« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
miniatures on parchment or paper, the painters, who knew the care with which such productions were treasured, did not expend much time in rendering the tints impervious to the effects of the atmosphere. They covered the water-colour simply with a coat of varnish—una mano di colla; and miniatures thus treated remained for ages without alteration in central Italy, where the warmth of the climate enabled the greatest painters to execute, in the open air, the most colossal paintings on the walls and in the cloisters of churches, and in the Campo Santi. But these simple means were insufficient in the north of Italy. The painters of the school of Padua, such as Squarcione, Mantegna, and their followers, painted mural pictures in exposed places ; but they did not last, and in many spots where they were executed they speedily perished. The same causes operated in Venice; and this partly explains how the painters of Northern Italy made more frequent use of canvas than those of the south. Further, in the use of tempera they employed a mixture of colours more tenacious and more lasting than that of the men of central Italy. A careful examination of the works of such painters as Mantegna, Cosimo Tura, Marco Zoppo, Crivelli, and some of the Vivarini, will prove that their pictures were painted with a tempera of far less thickness or body, and on cloths of greater tenacity, than those of their more southern brethren. Of these facts the Flemings cannot but have been cognisant, and the necessity for increased attention to the durability of their materials must have been forced upon them with double power. They seldom appear to have attempted mural painting. Van Mander has noticed none, and few ves
tiges of such works are preserved. The climate would scarcely permit of such productions; and the Flemings, bending their art to the necessities of the weather, substituted painting on canvas for that on walls. They laboured, too, with a tempera of little body, as the least likely to crackle and fall off; and they completed their pictures, as was usual with all the old masters, by glazing them with a coat of a coloured oleo resinous varnish, which served at once to give tone and vigour to the subject, and close the tempera against the contact of the outward air. The remarkable contrast which exists between the pale flesh tints of the picture of Dijon and the vigorous colours of the drapery, appears to have been produced by another peculiarity, not confined to the painters of the Netherlands, but which shows them acquainted with the greatest variety of modes of painting. It may be inferred that the more vigorous colouring noticeable in the draperies was produced by the use of oil in those portions of the picture ; and an attentive examination of the panels of St. Sauveur at Bruges leads us to similar conclusions with regard to that picture. In all the subjects of these pictures the tempera employed is hard, and devoid of transparency, unlike that of the school of Cologne, which appears to receive its polish and clearness from the mixture of wax and honey; and also unlike that of Gentile da Fabriano, a painter who gave a softness and clearness to the tempera he employed which is not commonly found among his Italian cotemporaries. If any resemblance can be found between these tempera paintings and those of other schools, it is discoverable in the productions of Crivelli, Mantegna, and
other artists of Northern Italy, which appear to have been executed with a medium but little dissimilar in body and surface. As regards the use of a coloured varnish by - Broederlain, the fact appears to admit of no doubt. The partial flaying which the panels have undergone has laid bare large spaces where the old varnish has disappeared. Wherever this has occurred, the colour is pale and grey ; so that, according as the parts are in a better or worse state of preservation, the picture is more or less powerful in tone. This use of coloured varnishes in the pictures of the early Flemish school, and the effect which their removal produced on pictures, explain, to a certain extent, why we possess so many old pictures of the period strikingly cold and grey in tone. Nothing is more likely than that, in the process of cleaning, the varnish which acted as glazing has been removed, and the colours have been changed from the tone which they were originally intended to possess. A few sentences will close this record of the painters who immediately preceded Hubert, John, and Margaret Wan Eyck. Whilst Broederlain contributed to the pictorial riches of the Carthusians of Dijon, Jehan Malouel was busily employed in the adornment of its walls. Jehan Malouel appears to have been a colourist of sculpture rather than a painter. We have said that he failed in the shrines of De la Baerse. He seems, how. ever, to have succeeded better with other works. He coloured and gilt five wooden altar-pieces for the Car. thusians of Dijon: he composed a wooden picture of the Virgin, with St. John, St. Peter, and St. Anthony, and he
ornamented a quantity of jousting harness for a tilt. He performed these minor services in the lifetime of the first of the French dukes, and was assisted in his labours by a painter named Hermann of Cologne. On the succession of John to the ducal crown he was promoted, and figures in the lists as “paintre de M. D. S. et varlet de chambre,” his salary being twenty livres a month. We find him at Paris and Compiègne in 1406, painting tilting harness for John the Duke, and in the following year again in Burgundy, and at his labours in the convent near Dijon. He had the honour, in 1415, of painting his master's likeness, which was sent by special messenger to the King of Portugal. Jehan Malouel then disappears from the ducal accounts, and is succeeded by Henry Bellechose de Brabant, Jehan le Voleur, and Hue de Boulogne, of whom we shall treat hereafter.
1 De Laborde. Table Alphabet, vol. iii. pp. 551, 565.
2“ A Jehan Malouel, paintre et varlet de chambre de M. S. le Duc, III. XL livres qui deuz lui estoient pour ses gaiges de XX livres par mois. III.CXL liv.”—Compte de Robert de Bailleux, 1411– 1412. De Labord. ut sup., vol. i. p. 23-4.
3“ A Jehan Malouel, paintre et varlet de M. D. S. auquel M.D.S. en récompense de ce qu'il avait demeuré devers lui à ses frais et despens tant à Paris comme à Compiègne par l'espace de cinq mois, commenciés au mois d'avril MCCCC et six, et finis continuellement, tant pour aider à faire plusieurs harnois de joustes pour le dit seigneur et aucuns de ses gens, pour jouster à la feste des nopces de M. S. le Duc de Thouraine, et de M. S. le Conte d'Angoulesme, nagaires faictes audit Compiègne, comme pour plusieurs autres choses de son mestier que M. D. S. lui fit faire, la somme de XL, escus d'or.”—Compte de J. Chousat. De Lab. ut sup., vol. i. p. 17.
4 Comptes de Jean de Noident, 1407. De Salles, ut sup. p. 161.
5 Comptes de Jean de Noident, 1415. De Salles, ut sup., pp. 137-8.
JEAN SANs PEUR, who succeeded his father in the Duchy of Burgundy, did not inherit the sentiment of art for which that prince was famous. He sold costly miniatures and gold and silver statues to pay his debts, and found no lack of a better painter at his court than Jean Malouel, whose abilities were not of a high order, and whose labours never rose in character above the most ordinary level. Pride, and perhaps some filial affection, led Jean Sans Peur to order that a suitable monument should be raised to his father's memory, and the sculptors, Claux de Wernes and Claux Sluter, produced a tomb which for many years remained in the Chartreuse of Dijon. A
glance at the numerous figures which decorate this monu
ment will convince even the superficial observer that, however well the sculptors may have understood the picturesque in the general features of their work, they were worthy of less notice as artists of feeling and sentiment. Their figures express, in most instances, physical suffering, intended for gravity or melancholy. Short and overclad bodies are defective in attitude, and questionable taste pervades the subject generally. Art in such hands as these, or under such patronage as that of Jean Sans Peur,