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painted a second, on marble, in water-colour,
measuring 12 by 9 inches, and two small oval
miniatures of General and Mrs. Washington on
ivory, which remain as heirlooms in his family.
Meeting with immediate encouragement in
New York, Robertson decided to settle there,
and soon planned the establishment of the
Columbian Academy of Fine Arts, which was
eminently successful for many years, and greatly
helped by the co-operation of his brother
Alexander, who followed him to New York within
a year. As a teacher, Archibald Robertson was
talented and painstaking ; not only did he carefully
explain principles, but he wrote instructions to be
studied by his pupils. His treatise on the ' Ele-
ments of the Graphic Arts ' was printed in 1802 for
their use. In miniature painting he aimed at more
important works than those of the period, and he
had evidently been encouraged by Reynolds to
copy large oil-paintings, in miniature, on ivory.
Richness of colouring and breadth of treatment
would be needed for these works. Robertson
painted a likeness of Alexander Hamilton on
marble, as a companion to the one of Washington,
and also a large miniature portrait of Commodore
Truxton, commander of the ' Constellation,' which
was engraved. Otherwise he seems to have painted
the usual oval miniatures for the general public.
In 1800 he wrote for his younger brother, Andrew,
then in Aberdeen, a treatise on the technique of the
art, giving minute details as to method and colour-
ing. This seems to be the only existing record
from the pen of a contemporary of Cosway,
Humphrey, Shelley, G. Engleheart, &c., when they
were at their best. In 1802 Robertson was called
upon to advise on the subject of a contemplated
Art Union in New York, but the American Academy
of Arts was not incorporated until about six years
later. Of this Robertson was a director for many
years. The last public enterprise in which he took
part was on the formal opening of the Erie Canal.
For this he designed the badge worn by the guests,
and afterwards adapted for the commemoration
medal. He also supplied a drawing of the fleet
preparing to form in line, and two maps, showing
the course of the canal and its connection with the
water-courses of the Northern Continent, for C. D.
Colden's Memoir of the event, a handsome quarto

volume. For these, and for his able supervision
of the Department of the Fine Arts, the city cor-
poration tendered him their thanks, and awarded
him a silver medal, a maple box, and a copy of
Colden's Memoir. Robertson was a prolific painter,
his scope was varied, and he was very exact in
minute details. This characteristic addsvalue to his
early maps of New York City. He was among
those who offered designs for the City Hall and
other public buildings. He greatly encouraged
the introduction of lithography in America by
Anthony Imbert. Languages and literature were
his hobby through life. During the last few years
his eyesight failed. He died in 1835. g j^

ROBERTSON, CHARLES, an Irish miniature
painter, the younger brother of ' Irish Robertson,'
who practised in Dublin about the end of the 18th
century. Coming' to London, he exhibited at the
Royal Academy for some years from 1806 onwards.
Returning to Ireland, he took a prominent part in
the movement which led to the foundation of
the Royal Hibernian Academy.

ROBERTSON, GEORGE, born in London about
the year 1742, was instructed in design in Shipley's
drawing-school. His father, a wine merchant,
brought up his son to the same business. At
an early age, however, he went to Italy with
Beckford, where he chiefly studied landscape
painting, and produced some pictures which pos-
sessed considerable merit. He afterwards visited
the island of Jamaica, where he made several
drawings and pictures of views of that country,
some of which were exhibited in 1775. Not
meeting with the encouragement he expected, he
adopted the profession of a drawing-master, in
which he was more successful. He died in 1788.
We have a few landscape etchings by him from
his own designs.

ROBERTSON, Mrs. J., an English miniature
painter, and niece of George Saunders. She had a
good practice in London, and exhibited at the Royal
Academy from 1824 to 1844. She then migrated
to Russia, when she was elected a member of the
St. Petersburg Academy.

ROBERTSON, WALTER, an Irish miniature
painter, known as ' Irish Robertson,' who prac-
tised in Dublin about the end of the 18th century.
In 1793 he departed to America with Gilbert Stuart,
after which he went to the East Indies, where he


ROBETTA, engraver, who flourished in Florence
from about 1490 to 1520, worked after Filippo
Lippi and Sandro Botticelli. His history ia
wrapped in the greatest obscurity, but it appears
that twelve artists formed a club under the
appellation of La Compagnia del Pajuola (the
company of the Stock-pot), and had pic-nic
suppers alternately at each other's lodgings. The
names of these associates were Gianfrancesco
Rustici (the founder) ; Andrea del Sarto ; Spillo,
Pittore ; Domenico Puligo ; II Robetta, Orafo ;
Aristotile da San Gallo; Francesco di Pellegrino ;
Nicolo Boni ; Domenico Baccelli (who played and
sang excellently) ; II Solosmeo, Scultore ; Lorenzo
detto Guazzetto ; and Roberto di Filippo Lippi,
Pittore. By his being admitted a member of a
select club of eminent artists, it may be supposed
that he was of some celebrity before 1512. He is
called Orafo in the list of names, that word being
then used for Orefice, goldsmith ; but engraving
was part of a goldsmith's business in those days,


and ranked him among artists. Robetta had an ex-
cellent fancy and composed with facility, but his
technic is poor. In some of his backgrounds borrow-
ings from Diirer may be recognized. The follow-
ing is a list of his prints :


1. The Creation of Eve. Not signed.

2. Adam and Eve driven from Paradise. Not signed.

3. Adam and Eve, with Cain and Abel. Signed RBTA.

4. Adam and Eve, with Cain and Abel. No mark.

5. Adam and Eve, with Cain and Abel. No mark.


6. The Adoration of the Kings. Signed ROBETTA.

7. The Nativity. Not signed, but undoubtedly his work.

8. Jesus Christ baptized in the river Jordan. Signed

9. Jesus Christ taking leave of His Mother. Signed

10. The Resurrection of Christ. Signed RBTA.

11. The Virgin giving the breast to the Infant. Sianed

12. The Virgin seated in a landscape, &c. Siyned RBTA.

13. The Virgin with Angels, &c. Not signed.

14. St. Sebastian and St. Roch. Not signed.

15. Faith and Charity with their attributes. Signed


16. Ceres with two goat-footed Children. Signed

17. A young Man tied to a Tree, &c. Signed RBTA.

18. Venus surrounded by Cupids. Some traces of a
signature may be seen in a dark shadow.

19. Apollo and Marsyas. Signed RBTA.

20. Hercules between Virtue and Vice. Not signed.

21. Hercules killing the Hydra. Signed RBTA.

22. Hercules and Antreus. Not signed.

23. The Lyrist. Signed RBTA.

24. An old Woman and two amorous Couples, &c. Not

25. A Man tied to a Tree by Cupid, &c. On a tablet
RORETTA (sic).

26. Mutius Scsevola. Signed RBTA.

The following six prints, the first five of which
are in the British Museum, are presumed to be by
Robetta, although they are without his mark.

The Sacrifice of Cain and Abel.

The Death of Abel.

Jupiter and Leda.

The Virgin and Child attended by St. Sebastian and the

A Riposo. Formerly in the Duke of Buckingham's

St. Jerome kneeling before a Crucifix.

ROBIE, Louis, Belgian painter ; born January
1837 at Brussels; achieved considerable reputation
as a painter of animals and of still-life. Some
examples of his works are to be seen at the
Ghent Museum. He died at Brussels in May

ROBINEAU, C., a French portrait painter,
born about the middle of the 18th century. He
practised in Paris, where he afterwards held the
appointment of Inspector of Drawing Schools.
There is a portrait by him of Abel, the musician,
at Hampton Court, and one of George IV. when
Prince of Wales, in the Royal Collections. Both
are small full-k-ngths.

ROBINS, THOMAS S. In 1839 he was nominated
one of the original members of the Institute of
Painters in Water-Colours, but resigned in 1866.
His marine and landscape pictures were long a
feature of the exhibitions. He died in 1880.
Works :

London. 8. Kensington. Calais Harbour.

Shipping a Fresh Breeze.

,, Hay Barges off Reculver.

,, Coast at Brille.

Stormy Sky and a Trawler.

ROBINS, WILLIAM, an English engraver in
mezzotinto, who flourished about the year 1730,
by whom we have a few portraits ; among others,
that of

William Warren, LL.D. ; after Heims.

ROBINSON, HUGH, an English painter of the
18th century, was born about 1755. He painted
vigorous portraits, somewhat after the style of
Reynolds. He exhibited at the Academy in 1780-
81-82. About 1782 he went to Rome, where he
painted for eight years. In 1790 he started to
return home by sea, but the ship was wrecked ;
Robinson was drowned, and the work of his eight
years lost. Pictures by him were at the " Old
Masters" in 1881-85-87.

ROBINSON, JOHN, portrait painter, born at Bath
in 1715, came to London when he was young, and
entered the studio of John Vanderbank, under
whose tuition he reached considerable proficiency.
He afterwards distinguished himself as a por-
trait painter, and succeeded Jervas in his house
in Cleveland Court. For a time he was extensively
employed, though his colouring was faint and
feeble. He was accustomed to dress his sitters
in Vandyck costume. He died in 1745.

ROBINSON, JOHN HENRY, an English, en-
graver, born at Bolton in 1796. He came to
London when young, and studied under James
Heath. His early practice included book illustra-
tion ; his best work in this line was for Rogers'
' Italy.' He attained great excellence in his pro-
fession, and was prominent in the agitation for the
admission of engravers to the Academy, of which
he was elected an associate in 1856, and a full
member in 1867. His method was line, in which
he contrived to get peculiar richness. He married
a lady of property, and retired to Petworth, where
he died in 1871. Amongst his best plates are:

The Flower Girl ; after Murillo.

The Emperor Theodosius refused admission to Milan
Cathedral by Archbishop Ambrose ; after Van Dyck.

The Countess of Bedford ; after the same.

The Mother and Child ; after Leslie.

H. M. the Queen ; after Partridge.

Napoleon and Pius VII. ; after Wilkie.

The Wolf and the Lamb ; after Mulrcady.

Little Red Riding-Hood ; after Landseer.

ROBINSON, R., an English mezzotint engraver,
who practised in the latter half of the 17th
century. He chiefly engraved after his own designs,
and his works have much merit. He died or re-
tired from practice about 1690. Amongst his
plates are :

Charles I. ; after Van Dyck.

The Seveu Bishops ; on one sheet, each in a small oval.

Charlotte, Countess of Lichfield.

James, Duke of Monmouth.

William, Prince of Orange.

Frances, Duchess of Richmond.

Sir James Worsley.

Diana and Aetseon.

ROBINSON, THOMAS, an English portrait painter
who practised in London early in the 18th century.
He lived in Golden Square. He studied for some
time in Italy, where he became a master of
Italian and a good musician. In his later years
he was afflicted with blindness, and was mainly



supported by the talents of his daughter, the
famous singer, Anastasia Robinson, who married
Lord Peterborough. Robinson died in 1755.

ROBINSON, THOMAS, an English portrait painter,
born at Windermere, about the middle of the 18th
century. He studied under Romney, with whom
he lived for some years. Migrating to Ireland, he
practised at Belfast from 1801 to 1808, and was
patronized by Dr. Percy, Bishop of Dromore.
He then removed to Dublin, where he became
President of the Society of Artists, and died in
1810. There is a ' Procession in honour of Lord
Nelson ' by him at the Harbour Office, Belfast.
Other works are :

Encounter between the King's Troops and Peasants at

The Giant's Causeway.

ROBINSON, WILLIAM, an English portrait
painter, born at Leeds in 1799. He had to over-
come parental opposition and many difficulties,
before he could make his way to London and
enter first the studio of Sir Thomas Lawrence and
then the schools of the Academy. Returning to
his native town in 1823, he obtained a good local
practice, his chief patron being Earl de Grey.
He painted for the United Service Club, portraits
of the Duke of Wellington, Lord Nelson, George
III., and Sir John Moore. He died at Leeds in

ROBIONOI, DE., a Flemish artist, who flourished
in the middle of the 16th century. The only
known works of this painter are three pictures at
Verviers, which seem to belong to the school of
Lambert Lombard. One of these is signed and
dated 1560.

ROBSON, GEORGE FENNEL, an eminent land-
scape painter in water-colours, and native of Dur-
ham, was born in 1788. His taste for drawing
displayed itself at a very early age, and Bewick's
book of ' Quadrupeds,' then lately published, be-
came, after nature, the favourite subject of his
study. It seems that he never received any
regular instruction in the rules of art, but that
all his knowledge was derived from observing
artists who came down to Durham to sketch the
scenery in its vicinity. At the age of sixteen,
with only five pounds in money, he left his father's
house and travelled to London. There he made
drawings, which he exposed in the shop window
of a carver and gilder, and sold for small sums.
By these means he not only supported himself for
twelve months, but was enabled to return the five
pounds he had received from his father. He now
published a view of his native city, and the funds
derived from the speculation enabled him to visit
the Highlands of Scotland. He dressed himself as
a shepherd, and with his wallet at his back, and
Scott's ' Lay of the Last Minstrel ' in his pocket.
he wandered over the mountains in all seasons.
He left many transcripts of the beautiful scenery
of Loch Katrine and its neighbourhood. Though
especially inspired by the grandeur of the High-
lands, he did not confine himself to Scotland, but
visited the Lakes of Cumberland and Westmore-
land, made himself familiar with North Wales, and
crossed over to Ireland to depict the beauties of
Killarney. He was a constant exhibitor with
the Water-colour Society ; on one occasion he
contributed no less than thirty-eight drawings.
Robert Hills, who lived for a time in the same
house, inserted animals, especially deer, in some
of his drawings. Robson died in London, Sep-

tember 8, 1333. It was supposed that his death
was caused by something poisonous in the food on
the 'James Watt' steamship, in which he had
travelled from London to Stockton-on-Tees in the
last days of August. Works :

London. S. Kensington. Charlton, Kent.

Loch Achray.

Loch Coruisk, Skye.

Conisborough Castle, Yorks.

Trees at Diugwall.

Rural Landscape.

Mountainous Landscapes, with

Figures and Goats.

Wooded Gorge, Llauberis.

Besides the ' Views of Durham,' Robson published
' Outlines of the Grampians, 1 and ' Scenery of
the Grampian Mountains." Britton also published
from his drawings ' Picturesque Views of the
British Cities.'

ROBUSTI, DOMENICO, son and disciple of Jacopo
Robust!, was born at Venice in 1562. He followed
in the footsteps of his father at a very respectful
distance. His principal works are in the Sala di
Consiglio, and in the Scuola di S. Marco at Venice ;
in some of these he is said to have been much
assisted by his father. He was more successful in
portraits than in history, and painted many of
the principal personages of his time. He died in

little dyer," on account of his father's trade, was
born presumably at Venice, in the early part of the
sixteenth century. 1512 is the date according to
Ridolfi, and 1518 that in the death records in S.
Marciliau and the State archives. He may be
considered the culminating genius of the Venetian
School, combining in himself the several excellen-
cies of his contemporaries. He is said to have
shown his inclination for art almost from his
infancy, and to have covered the walls of his
father's house with childish sketches. There is
reason to suppose that he studied for an inappreci-
able amount of time under Titian. But the jealousy
of the latter was roused by the vigour and promise
of the newcomer's drawings, and Robusti only re-
mained for a few days before he was dismissed.
In the main, if not entirely, he was his own master,
and his indefatigable industry and lofty ideal of
purpose is well borne out by what Ridolfi tells us
of his training. " Knowing Titian's worth, and
the many distinctions he had gained, he studied
his works with care and also the reliefs of Michael
Angelo . . . and in order not to depart from this
resolution he wrote on the wall of his studio these
words : 'II disegno di Michel Angelo e '1 colorito
di Titiano.' " This does not mean that he intended
to combine the particular styles of the two masters,
as may easily be seen from his work. It was rather
his aim to be pre-eminent both in form and colour,
in which these two artists had respectively attained
the highest excellence. Left to his own devices,
we find that the first thing that Tintoretto did was
to procure chalk drawings from the antique. He
was even at pains to obtain models by Danielle da
Volterra of the famous figures by Michelangelo
from the Medici tombs 'Dawn,' 'Twilight,'
'Night and Day.' These he carefully studied,
using for the most part artificial light in order to
obtain a bold chiaroscuro ; and he thus acquired
an extraordinary facility in dealing with objects in
relief. Besides working from these reliefs he made
careful studies from the life, and dissected bodies



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Dresden Gallery


in order to obtain a correct anatomical knowledge.
Further he made models in wax and clay, draped
them, and set them in small houses, so that he
could light them by little windows, and thus gain
a command over his lights and shadows. It is
also said that he hung them up in his studio in
order to learn the correct perspective of flying
figures seen from below. To this capacity for
taking pains he united a genius which Vasari has
described as " terrible " an extraordinary range
and wildness of imagination, and a facility and
dispatch in execution, which appeared to his
contemporaries little short of miraculous. It was
this which earned him his nickname of " II
Furioso." A good story illustrative of the speed
at which Tintoretto could work is told of the
picture in the refectory of S. Rocco. The brother-
hood of S. Rocco resolved to have a great picture
painted on the ceiling, and invited the artists of
the city to compete and send in preliminary
sketches. When on the appointed day Veronese,
Scliiavone, Salviati, Zuccaro, and Tintoretto came
to show their designs, Tintoretto uncovered his
canvas, which had been hidden with a cartoon,
and showed them a finished picture. The aston-
ished competitors, lost in amazement at this feat,
immediately withdrew their own designs.

The impetuosity of his genius and his deliberate
boldness of execution were hardly understood by
his contemporaries, and eren toward the close of
his life we find his critics asking why he did not
paint slowly and carefully like Bellini and Titian.
The truth and freshness of his colour when seen at
the proper distance is far greater than that of the
elaborately-finished surface of earlier masters, while
the character and feeling of line is increased ten-
fold. But his unusual readiness and dispatch did
sometimes result in the production of works un-
worthy of his powers that more or less justify the
witticism of Annibale Carracci, that "Tintoretto
was sometimes equal to Titian, and often inferior
to Tintoretto." Tintoretto was himself a great
humorist, and was always more than a match
for his critics. Pietro Aretino, one of the most
spiteful men of his day, who began by criticizing
his speed of execution, at length became a nuisance.
One day Tintoretto met him and invited him into
his house as though he wished to paint his portrait.
When indoors the host produced a pistol and pro-
ceeded, much to the dismay of Aretino, who was
a great coward, to measure him with the weapon.
" You are just two pistols and a half," he observed,
as if this was the usual preliminary of the portrait
painter. Aretino seems to have taken the hint
and troubled him no more.

In order to gain a correct idea of this master's
genius it is necessary to see the works that still
remain at Venice. Unlike most of the other great
Italians, he is poorly represented in the Galleries of
Europe. The pictures in the National Gallery,
London, 'St. George and the Dragon,' 'The Origin
of the Milky Way,' and 'The Washing of the Feet,'
together with the ' Nine Muses,' and ' Esther before
Ahasuerus,' lent by the King, and at present
hanging there, give a better idea of him than any
other collection outside Venice. But it is such a
picture as ' The Crucifixion ' in S. Rocco, Venice,
that really shows the stupendous imagination and
conception of this master. As a colour scheme it
is of surpassing beauty, a strange silvery light
emanating from the cross, so that the scene shines
out from the gathering darkness which overwhelms


the guilty city. It is full of the most vigorous
drawing and the most varied types of humanity,
from the beautiful ideals in the group below the
cross to the sturdy figures of the workmen engaged
in their several tasks. Tliere is a mighty concourse
of people decked here and there with many a gay
colour, but the sense of composition is never lost,
and the eye is led on and returns to rest on the
figure which stands out alone against the sky, and
we cannot but feel that loneliness amid the multi-
tude which has befallen the Saviour of mankind.
Others of his finest pictures are the famous quat-
rain in the Doge's Palace, ' Bacchus and Ariadne,'
' Mercury and the Graces," ' Mars and Minerva,'
and 'The Forge of Vulcan,' where he has given us
a delicacy of finish that vies with that of any other
pictures in the world. Or one may search among
the numerous works in S. Rocco, now in a very
bad condition owing to the dust and dirt, and yet
more the ignorant restorer. And here will be
found examples of the boldest impressionism com-
bined with a most vigorous and masterly technique.
He was perhaps the most prolific painter that the
world has seen, and many of his works are of
colossal size. His ' Paradise' in the Doge's Palace
is the largest picture in existence,measuring eighty-
four feet by thirty-four. It was almost the last
thing he produced, yet it shows no sign of abating
power. Of another kind altogether are his ' Adam
and Eve ' and ' Cain and Abel,' which hang on
either side of his large picture, ' The Miracle of
St. Mark,' in the Academy at Venice. Their
beautiful and quiet colour forms a strange yet
delightful contrast to the other, and the extra-
ordinary rendering of modelling in the figure of
Adam has probably never been surpassed, unless
Mr. Crawshay's 'Adam and Eve,' by the same
hand, shows something more subtle in the figure
of a woman.

As a portrait painter Tintoretto is in the very
front rank, although there is a frequent hardness
in this class of work which seems to betoken a
want of sympathy. To those who know Tintoretto's
imaginative conception this is not surprising, nor
on the other hand are they surprised when some
special interest in his model has enabled him to
produce a work unique among portraits. Such an
one is that in the library at Christ Church, Oxford,
and it does not necessitate a journey to Venice.
His influence on Velasquez, who copied several of
his works, is quite easy to trace, and modern art
owes more to Tintoretto than is perhaps generally
recognized. It is difficult to assess him at his
true value ; his extraordinary excellence in every
department of his work is the reason for many
critics assigning him the topmost place in the
world of art. This displeases those who thus see

Online LibraryMichael BryanBryan's dictionary of painters and engravers (Volume 4) → online text (page 68 of 82)