A somewhat similar approach to outlines is seen in certain drawings by Bartholomäus Spranger, but the artist who most frequently employed the unorthodox yet extremely effective technique seen here was Joseph Heintz the Elder. Comparison with drawings by Heintz such as the sketchbook sheet with a woman leaning forward and other figures, in Budapest, reveal very close stylistic parallels.1
Jürgen Zimmer dates the Budapest drawing to around 1595-1605. In 1591, Heintz had been named Imperial Painter at the Court of the Emperor Rudolf II in Prague, but was soon dispatched to Italy to make purchases for the imperial collection, and to study antiquities. Heintz returned north in 1596, arriving in Prague around 1598, and during the years between then and around 1605, the full complement of the leading Rudolfine artists and designers of their generation - Heintz, Spranger, Hans von Aachen, Adriaen de Vries, Joris Hoefnagel and Hans Vredeman de Vries - worked side by side in a veritable frenzy of creativity and artistic originality.
A fine and characteristic example of a Rudolfine drawing of its time, this elegant sheet is a significant addition to the corpus of known drawings by Joseph Heintz. We are grateful to Dr. Jürgen Zimmer for kindly confirming the attribution, on the basis of a photograph.
1. Budapest, Szépmüvészeti Múzeum, inv. 58.458; J. Zimmer, Joseph Heintz der Ältere, Zeichnungen und Dokumente, Munich/Berlin 1988, pp. 143-4, no. A 70, fig. 112, colour plate VII
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