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JACOB MATHAM
(1571–1631, Haarlem)

Two Peasants. Engraving after Hendrick Goltzius. 26.0 x 20.0 cm. Circa 1590. Bartsch 301; Hollstein 328; The New Hollstein (Matham, attributed prints) 335 I (of II).

This print, which reproduces a composition by Hendrick Goltzius, was in all probability engraved by Jacob Matham, his adopted son and pupil. Matham had been active as an engraver for Goltzius since about 1587 and in his early years worked exclusively after drawn originals by his teacher. 

The present engraving probably dates to around 1590 immediately before Goltzius’ departure for Italy. Executed in a powerful and masterly style characteristic of the Goltzius school, it is indisputably the work of an experienced engraver. The scene shows two peasants in picturesque attire at work in the fields. The four-line Latin poem by the Haarlem humanist, Franco Estius, says that people should attend to the weeds in their own garden and not criticise others.

The present proof is an early impression in the rare version with the additional Dutch text in block printing. A very fine, contrasting impression with margins. Slight traces of handling, otherwise in excellent condition.