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Frisius, Simon
Topographia Variarum Regionum: plate 9 of 24
1611

Landscape motifs not characteristic of the Netherlands, such as the distant mountains, classical ruins and even mosques seen here, speak of exotic locales as well as the artist’s imagination. The prolific printmaker Frisius travelled widely, even to Russia, but for these views he worked after drawings by the Flemish artist Matthijs Bril, who together with his brother Paul (1554-1626) achieved such renown that they were commissioned for decorative landscape scenes in the papal apartments. Bril’s designs drew on his experience of travel through the Alps and to Italy, and his synthetic scenes continue the abstracted “world landscape” mode pioneered by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (around 1625-1669). Occasionally, allusions to the Netherlandish countryside, such as the presence of a windmill, provided Frisius’ Dutch viewers with domestic points of reference. These eight prints are part of a series of twenty-five, whose diverse content reflects various artistic functions of landscape in this period. Several depict biblical histories, for example Christ and the Pilgrims at Emmaus. More temporal delights appear in a country estate and hunting, leisure pastimes of the elite. There are also several genre scenes with moralizing undertones. This delightful series encapsulates the rich and varied tradition of Flemish landscape that preceded the Dutch realist fashion emerging at around this time.

 
Frisius, Simon
born Harlingen, Netherlands c. 1580; died The Hague, Netherlands 1629
Topographia Variarum Regionum: plate 9 of 24
1611
Engraving on paper
9.3 x 15.3 cm
Purchase, George Taylor Richardson Memorial Fund, 1988
31-040.09

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