Chapter 6 Text

XChapter 6 in BookX


It is only the denizens of southern countries who appreciate that repose during the heat of the day to which the Spaniards have given the title of the siesta. In the brisk and invigorated atmosphere of the North, where the enervating power of the sun is reduced to a minimum, people are at their busiest at the hours when in more tropical latitudes they surrender themselves to lassitude and indolent ease. It is one of the brunette beauties of the far south of France, drowsing, half asleep and half awake, through the midsummer mid-day, that Marcel-Paul Meys presents in "A Summer Siesta." The painter, who is of Parisian birth, is a pupil of Delaunay and of Puvis de Chavannes, to the influence of which masters one may probably ascribe his superb command of form and solid handling of his subjects.

One of the strongest and most individual of modern French painters, a man replete with originality and firey spirit, is Aime Nicholas Morot. Morot was born at Nancy in 1850, and studied art under Cabanel. He won the Prix de Rome in 1873, and his first picture exhibitat the Salon, in 1876, obtained him his first medal. He was medalled again in 1877 and in 1879, and received the medal of honor in 1880 for "The Good Samaritan," a powerful picture which the Government purchased for the Luxembourg Museum. He painted religious subjects and profane subjects, allegories, mythological compositions, battle scenes, with an endless facility and felicity of touch. From a journey in Spain he brought back a number of Spanish motives, one of which, a scene at a bull-fight, is now in the Corcoran Gallery at Washington. "Japanese Fancy" is one of his characteristically audacious experiments in contrasts, the opposition of the pure and delicate tint and texture of flesh to the blazing and gaudy colors of an Oriental umbrella and robe. Morot is a son-in-law of the great painter J.L. Gerome.

The story of Phaedra is one of the gloomiest tragedies of Greek legend. She was the daughter of Minos, King of Crete, and Pasiphae, the sister of Ariadne and the second wife of Thesus. She had a stepson, Hippolytus by name. He failed in paying due homage and worship to Venus, and the goddess, in revenge, resolved on his destruction. To begin with, she inspired his stepmother with an intense and unnatural passion for him, which led her to make advances which the youth indignantly rejected. Phaedra than accused Hippolytus to his father, and Theseus, his jealousy aroused, demanded his life from Neptune. Accordingly, Hippolytus was thrown from his chariot while driving on the seashore, and dragged along the sands till he was dead. The artist shows the unhappy woman, tormented by the memory of her crime, watched over in her chamber by her anxious and weary attendants. It was in this scene of Racine's tragedy that the famous French actress, Rachel, achieved her most magnificent tragic success upon the stage, and in it Mme. Sarah Bernhardt reaches the apex of her art.

Alexandre Cabanel, who died in 1889, was born at Montpellier in 1823. He began painting as a pupil of Picot, in the old classical manner, but soon adopted a more modern and natural style of his own. After carrying off the Prix de Rome in 1845, he took medal after medal, was made an Officer of the Legion of Honor and a Member of the Institute of France. His pictures are to be found in all the European museums and many of our own, and in every private collection of note in America and abroad; and his decorative paintings in the Louvre and other public buildings are among the masterpieces of that art. He was also a portrait painter of the first order, especially of women, and no small part of his large fortune came to him from his commissions in this line, many of his sitters being Americans. "Phadra" was painted by him in 1880, and the original picture is in the collection of Mr. John T. Martin, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Hungarian painter, F. Dvorak, has won a reputation by pictures of the decorative order, of which "Spring" is an excellent example. As is common with painters of his nationality, he is a particularly fine colorist.

"An Egyptian Slave" is a good study of voluptuous Oriental character by Nathaniel Sichel,

and Lionel Royer appears again in a masterly composition, "Love and Folly." Here Folly, mad with wantonness, is leading Love, who is blindfold, to destruction over a precipice. The idea is original and its realization thoroughly artistic and sound.

A figure almost worthy of an old master in sentiment and dignified simplicity of treatment is the "Magdalene" of Mme. Jacqueline Comerre-Paton. Mme. Paton, who was born in Paris and ws a pupil of Cabanel, is the wife of the eminent artist Leon Commerre, and has gained much favor by her work in portraiture and her pictures of sentiment and feeling, like the one we give herewith.

The "Spring" of L. Bouvier is a charming panel in the truest decorative feeling, by a young artist of Paris of rapidly growing reputation.

Charles Landelle reappears with a half-length figure of an Almeh, or Egyptian dancing-girl, resting in an interval of her performance by leaning against a wall as she watches the other dances.

"Morning" and "Night" are two world-famous paintings by W.A. Bouguereau, which appeared in the Salons of 1881 and 1882 respectively, and both of which are now in American collections. They are, in conception and treatment, among the most purely classical of the painter's productions, and far above his average in refined and tender sentiment.

The education of the infant Bacchus, our mythologies inform us, was confided by his immortal father Zeus to the nymphs of Nysa in Thrace, to which fact lexicographers attribute his ancient Greek title of Dionysus. The young god's childhood must have been a pleasant one, spent as it was among the Thracian groves and by the banks of the smiling river Nysa, in which the artists shows him sporting with the ripples of the genial flood. The painter, Joseph Victor Ranvier, is a native of Lyons, and learned to draw at the local art school in order to become a designer for the silk and wall-paper manufacturers. Having succeeded in accumulating a modest capital of his earnings in the service of industrial art, he settled in Paris as a pupil of Janniot and of Richard, and won his first medal at the Salon of 1865. He became a favorite artist in the field of figure, and received the cross of the Legion of Honor in 1878.

Francisque Edouard Bertier was another French artist, born in Paris, and educated in the studios of and Cabanel. After achieving success in Paris, he some years ago visited America, and opened a studio in New York, where he painted many portraits and genre subjects, and where his home was the centre of a refined social circle. he died upon his return to France. "A Trick at Cards represents a Spanish gypsy girl, who is giving a sleight-of-hand performance before some impromptu rural audience in a country barn or the stable of an inn, the customary theatres for these entertainments of the itinerant mountebanks.

Another example of the fantastic invention of Luis Falero is presented in "The Departure of the Witches." This is a section from one of his famous pictures whose suggestion he derived from his studies of the Faust legend, and is a composition worthy of those creative geniuses in ancient art who followed the lead of Holbein and made "The Dance of Death" a vehicle for the free fling of their fecund imagination. The idea is, of course, that the witches and warlocks and their hideous attendants making their annual aerial flight to their common congregation place upon the Brocken, as veraciously detailed in the old legend.

Carl von Bodenhausen, a well-known German artist, is admirably represented by his "Voices of Fairyland," a picture which attracted much attention in the exhibitions of his native country some years ago. It is a time-honored German story which it illustrates; telling how a maiden whose home was embittered by harsh parents and sisters, a sort of Cinderella, as it might be, fell asleep beside a haunted stream, and was awakened by the voices of the pitying fairies, who presaged for her a grand future, which in due course came to pass, for she was wooed and won by a handsome prince in disguise, and became a queen and the ruler over the wicked people whose cruelty had once oppressed her.

There was once a famous collector of works of art and antiquity in Russia named Charles de Liphart. He was the descendant of a Frenchman who had come to Russia to serve the Empress Catharine, and he had in his turn a son who is the present artist Baron Ernst de Liphart. The boy, growing up in an atmosphere of art, quite in a natural way became an artist. His father, who had not yet squandered all the fortune which his grandfather had amassed, sent Ernest, who was born at Dorpat, to Florence to study. There the boy fell in with the now famous German painter Lenbach, who was studying in Italy under the patronage of Count Schack. Count Schack was a German nobleman of colassal wealth, and a great art collector, who during his lifetime encouraged and supported many struggling young artists whom he esteemed to be of merit, and when he died, a couple of years ago, bequeathed his palace and his matchless collection of pictures in Munich, Bavaria, to the nation as a public museum. Lenbach, who was a favorite of the Count's, introduced the young Russian to him, and argued so eloquently in his favor that the Count, who had arranged already to send Lenbach to Spain to study the old masters there, sent his friend with him, defraying all his expenses also. This was the turning pont of de Liphart's career.

Hendrik de Siemiradzki is of Polish birth, from 1843. The place of his nativity was a village in the province of Grodno called Siemirad, from which he takes his surname, the name of his family being plain Hendrik. His father was a small official under the Russian Government, and sent him to Charkoff to become a professor of natural history at the college there. The boy was a diligent student, but the necessities of his education caused him to learn to draw, and in doing so the art spirit which was latent in him was aroused. When he had, with honor, completed his course in natural history, he went to St. Petersburg and entered himself as a student of art at the Imperial Academy. His first works were drawings in monochrome, crayon, pencil, india-ink, sepia, and these, in 1870, were found so meritorious by the professors of the Academy that they allowed him the Imperial stipend upon which he could travel and study in Europe. He visited Paris and then settled in Munich, where he became a pupil of Piloty, and won his rank among the foremost of his fellows.

Chapter 1 Chapter 1
Chapter 2 Chapter 2
Chapter 3 Chapter 3
Chapter 4 Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Chapter 5
Chapter 6 Chapter 6
Chapter 7 Chapter 7
Chapter 8 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 9
Chapter 10 Chapter 10
Chapter 11 Chapter 11
Chapter 12 Chapter 12

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