Gallery of prints for sale

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Jan Both’s etching, “Wooden Bridge”, 1644–52

Jan Both (aka. Jan Dirksz Both) (1618/22–52)

"Wooden Bridge” (aka “The Wooden Bridge at Sulmona, near Tivoli”), 1644–52, from the series of six plates, “Views of Rome and its surroundings” (BM) or “Six Horizontal Landscapes” (TIB).

Etching on fine laid paper trimmed along the platemark and lined with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 20.1 x 27.2 cm; (image borderline) 18.6 x 26.6 cm
State ii? (of vi) before the inscription “Both fe” below the image borderline at left. (Compare with the state ii impression held by the National Gallery of Art:

TIB 1978 7 (5). 10 (10) (Otto Naumann [ed.] 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 7, Abaris Books, New York, p. 16); Bartsch V.210.10; Hollstein 10

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“The wooden bridge Sulmona near Tivoli; crossed by peasants on donkeys; a waterfall in background; from a series of six etchings of the environs of Rome.”

See also the description of the print at the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: strong (lifetime) impression of museum quality (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, or foxing and minimal signs of use), trimmed at the platemark and laid upon an archival support sheet.

I am selling this exceptionally fine and very beautiful etching for AU$323 (currently US$255.01/EUR206.51/GBP182.44 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost.

If you are interested in acquiring this marvellous and very rare print, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

Following in the footsteps of Claude, Poussin and Herman van Swanevelt, Jan Both had explored and drawn the “hills outside of Rome” (National Gallery of Ireland: Essential Guide, 2008). Certainly when I look at this landscape, which I understand is “near Tivoli”, I can see strong relationships in this composition to his fellow artists. For example, the scene is viewed from an elevated viewpoint, the subject is bathed in light, the distance suggests a zone of spiritual transcendence and the line work is kept to notational strokes where no element is more important than the next.

What I find especially interesting about this etching is the way that Both subtly changes his strokes to connote spatial depth. In his treatment of the foreground area, for example, the strokes are a mixture of dark toned lines that curl around foliage and change direction according to the contours described. In the middle distance, the lines are lighter in tone and  tightly curled in tonal blocks to portray broadly observed light patterns on trees. To suggest far distance, Both uses even paler lines laid in regular patterns of hatched strokes that become increasingly horizontal in orientation in the furthest away aspects. Clifford S Ackley (1981) in “Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt” (exh. cat. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) makes the very insightful proposal in regard to Both’s use of line that the artist was “searching for the black and white equivalent of the golden haze of southern light that vaporises or makes the forms of the landscape translucent …” (p. 176).

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