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De maand mei (Tweeling)

De maand mei (Tweeling)

Hans Bol (in 1580)

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Een groepje rijk uitgedoste jongelui vermaakt zich onder de hoge bomen van een kasteeltuin. Er wordt gegeten, gedronken en muziek gespeeld. Twee koppels flaneren tussen de loslopende pauwen. In het midden bevindt zich een kolfbaan en links een lange kaatsbaan. Op de vijver op de achtergrond zijn mensen aan het spelevaren.

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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Specificaties

Titel De maand mei (Tweeling)
Materiaal en techniek Pen in bruine inkt, bruin gewassen, kaderlijn met de pen in bruine inkt, op een rond stuk papier
Objectsoort
Tekening > Tweedimensionaal object > Kunstvoorwerp
Locatie Dit object is in het depot
Afmetingen Diameter 140 mm
Makers Tekenaar: Hans Bol
Inventarisnummer MB 2005/T 2 e (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 1580
Signatuur ‘hans bol / 1580’ gesigneerd en gedateerd (links middenonder, in pen in bruine inkt)
Watermerk geen (vH, 5P)
Conditie gedoubleerd
Inscripties geen
Merkteken geen
Herkomst zie onder inv.nr. MB 2005/T 2 a
Tentoonstellingen Amsterdam/Ontario 1972, nr. 3; Rotterdam 2004b; Rotterdam 2008 (coll 1 kw 1); Rotterdam 2009 (coll 2 kw 3); Parijs/Rotterdam 2014, nr. 32.5; Washington 2017, nr. #
Interne tentoonstellingen De Collectie Twee - wissel III, Prenten & Tekeningen (2009)
Het jaar rond met Bol (2004)
Vroege Nederlandse tekeningen - Van Bosch tot Bloemaert (deel 3) (2015)
Externe tentoonstellingen Bosch to Bloemaert. Early Netherlandish Drawings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (2014)
Bosch to Bloemaert. Early Netherlandish Drawings (2017)
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; Collection Catalogue 2012 (online); Agenda 2022, ill.
Materiaal
Object
Techniek
Bruin gewassen > Wassen > Gewassen > Tekentechniek > Techniek > Materiaal en techniek

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 May (Gemini)

May is a depiction of worldly pleasures in the open air. A group of richly attired young people, obviously members of high society, is having a grand time under the tall trees of a castle garden. There is eating and drinking, and music is being played with a lute. Two couples are sauntering among the stray peacocks. There is a mall in the centre and a fives court to the left. Some people are out boating on the pond in the background.

Bol depicted this theme ten years earlier in a drawing of the Prodigal Son in a rectangular composition, now in New York, which shows a similar group of a man lying in a woman’s lap, holding up a glass of wine, in the lower right corner.4 A similar scene can also be seen in a drawing of Spring, dated 1573, now in Braunschweig.5In 1584 Bol again reverted to this scheme in another depiction of the Prodigal Son, also in Rotterdam (inv. no. MB 1684). In that case the opulence of life at court is contrasted with ordinary life outside the gates. Other details also reappear in drawings by Bol, like the circular island with a tall tree on a small multi-angled building, similar to pavilions in for instance Johannes Sadeler’s print after Bol, representing a castle and gardens with people strolling around.6 Bol drew heavily on his vast repertoire of stock motifs, though seldom exactly copying himself, but instead varying poses and arrangements. Like the drawing of the Prodigal Son (inv. no. MB 1684) this roundel composition is a good example of Bol’s rather stiff handling of linear perspective, with a vanishing point between the building on the left, creating a overwhelming sense of space and depth.

Bol’s primary source of inspiration and motifs in depicting the months were prints designed by Pieter Bruegel, in this case his engraving of the Spring season (‘VER’) published in 1570.7 This famous print, which combines the labors of the months March, April and May, has a similar scene in the background at top left, also in front of a castle.

This is the design for the fifth engraving in the series of illustrations of the months by Adriaen Collaert, published by Hans van Luyck (ill. 1).8 Almost three centuries later, in 1863, Collaert’s print was reproduced, without source reference, in a lithograph titled Burchplein (castle square), an illustration in volume V of W.J. Hofdijk’s six-volume publication on the daily pursuits of our predecessors, in this case the pleasures at court .9

fig. 1 Adriaen Collaert after Hans Bol. The month May (Gemini), c. 1581. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, inv. no. L 1965/114 b

Noten

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 New York, The Metropolitan Museum, inv. no. 1972.118.4; Franz 1965, p. 60, no. 55, pl. 57.

5 Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, inv. 83; Franz 1965, p. 61, no. 69, pl. 67.

6 Likewise, a detail in Tournament scene in front of a castle, with similarities to the Hofvijver and Binnenhof in The Hague, in two consecutive versions: Brussels, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, inv. no. Coll. De Grez 4060/6030, dated 1592; Hamburg, Kunsthalle, inv. no. 35803; Franz 1965, no. 145, pl. 120; Stefes 2011, no. 129, ill.

7 Sellink 2007, p. 225, no. 148, ill.; copy in Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, inv. no. BdH 8016.

8 New Hollstein 2005-06, part VI, p. 49, no. 1330, ill. on p. 53 (present in the museum’s collection, printed on one sheet of paper with June: inv. no. L 1965/114 e).

9 W.J. Hofdijk, Ons voorgeslacht in zijn dagelyksch leven geschilderd, Haarlem 1863, vol. 5, opposite p. 360, pl. 29.

Toon onderzoek Nederlandse tekeningen uit de vijftiende en zestiende eeuw
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Alles over de maker

Hans Bol

Mechelen 1534 - Amsterdam 1593

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