Envisioning Netherlandish Unity: Claes Visscher’s 1612 Copies of the Small Landscape Prints

Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Title page, from the Regiunculae, et Villae Ali, 1612, British Museum, London

Scholars have long recognized the formal significance of Claes Jansz. Visscher’s 1612 copies of the Small Landscape prints for the development of seventeenth-century Dutch landscapes. The prints, which were originally published in Antwerp in the mid-sixteenth century, represent the rural terrain of Brabant with a direct naturalism and topographic specificity that would later become a hallmark of Dutch Golden Age landscape prints and paintings. This article focuses on the content of the series and attempts to understand the Dutch market and appreciation for views of Brabant in the early seventeenth century. Published in the early years of the Twelve Years’ Truce, likely with the vast émigré population of Southern Netherlanders in mind, the prints visually restore Brabant to its pre-Revolt past of peace and prosperity at the same time as they stimulate hope for a reunification of this lost southern province into a new United Netherlands.

DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2011.3.1.4
 Title page, from “Multifariarum Casularum Ruri,
Fig. 1 Title page, from “Multifariarum Casularum Ruriumq . . . ,” the first set of the Small Landscapes, published by Hieronymus Cock (Antwerp, 1559) (artwork in the public domain)
Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes,  Village Street, 1561,  Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels
Fig. 2 Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes, Village Street, 1561, etching and engraving, 13.2 x 19.5 cm. Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels (artwork in the public domain)
Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes,  Village Road, 1561,  Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels
Fig. 3 Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes, Village Road, 1561, etching and engraving, 13.4 x 19.6 cm., Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels (artwork in the public domain)
Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes,  Country Village with Church, 1561,  Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels
Fig. 4 Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes, Country Village with Church, 1561, etching and engraving, 13.2 x19.7 cm. Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels (artwork in the public domain)
Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes,  Country Village with Church and Bridge, 1561,  Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels
Fig. 5 Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes, Country Village with Church and Bridge, 1561, etching and engraving, 13.3 x 19.4 cm. Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels (artwork in the public domain)
Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes,  Farms with Pond, 1561,  Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels
Fig. 6 Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes, Farms with Pond, 1561, etching and engraving, 13.3 x 19.8 cm. Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels (artwork in the public domain)
Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes,  Farm, 1561,  Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels
Fig. 7 Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes, Farm, 1561, etching and engraving, 13.2 x 19.6 cm. Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Title page, from the Regiunculae, et Villae Ali, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 8 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Title page, from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . . series, 1612, etching, 10 x 15.5 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.4 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Village Street, no. 12 from the Regiunculae, et, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 9 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Village Street, no. 12 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . . series, 1612, etching, 10.1 x 15.6 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.14 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Village Road, no. 4 from the Regiunculae, et Vi, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 10 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Village Road, no. 4 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . . series, 1612, etching, 10 x 15.5 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.6 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Country Village with Church, no. 18 from the Re, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 11 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Country Village with Church, no. 18 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . . series, 1612, etching, 9.9 x 15.4 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.20 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Country Village with Church and Bridge, no. 15, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 12 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Country Village with Church and Bridge, no. 15 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . . series, 1612, etching, 9.9 x 15.5 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.17 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Farms with Pond, no. 9 from the Regiunculae, et, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 13 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Farms with Pond, no. 9 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . . series, 1612, etching, 10.1 x 15.5 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.11 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Farm, no. 13 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Al, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 14 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Farm, no. 13 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . . series, 1612, etching, 10 x 15.7 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.15 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Roode Poort, no. 2 from the Regiunculae, et Vil, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 15 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Roode Poort, no. 2 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae... series, 1612, etching, 9.9 x 15.3 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.5 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Novissima, et Acuratissima Leonis Belgici . . .,  ca. 1610–20,  Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels
Fig. 16 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Novissima, et Acuratissima Leonis Belgici . . ., ca. 1610–20, etching and engraving, 46.8 x 56.9 cm. Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Brussels (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Beacon at Zandvoort, no. 2 from the Plaisante P,  ca. 1611–12,  British Museum, London
Fig. 17 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Beacon at Zandvoort, no. 2 from the Plaisante Plaetsen series, ca. 1611–12, etching, 10.3 x 14.5 cm. British Museum, London, 1987,1003.12 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  The Road Towards Leiden, no. 6 from the Plaisan,  ca. 1611–12,  British Museum, London
Fig. 18 Claes Jansz. Visscher, The Road Towards Leiden, no. 6 from the Plaisante Plaetsen series, ca. 1611–12, etching, 10.3 x 15.9 cm. British Museum, London, 1987,1003.16 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Bleaching Fields Near the Haarlemmer Hout, no.8 ,  ca. 1611–12,  British Museum, London
Fig. 19 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Bleaching Fields Near the Haarlemmer Hout, no. 8 from the Plaisante Plaetsen series, ca. 1611–12, etching, 10.3 x 15.6 cm. British Museum, London, 1987,1003.18 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Road Near the Dunes, no. 10 from the Plaisante ,  ca. 1611–12,  British Museum, London
Fig. 20 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Road Near the Dunes, no. 10 from the Plaisante Plaetsen series, ca. 1611–12, etching, 10.3 x 15.7 cm. British Museum, London, 1987,1003.2 (artwork in the public domain)
  1. 1. On Visscher’s biography and publishing practices, see M. Simon, “Claes Jansz. Visscher” (PhD diss., University of Fribourg, 1958); I. H. van Eeghen, “De familie van de plaatsnijder Claes Jansz Visscher,” Amstelodamum77 (1990): 73–82; and Nadine Orenstein, Huigen Leeflang, Ger Luiten, and Christiaan Schuckman, “Print Publishers in the Netherlands, 1580-1620,” in Ger Luijten et al., eds., Dawn of the Golden Age: Northern Netherlandish Art, 15801620(Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 1993); and Walter Gibson, Pleasant Places: The Rustic Landscape from Bruegel to Ruisdael(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 45.

  2. 2. For Cock’s series, see F. W. H. Hollstein, The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings, and Woodcuts, 1450–1700(Roosendaal, Netherlands, 1993–), vol. 5 (The van Doetecum Family), pt. 1, pp. 94–135, nos. 118–61 [hereafter abbreviated New Hollstein]. For recent scholarship on these series, with references to further literature, see Gibson, Pleasant Places, 1–26; and Alexandra Onuf, “Local Terrains: The Small Landscape Prints and the Depiction of the Countryside in Early Modern Antwerp” (PhD diss., Columbia University, 2006).

  3. 3. Cock’s 1559 title page reads: “Multifariarum casularum ruriumq. Lineamenta curiose ad vivum expressa. Vele ende seer fraeye ghe = leghentheden van diverssche Dorphuysinghen, Hoe-ven, Velden, Straten, ende dyer ghelijcken, met alderhande Beestkens verciert. Al te samen ghe-conterfeyt naer dleven, ende meest rontom Antwerpen gheleghen sijnde. Nu eerst nieuwe ghedruct ended wt laten gaen by Hieronymus Cock. 1559. Cum gratia & privilegio Regis,” the Latin portion of which translates as “Various cottages and places in the countryside. Carefully drawn in a lifelike manner.” The Dutch inscriptions reads: “Many and very fine locations of various village houses, farms, fields, roads and the like, ornamented with all sorts of animals. Altogether drawn in a lifelike manner, and mostly located around Antwerp. Now first printed and published by Hieronymus Cock. 1559. With grace and privilege of the King.” Cock’s 1561 title page reads: “Praediorum villarum et rusticarum casularum icones elenoantissi-mae ad vivum in apre deformatae. Libro Secundo 1561. Hieronymus Cock excudebat cum gratia et privilegio,” which translates as: “Pictures of farms, country houses, and rustic villages elegantly engraved in a lifelike manner. Second Book 1561. Hieronymus Cock published [them] with grace and privilege.” See New Hollstein, 94, 110–11, figs. a and b. For discussion of the contemporary meaning and use of the term naer het leven, see David Freedberg, Dutch Landscape Prints of the Seventeenth Century(London: British Museum Publications, 1980), 10–11; and Walter Melion, Shaping the Netherlandish Canon: Karel van Mander’s Schilderboek(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 63. See also Peter Parshall, “Imago Contrafacto: Images and Facts in the Northern Renaissance,” Art History16, no. 4 (1993): 554–79; and Claudia Swan, “Ad vivum, naer het leven, from the life: Defining a Mode of Representation,” Word and Image11 (1995): 353–72.

  4. 4. The first evidence of Visscher’s interest in topographic imagery can be found in his drawings of sites around Amsterdam and Haarlem, which he produced en plein airas early as 1607. Some of these drawings later served as designs for his Plaisante Plaetsenseries, published around 1611–13, which are discussed in detail below. Even earlier, Hendrick Goltzius made three drawings of landscapes near Haarlem, dated 1603, that are likely the earliest examples of the tendency to sketch from life among Dutch artists. Golztius’s and Visscher’s propensity for drawing topographic sketches directly from life has been attributed to the influence of the Small Landscapes, with which this essay will be primarily concerned, and indicate that Visscher may have first encountered Cock’s Small Landscapesseveral years before he issued his copies and his own landscape print series. For these early drawings, see Luijten et al., Dawn of the Golden Age, 642, 650–55.

  5. 5. For instance, see Freedberg, Dutch Landscape Prints, 21–22, 28; Christopher Brown, Dutch Landscape: The Early Years, Haarlem and Amsterdam 1590–1650.(London: National Gallery, 1986), 18–19, 110–11; and Gibson, Pleasant Places, 1–26, 39–42.

  6. 6. On the organization of Cock’s original two series and the evidence that Visscher relied on the 1561 series rather than Philips Galle’s more recent 1601 edition published in Antwerp, see Onuf, “Local Terrains,” 252 and Appendix I. The final print in Visscher’s series may represent a castle in Warmond, near Leiden. Visscher’s interest in documenting local castles can be seen in his slightly later series of 1617 Four Castles in Holland and Utrecht. See F. W. H. Hollstein, Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings, and Woodcuts, Ca. 1450–1700(Amsterdam: M. Hertzberger, 1949–), 38:87–88, nos. 165–68 [hereafter abbreviated Hollstein]. The one print that Visscher based on a print from Cock’s 1559 series is also, notably, the one that differs most starkly from the original, with much more lush foliage, slightly different contours in the road, and a completely different arrangement of staffage. It is possible that Visscher was working from an intermediate source for this composition, such as an etched or drawn copy of the original print, and thus felt free to take greater liberties with its composition and form.

  7. 7. The widespread republication of sixteenth-century prints in the seventeenth century resulted in the continuing dissemination and availability of older prints on the art market. See Manfred Sellink, “De Markt voor Grafiek in Antwerpen: De Zestiende en Zeventiende Eeuw,” in Copyright Rubens: Rubens en de Grafiek, ed. Nico Van Hout (Ghent: Ludion, 2004), 150–55; and Ann Diels, The Shadow of Rubens: Print Publishing in 17th-Century Antwerp: Prints by the History Painters Abraham Van Diepenbeeck, Cornelis Schut and Erasmus Quellinus II(Turnhout, Belgium: Harvey Miller Publishers, 2009).

  8. 8. The number of prints Visscher published from secondhand plates equaled the number of prints he published from original plates created in his shop. See Orenstein et al., “Print Publishers,” in Luijten et al., Dawn of the Golden Age, 189.

  9. 9. Later instances of Visscher’s copied series include landscapes after Esaias van de Velde first published by Beerendrecht, dated 1614 (Hollstein, 38:148, nos. 319–24), and Boetius à Bolswert’s series of landscapes after Abraham Bloemaert, dated 1620 (Hollstein, 38:141–44, nos. 266–91).

  10. 10. The title page for Theodoor Galle’s edition of the Small Landscapesis undated, though Eric Jan Sluijter has proposed that it appeared in 1610. See Eric Jan Sluijter, “On Brabant Rubbish, Economic Competition, Artistic Rivalry, and the Growth of the Market for Paintings in the First Decades of the Seventeenth Century,” Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art1, no. 2 (2009): www.jhna.org.

  11. 11. This particular case appears to be at variance with broader indications that the import and trade in Flemish art in the Northern Netherlands, as well as the emigration of Flemish artists, was widespread and largely unhindered despite the military and political hostilities between the two regions. See Sluijter, “On Brabant Rubbish,” part III; and Diels, The Shadow of Rubens.

  12. 12. Walter Gibson and Tanja Michalsky have also assessed the alterations that Visscher made in his copies of the Small Landscapes. Michalsky concludes that these changes enhance the viewer’s involvement in the scenes, thus establishing a visual idiom that Visscher likewise exploited in his Plaisante Plaetsenseries and other local landscapes to figure the especially close relationship between the Dutch and their land. See Gibson, Pleasant Places, 39–42; and Tanja Michalsky, “Die Natur der Nation: Überlegungen zur ‘Landschaft’ als Ausdruck nationaler Identität,” in Europa im 17. Jahrhundert: Ein Politischer Mythos und seine Bilder, ed. Klaus Bussmann and Elke Anna Werner (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2004), 345–46.

  13. 13. In a more obvious reference to himself, Visscher prominently includes a fisherman with his nets in the center of the table of contents in front of his address in his Plaisante Plaetsenseries, about which more will be said below. See Hollstein, 38: 85, no. 150.

  14. 14. The title page is in Latin: “Regiunculae, et villae aliquot ducatus Brabantiae, à P. Breugelio delineatae, et in pictorum gratiam, à Nicolao Ioannis Piscatore excusae, & in lucem editae. Amstelodami. 1612.” See Hollstein, 38:144, no. 292. For commentary, see Gibson, Pleasant Places, 41–42; and Michalsky, “Natur der Nation,” 344.

  15. 15. The print of the Roode Port of Antwerp has been identified based on, among other sources, a drawing in the Antwerp Sketchbook in the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett (inv. no. 79 C 2, fol. 46 verso), which shows this gate with the city of Antwerp behind it. In personal communication, Dries Lyna has noted that this was the gate that led north out of the city of Antwerp toward the northern provinces and might thus have been especially resonant for Antwerpers living in the United Provinces.

  16. 16. For a summary of the many proposals regarding the designer’s identity, see Nadine Orenstein, ed., Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Drawings and Prints(New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2001); and Onuf, “Local Terrains,” 23–25, both with further references.

  17. 17. Larry Silver, “The Importance of Being Bruegel: The Posthumous Survival of the Art of Pieter Bruegel the Elder,” in Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Drawings and Prints, 67–84.

  18. 18. The stock list from the Claes auction survives in Wolfenthal. For a discussion of Claes as a print dealer and an identification of many of the prints described in the catalogue he published in 1609, entitled the “Const ende Caert-Register,” see H. W. de Kooker and B. van Selm, Boekcultuur in de Lage Landen, 1500–1800: Bibliografie van publicaties over particulier boekenbezit in Noord- en Zuid-Nederland, verschenen voor 1991(Utrecht, 1993), 217–25, especially note 199. For further assessment of these series and their significance in Visscher’s early publishing career, see Gibson, Pleasant Places, 38.

  19. 19. For the two series, see New Hollstein, vol. 13 (The Collaert Dynasty), pt. 5, pp. 216–32, nos. 1229–52 (Brussels series) and pp. 233–40, nos. 1253–64 (Antwerp series). Ann Diels has written the most comprehensive analysis of these series. See Ann Diels, “Hans Collaert I,” in Met passer en penseel: Brussel en het oude hertogdom Brabant in beeld(Brussels: Dexia, 2000), 206–10; and Diels, “Introduction,” New Hollstein, vol. 13 (The Collaert Dynasty) (2005), part I, p. li, note 110. See also Stefaan Hautekeete, “Van stad en land: Het beeld van Brabant in de vroege topografische tekenkunst,” in Met passer en penseel: Brussel en het oude hertogdom Brabant in beeld(Brussels: Dexia, 2000), 46–57, especially 52–53. Hans Bol had emigrated to Amsterdam in 1591, where he lived and worked until his death in 1593. Jacob Savery and Frans Boels trained in his workshop during their time in the city. As a result, his work and reputation were widely appreciated in the Northern Netherlands. See A. A. van Suchtelen, “Bol, Hans,” in Allgemeines Künster-Lexicon: Die Bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker, ed. K. G. Saur, (Munich: Saur, 1996), 12:359–60. Although Cornelis Claesz.’ stocklist also describes the series as by Bol, Visscher’s attribution has been disputed by scholars, who believe that the drawings related to this series are inconsistent with Bol’s style. See An Zwollo, “Hans Bol, Pieter Stevens en Jacob Savery, enige kanttekeningen,” Oud Holland84, no. 4 (1969): 298–302; and Dutch, Flemish and German Drawings, auction catalogue, Christie’s Amsterdam, November 30, 1987, cat. nos. 6, 12–18.

  20. 20. Visscher’s copies of the Small Landscapeswent on to be published at least two more times in the later seventeenth century, by Pieter de Reyger and Joachim Bormeester in Amsterdam, indicating the longevity of their popularity as well as the diffusion of Visscher’s stock.

  21. 21. The phrase translates as “for the sake of painters.” In a recent article, Boudewijn Bakker makes the case that Hieronymus Cock intended many of his print series for other artists, particularly painters. Several of his title pages, like Visscher’s, specifically dedicated his prints to artists, and Bakker convincingly shows that even those series without such explicit dedications, including several landscape series, were marketed to this receptive audience. Given the long history of recommending print series of all sorts, including landscapes, to artists, and Visscher’s own common use of this formula on several of his title pages, we might view Visscher’s dedication of the Small Landscapecopies to the use of artists as a commonplace as much as a targeted, specific recommendation. See Boudewijn Bakker, “’Pictores adeste!’ Hieronymus Cock Recommending His Print Series,” Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art33 (2007): 62–63.

  22. 22. There are examples of the Small Landscapes being used as models in some of the large painting workshops in Antwerp in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. See Alexandra Onuf, “Small Landscapes in Seventeenth-Century Antwerp,” Burlington Magazine 150, no. 1260 (2008): 190–93.

  23. 23. Nadine Orenstein, “Marketing Prints to the Dutch Republic: Novelty and the Print Publisher,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies28, no. 1 (1998): 156.

  24. 24. H. J. Raupp, “Zur Bedeutung und Symbol für die holländische Landschaftsmalerei des 17. Jahrhunderts,” Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen in Baden-Württenberg17 (1980): 85–110; Josua Bruyn, “Toward a Scriptural Reading of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Landscape Painting,” in Masters of Seventeenth-Century Landscape Painting, ed. P. C. Hutton (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1987), 84–103; Reindert Falkenburg, “De betekenis van het geschilderde Hollandse landschap van de zeventiende eeuw: Een beschouwing naar aanleiding van enkele recente interpretaties,” Theoretische Geschiedenis16 (1989): 131–53; and Boudewijn Bakker, “Levenspelgrimage of vrome wandeling? Claes Visscher en zijn serie Plaisante Plaetsen,” Oud Holland107, no. 1 (1993): 97–115. See also Reindert Falkenburg, “Calvinism and the Emergence of Dutch Seventeenth-Century Landscape Art: A Critical Evaluation,” in Seeing Beyond the Word: Visual Arts and the Calvinist Tradition, ed. Paul Corby Finney (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 1999), 343–68.

  25. 25. Egbert Haverkamp Begemann and Alan Chong, “Dutch Landscape Painting and Its Associations,” in The Royal Picture Gallery, Mauritshuis, ed. H. R. Hoetink (Amsterdam: Meulenhoff/Landshoff, 1985), 56–67; Brown, Dutch Landscape: The Early years, 11–34, especially 26–30; Simon Schama, “Culture as Foreground,” in Masters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Landscape Painting, ed. Peter C. Sutton (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1987), 64–83; Catherine Levesque, Journey through Landscape in Seventeenth-Century Holland: The Haarlem Print Series and Dutch Identity(University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994); Ann Jensen Adams, “Competing Communities in the ‘Great Bog of Europe’: Identity and 17th-Century Dutch Landscape,” in Landscape and Power, ed. W. J. T. Mitchell (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 35–76; and Michalsky, “Natur der Nation,” 333–54.

  26. 26. Huigen Leeflang focuses on the significance of Visscher’s Plaisante Plaetsenseries with reference to Haarlem’s particular history and the city’s representation in literary works, as well as the artistic milieu established there in the early seventeenth century. See Huigen Leeflang, “Dutch Landscape: The Urban View: Haarlem and Its Environs in Literature and Art, 15th–17th Century,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek48 (1997): 53–115. Elsewhere, he makes a closer study of the connection between the Haarlem landscapes and laudatory literary descriptions of the city. See Huigen Leeflang, “Het landschap in boek en prent: Perceptie en interpretatie van vroeg zeventiende-eeuwse Nederlandse lanschapsprenten,” in Nederland naar’t leven: Landschapsprenten uit de Gouden Eeuw, ed. Boudewijn Bakker and Huigen Leeflang (Zwolle: Waanders, 1993), 18–32, which also provides an overview of the multiplicity of approaches to interpreting Dutch landscape prints. Most recently, Walter Gibson has overtly rejected the scriptural interpretation of early Dutch landscapes, arguing instead that rustic landscapes offered a locus amoenusfor urbanites in need of relaxation and rejuvenation, a “playground” for armchair recreation. Gibson, Pleasant Places, especially chapters 3–5.

  27. 27. J. G. C. A Briels, Zuid-Nederlandse Immigratie 1572–1630 (Haarlem: Fibula-Van Dishoeck, 1978).

  28. 28. Ann Jensen Adams has also touched upon the idea that Dutch landscapes had a particular appeal to immigrants from the south, and that they engendered nostalgia in contemporary Dutch viewers, though she does not conjoin these two observations. Sluijter demonstrates that cheap paintings from Antwerp flooded the northern market after the signing of the truce. These imports, intended to meet the demand of an immigrant clientele, were responsible for changing the patterns of both production and reception of art in the north. This evidence of the wide availability of southern paintings in the north runs counter to my hypothesis that the market for prints might have been less open, thus inspiring Visscher to copy the Small Landscapesin Amsterdam despite their availability in Antwerp. See Sluijter, “On Brabant Rubbish,” part III, especially notes 68 and 70 for the nostalgic invocation of the south; and Adams, “Competing Communities,” 35–76.

  29. 29. Visscher himself was a native of Amsterdam, and archival evidence suggests that the Visschers can be documented there since at least 1529. See I. H. van Eeghen, “De familie,” 73.

  30. 30. David Freedberg has convincingly established that landscape prints offered seventeenth-century audiences the possibility of armchair travel; from the safety and comfort of home, the viewer could be transported to places far and near. In the argument that follows, I suggest that in addition to traversing distances virtually, Visscher’s Small Landscapecopies provided an opportunity for virtual time travel as well by presenting a distant place as it existed in times past. See Freedberg, Dutch Landscape Prints, especially 9–20.

  31. 31. The state of the Brabantine countryside after years of serving at the front line during the war is amply illustrated in contemporary texts, songs, and images. Songs from the turn of the century present Brabant and Flanders as “spoiled, destroyed, disgraced,” often as a consequence of the merciless behavior of soldiers. See “Brabant en Vlaanderen in nood” and “Boeren-Litany,” in Johannes van Vloten, Nederlandsche geschiedzangen naar tijdsorde gerangschikt en toegelicht(Amsterdam: K.H. Schadd, 1864), 370–73, 395–97. Frans Hogenberg’s print series documenting the war, Scenes of the Religious and Civil Wars from the History of the Netherlands, France and England from 1559, published continuously over a number of years as the events of the war unfolded, highlight the adverse effects of particular battles on the countryside and its inhabitants, as for instance in his prints of the sieges of Dalen and Oosterweel, among many others. See Karel Kinds, Kroniek van de opstand in de Lage Landen, 1555–1609 ([Netherlands]: ALNU, 1999). The devastation of the countryside became a regular iconographic feature of both prints and paintings produced in Antwerp through the latter decades of the sixteenth and early decades of the seventeenth century. Notably, in the final edition of the Small Landscapes themselves, published by Johannes Galle in the 1630s or 1640s, the original plates were reworked to include marauding soldiers and battles taking place in the foreground and middle ground of these formerly peaceful and idyllic countryside views. For a full account of the circumstances in rural Brabant and the literary and artistic response to these circumstances, see Onuf, “Local Terrains,” 180–205.

  32. 32. See Anna Knaap, “From Low-Life to Rustic Idyll: The Peasant Genre in 17th-Century Dutch Drawings and Prints,” Harvard University Art Museum Bulletin4 (1996): 30–59.

  33. 33. The restoration of a united Netherlands promoted in the early seventeenth century relied on a conception of the Netherlands as a single entity that was of very recent and fragile origins. The local and provincial privileges of each region had for centuries trumped any effort to bind the Netherlands together into a unified political entity, as Charles V and Philip II recognized. Likewise, the diversity of confessional faiths and linguistic groups in the Netherlands made efforts to appeal to religious or cultural singularity impracticable. The idea of a patria,or nation of the Netherlands, only began to take shape in the mid-sixteenth century and was largely forged through collective anti-Spanish sentiment and rhetoric. On the development and limits of notions of Netherlandish nationhood, see Alastair Duke, “The Elusive Netherlands: The Question of National Identity in the Early Modern Low Countries on the Eve of the Revolt,” in Dissident Identities in the Early Modern Low Countries(Farmham, England, and Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2009), 9–51; and Alastair Duke, “In Defence of the Common Fatherland: Patriotism and Liberty in the Low Countries, 1555–1576,” in Networks, Regions and Nations: Shaping Identities in the Low Countries, 1300–1650, ed. Robert Stein and Judith Pollmann (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 217–39, with further literature.

  34. 34. Jonathan Israel, The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall, 1477–1806, Oxford History of Early Modern Europe (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).

  35. 35. Judith Pollmann, “‘Brabanters do fairly resemble Spaniards after all’: Memory, Propaganda and Identity in the Twelve Years’ Truce,” in Public Opinion and Changing Identities in the Early Modern Netherlands: Essays in Honour of Alastair Duke, ed. Judith Pollmann and Andrew Spicer, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions 121 (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 211–27; and Judith Pollmann, “No Man’s Land: Reinventing Netherlandish Identities, 1585–1621,” in Networks, Regions and Nations: Shaping Identities in the Low Countries, 1300–1650, ed. Robert Stein and Judith Pollmann (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 246–47.

  36. 36. See Pierre Nora, Realms of Memory: The Construction of the French Past, ed. Lawrence D Kritzman, trans. Arthur Goldhammer, 3 vols., European Perspectives (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 1–20. My sincere thanks to Irene Schaudies for pointing me toward this reference.

  37. 37. This position became more and more difficult to maintain, politically as well as rhetorically, in the face of the growing evidence that their countrymen to the south did not in fact wish to be freed from Spain but had become staunch loyalists. This was made most strikingly clear in the aftermath of Prince Maurits’s Flemish campaign in 1600, which was expected to illicit the spontaneous revolt of the southerners against the Spanish. Not only did this revolt fail to materialize, but Maurits was shocked to discover that soldiers of the Republic’s army suffered attacks from the local population. Pollmann, “No Man’s Land,” 248–49.

  38. 38. On the other side of the debate, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt sought a permanent peace and the recognition of the independence of the United Provinces, even at the expense of the permanent loss of Brabant and Flanders, and “did not regard the conquest of Brabant and Flanders as an integral and natural part of their war aims.” See A. T. van Deursen, “The Dutch Republic, 1588–1780,” in History of the Low Countries, ed. J. C. H. Blom and E. Lamberts, trans. James C. Kennedy, new ed. (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2006), 155. Jonathan Israel suggests that the militant Protestants were likewise not focused on territorial reconquest. See Israel, The Dutch Republic, 419–20. The political debate about the war became complicated by the religious controversy that arose between the Remonstrants and the Counter-Remonstrants. The doctrinal struggles between these two camps became so heated that the nascent United Provinces teetered on the brink of civil war by the time of the publication of the Remonstrance in 1610. Issues of doctrinal policy became so politically charged as to have a significant impact on the course of military and diplomatic decisions, particularly in regards to the course of the war against Spain. See William van Doodewaard, “Remonstrants, Contra-Remonstrants and the Synod of Dort (1618–1619): The Religious History of the Early Dutch Republic,” Canadian Journal of Netherlandic Studies28 (2007): 140–65.

  39. 39. Pollmann, “No Man’s Land,” 251–57.

  40. 40. The Leo Belgicusdesign was first employed by Austrian cartographer Michael Aitzinger in 1583. It is worth noting that this same format was later used for maps of the province of Holland, including by Visscher himself in 1633 (Hollstein, 38:111, no. 221). By then, the Leo Belgicusform had effectively shifted from symbolizing Netherlandish unity to Holland’s supremacy; however, this development did not take place until long after the end of the truce and the optimism that it engendered. For a summary of Leo Belgicusiconography, see Jan Roegiers and Bart van der Herten, eds., Eenheid op Papier: De Nederlanden in Kaart van Keizer Karel tot Willem I(Leuven: Davidsfonds, 1994). For an analysis of the history of cartographic representations of the seventeen provinces united and their role in the formation of Netherlandish identity, including the Leo Belgicus, see Paul Regan, “Cartography, Chorography and Patriotic Sentiment in the Sixteenth-Century Low Countries,” in Public Opinion and Changing Identities in the Early Modern Netherlands: Essays in Honour of Alastair Duke, ed. Judith Pollmann and Andrew Spicer, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions 121 (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 49–67, especially 66–67.

  41. 41. Hollstein, 38:105, no. 214.

  42. 42. Although Jonathan Israel notes that Protestant refugees from the south most fervently maintained faith in this construct of Netherlandish unity, he argues that this was not the mainstream of either elite and popular opinion, to the point that “in the Dutch Golden Age the idea of a common Fatherland of seventeen provinces played scarcely any part as an inspiration and motive force in culture and politics.” See Israel, The Dutch Republic, 420. Pollmann concurs, arguing that the notions of Netherlandishness evoked by northerners in this period served primarily to consolidate a particularly Dutch identity in contradistinction to the hispanized Southern Netherlanders. See Pollmann, “No Man’s Land.” 241–61. It is possible that the Leo Belgicusformat was simply a holdover from an earlier period of hope for Netherlandish national unity, but I would argue instead that it offers visual proof that the idea of unity still held considerable sway during the Twelve Years’ Truce.

  43. 43. Hollstein, 38:84-86, nos. 149-60. Although 1611–12 is the date most frequently given to these prints, Christiaan Schuckman has argued that the copper plate shown leaning on the ledge of the table of contents represents the Nieuwe Kerk of Amsterdam, which Visscher etched in 1612–13 and which served as an illustration in the 1613 edition of Guicciardini’s Omnium Belgie, published in Amsterdam. This slightly later date might suggest that Visscher etched and published the Plaisante Plaetsenjust after he completed his Small Landscapecopies. See Schuckman in Luijten et al., Dawn of the Golden Age, 653 n12. For recent literature on the series, see Levesque, Journey through Landscape, 35–54, which emphasizes the series’ relationship to the tradition of descriptive geography begun in the Low Countries in the sixteenth century; see Leeflang, “Dutch Landscape: The Urban View” and Gibson, Pleasant Places, particularly 85–116.

  44. 44. The Small Landscapesare routinely acknowledged as the formal precedent for Visscher’s Plaisante Plaetsenseries, and several scholars have discussed the connection between Visscher’s copies of the earlier series and his views of Haarlem explicitly. See, for instance, Gibson, Pleasant Places, 38, 85; and Michalsky, “Nature der Nation,” 344. Catherine Levesque also mentions Visscher’s copies of the Small Landscapes, though she relates the Plaisante Plaetsenmore explicitly to the Large Landscapeseries, designed by Pieter Bruegel and published by Hieronymus Cock slightly before the Small Landscapes, in order to place the Plaisante Plaetsenmore convincingly within the humanist tradition of descriptive geography. See Levesque, Journey through Landscape, 17–41.

  45. 45. Visscher includes more notable monuments in the Haarlem series than one finds in the Small Landscapes, including the historically significant Leper Asylum and the Huis ter Kleef, which had served as a Spanish encampment and headquarters, respectively, during the Spanish siege of Haarlem in 1572–73. In this manner, Visscher introduces a historical resonance to the Plaisante Plaetsen, figuring this landscape not only in its present prosperity and peace but also in the aftermath of the military operations of its recent past. See Levesque, Journey through Landscape, 47–48.

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List of Illustrations

 Title page, from “Multifariarum Casularum Ruri,
Fig. 1 Title page, from “Multifariarum Casularum Ruriumq . . . ,” the first set of the Small Landscapes, published by Hieronymus Cock (Antwerp, 1559) (artwork in the public domain)
Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes,  Village Street, 1561,  Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels
Fig. 2 Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes, Village Street, 1561, etching and engraving, 13.2 x 19.5 cm. Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels (artwork in the public domain)
Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes,  Village Road, 1561,  Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels
Fig. 3 Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes, Village Road, 1561, etching and engraving, 13.4 x 19.6 cm., Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels (artwork in the public domain)
Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes,  Country Village with Church, 1561,  Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels
Fig. 4 Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes, Country Village with Church, 1561, etching and engraving, 13.2 x19.7 cm. Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels (artwork in the public domain)
Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes,  Country Village with Church and Bridge, 1561,  Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels
Fig. 5 Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes, Country Village with Church and Bridge, 1561, etching and engraving, 13.3 x 19.4 cm. Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels (artwork in the public domain)
Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes,  Farms with Pond, 1561,  Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels
Fig. 6 Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes, Farms with Pond, 1561, etching and engraving, 13.3 x 19.8 cm. Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels (artwork in the public domain)
Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes,  Farm, 1561,  Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels
Fig. 7 Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum, after the Master of the Small Landscapes, Farm, 1561, etching and engraving, 13.2 x 19.6 cm. Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Title page, from the Regiunculae, et Villae Ali, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 8 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Title page, from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . . series, 1612, etching, 10 x 15.5 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.4 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Village Street, no. 12 from the Regiunculae, et, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 9 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Village Street, no. 12 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . . series, 1612, etching, 10.1 x 15.6 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.14 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Village Road, no. 4 from the Regiunculae, et Vi, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 10 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Village Road, no. 4 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . . series, 1612, etching, 10 x 15.5 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.6 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Country Village with Church, no. 18 from the Re, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 11 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Country Village with Church, no. 18 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . . series, 1612, etching, 9.9 x 15.4 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.20 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Country Village with Church and Bridge, no. 15, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 12 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Country Village with Church and Bridge, no. 15 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . . series, 1612, etching, 9.9 x 15.5 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.17 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Farms with Pond, no. 9 from the Regiunculae, et, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 13 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Farms with Pond, no. 9 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . . series, 1612, etching, 10.1 x 15.5 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.11 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Farm, no. 13 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Al, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 14 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Farm, no. 13 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae . . . series, 1612, etching, 10 x 15.7 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.15 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Roode Poort, no. 2 from the Regiunculae, et Vil, 1612,  British Museum, London
Fig. 15 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Roode Poort, no. 2 from the Regiunculae, et Villae Aliquot Ducatus Brabantiae... series, 1612, etching, 9.9 x 15.3 cm. British Museum, London, 1936,1116.5 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Novissima, et Acuratissima Leonis Belgici . . .,  ca. 1610–20,  Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Prentenkabinet, Brussels
Fig. 16 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Novissima, et Acuratissima Leonis Belgici . . ., ca. 1610–20, etching and engraving, 46.8 x 56.9 cm. Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Brussels (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Beacon at Zandvoort, no. 2 from the Plaisante P,  ca. 1611–12,  British Museum, London
Fig. 17 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Beacon at Zandvoort, no. 2 from the Plaisante Plaetsen series, ca. 1611–12, etching, 10.3 x 14.5 cm. British Museum, London, 1987,1003.12 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  The Road Towards Leiden, no. 6 from the Plaisan,  ca. 1611–12,  British Museum, London
Fig. 18 Claes Jansz. Visscher, The Road Towards Leiden, no. 6 from the Plaisante Plaetsen series, ca. 1611–12, etching, 10.3 x 15.9 cm. British Museum, London, 1987,1003.16 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Bleaching Fields Near the Haarlemmer Hout, no.8 ,  ca. 1611–12,  British Museum, London
Fig. 19 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Bleaching Fields Near the Haarlemmer Hout, no. 8 from the Plaisante Plaetsen series, ca. 1611–12, etching, 10.3 x 15.6 cm. British Museum, London, 1987,1003.18 (artwork in the public domain)
Claes Jansz. Visscher,  Road Near the Dunes, no. 10 from the Plaisante ,  ca. 1611–12,  British Museum, London
Fig. 20 Claes Jansz. Visscher, Road Near the Dunes, no. 10 from the Plaisante Plaetsen series, ca. 1611–12, etching, 10.3 x 15.7 cm. British Museum, London, 1987,1003.2 (artwork in the public domain)

Footnotes

  1. 1. On Visscher’s biography and publishing practices, see M. Simon, “Claes Jansz. Visscher” (PhD diss., University of Fribourg, 1958); I. H. van Eeghen, “De familie van de plaatsnijder Claes Jansz Visscher,” Amstelodamum77 (1990): 73–82; and Nadine Orenstein, Huigen Leeflang, Ger Luiten, and Christiaan Schuckman, “Print Publishers in the Netherlands, 1580-1620,” in Ger Luijten et al., eds., Dawn of the Golden Age: Northern Netherlandish Art, 15801620(Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 1993); and Walter Gibson, Pleasant Places: The Rustic Landscape from Bruegel to Ruisdael(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 45.

  2. 2. For Cock’s series, see F. W. H. Hollstein, The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings, and Woodcuts, 1450–1700(Roosendaal, Netherlands, 1993–), vol. 5 (The van Doetecum Family), pt. 1, pp. 94–135, nos. 118–61 [hereafter abbreviated New Hollstein]. For recent scholarship on these series, with references to further literature, see Gibson, Pleasant Places, 1–26; and Alexandra Onuf, “Local Terrains: The Small Landscape Prints and the Depiction of the Countryside in Early Modern Antwerp” (PhD diss., Columbia University, 2006).

  3. 3. Cock’s 1559 title page reads: “Multifariarum casularum ruriumq. Lineamenta curiose ad vivum expressa. Vele ende seer fraeye ghe = leghentheden van diverssche Dorphuysinghen, Hoe-ven, Velden, Straten, ende dyer ghelijcken, met alderhande Beestkens verciert. Al te samen ghe-conterfeyt naer dleven, ende meest rontom Antwerpen gheleghen sijnde. Nu eerst nieuwe ghedruct ended wt laten gaen by Hieronymus Cock. 1559. Cum gratia & privilegio Regis,” the Latin portion of which translates as “Various cottages and places in the countryside. Carefully drawn in a lifelike manner.” The Dutch inscriptions reads: “Many and very fine locations of various village houses, farms, fields, roads and the like, ornamented with all sorts of animals. Altogether drawn in a lifelike manner, and mostly located around Antwerp. Now first printed and published by Hieronymus Cock. 1559. With grace and privilege of the King.” Cock’s 1561 title page reads: “Praediorum villarum et rusticarum casularum icones elenoantissi-mae ad vivum in apre deformatae. Libro Secundo 1561. Hieronymus Cock excudebat cum gratia et privilegio,” which translates as: “Pictures of farms, country houses, and rustic villages elegantly engraved in a lifelike manner. Second Book 1561. Hieronymus Cock published [them] with grace and privilege.” See New Hollstein, 94, 110–11, figs. a and b. For discussion of the contemporary meaning and use of the term naer het leven, see David Freedberg, Dutch Landscape Prints of the Seventeenth Century(London: British Museum Publications, 1980), 10–11; and Walter Melion, Shaping the Netherlandish Canon: Karel van Mander’s Schilderboek(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 63. See also Peter Parshall, “Imago Contrafacto: Images and Facts in the Northern Renaissance,” Art History16, no. 4 (1993): 554–79; and Claudia Swan, “Ad vivum, naer het leven, from the life: Defining a Mode of Representation,” Word and Image11 (1995): 353–72.

  4. 4. The first evidence of Visscher’s interest in topographic imagery can be found in his drawings of sites around Amsterdam and Haarlem, which he produced en plein airas early as 1607. Some of these drawings later served as designs for his Plaisante Plaetsenseries, published around 1611–13, which are discussed in detail below. Even earlier, Hendrick Goltzius made three drawings of landscapes near Haarlem, dated 1603, that are likely the earliest examples of the tendency to sketch from life among Dutch artists. Golztius’s and Visscher’s propensity for drawing topographic sketches directly from life has been attributed to the influence of the Small Landscapes, with which this essay will be primarily concerned, and indicate that Visscher may have first encountered Cock’s Small Landscapesseveral years before he issued his copies and his own landscape print series. For these early drawings, see Luijten et al., Dawn of the Golden Age, 642, 650–55.

  5. 5. For instance, see Freedberg, Dutch Landscape Prints, 21–22, 28; Christopher Brown, Dutch Landscape: The Early Years, Haarlem and Amsterdam 1590–1650.(London: National Gallery, 1986), 18–19, 110–11; and Gibson, Pleasant Places, 1–26, 39–42.

  6. 6. On the organization of Cock’s original two series and the evidence that Visscher relied on the 1561 series rather than Philips Galle’s more recent 1601 edition published in Antwerp, see Onuf, “Local Terrains,” 252 and Appendix I. The final print in Visscher’s series may represent a castle in Warmond, near Leiden. Visscher’s interest in documenting local castles can be seen in his slightly later series of 1617 Four Castles in Holland and Utrecht. See F. W. H. Hollstein, Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings, and Woodcuts, Ca. 1450–1700(Amsterdam: M. Hertzberger, 1949–), 38:87–88, nos. 165–68 [hereafter abbreviated Hollstein]. The one print that Visscher based on a print from Cock’s 1559 series is also, notably, the one that differs most starkly from the original, with much more lush foliage, slightly different contours in the road, and a completely different arrangement of staffage. It is possible that Visscher was working from an intermediate source for this composition, such as an etched or drawn copy of the original print, and thus felt free to take greater liberties with its composition and form.

  7. 7. The widespread republication of sixteenth-century prints in the seventeenth century resulted in the continuing dissemination and availability of older prints on the art market. See Manfred Sellink, “De Markt voor Grafiek in Antwerpen: De Zestiende en Zeventiende Eeuw,” in Copyright Rubens: Rubens en de Grafiek, ed. Nico Van Hout (Ghent: Ludion, 2004), 150–55; and Ann Diels, The Shadow of Rubens: Print Publishing in 17th-Century Antwerp: Prints by the History Painters Abraham Van Diepenbeeck, Cornelis Schut and Erasmus Quellinus II(Turnhout, Belgium: Harvey Miller Publishers, 2009).

  8. 8. The number of prints Visscher published from secondhand plates equaled the number of prints he published from original plates created in his shop. See Orenstein et al., “Print Publishers,” in Luijten et al., Dawn of the Golden Age, 189.

  9. 9. Later instances of Visscher’s copied series include landscapes after Esaias van de Velde first published by Beerendrecht, dated 1614 (Hollstein, 38:148, nos. 319–24), and Boetius à Bolswert’s series of landscapes after Abraham Bloemaert, dated 1620 (Hollstein, 38:141–44, nos. 266–91).

  10. 10. The title page for Theodoor Galle’s edition of the Small Landscapesis undated, though Eric Jan Sluijter has proposed that it appeared in 1610. See Eric Jan Sluijter, “On Brabant Rubbish, Economic Competition, Artistic Rivalry, and the Growth of the Market for Paintings in the First Decades of the Seventeenth Century,” Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art1, no. 2 (2009): www.jhna.org.

  11. 11. This particular case appears to be at variance with broader indications that the import and trade in Flemish art in the Northern Netherlands, as well as the emigration of Flemish artists, was widespread and largely unhindered despite the military and political hostilities between the two regions. See Sluijter, “On Brabant Rubbish,” part III; and Diels, The Shadow of Rubens.

  12. 12. Walter Gibson and Tanja Michalsky have also assessed the alterations that Visscher made in his copies of the Small Landscapes. Michalsky concludes that these changes enhance the viewer’s involvement in the scenes, thus establishing a visual idiom that Visscher likewise exploited in his Plaisante Plaetsenseries and other local landscapes to figure the especially close relationship between the Dutch and their land. See Gibson, Pleasant Places, 39–42; and Tanja Michalsky, “Die Natur der Nation: Überlegungen zur ‘Landschaft’ als Ausdruck nationaler Identität,” in Europa im 17. Jahrhundert: Ein Politischer Mythos und seine Bilder, ed. Klaus Bussmann and Elke Anna Werner (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2004), 345–46.

  13. 13. In a more obvious reference to himself, Visscher prominently includes a fisherman with his nets in the center of the table of contents in front of his address in his Plaisante Plaetsenseries, about which more will be said below. See Hollstein, 38: 85, no. 150.

  14. 14. The title page is in Latin: “Regiunculae, et villae aliquot ducatus Brabantiae, à P. Breugelio delineatae, et in pictorum gratiam, à Nicolao Ioannis Piscatore excusae, & in lucem editae. Amstelodami. 1612.” See Hollstein, 38:144, no. 292. For commentary, see Gibson, Pleasant Places, 41–42; and Michalsky, “Natur der Nation,” 344.

  15. 15. The print of the Roode Port of Antwerp has been identified based on, among other sources, a drawing in the Antwerp Sketchbook in the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett (inv. no. 79 C 2, fol. 46 verso), which shows this gate with the city of Antwerp behind it. In personal communication, Dries Lyna has noted that this was the gate that led north out of the city of Antwerp toward the northern provinces and might thus have been especially resonant for Antwerpers living in the United Provinces.

  16. 16. For a summary of the many proposals regarding the designer’s identity, see Nadine Orenstein, ed., Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Drawings and Prints(New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2001); and Onuf, “Local Terrains,” 23–25, both with further references.

  17. 17. Larry Silver, “The Importance of Being Bruegel: The Posthumous Survival of the Art of Pieter Bruegel the Elder,” in Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Drawings and Prints, 67–84.

  18. 18. The stock list from the Claes auction survives in Wolfenthal. For a discussion of Claes as a print dealer and an identification of many of the prints described in the catalogue he published in 1609, entitled the “Const ende Caert-Register,” see H. W. de Kooker and B. van Selm, Boekcultuur in de Lage Landen, 1500–1800: Bibliografie van publicaties over particulier boekenbezit in Noord- en Zuid-Nederland, verschenen voor 1991(Utrecht, 1993), 217–25, especially note 199. For further assessment of these series and their significance in Visscher’s early publishing career, see Gibson, Pleasant Places, 38.

  19. 19. For the two series, see New Hollstein, vol. 13 (The Collaert Dynasty), pt. 5, pp. 216–32, nos. 1229–52 (Brussels series) and pp. 233–40, nos. 1253–64 (Antwerp series). Ann Diels has written the most comprehensive analysis of these series. See Ann Diels, “Hans Collaert I,” in Met passer en penseel: Brussel en het oude hertogdom Brabant in beeld(Brussels: Dexia, 2000), 206–10; and Diels, “Introduction,” New Hollstein, vol. 13 (The Collaert Dynasty) (2005), part I, p. li, note 110. See also Stefaan Hautekeete, “Van stad en land: Het beeld van Brabant in de vroege topografische tekenkunst,” in Met passer en penseel: Brussel en het oude hertogdom Brabant in beeld(Brussels: Dexia, 2000), 46–57, especially 52–53. Hans Bol had emigrated to Amsterdam in 1591, where he lived and worked until his death in 1593. Jacob Savery and Frans Boels trained in his workshop during their time in the city. As a result, his work and reputation were widely appreciated in the Northern Netherlands. See A. A. van Suchtelen, “Bol, Hans,” in Allgemeines Künster-Lexicon: Die Bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker, ed. K. G. Saur, (Munich: Saur, 1996), 12:359–60. Although Cornelis Claesz.’ stocklist also describes the series as by Bol, Visscher’s attribution has been disputed by scholars, who believe that the drawings related to this series are inconsistent with Bol’s style. See An Zwollo, “Hans Bol, Pieter Stevens en Jacob Savery, enige kanttekeningen,” Oud Holland84, no. 4 (1969): 298–302; and Dutch, Flemish and German Drawings, auction catalogue, Christie’s Amsterdam, November 30, 1987, cat. nos. 6, 12–18.

  20. 20. Visscher’s copies of the Small Landscapeswent on to be published at least two more times in the later seventeenth century, by Pieter de Reyger and Joachim Bormeester in Amsterdam, indicating the longevity of their popularity as well as the diffusion of Visscher’s stock.

  21. 21. The phrase translates as “for the sake of painters.” In a recent article, Boudewijn Bakker makes the case that Hieronymus Cock intended many of his print series for other artists, particularly painters. Several of his title pages, like Visscher’s, specifically dedicated his prints to artists, and Bakker convincingly shows that even those series without such explicit dedications, including several landscape series, were marketed to this receptive audience. Given the long history of recommending print series of all sorts, including landscapes, to artists, and Visscher’s own common use of this formula on several of his title pages, we might view Visscher’s dedication of the Small Landscapecopies to the use of artists as a commonplace as much as a targeted, specific recommendation. See Boudewijn Bakker, “’Pictores adeste!’ Hieronymus Cock Recommending His Print Series,” Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art33 (2007): 62–63.

  22. 22. There are examples of the Small Landscapes being used as models in some of the large painting workshops in Antwerp in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. See Alexandra Onuf, “Small Landscapes in Seventeenth-Century Antwerp,” Burlington Magazine 150, no. 1260 (2008): 190–93.

  23. 23. Nadine Orenstein, “Marketing Prints to the Dutch Republic: Novelty and the Print Publisher,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies28, no. 1 (1998): 156.

  24. 24. H. J. Raupp, “Zur Bedeutung und Symbol für die holländische Landschaftsmalerei des 17. Jahrhunderts,” Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen in Baden-Württenberg17 (1980): 85–110; Josua Bruyn, “Toward a Scriptural Reading of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Landscape Painting,” in Masters of Seventeenth-Century Landscape Painting, ed. P. C. Hutton (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1987), 84–103; Reindert Falkenburg, “De betekenis van het geschilderde Hollandse landschap van de zeventiende eeuw: Een beschouwing naar aanleiding van enkele recente interpretaties,” Theoretische Geschiedenis16 (1989): 131–53; and Boudewijn Bakker, “Levenspelgrimage of vrome wandeling? Claes Visscher en zijn serie Plaisante Plaetsen,” Oud Holland107, no. 1 (1993): 97–115. See also Reindert Falkenburg, “Calvinism and the Emergence of Dutch Seventeenth-Century Landscape Art: A Critical Evaluation,” in Seeing Beyond the Word: Visual Arts and the Calvinist Tradition, ed. Paul Corby Finney (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 1999), 343–68.

  25. 25. Egbert Haverkamp Begemann and Alan Chong, “Dutch Landscape Painting and Its Associations,” in The Royal Picture Gallery, Mauritshuis, ed. H. R. Hoetink (Amsterdam: Meulenhoff/Landshoff, 1985), 56–67; Brown, Dutch Landscape: The Early years, 11–34, especially 26–30; Simon Schama, “Culture as Foreground,” in Masters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Landscape Painting, ed. Peter C. Sutton (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1987), 64–83; Catherine Levesque, Journey through Landscape in Seventeenth-Century Holland: The Haarlem Print Series and Dutch Identity(University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994); Ann Jensen Adams, “Competing Communities in the ‘Great Bog of Europe’: Identity and 17th-Century Dutch Landscape,” in Landscape and Power, ed. W. J. T. Mitchell (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 35–76; and Michalsky, “Natur der Nation,” 333–54.

  26. 26. Huigen Leeflang focuses on the significance of Visscher’s Plaisante Plaetsenseries with reference to Haarlem’s particular history and the city’s representation in literary works, as well as the artistic milieu established there in the early seventeenth century. See Huigen Leeflang, “Dutch Landscape: The Urban View: Haarlem and Its Environs in Literature and Art, 15th–17th Century,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek48 (1997): 53–115. Elsewhere, he makes a closer study of the connection between the Haarlem landscapes and laudatory literary descriptions of the city. See Huigen Leeflang, “Het landschap in boek en prent: Perceptie en interpretatie van vroeg zeventiende-eeuwse Nederlandse lanschapsprenten,” in Nederland naar’t leven: Landschapsprenten uit de Gouden Eeuw, ed. Boudewijn Bakker and Huigen Leeflang (Zwolle: Waanders, 1993), 18–32, which also provides an overview of the multiplicity of approaches to interpreting Dutch landscape prints. Most recently, Walter Gibson has overtly rejected the scriptural interpretation of early Dutch landscapes, arguing instead that rustic landscapes offered a locus amoenusfor urbanites in need of relaxation and rejuvenation, a “playground” for armchair recreation. Gibson, Pleasant Places, especially chapters 3–5.

  27. 27. J. G. C. A Briels, Zuid-Nederlandse Immigratie 1572–1630 (Haarlem: Fibula-Van Dishoeck, 1978).

  28. 28. Ann Jensen Adams has also touched upon the idea that Dutch landscapes had a particular appeal to immigrants from the south, and that they engendered nostalgia in contemporary Dutch viewers, though she does not conjoin these two observations. Sluijter demonstrates that cheap paintings from Antwerp flooded the northern market after the signing of the truce. These imports, intended to meet the demand of an immigrant clientele, were responsible for changing the patterns of both production and reception of art in the north. This evidence of the wide availability of southern paintings in the north runs counter to my hypothesis that the market for prints might have been less open, thus inspiring Visscher to copy the Small Landscapesin Amsterdam despite their availability in Antwerp. See Sluijter, “On Brabant Rubbish,” part III, especially notes 68 and 70 for the nostalgic invocation of the south; and Adams, “Competing Communities,” 35–76.

  29. 29. Visscher himself was a native of Amsterdam, and archival evidence suggests that the Visschers can be documented there since at least 1529. See I. H. van Eeghen, “De familie,” 73.

  30. 30. David Freedberg has convincingly established that landscape prints offered seventeenth-century audiences the possibility of armchair travel; from the safety and comfort of home, the viewer could be transported to places far and near. In the argument that follows, I suggest that in addition to traversing distances virtually, Visscher’s Small Landscapecopies provided an opportunity for virtual time travel as well by presenting a distant place as it existed in times past. See Freedberg, Dutch Landscape Prints, especially 9–20.

  31. 31. The state of the Brabantine countryside after years of serving at the front line during the war is amply illustrated in contemporary texts, songs, and images. Songs from the turn of the century present Brabant and Flanders as “spoiled, destroyed, disgraced,” often as a consequence of the merciless behavior of soldiers. See “Brabant en Vlaanderen in nood” and “Boeren-Litany,” in Johannes van Vloten, Nederlandsche geschiedzangen naar tijdsorde gerangschikt en toegelicht(Amsterdam: K.H. Schadd, 1864), 370–73, 395–97. Frans Hogenberg’s print series documenting the war, Scenes of the Religious and Civil Wars from the History of the Netherlands, France and England from 1559, published continuously over a number of years as the events of the war unfolded, highlight the adverse effects of particular battles on the countryside and its inhabitants, as for instance in his prints of the sieges of Dalen and Oosterweel, among many others. See Karel Kinds, Kroniek van de opstand in de Lage Landen, 1555–1609 ([Netherlands]: ALNU, 1999). The devastation of the countryside became a regular iconographic feature of both prints and paintings produced in Antwerp through the latter decades of the sixteenth and early decades of the seventeenth century. Notably, in the final edition of the Small Landscapes themselves, published by Johannes Galle in the 1630s or 1640s, the original plates were reworked to include marauding soldiers and battles taking place in the foreground and middle ground of these formerly peaceful and idyllic countryside views. For a full account of the circumstances in rural Brabant and the literary and artistic response to these circumstances, see Onuf, “Local Terrains,” 180–205.

  32. 32. See Anna Knaap, “From Low-Life to Rustic Idyll: The Peasant Genre in 17th-Century Dutch Drawings and Prints,” Harvard University Art Museum Bulletin4 (1996): 30–59.

  33. 33. The restoration of a united Netherlands promoted in the early seventeenth century relied on a conception of the Netherlands as a single entity that was of very recent and fragile origins. The local and provincial privileges of each region had for centuries trumped any effort to bind the Netherlands together into a unified political entity, as Charles V and Philip II recognized. Likewise, the diversity of confessional faiths and linguistic groups in the Netherlands made efforts to appeal to religious or cultural singularity impracticable. The idea of a patria,or nation of the Netherlands, only began to take shape in the mid-sixteenth century and was largely forged through collective anti-Spanish sentiment and rhetoric. On the development and limits of notions of Netherlandish nationhood, see Alastair Duke, “The Elusive Netherlands: The Question of National Identity in the Early Modern Low Countries on the Eve of the Revolt,” in Dissident Identities in the Early Modern Low Countries(Farmham, England, and Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2009), 9–51; and Alastair Duke, “In Defence of the Common Fatherland: Patriotism and Liberty in the Low Countries, 1555–1576,” in Networks, Regions and Nations: Shaping Identities in the Low Countries, 1300–1650, ed. Robert Stein and Judith Pollmann (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 217–39, with further literature.

  34. 34. Jonathan Israel, The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall, 1477–1806, Oxford History of Early Modern Europe (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).

  35. 35. Judith Pollmann, “‘Brabanters do fairly resemble Spaniards after all’: Memory, Propaganda and Identity in the Twelve Years’ Truce,” in Public Opinion and Changing Identities in the Early Modern Netherlands: Essays in Honour of Alastair Duke, ed. Judith Pollmann and Andrew Spicer, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions 121 (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 211–27; and Judith Pollmann, “No Man’s Land: Reinventing Netherlandish Identities, 1585–1621,” in Networks, Regions and Nations: Shaping Identities in the Low Countries, 1300–1650, ed. Robert Stein and Judith Pollmann (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 246–47.

  36. 36. See Pierre Nora, Realms of Memory: The Construction of the French Past, ed. Lawrence D Kritzman, trans. Arthur Goldhammer, 3 vols., European Perspectives (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 1–20. My sincere thanks to Irene Schaudies for pointing me toward this reference.

  37. 37. This position became more and more difficult to maintain, politically as well as rhetorically, in the face of the growing evidence that their countrymen to the south did not in fact wish to be freed from Spain but had become staunch loyalists. This was made most strikingly clear in the aftermath of Prince Maurits’s Flemish campaign in 1600, which was expected to illicit the spontaneous revolt of the southerners against the Spanish. Not only did this revolt fail to materialize, but Maurits was shocked to discover that soldiers of the Republic’s army suffered attacks from the local population. Pollmann, “No Man’s Land,” 248–49.

  38. 38. On the other side of the debate, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt sought a permanent peace and the recognition of the independence of the United Provinces, even at the expense of the permanent loss of Brabant and Flanders, and “did not regard the conquest of Brabant and Flanders as an integral and natural part of their war aims.” See A. T. van Deursen, “The Dutch Republic, 1588–1780,” in History of the Low Countries, ed. J. C. H. Blom and E. Lamberts, trans. James C. Kennedy, new ed. (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2006), 155. Jonathan Israel suggests that the militant Protestants were likewise not focused on territorial reconquest. See Israel, The Dutch Republic, 419–20. The political debate about the war became complicated by the religious controversy that arose between the Remonstrants and the Counter-Remonstrants. The doctrinal struggles between these two camps became so heated that the nascent United Provinces teetered on the brink of civil war by the time of the publication of the Remonstrance in 1610. Issues of doctrinal policy became so politically charged as to have a significant impact on the course of military and diplomatic decisions, particularly in regards to the course of the war against Spain. See William van Doodewaard, “Remonstrants, Contra-Remonstrants and the Synod of Dort (1618–1619): The Religious History of the Early Dutch Republic,” Canadian Journal of Netherlandic Studies28 (2007): 140–65.

  39. 39. Pollmann, “No Man’s Land,” 251–57.

  40. 40. The Leo Belgicusdesign was first employed by Austrian cartographer Michael Aitzinger in 1583. It is worth noting that this same format was later used for maps of the province of Holland, including by Visscher himself in 1633 (Hollstein, 38:111, no. 221). By then, the Leo Belgicusform had effectively shifted from symbolizing Netherlandish unity to Holland’s supremacy; however, this development did not take place until long after the end of the truce and the optimism that it engendered. For a summary of Leo Belgicusiconography, see Jan Roegiers and Bart van der Herten, eds., Eenheid op Papier: De Nederlanden in Kaart van Keizer Karel tot Willem I(Leuven: Davidsfonds, 1994). For an analysis of the history of cartographic representations of the seventeen provinces united and their role in the formation of Netherlandish identity, including the Leo Belgicus, see Paul Regan, “Cartography, Chorography and Patriotic Sentiment in the Sixteenth-Century Low Countries,” in Public Opinion and Changing Identities in the Early Modern Netherlands: Essays in Honour of Alastair Duke, ed. Judith Pollmann and Andrew Spicer, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions 121 (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 49–67, especially 66–67.

  41. 41. Hollstein, 38:105, no. 214.

  42. 42. Although Jonathan Israel notes that Protestant refugees from the south most fervently maintained faith in this construct of Netherlandish unity, he argues that this was not the mainstream of either elite and popular opinion, to the point that “in the Dutch Golden Age the idea of a common Fatherland of seventeen provinces played scarcely any part as an inspiration and motive force in culture and politics.” See Israel, The Dutch Republic, 420. Pollmann concurs, arguing that the notions of Netherlandishness evoked by northerners in this period served primarily to consolidate a particularly Dutch identity in contradistinction to the hispanized Southern Netherlanders. See Pollmann, “No Man’s Land.” 241–61. It is possible that the Leo Belgicusformat was simply a holdover from an earlier period of hope for Netherlandish national unity, but I would argue instead that it offers visual proof that the idea of unity still held considerable sway during the Twelve Years’ Truce.

  43. 43. Hollstein, 38:84-86, nos. 149-60. Although 1611–12 is the date most frequently given to these prints, Christiaan Schuckman has argued that the copper plate shown leaning on the ledge of the table of contents represents the Nieuwe Kerk of Amsterdam, which Visscher etched in 1612–13 and which served as an illustration in the 1613 edition of Guicciardini’s Omnium Belgie, published in Amsterdam. This slightly later date might suggest that Visscher etched and published the Plaisante Plaetsenjust after he completed his Small Landscapecopies. See Schuckman in Luijten et al., Dawn of the Golden Age, 653 n12. For recent literature on the series, see Levesque, Journey through Landscape, 35–54, which emphasizes the series’ relationship to the tradition of descriptive geography begun in the Low Countries in the sixteenth century; see Leeflang, “Dutch Landscape: The Urban View” and Gibson, Pleasant Places, particularly 85–116.

  44. 44. The Small Landscapesare routinely acknowledged as the formal precedent for Visscher’s Plaisante Plaetsenseries, and several scholars have discussed the connection between Visscher’s copies of the earlier series and his views of Haarlem explicitly. See, for instance, Gibson, Pleasant Places, 38, 85; and Michalsky, “Nature der Nation,” 344. Catherine Levesque also mentions Visscher’s copies of the Small Landscapes, though she relates the Plaisante Plaetsenmore explicitly to the Large Landscapeseries, designed by Pieter Bruegel and published by Hieronymus Cock slightly before the Small Landscapes, in order to place the Plaisante Plaetsenmore convincingly within the humanist tradition of descriptive geography. See Levesque, Journey through Landscape, 17–41.

  45. 45. Visscher includes more notable monuments in the Haarlem series than one finds in the Small Landscapes, including the historically significant Leper Asylum and the Huis ter Kleef, which had served as a Spanish encampment and headquarters, respectively, during the Spanish siege of Haarlem in 1572–73. In this manner, Visscher introduces a historical resonance to the Plaisante Plaetsen, figuring this landscape not only in its present prosperity and peace but also in the aftermath of the military operations of its recent past. See Levesque, Journey through Landscape, 47–48.

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DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2011.3.1.4
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Alexandra Onuf, "Envisioning Netherlandish Unity: Claes Visscher’s 1612 Copies of the Small Landscape Prints," Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art 3:1 (Winter 2011) DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2011.3.1.4