Page images

imitations are usually confined to simple and limited compositions, and are seldom successful, except in ordinary subjects. It would be necessary for an artist to draw like Raffaelle, to be able to counterfeit his design. He must possess his mind before he can imitate his expression, and be endowed with his genius before he can equal the grandeur of his compositions.

The most skilful of the Flemish painters in these imitations, or forgeries, was David Teniers. He counterfeited Paul Veronese, the Bassans, Rubens, and several others, with so much dexterity in the penciling, and resemblance in the colouring, that amateurs have been frequently deceived. If suspicion be awakened, the monkey may be detected by some peculiarity of his own which will be generally found mingling in the mimicry.

SOBRIQUET, a nickname. Many painters are oftener noticed by their sobriquet than by their paternal or baptismal names. In some instances it is the cause of great confusion, as in calling them after the place of their birth, or the city where they chiefly practised, so that the works of contemporary artists are confounded and misappropriated. From this cause, indeed, the family names of numerous Dutch painters are altogether unknown. But the word is most frequently used, when speaking of an artist, to signify an appellation conferred on him by his associates for some peculiarity in person, dress, or behaviour, or the subject in which he chiefly excelled. This was ceremoniously bestowed at a convivial meeting of Flemish and Dutch painters established at Rome, on the admission of a countryman to their society. Thus we have Bamboccio for Peter van Laer. Barbe de Bouc for Karel Du Jardin. Crabbetjie for Jan Asselyn, and many still coarser appellations. The Italian painters, like their poets and writers of Tuscan prose, who formed the company of "Arcadia," adopted more euphonious terms of distinction.

STILL-LIFE. Representations of inanimate objects, whether dead game, fish, or fruits; domestic utensils of metal, china, or glass; musical and sporting instruments, carpets, and other items formed into compositions, and not serving as mere adjuncts, are called pictures of still-life. When introduced where living persons are principals, such object are



called accessories. In a Larder by Rubens, Snyders, De Heem, &c., they are compositions of still-life; in a Kitchen, or other apartment, with figures by Teniers, Ostade, or Mieris, &c., they are the accessories.

STYLE, in the language of writers on painting, signifies che manner peculiar to a school, or an artist, in composition, expression, drawing, and colouring. It may be grand and dignified, florid and ornate, simple and natural, as regards the treatment of the subject in general; and it may exhibit original peculiarities of forms and expressions, or capricious deviations from previously adopted modes, in the works of individual artists. Accordingly in writing or speaking of a painter whose werks are not generally known, it is customary to refer to one of these types, either as to subject or manner, in the pictures of an artist with whose works the public are familiar, and say that the one under consideration painted in his style.

TONE. The harmonious relation of colours in a picture, corresponding with KEY in musical science. A rich and brilliant tone, a deep and powerful tone, a subdued and equable tone; meaning that the colours are florid and attractive, as in Rubens: inclining to sombre but transparent, as in Rembrandt; equalized by middle tints and appearing soft and fluent, as in Metsu and Adrian Ostade; and other modifications synonymous with musical sound.

J. Luxwell






JACOB RUISDAEL, or Ruysdael, was born at Haerlem, probably about the year 1630. He showed an early predilection for the art of painting, and had made considerable progress when only twelve years old. There are pictures by him signed and dated 1645. It is not recorded that he studied under any particular master; but he formed, while young, an acquaintance with Berchem, who was his senior by only a few years, and had access to his painting-room. This, probably, was of some assistance to him, as that artist had been instructed by two able masters, Van Goyen and John Baptist Weenix: his own genius did the rest. Ruisdael may be fairly placed at the head of the Dutch landscape painters, not only for the beauty of his selections from nature, but for the poetical feeling evinced in the representation, and the skilful manner of the execution. It is not necessary to enumerate here the various subjects on which he employed his pencil; his waterfalls seem to be the favourites of most, as being, perhaps, the most obviously striking: but the connoisseur equally enjoys his more placid scenes. His sea-pieces have surpassing grandeur; the waves roll with overwhelming might, and the clouds frown awfully terrific; livid lightning and foaming breakers make the scene


appalling. He seems never to have studied the human figure, nor that of animals; his pictures are therefore embellished in those respects by the pencils of others. He painted on a warm transparent brown ground, and used simple vehicles, free from all trick and artifice. He varied his handling according to the nature of his objects, whether rocks, trees, herbage, clouds, or water; and is admirable in the management of the chiaroscuro. Some of his pictures are become dark by time, and others have an inky blackness that produces an unpleasant effect; but clearness is their general character. He died at Haerlem in 1691. A description of upwards of four hundred and fifty pictures by this very eminent master may be found in Smith's Catalogue Raisonné, with many interesting particulars relating to them.

One of the finest landscapes by Ruisdael, in England, is in Worcester College, Oxford; and in Lord Bute's collection is an extraordinary example, being the interior of the New Church (as it was called) at Amsterdam, with figures by Wouwerman.


SOLOMON RUISDAEL, the elder brother of Jacob, is generally reckoned among his scholars, though he was twenty years his senior. It is stated that he was born at Haerlem in 1616, and that he died in 1670; but this must be incorrect, as there are pictures by him with the date 1673. There is so little resemblance in his works to his brother Jacob's, that it may be doubted whether he ever received any instruction from him. His manner of painting and the selection of his subjects approximate more to the style of Van Goyen, or of Peter Molyn, though very inferior to the former, of whom his imitation, if such it be, cannot be called successful. His skies are peculiar, being generally formed of blue and yellow stripes near the horizon. His name is introduced here in accordance with the general supposition that he received some instruction from his brother Jacob, and not for any resemblance in their works that would deceive an amateur.

ALBERT VAN EVERDINGEN was born at Alkmaer in 1621, and died in 1675. He studied under Roland Savery and

Peter Molyn. The striking resemblance of some of his scenes has induced the belief that he was a scholar of Ruisdael, but of this there is no proof. In a voyage he made in the Baltic he was shipwrecked on the coast of Norway, and availed himself, during the time he was detained there, of the opportunity to make sketches of the wild and romantic scenery with which the country abounds. The rugged rocks, aged pines, and grand waterfalls, which he depicted with so much truth, is the cause why he is thought to have been a scholar of Ruisdael. His Storms at Sea, so terrific and so faithful in the representation, have strengthened the belief; but these resemblances between the works of the two masters should only be regarded as proofs that they both saw nature with like observant and cultivated eyes; and depicted with the same skilful fidelity. There is rivalry in their pictures, but nothing that can be called imitation: both made nature their model. The great reputation which Ruisdael has acquired has been injurious to that of Everdingen; the finest works of the latter being generally attributed to the former, in order to enhance their value in commerce. The pictures of Ruisdael, it must be admitted, have a richer tone, being in most instances fresh and lively in their tints, (though frequently with blackness in the shadows,) and a sparkling crispness in the penciling; while those of Everdingen have more of an olive hue in their foliage and herbage, less of depth in the shadows, and great freedom in the handling. See the article Everdingen, in the enlarged edition of Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers.

JAN VAN KESSEL, born at Amsterdam in 1648, died 1698, imitated the style of Ruisdael in his landscapes, particularly in his winter scenes, which are excellent; his summer landscapes have a bright verdant tint. This artist must not be confounded with another of the same name, who painted flowers, insects, reptiles, &c.

ISAAC KOENE was born at Haerlem in 1650, and died there in 1713. He was a scholar of Ruisdael, and imitated his style rather closely. His pictures may be distinguished by their verdant hue in the foliage, and by being supplied with figures by Barent Gaal. A few, that have not been honoured with the name, or monogram, of Ruisdael, may still be found

« PreviousContinue »