Gallery of prints for sale

Friday 26 March 2021

Jan Sadeler I’s engraving “Adam and Eve Mourning Abel”, 1576, after Michiel Coxie I

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

“Adam and Eve Mourning Abel (TIB title)”, 1576, after a drawing of the same composition (c1576) by Michiel Coxcie I (aka Michiel Coxcie; Michiel van Coxcyen) (1499–1592) (see This is the third (and final) plate from the series, “The Story of Cain and Abel”, initially published in 1585 by Gerard de Jode (1509–1591) in the 396 plate biblical series, “Thesaurus Sacrarum Historiarum Veteris Testamenti …” (see This impression was published in Amsterdam in 1643 by Claes Jansz. Visscher (aka Nicolaes Jansz Visscher; Piscator) (1587–1652) in “Theatrum biblicum hoc est Historiæ sacræ Veteris et Novi Testamenti tabulis æneis expressæ.”

Engraving on laid paper backed with a support sheet with ink annotations by an early hand in the lower and right margin.

Size: (sheet) 25.1 x 31.8 cm; (plate) 20.7 x 28.2 cm; (image borderline) 19.7 x 28 cm.

Inscribed on plate within the image borderline along the lower edge: (left of centre) “J Sadeler fecit”; (right of centre) “[Monogram of Claes Jansz. Visscher: CIV] ex.”; (right) “Michael de coxcij/ inventor […] 3".

Lettered on plate below the image borderline: “Heu scelus ante aras et conscia Sacra deorum, Fraterno cæsus ab ense iacet. Genes. C.4. V.25."

State iii (of iii) with the addition of the monogram of Visscher and the plate number at lower right.

TIB 7001.048 S3 (Isabelle de Ramaix 1999, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Johan Sadeler I”, vol. 70, Part 1 (Supplement), New York, Abaris Books, p. 71, cat. no. [7001].048 S3); Nagler 36; Le Blanc 23; Wurzbach 7.3; Hollstein (vol. 21) 49; Edquist (p. 233) 8b.

See a description of this print coloured with watercolour at the Harvard Art Museums:

Regarding the portrayed subject, the Metropolitan Museum of Art explains:

“The subject of the first humans mourning their son killed by his brother is not found in the bible, but was inspired by the book of Genesis (chapter 4), and had been already treated in an engraving by Lucas van Leyden in 1529, and one from 1561 by Cornelis Cort after Coxie's contemporary Frans Floris” (

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:

“Plate 3: Adam and Eve mourning Abel's death; Adam seated at left, clasping his hands and looking towards Cain's dead body lying on the ground with a jawbone near it, Eve in despair and tearing her hair out at right, next to the dead body, a smoking altar beyond ..."(

Condition: a strong and well-printed impression with an early hand-written ink inscription in the lower margin and the number, “16”, in the right margin and laid onto a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet is lightly age-toned with minor tears and blemishes in the margin, otherwise the sheet is in a good condition for its considerable age.

I am selling this sensitively executed engraving by one of the most famous Flemish printmakers of the late 1500s for AU$372 (currently US$283.73/EUR240.63/GBP206.03 at the time of posting this print) including Express Mail (EMS) 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 very fine engraving featuring a curiously interesting composition illustrating the verse from Genesis, “Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, 'God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him’” (Genesis 4:25, NIV), 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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