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Grottesco in diversche manieren

  • Object:

    Engraving

  • Place of origin:

    Antwerp (published)

  • Date:

    1555-1560 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Vredeman de Vries, Hans, born 1527 - died 1604 (designers)
    de Jode, Gerard, born 1509 - died 1591 (publisher)
    van Doetecum brothers (etchers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    engraving

  • Credit Line:

    From the Rosenhelm Collection

  • Museum number:

    E.364-1926

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery, case 15

This is an example of a type of print which combines real and imaginary elements in a symmetrical arrangement and which stylistically is called grotesque. The grotesque style originated in Italy in the decades around 1500 and was inspired by a revival of a type of decoration found in the excavated palace of the Roman emperor Nero.

Italian grotesque prints first appeared at the beginning of the sixteenth century and spread the style across Europe. This print was one of a set of fifteen variations on the theme published in Antwerp, a very significant centre of print publishing from the 1540s to the 1580s.

Physical description

Engraving

Place of Origin

Antwerp (published)

Date

1555-1560 (published)

Artist/maker

Vredeman de Vries, Hans, born 1527 - died 1604 (designers)
de Jode, Gerard, born 1509 - died 1591 (publisher)
van Doetecum brothers (etchers)

Materials and Techniques

engraving

Dimensions

Height: 20.7 cm plate, Width: 15.7 cm plate, Height: 21.0 cm sheet, Width: 15.9 cm sheet

Object history note

According to Peter Fuhring, the author of Hollstein XLVII 'The compositions reflect the Italian grotesques, but they are directly inspired by the small panels with grotesques of Jacques Androuet Ducerceau, Orléans 1550 and Paris 1562.'

According to Van der Stock, p.157, Gerard de Jode confined himself to artistic publications aimed primarily at collectors and artists.

Historical significance: Although Vredeman de Vries seems never to have visited Italy his prints published in Antwerp were very influential in disseminating a northern vision of the Italian grotesque across Europe.

Historical context note

This is one of a set of sixteen grotesque prints by this artist who in his lifetime designed at least twenty seven volumes of prints, many of which were concerned with architecture including the architectural orders, perspective and town planning .

As Karel van Mander wrote in 1604, 'Antwerp in our Netherlands seems like a mother of artists, as Florence used to be in Italy' quoted in A.Wells-Cole 'Art and Decoration in Elizabethan and Jacobean England', London 1997, p.45

'The success of the Antwerp print industry overall was such that their products reached almost every part of the civilised world, influencing the art of many countries including - besides England - Russia and Moghul India.' Wells-Cole p.46

Descriptive line

Grotesque ornamental panel by Hans Vredeman de Vries, etching ca. 1565-71

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Katalog der Ornamentstich-Sammlung der Staatlichen Kunstbibliothek Berlin. Berlin and Leipzig, 1939. no. 383.
Guilmard, D. Les Maîtres Ornemanistes. 2 vols. Paris, 1880-81. no. 481.
Wells-Cole, Anthony. Art and Decoration in Elizabethan and Jacobean England. London, 1997. pp.84-85.
Hollstein's Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450-1700. XLVII. Rotterdam, 1997. no. 256.
Stock, Jan Van der. Printing images in Antwerp: The introduction of printmaking in a city: fifteenth century to 1585. Rotterdam, 1998.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1926, London: Board of Education, 1927.

Labels and date

PRINTS

Prints were one of the main ways by which styles spread across Europe. The masks, grotesques and strapwork seen in these examples were common features of Mannerism.

Antwerp, where three of these prints come from, was a major centre of printmaking and distribution, with Cornelis Floris one of its most prolific printmakers. He specialised in devising bizarre scenes incorporating fantastic monsters and the natural world.

Panel of ornament
with pavilions
About 1565-71

Vredeman de Vries
(1527-1606)

Southern Netherlands
(Belgium), Antwerp

Etching on paper

Museum no. E.364-1926 []

Materials

Printing ink

Techniques

Engraving

Subjects depicted

Dragons; Cranes (birds); Swag; Vases; Tents; Vitruvian scrolls; Herms; Festoons; Pergolas; Sphinxes

Categories

Prints

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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