Wenceslaus Hollar

How did he do that? And how did he see it?

That was my reaction as I viewed the Wenceslaus Hollar etchings at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art (VMFA). Some of the etchings were incredibly tiny, others were huge. All were extremely detailed.

This one was the size of my thumb.

This was large – and all the people are clearly defined. No squiggles were used to convey an impression.

I find so many creative ideas at the VMFA. I look at artistic styles, evaluating if I want to emulate them in my photography. Sometimes I find answers to things I’m pondering, other times I simply admire what I’m seeing. It’s fun having conversations with strangers, from the docents to people I’ve bumped into as I’m looking at an exhibit. Overall, people are kind and I enjoy hearing what they see and discussing what we think.

I went to the Hollar exhibit for an artist date. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, coined the term as an encouragement to creativity. It’s purpose is to “feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration“. The artist date is “a play date” to woo ourselves, open up new ideas, and keep the creative fire alive. You can find more about artist dates here.

For me, this was an opportunity to explore an art type that I hadn’t previously considered. I learned a great deal about the process, the artist, how sponsors made it possible for him to live and do his work. Personally, I wouldn’t like creating that kind of minutia, but I can appreciate the effort and outcome.

10 Comments

    1. I sure wouldn’t have the patience for it either. He had to use a magnifying glass to do it. These were really tiny for all that detail. My back and neck would hurt after just a few minutes of doing it.

  1. Wow. Pretty amazing what he was able to do.

    I enjoy looking at the artwork of others for the same reason. Artist dates are always fun and usually informative. :)

  2. It is fascinating how some artists can produce such tiny work. There is a current artist who makes tiny sculptures inside a needle’s eye, but I can’t remember his name. I believe he is autistic and maybe that helps with high levels of concentration and attention to details.

    1. The eye of a needle is so small! How would you even find something small enough to put in there? I definitely need to look that up. But yes, what some artists produce is amazing.

    1. I know! It might have said it in the beginning as to how he did it, but I forgot to take a picture of it. I was home and looking through my cell phone pictures before I realized it was a worthy story.

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