Copyright
Gabriel Metsu.

Metsu online

. (page 1 of 4)
Online LibraryGabriel MetsuMetsu → online text (page 1 of 4)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


JUNE, 1906

ND



METSU PRICE, 15 CENTS



6S3



B H SflM 70D






Jl§suetiiftptitl)lii,



METSU




PART 78 "VOLUME r



JBatesiantKIuiltKlpmpany,

i^-Cdaunqi^tKEt



MASTERS IN ART



^♦gem?ijffllustratetii]t5iioflrap59




Among the artists to be considered during the current, 1906,
Volume may be mentioned, Bouguereau, Goya, Ghirlandajo,
and VVilkie. The numbers of *• Masters in Art ' which have al-
ready appeared in 1906 are :

Part 73, JANUARY STUART

Part 74, FEBRUARY DAVID

Fart 75, MARCH BOCKLIN

Part 76, APRIL SODOMA

Part 77, MAY CONSTABLE

Part 78, JUNE METSU

PART 79, THE ISSUE FOR

WILL IREAT OF



NUMBERS ISSUED IN PREVIOUS VOLUMES
OF 'MASTERS IN ART'

VOL. 1. VOL. 2.



Part
Part

Part
Part
Pai;i-
P aim-
Pa iM-
Pa IM-
PART

Part
P aim-
Pa RT



P a IM-
PART

Part
Part
Part
Part
Part
Part
Part
Part
Part



VAN DYCK

TiriAN

VELASQUEZ

HOLBEIN

BOTTICELLI

REMBRANDT

REYNOLDS

MILLET

GIO. BELLINI

MURILLO

HALS

RAPHAEL

VOL. 3.

-25, PHIDIAS

26, PERUGINO

27, HOLBEIN ?

28, TINTORETTO

29, P. deHOOCH

30, NATTIER
51, PAUL POTTER
32, GIOTTO
35, PRAXITELES

34, HOGARTH

35, TURNER

36, LUINl



Part 13,
Part 14,
Part 15,
Pari- 16,
Part 17,
Part 18,
Part 19,
Part 20,
Part 21,
Part 22,
Part 23,
Part 24,



RUBKNS
DA VINCI
DURER

MICHELANGELO*
MICHELANGELOt
CORO T
BURNE-JONES
TER BORCH
DELLA ROBBIA
DEL SAR 10
GAINSBOROUGH
CORREGGIO



Part 57
Part 38
Part 39
Part 40
Part 41
Part 42,
Part 43
Part 44
Part 4;
Part 46
Part 47
Part 4

ngs * f :



VOL. 5.



Part 49, BARTOI.OMMEO Part 61.
Part 50, GREUZE Part 62

Part 51, DURER* PART63

Part 52, LOTTO Part 64

Part 53, LANDSEIR Part6;,

Part 54, VERM EER Part66,

Part ;?, PINTORICCHIO PART67,
Part ;6, THE VAN RYCKS Part
Part 57, MEISSONIER Part 69,

Part;8, BARYE Part 70.

P>.RT 59, VERONE,SE Part 7

Part 60, COPLEY Part 7

* Engravings



VOL. 4.

, ROMNEY

, FRA ANGELICO

, WATTEAU

, RAPHAEL*

, DONATELLO

, GERARD DOU

, CARPACCIO

, ROSA BONHEUR

, GUIDO RENI

, P. deCHAVANNES

, GIORGIONE
i, ROSSETTI
■escos

VOL. 6.

WATTS
, PALMA VECCHIO
, VIGEE LE BRUN
, MANTEGNA

CHAR DIN

BENOZZO

JAN STEEN
, MEMLINC

CLAUDE

VERROCCHIO
, RAEBURN
, FILIPPO LIPPI



ALL THE ABOVE NAMED ISSUES
ARE CONSTANTLY KEPT IN STOCK
Prices on and after January i, 1906 : Single numbers of
back volumes, 20 cents each. Single numbers of the current T906
volume, I 5 cents each. Bound volumes 1,2, 3,4, ;, and 6. contain-
ing the partsl isted above, Dound in brown buckram, with gilt
stamps and gilt top, §3.7; each; in green half-morocco, gilt
stamps and gilt top, J1..2; each.



The Temple

at

Paestum




THIS FACSIMILE REPRODUC-
TION of the water-color by Hubert
G. Ripley was made for a special feature ot
The Architectural Review. It is ■J}{xg2/l,
and will be appreciated by every one interested
in Greek architecture. We had one hundred
extra reproductions made and offer them to
Masters in Art subscribers for 50 cents each,
post-paid. The above illustration gives no
idea of the fine color effect of the print, which
the artist has approved as being a perfect re-
production of the original painting. We can-
not too strongly recommend our readers to
secure a print for framing.



BATES & GUILD CO.

Publishers
42 Chauncy Street, Boston, Mass.



ft f/ ' i:



I Protect TOUT furs and fine cloth-

ine durinV the enrlv Sprinp and Summer

I from moths and instets. Vsc a Piedmont

Red Cedar f'hes^t — dnst otkI mothprool.

A l)eau(ifnl Weddintr or Biitli-

I lay present. Shipred from fo^toy' .t°
voiir home on approval, freight prepaid. "VVnte

^"p^^^Nt' Y^^i^^ CO., Dept. 5,
StatesvUle. N. C.



In answering advertisements, please mention Masters in Abt



MAS TE R S IN ART




^mmmmm-



;^- v-^

i-|'1^-'





®MomiaiN

PESORTS of EASTEKN6K0RTHETO I

NEWENGLAKDon^'tlL^ MARITIME PROVINCES

REACHED BY THE




MMNE



PJl^fFmETsfcaYrJLv/^■l;Cl2vmr£

/MRS)M-lfTBF£N/S5C/£PD'Ar-
P£f?rHEFffJ:WH7.WTmESA.W
n7lLB£NAIl£D LWN /RECEIPT
0FJ:!^/N STAMPS EORMCN^OOK

All Along Shore-Among
theMouniains-Iakesam)
Streams-To the Fish and
Game CountryofNewEng-
LAND Canada AND THE
Maeitime Provinces-
NerrimackValley-Lake
Sunapee-Vacation Days
InSouthernNewHampshire
Lake Memphremagog



Portfolios t-^^^

Mountains of NewEngund
Seashore oeNewEngland
Rivers ofNewEngland
Lakes of ISewEngland
Picturesque NewEngland

HISTORIC MISCELLANEOUS

The CharlesRiver to the
Hudson,

wlube sent upon receipt of

6 CENT.S FOR EACH BOOK.

Resorts foRlHE, .rnrr
Vacationist m^''''\ KLL
Vacation Excursion

R\TESandT0URS



COLORED BIRDS EYE VIEWfrom MT. WASHINGTON
COLORED BIRD'SEYEVIEWoFlAKE WINNIPESAUKEE

SENT ON RECEIPT OF 6^ POR EACH.

o/v BOSTON A.VV M4/A''j/^s£/^ro/y /?£Cf/pror3CcmrsM.srAMPj

For All Publications Apply To
PASSENGER DEPARTMENT B&M. R.R. BOSTON Mass.




Zi^ riANUfRS



' s. T/rHEr .-icf



In answering advertisements, please mention Mastkrs in Art




MASTERS IN ART



^^tl^U



DUTCH SCHOOL





335756



AIASTEKS IX AKT PLATE I

PHOTOGRAPH BY BRAUN, CLEMENT & CIE

[213]



METStJ

AJS' OFi'lCEH AND A XOUNG LAUX

LOtJVHE, PARIS




MASTKKS IX AKT PI.ATK Jl

FROM A PHOTOGRAPH BY BALDWIN COOLIDGE

[21.-.]



METSU

THE I,ETTEK-WKITEK

OWXED KY .-MK. ALFKED BEIT, LOXDOIf



c r f. c «f. c




MASTKKS IX AKT PLATK 111

PHOTOGRAPH BY hANFSTAENGL



[21t]



JIETSU
THE VIOLONCELLO PLAYEK
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, LONUOH




MASTERS Ilf AKT PLATE IV

PHOTOGRAPH BY BRAUN, CLEMENT & Ct6



[219]



METSU
AN OLD YTOMAN SELLING EISH
WALLACE COLLECTION, LONDON




MASTKKS IN AKT PLATB: V

PHOTOGRAPH BY BRAUN, CLEMENT & CIE

[231]



MKTSU

THE INTKUIJEK

KAKIj of XOKTHHKndK'S COLLKC'I'ION, XONBOST




MASTEKS IX Airr PLATK VI



[22;j]



CLtMENT 4 CIE



METSLT

THE VEGETABLE MAKKET AT AMSTEKDAM

LOUVHK, PAHIS




MASTKKS IX AKT

PHOTOGRAPH BY HAP



PLATK VH



[22.->]



METSr

POHTKAIT OF AX OLU WOMAJf

BEKLIJV GALLEKT



y. ^




X -



3 §




MASTEBS Ilf AKT PLATE IX

PHOTOGRAPH BY HANFSTAENGL
[ 229]



JIETSr

THE DUET

KATIOXAL GALLEKT, LONDOlf



s = 5





POKTKAIT nv METSU JiV HIMSELF UUCKIXGHAM PALACK

This portrait shows us the painter at about tWrtv-five years of age. He has repre-
sented himself standing at an open arch-topped window, the frame cf which is cov-
ered with a grape-vine. He holds in one hand a palette and mahlstick, and between
the fingers of the other a bit of chalk with which he is about to make a sketch
upon a panel standing against a box on the window-sill. The picture is a fine
specimen of Metsu's art. It measures one foot three inches high by a little over a
foot wide.



MASTERS IN ART



iB^tvitl 0itt^n



BORN 1 G30 : DIED 1GG7
DUTCH SCHOOL

BEYOND a few meager facts, nothing is known of the life of Gabriel
Metsu, one of the greatest of the " little masters " of Holland. His father,
Jacques Metsu, was a painter of no great note, who resided for many years in
Leyden, where he was three times married. Gabriel, the son of his third wife,
Jacomina Garnijerns, was born in that city in 1630 — fifteen years later than
the date given by Houbraken, the Vasari of Dutch painters.

It is generally supposed that Metsu received his first instruction in art from
his father, and that later he entered the studio of Gerard Dou, then the most
popular painter of Leyden. He is said to have been on terms of friendship
with Jan Steen, his elder by only a few years, and some of Metsu's scenes from
the humbler walks of life bear a certain similarity to the works of that painter,
although wholly devoid of the coarseness which frequently characterizes Jan
Steen.

That Metsu early attained proficiency in his art is indicated by the fact that
in 1648, when he was only eighteen years old, his name occurs on the list of
members of the Gild of Painters of his native town.

In 1650 he removed to Amsterdam, where he probably spent the remainder
of his life. There he came under the influence of Rembrandt, who was then
living in that center of the art world of Holland, and whose impress is per-
ceptible in many of Metsu's works, even when the subjects are totally dissim-
ilar from those of the greatest of all Dutch painters.

Eight years after his removal to Amsterdam Metsu married Isabella Wolff,
and in the following year he obtained the right of citizenship in the city of his
adoption. He was then at the height of his powers. His scenes of peasant life,
his few portraits, and, above all, his little pictures of life in the parlors or
boudoirs of the wealthy class of society, pictures in which, after the manner of
Ter Borch, although with many differences in conception and technique, he
portrayed with admirable precision richly carved furniture, soft hangings, and
the delicate texture of satin gown or velvet bodice, were all highly prized by
his contemporaries. His few religious subjects are notably inferior in merit.

Houbraken tells us that in 1658 Metsu underwent a serious surgical oper-
ation. The inference drawn by many writers from this statement has been

[233]



24 MASTERS IN ART

that death followed immediately; no such assertion, however, is to be found in
Houbraken's pages, and, as a matter of fact, the dates on some of Metsu's
works prove that several years later he was still living. In 1667 his death is re-
corded as having occurred in Amsterdam, where he was buried on the twenty-
fourth of October.

In his brief life of thirty-seven years Gabriel Metsu is said to have painted
between one hundred and twenty and one hundred and thirty works. His
well-nigh faultless composition, admirable drawing, delicate observation of
character, the beauty of his coloring, and his masterly treatment of light and
shade combine to place him among the foremost of seventeenth-century Dutch
painters.



T



C1)E 9irt of iWctsu

HE following extract is from an issue of ' The Portfolio' (1904) treating of 'The
Peel Collection and the Dutch School of Painting,' by Sir Walter Armstrong.



DUTCH painting begins with the seventeenth century. It would not be
difficult to prove — indeed it is now beginning to be generally acknowl-
edged — that the natural gift of the Dutchmen for expression in paint was one
of the chief factors in the glory of that early school which extended from Haar-
lem almost to the gates of Paris. But the seductions of Italy, and that craving
for the exotic which has so often been the ruin of art, supervened, and turned
the sixteenth century into an interregnum of insincerity, during which painters
were obeying a disastrous fashion, instead of listening to the counsels of their
own emotions. It was not entirely bare of great art, of course, but on the whole
the sixteenth century was a period of hibernation, during which the faculties
which had illuminated the fifteenth were at least asleep; and it was not until
William of Orange had been thirty years in his grave that the sap began to rise
in earnest and the tree of art to put forth leaves and flowers.

Opinions vary as to the immediate origin of the grand epoch. To some,
who have noticed that great imaginative developments have often followed
periods of storm and danger, Dutch painting in the seventeenth century em-
bodies the reaction from Dutch agony and rage in the sixteenth. To others it
seems a natural result of peace and returning hope, and its form to be deter-
mined by the configuration of Holland and the organization of Dutch society.
The truth probably is that to a combination of these immediate causes with
the results upon character of the whole history, so much of it geographical, of
Holland, must be ascribed the nature of her art during the generations when
it was truly national. The events of the sixteenth century brought matters to
a head. The sufferings of the United Provinces under the Spaniards developed
an extreme energy of character, while the configuration of the soil and the
social arrangements put neither difficulty nor temptation in the artist's way.
But these forces did not actually produce great art. Conditions equally favor-

[234]



METSU 25

able in such respects have existed elsewhere and among peoples naturally
artistic, without leading to notable achievements. The important difference
between Holland after her conquest of a practical independence and, let us
say, France after the fall of the Bastille, lay in the fact that the latter nation
followed a model, while the former did not. . . .

Many things combined to make the French turn to Greece and Rome for
an esthetic lead. They had dethroned a church, and sought for a substitute
in the symbolism which had sufficed for Pericles. They had destroyed a
monarchy and looked for political ideals to the great republics of the past.
They had overturned society and banished its ambitions and emblems. It
was almost inevitable, with changes like these and with the sudden elevation
of the half-educated to the guidance of affairs, that a superficial but plaus-
ible idea like the revival of classical perfection should capture their esthetic
imaginations. It was fatal to art. Men of genius contrived, of course, to
show their powers in spite of exotic forms, but permanent French character-
istics and ambitions found no general expression between 1700 and 18 1 5.

With Holland it was otherwise. The Dutch character had been formed
by centuries of conflict with the forces of nature. The soil of Holland only
exists at all because generations of Dutchmen have been patient, sturdy, and
self-reliant. The incessant war with the sea and the Rhine had, by a slow
process of selection, turned the whole population into men who would not
accept a foreign ideal or an exotic scheme of life. They had made their own
country and meant to keep it for themselves. They had expelled the Spaniard
and thrown his gewgaws after him. They had determined that their churches
and their homes should be Dutch, and that habits of the South should be
reversed because they were southern habits. . . .

Here and there, no doubt, the troubles of Holland are echoed in her art —
a few battle-scenes, and scenes of rape and pillage, find their places in most
great galleries. The picturesque accoutrements, too, of the seventeenth-cen-
tury man-of-war insure his presence on a goodly number of panels, even by
such peaceful creators as Ter Borch, Metsu, and De Hooch. But on the whole
the preoccupation is with tranquillity, domesticity, and the daily routine of a
people providing in security for the evolution of their families and the rotation
of their crops.

A hundred years of struggle with a southern nation and southern ways had
fired their imagination and made them ready for artistic and intellectual de-
velopment on a large scale. Hatred of their enemy and his ideas had turned
them aside from that field of art in which all Europe, including themselves,
had once done so much. Here, then, we have conditions which invariably pro-
duce great art: on the one hand an awakened and excited intelligence seeking
an outlet; on the other, an entirely new problem pressing for solution.

The foundation of all good art is sincerity. Art is the expression of emotion,
or passion, to use a nobler word, in some medium appealing to the senses. In-
sincerity is therefore its negation. . . . True works of art are the things in
which we enjoy the real emotions of those who make them. They are the un-
lying records by which we men of to-day can appreciate the humanity of those

[235]



26 MASTERS IN ART

from whom we descend. They are entirely vitiated by insincerity. An art
founded upon the perfections of another age, an art governing itself not by the
genuine preferences of those who practise it, but by the examples of men who
burned with different ambitions, can never be really alive. At best it pleases
only as a feat.

If we accept this idea, we must confess that a clean slate, such as the Dutch
painters had before them in 1600, was the first step towards a fresh record in
art. It is now difficult, if not impossible, to allot the credit for the new depar-
ture. Whether the supply created the demand or the demand the supply is,
however, a petty matter of chronology. It is quite certain that if the Dutch
mind had not been attuned to the new idea of setting domestic life on the ped-
estal hitherto occupied by history and theology, the substitution never would
have taken place. . . .

By the end of the first quarter of the seventeenth century a body of well-
equipped Dutch painters, with a good, but not too good, technical tradition
behind them, were face to face with an ideal which was at once national and
new. If we look fairly at any of the great periods of art we shall find that
parallel conditions to these were always present. They can be stated still more
simply by saying that an awakened artistic imagination always produces fine
work when compelled to be sincere.

As for the dignity of Dutch ideals, it varied with individual masters, just
as that of the Italians varied. Personally, I am unable to see why "the burning
messages of prophecy, delivered by the stammering lips of infants," should be
set on a higher plane than creations of exquisite beauty, born of the union of a
profound sense of nature's universal rightness with an eye for the expressive
power of art. Duccio and Giotto labored for the Church and spent their force
on mysteries which neither they nor their patrons understood. Their w ork has
the charm that so often belongs to immature things. . . . Their "stammering"
consisted in turning large ideas into familiar symbols and clothing those with
the dramatic force which so often goes with immaturity of knowledge. Force-
ful naivete is no longer possible to us. We are compelled to treat the dogmas
of our faith in an abstract and therefore non-pictorial way. That we cannot
use the imagery of extreme youth any more is, however, no justification for
confusing it with revelation, or for setting work in which it prevails above con-
summate things.

What was the Dutch ideal } Was it low, as a matter of fact ? Dr. Johnson's
flank attack at the Thrale auction occurs to me. "Gentlemen, we are not here
to sell a parcel of old vats and barrels; we are here to sell the potentiality of
growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice!" So with the Dutch painters;
their subjects were not silk dresses and drunken boors, young women at spinets
and old ones gutting fish, cows and pigs, horses full of labor and groups of
oaks. Their subjects — or subject, for they had but one — was the beauty of
human life lived under conditions which made it free. Holland at peace, Hol-
land with its men, women, and children pursuing the careers to which they
were born, was the objective basis of their art. They set themselves to record
life as it M'as, and in so doing to criticize it in the only fair and effective way.

[236]



M ETS U 27

They wished above all things to be veracious, and to tell only what they
knew. They neither preached nor moralized, but left the facts to do both.
Their pictures are the best of chroniclers, for they supply that truth of back-
ground which is the greatest difficulty of the historian. By their means the
look of Dutch life in the seventeenth century is better known than that of any
other country.

The field embraced by their ambitions was not wide, but they explored it
thoroughly. They confined themselves to the society they knew, but they made
their descriptions ample. Theirs was the most various of all the older
schools. . . .

The greatest painters of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were often
stereotyped, repeating one design again and again with changes involving no
thought whatever. It was never so with the Dutchmen. Perhaps the demand
for newness was in the air, but I prefer to believe their variety to be the result
of their ideal. When you set out to describe society you must be various. . . ,
Combine what we are told by Wouwermann and what we know from Ter
Borch, Metsu, Jan Steen, Adriaen van Ostade, Teniers, Pieter de Hooch,
Ruysdael, and Hobbema, and we get the materials for a vision of Dutch life
in which we can implicitly believe. The Dutchmen painted the social history
of their country for a century, and in doing so gave us a document which will
lose its value only with existence.

There remains the question of the moral dignity of the Dutch character and
therefore of the art in which it is embodied. Granting that truth, objective as
well as subjective fidelity, is a pictorial virtue, does the kind of truth told by
the Dutch painters strengthen their claim on our sympathies or does it not .?

Let us look at the panorama they have left us. I do not see how any one can
be widely familiar with the school without conceiving a deep respect for the
life it records. Holland has always been a frank country. The large families
and small flimsy houses have there made impossible silences and privacies
which seem to us a part of nature's scheme. Dutch painters were not prevented
by prudery, or rather, let me say, by a severe convention, from offering their
clients pages appealing to the mere animal instinct. They were restrained by
a just sense of art and by a fine eye for the broad permanent forces of society.
Even Jan Steen, who turns up the seamy side of life oftener than others, never
paints degradation with sympathy. He shows how the peasant lived- — how
he passed the hours left him after his cows were milked, his dikes secured, and
his crops at home. He shirks nothing, but through it all he weaves the thread
of generous humanity, carrying its load for one generation and passing it on
lighter to the next. The school as a whole is free from any tendency to allow
the non-esthetic value of any particular class of incident to give it prominence
in their list of subjects. . . , The Dutch painters aimed — whether con-
sciously or not is neither here nor there — at leaving behind them a true pic-
ture of an admirable society: which brings us back to our point that it was an
admirable society.

Again, there are the great portraits. All these point to one conclusion, and
their meaning is unmistakable. The Dutchman of the great century was

[237]



28 MASTERS IN ART

neither handsome nor elegant, he was neither poet nor dreamer. His imagina-
tion was robust and essentially practical. He cheerfully faced the prospect of
long years of fighting and hard work, when they promised to rid his country of
the southron and to add millions of broad acres to its service. He swept out
the Spaniard and suppressed the Haarlemer Meer just as coolly as he now pro-
poses to abolish the Zuyder Zee. Compared to the Italian or to the Elizabethan
Englishman, he was dull, massive, narrow, and intolerant. But he took long
views. His eyes were clear, and within his own horizon they saw what there
was to be seen. His aspect towards those flowery sides of life which meant so
much to men of southern blood was one of apparent indifference. . . .

If we turn to those pages from daily life which are the staple of the Dutch
painters we find their spirit determined by the character we read in the por-
traits. The objective aim is to make a true presentment. The Dutchman does
not execute for the sake of execution. He has selected for the sake of truth, and
designed for the sake of art, before execution begins. Of any detail in a picture
by one of the greater masters you may safely assert that he put it in, that he
placed it, shaped it, and colored it, for the sake of art and truth; that he painted
it as well as he could for the enjoyment of his own virtuosite. The real initial
motive of every true artist is, of course, to create beauty; but putting that ques-
tion aside for the present as one not raised just now, I repeat that the aim of
the Dutchman was to present the highest truths he knew, which were those of
human life as it was lived by the strenuous men and women of his time and
country. . . .

All the better Dutch painters are full of thought of exactly the same kind as
that which breathes from "three pen-strokes of Raphael." No one can seri-
ously assert that the three pen-strokes in question could be pregnant with any-
thing more than an esthetic value: the poise of a torso, the turn of a limb, the
carriage of a head. In Raphael these three lines would be ultimately destined
to association with matters we have all been trained to revere, while in a
Dutchman their concern would be with familar things. But that makes no
difference to their art. Raphael and Metsu alike are engaged in building up


1 3 4

Online LibraryGabriel MetsuMetsu → online text (page 1 of 4)