Both the Haverkamp-Begemann drawing and the resulting etching are predated by an impressive sheet in the collection of Lord Cavendish at Holker Hall, depicting the Battle between the Horatii and Curiatii.1 Dating to 1658, the Cavendish drawing must have pleased Cooghen, who subsequently reused the figure of a soldier seen from behind, from the right side of the composition, as a template for the present work, which dates to 1664.
History had, until recently, remembered Cooghen as something of an artistic dilettante, thanks in part to Arnold Houbraken’s entry for the artist in the first volume of De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstchilders en schilderessen. Here Houbraken describes in somewhat humorous terms, that Cooghen "did not have to paint to earn his living.....only if he felt like it" which resulted, somewhat predictably, in the artist not making “as many works as would have made him famous outside his native town of Haarlem.”2 It is quite true that Cooghen’s graphic oeuvre is incredibly slim, with Coenen (see Literature), accepting only three paintings, some sixty six drawings, and ten etchings by the artist.3 However, despite this small body of work, it is quite clear that Cooghen was, in fact, a highly accomplished artist, whose surviving drawings, in particular, attest to his consistently high artistic standards.
1. Coenen, op. cit., p. 59, no. A45, reproduced, p. 34, fig. 36
2. Ibid., p. 5
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