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Fig. 114. THE MASSACRE OF THE INNOCENTS. In the Pinakothek at Munich. After a photograph from the original by Franz Hanfstäng), Munich. (To page 146.) contemplates him with motherly pride, while with eyes full of childish mirth he gazes out of the picture. This is Peter Paul the Younger, who, though very closely resembling his elder brother, appears to be somewhat more delicate. The plump little maiden on her mother's left hand seems to be jealous of the attention paid to her little brother. This picture was left unfinished, but nevertheless captivates the spectator by that indefinite charm
Fig. 115. A FRANCISCAN MONK. Study. In the Hermitage at St. Petersburg.
(To page 146.)
inseparable from a first happy thought, whilst its sunny tone seems to express the happiness of the mother and child here portrayed (Fig. 119).
We cannot wonder that we meet the gracious young wife so frequently. With but a slight change of feature, she appears as the Madonna in a picture at the Cologne Museum representing Mary with the Infant Christ and the little St. John, behind whom is St. Joseph. The naked Christ Child here is but a repetition of the infant Francis Rubens of the Louvre Collection (Fig. 120). Again we recognise Helena Fourment in a wonder
fully expressive St. Cecilia at the Berlin Museum; whilst the Andromeda acquired by the same Gallery from the Blenheim Palace Collection, seems to have an unintentional likeness to the master's second wife.
There is another Andromeda, belonging to his last period, in the Museum at Madrid, in which the dark metal of the armour of Perseus loosening her chains, forms an effective contrast to the luminous flesh tints of the maiden. Among the other Mythological scenes painted during the master's last years, are Diana at the Chase (with animals by Snyders) in the Berlin Museum; and a small picture painted as a design for the decoration of a ceiling in the Academy of Fine Arts at Vienna, which by the figures of Apollo and Diana in her Chariot symbolizes Day and Night,—the Rising and the Setting Sun.
The last works of Rubens are mostly large altar-pieces. The Augustinian monks of Prague gave him in 1637 a commission for two pictures of colossal dimensions, intended to adorn the high altar of their Church, dedicated to St. Thomas. The subject of the principal painting was the Martyrdom of the Apostle Thomas in the Island of Ceylon, whilst the other represented St. Augustine and the Boy, who strove to empty the sea. These paintings, executed with the help of pupils, were sent to Prague in 1639, where they may still be seen in the positions for which they were designed.
Rubens however executed entirely with his own hands another altarpiece for Cologne, known to have been ordered by the rich banker and patron of art, Jabach of that city; who, nevertheless, did not negotiate for it with the master himself, but dealt with him through the medium of a painter named Geldorp, residing in London. Rubens wrote to the latter in 1637 that the picture was not, as he had supposed at first, intended for London but for Cologne:
“Sir, I have received your esteemed letter of last June, which does away with all my doubts. I could not understand for what reason an altarpiece should be wanted in London. With regard to the time, I should need about a year and a half to enable me to serve your friend comfortably and without hindrance. For some subjects are better painted on a large scale, while others come out more satisfactorily in smaller dimensions. If it were left to me to choose the episode in St. Peter's life, I should select his Crucifixion:—that moment when he is being nailed to the cross with his feet uppermost. It seems to me that this would give me an opportunity to create something really remarkable. But I leave the choice entirely to the giver of the commission, and until the size of the painting has been decided upon. I have a great affection for Cologne, where I lived until my 10 th year, and I have often telt a desire to see it again after so many years. But I fear that the difficult times in which we are living and my work will interfere with the accomplishment of this wish and many more besides. I sincerely pray for your good-will etc”...
The subject suggested by Rubens was accepted and the master set to work on the Crufixion of St. Peter. On the 2 nd of April he wrote to Geldorp: "I hasten to inform you that the picture has made very great Fig. 117. The Fair. In the Louvre. After a photograph from the original by Braun, Clément & Co., Dornach, Paris and New-York. (To page 144.)