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Following his illustrious predecessors, we find from an examination of his paintings that Weissenbruch had a very sensitive feeling for beauty in his pictures and gave careful attention to the recognized rules of composition.
Hardly ever does he make a mistake about it. He sees instinctively beauty of line, form, colour, and subject, and this gives the feeling of poetry in his pictures. Yet so natural do his paintings seem, so unconscious of effort do they appear, that the observer remains wondering to the end whether after all the artist has not simply seen and felt it all beautiful and true, just as he shows it to us, without troubling himself about rules of art! Certainly his pictures show that Weissenbruch was a master in concealing in his work the art knowledge he undoubtedly had. And so far did he generalize the facts of experience, and leave out the non-essential elements of the scene, that he became one of the best modern examples of carrying out to an extreme degree the principles of generalization, simplicity, and perfect tone quality mentioned in Chapter V. And
consequently his pictures have a very great freedom from any suggestion of artificiality, which is very restful.
. To remove so nearly completely all the appearance of art from painting, which is all art; to leave the effect of nature on the mind in its simplicity, so that we are led to think of what the artist wished us to consider, and to see, as he saw it, the essence of the beauty of the scene before him, and nothing of the labour and skill that were necessary to produce this result until we commence to analyse the picture to find out the means by which the end was reached; to do this is indeed a triumph. And to secure this result it needed “For of the the knowledge and experience of a lifetime. soul the
body form But great as is the ability of Weissenbruch, it doth take, is not this alone that compels our admiration, For soul is but the fact that his art is all dominated by doth the
body his own personality, that he lives and speaks make." through his works.
“Hymn in We have pleasure in being able to give the Beauty.” following fine appreciation of Weissenbruch Spenser. and his work by E. F. B. Johnston, K. C., of Toronto:
“The gay side never
to me. I don't know
“Nature always has impressed on its face the feeling of loneliness. There is nothing so expressive of solitude as the clear, sunny,
summer day. The stretch of fields bathed in shows itself sunlight; the woods casting their deep shadows
ending in mystery; the peaceful blue sky above, where it is. with here and there a fleecy cloud, orphaned The gayest and alone, in the deep expanse: all these things thing I know is the appeal to the quiet and sympathetic side of calm, the silence
our nature, and find a congenial resting-place which is so
in our most reflective moods. Then come sweet,
the grey days and ashen skies, the big driving the forest,
masses of cloud, and the gloom of approachor the cultivated ing night. Even winter, with all its glittering land. You will admit whiteness, is as solemn in its grandeur as the that it is
stillness of the dark woods at midnight. These always very dreamy, phases of nature impress us with solitary and
lonely sentiments, because they are vast and dream, though almost infinite in their majesty and power,
and man's physical and spiritual being becomes T. F. Millet, insignificant in their presence. To portray in his Life by Alfred this feeling was Weissenbruch's mission. The Sensier.
solitary foot-traveller by the edge of the canal as evening approaches, the envelopment of all things in the mantle of shadow or sunshine,
and a sad
the lonely tree standing out against the great background of land and sky, the boat on the mysterious and never-ending sea; these were his favourite subjects, and excited his deepest sympathy. All such scenes as these are big and simple, and the great characteristics of his works are space and simplicity. He faithfully portrayed the moods of nature, not her physical beauties or topographical character. A bit of water, land, or sky was to him as important, as beautiful, and as expressive of nature's moods as the most perfect composition. A few reeds and a glimpse of a canal made a picture; a simple meadow with a few cattle was, in his hands, a poem; a windmill and a lonely farmhouse became a passage of dreamland. He looked not for subject alone, but sought out the temperament and sympathy of his theme, and gave expression to these things with an unerring regard to technique, colour, and composition. As a painter he was real and absolutely true to nature, but his reality is that of pathos and feeling, his truth that of the heart and mind. Beyond all the artists of the last fifty years, he is the
real as well as the spiritual exponent of the beautiful, the true, and the sympathetic. His finest works are the trusted companions of our solitude, and never fail to join in the harmony of the thoughts that seek to be alone. They speak, but it is in language that perhaps few hear and fewer of us fully understand or appreciate. And as we go back to our boyhood dreams and aspirations, and the 'long, long thoughts of youth, so we turn to our friends given to us by Weissenbruch, and cling to them when the works of men even greater than he in the eyes of the world's critics grow cold and lifeless."
“This is the way the pictures of Weissenbruch appeal to those who appreciate their beauty and tenderness of feeling. And in this sense, perhaps, no man ever attained the rank of Weissenbruch as a purely landscape painter. He quickens our sense of beauty and our highest perception of truth by his great and simple loneliness, and draws us into harmony with the fitful moods of nature's ever-varying temperament. There is no false pretence, no jarring note in his work or its