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Simon Novellanus

(or Neuvel, active in Cologne during the second half of the 16th century)

Allegorical Landscape with Shipwreck. Etching after Cornelis Cort. 27.6 x 33.4 cm. Ca. 1595. Bierens de Haan (Cort) 246; Hollstein (Cort) 246; The New Hollstein (Cort), vol. III, 236 I (of II). Watermark: Crowned coat of arms.

The composition is derived from a drawing by Cornelis Cort, which is now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts et Archéologie at Besançon. Together with its pendant (Hollstein 237), which also reproduces a drawing by Cort, the etchings belong to a set of four prints of allegorical landscapes that was published by Joris Hoefnagel circa 1595. The two other prints in the set reproduce drawings by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (Hollstein III, 1 and 2).

Little is known of Simon Neuvel (Novellanus), who produced this etching. Judging by his name he probably came from the Low Countries and was active in Cologne, where he collaborated with Franz Hogenberg. Our print shows him to be a skilled etcher. The sweeping multi-layered landscape is executed in a light and varied etching technique, which generates intensive light and atmosphere. The stormy sky and the rays of light piercing the clouds are beautifully done. While the waves wash pieces of wreckage and the corpses of the drowned ashore, we see in the foreground a naked woman fleeing the terrible scene carrying a caduceus and a ram’s fleece. The Latin motto at her feet, Omnia mea mecum porto ("All I have, I carry with me"), referring to the vanity of worldly possessions, was attributed by Cicero to the Greek philosopher Bias of Priene.

A very fine, nuanced and contrasting impression with margins around the platemark. Slight foxing, minimal aging, otherwise in perfect condition.

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