The other artist's name was Giorgione, and he had the most delightful ways about him, winning friends wherever he went, so it was no wonder that the warm-hearted Titian sought his companionship. One day those two young comrades left their master's studio, to have a good time off by themselves. There was a stated hour for their return; but they had spent all their money, and forgot that Giovanni Bellini was expecting them home. When they did return the door was closed and locked. What were they to do? They did the only thing they could. As comrades in misfortune they joined forces, set up a studio of their own, and went to work to earn their living as best they might. At first it was hard sledding, but in time they got a good job, namely to decorate the walls of a public building in Venice which was used by foreign merchants for the transaction of their business, a sort of "exchange," as we understand it. This was the Fondaco de' Tedeschi, and it had two great halls, eighty rooms, and twenty-six warehouses. It was indeed a big undertaking for the two young men, and they divided the business between them. Their joy was great, their cartoons successfully made and the work well begun, when, alas, they fell to quarreling simply because someone had declared that Titian's work upon the building was a little better than Giorgione's.
This dispute parted the two friends, who had had good times together, and it must have been Giorgione's fault, because Ludovico Dolce, one who knew Titian well, said that "he was most modest ... he never spoke reproachfully of other painters ... in his discourse he was ever ready to give honour where honour was due ... he was, moreover, an eloquent speaker, having an excellent wit and perfect judgment in all things; of a most sweet and gentle nature, affable and most courteous in manner; so that whoever once conversed with him could not choose but love him henceforth forever." That is a most loving and splendid tribute for one man to pay another. Not long after Giorgione died, and Titian took up his unfinished work, doing it as well as his own.
There was a brilliant and mature artist called Palma Vecchio, in Venice, and Titian painted in his studio, where he saw and loved Vecchio's daughter, Violante. The young artist was not very well off financially, and therefore could not marry; hence he was not specially happy over his love affair. About that time he took to painting after the manner of Vecchio, through being so much influenced by his soft feelings for the older artist's daughter. He used the lovely Violante again and again for his model, and many of the beautiful faces which Titian painted at that time show the features of his lady-love. With his new love Titian's serious work seemed to begin, and at twenty-one he painted his first truly great picture, "Sacred and Profane Love." To day this picture hangs upon the walls of the Borghese Palace, in Rome.
Raphael painted a great many pictures, but Titian must have painted more. At least one thousand have his signature.
Now came wars and troubles for Venice. The Turks, French, and Venetians became at odds, and during the strife many fine works of art were lost, among them many of Titian's pictures. He had painted bishops, also the wicked Borgias, and many other great personages, but all of these are gone and to this day, no one knows what became of them.
At last Titian began one of his greatest paintings, "The Tribute Money," and he set about it because he had been criticised. Some German travellers in Venice visited Titian's studio, and though they found his work very fine, one of them said that after all there was only one master able to finish a painting as it should be finished, and that was the great Durer. The German pointed out the differences between Titian's method and Durer's, and declared that Venetian painters never quite came up to the promise of their first pictures. Durer's wonderful pictures were quite different from Titian's, inasmuch as his work was fuller of detail and careful finishing, but Titian was as great in another way. His effects were broader, but quite as satisfying. However, the German criticism put him on his mettle, and he answered that if he had thought the greatest value of a painting lay in its fiddling little details of finishing, he too would have painted them. To show that he could paint after Durer's fashion, as well as his own, he undertook the "Tribute Money," and the result was a wonderful picture.
Soon Rome sent for Titian. The Florentines, Raphael and Michael Angelo, were already there doing marvellous things, but the pope wished to add the genius of Titian to theirs and made him a great offer to go and live in Rome and do his future work for that city. This was an honour, but amid all his fame and the homage paid him, Titian had remembered the old home in the vale of Cadore. It was there his heart was, and he determined to return to the home of his boyhood to do his best work. So he sent his thanks and refusal to the pope, and he wrote as follows to his home folks, through the council of his town:
"I, Titian of Cadore, having studied painting from childhood upward, and desirous of fame rather than profit, wish to serve the doge and signorini, rather than his highness the pope and other signori, who in past days, and even now, have urgently asked to employ me. I am therefore anxious, if it should appear feasible to paint the hall of council, beginning, if it pleases their sublimity, with the canvas of the battle on the side toward the Piazza, which is so difficult that no one as yet has had the courage to attempt it."
Then in stating his terms he asked for a very moderate sum of money and a "brokerage" for life. The Government did not have to think over the matter long. Titian's father had been honoured among them, Titian's genius was well known, and the commission was gladly given him. As soon as he got this business affair settled he moved into the palace of the Duke of Milan "at San Samuele; on the Grand Canal, where he remained for sixteen years," so says his biographer.
Titian's affairs were not yet entirely smooth, because both of the Bellinis having painted for his patrons, they naturally considered Titian an intruder, and thought that the work should have been given to them. They did all they could to make trouble for the younger artist, but after a time Titian came into his rights, receiving his "brokerage" which gave to him a yearly sum of money 120 crowns, $126.04. His taxes were taken off for the future, provided he would agree to paint all the doges that should rule during his lifetime.
Titian undertook to do this, but he did not keep his word, for he painted only five doges, though many more followed. He had no sooner received his commission from the council of his native place than he began to neglect it, and to paint for the husband of the wicked poisoner—Lucretia Borgia—whose name was Alfonso d'Este, the Duke of Ferrara. It was for him he painted the "Venus Worship," now in the Museum of Madrid, also "The Three Ages," which belongs to Lord Ellesmere, and the "Virgin's Rest near Bethlehem," now in the National Gallery. Afterward he painted "Noli Me Tangere," which is in the same London Gallery.
There is a picture of great size in the Academy of Arts in Venice, which was first seen on a public holiday nearly four hundred years ago. It is the "Assumption of the Virgin," first shown on St. Bernardino's day, when all the public offices were closed by order of the Senate, and the whole city had a gay time. This occasion made Titian the most honoured artist of his time, but still the Venetians had cause to complain; because now their painter took so much work in hand that he nearly ceased doing the work on the council hall. The council sent him word that unless he attended to business the paintings should be finished by some one else and he would have to pay the new artist out of his own pocket; but in waywardness he paid no attention to this summons. Lucretia Borgia died, and her husband having never loved her, fell at once in love with a girl of a lower class, who was very good and worthy to be loved. The duke wanted Titian to paint them both, and so once more the great painter neglected his contract with the council. The girl's name was Laura, and Titian painted her and the duke in one picture, which now hangs in the Louvre.
At last, after seven years of his neglecting to do his promised work the council became enraged and threatened to take the artist's property away from him. That frightened Titian very much, and he began frantically to work on the battle piece on the hall wall. It was about this time that he married. He had probably forgotten Violante in the passing of so many years; at any rate it was not she whom he married, but a lady whose first name was Cecilia. Soon he had a little family of children, but one of them was destined to make Titian very unhappy. This was Pomponic who became a priest, but he was also a wicked spendthrift, and kept his father forever in trouble, trying to pay his debts and keep him out of scrapes. Another son became an artist; not great like his father, but very helpful and a comfort to him. Then his wife died, and Titian had loved her so dearly that for a long time he had not the heart to paint much. His sister, Orsa, came to live at his home and take care of his motherless children.
He left the palace on the Grand Canal and bought a home north of Venice, with beautiful gardens attached, and there he lived and worked, entertaining the most illustrious men. Titian's house and gardens became the show place of the country, so many geniuses and famous people visited there. It was there that he painted "The Martyrdom of Saint Peter," and the picture was so loved by the Venetians that the signori threatened with death any one who should take the picture from the chapel where it hung. In spite of this caution the picture was burned in the fire that destroyed the chapel in 1867.
Titian was now getting to be old, but he was yet to do great work and to have kingly patrons. Charles V. visited Bologna, and, seeing Titian's great work, wanted him to paint his portrait. So the artist went to Bologna and painted the portrait of the king, clothed in armour, but without any head-covering, making Charles V. look so fine a personage, that he was delighted. Charles said he had always been painted to look so much uglier than he really was that when people who had seen his portraits, actually saw himself they were pleasantly disappointed. While Titian was painting his picture, Lombardi, the sculptor, wished above all things to see Charles, so Titian said: "You come with me to the sittings, and act as if you were some apprentice, carrying my colours and brushes, and then you can watch the king as easily as possible." Lombardi did as Titian suggested, but he hid in his big and baggy sleeve a tablet of wax, on which to make a relief picture of Charles. One day the king surprised the sculptor and demanded to be shown what he was doing. Thereupon he was so much pleased that he commissioned Lombardi to make the model in marble. While the king was sitting for two portraits to Titian, the artist one day dropped his brush. The king looked at the courtiers who were lounging about watching the work, but none of them picked it up, so the king himself did so. Titian was distressed over this and apologised to the king. "There may be many kings," said Charles, "but there will never be more than one Titian—and he deserves to be served by Caesar himself." After that he would allow no other artist to paint his portrait, declaring that Titian alone could do it properly, and for the two pictures Titian received two thousand scudi in gold, was made a Count of the Lateran Palace, of the Aulic Council and of the Consistory; with the title of Count Palatine and all the advantages attached to those dignities. His children were thereby raised to the rank of nobles of the empire, with all the honours appertaining to families with four generations of ancestors. He was also made Knight of the Golden Spur, with the right of entrance to court. This was great return for two portraits of a king, but it shows what a king could do if he chose.
Titian had a brother who also became an artist, less famous than himself, and it was that brother, who, when their father died in the Cadore home, went back to care for the old place and to keep it in readiness so that the famous Titian might return to it for rest and peace. Foreign sovereigns had invited Titian to end his days with them, but they could not tempt him from that vale of Cadore nor his country home in Venice.
All this time he had been neglecting the work upon the hall of council, and at last, the councillors gave the work to another, took away Titian's "brokerage" and told him he must return to Venice all the moneys they had given him for twenty years back. This finally cured him of his neglect, and he went to work in earnest painting so rapidly that he finished the work in two years.
Before he died Titian went to Rome, where he painted Pope Paul's portrait, and the story is told that when the portrait was set to dry upon the terrace—which it probably was not,—the people who passed took off their hats to it, thinking it was the pope himself.
Besides his bad son and his good one, Titian had a beautiful daughter whom he painted again and again. He went to Augsburg once more to paint King Charles, who for that work added a pension of five hundred scudi to what he had already done for him. This made the artist "as rich as a prince, instead of poor as a painter." King Philip II. loved art as his father had, and he took a painting of Titian's with him to the convent of Yuste, where he went to die, wishing to have it near to console him. In those days art had become a religion for high and low. Great personages still went to Casa Grande, Titian's Venetian home, where he entertained like a prince. No one knew better than he how princes behaved, and when a cardinal came to dine with him, he threw his purse to his servant, crying: "Prepare a feast, for all the world is dining with me!" Henry III. of France visited Titian and ordered sent to him every picture of which he had asked the price.
His friends stood by him all his life, but in his old age his beautiful daughter, Lavinia, died, leaving behind her six children for him to love as his own. The brother had died before that, in the old home at Cadore, and at more than eighty years of age Titian was still painting from morning till night. About this time he sent to King Philip "The Last Supper," which was to be hung in the Escorial. The monks found it too high to fill the space, and though the artist in charge, Navarrette, begged them to let it be, they cut a piece off the top, that it might be hung where they wanted it. Titian had so far had to pay no taxes, but at that time an account of his property was demanded and this is what he owned: "Several houses, pieces of land, sawmills, and the like," and he was blamed because he did not state the full value of his possessions. At ninety-one he painted a picture which became the guide of Rubens and his brother artists, so wonderful was it. Again, at ninety-nine he began a picture, which was to be given to the monks of the Frari in return for a burial place for the artist within the convent walls, but he never finished it. He died during the time of the plague, but of old age alone, though his son, Orzio, died of the disease. The alarm of the people was so great that a law had been passed to bury all who died at that time, instantly and without ceremony, but that law was waived for the painter. Titian, in the midst of a nation's tragedy was borne to the convent of the Frari, with honours. Two centuries later the Austrian Emperor commanded the great sculptor, Canova, to make a mausoleum above the tomb.
It was said that shortly before he died Titian began to be less sure in his use of colours, and would often daub on great masses, but his students came in the night and rubbed them off, so that the master never felt his failing.
As King Charles had said, there was never but one such artist in the world.
Titian prepared his canvas by painting upon it a solid colour to serve for the bed upon which the picture itself was to be painted. To quote more exactly from a good description—some of these foundation colours were laid on with resolute strokes of his brush which was heavily laden with colour, while the half-tints were made with pure red earth, the lights with pure white, softened into the rest of the foundation painting with touches of the same brush dipped into red, black, and yellow. In this way he could give the "promise" of a figure in four strokes. After laying this foundation, he turned his picture toward the wall and left it there for months at a time, frequently turning it around that he might criticise it. If, during this time of waiting, he thought any part of the work already done was poor, he made it right, changing the shape of an arm, adding flesh where he thought it was needed, reducing flesh where it seemed to him out of proportion, and then he would again turn the canvas face to the wall. After months of self-criticism and retouching he would have the first layer of flesh painted upon his figures, and a good beginning made. "It was contrary to his habit to finish at one painting, and he used to say that a poet who improvises cannot hope to form pure verses." He would often produce a half-light with a rub of his finger, "or with a touch of the thumb he would dab a spot of dark pigment into some corner to strengthen it; or throw in a reddish stroke—a tear of blood so to speak—to break the parts ... in fact when finishing he painted more with his fingers than with his brush." He used to say, "White, red, and black, these are all the colours that a painter needs, but one must know how to use them."
PLATE—THE ARTIST'S DAUGHTER, LAVINIA.
Previous to the time of Titian, it had been the custom to paint portraits of beautiful ladies merely to their waists, just far enough to show their hands. He went further, and produced "knee portraits," which gave him an opportunity to paint their gorgeous gowns as well. He has done so in making this picture of his daughter Lavinia, probably just before her marriage to Cornelio Sarcinelli which took place in 1555. She is attired in gold-coloured brocade with pearls about her neck. Her dress, combined with the dish of fruit she holds so high, gives Titian the colour effects he always sought. A yellow lemon is specially striking, and the red curtain to the left harmonises with the whole. The uplift of the arms and the turn of the head give the desired amount of action. It is not Titian's customary style of work; he seldom did anything so intimate and personal, and the picture is the more interesting on that account. It is in the Berlin Gallery.
Some of Titian's famous pictures are: his own portrait; "Flora," "Holy Family and St. Bridget," "The Last Judgment," "The Entombment," "The Magdalene," "Bacchanal," "St. Sebastian," "Bacchus and Ariadne," and "The Sleeping Venus."
JOSEPH MALLORD WILLIAM TURNER
English 1775-1851 Pupil of the Royal Academy
If the occupation of a shepherd produced a poet, no less did an artist of the first water come out of a barber shop. Turner's father was a jolly little fellow who dressed hair for English dandies and did all of those things which in those days fell to men of his profession. It was in this little shop that the great artist grew up. Father Turner was ambitious for his son, who was anxious to study art. The less said of the artist's mother the better, for she was a termagant and finally went crazy, so that the father and his little boy were soon left alone, to plan and work and strive to make each other happy. The pair were never apart.
Turner's art beginning was at six years of age, on the occasion of a visit his father paid to a goldsmith of whose hair curling and peruquing he had charge. Perched upon a chair too high for a little boy's comfort, and feeling that it took his father very long indeed to satisfy the customer, Joseph's eye lighted upon a silver lion which ornamented a silver tray. He studied every detail of that lion while waiting for his father, and finally when they got home, he sat down and drew it from memory. By tea time he had a lion in full action upon the paper. This delighted his father above everything, and it was settled then and there that the little fellow should have a chance to learn art.
The father could not give much time to his upbringing, but he taught him to be honest and kind-hearted and to save his money. His playground was generally the bank of the Thames, and under London Bridge where, roving with the sailors, he learned to love the ships, the setting-suns and evening waters from a daily study of them.
He did not do much at school, because the other pupils at New Brentford, learning that he could draw wonderful things upon the schoolroom walls, used to do his "sums" for him, while he sketched for them. After a while father Turner began to hang up some of his son's sketches upon the walls of the barber shop, among the wigs and curls and toupees, and he put little tags upon them, telling the price. The extraordinary work of his little boy began to attract the attention of the jolly barber's patrons, and by the time he was twelve years old the child had a picture upon the walls of the Royal Academy—a far-cry from barber shop to Academy!
One authority says that this first exhibition occurred in his fourteenth year, but by that time he was a pupil of the Academy, and it is not unlikely that he had shown his mettle before.
He now began to earn his own living, but he still dwelt in the barber shop with his father. While in the Academy he coloured prints, made backgrounds for other painters, drew architect's plans, and in that way made money. He had been sent to a drawing master to study "the art of perspective," but having no mathematical knowledge he had been unable to learn it, and the teacher had advised his father to put little Turner to cobbling or making clothes. However, William was to learn perspective, and even to be made master of that branch of art in the Academy itself.
In after years, when he had become a great artist, someone spoke pityingly of the drudgery he had had to do to make money as a young boy—referring to his painting of backgrounds and the like. "Well! and what could be better practice?" Turner answered cheerfully.
He used to go to the house of Dr. Munro, who lived in fine style on the Strand. This gentleman owned Rembrandts, Rubenses, Titians, and other great masterpieces, and in that house the "little barber" had a chance to see the best of art, and also to copy it. This was a great opportunity for him and he made the most of it. Besides the chance for study, he earned about half a crown an evening and his supper, for his copying.
Turner was the first painter to make "warm moonlight." All other artists had given cold, silvery effects to a moonlit atmosphere, but Turner had seen a mellow, sympathetic moon, and he first showed it to others. About this time he went travelling; for an engraver of the Copper Plate Magazine had engaged the young boy to go into Wales and make sketches for his work. Turner set off on a pony which a friend had lent him, with his baggage done up in a bundle—it did not make a very big one—and thus he voyaged. It was a fine experience, and he came home with many beautiful scenes on paper, which he in after years made into complete pictures. Next he made the acquaintance of Thomas Girtin, the first in his country of a fine school of water-colour painters, and this acquaintance grew into a close friendship. The two were devoted to each other and worked together at any sort of mechanical art work that would bring them a living. When Girtin died Turner said: "Had Tim Girtin lived, I should have starved," showing how highly he valued Girtin's work.
Turner is said to have been "a stout, clumsy little fellow, who never cared how he looked. He wore an ill-fitting suit, and his luggage tied up in a handkerchief was slung over his shoulder on a cane. Sometimes he carried a small valise and an old umbrella, the handle of which he converted into a fishing rod, for Turner dearly loved both hunting and fishing."
The hero travelled a great deal, because above every thing he loved the fields and streams, and to tramp alone. It is said that it was his habit to walk twenty-five miles a day, seeing everything on the way, letting no peculiarity of nature escape him. His sketchbook was a curiosity, because he not only made sketches in it, but jotted down his travelling expenses, what he thought about things that he saw, and all the gossip he heard in the towns through which he passed. Because he liked best to travel alone he was called "the Great Hermit of Nature."
One memorable day—of which he thought but little at the time—he stopped on the road to make a sketch of Norham Castle. Later he completed the picture, and it became famous, so successful that from that hour he had all the work he could do. Years afterward, when passing that way again in company with a friend, he was seen to take off his hat to the castle.
"Why are you doing that?" his friend asked, in amazement.
"Well, that castle laid the foundation of my success," he answered, "and I am pleased to salute it."
During his young manhood Turner had fallen in love with a girl, and planned to marry, but after he returned from one of his country trips he found she had married another, and from that moment the artist was a changed man. He had been generous and gay before, now he began to save his money, so that people thought him miserly—but he was forgiven when it became known what he finally did with his fortune. After the young woman deserted him he wandered more than ever, and one of his fancies was to keep boys from robbing birds' nests. He looked after the little birds so carefully that the boys named him "old Blackbirdy." He had already begun those wonderful pictures of ships and seas, and his house was ornamented with full-rigged little ships and water plants, which he carefully raised to put into his pictures. By that time he had bought a home of his own in the country, and his father the barber went to live with him. The old man's trade had fallen off, because the fashions had changed, wigs were less worn, and hair was not so elaborately dressed. In the country home the old man took charge of all the household affairs, prepared his son's canvases for him, and after the pictures were painted it was the ex-barber who varnished them, so that Turner said, "Father begins and finishes all my pictures." There the father and son lived, in perfect peace and affection, till Turner decided to sell the place and move into town, "because," said he, "Dad is always working in the garden and catching cold."
Meanwhile he had been made master of perspective in the Academy, and it was expected that he would lecture to the students, but he was not cut out for a lecturer. He was not elegant in his manners, nor impressive in his speech. On one occasion, when he had risen to deliver a speech, he looked helplessly about him and finally blurted out: "Gentlemen! I've been and left my lecture in the hackney coach!"
During these years he had tried to establish a studio like other masters and to have pupils and apprentices about him; but the stupid ones he could not endure, having no patience with them, and he treated all the fashionable ones so bluntly they would not stay; so the idea had to be given up.
He became a visitor at Farnley Hall in Yorkshire, where a friend, Mr. Hawksworth Fawkes lived, and in the course of his lifetime Fawkes put fifty thousand dollars worth of Turner's pictures upon his walls. The Fawkes family described Turner as a most delightful man: "The fun, frolic, and shooting we enjoyed together, and which, whatever may be said by others of his temper and disposition, have proved to me that he was, in his hours of distraction from his professional labours as kindly hearted a man and as capable of enjoyment and fun of all kinds as any I ever knew."
Another friend writes: "Of all light-hearted, merry creatures I ever knew, Turner was the most so; and the laughter and fun that abounded when he was an inmate of our cottage was inconceivable, particularly with the juvenile members of our family."
The story of his disappointment in marriage is an interesting one. It is said that the young lady whom he loved was the sister of a schoolmate. They had been engaged for some time, but while he was on one of his travels his letters were stolen and kept from the young woman. She believed he had forgotten her, and her stepmother, who had taken the letters, persuaded the girl to engage herself to another. Turner returned just a week before her marriage and tried to win her back, but although she loved him, she felt herself then bound to her new suitor and therefore married him. Her marriage was very unhappy and her misery, as well as his own, distressed the artist till his death. Almost all his life, in spite of his seeming gaiety, he worked like a slave, rising at four o'clock in the morning and working while light lasted. When remonstrated with about this he would sadly say: "There are no holidays for me."
All his ways were honest and simple, and his election to the Academy was very exceptional in the way it came about. Most Academicians had graces and airs and good fellowship to commend them, as well as their works, but Turner had none of these things. He had given no dinners, nor played a social part in order to get the membership. When the news was brought him that he was elected, some one advised him to go and thank his fellow Academicians for the honour, as that was the custom; but Turner saw no reason in it. "Since I am elected, it must have been because they thought my pictures made me worthy. Why, then should I thank them? Why thank a man for performing a simple duty." In half a century Turner was absent only three times from the Academy exhibitions, and his membership was of very great value to him.
At this time Turner had an idea for an art publication to be called Liber Studiorum. He meant to issue this in dark blue covers and to include in each number five plates. There was to be a series of five hundred plates altogether, and these were to be divided, according to subject, into historical, landscape, pastoral, mountainous, marine, and architectural studies. After seventy plates had been, published, the enterprise fell through, because no one bought the periodical, and there was no money to keep it going. The engraver of the plates, Charles Turner, became so disgusted with the failure that he even used the proofs of these wonderful studies to kindle the fire with. Many years later, a great print-dealer, Colnaghi, made Turner, the engraver, hunt up all the proofs that he had not used for kindling paper, and these he bought for oe1,500.
"Good God!" cried Charles Turner, "I have been burning banknotes all my life."
Some years later still oe3,000 was paid for a single copy of the Liber Studiorum.
Turner was a most conscientious man, and many stories are told of his manner of teaching. He could not talk eloquently nor give very clear instructions, talking not being his forte, but he would lean over a student's shoulder, point out the defects in his work, and then on a paper beside him make a few marks to illustrate what he had said. If the artist had genius enough then to imitate him, well and good; if not, Turner simply went away and left him. His own ways of working were remarkable. He often painted with a sponge and used his thumbnail to "tear up a sea." It mattered little to him how he produced his effects so long as he did it. His impressionistic style confused many of his critics, and it is told how a fine lord once looked at a picture be had made, and snorted: "Nothing but daubs, nothing but daubs!" Then catching the inspiration, he leaned close to the canvas, and said: "No! Painting! so it is!"
"I find, Mr. Turner," said a lady, "that in copying your pictures, touches of red, blue and yellow appear all through the work."
"Well, madam, don't you see that yourself, in nature? Because if you don't, heaven help you!" was the reply.
"Once, after painting a summer evening, he thought that the picture needed a dark spot in front by way of contrast; so he cut out a dog from black paper and stuck it on. That dog still appears in the picture."
Another time he painted "A Snow-storm at Sea," which some critics called "Soap-suds and Whitewash." Turner, who had been for hours lashed to the mast of a ship in order to catch the proper effect, was naturally much hurt by the criticism. "What would they have!" he exclaimed. "I wonder what they think a storm is like. I wish they'd been in it."
Turner was conscientiously fond of his work, and when he sold a picture he said that he had lost one of his children.
He grew rich, but he never was knighted, because his manners were not fine enough to suit the king. He wished to become President of the Royal Academy, but that was impossible because he was not polished enough to carry the honour gracefully.
After selling his place in the country Turner bought a house in Harley Street, where he lived a strange and lonely life. A gentleman has written about this incident, which shows us his manner of living:
"Two ladies called upon Turner while he lived in Harley Street. On sending in their names, after having ascertained that he was at home, they were politely requested to walk in, and were shown into a large sitting-room without a fire. This was in the depth of winter; and lying about in various places were several cats without tails. In a short time our talented friend made his appearance, asking the ladies if they felt cold. The youngest replied in the negative; her companion, more curious, wished she had stated otherwise, as she hoped they might have been shown into his sanctum or studio. After a little conversation he offered them biscuits, which they partook of for the novelty—such an event being almost unprecedented in his house. One of the ladies bestowing some notice upon the cats, he was induced to remark that he had seven, and that they came from the Isle of Man."
Thus we learn that Turner's desolate house was full of Manx cats, and of many other pets. When he had moved elsewhere—to 47 Queen Anne Street—one of the pictures he cared most for, "Bligh Shore," was put up as a covering to the window and a cat wishing to come in, scratched it hopelessly. The housekeeper started to punish it for this but Turner said indulgently, "Oh, never mind!" and saved the cat from chastisement.
The place he lived in, where his "dad was always working in the garden and catching cold," he called Solus Lodge, because he wished his acquaintances to understand that he wanted to be alone. One picture painted by him to order, was to have brought him $2,500; but when it was finished the man was disappointed with it and would not take it. Later, Turner was offered $8,000 for it, but would not sell it.
Turner again fell in love, but his bashfulness ruined his chances. He wrote to the brother of the lady. "If she would only waive her bashfulness, or, in other words, make an offer instead of expecting one, the same (Solus Lodge) might change occupiers." Faint heart certainly did not win fair lady in this case, for she married another. Before he died Turner was offered $25,000 for two pictures which he would not sell. "No" he said. "I have willed them and cannot sell them." He disposed of several great works as legacies. One picture of which he was very fond, "Carthage," was the occasion of an amusing anecdote. "Chantry," he said to his friend the sculptor, "I want you to promise that when I am dead you will see me rolled in that canvas when I'm buried."
"All right," said Chantry, "I'll do it, but I'll promise to have you taken up and unrolled, also."
A remarkable incident of generosity is told of Turner. In 1826 he hung two exquisite pictures in the Academy. One, "Cologne," having a most beautiful, golden effect. This was hung between two portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence. The golden colouring of Turner's picture entirely destroyed the effect of the Lawrence pictures, and without a word, Turner washed his lovely picture over with lampblack. This gave the Lawrence, pictures their full colour value. A friend who had been enthusiastic about the "Cologne" was provoked with Turner. "What in the world did you do that for?" he demanded. "Well, poor Lawrence was so unhappy. It will all wash off after the exhibition." Turner had his reward in cash, for the picture sold for 2,000 guineas.
Above all things Turner hated engravings, or any process that cheapened art, and one day he stated this to his friend Lawrence. "I don't choose to be a basket engraver," he declared.
"What do you mean by that," Sir Thomas inquired.
"Why when I got off the coach t' other day at Hastings, a woman came up with a basket of your 'Mrs. Peel,' and offered to sell me one for a sixpence."
Turner dearly loved his friends, and the story of Chantry's death, illustrates it. He was in his room when the sculptor breathed his last, and just as he died, the artist turned to another friend, George Jones, and with tears streaming down his face, wrung Jones's hand and rushed from the room, unable to speak.
Again, when William Frederick Wells, another friend, died, Turner rushed to the house of Clara Wells, his daughter, and cried: "Oh Clara, Clara! these are iron tears. I have lost the best friend I ever had in my life."
In his old age Turner suddenly disappeared from all his haunts, and his friends could not find him. They were much troubled, but one day his old housekeeper found a note in a pocket of an old coat, which made her think he had gone to Chelsea. She looked there for him, and found him very ill, in a little cottage on the Thames River. Everybody about called him Admiral Booth, believing him to be a retired admiral. He had felt his death near and had tried to meet it quite alone. He died the very day after his friends found him, as he was being wheeled by them to the window to look out upon the river for the last time. He was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral between Sir Joshua Reynolds and James Barry. He left his drawings and pictures to a "Turner Gallery," and $100,000 to the Royal Academy, to be used for a medal to be struck every two years for the best exhibitor. The rest of his fortune went to care for "poor and decayed male artists born in England and of English parents only." This was to be known as Turner's Gift, and that is why he had saved money all his life.
A few more of the numberless stories of his generosity should be told. A picture had been sent to the Academy by a painter named Bird It was very fine, and Turner was full of its praise, but when they came to hang it no place could be found.
"It can't be hung," the others of the committee said.
"It must be hung," returned Turner, but nothing could be done about it, for there was absolutely no place. Then Turner went aside with the picture and sat studying it a long time. Finally he got up, took down a picture of his own and hung Bird's in its place. "There!" he said. "It is hung!"
Again, an old drawing-master died and Turner who had known the family for a long time, was aware that they were destitute, so he gave the widow a good sum of money with which to bury her husband and to meet general expenses. After some time she came to him with the money; but Turner put his hands in his pockets. "No," he said; "keep it. Use it to send the children to school and to church."
On one occasion when he had irritably sent a beggar from his house, he ran out and called her back, thrusting a oe5 note into her hand before letting her go.
There was a man who in Turner's youth, while the little fellow was making pictures in the cheerless barber shop bought all of these drawings he could find. He often raised the price and in every way tried to help Turner. In after years that old patron went bankrupt. Turner heard that his steward had been instructed to cut down some fine old trees on this man's estate, and sell them. Turner, without letting himself be known in the matter, at once stopped the cutting and put into his old patron's hands about oe20,000. The rescued man, afterward, through the same channels that he had received the money, paid it all back. Years passed, and the son of that same man got into the same difficulties, and again, without being known in the matter, Turner restored his fortune. That son, in his turn, honestly paid back the full amount. This was the miser who saved all his money—to do good deeds to his friends. Ruskin wrote that in all his life he had never heard from Turner one unkind or blameful word for others.
PLATE—THE FIGHTING TEMERAIRE
This was the picture which Turner loved best of all, the one he would never sell; but at his death ho gave it to the English nation.
"Many years before he painted it, he had gone down to Portsmouth one day to see Nelson's fleet come in after the glorious victory of Trafalgar. The Temeraire was pointed out to him—a battle ship that had very proudly borne the English flag, for during the battle it had run in between two French frigates and captured them both.
"And now between thirty and forty years later, he lingered one afternoon on the banks of the Thames. As he looked over the water he saw the grand old hulk being towed down the river by a noisy little tug to be broken up at Deptford. 'There's a fine subject!' he exclaimed as he looked at the heroic ship that had known many glorious years; and in his thought he compared it to 'a battle-scarred warrior borne to the grave.'
"Then he painted the picture. The glow of the setting sun irradiates the scene and bids farewell to the old ship. Twilight is coming on, and the new moon has just risen in its pearly light. It is a pathetic picture," and well illustrates how truly a "master of sunsets and waves" the artist was.
Among his other paintings are several of Venice; "The Slave Ship" and many other sea pieces.
SIR ANTHONY VAN DYCK
Flemish School 1599-1641 Pupil of Rubens
Anthony Van Dyke's father was neither a gentleman nor an ill-born person. He was "betwixt-and-between," being a silk merchant, who met so many fine folk that he seemed to be "fine folk" himself; and by the time Anthony had grown up, he actually believed himself to be one of them. If manners stand for fineness Sir Anthony must have been superfine, because he was almost overburdened with "manners."
He became a wonderful, be-laced, perfumed, shiny gentleman who never stooped to paint anything less than royalty and its associates, nor in anything less than velvets and laces. Like Rembrandt and Gainsborough, he set a fashion—or rather the style in which he painted came to be known after his name. We are all familiar with the kind of ornamentation on clothes called Van Dyck—pointed lace, or trimmings—and pointed beards.
As a very young lad he was almost too dainty to be liked by healthy boys; and the worst of it was he did not care whether healthy, robust chaps liked him or not; certainly he did not care for them. He liked to sit in his father's shop and be smiled upon by the great ladies who came to buy, and in turn to smile shyly at them; this tendency became stronger as he grew to be a man.
Anthony's mother made the most exquisite embroideries, and this may mean that some part of his art was inherited. She handled lovely colours, and tried to fashion beautiful flower shapes for customers. She was a fragile, tender sort of woman, while the father was doubtless a dapper, over-nice little fellow.
Anthony was born in Antwerp, and the facts concerning his education, as in the case of most artists, are lost to our knowledge. He probably had a little of some sort outside of painting, but it certainly was not enough to hurt him, nor to make a fine healthy man of him. He was very beautiful, in a lady-like, faint-coloured way, not in the least resembling the handsome, gorgeous, elegant, robust Rubens, a true cavalier, of a dashing sort.
He was apprenticed to a painter when he was ten years old, and later on became the pupil of Rubens. He painted a whole series of Apostles' heads, about which a lawsuit took place. The papers relating to this were found about twenty years ago, though the lawsuit occurred as far back as 1615. Several of the Apostles' heads that brought about the suit are to-day to be seen in the gallery at Dresden.
Everything in those days—especially in Germany and Holland—was represented by a "guild." In reading about the Mastersingers of Nuremberg we are told that on the day when the trial of singers was to take place, dozens of "guilds" assembled in the meadow—guilds of bakers, of shoemakers—of which Hans Sachs was the head—guilds of goldsmiths, etc. Van Dyck was a member of the painters' guild when he was no more than nineteen. His work at that time showed so much strength that there is a picture of his, an old gentleman and lady, in the Dresden gallery, which for a long time was supposed to have been painted by his master, Rubens.
An intimate friend of Van Dyck, Kenelm Digby, says that Van Dyck's first relations with Rubens came about by Van Dyck being employed to make engravings for the reproduction of Rubens's great works. After that he studied painting with him.
One of his friends of that time wrote that at twenty Van Dyck was nearly as great as Rubens, though this is hardly substantiated by the verdict of time, and that being a man with very rich family connections, he could hardly be expected to leave home. On every hand we have signs of the artist's affected feeling about himself and other people.
However, an annual pension from the King of England seems to have made travelling possible to this fine gentleman of lace ruffles, pale face, and lady-like ways.
There is an entry about him on the royal account book of "Special service ... performed for His Majesty." Also "Antonio Van Dyck, gent., His Majesty's servant, is allowed to travaile 8 months, he havinge obtayneid his Majesty's leave in that behalf, as was signified to the E. of Arundel." Certainly by that time Van Dyck had become a truly great portrait painter; not the greatest, because every picture showed the same characteristics in its subject—elegance, fine clothes, languid manners, without force of great truth or any excellent moral quality to distinguish one from another. Nevertheless, the kind of painting that he did, he did better than anyone else had ever done, or probably ever will do.
While in England he painted all the royalties and many aristocrats, and wherever he went he was always painting pictures of himself.
He travelled about a good deal, always painting people of the same class—kings and queens and fine folk, and painting them pretty nearly all alike.
When he went to Italy he was everywhere received as a great painter, but while artists agreed that his work was excellent he was not much liked by them, and many tales are told about that journey which are interesting, if not entirely true. Van Dyck was the sort of man about whom tales would be made up. One, however, sounds true. It is said that he fell in love—which of course he was always doing—with a beautiful country girl, and that for love of her he painted an altar piece into which he put himself, seated on the great gray horse which Rubens had given him. That picture is in St. Martin's Church at Saventhem, near Brussels, but although one is inclined to believe this story because it was quite the sort of thing which might be expected of Van Dyck, even this is not true, because the painting was done long after the artist had made his Italian journey, and it was commissioned by a gentleman living at Saventhem, whose daughter Van Dyck undoubtedly liked pretty well; but he made the picture for money, not for love.
While he was in Italy he lived with a cardinal, and painted languid pictures of sacred subjects, which were far from being his best work. The best that he did was in portraiture. Distinguished though he was, he did not have a very good time in Italy, because he would not join the artists who worked there, nor associate with them in the least, and naturally this made him disliked.
We see a good many portraits painted by Van Dyck, of persons mounted upon or standing beside the gray horse, and these were painted about the time of that Italian journey. He used the Rubens horse in many paintings.
Of all the people with whom he painted, he most valued the knowledge he got from a blind woman painter of Sicily, called Sofonisba Anguisciola, and he often said that he had learned more from a blind woman than from all the open-eyed men he ever knew. This woman artist was over ninety years old at the time he learned from her.
While he was in Italy the plague broke out, and Van Dyck fled for his life, leaving an unfinished picture behind him, one ordered by the English king, the subject being Rinaldo and Armida, which had gained for the artist his knighthood pension.
It is said that during his first year in England he painted the king and queen twelve times. He had an extraordinary record for industry, and painted very quickly, as he had need to do, because it took a great deal of money to buy the sort of things Van Dyck liked—fine laces and velvets, perfumes and satins. His plan was to sketch his subject first on gray paper with black and white chalk, and after that he gave the sketch to an assistant who increased it to the size he wished to paint. The next step was to set his painter to work upon the clothing of his figures. This was painted in roughly, together with background and any architectural effect Van Dyck wanted. After this the artist himself sat down and in three or four sittings, of not more than an hour each, he was able to finish a picture worth to-day thousands of dollars.
He painted hands specially well, and kept certain models for them alone.
Van Dyck had eleven brothers and sisters, whom he always kept in mind. Some of his sisters had become nuns while some of his brothers were priests, and Van Dyck's influence got a monkish brother called to the Dutch court to act as chaplain to the queen.
By this time every royal personage in the world, nearly, had sent for Van Dyck to paint his portrait, for he could make one look handsomer than could any other painter in existence. If the king was very ugly, Van Dyck painted such beautiful clothes upon him that nobody noticed the plainness of the features.
When Van Dyck was about thirty-six years old he married a great lady, the Lady Mary Ruthven, granddaughter of the Earl of Gowrie, but before that he had had a lady-love, Margaret Lemon, whom he painted as the Virgin and in several other pictures. When he married Lady Mary, Margaret Lemon was so furiously jealous that she tried to injure Van Dyck's right hand so that he could paint no more.
About this time Rubens died in Flanders, leaving behind him an unfinished series of pictures which had been commissioned by the king of Spain. Van Dyck was asked to finish these, but declined until he was asked to make an independent picture, to complete the series, and this he was delighted to do. Ferdinand of Austria wrote to the king of Spain that Van Dyck had returned in great haste to London to arrange for his change of home, in order to do the work. "Possibly he may still change his mind," he added, "for he is stark mad." This shows how Van Dyck's erratic ways appeared to some people.
He had a sister, Justiniana, who was also something of an artist and she married a nobleman when she was about twelve years old.
When Van Dyck died he was buried in St. Paul's, London, and Charles I. placed an inscription on his tomb.
In the "Young People's Story of Art," is the following anecdote: "A visit was once paid by a courtly looking stranger passing through Haarlem, to Franz Hals, the distinguished Dutch painter.
"Hals was not at home but he was sent for to the tavern and hastily returned. The stranger told him that he had heard of his reputation—had just two hours to spare—and wished to have his portrait painted. Hals, seizing canvas and brushes fell vigorously to work; and before the given time had elapsed, he said, 'Have the goodness to rise, sir, and examine your portrait!' The stranger looked at it, expressed his satisfaction, and then said, 'Painting seems such a very easy thing, suppose we change places and see what I can do!'
"Hals assented, and took his position as the sitter. The unknown began, and as Hals watched him, he saw that he wielded the brush so quickly, he must be a painter. His work, too, was rapidly finished, and as Hals looked at it he exclaimed, 'You must be Van Dyck! No one else could paint such a portrait!'
"No two portraits could have been more unlike. The story adds that the famous Dutch and Flemish masters heartily embraced each other."
The stories of Van Dyck's youth are interesting, and probably true. It is said that he drew so well when he was a pupil of Rubens that the great master often allowed him to retouch his own works. Once in Rubens's studio, some of the students got the key and went in to see what the master was doing, when he was absent. Rubens had left a painting fresh upon the easel, and in looking about them one of the boys rubbed against it. This frightened them all. What should they do? Rubens would find his picture ruined and know that they had broken in.
After consultation they decided there was no one with them who could repair the damage as well as Van Dyck, who set about it, and soon he had painted in the smudged part so perfectly that when Rubens saw it, he did not for some time know that anything had happened to his picture. Later he suspected something, and when he learned of the prank and its outcome, he was so delighted with Van Dyck's work that he praised him instead of blaming him for it.
Van Dyck had a very precise method of working. When sitters came to him he would paint for just one hour. Then he would politely dismiss them, and his servant would wash his brushes, and clear the way for the next sitter. He dined with his sitters often that he might surprise in them the expression which he wanted to paint. Also, he had their clothing sent to his studio, that it might be exactly imitated by himself or by those assistants who painted in the foundation for his finished work.
While attached to King Charles I.'s court, Van Dyck was given a fine house at Blackfriars, on the Thames, and he had a private landing place made for boats, so that the royal family might visit him at their convenience. Charles I. used often to go to Van Dyck's studio to escape his many troubles, and thus the artist's home became as fashionable a gathering place, as Gainsborough's studio was in Bath. He painted Queen Henrietta not less than twenty-five times. He often furnished concerts for his sitters, for he himself was passionately fond of music, and moreover he believed that music often brought to the faces of his sitters, an expression that he loved to paint.
He painted so many pictures of a certain kind of little dog, in the pictures of King Charles I. that ever since that breed has been known as the King Charles spaniel.
After a while Van Dyck got heavily into debt. King Charles himself was in great trouble, and he had no money with which to pay his painter's pension. The artist had lived so extravagantly that he did not know at last which way to turn, so in desperation he thought to try alchemy and maybe to learn the secret of making gold. He wasted much time at this, as cleverer men have done, but at last he became too ill for that or for his own proper work, and badly off though Charles was himself, he offered his court physician a large sum if he could cure his court painter. But Van Dyck had enjoyed life too well, and nothing could be done for him.
He was the seventh child of his parents—which some have thought had something to do with his genius and success; he lived gaily all the years of his life, going restlessly from place to place, and having many acquaintances but probably few friends, outside of his old master, Rubens, who loved him for his genius.
PLATE—CHILDREN OF CHARLES THE FIRST
Van Dyck painted the family of the unfortunate king of England four times. There are five children in the Windsor Castle picture, and this one, which hangs in the Turin Gallery, was probably painted before the birth of the fourth child in 1636. It is celebrated for its colouring as well as for its great artistic merit. The children are surely childlike enough, despite their stately attire, and they little dream of the sad fate awaiting the whole of the Stuart family to which they belong.
Other Van Dycks are: "The Blessed Herman Joseph," "Lords Digby and Russell," "Lord Wharton," "Countess Folkestone," and "William Prince of Orange."
VELASQUEZ (DIEGO RODRIGUEZ DE SILVA)
(Pronounced Vay-lahs'keth) Castilian School 1599-1669 Pupil of Herrera
It is pretty difficult to find out why a man was named so-and-so in the days of the early Italian and Spanish painters. More likely than not they would be called after the master to whom they had been first apprenticed; or after their trade; after the town from which they came, and rarely because their father had had the name before them. In Velasquez's case, he was named after his mother.
No one seemed to be certain what to call him, but he generally wrote his name "Diego de Silva Velasquez." His father was Rodriguez de Silva, a lawyer, but in calling the boy Velasquez the family followed a universal Spanish custom of naming children after their mothers.
Little Velasquez was well taught in his childhood; he studied many languages and philosophy, for he was intended to be a lawyer or something learned, anything but a painter. The disappointment of parents in those days, when they found a child was likely to become an artist is touching.
Despite his equipment for a useful life, according to the ideas of his parents, this little chap was bound to become nothing but a maker of pictures.
Herrera was a bad-tempered master and little Velasquez could not get on with him, so after a year of harsh treatment, he went to another master, Pacheco, but by that time he had learned a secret that was to help make his work great. Herrera had taught him to use a brush with very long bristles, which had the effect of spreading the paint, making it look as if his "colours had floated upon the canvas," in a way that was the "despair of those who came after him."
Velasquez was born in Seville at a time when about all the art of the world was Italian or German; thus he became the creator of a new school of painting.
He stayed five years in Pacheco's studio and pupil and master became very fond of each other. Pacheco was not a great master—not so good as Herrera—but he was easy to get on with, and knew a good deal about painting, so that as Velasquez had the genius, he was as well placed as he needed to be.
In Pacheco's studio there was a peasant boy whose face was very mobile, showed every passing feeling; and Velasquez used to make him laugh and weep, till, surprising some good expression, he would quickly sketch him. With this excellent model, Velasquez did a surprising amount of good work.
Spain had just then conquered the far-off provinces of Mexico and Peru, and was continually receiving from its newly got lands much valuable merchandise. Rapidly growing rich, this Latin country loved art and all things beautiful, so its money was bound to be spent freely in such ways. Madrid had been made its capital, and at that time there were few fine pictures to be found there. The Moors who had conquered Spain had forbidden picture making, because it was contrary to their religion to represent the human figure, or even the figures of birds and beasts. Then the Inquisition had hindered art by its rules, one of which was that the Virgin Mary should always be painted with her feet covered; another, that all saints should be beardless. There were many more exactions.
While cathedrals were being built elsewhere, the Moors had been in control of Spanish lands, so that no cathedral had been built there, and when Velasquez came upon the scene the time of great cathedral building was past. It had ceased to be the fashion. Although there had been such painters as Beneguette, Morales, Navarrette, and Ribera, all Spanish and of considerable genius, they had been too badly handicapped to make painting a great art in Spain. When Madrid became the capital of Spain, it had no unusual buildings, unless it was an old fortress of the Moors, the Alcazar, Caesar's house, but the nation was buying paintings from Italy, and it began to beautify Madrid, which had the advantage of the former Moorish luxury and art, very beautiful, though not pictorial.
In Madrid, then, there seemed to be great opportunity for a fine artist like Velasquez, and his master urged him to go there and try his fortune. So he set out on mule-back, attended by his slave, but unless he could get the ear of the king, it was useless for him to seek advancement in Madrid. Without the king as patron at that time, an artist could not accomplish much. After trying again and again, Velasquez had to return to his old master, without having seen the king; but after a time a picture of his was seen by Philip IV., and he was so much pleased with it that he summoned the artist. Through his minister, Olivares, he offered him $113.40 in gold (fifty ducats) to pay his return expenses. The next year he gave him $680.40 to move his family to Madrid.
At last the artist had found a place in the rich city, and he went to live at the court where the warmest friendship grew between him and the king. The latter was an author and something of a painter, so that they loved the same things. This friendship lasted all their lives, and they were together most of the time, the king always being found, in Velasquez's studio in the palace when his duties did not call him elsewhere. During the many many years—nearly thirty-seven—that Velasquez lived with Philip IV. he employed himself in painting the scenes at court. Thus he became the pictorial historian of the Spanish capital. He was a man of good disposition, kindly and generous in conduct and in feeling, so that he was always in the midst of friends and well-wishers.
Philip IV. was indeed a noble companion, but he was not a gay one, being known as the king who never laughed—or at least whose laughter was so rare, the few times he did laugh became historic. One would expect this serious and depressing atmosphere to have had an effect upon a painter's art; but it chanced that Rubens visited Spain, and there, Velasquez being the one famous artist, it was natural they should become interested in each other. Rubens told Velasquez of the wonders of Italian painting, till the Spaniard could think of nothing else, and finally he begged Philip to let him journey to Italy that he might see some of those wonders for himself. The request made the king unhappy at first, but at last he gave his consent and Velasquez set out for Italy. The king gave him money and letters of introduction, and he went in company with the Marquis of Spinola.
After Velasquez had stayed eighteen months in Italy, Philip began to long for his friend and sent for him to return. He came back full of the stories of brilliant Italy, and charmed the king completely.
There is as absurd a story of Velasquez's perfection in painting as that of Raphael's, whose portrait of the pope, left upon the terrace to dry, imposed upon passers by. It is said of Velasquez's work that when he had painted an admiral whom the king had ordered to sea, and left it exposed in his studio, the king, entering, thought it was the admiral himself, and angrily inquired why he had not put to sea according to orders. On the face of them these stories are false, but they serve to suggest the perfection of these artists' paintings.
Philip, being a melancholy man, had his court full of jesters, poor misshapen creatures—dwarfs and hunchbacks—who were supposed to appear "funny," and Velasquez, as court painter, painted those whom he continually saw about him, who formed the court family. Thus we have pictures of strange groups—dwarfs, little princesses, dressed precisely as the elders were dressed, favourite dogs, and Velasquez himself at his easel.
In 1618, while still with his master, Pacheco, he had married the master's daughter, a big, portly woman. Before he left Seville he bad two daughters.
These were all the children he had, although he painted a picture of "Velasquez's Family" which includes a great number of people. The figures in that painting are the children of his daughter, not his own; and this may account for one biographer's statement that the artist had "seven children." He was devoted to and happy in his family of children and grandchildren.
He did not grow rich, but received regularly during his life in Madrid, twenty gold ducats ($45.36) a month to live upon, and besides this his medical attendance, lodging, and additional payment for every picture. The one which brought him this good fortune was an equestrian portrait of Philip; first uncovered on the steps of San Felipe. Everywhere the people were delighted with it, poets sung of it, and the king declared no other should ever paint his portrait. This picture has long since disappeared.
In 1627 Velasquez won the prize for a picture representing the expulsion of the Moors from Spain and was rewarded by "being appointed gentleman usher. To this was shortly afterward added a daily allowance of twelve reals—the same amount which was allowed to court barbers—and ninety gold ducats ($204.12) a year for dress, which was also paid to the dwarfs, buffoons, and players about the king's person—truly a curious estimate of talent at the court of Spain."
The record of Philip IV. with unpleasing, even degenerate characters, about him, is brightened by the thought of his loyalty to his court painter and life-long friend. When the king's favourites fell, those who had been the friends of Velasquez, the artist loyally remained their friend in adversity as he had been while they were powerful. This constancy, even to the royal enemies, was never resented by Philip. He honoured the faithfulness of his artist, even as he himself was faithful in this friendship. Philip's court was such that there was little to paint that was ennobling, and so Velasquez lacked the inspiration of such surroundings as the Italian painters had.
Philip IV. was hail-fellow-well-met with his stablemen, his huntsmen, his cooks, and yet he seems to have had no sense of humour, was long faced and forbidding to look at, and despite his strange habits considered himself the most mighty and haughty man in the world. He felt himself free to behave as he chose, because he was Philip of Spain; and he chose to do a great many absurd and outrageous things. In all Philip's portraits, painted by Velasquez, he wears a stiff white linen collar of his own invention, and he was so proud of this that he celebrated it by a festival. He went in procession to church to thank God for the wonderful blessing of the Golilla—the name of his collar. This unsightly thing became the fashion, and all portraits of men of that time were painted with it. "In regard to the wonderful structure of Philip's moustaches it is said, that, to preserve their form they were encased during the night in perfumed leather covers called bigoteras." Such absurdities in a king, who had the responsibilities of a nation upon him, seem incredible.
Velasquez made in all three journeys to Italy, and the last one was on a mission for the king, which was much to the latter's credit. Philip had determined to have a fine art gallery in Madrid, for Spain had by this time many pictures, but no statuary; so he commissioned his painter to buy whatever he thought well of and could buy, in Italy. Hence the artist set off again with his slave—the same one with whom he had journeyed to Madrid so long before. His name was Pareja, and his master had already made an excellent artist of him.
They went to Genoa, thence to the great art-centres of Italy, were received everywhere with honour, and the artist bought wisely. Velasquez did not care for Raphael's paintings as much as for Titian's, and he said so to Salvator Rosa, an honoured painter in Italy.
While in Rome Velasquez painted the pope, also his own slave, Pareja.
When he returned to Spain he took with him three hundred statues, but a large number of them were nude, and the Spanish court, not over particular about most things, was very particular about naked statues, so that after Philip's death, they nearly all disappeared. After his return, and after the queen had died and Philip had married again, Velasquez was made quartermaster-general, no easy post but not without honour, though it interfered with his picture painting a good deal. He had to look after the comfort of all the court, and to see that the apartments it occupied, at home or when it visited, were suitable.
"Even the powerful king of Spain could not make his favourite a belted knight without a commission to inquire into the purity of his lineage on both sides of the house. Fortunately, the pedigree could bear scrutiny, as for generations the family was found free from all taint of heresy, from all trace of Jewish or Moorish blood, and from contamination from trade or commerce. The difficulty connected with the fact that he was a painter was got over by his being painter to the king and by the declaration that he did not sell his pictures."
The red Cross of Santiago conferred upon him by Philip, made Velasquez a knight and freed him also from the rulings of the Inquisition, which directed so largely what artists could and could not do. Thus it is that we come to have certain great pictures from Velasquez's brush which could not otherwise have been painted.
This action of the king, setting free the artist, made two schools of art, of which the court painter represented one; and Murillo the other, under the command of the Church. Although not so rich perhaps as Raphael, Velasquez lived and died in plenty, while Murillo, the artist of the Church of Rome, was a poverty-stricken man.
Finally, while in the midst of honours, and fulfilling his official duty to the court of Spain, Velasquez contracted the disease which killed him. The Infanta, Maria Theresa, was to wed Louis XIV., and the ceremony was to take place on a swampy little island called the Island of Pheasants. There he went to decorate a pavilion and other places of display. He became ill with a fever and died soon after he returned to Madrid.
He made his wife, his old master Pacheco's daughter, his executor, and was buried in the church of San Juan, in the vault of Fuensalida; but within a week his devoted wife was dead, and in eight days' time she was buried beside him.
He left his affairs—accounts between him and the court—badly entangled, and it was many years before they were straightened out. His many deeds of kindness lived after him. He made of his slave a good artist and a devoted friend, and by his efforts the slave became a freedman. The story of his kindly help to Murillo when that exquisite painter came, unknown and friendless to Madrid, has already been told.
The Church where Velasquez was buried was destroyed by the French in 1811, and all trace of the resting place of the great Spanish artist is forever lost to us.
He is called not only "painter to the king," but "king of painters."
PLATE—EQUESTRIAN PORTRAIT OF DON BALTHASAR CARLOS.
Philip of Spain had long prayed for a son and when at last one was granted him his pride in his young heir was unbounded. The little Don Carlos was not unworthy, for he was a cheerful, hearty boy, trained to horsemanship, from his fourth year, for his father was a noted rider and had the best instructors for his son. The prince was a brave hunter too and we are told that he shot a wild boar when he was but nine years of age. In this portrait which is in the Museo del Prado he is six years old, and it was neither the first nor the last that Velasquez made of him. It was one of the court painter's chief duties to see that the heir to the throne was placed upon canvas at every stage of his career, and he painted him from two years of age till his lamented death at sixteen.
The young prince wears in this picture a green velvet jacket with white sleeves and his scarf is crimson embroidered with gold. The lively pony is a light chestnut and the foreshortening of its body must be noticed. The steady grave eyes of the lad are gazing far ahead as they would naturally be if he were riding rapidly, but his princely dignity is shown in his firm seat in the saddle and his manner of holding his marshal's baton.
The great art of the painter is also shown in the way he subordinates the landscape to the figure. He will not allow even a tree to come near the young horseman, but brings his young activity into vivid contrast with the calm peacefulness of the distant view.
With the death of Don Carlos the downfall of his father's dynasty was assured, though for a time his little sister, the Infanta Maria Theresa, was upheld as the heiress. She married Louis XIV. and had a weary time of it in France. Velasquez painted her picture too, in the grown up dress of the children of that day. It is in the Vienna Gallery. Among his best known pictures are "The Surrender of Breda," "Alessandro del Borro," and "Philip IV."
PAUL VERONESE (PAOLO CAGLIARI)
(Pronounced Vay-ro-nay'zay and pah'o-lah cal-ee-ah'ree) Venetian School 1528-1588 Pupil of Titian
"One has never done well enough, when one can do better; one never knows enough when he can learn more!"
This was the motto of Paul Veronese. This artist was born in Verona—whence he took his name—and spent much of his life with the monks in the monastery of St. Sebastian.
His father was a sculptor, and taught his son. Veronese himself was a lovable fellow, had a kind feeling for all, and in return received the good will of most people. When he first went to Venice to study he took letters of introduction to the monks of St. Sebastian, and finally went to live with them, for his uncle was prior of the monastery, and it was upon its walls that he did his first work in Venice. His subject was the story of Esther, which he illustrated completely.
He became known in time as "the most magnificent of magnificent painters." He loved the gaieties of Venice; the lords and ladies; the exquisite colouring; the feasting and laughter, and everything he painted, showed this taste. When he chose great religious subjects he dressed all his figures in elegant Venetian costumes, in the midst of elegant Venetian scenes. His Virgins, or other Biblical people, were not Jews of Palestine, but Venetians of Venice, but so beautiful were they and so inspiring, that nobody cared to criticise them on that score. He loved to paint festival scenes such as, "The Marriage at Cana," "Banquet in Levi's House," or "Feast in the House of Simon." He painted nothing as it could possibly have been, but everything as he would have liked it to be.
Into the "Wedding Feast at Cana," where Jesus was said to have turned the water into wine, he introduced a great host of his friends, people then living. Titian is there, and several reigning kings and queens, including Francis I. of France and his bride, for whom the picture was made. This treatment of the Bible story startles the mind, but delights the eye.
It was said that his "red recurred like a joyful trumpet blast among the silver gray harmonies of his paintings."
Muther, one who has written brilliantly about him, tells us that "Veronese seems to have come into the world to prove that the painter need have neither head nor heart, but only a hand, a brush, and a pot of paint in order to clothe all the walls of the world with oil paintings" and that "if he paints Mary, she is not the handmaid of the Lord or even the Queen of Heaven, but a woman of the world, listening with approving smile to the homage of a cavalier. In light red silk morning dress, she receives the Angel of the Annunciation and hears without surprise—for she has already heard it—what he has to say; and at the Entombment she only weeps in order to keep up appearances."
Such criticism raises a smile, but it is quite just, and what is more, the Veronese pictures are so beautiful that one is not likely to quarrel with the painter for having more good feeling than understanding. His joyous temperament came near to doing him harm, for he was summoned before the Inquisition for the manner in which he had painted "The Last Supper."
After the Esther pictures in St. Sebastian, the artist painted there the "Martyrdom of St. Sebastian," and there is a tradition that he did his work while hiding in the monastery because of some mischief of which he had been guilty.
At that time he was not much more than twenty-six or eight, while the great painter Tintoretto was forty-five, yet his work in St. Sebastian made him as famous as the older artist.
There is very little known of the private affairs of Veronese. He signed a contract for painting the "Marriage at Cana," for the refectory of the monastery of St. Giorgio Maggiore, in June 1562, and that picture, stupendous as it is, was finished eighteen months later. He received $777.60 for it, as well as his living while he was at work upon it, and a tun of wine. One picture he is supposed to have left behind him at a house where he had been entertained, as an acknowledgment of the courtesy shown him.
Paul had a brother, Benedetto, ten years younger than himself, and it is said that he greatly helped Paul in his work, by designing the architectural backgrounds of his pictures. If that is so, Benedetto must have been an artist of much genius, for those backgrounds in the paintings are very fine.
Veronese married, and had two sons; the younger being named Carletto. He was also the favourite, and an excellent artist, who did some fine painting, but he died while he was still young. Gabriele the elder son, also painted, but he was mainly a man of affairs, and attended to business rather than to art.
Veronese was a loving father and brother, and beyond doubt a happy man. After his death both his sons and his brother worked upon his unfinished paintings, completing them for him. He was buried in the Church of St. Sebastian.
PLATE—THE MARRIAGE AT CANA
This painting is most characteristic of Veronese's methods. He has no regard for the truth in presenting the picture story. At the marriage at Cana everybody must have been very simply dressed, and there could have been no beautiful architecture, such as we see in the picture. In the painting we find courtier-like men and women dressed in beautiful silks. Some of the costumes appear to be a little Russian in character, the others Venetian; and Jesus Himself wears the loose every-day robe of the pastoral people to whom he belonged. We think of luxury and rich food and a splendid house when we look at this painting, when as a matter of fact nothing of this sort could have belonged to the scene which Veronese chose to represent. Perhaps no painter was more lacking in imagination than was Veronese in painting this particular picture. He chose to place historical or legendary characters, in the midst of a scene which could not have existed co-incidently with the event.
Among his other pictures are "Europa and the Bull," "Venice Enthroned," and the "Presentation of the Family of Darius to Alexander."
LEONARDO DA VINCI
(Pronounced Lay-o-nar'do dah Veen'chee) Florentine School 1451-1519 Pupil of Verrocchio
Leonardo da Vinci was the natural son of a notary, Ser Pier, and he was born at the Castello of Vinci, near Empoli. From the very hour that he was apprenticed to his master, Verrocchio, he proved that he was the superior of his master in art. Da Vinci was one of the most remarkable men who ever lived, because he not only did an extraordinary number of things, but he did all of them well.
He was an engineer, made bridges, fortifications, and plans which to this day are brilliant achievements.
He was a sculptor, and as such did beautiful work.
He was a naturalist, and as such was of use to the world.
He was an author and left behind him books written backward, of which he said that only he who was willing to devote enough study to them to read them in that form, was able to profit by what he had written.
Finally, and most wonderfully, he was a painter.
He had absolute faith in himself. Before he constructed his bridge he said that he could build the best one in the world, and a king took him at his word and was not disappointed by the result.
He stated that he could paint the finest picture in the world—but let us read what he himself said of it, in so sure and superbly confident a way that it robbed his statement of anything like foolish vanity. Such as he could afford to speak frankly of his greatness, without appearing absurd. He wrote:
"In time of peace, I believe I can equal anyone in architecture, in constructing public and private buildings, and in conducting water from one place to another. I can execute sculpture, whether in marble, bronze, or terra cotta, and in painting I can do as much as any other man, be he who he may. Further, I could engage to execute the bronze horse in eternal memory of your father and the illustrious house of Sforza." He was writing to Ludovico Sforza whose house then ruled at Milan. "If any of the above-mentioned things should appear to you impossible or impracticable, I am ready to make trial of them in your park, or in any other place that may please your excellency, to whom I commend myself in proud humility."
Leonardo's experiments with oils and the mixing of his pigments has nearly lost to us his most remarkable pictures. His first fourteen years of work as an artist were spent in Milan, where he was employed to paint by the Duke of Milan, and never again was his life so peaceful; it was ever afterward full of change. He went from Milan to Venice, to Rome, to Florence, and back to Milan where his greatest work was done.
While Leonardo was a baby he lived in the Castle of Vinci. He was beautiful as a child and very handsome as a man. When a child he wore long curls reaching below his waist. He was richly clothed, and greatly beloved. His body seemed no less wonderful than his mind. He wished to learn everything, and his memory was so wonderful that he remembered all that he undertook to learn. His muscles were so powerful that he could bend iron, and all animals seemed to love him. It is said he could tame the wildest horses. Indeed his life and accomplishments read as if he were one enchanted. One writer tells us that "he never could bear to see any creature cruelly treated, and sometimes he would buy little caged birds that he might just have the pleasure of opening the doors of their cages, and setting them at liberty."
The story told of his first known work is that his master, being hurried in finishing a picture, permitted Leonardo to paint in an angel's head, and that it was so much better than the rest of the picture, that Verrocchio burned his brushes and broke his palette, determined never to paint again, but probably this is a good deal of a fairy tale and one that is not needed to impress us with the artist's greatness, since there is so much to prove it without adding fable to fact.
Leonardo was also a very far seeing inventor and most ingenious. He made mechanical toys that "worked" when they were wound up. He even devised a miniature flying machine; however, history does not tell us whether it flew or not. He thought out the uses of steam as a motive power long before Fulton's time.
Leonardo haunted the public streets, sketchbook in hand, and when attracted by a face, would follow till he was able to transfer it to paper. Ida Prentice Whitcomb, who has compiled many anecdotes of da Vinci, says that it was also his habit to invite peasants to his house, and there amuse them with funny stories till he caught some fleeting expression of mirth which he was pleased to reproduce.
As a courtier Leonardo was elegant and full of amusing devices. He sang, accompanying himself on a silver lute, which he had had fashioned in imitation of a horse's skull. After he attached himself to the court of the Duke of Milan, his gift of invention was constantly called into use, and one of the surprises he had in store for the Duke's guests was a great mechanical lion, which being wound up, would walk into the presence of the court, open its mouth and disclose a bunch of flowers inside.
Leonardo worked very slowly upon his paintings, because he was never satisfied with a work, and would retouch it day after day. Then, too, he was a man of moods, like most geniuses, and could not work with regularity. The picture of the "Last Supper" was painted in Milan, by order of his patron, the Duke, and there are many picturesque stories written of its production. It was painted upon the refectory wall of a Dominican convent, the Santa Maria delle Grazie; and at first the work went off well, and the artist would remain upon his scaffolding from morning till night, absorbed in his painting. It is said that at such times he neither ate nor drank, forgetting all but his great work. He kept postponing the painting of two heads—Christ and Judas.
He had worked painstakingly and with enthusiasm till that point, but deferred what he was hardly willing to trust himself to perform. He had certain conceptions of these features which he almost feared to execute, so tremendous was his purpose. He let that part of the work go, month after month, and having already spent two years upon the picture, the monks began to urge him to a finish. He was not the man to endure much pressure, and the more they urged the more resentful he became. Finally, he began to feel a bitter dislike for the prior, the man who annoyed him most. One day, when the prior was nagging him about the picture, wanting to know why he didn't get to work upon it again, and when would it be finished, Leonardo said suavely: "If you will sit for the head of Judas, I'll be able to finish the picture at once." The prior was enraged, as Leonardo meant he should be; but Leonardo is said actually to have painted him in as Judas. Afterward he painted in the face of Christ with haste and little care, simply because he despaired of ever doing the wonderful face that his art soul demanded Christ should wear.
The one bitter moment in Leonardo's life, in all probability, was when he came in dire competition with Michael Angelo. When he removed to Florence he was required to submit sketches for the Town Hall—the Palazzo Vecchio—and Michael Angelo was his rival. The choice fell to Angelo, and after a life of supremacy Leonardo could not endure the humiliation with grace. Added to disappointment, someone declared that Leonardo's powers were waning because he was growing old. This was more than he could bear, and he left Italy for France, where the king had invited him to come and spend the remainder of his life. Francis I. had wished to have the picture in the Milan monastery taken to France, but that was not to be done.