Nicolas de Son

Garden scene with courting couples 

Paris, 1615

Engraving

Paper: 187 x 269 mm; mount: 405 x 556 mm

The etching reproduces a design by the German artist Johan Liss, who worked in Italy between 1621 and 1630. the garden is a reflection of Arcadia, an idealised rural retreat popularised in 16th-century Italian poetry. Two couples stroll around a water feature in an enclosed formal garden, whilst an amorous pair embrace below. The lute, resting against the fountain, is a traditional symbol of lovers. The voyeuristic figure lurking in the shadows acts as a warning: innocence will be lost amidst frenetic youthful encounters.

Purchases 1956 (No.56.6)

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