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Amoenissimæ aliquot locorum ... effigies. Plate 24. Das Meer.
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Amoenissimæ aliquot locorum ... effigies. Plate 24. Das Meer.
Work Type
prints, etchings, works on paper
Image: 93mm (width), 54mm (height), Support: 94mm (width), 59mm (height)

Wenceslaus (or Wenzel) Hollar (1607-77) was an Anglo-Czech artist, and one of the greatest and most prolific printmakers of the 17th century. His art reveals his immensely wide subject range, and reflects the priorities of his time: religious prints, mythology, satire, landscapes, geography and maps, portraits, women, costumes, sports, natural history (including caterpillars, moths and snails), architecture, heraldry, numismatics, ornaments, title-pages and initials.

Das Meer (Sea Scene) is the last plate of 24 prints, published by Abraham Hogenberg in 1635 at Cologne. Amoenissimae aliquot locorum is the earliest of Hollar's recorded publications, and these etchings are obviously based on drawings made on the spot, during his earlier years as an artist. Its Latin title translates as 'Delightful likenesses of some places lying in various countries'. This series records Hollar's long and winding journey from his native Prague all the way to the Netherlands between 1627 and 1634. No scene here appears to depict autumn or winter, and this may reflect the difficulty of travelling during the colder months. Hollar was also careful to avoid references to the destruction wrought by the ongoing Thirty Years' War (1618-48). For this commercial enterprise, he focused instead on prosperous towns and views of quiet landscapes along the rivers on which he travelled. This maritime scene is a rare and tempestuous exception, affording closest comparison with the second Zuyder Zee depiction (Plate 23; 1869-0001-202). Here Hollar reveals his obvious knowledge of sailing and wind/water conditions.

Remarkably, Te Papa owns the complete collection, thanks to the former Danish prime minister turned refugee, Bishop Ditlev Monrad, who donated it to the Colonial Museum in 1869.

The year after the publication of Amoenissimae aliquot locorum, Hollar would meet the diplomat and collector Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel, who became his employer for the next ten years. This special connection took Hollar to England, where he would spend most of the rest of his life.

See: ses-of-some-places-lying-in-various-countries

Richard Pennington, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Etched Work of Wenceslaus Hollar 1607-1677 (Cambridge, 1982), p. 123 (no. 718).

Dr Mark Stocker Curator, Historical International Art May 2017

Collection: Art
Gift of Bishop Monrad, 1869
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Image and original data provided by Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa
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