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Tuesday 23 April 2019

Jan Sadeler I's engraving, “Saint Beatus”, 1600

Jan Sadeler I (aka Johannes Sadeler; Johann Sadeler) (1550–1600)

“Saint Beatus”, 1600, after a lost drawing by Maarten de Vos (aka Maarten de Vos; Maerten de Vos) (1532–1603), plate 1 in the series, “Oraculum Anachoreticum” (aka “Hermits”), published by Jan Sadeler in Venice with privilege from Rudolf II of Habsburg.

Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed along the platemark and backed with a support sheet.
Size: 17 x 21.4 cm; (image borderline) 15.6 x 21.3 cm.
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline: (lower left) “Cu[m] priuil Su[m]mi/ Po[n]tif. et Cæs. Mai.”; (lower centre) "Ioa[n] Sadeler scalp. Marti[n] de Vos figur.”
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: Hic vera …/ …// I// … BEATVS …/ …ratus.”
State ii (of ii) with the addition of the number “1”.

TIB 7001.409S2 (Isabelle de Ramaix 2001, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Johan Sadeler I”, vol. 40, Part 2 [Supplement], New York, Abaris Books, p. 276, cat. no. 409); Hollstein 439; Hollstein 1051 (Maarten de Vos).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“St Beatus praying before a cave over which is a cross; beyond is a mountainous landscape with a dragon”

See also the Rijksmuseum’s description of this print:
(Transl.) “In the foreground the H[ermit]. Beatus, a Swiss hermit from the seventh century. He is praying while kneeling for a crucifix near his cave. In the background a mountain landscape with a dragon.

Condition: crisp and well-printed early impression trimmed along the platemark and backed with a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. There is a flattened centre fold crease, otherwise the sheet is in an excellent condition for its considerable age (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this stunning jewel of an engraving featuring not only the Saint praying outside his cave—interestingly stocked with his next meal of veggies—but also a marvellously animated dragon to the right of the hermit set against a vast alpine panorama, for the total cost of AU$320 (currently US$227.61/EUR202.32/GBP175.02 at the time of this listing) 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 simply glorious print executed with the lightest of touches, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

From my understanding of St Beatus’ life, legend suggests that he was either born in Ireland or was the son of a Scottish king and was baptised by St Barnabas and ordained as a priest by the apostle, St Peter. More important to this engraving, he spent his later life as an anchorite hermit (i.e. a recluse who had withdrawn to a fully Eucharist-focused life as a living saint) in a cave on Mount Beatenberg near the lake of Thoune in Switzerland and slew a local dragon that was distracting him from his religious contemplation. (See a formal account of St Beatus [aka Beatus of Lungern; Apostle of Switzerland; Beatus of Beatenberg; Beatus of Thun] offered by Wikipedia:

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