By Howard Simon
For operating artists and scholars alike, this can be an unequalled treasury of the tools, suggestions, and examples of significant illustrators from the sunrise of printing to the twentieth century. that includes works by way of Goya, Hogarth, Dürer, Morris, Doré, Beardsley, and others, it serves as a reference in addition to a pleasant looking publication.
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Extra resources for 500 Years of Illustration: From Albrecht Durer to Rockwell Kent
Its effect upon the peaceful arts of nations is impossible to foretell. Some of the men and women whose work appears in the later pages of this book are now engaged in the bitter struggle to preserve for themselves and those who come after some semblance of the freedom and dignity of a life they held to be dear. Some may have already paid the full price; others in France, Czecho-Slovakia, Poland, Holland and Germany itself now know slavery and degradation. The artist, as the unfolding of the pictures of this book will show, has always concerned himself with the current of life about him, his works reflect it, and even in the case of a Goya, a Daumier, or a Köllwitz may have had some small part in the shaping of things to come.
Charles the Fourth, despite his many other faults, did possess a rare sense of humor. He ordered an edition of 240 copies of the series, then purchased the plates themselves. When the Revolution broke out in 1808, Goya witnessed the terrible massacre of civilians by the soldiers at Puerto del Sol. Out of this came one of the most shockingly realistic of all paintings of war. Goya left countless etchings—los Caprichos alone is a series of eighty plates—lithographs and drawings. Their varied subjects inspire horror, and amazement at the artist’s diabolical inventiveness.
Of the world around him he wove the fabric of his pictures. No drythroated Puritan reformer could point a moral better than could Rowlandson with his drawings of the red and bloated faces of men intent upon their play, of the fat, leering, soddenly drunk middle classes. His early drawings are marvels of wit and graceful draughtsmanship. He had a genuine appreciation and love of the countryside, and for the light, humorous and more picturesque aspects of town life. There are tenderness and restraint in his drawings of young and pretty women, and, in strong contrast, there are the wanton and gross surroundings in which he set them.
500 Years of Illustration: From Albrecht Durer to Rockwell Kent by Howard Simon