Where the first Darer emphasized the music of line, and the second that of masses, this Rembrandt etching emphasizes light. There is no definite linear flow or pattern, and the masses are mostly soft and vague. But such a picture is not necessarily formless, as some modern critics (obsessed by the current fashion of mass-designs in art) have supposed. The picture is unified aesthetically by the fact that every element cooperates to produce a single, concentrated visual effect. Line and mass are here, but they are not important in themselves. The shapes of thingsof boy, girl and animals, brook and hillside, are extremely simplified, and melted almost indistinguishably into one surface, whereon the changing play of lights and shadows can be traced. In painting, Rembrandt produced such effects with brush and pigment; here with a fine needle-point line. But hardly any of the lines are distinct or continuous enough to attract attention in themselves. They wander in fine thread-like tangles, or disappear in thickly cross-hatched areas; now a little closer to produce a delicate shadow; now separating to diffuse the sun. This dominant interest, and the attendant simplifications, relate the picture to modern impressionism. But it is nearer to some of the Chinese and Japanese in its extreme economy of means, and in its entire reliance; on subtle gradations in light and dark.
Other Art Collections
The National Library has a notable collection of medieval and other manuscripts, containing many fine miniatures and decorative illuminations.
The Liechtenstein Gallery, in an imposing palace, is large but on the whole mediocre. Its CHARDIN genre scenes on the second floor are among the best of its pictures, but are inferior to those at Paris. Its several large RUBENS are spirited in drawing, especially Battle and Death, but drab in color. So second-rate a painter as VAN DYCK stands out favorably with his pretty-girl portrait, Maria Luisa von Tassis. There are hundreds of bad Dutch and German pictures upstairs, with here and there a fine one, such as LUCAS VAN LEYDEN, Sts. Anthony and Hilary in the Desert, and STRIGEL, Portrait of a Woman.
Other large but unrewarding collections are in the Academy of Plastic Arts and the Graf Harrach Gallery. In the Upper Belvedere there are some interesting moderns, especially in the third and fourth rooms of the Nineteenth Century Gallery. RENOIR has two Bathers, and DELACROIX, DAUMIER, COURBET, MONET and PISSARRO are well represented.