Flameel, Bertholet

, a painter of historical subjects, was born at Liege in 1614, and began his studies in Flanders, but at the age of twenty-four he went into Italy to cultivate his talents by a view of the works of the renowned painters of that country. At Rome, he copied the best works of the great masters, and soon acquired a reputation which recommended him to the court of Florence, to which the grand duke invited him, and there employed him in several works, the execution of | which acquired for him the esteem of that prince, and the applause of the public. In returning from hence homewards, after an absence of nine years, he went to Paris, where some of his best works were executed. In 1647 he returned to Liege, where he was received with great warmth, and by his subsequent works confirmed the high, opinion which his countrymen had conceived of his merit. He then visited Paris again, was admitted a member of the academy of painting, and appointed professor. Returning home, he became rich enough to build a house at St. Remi, which cost 50,000 florins. He also embraced the clerical profession, and although he knew nothing of Latin, was made a canon of St. Paul, by a dispensation from the pope. But in the midst of wealth, possessed of public and private esteem, and of every other circumstance that could render life comfortable, he was seized with an unaccountable melancholy and dejection of spirits, which incessantly oppressed him, till it occasioned his death in 1675; and many persons believed his disorder to have been occasioned by poison administered to him by the celebrated marchioness de Brinvilliers, with whom he had formed an unfortunate connexion, but for this there appears no proof, and his death seems more reasonably attributed to his disordered mind. He appears indeed to have given way to that selfish jealousy which some have reckoned a system of approaching derangement. When one of his scholars, Carlier, had begun to give extraordinary proofs of excellence in his art, Flameel did every thing he could to discourage him, and actually transferred him to a grinder of colours. Carlier, however, conscious of his abilities, secretly painted “the Martyrdom of St. Denis,” which was placed in the church dedicated to that saint; and Flameel had no sooner seen it, than he threw his pencil into the fire, and never painted more.

This master had a lively imagination, and a noble taste for historical compositions. He was singularly skilled in antiquities, and in all his designs strictly observant of the costume. His pictures usually are enriched with porticos and colonnades, as he was an accomplished architect; his choice of nature was elegant, his expression animated, and his pencil delicate. His colouring was exceedingly good; and his taste of design was entirely of the Roman school, as well in regard to correctness, as to the objects which he chose to represent. In the cupola of the | barefooted Carmelites at Paris, he painted, in fresco, Elijah ascending to Heaven in a Chariot of Fire, and Elisha below, with his arms extended, to catch the mantle of the Prophet. At Liege are several grand altar-pieces, among which one in St. Paul’s church describes the Conversion of that saint and in the cathedral there is another by this master, representing the Resurrection of Lazarus.1