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Saturday 25 May 2019

Jan Luyken's etching, "Moses Beats Water from the Rock”, 1708

Jan Luyken (aka Jan Luiken) (1649–1712)

“Moses Beats Water from the Rock” (aka “Mose slaat het waater uyt den Rotzsteen”; “Moyse fait fortir de l’eau d’un rocher” [titles inscribed in Dutch and French on plate]), 1708, published by Jan Covens (aka Johannes Covens) (1697– 1774) and Corneille Mortier (aka Cornelis Mortier) (fl.1688) in c1708 as an illustration to “Icones Biblicae Veteris et Novi Testamenti” (Icons of Biblical Old and New Testament), in Amsterdam.

Etching on laid paper with generous margins backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 45.2 x 58 cm; (plate) 34.3 x 45.1 cm; (image borderline) 32.5 x 43.8 cm.
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Edit à J. Covens et C. Mortier.”; (left of centre) “Mose slaat het waater uyt den Rotzsteen. Numeri. 20”; (right of centre) “Moyse fait fortir de l’eau d’un rocher. Nombre. 20.”; (right) “Johannes Luyken Inv: et fec. / 25.”

State ii (of ii?) with the change of publisher from Pieter Mortier I (1661–1711) to his son, Corneille Mortier and Corneille’s brother-in-law, Jan Covens, and the erasure of the privilege. Lifetime/early impression (based on the crisp quality of the lines showing no sign of wear to the printing plate and the retention of fine guidelines for the lettering).

Van Eeghen 3711 (Pieter van Eeghen & Johan Philip van der Kellen 1905, “Het werk van Jan en Casper Luyken”, Amsterdam, Frederik Muller & Co., vol. 2, p. 663, cat. no. 3711). 

Note that this publication is available for online viewing or free download at

Van Eeghen (1905) offers the following description of this print:
(transl.) “On the second ground on the right Moses brings out a wide stream of water from the rock, from which people and animals quench their thirst.” (p. 662)

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
(transl.) “Moses struck the rock with his staff, causing water to flow out. The people fill the jars. The Israelites' camp is in the background. To the Bible stories in: Ex 17: 1-7 and Num. 20: 1-13”

Condition: near faultless, well-printed early impression, with generous margins, and laid on a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The centre-fold of publication is flattened and is almost invisible and there are a few minor spots otherwise the sheet is in an excellent condition.

I am selling this superb lifetime impression, for AU$197 (currently US$136.45/EUR121.72/GBP107.34 at the time of 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 finely executed, large and graphically arresting scene that (to my eyes) is as grand as a movie set for a Cecil B DeMille production, 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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