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gance! In those of Rembrandt, what intense individuality! Could Sir Joshua Reynolds have painted a vixen without giving her a touch of sentiment? Would not Sir Thomas Lawrence have given refinement to a cook-maid? I do believe that Opie would have made even a calf's head look sensible, as Gainsborough made our queen Charlotte look picturesque.
If I should whisper that since I came to Germany I have not seen one really fine modern portrait, the Germans would never forgive me; they would fall upon me with a score of great names-Wach, Stieler, Vogel, Schadow-and beat me, like Chrimhilde, "black and blue." But before they are angry, and absolutely condemn me, I wish they would place one of their own most admired portraits beside those of Titian or Vandyke, or come to England, and look upon our school of portraiture here! I think they would allow, that with all their merits, they are in the wrong road. Admirable, finished drawing; wonderful dexterity of hand; exquisite and most conscientious truth of imitation, they have; but they abuse these powers. They do not seem to feel the application of the highest, grandest
principles of art to portrait painting—they think too much of the accessories. Are not these clever and accomplished men aware that imitation may be carried so far as to cease to be nature-to be error, not truth? For instance, by the common laws of vision I can behold perfectly, only one thing at a time. If I look into the face of a person I love or venerate, do I see first the embroidery of the canezou or the pattern on the waistcoat? if not—why should it be so in a picture? The vulgar eye alone is caught by such misplaced skill—the vulgar artist only ought to seek to captivate by such means.
These would sound in England as the most trite and impertinent remarks—the most selfevident propositions: nevertheless they are truths which the generality of the German portrait painters and their admirers have not yet felt.
I drove with my kind-hearted friends, M. and Madame Stuntz, to Thalkirchen, the countryhouse of the Baron de Freyberg. The road pursued the banks of the rapid, impetuous Isar, and the range of the Tyrolian alps bounded the prospect before us. An hour's drive brought us to
Thalkirchen, where we were obviously quite unexpected, but that was nothing:-I was at once received as a friend, and introduced without ceremony to Madame de Freyberg's painting-room. Though now the fond mother of a large little family, she still finds some moments to devote to her art. On her easel was the portrait of the Countess M-(the sister of De Freyberg) with her child, beautifully painted-particularly the latter. In the same room was an unfinished portrait of M. de Freyberg, evidently painted con amore, and full of spirit and character; a head of Cupid, and a piping boy, quite in the Italian manner and feeling; and a picture of the birth of St. John, exquisitely finished. I was most struck by the heads of two Greeks—members, I believe, of the deputation to King Otho-painted with her peculiar delicacy and transparency of colour, and, at the same time, with a breadth of style and a freedom in the handling, which I have not yet seen among the German portrait painters. A glance over a portfolio of loose sketches and unfinished designs, added to my estimation of her talents. She excels in children-her own serving her as models. I do not hesitate to say of this gifted woman, that while she equals Angelica Kauffman in grace and delicacy, she far exceeds her in power, both of drawing and colouring. She reminded me more of the Sofonisba, * but it is a different, and, I think, a more delicate style of colour, than I have observed in the pictures of the latter.
We had coffee, and then strolled through the grounds—the children playing around us. If I was struck by the genius and accomplishments of Madame de Freyberg, I was not less charmed by the frank and noble manners of her husband, and his honest love and admiration of his wife, whom he married in despite of all prejudices of birth and rank.
In this truly German dwelling there was an extreme simplicity, a sort of negligent elegance, a picturesque and refined homeliness, the presiding influence of a most poetical mind and eye every where visible, and a total indifference to what we English denominate comfort; yet with the obvious presence of that crowning comfort of all comforts -cordial domestic love and union-which impressed me altogether with pleasant ideas, long after borne in my mind, and not yet, nor ever to be, effaced. How little is needed for happiness, when we have not been spoiled in the world, nor our tastes vitiated by artificial wants and habits ! When the hour of departure came, and De Freyberg was handing me to the carriage, he made me advance a few steps, and pause to look round; he pointed to the western sky, still flushed with a bright geranium tint, between the amber and the rose; while against it lay the dark purple outline of the Tyrolian mountains. A branch of the Isar, which just above the house overflowed and spread itself into a wide still pool, mirrored in its clear bosom not only the glowing sky and the huge dark mountains, and the banks and trees blended into black formless masses, but the very stars above our heads;-it was a heavenly scene! _“You will not forget this,” said De Freyberg, seeing I was touched to the heart; “you will think of it when you are in England, and in recalling it, you will perhaps remember us-who will not forget you! Adieu, madame!"
* Sofonisba Angusciola, one of the most charming of portrait painters. She died in 1626, at the age of ninety-three.