1st Edition

The 'Small Landscape' Prints in Early Modern Netherlands

By Alexandra Onuf Copyright 2018
    262 Pages
    by Routledge

    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    In 1559 and 1561, the Antwerp print publisher Hieronymus Cock issued an unprecedented series of landscape prints known today simply as the Small Landscapes. The forty-four prints included in the series offer views of the local countryside surrounding Antwerp in simple, unembellished compositions. At a time when vast panoramic and allegorical landscapes dominated the art market, the Small Landscapes represent a striking innovation. This book offers the first comprehensive analysis of the significance of the Small Landscapes in early modern print culture. It charts a diachronic history of the series over the century it was in active circulation, from 1559 to the middle of the seventeenth century. Adopting the lifespan of the prints as the framework of the study, Alexandra Onuf analyzes the successive states of the plates and the changes to the series as a whole in order to reveal the shifting artistic and contextual valences of the images at their different moments and places of publication. This unique case study allows for a new perspective on the trajectory of print publishing over the course of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries across multiple publishing houses, highlighting the seminal importance of print publishers in the creation and dissemination of visual imagery and cultural ideas. Looking at other visual materials and contemporary sources – including texts as diverse as humanist poetry and plays, agricultural manuals, polemical broadsheets, and peasant songs – Onuf situates the Small Landscapes within the larger cultural discourse on rural land and the meaning of the local in the turbulent early modern Netherlands. The study focuses new attention on the active and reciprocal intersections between printed pictures and broader cultural, economic and political phenomena.

    Table of Contents

    Cover Image

    List of Color Plates

    List of Figures

    List of Abbreviations

    List of Permissions


    Introduction: Reading the Small Landscapes

    1. Publication

    Drawings into Prints

    The Small Landscape Prints

    "Gheconterfeyt naer dleven": Pictorial Truth and the Small Landscapes

    The Cartographic Connection

    The Landscapes of Hieronymus Cock

    Ruined Landscapes

    World Landscapes in Print

    Landscapes after Pieter Bruegel and Hans Bol

    Hieronymus Cock and Varietas in Landscape

    Innovation in the Small Landscapes

    2. Reception

    Cock’s Elite Patrons and Supporters

    Audiences for the Small Landscapes at Home and Abroad

    Antwerp’s Hinterlands

    Urban Ties to Rural Property

    The Speelhuis Phenomenon

    Praise of the Country House and the Country Life

    The Landjuweel of 1561: Propaganda and the Popular Perception of Country Life

    Rural Countryside as Cultural Ideal

    3. Repetition

    Antwerp, Crisis and Recovery

    Philips Galle’s 1601 edition of the Small Landscapes

    Theodoor Galle’s Third Edition of the Small Landscapes

    "In Pictorum Gratiam": The Small Landscapes as Models for Painters in Antwerp

    Prints and Painters I: Abel Grimmer

    Prints and Painters II: Pieter Brueghel the Younger

    The Small Landscapes Renewed and The Local Landscape Recast

    4. Migration

    Claes Visscher at the Sign of the Fisher

    Visscher’s Copies of the Small Landscapes

    Picturing Brabant in Amsterdam

    Brabant and Holland: Visscher’s Visual Analogy

    5. Transformation

    Johannes Galle and the Business of Reproductive Print Publishing

    Old Landscapes in a New Style

    Importing Narrative into Landscape

    Landscapes of their Time: The End of the Twelve Years’ Truce

    The Small Landscapes Redux

    Appendix I: Grouping of the 1559 and 1561 Small Landscapes series

    Appendix II: Concordance of editions of the Small Landscapes




    Alexandra Onuf is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Hartford, USA.