Hendrick Goudt: new light on an artist and nobleman
Harper, Katherine Caldwell
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From about 1605 to 1613, the Dutch printmaker and draftsman Hendrick Goudt produced seven prints after paintings by Adam Elsheimer, the celebrated German artist active in Rome. Goudt's prints are virtuosic works that introduced Elsheimer's famously-rare, much-admired paintings to a broader audience while showcasing Goudt's unique talents as a printmaker. Goudt also produced over three hundred drawings over the course of his career. Different from his prints, his sketches are often impulsive, unresolved works-in-progress that never supported final, or finished works of art in the conventional sense. While many are based on iconic examples, others suggest his spontaneous recording of scenes of everyday life. Since his own time, Goudt has mainly been discussed as a subordinate figure to the more famous Elsheimer. His prints are generally considered to be technically-accomplished but largely reproductive works, and his drawings understood as amateurish productions. This dissertation, in considering Goudt's life and artworks as interdependent areas of study for the first time in art historical scholarship, has three primary goals: to establish more concretely the facts of Goudt's life through a close reading of surviving archival documents; to provide a thorough understanding of his prints and drawings in terms of his technique and influences based on an analysis of his works in European and American collections; and to consider Goudt within his artistic and social context. This research draws on recent scholarly investigations of early modern print culture, integrating a more nuanced understanding of the reproductive print to elucidate Goudt's works as virtuosic performances of his self-identification as an artist, a cultivated gentleman and art lover (liefhebber). His persona was shaped by notions of ideal behavior and etiquette promulgated in writings from the sixteenth century onward. His sketches, which demonstrate his commitment to drawing as a pedagogical tool, also relate to the practice of draftsmanship as a noncommercial activity among gentlemen, and thus suggest an image of Goudt as a privileged aesthete. In this sense, Goudt's works not only reflect his particular sense of self, but also embody the social values and ideals of the environment in which he and his artworks circulated.