Jan Lutma the Younger, punch print self-portrait View larger
Jan Lutma the Younger, punch print self-portrait
Lutma (Jan II), 1624-1689

Matching impressions of four punch print portraits: Jan Lutma the Younger (self-portrait), Jan Lutma the Elder, Pieter Cornelisz. Hooft, Joost van den Vondel

Amsterdam, c. 1669-1681

Four prints, executed in punch engraving, and touched with grey wash, each circa 300 × 220 mm, with slight margins, or trimmed along platemark (pen and ink borderline added at extreme edge of the sheets). Uniformly framed.

The silversmith Jan (or Johannes) Lutma the Younger made about thirty prints, favouring an experimental method of printmaking where the copper plate is scored by a spiked wheel or roulette, in order to achieve tonal effects comparable to those of a wash drawing. The method, a variety of mezzotint, was difficult and seldom practiced except by goldsmiths and silversmiths accustomed to the use of punches. Around 1681 Lutma engraved a self-portrait, and portraits of his father and of two leading contemporary Dutch poets, P.C. Hooft (1581-1647) and Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679), as “living classical busts”, a style popularized by Rubens. The four prints are similar in execution, scale and composition, and as such form a suite within the artist’s engraved oeuvre. They were afterwards extensively touched with grey wash, adding creases to the neck and deepening shadows, possibly by the printmaker himself.

Subjects
Prints - Artists, Dutch & Flemish - Lutma (Jan II), 1624-1689
Authors/Creators
Lutma, Jan II, 1624-1689
Artists/Illustrators
Lutma, Jan II, 1624-1689

Lutma, Jan ii
Amsterdam 1624 – 1689 Amsterdam

Matching impressions of four punch print portraits: Jan Lutma the Younger (self-portrait), Jan Lutma the Elder, Pieter Cornelisz. Hooft, Joost van den Vondel

[Amsterdam? circa 1669-1681]

four prints, executed in punch engraving, and touched with grey wash, each circa 300 × 220 mm, with slight margins, or trimmed along platemark (pen and ink borderline added at extreme edge of the sheets).

■ Self-portrait, with inscriptions Ianus. Lutma. Batavus. Ne te | quaesiveris | extra (Question yourself no further); Per se opere Mallei. 1681. Only state (Hollstein 4)

■ Portrait of Jan Lutma the Elder, inscribed Ianus Lutma. | Posteritati, Obit mdclxix. | Ætatis lxxxv.; Opus Mallei | per Ianum F. Second state, of 2 (Hollstein 6)

■ Portrait of Pieter Cornelisz. Hooft, inscribed P.C. Hooft | Alter Tacitus | Opus Mallei per Ianum Lutma. Only state (Hollstein 7)

■ Portrait of Joost van den Vondel, inscribed Omnibus. | J. Vondelius. | Olor Batavus | O pus Mallei per J. Lutma. Second state, of 2 (Hollstein 8)

Laid to sheets of 19th-century paper, each subject enclosed by black ink and gilt frames drawn on the mount. In very good state of preservation. Uniformly framed by Rollo Whately Ltd.

provenance Christie’s, ‘Important Old Master Prints from a German Family of Title, Part ii,’ London, 18 June 1992, lot 216 (£4800)

references Alfred von Wurzbach, Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon (reprint Amsterdam 1968), ii, p.72, nos. 2-5; F.W.H. Hollstein, Dutch & Flemish Etchings Engravings Woodcuts, xi (Amsterdam 1955), pp.112-114, nos. 4, 6-8

The silversmith Jan (or Johannes) Lutma the Younger made about thirty prints, of which about half are ornament prints after the designs of others. Around 1681 he engraved a self-portrait, and portraits of his father and of two leading contemporary Dutch poets, P.C. Hooft (1581-1647) and Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679). The four prints are similar in execution, scale and composition, and as such form a suite within the artist’s engraved oeuvre. Lutma created no more portrait prints of this type, however his drawn portraits of the Amsterdam mayors Cornelis Witsen and Hendrick Dircksz. Spieghel (the latter dated 1683) could reveal an intention to produce an engraved pantheon of notable individuals of his time.

Jan Lutma the Younger, self-portrait, punch engraving

Jan Lutma the Elder ‘Posteritati’ (c. 1584-1669), punch engraving

Pieter Cornelisz. Hooft (1581-1647), punch engraving

Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679), punch engraving

Lutma identifies these prints in prominent legends as opere mallei (literally, hammer works). They are punch-prints, an experimental method of printmaking where the copper plate is scored by a spiked wheel or roulette, in order to achieve tonal effects comparable to those of a wash drawing. The method, a variety of mezzotint, was difficult and seldom practiced except by goldsmiths and silversmiths accustomed to the use of punches. The prints were afterwards touched with grey wash, adding creases to the neck and deepening shadows. Comparison of multiple impressions led Clifford Ackley to conclude that a contemporary hand, ‘possibly’ the printmaker himself, added the wash.1

The four portraits are ‘living classical busts’ in the style popularized by Rubens. The allusion to classical antiquity is extended by Latin inscriptions and mottoes; Hooft furthermore wears a laurel crown, and Vondel is accompanied by a lyre. All four prints play with trompe l’oeil illusionism: the base of each bust juts out of its niche, and casts a shadow on the name engraved in Roman letters below.

The portraits of Jan Lutma the Elder and Joost van den Vondel are here in second state, after addition of the lettering Obit mdclxix . | Ætatis lxxxv and Omnibus | J Vondelius respectively; the other two prints are in only states.

Impressions known to the writer include

■ Self-portrait (Hollstein 4). Only state: Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, RP-P-OB-48.008 (image);2 Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, P8419; Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum;3 Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, 31.K.12-2 (image); London, British Museum, S.364 (image); Zurich, Zentralbibliothek4

■ Portrait of Jan Lutma the Elder (Hollstein 6). First state: Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, RP-P-1886-A-10468 (image);5 Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, 31.K.12-1 (image); Vienna, MAK - Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, KI 2353 (image).6 Second state: Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, RP-P-1936-443 (image); Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, P8889; Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, P.1785-1991; London, British Museum, S.363 (image); Veste Coburg, Kunstsammlungen, viii,228,3;7 Washington, DC, National Gallery of Art, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund, 1974.61.2 (image)

■ Portrait of P.C. Hooft, (Hollstein 7). Only state. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, RP-P-OB-48.009 (image); Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, M26819; Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, 31.K.12-3 (image); London, British Museum, S.361 (image)

■ Portrait of Joost van den Vondel (Hollstein 8). First state: Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, RP-P-1892-A-17345 (image); Second state: Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, M26818; Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, 31.K.12-4 (image); London, British Museum, S.362 (image); Vienna, MAK - Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, KI 2808 (image)

Lutma made another portrait of his father, in a conventional style, in 1656, the same year that his father was etched by Rembrandt.8

1. Clifford S. Ackley, Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt, catalogue of an exhibition held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 28 October 1980-4 January 1981 (Boston 1981), pp.280-281 no. 195 (describing and reproducing Lutma’s self-portrait). The technique of punch-engraving is discussed by Susan Lambert, The Image Multiplied: five centuries of printed reproductions of paintings and drawings, catalogue accompanying an exhibition held at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (London 1987), no. 72 (enlarged detail and another reproduction of the self-portrait); and by Antony Griffiths, Prints and Printmaking: an Introduction to the History and Techniques (second edition, London 1996), p.78.

2. Dirk Jan Biemond, ‘Historiestukken in zilver: penningen van Johannes Lutma junior’ in Oud Holland: quarterly for Dutch art history 127 (2014), pp.116-154 (p.117 fig. 1).

3. Mila Horký, Künstlerbilder, Künstlermythen: Graphik und Zeichnung des 16. bis 18. Jahrhunderts, catalogue of an exhibition held at the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig, 17 January-1 April 2002 (Braunschweig 2002), pp.28-29 no. 30 (reproduced).

4. Bruno Weber, Das Porträt auf Papier, catalogue for an exhibition held at Zentralbibliothek Zürich, 15 May-14 July1984 (Zurich 1984), p.88 no. 70.

5. Biemond, op. cit., p.136 fig. 34.

6. Franz Ritter, Illustrierter Katalog der Ornamentstichsammlung des Österreichischen Museums für Kunst und Industrie: Erwerbungen seit 1889 (Vienna 1919), p.52.

7. Christiane Wiebel, Aquatinta, oder “Die Kunst mit dem Pinsel in Kupfer zu stechen”: das druckgraphische Verfahren von seinen Anfängen bis zu Goya, catalogue for an exhibition held at Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg, Coburg, 27 July-14 October 2007 (Coburg & Berlin 2007), pp.70-71 fig. 44.

8. Hollstein, op. cit., no. 5; Etchings of Rembrandt and his followers: a selection from the Robert Engel family collection, catalogue for an exhibition held at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1 September-5 October 1977 ([Malibu, CA] 1977), pp.46-47 no. 71; William H. Wilson, Dutch seventeenth century portraiture, the golden age, catalogue for an exhibition held at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, 4 December 1980-8 February 1981 (Sarasota 1980), no. 102.

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