This print, from a set of 18, shows a mask composed of forms of sea creature. It is in the ‘grotesque’ style derived from ancient Roman prototypes, which took inspiration from fish and animal forms or from vegetation.
Frans Huys based his prints on original designs by Cornelis Floris (1514-1575), who is credited with inventing a Flemish version of the grotesque style in about 1541. Floris was a sculptor who studied in Rome in about 1538, where the Emperor Nero’s palace, called the Domus Aurea (Golden Palace), had recently been rediscovered below ground level.
This mask comes from a set published in 1555 by Hans Liefrinck, an important Antwerp publisher and print-seller.