ments could not have extended to the greater masters of his time.

The "Portrait of a Young Man" (Fig. 63), by Hans Holbein, the younger (1497-1543), bought for the Metropolitan Museum in 1906, is a splendid example of Holbein's early work. It is hard to realize that a boy of twenty was such a master of portraiture, yet if the date 1517 on the wall at the left in the painting is correct, Holbein could scarcely have been out of his teens. When we remember that he was only just of age when he painted that great masterpiece, "The Meyer Madonna," it is not surprising, for the homely faces of Meyer and his wife are superb pieces of portraiture. In them the young artist in a simple straightforward manner has expressed strong genuine emotion. In the portrait of the young man we again find the outspoken character sketch of an honest artist. Holbein has not hesitated to record a certain discontent in the small eyes regarding us from the corner of the eyelids and in the full lips parted with a dissatisfied query. The young man's attitude is that of a certain personal impatience because of proscribed restraint. He was probably the son of the bailiff of Lucerne or he may be Ambrose Holbein, the artist's brother. That he is passing the period of youth is seen in the suggested double chin, the well-set nose and the enlarged hand. The character of the rings— the one on the index finger is either an Egyptian intaglio or a signet ring with a coat of arms—suggest that he may be a classical scholar. Certainly his whole bearing is that of one who knows his own importance. His costume of simple low-tones in black, green and red is very attractive against the fine quality of the flesh tints. The longer we sit looking at this portrait the more we are convinced of Holbein's understanding of the personal element in character. The picture is painted on paper like the artist's "Adam and Eve," in Basel, Switzerland, belonging to the same year

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CHAPTER VIII

NEW YORK CITY, METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, ALTMAN COLLECTION

collection of paintings bequeathed to any museum in America has ever attracted such widespread interest among the people as has the Altman collection since its bequest to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And rightly so, for no collection of paintings by an individual ever represented such an array of masterpieces. Strange as it may seem, Mr. Altman made this marvelous selection of the works of the great masters during the last eight years of his life; and each picture represents his own personal preference. This personal preference, however, never intruded itself when the judgment of experts was against a purchase, but no expert ever persuaded him to buy when the picture did not suit his own personal taste. This last statement reveals the secret of the uniformity of these paintings as representative works of the period.

There are in America to-day a larger number of the paintings of Rembrandt than in any one country of Europe and of this number thirteen were bought by Mr. Altman. As we enter the Altman rooms "The Old Woman Cutting Her Nails" (Fig. 64) is the first picture to attract us. This painting, done after popularity had waned with Rembrandt, is the rarest gem of them all. No one can help but feel the deep sympathy for old age that filled the artist. That seamed and wrinkled face is typical of the care-worn, sorrow-wrecked woman of all time.

Rembrandt, under the pinch of poverty and the sting of neglect, broadened and deepened in his art and in his understanding of human life until his brush strokes were like searchlights revealing the depths of the soul. This picture is simply of a poor old woman intent on cutting her nails, with a pair of sheep shears it seems, yet we are overcome with the power of it—no details, dull in color, homely in subject, but bathed with a light that was never on land or sea. Rembrandt's light! What cared he for poverty or neglect with such a comforter at hand? Little did the purblind people of Amsterdam understand their own stupidity; the man they were neglecting had refused to lower his standards of art by

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catering to their whims for portraits of themselves; they thought they were punishing him. Were they, we ask, when we have this superb portrait of an unknown old woman in the place of their likenesses?

Now turn and look at the "Portrait of Rembrandt" (Fig. 65), painted by himself. He made this portrait in 1660, two years later. The artist is now fifty-four. Can you not feel how the "little cares and anxieties of daily life" torment him? He knows within himself the superiority of the gifts that are his, but he realizes how powerless he is to cope with people in high places. The lift of the eyebrows that wrinkle his forehead is that of whimsical impatience, yet the spark in his eyes denies defeat. The mouth is drawn and the mark of undeserved neglect is evident in the premature wrinkles, but a certain merry pride lurks in the tilted cap and raised head. A pang of pity shoots through us, only to be replaced by one of keen satisfaction that he, the neglected, is remembered and they, the aristocrats, are forgotten. Rembrandt painted more than fifty self-portraits. At first they seem simple experiments in light and shade, or the study of fantastic costumes, or the expression of the happiness of his life with his beloved Saskia, but as life's burdens grew heavy they became

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