209. [Flemish]

VAN DER HEYDEN, Pieter. After Pieter Bruegel The Elder.

The Battle of the money bags and the strong boxes.

Antwerp, Volcxken Diericx (Aux quatre Vents), 1570

Engraving, 23,7 x 30,7cm, laid paper, signed in the plate "MPA/ P.Bruegel inve(n)t."(narrow margins on three sides, trimmed just within the platemark at the bottom, slightly toned, paper thinned at some places, particularly at the center).

The somewhat enigmatic iconography of this image derived from the fertile imagination of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, who executed the original drawing after which this was engraved. Strongboxes, piggy banks, money bags, barrels of coins, and treasure chests - most of them heavily armed with swords, knives, and lances - attack each other in a ferocious display of chaotic, all-out warfare. The Dutch verses inscribed in the lower margin inform us that "It's all for money and goods, this fighting and quarreling." The image suggests that humanity's lust for money is responsible for violence and war. The concerns for the dangers of acquisitiveness and avarice expressed here had deep resonance in Antwerp at the advent of great turmoil and Iconoclasm. The design for the print is now generally dated 1562-63, although the actual engraving after it, was only published years later. The accompanying inscription "Aux Quatre Vents", referring to the house At the Four Winds, through which many of Bruegel's images were published, is found only on prints issued after the death of Hieronymus Cock, when the Antwerp publishing house was continued by his widow Volcxken Diericx. A fine clear and well-balanced impression of the 2nd state (of 4), before republishing by Johannes Galle. Identical in state and quality to the copy in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Ref. Lebeer 1969, no. 54. - New Hollstein (Bruegel), 78.2. - Brussels 2019, no. 35.

€ 1.500 / 2.000

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