Etching on laid paper
Dimensions: Image: 11 x 8 5/8 inches (27.9 x 21.9 cm);
Sheet: 11 1/8 x 8 7/8 inches (28.3 x 22.6 cm)
Acquired through the Herbert F. Johnson, Class of 1922, Endowment
Object Number: 85.035.002
A native of Lorraine, this enigmatic artist served as painter to the ducal court at Nancy, whose elegance and opulence are reflected in his works. Bellange's compositions, with their attenuated forms and flame-like draperies, are a late interpretation of the courtly Mannerist style that swept the European continent during the middle of the sixteenth century. He often playfully inverts his unique combination of sensitive stippling and rhythmic line in order to present draperies that seem like flesh, as in the soldier's doublet at right. Many scholars have noted the theatrical qualities of Bellange's etchings - the plumed hats on the soldier on the right and the woman on the left, for example, as well as the way in which the composition divides itself into separate planes reminiscent of stage flats. When we consider that as court painter Bellange was frequently called upon to create costumes and scenery for festivals and plays, these facets of his graphic technique are better understood. As its title suggests, the subject matter of this etching has proved elusive. However, the vogue around 1600 for depicting groups of figures in antique military costumes at least provides a sure context for the image. (From “A Handbook of the Collection: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art," 1998)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.