Posts Tagged ‘Samuel van Hoogstraten’

Yes, I know it’s been very quiet on here lately, and I can only apologise for the lack of discussion, but I really do have to get my book on Thucydides and the Idea of History finished by the end of the month, and so have to keep my head down and limit internet time – even resisting the temptation to explore the interesting mixture of ‘vague but interesting’ and ‘trite and rather annoying’ analogies between the Byzantine economy and the current European crisis offered by Peter Frankopan over on the Grauniad a few days ago.


However, as I’ve just finished another chapter, I thought I could spare five minutes to post the image that I.B.Tauris’ design people are going to be using for the cover. I’m delighted; much better than yet another variation on one of the busts of Thucydides of dubious provenance that appear on most books about him. This is an engraving by the C17 Dutch artist Samuel van Hoogstraten, about whom I now know rather more than I do about most C17 Dutch artists. He wrote a work on painting, Inleyding tot de Hooge Schoole der Schilderkonst, which was published by his brother in 1678; it’s divided into nine books, each dealing with a different aspect of painting and named after a muse, with an engraving of the muse in question at the start of each book. The third deals with history painting, and is introduced by Clio, who – though you can’t see it in this tiny image – is carrying a copy of Thucydides. Entirely appropriate, as according to the Iconologia of Cesare Ripa, a sixteenth-century work that was much used by artists in search of suitable allegorical and symbolic images, this is how Clio should be represented, but I haven’t found any other versions where the fact that the book is by Thucydides is visible (for example, not in Vermeer’s The Art of Painting, unfortunately, though that’s where I found a lot of this background information: http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/verm_2.shtm).

Any suggestions as to a source for a higher-res image would be greatly appreciated; currently hoping that the British Library, which has a copy of van Hoogstraten’s book, will be able to oblige…

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