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Thursday 9 March 2017

Jan Saenredam’s engraving, “Elijah Fed by Two Ravens in the Desert”, after Abraham Bloemaert

This post is a relisting of an earlier discussion about Jan Saenredam's engraving, “Elijah Fed by Two Ravens in the Desert”, because the print has been recently restored.

Jan Saenredam (c.1565–1607)
“Elijah Fed by Two Ravens in the Desert” (Elie nourri dans le desert par deux corbeaux), 1604, after Abraham Bloemaert (1564–1651), from the series “The prophet Elijah.”
Engraving trimmed to the image borderline on laid paper and supported on a conservator’s sheet of fine washi paper.
Size: (sheet) 16.8 x 19.5 cm
Lettered in lower left corner "Abraham Bloemaert inuen. / Joan, Saenredam Sculp, et excudebat / Ao [] 1604." In the margin two columns of text, each two lines "Jusserat irriguas ... cadente recedit" by "TSchrevelius".

The British Museum offer the following description of this print:
“Elijah fed by ravens; Elijah sits on the ground in the wilderness and reaches up to receive a piece of fruit from the beak of a raven (1 Kings 17:2-7); after Bloemaert. 1604” (

Bartsch (1803) III.226.22 (Bartsch, Adam, “Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna, 1803); Bartsch (1980) IV.22, p. 331; Hollstein 14 (Hollstein, F W H, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam, 1949); Roethlisberger 1993 81 (Roethlisberger, Marcel G; Röthlisberger, Marcel G, “Abraham Bloemaert and his sons: Paintings and prints”, 2 vols, Ghent, 1993); Nailer 22; Wurzbach 23

Condition: crisp impression, trimmed to the image borderline and supported on a conservator’s sheet of fine washi paper. There is a restored stain towards the centre of the right side that is now indistinct and a few scattered speck stains, otherwise the print is in marvellous condition.

I am selling this rare, old master engraving for a total cost of AU$346 (currently US$263.27/EUR240.30/GBP216.32 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this sublimely drawn engraving, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

To my eyes Saenredam has given a “spark of life” to his representation of the trees shown in this print. I love the way that they seem to respond to the ravens descending with food for the prophet by arching in a rhythm to almost give the birds a better flight-path access to him. This subtle treatment of the trees may be a very small component in the composition but it is elements like this that make the image strong.

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