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.
Egyptian Slave" is a good study of voluptuous Oriental character by
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
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
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.