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Thursday 9 January 2020

Isaak Major's engraving, “The Flood”, 1586–1630

Isaak Major (aka Isaac Major; Issak Mayor; Isaac Maior) (c.1576–1630)

“The Flood” (aka “The Deluge”), 1586–1630, illustration to the story of Noah (Genesis 7:10–8:17) possibly after a lost drawing by Roelant Savery (aka Roelandt Savry; Roelant van Saverij) (1576–1639), published by Marco Sadeler (aka Marcus Sadeler; Marc Sadeler) (1614–1660).

Note: although a related drawing by Roelant Savery has not been identified, R.J.W. Evans et al. (1991) advise in “The Stylish Image: Printmakers to the Court of Rudolf II” (Nat. Gall. of Scotland) that this print “bears a strong resemblance to two other images of biblical scenes which are signed by Ma[j]or” (p. 51) (viz. “Moses Striking the Rock” [HI] and “Golgotha”[H5]).

Engraving on laid paper trimmed along the plate mark and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 18 x 28.3 cm; (image borderline) 16.9 x 27.9 cm.
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: “Ego pluam super terram quadraginta diebus et quadraginta noctibus, et delebo omnem substantiam, quam feci de superficie terræ. Gen : cap.6. Marco Sadeler excudit.” ([tansl.] “I will rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights, and all the living things that I have made the earth.”)

Hollstein German 2 (Robert Zijlma 1979, “German Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts, ca. 1400–1700: Erasmus Loy to Jakob Mayr”, vol. 23, Amsterdam, Van Gendt & Co, p. 163, cat. no. 2).

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
(transl.) “The flood floods the country. Humans and animals are swallowed up by the water. People try to escape from the rising water” (

Condition: superb, richly inked lifetime/early impression (based on the crisp lines showing no sign of wear to the printing plate, trimmed around the platemark with replenished loss of the lower right edge beneath the publisher’s details. Beyond the repaired lower right edge, the sheet is in very good condition (i.e. there are no tears, folds, holes, abrasions, stains or foxing) and is laid onto a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this magnificent engraving with glowing contrasts of light and dark for a total cost of AU$398 (currently US$273.37/EUR246.03/GBP209.20 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this remarkably beautiful engraving which not only has the Baroque spirit of Aegidius Sadeler and Roelant Savery—the artist’s teachers in Prague—but also foreshadow the treatment of rain in Rembrandt’s famous “The Three Trees” (1643) (, executed thirteen years after Isaak Major passed away in 1630, 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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