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discover how strongly Van der Weyden's compositions · became impressed upon the painters of Cologne. Amongst the rest, the great “Descent from the Cross" will be found to have been copied, altered, and recopied in various forms and manners. The men of the Rhine did not, it is true, imitate servilely; but they varied, and they modified their style in course of time, until we find them reverting to imitations of those great features which a man like Wilhelm indelibly impresses on his pupils and followers. They gradually returned to the long, thin forms of their first founder, without regaining his elegance and nobleness. The school was thus reduced to awkwardness and lifelessness when the “Deposition from the Cross," which may yet be seen at the Wallraffische Museum, was painted. This picture bears the date of 1499, and has been given to Israel Meckenen and Albert Van Ouwater. We have shown how difficult it would be to maintain the name of Albert. As for Israel Meckenen, let us see what grounds there are for assigning pictures to him. He was born at Mecheln, or Meckenen, a village between Zütphen and Cleves, and is known solely by his engravings of the works of Martin Schön. There is nothing in common between the pictures and him, except the period of production. The date of his birth is 1440, and that of his death 1503; and, therefore, had he been a painter, he might have produced the picture just alluded to. But there is no proof whatever, either that he painted at all, or that this particular work is his ; and, in so far as the panels attributed to him can be examined and compared, there is not one of them which is not dis
1 Vide supra, pp. 233, 234.
tinctly of different hands and periods; though they are all of the same bastardized and soulless school. The time in which they were produced appears to have been the middle or the latter portion of the fifteenth century—at the period of transition, when the School of Bruges and that of Louvain were mingled in Cologne, and formed a vulgar cento. That the painters of Louvain and the artists of the Rhine were wont to fraternize is evident— as we have shown from their works, such as the “Martyrdom of St. Erasmus;” but the names of all these painters remain unknown. It is true that we discover a master of Cologne whose name is noticed in 1478, as that of one who did considerable honour to the school at the time in which the writer lived. This notice is discovered in the “Memorials of Zwolle,” to the following effect:“Eodem tempore aderat quidam devotissimus juvenis, dictus Johannis de Colonia, qui dum esset in seculo pictor fuit optimus et aurifaber.” But this artist's name is found upon no panels or pictures of that time. Numerous pieces, however, illustrate the school up to 1499, when it seems to disappear. Of these, a few are to be found at Linz, at Munich, at Minden, at Nordlingen, and Cologne. The pictures of Linz were, perhaps, the best of the transition period, and appear to have been painted in the days of Van der Weyden; those of Munich, where the schools are classified without much care, and where
* Archiv voor kerkelyke geschiedenis inzonderheid den Uxderlandte, Leyden, 1835, tom. ii. p. 295, Apud. De Laborde, Les Ducs de Bourgogne, ut sup., Introd. vol. ii. p. 52. This John of Cologne may be the goldsmith referred to in the lines cited further, p. 331, as Jean Steclin.
the works of Wilhelm are confused with those of Stephen, are also curious. In the tryptic of the “ Marriage of the Virgin” there, which bears the name of Meckenen, we remark the mixture of the Rhenish and Flemish Schools.' Whilst its author placed upon his panels forms of composition as eminently Flemish as his landscape distances, he coloured them in the manner of Cologne, In truth, the landscape distance of this picture is a repetition of the same portion of the “ Martyrdom of St. Erasmus” at Louvain. The “ Crucified Saviour," in the same Collection, may be cited as another example of Van der Weyden's style of composition. The painter of these pictures is the same whose panels are christened in the Gallery of Lyversberg—at Cologne by the name of the “ Master of the Passion;" and at Minden, by that of the “ Master of Werden." The pictures of the “Master of the Passion,” now belonging to Mr. Baumeister, of Cologne, since the death of Mr. Van Lyversberg, were called, till very lately, by the name of Meckenen ; but have since been named from the subject which they represent :3 those at Minden, in the Collection of Councillor Krüger, representing St. Hubert, St. Augustin, St. Ludger, and St. Maurice ;—the Conversion of St. Hubert, St. Jerome, St. Augustin, St. Ægidius, and a Carmelite, are named from the monastery in which they were discovered.4 The same hand appears to have produced the mural paintings in Santa Maria Capitolina at Cologne, i Nos. 20, 21, 22, Cab. II., Pinakothek Catalogue.
No. 27, Cab. II., Pinakothek Catalogue. 3 Catalogue of the ex-Lyversberg Collection.
4 Catalogue of Councillor Krüger's Gallery at Minden ; Nos. 26, 27, 28, 29. Now in the National Gallery, Nos. 250 to 253.
which are also called Meckenen. As for the Crucifixion of 1499, although it also was christened with the name of the ubiquitous engraver, it exhibits a manner imitated from that of Van der Weyden, with a colour in the cold and far from pleasant tones of the latest artists of Cologne. It was, in fact, by far the weakest, and apparently the last, effort of the school.
The influence of Flemish art, which thus apparently put an end to that particular branch which flourished at Cologne, was extended farther into Germany towards the sixteenth century, and produced a style no longer similar to that which picture-fanciers called Meckenen, but which, for want of any name, was classed as that of Lucas of Leyden. Pictures of this kind, of which it is needless to define the manner, were very numerous. Many are to be found in continental galleries. As an instance, we may mention panels at Cologne, once the property of Mr. Lyversberg, and now belonging to Mr. Hamm. They represent the Incredulity of St. Thomas in the centre, Mary and St. John on one wing, St. Alfred and St. Hyppolitus on the other. Outside, are St. Simphorosa and her seven sons, and St. Felicity and her seven sons.' It is hardly necessary to say that this tryptic is not by Lucas of Leyden, than whom no painter has produced, or left us, a fewer number of his pictures. Lucas, in truth, was scarcely more a painter than Meckenen. His time was spent in the handling of the graver-not the brush. The painter of these pictures, who exhibits many of the special characteristics of a Fleming, with a mixture of the dry, clear German manner, was, in every likeli
Nos. 35, 36, 37, ex-Lyversberg Coll. Cat.
hood, an artist of the early portion of the sixteenth century. His composition is rich, though his figures are not marshalled in good order. It is also marked by heaviness and profusion of ornamentation. Jewellery and precious stones abound in it; and could we trace in any way a record of its author, it might appear that, like Johannes of Cologne, he was a goldsmith “ aurifaber," dragging into pictures the material fancies of another branch of art. Pollaiolo, as we have shown, was an “ Orafo,” and abounded in similar particularities. The painter now before us is remarkable, besides, for having had a manner of reducing figures in their stature, by increasing, beyond measure, the length and girth of the head. He also drew large hands and feet, and lacked chiaro-'scuro. In colour he was cold and abrupt. There are other pictures from the painter's hand in the same Collection. The Louvre contains one, where Van der Weyden’s “Descent from the Cross” is again repeated, and slightly altered. The comparatively warm tone of its colour has induced the attribution of the panel to Quintin Massys, but there are no certain grounds for this.2
Whilst the Flemish influence thus extended itself in Germany, the painters of Cologne, at second hand, pursued a similar direction, and left their stamp on the artists of Westphalia and of Augsburg. In the latter city they left their impress on Holbein, the father of the friend of Erasmus and Frobenius. It was the first Holbein who took to Augsburg the Rhenish style of colouring, and who
i Nos. 40, 41, 42, ex-Lyversberg Coll. Cat. They represent St. John the Baptist, and St. Cecilia, and St. Alexis, and St. Agnes. 2 No. 280, Louvre Cat.