Nov 9, 2006

Seven Deities: Nox (Night)

Seven Deities: Nox (Night)


Hendrick Goltzius

(Dutch, 1558–1617)

Chiaroscuro woodcut (in gray and black)

Support: Cream(3) laid paper

Sheet: 34.9 x 26.4 cm (13 3/4 x 10 3/8 in.); Image: 34.6 x 26.2 cm (13 5/8 x 10 5/16 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1990.86

Catalogue raisonné: Hollstein 372 (VIII.121), Bialler 11

State: I/I



Goltzius, famous as an engraver and painter, was the most important advocate of chiaroscuro woodcuts in the Netherlands. Nox is part of a group of seven oval portraits of gods and goddesses shown in their habitats. Accompanied by an owl and rooster, Nox rides in a chariot pulled by bats. Behind her, the sun shines on the orb of the earth and the personification of Sleep dozes contentedly. Because the earliest impressions of Nox, and other Goltzius chiaroscuros, were printed in muted shades like the grays of this impression, the artist may not have had a role in later editions, in which much brighter colors were used. Due to the popularity of these colorful prints, some of Goltzius's chiaroscuro woodcuts—as well as those by other artists like Albrecht Dürer—were reprinted by the Antwerp publisher Willem Jansz, later called Blaeu.

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