Hercules Segers: A Great Modern Artist—From the 17th Century

THE DAILY PIC: In the Metropolitan's show of the Dutch artist, we see him breaking every rule, including some that had yet to be written.

THE DAILY PIC (#1752): The great thing about art history is that it helps you place works of art and understand how they played out in their cultural moment. And sometimes it’s also useless.

My own art history, such as it is, failed me completely when it came to pigeonholing the amazing painting-print hybrids of Hercules Segers, the 17th-century Dutchman who is now getting his first major American solo at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. His unbelievably complex and often barely intelligible images, mostly of fairly nondescript landscapes, look more like they were made in 1890 that 1630. They quite simply ought not to exist, at least in their time and place.

I’m so glad that Segers didn’t realize that what he did was historically impossible. (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, on loan from the City of Amsterdam, collection Michiel Hinloopen)

For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

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