Hurdy-Gurdy Player Attacking a Pilgrim

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Hurdy-Gurdy Player Attacking a Pilgrim

circa 1614
Prints; engravings
Etching and engraving with drypoint on laid paper
Image and sheet: 12 1/4 x 8 3/8 in. (31.12 x 21.27 cm); Primary support: 14 1/4 x 10 in. (36.2 x 25.4 cm); Mat: 17 x 14 in. (43.18 x 35.56 cm)
Purchased with funds provided by the Joseph B. Gould Foundation (M.2009.36)
Not currently on public view

Curator Notes

Jacques Bellange is one of the greatest etchers in the history of printmaking....
Jacques Bellange is one of the greatest etchers in the history of printmaking. His idiosyncratic style, made up of equal parts mannerism and baroque passed through the distorting lens of a vernacular eccentricity formed outside the mainstream of art making, weds the beautiful to the ugly with a line both sinuous and sculptural, sensual and crisp. Hurdy-Gurdy Player Attacking a Pilgrim is one of Bellange's signature works, perhaps his most famous and recognizable, and an iconic image of the French Baroque. In it, the genre subject of fighting beggars is transformed into a bizarre battle between a pilgrim (recognizable by the cockle shell of Saint James on his hat) and an itinerant hurdy-gurdy player, the latter grabbing feverishly at the pilgrim's hideous goiter. The tawdriness of the subject is contradicted by the artist's elegant and courtly style, in which fluid drapery clings to soft flesh, and expressive line simultaneously defines form and emphasizes surface. (Kevin Salatino, Curator of Prints and Drawings - February, 2009)
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