Renaissance Painting. Venetian, Dutch and Flemish artists.
We have now reached gallery where every paintings is of importance. In the place of honor is the "Virgin and Child with Saints" (ill. no. 4), by Raphael (1473-1520).
The Colonna Raphael, as it is called because it belonged for more than a century to the Colonna family in Rome, was painted in 1504-1505 for the nuns of the Convent of St. Anthony of Padua, in Perugia. The Virgin sits on a raised throne backed with a crimson and gold hanging; the Child, seated on her knee, wears a white tunic and raises his hand blessing the infant St. John.
At the left stand St. Peter with his keys and St. Catherine resting on her wheel; at the right St. Paul holds his sword and St. Cecilia is crowned with red and white roses. In the lunette above, God the Father has his hand raised in blessing and is attended by adoring angels.
In the corner at the right is the "Madonna and Child" by Giovanni Bellini (1428-1516) and near it "Venus and Mars United by Love" by Veronese (1528-1588), both Venetian artists.
Dutch art is represented by a small interior by Vermeer (1623-1675), which shows a "Young Woman with a Water Jug" (ill. no. 6) standing near a window; two portraits by Frans Hals, a "Landscape with Cattle" by Cuyp (1620-1691) and a landscape by Jacob Ruisdael (1628-1682).
By Flemish artists are the "Adoration of the Kings" by Massys (1460?-1530), which is notable for its rich color, and the full length portrait of "James Stuart, Duke of Lennox," with his dog (ill. no. 15), one of the best known works by Van Dyck (1599-1641).
The only American painting in the room is John S. Sargent's portrait of Henry G. Marquand (ill. no. 25), President of the Metropolitan Museum from 1890 until his death in 1902.
The Altman collection occupies five galleries immediately to the north of the main staircase. Go out of gallery 11 by the right hand door near the Veronese and as you enter gallery 39 you face the "Old Woman Cutting her Nails" (ill. no. 17) by Rembrandt (16o6-1669), one of thirteen works in this room by this greatest of Dutch masters. His profound insight into human nature, his power to make us see beauty in every day surroundings, the rich color and simple arrangement are all-compelling.
Rembrandt's own portrait, painted when he was 54 years of age, is on the opposite wall.
Three pictures by Hals (1584?-1666), another Dutch master, are brilliant character studies showing the life of the gay people of his time, which he portrayed so dexterously.
"Yonker Ramp and his Sweetheart" (ill. no. 16) is as typical of his early work as the two portraits that we have just seen in gallery 11 are of his more serious achievements. Maes, DeHooch, Terborch and Jacob Ruisdael hold our attention here.
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