Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

attempted to improve. Another distinguished artist, who has shed lustre upon the Hague, is John Hanneman, who was born here in 1611; by some he was said to have been a pupil of Vandyke. By others, and with greater probability, that of Hubert Ravestein; and in the soft and delicate tints of his carnations, he is considered to be very little inferior to Vandyke: many of Hanneman's copies of that illustrious artist are mistaken for the originals.

Hanneman continued in England sixteen years, and upon his return to the Hague became the favourite painter of the Princess of Orange: he was also employed by the Prince of Nassau, for whom he painted, amongst others, several historical pictures, which are now highly esteemed. The third and last artist I shall mention is John le Duc, who was born at the Hague in 1636, and was a disciple of Paul Potter, so justly celebrated as a painter of cattle, whose works, however, are often scarcely distinguishable from those of his pupil. His principal subjects were the same as those of his master, viz. horses, sheep, goats, cows, &c. He finished his pictures very highly, and possessed great facility of pencil and purity of style. He was appointed director of the academy of painting at the Hague in the year 1671. The desire of distinguishing himself in arms induced him to exert all his interest to obtain a company, and such was his gallantry in the field, that he obtained the epithet of “ Brave," after which, unfortunately for the arts, he neither painted nor designed.

CHAPTER XI.

VEGETABLE PROBLEMS...... APPROACH

TO

LEYDEN.....GENERAL

DESCRIPTION OF THAT TOWN....THE TOWN HALL ....CELEBRATED

PICTURE OF LUCAS VAN LEYDEN.....ANECDOTE OF THAT PAIN

TER.....ALSO OF KAREL DE MOOR.....PICTURE OF THE SIEGE OF

LEYDEN.....DESCRIPTION OF THAT HORRIBLE SIEGE.....GENE

ROUS AND HEROIC CONDUCT OF THE DUTCH WOMEN.....ALSO OF

PETER ADRIAN....THE MOUNT... UNIVERSITY OF LEYDEN.... THE

STUDENTS.....ANEC DOTES OF BOERHAAVE.....PETER THE GREAT

.....GENIUS AND DIFFIDENCE....CONFIDENCE IN PROVIDENCE....

MONUMENT OF BOERHAAVE.

AFTER spending some days very pleasantly at the Hague, I proceeded to the Leyden treckschuyt, which lay at a great distance from the hotel, where I found, from the blunder of the waiter before detailed, that I was considered as a personage of considerable consequence, on account of my having engaged the whole of the ruif to myself. The day was brilliantly fine, and nothing could be more delightful than my passage to Leyden : for two miles and a half the left bank of the canal presented an unbroken succession of handsome country houses and highly cultivated grounds, which although laid out like so many vegetable problems, abounded with a variety of forms, which, as they were clad in luxuriant

green, were very agreeable. Many of these spots were graced by the acacia and Weymouth pine, to which the soil and climate seemed to be congenial. On the other side were rich meadows, whose vivid green seemed to rival that of the eme

merald, and corn-fields yellow with harvest. Enchanted with the day and the scenery, I envied not the aquatic pomp of Cleopatra, although

“ The barge she sat in like a burnish'd throne
“ Burnt on the water; the poop was beaten gold,

Purple the sails, and so performed, that
“ The winds were love-sick with them.”

The blunder of the waiter added not a little to the delights of my passage, for I sat a solitary grandee upon the top of the cabin, without a soul to interrupt the happy frame of my mind formed by the lovely prospects on every side of me. In this agreeable manner three hours and a half passed away with feathered fleetness, and at the end of a long avenue of trees and a line of water, the spires and elevated buildings of Leyden appeared. We stopped about half way from the Hague at Leydehendam, a very neat pretty village, the neighbourhood of which abounds with pleasure houses and gardens. The country as I approached Leyden appeared to be thickly wooded, and displayed the novel variety of a gentle undulation of ground. After passing through a beautiful boulevard, and crossing some drawing bridges, I entered the elegant city of Leyden through the white gate, and proceeded to a very comfortable hotel in the principal street, called the Broad street, the length, spaciousness, and beauty of which entitles it to the highest admiration: there is no canal in it, and the buildings on each side are very handsome, many of them splendid mansions. This seat of learning is considered to be one of the handsomest in Holland, and next in size to Amsterdam; the entrance to it is through seven stone gates, at each of which is a draw-bridge: the town is surrounded with a rampart, and a deep, broad canal, and is adorned by beautiful shady walks. The number of bridges in this city is astonishing, they are said to exceed one hundred and forty-five of stone and railed with iron. It has also many canals, the most beautiful of which is the Rapenburg. It has been compared by travellers to Oxford, but I cannot see any resemblance, except in its being devoted to learning, and consequently presenting many of those features of meditation and consequent tranquillity, which are to be found in places destined to similiar objects : but in its fortification, its buildings, streets, and canals, there is unquestionably no resemblance. The channels or gutters of the Broad street are covered with boards which open like a trap door, into which the moment any dirt is lodged, it is removed by persons appointed for that purpose; and lofty common pumps, with large brass ornaments constantly scoured and kept bright, are placed in different parts of it, to supply the inhabitants and to purify the street, of which they are not a little proud. The fame of Lucas Van Leyden made the stadt-house or town-hall the object of my first visit; it is a vast gothic building, presenting a very long irregular front, in a very uncouth stýle of architecture, surmounted by a small steeple, which is crowded with carillons, and stands in the centre of the Broad street. As I ascended the grand staircase, a painter was giving a finishing touch to some large stone lions, which by way of blending them with the stone colour of the rest of the building, he had painted vividly red. In one of the apartments, which was very heavy and gloomy, I beheld the celebrated production of Lucas Van Leyden, or Hugens, who was born here in 1494, and died in 1533. This picture is in three divisions, the two external smaller ones being made like folding doors, to close if necessary over the middle one. The subject is the last judgment, for which vast sums of money have been repeatedly offered to the magistrates of the town and refused. I must confess I felt no more pleasure in contemplating this picture than what arose from its great antiquity. There are a great number of figures in it: the females are wholly destitute of beauty, at the same time there is a freedom in the outline: many of their limbs appear to be elongated, and every head seems to have been taken from the same subject, and wholly destitute of expression; however, considering the early period in which the artist flourished, it is a very curious and valuable production. This painter was instructed in the principles of his art by his father, Hugens Jacobs, an artist of some consideration: it is said that Lucas from his infancy displayed incessant application, and at the age of nine and twelve years astonished the artists of his time by his works. After he had learned the rudiments of his art under his father, he became a pupil of Cornelius Engelbrecht; at the age of fifteen he painted the history of St. Hubert, which elevated him to high distinction in his art. On account of the principles of perspective not being known in his early time, he proportioned the strength of his colouring to the different degrees of distance, in which his objects were placed. He painted not only in oil, but in destemper and on

[ocr errors]

glass. A famous print of this master's engraving, the subject a bagpiper, is also mentioned, which sold for a hundred ducatoons or twenty pounds sterling.

In the justice hall is a celebrated picture of Harel de Moor, who was born in this town in 1656; the subject Brutus condemning his sons, the design, the colouring and finishing of which are very beautiful. De Moor had great and highly merited honours paid to him by various princes and distinguished personages, particularly by the emperor of Germany who directed his ambassador Count Singendoff to engage him to paint the portraits of Prince Eugene and the Duke of Marlborough on horseback, with which his imperial patron was so gratified, that he conferred upon himi the honour of knighthood, and nobly rewarded him in a more substantial manner for his admirable prodaction: he had also the honour of painting that mighty savage of the North, Peter the Great, Czar of Muscovy. Under the picture of Brutus are some elegant Latin verses; there is also a large picture representing the bravery of its citizens, who are rendered immortal in the page of history for the heroic valour they displayed during a sicge, which in the year 1573, for five months, visited this place with all the horrors of war, disease, and famine. The historian can scarcely do adequate justice to these heroes. After the Spaniards had been 'compelled to raise the siege of Alkmaar, they determined upon directing their forces against Leyden, from the trenches of which they were bravely repulsed by Count Louis of Nassau, brother to the then Prince of Orange; but having been reinforced, they returned to the attack; when the Spanish general, Francis Valdey, discovering that he could not take the place by storm, resolved upon reducing it by famine, and a scene of horror ensued which baffles the powers of the pen to describe. The Spanish General, Frederic of Toledo, son of the execrable Duke of Alva, repulsed a body of English auxiliaries who were coming to the relief of the besieged, in consequence of which the blockade was so vigilantly conducted, that the wretched inhabitants could derive no provisions from without. In this creadful dilemma, they drew lots to determine which should fall each day to afford sustenance to the rest

« PředchozíPokračovat »