Francisco de Hollanda’s Os Desenhos das Antigualhas (1538–ante 1571) and the Study of the Antique

  • Marco Brunetti (Autor/in)


This article focuses on Francisco de Hollanda’s (1517 –1585) Os Desenhos das Antiqualhas, an album of drawings preserved at the El Escorial Monastery Library in Madrid (inv. no. 28–I–20). Using high-definition images of the drawings, published for the first time in this volume, the article casts fresh light on the material, graphic, and historical details of Hollanda’s graphic production. Cross-referencing the evidence from the drawings with passages from Hollanda’s treatises (e. g., Da Pintura Antiga and Da Ciência do Desenho), the article offers new insights into the album’s original function and patronage. Hollanda worked on these drawings over a protracted period and, as the article demonstrates, likely viewed this album as his portfolio of drawings, as evidence of the artistic/antiquarian culture he had brought back to Portugal. The second part of the article focuses on Hollanda’s method of copying antique subjects (e. g., his decision to copy specific ancient models; the modifications he introduced in hiscopies; and the distinctness of his working practice when compared to the methods adopted by other contemporary artists). By highlighting the commonalities between Francisco de Hollanda and the Sangallo workshop, this article juxtaposes the rich and unusual repertoire of antique and modern subjects copied by Hollanda with the drawings of Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, whose guidance may have impacted which subjects Hollanda considered worthy of study. Finally, the artistic representations of antique subjects in Hollanda’s drawings are discussed in dialogue with his ideas on the antique, as recorded in his treatises. More specifically, a careful analysis of Hollanda’s attempts to fill in the antique subject’s lost detail and damaged areas with his own interpretations shows that his notion of the antique as an ideal aesthetic model is reflected in his graphic production.