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Barthélemi Vander Helst was born at Harlem in 1613. It is not said who was his master; he has never been in a foreign country. For a long time, he carried on a debauched life; in short he married at a ripe age a young woman, by whom he had a son who became a good painter of portraits. Barthélemi Vander Helst had settled at Amsterdam; it is at the Museum of that city that are now seen his two handsomest pictures. Painted in a great beautiful manner, the figures are extremely well drawn, and their garments are remarkable for their vigour and true coloring; the accessories are performed with such a perfection, that really they may be said to produce an illusion.

A picture of the Museum at Paris bears the date of 1655. We are not acquainted with the year of the death of Vander Helst.


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Barthélemi Vander Helst naquit à Harlem, en 1613. On ne connaît pas son maître; il n'a jamais été en pays étranger, Pendant long-temps il mena une vie déréglée; enfin il se maria très-tard à une jeune femme, et eut un fils qui fut lui-même bon peintre de portraits.

Barthélemi Vander Helst avait fixé sa demeure à Amsterdam; c'est au Musée de cette ville que se trouvent maintenant ses deux plus beaux tableaux. Peints dans une grande manière, les figures en sont bien dessinées, et les vêtemens remarquables par la vigueur et la vérité de la couleur ; les accessoires sont faits avec tant de perfection, qu'ils peuvent véritablement faire illusion.

Un tableau du Musée de Paris porte la date de 1655. On ignore l'année de la mort de Vander Helst.




Jean was born in 1370 at Maes Eyck, a little town of the bishoprick of Liège, and for that reason got the name of Van Eyck, as at that time, the given Christian name was the only one retained for the whole life; but often, different persons bearing the same name, there was generally added to it that of the place of their birth, sometimes that of a deformity, a colour, or a remark alluding to their dwelling; sometimes the name or nickname that their father had received, so, have been established family names.

John's father was a painter, but it was not he who was his master, or, at least he is said to be the pupil of Hubert, his brother who was born in the same town in 1366.

The two brothers often worked together on the same picture; they successively resided at Ypres, Gand, and at Bruges where Hubert died in the year 1426. John settled in that town, and therefore was called Jean de Bruges. These two artists are generally considered as the inventors of oilpainting, however it was attempted to deprive them of that glory by saying that Théophile, a german monk, in a work written in the beginning of the eleventh century, gave the proceeding of the mixture of colours with oil, but the extreme length of time they took up in drying was a great inconvenience; without doubt this method was given over till the moment when our two flemish artists had found means of siccative or drying proceedings, which so highly encreased as to cause a great improvement for the art of painting.

John Van Eyck is supposed to have died about the year 1450.




Jean naquit en 1370 à Maes Eyck, petite ville de l'évêché de Liège, et reçut par cette raison le nom de Van Eyck; car, dans son temps, le nom donné au baptême était celui que l'on portait toute sa vie; mais comme il se trouvait souvent plusieurs individus du même nom, ils y ajoutaient habituellement le nom du lieu de leur naissance, quelquefois celui d'une difformité, d'une couleur, ou d'une remarque tenant à leur personne, ou à leur habitation ; quelquefois aussi le nom ou le sobriquet qu'avait reçu leur père, et c'est ainsi que se sont établis les noms de famille.

Le père de Jean était peintre, mais ce n'est pas lui qui fut son maître, ou du moins on le dit élève de son frère Hubert qui était né dans la même ville en 1366.

Les deux frères travaillèrent souvent ensemble au même tableau ; ils résidèrent successivement à Ypres, à Gand et à Bruges, où Hubert mouruten 1426. Jean fixa sa demeure dans cette ville, et par cette raison il a été nommé Jean de Bruges. On regarde généralement ces deux artistes comme inventeurs de la peinture à l'huile, on a cependant voulu leur ôter cette gloire en disant que Théophile, moine allemand, dans un ouvrage écrit au commencement du XIe. siècle, donne le procédé du mélange des couleurs avec de l'huile, mais l'extrême lenteur avec laquelle séchaient ces couleurs étant un grave inconvénient, cette méthode fut sans doute abandonnée, jusqu'au moment où, nos deux artistes flamands ayant trouvé des moyens siccatifs, ce procédé prit un accroissement rapide qui donna une grande amélioration à l'art de peindre. On croit que Jean Van Eyck mourut vert 1450.




It was long thought that Holbein was born at Bâle in 1494 or in 1498; some authors have pretended he was originally of Augsbourg. But the professor Seybold, at Tubinge, appears to have succeeded in shewing that Holbein was born at Grunstadt in the Palatinate.

It seems that Jean Holbein was the pupil of his father, whò bore also the name of Jean, they both resided at Bâle, where the son began by signalized proofs of a high talent. What made him above all most commendable, was the natural he knew how to give to his portraits; the personages are exhibited with the most admirable simplicity, in the easiest attitude, and which was particular to them. There is never seen any amplified expression; there may be remarked characteristick features of physiognomy, even the dresses agree perfectly with the head, so that there always reigns in his portraits a surprising truth.

The continual discord which he lived in with his wife having greatly impaired his health he resolved to leave Bâle, and Erasme addressed him to London to his friend Thomas Morus. The painter arrived thither in 1526, and remained two years in the Chancellor's house, then he entered into king Henry the eighth's service, and became his favorite painter.

Holbein died in 1544, of a pestilential disease which ravaged the city of London.

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