Exhibition on Hieronymus Cock travels to Paris

In Paris, more than one hundred and fifty rare prints bring to life the fascinating universe of Hieronymus Cock, the printer who launched Pieter Bruegel's career.

Hieronymus Cock (1518-1570) was the most successful print publisher of his day. In a short span of time, he built up his printing works, known as ‘At the Sign of the Four Winds’ (In de Vier Winden or Aux Quatre Vents), into the most influential print publishing company in Europe. The engravings he brought out were distributed far and wide, ensuring the fame of artists such as Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Frans Floris, Maarten Van Heemskerck and many others. In this exhibition, more than two hundred rare and fragile works on paper give a broad overview of what Cock and his associates produced.

In 1548, the first prints rolled off the presses at the Antwerp publishing firm Aux Quatre Vents (‘At the Sign of the Four Winds’). In the decades that followed, the founders of that company, the Antwerp painter Hieronymus Cock and his wife Volcxken Diericx, would flood Europe with powerful printed images of the highest artistic quality. Cock employed the best etchers to make major masterpieces by great Italian masters such as Raphael, Andrea del Sarto and Giulio Romano available in print. He thus played a crucial part in the breakthrough of new artistic ideas on the whole European continent. As a result of Cock's initiative, Antwerp developed into Europe's leading publishing centre (of prints and other works) in the second half of the 16th Century.

Hieronymus Cock gained great fame and popularity through his long-term artistic and commercial partnership with Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Commissioned by the Antwerp publisher, Breugel designed dozens of unforgettable prints, which permanently defined his great international reputation and that were to have a lasting influence on the history of Dutch and European art.

Exhibition

This exhibition presents the first broad overview of the activities of the Aux Quatre Vents publishing firm in twenty-five years. The activities of Cock and his colleagues are presented to the public through more than two hundred rare and fragile works on paper. Most of the pieces originated from the rich collection of prints and drawings in the Royal Library of Belgium. That institution has in recent years carried out new research into the Aux Quatre Vents firm and its products. Dozens of crucial loans from major national and international collections complete the overview.

The exhibition is the result of in-depth research into Hieronymus Cock’s output and came about as a collaborative project between M – Museum in Louvain, the Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels, Illuminare – Study Centre for Medieval Art, Catholic University of Louvain, and the Fondation Custodia in Paris.

More information

Hieronymus Cock. The Renaissance in Print, 18.09.2013 >< 15.12.2013, Institut Néerlandais, Centre culturel des Pays-Bas, 121 rue de Lille - 75007 Paris
www.institutneerlandais.com