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Ferdinand Bol

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The Astrologer

Ferdinand Bol, Dutch, (June 24, 1616–August 24,1680)

Creation date: ca. 1643-1645
Creation place: Netherlands

Other Information

Type: Etching
Medium and Support: Etching
Credit Line: Gift of George C. Kenney II and Olga Kitsakos-Kenney
Accession Number: 1999.5
Dimensions: 5 in. x 3 3/4 in. (12.7 cm x 9.53 cm)


George C. Kenney II, La Jolla, California ( - June 24, 1999)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (June 24, 1999 - )

Label Copy

Bol presents a scholar in his study, a subject found throughout Dutch art. The old man, sitting with writing quill in hand and an inkpot beside his open book, evokes traditional images of Saint Jerome writing his translation of the Bible. The composition is here freed of those particular religious associations, but given the contemplative pause of the aging scholar, the print might be read as a vanitas, a warning against the transitory nature of earthly cares.

With its sketchy lines, light touch, and awkwardly rendered hands, this print fits stylistically among Bol's early works. In this second state, however, Bol has added a signature in the shadows behind the chair at left. This signature is of a type he used in the early 1650s and suggests that he may have reworked and earlier copper plate during his last burst of printmaking activity in the years 1650-53.
Last Updated: 3/23/2010

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