The 'Small Landscape' Prints in Early Modern Netherlands: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The 'Small Landscape' Prints in Early Modern Netherlands

1st Edition

By Alexandra Onuf


248 pages

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pub: 2017-12-04
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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

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



About the Author

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

About the Series

Visual Culture in Early Modernity

A forum for the critical inquiry of the visual arts in the early modern world, Visual Culture in Early Modernity promotes new models of inquiry and new narratives of early modern art and its history. We welcome proposals for both monographs and essay collections that consider the cultural production and reception of images and objects. The range of topics covered in this series includes, but is not limited to, painting, sculpture and architecture as well as material objects, such as domestic furnishings, religious and/or ritual accessories, costume, scientific/medical apparata, erotica, ephemera and printed matter. We seek innovative investigations of western and non-western visual culture produced between 1400 and 1800.


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / General
ART / History / General
ART / Prints
ART / Subjects & Themes / Landscapes
HISTORY / Europe / General
HISTORY / Europe / Western
HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century