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ART & ARCHITECTURE: The Art - Italy and Spain
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[75] - One may well imagine some intelligent visitor to these art collections coming, somewhat wearied, from the Scandinavian galleries to those much larger ones filled with the canvases, bronzes and marbles of Southern Europe and finding plenty of material to feed fat not only his robust “Anglo-Saxon” disesteem of the “Latins” — inherited tendency — but also a cultured, artistic, disapproval that is of the most modern school. A certain instinct that the very best is that which is earnest, sober, probably sad colored, — not that in which may be suspected something frivolous, theatrical, appealing to the popular taste and therefore necessarily base. Ibsen vs. Fortuny; Wagner rather than Rossini; Goethe against Boccacio; etc., etc. This sort of misplaced Puritanism, as we have said, is a creed now much in favor in some of the ateliers, from purely aesthetic motives; Our Lady of Ugliness has many a painter to the devil. As between the starved Norwegian paintings of peasants and the vulgar and flippant Italian marble work there certainly can be but little hesitation, and the cheerful Latin exuberance and lightness probably goes to the bad more quickly even the the Northern soberness. But that the one may lead to quite as good art — in painting at least — as the other, may be safely affirmed. In the Italian and Spanish art galleries [76] may be found suggested rather than displayed — for both collections are by no means the best that could have been made - a whole lot of tendencies and aspirations that, if fully developed, lead to the fine flower and perfection of art. A longing for splendor and fatness and fullness, for the pomp and harmony of good color and the endless and intricate and try decorative and satisfactory arrangement of form, for the free play of all the invention and ingenuity and imagination that the artist should be properly endowed with. This is the doctrine that the contemporary Spanish and Italian schools really preach, and which some of their masters set forth, and, as Art is Art, it is sound doctrine.

It is to be regretted that more of the very best work has not been sent here, and that so much of that chiseled on the slippery road to Avernus has been. Among the Italian pictures also may be found enough of the very worst — as the bulk of the Roman, costume, water-colors and, among the oils, Spiridon’s life-size figures for cigarette labels. But amid this wilderness may be found occasionally such brilliant settings-forth as ROSSI’s ‘RECEPTION AT THE DOGE’S PALACE,” reproduced in our full-page plate. This example is not only a very good painting in oil — notwithstanding a certain lack of insistence on the receding planes, — and of a quality that no American, English, Scandinavian or Teutonic painter could attain, but it includes a great many things, if you please, which are not necessarily or usually included in this definition. It is a historical restoration inspired with that breath of life which transports you for the moment across time and space to the artists’ local; you wait at the foot of the Doge’s stairway of state, piqued and charmed, and go away full of entertainment at the cheerful world and the clever painter. The lightness of touch, the malice and grace, the mysterious black mantles and cocked hats and the white masks, the luxury of these alert figures, with their silver-embroidered, rose- colored satin hooped skirts and their fine red-carpeted stairway — in all these the pleasure of the eye and the mind are so neatly combined that you cannot distinguish them and you are tempted to look back with disfavor on the clumsy and plodding Northerners.

The typical Italian statuary swarms in all these galleries, in numbers too great to compute and of very varying dimensions. The characteristic ignoring of the generally accepted principles of the sculptor’s art which underlies nearly all these conceptions manifests itself also in certain inartistic and inharmonious combinations of materials, black and white marbles, or marble and bronze. The very great skill with the chisel is frequently the only virtue. Several of these sculptors contribute a half dozen or more works, and one or two, twice as many. The subjects are the familiar ones, generally taken from contemporary daily life, nearly always falsified and prettified more or less. One of the best of these workmen is C. Barbella of Castellamare; in his “Return,” the lover comes slyly behind and covers her eyes before she can turn, in the “Alone,” he kisses her under her basket, in the [77] “Harmony” two young girls sing. An older artist is E. Biondi, of Rome, who devotes himself to Oriental subjects. P. Calvi’s bronze and marble bust of Othello regarding the white handkerchief in his black hand was seen at Paris in 1889. Among the more serious work is F. Soebock’s bronze statuette of faun and bacchante, Allgetti’s marble life-size figure of Eve, after sinning, Luzi’s colored bronze of an Arab shepherd, Nelli’s bronze “Ismael,” bending a bow, and Bardi’s little nereid on a sea horse, the horse pretty bad, however. P. Troubestkoy, of Milan, sends two ingenious sketches of monuments, one to Garibaldi and one to Dante. In the first, the cloaked figure of the Liberator sits on horseback; in the other, the gloomy poet looks down from the top of his square shaft on the sinners in the lake below, while across the face of the shaft is a flying draped figure. Among the very few truly dignified and noble works is the very beautiful, thoughtful bronze head of a woman, by S. Ramazzotti, of Padua, worthily called “A Dream.” The same artist’s marble bust, “A Spring-time Song,” is not nearly so good. The long list of these works is led off in the official catalogue by a delicate tribute to our own nation, “AMERICAN MYTHOLOGY.” reproduced in our illustration. This distinctly original theme the sculptor, A. APOLLONI of Rome, has rendered in a sufficiently unenterprising manner, — as a nude, marble figure holding a telephone to her ear. The first and largest gallery in which many of these figurines and figures disport themselves is hung round with handsome modern tapestry decorated with Boucher subjects.

Among the paintings, the three portraits by BOLDINI are characterized by the distinguished artist himself as the clef of the entire collection, — and there will not be wanting outside support for this opinion. Certainly for apparently superficial dash and cleverness these canvases would be hard to excel, but it is easy to conceive that it is not every type even of femininity or childhood that would lend itself sympathetically to this particular theory and execution. And as two of these particular characterizations appeared at the Paris Exposition of 1889 it is evident that Signor Boldini considers them as showing him at his best. The two ladies, very tall, very stylish, in sweeping white dresses with splendid black fans or other strong accents to set them off, are very fetching indeed, but — to adapt a homely standard, possibly scarcely worthy the dignity of a treatise like the present — they conspicuously fail to appeal to plain, [78] domestic folk. The little girl, shown in our reproduction, “PORTRAIT OF A GIRL,” has not so much of this quality, as she is a little girl — but the painter’s desire to make a picturesque, effective figure is evidently much stronger in him than any sincere, trembling effort to get at the soul of his sitter. In this respect he may be said to be superficial, but picturesque, artistic figures are very allowable, even if the plain folk protest, and there is not wanting something in the eyes of one of his ladies that reveals very frankly the woman. So that the visitor, going back to look at her again two or three times, begins to suspect that the artist’s choice of presentation was duly made with regard to her quality, and finally goes away with two minds as to this work of art.

Boldini paints in Paris, and has correspondingly adulterated his nationality, but when we turn from his sophisticated canvases to the, in some respects, more characteristic ones of his compatriots we may not be so much interested. Here is, for instance and by way of contrast, one of the first pictures that attracts your attention, a long narrow canvas containing a row of studies of heads, the “ILL-FED,” of O. DA MOLIN of Venice, very carefully done and yet very unsatisfactory. If the painter’s sitters had been more forcibly representative of their class they would have been better studies still without constituting a picture; with the exception of the old woman near the centre and the boy near the right they are scarcely worth our trouble. “At the Pawnshop,” by the same artist, also strong in color, is a much more conventional composition, and it was probably the first work which secured for the painter one of the many medals awarded in this section. Somewhat in the same vein, and one of the best of these annals of the poor, is the large canvas by Bertolotti, of Milan, “The Giddy Monk,” a row of heads and busts above the convent table, the monk drinking. Good, strong work may also be found in the “Second Nurse” by Buzzaro, of the same city, an old man and a little girl. Novo of Venice paints a more ingenious composition, rendered with much intelligence, more little girls, occupied in an open doorway and suspending their work to regard one indicated to them as “The Worst of All,” a small, red-haired maid weeping miserably against the wall. The childish figure, in its abandonment of grief and isolation, is at once pathetic and funny, as childish woes so frequently are to the elders. This [79] picture early found an appreciative purchaser. Worthy of notice also are the other two canvases by this Venetian painter, studies of fruit shops and fruit sellers in his native city, and the discerning commisioners have awarded him a meda.

Also thus distinguished is the large canvas by A. DALL ‘OCA BIANCA, of Verona, ‘THE QUADRILLE,” his only contribution, one of the most serious attempts at picture making on these walls. Starting with an unusually good subject — a peasant’s dance on the grass, near the sea, in early twilight — the painter has so conceived and arranged his composition and his lighting that he has very nearly succeeded. The balance and action, and variety of pose and the warm and harmonious coloring are all good, — as will be seen by our reproduction, the men link hands in one chain and the girls in another, and the two form and dissolve and advance and retreat opposite each to the tinkle of the guitars. The painter has perhaps maintained too even a course between the ideal and the real; a little more courage, one way or the other, might have helped his picture. The best of the four or five works by the Roman Corelli is that in which the youthful goatherds chase each other around a big tree in the woods, the girl both willing and unwilling to be caught, after the manner of her sex. His immense canvas, peasants pausing in their labors on the Campagna at the sound of the Angelus on St. Peter’s Day, the ruins of a great aqueduct in the background, is an older picture, frequently exhibited, but not interesting in proportion to its size and the labor bestowed upon it. Of the very numerous Roman watercolors we select as a fair example the principal group from one of the numerous medaled ones, TIRATELLI’S “PATRON SAINT DAY,” for reproduction, and the same artist sends an oil study of a flock of sheep on the Campagna. Also among the medaled watercolors is ,B>TITO LESSI’s “BIBLIOPHILE,” an excellent and careful study of the interior of a stately eighteenth century library, reproduced in our full-page plate.

But life is not all bread and cheese, and even the Roman painters grow tired of the Roman peasant, — the ubiquitous and exacting model who has so long imposed himself upon his contemporary art, of all nations. SIGNOR DE TOMMASI, for example, in his painting in oil, skillfully translated in our etching, finds a smiling, dark-haired beauty couched on his divan, tricked out with greenish gauze drapery and appropriate flowers, and calls her “GOLDEN DREAMS;” SIGNOR SIMONI goes farther afield and paints a group of ‘ALGERIAN WOMEN ON THE TERRACE,” — not entirely in a convincing manner, and in his watercolors he ranges from a fruit market in Sorrento to the last day of the Ramadan, in Constantinople or Cairo. Signor Capranica sends three pastels, two indifferent studies of heads on which he bestows fanciful titles and a very good study of the nude which he calls “Truth.” Also among the best of the watercolors is Corelli’s “Serenata,” — a very good opera scene, a long dusky convent or palace wall in the twilight and the unlucky serenader dead in the snow outside.

The landscape painters and those who do city streets and canals are quite as interesting as those who study the figure. Of the half dozen spirited and clever Venetian scenes, by CIARDI, of that city, [80] we give a full-page reproduction of the view on the canal showing the Dogana, and of the four pictures by CORRODI of Rome, a textual cut of one of the best, the fine, effective ‘CONVENT OF ST. LAZARO,” with its towering ancient cypress. Much of the same theatrical quality may be found in his picture of the tower of Charles V. at Spezia, but we like better the sunset scene at the foot of the Pyramids, at the season of the overflow of the Nile. Good color and good quality may also be found in Fragiacomo’s “Summer Clouds,” on the lagoons, and Lancerotto’s and Prati’s Venetian pictures, and the famous “BAY OF NAPLES” has inspired almost as many painters as the queen of the Adriatic, among them SANTORO, who lives on its shores. Carcano, of Milan, paints a section of the Lombard plain, on a big canvas, effectively; Armenise, of the same city, a big village fete that is worth stopping to see, and Barucci, of Rome, a big view of the Roman Apennines, also good. Nearly all of these painters have received medals. Of the few cattle pieces, one of the best is the Neapolitan Battaglia’s stable with calves; and among the most noticeable of the portraits is that of His Holiness, the present Pope, by F. M. Guardabassi, of Perugia. The very valuable collection of reproductions of classical bronzes from the originals in the Naples Museum, mostly from Pompeii and Herculaneum, fills two of these galleries and is somewhat more interesting than most of the modern work.

The lack of connection between classic and modern Italian art is even greater than that between the old and the new Spanish schools, but the latter are sufficiently far apart. The only traits in common are declared by the commentators to be a certain lack of imagination, common to all Spanish artists, and a certain national stamp. The leader of the modern painters was Fortuny, — Goya occupying a place by himself, — but Fortuny’s glitter, and Zamacois’ malice and humor — more French and Spanish, his compatriots declare, are already almost as demode as the stilted and conventional historical compositions of Vera, Casado, and others, of the older men. Thought there are to be seen at Chicago one or two of the most important works shown in the Spanish section at Paris in 1889, as Moreno Carbonero’s “Conversion of the Duke of Gandia,” the collection as a whole, though larger, seems to be scarcely as effective. Pradilla, to name but one of the graver historical painters, is absent, and that peculiarly Spanish art, which owes so much to Fortuny and which takes such abounding and exuberant delight in the infinite detail of the rococo and the opera comique, by no means shines at its best. The most important figure composition, large and small, historic and modern, seems to occupy a duller middle ground between these two excellent extremes.

The sculpture exhibit includes some four dozen pieces, but among these several are interesting. The Spanish catalogue was one of the latest in appearing, and is one of the most unsatisfactory of these official [81] guides, and the titles of some of the works do not appear at all, whilst others are duplicated. Among those not noticed in the official English edition are the handsome plaster bust of the Queen Regent in the centre of Gallery No. 21, and the amusing genre group of Miguel Angel Trilles, the small boy and his first earrings, exhibited by the Madrid National Museum. Half of the sculpture exhibit is shown in the Spanish Government Building and in the great Manufactures Building, but these are largely the less important pieces, in plaster and baked clay. The nude, which constitutes such an important feature in most exhibitions of this art, is not very numerous here, but the few examples present show much of the requisite technical knowledge of modeling. One of the most interesting is the life-size plaster figure of “FORTUNE,” balancing herself on one foot on her overturned crock of gold, by GANDARIAS Y PLANGAN, of Madrid, placed in the large West Court. This figure, as it now stands, is a striking monument to the skill of the official restorer of sculpture of the Exposition, for, owing to an unfortunate accident, it was reduced to so many fragments soon after being unpacked as to be apparently ruined. By the same Madrid sculptor is the marble bust of a Japanese woman, with incongruous hairpins of brass, and a plaster group, “Shipwrecked,” owned by the National Museum. Another life-sized nude figure is the “Slave,” of Nunez Fernandez, also of Madrid, and a more interesting one, apparently inspired by Rodin, is the “Remorse,” lying on her side, by Claraso of Barcelona. Among the more dignified, conventional work mention should be made of the bronze group by Querol of Tortosa, the property of the Museo Nacional de Pintura y Escultura, an old woman, personifying Tradition, two boys at her knee and a raven perched at her ear. The necessary monument to Columbus appears only in a good bronze high relief for that at Havana, representing the Discoverer before their Catholic Majesties on his return, by Susillo. Of the more decorative and less serious work there is a cheerful bronze group by Alcoverro y Amoros, of Madrid, a “Duet” between the hunting horn of a chasseur with a high chapeau and his dog; a pretty bronze group of small boy with his puppy in his lap, “Model Resting,” by Marinos y Gracia of Segovia; a group in baked clay of a Nubian and two lion cubs, by Vallmitana Abarca, of Barcelona, and a bronze group of a child who seeks to restrain an unwilling duck, by Querol, the property of the National Academy.

Of the paintings in oil, the most prevalent technical shortcomings seem to be a hardness of facture and, in some [82] cases a thinness of quality and hotness of color. In many of them the shadows are of an unnecessary blackness and opacity, like those of a wood engraving. The painting of that popular Valencian artist AGRASOT Y JUAN, for example, is both hard and thin, though, as may be seen by our illustration of “THE HEALTH OF THE BRIDE,” the valuable qualities of ingenuity of design and skill of characterization are not lacking. Sometimes the color is open to the accusation of being dirty, rather than pure, as in the important “ACCIDENT IN THE BULL RING,” by JOSE JIMINEZ ARANDA, of Madrid, the painting reproduced in our photogravure plate and interesting among bull-fight pictures as concerning itself exclusively with the audience. The hardness and thinness may be considered as a perverted inheritance from Fortuny, — indeed Fortuny has influenced all these painters as much as he has been supposed to have done. But it is easy to find more interesting qualities and redeeming virtues; here are three genre pictures by JOSE MORENO CARBONERO, hung almost side by side, and in which the extreme carefulness of detail and finish does not interfere with more important painting qualities, luminousness, warmth and richness and judicious balance of color, and great fidelity to nature. In one, Don Quixote watches his flock of sheep in the distance; in the second, GIL BLAS assists at a little business of his picturesque gentlemen of the road, and in the third — to be found among the full-page plates — we have an incident from another Spanish romance, El sombrero de tres picos, of Don Pedro N. Alarcon. In this last, the ”Arre, burra,” “Go On,” of the donkey driver is practically only a pretext for a careful study of sunny, arid Spanish by-way. With such minor exceptions as the too great length of leg of the captain’s horse in the “Gil Blas” these are admirable works, truly representative of the national school, in which the combination of landscape and figures is most skillfully carried out.

In this careful painting of incident, from fiction, history and contemporary daily life, both on a large scale and on a small one, lies the chief interest of these galleries. It was in the midst of the proverbial embarrassment of riches that the selections for reproduction for this work were made, the character both of the subjects and of the technique rendering these pictures particularly adapted to illustration. To begin with those reproduced, FRANCISCO GALOFRE OLLER, of Barcelona, has found a subject for a large canvas in that unpleasant seventeenth century custom of public flogging of adulterers, both the man and the woman, through the streets, as a warning to others. The same dramatic theme has also been treated, among others, by that rather vulgar French artist, Jules Garnier, but the Spanish painter has been both more restrained and less effective in his presentation. He has placed the scene, with good pictorial judgment, in the public arcades of his native city, and he has spared our feelings by representing only the lashing of the elderly roue who leads the procession, but in his spectators — as truly valuable for the artist’s purpose as the principal characters — he has gotten far less variety, incident and malicious forcibleness than Garnier. In his note to this picture Pena de Azotes, the “PENALTY OF STROKES,” he informs us that this punishment was inflicted by the Tribunal of the Inquisition on heretics, Jews, blasphemers, thieves, etc., and that the locality represented in the calle de la Boria, the typical street of Barcelona in the middle of the seventeenth century, under the reign of His Catholic Majesty, Don [83] Felipe IV. To turn from tragedy to light comedy in the best Spanish style, we may contemplate Los Enamorados of LUIS JIMINEZ ARANDA of Paris — not to be confounded with his namesake — which is so well reproduced in the full-page photogravure that the reader will need neither translation of the title nor description. It may be said, however, that in this as in his other canvases, the painting is of the usual good quality of this well-known artist, and but few of the Exposition medals awarded in the fine arts department have been more judiciously placed than his.

Among the photogravure plates will also be found CESAR ALVAREZ DUMONT’s “Episode of the War of Independence, 1808," and ENRIQUE SIMONET’s very large “FLEVIT SUPER ILLAM,” the Weeping over Jerusalem. The first artist is of Madrid and the second of Malaga; the desperate defense of the convent cloister against the French invader will do to contrast with the somewhat cold and academical Scripture scene, the latter, however, being redeemed by the rendering of the twilight darkness which settles down over the sacred city, lit only by the luminous moon and a star. Most visitors will prefer to either of these the pretty scene of “DAPHNIS AND CHLOE,” with their goats in a wood, by LOPEZ CABRERA, of Seville, — a strong study of a beech wood, with the figures put in rather to complete the composition than to illustrate the idyl. The subtle, melancholy, modern way of conceiving pastorals and idyls is excellently represented in the two large canvases by FELIX RESURRECCION HIDALGO of Paris, which hang near each other, suggestive of Cazin but grayer in color, sober, poetical and harmonious. At the Paris Exposition of 1889, where he received a silver medal, this painter exhibited very different tendencies, — his chief exhibit being a huge, lurid representation of the bark of Charon, the unhappy souls in very violent attitudes of despair. Of these two canvases, “Farewell to the Sun,” and “Twilight,” we produce the latter, the illustration somewhat unduly emphasizing the darks. The importance of these pictures is increased by that scarcity of works of imagination among the Spanish artists, already alluded to.

Of the painters who find sufficient scope for their fancy in the comedies and tragedies of daily life around them, one of the best equipped is JOAQUIN SOROLLA, of Madrid, winner of first class medals at the International Exhibitions of Munich and Madrid in 1892, and the recipient of one of the Chicago [84] medals. Every one of his five canvases in these galleries is a strong and original work, and each so different from all the others that the only points of resemblance are the excellent brush work and the skill with which each contemporary theme is informed with an intelligent artistic impulse to supplement the mere good painting. The largest, and possibly the best, of these pictures is reproduced for these pages, “ANOTHER MARGUERITE,” on the cheerless bench of the tribunal of correction with the gendarmes behind her. In this sobre and restrained design and in the sombre gray tones of the color are sympathetically and discreetly suggested the whole of this poor tragedy. Equal judgment, in a lighter vein, is shown in each of the other four canvases, — in the first, we have a curious lantern-light study, a city watchman and two children made mysterious in the uncertain illumination; in another, a difficult problem of scattered light breaking through the chinks of an old boat house; in the third, a cheerful, spotty, bright group of figures, and in the fourth, some youthful flower girls under a trellis. A lesser man is PENA MUNOZ, also of Madrid, who paints commonplace scenes — a picnic and a painter in the country, surrounded by peasants, the latter reproduced in our textual illustration — without concerning himself much with anything subtler than intelligent observation.

Among these minor painters, one who merits a paragraph to himself is JOSE TAPIRO, aquarellist, condemned by the fragility of his health to live in Tangiers, and who has there found a means of establishing for himself an international reputation by the extraordinary skill in detail of his studies of heads of the natives. Sometimes he ventures upon figure compositions, with bits of landscape, but these are much less interesting. His best work is shown in such examples as the “MOORISH BRIDEGROOM,” of our illustration, the best, indeed, of his exhibits here. In this study, as in his others of the same kind, of the size of life, not only the modeling and varying color of the bluish-black countenance but all the elaborate detail of the costume and head dress is rendered with the utmost exactness and with a richness and solidity of color which suggests oil rather than the medium employed. The lustrous, mother-of-pearl interior of the shells is in itself a surprising piece of technique. In this multiplicity of minutiae, moreover, the ensemble suffers much less than would naturally be supposed.

In wandering among these numerous records of contemporary life, so valuable for the future student of social science, we find many more which arrest our steps. OLIVA RODRIGO, of Madrid, brings two “YOUNG SAVOYARDS” and their monkey into a picturesque rococo garden to amuse the indolent lady and her little girl. Luis Jiminez Aranda, the Parisian, goes to the Temple, as many another painter has done, and furnishes us with a valuable study of the cloth market; Luis Alvarez, on the other hand, in his “Visit” of condolence has struck the true national note, and his Columbian medal is doubly [85] earned. In a large apartment with walls of a dark greenish tone, the mourning family sit in the centre of the half circle formed by their guests and friends, in the foreground a stout monk, with an eye to the physical comfort of the company, stirs the brazier. It is not too much to say that the best traditions of contemporary Spanish art are revived in this work. And by its side hangs its counterpart, an equally admirable view of St. Mark’s, Venice, by the Madrid painter, Gonzalvo Perez. The work of the cleverest of Fortuny’s heirs is recalled by the sunny spottiness and cheerfulness of Ramirez e Ibanez’s garden party, with their fluffy white poodles and red parasol, and the view in the suburbs of Madrid, by the same painter, is almost equally characteristic. Luis Ferran, also of the Spanish capital, devotes two large canvases to elaborate street scenes, crowded with figures and gay with architecture, that are of the best shown here.

For so good a Catholic country the number of works devoted to the legends of the Church is singularly small. With the exception of Simonet’s large picture, already noticed, and the circular canvas by Riquer e Inglada, of Barcelona, there are none of note. In the latter the Virgin, in her allegory of a “Divine Shepherdess,” kneels in profile behind her woolly flock and folds her hands in prayer. The figure is pretty and graceful, but we have all seen many resembling it. The same artist also send a different theme, an indolent guardian of ducks, marked by the same thinness of treatment. Of allegory pure and simple, or treated decoratively there is not any more; in a corner of one of the galleries hangs a small but interesting canvas by a Barcelona artist, Kumetra y Ragull, “The Arts Saluting Immortality,” and in the Spanish Government Building two by a Madrid painter, Villegas Brieva, one of which is a species of allegorical presentation of “WAR.” Battlefields do not always present themselves with such a comprehensive summing-up of horrors as this, and the artist has had to call upon his invention to supplement the dead bodies of the combatants with that of the wife or mother tied to the stake, the faithful watch-dog at her feet, and the torch of universal conflagration. If sermonizing is allowable in art, discourses on this text may be considered acceptable.

The painters of very large serious historical compositions, of whom Pradilla is the best known representative in this country, though not at their strongest, are sufficiently well represented in this collection to give a distinctly national characteristic. Three of these pictures are from the collection of the Madrid National Museum, among them that Conversion del Duque de Gandia, by Jose Moreno Carbonero, already spoken of, and which may be remembered by the large mass of pale terra-cotta drapery which furnishes so prominent a note of color in the centre of the composition. Also from this national collection is the important picture by Eduardo Rosales, of Madrid, “Isabella the Catholic Dictating Her Will,” at Medina del Campo, October 12, 1504, some six weeks before her death in the [86] same place, and “The Lovers of Teruel,” by Munoz Degrain, of Valencia, the maid weeping on her lover’s body as duly set forth in an extract made in 1600, by Juan Yague, Notario apostolico, from the archives of Teruel. A painter of Seville, Parlade y Heredia, furnishes two of these large historical restorations, marked by great knowledge and solidity of design and sobriety of color. In the first, the “Day of Pavia,” Francois Ier., conspicuous by his stature, his armor and the head of slain around him, has just put up his visor and is surrendering his sword to the Spaniards crowding about him; in the second, the deliberations over the treaty of Caspe, we have the interior of a very dark hall, thronged with seated bishops and other dignitaries. One of the most remarkable of these big pictures is a so-called “Triumph of the Holy Cross,” by Santa Maria Sedano, of Burgos, concerning which the painter gives us no further information than that supplied by his canvas. This Christian triumph appears to consist in the riding down by mailed crusaders of long lines of unhappy naked negroes, armed with spears and chained together by the necks to stout posts. Maureta y Aracil, of Madrid, paints again the unlucky Queen of Scots, just before her execution, which the commissioners have hung over a door; and two of these pictures only are devoted to Columbus. Jose Garnelo, of Madrid, gives us an entirely conventional representation of the “first homage” paid to the Discoverer in the New World by the awe-struck natives, and Armando Menocal, of Havana, an “Embarkation of Columbus by order of Boabdilla,”noticeable principally for the exceeding blackness of the shadows. As will be seen, this is learned and dignified historical composition making — of a kind apparently quite impossible among the painters of today of our own beloved and truly artistic country — but it is scarcely to be ranked with the best work even of this century.

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