Tracing Landscapes features a set of twenty-four landscape etchings by an anonymous seventeenth-century Flemish engraver. This exhibition brings together, for the first time, all the etchings from this set in addition to eleven of the copied designs drawn about a century earlier by the Venetian artist, Domenico Campagnola (1500-1564). The etchings are thematically united by their pastoral imagery, peasant subjects, and proverbial inscriptions. The full series, published by the Antwerp art dealer Herman de Neyt (1588-1642), is known from a complete set in the Lugt collection at the Fondation Custodia, Paris, where the dealer’s name appears on the first etching in the series (Fig.1 and 2). Tracing Landscapes explores the relationship between Campagnola’s original drawings and the images reproduced in etched set. In this transfer process, qualities of the drawing are lost that prioritized expression and atmosphere. The etchings show an interest in an increasing awareness of the figure within the landscapes and their relationship to the Latin adages that narrate the scene.
The first section, The Drawings, examines the Campagnola drawings and their possible intended use in the original Venetian context with an emphasis on examining the artist’s materials and techniques. The Etchings section evaluates the reproduction and changes made from the original Campagnola drawings when they were published as a set in Antwerp in the seventeenth century. The third section, The Pastoral and the Peasant, focuses on the subjects and their treatment in the drawings and prints. The final section, The Inscriptions, considers how the added moralizing Latin inscriptions placed below each of the etchings impacted the new function of the set. Here, I will explore the interaction between text and image published and reinvented for a Northern audience with an interest in narrative and moral examples within the landscape.
Likely finished works of art, Campagnola’s drawings were studied and admired by his contemporaries and collectors, yet when the images are placed in de Neyt’s set produced in Antwerp, the landscapes are slightly changed and commercialized to fulfill the demands of the Northern viewing audience. Tracing Landscapes aims to investigate how and why particular qualities of Campagnola’s drawings are transferred to the de Neyt set, while also examining the motivation for why some of his qualities are lost in the process.
I would first like to thank my thesis advisor, Professor Monika Schmitter (History of Art and Architecture Department, University of Massachusetts, Amherst) for her continual guidance and editing suggestions. I would like to acknowledge Professor Karen Kurczynski (History of Art and Architecture Department, University of Massachusetts, Amherst) as my second reader of this thesis. I am grateful for her valuable comments on my first draft. I would also like to thank Thomas Bruhn (emeritus Director and Curator of the William Benton Museum of Art), an expert in 17th-19th century European prints and drawings, for his guidance and helpful resources. I would like to thank Henriette Kets de Vries (Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, Smith College Museum of Art) for translations from the Dutch, and Professor Teresa Ramsby (Classics Department, University of Massachusetts, Amherst) for translations of the twenty-four Latin inscriptions. For website design and support, I would like to thank Michele Turre (Senior Faculty Support Specialist- Instructional Technology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.) And finally, I must express my profound gratitude to my family for their continuous encouragement throughout my years of study and through the process of researching and writing this thesis.