Europe followed France in matters of art as once France had followed Italy. In Germany the mood was exactly right for a noble classicism with its roots in Greece and its sproutings in the manner of David.
Anselm Feuerbach typified the German ideal of a painter in the mid century and a worshipper of the simplicity and dignity of antique art and the colour and monumentality of Titian, he produced picture* full of lofty sentiment and much elegance.
His Pieta at Munich is correct, cold and only sadly earnest, the women at tile tomb are motionless, not with the restraint of an overwhelming grief-but just stiffly unmoving, pieces of decoration as are the figures sometimes in a flume Jones or a Puvis de Cheyennes.
The perfectionist technique of Feuerbach had no future, it was to lead German artists to the brink of an abyss, and to avoid tumbling into it, the painters who came afterwards turned and twisted their art into strange byways.
Few names, even of the most popular, survive today, but Gabriel Max will he remembered for one picture which has achieved world notoriety through reproduction -Veronica's Veil. Those who looked intently upon this picture said they could never he sure whether the eyelids were open or closed.
It was not intended by the artist to be a trick picture, the trick was thrust upon it by viewers, who, not being able to decide whether the eyes looked out of the picture or not, then decided that the eyelids slowly opened and closed while they watched them.
Max, a curious philosophic brooding character, was fascinated by the mysterious, and won over to romantic sentiment very easily. His often lurid and melodramatic pictures appeal less to our imagination than to our compassion, and now the fashion in feelings having changed, we can only smile where our ancestors apparently shuddered.