This attractive booklet comprises a pair of essays by Stephen Goddard and James Ganz that address remarkable correspondences between the prints of Hendrick Goltzius and the bronzes of the Dutch sculptor Willem Danielsz van Tetrode. The two studies were occasioned by a modest exhibition held by the Clark Institute at Williamstown that was made possible by a generous loan from the Hearn Foundation, which provided three choice bronzes by Tetrode and numerous engravings by Goltzius. The photography in the catalogue is exemplary and brilliantly supports many of the points made by the two authors. Details of Goltzius’s engravings are well reproduced. Even more impressive, the surfaces of Tetrode’s bronze statuettes are faithfully represented in the color illustrations, which give a good indication of the surface patina.
Willem Danielsz van Tetrode, the less familiar of the two artists, was born in Delft around 1525. From 1545 until 1567 he studied in Italy, first in the shop of Cellini and then with Guilielmo Della Porta. Significantly, Tetrode helped restore a number of ancient sculptures like the Farnese Hercules, which was to exert such an attraction on Goltzius and his northern brethren. Further, he made bronze copies of antique figures for an Italian nobleman, possibly bringing models of these statues with him on his return to the north. Tetrode’s large altarpieces for Delft were destroyed during the iconoclasm of 1573, probably prompting his move to Cologne, where he attracted the attention of another printmaker, Adriaen de Weerdt. Tetrode remained known principally through his elegant, finely chased statuettes. He took part in an artistic development along the Eastern Netherlands and Lower Rhine that witnessed the conflux of de Weerdt, Goltzius, and Coornhert, his teacher.
The impetus for the show is in one sense a thesis that Anthony Radcliffe presented in 1984, arguing for the formal dependence of Goltzius on Tetrode. As Goddard elaborates, the question of Goltzius’s interest in Tetrode’s sculpture becomes more interesting in the context of the so-called Haarlem Academy, for studies after plaster casts, and, indeed, sculptural models were a main avenue of access to antiquity for the artists of Haarlem.
Goltzius’s study of Tetrode is more than just a case of artistic influence or attraction but rather relates to the vogue for antiquity and the nature of studio practice around the turn of the seventeenth century.
Several of Goltzius’s engravings of around 1590 seem, indeed, to reflect discoveries made by Tetrode in statuettes like his Hercules Pomarius and Nude Warrior. Goltzius’s Great Hercules, the grand example of his ‘knollenstil’ suggests interest in the exaggerated musculature of Tetrode’s Hercules, further accentuated by the manner in which light falls over its surface.
Goltzius’s dependence on Tetrode is in certain cases all but certain, as Ganz shows through his comparison of selective details. A close look at Tetrode’s Hercules Pomarius and Goltzius’s Massacre of the Innocents, for instance, is one such case. The hand held behind the body in the statuette grasps three apples, while Goltzius’s figure mimics the gesture but keeps the hand empty, depriving it of the purpose it had in the sculptural original. Goltzius made it his practice to assimilate the styles of several artists including DŸrer and Lucas van Leyden; his interest in Tetrode is extraordinary only in that it involves sculpture. The attempt to portray sculpture in two dimensions – subjecting plastic form to the engravers – indeed suggests an offshoot of the paragone debate, as Goddard suggests.
Ethan Matt Kavaler
University of Toronto