barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Jan Both (c. 1618-1652)

The Mule Driver

Netherlands, 1630s


22 x 29.5 cm


The mule with a low-slung head struggling under the weight of a heavy load is a motif that frequently appears in Both’s Italianate landscape scenes.

For many, the mule was an affordable means of transport and an ideal working animal, combining the endurance and sure-footedness of a donkey with the strength of a horse. This print, deriving from a painting also by Both, uses the process of etching to experiment with the effects of light and shadow.

Purchased 1955 (No. 55.21) 

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