Verse in the first person

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Jan van Scorel engraving

41. Jan van Scorel

Through all centuries I shall be said to have been the first to have taught by my example the excellent Belgians to be envious of Rome in painting.  For he is not worthy of the honour of a true artist, who does not use up a thousand pencils and pigments, and paint pictures in that school. Continue Reading 41. Jan van Scorel


Quentin Matsys engraving

23. Quentin Matsys

Before I used to be a Cyclopean smith, but when a wooing painter began to love on an equal footing with me, and the cautious girl objected to me that she liked the heavy thundering of hammers less than the silent paintbrush, love made me a painter.  A tiny hammer, which is the sure note of my paintings, alludes to this.  Thus, when Venus had asked Vulcan for arms for her son, you, greatest of poets, made a painter out of a smith. Continue Reading 23. Quentin Matsys


Jan Van Eyck engraving

11. Jan Van Eyck

“I am he who first taught to mix joyful colours from the pressed oily seed of flax, with my brother Hubert. Bruges, flourishing with wealth, was astounded by this new discovery, perhaps unknown in the past to Apelles himself.  Soon afterwards our uprightness did not refuse to be spread widely through the whole world.” Continue Reading 11. Jan Van Eyck