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BISCAINO, BABTOLOMMEO, the son of Giovanni
Andrea Biscaino, was born at Genoa in 1632. He
was instructed by his father in the first rudiments
of the art, and afterwards became a scholar of
Valerio Castelli. From the early indications he
gave of uncommon genius, great expectations were
formed of his future eminence, and they were not
disappointed. Before he had reached his twenty-
fifth year he had painted many considerable works,
but his career was cut short by the plague, which
visited Genoa in 1657, to which his father and
himself fell victims. The Dresden Gallery pos-
sesses three pictures by this artist, representing
' The Woman taken in Adultery,' ' The Adoration
of the Magi,' and 'The Circumcision of Christ.'
He etched several plates, in a free, bold style,
resembling in some degree the works of Benedetto
Castiglione, but in a more finished manner. His

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A BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF



subjects are finely composed and elegantly drawn.
He sometimes marked his plates B. B. The
following are his most esteemed prints :

Moses in the Bulrushes.

Susannah and the Elders.

The Nativity, with Angels.

The Circumcision.

The Wise Men's Offering.

Herodias, with the Head of St. John.

The Virgin Mary and Infant Jesus, with Angels.

The Virgin suckling the Infant Jesus, with St. Joseph.

The Virgin suckling the Infant, with St. Joseph, and

St. John with his lamb.
The Virgin adoring the Infant Jesus.
The Virgin with the Infant Jesus on her knee, St. John

kissing his foot, and St. Joseph behind.
The Virgin with the Infant Jesus standing on her knee,

stretching out His arm to St. Joseph ; half-length

figures.

The Holy Family, with St. John holding a cross.
The Repose in Egypt, with Angels in the clouds.
The Infant Jesus reposing on the globe.
St. Joseph, with the Infant Jesus ; half-length.
St. Christopher giving his hand to the Infant Jesus.
St. Christopher, with the Infant Jesus.
Mary Magdalene in the desert ; dated 1656.

BISCAINO, GIOVANNI ANDREA, a native of
Genoa, painted landscapes in a bold and spirited
style ; but, according to Soprani, the necessity he
was under to paint with despatch, in order to
support a numerous family, prevented his bestow-
ing that care and attention which would have
rendered his works more deserving of our esteem.
He died at Genoa, of the plague, in 1657.

BISCARRA, GIOVANNI, an Italian historical
painter, of Turin, flourisned in the first half of the
19th century. He died in 1851. His own portrait
is in the Uffizi at Florence.

BISCHOF, FRIEDRICH, who was born at Anepach
in 1819, was a painter of genre subjects. 'The
First Snow,' by him, is in the Pinakothek at
Munich. He died in 1873.

BISCHOP, CORNELIS, a Dutch painter, who was
born at Dordrecht in 1630, was a scholar of Fer-
dinand Bol. He painted history and portraits, in
the style of his master, but with very indifferent
success. He died in 1674. His son, ABRAHAM
BISCHOP, was eminent as a painter of birds.

BISET, KAREL EMANDEL, a Flemish painter, was
born at Mechlin in 1633. It is not said by whom
he was instructed, but he went to Paris when he
was young, and met with great encouragement,
his pictures, which represented gallant assemblies,
balls, concerts, and what are called 'conversations,'
being adapted to French taste. Notwithstanding
his success, the love of his native country induced
him to return to Antwerp, where he was appointed
director of the Academy, in 1674. He designed
his subjects with taste, but his colour is rather
cold and grey. His chief work is a large picture
in the Brussels Gallery, formerly in the hall of the
Archers' Guild at Antwerp, representing ' William
Tell preparing to shoot the Apple from the Head
of his Son.' A ' Family Group ' by him is in the
Museum at Rotterdam. He died at Breda in 1680
(or 1685). His son JAN BAPTIST BISET was also
a painter.

BISI, Fra BONAVENTURA, called ' Padre Pittorini,'
was a monk of the order of St. Francis, at Bologna,
where he was born in 1612 (or 1610). He had
been instructed in drawing when young, by Lucio
Massari, and was celebrated for his _copies in
miniature from the works of Correggio, Titian,
Guido, &c., many of which were in the cabinet of

138



Alfonso IV. of Modena, by whom he was employed.
He also etched a few plates after Parmigiano,
Guido, &c., and one after his own design of a
' Holy Family, with St. John and St. Elisabeth,'
marked F. B. B. F. 1631. He died at Modena in
1662.

BISI, MICHELE, an Italian engraver and painter,
who was born at Genoa about 1788, does honour to
the schools of Bartolozzi, Rosaspina, and Longhi.
He first distinguished himself by the publication
of the ' Pinacoteca del Palazzo Reale delle Scienze
e delle Arti di Milano,' in which he was aided by
his wife, ERNESTA BISI, who was likewise a pupil
of Longhi. In 1819 he undertook a series of
engravings from the paintings of Andrea Appiani,
in which he was assisted by some of the best
scholars of Longhi. His engraving of ' Venus
embracing Cupid ' happily expresses the beauty
of the original picture. Subsequently appeared
1 The Virgin and Infant Christ enthroned, attended
by St. Anthony and St. Barbara,' after Luini,
which he has treated in a brilliant and delicate
manner, preserving the beauty and grace peculiar
to the master ; ' Andromeda and Perseus,' after
Guercino ; an ' Adoration of the Virgin,' after
Sassoferrato ; and ' The Offering of the Magi,'
after Gaudenzio di Ferrara. He also succeeded
as a painter of landscapes.

BISQUERT, ANTONIO, was a Spanish historical
painter, who was born at Valencia, and a scholar
of Ribalta. He established himself at Teruel in
1620, and became renowned as a painter. He was
a good colourist and designer, and infused much
sentiment into his pictures. He also copied
Sebastiano del Piombo's ' Dead Christ in the arms
of tlie Virgin.' He died in 1646.

BISSCHOP, JAN DE. See DE BISSCHOP.

BISSET, JAMES, born in 1760, first practised as
a miniature painter at Newmarket. He afterwards
went to Birmingham, where he engraved the em-
blematic plates to his ' Survey round Birmingham'
(1800). In 1814 he published a 'Guide to Leam-
ington.' He died there in 1832.

BISSOLO, PIER FRANCESCO, was, it is believed,
a native of Treviso, and was brought up in the
school of the Bellini at Venice. He flourished
from about 1492 to 1530. His paintings are very
rare. His works at Murano, and in the cathedral
of Treviso, were compared by Lanzi with those of
Palma Vecchio.

Berlin, Gallery, Resurrection of Christ ; Castel-Franco,
Floriano, Altar-piece (signed and dated MDXX VIII);
Brescia, Madonna and Saints; London, Benson Coll.,
Three pictures ; Venice, Academy, Christ exchanging
the crown of thorns of St. Catharine of Siena for a
crown of gold (signed FRACISCUS BISSOLO) formerly
in San Pietro Martire, Murano (generally considered
his masterpiece), and three other works.

There are also pictures by him in the Correr
Museum, Layard Gallery, and Redentore Church,
in Venice.

Francesco Bissolo is thought by Crowe and
Cavalcaselle to be possibly identical with Pietro
de' Ingannati, the author of a ' Madonna and Child '
in the Berlin Gallery signed PETRDS DE INGAN-
ATUS P.

BISSONI, GIOVANNI BATTISTA, was born at Padua
in 1576 ; and, according to Ridolfi, was first a
scholar of Francesco Appollodoro, called II Porcia,
a portrait painter, and afterwards of Dario Varotari.
Bissoni painted several pictures for the churches



PAINTERS AND ENGRAVERS.



and convents at Padua and Ravenna. He died in
1636.

BISUCCIO, LEONARDO DI, of Milan, is a painter
whose name has been handed down to posterity by
the reputation of one work only. It is the decora-
tion of the chapel of Sergiani Carracciolo, in the
church of San Giovanni a Carbonara, in Naples.
The subjects are scenes from the life of the Virgin,
in which several portraits of members of the Car-
racciolo family have been introduced. In general
treatment the work resembles the style of Giotto,
but the heads partake of the beauty of Fra An-
gelico. Bisuccio lived about the middle of the
15th century.

BITTERLICH, EDUABD, was born at Stupnicka,
in Galicia, where his father had established him-
self. Whilst Eduard was still young his parents
moved to Vienna, with the intention of educating
him for the civil service, but against their will he
entered Waldmuller's studio, and devoted himself
to miniature painting. In 1855 he went to Venice
in order to copy the works of the old masters. His
enthusiasm was so great that he would scarcely
allow himself the time to eat and drink. Upon his
return he married Marie Singer von Wyssogurski,
and immediately afterwards put himself under the
direction of Rahl, whom he never afterwards left
until his death. For this master he designed many
fresco paintings, and sketched an immense number
of small compositions, amongst them the 20 sheets
for the 'Wanderings of the Argonauts,' and the
coloured sketches for the Duke of Oldenburg.
After Rahl's death, Bitterlich's principal work
executed in conjunction with Griepenkerl was the
design for the new Opera House ; and of his earlier
productions we may name, The Pompeian figures
in the Ypsilanti Palace, and the 20 Lunettes in the
Banqueting-hall of the Grand Hotel of Vienna,
together with the pictures for the restored castle
of Duke Leopold in Hornstein. He died at Press-
baum, near Vienna, in 1872.

BITTHEUSER, JOHANN PLEICKAED, an engraver,
born at Biitthard in 1774, was instructed by J. G.
von Miiller; he was professor at Wiirzburg, and
died there in 1859. The following engravings are
some of his best works:

The Last Supper ; after Leonardo da Fi'nei. 1805.
The meeting of Augustus and Cleopatra; after R.

Mengs.
The Wife of Domenichino coming out of the bath ;

after Domenichino.

BIZAMANDS was the name of a family of
painters who belonged to a school at Otranto, in
Apuleia, and flourished a short time before the 15th
century. Their paintings are executed in the
Byzantine style, with landscapes in the back-
grounds. The painting in the Museo Cristiano of
the Vatican, of ' Christ, risen from the dead, and
Mary Magdalene,' is attributed to Donatus Biza-
manus; and that in the Museum at Berlin, of
' The Descent from the Cross," to Angelus Biza-
manus.

BIZEMONT-PRDNELE, ANDBE GASPARD PAB-
PAIT, Comte de, French draughtsman and engraver,
was born at the chateau of Tignonville, near
Etampes, in 1752. He was a pupil of E. Gaucher,
and etched and engraved on wood a considerable
number of works. He was for some years director
of the Museum at Orleans, and died there in 1837.
Among his etchings may be mentioned :

Hagar and Ishmael ; after Guercino.
Cephalus and Procris ; after the same.



Virgin and Child ; after Guide.
A Pieti ; after Ribera.
La Nourrice ; after Natoire.

An Allegory upon the death of Louis XVI. and of
Marie Antoinette.

BIZZELLI, GIOVANNI, a Florentine painter, born
in 1556. He was a scholar of Alessandro Allori,
called Bronzino. He afterwards went to Rome,
where he painted some pictures for the churches.
On his return to Florence he executed several
works for the public edifices, which are described
by Borghini in his account of the painters and
sculptors of Florence. He died in 1612. His
own Portrait and an ' Annunciation ' by him are
in the Uffizi.

BLACEO, BEBNABDINO. Ridolfi describes several
works of this painter in the churches at Udine, in
the Friuli among them, the principal altar-piece
of the church of Santa Lucia, representing the
' Virgin and Infant Saviour, with a group of
Angels, arid St. Lucia and St. Agatha ; ' and in
Porta Nuova, the ' Virgin and Infant Christ, with
St. Peter and St. John.' Blaceo appears to have
flourished about 1550.

BLACKLOCK, W. J., a landscape painter, wn
born in 1816. His views of scenery in the North
of England were much admired at the Royal
Academy Exhibition of 1853 and the two follow-
ing years. He died at Brampton, Cumberland, in
1858.

BLACKMORE, JOHN, a mezzotint engraver,
was born in London about the year 1740. \Ve
have by him some well-scraped plates, chiefly
portraits after Sir Joshua Reynolds, among which
are the following :

Samuel Foote ; after Sir Joshua Reynolds. 1771.
W. H. Bunbury, caricaturist ; after the same.
Henry Bimbury ; after the same.
Innocence. 1770.

He also engraved plates after Frans Hals and other
Flemish artists. He died about 1780.

BLACKWELL, ELIZABETH, the daughter of a
London merchant, is known as the author of ' A
Curious Herbal, containing 500 cuts of the most
useful plants which are now used in the practice
of physic, engraved on copper-plates after draw-
ings taken from the life,' published in 1737 and
1739. This celebrated botanical work was issued
at Nuremberg in 1757, with German and Latin text,
and 600 coloured plates, and at Leipsic in 1794.
Mrs. Blackwell was the wife of Dr. Blackwell,
who for many years was physician to the King
of Sweden, and was involved in a State prose-
cution for treason, and beheaded in 1747. His
widow lived till 1774.

BLAGRAVE, JOHN, an eminent mathematician,
a native of Berkshire, published among other
works, in 1585, 'The Mathematical Jewel,' illus-
trated with woodcuts, executed by himself, in a
neat style. He died in 1611.

BLAIN DE FONTENAY, JEAN BAPTISTE. A
mistake for BELIN DE FONTENAY, which see.

BLAIZE, CANDIDE, a French miniature painter,
was born at Nancy in 1795, and died in Paris
about 1855.

BLAKE, B., a painter of still-life, birds, fish,
and other objects of that kind. His works, when
carefully painted, are very pleasing, but his circum-
stances, and his mode of living, obliged him to hurry
his pictures, and too frequently to repeat them.
As they were to a certain degree popular in his

139



A BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF



day, the dealers held him in thrall, and injured his
reputation by employing others to copy his works.
He was also compelled by necessity to make, for
these patrons, copies of the works of Dutch painters,
in which he was sometimes so successful as to
enable his employers to mislead their customers.
Little of his history is known. He exhibited
' Views of Dunford, near Salisbury,' more than
once at the Academy ; and ' Dead Game ' frequently
with the Society of British Artists, of which he
was a foundation member. He died about the
year 1830.

BLAKE, NICHOLAS, a draughtsman and engraver,
who illustrated Hanway's ' Travels in Russia and
Persia,' published in 1753, an edition of 'Pope's
Poems,' and other works. He was a native of
Ireland, and lived for many years in Paris, where
it is believed he died at the end of the last century.
BLAKE, WILLIAM, painter and engraver, was
born in London on the 28th of November, 1757.
(The "good MS. authority ''on which Mr. Swinburne
prefers the 20th of November is insufficient to dis-
credit the evidence, especially that of Varley's
horoscope, for the later date.) He was the second
son of a hosier who had carried on business for
many years at 28, Broad St., Golden Square, a
quarter occupied at that time by shops and
residences of a good class. Little is known of his
parents' temperaments and acquirements ; but the
fact of their sending the lad, in his tenth year, to
Pars' drawing academy in the Strand (considered
the best drawing-school of the day), is evidence
that they lacked neither the will nor the means to
launch their son upon an artistic career. The boy
had already shown his bent by drawing many
curious sketches on the hosier's bills and counters.
At fourteen he was taken to be apprenticed to the
fashionable engraver Ryland ; but his strong pre-
sentiment that Ryland would some day be hanged
(a presentiment eventually justified to the letter)
led to the breaking off of the negotiations, and it
was as a pupil of James Basire, an engraver of the
hard and dry school, that Blake spent the years
1771-8. For the understanding of his art it is
important to remember that, at an age when the
majority of students have hardly entered upontheir
more serious training, Blake had already begun to
draw and engrave for publication ; for example,
'Joseph of Arimathea among the Rocks of Albion,'
an engraving put forward as a copy from Michael
Angelo, was almost certainly Blake's own design,
and it is dated 1773. Nor was the isolation in
which this precocious activity was exercised a
mere matter of a lonely studio or workshop.
Basire employed his apprentice to make drawings
of London churches, and it is on record that young
Blake was often locked up in Westminster Abbey
with no companions save the monarchs and heroes
whose crumbling effigies he had been sent to copy.
There is ground for the supposition that he was
present on the day when the body of the first
Edward was exhumed and the royal face for a
moment uncovered. But, be this as it may, it is
certain that the lad's innate sympathy with the
supernatural was greatly and perhaps morbidly
enhanced by the long hours of loneliness spent in
haunted vastness and dimness. At four the boy
believed he had seen God " put His forehead to the
window," and at eight or ten he had marvelled at a
tree bright with angels on Peckham Rye. How
far he believed in the objective reality of these
appearances cannot be determined. On the one
140



hand stands the fact that to the end of his life he
claimed to be holding converse with the spirits of
men no less great than Moses, Homer, Socrates,
Dante, Shakespeare and Milton ; affirming, for
instance, of Shakespeare, " He is exactly like the
old engraving, which is said to be a bad one I
think it very good." On the other hand, full weight
must be given to such remarks as, " You can see
what I do if you choose. Work up imagination to
the state of vision, and the thing is done." Per-
haps the best resolution both of this puzzle and of
the vexed question of Blake's sanity is the theory
that, as an artist, he went as far as do the exponents
of materialism in arrogance of idiom, though in an
opposite direction. In other words, he did not
admit the obligation to confine himself to every-
day, literal speech. " All things," he said, "exist in
the human imagination alone, 1 ' and to one who
showed him ' The Mechanic's Magazine,' he said,
" We artists hate these things." On the termination
of his seven years' apprenticeship, Blake studied for a
short time at the newly-established Royal Academy.
But his preferences and intentions as an artist had
already become fixed, as appears from some
sentences scribbled by him many years later in a
copy of Reynolds' ' Discourses.' It seems that
Blake, who, on the strength of threepenny-pieces,
invested in prints after such masters as Raphael,
Michael Angelo and Diirer, had been known years
before in the sale-rooms as " the little connoisseur,"
" secretly raged " when he was rebuked by Moser,
the keeper, for wasting time on these " old, hard,
dry, unfinished works " instead of devoting himself
to Rubens and Le Brun. As for the living model,
he protested that natural objects only " weaken,
deaden and obliterate imagination," and declared
that the so-called "life" "looks more like death
and smells of mortality." But though a revolt from
Moser and the Academy was inevitable and bene-
ficial, it is a debatable question how far a more
prolonged and all-round course of training would
have been a loss or a gain to his art. After a dis-
appointment in love, Blake married, in 1782,
Catherine Boucher, of whom Mr. Swinburne says
that she " deserves remembrance as about the most
perfect wife on record. 1 ' At the time of the
marriage the young woman could neither read nor
write, but she seems in the course of years not only
to have vanquished these disabilities, but also to
have become no mean draughtswoman, while it is
well known that she both bound her husband's books
in boards and coloured many of bis illustrations.
The more painful stories of Blake's poverty are
exaggerations, and the accounts of his squalor are
falsehoods. But " the last shilling " was a familiar
sight. Save for a few years (1800-1804) spent at
Felpham in Sussex, in the impossible society of the
"poet" Hayley, the couple passed the whole of
their lives in London lodgings. Blake never went
abroad, and had contact with no artistic life save
that of Georgian London. The desire for holidays
was a mystery to him, and even the northern heights
which are parts of modern London made him ill by
their strong and unfamiliar air. He was bred,
born, married and buried a Londoner, and this is
another of the facts which throw light upon his art,
accounting, as it does, both for the lack of variety
in proportion to the bulk of his almost innumer-
able productions, and for the immense force and
mystical beauty of the ideal creations which repre-
sent the reaction from his cramped and ugly
conditions. In 1780- Blake exhibited ' The Death



PAINTERS AND ENGRAVERS.



of Earl Godwin ' (probably in water-colours) at the
Royal Academy. In 1783 appeared, at the cost o)
friends, the slim octavo volume ' Poetical Sketches
by W. B.,' now extremely rare. ' Poetical Sketches
was printed and published in the ordinary way
But four years later came a little book which in
twenty-seven pages presents examples of nearly
every one of its author's extraordinary character-
istics. This was the famous ' Songs of Innocence;
which, along with its companion, ' Songs of Ex-
perience,' is now universally admitted to contain
some of the most clearly inspired and perfectly
beautiful poetry in the literature of the world.
The songs composing the volume were involved in
marginal decorations of a beauty and originality
only less than the songs' own, and the whole work
was written, embellished, engraved, printed and
bound by the poet and his wife. Even the ink
was of their own making. As for the technical
1 method, it is thus described by Gilchrist^ " It was
quite an original one. It consisted of a species of
engraving in relief, both words and designs. The
verse was written and the designs and marginal
embellishments outlined on the copper with an
impervious liquid, probably the ordinary stopping-
out varnish of engravers. Then all the white parts
or lights, the remainder of the plate, that is, were
eaten away with aqua fortis or other acid, so that
the outline of letter and design was left prominent
as in stereotype. From these plates he printed off
in any tint, yellow, brown, blue, required to be the
prevailing or ground colour in his facsimiles ; red
he used for the letterpress. The page was then
coloured up by hand in imitation of the original
drawing, with more or less variety of detail ia the
local hues." The secret of this serviceable process
Blake firmly believed himself to have learned one
night in a dream from the spirit of his dead brother
Robert, and it is on record that, next morning,
after Mrs. Blake had paid one shilling and tenpence
for the materials required to test its efficacy, only
eightpence remained in the common purse. The
experiment succeeded, and Blake, whose writings
(with the exception of ' Poetical Sketches' and part
of a poem on the French Revolution) never tempted
a publisher till after his death, became his own
printer and bookseller. The result, as in nearly all
the crucial issues of his life, was a further pressing
in of the artist upon himself, and the loss of influences
which some think would have corrected and
balanced his strong natural endowment, while
others hold that they would have weakened and
blurred it. Accustomed to and even preferring a
frugal and busy life, Blake fell into a habit of
writing only to please himself a superficially
admirable choice which generally ends in ignomini-
ous unintelligibility. The ' Prophetic Books '
(' Visions of the Daughters of Albion,' 'America,'
'Europe,' 'The Book of Urizen,' 'The Song of
Los,' 'The Book of Ahania,' 'Jerusalem,' and
'Milton'), which, along with 'The Book of Thel,'
'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," and 'The
Gates of Paradise,' complete the tale of works en-
graved by Blake according to the method of the
ghostly Robert, are coveted by collectors for their
rarity, and by artists for their powerful illustrations
and decorations. But, despite the enthusiastic
labours of commentators to elucidate their obscurities
and to magnify their importance, it is almost certain
that they will ultimately be regarded as turbid
streams of inscrutable verbal symbols in which a
lyrical fire of almost unequalled liveliness and



purity was extinguished. Fortunately, however,
while Blake the poet was wandering in blind alleys,
Blake the designer kept pushing onward along so



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