Images of Wenceslaus Hollar on DVD
After his family was ruined by the Sack of Prague in the Thirty Years' War, the young Hollar, who had been destined for the law, determined to become an artist. The earliest of his works that have come down to us are dated 1625 and 1626; they are small plates, and one of them is a copy of a "Virgin and Child" by Dürer, whose influence upon Hollar's work was always great. In 1627 he moved to the region around Stuttgart; before moving to Straßburg, and then, in 1633, to Cologne.
It was in 1636 that he attracted the notice of the famous nobleman and art collector Thomas, earl of Arundel, then on an embassy to the imperial court. Employed as a draftsman he travelled with Arundel to Vienna and Prague, and finally in 1637 returned with him to England where he was to remain for many years. Though he lived in the household of Lord Arundel, he seems not to have worked exclusively for him, but to have begun selling works to publishers, which was afterwards his primary means of distribution.
Hollar produced a variety of works; his plates number some 2740, and include views, portraits, ships, religious subjects, heraldic subjects, landscapes, and still life in many different forms. His architectural drawings, such as those of Antwerp and Strassburg cathedrals, and his views of towns, are to scale, but are intended as pictures as well. He reproduced decorative works of other artists, as in the famous chalice after Mantegna's drawing.
Almost complete collections of Hollar's work are kept in the British Museum, the print room at Windsor Castle and the National Gallery in Prague. Hollar's oeuvre was first catalogued in 1745 (2nd ed. 1759) by George Vertue. The prints were subsequently catalogued in 1853 by Gustav Parthey and in 1982 by Richard Pennington.
This digital collection contains a sampling of 1,300 of his works.
Sample thumbnails taken from the collection.
(Low resolution thumbnails - CD/DVD images are scanned at 300 DPI)