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Consider the vast range of achievements that embraced landscape, portraiture, and decorative work, giving to every subject such quality of workmanship and skill in composition, as none save a very few of the world’s great masters have been able to convey to canvas. And let it be remembered, too, that Rubens was not only a painter, he was a statesman and a diplomat; and amid cares and anxieties that might well have filled the life of any smaller man, he found time to paint countless pictures in every style, and to move steadily forward along the road to mastery, so that his second period is better than the first, in which he was, if the expression may be used with propriety, finding himself. The third period, which saw the painting of the great works that hang in Antwerp’s Cathedral and Museum to-day, and is represented in our own National Gallery and Wallace Collection, was the best of all. Passing from his labours as he did at a comparatively early age, for Rubens was but sixty-three when he died, he did not suffer the slow decline of powers that has so often accompanied men who reached their greatest achievements in ripe middle age and shrink to mere shadows of a name. He did not reach his supreme mastery of colour until he had lived for half a century or more, and the pictures that have the greatest blots upon them from the point of view of the twentieth century, were painted before he reached the summit of his powers. It is perhaps unfortunate that Rubens painted far too many works to admit of a truly representative collection in any city or gallery. The best are widely scattered; some are in the Prado in Madrid, others are in Belgium, some are in Florence. Holland has a goodly collection, while Antwerp boasts among many masterpieces “The Passing of Christ,” “The Adoration of the Magi,” “The Prodigal Son,” and “The Christ à la Paille.” Munich, Brussels, Dresden, Vienna, and other

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