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De maand januari (Waterman)

De maand januari (Waterman)

Hans Bol (in circa 1580-1581)

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Een feestelijke stoet gaat over een marktplein. Bol heeft zich laten inspireren door de Grote Markt van Bergen op Zoom. Op de achtergrond is de Grote Kerk te herkennen, rechts de slanke toren van de Lakenhal. Van topografische precisie is echter geen sprake, de stad is weergegeven in een gefantaseerd heuvellandschap met links een burcht.

Deze miniatuurtekening is een onderdeel van een set van twaalf maanden, gemaakt als ontwerp voor een prentencyclus, gegraveerd door Adriaen Collaert en uitgegeven door Hans van Luyck.

De maanden zijn te herkennen aan het teken van de dierenriem en de bezigheden die typerend zijn voor de betreffende maand. Ze bevatten allerlei details uit het leven van alledag en getuigen van Bols dubbele talent: als landschapskunstenaar en als 'chroniqueur' van het dagelijks leven.

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Titel De maand januari (Waterman)
Materiaal en techniek Pen in bruine inkt, bruin gewassen, kaderlijn met de pen in bruine inkt, op een rond stuk papier
Tekening > Tweedimensionaal object > Kunstvoorwerp
Locatie Dit object is in het depot
Afmetingen Diameter 140 mm
Makers Tekenaar: Hans Bol
Inventarisnummer MB 2005/T 2 a (PK)
Credits Aankoop met steun van Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Vereniging Rembrandt, Mondriaan Fonds, Stichting Job Dura Fonds en Cultuurfonds, 2005
Collectie Tekeningen & Prenten
Verwervingsdatum 2005
Vervaardigingsdatum in circa 1580-1581
Signatuur geen
Watermerk geen (vH, 5P)
Conditie gedoubleerd
Inscripties geen
Merkteken geen
Tentoonstellingen Amsterdam/Ontario 1972, nr. 3; Rotterdam 2004b; Rotterdam 2008 (coll 1 kw 1); Rotterdam 2009 (coll 2 kw 3); Parijs/Rotterdam 2014, nr. 32.1; Washington 2017, nr. #
Interne tentoonstellingen De Collectie Twee - wissel III, Prenten & Tekeningen (2009)
Het jaar rond met Bol (2004)
Externe tentoonstellingen Bosch to Bloemaert. Early Netherlandish Drawings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (2014)
Bosch to Bloemaert. Early Netherlandish Drawings (2017)
Hoge Luchten, schatten uit het Rijks (2022)
Onderzoek Toon onderzoek Nederlandse tekeningen uit de vijftiende en zestiende eeuw
Literatuur [de serie:] Hollstein III, 1950, p. 51, onder nrs. 66-77; Hollstein IV, 1951, p. 206, onder nrs. 523-534; New Hollstein 2005-2006, part VI, p. 48, onder nrs. 1326-1337; Elen/Van der Coelen 2006, pp. 13-16 [specifiek:] Hautekeete 2012, pp. 349-351, ill. voorkant; Collection Catalogue 2012 (online)
Bruin gewassen > Wassen > Gewassen > Tekentechniek > Techniek > Materiaal en techniek

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Entry bestandscatalogus Vroeg Nederlandse tekeningen uit de 15e en 16e eeuw

Auteur: Albert J. Elen

Deze beschrijving is momenteel alleen beschikbaar in het Engels.

Among the sixteenth-century Netherlandish drawings Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen owns four coherent groups which were made as designs for print series. Groups like these are rather unique as most have not survived or have been dispersed, individual drawings often missing since. These twelve miniature drawings by Hans Bol, which have been kept together in an album and have thus survived complete and in excellent condition, are designs for a series of prints depicting the twelve months, engraved by Adriaen Collaert (ca. 1560-1618) and published by Hans van Luyck in Antwerp around 1580-81.1 The museum owns a complete set of the first edition.

The depiction of the seasons (in series of four) and the months (in series of four, six or twelve) stems from medieval tradition; they are known from calendars in illuminated manuscripts. The genre was made popular by the dissemination of prints after designs by Pieter Bruegel. The artistic merits of the individual drawings in Bol’s series, combining the new landscape vision introduced by Bruegel with a highly accomplished miniature-like technique and great inventiveness, make it a milestone in the history of drawing. Despite their small size—the roundels have a diameter of only 14 cm each and look like miniatures—there is quite a lot to be seen in the carefully executed pen and brown ink drawings. They each show a variety of details from everyday life and bear witness to Bol’s double talent: he was both a landscapist and a ‘chronicler’ of everyday life. He was furthermore a pioneer of town views: some of the places in which the scenes in the twelve drawings are enacted can be identified as Antwerp (February), Brussels (September) and Bergen op Zoom (January).

The months can be identified by the signs of the Zodiac placed at top centre and by the occupations that are characteristic for each month:2 such as celebrating in January and May, skating in February, planting and pruning in March, cultivating the garden in April, shearing sheep in June, harvesting hay and grapes in July-August and September, wine making in October, felling trees and chopping wood in November, slaughtering pigs and processing meat in December.

Seven drawings are dated '1580' (February, May, June, July and September) or '1581' (October and November); all of these, except November are also fully signed. Assuming that the drawings were made in chronological order of the months, it may be concluded that January, March and April were made in 1580 and December in 1581.

In the depictions of the months June, July, August and October the signs of the zodiac were not executed on the sheet itself but each separately on a small circular piece of paper attached to it, probably as corrections. In the engravings – two consecutive months of one copper plate – Collaert has made changes where necessary (September and October), erroneously putting the sign of Pisces upside-down on the February engraving and horizontally mirroring the Cancer image of June. In the consecutively numbered engravings Collaert has added two double cadre Lines around each month, with the name in Latin capitals in between at the top, just above the sign of the zodiac, supplying the first with the names of the designer, engraver and publisher.

The print series served as a source of inspiration to contemporaries, including Bol’s follower Abel Grimmer (1570-1618) from Antwerp, who in 1599 even made a copy of the series in oil on tiny wood panels, of similar dimensions as the prints and in the same direction.3

The Twelve Months theme actually owes its popularity to Hans Bol and his successors. At the end of the sixteenth century the months were depicted in different ways. The landscape etchings with small figures by Peeter van der Borcht are entirely in the spirit of Bol’s series of 1580‑81, whereas Joos de Momper was placing large figures in his foregrounds. The series by Paul Bril (1615) and Jan van de Velde (1616) clearly herald the different ways in which Bol’s example would be followed later. The one chose to depict mountainous landscapes in the Italian manner, whereas the other highlighted the realistic element with lifelike Dutch landscapes. What all the series do however have in common are the signs of the Zodiac in the sky.


The Month January (Aquarius)

On January 6th an Epiphany procession is moving across a market square. Bol drew inspiration from the Grote Markt, the late-medieval market square of Bergen op Zoom, a former harbour city in the North-western part of the Duchy of Brabant, the Barony of Breda, half way between Antwerp and Dordrecht, where Bol was to flee to in 1584. In the background the Grote Kerk can be made out, to the right the slender tower of the Lakenhal (Cloth Hall). The city is situated in an imaginary hilly landscape, with the ruins of a castle on a high slope to the left. Probably, Bol added this element because Bergen op Zoom was a heavily fortified town and it derives its name (bergen is Dutch for hills or elevated area; Zoom is the name of the brook running from South to North and ending near the city) from the high shoreline with dunes nearby called the Brabantse wal. Recently, Hautekeete (2012) has presented an analysis of Bol’s working method in composing city views, in particular that of Bergen op Zoom, of which the artist made several panorama drawings from the hills, probably during a stay there in 1577-78.4 For Bol topographical accuracy was not a main concern. Populating the market square he drew heavily on his own repertoire of figures, repeating the elegant couple and the two musicians in the foreground from his earlier drawing of a village street, dated 1573, now in Dresden.5 Seven years later, in 1587, Bol executed an oblong gouache of the same subject, leaving out the just mentioned figure groups in the foreground and adding other figures and cattle (fig. 1).6

This is the design for the first engraving (ill. 2) in the series of illustrations of the months by Adriaen Collaert, published by Hans van Luyck.7 This semi-topographical scene proved popular through the centuries. The city background of Collaert’s print was diligently copied and the composition transformed to a rectangular format by Abel Grimmer in a panel painting dated 1597, in which another artist added human figures to his own design.8 The entire print was reproduced, without source reference, in a lithograph titled Stads-gezicht. Van binnen (City view. Inside the walls) in 1863 to illustrate volume V of W.J. Hofdijk’s six-volume publication on the daily pursuits of our predecessors, in this case the celebration of Epiphany.9

[caption id="attachment_13712" width="800" align="alignleft"]afb. 1 Hans Bol. The 'Grote Markt' in Bergen op Zoom with the new years procession. Bergen op Zoom, Historisch Centrum het Markiezenhof, inv. no. BoZ 7836afb. 1 Hans Bol. The 'Grote Markt' in Bergen op Zoom with the new years procession. Bergen op Zoom, Historisch Centrum het Markiezenhof, inv. no. BoZ 7836[/caption][caption id="attachment_13713" width="796" align="alignleft"]fig. 2 Adriaen Collaert after Hans Bol. The month January (Aquarius), c. 1581. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, inv. no. L 1965/114 afig. 2 Adriaen Collaert after Hans Bol. The month January (Aquarius), c. 1581. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, inv. no. L 1965/114 a[/caption]


1 New Hollstein 2005-06, part VI, pp. 48-56, nos. 1326-1337, illustrated (present in the museum’s collection, two successive months printed together on one sheet of paper, starting with January and February, ending with November and December: inv. no. L 1965/114 a-L).

2 Five years afterwards Bol designed a similar but oblong format series of the Months, with signs of the zodiac and labors of the months, with additional title print (EMBLEMATA EVANGELICA) and including scenes from the Life of Christ, which was likewise engraved by Adriaen Collaert, but published by Egidius Sadeler in 1585; New Hollstein 2005, part II, nos. 225-237, ill., a complete set is in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, inv. no. BdH 10495 BFA 53-10507 BFA 53.

3 In the art trade, see the catalogue of The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), Maastricht 2010, p. 117, ill.

4 Hautekeete 2012, pp. 345-351.

5 Dresden, Kupferstichkabinett, inv. no. C 881; Franz 1965, p. 61, no. 71, pl. 68; Dittrich 1997, pp. 66-67, col.ill; Ketelsen/Hahn 2011, pp. 226, 368, pl. 29, Hautekeete 2012, p. 250, ill. 34.

6 Bergen op Zoom, Historisch Centrum het Markiezenhof, inv. no. BoZ 7836; Jaarverslag Vereniging Rembrandt, Amsterdam 1978, pp. 48-49, ill. According to Hautekeete the church and the hall are depicted more realistically in this gouache than in the January drawing, probably because it was made on commission for an inhabitant of the city and it needed to be topographically recognizable; Hautekeete 2012, pp. 345-351, ill. 26 and 37.

7 New Hollstein 2005-06, part VI, p. 48, no. 1326, ill. on p. 51 (present in the museum’s collection, printed on one sheet of paper with February: inv. no. L 1965/114 a). The date for the publication of the print is rather around 1581 (because some drawings are dated 1581), rather than around 1580, given in New Hollstein.

8 The painting is now in The National Gallery of Art, Washington, another version was in the London art market, dated 1606; R. de Bertier de Sauvigny, Jacob en Abel Grimmer. Catalogue raisonné, [Brussels] 1991, resp. pp. 202-203, no. XV, ill. 92bis, and pp. 226, 229, no. LIII, ill. 113.

9 W.J. Hofdijk, Ons voorgeslacht in zijn dagelyksch leven geschilderd, Haarlem 1863, vol. 5, opposite p. 305, pl. 23.

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Hans Bol

Mechelen 1534 - Amsterdam 1593

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