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Friday 25 June 2021

Antonius Wierix II’s engraving, “Samson Carries the Gates of Gaza”, c1585

Antonius Wierix II (1555/59–1604)

“Samson Carries the Gates of Gaza” (aka “Simson draagt de poorten van Gaza”; “Samson enlève les portes de Gaza”), c1585, Plate 5 from the series of seven engravings, “The Story of Samson”, after the design by Jan Snellinck I (aka Jan Snellincx; Jan Snellinx) (c1544/9–1638), previously attirbuted to Maarten de Vos (aka Marten de Vos; Maerten de Vos) (1532–1603), published in “Thesaurus sacrarum historiarum veteris testamenti, elegantissimis imaginabus expressum excellentissimorum in hac arte virorum opera: nunc primum in lucem editus” ([Google Transl.] Treasure sacred stories of the Old Testament elegant imaginabor expressed in this excellent works of art, now for the first time to light) in Antwerp in 1585 by Gerard de Jode (aka Geeraert de Jode; Geerart de Jode; Gerardo de Jode; Gheerde de Jode; Gheraerde de Jode; Girard de Jode; Gerard de Jode (1516/17–1591).

Engraving on laid paper (with watermark), trimmed with a narrow margin around the platemark.

Size: (sheet) 21.6 x 29.8 cm; (plate) 21.2 x 29.5 cm; (image borderline) 20.3 x 29.3 cm.

Lettered in plate below the image bordedline: (centre) “Mœnibus inclusus portas cum vectibus ausert vicinoque Locat vertice montis eas Judicum.16.3.”; (right) “5”.

State iii (of iii) with the addition of the verse number, “3.”

Mauquoy-Hendrickx 28.III (Marie Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1978, “Les Estampes Des Wierix”, vol. 1, [text] p. 4, [ill.] p. 2); New Hollstein Dutch 36 (Zsuzsanna van Ruyven-Zeman [comp.] 2003, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts ca. 1450–1700: The Wierix family: part I”, vol. 59, Rotterdam, Sound and Vision Rijksprentenkabinet, p. 33, cat. no. 36).

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:

“[Transl.] “Samson carries the gates of the city of Gaza on his shoulders. In the background the city of Gaza. Below the performance a reference in Latin to the Bible text in Ri. 16.” (

See also the description offered by the British Museum:

For those who may be unfamiliar with the portrayed episode from “The Story of Samson”, the following verses from The Book of Judges: 16 (CEV) will be helpful:

“One day while Samson was in Gaza, he saw a prostitute and went to her house to spend the night. The people who lived in Gaza found out he was there, and they decided to kill him at sunrise. So they went to the city gate and waited all night in the guardrooms on each side of the gate. But Samson got up in the middle of the night and went to the town gate. He pulled the gate doors and doorposts out of the wall and put them on his shoulders. Then he carried them all the way to the top of the hill that overlooks Hebron, where he set the doors down, still closed and locked” (Bible Gatway [1995]

Condition: a well-printed impression with narrow margins in excellent condition with no tears, holes, folds, losses, stains or foxing.

I am selling this curiously interesting engraving showing not only Samson carrying two heavy gates up to Mount Hebron—note that he is portrayed in this undertaking in the foreground and again in the middle distance—but also revealing how Flemish artists of the time envisaged the landscape around Gaza—note, for example, the stepped gable facades on some of the houses—for AU$355 (currently US$269.70/EUR225.77/GBP194.05 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 wonderful engraving with a wealth of details to examine, 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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