Lot 3
  • 3

Hendrick Goltzius

12,000 - 18,000 GBP
47,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Hendrick Goltzius
  • Pluto (after Polidoro da Caravaggio)
  • Pen and brown ink and wash, over black chalk, heightened with white, on blue paper
  • 261 by 168 mm


Sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby's, 8 November 2000, lot 35;
Emile Wolf, New York,
thence by descent 


Ithaca, New York, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Dutch Drawings of the Seventeenth Century from a Collection, 1979, cat. 5


E.K.J. Reznicek, 'Drawings by Hendrick Goltzius, Thirty Years Later: Supplement to the 1961 catalogue raisonné', Master Drawings, vol. XXXI, no.3 (Autumn 1993), p. 250, cat. K241a;
Y. Bleyerveld & I.M. Veldman, The Netherlandish Drawings of the 16th Century in the Teylers Museum, Leiden/Haarlem 2016, p. 146

Catalogue Note

Goltzius's designs for prints are among the most beautiful and paradoxically among the most colourful of his drawings.  Although he was working with black and white engravings in mind, he often used coloured washes or papers and white heightening to set out the composition.  In the present drawing Goltzius employs a blue paper to provide the middle range, with brown wash and white heightening to create the dark shadows and highlights respectively.

Pluto is unusual among Goltzius's designs for prints because it is one of two drawings for the same engraving.  The print is from a series of eight engravings of gods after Polidoro da Caravaggio, which is dated 1592.1  Excluding the present example, there are six finished drawings for the series, all in the same direction as the prints, and all in the Teylers Museum, Haarlem.  As Reznicek notes (loc. cit.), this drawing is smaller and sketchier than the Haarlem version of the same figure, and also differs from the finished print.  Most significant is the absence of decoration around the niche, but there are changes in the tilt of the head, the shadow of the torch and the drapery as well.  As a result Reznicek believes it is a preliminary design, predating the Teylers version.2

It is possible that Goltzius sketched the present sheet while he was in Rome in 1590-91, after the now lost frescoes by Polidoro.  During his Italian trip, Goltzius spent a great deal of time copying antique and Italian masters.  The trip had a profound effect on his style, taming the more flamboyant elements of his mannerist style and introducing a new solidity and classicism, which is evidenced here.

1. F.W.H. Hollstein, Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts, Amsterdam 1949 - present, vol. 8, no. 298

2. For which, see Reznicek, Die Zeichnungen von Hendrick Goltzius, 2 vols., Utrecht 1961, cat. K241; Bleyerveld and Veldman, op. cit., no. 129