Baur, John William

, an eminent painter, was born at Strasburg, in 1610, and was a disciple of Frederick Brendel. He had an enlarged capacity, -but the. liveliness of his imagination hindered him from studying nature, or the antique, in such a manner as to divest himself of his German taste, though he went to Rome to improve himself in the art. In Italy, he applied himself entirely to architecture, as far as it might contribute to the enrichment of his landscapes, which were his favourite subjects; and for his scenes and situations he studied after the rich prospects about Frascati and Tivoli, which could afford him the most delightful sites, views, and incidents. He was fond of introducing into his designs, battles, marchings of the army, skirmishes, and processions; but although he resided for a considerable length of time in and about Naples and Rome, he never arrived at a grandeur of design; nor could ever express the naked but indifferently. It must, | however, be said in his commendation, that his pencil was light,his composition good, and his dispositions eminently picturesque. He painted with great success in water-colours on vellum, and etched the Metamorphoses of Ovid, and a great many other plates, from his own designs; his works were completed by Melc’hior Kussel, to the amount of five hundred prints, including those by his own hand. Of his engravings from the Metamorphoses, which are generally preferred to the rest, and consist of one hundred and fifty, Mr. Strutt says that the figures which are introduced are generally small, and very incorrect in the drawing; the back-grounds are dark and heavy, and the trees want that lightness and freedom which are necessary to render the effect agreeable. The pieces of architecture which he is very fond of introducing into his designs, appear to be well executed; and the perspective is finely preserved. In his manner of engraving he seems in some degree to have imitated Callot; and the nearer he approaches to the style of that master, the better are his productions. These designs manifest great marks of a superior genius, but without cultivation, or the advantage of a refined judgment to make a proper choice of the most beautiful objects. Argenville mentions a peculiarity of him, that when at work, he might be heard muttering in Spanish, Italian, or French, as if holding a conversation with the persons he was painting, and endeavouring to hit their characters, gestures, and habits. About 1638, he fixed his residence at Vienna, at the invitation of the emperor Ferdinand III. and there he married, but while happy in his family and in the patronage of the emperor, he was attacked by an illness which proved fatal in 1640, when he was only thirty years of age. 1


Pilkington. —Strutt. D’Argenville, vol. III.