Christopher Bishop Fine Art

The Magic of the Draughtsman: Images of the Occult

Christopher Bishop Fine Art

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Exhibition Title

The Magic of the Draughtsman: Images of the Occult

Exhibition Description

The lines between art, science and magic are explored in a new exhibition at Christopher Bishop Fine Art. The Magic of the Draughtsman: Images of the Occult presents nearly 20 Old Master and early modern drawings from the 16th to the beginning of the 20th century. Many of the works are being exhibited in New York City for the first time.

From witches and satyrs to angels and mermaids, the exhibition surveys pre-modern views of the occult, mysticism, and alchemy, topics that often neither science nor philosophy can fully address. Among the highlights are images from mythology, religion, and Shakespeare, which have inspired artists through the ages.

A drawing by Jacopo Ligozzi (Italian 1547-1627) presents a musical competition, The Contest of Apollo and Pan c. 1590. Ligozzi, who was often commissioned by the Medici family of Florence, was interested in the power of images to be a conduit for prosperity, in order to bring about a golden age. He may have viewed the drawing as a talisman to ward off evil. The drawing is on public view in New York for the first time.

A mysterious calm pervades an intriguing underwater scene as mermaids toll the bell for Shakespeare’s dead king in The Tempest. The 1926 drawing by Arthur Rackham (British 1867-1939) underscores the expression “sea change,” which was coined by Shakespeare in the play. “Full fathom five thy father lies…/ Nothing of him that doth fade/ But doth suffer a sea-change/ Into something rich and strange.”

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