Thursday, December 13, 2018

Mannerist Prints and Studies by Battista Franco

Battista Franco
Three Soldiers from the Antique with a Putto
before 1561
etching
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Battista Franco
Perseus and two Putti with Hercules
before 1561
etching
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Battista Franco
Studies of Heads
before 1561
etching and engraving
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Battista Franco
Six Subjects after Antique Cameos
before 1561
etching
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Battista Franco
Hercules killing the Lernean Hydra
ca. 1552-61
etching and engraving
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Battista Franco
The Flagellation
ca. 1552-61
etching and engraving
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The flagellator at far left (above) was the subject of a preparatory drawing (in reverse, below) now in the Royal Collection at Windsor.  One of Franco's figure-studies for the central figure of Christ (minus loincloth and beard) also survives and is also below, now at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.  The printed catalogue of the Royal Collection reports a "persistent suggestion" that Franco's print of The Flagellation copied a lost painting by Titian, described by Vasari and sent to the Queen of Portugal.  "Scholars have been unanimous in dating the print to Franco's final Venetian period, whether or not they have accepted the design as his." 

Battista Franco
A Flagellator (study for The Flagellation print)
ca. 1552-55
drawing
Royal Collection, Great Britain

Battista Franco
Standing Nude (study for The Flagellation print)
ca. 1552-55
drawing
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Battista Franco
Eve plucking the Apple
ca. 1560
etching and engraving
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Battista Franco
Philosopher in Contemplation
before 1561
etching
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


Battista Franco
Dead Christ supported by Angels
before 1555
etching and engraving
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Battista Franco
St John the Baptist in the Wilderness
ca. 1552-54
etching and engraving
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Battista Franco
St John the Baptist preaching in the Wilderness
before 1561
etching
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

after Battista Franco
Antique Statue-group in niche - Pan and Apollo
ca. 1540-80
engraving
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

"The group of Pan and Apollo was recorded in the Cesi sculpture garden by Aldrovandi in an account of the antique statues of Rome published in 1556 but based on notes made six years earlier.  It was given to the Ludovisi in the summer of 1622 and eleven years later was recorded in the 'Bosco della Statue' outside the Palazzo Grande in the family estates on the Pincio.  It remained there until the early years of the nineteenth century when, with most of the other statues, it was installed in a casino on the estate which was transformed into a museum.  Between 1885 and 1890 it was taken with the other statues in the collection to the new palace built for the Prince of Piombino (the inherited title of the Ludovisi descendants).  It was purchased with the bulk of the collection by the Italian government in 1901 and moved in that year to the Museo Nazionale."

*          *          *

"The exact subject was much debated.  For Lafreri and Perrier it represented Pan teaching Apollo.  Montfaucon recorded this as the common view in Rome, but pointed out that Apollodorus does not record that Pan taught Apollo music but rather the arts of divination.  Maffei with reference to a painting by Polygnotus of Marsyas with Olympos suggested this was the subject.  For others it was a Satyr and a young Faun, simply a Satyr and a Youth, or Silenus and Bacchus.  In this century [the 20th] this group has been generally considered as of Pan with either Daphnis or Olympos and sometimes linked with a group of Pan struggling with Olympos mentioned by Pliny as in the Saepta Julia and companion with a Chiron teaching Achilles.  Another treatment by Heliodorus of the same subject (perhaps another version of the same statue) was recorded by Pliny in the Portico of Octavia and described as the second-best 'symplegma'.  The fact that at least eight complete versions of the marble group have survived strongly suggests that this statue by Heliodorus was the prototype, even though this depends on a somewhat metaphorical meaning being given to 'luctantes' (struggling).  Scholars now suppose that Pliny confused Olympos with Daphnis.  The boy had in fact been identified as Daphnis in the captions of sixteenth-century prints of both the Farnese and Ludovisi (then Cesi) versions."

– Francis Haskell, from Taste and the Antique: the Lure of Classical Sculpture, 1500-1900 (Yale University Press, 1981)

Master Drawings of Mannerism by Battista Franco

Battista Franco
Human Skull in profile
ca. 1538
drawing
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Battista Franco
Skull of a Dog
before 1561
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Battista Franco
Skull of a Dog
before 1561
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Battista Franco
Figure studies
before 1561
drawing
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

"Battista Franco, of Venice, having given his attention in his early childhood to design, went off at the age of twenty, as one who aimed at perfection in that art, to Rome, where, after he had devoted himself for some time with much study to design, and had seen the manner of various masters, he resolved that he would not study or seek to imitate any other works but the drawings, paintings, and sculptures of Michelangelo; wherefore, having set himself to make research, there remained no sketch, study, or even anything copied by Michelangelo that he had not drawn.  Wherefore no long time passed before he became one of first draughtsmen who frequented the [Sistine] Chapel of Michelangelo, and, what was more, he would not for a time set himself to paint or to do any other thing but draw." 

*          *          *

"Battista then returned to Rome [in 1538] at the very time when the Judgment of Michelangelo had just been uncovered; and, being a zealous student of the manner and works of that master, he gazed at it very gladly, and in infinite admiration made drawings of it all."

*          *          *

"It is true, however, that Battista was not at that time [1548] in Urbino, but in Rome, where he was engaged in drawing not only the statues but all the antiquities of that city, and in making, as he did, a great book of them, which was praiseworthy work.  Now, while Battista was giving his attention to drawing in Rome, Messer Giovanni Andrea dell' Anguillara, a man truly distinguished in certain forms of poetry, having got together a company of various choice spirits, was causing very rich scenery and decorations to be prepared in the large hall of S. Apostolo, in order to perform comedies by various authors before gentlemen, lords, and great persons.  He had caused seats to be made for the spectators of different ranks, and for the Cardinals and other great prelates he had prepared certain rooms from which, through jalousies, they could see and hear without being seen.  And since in that company there were painters, sculptors, architects, and men who were to perform the dramas and to fulfill other offices, Battista and Ammanati, having been chosen of the company, were given the charge of preparing the scenery, with some stories and ornaments in painting, which Battista executed so well (together with some statues that Ammanati made), that he was very highly extolled for them.  But the great expenses of that place exceeded the means available, so that M. Giovanni Andrea and the others were forced to remove the prospect-scene and the other ornaments from S. Apostolo and to convey them into the new Temple of S. Biagio, in the Strada Giulia.  There, Battista having once more arranged everything, many comedies were performed with extraordinary satisfaction to the people and courtiers of Rome , , ,"  

– from the Life of Battista Franco by Giorgio Vasari (1568), translated by Gaston du C. de Vere (1912)

Battista Franco
Study for Eve plucking the Apple
ca. 1555-60
drawing
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Battista Franco
Penitent Thief on the Cross
before 1561
drawing
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Battista Franco
Unrepentant Thief on the Cross
before 1561
drawing
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Battista Franco
The Flight of Cloelia
ca. 1545-51
drawing
Minneapolis Institute of Art

"Cloelia's adventure thrilled readers in antiquity and again in the Renaissance.  She and some other young Romans were taken hostage by the Etruscan king Lars Porsena in exchange for lifting a siege on the city of Rome.  In the story, Cloelia mounts a horse to lead several girls in a dangerous escape, and they cross the Tiber River amid a hail of spears.  Unfortunately, the Romans felt their honor was stained, and Cloelia was returned to the enraged Etruscans.  When his anger subsided, Porsena extolled Cloelia's bravery and the rectitude of the Romans for having returned her.  He ordered her release and let her choose some hostages to take home.  Battista Franco condensed the story into a single image.  In a profile view resembling a classical relief, he shows Cloelia on horseback lunging toward the Tiber, yet also suggests the unhurried departure of hostages freed from the Etruscan camp.  Although Cloelia was supposedly an inexperienced rider, Franco has her riding with the confidence of a general – solidly seated on the rearing horse with her arm thrust outward, pointing the way to freedom." 

– curator's notes from the Minneapolis Institute of Art (drawing purchased in 2013)

Battista Franco
Allegorical figure of Abundance
before 1561
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Battista Franco
Half-figure of Youth with outstretched Arm
ca. 1554-61
drawing
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Battista Franco
Prophet with Banderole
before 1561
drawing
Morgan Library, New York

Battista Franco
Study for Assumption of the Virgin
before 1561
drawing
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Battista Franco
Figure studies
before 1561
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

attributed to Battista Franco
Sibyl with Genius under a Tree
before 1561
drawing
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Modern French Color with Hard Edges

Édouard Manet
Strawberries
ca. 1882
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Virgin adoring the Host
1852
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Henri Fantin-Latour
Roses and Lilies
1888
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Gift

Nothing will hurt you that much despite how you feel
the stress on your back shapes your insight
this splendid November rain Toussaint. I find
you by your mark, he says
                                                    an imprint
But when I summon you, I talk to – I say –
my memory of your face. It's kind of crazy
to others. They're not very interesting, he says.
When I first came to this country, and now
I know the language I say, but I had in a dream
spoken it many years previously. That is,
not the language of the dead the language
of France. I took one year of French in 1964
and then nothing but once, in 1977 I spoke French
in a dream all night: I was in the future I
moved here in 1992. Country of the more
logical than I? though the people of my quartier
know and like me, even as I a foreigner remain strange
You do everything alone a woman said to me.
There are ways to care without interfering
but the French speak of anguish frequently
they are conscious of emotional extremity
a terrible gift. It's all a gift, he says . . .
some haven't been opened. I'm not sure
he said that it's nearly my sixty-seventh birthday
today though it's the day of the dead hello
we love you they say.

–  Alice Notley (2015)

Charles-François Daubigny
Landscape with Sunlit Stream
before 1877
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Horace Vernet
Start of the Race of the Riderless Horses
1820
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

James Tissot
Spring Morning
ca. 1875
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Isidore Pils
Minerva combating Brute Force
before 1875
oil on paper, mounted on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Henri Rousseau
The Banks of the Bièvre near Bicêtre
ca. 1908-1909
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Alfred-Bernard Meyer
Allegory of the French Republic
1892
enamel on copper
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The French Revolution as it Appeared to Enthusiasts at its Commencement

Oh! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven! – Oh! times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!
When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,
When most intent on making of herself
A prime Enchantress – to assist the work
Which then was going forward in her name!
Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,
The beauty wore of promise, that which sets
(As at some moment might not be unfelt
Among the bowers of paradise itself)
The budding rose above the rose full blown.
What temper at that prospect did not wake
To happiness unthought of? The inert
Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!
They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,
The playfellows of fancy, who had made
All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength
Their ministers, – who in lordly wise had stirred
Among the grandest objects of the sense,
And dealt with whatsoever they found there
As if they had within some lurking right
To wield it; – they, too, who, of gentle mood,
Had watched all gentle motions, and to these
Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more wild,
And in the region of their peaceful selves; –
Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty
Did both find, helpers to their heart's desire,
And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish;
Were called upon to exercise their skill,
Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,
Of some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us, – the place where in the end
We find our happiness, or not at all!

– William Wordsworth (1798)

Jean-François Montessuy
Pope Gregory XVI visiting the Church of San Benedetto at Subiaco
1843
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

attributed to Paulin Jénot
Captain Swaton
before 1930
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Jean-François Millet
Garden Scene
1854
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Édouard Vuillard
Jos and Lucie Hessel in the small salon, Rue de Rivoli
ca. 1900-1905
oil on cardboard, mounted on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Édouard Vuillard
The Green Interior (figure seated by a curtained window)
1891
oil on cardboard, mounted on panel
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Modern Color Made in France

Henri-Edmond Cross
Pines along the Shore
1896
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Edgar Degas
Dancers in Rose
ca. 1900
pastel on paper
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Édouard Vuillard
Luncheon
1901
oil on cardboard
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Édouard Vuillard
Garden at Vaucresson
1920
distemper on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Édouard Vuillard
The Small Drawing Room - Mme. Hessel at her Sewing Table
1917
oil and tempera on paper, mounted on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

rotten oasis

Treachery abounds, look
inwards! Your bird jangles its small
swing. You're getting sleepy, very
sleepy. In a vulnerable tyranny.
Leave for now the marksmen to
their desolations, they ruin everyday
life. & luck can't do anything
about the undying devotion of
the undead, putting their backs
to the bus shelter while
crumbs still stick to the dishes.
I guess someone is a king of France & apart
from whom nobody is a king of France. Same
rockstar, different poem. I like icons
& the toxic halos of figureheads, I like
to beat people up & rehash among the swan.
I was born in captivity, having
fucked the right people, thick
in the France of it. The uniform you
design may still be stripped & not in
some pleasant mannerism. I guess treachery
abounds & scruple keys the addresses
out of their shining wrappers. I guess gin
relieves the need for whiskey, I guess I
can think as well as talk. Come to
think of it, I spoke to your exo-
skeleton. It had been
sacked for cribbing a back salary
from your stunt double. I watched
you chewing & the human body
is a great mystery. Sun, look out for yourself.
Embody your own adaptation.
You've got no corner on fire
& marauders upbraid those
vehicles invisible to them.
Nobody is a king of France, licked
all over like a stamp, my every garbage at
the actual border,
making it, making it over, taking up the slack.
The bottle broke in your bag & you're
getting flammable, very flammable. Luck
knows nothing, peels down
like a stocking & I
thought, why wait any longer,
& found myself caught in
the breast of the beast
as it staggered to carry
my up the stairs. His clothes are
dirty, but his hands are a sumptuous pyre.
What's so perfect about a stranger,
the greasy smoke of being
swallowed up or disappearing.
I can't carry the remainder.

– Judith Goldman, from Vocoder (Roof Books, 2001)

Paul Signac
Evening Calm, Concarneau, Opus 220 (Allegro Maestoso)
1891
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Paul-Albert Besnard
Horses
1894
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Maurice Denis
Springtime
ca. 1894-99
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Paul Gauguin
Farm in Brittany
ca. 1894
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Pierre Bonnard
The Seine at Vernon
ca. 1925
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Henri Le Sidaner
Statues - the Garden at Versailles
1900
pastel on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Jules-Edmond-Charles Lachaise and Eugène-Pierre Gourdet
Garden Pavilion in Forested Landscape
before 1889
oil on canvas, mounted on blue paper
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes
Cider
ca. 1864
oil on paper, mounted on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes
The River
ca. 1864
oil on paper, mounted on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York