Esther Before Ahasuerus (recto); Slight Sketch of an Ornamental Vase (verso)

Object Details

Title:

Esther Before Ahasuerus (recto); Slight Sketch of an Ornamental Vase (verso)

Artist/Maker(s):

Frans Crabbe van Espleghem (Flemish, about 1480 - 1552)

Culture:

Flemish

Date:

about 1525

Medium:

Pen and dark brown ink, with touches of gray-brown wash, over black chalk, incised for transfer (recto); black chalk (verso)

Dimensions:

23.7 x 19.4 cm (9 5/16 x 7 5/8 in.)

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Esther approaches her husband King Ahasuerus, desperate to tell him of a plot to massacre the Jews. As Ahasuerus touches her with his golden scepter as a sign of his good favor, Esther faints with relief. Behind Esther, a crowd of courtiers, compressed into the dark background, watches in open-mouthed amazement at her daring.

Frans Crabbe van Espleghem used complex patterns of hatching to create the various architectural and human forms. Busy lines of cross-hatching capture the shifting folds in Esther's dress. One of the first Netherlandish artists to experiment with the technique of etching on copper, Crabbe incised this fully worked preparatory drawing for transfer to a copper plate; the drawing corresponds almost exactly in scale to the finished etching.

Exhibitions
16th Century Northern European Drawings (February 18 to May 2, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), February 18 to May 2, 1992, (Cat.)
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (May 24 to August 8, 1993)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), May 24 to August 8, 1993, (Cat. recto 32)
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994, (Cat. recto 74)
Flemish Drawings of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (August 29 to November 12, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), August 29 to November 12, 1995, (Cat. recto)
Figural Compositional Drawings from the 16th to the 19th Century (August 31 to December 8, 1996)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), August 31 to December 8, 1996, (Cat. recto)
Peter Paul Rubens and the Art of Drawing in Flanders (August 29 to October 22, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 29 to October 22, 2000, (Cat. recto)
Hatched! Creating Form with Line (March 11 to June 1, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 11 to June 1, 2014, (Cat. recto)