BOLSWERT, Boetius Adamsz.
(b. ca. 1580, Bolsward, d. 1633, Bruxelles)


Boetius à Bolswert, Dutch engraver, part of a family of engravers, the elder brother and instructor of the engraver Schelte Bolswert. His first dated engraving, Interior of the Exchange in Amsterdam (1609), was published by the Amsterdam publisher Michiel Colyn. Boetius Bolswert executed four engravings of the Horrors of the Spanish War after David Vinckboons (1610) and several series after Abraham Bloemaert, with whom he must have had a close relationship (e.g. Pastorals, 1611, and Saints and Hermits, 1612). In his technique, he conscientiously conveyed the sketchy and mannered style of Bloemaert. In large landscapes after Vinckboons and Gillis van Coninxloo III, Bolswert used a denser, more diffuse style (e.g. Village Fair on a Market-place). In 1615 and 1616 the Dutch States-General licensed Boetius to produce portraits after Michiel Miereveld. In 1618 he depicted the ceremonial funeral-bed of the newly-deceased Philipp Wilhelm, Prince of Orange.

At Antwerp between September 1620 and September 1621, Boetius Bolswert was admitted as free Master in the Guild of St Luke. In 1624 he collaborated with the Brussels Jesuit Father Herman Hugo (1588-1629) in the production of the seventeenth century's most popular devotional book, Pia Desideria. This book consisted of a series of 45 emblems by Bolswert with accompanying verses by Hugo.

In 1627 Bolswert was in Brussels where he wrote and illustrated the book Duyfkens and Willemynkens Pilgrimage. This little book was a much-read Catholic devotional book and was translated into French. It described an allegorical voyage to Jerusalem by two sisters.

Boetius à Bolswert established his engraving press in Holland, but he maintained a more extensive publishing house in Antwerp. He took his subjects from Rubens and from other Flemish painters, and himself attempted work in the field of composition.

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