- Gallery Text
This work is one of 8 drawings and 97 prints preserved in an album in a plain vellum binding, probably of the 17th century. Five of the drawings, including View of Over Muelen, served as models for engravings in a series of 24 plates by Hans Collaert I — Views of the Environs of Brussels — a complete set of which is bound in the volume. Like the two suites of prints of 1559 and 1561 known as the “Small Landscapes,” which depict sites in the countryside outside Antwerp, the Views of the Environs of Brussels represents suburban villages, castles, and abbeys in an intimate, naturalistic manner based on studies from life. The draftsman of these views is unidentified, but he probably belonged to the circle of Hans Bol.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Follower of Hans Bol, Netherlandish (Mechelen, Belgium 1534 - 1593 Amsterdam, Netherlands)
- View of Over Muelen
- Work Type
- album page, drawing
- c. 1575-80
- Physical Descriptions
- Brown ink and gray, rose, and yellow wash over black chalk, incised, on cream antique laid paper, inside framing line in black chalk at top, right and partially at bottom, outside framing line in brown ink at top, right and bottom; verso: long lines in brown ink and rubbed with black chalk
- 14.5 x 21.5 cm (5 11/16 x 8 7/16 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
- watermark: illegible
- [Christie's, Amsterdam, 30 November 1987, lot 6, repr.] sold; to Vermeer Associates, Ltd, Brampton, Ontario, sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1993; The Kate, Maurice R. and Melvin R. Seiden Purchase Fund and Richard Norton Memorial Fund, 1993.170
- Published Text
- Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums
- William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson
- Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016)
Catalogue entry no. 11 by William W. Robinson:
View of Over Muelen is one of eight drawings and ninety-seven prints preserved in an album in a plain vellum binding of the sixteenth or seventeenth century. The sheets with printed images were trimmed to a uniform size and bound directly into the album, while the drawings were mounted to blank leaves of the same trim size. The prints comprise five complete sets (published 1562–c. 1600) that depict landscapes, birds, Old Testament scenes, mythological subjects, and architectural perspectives.1 Drawings in the album include Christ Calling Saint Peter, dated 1576, by Hans Bol (1999.165), and two studies by unidentified hands: a village landscape and an allegorical composition of two nude female figures representing Peace restraining War.2 The other five drawings, including View of Over Muelen, served as models for engravings in a series of twenty-four plates by Hans Collaert I— Views of the Environs of Brussels —a complete set of which is bound in the volume.3
Like the two suites of 1559 and 1561 known as the “Small Landscapes” (see 1994.137), which depict sites in the countryside outside Antwerp, the Views of the Environs of Brussels represent suburban villages, castles, and abbeys in an intimate, naturalistic manner based on studies from life. Printed within the images are titles identifying the locales depicted on the respective plates, underscoring the topographical purpose of the prints, which might have been marketed to city dwellers as mementos of agreeable places for leisure and recreation.4 Of the five models for engravings preserved in the album, only that for View of Over Muelen is reproduced in reverse in Collaert’s print (Fig. 1).5 The verso of the drawing was rubbed with black chalk and the outlines of the composition were incised to copy them onto the copper plate. Collaert cropped the image, as indicated by the framing lines in black chalk near the top and right side of the drawing. Since the design was transferred to the plate in the same orientation as the drawing, it printed in reverse. The engravings after the other four drawings do not reverse their models. In order to print them in the same direction as the drawings, the engraver had to transfer their compositions to the plates in mirror images. He did so by indenting the outlines of the recto with a stylus so that they showed on the verso, then drawing over those contours on the verso with black chalk. Afterward, he laid the drawing recto-side down on the plate and incised the black-chalk lines, transferring the reversed design to the copper surface.
In the first edition of Views of the Environs of Brussels, published in Antwerp circa 1575–80 by Hans van Luyck, the draftsman who furnished the models for the twenty-four engravings was not identified. When the Amsterdam printmaker and publisher Claes Jansz. Visscher reissued the series at the beginning of the seventeenth century, he added an inscription attributing the designs to Hans Bol.6 While the five Harvard landscapes are neither by Bol nor by Jacob Grimmer, to whom they have also been ascribed,7 Stefaan Hautekeete has discovered that a drawing by Bol might have served as the model for one plate in the set. Hautekeete proposes that Bol likely produced designs for some of the twenty-four plates, while others were executed by the unidentified draftsman of the Harvard views, who was Bol’s follower or collaborator.8
A few other works by the same draftsman are known, although none of them provided a direct model for a print in Views of the Environs of Brussels. Three landscape drawings that first appeared on the art market in 1985 are securely attributable to the hand that designed the compositions engraved by Collaert.9 Hautekeete recognized another in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in a study from life of a mill that appears, with its surroundings altered and elaborated, in the print Achter Schaerbeecke.10 Finally, a work last recorded on the art market in 1954 might offer a clue to the identity of the artist. It depicts a secluded clearing with a Gothic church and the buildings of an abbey or country estate (Fig. 2).11 Executed in brown ink and brown wash with touches of rose-colored wash, this drawing is almost certainly by the same hand as the Harvard landscapes, three of which include passages of rose wash.12 It was inscribed B de . . . by an early hand, but it is uncertain whether this partially illegible inscription is the signature of our unidentified artist or a topographical identification.13
1 Adriaen Collaert, Avium vivae icones, Antwerp, Adriaen Collaert, c. 1595–1600, M22153–68, Ann Diels and Marjolein Leesberg in New Hollstein, The Collaert Dynasty, part 6, nos. 1404–35, pp. 124–47, dated to the late 1590s by Ann Diels, De familie Collaert (ca. 1555–1630) en de prentkunst in Antwerpen (Brussels, 2010), pp. 167 and 220; Philips Galle, after Maarten van Heemskerck, Disasters of the Jewish People, Haarlem, Philips Galle, 1569, M22169–M22190, Manfred Sellink and Marjolein Leesberg in New Hollstein, Philips Galle, part 1, nos. 103–24, pp. 152–79; Johannes Sadeler I, Mythological Scenes in a Landscape, undated, Antwerp(?), Johannes Sadeler, M22191–6, Hollstein, vol. 21, nos. 480–85, pp. 161–62; Hans Collaert I, Views of the Environs of Brussels, Antwerp, Hans van Luyck, c. 1575–80, M22197– 220, Diels and Leesberg, part 5, nos. 1229–52, pp. 216–32; Diels (2010), pp. 131–33; Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after Hans Vredeman de Vries, Small Architectural Perspective Views, Antwerp, Hieronymus Cock, 1562, M22221–49, Peter Fuhring in New Hollstein, The Van Doetecum Family, part 2, nos. 255–82, pp. 80–100.
2 Hans Bol, Christ Appears to His Disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, 1993.165; Unidentified artist, Outskirts of a Village with Figure, 1993.171; Unidentified artist, Allegory of Peace Restraining War, 1993.172. All three are reproduced in the catalogue of the sale; see Christie’s, Amsterdam, 30 November 1987, under lot 6.
3 In addition to View of Over Muelen, four other drawings in the album served as models for prints in the series Views of the Environs of Brussels: View of Etterbeek, 1993.166, reproduced in the same direction in the engraving by Hans Collaert I, Diels and Leesberg, part 5, no. 1248, p. 220; View of Eggevoort, 1993.167, reproduced in the same direction in the engraving by Hans Collaert I, idem, no. 1239, p. 218; The Canal of Elsene, 1993.168, reproduced in the same direction in the engraving by Hans Collaert I, idem, no. 1234, p. 217; and The Castle of Revieren at Ganshoren, 1993.169, reproduced in the same direction in the engraving by Hans Collaert I, idem, no. 1247, p. 219.
4 Walter S. Gibson, Pleasant Places: The Rustic Landscape from Bruegel to Ruisdael (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London, 2000), pp. 24–25; Stefaan Hautekeete and Ann Diels in Véronique van de Kerckhof, Helena Bussers, et al., Le peintre et l’arpenteur: Images de Bruxelles et de l’ancien duché de Brabant (Brussels: Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, 2000), pp. 52–54 and 206–10; Diels in Diels and Leesberg, part 5, p. li; Ann Diels, ‘Wat D’yser Can Bemaelen’: Les Estampes des Graveurs Anversois Collaert (1550–1630) (Brussels: Bibliothèque Royale Albert, 2005), under cat. 12, p. 62; Diels (2010), pp. 132–33.
6 In 1609, when the prints were described in the stock list of the Amsterdam publisher Cornelis Claesz., Hans Bol was also identified as the designer; Diels and Leesberg, part 5, no. 1229, p. 216, and part 1, p. li and p. lxxxiii (n. 106).
7 Hautekeete in Kerckhof et al., p. 52, and p. 57 (n. 60). Hautekeete has attributed the drawings to an unidentified follower of Hans Bol, and Heinrich Gerhard Franz has assigned them to different hands in Bol’s workshop; see Heinrich Gerhard Franz, “Hans Bol (1534–1593); Entwurfs‑Zeichnungen zur grossen Landschaftsfolge von 1562,” Die Weltkunst, vol. 58, no. 2 (15 Jan. 1998): 100-104, pp. 102–3. For the attribution to Grimmer, tentatively suggested by An Zwollo, see Johan Bosch van Rosenthal in the catalogue of the sale, Christie’s, Amsterdam, 1987, under lot 6.
8 In email correspondence with the author (7 April 2014), Hautekeete pointed out that a drawing in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, INV 19593, might have been the model for Collaert’s View of Linthaut, plate 10 in Views of the Environs of Brussels; Diels and Leesberg, part 5, no. 1238, p. 218, repr. fig. 1238, p. 225. Collaert’s engraving reproduces the Louvre drawing in reverse.
9 Christie’s, London, 10 April, 1985, lots 126–28, as circle of Jan Wildens. Lots 126 and 127 from the Christie’s sale were sold, respectively, at Sotheby’s, Amsterdam, 21 November 1989, lot 17, and Sotheby’s, Amsterdam, 17 November 1993, lot 15. In both Sotheby’s sales, the drawings were attributed to the same hand as the five models in Harvard’s album, and An Zwollo’s attribution to Jacob Grimmer was accepted (see n. 7 above). As pointed out by Stefaan Hautekeete (email correspondence with the author, 7 April 2014), lot 128 in the 1985 Christie’s sale is almost certainly the drawing shown by Shaunagh Fitzgerald, Exhibition of Old Master Drawings, London, Baskett and Day, 17–27 November 1987, no. 17, repr., as circle of Jan Wildens.
10 Jan Brueghel the Elder, An Overshot Watermill in a Wooded Landscape. Brown ink, blue and gray wash over traces of black chalk, 184 × 271 mm. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Dyce.528. Jane Shoaf Turner and Christopher White, Dutch & Flemish Drawings at the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, 2014), vol. 2, cat. 458, pp. 378–79, repr. Hautekeete in Kerckhof et al., pp. 52–53, repr. p. 53, ill. 15. A drawing by Pieter Stevens of circa 1603–7, inscribed bij Brussele, shows the same site and may be based on Collaert’s print; idem, no. 84, pp. 211–12.
11 Follower of Hans Bol, Gothic Church with Monastery or Country Estate (Fig. 2). Brown ink, brown and rose wash. 140 × 197 mm; Henry Scipio Reitlinger, Old Master Drawings: A Handbook for Amateurs and Collectors (London, 1922), p. 133, repr. pl. 24. The drawing was sold from Henry Scipio Reitlinger’s estate, Sotheby’s, London, 22–23 June 1954, part of lot 756.
12 My thanks to Stefaan Hautekeete, who independently reached the same conclusion as I regarding the attribution of the ex-Reitlinger drawing: that is, it is very likely by the same hand as the five Harvard landscapes; email to Peter Schatborn, 25 February 2014.
13 My thanks to Peter Schatborn, Stefaan Hautekeete, Bas Dudok van Heel, and Joost vander Auwera for examining this inscription. Vander Auwera suggested that it might not be a signature but the identification of the site represented in the drawing; Stefaan Hautekeete, email correspondence with the author, 7 April 2014.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, The Kate, Maurice R. and Melvin R. Seiden Purchase Fund and Richard Norton Memorial Fund
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- European and American Art
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- Publication History
Heinrich Gerhard Franz, "Hans Bol (1534 - 1593); Entwurfs-Zeichnungen zur grossen Landschaftsfolge von 1562", Die Weltkunst (January 15, 1988), vol. 58, no. 2, pp. 100-104, pp. 103-104, repr. p. 104, fig. 12
Walter S. Gibson, "Pleasant Places": Some Dutch Landscape Drawings in the Clevland Museum of Art and Their Antecedents, Drawing (July-August 1990), vol. xii, no. 2, pp. 25-29, pp. 28-29 (n. 12)
Kristina Hartzer Nguyen, The Made Landscape: City and Country in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Prints, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, Fall 1992), p. 15
F. W. H. Hollstein, The New Hollstein : Dutch & Flemish etchings, engravings, and woodcuts, 1450-1700, Koninklijke van Poll, Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, and Sound + Vision Publishers (Roosendall, Rotterdam, and Ouderkerk aan den IJssel, 1993 - ongoing), vol. 15 (The Collaert Dynasty, compiled by Ann Diels and Marjolein Leesberg, 2005-2006), part 5, under no. 1229, p. 216; incorrect citation, should be under no. 1249, p. 216.
Véronique Van de Kerckhof, Helena Bussers, and Véronique Bücken, Le peintre et l'arpenteur: Images de Bruxelles et de l'ancien duché de Brabant, exh. cat., La Renaissance du Livre (Tournai, 2000), pp. 52-53 and p. 57 (n. 62)
Walter S. Gibson, Pleasant Places: The Rustic Landscape from Bruegel to Ruisdael, University of California Press (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA and London, 2000), p. 25, repr. fig. 37, and p. 185, n. 72
Ann Diels, De Familie Collaert (ca. 1555-1630) en de Prentkunst in Antwerpen, Archief- en Bibliotheekwezen in Belgie¨/Archives et Bibliothe`ques de Belgique (Brussels, 2010), p. 132 (n.474)
Stijn Alsteens, [Review] William W. Robinson, with Susan Anderson, "Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums", Master Drawings (Winter 2015), LIII, no. 4, pp. 531-534, pp. 531, 533
William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016), cat. no. 11, pp. 58-60, repr. p. 59
- Exhibition History
Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016
- Subjects and Contexts
Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings
- Related Works
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