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Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Solicitudo Rustica an etching


Height: 324.000 mm
Width: 427.000 mm

PD 1922-4-10-264 (Bastelaer 12)

Prints and Drawings

    Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Solicitudo Rustica an etching

    Flanders, signed, AD 1555

    One of a set of 12 large landscape etchings

    This panoramic landscape was designed by Bruegel early in his career for the Antwerp print publisher Hieronymus Cock. His preparatory drawing (in The British Museum), has been followed closely in the print. However the foreground trees, all the figures, and the distant ships were added by the etchers Jan and Lucas van Duetecum, who replaced Bruegel's feathery pen strokes with clearer etched lines.

    Cock was the most successful publisher of single sheet prints in the Netherlands between 1550 and his death in 1570. He seems to have travelled to Rome before 1550 and noted the commercial success of Lafréry's print publishing business. On returning to Antwerp, he launched his business by publishing the engravings of Giorgio Ghisi, who reproduced Italian High Renaissance paintings. He commissioned drawings from artists such as Bruegel, which were then reproduced by specialists in his employment. Jan and Lucas van Duetecum used etching to reproduce Bruegel's landscapes, a well-established technique for this purpose.

    The odd title of this print (which means 'Rustic Care'), may be a mistake in the Latin for Solitudo Rustica ('Rustic Solitude'). Bruegel's large landscape prints were important models for his more famous painted landscapes of The Seasons, produced some ten years later and now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

    D. Freedberg, The prints of Pieter Bruegel t, exh. cat. (Tokyo Shimbun, c1989)


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