Sunday, 4 March 2018

Cornelis Galle’s engraving, “The Infant Christ and the Infant John the Baptist Playing with the Lamb”, c1640

Cornelis Galle I (1576–1650) (attribution by the Rijksmuseum: or
Cornelis Galle II (1615–1678) (attributed by the MFA, Boston:

“The Infant Christ and the Infant John the Baptist Playing with the Lamb”, 1630–1650, published by Cornelis Galle I (1576–1650), after a woodcut of the same name by Christoffel Jegher (1596–1652/3), after Ruben’s painting formerly in the Palazzo Balbi or Palazzo Reale, Genoa (Rooses 185).

Engraving on wove paper lined with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet trimmed irregularly) 40 x 51.8 cm; (plate) 34 x 45 cm; (image borderline) 32 x 44 cm
Lettered on the plate below the image borderline in a line of Latin: "O Baptista ... clausus exultaras"; (at left below the line of Latin) "P. P. Rubbens delin."; (at right) "Corn. Galle excudit".
Based on the paper, this is a 19th century impression.

Hollstein 255; Schneevoogt 1873 85.92

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“The Infant Christ and the Infant John the Baptist playing with the lamb; landscape with Christ at right, St John at left and the lamb in between them, water-lilies and a frog in right foreground; after Christoffel Jegher who made a woodcut after Peter Paul Rubens”

Condition: faultless late impression that is crisp, well-inked and well-printed and with generous margins (trimmed slightly irregularly). The sheet is in generally in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing) but there are signs of handling in terms of marks at the lower right corner of the margin. The sheet has been laid upon a support sheet of fine archival washi paper.

I am selling this large engraving of superb craftsmanship embodying the spirit of the Mannerist period for AU$278 (currently US$215.89/EUR175.24/GBP156.40 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost of shipping.

If you are interested in purchasing this exquisite engraving of timeless quality please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

Attribution of prints is far from easy. Mindful that the Museum of Fine Art (MFA) in Boston proposes that this print may have been executed by Cornelis Galle the Younger, whereas the Rijksmuseum proposes that it may have been executed by his father, Cornelis Galle the Elder, I wish that the true engraver would reveal himself.

Based solely on what I can see by comparing prints by these two master engravers, I believe that the selection of the real artist may not be that difficult. In terms of Galle the Elder (see the middle image detail), he evolved his subtly nuanced way of rendering forms from the slightly laboured style of his teacher and father, Philips Galle (see the upper image). There is a large stylistic leap, however, from Philips Galle to his grandson, Cornelis Galle II, in terms of using such stylistic attributes as dots—much loved by Galle Junior (see the lower image)—and a shift from conventionalised modelling of forms of the grandfather to a fascination with surface textures of his grandson.

If I were to choose which of the artists seems the more appropriate, I would not hesitate in nominating Cornelis Galle the Elder as the true engraver. My reason is simply that the rendering of the forms in this print is based more on the careful alignment of parallel lines that flow with the contours of the subjects portrayed—a hallmark of the great Cornelis Galle I—than with superficial textures. Moreover, the same leaning to showing “flow” results in Galle I’s prints having a light filled sheen to them that I don’t see the same way in Galle II’s prints.

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