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Tuesday 31 January 2017

Aegidius Sadeler’s, “Rabbit Hunting”, after Roelandt Savery

Aegidius Sadeler ll (aka Gillis Sadeler; Egidius Sadler; Ægedius Sadeler) (1570–1629)
“Rabbit Hunting”, c.1610–13 from the series, “Six Landscapes”, after Roelandt Savery (1576–1639)
Etching and engraving on laid paper, trimmed to the image borderline
Size: (sheet) 21.2 x 28 cm
Bartsch: 7201.244; Hollstein: 236

Condition: superb impression of a rare and important print by Sadeler. The print is slightly age-toned, trimmed to the image borderline without text lines; otherwise in excellent condition. (Note the verso shows what may be a support sheet lining but I am uncertain if this is the case).

This print has been sold

This is one of Aegidius Sadeler’s masterworks. Superficially, the print depicts a hunter shooting rabbits—after all, the title of the work is “Rabbit Hunting.” To my eyes, however, the real subject is not about hunting but rather it’s about a shaft of light penetrating into a shadowy forest following the angle of a fallen tree.

If I were asked to explain what makes this print a masterwork, for me, the answer lies beyond what is portrayed and rests with the subtle ways that Sadeler is able to communicate the phenomenon of intense light penetrating darkness. In short, the remarkable quality of this print is not really about WHAT is depicted but HOW the subject is depicted. For a more involved discussion about Sadeler’s treatment of light, see my earlier article: “Representing light: Sadeler, Lalanne, Dananache, Desbrosses & Lepere: What are some of the ways that artists can depict strong light?” (

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