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The set of the bears. Untitled plate 12
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The set of the bears. Untitled plate 12, result 1 of 1

Item Details
Open Artstor
Available to everyone
Culture
Dutch
Title
The set of the bears. Untitled plate 12
Work Type
prints, etchings, works on paper
Date
1559
Material
etching
Measurements
Image: 143mm (width), 109mm (height), Support: 145mm (width), 112mm (height)
Description

Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder (c. 1520'c. 1590) was a Flemish printmaker and painter associated with the English court of the mid-16th century and mainly remembered as the illustrator of the 1567 edition of Aesop's Fables. He was a keen innovator and experimented with etching at a time when woodcut and increasingly engraving were dominant techniques. For example, his 1562 bird's-eye view of Bruges was etched on no fewer than 10 different plates, and the resulting map measures 1m x 1.8m. Although very highly regarded as a printmaker at the time, his fame has been somewhat eclipsed by his son Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, who revolutionised portraiture at the courts of Elizabeth I and James I. Gheeraerts was clearly a highly intelligent observer - and probably admirer - of animals, but deploying this subject matter was also making a virtue out of necessity, as with the Protestantism that he espoused, the market for religious art had come to almost a standstill. His animals are characterised by a greater naturalism than that seen in counterparts of his predecessors, notably the woodcuts of Virgil Solis and Bernard Salomon. He would be much imitated through the later 16th and 17th centuries. The set of the bears precedes Gheeaerts' illustrations to Aesop's fables, which contains a memorable image of the fable of the bear and the bees, featuring a maddened bear being stung by myriad bees, paying the price for having upset their hives.

The prints in Te Papa's set were made just over a century after Gheeraerts by the Dutch printmaker Marcus de Bye (1639-1688), who also made etchings after his compatriot and near contemporary Paulus Potter of cows, goats and lions, all represented in Te Papa's collection. He either had access to Gheeraerts's drawings of bears, as one account claims or, more likely, made a fresh set of plates. In this etching, the 12th in the series, a crouching bear is depicted facing forward, with a dead tree trunk in the left middle distance.

All but one of the set of 16 prints are in Te Papa's collection.

See: Mark Stocker, http://blog.tepapa.govt.nz/2017/04/13/cinematic-renaissance-animation-starring-ursula-the-bear/

Dr Mark Stocker Curator, Historical International Art March 2017

Repository
Collection: Art
Gift of Bishop Monrad, 1869
Accession Number
Subject
Baroque;Animals;Bears;Birds;Land;Trees;Plants;Rocks;people
Source
Image and original data provided by Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa
License
Use of this image is in accordance with the Artstor Terms & Conditions
File Properties
File Name
TePapa_L01_MA_I061684_TePapa_The-set-of-the-bears_full.jpg
SSID
27018606

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