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Ceremonial object

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The inscription on the back of this sheet states that this elegant Mercury was sent as a letter by Gerrit Pietersz to the Utrecht silversmith Adam van Vianen. At top left on the front he wrote that he hoped Mercury would bring his colleague good fortune. As the artful god of eloquence and art, Mercury made an ideal messenger for bringing good wishes to a fellow artist. The remarkably swift and lively draughtsmanship makes this a highlight in Pietersz’s drawn oeuvre.


Title Mercury
Material and technique Pen and brown ink, brown wash
Object type Drawing
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions (Sheet) Height : 243 mm
Width : 195 mm
Makers Draughtsman: Gerrit Pietersz.
Accession number MB 1975/T 28 recto (PK)
Credits Aankoop / Purchase: 1975
Department Drawings & Prints
Acquisition date 01-07-1975
Age maker Between 20 and 30 years old
Signature Signed and annotated 'Sr Vianen laet u / desen mercurius inde Engelen / banck leijden /GP [ligature]' (recto, at upper right, in pen and brown ink)
Watermark Small crowned letter B (44x26mm, near the centre, on P3-4 from the left; vH, 7P, folio). [AE] [for image click thumbnail above the 'zoom in' option]
Provenance Ernst Jürgen Otto (20th c.), Celle (near Hannover); art dealer P&D Colnaghi, London (1960); (?) E. Perman, Stockholm, his sale, Amsterdam (Mak van Waay), 10 June 1975, no. 9 (Gerrit Pietersz), acquired by the museum
Exhibitions De Collectie Twee - wissel II, Prenten & Tekeningen (2009)
External exhibitions Bosch to Bloemaert. Early Netherlandish Drawings (2017)
Research Netherlandish Drawings of the 15th and 16th Centuries.
Literature Ter Molen 1984, vol. 1, p. 31, 67, 97, n. 399; W. Robinson in Washington/New York 1986, no. 95; Van Thiel 1987, pp. 357-359, 367, n. 16; Boon 1992, p. 287, under no. 158; Amsterdam 1993, no. 37; Turner 1996, vol. 24, p. 778: Van Thiel 1999, pp. 74, 168
Material Pen > Writing materials > Desk accessories > Work > Utensil
Brown ink > Ink > Artist's material > Material > Material and technique
Object Drawing > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Technique Brown wash > Washing > Wash > Drawing technique > Technique > Material and technique
Geographical origin Northern Netherlands > The Netherlands > Western Europe > Europe

All about the maker

Gerrit Pietersz.

Amsterdam 1566 - ná 1608