The Siege of Bommenede

Simon Wynhoutsz Frisius Netherlandish
After Frans Hogenberg Netherlandish

Not on view

This etching, here attributed to Simon Frisius, is a copy after a 1583 print by Frans Hogenberg produced by Frisius as an illustration for Willem Baudaurtius's Afbeeldinge ende beschryvinghe van alle de veldslagen, belegeringen ende and're notabele geschiedenissen ghevallen in de Nederlanden, published in Amsterdam in 1615 and issued in French translation (as Les guerres de Nassau) the following year. As such, it exemplifies the 17th-century Dutch practice of publishing copies, variants, and later editions of earlier prints that bear overt political signifiance for the young Republic, arguably an effort to construct a national narrative around the struggle for independence, though in this case the work depicts a decisive loss for the Dutch: Spain's 1575 siege of Bommenede resulted in near-total destruction. The print shows the exchange of cannon fire and depicts figures running and even jumping into the water to escape the violence. The caption below the image, distinct from that on Hogenberg's version, refers to this "massacre" by the Spanish as demonstrating the resolve of the Dutch to perish rather than give into tyrrany. Some 75 years after Frisius's etching was published, the village would be completely destroyed by a flood.

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