Sunday, December 10, 2017

Drawings from the first half of the 16th century

Hieronymus Bosch
The Owl's Nest
ca. 1505-15
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Andrea del Sarto
Standing youth with book
Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin

Domenico Campagnola
Calling of the first Apostles
ca. 1520-30
Teylers Museum, Haarlem


The first book Tom remembers having read, when he was seven, was a reprint [school edition] of Jules Verne's Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and since 1977 he has amassed a collection of as many different editions of the book as he can find in used book stores, Salvation Armys, thrift stores, and the like: Pocket Books, Magnum Easy Eyes, Fawcett Premiers, Signet Classics, Washington Square Paperbacks, Mentors, Amazing Stories, Oxford World Classics, Everyman Editions, Serpent Books, Scholastics, a host of generic elementary school editions sold through school book clubs, Norton Criticals, Dover Thrifts, Fantastic Stories, Penguins, Livres de Poches, Evergreens, Puffins, Pelicans, and Bantams.  Every time he finds a new cover, he promptly goes home and speed reads the book and he has now read Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea 137 times, carelessly, and in six different languages, including Spanish, Russian, Korean, French, Chinese, and Greek.  He even tried learning Arabic once to half-get through a version he found in a pensione in Florence.

One evening after drinking, Tom confessed to me that he had never really bothered to think about the book at all in all his years of reading and that he had not really ever experienced anything while reading the book except the book's numerous covers: one-eyed octopi, riveted nautiluses connected to leathery breathing tubes, a lead balloon that looks like a manhole-cover, photo-synthetic seaweed, farm-like fields of layered oceans and raisin-shaped islands, barnacled or tentacle-entwined periscopes, and even what looks like a large manatee on a book from Brazil.  For Tom, the 1930s with its images of red-eyed sea monsters becomes the 1950s with its Soviet-style submarines becomes the 1960s with its long-haired sea creatures becomes the 1990s with its sonar-guided Trident missiles.  The book is impervious to history and to human reading habits . . .

 Tan Lin (b. 1957), as printed in The noulipian Analects, edited by Christine Wertheim and Matias Viegener (Los Angeles: Les Figues Press, 2007)

Head of a Woman
ca. 1530-35
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Conversion of St Paul
Morgan Library, New York

Perino del Vaga
Studies from an antique sarcophagus and other objects
ca. 1540
Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario

Giorgio Vasari
Three River Gods
Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin

Francesco Salviati after Michelangelo
Bust of warrior with fantastic helmet
ca. 1545
Royal Collection, Windsor

Maarten van Heemskerck
Christ crowned with thorns
ca. 1548
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

Francesco Primaticcio
Dance of the Hours surrounding three putti with cornucopiae
St├Ądelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt

after Giulio Campi
Allegorical figure of Prudence with serpent
ca. 1550
Royal Collection, Windsor

Battista Franco
Drapery study for Angel of Annunciation
ca. 1553
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Prospero Fontana
Muliebris inconstantia (sketch for allegorical book illustration)
before 1555
British Museum

Taddeo Zuccaro
Jonah and the whale, seen from a landscape with trees
ca. 1555-60
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide