Page images

There is much body of colour in this picture, which is, apparently, by various hands. Parts of it are cold and transparent; others opaque and red. The figures have the length and immobility of Stuerbout.

At Granada the chapel of Los Reyes is—we cannot say adorned—by a picture in three compartments, representing the Crucifixion, the Deposition, and the Resurrection, It is noticeable that this last, and the Resurrection at Nuremberg, are the same composition, though the figures in the panel of Granada are more exaggerated in form and darker in tone, and appear to be by an artist of the decline at Cologne. Two pictures in the sacristy of the same church are called Memling, but are of a later date.

Numbers of pictures might now be classed amongst the works of artists who made the art a trade, and who painted in the mixed and degraded manner of the amalgamated Schools of Louvain and Cologne; but the enumeration would be tedious. We need only mention a Christ taken from the Cross, at Brussels," assigned to Memling, and a similar subject at the Hague, also given, and with no more reason, to Memling; a Head of Christ at Munich, copied, without intelligence, from that by Van Eyck at Berlin;; and another Head of the Saviour, somewhat in the manner of Massys, in the same Gallery,“ as examples of our meaning. In the Madrid Museum there

[ocr errors]

is a bad copy of Memling's “ Adoration of the Magi,”l at Bruges, which is called an original.

The Inventory of Margaret of Austria contains a picture by Dierick Stuerbout, of which the traces are lost.

Mr. Passavant assigns to Dierick a small picture belonging to Mr. Schöff Brentano, of Francfort. It resembles the legendary panels of the Hague for style. The subjects are, “ The Prophecy of the Sybil of Tybur to the Emperor Augustus ;" and a Madonna and Child. The scenes are laid in an apartment of Flemish architecture. Several figures, supposed by Mr. Passavant to be portraits, surround the Virgin. The same author attributes to Stuerbout two portraits in the Naples Gallery (Nos. 381, 383), Robert of Sicily, and Duke Charles of Calabria. If these portraits, he adds, are not by Dierick, they must be by a pupil, or some artist of the School of Haarlem.

I No. 467, Madrid Catalogue. 2 ft. 1 in. 6 high by 1 ft. 11 in. 6 broad; wood.

2 “Une petite Nostre Dame fait de la main de Dirick.”—Inventaire de Marguérite d'Autriche, De Laborde, ut sup., p. 29.

* Passavant, Kunstblatt, No. 11, 1841.



It is tolerably clear, from our previous narrative, that the arts in Belgium began to flourish immediately after the accession of the house of France to the throne of Burgundy. But all the elements of strength existed before their time, and required but their vigour to develop them with speed. In truth, what Flanders wanted up to that time was peace, order, and cessation from intestine feuds, and this the stronghanded policy of the Dukes produced. Under Louis de Maele and his immediate predecessors, Flanders and its cities rose to great commercial and manufacturing importance ; but the Counts of Flanders had neither power nor prestige to keep within due bounds thë unruly spirit of their cities. They provoked it, on the contrary, by attempts to wrest from them their fairest privileges, and turned the energies of the people from the pursuit of peaceful riches to that of redressing wrongs. They had all to lose in such a struggle, threatening as it did their only source of wealth

-the trade of their dominions. The Flemish communes were as rich as they were powerful. To have conciliated instead of exciting their hostility, should have been the aim of skilful rulers. But the principles which governed the communes were not quite reconcilable with those of

the noblesse. On one great question they were especially at variance; and the history of the Flemish communes is that of free trade against exclusiveness. On the Rhine, where each petty prince swelled his revenue by erecting toll-bars and impeding trade, commerce flourished, as it were, in spite of them. In Flanders, trade was in the hands of the municipalities. They manufactured the raw material, and ruled the ports. The duties levied on foreign produce enriched their coffers, and not the exchequer of the princes. To wrest these ways and means from the communes was the ceaseless effort of the Counts of Flanders. They quarrelled with their people, and then sought foreign aid for their subjection. France, ever jealous of possessing these rich and important provinces, at all times afforded them assistance. England, on the other hand, too anxious for their welfare to leave them without aid, encouraged them in struggles against their Counts and France. The Flemish nobles—consisting not alone of those who held their ground “en chasteaux forts,” as Guicciardini says; but of the citizen noblesse, which also boasted of descent—took part in general against the communes, and formed the adverse factions of the “Leliarts,” or partisans of the Lily, and the “Clauwerts,” or Wielders of Cleavers. For years the Clauwerts asserted their superiority in arms against the Leliarts. They triumphed at the battle of the Spurs, where the flower of French chivalry was routed and destroyed, and kept up their ascendency even against Louis de Maele, their last Count. Nothing at this time exceeded the wealth and power of the cities. Bruges, which at first was but a church upon an island, had grown at the Crusades into a fortalice,

square in shape, with battlement and drawbridge. The church of St. Donat occupied the centre, and there the Counts, like Baldwin of the Iron Arm and Guy de Dampierre, were wont to hear the mass. The waters which surrounded the old fortalice, or Bourg, were formed into canals, the chief of which was broad and deep, and communicated with the port of Sluys. That port was also fortified, and the channel was deep enough to admit the largest vessels.

Philip Augustus, after his return from the Crusades, sent a powerful fleet to Sluys, and forced the entrance. The booty was so great as to astonish him. It comprised the manufactured goods of every clime, and tons of raw material. Unfortunately for him an English squadron hove in sight, and Philip burnt his fleet and plunder. But the riches which he found are a proof how wealthy were the merchants of the time. So rich were they, indeed, that Sluys recovered instantly from her disaster, and continued, with Bruges, to prosper, as the largest trading port of Europe.

England always took a special interest in Bruges, and every effort of the Counts of Flanders to coerce the communes brought the British kings to her support. The trade advantages of Bruges and Ghent were thus increased by rivalry between the communes and the princes. The first of these advantages was the importation, free, of wool from England, the mere hint of stopping which was a signal for tumult throughout the entire breadth of the country. Then came, in 1127, the privi

1 Histoire de Bruges. Bruges, 80. 1850. p. 20.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »