Cut and paste prints at the Rijks Museum

Cut and paste prints at the Rijks Museum

One of the surprising discoveries I made during my visit to the Rijks Museum is that early 17th century prints were not necessarily produced for only walls or to be housed in albums. There was a whole industry of prints produced for people to use in craft work as clip art. Apparently cutting out prints and pasting them to form new pictures or using them as decorations in craft work became a rage. Publishers responded by producing books of prints to cut out.

Rijks Museum print This blue collage sheet is from an album decorated with cut-out prints by Hendrick Goltzius, Arent van Bolten. The curators of the exhibit think that the full album contained over 2000 cut-out prints, that had been enthusiastically collected over several years.

Rijks Museum print Even the adult colouring-in craze is not new as this is a complete sheet of printed borders to use as frames. Often these were coloured-in by the crafters.

Rijks Museum print This devotional print has many sections that have been cut away and replaced with blue and white fabric.

I never knew that cut and paste clip art could lay claim to being part of paper arts history. Discovering this tradition alongside the famous Dutch painters delighted me.



  1. How interesting. Oh, it would be lovely to have some out of copyright books to enjoy their graphics for various projects!
    Enjoy your journeys as you prepare for the long walk!


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