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design, a sense of richness and harmony of colour. If it does
not bear comparison with the finer work which Rembrandt
himself produced in after-years, it possesses qualities by which
we may feel assured the youthful student would be specially
attracted. Throughout the whole composition there is an
advanced feeling of realism, of a higher character than is seen
in any other composition of the period. The picture has its
faults; the drawing may be exaggerated or imperfect, the
demons too grotesque to be horrible; but the interest it has for
ourselves, and certainly had for the boyish artist, is the evidence
it affords of advance in the realistic tendency of the Northern
Another naturalistic picture in the collection is ‘The Cruci-
fixion’ by Cornelis Engelbertsz, a much inferior composi-
tion, but showing similar influence in the mummified corpse,
&c., in the foreground. Of the work of Swanenburch, with
whom Rembrandt remained from his twelfth to his fifteenth
year, we know too little. Six panels were, perhaps still are,
assigned to him in the Gallery at Leyden; a “Papal Pro-
cession, now at Copenhagen, is the only existing picture of his
which is recognized by M. Michel, and, though instructive, it is
a work of no special importance. Lastman, in whose studio
at Amsterdam Rembrandt afterwards passed six months, is
not, now at least, represented at Leyden, but his influence on
Rembrandt's earlier work was not inconsiderable. Himself a
disciple of Elzheimer, he showed a sense of chiaroscuro which,
though varying in degree as in conception, somewhat frequently
appears in the work of other painters of that day; and although
his colour was too often discordant and his handling laboured,
his drawing was generally correct; and he has left us land-
scapes, notably two at Berlin, which possess delicacy of touch,
picturesqueness of detail, and poetic instinct.*
Much more distinctly, especially in his treatment of light
and shadow, do we recognize in Rembrandt's work the direct
influence of Elzheimer; and though no picture of this master or
engraved reproduction is mentioned in the long and interesting
inventory of Rembrandt's effects, when at the time of his
bankruptcy his treasures were offered for sale, we may be sure
that in one or other of those volumes of drawings and engravings
by distinguished artists—‘een groot boeck vol teeckeningen en
printen van verscheydene meesters’—would be found the seven
engravings by the Count de Goudt, after Elzheimer, and among
them the larger scene of ‘Tobit and the Angel.’ This is a com.

* Wide “Landscape in Art, by Josiah Gilbert. London, 1885, position * Wilson's Catalogue, p. 17; Charles Blanc's Catalogue, No. 29. So far as we know, only two impressions of the plate before it left Seghers's hands have been preserved; one is at Amsterdam, the other in a private collection,

position which has for us a double interest, not from its character alone, but from the support it gives to our contention that Rembrandt knew, if he did not actually possess, this series of engravings. The picture by Elzheimer passed into the possession of the late Mr. Samuel Sandars, and was contributed by him in 1879 to the Winter Exhibition of the Old Masters at Burlington House. It has now, by generous bequest, been added to the treasures of the National Gallery. It represents a darkly wooded landscape scene. In the foreground, to the left of the print, is the youthful Tobit, wearily dragging the fish by his right hand, his face expressive of sadness and fatigue; behind him is the Angel, bending forward and evidently encouraging him with some hopeful words; a landscape, with trees and cattle on the sloping hill-side and cloudy sky, is seen in the distance on the right. The composition was afterwards utilized by an impecunious engraver, Hercules Seghers, who, while he copied the figures directly on to his plate, closely imitating their action and expression, placed them on a steep incline instead of on level ground, changing the character both of sky and landscape, but retaining the hill-side, the cattle, &c., in the distance. The plate then passing into Rembrandt's hands, the group of Tobit and the Angel was erased, though not entirely, traces of the figures still remaining, and a ‘Flight into Egypt’ was rudely scratched in in their place. From the plate with these alterations some five or six impressions were taken, and, from the time when they were issued, they seem to have been accepted as the genuine work of the master, to the infinite perplexity of modern connoisseurs, to whom the rare first impressions of Seghers's plate were unknown, and who, unable to recognize in the execution of the landscape the handling of Rembrandt, yet unwilling to reject the print, endeavoured to explain the process by which they supposed it might have been created, entitling it “The Flight into Egypt, in the style of Elzheimer'— Fuite en Égypte, dite dans le goût d’Elzheimer.'" The more immediate influence of Elzheimer may be traced in many of Rembrandt's pictures. Italian in feeling, yet retaining the realistic tendencies of the Northern School, Elzheimer's compositions are often singularly effective, almost romantic, in their arrangement of light and shade. Sunset or sunrise, moonlight and starlight contend in the same picture with the gleam of torches or of shepherd's fires, while dark masses of shadow


bring into strongest relief the natural or artificial light which illumines those parts of the scene on which he would concentrate our attention. We regard as perhaps the most effective of his pictures ‘The Flight into Egypt, now in the Gallery at Munich, another of those from which an engraving was made by Elzheimer's friend and patron, the Count de Goudt. It is a night effect, with dark wooded background and clouds above, the moon rising above the horizon to the left. We specially refer to this picture, since those of our readers who had the good fortune to visit the recent Old Masters' Exhibition at Burlington House may recall a panel with which it may be compared,—a beautiful little scene of Rembrandt's middle period, the property of the Trustees of the National Gallery in Ireland. It represents a group of peasants, with cattle, around a fire at the foot of a steep wooded hill, with dark sky and a gleam of moonlight.” The composition of this and that of Elzheimer's picture are not identical, and we recognize in the latter the work of a greater hand, but the character and treatment are so closely in accord that, as we study the Rembrandt, we are conscious of the influence of Elzheimer. In his remarks upon this master M. Michel has drawn attention to a peculiarity which, we think, has not been sufficiently observed. This is, that while Elzheimer, in his treatment of light and shade, makes the actual source of the light in all its intensity a chief feature of his picture, Rembrandt usually conceals the flame, and contents himself with rendering the light it sheds on surrounding objects. As a rule we may accept the criticism, though with some little reservation, since we do not find it to have been Elzheimer's invariable practice thus to display the origin of the light with which he relieves the darker shadows of his picture. Paintings by Elzheimer are exceedingly rare: besides those described, there is one in the National Gallery, others are in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge, eight or ten are in foreign galleries, and a few others are in private collections; but we know more than one in which the source of the light does not appear. There is, for instance, the landscape scene, ‘Tobit and the Angel’— the H. we have already referred to as having been utilized by Hercules Seghers; another, known to us only by the engraving, is the lovely little ‘Dawn of Day.’ These, however, may be regarded as exceptional, while in support of M. Michel's contention we may instance, among others, the Munich picture, ‘The Flight into Egypt, in which three sources of the varying

* Smith's ‘Catalogue Raisonné, vii. 603.


light are pictured ; and the “Ceres,’ another night effect (the
original is now in the Liechtenstein Gallery), where, besides
the moon in the upper right, are seen two torches and a candle,
On the other hand, with Rembrandt, the source of the light
which relieves his night effects is very rarely shown. It is
introduced in a few of his pictures, as in the panel mentioned
above, and in five or six of his etchings. For example, in
“The Flight into Egypt, a night effect, St. Joseph, leading the
ass on which the Virgin is seated, carries a lantern in his hand,
which casts the only light introduced into the composition.
Another, also a night effect, is a ‘Descent from the Cross, in
which the light comes from the torch held by a disciple who
stands close beside the Cross. A third is the “Adoration of
the Shepherds': the Blessed Virgin is lying, half asleep, to
the right; the shepherds enter on the left, one bearing a
lantern; the source of the main light, falling behind the figure
of St. Joseph, is unseen, the secondary light is from the
There were other artists of the sixteenth and of the earlier
years of the seventeenth century, predecessors or contemporaries
of Rembrandt, to whom reference might be made, as having, to
a greater or less extent, influenced his manner and his com-
position, though they may not have directed his genius. Such
were Miereveldt of Delft, who, with simple and truthful feeling
for his subject, combined often a warm and tender colouring;
Moreelse, a master in portraiture; Keyser and Ravenstein, and
above all Fransz Hals, painters as well of portraits as of
Corporation Pictures and Civic Guilds, scenes often admirably
grouped, ‘full of shadow and of light, tones brown and gilded,
and amber flesh-tints that Rembrandt himself would not have
disowned.” But the earnest realism, the naturalistic character
of form and of expression which Rembrandt carried to so great
perfection, and which, together with his inimitable powers
of composition and execution, have placed him in the forefront
of the painters of Holland, were not the invention of his imme-
diate predecessors, for they in their turn had inherited an
earlier influence.
“The History of Art, writes Kügler, “its rise, its progress,
and its decadence, from primitive Christian days to the period
known as the Renascence, which we regard as commencing
with the first years of the fifteenth century, is a very curious as
well as a very instructive one.’ There are in fact few studies
of greater interest than those which lead us to trace its gradual
development from the symbolic, the purely religious, and con-
ventional type that dominated its earlier conceptions, up t

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the humanized and realistic character which it ultimately attained. We well know the chief intention and power of Art in earliest Christian days were not perfection of technique or beauty of composition; they were rather utilized for purposes of religious instruction. Pictures and statues were created to attract the onlooker, not by their accuracy of design nor loveliness of form, but by their intense spirituality and reverent teaching of religious truth. The painter was, consequently, not an artist, in the modern meaning of the word, but ‘simply a superior class of workman, in whom excellence of workmanship was the chief claim to distinction.” The religious pictures introduced, year after year, into convents and into churches— the Art Galleries of the age—show, as time went on, greater accuracy in drawing, greater distinctiveness in sentiment and expression, yet, mostly, were such as required for their execution rather honest patience and manual dexterity than artistic inspiration. But as we enter on the first decade of the fifteenth century, we witness the dawn of a new era, which, though commencing almost simultaneously in the Italian and in the Northern Schools, assumed in the latter, and especially in the Flemish, its most pronounced and conspicuous form. The most striking examples of the new departure that now remain to us are seen in the work of the Van Eycks. It must ever be a matter of infinite regret that, comparatively speaking, so few pictures of this period, i.e. pictures of the Northern School, should have been preserved. It was a troubled time. The contemporary annals of continental history contain little else than records of war and devastation. One hundred and fifty years later, during the Revolt of the Netherlands, we are told how some four hundred churches, with their contents, were destroyed, and that the Van Eycks' superb masterpiece, an altar-picture, “The Adoration of the Lamb,' was saved from the fury of the iconoclasts by its removal, only two days before, from its place in the Cathedral of St. Bavon. It is a picture which, for its beauty of design and execution, must always demand our heartiest admiration; but for our present purpose it has a special interest, and merits careful examination. The composition of the upper panels, with their gold and tapestried background, is to a certain extent conventional and in the manner of an earlier time, but not so with the rest; and what strikes us most as compared with the religious pictures of others, especially of Southern Schools of the period, is the intense naturalism which pervades the whole. The compre

* W. J. Stillman, “Old Italian Masters.” hension

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