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Hercules Seghers

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Hercules Seghers

Hercules Seghers
Hercules Segers, Town with four towers, c. 1631. Etching & Drypoint. Cincinnati Art Museum. A typically unusual etching: printed in green on coloured cotton, and worked over with grey and black washes.
Born Hercules Pieterszoon Seghers
c. 1589
Haarlem
Died c. 1638
Nationality Dutch
Known for Painting, Printmaking, Landscape art
Movement Dutch Golden Age

Hercules Pieterszoon Seghers or Segers (c. 1589 – c. 1638) was a Dutch painter and printmaker of the Dutch Golden Age.[1] He was "the most inspired, experimental and original landscapist" of his period and an even more innovative printmaker.[2]

Contents

  • Life 1
  • Prints 2
  • Paintings 3
  • Sources 4
  • Footnotes 5
  • External links 6

Life

An imaginary landscape by Seghers. Bredius Museum, Hague - destroyed by fire in October 2007.[1][3]

Hercules was born in Haarlem, as the son of a Mennonite cloth merchant, originally from Flanders, who moved to Amsterdam in 1596. There Hercules was apprenticed to the leading Flemish landscapist of the day Gillis van Coninxloo, but his apprenticeship was presumably cut short by Coninxloo's death in 1606. Seghers and his father bought a number of his works at the auction of the studio contents, as Pieter Lastman did. Seghers' father died in 1612, after which he returned to Haarlem, joining the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke. He returned to Amsterdam in 1614 to obtain custody of an illegitimate daughter, and the following year married Anneke van der Brugghen from Antwerp, who was sixteen years older than he was. In 1620 he bought a large house in the Jordaan on the Lindengracht for about 4,000 guilders, but by the late 1620s he was in debt, and in 1631 had to sell it. From his studio at the top of the house, which was pulled down in 1912, he had a view on the recently finished Noorderkerk which is on one of his etchings.[4] In the same year he moved to Utrecht and started to sell art. In 1633 he moved to the Hague. He appears to have died by 1638, when a Cornelia de Witte is mentioned as widow of a "Hercules Pieterz.". Like much of the detailed documentation of Segher's life, this link depends on the assumed rarity of his first name. Some later sources said that Segers took to drink towards the end of his life and died after falling down the stairs.[5]

His posthumous reputation was boosted by the Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst (Introduction to the High School of Painting) of Samuel van Hoogstraten which presented him rather as a Romantic genius avant la lettre, lonely, poor and misunderstood, based mostly on his etchings.

Prints

Landscape with Fir Etching on painted paper, Rijksmuseum

He is mainly known for his highly innovative etchings, mostly of landscapes, which were often printed on coloured paper or cloth, and with coloured ink, and hand-coloured and often hand-cropped to different sizes. He also made use of drypoint and a form of aquatint as well as other effects, such as running coarse cloth through the press with the print, for a mottled effect.

Altogether only 183 known impressions survive from all his fifty-four plates and most are now in museums; the Rijksmuseum print room has easily the best collection. Rembrandt collected both paintings (he had eight) and prints by Seghers, and acquired one of his original plates, Tobias and the Angel (HB 1),[6] which he reworked into his own Flight into Egypt (B 56), keeping much of the landscape. Rembrandt also reworked the Seghers painting Mountain Landscape, now in the Uffizi, and his landscape style shows some influence from Seghers.

Although the dating of his prints remains unclear, his Town with four towers (HB 29) is believed both to be one of the later prints and, by comparison with paintings, to date from around 1631. Given the small number of surviving impressions, it is unlikely that prints were a major source of income for him. His Pile of books (see Rijksmuseum link) is an unusual still-life subject for a 17th-century print.

He seems to have invented the "sugar-bite" aquatint technique, which was rediscovered in England over a century later by Alexander Cozens (it is also called lift-ground etching).

Paintings

Landscape, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, only attributed to Seghers since 1951.[7]

He was probably best known to his contemporaries for his paintings of landscapes and still-life subjects; his paintings are also rare, with perhaps only fifteen surviving (one was destroyed in a fire in October 2007 [8]). The Stadholder, Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange bought landscapes in 1632. Many of his painted landscapes are fantastic mountainous compositions, whereas in his prints it is often the technical approach rather than the subject which is extreme. His painted landscapes tend to show a wide horizontal view, with emphasis on earth rather than sky; two in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin had strips of sky added at the top later in the century to meet a changed taste. Apart from Coninxloo, Seghers drew from the Flemish landscape tradition, perhaps especially Joos de Momper and Roelandt Savery, but also the "fantastic and visionary aspects of Mannerist" landscape painting.[9] The 1680 inventory of the collection of the marine painter Jan van de Cappelle, who owned five paintings by Seghers, describes one as a view of Brussels, which if correct would presumably mean Seghers travelled there, probably when young, when his style shows most Flemish influence (in so far as the chronology of his work is clear).[1]

Sources

  • George S. Keyes in: K.L. Spangenberg (ed), Six Centuries of Master Prints, Cincinnati Art Museum, 1993, no.s 75 & 76, ISBN 0-931537-15-0

Footnotes


-- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p
  1. ^ a b c Segers is in fact the more common form in contemporary documents, and was used by the painter himself (modern use is about equally divided between the two): Neil MacLaren, The Dutch School, 1600-1800, Volume I, National Gallery Catalogues,p. 418-20, 1991, National Gallery, London, ISBN 0-947645-99-3
  2. ^ Seymour Slive, Dutch Painting, 1600-1800, p. 183, Yale UP, 1995, ISBN 0-300-07451-4
  3. ^ The attribution is contested by many. See other references for the fire in Amersfoort.
  4. ^ Kannegieter, Z.J. (1942) Het huis van Hercules Segers op de Lindengracht te Amsterdam. In: Historische studiën en schetsen, p. 24-25. The actual price of the house is not recorded, and is an estimate by Kannegieter, based on similar sales.
  5. ^ Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder, Mathieu Dubus, avant-gardist
  6. ^ In fact a free copy by Seghers of the Goudt print of Adam Elsheimer's "Large Tobias" painting, now lost. See Slive, op cit p.184
  7. ^ R van Luttervelt, Dutch Museums, p.202, 1960, Thames & Hudson, London.
  8. ^ Armando Museum in Ruins After Fire
  9. ^ Slive op cit, pp.184-5

External links

  • Several works in the Rijksmuseum
  • Works at WGA
  • Hercules Seghers. Pictures and Biography

Etchings:

  • from Cincinnati (have to click "I accept these terms" at bottom first screen)Town with four towers
  • Ruins of the Abbey of Rijnsburg: Small VersionNGA Washington,
  • Enclosed ValleyCleveland

Paintings:

  • Mountainous LandscapeThe Bredius Museum This probably is the Seghers painting, that was destroyed by the fire in the Armando Museum in Amersfoort on October 22, 2007.
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, MadridExtensive landscape with armed men
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