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Last updated: 1/25/2017
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / Master Drawings and Prints / Gallery Tour 2
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Images of Women in Renaissance Prints and Drawings: Adam and Eve, page 2

Adam and Eve / Adam and Eve2
Biblical Subjects / Mythological Subjects / Allegorical Subjects / Historical Subjects

Adam and Eve / Noah / Lot and his Daughters / Joseph / Samson / Jephthah and his Daughter
David / Judith / Esther / Susanna and the Elders
De Vos Old Testament Women 1 / De Vos Old Testament Women 2 / De Vos New Testament Women
The Virgin Mary / Mary Magdalen / The Woman taken in adultery
Maundy Thursday / The Crucifixion / The Lamentation / The Resurrection
Before the Reformation, the subjects most likely to be depicted in religious art included Adam and Eve's fall in the Garden of Eden as modeled by Masaccio, Michelangelo, and Raphael among others. With the Reformation, the meaning of the fall became crucial: how far down did Adam and Eve fall and by what means could they be raised back up again. (Other subjects generated by this event included the fate of Adam and Eve's posterity, including Cain and Abel; the decline of life into sinfulness that led to the flood, with Noah as God's chosen agent to save those who were to be saved; Lot, the one just man permitted to leave Sodom before its destruction; chosen to destroy God's enemies but through his own weakness, forced to destroy himself as well when he pulled the temple of Dagon down upon the Philistines gathered there; Judith, whose faith allows her to save her people from Holofernes and the Assyrians; Susanna, whose innocence proves no defense against the false witness of the elders who try to coerce her into granting them sexual favors, but who is saved when God calls up a child to foil the elders (who stony hearts are rewarded by being crushed by stones for bearing false witness). Of course, the New Testament was of even more relevance to artists of the Renaissance, Reformation, and Counter-Reformation: popular subjects included events from the life of Jesus, images of the Virgin Mary, devotional images of saints commissioned for altar pieces, and devotional works for side chapels in churches or in the homes of the wealthy. With the explosive growth in the production of prints at the beginning of the 16th century, opportunities to create images abounded and the audience for them multiplied: now even those much lower down on the financial tree could own their own art and with the Reformation, doctrinal issues seem to have become central for many commissioning and publishing prints. Prints could depict individuals who were either positive or negative examples and prints could depict biblical histories by showing cycles devoted to significant biblical events like creation, temptation, fall, the life of fallen man, heroes and heroines of the Old and New Testaments, and subjects from the life of Christ, usually focusing on his miracles or his sufferings, and images showing the acts and sufferings of the faithful. In the North, the center of artistic activity in the early part of the century was focused in Nuremberg, where Albrecht Durer and the artists he influenced (such as Hans Sebald Beham, Heinrich Aldegrever, Georg Pencz, Daniel, Hieronymous, and Lambert Hopfer, and others) worked and in the Netherlands, where Lucas van Leyden's works were a starting point for those who came after, like Hendrik Goltzius and Jan Saenredam. As Netherlandish artists started traveling to Italy and returning with a whole new set of ideas about how prints ought to look and work, Mannerism based upon Italian models (especially Raphael, Michelangelo, and Titian) but drawing as well upon the works of Durer and Lucas became the dominant style and the lands that would become Belgium and Holland became the center of the print world. During the mid to late 16th century and the first part of the 17th century, artists and print publishers located in Antwerp (like Cornelis Cort, Jan Sadeler, Phillip Galle, the Wierix brothers, the Collaert brothers) or, after the fall of Antwerp to the Spanish, in other Dutch cities (including artists like Hendrick Goltzius or Rembrandt) produced large bodies of work published in books, in portfolios, and as single sheets for large publishers like Hieronymous Cock, the Plantin-Moretus publishing dynasty, or the great engraver-publishers like Jan Sadeler, Philips Galle, Hendrik Goltzius, and others. Within this large body of images, we have chosen to present several groups as identified above and several overviews. The two sets of prints depicting the heroines of the Old Testament and of the New by Adrien and Hans Collaert and by Carel de Mallery after drawings by Maerten de Vos (see links above) provide an easy introduction to the question of the role of individuals in 16th- and early 17th-century art; the links to specific individuals like Adam and Eve, Noah, Lot and his daughters, Samson and Delilah, Jephthah and his daughter, Judith, Susanna, the Virgin and Jesus, and Mary Magdalene among many others provide extended glimpses of some different kinds of presentations of these key figures suggesting that Renaissance artists and viewers may have been both more complex and more sophisticated in their presentations than they have recently been given credit.

Select Bibliography: W. Th. Kloek et al, Northern Netherlandish Art 1525-1580: Art Before the Iconoclasm (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 1986); H. Diane Russell, Eva / Ave: Women in Renaissance and Baroque Prints (Washington DC: The National Gallery of Art, 1990); Ellen Schultz, ed. Gothic and Renaissance Art in Nuremberg 13000-1550 (NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986).
Albrecht Durer (Nuremburg, 1471-1528), The Fall of Man. (Bartsch 17, Strauss 137) Original woodcut, c. 1510 for the Small Passion. In 1844 plaster casts were made from Durer's original woodblocks for the Small Woodcut Passion, which had just been acquired by the British Museum. From these casts, metal plates were made and a small edition produced. Our impression is from this edition. Image size: 125x96mm. Price: $2000.
Albrecht Durer (Nuremburg, 1471-1528), The Expulsion from Eden (B. 18, S. 138). Original woodcut, c. 1510 for the Small Passion. In 1844 plaster casts were made from Durer's original woodblocks for the Small Woodcut Passion, which had just been acquired by the British Museum. From these casts, metal plates were made and a small edition produced. Our impression is from this edition. Image size: 125x96mm. Price: $2000.
Lucas van Leyden (Dutch, 1494-1533), The Creation of Eve (Bartsch 1, New Hollstein 3d i/iii). Original engraving, 1529. First state (of 3) on laid paper with the small jug watermark; thread margins or trimmed to the plate mark (small paper loss upper right corner). A very good impression of this scarce print. This is the last of a series of six engravings on The Creation and Fall of Mankind. Image size: 163x115 mm. Price: $9500.
Lucas van Leyden (Dutch, 1494-1533), Adam & Eve Mourning the Death of Abel (Bartsch 6). Original engraving, 1529. A very good impression trimmed just within the platemark. Signed with the "L" and dated 1529 in the plate. This is the last of a series of six engravings on The Creation and Fall of Mankind. Image size: 160x110 mm. Price: $8500.
Hans (Jan) Collaert (Antwerp, 1566-1628), God creating Eve. Engraving after Maerten de Vos, c. 1600. From a set of 12 engravings after Marten de Vos illustrating the Creed. Published Claes Jans. Visscher (1550-1612) Printed on antique laid paper; small spot in sky. Small margins. Image size: 191x139mm. Price: $600.
Antwerp School (c. 1580). The Creation of Eve. Original etching, c. 1580. Edition unknown. Possibly after a drawing by Bernardino Passeri, an Italian artist working in Antwerp in 1577. Antwerp was the center of the Northern European print trade in the late 16th century. The biblical reference is to Jesus reminding the Apostles that husband and wife are one flesh as we are reminded by the small area top left showing God creating Eve from Adam's flesh. Image size: 103x71mm. Price: $250.
Jan Saenredam (Dutch, c. 1565-1607), Adam and Eve before the Tree (Bartsch 14). Engraving after Abraham Bloemart, c. 1604. A very good impression with Arms of Austria and Durring watermark, with good margins. Inscribed right center: "A. Bloemaert inu. / JSaenredam sculp." Saenredam was one of Goltzius' most important pupils. After becoming a master, he also worked with others of the Utrecht Mannerists, including Abraham Bloemaert. Image size: 275x200mm. Price: $2750.
Jan Saenredam (Dutch, c. 1565-1607), Adam and Eve before the Tree (Bartsch 35). Engraving after Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem, c. 1600. A very good impression with Coat of Arms watermark. Inscribed bottom right: "A. Bloemaert inu. / JSaenredam sculp." Saenredam was one of Goltzius' most important pupils. After becoming a master, he also worked with others of the Utrecht Mannerists, including Abraham Bloemaert. Image size: 275x200mm. Price: $2750.
Abraham de Bruyn (Antwerp, 1540-1587 Cologne), Adam and Eve tempted by the serpent (Hol. 384-454). Engraving after Peter van der Borcht, c. 1570 for Arias Montanus, Humanae salutis monumenta, 1571 and after, published in Antwerp by Christopher Plantin. A good impression on laid paper. De Bruyn was an engraver and publisher who lived in Antwerp but left for Cologne c. 1577-1578. He executed many engravings for the Plantin press, often collaborating with the Wierix brothers on large projects. A superb engraver, his work is remarkable for his technical virtuosity. Image size:113x74mm. Price: $500.
Abraham de Bruyn (Antwerp, 1540-1587 Cologne), God judging Adam, Eve and the Serpent (Hol. 384-454). Engraving after Peter van der Borcht, c. 1570 for Arias Montanus, Humanae salutis monumenta, 1571 and after, published in Antwerp by Christopher Plantin. A good impression on laid paper. Image size: 111x74mm. Price: $500.
Wenceslaus Hollar (Prague 1602-Antwerp 1677), The Dance of Death: Adan and Eve expelled from Eden. Etching after the woodcut by Hans Holbein. Edition unknown. Hollar was one of the most important printmakers in England during the middle third of the seventeenth century. Ours is an impression from the late 18th century. Image size: 76x55mm. Price: $500.
Wenceslaus Hollar (Prague 1602-Antwerp 1677), The Dance of Death: Adan, Eve, and Death after the Fall. Etching after the woodcut by Hans Holbein. Edition unknown. Hollar was one of the most important printmakers in England during the middle third of the seventeenth century. Ours is an impression from the late 18th century. Image size: 76x55mm. Price: $500.

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