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Art in the Netherlands/Chapter IV

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Part II

I


We find four distinct periods in the pictorial art of the Netherlands, and, through a remarkable coincidence, each corresponds to a distinct historic period. Here, as everywhere, art translates life; the talent and taste of the painter change at the same time and in the same sense as the habits and sentiments of the public. Just as each profound geological revolution brings with it its own fauna and flora, so does each great transformation of society and intellect bring with it its ideal figures. In this respect our galleries of art resemble museums, the imaginary creations they contain being, like living organisms, both the fruit and the index of their surroundings.

The first period of art lasts about a century and a half, and extends from Hubert Van Eyck to Quintin Matsys (1400-1530). It issues from a renaissance, that is to say, from a great development of prosperity, wealth and intellect. Here, as in Italy, the cities at an early period are flourishing, and almost free. I have already stated to you that in the thirteenth century serfdom was abolished in Flanders, and that the guilds to manufacture salt "for the purpose of bringing under cultivation marshy grounds," ascend to the Roman epoch. From the seventh and ninth centuries, Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent are "ports," or privileged markets; they carry on commerce on a large scale; they fit out cruisers for the whale fishery; they serve as the entrepôts of the North and the South. Prosperous people, well supplied with arms and provisions, accustomed through association and activity to foresight and enterprise, are better qualified to protect themselves than miserable serfs scattered about in defenceless villages. Their great populous cities with narrow streets, and a saturated soil intersected with deep canals, are not a suitable ground for the cavalry of barons.[1] Hence it is that the feudal net, so close and so tightly drawn over all Europe, had, in Flanders, to enlarge its meshes. In vain did the Count appeal for aid to his suzerain, the French king, and urge his Burgundian chivalry against the cities; overcome at Mons-en-Puelle, at Cassel, at Rosebecque, at Othée, at Gavre, at Brusthem, at Liege, they always recover themselves, and from revolt to revolt preserve the best portion of their liberties, even under the princes of the house of Austria. The fourteenth century is the heroic and tragic epoch of Flanders. She possesses brewers like Arteveldt, who are tribunes, dictators and captains, and who end life on the field of battle or are assassinated; civil war is mixed up with foreign war; people fight from city to city, trade against trade, and man to man; there are fourteen hundred murders in Ghent in one year; the stores of energy are so great that she survives all ills and sustains all efforts. Men seek death twenty thousand at a time, and fall in heaps before lances without giving an inch. "Banish all hope of returning without honor," said the citizens of Ghent to the five thousand volunteers under Philip Van Arteveldt, for "so soon that we hear that you are dead or discomfited we shall fire the city and destroy ourselves with our own hands."[2] In 1384, in the country of the Four Trades, prisoners refused their lives, declaring that after death their bones would rise up against the French. Fifty years later, around rebellious Ghent, the peasantry "chose death rather than ask quarter, declaring that they would perish as martyrs in a fair fight." In these swarming hives an abundance of food and habits of personal activity maintain courage, turbulence, audacity and even insolence, all excesses of brutal and boundless energy; these weavers were men, and when we encounter man we may expect soon to encounter the arts.

An interval of prosperity at this time was sufficient: under this ray of sunshine the flowering thus maturing is perfected. At the end of the fourteenth century Flanders, with Italy, is the most industrious, the wealthiest and most flourishing country in Europe.[3] In 1370 there are thirty-two hundred woollen factories at Malines and on its territory. One of its merchants carries on an immense trade with Damascus and Alexandria. Another, of Valenciennes, being at Paris during the fair, monopolizes all provisions exposed for sale with a view to display his opulence. Ghent in 1389 has one hundred and eighty-nine thousand men bearing arms; the drapers alone furnish eighteen thousand men in a revolt; the weavers form twenty-seven sections, and at the sound of the great bell, fifty-two corporations under their own banners rush to the market-place. In 1380 the goldsmiths of Bruges are numerous enough to form in war time an entire division of the army. A little later Œnius Sylvius states that she is one of the three most beautiful cities in the world; a canal four leagues and a half in length joins her to the sea; a hundred vessels a day pass through it. Bruges was then what London is at the present time. Political matters at this period attain to a sort of equilibrium. The Duke of Burgundy finds himself by inheritance, in 1384, sovereign of Flanders. The grandeur of his possessions and the multiplication of civil wars during the minority and madness of Charles VI. divorce him from France; he is no longer, like the ancient counts, a dependant of the king, domiciliated in Paris and soliciting aid to reduce and tax his Flemish merchants. His power and the misfortunes of France render him independent. Although a prince he belongs, in Paris, to the popular party, and the butchers shout for him. Although a Frenchman his politics are Flemish, and when not in alliance with the English he negotiates with them. In the matter of money he certainly quarrels with his Flemings more than once, and is obliged to kill a good many of them. But to one who is familiar with the disturbances and violence of the middle ages, the order and harmony which is then established seem sufficient; at all events they are greater than ever before. Henceforth, as at Florence about the year 1400, authority becomes recognized and society organized; henceforth, as in Italy about the year 1400, man abandons the ascetic and ecclesiastic regime that he may interest himself in nature and enjoy life. The ancient compression is relaxed; he begins to prize strength, health, beauty and pleasure. On all sides we see the mediæval spirit undergoing change and disintegration. An elegant and refined architecture converts stone into lace, festooning churches with pinnacles, trefoils and intricate mullions, and in such a fashion that the honey-combed, gilded and flowering edifice becomes a vast and romantic casket, a product of fancy rather than of faith, less calculated to excite piety than wonder. In like manner chivalry becomes a mere parade. The nobles frequent the Valois court, devote themselves to pleasure, to "pretty conceits" and especially to the "conceits of love." In Chaucer and in Froissart we are spectators of their pomp - their tourneys, their processions and their banquets, of the new reign of frivolity and fashion, of the creations of an infatuated and licentious imagination, of their extravagant and overcharged costumes robes twelve ells long, tight hose and Bohemian jackets with sleeves falling to the ground, shoes terminating in the claws, horns and tail of the scorpion, suits embroidered with letters, animals, and with musical notes enabling one to read and sing a song on the owner's back, hoods adorned with golden garlands and with animals, robes covered with sapphires, rubies and jewelled swallows, each holding in its beak a golden cup; one costume has fourteen hundred of these cups, and we find nine hundred and sixty pearls used in embroidering a song on a coat. Women in magnificently ornamented veils, the breast nude, the head crowned with huge cones and crescents, and dressed in gaudy robes covered with the figures of unicorns, lions and savages, place themselves on seats representing small sculptured and gilded cathedrals. The life of the court and of princes seems a carnival. When Charles VI. is knighted a hall is prepared in the abbey of St. Denis, thirty-two toises (about two hundred feet) long, hung in white and green, with a lofty pavilion of tapestry: here, after three days of feasting and jousting, a nocturnal masked ball ends in an orgie, "Many a damsel forgot herself, many were the husbands who suffered," and, in contrast to this, showing the sentiments of the age, they celebrate the funeral of Duguesclin at the end of it. In the accounts and chronicles of the period we follow the course of a broad, golden stream, flowing, glistening, ostentatious and interminable, that is to say, the domestic history of the king and queen and the dukes of Orleans and Burgundy; there is nothing but entries into cities, cavalcades, masks, dances, voluptuous caprices, and the prodigality of the newly enriched. The Burgundian and French chevaliers who go to contend with Bagazet at Nicopolis equip themselves as if for a party of pleasure; their banners and the trappings of their horses are loaded with gold and silver, their dishes are all of silver plate and their tents are of green satin; exquisite wines follow them in boats on the Danube, and their camps are filled with courtesans. This excess of animal spirits, which, in France, is mingled with morbid curiosity and lugubrious fancies, breaks out in Burgundy into a grand and jolly kermesse. Philip the Good has three legitimate wives, twenty-four mistresses, and sixteen bastards; he attends to all, feasting, making merry and admitting the towns-women to his court; seeming at the outset to be one of Jordaens' characters. A Count of Clèves has sixty-three bastards; the chroniclers in their narration of ceremonies constantly and gravely mention those of both sexes; the institution appears to be official: seeing; them swarming in this manner, we are reminded of the buxom nurses of Rubens and the Gangamelles of Rabelais. "It was," says a contemporary, "a great pity, this sin of luxury which prevailed far and wide, and especially amongst princes and the wedded … he was the gentlest companion who was able to deceive and possess at the same time more than one woman … and even there prevailed likewise the sin of luxury among the prelates of the Church and among all Church people."[4] Jacques de Croy, archbishop of Cambray, officiated pontifically with his thirty-six bastards and bastards' sons, and kept in reserve a sum of money for those to come. At the third marriage of Philip the Good the gala seems to be a Gamache's wedding commanded by Gargantua; the streets of Bruges were hung with tapestry; for eight days and eight nights a stone lion spurted Rhine wine, while a stone stag discharged Beaune Burgundy; at meal times an unicorn poured forth rosewater or malvoisie. On the entry of the Dauphin into the city, eight hundred merchants of divers nations advanced to meet him, all in garments of silk and velvet. At another ceremonial the duke appears with a saddle and bridle covered with precious stones; "nine pages covered with plumes of jewels" followed behind him, and "one of the said pages bore a salad which was stated to be of the value of one hundred thousand gold crowns." Another time the jewels worn by the duke are estimated at a million. I wish to describe one of these fêtes to you; like those of Florence at the same epoch they bear witness to the picturesque and decorative tastes which here as in Florence produced pictorial art. One of them took place at Lille under Philip the Good, the Festival of the Pheasant, which may be compared with the triumph of Lorenzo de Medici; you will observe here in a hundred naive details the resemblances and the differences of the two societies, and accordingly of their culture, their taste and their art.

The Duke of Clèves had given a "superb banquet" at Lille, at which were present "Monseigneur," (of Burgundy) "together with the lords, ladies and damsels of his house." At this banquet there was seen on the table an "entremets," that is to say, a decoration representing "a ship with lifted sails, in which was a knight erect and armed … and before it a silver swan, bearing on his neck a gold collar, to which hung a long chain, with which the said swan appeared to draw the vessel, and on the back of the said vessel stood a castle most skilfully contrived." On this allegorical machine the Duke of Clèves, Knight of the Swan, and "slave of the fair," caused proclamation to be made that he might be encountered in the lists, "armed in jousting harness and in war saddle, and that he who should do the best would gain a rich golden swan, chained with a chain of gold, and on the end of this chain a magnificent ruby."

Ten days after this the Count d'Etampes gave the second act of the fairy spectacle. Bear in mind that the second as well as the first act with all the others began with a feast. In this court life is gross, and people never tire of bumpers. "When the 'entremets' were removed there issued from an apartment a multitude of torches, and after these there appeared an armed attendant clad in his coat of mail, and after him two knights clad in long velvet robes furred with sable, with no covering to the head, each one bearing in his hand a gay hood of flowers;" after them, on a palfrey caparisoned in blue silk, "a most beautiful lady appeared, young, of the age of twelve years, attired in a robe of violet silk, richly embroidered and padded with gold," she is "the princess of joy." Three squires clothed in vermilion silk lead her up to the duke, singing a song as they introduce her. She descends, and kneeling on the table she places on his brow a crown of flowers. At this moment the joust is proclaimed, the drums beat, a pursuivant-at-arms appears in a mailed suit covered with swans, and then enters the Duke of Clèves, Knight of the Swan, richly armed, seated on a horse caparisoned in white damask and fringed with gold; he leads by a gold chain a large swan accompanied by two mounted archers; behind him march children on horseback, grooms, knights armed with lances, all, like himself, in white damask fringed with gold. Toison d'Or, the herald, presents them to the duchess. The other knights then defile before her on their horses, decked with gray and crimson cloth of gold, cloth decked with small golden bells, crimson velvet trimmed with sable, violet velvet fringed with gold and silk, and black velvet studded with golden tear-drops. Suppose that the great personages of state of the present day should amuse themselves with dressing up like actors at the opera and in making passes like circus-riders! The oddity of such a supposition enables you to appreciate the liveliness of the picturesque instinct at that day, as well as the taste for outward display and the feebleness of both at present.

These, however, were only preludes. Eight days after the tourney the Duke of Burgundy gave his festival, which surpassed all the others. A vast hall, hung with tapestry representing the career of Hercules, had five doors, guarded by archers dressed in robes of gray and black cloth. Around the sides extended five platforms or galleries, occupied by foreign spectators, noble personages and ladies, most of these being disguised. In their midst arose "a lofty buffet, loaded with vessels of gold and silver, and crystal vases garnished with gold and precious stones." And erect, in the centre of the hall, stood a great pillar, bearing "a female image with hair falling to her loins, her head covered with a very rich hat, and her breast spouting hypocras so long as the supper lasted." Three gigantic tables were arranged, each one being adorned with several "entremets," so many huge machines reminding one, on a grand scale, of the toy presents given nowadays to the children of the wealthy. The men of this time, indeed, in curiosity and in flights of the imagination are nothing but children; their strongest desire is to amuse the eye; they sport with life as with a magic lantern. The two principal "entremets" consist of a monstrous pie, containing twenty-eight persons, "alive," playing on musical instruments, also a "church with windows and glass, provided with four choristers and a ringing bell." Besides these there were twenty more, a great castle, its fosses filled with orange-water, and on a tower the fairy Melusina; a windmill with archers and cross-bowmen firing at mark; a cask in a vineyard with two fluids, one bitter and the other sweet; a vast desert with a lion and serpent contending; a savage on a camel; a clown prancing on a bear amidst rocks and glaciers; a lake surrounded by cities and castles; a carrack at anchor, bearing rigging, masts and seamen; a beautiful fountain of earth and lead, with small trees of glass in leaf and blooming, and a St. Andrew with his cross; a fountain of rose-water, representing a naked infant in the attitude of the "Mannekenpiss" of Brussels. You would imagine yourself in a variety store at New Year time. This pêle-mêle of motionless decoration did not suffice; over and above this an active parade was necessary; we see defiling in turn a dozen of interludes, and in the intervals the church and the pie keep busy the ears at the same time as the eyes of the guests; the bell rings with all its might; a shepherd plays on a bag-pipe; little children sing a song; organs. German cornets, trumpets, glees, flutes, a lute with voices, drums, hunting horns and the yelping of hounds succeed each other. Meanwhile a rearing horse appears, richly covered with vermilion silk, mounted by two trumpeters "seated backward and without saddle," led by sixteen knights in long robes; then a hobgoblin, half man, half griffon, who, mounted on a boar and carrying a man, advances with a target and two darts; then a large white mechanical stag, harnessed in silk, with golden horns, and bearing on his back a child in a short dress of crimson velvet, who sings while the stag performs the bass. All these figures make the circuit of the table, while the last invention especially delights the company. A flying dragon passes through the air, his fiery scales lighting up the recesses of the gothic ceiling. A heron and two falcons are loosed, and the vanquished bird is presented to the Duke. Trumpets sound a blast behind a curtain, which curtain being withdrawn discloses Jason reading a letter from Medea, then combating the bulls, then killing the serpent, then ploughing the ground and sowing the monster's teeth from which arises a crop of armed men. At this point the interest of the fête deepens. It becomes a romance of chivalry, a scene from Amadis, or one of Don Quixote's dreams in action. A giant arrives bearing a pike and turban and leading an elephant caparisoned in silk with a castle on his back, and in this castle a lady attired as a nun and representing the Holy Church; she orders a halt, proclaims her name, and summons the company to the crusade. Thereupon Toison d'Or, with his officers of arms, fetches a live pheasant wearing a golden collar decked with precious stones; the Duke swears upon the pheasant to succor Christendom against the Turk, and all the knights do likewise, each in a document of the style of Galaor, and this is the pheasant's vow. The fete terminates with a mystic and moral ball. At the sound of instruments and by the light of torches a lady in white, bearing the name of the "Grace of God" on her shoulder, approaches the Duke, recites a stanza and, on retiring, leaves with him the twelve virtues - Faith, Charity, Justice, Reason, Temperance, Strength, Truth, Liberality, Diligence, Hope and Valor - each led by a knight in a crimson pourpoint, the sleeves of which are of satin embroidered with foliage and jewelry. They betake themselves to dancing with their knights, crowning; the Count of Charolais the victor in the lists, and, upon the announcement of a new tourney, the ball ends at three o'clock in the morning. Really there is too much of it; the mind and the senses both flag; these people in the way of diversions are gluttons and not epicureans. This uproar and this profusion of quaint conceits shows us a rude society, a race of the North, an incipient civilization still infantile and barbarous; the grandeur and simplicity of Italian taste is wanting in these contemporaries of the Medicis. And yet the groundwork of their habits and imagination is the same; here, as with the chariots and pomp of the Florentine carnival, the legends, history and philosophy of the middle ages take shape; moral abstractions assume visible form; the virtues become actual women; they are accordingly tempted to paint and sculpture them; all decoration, in effect, consists of reliefs and paintings. The symbolic age gives way to the picturesque age; the intellect is no longer content with a scholastic entity; it seeks to contemplate a living form, the human mind finding it necessary for its completeness to be translated to the eye by a work of art.

But this work of art bears no resemblance to that of Italy for the reason that the culture and direction of the intellect are different; this is evident in reading the simple and dull verses recited by the "Holy Church "and the "Virtues," an empty, senile poetry, the worn-out babble of the trouvères, a rattle of rhymed phrases in which the rythm is as flimsy as the idea. The Netherlands never had a Dante, a Petrarch, a Boccaccio, a Villani. The mind, less precocious and further removed from Latin traditions, remained a longer time subject to mediæval discipline and inertia. There were no sceptical Averrhöeists and physicians like those described by Petrarch; there were no humanist restorers of ancient literature, almost pagans, like those who surrounded Lorenzo de Medici. Christian faith and sentiment are much more active and tenacious here than in Venice or in Florence. They continue to subsist under the sensual pomp of the Burgundian court. If there are epicureans in social matters there are none in theory; the most gallant serve religion, as the ladies, through a principle of honor. In 1396 seven hundred seigniors of Burgundy and France enlist in the crusade; all, save twenty-seven die at Nicopolis, and Boucicaut calls them "blessed and happy martyrs." You have just witnessed the buffoonery of Lille which ended in a solemn vow to war with the infidels. Here and there scattered traits show the persistency of the primitive devotion. In 1477, in the neighboring town of Nuremburg, Martin Kœtzel, a pilgrim in Palestine, counts the steps between Golgotha and the house of Pilate, that he may, on his return, build seven stations and a calvary between his own house and the cemetery of his native town; losing his measure he repeats the journey, and this time has the work executed by the sculptor, Adam Kraft. In the Low Countries, as in Germany, the middle class, a sedate and somewhat dull people, restricted to their own narrow circle and attached to ancient usages, preserve much better than court-seigniors the faith and the fervor of the middle ages: Their literature bears witness to this. The moment it takes an original turn, that is to say from the end of the thirteenth century, it furnishes ample testimony to the practical, civic and bourgeois spirit, with abundant evidences of pious fervor; on the one hand appear moral maxims, pictures of domestic life, and historic and political poems relating to recent and true occurences; on the other, lyric laudation of the Virgin, and mystic and tender poetic effusions.[5] In fine, the national genius, which is Germanic, inclines much more to faith than to incredulity. Through the Lollards and the mystics of the middle ages, also through the iconoclasts and the innumerable martyrs of the sixteenth century, it turns in the direction of Protestant ideas. Left to itself it would have developed not, as in Italy, into a pagan renaissance, but, as in Germany, into a recrudescence of Christianity. The art, moreover, which, of all the others, best reveals the cravings of the popular imagination, architecture, remains gothic and Christian up to the end of the sixteenth century; Italian and classic importations do not affect it; the style gets to be complicated and effeminate, but the art does not change. It prevails not only in the churches but in laic edifices; the town-halls of Bruges, Louvain, Brussels, Liege and Audenarde show to what extent it was cherished not only by the priesthood but by the nation; the people remained faithful to it to the end: the town-hall of Audenarde was begun seven years after the death of Raphael. In 1536, in the hands of a Flemish woman, Margaret of Austria, the church of Brou, the latest and prettiest flower of gothic art, bloomed out in its perfection. Sum up all these indications and consider, in the portraiture of the day, the personages themselves,[6] the donors, abbes, burgomasters, townspeople and matrons, so grave and so simple in their Sunday clothes and spotless linen, with their rigid air and their expression of deep and settled faith, and you will recognize that here the sixteenth century renaissance took place within religious limits, that man in making the present life more attractive never lost sight of that to come, and that his picturesque invention is the manifestation of a vivacious Christianity instead of expressing, as in Italy, a restored paganism.

A Flemish renaissance underneath Christian ideas, such, in effect, is the two-fold nature of art under Hubert and John Van Eyck, Roger Van der Weyde, Hemling and Quintin Matsys; and from these two characteristics proceed all the others. On the one hand, artists take interest in actual life; their figures are no longer symbols like the illuminations of ancient missals, nor purified spirits like the Madonnas of the school of Cologne, but living beings and bodies. They attend to anatomy, the perspective is exact, the minutest details are rendered of stuffs, of architecture, of accessories and of landscape; the relief is strong, and the entire scene stamps itself on the eye and on the mind with extraordinary force and sense of stability; the greatest masters of coming times are not to surpass them in all this, nor even go so far. Nature evidently is now discovered by them. The scales fall from their eyes; they have just mastered, almost in a flash, the proportions, the structure and the coloring of visible realities; and moreover, they delight in them. Consider the superb copes wrought in gold and decked with diamonds, the embroidered silks, the flowered and dazzling diadems with which they ornament their saints and divine personages,[7] all of which represents the pomp of the Burgundian court. Look at the calm and transparent water, the bright meadows, the red and white flowers, the blooming trees, the sunny distances of their admirable landscapes.[8] Observe their coloring - the strongest and richest ever seen, the pure and full tones side by side as in a Persian carpet, and united solely through their harmony, the superb breaks in the folds of purple mantles, the azure recesses of long falling robes, the careen draperies like a summer field permeated with sunshine, the display of gold skirts trimmed with black, the strong light which warms and enlivens the whole scene; you have a concert in which each instrument sounds its proper note, and the more true because the more sonorous. They see the world on the bright side and make a holiday of it, a genuine fete, similar to those of this day, glowing under a more bounteous sunlight and not a heavenly Jerusalem suffused with supernatural radiance such as Fra Angelico painted. They are Flemings, and they stick to the earth. They copy the real with scrupulous accuracy, and all that is real - the ornaments of armor, the polished glass of a window, the scrolls of a carpet, the hairs of fur,[9] the undraped body of an Adam and an Eve, a canon's massive, wrinkled and obese features, a burgomaster's or soldier's broad shoulders, projecting chin and prominent nose, the spindling shanks of a hangman, the over large head and diminutive limbs of a child, the costumes and furniture of the age; their entire work being a glorification of this present life. But, on the other hand, it is a glorification of Christian belief. Not only are their subjects almost all of a religious order, but again they are imbued with a religious sentiment which, in the following age, is not to be found in the same scenes. Their best pictures represent no actual event in sacred history but a verity of faith, a summary of doctrine. Hubert Van Eyck regards painting in the same light as Simone Memmi, or Taddeo Gaddi, that is to say, as an exposition of higher theology; his figures and his accessories may be realistic, but they are likewise symbolic. The cathedral in which Roger Van der Weyde portrays the seven sacraments is at once a material church and a spiritual church; Christ appears bleeding on his cross, while at the same time the priest is performing mass at the altar. The chamber or portico in which John Van Eyck and Memling place their kneeling saints is an illusion in its detail and finish, but the Virgin on her throne and the angels who crown her show the believer that he is in a superior realm. A hierarchical symmetry groups personages and stiffens attitudes. With Hubert Van Eyck the eye is fixed and the face impassible; it is the eternal immobility of divine life; in heaven all is fulfilled and time is no more. In other instances, as with Memling, there is the quietude of absolute faith, the peace of mind preserved in the cloister as in a sleeping forest, the immaculate purity, mournful sweetness, the infinite trust of the truly pious nun absorbed with her own reveries, and whose large open eyes look out upon vacancy. These paintings, in turn, are subjects for the altar or private chapel; they do not appeal like those of later ages to grand seigniors whose churchgoing consists of mere routine, and who crave, even in religious history, pagan pomp and the torsos of wrestlers; they appeal to the faithful, in order to suggest to them the form of the supernatural world or the emotions of fervid piety, to show them the immutable serenity of beatified saints and the tender humility of the elect; Ruysbroeck, Eckart, Tauler and Henry de Suzo, the theological mystics of Germany antecedent to Luther, might here resort. It is a strange sight, and one which does not seem to accord with the sensuous parade of the court and the sumptuous entries of the cities. We find a similar contrast between the profound religious sentiment of the Madonnas of Albert Dürer and the worldly splendor of his "House of Maximilian." The reason is, we are in a Germanic country; the renaissance of general prosperity and the emancipation of the intellect which results from it here revive Christianity instead of destroying it as in a Latin country.

Notes[edit]

  1. Battle of Courtenay, 1302.
  2. Froissart.
  3. Michiel's "Historie de la Peinture Flamande," Vol. II. p. 3.
  4. "C'etait grand' pitié que le péché de luxare qui regnait moult et fort, et par especial esprinces ét gens mariés. Et était le plus gentil compagnon qui plus d'une femme eavait tromper et avoir au moment … et même regnait icelui péché de luxure es prélats de l'Eglise et en tous gens d'Eglise."
  5. Horæ Belgiæ.
  6. See in the Musées of Antwerp, Brussels and Bruges, the triptychs whose doors present entire families of the period.
  7. "God the Father, and the Virgin," by Hubert van Eyck. "The Virgin, St. Barbara and St. Catherine," by Memling, and "The Entombment," by Quintin Matsys.
  8. "St. Christopher," "The Baptism of Jesus," by Memling and his school. "The Adoration of the Lamb," by the Van Eycks.
  9. See "The Madonna and St. George," by Jan Van Eyck, the Antwerp triptych of Quintin Matsys, etc. The "Adam and Eve," of Hubert Van Eyck at Brussels, and "The Adoration of the Lamb."