THE DUTCH MASTERS
REMBRANDT, HALS AND
"THE LITTLE MASTERS"
IN FLANDERS and Holland, after the beginning of the seventeenth century , the conditions for painting were no longer the same. In Holland the grandiose style the large scale decorative painting of Rubens had gone out of fashion. This was a result of the Reformation, for the Protestant churches, hav ing abandoned the pomp of Catholicism in their exercises of worship, also became very austere in their requirements of design and decoration. One of the first effects of their influ ence was the suppression of the religious paintings which had traditionally adorned the churches. This branch of art now disappeared.
In place of the church, corporations now became the principal patrons of artists. What they required were group portraits of their members and the importance given to any one figure its place in the picture was determined by the price paid by the individual to the artist. Rembrandt Van Rijn (1606-1669), and his contemporary, Frans Hals (1580?-1666) among others, were the masters of this type of painting and "The Anatomy Lesson" and "The Night Watch" are ex- amples of its greatest masterpieces.
The technique of Rubens was used by these masters, but their col ors were of a great sobriety. The basis of their harmony was bistre and gray. While Hals threw himself boldly into happy improvisations, Rembrandt, charmed by the mysteries of depth and the play of light and shadow, worked with great care and reflection. He sought his most telling effects in the transparent bistres. His lights were boldly laid into these shadowy depths with a very simple use of color. He could not have had more than five or six colors on his palette. He made use of a greater quantity of wax than either Hals or Rubens, and with it he obtained the heavy impastos