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a number of men of strong characters and varied talents, and society has become leavened with their spirit. When such a. period of greatness in art once appears, it seems almost impossible that it should fail to reappear afterwards, unless the nation itself should succumb. The ground may remain unused and neglected, but sooner or later the seed will again be planted and the spirit will breathe into it the breath of life.
It seems wrong, then, to speak of art as subject to the whims of caprice. Its capriciousness is only in appearance. For art is serious and, in common with everything we know of, is under the rule of law. But the interpretation of its own laws, and its very spirit, are freely given to the earnest ones who are in sympathy with it, and endowed with the capacity to understand its ways and its aims.
It is not surprising, therefore, that a country that had once seen such a display of art as appeared in Holland in the seventeenth century should experience a revival in modern times. Such a reappearance has come, and we will briefly trace its history.
After the great era in Holland there was a steady decline, and for about a century the country passed through a dark age in art, the painters being occupied with old traditions and dead forms. In the first half of the nineteenth century there was a sort of life in the neo-classical school, of which the leaders were Schotel," Pieneman, Schelfhouts and Koek- 11808–1865. koek.' They were serious enough artists, but ’1809-1860.
31787–1870. were wanting in originality, and their work *1803-1862. had no lasting effect. Better were the early romanticists and historical painters who followed them, Van Hove, Rochussen, Stroebel, 61814-1865. and Herman Tenkate. To avoid the formal- 1803-1856. ism of the previous school they went back to the study of the old Dutch masters. They were still occupied with a past art, but they were the precursors of the modern Dutch School.
The first sign of a change is to be found, strangely enough, in the work of an artist who occupied himself nearly altogether with the interiors of churches and other buildings as his chosen subjects, Johannes Bosboom.' He '1819-1891. was the first to break with the old order of
let it possess
duce it not in external form
things and to give a new interpretation. The dry, stereotyped form of church, as hitherto
portrayed, disappears before his vitalizing 1 “Try and genius, and instead he gives us what he felt' identify
rather than what he saw, — the vast, air-filled, yourself with nature; sun-lit spaces; and henceforth art can never
go back nor men be satisfied with less.
Closely following him came Josef Israels, the recognized leader of the school. He at
first seemed to be one of the historical painters, merely, but
but he emancipated himself and with Bosbeautiful, solemn,
boom inaugurated the new era. By his origisacred, and
nality and force of character, and the beauty gestion that and variety of his paintings, he has gradually it conveys to you."
gained the position among his countrymen J. Bosboom, of being their greatest artist since the days quoted-in “James
of Rembrandt. Bosboom and Israels were Maris” by
the first to appear, but they were soon followed
by the other creative forces of this period, Born 1824. Anton Mauve, James Maris, Matthew Maris,
William Maris, and J. H. Weissenbruch.
The appearance about fifty years ago of the works of these artists showed a remarkable return of that strong artistic spirit whose breath made Holland in the seventeenth cen