Gallery of prints for sale

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Jakob von der Heyden’s engraving, “Allegory of Love”, 1608

Jakob von der Heyden (aka Jacob van der Heyden) 1573–1645)

“Allegory of Love” (aka “Allégorie de l'Amour”; “Allegorie op de liefde”), 1608, plate 12 from the series of thirty-six plates (or, according to the Rijksmuseum’s description of this print, possibly more and a title plate [see]), “Pugillus Facetiarum Iconographicaru[m] in Studiosorum potissimum gratiam ex propijs eorundem albis desumptarum et iam primum hac forma editarum”, with Latin and German captions by P Ange, published in Strasbourg.

Note that offers an online view of a variant of this publication (1648) showing an assembled collection of the plates—including the title plate, but not “Allegory of Love”—some of which are inscribed with Albrecht Schmidt as the publisher—but this is clearly not the Augsburg publisher of the same name who was active after 1694:

Engraving on laid paper trimmed with a narrow margin around the platemark on the top and sides and slightly within the platemark on the lower edge with loss of the plate number, “12”, and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 9.4 x 13.4 cm; (image borderline) 8.3 x 13.1 cm.

Inscribed on plate below the image borderline in two columns of two lines (left column in Latin and right column in German): “Si mibi …/ (Virgo caue) …// Habt acht …/ …nicht beist.”

Hollstein German 186 (Tilman Falk [ed.] & Robert Zijlma [comp.] 1984, “German Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts, ca. 1400–1700: Jacob van der Heyden to Nikolaus Hogenberg”, vol. 13 A, Blaricum, A.L. van Gendt, p. 71, cat. no. 186).

See also other engravings from the same series held by the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: a strong and well-printed impression with a small restored loss at the upper right edge and trimmed slightly within the platemark on the lower edge. The sheet has no folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing and is laid upon an archival support sheet of millennium quality washi paper.

My understanding of this print (which may be far from the “proper” meaning) is that the man shown on the left is speaking charming words to the woman on the right, but his interest in the woman is carnal and this is symbolised by the fox that accompanies him. This symbolism of the fox as a wily devil of desire has a long history. In “Physiologus”, for example, a hungry fox is said to partly bury itself with earth and pretend that it is dead in order to entice scavenger birds to its body only to leap to life and tear the poor birds to pieces. To clarify the encoded message of the man’s canal desire, the woman points to a cupid/amor/eros aiming its bow and arrow at the man’s nether region. There may be a lot more symbolism that I have missed in this image—see for example the “pointing” lopped limb of the tree behind the woman and the lower hole in the tree’s trunk that may (or may not) project symbolic meanings.

I am selling this curiously wonderful 17th century vision of love and morals, for the total cost of AU$253 (currently US$195.27/EUR160.65/GBP144.16 at the time of this listing) including Express Mail (EMS) 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 small and very rare allegorical engraving, 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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