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picture is full of the melancholy thoughts that filled his own soul.
Claude devoted his whole time to painting pure landscape (see Plate 8), and he abandoned the human motive almost entirely in his pictures, although, as Turner also did with some of his, he still gave them classical names. He seems to have been the first to fully realize the great importance of this branch of art, and he was also the first to fill his paintings with light; and he gives expression to all the varying effects of sunshine, its sparkle in the early morning dew, its dazzling midday radiance on the water, its rosy hues towards evening. For this, and the beauty and originality of his work, if one artist were to be chosen as the founder of modern landscape painting, that title would be rightly given to Claude. His influence has been very great and has had a lasting effect. Even Turner, two hundred years later, was anxious to show that he could rival the work of his illustrious predecessor. The composition of some of his pictures is strongly reminiscent of Claude, and later still we see traces of this master in
Painters.” Vol. I.
Corot's paintings. Ruskin fails to appreciate the greatness of Claude, and is unable to see the ideal in his work, though he gives him credit for the remarkable feat of first of all
artists putting the sun in the heavens in his “ Modern pictures. Anyone who could produce such a
revolution in the art of his day as this means Page 88.
is entitled to far more than the grudging praise accorded by Ruskin, and well deserves the great honour in which he has been universally held by succeeding generations.
It is interesting to note that these artists, while great lovers of nature, were all idealists, and so far from copying nature exactly, they had no hesitation in putting buildings or scenery of one part of the country into a view of another, if it made the composition of the picture better. Samuel Palmer wrote: “When I was setting out for Italy I expected to see Claude's magical combinations; miles apart I found the disjointed members, which he had
'suited to the desires of his mind'; these were 3“Claude the beauties, but the beautiful, the ideal Helen Gellée," by
was his own."2 Thus we see at the very Owen J.
beginning of modern landscape art, the sub
jective view of nature is strongly held by artists and expressed in their works.
About the same time Gaspard Poussin,' a 11613–1675. pupil of Nicolas Poussin, and Salvator Rosa, 21615-1673. who lived in Naples, were also working on somewhat similar lines, while in Spain Velasquez' was painting, amidst all his other work 1599-1660. in portraiture and allegory, such landscapes as the “St. Anthony” at Madrid, with its massive rock, its valley and river, its hills and cloudy sky; or the “Garden of the Villa Medicis”; or the “Fountain of the Tritons”; or the beautiful background to “Prince Balthazar Carlos” (see Plate 9) with its tall tree extending up one side of the picture and the leafy branches covering the space above the figure of the young Prince.
These artists were followed very shortly afterwards by Cuyp, Ruysdael, and Hobbema in *1605–1691. Holland, who contributed still more to emanci
61638-1709 pate landscape art from classical subjects, and from any subjection to figure painting that remained. Ruysdael is a very distinctive link in the chain of landscape artists that connects the present with the past. (See Plate 10.)
He early became dissatisfied with painting nature for its own mere beauty, without ex
pressing its effect on the artist. Like his con1607-1669. temporary, Rembrandt, his is one of those
mysterious natures that flit across life's stage, coming no one knows whence, and disappearing in the gloom of poverty and amid the neglect of the world. These two great artists have a very similar manner of looking at life and its mysteries, and being in every way so out of the ordinary, it is little wonder that worldly success and the ways of the world were not for them. Ruysdael is the first to hear the plaintive minor chord in the harmony that rises from the earth and to feel the restless, never satisfied spirit which has become so dominant a factor in modern thought and feeling. He brings into landscape painting the strong subjective element, and looking at his pictures we can almost revive in imagination his gentle personality, through his tender and rather sad views of the flat meadows, the towns, and the bleaching-greens of his native Holland.
The next great landscape artist to appear