Studio: international art — 2.1894

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Old Masters at the Royal Academy

Ot rv i\/r a CT171? c at THTT and others that mark his mastery, and illustrate

MAMA^bnrSv ?v the development of his different styles.

ROYAL ACADEMY. BY A winning half-length portrait of Mrs. Van der

FRANCIS BATE. Gucht by Romney, and no less than eleven pictures
by Sir Joshua Reynolds, are to be seen in this

To few of us is given such oppor- Exhibition. Three consummate full-length por-

tunity for atonement as falls annually to the Royal traits by Van Dyck prove wonderful realisation of

Academy of Arts. , character. Andrea Spinola, Doge of Genoa, seated

Whatever may be urged against the manner in in his crimson robes, hangs between the standing

which the Academy exercises its power in arrang- figures of Robert Rich, Earl of Wanvick, and

ing its exhibitions of contemporary art in the spring, James Stuart, Duke of Richmond and Lennox;

forgiveness is nearly earned and almost given in they make as brave a show as well could be. The

the winter, when its happy effort to amend its sense of power, the dignity and energy of Andrea

prestige furnishes the rooms at Burlington House Spinola, contrast wonderfully with the individuality

with a splendid collection of works by the Old of James Stuart and the Earl of Warwick. In the

Masters. portrait of the Doge, the colour of the shadows is

For twenty-five years—it seems almost an incredi- dark and heavy, while in that of James Stuart the

ble time—the wealth of Old Masters in this country colour is particularly fair and tender ; there is

has stood a steady drain upon its resources. This a comparative thinness in the portrait of the

twenty-fifth exhibition is not only of undiminished Earl of Warwick, but all three pictures bear mark

interest, but seems to wear on its face a promise for that they have had about them a sure and capable

the future. Much gratitude is due to the owners hand. Lord Hillingdon has lent two very fine

of beautiful treasures for the graciousness which, views of Dresden, by Bernardo Bellotto; they are

through all these years, has made it possible for us perfect in scale, excellent in tone, and full of the

to become more or less intimately acquainted with charm of a deliberate and certain touch. Near by

the genius and style even of the Old Masters of one of them is a beautiful portrait of a lady by

foreign Schools, and which has illustrated, with an Angelo Bronzino, which wears a sumptuous air

amplitude almost lavish, the magnificence which with its richly patterned and bejewelled dress,

marked the maturity of the British School. One The Adoration of the Shepherds, by Leandro Bas-

need look back but a few years, remembering the sano: a superbly drawn group of The Holy Ramify,

superb examples of the work of Reynolds, Gains- by Sebastian del Piombo; a fine and delicately

borough, Romney, Turner, Crome, Constable and modelled portrait of a. Lady and Child by Cornelius

others, which they have revealed, to be assured de Vos, and the portrait of a Senator by Raphael,

that, but for these exhibitions at Burlington House, are amongst the greatest works which make the

our knowledge of the pictures produced in the past large room magnificent.

by the artists of our own land would indeed be in- There is much to satisfy those who have learned

complete. The comparative merits and character- to look in Gallery No. 2 for paintings of the Dutch

istics of the different painters have been rendered School. The Smoker, an early work, the only

more apparent, and many a debated question has example by Gerard Terburg, gives little promise of

been settled by the juxtaposition of masterpieces the marvellous completeness of colour transition

which, without these annual collections, would have and perfect art which the exhibits of past years

remained practically unknown to us. prove him to have attained. Of the five examples

There is much to be learned and many an im- of the work of Jan Steen, The Violin, lent by the

mature judgment to be modified by the study of Queen from Buckingham Palace ; A Butch Ramify

such distinguished works. For my own part, I Merry-making, lent by the Corporation of Glasgow ;

have time after time enjoyed the conviction that and Saying Grace, which belongs to Mr. Charles

the fascinations of some of the pictures of the Morrison, are amongst the master's most successful

British School remain undiminished in the com- works. There are two pictures by Peter de Hooghe,

pany of works by . the great masters of other both of them very fine ones. An Lnterior (No. 78)

Schools, and this conviction is in no degree is imbued with those qualities of light which make

lessened by regarding the superb portrait of Mrs. his work remarkable ; but the Garden Scene, lent

Robinson (139), which Lady Wallace has now lent by Mr. John Walter, is of exceptional excellence,

to swell the glory of Gainsborough's fame. In In the trim garden, between dense and well-clipped

charm of arrangement, in perfect proportion of hedgerows, flooded with the strong light of a

every quality that makes a painting great, this bright summer afternoon, some very gaily dressed

seems to excel. The animation, the delicate taste ladies and gentlemen are engaged in a game of

in selection, the fulness of the colour passages, the ninepins. The painting is of great good quality,

subtle drawing, are crowned by a wanton ease in elaborate in realisation of detail, yet broad in

the expression of their completeness, that has left effect, but to my thinking some of the figures,

upon the lips a smile which must change with the wonderful as they are in themselves, do not quite

next breath about to tremble through the miracle fit with the rest of the picture ; they seem a little

of dainty dress. Turner is represented by The too much to insist on their own importance, and

Wreck of the Minotaur, by his picture of Van to lack somewhat their proper share of the at-

Tromp's Shallop at the Entrance of the Scheldt— mosphere which invests their surroundings. The

fair and fresh as the breezes that blow through it— Hurdy-gurdy Player, by Adrian Van Ostade, is a

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