Eye Candy for Today: Jacob de Gheyn pen drawing

Chestnut Tree with some trees around it, Jacob de Gheyn, ink and chalk drawing

Chestnut Tree with some trees around it, Jacob de Gheyn, ink and chalk drawing (details)

Chestnut Tree with some trees around it, Jacob de Gheyn (II)

Ink and chalk drawing, roughly 15 x 10 inches (36 x 25 cm), in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, which has a zoomable version on the website. You can download high-res images if you get a free Rijksstudio account.

Dutch painter and printmaker jacob de Gheyn II, who was active in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, had a wonderful drawing style, both bold and subtle at the same time.

I had the pleasure of seeing this drawing in person some years ago (at the Morgan Library, I think) and I was really taken with the way De Gheyn used his pen lines both to create texture and to define the volume of the tree. I love the contrast between the areas of trough bark and the smooth section on the trunk and under the branch that faces us.

The figure (presumably that of another artist sketching) is almost incidental, but still holds visual interest, particularly in the folds of the coat.

 
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Hendrick Goltzius, The Resurrection

The Resurrection, from The Passion of Christ, Hendrik Goltzius, engraving

The Resurrection, from The Passion of Christ, Hendrik Goltzius, engraving (details)

The Resurrection, from The Passion of Christ, Hendrik Goltzius,

Engraving, roughly 8 x 5 inches (20 x 13 cm), in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Hendrick Goltzius was a German born Dutch printmaker, draftsman and painter active in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Among his other accomplishments was a folio of prints depicting The Passion of Christ, from which this is an instance of The Resurrection.

Like most prints, there are multiple impressions of this one, the Met itself appears to have a second version, and there is one from the collection of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art that can be viewed i more detail on the Google Art Project.

The figure of Jesus is less than prominent in the composition than the foreground figures of the soldiers guarding the tomb, the foremost of which seems almost oblivious to the events behind him. The figure looks posed, and it’s highly likely that Goltzius had a model to work from.

The artist’s engraving lines, though solidly placed on the foundation of his superb draftsmanship, have a casual quality more in common with etching or pen and ink than engraving. Goltzious was also an accomplished pen artist.

I really admire his use of line in the depiction of drapery, particularly in the figure of the angel, and the contrast with his hatching on the stone and dirt surfaces.

 
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John Donohue’s “All the Restaurants in New York”

John Donohue's All the Restaurants in New York, pen and ink sketches

John Donohue's All the Restaurants in New York, pen and ink sketches

Since 2017, New York based artist and writer John Donohue has been pursuing his — admittedly unlikely — quest to draw all of the restaurants in New York City (estimated to number around 24,000, not counting ongoing closings and openings).

He takes this on by sketching on location in pen and ink, without preliminary pencil drawings. He then adds touches of a single color to the drawings. His drawing style is casual and sketch-like, with an almost cartoony feeling at times — unsurprising as Donohue has contributed cartoons to The New Yorker.

There are plans in the works for three books of drawings of restaurants in New York, London and Paris. In the meanwhile, Donohue has prints available.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Franklin Booth pen and ink advertising illustration

Franklin Booth pen and ink advertising illustration

Franklin Booth pen and ink advertising illustration
Ad for Etsy Organ in House and Garden, Franklin Booth

American artist Franklin Booth, who was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was known for his marvelously intricate pen and ink illustrations, a style that came largely from the young artist confusing images in magazines that were done in wood engraving with pen and ink drawings.

Here, he pulls out the stops (oh, how I delight in that pun) in his illustration for organ manufacturer Estey Organ, printed in House and Garden magazine in 1922.

Booth has created a stunningly beautiful fantasy of the music that will come from the organ — with lines that follow both the volume of the forms and the direction of movement and action. I love the swirls in the hair and the sheen of the draperies.

In addition, all of this modeling and rendering is done at an entire level of values that separates the cloud of imaginings from the darker rendering of the “reality” of the woman and the organ!

Wow.

 
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José Naranja

Jose Naranja, illustrated notebooks and journals

Jose Naranja, illustrated notebooks and journals

Among followers of “urban sketching”, there is an often associated practice known as “journaling”, or the keeping of a visual diary of one’s travels, day to day activities or random thoughts and ideas.

The idea of visual journals or diaries is nothing new, of course, but the current popularity of the practice, and the ability to place one’s journals online and compare notes with others, makes it an interesting contemporary phenomenon.

José Naranja is a Spanish artist, writer, traveller and observer who takes this activity to greater lengths than most. Naranja refers to himself as a “notebook maker and more”.

After years of making journals in commercial sketchbooks and notebooks, he has taken to crafting his own, using high quality paper and binding the in leather in much thicker dimensions than those commercially available.

These he fills with ink and watercolor sketches, hand written text, clippings, stamps and sometimes intricate design work — resulting in an amalgam that is part travel journal, part art and design experiments, part comparisons of drawing and writing materials, part collage, part scrapbook and part imaginative workspace.

You can find examples of his notebook pages and materials on his blog and Instagram page. He offers a facsimile edition of some of his selected pages as The Orange Manuscript, as well as prints.

You can also find quick overviews of some of his pages in articles on My Modern Met and Colossal. There is an interview with Naranja on Notebook Stories.

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Eye Candy for Today: Francesco Novelli ink and wash drawing

Francesco Novelli, Diana and Her Hounds, ink and wash drawing

Frencesco Novelli, Diana and Her Hounds, ink and wash drawing (details)

Diana and Her Hounds, Francesco Novelli

Pen and black ink with brown wash; roughly 5 x 4″ (13 x 10 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum.

I don’t know much about Francesco Novelli, who was active in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but I find this drawing interesting for several reasons.

First, it’s simply a beautifully realized drawing. The basic ink drawing, in black, is composed of broken lines, with spaces open at many points. The brown wash fills in the form and gives the figure dimension and solidity, but the overall effect is a drawing with a loose, open feeling.

Deft value relationships add to the composition and the sensation of grace and motion, particularly in the clothing and drapery. I love the way he has use the brush and brown wash like pen hatching along the curved surfaces of the figure’s arms and legs and the bodies of the dogs.

What I didn’t notice at first — likely because the drawing is so beautifully done — is that to my eye, the proportions of the arms, particularly the figure’s left arm, seem out of proportion to the figure. The arms also look more like they belong to a male figure.

It was not uncommon for artists to employ male models for female figures; it was easier and cheaper to use a male studio assistant as a model than to hire a female model. (I believe most of the female figures of the sibyls on Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling were studied from male models.)

Though it might have been intended as a finished piece, the drawing has the look of a preparatory drawing for a painting or print, but I can’t find much information on Novelli, let alone a specific work that might be sourced from this.

 
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