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Tuesday 16 June 2020

Raphael Sadeler I’s engraving, “Saint Possidonius”, 1600

Raphael Sadeler I (1560/61–1628/32)

“Saint Possidonius” (aka “Heilige Possidius als kluizenaar”), 1600, plate 6 from the series, “Oraculum Anachoreticum” (aka “Hermits”, “Mannelijke kluizenaars en heremieten”; “Sylvae Sacrae Monumenta”) after a drawing by Maarten de Vos (aka Maarten de Vos; Maerten de Vos) (1532–1603) in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (inv. 79B17, pl. 11) with privilege from Rudolf II van Habsburg and Clemens VIII, published by Raphael Sadeler I in Venice.

Regarding Saint Possidonius, Isabelle de Ramaix (2006) offers the following information:
“A desciple of St. Augustine at Hippo, St. Possidius became bishop of Calama in Numidia (Algeria) in 397. He is revered in Mirandola (where, it is said, he died) and Reggio (di Calabria)” (p. 184).

Engraving on laid paper trimmed along/or slightly within the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 16.6 x 20.5 cm; (image borderline) 15.4 x 20.3 cm.
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline along the lower edge: (left) “Cum priui. Sum. Pontificis, et S. Caes, Matis.”; (right of centre) “M. de vos figur. Raph. Sadeler scalp. et excud”.
Lettered and numbered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Linquere desertas, celebratas …/ … suaserat arcta fames.”; (centre) “6”; (right) “Ecce tibi coelestis eques, …/ … poma reperta capit.”
State ii (of ii) with the addition of the plate number (“6”).

TIB 7101.129 (2) (Isabelle de Ramaix 2006, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Raphael Sadeler I”, vol. 71, Part I [Supplement], New York, Abaris Books, p. 184, cat. no. 7101,129 S2); Hollstein Dutch (Voss) 1056 (Dieuwke de Hoop Scheffer [ed.] 1995, “The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450–1700: Maarten de Vos: plates, part II”, vol. 46, Rotterdam, Sound and Vision Rijksprentenkabinet, p. 84 (afb.), cat. no. 1056).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“St Possidonius hastening away from a Knight on horseback with a lance towards a cave with a basket of fruit inside in a wood with palms; plate 6; after Maarten de Vos”

See also the description offered by the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: well-printed early impression showing no sign of wear to the printing plate, trimmed with a thread margin around the image borderline. The sheet is lightly darkened with age otherwise the print is in marvellous/museum quality condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, losses, abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this exceptionally fine (and rare) engraving showing the early Christian hermit, Saint Possidonius of Calama, retreating in haste to his cave—note the well-filled basket of fruit in the darkness—after seeing a mounted knight in full armour, for AU$330 (currently US$229.12/EUR202.06/GBP180.85 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 exquisite engraving revealing not only the artist’s skill in rendering the smallest details but also how he enhances the form of his portrayed subject by use of background tone—note for example how the background on the shadow side of the middle palm tree is left white while the background on the lit side of the tree is rendered in darkened detail—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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