Sunday, July 9, 2017

Expressive Figures in 17th-century Drawings

Stefano della Bella
Standing man rowing a boat
ca. 1630-60
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Cornelis Visscher
Portrait of young man
Royal Collection, Windsor

Charles Le Brun
Head of Persian Warrior
ca. 1665
Royal Collection, Windsor


But some parts of the voice, that miss the ear,
Fly thro' the air diffus'd, and perish there:
Some strike on solid buildings, and restor'd,
Bring back again the image of the word,
This shews thee why, whilst men, thro' caves and groves,
Call their lost friends, or mourn unhappy loves,
The pitying rocks, the groaning caves return
Their sad complaints again, and seem to mourn:
This all observe, and I myself have known
Both rocks and hills return six words for one:
The dancing words from hill to hill rebound,
They all receive, and all restore the sound:
The vulgar, and the neighbours think, and tell,
That there the nymphs, and fauns, and satyrs dwell:
And that their wanton sport, their loud delight
Breaks thro' the quiet silence of the night:
Their musick's softest airs fill all the plains,
And mighty Pan delights the list'ning swains:

 from Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, translated by Thomas Creech (1659-1700), Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford

Head of St Mark
before 1641
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Domenico Cresti
Head of youth
ca. 1600-1625
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Giovanni Lanfranco
Study of seated woman looking up
ca. 1640-44
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Carlo Maratti
Two studies for head of an old woman
Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf

Giacinto Calandrucci
Half-length of angel
ca. 1665-1700
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Giacinto Calandrucci
Angel with St Francis of Assisi
ca. 1665-1700
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Cesare Gennari
Putto carrying Crown of Thorns
ca. 1660-80
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Guido Reni
Study for head of Christ
ca. 1620
Royal Collection, Windsor

workshop of Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione
David with the head of Goliath
ca. 1630-40
Royal Collection, Windsor

Ercole Procaccini
Half-figure of youth 
ca. 1620-60
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Salvator Rosa
 Two seated men
ca. 1635-40
Teylers Museum, Haarlem


Now evermore, lest some one hope might ease
The commons' jangling minds, apparent signs arose,
Strange sights appeared, the angry threat'ning gods
Filled both the earth and seas with prodigies;
Great store of strange and unknown stars were seen
Wandering about the north, and rings of fire
Fly in the air, and dreadful bearded stars,
And comets that presage the fall of kingdoms;
The flattering sky glittered in often flames,
And sundry fiery meteors blazed in heaven,
Now spear-like, long, now like a spreading torch;
Lightning in silence stole forth without clouds,
And from the northern climate snatching fire
Blasted the Capitol; the lesser stars
Which wont to run their course through empty night,
At noonday mustered; Phoebe, having filled
Her meeting horns to match her brother's light,
Strook with th'earth's sudden shadow, waxed pale;
Titan himself throned in the midst of heaven
His burning chariot plunged in sable clouds,
And whelmed the world in darkness, making men
Despair of day, as did Thyestes' town,
Mycenae, Phoebus flying through the east.

 from Lucan, Pharsalia, translated by Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)