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Monday 4 May 2020

Harmen Jansz. Muller’s, “The Servant Buries his Talent”, c.1570

Harmen Jansz. Muller (1540–1617)

“The Servant Buries his Talent” (aka “Dienaar begraaft zijn talent”), c.1570 (1565–72), plate 3 from the series of six engravings, “The Parable of the Talents”, after the design by Gerard van Groeningen (aka Gerard van Groenning; Gerard P Groenning; Gerard Groenning; Gerardum Groeninghen; Gerrit van Groenwegen; Gerardo a Gruningen) (fl.1550–1599), initially published by Gerard de Jode (1509/17–1591) in “Thesaurus novi Testamenti elegantissimis iconibus expressus continens historias atque miracula doni nostri Iesu Christi” in 1579–85 in Antwerp and later by Claes Jansz. Visscher II (1587–1652) in “Theatrum Biblicum Hoc Est Historiae Sacrae Veteris et Novi Testamenti Tabulis Aeneis Expressae” in 1646 in Amsterdam. This impression is from Gerard de Jode’s edition (see

Engraving on watermarked laid paper with margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 24.3 x 34.8 cm; (plate) 20.1 x 28.8 cm; (image borderline) 19.1 x 28.6 cm.
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline: (lower right) “3/ [artist’s monogram]. F”.
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: “Qui vero unum acceperat abiens fodit in terram et abscondit pecuniam Domini sui” (He who had received only one went to dig in the ground, and hid his master's money).

State i (of ii); lifetime impression before the addition of the biblical reference (“Matt. 25.18.”) and second number (“3”) below the image borderline at right corner.

New Hollstein Dutch (Harmen Jansz. Muller) 51–1(2) (Ger Luijten [ed.] 1999, “The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450–1700: The Muller Dynasty”, vol. 1, Rotterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet, p. 134, cat. no. 51); New Hollstein Dutch (Gerard van Groeningen) 110–1(2) (Christiaan Schuckman [comp.] 1997, “The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450–1700: Gerard van Groeningen”, vol. 1, Rotterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet Sound and Vision Interactive, p. 146, cat. no. 110).

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
(transl.) “The servant, who has received a talent from his master to manage, digs a hole to bury his talent. On the right a ruin and on the left in the background a harbor. At the bottom of the margin a reference to the Bible text in Latin.”

Condition: richly inked and well-printed lifetime impression in superb, museum-quality condition apart from a spot of archival reinforcing tape verso.

I am selling this amazing engraving full of dramatic energy and theatrical contrasts of light and dark exemplifying the period style of Mannerism, for AU$310 (currently US$198.39/EUR181.23/GBP159.20 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 engraving illustrating the biblical parable given in Matthew's Gospel (25.18) of the “neglectful” servant burying a stash of money—an amount called a “talent” that is worth the equivalent of 16 years of labour—entrusted to him by his master to “take care of” (i.e. invest), 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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