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Pharaoh Perishing in the Red Sea. Etching. 20.2 x 28.8 cm. Wurzbach 1, Hollstein 1. Watermark: Seven-pointed fool's cap.
There is little biographical information on the painter and etcher Willem van Lande. In 1635 the artist is listed as member of the Guild of St. Luke in Delft and he is thought to have worked later in Amsterdam. His printed oeuvre is small and, apart from a set of cavalry engagements (Hollstein 2-7) and a suite of cavalrymen (Hollstein 8-15), consists of some landscapes after Adriaen van Nieulandt and a few portraits.
The present sheet is the only one with a biblical subject. This extremely rare print is executed in pure etching displaying a fairly rough, almost primitive technique, which lends the image almost a bizarre expressiveness. Apparently van Lande belonged to a category of artists who worked in the shadow of such powerful artistic personalities as Rembrandt. This circumstance gives the print notable documentary value. In the middle, at a distinct point within the composition, we see Moses, who has gathered with his followers at an elevated point near the sea. With his staff he closes the parted sea. The Israelites, like the corpulent man behind Moses in a wide fur coat over a precious waistcoat with banner, wear rich oriental costumes. A comparable sense of the exotic can also be found in Rembrandt's paintings of the 1630s. A superb impression with much burr and tone, with wide, even margins around the platemark. A few singular, unobtrusive printer's creases, unobtrusive handling traces, otherwise in excellent condition.