Sunday, April 23, 2017

Guercino Drawings owned by Queen Christina of Sweden

Guercino
God the Father with Archangel Gabriel
ca. 1648
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Yesterday Michael Roethlisberger described the fate of two thousand drawings formerly belonging to Queen Christina of Sweden, now in Teylers Museum in Haarlem, Netherlands. Christina abdicated the Swedish throne after converting to Catholicism in her mid-twenties. Pope Alexander VII Chigi welcomed her with great pomp to Rome in 1655. There she remained (in her baroque palace) for the next thirty-five years, earning a great reputation as an arts patron. The famous Guercino would have been in his mid-sixties at the time she arrived in Italy.

"Guercino was honoured with a visit from Christina, Queen of Sweden, who endeavoured to prevail upon the artist to quit Bologna, but her persuasions met with no better success than the pressing invitations to the same effect which he had received from the sovereigns of England and France. The Queen paid him the delicate compliment of soliciting permission to touch the hand which had produced so many beautiful works."

– from Lights and Shadows of Artist Life and Character by James Smith (London: R. Bentley, 1853)

Guercino
Old man and young man conversing
ca. 1624-30
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Guercino
Young woman and old woman conversing
ca. 1630-35
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Guercino
Young man and old man conversing
ca. 1640-50
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Guercino
Amnon and Tamar
ca. 1625-30
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Guercino
David and Abigail
ca. 1625-27
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Guercino
Apostle Paul facing left
ca. 1630-50
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Guercino
Lucretia
ca. 1650
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Guercino
Kneeling young woman offering doves
ca. 1625-30
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Guercino
Angel looking down from cloud
ca. 1635-36
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Guercino
Study of young man with drapery
ca. 1640-55
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

attributed to Guercino
Study of young woman with drapery
ca. 1650
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Guercino
Study of old man
ca. 1630-50
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Guercino
Young woman facing right
ca. 1630-50
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Michelangelo Drawings at Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Michelangelo
Studies for Sistine ceiling - Creation of Adam
ca. 1511
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Michelangelo
Studies for Sistine ceiling - Hand of God
ca. 1511
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

"In the history of art, Livio Odescalchi is only cited as the Roman prince who on 6 January 1692 bought en bloc the famous art collection of Queen Christina of Sweden.  In 1789, exactly a century after the queen's death, Livio's descendants sold the collection of drawings to the Teyler Foundation in Haarlem, where it still is.  Christina's holdings included 275 paintings and about 2,000 drawings: at his death the prince owned six times more paintings and five times more drawings. . . . An attentive reading of the inventory enables us to isolate the portion that passed to Haarlem and to identify it as the Christina portion.  Circumstantial evidence thus confirms the Christina provenance of the Haarlem drawings, which has often been claimed but never proven."

 from an article by Marcel Roethlisberger, The Drawing Collection of Prince Livio Odescalchi, published in Master Drawings, volume 23/24, number 1, 1985/86

Michelangelo
Studies for Sistine ceiling
ca. 1511
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Michelangelo
Anatomical studies - legs and arms
ca. 1513-20
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Michelangelo
Anatomical studies - legs
ca. 1513-20
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Michelangelo
Anatomical studies - arms and hands
ca. 1513-20
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Michelangelo
Anatomical studies - arms and shoulders
ca. 1513-20
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Michelangelo
Anatomical study - shoulder
ca. 1510-30
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Michelangelo
Anatomical studies - shoulders and neck
ca. 1510-30
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Michelangelo
Figure studies for Crucifixion
ca. 1530
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Michelangelo
Study for figure of Haman
ca. 1511-12
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Michelangelo
Study of striding model
ca. 1527-60
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Michelangelo
Standing model from the back
ca. 1537-38
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Michelangelo
Fragments of figure studies
ca. 1535-39
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Pietro Testa 1612-1650

Pietro Testa
Figures of two Virtues
 for the etching, Earth in the circle of heaven

ca. 1642-44
drawing
Morgan Library, New York

Pietro Testa
Self-portrait
ca. 1645
etching
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Pietro Testa
"I find delight only in learning"
ca. 1644
etching
Philadelphia Museum of Art

"Only recently has the importance of prints by the Carracci, with whose work Testa has most in common, been reassessed.  But those of Testa remain difficult of access.  Once categorized as the oneiric work of a romantic genius, they now appear paradoxically classical in technique and subject. To the admirer of Poussin, the later works seem too full of fantasy and intricate allegory and are separable only with difficulty from the artist's few known paintings, which are often found wanting in color, although not in invention.  The etchings are rarely found in good condition, and even in the most distinguished collections are unmounted, tattered, and creased.

Rembrandt's etchings, widely published, appealed through their subjects to an idea of intimacy that coincides with one aesthetic of etching.  Testa did not market his prints to a wide audience but sought instead to express himself directly to a small group of knowledgeable connoisseurs, such as Cassiano dal Pozzo and Girolamo Buonvisi.  The truth of his expression, both in subject and in the manner in which it was conveyed, was as personal as that of his Northern contemporaries, but it took the forms of the culture in which he lived  not couched in the rhetoric of Protestant spirituality but aspiring to universality in the language of lyric poetry, allegory, and ancient history in the artistic conventions of Italy.  His art was no less intimate or sincere for that.

Testa lived in a classical culture at the very moment when it was coming to an end, and his art is revelatory of the growing tensions between established convention and the emerging values of imagination and sensation.  In the drawings, paintings, and etchings from throughout his short career he communicated explicitly his own interpretation of the inseparability of the natural, the human, and the divine, whether on the basis of familiar religious images or texts of his own choosing, whether through the process of thinking on paper or through the figures of thought and expression that he represented.  The very exploitation of these highly personal images after Testa's death for an international art market stimulated by the desire for novelties led to a loss of understanding of the work of an artist who had etched not for that market but for himself."

 from Elizabeth Cropper's essay in the exhibition catalog Pietro Testa from the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1988)

Pietro Testa
Venus giving arms to Aeneas
ca. 1638-40
etching
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Pietro Testa
Achilles dragging the body of Hector around the walls of Troy
1648-50
etching
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Pietro Testa
Sinorix carried from the temple
ca. 1640
etching
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Pietro Testa
Death of Sinorix
ca. 1640
drawing
Morgan Library, New York

Pietro Testa
Death of Sinorix
ca. 1640
drawing
Morgan Library, New York

Pietro Testa
Death of Sinorix
ca. 1640
drawing
Morgan Library, New York

Pietro Testa
Landscape with nymphs and satyrs
before 1650
drawing
British Museum

Pietro Testa
Landscape with classical figures
before 1650
drawing
British Museum

Pietro Testa
Presentation of the Virgin
ca. 1642
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Pietro Testa
Alexander the Great saved from the River Cydnus
ca. 1648-50
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Pietro Testa
Aeneas on the bank of the River Styx
ca. 1648-50
oil on canvas
private collection

Friday, April 21, 2017

Portraits and Evocations by Carlo Maratti

Ignazio Enrico Hugford (draughtsman)
Portrait of Carlo Maratti
ca. 1769-75
engraving
British Museum

Carlo Maratti
Portait of a man
possibly Don Maffeo Barberini (1631-1685)

ca. 1670-85
drawing
British Museum

"There are those who have accused Maratti of "lack of individual warmth" (as Burckhardt phrased it) and of limited originality vis-à-vis nature. The charge is not unreasonable. Maratti's artistic will was almost exclusively directed toward the expression of that which is noble and full of pathos, and in his sacred scenes there was little room allowed for individual, intimate or personal elements. Yet the fact that he could at the same time be an excellent observer of reality, when it proved necessary, is revealed in his portraits in which, for all their formal nobility, a strong talent for naturalistic representation is evident."

Carlo Maratti
Study for portrait of Domenico Guidi, sculptor
1680
drawing
British Museum

Carlo Maratti
Study for portrait of Domenico Guidi, sculptor
1680
drawing
British Museum

Carlo Maratti
Study for portait of Cardinal Antonio Barberini
ca. 1660-65
drawing
Royal Collection, Windsor

Carlo Maratti (draughtsman)
Portrait of Salvator Rosa
etching by Thomas Worlidge
ca. 1715-66
British Museum

Carlo Maratti
Study for monument to Pietro da Cortona
allegorical figure of winged time
trampling envy and holding portrait aloft

ca. 1675
drawing
Royal Collection, Windsor

"After Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci and Pietro da Cortona, Carlo Maratti was the fourth founder of an important school of painting in the Roman Seicento. His influence, and in some cases, his direct instruction of pupils was the most powerful factor in Roman painting during the last decades of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century. Pietro da Cortona and his followers, on the other hand, faded more and more into the background.  Maratti's return to the tradition of Annibale Carracci and Raphael clearly shows the direction in which his intentions tended: he sought a rejuvenation of the severe Roman monumental style which threatened to degenerate due to the effects of a purely decorative school of painting. It was clearly Maratti's greatest ambition to become, like Carracci before him, a reformer of the art of painting. But he lacked that most essential quality, which had been possessed by Annibale, required in order to play such a role: a direct and naive relationship with nature. Maratti was unquestionably as preeminent and earnest a draftsman as any other painter; most especially, he possessed to the utmost degree a command over every aspect of the depiction of the human figure. But he was not gifted with Carracci's immediate sensuality and affinity with nature."

 this passage and the one above from Baroque Painting in Rome by Hermann Voss, first published in German in 1925, translated into English and revised by Thomas Pelzel in 1997

Carlo Maratti
Head of youth
ca. 1667
drawing (probably for portrait)
British Museum

Carlo Maratti
Holy women tending St Sebastian
ca. 1680
drawing
British Museum

Carlo Maratti
Adoration of the shepherds
ca. 1651-56
drawing (for fresco lunette)
British Museum

Carlo Maratti
St Matthew
ca. 1703
drawing (for statue)
Royal Collection, Windsor

Carlo Maratti
St Matthew
ca. 1703
drawing (for statue)
British Museum

Carlo Maratti
St John the Evangelist
ca. 1703
drawing (for statue)
British Museum

Carlo Maratti
Blessed Pietro Igneo Aldobrandini
passing unharmed through flames

ca. 1710
drawing (for engraving)
British Museum

"The drawing [immediately above] must date from the end of the artist's life when, unable to paint because of ill-health, he was much occupied with making designs for engravings; such a dating is supported by the untidy yet still robust style of the drawing. Beato Pietro Aldobrandini, surnamed Igneus, was a Vallombrosan monk from a prominent Florentine family, who later became Cardinal Bishop of Albano. In 1063, in a dispute between the Florentine citizens and Pope Alexander II over the Pope's appointment of the simoniacal Peter of Pavia as Archbishop of Florence, it was decided that God should judge the legality of the appointment through the ordeal of fire. On behalf of Florence, Pietro Aldobrandini undertook the fiery test and, wearing only his alb, maniple and stole and carrying a cross in his hand, he passed between two flaming piles of wood unharmed. The citizens of Florence were therefore vindicated and the archbishop was deposed."

curator's notes, British Museum