“ Very  Rare  Main  Sheet ”

“ Yet  with  Mighty  Fate  Supernal  is  entwined  no  Bond  Eternal …”

Pieter Nolpe, Breach in Amsterdam St. Anthonis Dike 1651

and  the  Flood  it  rages  fast

Nolpe, Pieter (1613/14 Amsterdam 1652/53). Het Door Breecken vande St. Anthonis Dyck buyten Amsterdam … op den 5. Martij 1651. Today’s near-to-the-city Zeeburg Dike broken at Houtewael through which the floods pour into. On both sides on the top of the main breach gale-lashed people, acting every man for himself. The one constant factor among them is the mounted dike-reeve right outside. Left-side first with smoking chimney the compact pub of Houtewael designated by its shield, surrounded by further people of calmer behavior. Opposite to this a likewise handsome farmhouse directly at a smaller second breach (Diemerdijk?, see below). Looming high in the quite closely seen middle distance four Amsterdam (church) belfries and the wall of masts of the harbor. Etching after Willem Schellincks (about 1627 Amsterdam 1678). Inscribed: Gemackt en gedruckt bij Pieter Nolpe tot Amsterdam, en van W. Schellinckx getekent., otherwise as above and below. Sheet size 16 × 20¼ in (40.7 × 51.4 cm).

Hollstein 208 + Dozy 152, each II (of III); Nagler (1841) 38 (“Very rare main sheet. In Weigel [1838, no. 924:

“ The  great  breach  in  the  dike  in  Amsterdam  after  W. Schellinckx …

Capital  sheet ”]

[communicated as quite remarkable] 6 Thl.”); Andresen-Wessely 12; Wurzbach, Nolpe, 152 + Schellincks 4; cat. de Ridder 741; cat. Davidsohn 1668. – Cf. also Hans-Ulrich Beck, Jan van Goyen at the breach in the dike of Houtewael 1651 in Oud Holland LXXXI (1966), pp. 20-33.

Before the address of de Wit (active until 1706). – With fine margin all around. – Some backed small(est) tears, quite minimal lacking spot in the upper framing line. The upper margin additionally with remains of old narrow backing, the fully smoothed out centerfold in the subject only partially minimally perceptible. In the whole with not unsympathetic slight touch of patina.

Strong  high-contrast  impression

of  this  since  old  rare  large  dramatic  sheet

with facts-rich caption:

“ VERTONINGE ENDE NAE T’LEVEN AFGEBEELT, HET DOOR BREECKEN VANDE St. ANTHONIS DYCK BUYTEN AMSTERDAM, Veroorsaeckt door de hooge Water-vloet mit een stercken Noord westen wint, op den 5. Martij 1651 (In welcken het water 3 duijmen hoger is bevonden, als het was, Inde seer bekende alderheijligen Vloet Anno 1570). door Welck het waeter, met sulcken force en gewelt is Ingestort, dat het in corten tijt een diepte maeckte van 30 Voeten, mede nemende al het gene sijnnen loop mocht hindren, selfs de dijck Vande diemer meer door brekende die Daer door, sodanigh is ondergelopen dat het water (inde selve) wel 16 voeten hoge stondt, tot seer groote schade, van de Ingelanden, ende de omleggende. soo dat t’water over St. Anthonis Mart warmostraet en nieuwe dijck liep. ”

(Report and illustration from life of the breached St. Anthonis Dike outside of Amsterdam, caused by the high water flood at strong northwestern winds, on March 5, 1651, (in which the water was found three thumbs higher than that of the well-known All Saints’ Day Flood of the year 1570) through which the water poured into with such power and force that within short time it amounted to a depth of 30 feet, taking everything with it what might have hindered its course, even the dike of Diemer Meer (of Diemermeer ?, village in 1 km distance 5.16 m below sea-level, the ground of which had been won by draining only in 1629) was breached so that it was inundated and the water (in the same) stood about 16 feet high, to the very great damage of the closer and surrounding country, so that the water run via St. Anthonis (Market?) – Warmoestraat (parallel street to the Damrak, thus best Amsterdam city) and New Dike.)

Outside left of this text then yet identification for: A. t’Volck staende tussen de twee Bruecke(n) op den dijck (The people standing on the two fragments on the dike [right outside]) / B. Een stuck wt den dijk gebroke(n) (A [mighty] piece [before the opposite second breach] broken off the dike) / C. Houte wael.

Houtewael was a hamlet not far to the east of Amsterdam encompassed within its walls soon after 1660. The dyke began outside the St. Anthonis Poort and ran past Diemen to Muiden. Though called uniformly as Anthonis, Diemer, and Zeeburgdijk the caption here obviously distinguishs nevertheless between Anthonis and Diemerdijk.

See also Rembrandt’s The Diemerdijk at Houtewael + Schellingwou seen from the Diemerdijk in Rotterdam (Giltaij, The Drawings by Rembrandt and his School in the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, 1988, 18 + 26 along with [color] ills. pp. 32 + 73 and 88 f. + 112 resp.; to the latter also the notes to the strengthening of the dyke after the breaking). A further one in Washington celebrated as “Rembrandt’s evocative View of Houtewael near the Sint Anthonispoort (c. 1650), which demonstrates his remarkable ability to express space, light, and atmosphere with any economy of means“ (National Gallery Washington regarding the 2006 exhibition “Six Centuries of Master Drawings celebrate 15th anniversary of arrival of Woodner Collection”).


which fascinated the most different artists of the town like 180 years later the Londoner Turner was pulled to the burning Houses of Parliament. So Nolpe not just transferred present Schellincks into copper, but in two large sheets also Jacob Esselens’ (together with Jacob Colyn?, so Weigel 14335) representation, listed by Weigel as “The breached and restored dam of Houte Wael” and priced with just the half of the present sheet. Their designation without indication of a “restored” in Nagler (37) + Wurzbach (153/54 with orig. title). Then there are several paintings of the great overflowing by Jan Asselyn, the Schwerin version of which was engraved by J. J. de Boissieu (1736-1810). And Weigel 11483 listed an etched “Reduced fine copy after J. Asselyn and P. Nolpe” by the natural scientist and amateur artist Eduard d’Alton active in Bonn (1772-1840) at 1 Thlr. + 8 Groschen. Mind, however, Boissieu’s as d’Alton’s engravings are posthumous.

And of course van Goyen’s graphic taking of 1651 Beck (1972) 243 together with the canon of preparing sketches 847/167 to 847/184 of the sketchbook of 1650/51 (among which with /167 “Houtewael, Farmhouse at the Diemerdijk”, see above), of which 243 from nearly the same point of view as Nolpe/Schellincks, but only with Zuider Kerk in the view. And with the quite decisive difference that van Goyen only shows the state after: a calm watery waste with the curious at the breaches and in boats. The drama of the moment was not in his line.

So that then possibly Nolpe’s

present  graphic  contemporary  reproduction  is  the  one  which  at  all .

Filled with nature triumphant and the finiteness of human doings. And graphically of a chiaroscuro priming everything.

As then Thieme-Becker (1931) accentuate his “large reproductive engravings covered by a tight system of lines and dots, partly

with  strong  chiaroscuro  and  of  pictorial  demeanor ”

as characteristic individual group, Wurzbach (1906/11) qualified him with regard to “his two marvelous cavalcades” “as engraver … of superior importance”, and already Nagler (1841) stated he had “recorded great competence in the treatment of the chisel and the etching-needle”.

That  finally  for  Rembrandt’s  “most  magnificent  landscape”  (Seidlitz 212, as likewise Bartsch etc.), the one with the three trees before horizontal town silhouette, it is thought of impressions received at the St. Anthonis Dike or at the Haarlem Dike, is certainly a locally charming, but only marginal addition to the present sheet. A comparison of the dramatic skies of both, however, their cloud-light-contrasts, downright suggests that Rembrandt’s 1643 etching will have been known and in this respect might have stood sponsor to. In such a manner then also an additionally quite astounding, actually capital sheet. And already more than 175 years ago very rare.

With  an  anyway  already  thematic  rarity  of  degree .

Offer no. 15,183 / price on application

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(Buchbindermeisterin I. M. H., im Juli 2013)