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Tuesday 21 November 2023

Jan Collaert I’s engraving, “Elisha Sends His Servant Gehazi Ahead”, c.1579, after Maarten de Vos

Jan Collaert I (aka Hans Collaert) (c1525/30–1580)

“Elisha sends his servant Gehazi ahead” [Rijksmuseum title] (“Elisa stuurt zijn knecht Gechazi vooruitc), c.1579, an early state before the addition of publication details and Biblical reference, plate 5 from the series of 6 plates (Hollstein 122–127 [de Vos]), “The Story of Elisha,” after the design by Maarten de Vos (aka Maarten de Vos; Maerten de Vos) (1532–1603), initially published by Volcxken Diericx (Volcxken Dierickx; Volcxken Diericx) (fl.1570–1600) and later by Claes Jansz. Visscher (aka Nicolaes Jansz.Visscher; Piscator) (1587–1652) in 1643 (possibly in “Thesaurus Sacrarum Historiarum Veteris Testament”) and by Jan Schabaelje (aka Jan Philipsz Schabaelie; Jan Schabalje) (fl.1643–1649) in 1646.

Engraving on laid paper.

Size: (sheet) 22.4 x 31 cm; (plate) 20.9 x 28.3 cm; (image borderline) 19 x 27.8 cm.

Numbered and lettered in plate below the image borderline: (left) “5”; (centre in two columns of Latin in two lines) “Ipse sacer famulum premittit stipites vates:/ Qui super examins pueri certo ordine vultum// Componens baculum, Fato excessisse puellum/ Nuniciat, at[que] animam ereptam de corpere nati.” ([Google transl.] “The sacred servant himself presides over the stakes:/ Who upon examination of the child's face is in a certain order// Composing the staff, the fate of the [boy] who has passed away/ Let him denounce, and the soul snatched from the body of the born.”)

State: an early impression (of iv) before the inscribed reference to Maarten de Vos as the designer: “ Vos. Inuent”; the Biblical reference: “2. Regum cap.4./Vers. 29.” (2 Kings. 4:29}; and the repeat of the plate number at lower right “5.”

Hollstein 126 (Christiaan Schuckman [comp.] 1996, “The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450–1700: Maarten de Vos,” vol. 44, Rotterdam, Sound and Vision Rijksprentenkabinet, p. 37, cat. no. 126); New Hollstein (The Collaert Dynasty) 63 (Ann Diels & Marjolein Leesberg [comp.] 2005–2006, “The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450–1700: The Collaert Dynasty,” vol. 1, Ouderkerk aan den Ijssel, Sound and Vision, p. 75, cat. no. 63); Riggs 196 (Timothy A. Riggs 1977, “Hieronymus Cock: Printmaker and Publisher,” New York, Garland Publishing).

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print from the later 1646 edition published by Jan Schabaelje in Amsterdam:

(Transl.) “Elisha travels with the woman from Shunem, who is riding on a donkey, to her house where her deceased son is. Elisha sends his servant Gehazi ahead with Elisha's staff. In the background, Gehazi lays the staff on the boy, but he shows no signs of life. Below the scene a reference in Latin to the Bible text in 2 Kings. 4:29” (

See also the description of this print offered by the British Museum:

Condition: a strong and well-printed (near faultless) impression with good margins. The paper is appropriately age-toned with hinge mounting verso and with small stains in the lower margin at right; otherwise, the sheet is in an excellent condition for its age with no tears, holes, folds, losses, abrasions or significant stains.

I am selling this superb early impression of a beautifully executed engraving exemplifying the Flemish Mannerist leaning towards lively rhythms and theatrical gestures for AU$289 (currently US$193.17/EUR174.78/GBP158.85 at the time of this listing) 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 engraving of fascinating complexity—for example, Gehazi (shown in the foreground at right), to whom Elisha (shown in the foreground at centre) is giving his staff is also shown again in the distance at right laying the same staff on the body of a boy (the son of the Shunammite women riding on the donkey in the foreground)—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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