Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/714

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
672
ART GALLERIES

pictures in the Louvre are Watteau’s second “Embarquement pour Cythère,” and the “Monna Lisa,” a portrait by Leonardo da Vinci, but each school has many unique examples. The original drawings should be noted, being of equal importance to the collection preserved at the British Museum. The last collection to be mentioned under this heading is that known as the Royal Galleries in Florence, housed in the Pitti and Uffizi palaces. In some ways this collection does not represent general painting sufficiently to justify its inclusion with the galleries of Berlin, Paris and London. On the other hand, the great number of Italian pictures of vital importance to the history of international art makes this one of the finest existing collections. The two great palaces, dating from the 15th and 16th centuries, are joined together and contain the Medici pictures. They form the largest gallery in the world, and though many of the rooms are small and badly lighted, and although many paintings have suffered from thoughtless restoration, they have a charm and attraction which certainly make them the most popular galleries in Europe. The Pitti has ten Raphaels and excellent examples of Andrea del Sarto, Giorgione and Perugino. The Uffizi is more representative of non-Italian schools, but is best known for its works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Sodoma, the schools of Tuscany and Umbria forming the bulk of both collections. Admission to the galleries is by payment, and the small income derived from this source is devoted to maintaining and enlarging the collections.


1911 Britannica - Imperial Gallery.png

Fig. 2.—Plan of the first and second floors of the Imperial Gallery, Vienna.


As to the ground plans of the National Gallery, London (fig. 1), and of the Imperial Gallery at Vienna (fig. 2), it will be observed that while the former has the advantage of uniform top-light, the galleries at Vienna possess the most ample facilities for minute classification, small rooms or “cabinets” opening from each large room. Special rooms are also provided for drawings and water-colours, while special ranges of rooms are used by copyists and those responsible for the repair and preservation of the pictures.

Though not so comprehensive as the great collections just described, the state galleries showing national schools of painting and little else are of striking interest. In England the National Gallery of British Art (known as the State
galleries of
national
schools.
Tate Gallery) contains British pictures. The corresponding collection of modern French art is at Paris (Luxembourg Palace), Berlin, Rome, Dresden, Vienna and Madrid having analogous galleries. The Victoria and Albert Museum has also numerous British pictures, especially in water-colour, and the National Portrait Gallery, founded in 1856, and since 1896 housed in its permanent home, is instructive in this connexion, though many of its pictures are the work of foreign artists. The national collections at Dublin and Edinburgh may be mentioned here, though most schools are represented. Brussels and Antwerp are remarkable for fine examples of Flemish art—Matsys, Memlinc and Van Eyck of the primitive schools, Rubens and Van Dyck of the later period. The collections at Amsterdam (Ryks Museum) and the Hague (Mauritshuis) are a revelation to those who have only studied Rembrandt, Franz Hals, Van der Helst, and other Dutch portrait painters outside Holland; and in the former gallery especially, the pictures are arranged in a manner showing them to the best advantage. The Museo del Prado is even more noteworthy, for the fifty examples of Velasquez (outrivalling the Italian pictures, important as they are) make a visit to Madrid imperative to those who wish to realize the achievements of Spanish art. Christiania, Stockholm and Copenhagen have large collections of Scandinavian art, and the cities of Budapest and Basel have galleries of some importance. In Italy the state maintains twelve collections, mainly devoted to pictorial art. Of these the best are situated at Bologna, Lucca, Parma, Venice, Modena, Turin and Milan. In each case the local school of painting is fully represented. In Rome the Corsini and Borghese Galleries, the latter being the most catholic in the city, contain superb examples, some of them accepted masterpieces of Italian art; there are also good foreign pictures, but their number is limited. The Accademia at Florence should also be noted as the most important state gallery of early Italian art. The central Italian Renaissance can be more adequately studied here than in the Pitti. The “Primavera” of Botticelli, and the “Last Judgment” by Fra Angelico are perhaps the best-known works. The large statue of David by Michelangelo is also in this gallery, which, on the whole, is one of the most remarkable in Italy. Speaking broadly, these national galleries scattered throughout the country are not well arranged or classified; and though some are kept in fine old buildings, beautiful in themselves, the lighting is often indifferent, and it is with difficulty that the pictures can be seen. In nearly every case admission fees are charged every day, festivals and Sundays excepted; few pictures are bought, acquisitions being chiefly made by removing pictures from churches.

Many towns own collections of well-merited repute. In Italy such galleries are common, and among them may be noted Siena, with Sodoma and his school; Venice with Tintoretto (Doge’s Palace); Genoa, with the great Municipal galleries
of special
schools.
palaces Balbi and Rosso; Vicenza (Montagna and school), Ferrara (Dosso and school), Bergamo and Milan (north Italian schools). Other civic collections of Italian art are maintained at Verona, Pisa, Rome, Perugia and Padua. In Holland, Haarlem, Leiden, Rotterdam and the Hague have galleries supplemental to those of the state, and are remarkable in showing the brilliance of artists like Grebber, de Bray and Ravesteyn, who are usually ignored. Birmingham and Manchester have good examples of modern British art. Moscow (Tretiakoff collection) has modern Russian pictures, and contemporary German and French work will be found in all the galleries of these two countries included in the municipal group. Collections of French work are found at Amiens, Rouen, Nancy, Tours, Le Mans and Angers, but large as these civic collections are, sometimes containing six and eight hundred canvases, few of their pictures are really good, many being the enormous patriotic canvases marked “Don de l’État,” which do not confer distinction on the galleries. Cologne has the central collection of the early Rhenish school; Nuremberg is remarkable for early German work (Wohlgemut, &c.). Stuttgart, Cassel (Dutch) and Hamburg (with a considerable number of British pictures) are also noteworthy, together with Brunswick, Hanover, Augsburg, Darmstadt and Düsseldorf, where German and Dutch art preponderate. Seville is famous for twenty-five examples of Murillo, and there are old Spanish paintings at Valencia, Cordova and Cadiz.

In Great Britain the best of the municipal galleries of general schools are at Liverpool (early Flemish and British), and at Glasgow (Scottish painters, Rembrandt, Van der Goes and Venetian schools). In France there are Municipal galleries of general schools. very large galleries at Tours, Montpellier, Lyons (Perugino, Rubens), Dijon and Grenoble (Italian), Valenciennes (Watteau and school), while Rennes, Lille and Marseilles have first-rate collections. Nantes, Orleans, Besançon, Cherbourg and Caen have also many paintings, French for the most part, but with occasional foreign pictures of real importance, presented by the state during the Napoleonic conquests, and not returned on the declaration of peace as were the works of art amassed in Paris. Some of the American collections have in recent years made a great advance in their acquisition of good pictures. At Boston (Museum of Fine Arts) all schools are represented, so too at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which is strong in Italian and Dutch works. Modern French and Flemish art is a feature of the Academy at Philadelphia, at the Lenox Library (New York), and at Chicago, where there are good examples of Millet, Constable and Rembrandt. The Corcoran bequest at Washington is of minor importance. The best civic collection in Germany of this class is the Städel Institute at Frankfort (Van Eyck, Christus, early Flemish and Italian).

As the great bulk of religious painting was executed for church decoration, there are still numberless churches which may be considered picture galleries. Thus at Antwerp cathedral the Rubens paintings are remarkable; at Churches. Ghent, Van Eyck; at Bruges (hospital of St John), Memlinc;