Thursday, 31 August 2017

Philips Galle’s engraving, “Lion Hunt on Horseback”, 1578


Philips Galle (aka Philippe Galle; Philippus Gallaeus) (1537–1612)

“Lion Hunt on Horseback”, 1578, from the series, “Hunting Parties” (aka “Venationes Ferarum, Avium, Piscium” (transl. “With wild beasts, birds, fish”), after Jan van der Straet (aka Joannes Stradanus; Ioannes Stradanus) (1523–1605).

Note: according to the curator of the British Museum’s explanation about the series, this impression is from the first edition of 43 unnumbered plates that were all engraved by Philips Galle with a dedication page to Cosimo de Medici. After this edition the series was expanded to 104 plates engraved by A. Collaert, J. Collaert, C. Galle I and C. de Mallery with a dedication page to the jurist Henricus van Osthoorn en Sonnevelt (see http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1619537&partId=1&people=93957&peoA=93957-2-70&page=1  and A. Baroni and M. Sellink, “Stradanus 1523-1605: Court artist of the Medici”, exh.cat. Groeningemuseum Brugge 2008-2009, Turnhout, 2012, pp.245–58, cat.nos.32–49.). In the later expanded edition of 104 plates, this plate was numbered “17” on the lower left.

Engraving on laid paper with margins as published in the first edition of 1578 (?).
Size: (sheet) 25.4 x 33.2 cm; (plate) 21.8 x 29.8 cm; (image borderline) 20.2 x 29.5 cm
Lettered within image borderline at lower left: “Iohan Stra. inve. / Phls Galle fe.”
Lettered below the image borderline: “Sic venatoris lenti Leo terga fatigat, 4 Cuspide du crebri, tumida du fernet ab ira.”
State: ii (of iii?) with the added numeral, “4”, but before the addition of the number, “17”, of state iii.

TIB 5601.104:4 (Walter L Strauss & Arno Dolders [Eds.] 1987, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 56, Supplement, p. 404); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 424.III (Johannes Stradanus); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 522.III (Philips Galle); Baroni Vannucci 1997 693.17 (Alessandra Baroni Vannucci 1997, “Jan van der Straet, detto Giovanni Stradano, flandrus pictor et inventor”, Milan, Jandi Sapi Editori)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print from the later edition when the plate was numbered:
“Plate numbered 17, Lion Hunt on Horseback; at centre, a lion is trampled by men on horseback, armed with spears, while another lion attacks the central horseman from behind, who attempts to retaliate with a dagger. Engraving”  (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1619831&partId=1&searchText=galle+lion+hunt&page=1)

Condition: luminous lifetime impression (see explanation above). There is a printer’s crease (i.e. a crease occurring during the printing process) running through the foreground lion and the margins of the print shows light signs of handling. There is a small tear (1 cm) in the upper right margin which has been addressed as the print is laid onto a support sheet of conservator’s fine archival/millennium quality washi paper.

I am selling this exceptionally rare, engraving from 1578 for a total cost of AU$256 (currently US$202.45/EUR170.77/GBP157.20 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this important print foreshadowing Ruben's "The Lion Hunt" (1621), please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print is reserved pending advice about its purchase.


I suspect that most folk looking at this engraving would be reminded of Peter Paul Rubens’ famous painting, “The Lion Hunt” (1621). Beyond the fact that both compositions feature the same exotic subject of lions being hunted—hopefully a practice that will disappear forever—for me the connection that brings to mind Ruben’s painting is the pattern of radiating lines created by lances pointing towards the centre lion in both images set against the writhing rhythms of horses, lions and men.

What might surprise some viewers is that this print was executed 43 years before Rubens made his painting.






Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Georg Pencz’s engraving, “Garmmar”, c1541


Georg Pencz (c1500–50)

“Grammar”, c1541, from the series of seven engravings, “The Seven Liberal Arts”.

Engraving on laid paper trimmed along the platemark.
Size: 7.4 x 5.00 cm
Signed with monogram on a tablet at lower left and lettered there: 'ACITAM/ MARG'.
Numbered at lower right and lettered with the Latin alphabet on the tablet held by the genius.
State i (of i)

TIB 16 (8) 110 (355) (Walter L Strauss & Jacob Bink et al [Eds.] 1980, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 16, p. 125); Landau 1978 109 (David Landau 1978, “Catalogo completo dell' opera grafica di Georg Pencz”, Milan); Hollstein 82 (F W H Hollstein 1954, “German engravings, etchings and woodcuts c.1400-1700”, Amsterdam); Bartsch VIII.355.110 (Adam Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna).

The British Museum holds a number of deceptive copies of this print (see E,4.281, Gg,4Q.25 and 1937,0802.1.61), and offers the following description of this—the original—print:
“Plate 1: Grammar; whole-length female figure seated at left, in profile to right; holding a large key in her right hand and pointing with her left hand to a tablet with the alphabet held by the genius at right; from a series of seven engravings of female personifications of the liberal arts in studies accompanied by genii. c.1541” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1519827&partId=1&searchText=pencz+grammar&page=1)

Condition: richly inked lifetime impression trimmed along the platemark. The sheet has numerous minor restorations, including a replenished tip to the lower-right corner, traces of coloured pigment and light staining.

I am selling this very small but exquisitely rendered engraving by one of the famous German Little Masters —the shared interest of the group in executing little prints is exemplified by this postage-stamp sized masterpiece—for the total cost of AU$400 (currently US$317.13/EUR266.40/GBP245.43 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this precious print from the mid-1500s, 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


This is the first engraving in Pencz’s series addressing the Renaissance ideal of a “proper” education titled, “The Seven Liberal Arts.” Based on my understanding of the Renaissance vision of a good curriculum offered by Jeffrey Chipps Smith (2014) in “Nuremberg, a Renaissance City, 1500–1618” (University of Texas Press), there are two fundamental components and this print, “Grammar”—the first plate in the series—is linked with “Dialectic” and “Rhetoric”—Plates 2 and 3 in the series—in what is termed the “trivum”, the first key component of a sound approach to education. This triumvirate of pedagogical constructs helps to shape the skills of clear communication. The second key component to learning, termed the “quadrivium” embraces the remaining plates in the series: “Arithmetic”, “Music”, “Geometry” and “Astrology”—Plates 4 to 7. This latter group, as the names suggest, gives the conceptual “meat” and direction to what is studied.

(Note: this explanation may be flawed and I may have profoundly misunderstood the logic behind medieval and Renaissance learning as discussed by Jeffery Chipps Smith.)






Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Albert Besnard’s etchings, “Tristesse” (1887) and “Mes enfants” (1889)


Albert Besnard (aka Paul Albert Besnard) (1849–1934)

“Tristesse” (Sadness), 1887, published in the July 1887 edition of the “Gazette des Beaux-Arts” to complement d'Alfred de Lostalot’s discussion, “Exposition Internationale de Peinture et de la Sculpture” (International Exposition of Painting and Sculpture).

Etching with plate tone on cream laid paper and full margins as published
Size: (sheet) 26.9 x 18.4 cm; (plate) 15 x 9.9 cm
Inscribed at lower left with the artist’s monogram (almost indecipherable as it is so small): “AB”
Lettered at upper left: “GAZETTE DES BEAUX-ARTS”
State iii (of iii)

Delteil 61.iii (Loys Delteil 1906, “Louis Godefroy Albert Besnard”, vol. 30 of “Le Peintre-Graveur”, Paris, cat. no. 61.iii, np); Coppier 54.iii (André-Charles Coppier 1920, “Les eaux-fortes de Besnard’ Paris, 1920, cat. no. 54.iii, p. 43); Bibliothèque-Nationale 21 (IFF Inventaire du Fonds Français: Bibliothèque Nationale, Départment des Estampes. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, 1930-, cat. no. 21, p.341)

The Fine Art Museums of San Francisco offer the following description of this print:
“Upper torso and head of a pensive woman looking out a window” (https://art.famsf.org/albert-besnard/tristesse-sadness-gazette-des-beaux-arts-2008211)
See also the description at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/688529

Condition: richly inked and faultless impression in pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, stains, abrasions or foxing) with full margins as published.

I am selling this print along with the other Besnard etching that I am showcasing this evening for a combined total price of AU$260 (currently CNY1367.71/US$207.45/EUR172.16/GBP160.13 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this stunningly beautiful pair of etchings that to my eyes foreshadow the prints of the legendary Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945), please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

These prints have been sold






Albert BESNARD (1849–1934)

“Mes enfants” (aka “Une famille”), 1889, published in the “Gazette des Beaux-Arts”

Etching and aquatint with plate tone on cream laid paper and full margins as published
Size: (sheet) 26.9 x 18.4 cm; (plate) 15.9 x 11.9 cm; (image borderline) 15 x 11.1 cm
The sheet is unsigned and there are no inscriptions.
State ii (of ii)

Delteil 94 ii; Coppier 80 ii

Idbury Prints, offers the following insightful description of this print:
“One of Besnard's most tender and intimate etchings, using his own children as models, this etching, although quite different in composition, clearly relates to Besnard's important painting of 1890, “Une famille”, which is in the Musée d'Orsay.”
See also the description at the Cleveland Museum of Art: http://www.clevelandart.org/art/1923.1117

Condition: richly inked and faultless impression in near pristine condition (note that there is a tiny speck of brown at the lower edge of the plate mark) with full margins as published.

I am selling this print along with the other Besnard etching that I am showcasing this evening for a combined total price of AU$260 (currently CNY1367.71/US$207.45/EUR172.16/GBP160.13 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this stunningly beautiful pair of etchings that to my eyes foreshadow the prints of the legendary Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945), please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

These prints have been sold






This pair of etchings, “Mes enfants” (1889) and “Tristesse” (1887), have been literally floating around my studio for too long and so I thought that tonight is the night that I need to examine them properly.

What makes these prints interesting for me is that they are so rich in associations. By this I am not specifically referring to the gentle mood of wistful melancholy expressed in “Tristesse”, or the way that Besnard’s son is portrayed at the top of “Mes enfants” that I read as wishing to include me (the viewer) with the rest of his family’s as they watch an opera performance. (If it were something by Berlioz I might even feel tempted!) Instead, I see these prints as spanning an interval in the history of art that foreshadows the deep and moving pathos captured by the legendary Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) and the critically important influence that Japanese woodblock prints had on European art in the late 19th century. Regarding this latter influence, note how Besnard has arranged the composition of both prints as a vertical journey for the viewer’s eye to negotiate—a bit like climbing stairs—rather than as compositions designed to be looked at from left to right. 

Monday, 28 August 2017

Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietricy’s etching, “The Small Waterfalls at Tivoli”, 1744


Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietricy (aka Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich) (1712–74)
“The Small Waterfalls at Tivoli” (“Die kleinen Wasserfälle bei Tivoli”, Link title); “Arcadian landscape with waterfall” (“Arcadisch landschap met waterva”,l Rijksmuseum title), 1744

Etching on laid paper with Adrian Zingg’s engraved number, “45”, in the upper-left corner indicating that this impression was part of Dietricy’s posthumous edition arranged by his widow. (Note: after the plate was published in the Zingg edition the number was erased by JF Frauenholz for Fraenholz's later edition.)

Size: (sheet) 12.8 x 18.6 cm; (plate) 9.1 x 14.6 cm
Signed and dated in the plate at upper right: “Dietricy 1744”.
Inscribed in extremely small numerals at the upper-left corner: “45”.
State ii (of iii) with the plate polished and the Zingg number, “45”, inscribed before it is erased in state iii. Note: I needed to use a loupe to see the inscribed number as it is so small!

Linck 153-II (III) (JF Linck 1846, “'Monographie der von C. W. E. Dietrich radierten, geschabten und in Holz geschnittenen malerischen Vorstellungen”, Berlin, pp. 251–52, cat.nr. 153); see also the description of this print held by the Rijksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.105713
   
Condition: richly inked impression in near pristine condition with small margins varying in size but approximately 2 cm. On the back of the sheet there is a very pale offset of another print.

I am selling this small but exquisitely rendered etching of the waterfalls and cascades at Tivoli (Italy) for the total cost of AU$157 (currently US$124.83/EUR104.57/GBP96.62 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable nature study showing the effect of raking light on foliage, rocks and water, 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


Dietricy was a bit of an artistic chameleon in the sense that he had the gift to mimic other artists’ styles. This ability, however, did not mean that his approach to image making was rinsed clean of showing personal stylistic traits. For example, this very beautiful nature study of the waterfalls and cascades at Tivoli is a fine example of his very insightful and somewhat unique approach to portraying spatial depth.

In one sense, Dietricy uses the traditional approach for showing spatial depth by making the foreground waterfalls slightly darker than those further away and employs an increasing amount of white space around each line to suggest an even greater lightening of tone into the far distance. There is, however, another device that Dietricy employs to portray depth and this, I see, as being his personal stylistic hallmark: Dietricy uses a transition from comparatively small, multi-directional cross-hatched strokes to render forms in the foreground to parallel aligned strokes in the middle distance and finally to almost horizontal strokes designed to portray distant mountains and sky. 








Sunday, 27 August 2017

Hieronymus Wierix’s engraving, “Allegory on the Mercy of Christ”, 1581


Hieronymus Wierix (aka Hieronymus Wierx; Jerome Wierix) (1553–1619)

“Allegory on the Mercy of Christ”, 1581, published by Hans Liefrinck II (fl1581–88)
Note: some authorities propose that the publisher is Hans Liefrinck I (1518?–73) but this is not possible mindful that Lierinck (the elder) had already passed away before this print was executed. According to the BM there is another Hans Liefrinck “who was the son of Cornelis Liefrinck and worked in Leiden” but again the date that he died, 1599, confirms that he could not be the publisher either and this leads me to attribute Hans Liefrinck II as the publisher.

Engraving on laid paper trimmed to the image borderline and slightly within the borderline on the left side.
Size: (sheet) 33.9 x 25.8 cm
Lettered above the image borderline: “MISERICORDIARUM DOMINI EFFIGIES” (Images of Kindness)
Inscribed within the image borderline at lower left upon a stone: “Jeroninmus. Wi. / fecit. 1581”
Inscribed below the image borderline in two columns of three lines: “[E]n Deus ad veniam pronus … // … in imagine serunt.”; with publication details at centre between the two columns: “Johannes / Lifrinck / Excud”.

Condition: crisp impression trimmed along the borderline and within it on the left side and lined upon a support sheet of laid paper. The sheet is slightly age-toned with light restoration of small areas of minor abrasion and there is a closed tear (approximately 1 cm) on the lower edge towards the right.

I am selling this of magnificently rendered large engraving that is so rare that it is not in the collection of the British Museum, the Rijksmuseum or the Metropolitan Museum of Art and executed by one of the major printmakers of the Renaissance era for the total cost of AU$468 (currently US$371.78/EUR311.63/GBP288.50 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this very beautiful print—mindful that prints of this rarity are virtually never seen on the market place—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


While I was closely examining this spectacular engraving—one that is so rare that none of the major museums (viz. The British Museum, the Rijksmuseum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art) appear to possess a copy—I found myself becoming more and more involved in trying to decipher the symbolic meanings of the print. For example, my brain was slow to realise that the cow that Christ stands upon was not a reference to his birth in a manger—a cow’s feeding trough. Instead the cow is a symbolic attribute of Saint Luke, but this realisation only occurred once I had pieced together the idea that the combination of the three animals surrounding Christ (viz. cow, lion and eagle) and the angel on his left were actually the symbolic attributes of the four evangelists: Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. Moreover that my initial quandary over the awkwardness of the Christ shown raising his left foot rather than his right one—a pose that right-handers like myself find very unnerving to look at—was nothing at all about physical movement but rather about spiritual transcendence to a heavenly realm filled with adoring fat folk.

To be honest, however, I had to do a quick Google to find the significance of Christ shown with a square halo rather than a round one. The reason is surprisingly simple: the square halo symbolises that Christ is still in the temporal world and the shape of the halo will change to a round one once he transcends the world of the mortals.

Regarding this notion of spiritual transcendence, note how Christ’s arms are arranged to suggest an arrowhead and how the leaning pose of St John and the Virgin extend the angle of this arrowhead pointed to heaven.






Saturday, 26 August 2017

Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s etching, “Saint Luke”, 1763/64


Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806)

“Saint Luke”, 1763/64. after a pendentive design in the Cathedral of Naples/Church of the Holy Apostles by Giovanni Lanfranco (1582–1647)

Etching on laid paper
Size: (sheet) 12.1 x 9.1 cm; (image borderline) 10.8 x 7.9 cm
Inscribed below the image borderline at left: "Lanfranc a naple aux St. Apotre," and at lower right, just inside the borderline, the minimal trace of a burnished out signature, "frago."
State i (of ii)

Wildenstein 17, I; Baudicour 1859-1861 20

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“St Luke, sitting and leaning on the portrait of Virgin Mary, looking at a book presented by three cherubs on the left; on the right, another cherub holding palette and brushes. c.1761/65” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1357212&partId=1&searchText=Fragonard+Luke&page=1)
See also the description of this print at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Condition: richly-inked and well-printed lifetime impression with margins around the borderline (i.e. the sheet is trimmed within or on the platemark). The sheet is slightly age-toned (i.e. it has mellowed to a light brown) and there is a flattened a diagonal crease. There is also a pinhole in the upper-centre edge and there are traces of mounting with collector’s pencil notations (verso).

I am selling this of lifetime/first state impression of magnificent quality for the total cost of AU$258 (currently US$204.96/EUR171.80/GBP159.05 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this original Fragonard—mindful that prints of this rarity and quality are seldom seen on the market place—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


After posting my previous discussion about stylistic traits of the Baroque age that I see in Jan de Visscher’s “Shepherds and a Young Woman on an Ass”, I have decided to showcase a print that takes the spirit of Baroque visual excess to an even higher level: the Rococo period style of Fragonard’s “St Luke.”

What makes Fragonard’s seemingly simple and very small print interesting for me is that the original design was by Giovanni Lanfranco (1582–1647) whose stylistic leanings arguably lie between late Italian Mannerism and early Baroque. Mindful that Fragonard’s print is Rocco in style and is based on Lanfranco’s painted pendentive in the Cathedral of Napes/Church of the Holy Apostles that is Baroque in style raises the question: what special artistic ingredient came into play in Fragonard’s etching that shifted the same image from the Baroque period style to what could be described as the Baroque style on steroids typifying the Rococo period? The short answer is all about how Lanfranco’s painting was interpreted and translated by Fragonard into line.


To illustrate the stylistic leap from Baroque to Rococo that Fragonard has achieved in his interpretative etching, I wish to draw a comparison between Fragonard’s print with another  reproductive print of Lanfranco’s pendentive design by one of Fragonard’s contemporaries, Charles Étienne Gaucher (1741– 1804) (see: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1521096&partId=1&searchText=Fragonard+Luke&page=1). In Gaucher’s translation of the painting into a line etching (with engraving), the portrayed subject is presented as objective reality (i.e. the figures and clouds featured in Lanfranco’s painting are rendered with such gentle transitions of light and shade that the forms are almost tangible—3D solids).

By contrast, Fragonard uses line sparingly and simplifies the tones of Lanfranco’s painting into a pattern of shapes. The critical “artistic ingredient”, however, that Fragonard introduces to his interpretative print is the complicated intricacy of these tonal patterns which seem even more intricate than they really are because of the large expanses of untouched paper framing them. For me, this “framing of complicated intricacy” lies at the heart of the Rococo period style. After all, even the word “Rococo” is derived from the French word, “rocaille”, which means “rock and shell garden ornamentation” (see: http://all-that-is-interesting.com/seventeenth-eighteenth-century-art-the-rococo-movement).






Friday, 25 August 2017

Jan de Visscher’s engraving (with etching), “Shepherds and a Young Woman on an Ass”, 1670


Jan de Visscher (aka Johannes Visscher) (1633–c1692)

“Shepherds and a Young Woman on an Ass” (Rijksmuseum title), 1670, from a series of four plates (Hollstein 113-116; impressions in the BM 1870,0709.248-251), “Landscape with people and animals”, after Nicolaes Berchem (1621/22–83) and published by Nicolaes Visscher II (1649–1702).

Engraving and etching on fine laid paper trimmed along (or within) the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 25.6 x 35.7 cm; (image borderline) 24.7 x 35.2 cm
Inscribed with number (only partially visible) in lower right corner; “2”

Hollstein Dutch 114

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“A woman riding a mule gesturing with her arm and a man stopping to tighten the straps to his steed with a river beyond; after Berchem” 

Note: the Rijksmuseum refers to the animal that the young woman is riding as an ass whereas the BM describes it as a mule. I know that there should be a difference beyond each having a different number of chromosomes but the question of which authority is correct in describing it as either an ass or mule is beyond me.

Condition: richly inked impression of exceptional quality—clearly a lifetime impression—but the sheet is trimmed along (or slightly within) the platemark and there is a loss of the tip of the lower-right corner. The sheet has been laid onto a conservator’s support sheet and the missing corner has been replenished with matching colour on the support sheet.

I am selling this large(ish) engraving of superb quality for the total cost of AU$168 (currently US$132.94/EUR112.55/GBP103.63 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this masterwork by Visscher that sparkles with light and movement, 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


Each era has hallmark stylistic tendencies—fashions—that artists build upon. For example, this print has some of the key ingredients of the Baroque period style.

Note for instance the dramatic gestures of the young woman riding a mule as she indicates towards the distant fortressed town. Not only is her gesture unambiguously clear, as if she were performing on a stage, but the length of her arm directing attention is so curiously long—mindful that most ladies’ forearms are the length of their feet (i.e. from the tip of their big toe to their heel) or the length of their head (i.e. from their chin to the top of their head)—that her grand gesture fits the Baroque mould of being “larger than life.”

Note also that the light falling on the figures is equally dramatic. What I mean by this is that the effect of light and shade portrayed here is less about giving three-dimensional form to the figures, as might be the case in the Renaissance era, and more about creating visual havoc symptomatic of the Baroque era where each small area of strong tonal contrast in the image competes with the next for our attention. This “competition” for attention results in a plethora of too much information for the mind to be able to carefully scrutinise anything properly—a bit like trying to see a single fish in a school of fish darting around. In short, the mixture of dramatic gestures, strong lighting and the compositional weaving of all the small “happenings” portrayed in the scene—I especially like the way that the dog shown on the left is engaged in visual dialogue with the sheep at right of centre—renders this simple rural scene with a dynamic energy typifying the Dutch Baroque period style of the late 17th century.