Mercury in a Decorative Frame with Grotesques

Artist: After Adriaen Collaert (Netherlandish, Antwerp ca. 1560–1618 Antwerp)

Date: ca. 1600–1630

Medium: Engraving and blackwork

Dimensions: Sheet: 5 5/16 x 3 9/16 in. (13.5 x 9.1 cm)

Classifications: Prints, Ornament & Architecture

Credit Line: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1924

Accession Number: 23.101.4


This print, a copy after Adriaen Collaert’s Mercury, is from a series of ornament prints showing the individual gods involved in the mythological story of the Judgment of Paris. The gods are placed in roundels and framed by intricate grotesque patterns. The print shows Collaert’s design in reverse and is much cruder in its execution. What is most interesting about this print is that its maker has combined two techniques to create the dark background for his ornaments. Half of the frame is done in blackwork, the other half is filled with horizontal hatchings. The print is most likely a unique piece, made by an artist who was trying out different techniques and studying their effect.