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The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century

Abraham Blooteling
Dutch, 1640–1690


Mezzotint, 1676
William J. Hitchcock Fund in memory of Grace J. Hitchcock, 1989.33

It is only fitting that Ceres, the ancient Roman goddess of agriculture, grain, and fertility, should be depicted as a young and healthy woman wielding a full basket of sheathed grain. Snakes, often associated with good health in ancient religions, intertwine with the uncut grain at the goddess’s feet.Abraham Blooteling was one of the early practitioners of the mezzotint printing technique. Mezzotint is particularly suited to producing the rich darks and contrasting lights popular in Baroque art. In 1660, Blooteling was in Paris where he met Wallerant Vaillant (see p. 54), who probably introduced him to the mezzotint process. Blooteling often spent time in England and was instrumental in introducing mezzotint there. He was father-in-law to Gerard Valck, whose work also appears in the exhibition (p. 24).