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Thursday 17 November 2016

Cornelis Bloemaert’s engraving, “The Deluge”, after Abraham van Diepenbeeck

Cornelis Bloemaert (1603–92) and Theodor Matham (aka Dirk Matham) (1605/1606–76) (for the background)
“Le Deluge”, c.1635–38, after Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596–1675), published in Michel de Marolles' (1600–81) “Tableaux du temple des muses tirez du cabinet de feu Mr. Favereau.” Paris: Antoine de Sommaville, 1655.
Etching and engraving on fine laid paper with margins.
Size: (sheet) 22.3 x 32.5 cm; (plate) 18.4 x 27.9 cm
Inscribed within the image “A Diepenbeek figur.” (lower left)
Lettered below image with title, “le Deluge” (lower left), number, “3” (lower right corner) and three lines of Latin from Ovid's Metamorphoses: "Tela reponuntur manibus fabricata Cyclopum, / Poena placet diversa, genus mortale sub undis / Perdere. / Ouid. 1. Metam.".
(Google translation: “The bolts which are made by the hands of the Cyclops, / He preferred a different punishment, the human race under the waves / of it.”)

New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 207.II (Theodoor Matham) (Hollstein, F W H, “The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts 1450-1700”, Amsterdam, 1993); Hollstein 34-93 (after Diepenbeeck) Hollstein 90-148; Roethlisberger 1993 CB11 (Roethlisberger, Marcel G; Röthlisberger, Marcel G, “Abraham Bloemaert and his sons: Paintings and prints”, 2 vols, Ghent, 1993)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Mythological scene with Deucalion and Pyrrha seated on a bull trying to escape a flood, while others attempt to rescue themselves by hanging on to the bull or climbing in trees, Zeus with an eagle seated on clouds in top left while stopping a winged genius creating rain; after Abraham van Diepenbeeck; from an album containing sixty engravings trimmed and pasted on sheets; illustration on page 19 from Marolles' "Temple des Muses" (Paris, Nicolas Langlois: 1655).” (

Condition: strong impression with margins in excellent condition—almost pristine—apart from a closed tear in the upper margin. (The issue of this tear has been addressed with a strip of conservator’s tape [attached verso] to ensure that the tear does not progress.)

This print has been sold

The curator of the British Museum offers the following interesting background to the publication of this print that is part of a series of sixty illustrations by Cornelis Bloemaert (Le Blanc 90-148) and François de Poilly (one plate only) in Michel de Marolles' (1600–81) "Tableaux du Temple des Muses […]" (Paris, 1655):

“This series of book-illustrations is also referred to as 'Cabinet Favereau'. Jacques Favereau (1590–1638) first commissioned the Frenchman Pierre Brebiette to make the drawings depicting classical mythology but he was not entirely satisfied with the results and therefore asked the Flemish artist Abraham van Diepenbeeck as an intermediary draughtsman for most of the plates. Favereau died before the project was completed and Marolles took over the publication which was only published in 1655. Most of the drawings would have been made when Diepenbeeck was in Paris in the early 1630s and it can therefore be assumed that some of the plates (after Diepenbeeck's drawings) were already made before Favereau's death in 1638. Theodor Matham is said to have etched the landscapes and the backgrounds, although his name does not appear on the plates (as Bloemaert's). …

None of the plates are lettered with the printmaker's name but it is likely that they were all made by Cornelis Bloemaert (except one plate by Poilly showing Salmacis and Hermaphroditus) with the etched background done by Theodor Matham.”

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