A Narrative of Love, Politics, and National Identity in Claes Jansz. Visscher's The Small Landscapes



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



In 1612 Claes Jansz. Visscher published in Amsterdam a suite of 26 prints that has come to be known as The Small Landscapes. These etchings were based on a pair of suites depicting the Flemish countryside originally published by Hieronymus Cock in 1559 and 1561 in Antwerp. Visscher made significant alterations to the figural elements of the images. Visscher’s figures act to guide the viewer through the suite. This would suggest a narrative structure to the suite that the contemporary viewer would have to be able to recognize and read. The 17th century Dutch consumer of prints would have been able to recognize The Small Landscapes as a narrative, told through images, that was a rich source for contemplation. Identifiable symbols of love and marriage found throughout the suite suggests that The Small landscapes is in effect a nostalgic and sad love story.



Dutch, Seventeenth century, Visscher, The Small Landscapes, Cock, Bruegel, Wollheim, Nevitt, Mag Uidhir, Pastoral, Swans, Fishermen, Serial print, Print suit, Etching, Narrative, Figural, Staffage