jacob-de-gheyn

After Jacob de Gheyn II
A Landcape with a Farmhouse, circa 1603

Etching
21 cm x 32.2 cm (8 ¼ in. x 12 11/16 in.)
The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002

Extending and elaborating upon Hendrick Goltzius’s audacious style, his pupils constituted a true school of engraving in Haarlem, Holland. Beside Jacob Matham, Jan Saenredam, and Jan Muller, Jacob de Gheyn was the most refined in drawing and subtle in effect. In his early work, he often translated the master’s designs, then he turned to the extravagant compositions of painters, especially Abraham Bloemaert, as well as to his own inventions. De Gheyn was an equally remarkable draftsman, nearly matching Goltzius’s combination of acute observation and virtuoso hand. This etching imposes a contrived arrangement, surging composition, and stylized description upon a seemingly familiar countryside. Because it displays the sinew and flourish of De Gheyn’s work in pen, the print was long attributed to the artist himself. In fact, there exists a virtually identical drawing in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Very rare, the etching is now generally thought to be a contemporary reproduction by an anonymous printmaker. Whether by De Gheyn himself or an interpreter, this project suggests the taste and burgeoning market for such graphic display. More generally it points to the emergence of etching as the preferred technique for rendering natural subjects and portends an essential type of seventeenth-century Dutch printmaking. The collection contains sixty-nine engravings by De Gheyn, including his most important series.