Goltzius, Hendrick. (1558–1617)

Euterpe, 1592

Engraving of the muse of lyric poetry, shown playing a flute, with a shawm and books lying at her feet. Numbered and signed in lower part of impression: "6" and "HG fecit". Text at the foot reads: "Euterpen calami, et genialis Tibia honestat, / Et quo cantari consuerunt Pyrthia versu; / Flla Aganippeos colles, Saltusque peragrat, / Concentu dulcis, doctoque Mathemate clara." ("Euterpe the genial reeds and flute honor..."). Lifetime impression, the third state (of five), before the addition of number. Toning, some small corner losses, mounting remnants to verso. Overall fine. 7 x 10 inches (18 x 25.8 cm).

Designed and engraved by Goltzius, one of the greatest Dutch printmakers and draftsmen of the sixteenth century, this print belongs to a series of the Nine Muses that he dedicated to his friend Jan Sadeler, the court engraver to the Duke of Bavaria in 1592. As a series, the Muses clearly represent the effects of Goltizus's journey to Rome on his representation of the human body. Compared to his earlier work, these figures display less contorted, elongated, and dynamic poses; instead, their regular proportions and heavy drapery convey an air of calm grace and stability. It has been suggested that Calliope's form recalls the second-century Roman marble sculpture of the same subject in the Vatican Museum (Strauss 1997, p. 536), and one wonders whether all of the Muses were in fact influenced by other sculptural models as well. Although their passive poses seem repetitive, closer inspection reveals a variety of expression and gesture that differentiate each Muse. This state of the prints was printed for the 1719 edition of Gerard de Lairesse's Principles of Drawing. (Andaleeb Banta, www.themorgan.com) (17453)

Art & Design