Venus with Mercury and two Graces
  • Johann Carl Loth
  • Munich 1632 - 1698 Venice
  • Venus with Mercury and two Graces
  • Pen and brown ink over traces of black chalk, partly heightened with white, framing lines with pen and ink and black chalk
  • on greyish-blue paper, on an old mount, unknown collector’s mark on the lower right
  • 133 × 168 mm
Christie’s London, April 1978, lot 113 (ill.)
Christie’s London, July 1993, lot 176
Collection Ralph Holland, Ham (Great Britain)

Soon after receiving an initial artistic training from his father, the young Carl Loth moved to Italy, where he was able to establish himself in Rome after only a short time and became known as Carlotto. Later, he founded his own workshop in Venice, which also rose in prominence as an important starting point for many south German Baroque painters. The emperor eventually honored his great artistic achievements by admitting him to the nobility.

This drawing, which is so typical for Johann Carl Loth in its style and especially its technique, finds a parallel in its motives as well. In the erstwhile collection of Janos Scholz, there exists an additional sheet from the artist’s hand with a representation of the three graces and Mercury, who receives flowers handed to him by Venus1.

The astrological motif of the lion in the upper left corner of our drawing could symbolize the summer, and the sheet may be associated with a series of representations of the Four Seasons.

  1. Fondazione Cini, Venice 1957: Disegni veneti della collezione Janos Scholz, exh. cat. no. 55 (ill.)