Monday, March 5, 2018

Images of Eighteenth Century Artists

Anonymous Dutch artist
Street scene with sculptors working in foreground
ca. 1700-1725
drawing (book illustration)
British Museum

Jakob Christoph Le Blon
Portrait of Anthony van Dyck
(after painted self-portrait)
ca. 1720
color mezzotint
British Museum

Elisha Kirkall after Louis Chéron
Allegorical scene with Mercury presiding over the arts
(Nymph painting the Battle of Soissons 
overlooked by figure of Hercules in niche
while Angel crowns Emperor atop Trajan's Column)
ca. 1728
etching, engraving
British Museum

John Vanderbank
An artist holding a drawing 
(reduced copy of a painted portrait)
before 1739
coloured chalks
British Museum

Pierre-Louis Surugue after Jean-Siméon Chardin
The Monkey Painter
etching, engraving
British Museum

from Serena I

without the grand old British Museum
Thales and the Aretino
on the bosom of the Regent's Park the phlox
crackles under the thunder
scarlet beauty in our world dead fish adrift
all things full of gods
pressed down and bleeding
a weaver-bird is tangerine the harpy is past caring
the condor likewise in his mangy boa
they stare out across monkey-hill the elephants
the light creeps down their old home canyon
sucks me aloof to that old reliable
the burning btm of George the drill
ah across the way a adder
broaches her rat
white as snow
in her dazzling oven strom of peristalsis
limae labor

– Samuel Beckett (1931)

Anonymous English printmaker
Draft Trade Card for Joseph Emerton, Colour-Man
(with vignettes of portrait-painting in the studio and a colour-mill)
etching, engraving, letterpress
British Museum

William Hogarth
(after his own painting)
etching, engraving
British Museum

William Hogarth
Time as artist smoking a picture 
("as statues moulder into worth")
mezzotint, etching, engraving
British Museum

William Wynne Rylands after Pier Leone Ghezzi
Artist painting the Virgin on an easel
and gesturing through the window toward monks in a churchyard
British Museum

from Serena III

fix this pothook of beauty on this palette
you never know it might be final

or leave her she is paradise and then
plush hymens on your eyeballs

or on Butt Bridge blush for shame
the mixed declension of those mammae
cock up thy moon thine and thine only
up up up to the star of evening
swoon upon the arch-gasometer
on Misery Hill brand-new carnation
swoon upon the little purple
house of prayer
something heart of Mary
the Bull and Pool Beg that will never meet
not in this world

– Samuel Beckett (1931)

Charles-François Hutin
Young artist in Rome drawing from antique statues
(the sculptures are the Belvedere Torso and an unidentified draped woman)
British Museum

Jean-Michel Moreau le jeune
Adraste painting Isidore
(illustration for Molière's play, Le Sicilien)
etching, engraving
British Museum

Don Alonzo, Frederick and Isiodora
(illustration based on Molière's play, Le Sicilien)
ca. 1773
etching, engraving
British Museum

Francis Haward after Joshua Reynolds
The Infant Academy 
(painter and model as tiny children)
(the original Reynolds painting survives "in ruinous condition" due to the artist's use of bitumen in the pigments)
British Museum

Jean Chalon
Etching studio 
(one etcher working at window, another inking a plate)
ca. 1788-93
etching, drypoint
British Museum

from Alba

who though you stoop with fingers of compassion
to endorse the dust
shall not add to your bounty
whose beauty shall be a sheet before me
a statement of itself drawn across the tempest of emblems
so that there is no sun and no unveiling
and no host
only I and then the sheet
and bulk dead

– Samuel Beckett (1931)

All excerpts are from Collected Poems in English and French by Samuel Beckett (New York: Grove Press, 1977)