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ID number:  BIRBI-56.6
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Son, Nicolas de
Title / Object name:  Garden scene with courting couples
Object type:  Print
Place made:  Paris
Culture:  French
Date made:  1615
Materials:  Engraving
Measurements:  187 x 269 mm (paper); 405 x 556 mm (mount)
Provenance:  Purchased from Colnaghi's, February 1956

This 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 the lover. The voyeuristic figure lurking in the shadows acts as a warning: innocence will be lost amidst frenetic youthful encounters.

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