Sunday 7 January 2018
Pieter Jalhea Furnius’ engraving, “The Parable of the Sower and the Seed”, 1585
Pieter Jalhea Furnius (aka Pieter Jalhea Dufour; Petrus Furnius) (c.1545–c.1610)
“The Parable of the Sower and the Seed”, 1585, after Gerard van Groeningen (fl.1563–73), plate 2 from the series, “Thesaurus Sacrarum historiarum Veteris et Novi Testamenti” (aka Thesaurus Novi Testamenti elegantissimis iconibus expressus continens historias atque miracula do[mi] ni nostri Iesu Christi”), published by Gerard de Jode (1509/17–1591).
Engraving on fine laid paper with large margins lined with an archival support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 27.2 x 32.4 cm; (plate) 20.3 x 25 cm; (image borderline) 19 x 24.8 cm
Lettered below the image borderline: “DVM DORMIVNT HOMINES INIMICVS ZIZANIA INTERSERIT TRITICO.”
Inscribed below the image borderline: (right) “Matt. 13. 25.”
State ii (of ii) Note that my attribution of this print to the second state is based on the first state impression held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art having the letter “M” following the text line (see https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/654253) and this impression is inscribed with “Matt. 13. 25.”
New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 93.I (Gerard van Groeningen) (F W H Hollstein 1993, “The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts 1450-1700”, Amsterdam)
The British Museum offers the following description of this print (the BM print also features contemporary colour added to it which is interesting to see):
“Satan sowing darnel. A monstrous man with a wild boar's head sowing weeds at centre; various men and women seen asleep in the foreground and at middle distance; a cottage seen behind, to right; after Gerard van Groeningen. 1585”
Condition: a very crisp and well-printed impression with wide margins (presumably as published) and in very good condition for its age (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing, nevertheless, there are handling marks on the lower and right margins and the right margin has a chipped edge with a slightly truncated top corner).
I am selling this early and very rare engraving from 1585 for AU$232 (currently US$182.69/EUR151.83/GBP134.65 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this visually arresting illustration of a devil sowing demon seeds, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold
This is a very interesting print as it references a parable from Matthew about a deadly weed called tares that can cause convolutions and even death if eaten.
The problem with this nasty plant is that it is virtually indistinguishable from young corn and can contaminate a crop of corn when the two plants are harvested together.
Like most parables there is complexity to the story illustrated here. For instance, a simple reading of this image might suggest a warning that farm-workers should be alert, rather than snoozing, to prevent the devil sowing the demon seed. This parable, however, is more subtle and complex than that ...
The parable (or at least my recollection of it) is NOT about rooting out the devil’s work but rather letting god take care of the harvest. This may sound odd, but the inference is that instead of rooting out evil—and here the “evil” is not really the poisonous tares but rather non-believers in the faith—the idea is to leave the tares in the corn rather than trying to extract the weed. Hopefully, by leaving the poisonous plant with the corn, when both are ultimately ready for harvesting the good is easily separated from the bad. In short, this illustration is all about tolerance and having faith … or, to set the illustration into a context that makes more sense to me—a chap that doesn’t have a religious bone in his body—I guess it means NOT honking the horn at bad drivers but letting the “law” take care of them.