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Monday, 2 December 2019

Jan Saenredam's engraving, “Adam Forced to Labor”, 1604, after Abraham 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” illustrating Gen. 3 and 4.
Engraving on laid paper trimmed slightly unevenly along the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 27.9 x 18.7 cm.
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline: (lower left) “A. Bloemaert. in. / J. Saenredam Sculp. 5”
Lettered on plate below the image borderline in two columns of two lines of Latin text: "Horrida iam dumis tellus, et decolor aetas/ Stramineas habitare casas, et figere cervos // Suadebat, terramque rudi tentare ligone,/ Longaque versato diffundere stamina fuso." ([transl. Roethlisberger] The earth, now with horrible thornbushes, and the vitiate age led people to live in straw huts, erect palisades, till the ground with the rough hoe, and thread long yearn with a rounded spindle).
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”, vol. 1, Ghent, Davaco, p. 123)
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:
The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
(transl.) “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.”
Roethlisberger (1993) in his catalogue raisonné for the Bloemaert family offers the following insights about this print:
A still fairly idyllic vision of Eve spinning, Adam tilling, the sons busy with the vegetables; no defensive palisades are visible. The background contains one of Bloemaert's most extended landscapes. A digging man recurs in “March of the Months” series and in “Moyses Libicus” of the second “Hermits” set. The tree stump denotes work and a thematic scission (as in the “Expulsion of Hagar”, 1603). Forms with the following plate a pair of contrasting compositions, in which the figures only occupy the lower half. The composition provoked more imitation than any other of the series. In 1589 Cornelis van Haarlem had treated the first family after the Fall very differently in a large painting now at Quimper, showing huge figures in close-up view” (vol. 1, p. 123).
Condition: an excellent, but slightly silvery, first state impression with a few minor restorations of edge chips, trimmed close to the image borderline and laid upon an archival support sheet of millennium quality washi paper.
Note that this is the second copy of this print that I have listed (the earlier listing has been sold).
I am selling this sensitively executed 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$408 (currently US$279.39/EUR252.21/GBP215.83 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 masterpiece of engraving, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. 











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