Art in Belgium and Holland
since the beginning of the 19th Century.
By Walther Gensel.
In modern art as in ancient the part played by the two coun-
tries of which the present Handbook treats has been important not
merely in comparison with their size. Belgium has achieved emin-~
ence in all branches of art, and in painting and sculpture more
especially has exerted a powerful infiuence on the art of all Eu-
rope; Holland, on the other hand, clinging closer to her own tra-
ditions, has concentrated her attention upon painting and in that
domain has reached a second blossoming-period not unworthy of
the past. The following remarks are intended merely to direct
attention to the chief artists and works of art whose acquaintance
is to be made in the galleries, town-halls, churches, and streets
of Belgium and Holland.
In Belgium a revival in Parnrine was confidently expected
when Jacques Louis David, the great ‘classic’ master, settled in
3russels on his expulsion from France in 1815. At that period
no one could expect to rank as a finished master unless he had
received at least the final polish in Paris; and in the Belgian
capital David met again many artists who had sat at his feet in
Paris and who still worked under his inspiration. But neither
among these nor among the other Belgian painters was there any
commanding personality. At the Antwerp Academy, which had
been reopened in 1796 and reorganized in 1804, the director was
@. J. Herreyns (1743-1827), in whose principal works the manner-
isms of the 18th cent. still obtained. He was assisted by M. J.
van Bree (1773-1839), who, as a pupil of Fr. A. Vincent, Dayid’s
rival, aimed at uniting grace with classic dignity. Though the
result was, from a modern point of view, a combination of insipidity
and pomposity, Van Bree’s influence as a teacher was both consider-
able and wholesome. Ghent also was the scene of an active artistic
life. David’s presence in Brussels failed, however, to lend the ex-
pected impetus. Francois Naves (1787-1869), his most gifted pupil,
has left us portraits that are worthy of the teacher (Brussels Mu-
seum), but as a historic painter, even in his later period when he
chose Ary Scheffer and Léopold Robert as his models, he is so cold
and characterless that his appointment in 41839 to be director of
Brussels Academy seems like an attempt to set back the clock.
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K 29612:[a,1,11], Collectie Stad Antwerpen, Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience
Baedeker, Karl, Belgium and Holland, including the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg: handbook for travellers, K 29612:[a,1,11], Collectie Stad Antwerpen, Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience