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rough, the tout ensemble is harmonious and effective. A daub of paint, which may seem to be dashed at random, or by accident, upon the picture, is found to be indispensable in giving life and expression to his subject. Only the most perfect control of touch, and a knowledge of his art learned from nature alone, could accomplish these triumphs.
His mastery over the wide range of subjects which he attempted is not the least remarkable proof of his genius. A distinguished critic says of his portraits: “Far from suffering by a comparison with those of any other painter, they often threw those of the greatest masters into the background." His figures are described as wanting in grace and purity. According to his early resolution, he studied nature alone; and it must be confessed that his own country furnished somewhat grotesque models for the classic scenes which he occasionally attempted, or for the noble Jewish forms which should have adorned his favorite Scripture productions.
His landscapes are generally of a gloomy character, often representing the struggle between storm and sunshine. He seldom chooses extensive views; but renders the most limited scene and the commonest objects poetical, by his unrivaled management of his great and triumphant weapon-the light. It has been remarked that "Rembrandt expressed all ideas by light and shade. Life is light, and death is darkness; and silence is represented by a sweet harmony of tones, softly graduated to produce upon the eye the same effect that silence would produce upon the ear."
than even the miserliness which has been so universally attributed to him. Indeed, some of these are difficult to reconcile with this unworthy trait.
At one time a wealthy family were sitting for the completion of a group. In the midst of his work he learned that a favorite monkey had accidentally been killed. Besides the loud lamentations which he made over his loss, his grief found expression in a spirited sketch of his pet, among the heads of his aristocratic patrons; when they finally objected to pay for the work with this addition to their domestic circle, the mischievous artist refused to erase the obnoxious subject, but kept the picture, immortalizing his departed companion and his own eccentricity.
His pupils often amused themselves by painting imitations of coin, and scattering them about the room; well knowing that their rheumatic old master would not fail to stoop for them, be the difficulty ever so great, or the amount ever so trifling.
A story is related of an amateur, who offered Rembrandt two hundred florins for a picture which struck his fancy. The bargain was concluded, and the purchaser was to call for it on the morrow. Before evening the artist received a letter offering three hundred florins for the same picture, which the writer described, and pretended to have seen at a casual visit to his studio. Time and place were named for its delivery. The distance fixed upon was long, and the hour an inconvenient one; but Rembrandt wearied himself in seeking his unknown correspondent. After a protracted but fruitless search, he returned to find in his room the individual with whom he had bargained the day before, awaiting his prize. Adroitly concealing the coveted picture, (for the additional hundred florins might yet be obtained,) the crafty artist mournfully bewailed an accident which had befallen it; but generously promised to paint another precisely like it. The stranger, however, indignantly refused a copy of the work he had selected; and soon after his departure Master Rembrandt received another brief letter from his anonymous correspondent, reproaching him with his falsehood, ridiculing the weariness he had endured, and exulting in the loss of the sale; closing with some advice well suited to the circumstances. This of course revealed the deception; but instead of flying into a
His sitters were often wearied with the exactitude with which all the preliminaries must be arranged, before he would take up his magic pencil for work. The attitude, the draperies, but above all the light, must be adjusted with the utmost nicety, at any expense of time and labor; or the great artist refused the vigorous touch, which was to send them down to posterity, in the glowing coloring, the golden radiance, and the living expression, which characterized all his portraits.
Many anecdotes are told illustrative of his capricious nature, as well as of his avarice; but they all prove him to have been possessed of matchless bonhomie, and this we opine is more rarely united with genius
There were also Abraham France, the elder Haaring, the Anabaptist minister Renier Ansloo, and his most intimate friend Burgomaster Six, of whom also he executed an engraving, copies of which are familiar to all amateurs. The likeness must have been wonderfully life-like; the figure scarcely seems a plain surface as he stands in the most natural attitude leaning against an open window; while his serious and truthful countenance expresses the interest which the book in his hand evidently inspires.
His pictures were often the result of a momentary impulse. His famous one of the "Pont de Six" was originated by the tardiness of a servant in bringing the mustard to the dinner-table of his friend Burgomaster Six. While they were awaiting the loiterer, who had been sent to the village for the desired article, the artist waagered that he would engrave a print before his return. Upon a prepared plate, of which he was never destitute, the landscape from the dining-room window was immediately engraved in the most rapid, but accurate manner, and the wager was won. In the intervals of his higher compositions, he frequently painted for amusement. He once fitted a piece of canvas to the window of his apartment, and painted his servant-girl upon it, as if in the act of throwing up the sash. Difficult as the whole subject must have been, particularly in the resemblance of the darkened window to real light, the triumph was complete. The whole figure was in such bold relief and so animated that every one who saw it was deceived.
One of his most celebrated pictures is "The Anatomical Lecture." It was painted as a token of gratitude for the patronage which had been extended to him by Professor Tulp in his early career. The principal defect pointed out by critics in this remarkable work is the vigor and finish of each part, thus dividing the attention which should only take in the general effect with the main design. It represents the lecturer with a corpse upon the table before him, explaining to the class surrounding him the mechanism of the hand, which he holds with his instrument. "The Night Patrol" and "The Two Philosophers" are among his most celebrated productions The latter arrests the attention of most visitors in the gallery of the Louvre by its wonderful coloring; so
passion, or nursing his wrath in dignified silence, Rembrandt, good-naturedly surveying the rogues surrounding him, charges them with the trick, and exclaims:"Ah, you young varlets do not know the value of a florin as I do." It must be admitted that this story has no very satisfactory authority.
One of the wittiest and most successful of his schemes for enhancing the value of his productions was his well-known feigned death. He was taken violently sick, and was refused to all his friends; growing worse, straw was strewn before the house, that the noise of passers-by might not disturb the sinking sufferer. At a suitable time he was reported to have paid the debt of nature; but as his properlyinstructed and inconsolable widow stated that all his other debts were unpaid, it was necessary to sell his pictures to meet these demands. Of course they met ready sale, and at then incredible prices. The satire of the stern humorist must have been keenly felt when he afterward appeared among the amazed purchasers, who were hoarding the portfolios which his supposed decease had trebled in value. At public sales he bid for his own pictures, rather than suffer the slightest depreciation of price; and sometimes, refusing to sell on any terms, suffered his only son, Titus, to dispose of a few, at enormous sums, on the pretence that it was unknown to his father. Three of his engravings are dated Venice, in order to delude the public, it is supposed. He often threatened his infatuated countrymen to go to England, and busied himself in making preparations. This immediately raised the prices of his works to most extravagant rates.
Rembrandt seems to have possessed little reverence for rank and wealth, though he is accused of making such an idol of the latter. Most of his companions were of the lower rank in life; yet the most aristocratic of his countrymen would have been proud of his society. Reproached for his taste in this respect, he said: "When I wish to amuse myself after my labors, I do not seek grandeur, which is only troublesome to me, but liberty." Among his few "respectable" acquaintances were Professor Tulp, the goldsmith, and Janus Lutma, to whom he has given immortality by his famous etching, which displays the various lights of the different metals and tools in a remarkable manner.
sweetly and harmoniously are the hues blended as to convey the idea of perfect silence and repose.
His genius, however, was most displayed in loftier compositions, and particularly in his Scripture pieces. "The Descent from the Cross," though handled previously with consummate ability, received new sublimity from Rembrandt's touch. Though the figures (even that of the Saviour himself) are acknowledged to be faulty in the extreme, yet his new and startling management of his well-studied chiaro-oscuro has not only redeemed its acknowledged defects, but placed it above all others on the same subject. "A ray of light, like a glance from the Almighty, pierces the gloom in which the picture is shrouded, and falls upon the descending body, illuminating it with glory." It was a masterly conception, which only the most poetical imagination could produce. "The Return of the Prodigal," "The Woman of Samaria," "The Raising of Lazarus," ""The Adoration of the Shepherds," "Christ Driving the Changers from the Temple," "The Ecce Homo," &c., were a few among the numerous subjects of this character which were handled by the great painter.
Wonderful as were the productions of his easel, Rembrandt's fame as an graver is equally great. Indeed, he seems to have created a kind of furore in this department of art, which it is difficult to imagine among the stolid Dutchmen of his time. It was by no means confined to them, however; for merchants came from all parts of Europe, offering any price for one of his proofs. He frequently refused a hundred florins for a small etching. One of his biographers asserts that to such an extent was this rage carried that "people were actually ridiculed who did not possess a proof of the little Juno with a crown, and another without the crown; or of the little Joseph with a white face, and the same with a black face; or of the woman with a white bonnet and a little foal, and the same without a bonnet."
Four of the most remarkable of Rembrandt's works in this department were executed for a Spanish book written by Manassé-ben-Israel, entitled "Glorious Stone, or of the Statue of Nebuchadnezzar, with Many and Divers Authorities, taken from the Holy Scriptures and from the Learned Men of Old." It is of course
a very rare work, and has been sold for enormous sums. The following description has been given of these wonderful engravings:
"Jacob's Dream is the subject of the first of these mystic compositions. The angels gently ascend and descend a ladder, which is only illumined at its upper extremity. The dreamer, whom we suppose to be at the bottom of the ladder, is in the most profound darkness. This is the first state of the etching; but in a second proof, his figure may just be distinguished through the bars of the ladder as he is stretched at the foot. The celestial ray has descended the steps, and with its dying gleam indicates the vague outline of the sleeping traveler. The The mystery is profound, the effect grand. wings are, it is true, neither light nor aërial, angels who brush against Jacob with their but their very weight seems to render them more powerful and formidable. The lighting of the picture supplies the poetry of the subject, or rather of itself constitutes the poetry, for by means of it the effect is elevated to un
equaled grandeur. This engraving, destined for a small book, is not so large as the hand of the engraver; but the genius of Rembrandt, in spite of the narrow limits within which it is
confined, gives the effect of gigantic proportions to the subject. In the same book he has repMoney-resented the Vision of Ezekiel, and he seems to have taken delight in making it pass through all the variations of his magic lantern. A glory is shining above, in the midst of which the Almighty appears surrounded by adoring angels. Below are seen the four animals of which the prophet speaks, loathsome beasts, as frightful as the gnomes lately discovered by Goya, and which, in the twilight where they are seen spreading out their hideous wings, serve as contrasts to the glories of heaven. This engraving measures only three inches; yet it comprises both worlds, hell below and heaven above, the brightness of paradise and the horrors of the infernal regions; it commences like the dream of a perfectly happy man, and finishes like the nightmare of a condemned felon.”
Catalogues of his works mention three hundred and seventy-six plates executed by his own hand; for this department of labor was carried on in solitude and mystery. The earliest are dated 1628, when he was twenty-two years old, and only ceased thirteen years before his death.
All that was mortal of the great painter disappeared from the earth in 1688, or, as it is stated by some authorities, in 1694; but the productions of his immortal genius will live while the light with which he glorified them shall shine on their softened and marvelously-blended coloring. The material on which they were executed may decay; but his name is written on the historic page of Art in heaven's own sunbeams.
HE year 1753 found Johnson in his desolated home in Gough-square, still occupied with his "Dictionary," which had hung heavily upon his hands through many years of toil and weariness. He was still doomed to unremitted diligence; nor was the grim form of poverty yet driven beyond his threshold, though the long night of his labors was rapidly drawing toward its termination.
Under date of January 1st, 1753, newstyle-which he then adopted, and used ever afterward-is found among his published "Prayers and Meditations" a prayer by which the state of his mind is forcibly indicated. After an expression of gratitude for past mercies, and a prayer for gracious assistance for the future, he adds, "Make me so to consider the loss of my wife whom thou hast taken from me, that it may dispose me, by thy grace, to lead the residue of my life in thy fear." The loss of his wife for a long time pressed heavily upon his spirit, and gave a tinge of sadness to many of his productions.
He had then, for nearly a year, been relieved, by the discontinuance of "The Rambler," from one half of the double burden that had before rested upon him for two whole years. But though constitutionally inclined to indolence, its indulgence was quite incompatible with
the healthy action of his mind, as well as inconsistent with the requirements of his circumstances. He found it agreeable, therefore, to relieve the dull routine of heaping up words and writing definitions by more congenial occupations. His love of the Essay was not exhausted by the hard service it had given him; and though he was not prepared again to assume the burden of such a stated issue, he was pleased to see a successor to his cherished "Rambler" brought into existence soon after the cessation of that work. "The Adventurer" was set on foot, under the influence of "The Rambler," and was designed, from the first, to be its supplement. But it was wisely determined that it should not, like its predecessor, be the production of a single hand. The work was undertaken by Hawkesworth, the intimate friend and willing disciple of Johnson; with whom it is supposed that Dr. Bathurst, another equally intimate and endeared companion of the great moralist, was associated. For the work thus assumed, Hawkesworth was not wholly unqualified, though his just pretensions to scholarship were never extensive. But he was a man of quick perception, and he had by much reading, chiefly of current English and French literature, acquired a good share of super
ficial knowledge, and some facility in criticism and composition; and by aiming at the style of Johnson, whom he long regarded as "his guide, philosopher, and friend," he gave a good degree of strength and dignity to his own. It is known that the work was undertaken with Johnson's concurrence and approval, and presently he came to be actively engaged in it.
The first number of "The Adventurer" was issued on the 7th of November, 1752, and, like its predecessor, it made its appearance in semi-weekly numbers. The principal contributors, besides Hawkesworth, who, in addition to the general editorial supervision, wrote nearly one half of the essays-and Johnson, whose pieces are supposed to amount to about thirtywere Dr. Bathurst, who wrote several of the earlier numbers; Bonnel Thornton, who had been among the first publicly to recognize the excellence of "The Rambler," which he did in a miscellany called "The Student," of which he was then editor; and Dr. Joseph Warton. The connection of Warton with "The Adventurer" was procured by Johnson, with the design of obtaining from him such critical essays as it was known he was capable of producing, and which could not fail greatly to enhance the value of the publication.
The design and general form of "The Adventurer" being the same with those of "The Rambler," that work may seem to be little more than a continuation of this. But though the two works have many features in common, they are equally clearly distinguished by strongly marked differences. Their diversity of authorship necessarily gave greater variety of style and modes of thought to "The Adventurer's" essays than could have been attained from a single mind. The range of subjects was also larger than in the preceding work; and, instead of confining themselves to the grave themes that almost exclusively occupy "The Rambler," the writers of" The Adventurer" frequently indulged their readers with portraits of character, narratives, and essays of wit, humor, and pleasantry. Compared with "The Rambler," "The Adventurer" has less solemn dignity; its style is not so grave, its morality is less rigid, and its religious character is almost wholly wanting; while it has more variety, is more sprightly, and altogether has less of
DR. JOSEPH WARTON.
the magisterial tone of the teacher, and more of the manner of a companion and friend. The critical papers in "The Adventurer," for which it was indebted chiefly to the Reverend Dr. Warton, constitute a feature of real excellence that finds but a poor counterpart in "The Rambler." Even Johnson's own papers in "The Adventurer," though generally similar to those in "The Rambler," are less elevated and solemn, and also much more varied in style and purpose.
The immediate success of this new candidate for public favor, as might be presumed, was greater than that attained by its stately predecessor; and though many of its essays relate to matters of less permanent interest, yet they are even now read with both pleasure and profit.
For the year 1753 Johnson's istory presents very few points of interest. He toiled at his "Dictionary," and occasionally wrote an essay for the "Adventurer;" and that is about all that can be said of his occupations: his domestic affairs will be noticed in another place. Nearly the same account must be given of the next year, only omitting the "Adventurer," and substituting the "Life of Cave." That earliest of Johnson's patrons of the trade died during the latter part of the former year; and in the February number of the Gentleman's Magazine appeared his biography,-the same that is still found in the collected works of its author. That work is a remarkable instance of the power of genius, to elevate and ennoble a subject in itself quite common, and without the elements of greatness. Cave, no doubt, possessed many good qualities, as well as some characteristic foibles; but in neither was there anything to dis