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The Project Gutenberg eBook, A History of Art for Beginners and Students: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture: Painting, by Clara Erskine Clement

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Title: A History of Art for Beginners and Students: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture


Author: Clara Erskine Clement

Release Date: March 1, 2008 [eBook #24726]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Anne Storer,
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team
















title page



Copyright, 1887,
Successor to White, Stokes, & Allen.

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CHAPTER I. page Ancient Painting, from the Earliest Times to the
Christian Era, 1 Egypt, 3 Assyria, 9 Babylon, 11 Ancient Greece and Italy, 13 Mosaics, 34 Paintings on Stone, 36 Vase-painting, 36   CHAPTER II. Mediæval Painting, from the Beginning of the
Christian Era to the Renaissance, 41 The Early Period, 42 The Central, or Romanesque Period, 50 The Final, or Gothic Period, 54   CHAPTER III. Painting in Italy, from the Beginning of the
Renaissance to the Present Century, 72   CHAPTER IV. Painting in Flanders, Holland, and Germany, 155   CHAPTER V. Painting in Spain, 207   CHAPTER VI. Painting in France, 234   CHAPTER VII. Painting in England, 249   INDEX, 305
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page Harp-player (from an Egyptian painting), 3 King Ramesses II. and his Sons Storming a Fortress
(from Abousimbel), 5 Fragment of an Assyrian Tile-painting, 10 Sacrifice of Iphigenia (from a Pompeian wall-painting), 16 Etruscan Wall-painting, 22 Human Sacrifice Offered by Achilles to the Shade of Patroklos
(from an Etruscan wall-painting), 24 The Aldobrandini Marriage (from a wall-painting in the Vatican), 26 Landscape Illustration to the Odyssey
(from a wall-painting discovered on the Esquiline at Rome), 28 The Flight of Æneas (from a wall-painting), 30 Demeter Enthroned (from a Pompeian wall-painting), 31 Pompeian Wall-painting, 32 Nest of Cupids (from a Pompeian wall-painting), 33 Doves Seated on a Bowl (from a mosaic picture
in the Capitol, Rome), 35 Niobe (from a picture on a slab of granite at Pompeii), 37 The Dodwell Vase, 38 Scene in the Lower World (from a vase of the style of Lower Italy), 39 Moses (from a painting in the Catacomb of S. Agnes), 43 Decoration of a Roof (Catacomb of S. Domitilla), 44 Justinian, Theodora, and Attendants
(from a mosaic picture at S. Vitalis, Ravenna), 46 The Discovery of the Herb Mandragora
(from a MS. of Dioskorides, at Vienna), 48 King David (from a window in Augsburg Cathedral), 51 Window (from the Cathedral of St. Denis), 52 Figure of Henry I. in west window of Strasbourg Cathedral, 55 Birth of the Virgin (from the Grandes Heures of the Duc de Berri), 57 The Annunciation (from the Mariale of
Archbishop Arnestus of Prague), 59 Painted Window at Konigsfelden, 60 Portrait of Cimabue, 61 The Madonna of the Church of Santa Maria Novella, 63 Portrait of Dante, painted by Giotto, 65 Giotto’s Campanile and the Duomo (Florence), 67 Fra Angelico (from the representation of him in the fresco of the
“Last Judgment” by Fra Bartolommeo), 74 An Angel (Fra Angelico), 77 Christ (Gio. Bellini), 81 Madonna (Perugino), 83 Leonardo da Vinci, 85 The Last Supper (Da Vinci), 88 Mona Lisa (Da Vinci), 91 Portrait of Michael Angelo, 95 The Prophet Jeremiah (Michael Angelo), 101 Statue of Moses (Michael Angelo), 102 The Madonna del Sacco (Sarto), 106 Portrait of Raphael, painted by himself, 109 The Sistine Madonna (Raphael), 113 St. Cecilia Listening to the Singing of Angels (Raphael), 117 Portrait of Titian (Caracci), 122 Portrait of Lavinia (Titian), 125 Portrait of Correggio, 133 Upper Part of a Fresco by Correggio, 136 Lower Part of a Fresco by Correggio, 138 Communion of St. Jerome (Domenichino), 142 Aurora (Guido Reni), 144 Beatrice Cenci (Guido Reni), 146 The Anchorites (Van Eyck), 157 The Sibyl and the Emperor Augustus (Van der Weyden), 159 Rubens and his Second Wife, 163 The Return from Egypt (Rubens), 166 Portrait of an Officer (Hals), 178 One of Rembrandt’s Portraits of Himself, 182 The Lecture on Anatomy (Rembrandt), 183 Burgomaster Meier Madonna (Holbein), 191 From Holbein’s Dance of Death, 193 A Scene from Dürer’s Wood Engravings of the
Life of the Virgin Mary, 196 The Four Apostles (Dürer), 200 Laughing Peasant (Velasquez), 217 The Topers (Velasquez), 219 The Immaculate Conception (Murillo), 226 Arcadian Shepherds (Poussin), 235 The Sabine Women (David), 241 Death of the Duke of Guise (Delaroche), 243 Sir Joshua Reynolds, 250 The Marriage Contract (Hogarth), 253 Muscipula (Reynolds), 256 Portrait of Turner, 272 Nantes (Turner), 276 Illustration from Rogers’s Poems, 285 The Slave Ship (Turner), 289 The Eagle and Dead Stag (Landseer), 297
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In speaking of art we often contrast the useful or mechanical arts with the Fine Arts; by these terms we denote the difference between the arts which are used in making such things as are necessary and useful in civilized life, and the arts by which ornamental and beautiful things are made.

The fine arts are Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Poetry, and Music, and though we could live if none of these existed, yet life would be far from the pleasant experience that it is often made to be through the enjoyment of these arts.

In speaking of Painting, just here I wish to include the more general idea of pictures of various sorts, and it seems to me that while picture-making belongs to the fine or beautiful arts, it is now made a very useful art in many ways. For example, when a school-book is illustrated, how much more easily we understand the subject we are studying through the help we get from pictures of objects or places that we have not seen, and yet wish to know about. Pictures of natural scenery bring all countries before our eyes in such a way that by looking at them, while reading books of travel, we may know a great deal more about lands we have never seen, and may never be able to visit.

Who does not love pictures? and what a pleasure it is to open a magazine or book filled with fine illustrations. St. Augustine, who wrote in the fourth century after Christ, said that “pictures are the books of the simple or unlearned;” this is just as true now as then, and we should regard pictures as one of the most agreeable means of education. Thus one of the uses of pictures is that they give us a clear idea of what we have not seen; a second use is that they excite our imaginations, and often help us to forget disagreeable circumstances and unpleasant surroundings. The cultivation of the imagination is very important, because in this way we can add much to our individual happiness. Through this power, if we are in a dark, narrow street, in a house which is not to our liking, or in the midst of any unpleasant happenings, we are able to fix our thoughts upon a photograph or picture that may be there, and by studying it we are able to imagine ourselves far, far away, in some spot where nature makes everything pleasant and soothes us into forgetfulness of all that can disturb our happiness. Many an invalid—many an unfortunate one is thus made content by pictures during hours that would otherwise be wretched. This is the result of cultivating the perceptive and imaginative faculties, and when once this is done, we have a source of pleasure within ourselves and not dependent on others which can never be taken from us.

Fig 1 Fig. 1.—Harp-player. From an Egyptian painting.

It often happens that we see two persons who do the same work and are situated in the same way in the world who are very different in their manner; one is light-hearted and happy, the other heavy and sad. If you can find out the truth, it will result that the sad one is matter-of-fact, and has no imagination—he can only think of his work and what concerns him personally; but the merry one would surprise you if you could read his thoughts—if you could know the distances they have passed over, and what a vast difference there is between his thought and his work. So while it is natural for almost every one to exclaim joyfully at the beauty of pictures, and to enjoy looking at them simply, I wish my readers to think of their uses also, and understand the benefits that may be derived from them. I have only hinted at a few of these uses, but many others will occur to you.

When pictures are composed of beautiful colors, such as we usually think of when we speak of the art of painting, the greatest charm of pictures is reached, and all civilized people have admired and encouraged this art. It is true that the remains of ancient art now existing are principally those of architecture or sculpture, yet there are a sufficient number of pictures in color to prove how old the art of painting is.


Egyptian painting is principally found on the walls of temples and tombs, upon columns and cornices, and on small articles found in burial places. There is no doubt that it was used as a decoration; but it was also intended to be useful, and was so employed as

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