Friday, December 31, 2010

Hybrid Vigour

The work of Dutch artist Arent van Bolten (~1573-1624) is worth checking out if you have an interest in early grotesque art, or hybrid and fantastic creatures more generally. His drawings are a classic example of the traditional grotesque as they depict bodies composed from various human and nonhuman elements, including plants, animals and objects.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam describes his work in this way:

"Van Bolten was known for his work as a silversmith and sculptor, but especially for his drawings. Besides his designs for work in precious metals he drew numerous drawings of grotesque figures and monsters, biblical and mythological scenes as well as pictures of peasant life. Several of his grotesques and ornaments appeared in print and were widely distributed."

The Museum has a collection of engravings based in his sketches in their online database. They are magnificent. If you ever wondered who came before Dr Seuss and Tim Burton, Van Bolten is definitely an artist to consider.

I find the intricate details and expressive poses quite brilliant.

It is also amusing to observe the random photobombing cat and scatological humour in the above. We think we are so original in the 21st century...

Speaking of time. See you next year!

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