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the picture perfect; and there are few things more wonderful than the chandelier which hangs above the pair, the bed and chairs, the floor and pattens, or the concave looking-glass, in which the figures are reflected, round the frame of which are painted ten circular scenes from the Passion of Christ. Perhaps this was the picture so curiously purchased, as Wan Mander tells us, by Mary, sister of Charles the Fifth, and regent of the Netherlands, in a barber's shop in Ghent, for a place of a hundred florins a year." Some variation, it is true, may be noticed in the description of the panel by Wan Mander, for he says that the figures of the man and woman were united by fidelity; but the dog is emblematic of that sentiment, and may convey his meaning allegorically. There is no denying, whatever opinion may be held respecting the male figure, that the female is, to a certain extent, similar in features and in character to that of Van Eyck's wife, now at Bruges. The signature of the painter, “Johannes de Eyck fuit hic,” tends to confirm the opinion that the male figure is a portrait of John himself, albeit having no resemblance to the received portrait of Wan Eyck in the wing of the Ghent pictures now in the Berlin Museum. The Virgin and St. Donat, painted for Canon Van der Paele and President de Meyer—a picture now in the Academy of Bruges"—was executed two years later than * Van Mander, p. 203. Waernewyk, p. 119. * No. 1 of the Catalogue of the Academy of Bruges. Signed, “Hoc op" fecit fieri magr Georgi de Pala, huj ecclese canoni p Johanne de Eyck pictor, et fundavit hic duas capellias de gimio (gremio)
the last (1436). Cleaning and retouching by bad restorers, impair its value and beauty; but, apart from this, the colour has not been used with the painter's usual breadth, and traces of manipulation obtrude in all parts. The figures are drawn with less than usual ability; most of the faces are insipid in expression, and the hands are stiff and long. Tints no longer melting into each other, the colour, instead of being rich and giving to the flesh a plump and pleasant aspect, has a hard and red appearance. The figure of the Virgin is certainly the most displeasing of those undoubtedly painted by Wan Eyck, and the child exhibits the usual peculiarities of shortness and thinness, with features in which the painter, seeking to express the Holy Spirit, only succeeded in expressing age, incompatible with the smallness of the Infant's size and the feebleness of its proportions. St. Donat is the most remarkable of the persons in the composition. His pious and noble head keeps the eye riveted, withholding it from the overloaded ornaments of a splendid cope and stole; but the figure of St. George is trivial and awkward. The background here is well preserved, but the draperies are partially destroyed.
The portrait of Jan de Leeuw, at Vienna, painted, like the last, in 1436, is of a red tone, similar to that which renders the Virgin of St. Donat unpleasant to the eye."
1 No. 12, second room, Gallery of Belvedere, at Vienna. This panel is signed on a salient border, “Jan de Leeuw (Leeuw figured by a drawing of a lion) op Sant Orselen Daen dat claer eerst met oghen saen 1401. Ghe conterfeit nu heeft mi Jan Van Eyck wel blyct wanneert begå 1436.” 1' by 10", Austrian measure.
. Another portrait, described as that of “ Jodocus Vydts, at an advanced age, bareheaded, clothed in a red dress, turned up with white," does not display the little grey eyes, the nose, or the expression of that person ; but it has that same vigorous tone of colouring, that decision of outline which we perceive in the portrait of the National Gallery, and in that .of Jan de Leeuw. The original beautiful design may be seen in the collection of drawings at Dresden.
We shall speak hereafter of other pictures in this gallery attributed to Van Eyck, which we do not consider authentic.
2 St. Barbara, in a landscape, a picture left unfinished by the master in 1437, is interesting as affording a clue to the mode in which Van Eyck proceeded. The Saint is represented sitting on the ground reading in a book, of which she pensively turns the leaves. In her right hand she holds a palm. Her ample robe, spread about her, lies in folds around. In the background the landscape is adorned with a distant tower, trees and hills beyond, and the sky alone is coloured. The design of every part is complete, not a detail being omitted. The dress, with its numerous folds, the figures at work in the distant tower, the foliage and boughs of the trees, are most minute; and prove how carefully and correctly the early artists, like
1 No. 39, second room, Belvedere Gallery. Wood. l'l" by 11", Austrian measure.
2 This picture may be one of which Van Mander says, “His dead colourings were much more clear and sharp than the finished works of other masters. I have seen in the possession of my master, Lucas de Heere, one in which is painted a young woman sitting in a landscape.”— V. Mander, p. 203.
Van Eyck, drew in their compositions, leaving nothing to chance after the outlines were defined." It was the custom of early painters, as Mr. Didron proves by numerous examples,” to represent the figure of the Eternal under the younger features of the Saviour. There is some difficulty in ascertaining whether Hubert meant to represent God the Father or the Saviour in the altar-piece of the Agnus Dei; but the head of our Saviour, painted by John Wan Eyck, in 1438, tends to show that the features of the Redeemer were meant to be depicted at St. Bavon; for in both the same solemnity and age are given, the same attempt is made to render the spiritual idea by rigidity of gaze and immobility of expression. John, however, in attempting to depict a subject far above his strength, is less successful even than his brother, and fails to impart the noble bearing and solemnity which mark the figure in the Agnus Dei.” John Wan Eyck's portrait of his wife is a far more pleasing picture, though by no means a flattering likeness. He finished it in 1439; and it may be cited as a marvellous instance of the painter's talent for finish and minuteness in ornaments. The hand is, perhaps, the most complete and perfect one he ever executed. Much of the disagreeable impression of this portrait is owing to the want of grace in the costume, which stripped the forehead of hair and placed it under two small horns, near the temples." A Virgin and Child, of the same period, may be noticed for the red and opaque quality of tone already observed elsewhere. The energies of Wan Eyck were declining when he made the forms of the infant Christ so puny. Nor can the draperies be praised for their flow, nor the outlines for aught but hardness and rigidity. Finish and minuteness characterise the panel in a marked manner. But its chief feature of interest is distinct from the appreciation of execution.” We find in it the only point of contact between the school of Bruges and that of Cologne. In Hubert Wan Eyck it was impossible to trace this; but this Virgin and Child seems
* No. 5, of the Antwerp Catalogue. This picture is signed “Johès de Eyck me fecit 1437.” It belonged to the well-known printers Enschede, of Haarlem, who had an engraving made of it in 1769. In 1786 they sold it to a dealer named P. Yver, who sold it again to Mr. Ploos Van Amstel, in whose collection it remained for a long time. Sold from thence into the hands of a Mr. Oyen, the widow of that gentleman parted with it to the Antwerp Collection. 0.32 metres by 0.19, French measure.
* Iconologie chrétienne.
* No. 528, of Berlin Catalogue. Signed, “Johés de Eyck, me fecit et appleviit anno 1438, 31 January.” Wood, 1 foot 7 z. by 1 foot 3 z., Prussian measure.
* No. 2, of Bruges Academy Catalogue. Signed, “Conjux Isis Johès me aplevit 1439, mense Junii.” “Etas mea triginta tria afiorum. Als ikh kan.” Given to the Academy in 1808, by M. Pierre Van Lede, and was formerly in the painter's chapel in the Noorzand Straet, now the chapel of the convent of the Liguorist sisterhood. * No. 6, of Antwerp Catalogue. Signed, “Johès de Eyck me fecit, aplevit afio 1439.” Bought by M. W. Ertborn, in 1838, of the curate of Dikkelvenne, in Flanders. This picture answers to the description of the following, in the inventory of pictures belonging to Margaret of Austria, at Malines, in 1524, “Un petit tableau de Nostre Dame tenant son enfant lequel tient un petit paternostre de coralen sa main, forte antique, ayant une fontaine auprés elle et deux anges tenans aux drapt d'or figuré derrière elle.”—De Laborde, ut sup., p. 26. 0.19 metres by 0.12, French measure. A copy of this picture, said to be by Van Eyck himself, has been lately discovered in a village church near Nantes, and purchased for seventeen francs.-De Lab., Les Ducs de B., wi sup, Introd. vol. i. p. L.