Brill, Paul

, an excellent artist, brother to Matthew Brill, was born at Antwerp, in 1554, but bred to the profession of painting under Daniel Voltelmans. From the time of his quitting that master till he went to Italy, his manner was rather stiff, his pictures had a predominant brown and yellow tinge, and his design and colouring were equally indifferent. But when he visited his brother Matthew at Rome, and saw the works of Titian and Caracci, he altered his Flemish manner entirely, and fixed upon a style that was abundantly pleasing, with a charming tone of colour. The pension and employment which his brother possessed at the Vatican were conferred upon Paul; and he so far surpassed him, that he daily rose in his reputation, till he was considered as the first in his profession. Annibal Caracci generally painted the figures in his landscapes, and by that means increased their value to a very high degree. His manner of painting is true, sweet, and tender; the touchings of his trees are firm, and yet delicate; his scenery, his situations, and distances, are admirable, most of them being taken from nature; and the masses of his light and shadow are strong, and very judicious; though, in some of his small easel-pictures, he may be sometimes accounted rather too green, or at least more greenish than could be wished. It is remarked of him, that, in the latter part of his life, his landscapes were always of a small size; but they are beautiful and exquisitely finished, and frequently he painted them on copper. The genuine works of this eminent master are now rarely to be met with, especially those of the larger size, and they afford prices that are extremely high in every part of Europe. Sandrart observes, that in his time the pictures of Paul Brill were eagerly coveted in all countries where the polite arts are encouraged; that abundance of | purchasers appeared at the public sales, ambitious to possess them; and that very large sums of money were given for them whenever they could be procured. And it seems that their intrinsic value is not diminished, since, a very few years ago, one of the landscapes of this master sold in Holland for 160l. and another, at an auction in London, for 120 guineas or upwards, and yet they were deemed to be cheaply purchased. He died in 1626, aged seventytwo.1

1 Pilkington. —Strutt. Argenville. —Descamps.