Antiochus and Stratonice
* 1707 in Venice † 1769 in Venice
Pen and brown ink. Size of sheet: 18.7 x 28.2 cm.
Despite the variety of his technique, Fontebasso’s style as a draughtsman remains clearly distinguisable. Strong, well-spaced hatching with the pen, which, as in the present sheet replace an ink wash, and figures with dramatic gestures are highly characteristic. Various figures, such as the old man at left or the bearded oriental with turban, repeatedly appear in Fontebasso’s oeuvre. As for example in a drawing at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne which is similar in technique (1). The motif of the young prince Antiochus, who falls ill because of his secret love for his step-mother, Stratonice, was popular in 17th and 18th century art. Fontebasso himself treated it on two further occasions: once in a painting at the Museum of Art, Budapest (2) and again in a drawing at the Ashmolean, Oxford (3). Both representations, in contrast to the present sheet, include the palace bedroom as well as further personnages.
(1) Meisterzeichnungen von Leonardo bis zu Rodin, exh. Cat. Wallfraf-Richartz-Museum. Cologne 1986, p. 112 no 40 (ill.)
(2) A. Pigler, “Un gruppo di dipinti di Francesco Fontebasso a Budapest” in: Arte Veneta 3-4, 1959-60, p. 157, pl. 204
(3) Ibid. p. 156, pl. 202