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Title:The drawing books of Henry Peacham and Jan de Bisschop and the place of drawing in the education of a Renaissance gentleman
Author(s):Madhok, Punam
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Fehl, Philipp P.
Department / Program:Art History
Discipline:Art History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Art
Fine Arts
Art History
Education, History of
Abstract:The focus of my study are the drawing books of Henry Peacham and Jan de Bisschop, amateur draughtsmen of the seventeenth century. They worked in hostile environments and tried to persuade their countrymen of the validity of the classical tradition in art.
Peacham came from England. He was a schoolmaster. The first book he published was called The Art of Drawing with the Pen and Limning in Water Colors. He elaborated upon this book and called it The Gentlemans Exercise.
Peacham's interest in the arts and the recognition he received from these publications recommended him to Thomas Howard, the Earl of Arundel. It was undoubtedly the Earl's influence that encouraged Peacham to undertake the writing of his best known book, The Compleat Gentleman, in which a sound knowledge of the visual arts is made a part of the education befitting a gentleman. In 1634 Peacham appended The Gentlemans Exercise to The Compleat Gentleman. The two were thereafter published as one book.
Peacham made a significant contribution to the art education of the English gentleman. He was the first in England to stress the importance of antique statues and to make Vasari's Lives accessible to the public by including in his book extracts from Karel van Mander's version of it. In his drawing course he distinguished clearly between learning by rote and the use of judgement in producing a likeness.
However, Peacham's drawing book proves to be too narrow for it is mainly theoretical. He includes no plates representing works of art. It is for this reason that I have chosen to add to my study the drawing books of Jan de Bisschop.
Bisschop came from Holland. He was a lawyer. His drawing books, the Signorum veterum icones and the Paradigmata graphices variorum artificum, comprise a plethora of etchings representing antique statues and works of art by the artists of Renaissance Italy. The etchings were made by Bisschop himself. A few of them are based on his own drawings but the majority are based on drawings by other artists.
Bisschop's purpose in composing these two drawing books was to expose the Dutch to as many good examples of works of art that he could find. The drawings that he chose to base his etchings on were in private art collections in Holland. Few people had access to them. Hence, Bisschop felt that unless it was made possible for the Dutch to study these images, they would not be able to elevate their standard in art. His drawing books teach us to learn from the old masters and consequently to join them.
Issue Date:1993
Rights Information:Copyright 1993 Madhok, Punam
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9411700
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9411700

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