Mabuse, John De

, a Hungarian artist, was born at Maubeuge, a village in Hainault, in 1499, though in the Chronological Tables his birth is supposed to have been in 1492. It is not known from whom he derived his knowledge of the art of painting but, in his youth, he was laborious in his practice, and his principal studies were after nature, by which he acquired a great deal of truth in his compositions. To improve himself in his profession, he travelled to Italy, and became an artist of great repute. He had a good pencil, and finished his pictures highly, with great care; yet, notwithstanding his studies in Italy, and the correctness of his design, he never could arrive at the elegance of the Roman school. His manner was dry, stiff, and laboured; but he was exceedingly industrious to give a polished smoothness to his colouring. By king Henry VIII. of England he was employed to paint the portraits of some of his children, which gained him great reputation, as he finished them | delicately, and gave them spirit and liveliness and he painted several others for the nobility who attended the court at London. His paintings are consequently not unfrequent in this country.

Many excellent works of Mabuse are at Middleburg; one of the most capital is the altar-piece of the great church, representing the descent from the cross. That picture had been so highly commended, that it raised the curiosity of Albert Durer; and he took a journey to Middleburg, merely to be an eye-witness of the merit of that performance. He viewed it with singular attention, and expressed the pleasure it afforded him, by the praise he bestowed upon it. But the picture which is accounted to excel all his other productions, is the Virgin with the infant Jesus, which he finished while he was retained in the service of the marquis ofVeren; and in that subject he contrived to pay an extraordinary compliment to his patron, by making the heads of his lady and son the models for the heads of his figures.

He is censured by all writers for his immoderate love of drinking; and it is confidently said, that having received, by order of the marquis, a piece of brocade for a dress, to appear in before the emperor* Charles V. he sold it at a tavern, and painted a paper suit so exceedingly like it, that the emperor could not be convinced of the deception till he felt the paper, and examined every part with his own hands. He died in 1562. 1


Pilkington Walpole’s Anecdotes.