The Arno with Fishermen

Stradanusbetween 1580 and 1596

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

In this idyllic scene of fishermen working on the Arno River in Florence at low tide, Stradanus carefully depicted important Florentine monuments such as the Campanile, the Florence Cathedral, and the Palazzo Vecchio. The realistic setting reveals his Netherlandish roots in the close attention to naturalistic and topographical details. The crowded composition and exaggerated, often twisting, movements of the figures reveal the Mannerist influence of Stradanus's years in Florence.

Stradanus changed his mind about the compositional details and replaced the lower center of the drawing, inserting more fishermen and a reclining river god in the center foreground. With an urn and a horn of plenty, the river god serves as a personification of the Arno, the river that bisects Florence.

Stradanus probably made this sheet as part of a series of hunting and fishing scenes commissioned by Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici. The designs, most of which were later engraved, were intended for tapestries to decorate the Medici villa at Poggio a Caiano, but only a few tapestries were ever woven. Artisans later copied this scene in a stucco relief in the courtyard of another Florentine palace.

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  • Title: The Arno with Fishermen
  • Creator: Stradanus
  • Date: between 1580 and 1596
  • Location Created: Netherlands
  • Physical Dimensions: 20.3 x 30 cm (8 x 11 13/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and brown ink, brown and blue wash, and white gouache heightening on gray paper, irregular section cut out and replaced at bottom center by artist
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 83.GG.380
  • Markings: Markings: (Verso) collection marks of John Clermont Witt (L.656a), W. A. Baillie-Grohman (L.370).
  • Inscription: Secondary Inscription: (Recto) at bottom left corner, inscribed "j. Stradanus" in brown ink.
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Flemish
  • Classification: Drawings