Monday, February 03, 2014

A horse is a horse, of course of course, even when made of leaves

As of last Friday, January 31st, we entered the Chinese Year of the Horse. I've resisted posting anything of the equine sort but have just learned about the work of 17th-century German artist Wolfgang Hieronymus von Bömmel... And, well, I have to share some of his drawings.

Von Bömmel's fantastical designs depict animals made up entirely of scrolling acanthus leaves. There's remarkably little known about the artist but it's believed the drawings were done some time after 1660. They were made into engravings and published widely in Germany and the Netherlands at the very end of the 17th century. The designs were intended as studies for goldsmiths, who would have used the popular acanthus ornamentation in their work.

The curling foliage so acutely expresses the energy of the animalstheir fur too, especially in the case of the little dog below. I'm completely blown away.



A spirited horse


Soldiers fighting on horseback

A dog and a cat


A lion and a hare



All images via the Victoria and Albert Museum's collection database.