« PreviousContinue »
procession towards Calvary. There are many banners; horsemen brandish their weapons: everything expresses movement. But this mob of shouting, seething humanity throws into greater constrast the One Figure, which crushed to the earth under the weight of His Cross brings the procession
Fig. 113. LANDSCAPE with Cows. In the Pinakothek at Munich. After a photograph from the original by Franz Hanfstäng), Munich. (To page 144.)
to a stand-still. Simon of Cyrene with the assistance of a slave endeavours to raise the Cross, and Veronica at the same moment hastens to wipe the Saviour's forehead, whilst the Virgin, striving to throw herself before her son, is held back by St. John.
An impressive picture of helplessness and passionate griet is depicted in the Massacre of the Innocents, at the Munich Pinakothek. From a portico, to one of the columns of which a placard is attached recording the barbarous edict of Herod, we see a crowd of warriors coming forth with cruel delight and horrible brutality to execute their inhuman orders. This terrible command strikes ruthlessly at all mothers irrespective of rank. Some of the women thus suddenly robbed of their darlings are very richly dressed, whilst others are clad in poor garments, and some even scarcely clothed at all. Their varied expressions of grief are as different as their appearence. Some throw themselves furiously on the murderers and try to tear from them their deadly weapons; others piteously plead for mercy; whilst others cast themselves weeping over the tiny corpses of their children, which they bear tenderly away, or hold up their arms in wild grief to heaven, whence angels descend with crowns of martyrdom (Fig. 114).
In 1638 Rubens painted for the high altar of the Capuchin Church at Cologne a picture representing St. Francis receiving the Stigmata , now in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum at Cologne (Fig. 116). He repeated here with some slight variations another altar-piece painted in 1632 for the Church of the Carmelites at Ghent, now in the Museum of that town. The subject excluded all display of colouring, but the master nevertheless succeeded in producing admirable effects of brown and grey interspersed with golden lights. The Hermitage at Petersburg possesses a very carefully executed sketch of the head of a Franciscan Monk looking up with devotion to St. Francis (Fig. 115).
At times it seemed that the master's greatest delight was to portray the members of his own family. In the summer of 1633 his wife had presented him with a son, who received the name of Francis. In the spring of 1635 a little daughter followed, named after both his wives Isabella Helena, and in the spring of 1637 another boy was born, to whom was given his father's name of Peter Paul. The fifth child of this marriage
. Constantia Albertina was born in January 1641, eight months after her father's death. When little Francis was three years old Rubens painted the charming portrait group of the mother and child, now in the Pinakothek at Munich: His wife in a plainly made dress of rich brocade, her head covered with a broad-brimmed hat is seated in a vestibule, beside a door - way thrown yet more into shadow by a curtain hanging from the columns of its projecting lintel. With both hands she supports her little son
He sits upon her lap perfectly nude, but wearing a velvet cap on his fair curls. Both turn toward the spectator with a bright expression in their eyes (Fig. 118). In the Louvre Collection there is a similar picture of Helena Fourment with her first-born son: whilst yet another, in the same Picture Gallery, painted about three years later, transports us to the same vestibule — probably a favourite resort of hers,— where she is also clasping both hands round a lovely little boy seated upon her knee, and
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
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