Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Cornelis Schut’s etching, “Four naked children playing on and around a swing”, c1640


Cornelis Schut (I) (1597–1655)

“Four naked children playing on and around a swing” (descriptive title only) or “Schommelende kinderen” (Rijksmuseum title) (transl. “swinging/rocking children), c1618–1655, published by Cornelis Schut with privilege (provider unknown).

Etching on fine laid paper trimmed to the image borderline and lined with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 9.6 x 12.6 cm
Inscribed on plate below the image borderline: (left) "Corn Schut in. cum privilegio"

Hollstein 160 (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450–1700”, Amsterdam); Nagler 1858-79 93 (G K Nagler 1858, “Die Monogrammisten”, 5 vols., Munich)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Four naked children, one child sitting on a swing; another one moves the swing; two children sitting on the right”

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of it:
“With a fountain, a child pushes another child on a swing. There are two more children on the floor, one of whom is asleep.”

Condition: a crisp, richly inked and well-printed impression in excellent condition (with the exception of a few small restored chips to the left edge and a few superficial flecks/handling marks), trimmed to the image borderline (slightly within the borderline on the left) and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this joyful image executed in the early 1600s of putti at play, for AU$177 in total (currently US$134.68/EUR110.20/GBP96.45 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this small etching exemplifying the exuberance of the Flemish High-Baroque style, 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


Schut executed numerous etchings of plump naked children playing. In this particular print I have little doubt that the four children depicted are not representative of the antics of 17th century neighbourhood kids. Heaven’s forbid! Instead, they are allegorical putti figures symbolically embodying the spirit of a bacchanal in the usual setting of classical architecture.

Interestingly, there is a companion piece closely related to this print: see http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.173908. In this related composition, the portrayed scene features the same children but with a shift in time to a moment later where the child presently standing on the swing has seated himself and is shown with his feet outstretched and high in the sky. In keeping with the symbolism of the children being active participants in a bacchanal, note that the child on the right in the related composition holds a handful of grapes—a key attribute of Bacchus/Dionysus.






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