Esaias von Hulsen (Dutch, ca. 1570–before 1626)
Made in Stuttgart, Germany
Blackwork; plate: 4 7/16 x 4 3/8 in. (11.2 x 11.1 cm)
The Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1933 (32.123.11)
This sheet is part of a series of square grotesque designs by the goldsmith Esaias von Hulsen. The patterns he created for this series are very complex compilations of animals, human figures, and various objects placed in a network of thin strips characterized by many C-volutes, also known as Schweifwerk. Designs such as these go back to Roman mural decorations, the most famous of which were found in the Domus Aurea in Rome. Renaissance and Baroque artists developed these grotesques further and came up with many “modern” manifestations. Von Hulsen’s prints are remarkable because he is one of the first to break with the Renaissance habit of creating symmetrical designs.