A Dutch Hulk and a Boeier


Begun by Frans Huys (fl. 1550-62) and possibly completed by Cornelis Cort (ca. 1530-78), ninth in a series of ten war-ships designed by Brueghel.
Bastelaer 98; New Hollstein 62, first state with the date 1565 near the lower plate edge (as well as 1564 on the stern); Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Drawings and Prints, Metropolitan Museum 2001, pp. 217-18
A fine impression, with fresh relief visible on the verso, trimmed on the platemark all round. A tiny rust-mark in the sky, otherwise in excellent condition. 244 x 195mm.
The Antwerp publisher Hieronymus Cock initiated the project of a series of prints of ships after designs by Bruegel, who frequently worked closely with him. Eight of the ten plates were engraved by Frans Huys, who died in 1562 leaving the project incomplete. It was resumed in 1564 with the present print, followed by a last one. The engraver who completed the plate may have been Cornelis Cort.
In the words of Manfred Sellink (Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Drawings and Prints, Metropolitan Museum 2001, p.218), “Whatever the source of their appeal and the circumstances of their design, The Sailing Vessels was a highly original creation that by far surpassed the existing specimens of the genre in technique, style, and imaginative vision. Combining the best of Bruegel’s draftsmanship and Huys’s abilities as an engraver, the series intiatiated a flourishing tradition of portrayals of ships in Dutch art that survived until the nineteenth century.”