Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

off a chain which falls from her neck, as if she intended to follow the example before her. This picture, for composition, colouring, richness of effect, and all those qualities in which Rubens more particularly excelled, claims a rank amongst his greatest and best works. It is engraved by Pilsen.

In a chapel is a work of the brothers Hubert and John Van Eyck, representing the Adoration of the Lamb,-a story from the Apocalypse : it contains a great number of figures in a hard manner, but there is great character of truth and nature in the heads; and the landscape is well coloured.

In the third chapel on the right, is a picture of St. Sebastian, by Gerard Honthorst (1663). This picture is mentioned, not for any great excellence that it possesses, but from its being much talked of here: people fancy they see great expression of tenderness in the woman who is drawing the arrows from the saint's body; but she appeared to me perfectly insipid, and totally without expression of any kind : the head of St. Sebastian is hard and disagreeable; the body indeed is well drawn, and not ill coloured, and is the only part of the picture that deserves any commendation.

st. MICHAEL'S CHURCH. In this church is, or rather was, the famous Crucifixion of Vandyck; for it is almost destroyed. by cleaning. It is well known by the fine print of Bolswert; and it appears, by what remains, to have been one of his most capital works.

Vandyck has here introduced a 'most beautiful horse, in an attitude of the utmost grace and dignity. This is the same horse on which he drew Charles the Fifth, which is in the gallery at Florence; the head of the emperor he copied from Titian.

St. John's hand in this picture comes round the Virgin Mary's neck, and falls on the other shoulder. The first impression of Bolswert's plate has this circumstance; but it was afterwards changed, be. ing supposed to be too familiar an attitude.

Christ scourged, by Seghers; the arm finely drawn, and the body well coloured, but too large.

St. Hubert, a well painted and well composed picture, by Lang Jan.

THE RECOLLETS. The high altar; a profane allegorical picture by Rubens. Christ with Jupiter's thunder and lightning in his hand, denouncing vengeance on a wicked world, represented by a globe lying op the ground, with the serpent twined round it: this globe St. Francis appears to be covering and defending with his mantle. The Virgin is holding Christ's hand, and showing her breasts ; implying, as I suppose, the right she has to intercede and have an interest with him whom she suckled. The

Christ, which is ill drawn, in an attitude affectedly contrasted, is the most ungracious figure that can be imagined : the best part of the picture is the head of St. Francis.

Mary Magdalen expiring, supported by ill drawn angels, by Rubens; the saint herself old and disagreeable. · St. Franc is receiving the Stigmata, likewise by Rubens;—a figure without dignity, and more like a beggar: though his dress is mean, be ought surely to be represented with the dignity and simplicity of a saint. Upon the whole, Rubens would appear to no great advantage at Ghent, if it was not for the picture of St. Bavon.

ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH. The great altar, representing some history of this saint, is painted by N. Roose, a painter of no great merit ; but this is far superior to any other of his works, which are plentifully dispersed over Flanders. It is of a mellow colour, and has great force and brilliancy: it is illuminated by torch-light, but so well managed, as to have nothing of that disagreeable effect which Honthorst, Seghers, Schalcken, and others, gave to their pictures, when they represented night-pieces.

St. Joseph advertised by an Angel, by Ronbouts. The angel is an upright figure, and treads the air with great grace; his countenance is likewise beautiful, as is also that of the Virgin.

A LOST ST. MARTIN. St. Rock interceding with Christ for the diseased of the plague, by Rubens. The composition is upon the same plan as that of St. Bavon at Ghent. The picture is divided into two parts ; the Saint and Christ are represented in the upper part, and the effects of the plague in the lower part of the picture.--In this piece the grey is rather too predominant, and the figures have not that union with their ground which is generally, so admirable in the works of Rubens. I suspect it has been in some picture-cleaner's hands, whom I have often known to darken every part of the ground about the figure, in order to make the flesh look brighter and clearer; by which the general effect is detroyed. There is a print from this picture, by P. Pontius.

BRUSSELS.

St. Gudule.—Christ's Charge to Peter, with two of the Apostles. The characters heavy, without grace or dignity; the handling, on a close examination, appears tame, even to the suspicion of its being a copy : the colouring is remarkably fresh. The name of Rubens would not stand high in the world if he had not produced other pictures than such as this. On the same pillar is a Pieta of B. Van Orlay, with six portraits

VOL. II.

of the family who presented this picture to the church. The old man, who appears to be the father, has great nature, but hard, as the whole picture is in a dry Gothic style.

is the fixed drcolour betweenis, coming of the picio

UNSHOD CARMELITES. The high altar; the Assumption, by Rubens. The principal figure, the Virgin, is the worst in the composition, both in regard to the character of the countenance, the drawing of the figure, and even its colour; for she is dressed, not in what is the fixed dress of the Virgin, blue and red, but entirely in a colour between blue and grey, heightened with white; and this, coming on a white glory, gives a deadness to that part of the picture. The apostles and the two women are in Rubens' best manner; the angels are beautifully coloured, and unite with the sky in perfect harmony; the masses of light and shade are conducted with the greatest judgment, and excepting the upper part where the Virgin is, it is one of Rubens' rich pictures. .

Here are about the church pretty good copies, making in all ten pictures of that great work of Rubens, the Triumph of the Church. The originals were destroyed by fire, when the prince's palace was burnt in 1731. .

On the left side of the high altar, Christ and St. Theresa, with two angels ; one supports her, and the other presents to her bosom a flaming arrow;

« ForrigeFortsett »