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Storytelling in Miniature

Bartholomeus Breenbergh
Dutch, 1598–1657

The Tower of Leoni near Frascati, from “Various Ruined Buildings Within and Without Rome”

Etching, 1640
4 x 2 1/2 in.
William J. Hitchcock Fund in memory of Grace J. Hitchcock, 1986.31

Dutch artist Bartholomeus Breenbergh specialized in landscape and figurative painting influenced by Italian artists and the Italian landscape. He travelled to Rome in 1619, where he remained for 10 years. His print output was somewhat limited—something less than 40 etchings. The majority of his etchings are based on drawings that he made while in Rome. Like in his paintings, he is concerned with atmosphere, space, and light. Figures are ancillary, providing anecdotal interest; however, they are always incorporated thoughtfully, creating a unified composition. Roman ruins in imaginary surroundings are one of Breenbergh’s mainstays. The illusion of depth by use of bold perspective and subtle shading is also a highlight of his prints.