Studio: international art — 3.1894

Page: 46
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Albert Moore

should he select the B6guinage, a little settlement on LBERT MOORE. BY ALFRED

the border of the town, on the bank o the Mmne- A LYS BALDRY. (CONCLUDED.)

water, where a religious order of women live in retire- / \ '

ment. In their dress they are something like Sisters / \ Perhaps the secret of Albert Moore's

of Charity, and they have an odd little church of -X A. unswerving devotion to what he believed

their own, in which they assemble every afternoon to be the only possible principles of art practice is to

for vespers. Before the service begins, one of the be found in his intense love and earnest study of

Beguines tolls the bell, standing in front of the Nature. He did nothing without a warrant, and

altar; the rest sit in old took elaborate pains to make even the smallest

carved stalls, while the detail in his pictures accurate, and in accordance

straggling public is accom- i ; r - with what seemed to him to be the right view to

modated in the body of the _ ' take of the world around him. A realist in the

church . if popular sense he was not. He had no sympathy

There is j^rfn T\f I with ugliness, and no desire to paint some ghastly

something % IfW. \MvL departure from Nature's perfections simply because

about that x ®* fflj 1 I this ghastliness was a matter of every-day acquaint-
tiny chapel, —ance. The life he strove to reproduce in his

the quadrangle of little ~ * v pictures was neither present, past, nor future; it

houses around a grassy J'% was of every date and for all time. It was actual

sward, the lone sheep pas- \ " and yet ideal. It was fact and yet pure fancy. It

turing at his ease and look- was, in a word, the expression of perfect Nature, not

ing as though he might have stepped out of a distorted by unhealthy conditions of existence, and

faded old tapestry, and the approach to the whole not perverted by the evil influences of civilisation ;

thing across one of Bruges many bridges, that purely human and instinctively aesthetic,

breathes a note of calm individuality quite its own. He recognised as the foundation of his work

It would not be easy to overrate the unique that Nature is the source of all that is possible in

charm this old Flemish city holds for those who art; and that, combine them as you will, it is to

enjoy a peep into the past, renewing for a time the her that you must go for all the finest suggestions

life of a far less complicated civilisation. and for all the best materials that the artist needs.

Try the gaily-dressed crowd listening to the In this conviction the stages of his pictures from

band in the gardens, after church, Sunday mornings first beginnings to final completion were all marked

—the old women hobbling in the evening light on by the same anxiety for accuracy, and by the same

the outskirts of the town consistent effort to secure perfection. His colour

along the road which winds schemes were found in flowers, in feathers, in

below the gaunt windmills shells ; his types of faces and figures were studied

—the archers, with their feature by feature, and part by part, from the most

superb poses of body, you perfect examples of physical development he could

will find almost any Sunday bring together ; even such matters as the distribu-

afternoon practising in the tion of pattern or the balance of masses were

suburbs : try the row of determined by observation of out-of-door effects,

light green statues at the He left nothing to chance, and did nothing, no

museum entrance under matter how apparently unimportant, carelessly or

the belfry ; or for rich undecidedly. He went through life in a receptive

still-life, try the brass spirit, and kept himself-always ready to accept a

statue of Marie de Bour- fresh impression or to adapt a new hint,

gogne in the church of In his methods of painting he followed the same

Notre Dame : turn Fran- lines, and worked on the same principles. Before

cois Bonvin, and paint he began actually to handle the canvas he destined

the plump, comfortable- for any particular picture, he had by an incredible

looking Sisters of Charity number of studies made himself thoroughly ac-

in the Hospital of Saint Jean—in fine, try Bruges, quainted with every part and every detail. Over

is the recommendation of and over again he would draw and paint the figures,

Yours faithfully, faces, and draperies, and even the minor accesso-

William Patten. ries, which were to make up his picture, until he

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