Baltimore, Walters Gallery
( Originally Published 1915 )
PROBABLY no private collection of pictures in this country has contributed more to the education of school people than Mr. Walters' Gallery in Baltimore. It is usually open to the public for a specified fee, but special arrangements are made again and again that public and private school students may have the benefit of the treasures in the gallery. The collection has always held a unique place because of its value as an educator, but this is particularly true since the pictures have been carefully culled and rehung.
We have Mr. Walters own statement, in regard to the rehanging of the Italian pictures, that his plan is to represent the history of Italian art rather than to fill his gallery with masterpieces. This gives the keynote of its great value to students. However, Mr. Walters has many masterpieces of rare excellence among his paintings. In fact, some of the examples of the old masters that form his collection could not be duplicated, even in Europe. The wonderful "Madonna of the Candelabra," though not painted exclusively by Raphael—the torch-bearing cherubs are doubtless by his pupils—is one of the most beautiful of the artist's Madonna pictures. Another real gem of the Italian section is the "Virgin and Child," by Fra Lippo Lippi. Browning has made us love Lippo Lippi; he is so human. The monk-painter was he—monk by force of circumstances, painter f rom choice. He could no more paint for the monks and
"Make them forget there's such a thing as flesh,"
than he could
"Paint the soul, never mind the legs and arms!"
And if he obeyed the Prior
"To rub all out, try at it a second time!"
his trials certainly never succeeded in leaving out the human element, for love had come into his own heart, and Lucretia peeps out at us from the Virgin.- The Child, perhaps, is Filippino Lippi, the son that helped gain the papal pardon and a true marriage bond.
The "Virgin and Child with Saints and Donor," by Crivelli, is a fine example of the Venetian school. These two examples are splendid representations of the difference in the awakening of art in the fifteenth century of the north and south of Italy. Crivelli of the north, though a quarter of a century later, was still clinging to the almond eyes and long stringy fingers of the Orient, but Fra Lippo Lippi of the south had learned that beauty of face added much to the human interest of the Virgin.
An illustrated catalogue of the Gallery will soon be issued.