Page images
PDF
EPUB

GERMAN SCHOOL. wooooo JOHN VAN EYCK. oooooo VIENNA GALLERY.

THE VIRGIN AND INFANT JESUS.

The rarity of John Van Eyck's pictures is not the only reason that renders them precious: this one particularly shows the great talent of that artist to whom we are indebted for the invention of oil painting. At first sight, this picture might be thought merely to represent a figure of the Virgin with long auburn hair, standing, covered with a large blue mantle, and pressing in her arms the Infant Jesus. It might be imagined that the painter, according to the frequent custom of his age, wished to represent her as the queen of the world, as she wears on her head a crown of jewels, and that she has just arisen from a throne of gold, adorned with red hangings embroidered with green leafing set off with gold: but on examining this picture more attentively, it is perceived that the artist has wished to recal what relates to the Trinity, to the Fall of Man, and to the promised Redemption. Above the gothic ornaments which form a kind of recess, we perceive in the middle, the figure of God the Father, giving his blessing to the Virgin. The Holy Ghost, under the form of a dove, seems coming from the bosom of God. To the right, near a tree, is the figure of Eve, listening to the perfidious insinuations of the Serpent; and to the left, the figure of Adam, whom the Angel is driving from paradise.

Nothing can be more beautiful than the head of the Virgin : in it are combined, resignation to the will of Heaven and maternal tenderness joined to maiden purity. This small picture is painted on wood, and forms part of the Gallery of Vienna: it has been engraved by Berkowetz.

Height, 7 inches; width, 4 inches.

[graphic]

Tavola 143.

Rubens pine

LA PAIX ET LA GUERRE

« PreviousContinue »