BREEN, Gillis van
(active 1595-1622 in Haarlem)

Poultry Seller

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Gillis van Breen, a Haarlem printmaker, was one of the apprentices in Hendrick Goltzius's workshop.

In several 17th-century Dutch prints and texts birds refer to lasciviousness and the Dutch verb 'vogelen' (to bird) to sexual intercourse. In the shown engraving by Gillis van Breen, an aged, lecherous man sells bird. The inscription, a dialogue between the man and his female customer, informs us that the dead bird on top of the basket by his feet has already been sold "to a faire alewife whom I bird all year round."

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