Luke Kingshott-Taylor

GRONOVIUS, Jacobus. Thesaurus Graecarum Antiquitatum

(Amsterdam, 1697-1702)

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January Goeree, son of a bookmaker from Amsterdam started his engraving career by designing them for his father often using the local architecture of the city. “In 1705 he received the “Stadsbestuur” of the city of Amsterdam. He was chosen to paint the vaults of the Great Hall of the City Hall.” (Sphinx Fine Art 2012) which lead him into the world of art and in particularly for books.  

This inside cover is particularly typical of Goeree’s style using a lined border with small details in the corners, in this case sea shells. The title is large and dark against the grey back, often chosen for the impact, creating an aesthetically clear sense of power through the font.

The small image below the books title shows a soldier and a politician in a Roman city, possibly the capital. The style of the clothes replicates the high-classical sculptures of the ancient Greeks which were then taken to an almost wet look of draped clothes by Roman sculptors and artists. During the 18th-century the revival of classical art was in high fashion and can be seen throughout Goeree’s work. This image is no different. The poses of the men show diagonal limbs tensed and relaxed which created a more natural look to the beings. The soldier is pointing to a temple with the statue inside being Mercury, this can be seen from his helmet, staff and sandals.

Goeree is celebrated as the one of the most impressive engravers in the 18th-century for his incredible attention to detail however never pushed the boundaries of the style. 

Studio et Vigilantia

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On this secondary title page the unknown engraver, although most likely Goeree again, has used a circular theme through shields including the border. The image shows a soldier although when his shield is observed it becomes clear that it is Perseus who slayed Medusa and had her face cast onto his shield. The two cherubs are an invention of the neo-classical era in the art world and appear in many different types of art during this era. In this piece they hand Perseus other shields with the names and faces of famous classical philosophers such as Aristotle.

Stacked on the side behind Perseus are books with titles of the philosophers whose faces are shown hanging on the shields around the frame.  These have obviously been picked as they are often the faces of the ancient world and especially for Greece.  A slightly strange aspect to introduce to this piece is the cross keys of St. Peter in the background although placed centrally in the frame. This may be a hint towards the most popular religion at the time and trying to link Perseus, a fictional character, into the modern world through the medium of religion.

Megara, Delphi, Amphissa

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This Goeree print consists of three individual scenes of ancient cities and religious centres encapsulated within a larger image. What makes this print unique to Goeree's style is how he's made each of the separate images look like a torn up copy of a photograph complete with shadow effects. What makes this image and many others created by Goeree interesting is that Delphi has never looked as the engraving depicts, it is situated on the side of a vast valley in an almost step-like construction. This leads us to question the accuracy of his engravings.

As mentioned before the style of this print is very unique to Goeree's style itself and also the style of prints at the time. Unlike the images we have seen before where the neo-classical style of draped, almost wet look, clothes have been used on figures to hold the scenes like displaying an image, he has instead chosen this rough antique scrapbook style border to encompass these three images.

As seen in the image containing Perseus all three of these smaller images contain figures to make the scene have some aspect of life about it. All three use contrasting movements to create individual scenes. As can be seen in the top scene the path leading into the city has several travellers to make viewer feel as if they too are seeing Megara for the first time. Because of its religious stature in the ancient world the figure depicted in the scene of Delphi is god like and could be linked to the goddess Artemis when considering the bow and quiver. The final image sees a figure placing flowers as an offering at an urn outside the city walls.

Goeree's unique style of the vintage scrapbook effect is something rarely seen in his or any other’s work during the early 18th century and is something to examine carefully and with awe.

References

Sphinx Fine Art. 2012. January Goeree. Available online at: [http://www.sphinxfineart.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=45&tabindex=44&artistid=41286] Accessed at: [15:00 09/05/2013]

 

Luke Kingshott-Taylor