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Tuesday 18 February 2020

Michel Dorigny's engraving, “The Destruction of Niobe's Children”, 1651, after Simon Vouet

Michel Dorigny (1616–1665)

“The Destruction of Niobe's Children” (aka “Death of Niobe’s Children” (Dood van Niobes kinderen [Rijksmuseum title]), 1651, from a suite of nine plates, “Mythological or Allegorical Subjects” (Robert-Dumesnil [1835] nos. 123–131; see, after a painting by Simon Vouet (1590–1649), published with royal privilege from Louis XIV (King of France).

Etching and engraving on laid paper
Size: (sheet) 36 x 28.8 cm; (plate) 25.4 x 20.9 cm; (image borderline) 21.5 x 19.4 cm.
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “S. Voüet pinxit”; (centre) “Cum privilegio Regis”; (right) “Mich. Dorigny Sculp. 1651.”

IFF 125 (Département des Estampes 1939–, “Inventaire du Fonds, Français: graveurs du XVIIe siècle”, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, vol. 3, p. 488, cat. 125); Robert-Dumesnil 1835-71 IV.297.125 (A P F Robert-Dumesnil 1835, “Le Peintre-Graveur Français”, vol. 4, Paris, [Bouchard-Huzard], p. 297, cat. 125).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“The slaying of the Niobids by Apollo and Diana, with the latter in the upper right firing arrows to kill the fourteen sons and daughters of Niobe who is in foreground left shielding herself”

See also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum:

For those unfamiliar with the story of Niobe illustrated here, she was the proud mother of fourteen children (seven boys and seven girls) who regrettably boasted about her fecundity and ridiculed Leto (the mother of Apollo and Artemis) about Leto’s poor performance in the art of baby-making. In response to Niobe’s hubris and offensive lack of tact, Leto let loose her children (Apollo and Artemis shown in the sky) to kill all of Niobe’s children with poisoned arrows. Shocking! Even more disturbing, all of Niobe’s dead children were left unburied for nine days while Niobe lamented and stopped eating as she turned to stone.

Condition: well-printed impression with wide margins. The sheet is in excellent condition for its considerable age (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, losses, abrasions, significant stains or foxing).

I am selling this allegorical engraving about hubris and the outcome of hurtful boasting, for AU$266 (currently US$177.87/EUR164.20/GBP136.46 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 graphically strong scene from classical mythology, 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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