Jörg Breu

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Jörg Breu
approximately 1510-1547
Artybios on Horseback Attacking Onesilus
Pen and black ink and wash with white opaque watercolor on gray prepared paper.
8 3/4 x 6 11/16 inches (222 x 171 mm)
Thaw Collection, gift in honor of Charles Ryskamp on his 10th Anniversary as Director.

Signed with monogram and dated at lower center, in pen and white ink, "JB[interlaced] 1543".
Watermark: bear walking on four feet along chain line (see Briquet 12.278).

Thomas Weld (1750-1810), Lulworth Castle, Dorset; possibly Ince Blundell Hall, near Liverpool; Mrs. Alfred Noyes (born 1889/90), Isle of Wight; her son, Hugh Noyes (1929-2000), London; Baskett & Day, London, 1974; from whom acquired by Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, New York and Santa Fe.

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY, "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection", 2017. Exh. cat., no. 24, repr.
Stampfle, Felice, and Cara D. Denison. Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene V. Thaw. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1975, no. 10, repr.
Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Nineteenth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1978-1980. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1981, p. 180.
European drawings, 1375-1825 / catalogue compiled by Cara D. Denison & Helen B. Mules ; with the assistance of Jane V. Shoaf. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1981, no. 36, repr. (includes full bibliography and exhibitions)
100 Master Drawings from The Morgan Library & Museum, Munich 2008, pp. 164-5, cat. 68.
Helmuth Schneider, "Die Mär von der bissigen Mähre,"Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, October 16, 2013.


Another drawing with the same subject by Jörg Breu the Younger is also in the collection of the Morgan (inv. 1974.10).
The source of the scene depicted is Herodotus 5.111-13. Breu could have known the passage from a German translation of Herodotus, published in Augsburg in 1535--Cf. Schneider.
According to Greek historian Herodotus, in 498 b.c. Onesilus deposed his brother Gorgus, the pro-Persian king of Salamis in Cyprus, in support of the Ionian Revolt. To restore Gorgus, Darius the Great sent the Persian general Artybios to kill Onesilus. The drawing shows Artybios on his horse attacking Onesilus with the assistance of his mount, which fiercely bites the victim's head. The secular subject matter, the technique of the drawing, and the monogram and date at lower center are all typical of the autonomous drawings that developed in northern Europe during the sixteenth century -- Exhibition Label, from "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection"

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Associated names: 

Weld, Thomas, 1750-1810, former owner.
Noyes, Alfred, Mrs., former owner.
Thaw, Eugene Victor, former owner.
Thaw, Clare, former owner.

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