Jan Both, Dutch, c.1618-1652
Title: Bridge in a Mountain Landscape with Waterfall
Date: c.1645
Medium: Brown ink, graphite, brown and grey wash on paper
18.4 x 26.4 cm
Signed: lower left: Both fe
Credit Line: Purchased, 1887
Object Number: NGI.2020
DescriptionJan Both spent some years in Rome in the late 1630s and early 1640s, where a number of artists, including Claude, Poussin and Herman van Swanevelt, were devising new forms of landscape. They went into the hills outside Rome to sketch, and would later use these drawings as sources for paintings. Although no paintings can be dated to Both's Roman period, he continued to produce Italianate landscapes after his return to Utrecht. Evocations of Rome were highly prized by 17th-century artists and patrons, and paintings of Italianate landscapes were popular all over Europe. Both was particularly important in bringing Italianate art into northern Europe, since he returned to his native country, unlike many other artists, who made their home in Italy. As early as the 17th century, English collections, for example, contained paintings by him.

Few drawings today can be identified as being definitely by Both, and this is one of an even smaller number that can be directly linked to his activity as a printmaker. It is a preparatory drawing used to make an etching entitled 'The Wooden Bridge, Sulmona, Tivoli'. Indentations can be seen on the paper. These were made when the drawing was placed directly on the copper printing plate and the design transferred by tracing along the outlines. In all, Both produced only 10 original etchings after his own drawings, which underlines the rarity of this work.

(National Gallery of Ireland: Essential Guide, 2008)

ProvenanceAmsterdam, 10 March 1817, B. de Bosch sale, Kunstboek, A, lot 10; R.P. Roupell; purchased, Christie's, 12 July 1887, R.P. Roupell sale, lot 952
Exhibition HistoryMaster European Drawings from the Collection of the National Gallery of Ireland, Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Centre, Colorado; Art Gallery, University of Maryland, College Park; Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin; Pierpont Morgan Library, New York; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana; The Minneapolis Museum of Art, Minnesota; The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 1983

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