XLVI HISTORICAL SKETCH OF ART
we naturally recoil from the spectacle of naked females disfigured
by the labours of maternity. Nevertheless, we must not forget that
in these coarse unwieldy shapes, in the ponderous limbs and violent
action of these female forms so constantly recurring in Rubens' pic¬
tures, we behold the direct manifestation of such impassioned
energies and irrepressible vitality as the master seeks to embody.
Rubens' earlier pictures have this marked superiority over his later
works, that with all their depth and warmth of colouring, they pre¬
serve a certain unity, and exhibit a broad but careful finish. The
Doubting Thomas in the Museum at Antwerp, with the two accom¬
panying portraits of Burgomaster Rockocx and his wife, illustrate this
characteristic. The celebrated Descent from the Cross in the Cathedral
and the Cruciflxuni in the Museum show the same quality. Owing to
the wide-spread renown of the artist, his works did not all remai7i at
home, but found their way, eve7i in his lifetime, far and wide.
Engla7id, Madrid, Paris, Munich, Vienna, and St. Petersburgh con-
tain, in their respective galleries , many of Rube7is' choicest works.
The Antwerp Museum, too, preserves a whole series of valuable pic¬
tures by the master, thus affording an opportunity, of studying him
07i the spot where he achieved greatness.
Rubens occupied this field al07ig with several other painters.
No W07ider, the7i, that similar characteristics are observable in his
works a7id those of others, and that they so closely resemble one
a7iother as occasio77ally to be confounded. Abraham Jansens (1587
—1632) comes very near to Rubens in freedom of brush and in
the impassio7ied action of his figures. Indeed there were few of
Rubens' contemporaries who escaped his influence, pervading as it
did the whole field of art, inspiring in an especial manner the
engraver. The most notable of Antwerp artists who were contempo¬
raries of Rubens are Gerard Zegers (1591—1651), Theodore Rom-
bouts (1597—1637), Gaspard de Craeyer(ib82—1651), who evinced
in his quiet compositions a charming vei77 of thought, and Lucas
van Uden (1672—1673), who pai7ited in ma7iy instai7ces the land¬
scape in the background of Rubens' pictures, as well as Frans
Snyders, who placed his extraordinary talent for animal painting at
the disposal of the great chief.
Of Rubens' most disti7iguished disciple, Anthony Van Dyck
(born at Antwerp 1599, died in London 1641), owing to the
shortness of his sojourn in his native city, few important works
are retained. After being initiated in pai7iting first by Henry
van Balen, later by Rubens, he visited Italy in his 24th year,
where Ge7ioa especially fasci7iated him, as it had done his master
before him. From 1626 to 1632 he lived at Antwerp, after that
in London, in the service of Charles I. It was not only the
fashion the7i prevailing in aristocratic circles which engaged Van
Dyck in portraiture. Portraiture made the strongest appeal to his
proclivities as a7i artist. He does not shine in the invention of