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Wenzel Hollar

(1607 Prague – 1677 London)

Bolognese Dog. Etching after Adriaen Jacobsz. Matham. 7.8 x 12.3 cm. 1649. Parthey 2097, The New Hollstein 1073.

The present etching, based on an original by Adriaen Jacobsz. Matham, was made in 1649 during the artist’s Antwerp period. Employing an intricate, sophisticated etching technique, Wenzel Hollar has devoted loving attention to his depiction of the graceful animal with is long feminine locks. The Bolognese is a breed of dog that was largely native to the Italian city of Bologna, although it did not originate from there. It was probably brought to the city by sailors from the Balearic Islands and was found in many places during the Renaissance period in France and Italy. Lapdogs were highly valued presents, especially in court circles. Cosimo de’ Medici (1389–1464) took eight Bolognese dogs to Brussels as gifts for selected members of the aristocracy there.

Wenzel Hollar was one of the most prolific printmakers of his age. Born in Prague, he made his way to Frankfurt am Main in 1627, where he underwent training by Matthäus Merian during his two-year stay. Hollar was subsequently active in Strasbourg and Cologne. Of crucial significance for his later artistic career was his encounter in 1636 with the diplomat, collector and patron, Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, who entrusted him with making topographical drawings of his journey to Regensburg and Vienna. From 1637 to 1642 the artist lived and worked in Arundel’s house in London, where he was able to hone his etching skills. Arundel fled to Antwerp in 1642 before Charles I was convicted of treason. Hollar followed him a few years later and worked in the city as an etcher for several print publishers. In 1652 the artist returned to London, where he lived and worked as an illustrator and etcher until his death. A very fine,even impression with thread margins. In perfect condition.

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