No. 11.--An Allegorical Piece.--Representing the glory of Neptune, the riches and magnificence of his empire of the sea; and nothing can be more gorgeously beautiful or finer as a composition of the kind. It has already been said that Rubens' extensive knowledge of classical literature qualified him to excel in works of this kind; but another extract may now be given as applicable to this picture. "Dr. Waagen dwells on the dramatic power of Rubens as the first and grand characteristic of his genius; and who ever excelled him in telling a story? In connecting by sympathetic action or passion, his most complicated group, and with them, in spirit, the fascinated spectator. And though thus dramatic in the strongest sense, yet he is so without approaching the verge of what we call theatrical. With all his flaunting luxuriance of colour, and occasional exaggeration in form, we cannot apply that word to him. Le Brun is theatrical; Rubens never. His sins are those of excess of power and daring; but he is ever the reverse of the flimsy, the artificial, or the superficial; his gay magnificence and sumptuous fancy are always accompanied by a certain impress and assurance of power and grandeur, which often reaches the sublime, even where it stops short of the ideal. [P. 22; see entry 01600034 for a note on the artist.]
Catalogue of the Pictures Forming the Collection of the Works of the Old Masters now Being exhibited at the Gallery of the National Academy of Design in Broadway. 1849. New-York: George F. Nesbitt, Stationer and Printer, corner of Wall and Water Streets. 1849.