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Study Sheet with a Mountainous Landscape and Buildings. Pen and brown ink. 24.2 x 18.1 cm.
This study sheet by the Flemish master, Lodewijck Toeput, who is known in Italy by his nickname Pozzoserrato, is more of a curiosity than a mature artistic work. It seems as if the artist spontaneously dashed off this bizarre “world landscape” for his own distraction in the space of a few minutes. The drawing is very expressive and fascinating, nonetheless.
Pozzoserrato has depicted a broad pre-Alpine landscape in Veneto of the kind we are familiar with from his contemporaries. The campanile in the left middle ground and the Palladian villas shown in outline are typical of the region. There is no spatial logic to way in which the artist has sketched the picturesque landscape with its bizarre rock formations. Shrubs and trees and occasional staffage figures, who look a little lost, are rendered in a very foreshortened, schematic manner, creating an almost surreal effect.
Little is known about Lodewijck Toeput prior to his arrival in Venice around 1573. According to Ridolfi, he is alleged to have spent some time working in Tintoretto’s studio. Toeput, who was subsequently mostly active as a painter in Treviso, specialised in fantasy landscapes and biblical depictions. Together with Franck and Jan Soens he is considered to be one of the leading masters of North Italian/Venetian landscape painting. A stylistically very similar landscape sketch is kept in the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo (see L. Menegazzi, Il Pozzoserrato, Venice 1958, p. 69, ill. 13).