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Sunday 7 July 2024

Lambert Suavius’ engraving, “St Peter”, 1545–48

Lambert Suavius (aka Lambert Zutman; Lambert Zoetman; Lambert Le Doux) (c1510–1567)

“St Peter”, 1545–48, plate 11 from the series of fourteen plates showing Christ, the Apostles and St Paul, “Christ and the Apostles” (Hollstein 9–22).

Engraving on laid paper, trimmed around the image borderline with significant restoration of the lower right corner and backed with a support sheet providing wide margins.

Size: (sheet) 20 x 9.3 cm.

Lettered in in plate: (lower left corner) ”SVAVIVS/ II NIVEN".

Hollstein 10 (Dieuwke de Hoop Scheffer & George S. Keyes [comp.] 1984, “Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts ca.1450–1700: Louis Spirinx to M. Suys”, vol. 28, Blaricum, Van Gendt, p. 169, 10).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Plate 11: St Peter; The saint, whole-length to right in profile, perched on a block and holding a book; behind him is a key and at the right is a headless statue on a plinth and a ruined fragment of an arch/ Engraving” (

See also the description of this print offered by the Rijksmuseum:

There are several things that I find fascinating about this print. The first is that Suavius has introduced the use of stippling along with hatching to render light and shade. This is interesting for me as stippling had been used for the first time only a few years earlier by Giulio Campagnola. The second thing that I find worthy of pondering is the setting for the saint in a classical ruin. Although this may seem to be a minor concern, if one considers that Suavius’ brother-in-law and teacher was Lambert Lombard and Lombard adhered to the view that “it was better to imitate a single statue than all the work of the moderns” (see Stephen J Campbell & Jeremie Koering [eds.] 2016, “Andrea Mantegna: Making Art”,  John Wiley & Sons, p. 158)—here we are talking about Renaissance era “moderns”—then the antique setting and the artist’s approach to treating the saint as if he were a monumental sculpture has some meaningful resonance.

Condition: a strong and well-printed impression but with significant restoration of the lower right corner, trimmed around the image borderline and laid upon a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper providing wide margins.

I am selling this marvellous engraving that (to my eye) follows in the tradition of Andrea Mantegna (1431–1506)—in terms low-horizon monumentality and referencing the antique—and certainly shows significant borrowings from Giulio Campagnola (1482–1515)—viz. the use of stippling to render light and shade—for the total cost of AU$298 (currently/approximately US$201.03/EUR185.71/GBP156.95 at the time of posting 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. Note that payment is in Australian dollars (AU$298) as this is my currency.

If you are interested in purchasing this marvellously strong and curious image of St Peter—note St Peter’s key to heaven resting near his backside—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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