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"All great painters
they have seen and
times, and that no such landscape work as that of Anton Mauve, James Maris, J. H. Weissenbruch, and William Maris has ever before been seen in Holland. They all paint have been the homely country scenery and the people great only engaged in their ordinary occupations, and rendering wonderfully beautiful works are produced from of what these simple materials. Everything in their pictures is seen to be surrounded with atmosphere and to dwell in space, and their constant hood. No aim is to translate the sunshine, striking in painted well brilliant light on trees or cattle, or diffused anything over the whole landscape. Their art is in- he has tensely modern, original, and racy of the soil; long felt, early and strong, broad, vigorous, suggestive, and full and early of deep feeling, and it has the power of enabling loved." others to feel the spirit that moved the artist. Painters." Mauve, James Maris, and William Maris in- Vol. I. troduce the human element largely into their Page 121. pictures, and cattle and animals, as they appear "Nature in the daily life of the peasant, are prominent betray the objects of interest in their works. But Weis- heart that senbruch, whose aim, in his later works, is to " "Tintern give that large feeling of wind-blown or calm Abbey." and quiet air-containing space which enfolds worth.
always wears the colours of the Spirit." "Essay on
everything, depends almost entirely upon the simple seashore or country scene he is painting to produce the effect he desires and is so successful in obtaining, and in pure landscape he has carried the art to its latest expression.
Writing about the Renaissance, Walter Pater says: "There are a few great painters, like Michelangelo or Leonardo, whose work has become a force in general culture, partly for this very reason, that they have absorbed into themselves all lesser workmen. But besides these there is a number of artists who have a distinct faculty of their own, by which they convey to us a peculiar quality of pleasure which we cannot get elsewhere. These, too, must be interpreted by those who have felt their charms." Those who get a peculiar quality of pleasure from Weissenbruch would fain interpret his charm. Surely we have in him one of those rare subjective painters of whom we have been speaking, fully equipped technically; one whose emotions are keenly excited by the beauties of nature, and whose sensitive and poetic temperament enables him to communicate to us the feelings and moods
that possessed him; one who seeks for sympathetic appreciation and understanding. For there is a loneliness, a mystery and poetry about his work, a personal element of sympathy with nature and a knowledge of all her moods, that creates a bond of union with him. He was a child of nature, and this kindly mother taught him her own truth and simplicity, and made him one of her intimates.
"To him who in the love of nature holds
Such communings had he, and various and beautiful is the language he uses. It may not be given to every one to see this. The words of the poet are true, "L'amour seul voit avec des yeux." But those that fall under his influence, especially those who live with his pictures, and feel the intense solitude and silence they depict, the vastness of nature, the littleness of humanity, and the weary labours of man, become devoted followers and grow very fond of the artist and his work. They realize that a poet-painter of gentle soul and lofty ideal dwelt here a while, and, after
a long and happy life, with his knowledge and capacity growing to the end, passed away with eye undimmed and power unabated. They feel that his work will live, his fame increase, and his name take rank among the masters.
"Loftily lying-leave him,
Still loftier than the world suspects."