Friday, April 28, 2017

European Paintings on Wooden Panels

Annibale Carracci (Bologna / Rome)
Agony in the Garden
ca. 1595-97
oil on panel
Royal Collection, Windsor
acquired by Charles I

"Against a dark background the figure of Christ kneels, his head turned right towards the figure of an angel in the upper left of the painting.  Christ holds his right hand to his breast and gesticulates outwards to the viewer with his left.  The angel points upwards with his right hand and downwards to a small cross with his left.  Although it has suffered, the picture is acceptable as Annibale's and probably dates from the period just before, or soon after, his arrival in Rome (c. 1595-7).  When it was in the collection of Charles I the painting was engraved in reverse by Vorsterman.  The engraving contains a considerable amount of detail which is not visible in the original painting, even after cleaning, including the figure of a sleeping Apostle behind the angel, heads of soldiers behind Christ, and a crown of thorns beside the cross on the left (this has possibly been cut away)."

 text by curators at the Royal Collection

Lucas Vorsterman after Annibale Carracci
Agony in the Garden
1627
engraving
British Museum

"According to the lettering, this plate was made at the express command of Charles I after a painting in his own collection.  The painting, now badly damaged, remains in the Royal Collection, and the attribution to Carracci is still generally accepted. The plate, being a commission, itself entered Charles's collection, and is recorded in van der Doort's inventory, which also states that the painting itself was hanging in the Queen's house in Greenwich. The painting is very small  exactly the same size as the print  and this, as well as its Catholic piety which doubtless appealed to the Queen, may have been the reason why it was chosen to be engraved."

 text by Antony Griffiths from The Print in Stuart Britain (British Museum, 1998)

Barthélémy d'Eyck (Netherlands / France)
Still-life with books in niche
ca. 1442-45
oil on panel
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Jacobello del Fiore (Venice)
Martyrdom of St Lawrence with two Benedictine nuns
ca. 1425
tempera on panel
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

"Jacobello, who had previously worked in various small Italian cities, was among the first to introduce the elegant and brightly colored 'international Gothic' style to Venice.  The two kneeling nuns at left, who are witnesses to this scene of martyrdom, would have commissioned the picture for their private devotion; they perhaps belonged to the Venetian convent of San Lorenzo."

 text by curators at the Rijksmuseum

Anonymous painter
Portrait of unknown woman
ca. 1550-74
oil on panel
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Anonymous painter working in Ferrara
Magnanimity of Alexander the Great
ca. 1475-1500
tempera on panel
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Agnolo Gaddi (Florence)
The Feast of Herod
1387
tempera on panel
Louvre

attributed to Bernardino Licinio (Venice)
Portrait of a man with a puzzle
ca. 1520-30
oil on panel
Royal Collection, Windsor

"An unknown man is shown bust-length, facing slightly to the left, with his head tilted to the right against a blue-grey background.  He is wearing a black hat and a black coat, open at the neck to reveal a white shirt, and in his hands he holds a child's toy, a puzzle trick known as 'flick-flack'. It consists of three or more rectangles of wood, held together by tapes in such a manner that small object placed under the tapes may be made to vanish. This inscription on the toy is not original, but the sitter's intense facial expression and the strangeness of the attribute suggest that a specific meaning is intended, perhaps of mortality."

 text by curators at the Royal Collection

circle of Adam Elsheimer (Germany)
Forest
16th century
oil on panel
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Pieter Neefs the Elder (Flanders)
Interior of a Gothic Church
1649
oil on panel
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Anton Raphael Mengs (Germany)
Parnassus
ca. 1760
oil on panel
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Anton Raphael Mengs painted the panel above in preparation for a near-identical ceiling-fresco of 1761, commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Albani for his palace in Rome. Partisans of the neoclassical Mengs believed they were witnessing the resurrection of Raphael's grand manner after 150 years of neglect. Within a couple of generations, continuing shifts in taste removed whatever prestige had briefly attached itself to the Mengs version, leaving Raphael's reputation undisturbed.

Joseph Plepp (Switzerland)
Still-life with cherries and cheese
1632
oil on panel
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Nicolaes Verkolje (Netherlands)
Joseph and Potiphar's Wife
before 1746
oil on panel
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Marcantonio Franceschini (Bologna)
Virgin and Child with St John the Baptist and St Elizabeth
before 1729
oil on panel
Royal Collection, Windsor

David Teniers (Flanders)
Card players
ca. 1645
oil on panel, transferred to canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Daniele da Volterra, friend of Michelangelo

Daniele da Volterra
Bearded man leaning against wall
ca. 1548
drawing
British Museum

"Daniele, when he was a lad, learned to draw a little from Giovanni Antonio Sodoma, who went at that time to execute certain works in the city of Volterra; and when Sodoma had gone away he made much greater and better proficience under Baldassare Peruzzi than he had done under the discipline of the other. But to tell the truth, for all that, he achieved no great success at that time, for the reason that in proportion as he devoted great effort and study to seeking to learn, being urged by a strong desire, even so, on the other hand, did his brain and hand fail him.  Wherefore in his first works, which he executed at Volterra, there is evidence of very great, nay, infinite labor, but not yet any promise of a grand or beautiful manner, nor any grace, charm, or invention, such as have been seen at an early hour in many others who have been born to be painters, and who, even in their first beginnings, have shown facility, boldness, and some indication of a good manner.  His first works, indeed, seem in truth as if done by a melancholic, being full of effort and executed with much patience and expenditure of time."

Daniele da Volterra
Nude bearded man standing on ladder
before 1566
 drawing - for Descent from the Cross
British Museum

Daniele da Volterra
Eve tempting Adam
before 1566
drawing
British Museum

Daniele da Volterra
David and Goliath
before 1566
drawing - study for painting on slate
British Museum

Daniele da Volterra
Virgin and Child
before 1566
drawing - study for painting
British Museum

Daniele da Volterra
Bearded old man addressing nude young man
ca. 1555-56
drawing - study for painting
British Museum

Daniele da Volterra
Wrestler
ca. 1555-56
drawing - study for painting
British Museum

Daniele da Volterra
Group of twelve men in conversation
ca. 1555-56
drawing - study for painting
British Museum

Daniele da Volterra
Wrestlers
ca. 1555-56
drawing - study for painting
British Museum

Daniele da Volterra
Study for head of St  Joseph
before 1566
drawing - cartoon for fresco
British Museum

Daniele da Volterra
Three nude men
ca. 1555-56
drawing - study for painting
British Museum

Daniele da Volterra
Nude male figure from the back
ca. 1555-56
drawing - study for painting
British Museum

Daniele da Volterra
Seated young man
ca. 1555-56
drawing - study for painting
British Museum

Daniele da Volterra
Seated old man and young man
ca. 1555-56
drawing - study for painting
British Museum

Daniele da Volterra
Portrait of Michelangelo 
ca. 1548-53
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Posthumous fame clings to Daniele da Volterra mainly because of a perverse service he performed for his friend Michelangelo after the latter's death – as Vasari relates below 

"When Daniele had finally returned to Rome, Pope Paul IV having a desire to throw to the ground the Judgment of Michelangelo on account of the nudes, which seemed to him to display the parts of shame in an unseemly manner, it was said by the Cardinals and by men of judgment that it would be a great sin to spoil them, and they found a way out of it, which was that Daniele should paint some light garments to cover them; and the business was afterwards finished in the time of Pius IV by repainting the S. Catherine and the S. Biagio, which were thought to be unseemly."

 from Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects (1568) by Giorgio Vasari, translated by Gaston du C. de Vere (1912)

Many of the modesty aprons added to Michelangelo's Last Judgment nudes by Daniele da Volterra were only removed toward the end of the 20th century.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Renaissance and Baroque Artists Working "After"

Claude Mellan after Nicolas Poussin
Muse placing Satyr-mask on the face of an Author
ca. 1642
engraving - title-page for an edition of Horace
British Museum

Jan de Bisschop after Daniele da Volterra
Architectural Caryatid
1671
etching
British Museum

Jan de Bisschop after Daniele da Volterra
Architectural Caryatid
1671
etching
British Museum

"It has indeed been argued that such phenomena as mannerism or the baroque, however they may be valued, occur in the development of any art which has reached maturity and, perhaps, overripeness.  In that 'late' phase, the increasingly hectic search for fresh complexities may lead to an 'exhaustion' of the style when all permutations have been tried.  Although there is a certain superficial plausibility in this interpretation, which accounts for some stretches  of historical development, it must never be forgotten that terms such as 'complexity' and 'elements' do not here refer to measurable entities and that even the relationship of means to ends is open to contrasting interpretations.  What may appear to one critic as the classic moment of an art may carry, for another, the seeds of corruption, and what looks like the final stage of exhaustion of a style to one interpreter may be seen from another point of view as the groping beginnings of a new style. . . . It is evident, moreover, that the units, or styles, by which the evolution is traced will always be rather arbitrarily chosen."

 from an article on Style by Ernst Gombrich, originally published in the International Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences (1968)

Andrea Andreani after Giambologna
Abduction of Sabine Women
before 1623
chiaroscuro woodcut printed on multiple panels
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Annibale Carracci after Michelangelo
Figures adapted from Sistine ceiling
before 1605
drawing
Royal Collection, Windsor

Annibale Carracci after Michelangelo
figure of Eliud from Sistine lunette
before 1605
drawing
Royal Collection, Windsor

Cornelis Bloemaert after Annibale Carracci
St Margaret with vanquished Dragon
ca. 1630-50
engraving
British Museum

Cornelis Bloemaert after Guercino
St Peter raising Tabitha
ca. 1630-60
engraving
British Museum

Guercino after Annibale Carracci
Soldier
before 1666
drawing
Royal Collection, Windsor

Sisto Badalocchio after Correggio
St Hilary of Poitiers
ca. 1605-1620
etching of fresco in Duomo, Parma
British Museum

Gio. Ambrogio Figino after Sebastiano del Piombo
 Christ of the Transfiguration
before 1608
drawing
Royal Collection, Windsor

Hendrik van der Borcht after Perino del Vaga
Apollo with Cupid
ca. 1637
etching
British Museum

Jan de Bisschop after Pellergrino Tibaldi
Polyphemus
ca. 1672-89
etching
British Museum

Antonio Gherardi after Andrea Sacchi
Catafalque erected by Jesuits in Rome
ornamented with obelisks and skeletons

1640
etching, engraving
British Museum

Conscientious Renderings by Pietro Santi Bartoli

Pietro Santi Bartoli
Goddess surrounded by standing figures
(copy after Roman mural)

ca. 1660-90
drawing
Royal Collection, Windsor

Pietro Santi Bartoli
Winged female figure from Trajan's Column
(copy after Roman relief) 

ca. 1660-90
drawing
Royal Collection, Windsor

Pietro Santi Bartoli - painter, engraver and etcher, born Villa Bartola, near Perugia, 1635, worked and died Rome, 1700. Prominent in antiquarian circles.  Bartoli transferred early in life to Rome, where he became a pupil of Pierre Lemaire, known as 'Le petit Lemaire' or 'Lemaire-Poussin' (c. 1512-88), and of Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665). After Poussin's death collaborated frequently with Bellori, until he died in 1696, making the drawings and plates of antiquarian objects that were accompanied by Bellori's texts. 

He married a daughter of G.F. Grimaldi (the engraver Farjat, qv, married another). Although he had trained as a painter, he specialised as a draughtsman, excelling as a copyist after the Antique.  In this latter capacity he joined the household of Cardinal Camillo Massimi: two volumes of drawings that he made while in this employment are preserved, one in the University Library, Glasgow, and the other in the College Library, Eton. 

Bartoli is best known as an engraver of antique subjects.  His several volumes of such prints, famous in their day and sometimes running into a number of different editions . . . most were issued with texts written by the famous antiquarian and connoisseur Giovan Pietro Bellori.

 curatorial notes from the British Museum

Pietro Santi Bartoli
Women holding casket, ointment jar, musical instrument
(copy after Roman mural)
ca. 1660-90
drawing
Royal Collection, Windsor

Pietro Santi Bartoli
Adults with children
(copy after Roman mural)

ca. 1660-90
drawing
Royal Collection, Windsor

Pietro Santi Bartoli
Maritime mythological scene
(copy after Roman mural)

ca. 1660-90
drawing
Royal Collection,  Windsor

Pietro Santi Bartoli
Copy after Roman mural ornament
ca. 1660-90
watercolor
Royal Collection, Windsor

Pietro Santi Bartoli
Copy after Roman ceiling decoration
ca. 1660-90
drawing
Royal Collection, Windsor

Pietro Santi Bartoli
Venus surrounded by other deities
(copy after Roman tomb painting, with notes)

1689
drawing
Royal Collection, Windsor

Pietro Santi Bartoli
Jupiter on Eagle
(copy after antique relief)

ca. 1655-70
etching
British Museum

Pietro Santi Bartoli
Four men with a pig on a ball
(copy after antique relief)

ca. 1655-70
engraving
British Museum

Pietro Santi Bartoli after Giulio Romano
Battle of Gods and Giants
(copy after fresco at Palazzo del Te, Mantua)
ca. 1680
etching
British Museum

Pietro Santi Bartoli after Giulio Romano
Giants crushed by boulders
(copy of fresco at Palazzo del Te, Mantua)

ca. 1680
etching
British Museum

Pietro Santi Bartoli after Giulio Romano
Copies of  frescoes at Palazzo del Te, Mantua
ca. 1680
etching (two prints on one plate)
British Museum

Pietro Santi Bartoli after Giulio Romano
St Gregory the Great
writing at the dictation of the Holy Spirit
(visible as a dove on his shoulder)

before 1677
engraving
British Museum

Pietro Santi Bartoli
Copy of antique figure of Fame
ca. 1650-1700
drawing
British Museum