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Saturday 6 October 2018

Pieter de Jode II’s engaving, “Erycius Puteanus”, 1630–45, after Anthony Van Dyck

Pieter de Jode II (aka Pieter de Iode; Petrus iunior de Jode; Pieter de Jonge Jode) (1606–1670/74)
“Erycius Puteanus”, 1630–1645, from the series after Anthony Van Dyck (1599–1641), “Icones Principum Virorum” (aka “'Icones Principum Virorum Doctorum Pictorum Chalcographorum Statuariorum nec non amatorum pictoriae artis numero centum ab Antonio Van Dyck Pictore ad vivum expressae, eiusq[ue] sumptibus aeri incisae”), published in the Hendrick and Cornelis Verdussen (Antwerp) edition of 1720. 

Engraving on fine laid paper.
Size: 33.6 x 23 cm; (plate) 22.7 x 17.2 cm; (image borderline) 20.4 x 16.9 cm

Initialed on plate within the image borderline at lower left: “I”
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (lower left) "Ant. van Dÿck pinxcit / Pet. de Iode Sculp.”; (centre) "CLARISSIMVS ERYCVS PVTEANVS HISTORIOGRAPHVS / REGIVS PROFESSOR CONSILIARIVS ETC."; (lower right) "Cum priuilegio."

State vii with the previous publisher’s initials—“GH” (Gillis Hendricx [fl.1640–70])—burnished/erased. (Note: the mount into which this print was once displayed has a pencil notation that this impression is from the Hendrick and Cornelis Verdussen [Antwerp] edition published in 1720.)

Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1991 36.VII (Marie Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1991, “L'Iconographie d'Antoine Van Dyck, Catalogue raisonné”, 2 vols, Brussels, Bibliotheque Royale Albert Ier); Hollstein 144 (De Jode); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 42.VII (Van Dyck); Muller II 1853 4321; van Someren 1888 M.4321

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Portrait of Erycius Puteanus, half-length in front of a swagged curtain to left, book shelves to right; with long hair, moustache and beard, his right hand resting on an opening book in front”

Note: The BM’s state vii impression (see BM no. 1863,0509.913) is hand inscribed in ink with the number “28” at the upper right corner, which most likely indicates the position of this print in the 1759 edition of 125 portraits.

Condition: superbly crisp, richly inked and well-printed impression with generous margins in excellent/museum-quality condition (i.e. there are no tears, folds, holes, abrasions, significant stains or foxing). There is a collector’s ink stamp (verso).

I am selling this exceptionally rare engraving by one of the most important printmakers of the 17th century for AU$198 (currently US$139.70/EUR121.22/GBP106.47 at the time of posting this listing) including 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 stunning print from one of the greatest—or at least the most historically significant—series of portraits ever engraved, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

The British Museum offers the following biographical details about the sitter of this portrait, Erycius Puteanus (1574 – 1646): “Historian, humanist and philologist from the Netherlands; studied at Dordrecht and Cologne. Professor at University of Leuven” ( The curator of the BM also advises that the “portrait is based on Van Dyck's chalk and brush drawing” held in the British Museum (see 1895,0915.1069:,1a.258&page=1) and that the copper printing plate for this print “is kept in the Chalcographie, Musée du Louvre,” (see BM no. R,1a.258).

After looking at Van Dyck’s preparatory chalk and brush study for this portrait (see URL above) showing the sitter (Puteanus) facing to the right (rather than the mirror image of his position in Pieter de Jode’s engraving) I wonder how many other viewers perceive a difference in the projected meaning separating the two compositions. What I mean by this is that in Van Dyck’s original composition with the sitter facing right, I see the man as being slightly secretive—as if he is trying to conceal what his fingers are "bookmarking”. Going further, I read Van Dyck's original composition as showing the sitter caught in a specific moment of being interrupted in what he is doing. By contrast, in Pieter de Jode’s engraving, I see the man as exhibiting a contemplative mindset—reflecting upon a meaningful thought with his fingers lightly holding a reference point in the book in a timeless moment.

Of course, the idea that an academic figure should hold a book is a simple visual device to signify the sitter’s intellectual background—the same way that portrayed saints are signified by the attributes that they carry. What is interesting to consider with the simple device of showing Puteanus with his book is how much additional meanings are projected by which direction he faces, how many fingers he inserts into the book and how “well used” the book appears.

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