inspiring things. He opened the eyes of Murillo to the splendours the world contained, and the artist became wild with desire to go and see them for himself, but he had no money. He was painting pictures in the market place of Seville and getting so little for his hasty work that he could barely support himself and little Therese. What must he do in order to get to London and see the world?
What he did do was to buy a piece of linen, cut it into six pieces and hide himself long enough to paint upon them "saints, flowers, fruit and landscapes," and then he went forth to sell them.
He actually sold those pictures to a ship-owner who was sending his ship to the West Indies. Eventually they were hung upon the walls of a mission in wild, far off America. It is said that after this Murillo made no little money by painting such pictures, destined to give the American savage an idea of the Christian religion. One cannot but wonder if there may not be, all unknown to us, Murillo pictures, made in the market-place of Seville nearly three hundred years ago, hidden away in the remains of those old Spanish missions, even to-day. Such a picture would be more rare than the greatest that he ever painted.
After selling his six pictures Murillo started a-foot, not to London but on a terrible journey across the Sierra Mountains, to Madrid—the home of Velasquez. Murillo knew that this native of Seville had become a famous artist. He was powerful and rich and at the court of Philip II., while Murillo had no place to lay his head, and besides he had left Therese behind in Seville in the care of friends. He had no claim upon the kindness of Velasquez but he determined to see him; to introduce himself and possibly to gain a friend. It was under these forlorn circumstances he made himself known to the great Spanish court painter.
The story of their meeting is a fine one. For Murillo Velasquez had a warm embrace, a kind and hospitable word. The stranger told Velasquez how he had crossed the mountains on foot, was penniless, but could use his brush. Instead of jealousy and suspicion, the young man met with nothing but the most cheerful encouragement, found the Velasquez home open to him, took up his lodging there and established his workshop with nothing around him but friendship and the sympathy his nature craved.
From the market-place to the home of Velasquez and the Palace of Philip II.! It was a beautiful dream to Murillo.
With what splendour of colour and mastery of design he illuminated the annals of the poor! Coming forth from some dim chancel or palace-hall in which he had been working on a majestic Madonna picture, he would sketch in, with the brush still loaded with the colours of celestial glory, the lineaments of the beggar crouching by the wall, or the gypsy calmly reposing in the black shadow of an archway. Such versatility had never before been seen west of the Mediterranean, and it commanded the admiration of his countrymen.
All his beggarly little children, neglected and houseless, appeared only to be full of cheer and merriment, with soft eyes and contented faces. It was a happy, care-free, gay, and kindly beggardom that he painted, with nothing in it to sadden the heart.
Thus he lived for three years; working in the galleries of the king, making friends at court, painting beautiful women, gallant cavaliers and fascinating little beggars.
In the course of time, however, he grew restless, and Velasquez wished to give him letters of introduction to Roman artists and people of quality, advising him to go to Rome to study the greatest art in the world. This was an alluring plan to Murillo, but after all he longed for his own home and chose to return there rather than go to Rome. Besides, his sister Therese was still in Seville.
Once more in his home, at one stroke of his magic brush Murillo raised himself and a monastic order from obscurity to greatness. In his native city was the order of San Francisco. The monks had long wished to have their convent decorated in a worthy manner by some artist of repute; but they were poor and had never been able to engage such a painter. When Murillo got back home, he was as badly in need of work as the Franciscans were in want of an artist. The monks held a council and finally agreed upon a price which they could pay and which Murillo could live upon. Then he began a wonderful set of eleven large paintings. Among them were many saints, dark and rich in colouring, and no sooner was it known that the paintings were being made than all the rich and powerful people of Seville flocked to the convent to see the work. They gathered about the young artist, overwhelmed him with honours and praise, and the monastery was crowded from morning till night with those who wished to study his work. From that moment Murillo's fame, if not his fortune, was made.
He married a rich and noble lady with the tremendous name of Dona Beatriz de Cabrera y Sotomayer. He had fallen in love with her while painting her as an angel.
About that time he formed a strange partnership with a landscape painter, who agreed to supply the backgrounds that his pictures needed, if Murillo would paint figures into his landscapes. This plan did very well for a little time, but it did not last long.