Detail from [Pan and Apollo] possibly by Jan de Bisschop, known as Johannes Episcopius, 17th century. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.
In this scene, two mythological figures, probably Pan and Apollo, are seated facing each other. It appears to be a musical competition in which each figure leans against a tree and plays a musical instrument. Pan is at the left, playing panpipes.
Apollo is at the right, playing a lyre. A man in flowing draperies at the right gestures toward Pan. Two men sit behind a tree at the left, listening. A dog reclines at the far right corner near Apollo. Apollo's bow and quiver of arrows are suspended on a tree branch at the far right.
The scene is composed within a horizontal linear frame in the shape of an octagon. The model - a painting or drawing - on which this etching by Episcopius may have been based is not known and needs further research.
The tiny collector's mark on the verso of this etching, a circle enclosing a small triangle above the initials "DB," refers to Désiré Bouillard, a 19th-century Belgian engraver, who collected mostly 19th-century prints, especially the prints of Charles Meryon (1821-1868), a masterful French etcher noted for his series, "Etchings of Paris," which he began producing about 1850. Nothing is known about the life of Bouillard.
About the Artist
Jan de Bisschop, known as Johannes Episcopius, lawyer, draughtsman, and etcher, ca. 1628-1671
The identity of the artist of this etching is per pencilled inscriptions on the recto and verso of this print: "Episcopius" and "J. E. Bishop? [sic]." According to Bénézit, Johannes Episcopius was the name used by Jan de Bisschop, a 17th-century Dutch lawyer, draughtsman and etcher. Episcopius was born in Amsterdam ca. 1628; and, he died in 1671, though some sources give his death date as 1686 in The Hague. Presumably, after he studied law in Leiden, he made a trip to Italy because there are many copies of Italian paintings attributed to Episcopius in old auction catalogues. Episcopius seems to have been friendly with Constantyn Huygens the elder (1596-1687), a Dutch draughtsman and poet who worked in The Hague. The drawings of Episcopius consist of reproductions of Italian and Dutch landscapes, as well as copies after works by classical and contemporary artists. Among his subjects were religious scenes, genre, landscapes and seascapes, urban views, ruins and animals. Works by Episcopius are found in many of the print collections in European museums: the British Museum in London, the Rijksprentenkabinet in Amsterdam, the Kupferstichkabinet in Berlin, the print collection in Haarlem, and the Albertina in Vienna. Examples of the artist's monogram and a number of chalk or pen and ink wash drawings by Episcopius are listed in Bénézit.
- The identity of Désiré Bouillard as the collector associated with this mark is courtesy of Mme Rhea Blok, Curator, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris, 22 May 2007. Mme Blok sent photocopies of the entry on Bouillard from the important book on collectors' marks by Frits Lugt, "Les Marques de Collections de dessins et d'estampes," 1921, entry no. L.731, which reproduces Bouillard's collector's mark, and from which the above biographical information on Bouillard was drawn. [back to article]