Illus 3. Trees in "The Virgin Adoring the Infant Christ by Credi"
JUDGMENT OF SOLOMON. GIORGIONE (UFFIZI GALLERY)
A DRAWING IN TILE BRITISH MUSEUM BY " GUERCINO " (BARBIERI)
LANDSCAPE WITH FIGURES. GASPARD POUSSIN (National Gallery)
TOBIT AND THE ANGEL, REMBRANDT. (or school of) (National Gallery)
TOBIT AND THE ANGEL, SALVATORE ROSA. (National Gallery)
THE RETURN OF THE ARK FROM CAPTIVITY. SEBASTIEN BOURDON (National Gallery)
JUDGMENT OF PARIS, JAN BOTH (National Gallery)
The figures were painted by Cornelis Poelenburg.
A RIVER SCENE, AFTERNOON. VAN DER NEER (WALLACE COLLECTION)
THE AVENUE, MIDELHARNIS, HOLLAND. HOBBEMA (NATIONAL GALLERY)
LANDSCAPE WITH ANIMALS. ADAM PYNACKER (WALLACE COLLECTION)
With Titian and Giorgione (1477) (Plate III), began the modern view of landscape--massed trees rounded and lit by the sky, the formation of land shown by shadows, sprays, and trunks introduced into the foreground, and detail lost and found, just as we think of it now.
Was not Rubens (a hundred years later) figure painters to paint pure landscape (Plate as a background His study of the " Boar Museum is marvellously expressive ; it should the fulness of the contours on the fallen foreshortening ; how dexterous is his use of shadows on the upright stem, and how extreme his accuracy in the branch formations, and in the emphasis and loss of line on the stern. The drawing is full of facts and is minutely copied, yet it expresses the greatest energy and life.
Twenty years later Nicolas Poussin, the great Frenchman, was painting his romantic scenes. We must take his trees as belonging to his subject if we are to enjoy them ; they do not bear peering into as literal statements ; nor can I think that his selection of the smaller forms shows the judgment and instinct for the beautiful displayed by Claude a few years later (Illus. 4).
There is no need to look for something to displease one (how Ruskin hurts us at times by doing so), and there is nothing to criticise in Claude and but little in Poussin, but everything to admire, if we enter into the bigness of the view as they did and as they intended us to do.
Claude was the first painter to show the grandeur of trees ; in his pictures, by their height and dignity, they commanded the landscape ; by their fulness and exquisite design, they created a setting of richness and romance that not even the artificiality of his ruins and palaces could destroy (Plate VI, Illus. 4, 5). Claude and Turner are set apart from all other landscape painters by their genius endowing them with an understanding of nature in her deepest and most varied moods. Claude, in his pictures such as " The Flight into Egypt," " Egeria and
one of the first of the IV) as well as to use it Hunt " in the British be noticed how he uses trunk to explain its
ILLUS. 4. SEPIA STUDY BY CLAUDE, IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM
her Nymphs," and " Landscape with Figures " (Illus. 5) (Dresden Gallery), has designed trees of simple and noble proportions that essentially belong to the tranquility of the scenes. In the " Village Dance " (Louvre) he makes use of another type full of busy forms that would be disquieting were it not for the dancers underneath them, while in his etching, "Dance under the Trees," there is a lightness and movement in the stems and foliage that we are unaccustomed to in his
ILLUS. 5. A DRAWING BY CLAUDE IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM
paintings His drawings 1 (in the British Museum) reveal his great and varied sense of composition and an intense love of nature ; they and his pictures record his mastery in drawing trees.
How grandly--but with what an individual view--landscape was treated at this same time, by the Frenchman Nicholas Poussin and " Le Guaspre " (Plate VII), by Bourdon, and Claude (1600-1682) ; by the Italians Salvator Rosa (Plate IX) and Guercino (Plate V) ; by the Dutch Van der Neer, Rembrandt, and Jan Both ; and a few years later by Wynants, Pynacker, and Hobbema (1638-1709). We place their
* 1 A little book at the modest price of 6d. is published by Gowans & Gray, containing sixty photographic reproductions of these drawings.
I. LES CHAMPS-ELYSEES. ANTOINE WATTEAU
II. FETE IN A PARK. JEAN BAPTISTE JOSEPH PATER (WALLACE COLLECTION)
LANDSCAPE WITH VENUS AND ADONIS. RICHARD WILSON, R.A.
(VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM)
WOOD SCENE, VILLAGE OF CORNARD, SUFFOLK. GAINSBOROUGH (NATIONAL GALLERY)
An early work. Compare with plate XVIII.
THE MARKET CART. GAINSBOROUGH (NATIONAL GALLERY)
THE PORRINGLAND OAK. JOHN CROME (NATIONAL GALLERY)
THE BAY OF BAIAE, APOLLO AND THE SIBYL. J. M. W. TURNER, R.A.
THE VALLEY FARM. JOHN CONSTABLE, R.A. (NATIONAL GALLERY)
WOOD CUTTERS. JOHN LINNELL (TATE GALLERY)
SOUVENIR DE LA MORTE FONTAINE. COROT (LOUVRE)
LA BAIGNEUSE. Diaz
names together as an aid in remembering when they lived, the giants to whom we pay homage--Claude, the Poussins, Rembrandt, and Hobbema, with the lesser men whom we should nevertheless study and respect.
Gaspard Poussin shares with his brother-in-law and master Nicholas that great view of nature that sees romance and not merely botanical facts in trees.
Rembrandt's trees I are chiefly known in England by his grand etchings in the British Museum. The picture " Tobit and the Angel " (Plate VIII) was, I think, formerly attributed to him, though now catalogued under " school of Rembrandt." It is instructive to compare it side by side with Salvator's version of the same subject. In the former there is an unaffected simplicity and peace secured by the quiet massive shapes of the trees, the ground, and the pose of the guiding angel. Salvator's picture is the very essence of hustle caused by the tortuous shapes of trees, sky, and rocks. Each line conveys the greatest sense of energy and disturbance, and all add in the making of a fantasy as far remote from quiet everyday scenes as the other picture is in complete agreement with them.
Bourdon's imaginative picture, " The Return of the Ark " (Plate X), is composed of as many upright and level lines as Salvator's picture has twisted ones ; the vertical tree trunks contribute largely to the austere effect. Sir Joshua, in his lectures, cited this picture as an example of poetry in landscape.
Van der Neer studied his trees with discerning observation and sympathy. In his poetic river scene (Plate XII) (No. 152, National Gallery) the trees are conspicuous for the varied treatment of their outlines and definition ; the boughs are full of incidence. Compared with his trees those of Jan Wynants seem lifeless and somewhat mechanical, though not tainted with the excessively laboured detail shown by Ruisdael. Jan Both (Plate XI) made his trees elegant, and they belong to a pleasing Arcadia quite his own. If their foliage is somewhat flimsy from a want of construction, they are always free from being matter-of-fact. In Both's etchings his fancy seems to tell with greater force, and his tree tops are less given to straying.
Poussin, Claude, and Rembrandt took a large view of trees; Hobbema saw them in detail, but his elaboration was subservient to the motif and quaintness of the scene, and was uplifted from mechanical device by his fidelity and veneration (Plate XIII).
Ruisdael--judging from the number of examples in the National
* 1 There is a landscape by Rembrandt in the Wallace Collection and another Diana bathing " in the National Gallery, but trees do not occupy an important position in either of them.
Gallery--is considered also great, but to me his elaboration is unredeemed by the genius of Hobbema : however, I am not a connoisseur.
The picture by Adam Pynacker, of which we give an illustration (Plate XIV), is in the Wallace Collection. It is interesting for his close view of the trunks and for the strong effect of sunlight that was characteristic of his work. There is another example in the same collection, but he is not represented in the National Gallery.
Figure students would be well advised to study the relation trees bear as backgrounds to figures ; and such a study might begin with Watteau and his pupil and imitator, Jean Baptiste Pater. The examples of their work reproduced here side by side show clearly how the elegance of the figures is echoed in the trees, and the important part the latter play in the distribution of the light and shade. You will notice that the dark and light groups of figures are repeated by the corresponding darks of the trees and light patches of the sky. By this arrangement the principal figures, though they occupy only one-third of the height of the canvas, are not dwarfed by the foliage above them. Fragonard, in " The Swing," allots less than half the height of the canvas to the figures of the swinging girl and the man at her feet. He gives to the bough above them the suggestion of movement. Watteau invariably made his trees as dainty as his figures, and there was no break in the continuity of the scheme (Plate XV). We see a corresponding relationship between figures and their surroundings in the decorations by Boucher. Millais made a similar use of the severe lines of the Lombardy Poplars in his " Vale of Rest."
In 1714 was born Richard Wilson, a " chiel amang chiels," and the first of the great English landscape painters--well worthy to take his place after Claude, with the same large view of nature and a lovely quality of paint (Plate XVI).
A few years after his death came Gainsborough, in some of whose pictures the fronded trees seem as a new creation--not literal enough to be labelled, yet compelling us to feel and enter into the homely romance or solemnity of his scene. But not always so, for his oaks in the " Village of Cornard " (Plate XVII), painted when he was but twenty-six years old, are as literally accurate as his later trees were romantic. I doubt if trees have ever been made more impressive than in his picture, " The Watering Place."
Crome, the founder of the Norwich School, was about twenty years old when Gainsborough died. He and Cotman often painted pictures for the sake of the trees alone, and their work is distinguished by a simplicity and a big decorative conception of nature ; theirs was the decoration existing in nature generally, not the flat pattern of the modern decorator (Plate XIX).