Ferdinand Bol (Dutch, Dordrecht 1616–1680 Amsterdam)
Etching, drypoint and engraving
Sheet: 7 3/16 x 8 1/2 in. (18.21 x 21.59cm)
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1995
Not on view
This dark and subtle etching is one of the artist's most expressive. Only the muted light that glows through the large window on the right gently illuminates the mother and child and picks out the edges of objects within the background shadows. Just distinguishable behind the nursing Virgin is Joseph at the ready with a cloth in his hands. Bol created such delicate tonal effects within a considerably obscured composition by slightly varying the dense etched hatchings and enhancing it with drypoint and burin. The seventeenth-century Dutch household setting reveals little of the religious nature of this scene; the Virgin, however, wears archaic dress characteristic of biblical figures in works of this period. Bol, who discreetly signed and dated the print in one of the oval windowpanes, went to Amsterdam to study with Rembrandt van Rijn about 1636. Although he produced this print shortly after he left Rembrandt's studio and established himself as an independent artist, the striking chiaroscuro still bears strong stylistic connections to his master's work. The subject also depends on Rembrandt thematically, notably on his etched and painted domestic scenes featuring the Holy Family.
Inscription: Numbers inscribed in brown ink at top left verso - only partly legible
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," October 4, 2005–January 9, 2006.
Hollstein III.4 Rovinski Eleves 4
Diana Meade Tsurutani The Etchings of Ferdinand Bol Master's thesis, Oberlin College. Master's thesis, 1974 no.4.
Clifford S. Ackley Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt. 1980, p. 100.
Walter Liedtke, Nadine Orenstein, Carolyn Logan, Stephanie S. Dickey Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 2, 1995, cat. no. cat. no. 104.
Carmen C. Bambach, Suzanne Boorsch, Nadine Orenstein, Carolyn Logan, Perrin Stein "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1995-1996." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 54, no. 2, Autumn 1996, (entry by Nadine M. Orenstein), p. 28, ill.