An Enchanted Cellar with Animals

Object Details

Title:

An Enchanted Cellar with Animals

Artist/Maker(s):

Cornelis Saftleven (Dutch, 1607 - 1681)

Culture:

Dutch

Date:

about 1655 - 1670

Medium:

Black and red chalk, brush with gray and brown wash, and watercolor

Dimensions:

25.7 x 32.1 cm (10 1/8 x 12 5/8 in.)

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Scenes of animals performing human actions and taking over human habitats were popular in Cornelis Saftleven's day. Adding color further enhanced the visual appeal and, hence, marketability of such pictures. Saftleven made An Enchanted Cellar with Animals, one of the largest and most elaborate animal fantasies he ever created, as a finished work of art in its own right.

Saftleven liberally applied lively black chalk and gray wash and intentionally restrained the use of color. The sparing touches of red, yellow, and blue watercolor heighten the comic subject's playful, festive quality. As he typically did, Saftleven included cooking implements and other bits carelessly strewn about and evoked a mood of enchantment by setting the scene in a shadowy vaulted interior with flying bats. The hidden human observer, here peeking out from the curtained doorway, was a stock figure in Netherlandish satirical and moralizing imagery of the 1500s and 1600s.

Exhibitions
17th Century Dutch Drawings (July 21 to October 4, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 21 to October 4, 1992
Dutch Drawings of the 16th and 17th Centuries (August 16 to October 23, 1994)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), August 16 to October 23, 1994
Dutch Drawings of the Golden Age (May 28 to August 25, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 28 to August 25, 2002
Paper Art: Finished Drawings in Holland 1590-1800 (September 6 to November 20, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 6 to November 20, 2005
A Light Touch: Exploring Humor in Drawing (September 23 to December 7, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 23 to December 7, 2008