Orlay, Bernard Van

Orlay, Bernard Van or Bernard of Brussels, a celebrated painter, largely devoted to the development of sacred art, was born in that city about the year 1490. He went to Rome when he was very young, where he had the good fortune to become a pupil of Raphael. On his return to Brussels he was appointed principal painter to the governess of the Netherlands, and was likewise employed for many years by the emperor Charles V. The style of his design was noble, and his tone of coloring agreeable. He very frequently painted on a ground of leaf-gold, especially if he was engaged on a work of importance, a circumstance which is said to have preserved the freshness and luster of his colors; in his hunting-pieces, in which he introduced portraits of Charles V and the nobles of his court, he usually took the scenery from the forest of Soignies, which afforded him ample variety. He was engaged by the prince of Nassau to paint sixteen cartoons, as models for tapestry, intended for the decoration of his palace. Each cartoon contained only two figures, a knight and a lady on horseback, representing some members of the Nassau family. They were designed in an elevated style; and by the prince's order they were afterwards copied in oil by Jordaens. He painted for the chapel, of a monastery at Antwerp a picture of the Last Judgment, which was much admired. Bernard van Orlay died in 1560. Waagen mentions several excellent pictures by him in the collections in England, especially in those of the duke of Devonshire at Devonshire House, Piccadilly, and at Chiswick; at Keddieston Hall, the seat of the earl Scarsdale, where is a picture of the Virgin with the infant Christ, addressing St. John in the presence of Joseph and Elizabeth — the figures are three quarters the size of life — which is one of the finest remaining by Van Orlay; and at lord Spencer's, at Althorpe, where is a bust of Anne of Cleves, very carefully painted.

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