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Tuesday 26 June 2018

Aegidius Sadeler II’s engraving, “Maarten de Vos”, 1592/3

Aegidius Sadeler II (aka Gillis Sadeler; Egidius Sadeler; Ægedius Sadeler) (c1570–1629)
“Maarten de Vos” (TIB title) (aka “Portrait of the painter Maarten de Vos, aged 60”), 1592/3, after Joseph Heintz the elder (aka Joseph Heinz) (1564–1609)

Etching and engraving on laid paper trimmed with a narrow margin around the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 29.4 x 23 cm; (image borderline) 29.1 x 22.7 cm
Lettered on plate within the image borderline: (motto in wreath above portrait) "PVRO ASTV ET LABORE"; (around portrait) "MARTINVS DE VOS BELGA ANTVERPIANVS PICTOR SOLERTISS AETATIS SVÆ LX"; (cartouche below portrait) "AD M. VVLPIVM IN EIVS IMAGINE / Hinc Pictura tibi, hinc cedit Tritonia laurum / Illa manum VVLPI, hæc Suspicit ingenium."; (base of left pilaster) “Jos: Heinz Inuen:”; (lower centre) “Romæ”; (base of right pilaster) “G: Sadler scalpt:”
State i (of iii) (lifetime impression)

Note that TIB advises that the first state does not feature the word, “Romæ”, at lower centre, but the first state impressions catalogued by the BM (O,5.105) and the Rijksmuseum (RP-P-OB-5049) are lettered with the word “Romæ”. The second state impression held by the Rijksmuseum has the publisher’s name (Karel Collaert) inscribed below the place of publication, “Romæ”. TIB advises that the publisher’s name distinguishes the third state. In short, there are discrepancies regarding the different states. 

TIB 72 (Part 2: Supplement) 7201.347 S2 (Isabelle de Ramaix 1998, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Aegidius Sadeler II”, vol. 72, Part 2, Supplement, p. 201–02); Nagler 1835–52, no. 63; Le Blanc, no. 138. Wurzbach, no. 166; Hollstein 1980m vol. 21, 340-1(3); Kösslerova 1988, pp. 45–46 and 79; Edquist, p. 1, no. 1; Limouze 1990, pp. 89–90, 122–23m 164; Muller II 1853 5848 (Frederik Muller 1853, “Beschrijvende catalogus van 7000 Portretten, van Nederlanders”, Amsterdam)

The British Museum offers a description of this print also as a first state impression:
“Portrait of the painter Maarten de Vos, aged 60, half-length turned to right, wearing a fur-trimmed coat; in lettered oval within allegorical frame (with two women holding a motto); first state before publisher's address; after Joseph Heintz Engraving”
See also the Rijksmuseum’s description of this print:

Condition: a rare, first state, lifetime impression of museum-quality. The sheet is trimmed with a narrow margin around the image borderline and has restorations at the tip of the upper left corner and a closed tear at the upper right corner, otherwise the sheet is in superb condition for its considerable age. The sheet is backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this lifetime impression of exceptional quality by one of the most famous of the early Flemish printmakers—and, of course, revealing a portrait of an artist of equivalent historical importance—for the total cost of AU$560 (currently US$414.39/EUR354.80/GBP312 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this major engraving of the highest level of technical brilliance, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

Aegedius Sadeler’s engravings are remarkable because they can fully engage a viewer’s attention. For instance, in this portrait of the famous Flemish painter and prolific draughtsman, Maarten de Vos (1532–1603), Sadeler creates a reflexive moment for the viewer by portraying De Vos actively looking at the viewer with a sideways stare suggesting a very analytical assessment prompted by his wide eyes, dilated pupils and the subtle quizzical upward turn of his right eyebrow.

For me, however, the unnerving stare skilfully crafted by Sadeler is not all about the sitter’s face. The feeling of unease is supported and defined by the contrast between the objective treatment of the architectural frame, featuring the allegorical figures of Minerva (on the left) and Rhetoric (on the right), rendered with an almost mechanical precision of parallel lines, juxtaposed with the very subjective treatment of the half figure of De Vos rendered in mimetic detail. Essentially, Sadeler sustains a viewer’s interest by abutting two different realities: the graphic space of the frame and the pictorial space occupied by De Vos who arrests our attention with his challenging stare.

Regarding this portrait, Isabelle de Ramaix (1998) in the second supplement to “The Illustrated Bartsch: Aegidius Sadeler II”, vol 72, advises:

“According to Kösslerova [1988], the bust is presumably after a self-portrait by Maarten de Vos in the Landesmuseum, Graz and the frame after a drawing by Joseph Heintz. Limouze [1990], however, considers that Ægidius was inspired by portraits by Enea Vico and assigns the date 1593 to the portrait” (p. 201).

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