Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/469

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edifices of the fifteenth century are due to the towns, although in so many instances their decadence had already set in. The case was different with the sister-art, which in Flanders was emancipated from Byzantine models (introduced by the Crusades) by the great painters to whom the miniaturists had formed a characteristic transition. When Hubert van Eyck dijed in 1420, he bequeathed the completion of the masterpiece of the school of Bruges to his younger brother John. Within fourteen further years the latter, who was soon made a member of Duke Philip's household, perfected a form of art that clothed its simple ideals of faith and devotion in the golden splendour of the age of its origin. Its latest great master, Memling, carried far beyond the borders of his native land the purest and profoundest pictorial expression of the mystic depth of religious sentiment.

Leaving aside other forms of art-among which something might be said of the attention paid by both Flemings and Walloons to that of music-we find that already under the House of Dampierre, the French literature patronised by the Counts, and the Flemish that was dear to the people, had gone far asunder. In the latter part of the fourteenth century, French historic prose as it were annexed the Netherlands as part of its proper domain. Froissart, the chief prophet of the last phase of chivalry radiating from the Court of the Burgundian Dukes and the exemplar of a whole line of chroniclers devoted to their dynasty, was himself a native of Hainault and spent the last quarter of a century of his life in retirement in Flanders. After him it became indispensable that every important Court or great noble household should possess its indiciaire or historiographer, and the House of Burgundy fostered a series of such literary officials, who placed on record every step in its advance, inflated its pride, and enhanced its fame. The list includes, besides Enguerrand de Monstrelet, on the whole a fairly candid writer, Jacques Lefevre de Saint-Remy, who in the main borrowed or abridged from him, the graphic Jacques du Clercq, Georges Chastellain, by his literary gifts as well as by his masculine outspokenness the most notable of Froissart's successors, and Jean Molinet, whose turgid artificiality and Euphuistic affectations render him a fit narrator of the decay and downfall of Burgundian greatness. All these (except Monstrelet) were officials of the ducal House, which was abandoned by Commines, the one narrator of the great struggle who writes in the spirit of practical statesmanship. Edmond of Dynter, who came into the service of Philip the Good from that of the Dukes of Brabant, furnished a long pragmatic history of the Jacqueline troubles and the complicated course of events in Gelderland.

Against the influences of a French-speaking Court and its literary mouthpieces, the native language and literature had to rely upon a power of resistance strengthened by movements springing from the heart of the people. Thus, though the so-called Chambers of Rhetoric,