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MEISSONIER


149


MEISSONIER


the Saxon princes, espoused the cause of Gregory VII, and in 1085 took part in the Gregorian Synod of Qued- linburg, for which he was deprived of his office by the emperor, a more imperially disposed bishop being ap- pointed in his place. On the death of Gregory, Benno made peace with Henry, and. being reappointed to his former see in 1086, devoted himself entirely to mission- ary workamongfheSla vs. Among his successors, Her- wig (d. 1119) sided with the pope, Godebold with the emperor. In the thirteenth century the pagan Wends were finally converted to Christianity, chiefly through the efforts of the great Cistercian monasteries, the most important of which were Dobrilugk and Neu- zelle. Among the convents of nuns Heiligenkreuz at Meissen, Mariental near Zittau, Marienstern on the Wiite Elster, and Muhlberg deserve mention. Among the later bishops, who were after the thirteenth cen- tury princes of the empire, the most notable are Wit- tigo I (1266-93) and John I of Eisenberg (1340-71). The former began the magnificent Gothic cathedral, in which are buried nine princes of the House of Wet- tin; the latter, as notary and intimate friend of the Margrave of Meissen, afterwards the Emperor Charles IV, protected the interests of his church and increased the revenues of the diocese. During the latter's ad- ministration, in 1344, Prague was made an archiepis- copal see.

In 1365 Urban V appointed the Archbishop of Prague legatua nutua, or perpetual representative of the Holy See, for the Dioceses of Meissen, Bamberg, and Regensburg (Ratisbon) ; the opposition of Magdeburg made it impossible to exercise in Meissen the privileges of this office, and Meissen remained, though under protest, subject to the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan of Magdeburg. John's successor, John II of Jenstein (1376-9), who resigned Meissen on his election to the See of Prague, NicholasI (1379-92), John III (1393-8), and Thimo of Colditz (1399-1410) were appointed di- rectly from Rome, which set aside the elective rights of tfie cathedral chapter. Thimo, a Bohemian by birth, neglected the diocese and ruined it financially. Margrave William I of Saxony prevailed on Boniface IX in 1405 to free Meissen from the authority of the metropolitan and to place it directly under the Holy See. The illustrious Bishop Rudolf von der Planitz (1411-27), through wise regulations and personal sac- rifices, brought order out of chaos. The Hussite wars caused great damage to the diocese, then ruled over by John IV Hofmann (1427-51) ; under the gov- ernment of the able brothers Caspar (1451-63) and Dietrich of Schonberg (1461-76), it soon recovered, and on Dietrich's death there was a fund of 8800 gold florins in the episcopal treasury. John V of Weissen- bach (1476-87) through his mania for building and his travels soon spent this money, and left a heavy bur- den of debt on the diocese. John VI of Salhausen (1488-1518) further impoverished the diocese through his obstinate attempt to obtain full sovereignty over his see, which brought him into constant conflict with Duke George of Saxony ; his spiritual administration was also open to censure. John VII of Schleinitz (1518-37) was a resolute opponent of Luther, whose revolt began in the neighbouring Wittenberg, and, conjointly with George of Saxony, endeavoured to crush the innovations. The canonization of Benno (1523), urged by him, was intended to offset the prog- ress of the Lutheran teaching. John VIII of Maltitz (1537-49) and Nicholas II of Carlowitz (1549-55) were unable to withstand the ever-spreading Reformation, which, after the death of Duke George (1539), tri- umphed in Saxony and gained ground even among the canons of the cathedral, so that the diocese was on the verge of dissolution. The last bishop, John of Haugwitz (1555-81), placed his resignation in the hands of the cathedral chapter, in virtue of an agree- ment with Elector Augustus of Saxony, went over to Protestantism, married, and retired to the castle of


Ruhetal near Mogeln. The electors of Saxony took over the administration of the temporalities "of the diocese which in 1666 were finally adjudged to them. The canons turned Protestant, and such monasteries as still existed were secularized, their revenues and buildings being devoted principally to educational works. (For the present Prefecture Apostolic of Lau- sitz-Meissen see Saxony.)

Urkundbuch des Hochstifts Meissen, ed. Gersdorf (3 vols., Leipzig. 1864-67), in the Codri Diplomalicu« Sii.ronur RepiiE; Machatschek, Gesc/i. der B(-' ', r, ,/, /!,..'. i:f.' M, ; ,,, rOi-ps- den. 1884); VON Brcn (von K I I I i !>■ Ii. ■ .Iron

M. im MiUelalter (Meissen. I' <" : i ',.\,/i.

der SttuH M. (.8 vo]s., Me\s-<ru. l-.-j i ■. ; u , .\ . ./- l-,',,r/«, S'ichsische Gesch. (Dresden, Ls-^u — ;.

Joseph Lins.

Meissonier, Ernest, French painter, b. at Lyons 21 February, 1815; d. at Paris, 31 January, 1891. If the Lyonnese genius in painting is found in such ar- tists as Chenavard, Flandrin, Puvis de Chavannes, and in such landscape painters as Ravier, Meissonier does not belong to this family. At an early age his parents took him to Paris where they set up chemical works in the Marais. A family friend introduced him to the much frequented studio of L^ou Cogniet (1794-1880). His first efforts date from 1831. These are portraits, generally busts, of the bourgeois of the neighbourhood (there is one at the Louvre), life-size, and somewhat commonplace in execution. At the Salon of 1834 there appeared a more significant picture, the " Visit to the Burgomaster's", three middle-class Hollanders in eighteenth-century costume, seated at a table and smoking. Herein the painter for the first time at- tempted those small genre subjects in costumes of the past whose pleasing picturesqueness was to contribute so much to his fame. But fame was to be delayed; for ten years Meissonier had to earn his living by il- lustration; and so he made vignettes for a number of works, to-day much sought after as " romantic edi- tions", "Paul etVirginie", Lamartine's "Chflte d'un Ange" (1839), Le Vicaire de Wakefield", and " Les Frangais peints par eux-memes " (1840-42). By de- grees, however, the young artist attracted attention. Between the "classicists", or partisans of Ingres and the "romanticists" ardent followers of Delacroix, he found favour with a public rather indifferent to the quarrels of the schools and very willing to become acquainted with a style of art which did not require so much thought. In tact Meissonier seems to have quite ignored these great movements. A contemporary of many artistic controversies, e. g., the renovation of art by the school of Barbizon and the wonderful natural- istic revolution inaugurated by Paul Huet, Corot, and Rousseau, he seems a stranger to all these interests and passions.

There was on the other hand a small genre school, to-day somewhat forgotten, that of Eugene Isabey, Eugene Lami, G^lestin Nanteuil, and the brothers Johannot, which was occupied with representing small scenes of manners in the quaint every-day costume of the Middle Ages or the Renaissance. 'They were pleasing extemporizers, skillful and brilliant stor\'- tellers who put on canvas, often with spirit, the his- toric bric-a-brac popularized by Walter Scott. To this important school Meissonier attached himself. But he did so in a very original manner, bringing with him individual methods, aims, and talents, which marked him out among his contemporaries. He was obviously inspired by the Dutch, and he set himself to paint with the .same composure, conscientiousness, and perfection as Terborch, Mi^ris, or Gerard Dow. It was a stroke of genius to choose as models these men who are among the best masters of painting, and this at a time when Romanticism had begun to overload its canvases with violence and excesses. Besides, these artists had been for a long time greatly esteemed by collectors, and by suggesting relationship with them Meissonier increased his chances of success with am-