Marcus Gheeraerts I (1521–1636); Master Engraving LARK and BIRD CATCHER - Aesop Fables - 1617


A bird-catcher had set up his snare for the birds. A lark observed these preparations and asked the bird-catcher what he was doing. The man said to the lark that he was founding a city. The man then moved away from the snare. The bird, believing what the man had said, approached and ate some of the bait. Then, without realizing it, he was trapped in the snare. As the bird-catcher ran up and grabbed hold of the lark, the bird said to him, 'Look here, if this is the sort of city you are founding, you won't find many inhabitants for it!' 

The story shows that households and cities are most likely to be deserted when there are harsh people in charge.

Issued in the series:

Vorstelijcke warande der dieren; waer in de Zeden-rijcke Philosophie, Poëtisch, Morael, en Historiael, vermakelijck en treffelijck wort voorghestelt


Plate: 13 x 12 cm. Trimmed to outside plate mark. Hand coloured.

Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder (c. 1520 – c. 1590) was a Flemish printmaker and painter associated with the English court of the mid-16th century and mainly remembered as the illustrator of the 1567 edition of Aesop's Fables.

Gheeraerts is most noteworthy as a printmaker. He was a keen innovator and experimented with etching at a time when woodcut and engraving were dominant techniques. Gheeraerts' style resembles that of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. In his own day, Gheeraerts was particularly famous as a draughtsman of birds and animals, and since the Protestant Reformation had halted the church art market, he showcased his talent in the fable book De warachtighe fabulen der dieren from 1567. He etched the title page and 107 fable illustrations and had his friend, Edewaerd de Dene, write the book's fables in Flemish verse. Gheeraerts based most of his motifs on woodcuts by Virgil Solis and Bernard Salomon but gave his subjects greater naturalism. Gheeraerts added another 18 illustrations and a new title page for a French version of the Fabulen that was published in 1578 under the title Esbatement moral des animaux.[3] A Latin version, Mythologia ethica, was published in the following year with a title page likely based on a drawing by Gheeraerts.

This edition 1617.


de Vries, De Nederlandsche Emblemata, 73; Landwehr, Dutch Emblem Books, 252a; Hollstein, Dutch and Flemish, VII, p. 100, nos. 1-108