Picart, Bernard (1673-1733)

Frontispiece by Bernard Picart to ‘Histori der Nederlandsche vorsten uit de huizen van Beijere, Borgonje, en Oostenryk…’

As Eveline Koolhaas-Grosfeld explains:”HISTORY here hands a pen to PAINTING and urges her to depict the fortunes of the princes that […] have ruled the Netherlands’. Thus begins the caption (in the Dutch version) beneath the print. We see winged History (Personificatie van Geschiedenis) reaching the pen with one hand and with the other pointing at the tapestry held up by Time and Fame. It shows the Maid of Holland, recognizable by her sheaf of arrows and the lion at her feet. To the right of her throne are Liberty, holding a staff with liberty hat, and Religion. In front of them sits Thetis, who is faced by Mars, while above them hovers Mercury: allegories, respectively, of the Dutch naval power, national courage and military art, and extensive trade. The tapestry is bordered with portraits of the princes whose fortunes Painting is asked to ‘describe’. By using this word Picart alludes to the fact that Frans van Mieris Jr. (1687-1763) was a painter as well as a historian, the grandson of the much more famous genre painter Frans van Mieris Sr. The historian Frans Jr. was well served by this talent for painting. He was one of those early eighteenth-century historians who dealt with historical Pyrrhonism by putting forward ‘genuine pieces of evidence’ which particularly included visual source materials. For the History of the Dutch Princes he reproduced more than a thousand historical medals. Picart has visualized this by having Numismatics accompany Painting as ‘help in providing her works of art to strengthen this History’. Also, the putti in the foreground are assisting.” [De Achttiende Eeuw. Jaargang 46(2014), p.3].

The plate is signed and dated on the bottom left: ‘B. Picart invenit et fecit 1732.’ The Rijksmuseum holds a version of the print with French inscription at bottom.

Etching on fine laid paper; trimmed close to plate; total: 348 x 226 mm; in very good condition, mounted on passepartout. Muller IV, p. 3, cat.nr. 7A.

Incl. VAT  242,00

Excl. VAT  200,00