Who was Herri met de Bles? Nearly all the large European galleries contain specimens of his work and in the majority of cases the pictures are queried. That fatal (?) which, since curators are more erudite and conscientious, is appearing more frequently than in former years, sets one to musing over the mutability of pictorial fortunes. Also, it awakens suspicions as to the genuineness of paint. Restorations, another fatal word, is usually a euphemism for overpainting. Between varnish and retouching it is difficult to tell where the old master leaves off and the "restorer" begins. Bles, for example, as seen in the Rijks Museum, is a fascinating subject to the student; but are we really looking at his work? The solitary picture of his here, Paradise, is so well preserved that it might have been painted a year ago. (It is an attribution.) Yet this painter is supposed to have been born at Bouvignes, 1480, and to have died at Liège, 1521. He was nicknamed Herri, for Hendrick, met de Bles, because he had a tuft of white in his hair (a forerunner of Whistler). The French called him Henri
Lloyd George had already said, with a sharp emphasis, meant to "hustle" that portion of the nation which still required hustling; overpainting his picture, no doubt, but with quite legitimate rhetoric, in order to produce his effect.
"The Descent from the Cross," attributed to Rubens, appears likely enough to be a genuine master, but it has been so roughly restored by overpainting, that it is to-day of impaired value. St.