תמונות בעמוד

Bought two drawings, paying 2 florins all but 10 stivers for the pair. Painted Nicholas Soiler. Dined nine times at Bergen since my return from Zealand, and spent 4 stivers. Gave the steersman 3 stivers, spent 8 more; and on the Friday after Saint Lucia’s Day, I came again to Antwerp, and to lodge with Job Planckfelt.'

Though valuable in an artistic point of view, this journey seems to have been as unremunerative as its predecessors. It was destined, however, to leave lasting traces on Dürer: then were laid the seeds of that Walcheren fever which was slowly but surely to sap his strength. After his return to Antwerp we read of bills paid to the apothecary and the barber, which must have had the same antiphlogistic effect on his purse that the barber's lancet may be supposed to have had on his pulse.

In April a great blow fell on Dürer: we give his own account of it:

"Item. On the Friday before Whitsunday in 1521, the news reached Antwerp that Martin Luther had been traitorously imprisoned.

"Thus have they led away captive this pious man, enlightened of the Holy Ghost, one who was the follower of the true faith as it is in Christ. Whether he still lives, or whether he is already slain by them, I know not. But this has he suffered for the sake of the Christian truth, and because he chastised that unchristian Papacy, which resists the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free, adding great burdens of men's laws. That which is ours by our sweat and our blood, it steals and draws from us, spending the same shamefully on a lazy and worthless crew, while the thirsting and the sick among mankind perish for hunger. What is most grievous to me is, that God may perhaps leave us to this blind and false doctrine, which has been by those they call “ Fathers” invented and reared up; whereby that which is of greatest account to us is falsely dealt with, or not held in sincerity.

*Ah! God in heaven, have mercy upon us. Oh, Lord Jesus Christ, pray for Thy people ; deliver us in due time; preserve us in the Chrisiian verity. Gather Thy widely-scattered sheep by Thy voice, in Scripture called Thy Blessed Word. Help us to know this Thy voice, and not to follow any sound (piping) of human error. That we, Oh Lord Jesus Christ, may not depart from Thee, call in the sheep of Thy pasture, of which a portion is yet to be found in the Romish Church; and gather the Indians and Muscovites,'the Russian and the Greek churches together, which, by the greed and devices of the Pope, and by a hypocritical zeal, have been sundered.

Ah! God, redeem Thy poor people, who through great pain and pressure are driven to that which none do willingly, and which every man sins against his conscience in embracing. Never, Oh God, didst Thou afflict any people as we Thy miserable ones are sorely burdened because of the Roman See, while we desire to be free Christians, daily redeemed by Thy blood. Oh! Highest, Heavenly Father, shed into our hearts, by Thy Son' (I.H.S.), such light that we may perceive to what commandments we are bound, and may with a good conscience let the other burdens slip. Then to serve Thee, our Eternal Father in Heaven, with free and joyful hearts. And so for this man, who has more clearly written than any since 140 years, and upon whom Thou hast bestowed so evangelical a spirit, we pray that Thou wouldst give again Thy Holy Spirit to some one that Thy Holy Christian Church everywhere may be gathered together ; that we may live for Christ, and by Thee alone; that our good works may draw to us all infidels, Turks, heathens, and Indians, and that they may embrace the Christian faith. But, Lord, if it be Thy will to judge us, that, like as Thy Son Jesus Christ died at the hands of the priests, and rose again from the dead, so that in like manner this Thy disciple Martin Luther (whom the Pope by money has treacherously betrayed) should lose his life, and that as Jerusalem, after my Lord was hanged on a tree, was destroyed, so do Thou annihilate this seif-arrogated power of the Roman See. Ah! Lord, give us then that new adorned Jerusalem that descendeth from Heaven, as it is written in the Apocalypse, Thy Holy Gospel undarkened by any teaching of man.

: Ah! God, if Luther be dead, indeed, what might not he have written for us in the next ten or twenty years. Oh! all ye pious Christian souls, help us to weep, and bitterly to lament this man endued with the Spirit of God, and to pray to Him to send us another light to lighten us. O Erasmus of Rotterdam! where dost thou tarry? See what unjust tyranny prevails to do, and what is the might in the world of this power of darkness.

* Hear, thou knight of Christ ! ride forward beside thy Lord Christ, protect the truth, desire even the martyr's crown; for thou art already an old man. I have heard this of thee, that thou hast given thyself yet two years to do and to be something. Lay these two out then for the good of the evangel, and of the true Christian faith; make thy voice to be heard, so that the gates of hell (the Roman See) may not (as saith the Lord) prevail against thee. And if then, being in this made like unto thy only Master, thou shouldst suffer shame from the false witnesses of these days, and shouldst die for this one little day the sooner, thou shalt but pass in this way more quickly from death unto life, and be clarified through Christ; so thou having drank out of the cup of which He drank, mayest reign with Him, and judge with equity those that have not done well.

O Erasmus! quit thyself, so as thou mayest have praise of God, as it was once said of David — that thou mayest dare and do, and, it may be, prevail to slay this Goliath - for God stands by His holy Christian Church, as he stands in the midst of the Roman church. Now, according to His will, may He bring us into eternal bliss, who is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, one everlasting God. Amen. Oh! all Christian souls, pray ye to God for help, that His sentence may come forth and His justice be revealed. Then shall we see the innocent blood avenged of those that Pope, priests, and monks have condemned. These are “the slain lying beneath the altar,” and crying for vengeance ; and the voice of God replies, “count up the fulness of the number of the innocents that are slain, and then will I judge.”

We do not think that we need apologise to our readers for the length of the preceding extract. It is a noble passage; and in no other place has Dürer permitted himself such passionate expression of his thoughts. Did his Diary contain much like this, it would no doubt be better and more generally known; as it is, the public are often deterred by the quaint meagreness of the style, and by the troublesome uncouthness of the spelling, which is often phonetic, and sometimes has not even this quality to guide us. Artists perusing it may be disappointed to find its pages destitute of criticism; polemics, to find no dissertations on the points at issue between the priests and the reformers; historians may regret, in reading Dürer's notices of contemporary history, that he has said so little when he might have told us so much: those only who hold that the study of mankind is man, will find true pleasure in these glimpses into the past, in this the day-book of the artist whose business was to depict the men of his time with the pencil rather than with the pen; whose life was too active to allow him to amplify in his account of facts; often too sad to tempt him to dwell upon feelings.

That life is now on the decline. It had been the prayer of Erasmus that his friend might, by reason of his merits, be exempt from the common lot, and escape,' said the scholar, * from the rigour of the Parcæ '- but the Fates press him hard : the strange sickness, the like of which I never heard of any

other man being afflicted with,' drags on; and so do the months of the year 1521. With the exception of the brief patronage of the king of Denmark, at whose table he sat, along with the emperor, and the whole imperial court, no event of any importance occurred during the remainder of his stay in the Netherlands; and with his pecuniary affairs much embarrassed, he finally leaves Antwerp. Of all this the Diary continues to afford us a minute account, until he arrives at Cologne, when it abruptly ends. Dürer's object in his tour had been to make money, both as an artist and as a dealer in works of art: in that object he had failed. I have lost


all my sales, works, bargains, and savings in the Netherlands: in great things as • well as in little,' is the complaint that he gave vent to when he came finally to settle with Job Planckfelt, the landlord of the inn, where he and his wife had so long lodged, in Antwerp, and whose importunities for payment the artist often answered, as is the wont of genius in distress, by painting a sign, or taking,


for the second time, a portrait of his wife. That Albert's work was always, to our ideas, underpaid, often not paid at all, is true: but we must remember that he was at this time in receipt of an annual pension from the emperor; and truth compels us to own, that bad management, rather than poverty, was the cause of his pecuniary embarrassments. A constant outlay on curiosities may be remarked in his accounts: and he had at different times, particularly when in Italy, lent large sums : it would appear that generous by nature, and unsuspicious in his transactions, was seldom so fortunate as to recover the

money he was so ready to lend. Yet Fioravanti's statement that he died in want, and was buried at the public expense, is wholly without foundation, and is as much a fable as the tale, once common, that during his absence in Venice in 1506, his wife was reduced to begging her bread, and that he found her doing 50 at the city gates, on his return; on the contrary, Dürer died worth 6000 forins, and possessed of a large collection of valuables, by the sale of which, Agnes Durer, while she disobliged her husband's friends in general, and his executors in particular, must have added largely to her widowed means. Her own fortune had been sunk immediately after their marriage, in the purchase of the house in the Zisselgasse (now A. Dürer's Strasse), which is shown as having been the scene of the artist's married life: and not far from which now stands Rauch's statue, to the greatest of the painters of Germany. When Dürer returned to this abode and to Nüremberg, it was to sink, as far as regarded royal and foreign notice, into comparative neglect. Other towns had offered to confer their freedom upon him, and even more lucrative honours had been pressed upon his acceptance: but proudly pathetic is his appeal to his native city: he assures her that he claims and values the privilege of sonship, and that he desires to hold the good things of this life as her gift, and hers only. Her spiritual interests lay close to his heart. His opinions, as well as those of Pirkheimer and Tscherte, were well known; as heretical, they made the friends liable at any time to odium and inconvenience, if not to actual persecution: yet, nothing daunted, the painter again set up his easel, and finished in 1526 the noblest of his works - the two panels representing St. Peter with St. John, St. Mark and St. Paul. This picture he bequeathed to Nüremberg; and it originally had an inscription affixed to it, containing a warning to all Christian kings, rulers, and princes, not to add to or take away from the blessed word of God; nor yet to mistake for His decrees words of man's wisdom. This triumphant effort of his genius shows it to us in all its strength. In this

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his last masterpiece one can perceive the effects of his studies in the Low Countries, and the influence of Flemish masters on his style ; for he has laid aside many of the peculiarities of his old method : his handling is bolder, his colouring deep and rich : the draperies fall in simple and majestic lines; and the accessories are kept more subordinate, than was his wont, to the expression of the picture. Display of acquired knowledge, revellings of fancy in wild luxuriance, or colder symbolism, are no longer to be traced. Neither the attitudes nor the effects here are forced: he painted as he desired to teach, and to grasp truth as his own St. Paul grasps the naked and two-edged sword. So, in after-days, he desired, being dead, still to speak to the Franconians.

The portraits of Dürer of this period represent a man broken in body and in spirit: we miss the falling hair, and the gentle expression in features which pain had sharpened. His wife, • too, gnawed into his heart,' says Pirkheimer, referring to these years.

Yet the intellectual force was unabated: and had .God,' continues his friend, 'granted him a little longer life, • he would still have brought many rare things to light, and given much wonderful art to the world.' He did produce in the last year of his existence two religious pieces-one a head of the Saviour; another a Christ bearing His cross, shaded with grey on grey paper: and this mournful subject is about the latest that ever occupied his pencil. To the last he occupied himself in correcting and improving the new edition of his book on • Proportion, leaving it, however, so unfinished, that it was not ready for publication in Nüremberg, till 1532. Contrary to the advice of Erasmus, it had been written in the vulgar tongue; and the oldest Latin editions of it are from the translation of J. Camerarius, Paris, 1557; and Venice, 1591.

In the spring of 1528 Dürer's fever again attacked him, and on the 6th of April he died. Travellers are familiar with his tomb in the burying-ground of St. John's, without the walls of his native city. Here then let us bid farewell to the diligence of the artist, and the labours of the man, who was to others so patient, to himself so severe; who had the hands of a craftsman, and the soul of a king; for, from the household jars and the narrow streets he has passed to the many mansions:' from Nüremberg's stately castle, and from her blue horizon of Franconian hills, he has emigrated to the beautiful mountains,' and the vexed spirit of the painter has found the implored rest.

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