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From the Altar-piece in the Santa Trinita Museum at Madrid.

page 95

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of Moses. A pope with the tiara triumphantly points to
the wafers of the host, and holds the flag of hope; his
followers, a cardinal, at whose feet an emperor is kneel-
ing, a bishop, and others in secular costume, foremost
amongst whom we notice Hubert and John Wan Eyck—
looking gravely on. The figure of the former is on the left
of the group, kneeling in an attitude of adoration, clothed
in a red mantle turned with grey fur, a blue bonnet lined
with fur on his head. An order hangs over his shoulder,
and a belt keeps in the folds of his dress. The features
are similar to those of Hubert in the altar-piece of
St. Bavon. The figure of the latter stands somewhat in
rear on the extreme left. The dress is black, and the
head is covered with a cap. Here, also, the features.
resemble those of John Van Eyck in the Agnus Dei, but
the likeness is not so striking as that of Hubert. Opposite
to them are closely huddled the despairing figures of the
Jews. . The high priest, with the broken staff, turns away
his head from the revivifying fountain, although his
blindness is depicted by a handkerchief which shrouds
his eyes. Another Jewish priest is falling in consternation,
whilst a third has taken to his heels, and another runs
away with his hand to his ears. A fifth is observed tear-
ing his breast, and the group expresses terror and despair,
as ably depicted as is the deep and solemn, yet cheerful
gravity of the princes of the Greek and Latin Church.
For power of conception, creation, and distribution,
there is no picture of the Flemish school which ap-
proaches this, except the Agnus Dei of St. Bavon. It is
the labour of a single hand, and the figures are all of
similar stature, but of proportions less than those of

John Van Eyck, in the central panel of the Agnus Dei. The colour is too powerful for a pupil or contemporary of the painter. Wan der Weyden was softer and more pale in colour, and had not this power of expression and design, nor did his mode of grouping in the least resemble that of John Wan Eyck. Memling it could not be, for sentiment in him was stronger than expression. The pictures of Petrus Cristus, such as the Virgin in the Staedel Gallery at Francfort, are less powerful in execution, although that painter was most faithful to Hubert's manner. Hugo Van der Goes, with his dark shadows, cannot be the author; and as for Flemish painters in Spain, none could be named in the same breath with the Van Eycks. The figure of the Saviour in this altar-piece is a repetition of that of St. Bavon, with this exception, that the head resembles the Christ already noticed in the Gallery of Berlin. The choristers have the same round cast of head as the female saints of the first Agnus Dei, and the general tone—the reddish flesh tints—recal to mind the greatest efforts of the master. A splendid specimen of John Van Eyck's early and most powerful manner is at the Louvre.' Chancellor Rollin is there represented kneeling, with a missal, before the Virgin and Child. An angel with splendid wings places a crown upon the Virgin's head. The scene is laid in a chamber of Saxon architecture, with open windows, through which are seen two figures peeping through the apertures of a crenelated tower on a city divided by a

* No. 162, Louvre Cat. Wood. 0.66 m. by 0.62. On the border of the Virgin's dress, the words Ecultata sum in Libano.

river into two parts. The towers and spires are not unlike those of Bruges ; but the river and the snow-clad mountains in the distance have led to the belief that the place represented is Lyons. Probably the painter meant to depict Jerusalem. Filhol says that the picture long adorned the sacristy of the cathedral at Autun, and Courtépée adds other information. He says :-“An original picture may be seen in the sacristy of Notre Dame d'Autun, in which the Chancellor Rollin, in vestments of ceremony, is represented kneeling at the feet of the Virgin. The background of the picture shows us the city of Bruges in perspective, and more than 2,000 figures, of which the variety and attitudes can only be perceived with the assistance of a magnifying glass.” 1 There are, probably, less than 2,000 figures in this picture, but their number is certainly remarkable. The beauty of this picture’s finish, and the severity of its manner, make it almost equal to the large productions of Hubert.

The most curiously preserved of the painter's works is that which Vasari describes as having been sent to King Alphonzo at Naples, by Van Eyck himself. This, amongst other panels, perhaps, found its way to the south of Italy through the Lombard merchants who traded with those parts. It now hangs in the church of Santa Barbara, in Castel Nuovo, at Naples, behind the altar. The subject represents the Adoration of the Magi, and was considered for many years as the production of Zingaro or the Donzelli,

i Courtépée, Descrip. Hist. et Topogr. du Duché de Bourgogne, yol. iii. p. 451.

2 Vasari, ut sup., Introd. c. 7, vol. i. p. 163.

because the portraits of Alphonzo and his son had been painted in oil over those of two Magi; but the substitution is curiously explained by a passage in the works of Massimo Stanzioni, a Neapolitan artist, who wrote with dislike of the Flemish painters, assuming that they never had a claim to the fame of painting with improved medium. Amongst other things, he said :—“The picture given by Giovanni (John Van Eyck) to Alphonzo the First, called the picture degli tre Magi,' made no great noise in Italy ; and this is so far true that the figures were restored by Il Zingaro and the Donzelli, with many things that had been spoiled in the carriage; when they took occasion to repaint upon the faces of the Magi the portraits of Alphonzo and his son.” 1

This picture has, undoubtedly, received some damage, but it still retains the traces of the Flemish manner, and of the hand of John Van Eyck. It is one of the few productions of the master which survives in Italy.

A very fine and authentic piece by John Van Eyck is in the possession of the Rothschild family in Paris. The Virgin, standing under a richly embroidered canopy, holds in her arms the Infant Jesus, who is blessing a Dominican kneeling before him. A female saint stands by, and a nun holds the Virgin's crown. A distant landscape representing a town, a river, and a bridge, is seen through the aisles.

Another authentic picture by John Van Eyck, is the property of a gentleman at Antwerp. It represents the

i Dominici, Vite dei pittori scultori Napolitani, p. 205, 8vo. Naples, 1840–8. Stanzioni was born in 1585.

; Wood, 14 in. by 19 in.

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