« AnteriorContinuar »
Ruskin expresses his surprise that Titian and Tintoretto did not more fully realize that the beauties of the scenery of their native land were subjects in every way worthy of their art.
“From the window of Titian's house at Venice the chain of the Tyrolese Alps is seen lifted in spectral power above the tufted plain of Treviso; every dawn that reddens the towers of Murano lights also a line of pyramidal fires along that colossal ridge; but there is, so far as I know, no evidence in any of the master's works of his ever having beheld, much less “Modern
Painters." felt, the majesty of their burning. The dark firmament and saddened twilight of Tintoret Page 77. are sufficient for their end, but the sun never edition. plunges behind San Giorgio in Aliga without such retinue of radiant cloud, such rest of zoned light on the green lagoon, as never received image from his hand. More than this, of that which they loved and rendered, much is rendered conventionally; by noble conventionalities indeed, but such nevertheless as would be inexcusable if the landscape became the principal subject instead of an accompaniment.”
Such progress had been made, it almost seemed as if a great school of landscape painting were about to appear. The signs of its coming were everywhere, both in Italy and in the North. But the time was not yet ripe, and it was not in Italy that modern landscape art was to have its birth. That honour was to be divided between France and Flanders; but still Italy was to have a strong effect on its development, for Claude spent his life and painted nearly all his pictures there, and Nicolas Poussin was very much influenced by his visits to that country and his love of antique art, and Salvator Rosa was an Italian living near Naples.
About three hundred years ago, at the end of the Italian Renaissance, and after the new learning had spread over Europe, the modern spirit awoke, and for the first time in the history of art the study of nature for its own sake began, and men gradually came to realize that landscapes without any interest connected with human life in them were proper subjects of study for their own innate beauty and loveliness.
Three great painters inaugurated the movement in art, Rubens,' Nicolas Poussin,' and '1577-1640. Claude. The earliest signs appear in that
3 1600-1682. varied master, Rubens, who amid his vast achievement in allegorical subjects, religious pieces and portraits, first grasped the idea that the outside world should be treated naturally in art, and found time to paint the first unconventional landscapes. (See Plate 6.) For a very There is a superb painting of his in the Na- full account tional Gallery, London, called the “Chateau and his de Steen,” in which the castle surrounded by water is shown against a sunset sky. The by Émile
Michel autumn colouring, the groups of trees, and the quiet ending of the day are all finely rendered. And in his "Landscape with a Rainbow” the golden corn is contrasted with the meadows in their fresh green after the shower of rain, and the trees, lit up by the sun, are seen against a sky full of rest after a storm. But although Rubens was first in this field, his principal work was in figure painting, and to this he gave his chief attention.
Nicolas Poussin was one of the great painters of France. He recorded nature very faithfully
and accurately, with special attention to detail, describing minutely sky and mountain, tree and flower. His work is very impressive and has had a strong influence on the subsequent art of his country. (See Plate 7.) He is lacking in enthusiasm, and devotes himself too much to the antique. He is somewhat cold and formal, but his style is very original. He is opposed to naturalism, the taking of nature literally as it is seen. On the contrary his pictures are full of thought, and he describes painting as "an image of things incorporeal rendered sensible through imitation of form.” He considers that the idea should first be conceived clearly, and then reproduced by means of external forms, used as symbols,
and treated so as to enable the spectator to " Painting, understand the idea in the picture. It is Spanish and French,” by very remarkable that he should have arrived Gerard W. at these views at this early period. We also
see that his pictures reflect his own moods very strongly. In a very fine painting, “In Arcady,” he depicts some youthful shepherds coming accidentally upon a tomb with the inscription"Et in Arcadia ego," and this