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CHAPTER VI

JOHANNES BOSBOOM

IN giving a short account of each of the 1819–1801. seven artists referred to in the last chapter, we commence with the one who appeared earliest on the scene, and was the first to introduce the ideas of a living art among his countrymen. Quiet and uneventful was the life of Johannes Bosboom, but he was a man of strong individual character, and of striking originality. He had a very inspiring influence on the artists of his day, and was looked up to by the younger men and respected by all. Many of them benefited by his kindly and sensible advice at critical times, when they were in doubt as to the future and in despair about their art work. He married a lady of literary tastes, “his dear Truida,” who proved a sympathetic and loving companion until her death a few years before his own. In his congenial home, surrounded by friends, his days passed happily.

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But peaceful as his outer life was, his views in regard to art were revolutionary, and he inaugurated the movement that brought about the revival of art in Holland. His enthusiastic personality helped materially to introduce and to foster the new ideas. Dissatisfied with the dry formal painting of the schools, he longed for greater breadth and freedom. His work soon showed how far in advance of the times he was, and proclaimed him the first interpreter of the reviving spirit that, unknown as yet, was gradually permeating the art life of Holland.

He was little influenced by any modern school and his work was very original. He takes as his model, as far as he has one, his great predecessor Pieter de Hooghe. This painter's drawing is minute and masterly, his colour is splendid, and you feel he has described the effect upon himself of the scenes before him, in giving us those peaceful, happy idylls of home life. He usually shows the light coming into the room in rays of sunlight, that fall in sharply defined lines on wall, floor, and figures, and the rest of the picture is PLATE XXIII. — Church at Oosthuisen. J. Bosboom.

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in shadow. This in less able hands would tend to become a mannerism, but beautiful in every way are the works of this great artist.

Very different is the aim of Bosboom. He gives us interiors of churches and other buildings without any hard lines and filled with diffused light and air. All the shadows in them are full of light in deeper tones, and the more brilliant parts, that receive the direct rays of the sun, sparkle with a brilliancy that rivals the older master. In colour he is equally fine, though the general tone is lower, and there is a greater feeling of simplicity in the technical handling. This feeling of apparent simplicity permeates a great deal of the work of the whole school.

Bosboom modifies the strict rules of ordinary perspective to get the higher truth of aerial perspective, and we must not look to him for correct drawing as generally understood, as that is not at all what he is aiming at, though curiously enough to some people his pictures appear too architectural. An architect, who was a great lover of art, once said to the writer, “From that point of view, Bos

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