The Peel Collection And The Dutch School Of Painting

The Peel Collection And The Dutch School Of Painting

by Walter Armstrong

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781443776097
Publisher: Mac Donnell Press
Publication date: 10/27/2008
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.34(d)

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CHAPTER IV The Dutch Painters of Society I Have already hinted a confession that the master of my own predilection is Gabriel Metsu, who appears to me the completest embodiment of the qualities which are distinctively Dutch. He was excelled in this or that direction by others. He could not paint light with de Hooghe or Vermeer, or movement with Jan Steen ; his sense of life was less vivid than Vermeer's, of refinement less complete than Terborch's. But putting all these qualities together, and supplementing them with the further test which lies in unity, he was equal to the best ; while in the fine and rare quality of an expressive but strictly controlled handling he was the master of them all. In their finest works both de Hooghe and Vermeer reach heights unknown to Metsu. When we turn from such pictures as the " Delft," the " Laitière," and the " Soldier and the Laughing Girl," or those interiors of de Hooghe in which the sun plays on marble floors, among red petticoats and the rafters of timbered roofs, to the finest Metsu, we are conscious of a fall in vitality, in imagination, in ambition. Art, they say, is nature seen through a temperament. Well, with Vermeer and de Hooghe the temperament seems absolutely transparent. The nature seen through it is as vivid and brilliant as the real thing ; the temperament works only to arrange and marshal, not to modify or depress. With Metsu it is not so. He does not venture to look the sun quite in the face. As he recreates nature for our pleasure, he watches her through a smoked glass, through a temperament which prepares for unity by control. But if he never rises to the heights touched now and then by the two great masters ofDelft, he seldom sinks below his own level, so that of all thejartists of Holland—never failing, of course, ...

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