'Willibald Pirkheimer (III) after Dürer'

16.5″ x 11.7″ (42 x 29.7 cm), Indian ink drawing on 250g Satine watercolour paper, 2016.

Although Chris Gollon was a consummate draughtsman, he did very few drawings, since he literally lived to paint. He preferred to go straight to canvas to make his imagery. If he completed an image in a fully worked up drawing, he would then lose the interest in painting it. However, occasionally, for example when there was heavy snowfall in the winter of 2010- 2011, and he was unable to get to his studio, he would use Indian ink or charcoal to draw, often making drawings from some of his own paintings. The two brief periods in his career, when he produced several series of drawings, were the above-mentioned winter and also the summer of 2016.

This drawing is not inspired by one of his own paintings. This Indian ink drawing is a Gollonesque take on Albrecht Dürer’s portrait of his great friend and patron. Pirckheimer, a friend of Erasmus, a great humanist and intellectual, loaned the money for Dürer’s trip to Venice from 1505 to 1507, and was rewarded with a series of letters describing the artist’s experiences. In one of these letters Dürer teased Pirckheimer affectionately about his appearance: “nothing makes me more angry than when any one says that you are good-looking; if that were so I should become really ugly. That could make me mad”. Gollon does justice to Pirckheimer’s seriousness and sturdy intellect, but also continues that very affectionate teasing between two friends, by deliberately misspelling the name. The deliberate smudging gives the effect of it having been sent to Pirckheimer, through the vicissitudes of weather, high over the alps from Italy, along with one of Dürer’s letters…