Andries Both, the highly talented elder brother of the landscape painter Jan Both, was born in Utrecht, where he studied with Abraham Bloemaert. By 1633, Both was on his way to Italy, whence he was never to return; in 1642, at the age of only 29 or 30, he fell into a Venetian canal and drowned. The surviving drawings from his hand are both accomplished and extremely varied in theme and style, including landscapes in pen and ink and chalk, lively representations of biblical subjects (see lot 271) and diableries, and a small group of fine metalpoint drawings, including this outstanding example and others in Amsterdam, Philadelphia and elsewhere.2
Both’s metalpoint studies of peasants follow technically in a tradition with roots in the Italian and Northern renaissance, which had enjoyed another great flowering circa 1600, in the hands of Hendrick Goltzius and his Haarlem contemporaries. In terms of subject, though, Both seems to have been looking more to the prints of Callot, and the paintings and drawings of Flemish contemporaries such as Brouwer or Teniers.
1. E. van de Wetering, ‘Verdwenen tekeningen en het gebruik van afwisbare tekenplankjes en ‘tafeletten’,’ Oud Holland, vol. CV, 1991, pp. 210-27
2. See A. van Camp, ‘Metalpoint Drawings in the Low Countries in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,’ in S. Sell & H. Chapman, Drawing in Silver and Gold, Leonardo to Jasper Johns, exh. cat., Washington, National Gallery of Art, and London, British Museum, 2015, pp. 158, 162 n.50, 187 pl. 74
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