Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Simon Frisius’ etching, “River Landscape by Moonlight”


Simon Frisius (aka Simon Wynhoutsz Frisius; Simon de Vries) (c.1580–1628)
“Rivierlandschap bij maanlicht” (River Landscape by Moonlight), 1613/14, after Matthijs Bril (c.1550–83), published by Hendrick Hondius I (1573–1650) in “Topographia Variarum Regionum” (Various topographical views) (1613/14). See this publication at the Rijksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.453679

Etching on fine wove paper trimmed at the image borderline.
Size: (sheet) 10.4 x 15.5 cm
Lettered below the image borderline: “Matbias bril inventor. Henricus hondius excudit”

New Hollstein Dutch 138-1(2) Remark: Part I; Hollstein 1-25 (after Matthijs Bril); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 136.I (Simon Frisius); Hollstein 64-91 (under Simon Frisius)

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
“Landschap bij maanlicht met een rivier in het midden. De sikkelvormige maan schijnt boven een stad aan de rivier.” (Landscape by moonlight with a river in the middle. The crescent moon shining over a city on the river.)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“View of farm buildings at right by night, the moon in the upper right, after Matthijs Bril. 1613/1614”

The curator of the BM advises that the publication “'Topographia Variarum Regionum' consists of “a series of twenty-seven etchings by Frisius after Matthijs Bril (New Hollstein 123-150) of small landscapes, which was published in 1614 by Hendrick Hondius. One print after Joos van Lier has been added to the series. The prints are inlaid into double sheets and the series is bound in an album with a gold tooled vellum binding that seems to be seventeenth-century.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3051221&partId=1&searchText=1947,0319.7.&page=1)

Condition: richly inked and well-printed impression, trimmed at the image borderline in near pristine condition.

I am selling this small but remarkable etching—“spectacular” in a word—for the total cost of AU$242 (currently US$177.43/EUR167.95/GBP146.02at the time of posting this) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this seldom seen marvellous old-master print, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


For me, this is a magical print. It has the explicable special quality—perhaps even an aura—of melancholic mood. Perhaps this attribute is simply because the subject is so romantic—if a building spewing out smoke in the evening that threatens to obscure the moon should be tagged with the title “romantic.” This captured expression of an emotional response, however, goes far beyond the portrayed subject. From my viewpoint, the essence of its magical beauty lies with Frisius’ flow of tightly aligned contour lines that mould the mountainous landscape into a very subjective personal experience of the rocky forms rather than a objective representation.

This personal vision of landscape that Frisius presents makes me think of the later great romantic masterworks of Samuel Palmer (1805–81), such as “The Early Ploughman” (1858–69) (see my earlier discussion of this print at http://www.printsandprinciples.com/search/label/Palmer%20%28Samuel%29)  




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