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are more fascinating. In the spacious landscape overhung by a shadowy atmosphere the deep blue sea spreads beyond the rocks: where, between two cliffs, the monster convulsively expires. The wide perspective, the fine horse, the shining armour of the hero, the graceful figure of the girl, and the delicious infant heads, together form an admirable poem, quite unique in harmony of colour (Fig. 23).
Fig- 33- The Beteaval Of Samson. In the Pinakothek at Munich.
Rubens always possessed great talent in the representation of the winsome grace of cherubs and putti. In 1611 his wife Isabella Brant presented him with a daughter: and it was perhaps this happy event that specially led him to sketch so often the figures of children. Among collection of drawings at the Albertina, is a sheet covered with hastily-drawn, but none the less charming, Cupids in a great variety of attitudes (Fig. 24). They are probably sketches for the charming picture painted at this period: Mary "with the Infant Christ surrounded by playful Cherubs (Fig. 25); originally no doubt an altar-piece, but now in the Gallery of the Louvre. He also designed a number of fascinating putti entwined in a garland of fruit:
Fig. 35. Ladv And Child (probably Isabella Brant with her son Albrecht).
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a work now in the Pinakothek at Munich (Fig. 26). The magnificent garland of fruit which they bear was probably executed by Jan Breughel, one of his most loyal friends. A similar idea is to be found in a delightful sketch in the Hermitage Collection, known as the Statue of Ceres. Here exquisite baby-figures crowd around a niche containing a figure of the goddess and adorn it with garlands of fruit (Fig. 27). It is possible, that this fine sketch was originally intended as a design for a titlepage, such as in 1603 Rubens commenced making for the books published by his friend, Balthasar Moretus. There were at that time a great many skilful engravers, who reproduced the designs of Rubens' both in painting and drawing: and very many of these were also multiplied by etchings. The art of engraving, which in other countries had become debased to a very low level, made rapid progress in the Netherlands, profitting greatly by the work of the artist. Woodcarving also was greatly benefitted by the reproduction of his ideas; so that from this period works appear of real artistic merit in that branch of art.
If we look for dates on Rubens' pictures we may find a mythological painting of Jupiter and Callisto in the Gallery at Cassel, dated 1613; and another delicious little night-piece, representing the Flight into Egypt in the same collection, dated 1614. This latter much recalls a picture by Adam Elsheimer, whose acquaintance Rubens made in Rome. The same date 1614 is also attached to a small and highly finished Pieta in the Museum at Vienna. The shoulders of the dead Christ, much foreshortened, rest against the knees of the Madonna, who, with loving care, closes the glazing eyes of her dead Son. His right arm is supported by Mary Magdalen,—the favourite female Saint of the painter,—whilst in the foreground kneel the other Maries
Fig. 36. Head Of A Child (Rubens' eldest daughter). In the Liechtenstein Gallery at Vienna.
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weeping bitterly. Beside the Holy Mother stands the impressive figure of St. John (Fig. 28). The Museum at Antwerp possesses a larger replica of this picture with a landscape background by the "velvet"Breughel. As a rule, however, inscribed dates are very rare on pictures by Rubens. Moreover, they do not tell us much; for the master's power, when settled in Antwerp
was so fully developed, and, throughout the whole of his artistic career, he remained so true to himself, that it is very difficult — almost impossible in fact — with most of his works, to fix even approximately the period of their execution. Mythology always seemed to give him new ideas: and he enjoyed representing wild scenes, such as the Abduction of Orithyia by Boreas, the North-Wind, now in the Academy of Vienna, or the Rape of the Daughters