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Wednesday 9 August 2023

Jan Sadeler I’s engraving, “Saint Ephraem”, 1594, after Maarten de Vos

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

“Saint Ephraem” (TIB title) (aka “St Ephrem as Hermit”; “Ephräm der Syrer”; “Ephrem of Edessa”; “Heilige Ephraim als Kluizenaar”), 1594, plate 3 from the series of 25 engravings, “Oraculum Anachoreticum: Hermits” (aka “Lives of the Hermits”; “Mannelijke kluizenaars”; “Solitudo Sive Vitae Patrum Eremicolarum”, after a lost drawing by Maarten de Vos (aka Marten de Vos; Maerten de Vos) (1532–1603), published by Raphael Sadeler I (1560/61–1628/32) and/or Jan Sadeler I in Antwerp.

Engraving on laid paper with wide margins backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 24.3 x 34.5 cm; (plate) 16.7 x 20.4 cm; (image borderline) 15.4 x 20.4 cm.

Inscribed in plate within the image borderline: (lower left) “Sadelr. scalp.”; (lower left-of-centre) “M de Vos in:”.

Lettered in plate below the image borderline: “Soli sic ardẽs Basilius paruit EPHREM,/ Cui dedit Argolico posset ut ore loqui.// 3// Non secus ac pęrẽses ventur[us] ab æthere Judex/ Terruit hunc: terrẽt quãdo futura malos?”

Lifetime impression. State i (of ii) before the plate number (“3”) is effaced in state ii.

TIB 7001. 380 (Isabelle de Ramaix 2001, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 70, Part 2 [Supplement], New York, Abaris Books, p. 223, cat. no. [7001].380); Hollstein (Vos) 997 (Christiaan Schuckman [comp.] 1996, “Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts ca. 1450–1700: Maarten de Vos: text”, vol. 44, Rotterdam, Sound and Vision Rijksprentenkabinet, p. 207, cat. no. 997); Hollstein (Sadeler) 409 (Dieuwke de Hoop Scheffer [comp.] 1980, “Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts ca. 1450–1700: Aegidius Sadeler to Raphael Sadeler II: text”, vol. 21, Amsterdam, Van Gendt & Co, p. 150 cat. no. 490).

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print: (transl.) “Saint Ephraim the Syrian as an early Christian hermit, in a hut in a forest landscape. He kneels before the vision of a fiery column appearing in the sky (the annunciation of Saint Basil the Great).” (

Condition: a richly inked, well-printed, near faultless lifetime/first state impression with wide margins around the platemark and laid upon an archival support sheet of millennium quality washi paper. There is a wormhole in the margin on the left edge, a restored tear on the line of the flattened the centrefold and a faded ink number at the lower right corner of the image; otherwise, the sheet is in a very good condition for its considerable age with no significant stains or foxing.

I am selling this sensitively executed and very beautiful engraving by one of the most famous of the Flemish old masters showing Saint Ephraem (c.306–373)—famous for his role in introducing singing into public worship and (possibly more in legend than fact) his role in summonsing a cloud to flies and mosquitoes to repel the army of Sapor II —kneeling at his cave/hermitage entrance beside a rapidly flowing stream on a mountain in Edessa, as he contemplates a vision of a column in the sky (note that the saint was perceived and named as “the column of the church”), for AU$304 (currently US$203.19/EUR183.85/GBP161.84 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 superb lifetime impression, 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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