Peasant Family Threatened by Soldiers, plate 2 from The Horrors of the Spanish War (Boereverdriet)

After David Vinckboons Netherlandish
Publisher Boetius Adams Bolswert Netherlandish

Not on view

Although David Vinckboons made only three prints himself, his designs were the basis for more prints than any other Netherlandish artist in the early seventeen century. Many of the prints illustrate proverbs or scenes from contemporary life, often with satirical overtones. The present work is from a series of four engravings published by Boetius Adams Bolswert in 1610. Bolswert was himself a printmaker, best known for his prints after Abraham Bloemaert, the Mannerist artist, and this series has sometimes been attributed to Bloemaert.

The subject of the series is the Eighty Years War (1566/68-1688) during which the domestic population of the Netherlands, many of whom were Protestant, sought to free themselves from Spain and the harsh restrictions that their Catholic rulers placed on them. It focused specifically on the harm inflicted on the peasants: the boerverdriet (peasants’ sorrow).

In the second plate the soldiers and their companions have taken over the house. They are seated at a table, gorging themselves with food and drink, while letting some of it fall to the floor, and creating havoc. The villagers, and an older man and woman, are in real danger. One soldier has forced the man onto his knees and is threatening him with a dagger, while a second chases the woman out the door. The dog appears to be barking at a soldier while a cat gobbles down a fish that has fallen to the floor.

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