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porter of the house of Horne, was at that time Emperor of Germany; but Albert of Bavaria, son of the old Emperor Ludwig W., and Count of Hainault, Holland, and Zeland, was a formidable antagonist to the pretensions of that house, being supported by John of Burgundy, who had married his daughter. The pretensions of the house of Horne paled before the exertions of that of Albert, who succeeded in appointing his second son John to the bishopric (1390). The foundation of a feud was thus laid between the two. John of Bavaria was then a youth of seventeen, fond of pleasure, and unfit to hold an office which required vigour and steadiness of demeanour. He was a boy prince-bishop, and his rule, like that of most princebishops, was a stormy one. The canons of St. Lambert, a senate of laymen, controlled the bishop and kept down the people; and the latter rarely failed to rise against their lords and senate when they thought they might succeed or do it with impunity. The bishop's jurisdiction stretched along the Meuse to Maestricht, Hasselt, and Ruremonde, to Huy, Namur, and Dinant ; and as these towns constantly contested the authority of the bishop, that prince was frequently engaged in expeditions to reduce them to obedience. In his temporary absence, the people of his city usually followed the example of other towns; and when the bishop had fought and conquered Huy or Tongres, he found on his return that he had to conquer Liège." * For John of Bavaria, we have consulted Foullon, Hist. Leod. Leod. fol. 1730; the Chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet, fol. Paris, 1595; and Polain's Modern History of Liège. John Wan
Eyck became painter and “varlet de chambre” of John of Bavaria, but at what time is uncertain.-Wide p. 51.
No prince-bishop of the number who succeeded each other on the throne of Liège appears to have incurred so much dislike or obloquy as John of Bavaria, the youthful, pleasure-loving, and cruel prince-bishop of 1390. We wish his private character had been better, were it only for the reason that he appears as the first of the patrons of John Van Eyck. We do not, however, ascertain when John Wan Eyck was first connected with him, or whether he followed his fortunes during the vicissitudes of his earlier career.
John of Bavaria promised, on succeeding to the mitre and sword of office, to enter holy orders. But he postponed this step so often, that the people of Liège used it as a pretext to depose him. They chose the time of his expedition against Huy to set up in his stead a bishop of the house of Horne. The movement was well timed, for an antipope was then at Avignon; and as the pope of Rome supported John, the antipope took part for him of Horne.
John took refuge in the town of Maestricht, and was soon besieged there by the men of Liège. A war ensued. In 1408, however, with the aid of John of Burgundy, and his brother William, Count of Holland," John was fortunate in fighting a decisive battle at Othée, near Maestricht, in which the towns were beaten, their self-elected bishop and his son destroyed, and the house of Holland reinstated in its rights at Liège. It was in this battle of Othée that John of Burgundy gained his surname of Sans Peur: whilst the bishop obtained the nickname of
* William, eldest son of Albert of Bavaria, had by this time succeeded to the countries of Holland, Hainault, and Zeland.
Sans Pitié, by killing, without mercy, men and women, in cold blood, on his entrance into Liège. For nine years subsequent to this the rule of John of Liège was incontested in the capital. Van Eyck, perhaps, became his painter at this time, and followed him to Luxembourg, where he abdicated in 1417. William, Count of Holland, died that year, and left his large possessions to his daughter Jacqueline. John, determined to deprive his niece of her dominions, made war upon her, and might have been successful, but that she espoused a prince of Burgundy. The war raged a year at least, and John Sans Peur despatched the Count of Charolois to mediate between the parties. The Count, however, failed in his attempts at peace; but he, perhaps, became acquainted there with John Wan Eyck. The ex-bishop of Liège, frustrated in his wish to wrest his niece's rights from her, married the dowager Duchess of Brabant, whilst Jacqueline espoused the reigning Duke of the same country, and peace was thus forced on all parties. It is not too great a stretch of imagination to attribute to this period the portraits painted by Van Eyck, of Jacqueline and Jean Sans Peur. The ex-bishop of Liège did not long enjoy the Duchy of Luxembourg, which he had gained by marriage. He died in 1419. The portrait of Jacqueline is now at Copenhagen. That of Jean Sans Peur is lost. We have seen neither of them, and are unable to say in what manner they were painted; but the question of the discovery and improvements of oil medium had already been in part decided, and doubtless had been for many previous years discussed and experimented on within the walls of the school of the Van Eycks. This question of discovery and improvement is one on which much has been written, and great clearness thrown of late by the studies of our eminent art-historian, Sir Charles Eastlake." It is not necessary for us to enter into any discussion of the properties of matters added to oil-colours for the purposes of painting, or of the means in practice for purifying oils and glutinous substances. These questions have been sufficiently discussed elsewhere. It suffices that it has been shown already within these pages how the oldest schools of art used oil in the colouring of portions of tempera pictures, and coloured oleo resinous varnishes, in the final glazing and preservation of the tempera. It will suffice to notice, in a few words, the statement of Wasari, on which Wan Mander founds his story as to how the invention of oil-painting was first made by John Wan Eyck. That painter, says Vasari:" “Having once, among others, expended great pains in painting a panel, after he had brought it to a conclusion with much diligence, gave it the varnish, and placed it to dry in the sun, as is the custom. But either because the heat was violent and the wood ill-joined or ill-seasoned, the panel opened at the joints in a very bad manner. Whereupon Giovanni, having seen the damage which the heat of the sun had done to him, considered how to act so that the sun should never again do so much damage to his works.” We pause merely to notice that Vasari here gives us * Materials for a History of Oil Painting. London, 1847.
* Vasari, Levite de' più eccellenti pittori, &c. 8vo. Firenze, 1845. Vita d'Antonello da Messina, vol. iv. p. 74. W. Mander, p. 200.
the proof of a varnish, probably the old coloured oleo resinous one, being used by John Van Eyck over the tempera of his picture. As regards the accident, he gives no certain cause of the damage, which he attributes either to the badness of the wood, or the badness of the joint, or its ill-seasoning. We know that the practice of exposing panels to the sun was followed by all the old painters, even previous to the closing of the tempera by the passage of varnish, and that this practice is even now followed as of old by painters in Italy, where the sun is so much more powerful than in Flanders.
Vasari continues :
“ And being displeased no less with the varnish than with the painting in tempera, he (Van Eyck) began to think of finding means to make a sort of varnish which should dry in the shade, without putting his pictures in the sun."
It would appear from this passage that the painter, according to Vasari, considered not only his varnish but the method of tempera as defective; and the accident alluded to may have been owing as much to the badness of the tempera method as to the use of the varnish.
Vasari proceeds :
“ Then after having made experiments of many things, both single and mixed together, at last he found that linseed and nut oils, amongst all that he had tested, were more drying than all the others. These, therefore, boiled with other mixtures of his, made him the varnish which he and all the painters of the world had for a long time desired.”
It would be wrong to infer from this passage that the