Joris Hoefnagel - View of Sevilla (1573)
This magnificent drawing on parchment is truly a pleasure to behold. In fact, the richly decorated edging draws the eye away from the central subject: Seville seen from the north-west. Viewed as a whole, the picture can be regarded as a glorification of this city of commerce, in which every detail reveals part of its story.
Even more remarkable is that the creator of this little gem described himself as self-taught. As the addition to his signature at the bottom of this drawing reveals, he regarded nature as his only master: natura sola magistra. Joris Hoefnagel was the son of a diamond trader from Antwerp and travelled throughout Europe on business. He must have sketched many things while on the road: landscapes, animals and wildlife, so he could draw them in more detail later on. Several courts soon noticed his talent; in fact, when the Duke of Bavaria saw this miniature he made sure he acquired it for his collection and employed Hoefnagel as an artist in residence at his court in Munich.
This drawing was studied for the AGORA Drawings on Web project.
Materials, technique and dimensions: watercolour, bodycolour and gold paint on vellum, mounted on panel, 217 x 323 mm
Inventory number: S.I 23045
Albert V, Duke of Bavaria (1528-1579), Munich; Unknown Spanish owner; Unknown Englishman; acquired for the Department of Manuscripts in 1832 (ms. 11.620); transferred to the Printroom in 1985
E. Fétis, Les artistes belges à l’étranger, Brussels 1857, pp. 117-119; J. Van den Gheyn e.a., Catalogue des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, Brussels 1919, vol. 10, n° 6803; T. Vignau-Wilberg 1985, ‘Joris Hoefnagels Tätigkeit in München’, in: Jahrbuch der kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien, 81 (1985), pp. 107-113; L. Nuti, ‘The Mapped Views by Georg Hoefnagel: The Merchant’s Eye, The Humanist’s Eye’, in: Word & Image, 2 (1988), n° 4, p. 217, ill. 13; A. Albus, Paradies und Paradox: Wunderwerke aus fünf Jahrhunderten, Frankfurt am Main 2002, pp. 159-200; P. Diemer, E. Bujok & D. Diemer, Johann Baptist Fickler. Das Inventar der Münchner herzoglichen Kunstkammer von 1598, Munich 2004, p. 63, n° 375; M. Ilsink, Bosch en Bruegel als Bosch. Kunst over kunst bij Pieter Bruegel (c. 1528-1569) en Jheronimus Bosch (c. 1450-1516) (Nijmeegse Kunsthistorische studies, 17), Nijmegen 2009, pp. 147-148, 182, ill. 65, 85; W. Bracke, Joris Hoefnagel. Vue de Séville, Brussels 2014
Splendeurs d’Espagne et les villes belges 1500-1700, Brussels (Palais des Beaux-Arts) 1985, cat. A6; America. Bride of the Sun. 500 years Latin America and the Low Countries, Antwerp (Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten) 1992, cat. 167; The invention of landscape. From Patinir to Rubens 1520-1650, Vienne (Kunsthistorisches Museum), Essen (Villa Hügel) & Anvers (Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten) 2004, cat. 43; T. Vignau-Wilberg, In Europa zu Hause. Niederländer in München um 1600 / Citizens of Europe. Dutch and Flemish artists in Munich c. 1600, Munich (Neue Pinakothek) 2005, cat. D30; Entre les lignes. Dessins de maîtres anciens du Cabinet des Estampes de la Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, Bruxelles (Bibliothèque royale de Belgique) 2014-2015 (see publication W. Bracke in selective bibliography)