Ostade, Adrian Van

, a most celebrated Flemishpainter, was born at Lubeck in 1610, and was a disciple of Frank Hals, in company with Brouwer, with whom he contracted a close intimacy. In his choice of subjects he followed Teniers, and, as Fuseli says, may, more properly than any other Dutch, Flemish, or German artist, be said to have raised flowers from a dunghill. He has contented himself to trace the line which just discriminates the animal from the brute, and stamps his actors with instinct rather than with passions. He has personified the dregs of vulgarity without recommending them by the most evanescent feature of taste, and yet decoys our curiosity to dive with bim into the habitation of filth, beguiles our eye to dwell on the loathsome inmates and contents, and surprises our judgment into implicit admiration, by a truth of character, an energy of effect, a breadth and geniality of touch and finish, which leave no room for censure- If he is less silvery, less airy than Teniers, he is far more vigorous and gleaming; if his forms be more squat and brutal, they are less fantastic and more natural; if he group with less amenity, he far excels the Fleming in depth and real composition. His pictures, it is true, are not always of low subjects, but he seldom rises to any thing like gentility in character, and very seldom attempted it. His works are not numerous, and therefore very high-priced. He is also to be ranked among engravers; and Strutt enumerates fiftytwo etchings of various sizes, all from his own designs, and the greater part are justly held in estimation. He died in 1685, at the age of seventy-five. His younger brother, Isaac Van Ostade, was taught by him the art of painting, and imitated the style and taste of his instructor but he died young, and never arrived at any degree of skill in the art comparable to that of his brother. As, however, he wrought in the same manner, and upon the same kind of subjects, some of his original productions, and many of his copies from Adrian, are palmed upon amateurs as the works of the elder Ostade. But the disparity is easily discernible by the judicious, the touch is not so free, the colouring not so transparent; nor have they an equal warmth or force of effect, in comparison with each other. 1

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Descamps. Pilkington. Rees’s Cyclopædia.