Object: The set of the bears. Untitled plate 15
This image has No Known Copyright Restrictions.
To the best of Te Papa’s knowledge, under New Zealand law:
- there is no copyright or other intellectual property rights in this work in New Zealand; and
- the work may be copied and otherwise re-used in New Zealand without copyright or other intellectual property rights related restriction.
Te Papa will not be liable to you, on any legal basis (including negligence), for any loss or damage you suffer through your use of this material, except in those cases where the law does not allow us to exclude or limit our liability to you.
|Title||The set of the bears. Untitled plate 15|
de Bye, Marcus (etcher), 1664, Netherlands
Gheeraerts I, Marcus (after), 1559
|Classification||prints, etchings, landscapes, works on paper|
x 136mm (Width)
Support: 108mm (Height) x 138mm (Width)
|Credit line||Gift of Bishop Monrad, 1869|
Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder (c. 1520–c. 1590) was a Flemish printmaker and painter associated with the English court of the mid-16th century and mainly remembered as the illustrator of the 1567 edition of Aesop's Fables. He was a keen innovator and experimented with etching at a time when woodcut and increasingly engraving were dominant techniques. For example, his 1562 bird's-eye view of the town of Bruges was etched on no fewer than 10 different plates, and the resulting map measures 1m x 1.8m. Although very highly regarded as a printmaker at the time, his fame has been somewhat eclipsed by his son Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, who revolutionised portraiture at the courts of Elizabeth I and James I. Gheeraerts was clearly a highly intelligent observer - and probably admirer - of animals, but deploying this subject matter was also making a virtue out of necessity, as with the Protestantism that he espoused, the market for religious art had come to almost a standstill. His animals are characterised by a greater naturalism than that seen in counterparts of his predecessors, notably the woodcuts of Virgil Solis and Bernard Salomon. He would be much imitated through the later 16th and 17th centuries. The set of the bears precedes Gheeraerts' illustrations to Aesop's fables, which contains a memorable image of the fable of the bear and the bees, featuring a maddened bear being stung by myriad bees, paying the price for having upset their hives.
The prints in Te Papa's set were made just over a century after Gheeraerts by the Dutch printmaker Marcus de Bye (1639-1688), who also made etchings after his compatriot and near contemporary Paulus Potter of cows, goats and lions, all represented in Te Papa's collection. He either had access to Gheeraerts's drawings of bears, as one account claims or, more likely, made a fresh set of plates. In this etching, the fifteenth in the set, a crouching bear is depicted in a landscape setting, facing left and looking as if they are licking the ground. A figure with animals, probably goats, is in the distance at left.
All but one of the set of 16 prints are in Te Papa's collection.
Dr Mark Stocker Curator, Historical International Art March 2017
Results from DigitalNZ
Searching 27 million digital objects from over 150 content partners across New Zealand
- Untitled (Bay Of Plenty Times, 15 November 1884) - National Library of New Zealand
- Untitled (Bay Of Plenty Times, 15 July 1880) - National Library of New Zealand
- Untitled (Hawke's Bay Herald, 15 September 1886) - National Library of New Zealand
- Untitled (Hawke's Bay Herald, 15 September 1891) - National Library of New Zealand
Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.