Gallery of prints for sale

Friday 6 September 2019

Pieter Soutman's etching, “The Birth of Venus”, 1620–1624, after Rubens

Pieter Soutman (aka Pieter Claesz Soutman) (1580–1657) and workshop

“The Birth of Venus” (aka “Venus Orta Mari”), 1620–1624, after a painting by Peter Paul Rubens (aka Petrus Paulus Rubenius) (1577–1640), published by Pieter Soutman and Clement de Jonghe (aka Clement de Jonge; Clemendt Ionghe) (1624/25–1677) in Amsterdam.

Regarding Ruben’s painting, the Curator of the BM advises that its “present whereabouts [is] unknown (Rooses 686) …. [but that a] “copy is in Potsdam” (see BN no. 1873,0809.8140).

Nico van Hout (ed.) 2004, in “Copyright Rubens” (Ludion, Uitgeverij), offers the following insights into the Ruben’s painting and a description of Soutman’s print:
(transl.) “An inventory of Honselaarsdijk Castle describes the painting that forms the basis of this etching as 'A Sea Triumph by Venus Neptune and Amphitrites and a part of the sea gods by Rubens'. The canvas was bought by William III of Orange-Nassau (1650-1702) for 950 pounds. It is likely that the work was already in Holland before and that Soutman had it with him when he started his etching. In “The Birth of Venus” we see how the goddess rises from the foam of the surf, surrounded by Neptune and his wife Amphitrite and by nereids with beautifully shaped shells and pearls. Triton, Neptune's son, provides the necessary sound by blowing on a large shell. A number of cheerfully looking putti fly after the goddess” (p. 144; see also the illustration of Soutman’s print in its first state, p. 143).

Etching and engraving on laid paper, trimmed around the platemark and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 40.3 x 48.8 cm; (image borderline) 38.7 x 49.1 cm.
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: “P. P. Rubens pinxit. / Clement de Jonghe Excudit”; (centre) “Venus orta mari.”; (right) “P. Soutman delin. et excud. Cum Privil.”
State iii (of iii) with the addition of the publication details for Clement de Jonghe and the erasure of the plate number (“2”).

Schneevoogt 1873 124.39 (C G Voorhelm Schneevogt 1873, “Catalogue des estampes gravées d'après P.P. Rubens, avec l'indication des collections où se trouvent les tableaux et les gravures”, Haarlem, p. 124, cat. no. 39); Hollstein Dutch 12-3 (3); Nagler 22 (noted as very rare).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print in its first state:
“The Birth of Venus; seascape with the naked goddess rising from the sea at centre and arranging her hair; surrounded by Nereids and tritons, one of the nymphs offering a pearl necklace to the goddess in lower left; Neptune and Amphitrite at far left; putti on clouds above…”

See also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum its second state:
“Venus rises from the foam and squeezes her hair. Sea creatures offer her shells and pearl strings, while Neptune watches. Putti play in the clouds.”

Condition: strong impression, trimmed along the platemark and laid upon an archival support of (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet has small restored tears along the edges (including a reattached lower left corner), beyond these addressed issues the sheet is in excellent condition for its age (i.e. there are no holes, folds, significant stains—but there are two dot marks—or foxing).

I am selling this large etching of the utmost rarity executed in Ruben’s lifetime, for a total cost of AU$566 (currently US$386.98/EUR351.03/GBP314.40 at the time of posting 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 major etching seldom seen on the art-market from the early 1600s, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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