Gallery of prints for sale

Friday 18 October 2019

Crispijn de Passe I's engraving, “Sibylla Cumaea”, 1601

Crispijn de Passe I (aka Crispin Van de Passe) (1564–1637)

“Sibylla Cumaea”, 1601, plate 4 from the series of eighteen plates, “The Sibyls.”

For those wondering about this image I wish to propose my reading of what is portrayed. The young woman shown here is the legendary prophetess who is soon to become a thousand-year-old prophetess. She is portrayed in an entranced state of rapture as she is willingly sacrificing her virginity—symbolised by the flower bouquet—to Apollo—symbolised by the light where she gazes—in return for ever lasting life. What is not shown in this image is the sad demise of the prophetess, as time ultimate diminishes the prophetess’ size to such an alarming extent that she lived in a jar and ultimately became so small that only her voice remained … such a sad story.

Engraving with etching on laid paper trimmed along the platemark and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 14.1 x 11.1 cm; (roundel image borderline) 11.1 cm dia.
Lettered on plate: (band of Latin text around the roundel border) "SIBYLLA CUMAEA QVAE ET CIMMERIA APOLLINIS IN CVMIS SACeRDos"; (below the roundel in six lines of Latin verse) "In teneris … Sabæa"; (lower right corner) "4."

Franken 1881 287 (Daniel Franken 1975, “L'oeuvre gravé des Van de Passe”, vol. 19, Amsterdam, Scripta artis monographia, p. 39, cat. nos. 280–297); Hollstein Dutch 321 (Karel Gerard Boon & Jan Verbeek 1964, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts ca. 1450–1700”, vol. 15, Amsterdam, Menno Hertzberger en Co, p. 167, cat. nos. 314–331).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 4 from a set of eighteen plates, sixteen medallions representing Sibyls, a titlepage and a coat of arms; composition placed in a circle; Sibylla Cumaea, seen in half-length, with bouquet of flowers. 1601 Engraving with etching”

Condition: richly inked impression with strong contrasts trimmed along the platemark. There is a restored loss of the upper-right corner (the restoration is virtually invisible) and a crease in the lower-left corner. The print is laid upon a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this small and glowing jewel of an engraving showing the young prophetess in a state of rapture (see my explanatory account of what is portrayed), for AU$197 (currently US$134.92/EUR121.03/GBP104.67 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 very beautiful engraving executed with the finest of linework, 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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