melt together and so gives tone to nature itself. And sure enough the painters of the 17tb century were tonalists rather than colourists, though the latter epithet may not be withheld either from Vermeer, Steen or Maes, to mention only a few. Naturally the atmosphere, so overpowering out of doors, also manifests itself indoors, and the sun illuminating the beautiful interiors of Pieter de Hooghe is the same sparkling, soft, somewhat cool sun we admire in Albert Coyp's landscapes.
In the first masters of the Netherlands school, in the narrating, genuinely epic painters, who find their material, like their contemporaries elsewhere, in scriptural sübjects or legends of the saints, we discover the peculiar propensity to use the ordinary as a means of expression for the extraordinary and even to make the ordinary prevalent.
In all sorts of particulars, especially those of a domestic nature, we notice at an early date how the Netherlands painter often gave more attention and applied more tender care to the accessories and attributes characterizing and enriching his theme, than to dramatic representation. Then gradually appear painters who all but neglect the contents of the story or episode, and spend their power almost entirely in reproducing outward appearances; and so from the ranks of the early masters gradually emerge portrait painters like Jan van Scorel, still-life and genre painters like Pieter Aerts and Adriaan Bloemaart, and landscape painters like Sa ver y and Van de Venne.
It seems as if the Netherlands painters had contemplated matter, nature, the human face, in short every item which they had made use of, as words in which to express their thought, as a language to be loved for its own sake, for its own beauty and character, in which they became so wrapt up'that 'they neglected what had been their original object (and remained the main object of others) namely, the case ropresented, the story.
There is but one step from such an intense contemplation and imitation to a lyric glorification of the beauty of matter, and so as early as the beginning of the 17th century we meet painters for whom love of the material object is the 6