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DE QUINCE'S REVOLT OF THE TARTARS.
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The Baldwin Library
Art manifests whatever is most exalted, and it
manjiests it to all"-TAINE
ANTONY VAN DYCK
JENNIE ELLIS KEYSOR
Author of "Sketches of American Authors"
EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING COMPANY
NEW YORK CHICAGO SAN FRANCISCO
"Van Dyck heightens the stature that Rubens made too
stout; he indicates less muscle, less relief, fewer bones, and
not so much blood. He is less turbulent, never brutal; his
expressions are less gross; he laughs but little, has often a vein
of tenderness, but he knows not the strong sob of violent men.
He never startles ; he often corrects the roughness of his master;
he is easy because his talent is prodigiously natural and facile;
he is free and alert, but he is never carried away. ..
In every case he has more than his master, a feeling for
draperies well put on, for fashion; he has a taste for silky
stuffs, for satins, for ribbons, for points, for plumes and
Van Dyck, poring on a face,
Divinely through all hindrance finds the man
Behind it, and so paints him that his face,
The shape and color of a man and life,
Lives for his children, even at its best
Copyrighted, 1899, by EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING Co.
ANTONY VAN DYVC
ANTONY VAN DYCK.
In a former sketch we have noted the greatness of
Rubens, who was the most famous of Flemish painters
and indeed one of the most renowned artists of the
world. We dwelt at length upon Antwerp, his home
city, upon the friends who made the wonderful success
of his career even more striking than it otherwise would
have been, and upon his own beautiful pure life, that
more than anything else, more even than his fine
genius, endears him to us.
In that sketch little more than a bare mention of
Van Dyck's name placed before us the favorite pupil of
the great Rubens, and, next after the master himself,
the greatest painter of Flanders. There are men so
great that to stand next below them on the honor-roll of
the world is high praise. Such a man was Rubens, and
in placing Antony Van Dyck only a degree below him,
we bestow an honor which nothing but genius of a lofty
sort could merit.
Van Dyck was in one sense a reflection of his master
but in no wise was he that merely as an imitator. He
added to Rubens' characteristics his own individual
qualities, most prominent among which were grace and
refinement. Thus he was a worthy bearer of the torch
of progress he showed himself a grateful heir of the
ages by contributing his own part to the sum total of
Let us see how true this was : Rubens was wild and
fleshly at times, seeming too much to abound in animal
life. Van Dyck, in his pictures, subdued this wildness,
adding in its stead a certain grace and elegance.
Rubens occasionally crowded his canvas to overflowing
so that we are confused by the very exuberance of his
work. Van Dyck, with calmer judgment, used fewer
figures and thus cleared up our confused notions.
Rubens, full of allegorical and historical conceptions,
found portraiture too tame for his teeming brush. Van
Dyck, working more minutely, felt the universe of con-
flict going on in one man or woman's soul and so ex-
quisitely wrought his portraits that, though they stand
before us polished men and women of the world, yet we
feel that there is within them a hidden life of which
Van Dyck's art gives us sure but delicate suggestions.
Here, at least, was one branch of the painter's art in
which the pupil out-stripped his master. Without
Rubens we can scarcely imagine Van Dyck to have
existed as a painter. They stand as suggestion and
complement to each other, each one greater because the
If we are interested in Van Dyck as the inheritor
from Rubens, we cannot be less interested in him as the
forerunner of the English school of painting so ably
represented by Reynolds, Gainsborough and Lawrence.
He was the last great foreign painter brought into Eng-
land by the art-munificence of her sovereigns. After
his death there came from foreign lands a race of petty
painters and then Englishmen awoke, in their apprecia-
tion of Hogarth and Reynolds, to the consciousness
that within their own borders were men, the products
of whose brushes placed them among really great
So Van Dyck, born in Belgium, the intellectual heir of
Rubens, died in England the intellectual progenitor of
Reynolds and Gainsborough. By a stretch of fancy,
there is a significance in the fact that the dust of Van
Dyck has long ago mingled with English soil. In the
same manner his artistic genius which is a thing of spirit
and so knows no disintegration, has through all the
years since his death diffused itself through English art
VAN IDYCK AT (A OUTj OF CHARLES I. Ender
and made it stronger and more redolent of the soil
whereon it thrives.
Van Dyck's life, like that of Masaccio and Raphael,
was a short one and yet so complete and rounded in the
perfection of the work he accomplished that we dare
not imagine additional honors had his years been pro-
longed to the scriptural "three score and ten." The
materials from which to draw the incidents of Van
Dyck's life, especially the earlier part, are scarce and
even those we have are quite uncertain. Ben Jonson
once wrote of Shakespeare, referring perhaps to the
paucity of biographical matter, "Reader, look not on
the man but on his books." Imitating Jonson's words,
we might likewise say of Van Dyck, Student, look not
on the man but on his pictures."
Antony Van Dyck was born of well-to-do parents in
Antwerp, March 22, 1599. His father was a manufac-
turer of silk and woolen stuffs as had been his ancestors
for several generations. It would please our fancy
better to believe an old legend which gave the occupa-
tion of Antony's father as that of a painter of glass for
rich cathedral windows. Such work for the father of a
great painter is quite to our liking and so, for genera-
tions, men willingly accepted the old story as truth. If,
however, this romantic occupation of the father must be
thrust aside for the more prosaic one of silk and woolen
manufacturer we are certain of quite as picturesque em-
ployment for the dainty fingers of the child's lady mother.
Although Antony was the seventh of her twelve chil-
dren she found time to do very beautiful work with her
needle and brilliant silken floss. She invented her
patterns and shaded her work so skilfully that she
created pictures instead of bits of fantastic embroidery.
We can imagine how she taught the silken vine, ladened
with glossy leaves and flowers, to climb the wrought
trellis, or how she worked with nimble fingers some
legend of love or daring to adorn her home.
We know that shortly before the little Antony was
born, she worked in all its details the story of Susannah
and the Elders. It was surely a womanly employment
pervaded with true art feeling, and Van Dyck's mother,
engaging in it, unconsciously put herself beside some
lovely dames of fact and fiction beside Matilda,
William the Conqueror's prudent consort, who with her
gentlewomen wrought out in the Bayeux tapestry the
events which her warlike husband was bringing to pass;
beside Penelope who wove those mystic scenes by day
and ravelled them by night to foil her unlawful suitors;
beside the thousands of dainty women, who, in our more
tranquil times, seize bird and flower and grass from field
and wood and hold them in all the radiance of their
native color to adorn our happy indoor life.
Little is known of the first years of the painter, but
we can easily imagine that his were fingers that early
found delight in drawing the crude images of a child-
artist. We can fancy that often and often as his
mother shaped with needle and floss the tree or flower
of her thought the child at her knee followed her
pattern with the wayward pencil clutched in his baby
hand. Whatever may be the truth or falsity of our
impressions along this line, we know that at the age of
ten his father thought it worth while to send the boy to
study drawing and painting in the studio of Van Balen,
a pupil of the famous Van Noort, who had instructed
Rubens at one time.
Two years before, the gentle mother had died leaving
her little artist son to be cared for by others.
In Van Balen's studio the young Antony soon
excelled all his associates. After he had been here for
five years Rubens returned from Italy and all eyes were
turned to him, loaded as he was with his young and
growing fame. Among the throng of artists who
sought the distinction of being instructed by Rubens
was Van Dyck, then a lad of fifteen or sixteen. His
industry and skill with Van Balen was well known, so
he quite easily obtained the permission he wished. He
had been with the great master but a short time when it
was quite evident that of all the crowd of artists who
WILLIAIM II. 01' NASSAU
worked with him, the young Van Dyck was the favorite
- the one selected to assist the master in his most
With his usual keenness, Rubens noted Van Dyck's
power in portraiture and advised the young man to
develop that branch of painting and to perfect himself
in it by an extended tour of Italy. There have been
those who have asserted that Rubens feared that Van
Dyck would prove a dangerous rival and so he encour-
aged him to pursue the line of work least likely to
menace his own. If we study Rubens' character deeply
we shall be convinced that such a motive was far below
the temper of his lofty soul. Further, we must be sure,
from the way Van Dyck's art developed, that Rubens
had no thought but for the welfare of his student and
friend, for, beautiful as are the many other pictures by
Van Dyck, in portraiture he stands close to Titian, the
greatest portrait painter among the Old Masters.
A pleasant story is told of Van Dyck at this time.
The subjects Rubens was using in his private studio
were ever a matter of curiosity to his numerous pupils
and all sorts of harmless devices were resorted to to find
out what the master preferred to hide, for a time at least,
from his inquisitive students. One evening, after
Rubens had left the studio, a more than common desire
tc see what he had been painting possessed the young
men. They forced the door and found, so the story
runs, the wonderful Descent from the Cross on the
master's easel with the fresh paint undried upon its
Some jostling, which is likely to occur in such a
gathering of students, took place, and sad to relate,
some luckless fellow brushed with his arm the face and
shoulder of the Magdalen. A terrified silence ensued
as they gazed at the blurred figure. Finally they
summoned courage to designate one of their number
to repair the damage. Van Dyck was selected and,
in the three hours of daylight that yet remained to
him, he reluctantly undertook the unwelcome task.
When it was finished the culprits declared that it
excelled the master's own work and so they left it with
fear and trembling.
When Rubens returned next morning, his quick eye
almost instantly detected the work of an alien hand and,
what was more surprising, he recognized in it Van
Dyck's work. The crown of surprises, however, was
when the master remarked in a not unpleasant tone of
voice, This throat and chin is by no means the worst
piece of painting that I did yesterday." It is further
stated that he in no wise changed this "touch of a
strange hand," and that he fully forgave the boys who
had broken in upon the privacy of his studio.
CIITIDIIF,1 01 F CHARLES r. Vala Dyck
When Van Dyck was but nineteen he was enrolled as
a member of the Guild of St. Luke with full qualifica-
tions. This was a great honor and one never before
bestowed upoi a man under twenty years of age. Now
this Guild of St. Luke was an association or society,
named for the artist evangelist, the members of which
must be skilled in their special work. Twenty-four dif-
ferent classes of workmen were included among the
members, among them painters and sculptors. The
society was interested in everything that pertained to
art. When there were no great artists, they kept, as it
were, the art spirit alive, so -that when great geniuses
should appear the way would be somewhat prepared for
On all public occasions this guild played an important
part, looking after the decorations, entertaining notable
guests, etc. No man who was a sloven in his work or
understood it imperfectly could become a member of
this guild. They tended to make careful workmen and
so, of course, improved the general life of the citizens
very materially, for no single principle can bring more
happiness to a community than this, that all workmen,
whether in high or humble places, do their work skil-
fully and conscientiously. It certainly speaks well for
Van Dyck's workmanship that he so early became a
member of St. Luke's Guild. He must have made him-
self thoroughly worthy of the honor of membership, for
in later years he became president of this important
In 1620, Van Dyck made a flying visit to England
and so far ingratiated himself with the king, James I.,
that he was commissioned to paint a portrait of the
king. This portrait is now in the royal collection at
From England he went to Holland whither he had
been invited by Frederick, son of the great Prince of
Orange, who had been assassinated in 1584. There he
painted several portraits of the prince's family. One of
these represents a beautiful lad of sixteen or seventeen
with boyish face and flowing locks. In later years this
prince became the father of that William of Orange,
who, with his wife Mary, came to the throne of England
when her own kings seemed to fail her. In another
beautiful picture of this time we have the same youth,
somewhat older, with his affianced bride, Mary Stuart,
daughter of Charles I. The refined faces and hands of
these royal young people are enhanced by the rich court
costumes which were such an important part of Van
At this time, too, must have taken place that meeting
of Van Dyck and Franz Hals. Franz was not at home
when Van Dyck called, but was, as usual at the tavern.
CIRIST AND HIS MOTHER
From his convivial companions he was summoned to
paint a portrait of his caller whom of course he did not
know. In two hours he had painted a portrait at which
Van Dyck justly marveled.
Then he said to' Hals, "Painting is doubtless an
easier thing than I thought. Let us change places and
see what I can do." Hals, proud of his own work,
was quite willing for the stranger to test himself and
so he did as he was asked. When, in shorter time than
Hals had taken, the second portrait was finished, the
enthusiastic Dutchman rushed to his guest, flung his
arms about his neck, and exclaimed, "The man who
can do that is Van Dyck or the Devil!" and so the
visitor's identity was established, for he preferred
owning up to being himself rather than being thought
to be the arch-fiend, Satan.
In 1622, Van Dyck returned to Antwerp to attend
his father during the closing hours of his life. One of
the father's last requests of his son was that the latter
should paint a picture for the Dominican sisters who
had been so kind to him since the beginning of his ill-
ness. The artist fulfilled his promise by painting a
Crucifixion which has ever ranked high among his
Any picture which represents our Lord's death must
ever be a sad one. This of Van Dyck's is one of the
greatest, showing not only the terrible earthly agony of
our dying Lord, but the hopefulness and joy of the
angels when the sacrifice for sinning men was fully
accomplished. For nearly a hundred years this picture
hung in the convent for which it was painted. It was
later bought for the Museum at Antwerp, where we may
to-day see it in almost unfaded splendor.
Shortly after the death of his father, Van Dyck
accepted Rubens's advice and planned an extensive
journey to Italy. He and his master exchanged presents
and we can imagine that Rubens gave many a bit of
good advice to his pupil in whom he was so deeply
interested. After Van Dyck's departure Rubens placed
one of his pupil's pictures in a conspicuous place in one
of the finest rooms in his splendid house. In addition
to other gifts, Rubens gave Van Dyck a beautiful gray
horse from his own stables, and on this the artist set out
on his journey.
He had, however, gone but a few miles from Brussels
when a pretty young woman attracted his susceptible
eye and- he was forthwith convinced that his horse
needed rest and meadow food, while he himself longed
for the companionship of the young woman who so
pleased him upon first sight. Her name was Anna
Ophem and she lived at the Court in the capacity of
Mistress of the Hounds, whatever that may mean. The
AMIILY OF CHARLES I.
artist has left us a portrait of Anna surrounded by her
The story goes that for five months the young artist
tarried at Saventhem, fair Anna's home, and enjoyed
wild wood rambles with the sweet young girl. He was
brought to his senses by the arrival of a messenger from
Rubens, who urged his instant departure for Italy.
Thus suddenly came to an end our artist's spring-time
love tale. His sojourn in the quiet village in the
company of a charming girl was not barren of art
work, for he left behind him two pictures known to
One of these, St. Martin Dividing His Cloak with
Two Beggars," was for nearly two centuries kept as a
treasure by the townspeople. In 1806, it was stolen by
the French and deposited in the Louvre, where it
remained for nine years, when it was restored to the
village church from which it was taken. It has since
been almost captured by thieves for a wealthy American,
but, as of old, Rome was saved by the cackling of some
wise-minded geese, so in our more prosaic century, the
timely barking of a dog saved for a devoted people this
trophy of an artist's love-sojourn among them.
The figure of -Martin, the good saint of Amiens, who
having nothing else to give, divided the very coat upon
his back to shelter a shivering beggar, is that of the
loitering painter himself, and the fine horse represented
is none other than the one Rubens presented as a part-
ing gift to Van Dyck. The other picture, in which
Anna is painted as the mother in a Holy Family, has
not been so fortunate, for we have an authority who
asserts that it was cut up into sacks to hold grain for
the French invaders.
We have no other details of Van Dyck's journey to
Italy, but next hear of him at Venice, deep in his study
of the galleries of the island city. Numerous sketches
and crowded note-books testify to his industry while in
this city of color and dream life. The more he exam-
ined Titian and Giorgibne the more fully he became
convinced of his own calling to become a portrait
Continued and thorough study left little opportunity
for the money-making work for which Van Dyck longed.
In his search for such remunerative work he remembered
how Genoa had welcomed Rubens, and thither he bent
his steps in the hope of a similar munificent patronage.
He was not mistaken in his hopes. Representatives
of families illustrious for centuries in the annals of the
merchant city flocked to the elegant young painter.
The gorgeous stuffs and splendid jewels that betokened
the wealth of this great sea-port were the appurtenances
most delightful to Van Dyck in his portrait work.
Many a dashing Genoese, with his gorgeously attired
wife and beautiful children, saw himself and his family
adequately reproduced by the facile hand of the Cavalier
Painter from beyond the Alps. Success crowned all his
efforts; he gave the luxury loving princes and citizens
elegant portraits of themselves and their families; they
filled his pockets with their yellowest gold, and in
addition, praised and honored him as their friend.
From Genoa our artist went to Rome, where he
remained for two years. Here he lived in the house of
Cardinal Bentiooglia, the scholar and diplomat, who
acted as patron to the Flemish artists who gathered in
Rome. While here he did some of his greatest work.
The portrait of his patron, the Cardinal, is said to be
one of the best he ever painted. Sacred subjects, too,
he did, which are among his best work. The Cruci-
fixion," The Adoration of the lMagi," and "The
Ascension," all done in his richest style, belong to this
Popular with his patrons, admired by his inferiors for
his sumptuous way of living, yet was he despised by his
countrymen then studying art in Rome. They were
most of them roistering fellows who clung to the boor-
ishness of their native land. What could such a com-
pany have in common with the refined Van Dyck, who
lived like a prince and not like a poor art student in a
CHRIST CROWNED WITH THORNS
foreign city? They were stung by his lofty manners
and more yet by the fact that he excelled them in their
art. The spitefulness they felt grew into malignity and
they circulated wicked stories about him and in other
ways made life so unbearable for him that he was glad
to leave Rome and seek Genoa again, where he had been
so cordially received. On his way thither, he stopped
at Florence and other northern cities famous for their
pictures or buildings.
He remained in Genoa this time only a short period,
for he had an opportunity to go to Sicily with a friend.
His sojourn in this southern isle he always looked upon
as one of the happiest experiences of his life. As
always seemed his fortune, he moved among courtiers,
painting their portraits and, in return, receiving their
money and their praises.
Among other distinguished people he met here the
aged Sofonisba Anguissola. She was now ninety-two
years old, but with intellectual powers perfectly pre-
served, although she was then totally blind. She had
been a noted portrait painter. As Van Dyck made her
portrait, she talked so delightfully of the art to which
she had given her life, that in later years he was fond of
saying that he had learned more of his art in his conver-
sation with this blind woman than from his study of the
masterpieces of the world.
A sudden breaking out of the plague, in 1626, caused
him to leave this pleasant retreat for Antwerp. He
reached his home city with the honors of Italy fresh
upon him, but even thus crowned, he found it difficult
to make his way in the city which was Rubens's home.
The departure of Rubens on a diplomatic errand to
Spain, however, soon gave Van Dyck the opportunity he
desired. It was scarcely fifty years since the rich city of
Antwerp had been sacked by the Spaniards, but pros-
perity had again come among her citizens. They were
now desirous of making their churches as splendid as
they had been before the Spanish Fury, and so there
were commissions for many skilled hands. For this
purpose the call was for sacred subjects. Here are
some used by Van Dyck at this time. The Adoration
of the Shepherds," The Mystic Marriage of St.
Catherine," Christ Crowned with Thorns," St.
Augustine," The Crucifixion."
Why a man of Van Dyck's temperament- pleasure-
loving and rather careless of some of the things that
make up a Christian should over and over again
paint the sorrows of the crucifixion is matter of
surprise to the student of his life and work. Yet we
often find under a gay and apparently thoughtless
exterior a soul moved by the deepest religious principles
and a heart so tender that the cry of a loveless child
REPOSE IN EGYPT
C r; --
would pierce it to its very core. Such a man Van Dyck
at times seemed to be. Putting this fact with the
demand of the day, may we not in some manner
account for the Cavalier Painter's power in the
painting of sacred subjects?
However we may please our fancy in accounting for
them, the fact remains that he has given us at least
fifty beautiful pictures in which the religious element
predominates. Perhaps his favorite subject along these
lines was The Holy Family." One of these, called
Repose in Egypt," we reproduce in this sketch.
Joseph sits deep in the shade of the great tree under
which the three are resting. The lovely mother
supports the beautiful Christ Child who seems striving
to join the angel circle, whose members seem to be
asking if there is any service they can render. Among
the clouds above is an angel choir doing service in their
own sweet way. This picture is in the Pitti Palace in
Florence and is one of the favorites among Van Dyck's
It was shortly after his return from Italy that he
began that series of portraits in gray of his contem-
poraries in almost every walk of life. There were
literary men, artists, statesmen and warriors, besides
artisans and men of no trade. Some of the heroes of
the Thirty Years' War were represented in the series for
FLIGHT INTO EGYPT
which it is quite certain that Van Dyck visited Germany
though we have no other record of such a visit.
The spirit which showed itself in Van Dyck's enemies
in Rome followed him to Antwerp and annoyed the
artist in the midst of his strongest work. Disturbed by
the carping criticism of his enemies and spurred on by
the ambition that a man of genius feels, he looked long-
ingly toward England as a promising source of patronage.
In 1629, he again went to London, and, it is said, made
the acquaintance of the Earl of Northumberland for
whom he painted several portraits in his home at Pet-
worth. It is supposed that he hoped to meet the king
and so lay the foundation for future work in England.
In this he evidently failed for he shortly returned to
Antwerp after a few days spent in Paris.
It is little to be wondered at that Van Dyck looked
to England for patronage. Thither had gone some of
the most valuable art collections of the continent. The
government, at the suggestion of Rubens, had purchased
.and mounted the cartoons of Raphael. While her
literary artists led the world, England quite willingly
acknowledged that she had no native pictorial art and
she therefore liberally patronized the great painters of
Although Van Dyck's visit of 1629 had not appar-
ently advanced his interests with the English king, that
3MARIIAGE OF ST. CATIlERINE
same Charles was becoming familiar with the work of
the Fleming and inquiring for him. When a little later
a carefully executed portrait by Van Dyck of Laniere, a
court musician, fell into the king's hands, he at once
dispatched a message to the artist inviting him to the
Van Dyck set his affairs at home in order and in the
early part of 1632 presented himself before Charles for
orders. He was enthusiastically received and lodged at
the expense of the court in a house in Blackfriars where
the king was accustomed to entertain distinguished
guests. In addition he was given a country place at
Eltham, in Kent. Van Dyck's heart's desire was now
accomplished. He was beyond the reach of the criticism
of his jealous brother artists. He had nothing to do
but to paint and paint his very best.
His elegant personal appearance, his social charms,
and his hospitality soon made him immensely popular in
society and about him gathered the gayest and the
fairest of England's capital. This butterfly life did not
seem to interfere with his art, for in spite of it he
accomplished a prodigious amount of work. Within a
few months of his arrival in England he had painted
full length portraits of the king and queen besides a
fine family group of them and their children. To the
honor that naturally came with his successful work the
king added very soon that of knighthood and henceforth
he was known as Sir Antony Van Dyck.
He painted portraits for many of the nobility, among
whom he had devoted friends. Of these none were
more valued than Sir Kenelm Digby and his wife
Venetia, whose features he painted many times. One
portrait of Lady Venetia he has given us in the form of
an allegory, the popular literary form of the day. Here
she figures as Prudence, draped with a white veil and
girdled by a jeweled belt. Deceit, Anger, and Envy
lie bound beneath her feet while in her purity she
puts forth her hands to seize two white doves flying
Van Dyck's best known and, in many senses, his
strongest pictures belong to the period of his residence
in London. Charles and his queen, Henrietta Maria, he
represented more than a score of times, sometimes
together but more often as separate portraits. The
most famous of them all is the picture in the Louvre,
where Charles, in full cavalier costume, stands just in
front of his fine gray horse that impetuously paws the
ground. In spite of our nineteenth century prosaic
desire to smooth out some of the folds of his rich attire
or to pull up his wrinkled top-boots, we feel that we are
in the presence of a masterly portrait. Though decked
out with all the gew-gaws of a frivolous age there is
*H\ ;` L
that in the face of this unfortunate king which makes
us instinctively dread what the future has in store
In later years, long after the tragedy of 1649 had
been accomplished, Louis XVI., destined to be another
royal victim to an outraged people's ire, used to beg to
have this picture removed from his presence, for the
whole tenor of the face was a menace to his own happi-
ness. Forgetting the sad fate of the central figure in
this picture, let us note its accessories the wide-
spreading tree, the water and sail boat to the left, the
verdure-clothed ground on which the king and his
attendants stand, the cloud-flecked sky bending over all.
All this clothed in the color which Van Dyck knew so
well how to use, made a picture to rank, as it does,
among the classics of painting.
The queen with her piquant face, her satin robes and
her pearls was likewise a subject delightful to the artist
and charming to us. Of all the royal pictures, however,
none has enjoyed the popularity of the group known as
The Children of Charles I., now in the Dresden gallery,
or that other group so like it at Turin. In both cases
the group is composed of Prince Charles and his sister
Mary with their little brother, James, Duke of York.
This sweet group of naive children, with a fine spaniel
on either side, is justly a favorite. Indeed, it is so
CHARLES I. OF ENGLAND
much so that we do not like the information of the
student of English history that the fine frank fellow,
Charles, became the dissolute Charles II. of England's
most corrupt period or that Baby Stuart, the pet of all
our primary pupils and their mothers, became the
bigoted and weak James II. who was unable to hold a
throne handed down to him by all the generations of
English kings since William the Conqueror.
Happily, however, we are studying pictures and not
history and we love these Stuart children for what they
are here before us in Van Dyck's beautiful picture and
not what they became in their maturity. The Baby
Stuart," so widely copied is from a drawing of the
youngest of these children.
It is evident, from the great number of pictures done
by Van Dyck, that his method of working must have
been extraordinary. The following is an account given
by one of the artist's friends which is interesting to us
as bearing directly upon this matter. He appointed a
certain day and hour for the person he had to paint,
and never worked longer than one hour at a time upon
each portrait, whether in rubbing in or finishing; when
his clock told the hour, he rose and made a bow to the
sitter, as much as to say that enough was done for that
day, and then arranged the day and hour for the next
sitting, after which his servant came to prepare fresh
brushes and palette, while he received another person
to whom he had given an appointment.
"He thus worked on several portraits in one day with
extraordinary expedition. After having lightly sketched
the face, he put the sitter in an attitude which he had
previously meditated, and with gray paper and white
crayons he drew in a quarter of an hour the figure and
drapery, which he arranged in a grand manner and with
exquisite taste. He then handed over the drawing to
skilful persons whom he had about him, to paint it from
the sitter's own clothes which were sent on purpose at
Van Dyck's request. The assistants having done their
best with the draperies from nature, he went lightly
over them, and soon produced by his genius the art and
truth which we thus admire. As for the hands, he had
in his employment persons of both sexes who served as
In this matter of hands he sometimes erred in judg-
ment for it is no uncommon thing to find in his pictures
a delicate pair of hands attached to the burly figure of
a warrior or of a statesman.
It is also related that he frequently entertained his
sitters at dinner that he might study their expression
when relaxed and not under the strain of sitting for
their portraits. Indeed so common was this custom
with the artist that it materially increased his expenses.
His price for a half length portrait was sixty pounds
sterling and for a full length one hundred pounds.
As the years wore on it became more and more
evident that nothing short of a revolution could settle
affairs in England. The income of the king fluctuated
and at times the royal family were separated, owing to
the unsettled condition of affairs. Van Dyck felt
keenly the shrinkage in his income. The extravagant
habits contracted in more prosperous times still clung to
him. In his extremity we find him forgetting the high
calling of his art and painting, as Guido Reni had done,
hurriedly and carelessly merely for the money.
Worse almost than this we find him stifling in the
unsavory odors of the laboratory in the hopeless pursuit
of the "philosopher's stone," that imaginary element,
which, when once produced, would turn all baser metals
to shining, precious gold. In our more practical way of
looking at things, we cannot help thinking that when he
lowered and abused his art he let go the real
philosopher's stone for him and then, in pitiful con-
sciousness of his mighty loss, he sought its substitute in
the uncanny recesses of the alchemist's retorts and
Our artist, though yet a young man, was broken in
health and in purse. In the vain effort to recuperate
the latter some of his noble friends arranged a marriage
for him with Maria Ruthven, a woman of noble family.
Such a marriage could hardly be happy for either party
and yet we have no evidence that the ill-mated couple
were unkind to each other.
They had been married hardly two years when, bur-
dened with disease and disappointment, Van Dyck died
just eight days after the birth of his daughter,
Justiniana. He was but forty-two years of age and, if
we may judge from the quality of the work he left, it
was not unreasonable to look to the future for his
There was a sumptuous funeral in old St. Paul's and
the artist was laid to rest close beside John of Gaunt in
the crypt of the old church. In the confusion that
attended the rebuilding of the church in later years, the
graves were lost sight of. Years later, in excavating,
the plate from Van Dyck's coffin was found but no
further trace of his remains. We can then make no
pious pilgrimage to the artist's grave for his dust is
scattered, we know not where. Again, dear reader, in
the paraphrased words of another, let me say, Look
not on the man but on his pictures."
SUBJECTS FOR LANGUAGE WORK.
1. Van Dyck's Home in London.
2. Van Dyck's Children.
3. My Favorite Picture by Van Dyck.
4. Van Dyck in Italy.
5. Van Dyck's Sojourn at Saventhem.
6. Comparison of Rubens and Van Dyck.
7. Some Essentials of a Portrait by Van Dyck.
8. Some Great Portraits of the World.
6. What the Stuarts Owe to Van Dyck.
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49. L'Allero and Other Poems. Niltoo
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t.l Rip Vao wnikld, ltc. (Irving.) 5,. Merclian of VWince (Shakesp eare)..,':..
;i.'King of the Goldetz River. i Rulkin.) j 3" 'Henry the Eighth.- (Shakespeare.) "
Sg'.: 'W .are even, et:. (Wordsorth.) 56. The Elegy, etc. (Gray.)
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bniCroistmas Evc;etc. (Irving.) 65. Sir Roger De CovedJey.
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