Jacques Bellange (French, Bassigny (?) ca. 1575–1616 Nancy)
late 16th–early 17th century
Pen and brown ink, brush and brown and gray wash
15 5/16 x 7 1/4 in. (38.9 x 18.4 cm)
Purchase, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund and Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 2001
Not on view
Few paintings survive by Jacques Bellange, a favored artist of the ducal court of Lorraine in what is today northeastern France. His reputation as one of the greatest late Mannerist artists is due primarily to his extant prints and drawings, which are distinguished by their idiosyncratic style combining courtly elegance and psychological expressiveness. This recently discovered sheet is entirely characteristic of Bellange's style as a draftsman. Flamboyant curves and curlicues are produced in a rapid ink line, delineating the figure's beard, the animal skins draped from his shoulder, and his elaborate sandals. Passages of parallel hatching, reinforced by blocky areas of wash, model his powerful, twisting form in a pose suggestive of both force and grace.
Samson and Hercules, who happen to share the attributes of lion skin and club, have both been proposed as the subject of this sheet. In the biblical account, the club Samson brandishes is the jawbone of an ass, the weapon used to defeat the Philistines. He is sometimes depicted after the battle holding the jawbone aloft, whence water would miraculously gush forth to quench his thirst.
Perrin Stein, May 2014
Inscription: Inscribed in pen and brown ink at lower right (partially cut): "Bell"
Vendor: Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paper Chase: Two Decades of Collecting Drawings and Prints," December 9, 2014–March 16, 2015.
Jean-Claude Boyer "Un singulier creuset artistique en passant par la Lorraine." Le Nouvel Observateur. Paris, 2-8 October 1997, p. 36, ill.
Paulette Choné, Jean-Claude Boyer, Richard E. Spear, Irving Lavin L'Âge d'or du noctrine. Paris, 2001, fig. no. 42, p. 74, ill.
Pierre Rosenberg "Did Jacques de Bellange go to Italy? Notes on the Exhibition in Rennes." The Burlington Magazine. vol. 143, no. 1183, October 2001, p. 634.
Carmen C. Bambach, Michiel C. Plomp, Colta Ives, Perrin Stein "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2001-2002." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 60, no. 2, Autumn 2002, p. 18, ill.
Dessins français aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles : actes du colloque, Ecole du Louvre, 24 et 25 juin 1999. Edited by Pierre-Nicolas Sainte-Fare-Garnot, École du Louvre, Paris, Paris, 2003, fig. no. 2, p. 66, ill.
Louis-Antoine Prat "Trente ans et des poussières: une vue cavalière du marché du dessin." in Revue de l'Art. vol. 143, no. 1, 2004, fig. no. 12, p. 99, ill.
Le Dessin français au XVIIe siècle. Somogy. Paris, 2103, fig. no. 335, 158, ill.