Monday, October 31, 2016

Raking Light on Satin Fabrics in Dutch Interiors

Gerard ter Borch
Young woman dressing, with maid
1650-51
oil on panel
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Jacob Ochtervelt
The love letter
ca. 1670-72
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Jacob van Velsen
Musical party
1631
oil on panel
National Gallery, London

"In the mid-nineteenth century, attempts were made to fix the speed of light. Using mirrors, prisms, spinning disks, it was found that light traveled not infinitely fast, but at an invariant speed of approximately 186,000 miles per second. Light and a projection take a finite time to get from site of generation to site of reception."

Gerard ter Borch
The concert
ca. 1675
oil on panel
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Hendrick Cornelisz van Vliet
Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, with tomb of Piet Hein
1652-53
oil on panel
private collection

Jan Verkolje the Elder
The Messenger
1674
oil on canvas
Mauritshuis, The Hague

"Expanding from this discovery, the German scientist Felix Eberty postulated all of space as a universal archive of all that had happened on earth. The light of every event was moving out from the earth at a speed of 186,000 miles per second. If one was at the right point in space, one could see any event that had happened. Near a star 2,0000 light years away, one could see Pontius Pilate washing his hands, Luther could be seen nailing his 95 theses up on the church door at Wittenburg. Felix Eberty took all his examples from the scriptures. His father, one Abraham Ephraim, had converted from Judaism to Lutheranism."  

Johannes Vermeer
Seated woman drinking, with man standing
ca. 1658
oil on canvas
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Pieter de Hooch
Card players at a table
1670-74
oil on canvas
private collection

Hendrick Pot
Vanity
ca. 1633
oil on panel
Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem

"Every action, heroic or shameful, was there to be seen. Every secret deed was visible. There is something terrifying in this. Once launched, an image, an event, a discus, cannot be called back. It has the pressure of perfect memory. It has the same inevitability as the claim that no keystroke is ever lost, that once done, something cannot be undone. The email cannot be unsent. Every foolishness is there, every embarrassment. The universal archive becomes also an overstocked, miserable collection of surplus images. We are caught between wanting to send ourselves out and to hold back, to call back, to annul and obliterate so many traces and acts."

Gerard ter Borch
Paternal admonition
1654
oil on canvas
Rijksmuseum

Caspar Netscher
The seduction
1664
oil on canvas
private collection

Gerard ter Borch
The suitor's visit
1658
oil on canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

"The air is thick with images  time made dense with each event and its image, a soup, a fog, as if one could take a sheet of paper and swing it through the air, catching the images as they crashed into it. A swing of the arm above our head to catch the images from us, moving outward, or a low pass to catch those images coming in."


Eglon van der Neer
Lady washing hands
ca. 1675
oil on panel
Mauritshuis, The Hague

Pieter de Hooch
Man reading a letter to a woman
ca. 1670-74
oil on canvas
Kremer Collection

Gerard ter Borch
Curiosity
ca. 1660
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

– quoted passages are from Six Drawing Lessons by William Kentridge (Harvard University Press, 2014)

Visual Enticements of 17th-century Rome

Giuseppe Maria Mitelli
Viva Roma
1688
etching
British Museum

Giuseppe Maria Mitelli
Viva Roma
1688
etching
British Museum

Giuseppe Maria Mitelli
Viva Roma
1688
etching
British Museum

Giuseppe Maria Mitelli
Viva Roma
1688
etching
British Museum

Ask not ungainly askings of the end
Gods send us, me and thee, Leucothoe;
Nor juggle with the risks of Babylon.
                Better to take whatever,
Several, or last, Jove sends us. 

 translated by Ezra Pound from an ode of Horace

Louis Jean Desprez
Bernini's Colonnade at St. Peter's in Rome
completed in 1667
wash drawing
British Museum

Salvator Rosa
Portrait of Gianlorenzo Bernini
mid-17th century
drawing
British Museum

Anonymous printmaker
Statue of Bacchus in a landscape
ca. 1600-1640
etching
British Museum

Anonymous artst
Design for supporting structure as winged putto
17th century
wash drawing
British Museum

Anonymous artist
Statue group of Pluto abducting Proserpine
17th century
wash drawing
British Museum

Gianlorenzo Bernini
Nereid riding Dolphin
1640s
wash drawing
British Museum

Gianlorenzo Bernini
Design for Catafalque for Muzio Mattie
1668
wash drawing
British Museum

Gianlorenzo Bernini
Design for Monument to the duc de Beaufort
17th century
wash drawing
British Museum

Benoist Thibout
Gianlorenzo Bernini's statue of St Bibiana
ca. 1675-1719
engraving
British Museum

Giovanni Battista Bracelli
Gianlorenzo Bernini's statue of St Longinus at the Vatican
1640
etching
British Museum

Anonymous printmaker
Francesco Mocchi's colossal statue of St Veronica at the Vatican
ca. 1630-50
etching
British Museum

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Fountains of Rome in the 1670s

Fountain in the gardens of the Villa Borghese
etched by Giovanni Francesco Venturini
published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi
fountain designed by Carlo Rainaldi
1670s
British Museum

The Roman publisher Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi issued four collections of etchings in the 1670s depicting fountains of Rome. Most of these were in high Baroque taste and had been created fairly recently. Few of Rome's now-famous public fountains were included  some (like the Trevi Fountain) did not yet exist. Most of the illustrated fountains were located in courtyards or aristocratic gardens where access would have been restricted to the well-born, well-connected and well-dressed. Many of these private-public fountains did not survive the radical changes in taste that arrived in the near-future of the 18th century.

Fountain in the courtyard of the Collegio Romano
etched by Giovanni Francesco Venturini
published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi
fountain designed by Alessandro Algardi
1670s
British Museum

Fountain in the gardens of Palazzo Farnese
etched by Giovanni Francesco Venturini
published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi
fountain designed by Girolamo Rainaldi
1670s
British Museum

Fountain in the gardens of Palazzo Mattei
etched by Giovanni Francesco Venturini
published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi
fountain designed by Gianlorenzo Bernini
1670s
British Museum

Fountain of the Triton in the gardens of Palazzo Mattei
etched by Giovanni Francesco Venturini
published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi
fountain designed by Gianlorenzo Bernini
1670s
British Museum

Fountain in the gardens of Palazzo Pamphilij
etched by Giovanni Francesco Venturini
published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi
fountain designed by Alessandro Algardi
1670s
British Museum

Neptune Fountain in Piazza Navona
etched by Giovanni Battista Falda
published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi
fountain designed by Giacomo della Porta
restored and embellished by Gianlorenzo Bernini
1670s
British Museum

Fountain on the garden front of Porta del Popolo
etched by Giovanni Francesco Venturini
published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi
fountain designed by Giacomo da Vignola
1670s
British Museum

Fountain in Piazza del Popolo
etched by Giovanni Battista Falda
published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi
fountain designed by Domenico Fontana
1670s
British Museum

Fountain of San Pietro in Montorio
etched by Giovanni Battista Falda
published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi
fountain designed by Giovanni Fontana
1670s
British Museum

Fountain in St Peters Square
etched by Giovanni Battista Falda
published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi
fountain designed by Carlo Maderno
1670s
British Museum

Fountain in the Belvedere Courtyard of the Vatican Palace
etched by Giovanni Battista Falda
published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi
fountain designed by Carlo Maderno
1670s
British Museum

Fountain (The Rock) in Belvedere Gardens of the Vatican Palace 
etched by Giovanni Francesco Venturini
published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi
fountain designed by Carlo Maderno
1670s
British Museum

Fountain (The Ship) in Belvedere Gardens of the Vatican Palace
etched by Giovanni Francesco Venturini
published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi
fountain designed by Carlo Maderno
1670s
British Museum

I am grateful to the British Museum for the excellent reproductions, especially of the many 17th-century Roman fountains which perished and whose appearance would now be unknown without this evidence.

Flemish Terracottas, 17th century

Rombout Verhulst
Bust portrait of Jacob van Reygersbergh
1671
terracotta
height 55 cm
Rijksmuseum

Rombout Verhulst
Bust portrait of Maria van Reygersbergh
1663
terracotta
height 45 cm
Rijksmuseum

"Now it will be noticed that nearly all these emotional elements of design are connected with essential conditions of our physical existence: rhythm appeals to all the sensations which accompany muscular activity, mass to all the infinite adaptations to the force of gravity which we are forced to make, the spatial judgment is equally profound and universal in its application to life, our feeling about inclined planes is connected with our necessary judgments about the conformation of the earth itself, light, again, is so necessary a condition of our existence that we become intensely sensitive to changes in its intensity. Color is the only one of our elements which is not of critical or universal importance to life, and its emotional effect is neither so deep nor so clearly determined as the others."

 Roger Fry, from An Essay on Aesthetics, 1909

Rombout Verhulst
Bust portrait of Willem van Liere
1662
terracotta
height 51 cm
Rijksmuseum

Rombout Verhulst
Sophia Coymans as Venus
1656
terracotta
height 41 cm
Rijksmuseum

Rombout Verhulst
Joan Huydecoper as Mars
1656
terractotta
height 57 cm
Rijksmuseum

Artus Quellinus the Elder
Architectural fragment
ca. 1656
terracotta
height 51 cm
Rijksmuseum

Artus Quellinus the Elder
Architectural fragment
ca. 1656
terracotta
height 39 cm
Rijksmuseum

Artus Quellinus the Elder
Architectural fragment
ca. 1656
terracotta
height 43 cm
Rijksmuseum

Artus Quellinus the Elder
Architectural fragment
ca. 1656
terracotta
height 45 cm
Rijksmuseum

Artus Quellinus the Elder
Architectural fragment
ca. 1656
terracotta
height 44 cm
Rijksmuseum

Artus Quellinus the Elder
Cog boat bozzetto
ca. 1652
terracotta
height 32 cm
Rijksmuseum

Artus Quellinus the Elder
Atlas
ca. 1656
terracotta
height 78 cm
Rijksmuseum

Artus Quellinus the Elder
Caryatid
ca. 1650
terracotta
height 84 cm
Rijksmuseum

Artus Quellinus the Elder
Caryatid
ca. 1650
terracotta
height 85 cm
Rijksmuseum