PANTOJA AND THE EAGLE.
Palomino relates that a superb eagle, of the bearded kind, having been captured in the royal chase, near the Prado, the king (Philip III.) gave orders to Pantoja to paint its likeness, which he did with such truthfulness that the royal bird, on seeing it, mistook it for a real eagle, and attacked the picture with such impetuosity that he tore it in pieces with his beak and talons before they could secure him. The indignant bird was then tied more carefully, and the portrait painted over again.
THE PAINTER METHODIUS AND THE KING OF BULGARIA.
Pacheco relates a remarkable effect produced by a picture from the pencil of Methodius, who resided at Constantinople about 854. He was invited to Nicopolis by Bogoris, king of the Bulgarians, to decorate a banqueting-hall in his palace. That prince left the choice of his subject to the artist, limiting him to those of a tragic or terrible character. The sister of Bogoris, during a long captivity at Constantinople, had become a convert to the Greek church, and greatly desired that her brother should renounce paganism; therefore it was probably at her instance, in this case, that Methodius painted the Last Judgment. He succeeded in depicting the glories of the blessed and the pains of the damned in such a fearful manner, that the heathen king was induced in his terror to send for a Bishop, and signify his willingness to unite with the Greek church; and the whole Bulgarian nation soon followed his example.
JOHN C. VERMEYEN AND CHARLES V.
This Dutch painter was invited to Spain by Charles V., and accompanied that monarch on his expedition to Tunis, of which he preserved some scenes that were afterwards transferred to Brussels tapestries. He followed the court for many years, and exercised his art with honor and profit, in portrait, landscape, and sacred subjects. The palace of the Prado was adorned with a number of his works, particularly eight pictures representing the Imperial progresses in Germany, and Views of Madrid, Valladolid, Naples, and London; all of which perished in the fire of 1608. Vermeyen was an especial favorite of Charles V., who ordered his bust to be executed in marble, “for the sake of the gravity and nobleness of his countenance.” He was very remarkable for his long beard, which gained him the surname of El Barbudo or Barbalonga. In fact, so very lengthy was this beard, that Descamps says the Emperor in his playful moods used to amuse himself by treading on it, as it trailed on the ground!