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nately my eyes happened at that moment to alight on some pictures on the walls, and I said: Objectivity in its relation to literature has been considered sufficiently, and on Saturday night in Vale Avenue I will introduce objectivity in painting to the company. My word! what interesting things might be said on that subject; and whilst waiting for the dawn I asked myself if Velasquez were not the most objective of all painters.

He seems to have looked on king, queen, and infanta with a cold, melancholy detachment, which some critics have attributed to the court of Philip IV, and they may be pardoned for doing so, so difficult is it for us to estimate the effect of etiquette on the soul in a court in which the etiquette was so Strict that it was a capital offence, punishable by death, for a man to stretch forth his hand to save the queen from falling. But circumstance cannot deepen or lighten the colour of a man's mind; if we bring anything into the world it is the colour of our minds, and what is the colour of our minds but fate? and what is fate but character? In thinking of Velasquez we translate the tone of silvery-grey that pervades all his canvases into a moral quality: melancholy, concluding that his melancholy—he need not have been aware of it—was his gift, which, despite his almost excessive realism, allowed him to remain an aesthetic painter.

But Hals, though as objective a painter as Velasquez, was not susceptible to melancholy nor even regret. His mind was a giggling, ale-house mind,

and as painting presented no difficulty to him he painted with unwearying touch jerkins, ruffs, sword hilts, blond beards, curled moustaches, jewelled gauntlets, doffed and donned as the occasion required, seeking, so it seems, always a showy aspect for his sitters. Those who had fine profiles turned them to the audience, like actors; those who fancied their eyes are painted in full face; those who preferred dignity to admiration are in three-quarter face. A gross joviality prevails in every face, but even junketting is not safe against ennui; pleasure's deadly enemy was there, no doubt, but Hals's gusto blinded him to it, and we may be sure that no thought of the wives asleep peaceably under quilts and canopies disturbed his mind, wives soon to be awakened for their mates' pleasure, gross livers truly even as their husbands, and it may be argued that gross men must have gross wives, and we ask ourselves whether the gross wife produces the gross husband, or the gross husband the gross wife, and unable to find an answer to this perplexing question we forget morals in our admiration of Hals's touch, a touch that never fails in the representation of all that the greedy eye sees. For the painter to fix his eye on the object and to work forgetful of all else except the object and his representation of it, is half the battle, but half the battle does not mean victory. If it did a photograph would be a picture, and an accurate report of a conversation fine literature. But art needs something more than mere verisimilitude; call it, reader, what name you please, but agree with me in this: that the essential cannot be acquired or faked. All comes under this law, yet Hals, whose mind was all ale-house, lived down the ale-house completely, and I know no pleasanter legend than that this big, jovial Dutchman lay in prison for nearly twenty years, acquiring on bread and water the soul that was denied to him in health and abundance. At eighty he reappears in Haarlem painting a group of old women paupers in an alms-house, and the picture shows that whilst retaining all his craft, he had gained something that he did not possess in his youth. Fromentin did not like these pictures—these pictures, I say, for the group of old women was followed by a group of old men which remained unfinished, death having snatched palette and brushes from Hals's hands. Fromentin, who was a poet of a sort, a painter of a sort and a beautiful prose writer, liked the strutting burgomasters better, and in Les Maîtres d'autrefoiswhich I cannot quote from, the volume having disappeared from my shelves, he laments that the generation of painters and critics that succeeded him admire the loose handling in these two last pictures, mere sensations of tone and colour they were to him, for a painter never wanders far from his own palette; wherever he finds it he worships, and Fromentin discovering a sublimated Fromentin in Franz Hals, fell down on his knees and prayed.

Courbet, who preceded Manet by a few years, ranks high among modern painters, but there is very little pleasure in his painting, and whosoever possesses his pictures (and a great many do) must be hard set to choose a room in which to hang them, for they are not in keeping with a drawing-room, and they are not in keeping with a study. It would be hard to say what carpet should be laid down or how a room should be furnished in which there are Courbets. Despite his great capacity as a painter his pictures do not interest us in public galleries; very often they repel us. We like them best in picture-dealers' shops, perhaps because nothing is permanent there, and if you would press me still further, I would say that a picture by Courbet would be more in keeping in a peasant's cottage than elsewhere. But there is no wall space in a peasant's cottage. If, however, I may say, without seeming frivolous, that pictures recall perfumes, I would say that Courbet's pictures recall the smell of a smoky cottage more than any other pictures that I can thirk of at this moment. My comparison is not frivolous; many pictures do recall perfumes. Boucher's certainly recall the perfume of bathwater and fine linen, and Manet's recall the springtime; they are as fragrant. Manet's world is as young as Botticelli's, and sitting opposite to me at dinner Monet has often broken the silence with the words: How like Manet is to his painting! Manet once said to me: Vollon's fish are worthless, for they are not like fish; mine are. And he would accept no reason for putting his fish above Vollon's except the reason he gave himself: that they were more like fish. It seemed like a slight to his art to admit that his paintings were more beautiful than Courbet's because his mind was a finer mind, and he listened, pleased but supercilious, when I said: Your lovely greys and your pinks are part of your mind, and Courbet's bottle-green forests are part of his mind. He was aware, of

, course, that Courbet's green was vert de bouteille, but I do not think he apprehended very clearly that Courbet's desire to shock every year in the Salon was a peasant's instinct. He would have liked to do so himself, but his finer instincts held him forbidden.

I can tell an anecdote that will bring Courbet and Manet before the reader. Once on a time there was á painter called Français who painted landscapes spick and span as well-kept gardens, and on being asked what he thought of one of these in the Salon, Courbet answered: In every landscape there is a place to retire, and in Français's I can never find

Ι the spot. Manet, when he went to see Meissonier's Battle of Friedland, said: Magnificent! Everything in it is iron except the breastplates. And in these criticisms we have the aesthetic confessions of two great painters, Courbet a peasant of genius, Manet a witty, light-hearted, Parisian gentleman, typically French, less complete than Hals, more witty and agreeable, less lofty and disdainful than Velasquez, and not less profound. So we would like to think, or perhaps we do think, in a way, despite a haunting suspicion that this appreciation will awaken fierce resentment.

The reader will notice that neither Poussin's, Rembrandt's, nor Ingres's name has been mentioned,

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