Gallery of prints for sale

Saturday 10 February 2018

Jan Saenredam’s engraving, “Adam Forced to Labor”, 1604, after Bloemaert

Jan Saenredam (1565–1607)

“Adam Forced to Labor” (TIB title), 1604, after Abraham Bloemaert (1564–1651) plate 5 from the series of six engravings, “Story of Adam”.

Engraving on laid paper trimmed with narrow margins around the image borderline and lined with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 28.1 x 19.8 cm; (image borderline) 26.4 x 19.6 cm
Inscribed within the image borderline: (lower left) “A. Bloemaert. in. / J. Saenredam Sculp. 5”
Lettered below the image borderline in two columns of two lines of Latin text: corner "Horrida iam ... fuso."
State i (of ii) (before the address of Isaac Houwens [fl.1653])

TIB 4 (3). 17 (226) (Walter L. Strauss (ed.) 1980, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists”, vol. 4, Abaris, New York, p. 326); Bartsch III.225.17; Hollstein 5.I; Roethlisberger 1993 76 (Marcel G Roethlisberger 1993, “Abraham Bloemaert and his sons: Paintings and prints”, 2 vols, Ghent)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Adam and Eve working; Adam digs with a spade and Eve sits at right spinning; they are accompanied by two children (Cain and Abel) who tend a vegetable patch; beyond at right is a farmstead, some felled wood and a herd of goats; after Bloemaert

See the six plates in the series held by the British Museum:,0815.51.

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
“Adam and Eve and their children Cain and Abel in the wilderness outside the Earthly Paradise. Adam works the ground with a spade. Eva spins wool. Cain and Abel harvest vegetables. In the background their hut.” (

Condition: a near faultless, first state impression in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, stains, foxing or signs of use), trimmed close to the image borderline and laid upon an archival support sheet.

I am selling this absolutely stunning lifetime impression from 1604 showcasing Saenredam’s distinctively elegant style of rendering subtle tonal gradations with gentle curving strokes exemplifying the Mannerist spirit of the time for AU$350 (currently US$273.63/EUR223.23/GBP197.90 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost.

If you are interested in purchasing this masterpiece of engraving, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. 
This print has been sold

Although the spirit of Mannerism with the gentle curving rhythms and the joy in showcasing exceptional skill in controlling the burin is clear, my focus is on the way that Saenredam (in following Abraham Bloemaert’s design) gives the portrayed scene a glowing aura. At first I thought that the “glow” was a result of the finely aligned crosshatched lines that allow dots of light to sparkle in the shadows. This may be true, but I finally decided that the glowing effect was not about the details but rather about the organisation of the composition as a whole. In short, I realised that Saenredam was employing the same visual device that also delighted Titian: a counterpoint organisation of lights and darks in a checkerboard of horizontal and vertical bands.

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