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I consider those painters as belonging to this school, who painted only small conversations, landscapes, &c. Though some of those were born in Flanders, their works are principally found in Holland : and to separate them from the Flemish school, which generally painted figures large as life, it appears to me more reasonable to class them with the Dutch painters, and to distinguish those two schools rather by their style and manner, than by the place where the artist happened to be born.
Rembrandt may be considered as belonging to both or either, as he painted both large and small pictures.
The works of David Teniers, jun. are worthy the closest attention of a painter, who desires to excel in the mechanical knowledge of his art. His. manner of touching, or what we call handling, has perhaps never been equalled; there is in his pictures that
exact mixture of softness and s ness, which is difficult to execute.
Jan Steen has a strong manly style of painting, which might become even the design of Raffaelle, and he has shown the greatest skill in composition, and management of light and shadow, as well as great truth in the expression and character of his figures.
: The landscapes of Ruysdaal have not only great force, but have a freshness which is seen in scarce any other painter. What excellence in colouring and handling is to be found in the dead game of Weeninx.
A clearness and brilliancy of colouring may be learned by examining the flower pieces of De Heem, Huysum, and Mignon ; and a short time employed in painting flowers would make no improper' part of a painter's study. Rubens's pictures strongly remind one of a nosegay of flowers, where all the
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colours are bright, clear, and transparent.
I have only to add, that in this account of the Dutch pictures, which is indeed little more than a catalogue, I have mentioned only those which I considered worthy of attention. It is not to be supposed that those are the whole of the Cabinets described; perhaps in a collection of near a hundred pictures, not ten are set down : their being mentioned at all, therefore, though no epithet may be added, implies excellence.
I have been more particular in the account of Mr. Hope's Cabinet, not only because it is acknowledged to be the first in Amsterdam, but because I had an opportunity (by the particular attention and civility of its possessors) of seeing it oftener, and considering it more at my leisure, than any other collection.
The easy access which you have to this collection of pictures, seeing it as often, and staying in it as long as you please, without appearing to incommode any body, cannot but be very pleasing to strangers, and very advantageous to the students in painting, who seem to have the same indulgence; for we found many copying in the gallery, and others in a large room above stairs, which is allotted for that purpose. I could not help expressing to Mr. Kraye the pleasure I felt, not only at the great conveniency with which I saw the gallery, but likewise at the great indulgence granted to the students. He said it was the Elector's wish to afford the most perfect accommodation to those who visit the collection : but in regard to the students, he took some credit to himself
in procuring for them that advantage.