Gallery of prints for sale

Saturday 9 December 2023

Frederik Bloemaert’s engraving, “A Beggar Walking on Crutches”, c.1650, after Abraham Bloemaert

Frederik Bloemaert (1610–69)

“A Beggar Walking on Crutches” (“Bedelaar lopend op krukken”), c.1650 (1635–1669), plate 8 from the series of 30 engravings (Roethisberger 322–350), “The Little Figures” (“De kleine figuren”), after a drawing by the artist’s father, Abraham Bloemaert (1564–1651).

Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed with a small margin around the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 13.2 x 8.3 cm; (image borderline) 12.6 x 7.8 cm.

Numbered at lower right: “8”.

Roethlisberger 328 (Marcel G. Roethlisberger 1993, “Abraham Bloemaert and His Sons: Paintings and Prints”, vol. 1, Davaco, Doornspuk, p. 240, cat. no. 328); Hollstein Dutch 163 (F.W.H. Hollstein 1950, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts ca. 1450-1700: Berckheyde–Bodding”, vol. 2, Amsterdam, Menno Hertzberger, p. 87, cat. nos. 156–185).

See also the description of this print held by the Rijksmuseum:

Clearly, images like this are not intended to be spiritually uplifting, but there are motivations underpinning them regardless. I understand after reading Larry Silver’s (2006) “Peasant Scenes and Landscapes: The Rise of Pictorial Genres in the Antwerp Art Market”, that popular perceptions at that time was that such folk as this poor man were undesirable. Going further, (shockingly) they were perceived to be potential thieves.

Mindful of these alarming and prevailing social attitudes, I thought I might outline a couple of the pictorial conventions that arguably play a role in this print:

- Cripples, beggars and vagabonds are more likely to be thieves if they look backwards. Fortunately, this man does not look backward, but, interestingly, such subtle symbolism is all tied to the idea that “bad” folk look back to the folly that they’ve created whereas honest folk look forward.

- Cripples, beggars and vagabonds laden with a bulging satchel within a barren setting, as seen here (unless his “satchel” is actually a water container), usually connotes that they have been thieving.

Condition: a strong and well-printed (near faultless) impression with small margin around the image borderline. The sheet is in a near pristine condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or significant stains and is laid onto a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper providing wide margins.

I am selling this finely executed engraving of a hunched figure supported on two crutches, for AU$229 (currently US$153.06/EUR138.49/GBP121.91 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 graphically real portrayal of a crippled man finding his way forward, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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