Friday, April 14, 2017

Twenty Artists on One Page

John William Cook
Portraits of twenty artists for Crabb's Historical Dictionary
London, 1825
etching, engraving
British Museum

Five rows of four "artists" each, for a total of twenty historical figures. In the London of 1825 it was seemingly self-evident that these twenty belonged together  not, certainly, because they shared the same aesthetic values, or even the same medium of expression  but perhaps because they all at that particular cultural moment shared equally in a certain aura of glamour and significance. It is instructive to study their names (as spelled in the source) below. Equally interesting to consider omissions.

Row 1:  Domenichino
             Paul Veronese
             M.A. Carravagio
             Indigo Jones

Row 2:  Guido Reni

Row 3:  Gerard Dou
             Lewis Caracci
             Augustine Caracci
             Annibal Caracci

Row 4:  Rembrandt
             Salvator Rosa
             Sir Peter Lely
             Sir Christopher Wren

Row 5:  Sir Godfrey Kneller

Two architects, two composers, sixteen painters.
One 16th-century figure, seventeen from the 17th century, two from the 18th.