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ART AND ARTISTS IN SPAIN.
The accomplishments brought back exceptions, the pleasant land of Spain by our grandfathers from the Con was a sealed book to Englishmen, untinent to grace the drawing-rooms til the Great Captain rivalled and of May Fair, or enliven the solitudes eclipsed the feats and triumphs of the of Yorkshire, were a favourite sub- Black Prince in every province of the ject for satirists, some “sixty years Peninsula, and enabled guardsmen since.” Admitting the descriptions and hussars to admire the treasures of to be correct, it must be remem- Spanish art in many a church and bered that the grand tour had become convent unspoiled by French rapaat once monotonous and deleterious, city. Nor may we deny our obliga- from Calais to Paris, from Paris tions to Gallic plunderers. Many a to Geneva, from Geneva to Milan, noble picture that now delights the from Milan to Florence, thence to eyes of thousands, exalts and purifies Rome, and thence to Naples, the Eng- the taste of youthful painters, and
my lord,” with his bear- sends, on the purple wings of European leader, was conducted with regu- fame, the name of its Castilian, or larity, if not with speed; and the Valencian, or Andalusian creator same course of sights and society was down the stream of time, but for prescribed for, and taken by, genera- Soult or Sebastiani, might still have tion after generation of Oxonians and continued to waste its sweetness on Cantabs. Then, again, the Middle desert air. Thenceforward, in spite Ages, with their countless graceful of brigands and captain-generals, vestiges, their magnificent architec- rival constitutions and contending ture, which even archaic Evelyn princes, have adventurous Englishthought and called 66 barbarous," men been found to delight in rambling, their chivalrous customs, religious like Inglis, in the footsteps of Don observances, rude yet picturesque Quixote, -emulating the deeds of arts, and fanciful literature, were lite Peterborough, like Ranelagh and rally blotted out from the note-book Henningsen, or throwing themselves of the English tourist. Whatever was into the actual life, and studying the classical or modern, that was worthy historic manners of Spain, like Carof regard; but whatever belonged to narvon and Ford. Still, though sol“ Europe's middle night,” that the dier and statesman, philosopher and descendants of Saxon thanes or Nor littérateur, had put forth their best man knights disdained even to look powers in writing of the country that at. Even had there been no Pyrenees so worthily interested them, a void to cross, or no Bay of Biscay to en was ever left for some new comer to counter, so Gothic a country as Spain fill; and right well, in his three handwas not likely to attract to its dusky some, elaborate, and most agreeable sierras, frequent monasteries, and volumes, has Mr Stirling filled that mediæval towns, the fine gentlemen void. Not one of the goodly band of and Mohawks of those enlightened Spanish painters now lacks å sacred days; nor need we be surprised that poet” to inscribe his name in the the natural beauties of that romantic temple of fame. With indefatigable land-its weird mountains, primæval research, most discriminating taste, forests, and fertile plains, fragrant and happiest success, has Mr Stirling with orange groves, and bright with pursued and completed his pleasant flowers of every hue, unknown to Eng labour of love, and presented to the lish gardens remained unexplored world " Annals of the Artists of by the countrymen of Gray and Gold Spain” worthy—can we say more? smith, who have put on record their of recording the triumphs of El marked disapprobation of Nature in Mudo and El Greco, Murillo and her wildest and most sublime mood. Velasquez. Thus, then, it was that, with rare At least a century and a half
Annals of the Artists of Spain. By WILLIAM STIRLING, M.A. 3 vols. London: Ollivier.
before Holbein was limning the were admirers and patrons of paintburly frame and gorgeous dress of ing, was it to royal or noble favour bluff King Hal, and creating at once that Spanish art owed its chiefest a school and an appreciation of art obligations. The church-which, afin England, were the early painters ter the great iconoclastic struggle of of Spain enriching their magnificent the eighth century, had steadily acted cathedrals, and religious houses, with on the Horatian maxim, pictures displaying as correct a “ Segnius irritant animos demissa per aures, knowledge of art, and as rich a tone Quam quæ sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus ”_" of colour, as the works of that great in Spain embraced the young and master. There is something singular diffident art with an ardour and a and mysterious in the contrast afforded munificence which, in its palmiest and by the early history of painting in the most prosperous days, that art never two countries. While in poetry, in forgot, and was never wearied of painting on glass, in science, in manu- requiting. Was it so in England ? factures, in architecture, England and do we owe our lack of ancient appears to have kept pace with other English pictures to the reforming zeal countries, in painting and in sculpture of our iconoclastic reformers ? Did she appears always to have lagged the religious pictures of our Rincons, far behind. Gower, Chaucer, Friar our Nuñez, and our Borgoñas, share Bacon, William of Wyckham, Wayn- the fate of the libraries that were fleete, the unknown builders of ten ruthlessly destroyed by the ignorant thousand churches and convents, the myrmidons of royal rapacity? If so, manufacturers of the glass that still it is almost certain that the records charms our eyes, and baffles the which bewail and denounce the fate rivalry of our Willements and Wailes, of books and manuscripts, would not at York and elsewhere—the illumi- pass over the destruction of pictures ; nators of the missals and religious while it is still more certain that the books, whose delicate fancy and monarch and his courtiers would have lustrous tints are even now teaching appropriated to themselves the picour highborn ladies that long-forgot- tured saints, no less than the holy ten art--yielded the palm to none of vessels, of monastery and convent. their brethren in Europe ; but where It cannot, therefore, be said that the and who were our contemporaneous English Reformation deprived our painters and sculptors ? In the luxu national school of painting of its most rious and graceful court of Edward munificent patrons, and most ennobIV., who represented that art which ling and purest subjects, in the destrucDello and Juan de Castro, under tion of the monasteries, and the royal and ecclesiastical patronage, spoliation of churches. That the had carried to such perfection in Church of England, had she remained Spain? That no English painters of unreformed, might, in the sixteenth any note flourished at that time, is and seventeenth centuries, have emuevident from the silence of all histori- lated her Spanish or Italian sister in cal documents ; nor does it appear her patronage of, and beneficial influthat foreign artists were induced, by ence upon, the arts of painting and the hope of gain or fame, to instruct sculpture, it is needless either to our countrymen in the art to 'which deny or assert ; we fear there is no the discoveries of the Van Eycks had room for contending that, since the imparted such a lustre. It is true Reformation, she has in any way that the desolating Wars of the Roses fostered, guided, or exalted either of left scant time and means to the those religious arts. sovereigns and nobility of England In Spain, on the contrary, as Mr for fostering the arts of peace; but Stirling well points ont, it was under still great progress was being made in the august shadow of the church that nearly all those arts, save those of painting first raised her head, gained which we speak; and, if we remember her first triumphs, executed her most rightly, Mr Pugin assigns the trio glorious works, and is even now proumph of English architecture to this longing her miserable existence. troublous epoch. Nor, although Juan The venerable cathedral of Toledo I., Pedro the Cruel, and Juan II., was, in effect, the cradle of Spanish
painting. Founded in 1226 by St Borgoña had proved himself worthy Ferdinand, it remained, to quote Mr of wielding the Castilian pencil, and, Stirling's words, “ for four hundred under the patronage of the great years a nucleus and gathering-place Toledan archbishop, Ximenes de Cisfor genius, where artists swarmed and neros, produced works which still laboured like bees, and where splen adorn the winter chapter-room of that did prelates—the popes of the Penin cathedral. These are interesting not sula-lavished their princely revenues only as specimens of art, but as manito make fair and glorious the temple festations of the religious roos of of God intrusted to their care.” Here Spain at the commencement of the Dolfin introduced, in 1418, painting on sixteenth century: let Mr Stirling glass; here the brothers Rodrigues describe one of the most remarkable displayed their forceful skill as sculp- of these early paintings:-"The lower tors, in figures which still surmount the end of the finely-proportioned, but great portal of that magnificent cathe- badly-lighted room, is occupied by the dral; and here Rincon, the first Spanish Last Judgment,' a large and repainter who quitted the stiff mediæval markable composition. Immediately style, loved best to execute his graceful beneath the figure of our Lord, a works. Nor when, with the house of hideous fiend, in the shape of a boar, Austria, the_genius of Spanish art roots a fair and reluctant woman out quitted the Bourbon-governed land, of her grave with his snout, as if she did the custodians of this august were a trufle, twining his tusks in her temple forget to stimulate and reward long amber locks. To the left are the detestable conceits, and burlesque drawn up in a line a party of the sublimities, of such artists as the de- wicked, each figure being the incarnapraved taste of the eighteenth century tion of a sin, of which the name is delighted to honour. Thus, in 1721, written on a label above in Gothic Narciso Tome erected at the back of letters, as · Soberbia,' and the like. the choir an immense marble altar. On their shoulders sit little malicious piece, called the Trasparente, by order imps, in the likeness of monkeys, and of Archbishop Diego de Astorgo, for round their lower limbs, flames climb which he received two hundred thous- and curl. The forms of the good and and ducats; and thus, fifty years later, faithful, on the right, display far less Bayeu and Maella were employed to vigour of fancy." So the good charpaint in fresco the cloisters that had acters in modern works of fiction are once gloried in the venerable paintings more feebly drawn, and excite less of Juan de Borgoña. At Toledo, then, interest, than the Rob Roys and under the auspices of the great Cas- Dirk Hattericks, the Conrads and tilian queen, Isabella, may be said to the Manfreds. Nor was Toledo at have risen the Castilian school of art. this time wanting in the sister art of The other great schools of Spanish sculpture: while the Rincons, and painting were those of Andalusia, of Berruguete, and Borgoña, were enValencia, and that of Arragon and riching the cathedral with their picCatalonia ; but, for the mass of Eng- tures and their frescoes, Vigarny was lish readers, the main interest lies in elaborating the famous high altar of the two first, the schools that pro- marble, and the stalls on the epistle duced or acquired El Mudo and El side. In concluding his notice of Greco, Velasquez and Murillo. The Vigarny, “the first great Castilian works of the two last-mentioned sculptor,” Mr Stirling gives a sketch artists are now so well known, and so of the style of sculpture popular in highly appreciated in England, that Spain. Like nearly all the * Cosas we are tempted to postpone for the d'Espana,” it is peculiar, and owes present any notice of that most de- its peculiarity to the same cause that lightful part of Mr Stirling's book has impressed so marked a character which treats of them, and invite our on Spanish painting and Spanish readers to trace the course of art in pharmacopeia-religion. that stern old city to which we have Let not the English lover of the already referred, Toledo.
fine arts, invited to view the masterBefore the grave had closed upon pieces of Spanish sculpture, imagine the cold remains of Rincon, Juan de that his eyes are to be feasted on the
VOL. LXV.NO. CCCXCIX.
nude, though hardly indecent forms of The Parting of our Lord's Garment, Venuses and Apollos, Ganymedes and on which he bestowed the labour of a Andromedas.
decade, and of which we give Mr Beautiful, and breathing, and full Stirling's picturesque description. of imagination, indeed, those Spanish “ The august figure of the Saviour, statues are—“ idols,” as our author arrayed in a red robe, occupies the generally terms them; but the idola- centre of the canvass; the head, with try they represent or evoke is hea- its long dark locks, is superb; and the venly, not earthly—spiritual, not sen noble and beautiful countenance seems suous. Chiselled out of a block of cedar to mourn for the madness of them who or lime-wood, with the most reverential “knew not what they did ;' his right care, the image of the Queen of Heaven arm is folded on his bosom, seemingly enjoyed the most exquisite and deli- unconscious of the rope which encircate services of the rival sister arts, cles his wrist, and is violently dragged and, “copied from the loveliest models, downwards by two executioners in was presented to her adorers sweetly front. Around and behind him apsmiling, and gloriously apparelled in pears a throng of priests and warriors, clothing of wrought gold.” But we amongst whom the Greek himself doubt whether any Englishman who figures as the centurion, in black arhas not seen can understand the mour. In drawing and composition, marvellous beauty of these painted this picture is truly admirable, and wooden images. Thus Berruguete, the colouring is, on the whole, rich who combined both arts in perfection, and effective-although it is here and executed in 1539 the archbishop's there laid on in that spotted streaky throne at Toledo, over which hovers manner, which afterwards became the an airy and graceful figure, carved in great and prominent defect of El dark walnut, representing our Lord Greco's style." on the Mount of Transfiguration, and Summoned from the cathedral to the remarkable for its fine and floating court, El Greco painted, by royal comdrapery."
mand, a large altar-piece, for the church Continuing our list of Toledan at the Escurial, on the martyrdom of St artists, "whose whole lives and la- Maurice; “ little less extravagant and bours lay within the shadow of that atrocious," says our livelyauthor,“than great Toledan church, whose genius the massacre it recorded." Neither was spent in its service, and whose king nor court painters could praise this names were hardly known beyond its performance, and the effect of his failure walls,” (vol. i. p. 150,) we come to at the Escurial appears to have been T. Comontes, who, among other works his return to Toledo. Here, in 1584, for that munificent Alma Mater, exe he painted, by order of the Archbishop cuted from the designs of Vigarny the Quiroga, “ The Burial of the Count of retablo (reredos) for the chapel“ de Orgaz," a picture then and now eslos Reyes Nuevos," in 1533.
teemed as his master-piece, and still at Toledo that El Mudo, the Spanish to be seen in the church of Santo Titian, ied, and at Toledo that Blas Tomé. Warm is the encomium, and del Prado was born. When in 1593 eloquently expressed, which Mr Stirthe Emperor of Morocco asked that ling bestows upon this gem of Toledan the best painter of Spain might be sent art. “ The artist, or lover of art, who to his court, Philip II. appointed Blas has once beheld it, will never, as he del Prado to fulfil the Mussulman's rambles among the winding streets of artistic desires: previous to this, the the ancient city, pass the pretty brick chapter of Toledo had named him belfry of that church-full of horsetheir second painter, and he had shoe niches and Moorish reticulations, painted a large altar-piece, and other -without turning aside to gaze upon its pictures, for their cathedral. But superb picture once more.
It hangs perhaps the Toledan annals of art to your left, on the wall opposite to contain no loftier name than that of the high altar. Gonzalo Ruiz, Count El Greco. Domemis Theotocopuli,whoof Orgaz, head of a house famous in born, it is surmised, at Venice in 1548, romance, rebuilt the fabric of the is found in 1577 painting at Toledo, for church, and was in all respects so rethe cathedral, his famous picture of ligious and gracious a grandee, that,
when he was buried in 1323, within have waged an unrelenting though these very walls, St Stephen and St intermittent war against the fine arts Augustine came down from heaven, and in Spain—he died there at a green laid his body in the tomb with their own old age in 1625, and was buried in holy hands-an incident which forms the church of St Bartolemé. Even the subject of the picture. St Stephen, the painters most employed at the a dark-haired youth of noble counte- munificent and art-loving court of the nance, and St Augustine, a hoary old second and third Philips, found time to man wearing a mitre, both of them paint for the venerable cathedral. arrayed in rich pontifical vestments Thus, in 1615, Vincencio Carducho, of golden tissue, support the dead the Florentine, painted, with Eugenio Count in their arms, and gently lower Caxes, a series of frescoes in the him into the grave, shrouded like a chapel of the Sagrario ; and thus Eubaron of Roslin in his iron panoply.' genio Caxes, leaving the works at the Nothing can be finer than the execu Pardo and Madrid, painted for the cation and the contrast of these three thedral of Toledo the Adoration of the heads ; never was the image of the Magi, and other independent pictures. peaceful death of the just man' Meanwhile the school of El Greco more happily conveyed, than in the was producing worthy fruit; from it, placid face and powerless form of the in the infancy of the seventeenth cenwarrior: nor did Giorgione or Titian tury, came forth Luis Tristan, an artist ever excel the splendid colouring of even now almost unknown in London his black armour, rich with gold and Edinburgh, but whose style Vedamascening. To the right of the lasquez did not disdain to imitate, picture, behind St Stephen, kneels a and whose praises he was never tired fair boy in a dark dress, perhaps the of sounding. * Born, bred, and son of the Count; beyond rises the sped" in Toledo, or its neighbourhood, stately form of a gray friar; to the as Morales was emphatically the left, near St Augustine, stand two painter of Badajoz, so may Tristan priests in gorgeous vestments, holding, be termed the painter of Toledo. the one a book, and the other a taper. No foreign graces, no classical models, Behind this principal group appear adorned or vitiated his stern Spanish the noble company of mourners, hi- style; yet, in his portrait of Archdalgos and old Christians all, with bishop Sandoval, he is said by Mr olive faces and beards of formal cut, Stirling to have united the elaborate looking on with true Castilian gravity execution of Sanchez Coello with and phlegm, as if the transaction were much of the spirit of Titian. And of an every-day occurrence. As they him is the pleasant story recorded, are mostly portraits, perhaps some of that having, while yet å stripling, the originals did actually stand, a few painted for the Jeronymite convent at years later, with the like awe in their Toledo a Last Supper, for which lie hearts and calm on their cheeks, in asked two hundred ducats, and being the royal presence-chamber, when the denied payment by the frugal friars, he news came to court that the proud appealed with them to the arbitration Armada of Spain had been van of his old master, El Greco, who, having quished by the galleys of Howard, viewed the picture, called the young and cast away on the rocks of the painter a rogue and a novice, for Hebrides.” We make no apology for asking only two for a painting worth thus freely quoting from Mr Stirling's five hundred ducats. In the same pages his description of this picture; Toledan church that contains the ashes the extract brings vividly before our of his great master, lies the Murcian readers at once the merits of the old Pedro Orrente, called by our author Toledan painter, and his accomplished " the Bassano, or the Roos — the biographer and critic. After embel- great sheep and cattle master of lishing his adopted city, not only with Spain :" he too was employed by the pictures such as this, but with works art-encouraging chapter, and the caof sculpture and architecture, and thedral possessed several of his finest vindicating his graceful profession pictures. But with Tristan and Orfrom the unsparing exactions of the rente the glories of Toledan art paled tax-gatherers—a class who appear to and waned; and, trusting that our