View full screen - View 1 of Lot 75. Recto: Prometheus bound Verso: Calligraphic exercises.
75

Dirk de Quade van Ravesteyn

Recto: Prometheus bound Verso: Calligraphic exercises

Estimate:

5,000 - 7,000 USD

Property from the collection of the late Walter L. Strauss

75

76

Dirk de Quade van Ravesteyn

Dirk de Quade van Ravesteyn

Recto: Prometheus bound Verso: Calligraphic exercises

Recto: Prometheus bound Verso: Calligraphic exercises

Estimate:

5,000 - 7,000 USD

Current bid:

4,000

USD

(3 bids, reserve met)

Lot closes:

Lot closes:

5 days, 4 hours

5 days, 4 hours

January 26, 07:01 PM (GMT)

January 26, 07:01 PM (GMT)

Authenticity guarantee

What is guaranteed?

Property from the collection of the late Walter L. Strauss

Dirk de Quade van Ravesteyn

circa 1565 - after 1619

Recto: Prometheus bound

Verso: Calligraphic exercises


Red chalk and stumping with touches of black chalk (recto); pen and brown ink (verso);

signed with the artist's initials, in red chalk, lower right: QVR

bears old attribution in black chalk, versoquade Re...

202 by 302 mm; 7⅞ by 11⅞ in.

Laid down on an old backing. There is surface dirt and staining to areas of the sheet. The upper left corner has previously been repaired. The chalk media remains in reasonable condition throughout with the image strong. Sold unframed.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Albert van Loock (1917-2011), Rouen (L.3751);
Walter L. Strauss, New York (1922-1988),
thence by descent

Extremely little is known of Quade van Ravesteyn's life, though it is thought he originated from 's-Hertogenbosch, in the Netherlands. From 1589 until around 1608, he worked at the extraordinary Prague court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II (1552-1612), alongside a variety of leading artists from all over Europe.  


Only a very few drawings can be attributed to Quade van Ravesteyn, all on the basis of comparison with a signed red and black chalk drawing of Cupid Stung by Bees Running to Venus, in Budapest.1 The handling in the present drawing seems very comparable to that sheet, and the mythological subject-matter and figure type is also typical of the artist's painted works.2 


We are grateful to Dr. Marco Simone Bolzoni for bringing to our attention a drawing in the Albertina, Vienna, attributed to Giuseppe or Bernadino Cesari, with a closely related composition.3 Given the differences of details, especially in the tree and the angle of the figure’s head, it seems possible that both drawings look back at an earlier prototype. 


In the Greek myth, Prometheus defied the gods by stealing fire from them, passing it on to humanity, and thereby giving them technology and civilisation. For this he was sentenced by Zeus to eternal torment, bound to a rock, with an eagle (symbolising Zeus) pecking out his liver – which miraculously grew back each night, only to be pecked out again the following day. In terms of imagery, the myth of Tityus is closely related: slain by Artemis and Apollo for attempting to rape their mother, Leto, Tityus was condemned to eternal torment in Tartarus, where two vultures constantly pecked out his regrowing liver.  Both scenes were represented in a number of Attic vase decorations, and frequently in paintings, drawings and prints, in the Renaissance and beyond. Perhaps the most familiar image of all – and certainly the most widely copied and engraved – is Michelangelo’s drawing, historically identified as Tityus, in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, which is broadly similar in composition to the present drawing, but shows the eagle and the tree in rather different positions.4 Michelangelo’s drawing was made around 1530, and was in the Farnese Collection until acquired by King George III in the 18th century.  


1. Budapest, Museum of Fine Arts, inv. 314; https://www.mfab.hu/artworks/amor-stung-by-bees-running-to-venus/ 

2. E. Fučíková, Rudolf II and Prague. The Court and the City, exh. cat., Prague Castle, 1997, pp. 30-33, figs. I.31, I.34

3. Vienna, Albertina, inv. 758; https://sammlungenonline.albertina.at/default.aspx?lng=english2#/query/38502564-4b0a-4dec-9522-848a4ecc5bfd (as Prometheus)

4. Windsor Castle, Royal Collection, RCIN 912771; https://www.rct.uk/collection/912771/the-punishment-of-tityus