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Wilhelm, whose graceful and noble inspirations were less to his mind than the pretty but more material forms of the later painter. Not so John Wan Eyck, who, when he took an inspiration from the school, chose it from the nobler painter, giving an example which, at a later period, Memling followed with advantage. The picture of 1417, which represents the Virgin playing with the Infant Christ upon her knee, and offering him flowers, with two full-length figures of St. Jerome and St. Francis at its sides," shows the painter to have been completely Flemish. His tones, though sombre, were powerful; his outlines somewhat hard. His flesh tints, though dark in shadow, were not unpleasant. The same characteristics are observable in a picture of the Madrid Museum, divided into four compartments, representing the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Birth of our Lord, and the Adoration of the Magi. Each of these subjects is in a Gothic arch, carved with subjects from the Passion. In some of the figures we trace a resemblance to those in a Last Judgment of Cristus, at Berlin, but their colouring and execution are more akin to the picture of Francfort. Unfortunately, the panels have been somewhat injured by age.” St. Elisius, offering the ring to a youthful couple, now in the possession of Mr. Oppenheim, at Cologne, taxed the powers of Cristus, as compositions of a large size generally taxed the Flemish painters of the fifteenth century, not perhaps to a great extent, but sufficiently to make the effort visible, betraying symptoms of decline in his powers. Marked by hard outlines, and a tone more sombre and opaque than usual, its disagreeable features are rendered striking by its size." The picture of 1451, more ambitious in subject than the last, is similar in scene and composition to the altarpiece at Danzig. The Saviour, surrounded by saints, presides in an exalted seat over the Last Judgment, the Archangel weighing the righteous and unrighteous in a balance. Beneath the latter are represented, as usual, the tortures of the condemned. The companion to this panel includes two scenes from Scripture, the Annunciation and the Birth of our Lord. The latter are productions of a less pleasing description than are the previous efforts of the master, and exaggerate the defects already noticed. The Virgin, no longer in the same attitude as she was usually represented by the Flemings, recals to mind, by rotundity of head and a fashion of turning the hair round the ear, the graceful productions of Stephen of Cologne. But in these, as in the draperies, Cristus lacks the elegance of the master of the Dom.” The Last Judgment comprises all the disagreeable features of Cristus' style, with general feebleness of composition, and frightfully imaginative monstrosities adorning the infernal regions,—a prelude, apparently, to the exaggerated vagaries of Jerome Bosch.
* No. 402, Staedel Gallery, Francfort. Purchased from the Aders' Collection, signed, “Petrus Xpr. me fecit, 1417.” Wood, 16" 3” by 15"9", Austrian measure.
* No. 454, Madrid Museum Catalogue. Wood, 2 feet 10 inches 6 lignes by 3 feet 10 inches, Spanish measure.
* No. 529A, and 529B, Berlin Catalogue. Signed partly on one wing, partly on the other, “Petrus Xpi. me fecit anno domini 1452.” Wood, 4 ft. 7 z. by 1 ft. 9, z, Prussian measure.
The Archangel in the last-mentioned composition is repeated in a panel of the Belvedere Gallery at Vienna, and classed amongst the works of unknown painters. It is, without doubt, a copy by Cristus himself."
The “Portrait of a Lady of the Family of Talbot,” now in the Berlin Museum, is less authentic; its soft and clear tones differing from the known examples of the painter's manner. Nor would it be fair to assign to him the San Jeronymo in the Antwerp Gallery, which, bearing no mark of his style, seems rather to be a feeble production of the Flemish school, at a later period. 3
Two or three pictures in Cologne, forming part of the ex-Lyversberg collection, were attributed to that Christophorus who painted the altar-piece of the Carthusian convent; but this appears to have been done without good authority. It is enough to state that these compositions are of a much later date than Petrus Cristus, and appear to be the work of a painter having the faults peculiar to the secondary schools of Westphalia in 1500, and caricaturing the manner of Lucas of Leyden, whose name has been given to pictures in that style in various galleries.
The Madrid Museum contains a representation of a clerical functionary of Cologne in prayer, attended by St. John the Baptist, who holds the Lamb and book. The Virgin, close by, sits on a couch. The picture, attributed
1 No. 76, room second, Belvedere Catalogue. 1' 6" high by 11", Austrian measure.
2 No. 532, Berlin Cat. Wood, 11 z. by 9 z. On the frame, no longer there, was said to be the inscription, “Opus Petri Christophori.”
3 No. 9, Antw. Cat. Wood, 0.29 m. by 0.19 French measure. 4 Nos. 1401–1403, Madrid Catalogue. Signed " Año milleno C.
to Wan Eyck, is rather after the manner of Petrus Cristus, whose hard outlines are here visible. The damage done to the panel increases this last-mentioned defect. The head of the Virgin, round, after the fashion of the painters of Cologne, shows the study of their school; whilst the lengthy extremities are characteristic of the scholars of John Wan Eyck. The legs of St. John the Baptist are designed with truth, notwithstanding their exaggerated thinness. Another feature, which appears to be a reminiscence of the Wan Eyck school, is that of the convex looking-glass, the chandelier, and furniture, which are entirely of Flemish character. This panel most resembles that of St. Elisius—in those parts, at least, which are not too much damaged. Were it on any real evidence that the name of Gerard Van der Meire is given to three or four bad pictures at Ghent, Antwerp, and elsewhere, we should have little reason to congratulate Hubert Wan Eyck upon the education of this pupil. Nothing can well be scantier than the notices of this early painter. Wan Mander says, that some short time later than John Van Eyck, Gerard Van der Meire lived at Ghent;" and a manuscript chronicle of the fifteenth century speaks of him as the disciple of Hubert; neither of these authorities, how
quater Xter et o hic fecit—mister Henricus Werlis mgr. coloff.” Wood, 8f 7 by 1 f. 8, Spanish measure. This signature is much damaged; and where a blank is left are the remnants on the panel of a word.
* W. Mander, p. 205.
* Chronique manuscrite du 15° siècle appartenant a Mr. Delbecq de Gand. Messager des Sc. et Arts de Belg. 1824, p. 132. Passavant, Kunstreise, p. 379.
ever, inform us who was Gerard, where he was born, or
i V. Mander, p. 205.
3 Sanderus (Ant.) de Gandav. Erud. clar., p. 47. Antv. 1625. V. Mander, p. 205.
4 Passavant, Kunstreise, p. 379.