Vredeman de Vries - Architectural Composition plate N - (anno c. 1563)

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Ornamental / Architectonical Manneristic Print.


Artist: Hans Vredeman de Vries (1527-1609)

Engraver / publisher: Hieronymos Cock (1518-1570)

Technique: Original copper-engraving on laid paper.

Date: around ca. 1563


Architect, painter and engraver Hans Vredeman de Vries was born in 1527 in Leeuwarden. Although initially trained as a painter, De Vries is mostly known as an architect and especially for his publications on perspective, architectonical subjects and studies on ornaments. Most of these publications were based on the architectonical theories of the Roman architect: Vitruvius. De Vries was therefore sometimes referred to as the “Vitruvius of Northern-Europe”. 


This ornamental print was published in one of De Vries’ books on architecture in which he gave his audience examples of the classical architectonical orders (Doric, Corinthian, Ionian and Composite) and their appropriate ornamentation. These publications provided many architects, painters, stonemasons and even furniture-makers with the latest fashion in ornament. However, many of the “grotesque” elements did not originate from antiquity but were inventions by De Vries himself.


Engraver, print-seller and publisher Hieronymus Cock from Antwerp published, sold and engraved the designs. Cock is regarded as one of the most important print publishers of his time in Northern Europe. His publishing house played a key role in the transformation of printmaking from activity of individual artists and craftsmen into an industry based on division of labour. His house published more than 1100 prints between 1548 and his death in 1570, a vast number by earlier standards.

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