Page images
PDF
EPUB

with his manner in the department for which he was specially engaged, and created that facility of imitation which is so obvious in the copies he subsequently made. It need not be doubted, though probably it may be denied, that many of the easel pictures, where landscape is the principal, ascribed to Rubens, are copies and imitations by Van Uden. The landscape part of a picture called “ The Watering-place,” so admirably engraved by Browne, has always been attributed to Rubens; but Van Uden claimed it as his, and subscribed the etching of it with his name ; “ Lucas van Uden pinxit et excud.

These are notifications necessary to the amateur, to guard him against the practices so constantly employed by the dishonest traffickers in works of art, of which they know but little beyond the account they may be turned to as articles of trade, of substituting the name of a master of great repute for that of one less renowned. Such dealers may sometimes be excused on account of their ignorance; but the amateur should arm himself against their impositions by attentively examining the known works of painters whose names are in vogue, which are to be found in collections of established reputation, and not lend his ear to men whose very language betrays their ignorance or cupidity. It will be well for the amateur, if, in purchasing a landscape attri. buted to Rubens, he gets no worse than one by Van Uden, for he will possibly obtain a good picture, though at a larger price than he would have been induced to pay if the name of the real artist had been attached; but this is the penalty for seeing with ears, not with eyes, and being prejudiced in favour of a name. Lucas van Uden died in 1660.

JODOCUS, or JOSSE, MOMPERS, born at Antwerp in 1580, ranks among the assistants of Rubens. It is not exactly known from whom he received instruction in the art, but as his style resembles that of Louis Vadder, it is supposed that he was his first master. His subjects generally are mountainous views, large and extensive tracts of country, rocky ravines, and deep valleys, like the scenery of Switzerland. These he painted with a bold, firm pencil, and with colour by no means transparent: closely examined, they appear coarse and heavy; but, viewed at a proper distance, they satisfy the judgment that they are the work of a man of

genius. No one could more readily discover this than Rubens, and accordingly he associated the talent of Mompers with his own in such pictures as required bold scenery in the landscape, and vigorous execution. It is believed that Mompers accompanied Rubens to Spain to paint the back-grounds of his pictures there, the pencil of Mompers being well suited for the scenery of the country. A capital picture by him, being a view of the Escurial and the surrounding mountains, in the Earl of Radnor's collection, is a proof of his ability and the discernment of Rubens. Mompers was a skilful imitator of the landscapes of Rubens, into which he would introduce certain alterations that gave them the appearance of originals. His penciling and colouring in his own pictures are, however, so different from the manner of Rubens, that there is no difficulty in recognising them. He died in 1638.

SCHOLARS OF RUBENS.

the greatest renown of all those who received instruction from Rubens. But it is thought sufficient only to name him here, as he will stand at the head of a class hereafter.

JUSTUS VAN EGMONT was born at Leyden in 1602. He was educated in the school of Rubens, and became one of his most active pupils. He assisted his master in forwarding his larger pictures, particularly the altar-pieces painted for the churches at Mechlin, and the splendid series illustrative of the life of Marie de Medicis. Beyond this there is little recorded of him, except that, on leaving the school of Rubens, he went to Paris and painted in conjunction with Simon Vouet. There are portraits by him that remind the observer of his original school, but are very inferior to those of Rubens. He returned to Antwerp, and died there in 1674.

THEODORE VAN THULDEN ranks among the best of the scholars of Rubens, and certainly was one of the most useful in forwarding his larger works. He assisted in those of the Luxembourg Gallery, and also in executing the splendid designs for the triumphal arches erected in honour of Ferdinand in 1635. These he afterwards etched in thirty-one plates. But his great fault was a propensity to exaggerate, so that his

forms are heavy, and the drawing incorrect. His colouring, too, is harsh, and is unpleasant from admixture of tints that do not harmonize. He had much merit in other respects, but he is noticed here only as a scholar of Rubens, to whose works his occasionally bear a resemblance. He was born at Bois-le-Duc in 1607, and died in 1676.

ABRAHAM VAN DIEPENBECK was originally, as an artist, a painter on glass, and executed several superior works on that material for churches at Antwerp, but having received a classical education, he visited Italy to improve his taste in literature and art. On his return to Antwerp he entered the school of Rubens, where his genius received a suitable direction, and his pencil was soon made available by the lessons of his instructor and the example of his fellow-pupils. But whether it was that he had imbibed the Italian gusto, or that his classical reading refined his notions of forms, he imitated rather the figures of Van Dyck than those of his master, and painted with a similar suavity of colour. In his compositions, which are numerous, he is less united, his forms more slender, and his expressions inferior to both. He was born at Bois-le-Duc in 1607, and died in 1675 ; though some writers say much later.

JACOB JORDAENS, another eminent scholar of Rubens, was born at Antwerp in 1594. His first master was Adam van Oordt; on leaving him he entered the academy of Rubens, where he acquired that grand style of colouring which distinguishes all his works, in some of which he almost equals his master. The great drawbacks in most of his historical compositions, are the gross expressions and ignoble forms which are usually introduced ; on some occasions he avoided those faults. In his wild animals and horses he approaches Rubens; in his fruit and vegetables he rivals Snyders; and in the force of his colouring he is only second of the school. Some of his pictures have been attributed to Rubens, and without much impeachment of the judgment of those who have thought so; for they have more careful drawing and finishing than Jordaens generally exhibits: these are dated in his prime. He died in 1678.

PETER VAN Mol is named among the scholars of Rubens, and it is said was employed by him in forwarding his work; but what are allowed to be Van Mol's own productions are

coarse imitations of Rubens, with all his defects, and none of his beauties. He was born at Antwerp in 1580, and died at Paris in 1650.

CORNELIUS SChut is classed with the scholars of Rubens, but it is doubtful whether he ever was so, in the accepted sense of the term. That he was a skilful artist, and received favours from Rubens, whom he envied, is certain ; and also that he painted several grand pictures for churches at Antwerp, Ghent, and elsewhere, is equally so. His later pictures have in their style and colouring a resemblance to the manner of Van Dyck. It is said that he was born at Antwerp in 1600, and died in 1660; but there is diversity of opinion respecting both. See note to his memoir in the enlarged edition of Bryan's “ Dictionary of Painters and Engravers.”

JAN VAN HOECK was a pupil of Rubens, and an apt one, for it is said that he approached nearer to his master's manner than any other of his scholars, but this requires confirmation. When he left the school of Rubens he went to Italy, and studied there for some time, and probably divested himself of much of his Flemish style. His known works bear a greater resemblance to some of Van Dyck's, and so far may be traced the schools in which he was taught. He painted both landscapes and figures in a very pleasing manner; sometimes they approach to elegance. He was born at Antwerp in 1600, and died in 1650.

ERASMUS QUELLINUS, born at Antwerp in 1607, was a distinguished scholar and professor of philosophy, but his predilection for painting induced him to quit his chair and enter the school of Rubens, with whom he was on terms of intimacy. Under his guidance he became an eminent painter; and, being gifted with quick apprehension, he acquired great facility of execution, and produced a vast number of pictures, large and small, which are evidences of his skill and industry. He was well acquainted with perspective and architecture, and his landscapes are treated in a pleasing manner. In imitation of Van Dyck, he painted the portraits of many distinguished artists of his time. His manner in general approaches nearer to that of Van Dyck than of Rubens. He died at Antwerp in 1678.

FRANCIS WOUTERS was born at Liere, in Brabant, in 1614.

He became a scholar of Rubens, and applied himself particularly to landscape, in which he became eminent, but did not neglect figures. His views are generally of forest scenery, in which he introduced historical or fabulous subjects, and these are painted in style and colour so exactly resembling his master's, that they are frequently attributed to him, sometimes from ignorance, often for the purpose of enhancing the marketable value. He came to England in 1637, and was appointed painter to Prince Charles, but on the breaking out of the civil war, returned to Antwerp, where he died in 1659.

John THOMAS is numbered among the scholars of Rubens. He produced many clever works, which bear marks of the school in which he was taught. He went to Italy with Diepenbeck, and finally settled in Germany. He was born in 1610, and died in 1673.

GILES BACKEREEL was a contemporary of Rubens, but is not mentioned among his scholars or coadjutors. He ornamented several of the churches in the Low Countries with altar pieces, much in that master's grand style, but, it is said, in some, more correct in the drawing, and in colouring as chaste and delicate as Van Dyck. Such were to be seen in the cathedral at Bruges, in the church of the Augustines at Antwerp, and at Brussels in the church of the Franciscans. It is to be regretted that there is not a better account of this painter than that of Descamps and other writers of the lives of Flemish artists. He had a brother named William, to whom they have attributed the pictures painted by Giles. William was a landscape painter, and resided chiefly in Italy, while Giles, from the number of large altar pieces he painted for the churches in Flanders, must have been fully occupied in his own country. Tourists, who have not been acquainted with these circumstances, have frequently made the mistake of ascribing the works of Giles Backereel to Rubens.

THEODORE BOEYERMANS was a distinguished scholar of Rubens, whose splendid style he followed for some time with great success; subsequently he adopted the chastened manner and suavity of colouring of Van Dyck, so that his compositions have been mistaken for that master's ; among the imitators of whom he is therefore also placed. · GERARD VAN HERP, erroneously though usually called VAN HARP, has in many instances shown a close approximation

« PreviousContinue »