Jacques Bellange (attributed to) (vers 1575 Bassigny - 1616 Nancy)
Pen and brown ink, brown wash ; annotated "Cigoli" at the lower right corner, watermark ; 24.5 x 19 cm
Paris, Galerie de Bayser (in 1990) ; Ile-de-France, private collection ; Paris, Artcurial, 14th November 2017 (Georges Lallemant).
The extremely free and voluntary graphic style of this drawing – in a remarkable state of conservation – requires the name of a master, and we propose the one of Bellange, rather than his contemporary Lallemant, less daring, more stiff, one would say today "uptight", whose horses look a bit like horses from a merry-go-round, which is certainly not the case here.
While Lallemant settled in Paris in 1601, Bellange became a painter at the court of Charles III of Lorraine in Nancy in 1603, one of the most refined courts in Europe. Between the end of the Wars of Religion (1598), on the French side, and the beginning of the Thirty Years' War (1618), on the German side, independent Lorraine knew a moment of relative peace and prosperity. Its art is related to the School of Fontainebleau as well as to the School of Prague and even to Tuscany, Charles III's daughter Christine of Lorraine having married the Grand Duke Ferdinand I of Medici (1589). Hence, perhaps, the ancient, but untenable, attribution to Cigoli.
This brilliant drawing was born in the atmosphere of festivities and tournaments of the Nancy court. The proud attitude of the horseman, the narrow head of the horse, can be found in a drawing in the Musée du Louvre, Edmond de Rothschild collection (no. 1611 DR), and in another in the Stockholm Nationalmuseum (no. NMH 81/1874:89). The "puffy" headdress, or coiffure, is also typical of Bellange.
As for the sharp and fine line of brown ink, less frequent than the vaporous washes with which Bellange is often associated, it recalls the Seated Woman, in profile in the Hermitage Museum (no. OP 16124).