Thursday, November 19, 2015

Initiation of a member of the Bentveughels (the Schildersbent)

Initiation of a member of the Bentveughels (the Schildersbent)
The original painting (RKDimages)
Print after a painting by Domenicus van Wijnen (1661-1698) (private collection), reduced in measures and mirrored in respect to the first copy by Matthijs Pool (1676-1740). According to Johan van Gool, Bonaventura van Overbeeck entrusted Pool with the engraving after a set of three paintings by van Wijnen, to ensure the immortality of the brotherhood and to please the lovers of the art of print. According to Tania De Nile (I Bassifondi del Barocco: La Roma del vizio e della miseria, exhib. cat., 2014, p. 164-165) this explains the precision with which faces of the participants and the features of the staged spectacle are reproduced. The present print reproduces the first painting of the series: a sort of 'tableau vivant' taking place in an inn, where the bentbrothers are dressed in antique attire, each of them playing a different role in the curious staged mythological pantomime preceding the initiation ceremony. The 'Veltpaap' (countryside priest) stands on the top left of the composition, crowned with laurel, pointing with his long sword in the direction of the newcomer, or 'Nieuwling' or 'Groentje' (literally 'the green youngster') introduced by a pander and another character holding a long halberd (the 'Switzer', or the Swiss). 
On the bottom two columns of text in Dutch: 'De Roomsche Achilderbent, de Waareld door vermaart... Wort hy verwellekomt, met eerchooten aan den dis'; on the bottom address of Pool:'M. Pool exc: Amstelod: op de Leydse Graft by de Heeren Graft'.
Soon after the master of ceremonies had pronounced a series of precepts concerning the art of painting and the sacred statute of the company, the young artist would have sworn his loyalty in front of the other brothers. These would have replied with: 'Viva, viva, viva onzen nieuwe Medebroer!'. Bacchus would have been present to the ceremony, seated on a barrel, as he was the protector of the brotherhood. Below on the right one brother is lighting a firecracker which refer to one of the tests the newcomers had to take to enter the brotherhood. (De Nile).

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

From the Sistine Chapel in Rome...

Niccoló della Casa after Michelangelo (Nr. 60423)
For the upcoming Jubilee 2015 here is a bit of Michelangelo's Last Judgement: Seventh of the twelve plates engraved by Nicoló della Casa after 'The Last Judgement' by Michelangelo: angels blowing their trumpets announcing the Judgement while two in the front, holding books are choosing the destiny of souls. Group just below the Judging Christ. For a view of the complete series see Metropolitan Museum of New York, inv. 62.602.652(1).
When the 'Last Judgement' by Michelangelo was uncovered in 1541 not everyone was allowed to see such painted wonder. Print dealers and publishers felt that perhaps print buyers that could not see the original might have welcomed printed copies. As Anne Dillon puts it '[print buyers] would have heard of [the fresco], talked about and would be keen to have as close a depiction of it as possible. The printers did not disappoint. They ensured that their engravers fulfilled these commercial demands and followed the original as closely as possible. This was the approach adopted by Nicoló della Casa when he engraved Michelangelo's Last Judgement in eleven [sic!] plates.' (A. Dillon: Michelandelo and the English Martyrs, 2012, p.150). All the plates of the set have irregular shapes, however this impression has been deeply cut within the platemark until the bell of one of the trumpets.
Bury (Michael Bury, Niccolò Della Casa’s Last Judgement Dissected, Print Quaterly, XXVII, 2010, 1, pg.3-4) maintains that besides the plate with 'Caron's ship' and other three, the present plate, 'Judging Jesus' and 'The Resurrection of Death' were printed to be sold as sigle sheets. Bernadine Barne shares this same opinion (Bernadine Barne, Michelangelo in print, 2010, pg. 106) confirmed by the presence on the print of the inscription recalling that Michelangelo painted the fresco, the source of this print. The inscription disappears when set up with the other plates.