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Johannes and Lucas van Doetecum

(Johannes known to have been in Deventer after 1551–1605 Haarlem, Lucas active from 1559 to 1573 in Deventer and Antwerp)

A Wide Riverscape with a Town. Etching. 14.1 x 40 cm. 1562. Hollstein (Hieronymus Cock) 5; The New Hollstein (Hans Bol) 229. Watermark: Small Jug.

In stylistic and iconographical respects this individual print, finely executed in a rather unusual rectangular landscape format, is closely related to a suite of twelve landscapes after Hans Bol which Johannes and Lucas van Doetecum produced for the Antwerp publisher, Hieronymus Cock, in the same year 1562. This series after drawings by Bol was evidently extremely popular. The many impressions still available suggest it must have been a very large edition. The publisher, Hendrick Hondius, issued a second edition in The Hague as late as 1630. The appeal of the present print lies in its atmospheric density and a plethora of narrative details which are fully in keeping with Hans Bol’s artistic idiom.

The wide river, navigated by a number of barges and sailing boats, winds its way in a leisurely S-bend towards the horizon, while a host of tiny staffage figures pursue a variety of activities on its banks. This peaceful ‘world landscape’ is punctuated by the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The landscape with the summery deciduous trees and picturesque buildings in the foreground is deeply etched, whereas the wooded hills on the horizon appear in a soft sfumato. The etching is extremely rare. The New Hollstein records just five impressions in Amsterdam, Brussels, Stuttgart, Vienna and Wolfegg. A very fine, crisp and harmonious impression with the framing line. A tiny abrasion in the top left-hand corner, otherwise in impeccable condition.

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