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Monday 6 November 2017

Raphael Sadeler I’s engraving, “Saint Amatus”, c1593/98, after Maarten de Vos

Raphael Sadeler I (1560/61–1628/32)
“Saint Amatus”, c1593/98, after a drawing by Maarten de Vos, dated 1593 in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (inv. 79B17m pl. 1), plate 19, from a series of thirty engravings, “Hermits Sylvae Sacrae (Monumenta …Anachoretarum…)”, made in collaboration with Johan Sadeler I.

Engraving on fine laid paper, first state impression with wide margins.
Size: (sheet) 22.5 x 27,1 cm; (plate) 16,5 x 19.7 cm
Inscribed within the image borderline at the lower left corner: “M. de vos figur/ Raphael Sadeler fecit”
Lettered below the image borderline: “Harpagat … AMATE/ …// 19// …/ …viris.”
State i (of ii) before the erasure of the plate number of state ii.
Note: There are no less than four copies in reverse of this print and a fifth copy showing the publication details for Jean Le Clerc. This impression is the original print by Raphael Sadeler I.

TIB 2006, 7101.109; Reinsch, no.69,1; Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 128; Edquist, p. 49, no 58a; Hollstein 1995–96, vol. 44, no. 1013.

Condition: museum-quality lifetime impression that is crisp, well-printed and in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing despite having been executed more than four centuries ago). There are two ink stamps by the same collector (verso).

I am selling this marvellously crisp, well-printed, exceedingly rare, lifetime, first state, impression that not even the British Museum online repository appears to hold for the total cost of AU$330 (currently US$113.65/EUR97.73/GBP85.68 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing important print, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. 

This print has been sold

For those (like me) who are unfamiliar with St Amatus, thanks to information that I have gleaned from “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 71, Part 1, Supplement, I now know that he was the “Bishop of Nusco near Salerno died 1093. Celebrated on 13 September” (p. 144).
More interesting than this fundamental information, the website,Santi, Beati E Testimoni, offers the following account of the life of the first bishop of Nuso:

“Originally from Nusco, in Irpinia, between the Blossom and Heat valleys, Amato was born around 1003. Son of a wealthy family of the place becomes a priest at a young age. In 1048 he was the first bishop of the city, consecrated by the shepherd of Salerno Alfano I. He restored and built some churches in the center of the city of Lombarda, inhabited since the Longobard era. It entrusts to the Benedictines the monastery of Santa Maria in Fondigliano, 5 kilometers from Nusco (which will then be abolished in 1460), and after having relinquished its assets to the Church, dies on 30 September 1093. Numerous miracles and healings the tomb of the saint. A fact that caused his successor, Ruggero, to dedicate a church to him. The patron saint of the city of Nusco is invoked against the earthquakes, recurring natural calamity of the Irpinia mountains.” (

Regarding the Raphael Sadeler I’s engraving of this patron saint, I may be VERY wrong but I believe the scene shows St Amatus praying for the holy spirit—symbolised by the bird on the left—to intercede and stop the arrival of a natural disaster symbolically portrayed by the pissing devil at the top edge of the composition. From what I have read about this saint, his symbolic attribute is his pastoral staff shown lying on the ground beside the saint as he prays.

If I am far “off target” in my reading of this image (which is highly likely) I would love to hear from folk that have a better understanding about the portrayed subject matter.

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