Gallery of prints for sale

Wednesday 17 April 2019

Schelte Adamsz Bolswert’s engraving, “Moses and the Brazen Serpent”, c1612, after Rubens

Schelte Adamsz. Bolswert (aka Scheltius à Bolswert) (c1586–1659)

“Moses and the Brazen Serpent”, c1612 (1590–1633), after the painting by Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) in the National Gallery, London, (Rooses 112), published by Gillis Hendricx (aka Gilles Hendrikx) (fl.1640–1677) in Antwerp.

Engraving on laid paper with small margins backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 50.5 x 64.4 cm; (plate) 47.7 x 62.2 cm; (image borderline) 45.2 x 615 cm.
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) "Pet. Paul Rubbens pinxit. / S. à Bolswert sculpsit.”; (centre) coat of arms at middle dividing Latin text "FECIT ERGO MOYSES SERPENTEM ... SANABANTVR. Numeri 21 / NOBILI AC … ÆGIDIVS HENRICI."
Lifetime impression. State ii (of v) before inscribed the publication detail, “Antwerpiae”, of the third state (see Rijksmuseum’s impression: RP-P-OB-67.522) and the extended publication detail of the fourth state “Gillis Hendricx excudit Antwerpiae” (see British Museum: R,3.13).

Hollstein Dutch 2-2(5); Corpus Rubenianum III 24 (copy 20); Schneevoogt 1873 5.33
The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
(Transl.) “Aaron and Moses are standing on the right, next to the copper snake that is shaken on a stake. Men, women and children who are bitten by poisonous snakes look at the copper snake to stay alive. Below the show the title in Latin and a reference to the Bible text in Num. 21.”

See also the British Museum’s description:
“Moses and the brazen serpent; the high priest standing at far right and shows the healing Serpent to the Israelites who are being attacked by poisonous snakes; Moses stands next to him holding a staff, addresses the people with rays projecting from his head; a naked man wrestling painfully with a huge snake in foreground; others at left fighting off the snakes which are raining down from a heavily clouded sky”

Condition: richly inked and well-printed lifetime impression (based on the crisp quality of the line showing no sign of wear to the printing plate and absence of the publication details of later states), with small margins and laid upon an archival support sheet of millennium quality washi paper. The sheet is in very good condition for its considerable age, nevertheless, there are restored tears on the lower edge.

I am selling this large engraving from the early 1600s illustrating an episode from the Bible where Moses erects a brass sculpture of a snake and advises his followers to gaze upon it so that they would not be harmed by the “fiery serpents” sent by God to bite those who were grumbling about the hardships that they were facing during their exodus from Egypt—my apologies if my version of the story is not quite correct—for AU$550 (currently US$395.83/EUR349.91/GBP303.35 at the time of posting this print) 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 engraving exemplifying the Baroque period style of theatrical lighting, swirling rhythms, grand scale and dramatic gestures, 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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