DEATH OF ELIZABETH SIRANI.
This accomplished, amiable, and talented lady was cut off in the flower of her life, August 29th, 1665, by poison, administered by one of her own maids, instigated, as is supposed, by some jealous young artists. Her melancholy death was bewailed with demonstrations of public sorrow, and her remains were interred with great pomp and solemnity in the church of S. Domenico, in the same vault where reposed the ashes of Guido.
This celebrated paintress of fruit and flowers was born at Amsterdam in 1664. She was the daughter of Frederick Ruisch or Ruysch, the celebrated professor of anatomy. She early showed an extraordinary taste for depicting fruit and flowers, and attained to such perfection in her art, that some have not hesitated to equal and even prefer her works to those of John van Huysum. She grouped her flowers in the most tasteful and picturesque manner, and depicted them with a grace and brilliancy that rivalled nature. Descamps says that “in her pictures of fruit and flowers, she surpassed nature herself.” The extraordinary talents of this lady recommended her to the patronage of the Elector Palatine—a great admirer of her pictures—for whom she executed some of her choicest works, and received for them a munificent reward. Though she exercised her talents to an advanced age, her works are exceedingly rare, so great was the labor bestowed upon them. She spent seven years in painting two pictures, a fruit and a flower piece, which she presented to one of her daughters as a marriage portion. She married Jurian Pool, an eminent portrait painter, by whom she had ten children; she is frequently called by his name, though she always signed her pictures with her maiden name. Smith, in his Catalogue raisonne, vols. vi. and ix., gives a description of only about thirty pieces by her—a proof of their extreme rarity. They now command very high prices when offered for sale, which rarely happens. She died in 1760, aged 86 years.
SIR ANTHONY VANDYCK.
This eminent Flemish painter was born at Antwerp in 1599. His father early gave him instruction in drawing; he was also instructed by his mother, who painted landscapes, and was very skillful in embroidery. He studied afterwards under Henry van Balen, and made rapid progress in the art; but attracted by the fame of Rubens, he entered the school of that master, and showed so much ability as to be soon entrusted with the execution of some of his instructor’s designs. Some writers, among whom D’Argenville was the first, assert that Rubens became jealous of Vandyck’s growing excellence, and therefore advised him to devote himself to portrait painting; assigning the following anecdote as the cause of his jealousy. During the short absences of Rubens from his house, for the