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Cornelis Visscher (1629-58), The Large Cat
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This engraving is one of the most famous prints of a cat. Visscher was a professional engraver of his own and other artists’ designs. This was an unusual occupation in XVII-century Holland where artists generally adopted the less demanded technique of etching. Contemporaries and later connoisseurs eagerly collected Visscher’s work, though they arouse little interest as works of art today.

Visscher has admirably captured the quality of the cat’s stiff whiskers and soft fur, with a glossy sheen on the highlights. The cat appears particularly large because it crowds the frame, leaving just the corners for the arched window, the stone bearing Visscher’s signature, the silhouetted foliage in front of its nose, and the diagonal lines of engraved shadow above its head. The chheky mouse, emerging from the safety of the window bars, injects a small element of drama into an otherwise uneventful scene.

Cornelis Visscher (1629-58), The Large Cat

From The Netherlands, AD 1657.
Ht. 13,9 cm.

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