When Hieronymus Cock published the first of two series of prints now known as the Small Landscapes in 1559, audiences in his native town of Antwerp could hardly have been prepared for what they saw. The prints – eighteen in the first series and twenty-six in the second series issued two years later in 1561 – present a variety of views of the local countryside surrounding Antwerp in simple, unembellished compositions. 1 Rustic villages, farmsteads, pastures, and country roads are portrayed in a straightforward and immediate fashion, with only the occasional peasant or traveler dotting the landscapes. At first glance, these landscapes might seem anything but remarkable. Take, for instance, a view of a village street from the first set, which depicts an ordinary rural village much like those located in the countryside surrounding Antwerp in the mid-sixteenth century (Figure I.1). In the right foreground, a peddler strides over a hillock inward toward the center of the scene while at the left other travelers sit resting on a log, their baskets set down before them. Figures in the middle of the scene walk in pairs or small groups along the main road into the village that runs from the left foreground back to the middle distance at right along a slight diagonal. Lining the roadway, large thatch-roofed barns alternate with stone houses, one of which at far left, partially obscured, has a stepped roof and a tall chimney. A few trees, a draw well, and a couple of open sheds stand alongside the road. Together with the rough furrows in the road, the movement of the figures creates a gentle visual pull into the middle distance at right, suggesting the calm, quotidian rhythms of a country village. Another view from the series depicts an even more intimate village scene, with houses and barns nestled deeply among trees and hedges and only a single pair of travelers resting at the edge of the road (Figure I.2). The quietude of this scene makes the first appear busy by comparison. Nothing here disrupts the stillness and peace. In both prints, the open roadways proffer an invitation, beckoning us enter into these pleasant places and to experience the native terrain at first hand.