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Johann Carl Loth

(1632 Munich – 1698 Venice)

Jupiter and Antiope. Pen and brown ink, white heightening, on grey-green paper. 13.7 x 16.2 cm.

This little drawing with its fluid, consummate penwork is a first draft with numerous differences for a large painting on the same subject which used to hang in the Old Masters Picture Gallery in Kassel and is now in Schloß Friedrichshof in Kronberg im Taunus (see G. Ewald, Johann Carl Loth, Amsterdam 1965, no. 461, fig. 64). The painting was probably acquired at an early stage by Wilhelm VIII, Landgrave of Hessen-Cassel (1682–1760); it is recorded under the name of Carl Loth in his 1749 inventory.

Johann Carl Loth, a painter of German extraction, achieved considerable artistic renown in Venice, his adopted place of residence, where he produced a large number of altar paintings for churches in the city and on the Terraferma. His mythological compositions also found great favour among his worldly clients. Loth left an extensive corpus of drawings. His preliminary studies, often drawn on coloured paper, and his own compositions are executed in a striking, very free and accurate drawing style which is instantly recognisable. The present high-quality preliminary drawing is a typical example of his style. The artist has effortlessly structured the composition with swift and energetic strokes of the pen, and the fluid, effective washes are of great visual appeal. From the collection of Louis Deglatigny (Lugt 1768 a); Paris, 4–5 November 1937, no. 307 (as “Annibal Carracci”).

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