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themselves. A foreigner who was acquainted with the works of Teniers at the time the Dutch boors were such as he represents them, and who went to visit the country with the remembrance of these works in his mind, must have felt at first as if he had got among a world created by Teniers' pencil, and animated by some strange magie. But this could never happen with respect to Wilkie's pictures. We might chance to fall in with one of Wilkie's figures,--for they must all either be or have been in existence; but we may look in vain for one of his pictures, any where but on his canvass :-whereas Teniers' pictures might be seen every hour in the day, in every town and village in Holland. And the reason of this difference is, simply, that the one is laborious and scrupulous to a degree in selecting, and consorting, and combining ; while the other did not select at all. This, too, may in some measure account for the extraordinary facility of hand of the one, as compared with that of the other, and also the extraordinary number of his pictures that we meet with; for it might almost be said that, as Wilkie has painted nothing but what he has seen, so Teniers saw nothing but what he painted.
As I have no scruple in placing these two extraordinary artists on a general level in point of acquired skill as well as of natural power, I will add, that what Wilkie wants of the freedom and facility of touch of his dead rival, and the exquisite truth, purity, and transparency of colouring, he at least compensates for in his conception and execution of individual expression. The quantity of expression that he is capable of throwing into a face, without in the slightest degree overstepping the " modesty of nature," has never yet been equalled by any artist, living or dead, whose works are at present extant.
Apologizing, to those who think it necessary, for this short digression from our immediate subject, I now return to the second room of the Dulwich Gallery, and proceed to notice the remarkable pictures, nearly in the order in which they occur ;--first pointing out the Chaff-cutter (156) as perhaps the finest (though not the most striking or ambitious) picture of Teniers in this collection. But all the others may be regarded as excellent examples, in their different ways, of his characteristic qualities, both of handling and of expression.- Nos. 106 and 118 strike me as being two of the very best pictures of Vandyke that I have ever seen, in the ideal style. The delineation of Nature-refined, but yet real nature-was his forte ; but still he has painted a few ideal works that are exceedingly fine--and these must be ranked among the number. 118-a Madonna und Child, is the best. It has all the glow of Rubens without his coarseness; or rather all the refinement of Guido without bis coldness. The upturned gaze of the mother is intense. She is feeding her mind from above with high and holy thoughts. And the attitude and character of the child express the very nobility of Nature. It seems to have fed from the same fount with its divine mother, but through her medium-to have sucked in its mental as well as bodily life from her breast. There is a repetition of this picture at the Cleveland Gallery; but I think the one before us is the finer of the two. Here are also two other admirable works by the same master ;-portraits of the Earl of Pembroke (163), and the Archduke Albert (196); both displaying that look of conventional nobility that no one could give like Vandyke. Immediately over the latter of these hangs a capital picture by Velasquez ; full of truth and spirit (195).
It represents the little Prince of Asturias, when a child of six or seven years of age, on a great trampling war-horse--sitting as upright as a dart, and as bold as if he felt the future general within him. His little legs scarcely reach half way down the horse's side, and his hands can hardly grasp the reins; and yet you feel that he has a perfect command over the animal he is riding. This is a very singular picture, and is well worth particular attention.-Returning for a moment to the second room, I would point out two pictures that are among the very finest in this collection. One of them (149) is by Rubens, and is (strangely enough) called “ Saint Barbara fleeing from her Persecutors." It is very small, and a mere sketch ; and it represents a female figure ascending some steps, followed by a man. But what I would particularly point out is the effect of motion which is given to the two figures-or which they are, in fact, so contrived as to give to each other. No one could manage this like Rubens, and he has nowhere managed it more finely than in this little sketch--struck off, no doubt, in a few happy moments, and as a mere study or amusement. You may look at this picture till you fairly see the figures move, and expect that they will presently disappear.-The other (144) is one of Rembrandt's very finest efforts, and is perhaps the most purely poetical picture he ever produced. The effect that light seemed to produce, not only on the mind but the hand of this painter, is truly astonishing. In all other things he was a common man; but when an extraordinary or even a common effect of light was his subject, he became at once a poet. The picture before us is called Jacob's Dream; and it may be safely stated that the subject, poetical and imaginative as it is, was never before so poetically or imaginatively treated. The picture is quite small, and an upright one ; and nearly all over it, except the centre, is spread a thick black gloom--deep as the darkness of night, and yet so transparent that you see, or seem to see, down into it
, as if you were looking into deep water. In one corner of this darkness lies Jacob, on the ground, sleeping-his arms stretched above his head, and one knee bent up, in the most inartificial attitude that can be conceived, and altogether representing a rude shepherd-boy. Round about him, and along the front of the foreground, are scratched in a few straggling shrubs, with the wrong end of the pencil: these are merely scratched out of the brown ground while it was wet-not painted in afterwards. In fact the picture consists but of two colours-or rather it has no colours at all, but consists merely of light and shade. All this dark part of the picture is exceedingly fine. There is an admirable keeping and consistency about it, looking at it only with a view to itself, as the immediate scene in which the awful dream takes place. But, as a contrast to heighten the impression we receive from the representation of the dream itself, its effect is prodigious. This representation occupies the centre part of the picture; and as a delineation of super-natural appearances and things, I conceive it to be finer than any thing within the same space in existence. In the upper part of the sky an intense light is bursting forth, and it descends slantwise and widening as it descends, till it reaches the sleeping youth-gradually decreasing in splendour as it recedes from its apparent source; and at different intervals of this road of light, winged figures are seen descending. In the whole circle of art there are not to be pointed out more une
quivocal strokes of genius than these figures. They are as purely poetical creations as any thing that ever proceeded even from the pen. They are like nothing that was ever seen or described. All the angels that I have ever before seen depicted or described are but winged mortals; but these angels are no more like mortals than they are like any thing else. They are altogether of the air, airy; and if they must be likened to any thing, it is to birds ; though we probably gain this association simply on account of their having wings like birds—for they resemble them in nothing else: they are not flying, but gliding down perpendicularly, as if borne up on the surface of the collected rays of light; and their outspread wings seem used only to keep them in this erect position as they descend. I conceive this picture to be worthy the deepest study and attention, and that the more it is studied the more its extraordinary merit will be discovered and admitted.
The first picture calling for particular attention in the centre or third room is 176, A Girl at a Window, by the same artist This is as purely natural and forcible a head as Rembrandt ever painted. It must have been a study from nature ; for there is an absolute truth about it that no memory or invention could have given. It is taken from the lowest class of life; and there is a very particular character about it, which is sometimes observable in that class at an early age ; namely, that, judging from the face merely, you can scarcely determine whether it belongs to a male or female. The character of expression depicted in the human face, is so entirely owing to the habits of thought and feeling arising from the circumstances in which we are placed, that, in the very lowest classes of life, and at an early age, before the sexual qualities become developed, you frequently see faces that exhibit no mark of sex whatever; and others (as in the instance before us) in which females, from associating indiscriminately with males, and partaking in the same sports and pursuits, acquire the same expression of countenance. The picture before us might just as well have been called “ Boy at a Window," as Girl.
Near to the above are two very pleasing and characteristic specimens of Watteau-the gay, the graceful, the genteel, the gallánt (not the gállant) Watteau-(185 and 191), a Bal champetre, and a Féte champetre. For a natural style of depicting all that is unnatural in manners and appearance, commend me to Watteau. He not only places us in the midst of the affected airs and courtly graces of the times of Louis XIV., but he makes us admire them. To see one of his out-of-door scenes, and not to wish ourselves in the midst of it, is impossible, though it consist of ladies in hooped petticoats and ostrich-plumed heads, seated on the green grass, beneath green trees, talking to gentlemen with rosettes in their shoes, and flowing perriwigs on their heads --or couples of these respectively, “moving a measure" to the minuet in Ariadne, as if they had the fear of a French dancing-master before their eyes, or had read Mr. Wordsworth's poems, and were therefore cautious not to tread upon the daisies—so mincingly do they move! It is impossible to conceive of any thing less in keeping than the airs and graces of a court thus shewing themselves off in the very presence of that Nature which belies them all, and one breath of which, perfumed with sweet flowers, ought to be able to blow them all away in a moment, substituting in their place that free, fresh, and unpremeditated gaiety
of heart, that involuntary effusion of pure animal spirit, which vents itself in “ nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles,”-in off-hand jollity, and heedless joyance in any thing rather than courtly courtesies and cold common-places. And yet there is no denying that the art of Watteau contrives in some way or other to reconcile together Nature and its antithesis, and we seem to like each the better for its friendly union with the other. The Art, we think, cannot be wholly denaturalized that can thus willingly take Nature by the hand; and the Nature must be rich and pure indeed, that can afford to undergo this marriage with Art. No. 191 is by far the best of these two pictures, and may be regarded as a very fair example of Watteau's best style.
In Nos. 194, 195, and 196, we have three admirable portraits together; the first, Rubens's mother, by Rubens; the second, by Velasquez, of the Prince Asturias ; and the third, by Vandyke, in his finest manner, the Archduke Albert. The only other picture in this room that I shall notice particularly, is one by Murillo,—though I confess that there are several others of great merit and interest. But if I were not to be very select in my strictures on this admirable collection, I should notice almost every picture of the three hundred and fifty that it contains, and thus write a volume instead of a short paper. And, to say the truth, I should desire nothing better in the way of authorship (as far as it respects myself, and the pleasant occupation it would afford me) than to be called upon to furnish a volume on this one Gallery alone; so rich, varied, and select are its contents.
No. 217 (Jacob and Rachel, by Murillo,) is a charming work, full of sweetness, tenderness, and grace--but the grace of nature alone, not of society--the grace that is inspired by present sentiment, not by habit or by art.
" And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept." Both figures are in a kneeling posture,--Rachel bending forward to receive the kiss, which Jacob is proffering with uplifted lips, as if it were a vow to Heaven. It may be fancy,--but to me the face of Rachel seems intended to resemble, in lamb-like innocence and simplicity, the younglings of her father's flock. She may be supposed to have looked upon them till their beauty has passed into her face, and become a part of it. The undefined outline which Murillo gave to all his works of this class, has a very pleasing effect here,-blending all the different parts together, and suffering each to become as it were a portion of the other, and at the same time giving an airy softness ta the whole.
In the fourth room, the most striking and valuable works are unquestionably the Poussins; and I know not where else to find so admirable a selection of them. Better single pictures of him may be found elsewhere; but nowhere so many fine ones collected together : for though there are a vast number of his larger gallery pictures at the Louvre, I hold this latter class of his works to be altogether inferior to the class to which the pictures here belong. Probably the best picture here by this artist is No. 287, called The Education of Jupiter. It is, in point of expression, not so fine in parts as one or two others. But, as a whole, and for colouring, composition, and expression united, it is certainly a fine work. Nothing can be more complete in itself than every separate portion of it, and at the same time each portion is finely consistent with all the others; and it is this, in particular, which seems to entitle a work to the term classical. The centre group is finely imagined, and most happily executed. The infant, in particular, is drawn with infinite spirit, and yet with perfect nature and truth. So, also, is the one lying down in the right-hand corner : and the colouring of this one is exquisite. The two single figures behind-the one standing by the tree, and the other lying in a reclining attitude are also admirable. There is an air about them that no one but Poussin ever gave. This picture is among his most highly-finished produce tions-much more so than any of the others in the present collection. Perhaps the one next in merit and value to the foregoing is No. 809-a Poet drinking in inspiration from a cup presented to him by the hand of Apollo. The youthful god is drawn in an easy, but not very graceful attitude, holding a small shallow cup to the lips of the poet, who is drinking the inspiring draught with all his faculties, of mind as well as body. The expression of this figure is exceedingly fine. There are also several little winged figures scattered about this picture, which add to the imaginative character of it, without producing any of that deteriorating effect which these kind of figures usually do, when introduced injudiciously-as they almost always are. Here they seem to typify the winged thoughts that are necessarily attendant on the favoured of Apollo.
In the same rich and intense style in point of expression, but more dashing and spirited in the handling, and more deep and sombre in the colouring, is 225—The Education of Bacchus. The god is depicted as an infant, attended by Satyrs, Nymphs, &c. who are giving him the juice of the gra to drink, while one is filling the cup from above as fast as he drains it. · The expression of the child in this picture is finely contrasted with, and at the same time finely resembles, that of the poet in the other picture. The one is drinking as ardently as the other ; but the expression of the poet has much of intellect mixed with it, while that of the child is purely animal. I do not mean to say that this latter expression is appropriate, supposing the picture to be what its name indicates. I conceive this name to have been given it without any sufficient reason, and that it merely represents a Bacchanalian scene, in which the sport is made to consist in teaching the children to drink, and in watching its effect upon them. The child is drinking exactly in the manner that any other thirsty animal drinks ---swilling--poking its nose and lips into the cup as a horse does into a water-trough. This is exceedingly fine as representing the mere animal feeling of a child under such circumstances; but it is not so, if that child is intended for the infant god. And, I repeat, though not less ardent and intense than the expression of the poet in the other picture, it is of a totally different character. The other expressions in this picture-of the nymphs, satyrs, &c. who are watching the sport,---are highly appropriate and fine.
The Jupiter and Antiope, as it is named (though again, as I think, without adequate reason,) is a disagreeable picture, but yet, in many respects, exceedingly fine. The sleeping nymph is indeed sleepingnot merely in her eyes, but in all her frame. There is the protruding lips, the total absence of consciousness, and consequently the total freedom from the restraints of custom, and the sense of being the subject of observation, which is always apparent, even in women, when