Anangkè (Fate) by Richard Roland Holst - William P. Carl Fine Prints
In the lithograph ‘Anangkè’ (‘Fate’) the artist depicts himself in a way that is full of religious and mythical connotations. It is based on the myth of Prometheus, the bringer of civilization, who stole the fire of the gods. Prometheus was punished by the gods, who chained him to a rock where a vulture ate his liver out every day that grew back every night. The theme of the print must be closely connected to the artist’s own situation and most certainly to the life of Vincent van Gogh. It is therefore no coincidence that Roland Holst dedicated a copy to Vincent van Gogh (this copy is in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam) and another copy to Theo van Gogh’s widow, Jo van Gogh-Bonger.
The print was shown first at the 6th exhibition of the Nederlandsche Etsclub (Dutch Etching Club) in Februari-March 1893, where it was praised by the fellow artist Jan Veth, who published an extensive review. The exhibition also showed a print by Jan Toorop with the same subject matter, where Anangkè (Fate) is personified by a woman. The print of R.N. Roland Holst was published in only 30 copies by the art gallery C.M. van Gogh in Amsterdam. In the newspaper De Amsterdammer we read on 3 March 1893 that the print of Anangkè of Roland Holst was sold at the exhibition of the Etsclub. The print has been described as a one of the most important Dutch symbolist prints, inspired by Van Gogh’s reed-pen drawings (for instance in the sky with the three stars) and Jan Toorop's treatment of the waves. The image of the suffering Prometheus has a haunting quality. The figure with the thorn crown also resembles Christ.
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