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Hercules Segers, Country Lane with Trees and a Farmhouse, an etching

 

Height: 230.000 mm
Width: 275.000 mm

PD Sheepshanks 5532 (Haverkamp Begeman 37)

Prints and Drawings

    Hercules Segers, Country Lane with Trees and a Farmhouse, an etching

    The Netherlands, around AD 1625

    Segers (1589/90 - about 1638), belonged to the group of Haarlem printmakers who, in the years after 1610, created the distinctively Dutch type of landscape seen here. He differs from other artists in that he regards etching not as a means for printing an edition of identical impressions, but he aims to make each sheet a unique work of art, printed in particular colours on particular paper from plates worked with great originality. As a result, only 183 impressions of his etchings survive, printed from 54 plates, but few can be regarded as duplicates as the results vary so much.

    This view of a deserted country lane achieves a perfect balance between surface symmetry and spatial illusion. The track meanders into perspectival depth from the bottom left into the distant centre. The flanking trees diminish in size to emphasize that distance. The impression of space is reinforced by the dark humps of ground that alternate with patches of sunlight, and by the rough texture of the foreground grass becoming finer with distance. Even the foliage is shown either sunlit or in shadow, separating it in depth against the clear sky.

    The absence of human figures, typical of Segers' style, is curiously reinforced by the evidence of human activity in the fences, road, and farmhouse glimpsed through the trees.

    J. Rowlands, Hercules Segers (New York, George Braziller, 1979)

    A. Griffiths (ed.), Landmarks in print collecting (London, The British Museum Press)

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