More, Sir Antonio

, an eminent artist of the sixteenth century, was born at Utrecht in 1519, and was the scholar of John Schorel, but seems to have studied the manner of Holbein, to which he approached nearer than to the freedom of design in the works of the great masters that he saw at Rome. Like Holbein he was a close imitator of nature, but did not arrive at his extreme delicacy of finishing; on the contrary, Antonio sometimes struck into a bold and masculine style, with a good knowledge of chiaro-scuro. Among other portraits he drew Philip II. and was recommended by cardinal Granvelle to Charles V. who sent him to Portugal, where he painted John III. the king, Catharine of Austria, his queen, and the infanta Mary, first wife of Philip. For these three pictures he received six hundred ducats, besides a gold chain of a thousand florins, and other presents. He had one hundred ducats for his common portraits. But still ampler rewards were bestowed on him when sent into England to draw the picture of queen Mary, the intended bride of Philip. They gave him one hundred pounds a quarter as painter to their majesties. He made various portraits of the queen one was sent by cardinal Granvelle to the emperor, who ordered two hundred florins to Antonio. He remained in England during the reign of Mary, and was much employed; but having neglected, as is frequent, to write the names on the portraits he drew, most of them have lost part of their | value, by our ignorance of the persons represented. Though portraits was the branch in which More chiefly excelled, he was not without talent for history. In this he had something of the Italian style in his design, and his colouring resembled that of Titian. A very fine work of his, representing the Ascension of our Saviour, is in the gallery of the Louvre at Paris. The style of the composition, which consists of Jesus Christ ascending, crowned by two angels, and accompanied by the figures of St. Peter and St. Paul, is of the severe and grand cast employed by Fra. Bartolomeo; the colouring is exceedingly fine, and correspondent to the style of design; he has been least successful in the expression of the principal figure; if that had been more just and grand, this picture would alone place More among the very first class of artists. On the death of the queen, he followed Philip into Spain, where he was indulged in so much familiarity, that one day the king slapping him pretty roughly on the shoulder, More returned the sport with his handstick. A strange liberty t& be taken with a Spanish monarch, and with such a monarch His biographer gives but an awkward account of the sequel, and, says Mr. Walpole, “1 repeat it as I find it. A grandee interposed for his pardon, and he was permitted to retire to the Netherlands, but on the promise of returning again to Spain. I should rather suppose that he was promised to have leave to return hither after a temporary banishment; and this supposition is the more likely, as Philip for once forgetting majesty in his love of the arts, dispatched a messenger to recal him before he had finished his journey. But the painter, sensible of the danger he had escaped, modestly excused himself. And yet, says the story, the king bestowed noble presents and places on his children.” At Utrecht, Antonio found the duke of Alva, and was employed by him to paint some of his mistresses, and was made receiver of the revenues of West Flanders, a preferment with which they say he was so elated, that he burned his easel, and gave away his painting-tools. He was a man of a stately and handsome figure; and often went to Brussels, where he lived magnificently. He died at Antwerp, in 1575, in the fifty-sixth year of his age.1