Stanislas d'Albuquerque (L.3147);
E. Blum, London (bears his mark, not in Lugt)
Professor Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann has proposed that this may well be the earliest known drawing by Adriaen de Vries, executed prior to 1590, probably while the artist was still in Florence, where he was active in the workshop of Giambologna from 1581. No other drawings by the artist are known from this period, and indeed his drawings are altogether extremely rare, with perhaps only a dozen autograph sheets known today1, but the details of the handling of the pen, with its characteristic flicks and turns, are typical of the Spranger-inspired technique seen in the few examples that do survive. Kaufmann also noted that the detail of the precise way in which heavy marks of the pen are used to define eyebrows and eye sockets seems particularly characteristic, and is also apparent in, for example, the drawing of Hercules Pomarius, in Prague.2
At the same time, Kaufmann observed that in the present drawing the figures themselves are a little less elongated than in most of the other surviving drawings by De Vries, but he explains this in terms of dating, noting that the artist's earlier works, whether in sculpture or drawing, are generally a little more compact than his later works in both media; this point is well illustrated by the sculpture of Apollo, dating from circa 1595-7 and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the related drawing in Danzig.3 An early dating for this intriguing drawing is also supported by the subject-matter: no works with religious subjects are known from De Vries's time in Prague, but he must surely have explored subjects of this type during his time in Italy, when the example of Giambologna had such a strong influence on every aspect of his art.
This is a remarkable addition to the tiny drawn oeuvre of one of the greatest sculptors of the period, and as such its identification is of considerable importance.
1. See T. DaCosta Kaufmann, 'The drawings of Adriaen de Vries and their place in the history of sculptors' drawings,' in Adriaen de Vries 1556-1626, exhib. cat., Amsterdam Rijksmuseum, Stockholm, Nationalmuseum, and Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1998-2000, pp. 84-89.
2. Adriaen de Vries.., op. cit., no. 51
3. Idem, nos. 5 & 45
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