In offering to the public the first complete biography yet attempted of the painter Overbeck, I wish to give a few words in explanation. The task has been far from easy: the materials, though the reverse of scanty, are scattered: reminiscences of the artist and criticisms on his works lie as fragments dispersed over the current literature of Germany. My endeavour has been to fill in vacuities, to thread together a consistent and connected narrative, and thus, so far as I have been able, to present a true and lucid history.
word, holding it a divine presence, the rule of life, and the inspirer of all noble work. I should judge he was not dogmatic in creed, nor rigid in ceremonial. He was philosophic, but had too much heart to be a rationalist; too much imagination for an anti-supernaturalist. He was a mystic pietist; religion blending with poetry coloured his whole mind; revelation, nature, and art, were for him one and indivisible. And this I believe to have been the mental state of the son while yet under the parental roof. The sequel will show a change; the incertitude of speculation could not be sustained, and so anchorage was sought within an "Infallible Church." Yet for the right reading of a character curiously subtle and complex, it is needful to realise the fact that the seeds sown in the homestead were never uprooted, that it was, indeed, the old stock which sustained the new grafting, and that, to the last, a poetic mysticism dwelt in the chambers of the artist's mind. And as was the tree so were the fruits; sprung f
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