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Last updated: 1/25/2017
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Images of Women in Renaissance Prints and Drawings:
Maarten de Vos: Women of the New Testament

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 / The Story of Job
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
Maarten de Vos was born in Antwerp in 1532 and died there in 1603. His father Pieter de Vos was also a painter and he studied first with him and then with Frans Floris, one of the first to bring Mannerism to Antwerp. In 1551 de Vos left Floris and went to Rome, where he studied the works of Michelangelo and then to Venice where he became first the pupil then the friend and collaborator of Tintoretto. He was highly successful in Italy, executing commissions for the Medici among others. In 1558 he returned to Antwerp where he worked as a painter executing portraits and large commissions for churches. He executed some engravings, but he was far more prolific as a source of drawings that were then engraved and published by others. In this set of twenty pieces depicting the Celebrated Women of the Old Testament, his drawings were engraved by Jan II Collaert (Antwerp, 1561/62-1620)

Stylistically these engravings are clearly Mannerist in inspiration. Thematically, they present an interesting set of celebrated women. Rahab is a prostitute who protects Joshua's spies in Jericho and thus aids in Joshua's conquest of her city, Tamar (or Thamar) is a widow who must play the part of a prostitute to force her father-in-law to obey the law of Israel and give her his third son as a husband following the deaths of his two eldest sons without begetting a child with her. Esther uses her beauty to become the wife of an Assyrian King and uses that place to put down an attempt to destroy the people of Israel and Judith lures an Assyrian General to his death, thus demoralizing his troops and saving Isreal from destruction by allowing Holofernes to think that she will sleep with him and then cutting off his head with his own sword when he falls asleep drunk. The acts of some of these women demonstrate a willingness to put service to God above all other concerns including conventional morality. Some of the presentations stress the beauty and sexual attractiveness of the women as if to invite us to reconsider whether the very things for which women had frequently been condemned might not be the very means by which God saves his people in these stories.

Select Bibliography: A. Doutrepont, Martin de Vos et l'Entrée triomphale de l'Archiduc Ernest d'Autriche à Anvers en 1594 (Brussels/Rome: 1937); M.M.L. Netto-Bol, So-called Maarten de Vos sketchbook of drawings after the antique (The Hague, Staatsuitgeverij, 1976: Vol. IV of the series "Kunsthistorische Studiën van het Nederlands Instituut te Rome); C. Schuckman, Maarten de Vos, 1532-1603 (Rotterdam: Sound & Vision, 1995/96. 3 vols. Together 850 pp., ca.1600 ills. Vols XLIV - XLVI in the Hollstein's Dutch and Flemish series); A. Zweite, Studien zu Marten Vos. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der antwerpener Malerei in der zweiten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts (Göttingen: Georg-August-Universität, 1974); A. Zweite, Marten de Vos als Maler. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Antwerpener Malerei in der zweiten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts (Berlin 1980). For the definitive work on the Collaert family, see Marjolein Leesberg, and Arnout Balis, The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings, and Woodcuts 1450-1700. The Collaert Dynasty, Part I-Part IV (Rotterdam: Sound & Vision Publishers, 2005).
Jan II Collaert (Antwerp, 1561/62-1620), Sara (New Holl. 87 iii/iii, with the biblical citation). Engraving after Maarten de Vos, c. 1590-95. Plate 2 from a set of Celebrated Women of the Old Testament consisting of twenty engravings (plus frontispiece) by Jan II or Adrien Collaert and Carel van Mallery published in Antwerp by Phillip Galle (1537-1612). In the left rear, Abraham at Sara's demand sends Hagar and Ishmael, the son that he begat upon her at Sara's demand before she was able to conceive Isaac, into the wilderness, where they will be saved from death by an angel. Image size: 154x88mm. Price: SOLD.
Jan II Collaert (Antwerp, 1561/62-1620), Rebecca New Holl. 88 iii/iii, with the biblical citation). Engraving after Maarten de Vos, c. 1590-95. Plate 3 from a set of Celebrated Women of the Old Testament consisting of twenty engravings (plus frontispiece) by Jan II or Adrien Collaert and Carel van Mallery published in Antwerp by Phillip Galle (1537-1612). In the background, Rebecca helps Jacob deceive his blind father Isaac into giving him the blessing that Isaac had intended for his older brother Esau. Image size: 154x88mm. Price: $750.
Jan II Collaert (Antwerp, 1561/62-1620), Rebecca New Holl. 88 iii/iii, with the biblical citation). Engraving after Maarten de Vos, c. 1590-95. Plate 3 from a set of Celebrated Women of the Old Testament consisting of twenty engravings (plus frontispiece) by Jan II or Adrien Collaert and Carel van Mallery published in Antwerp by Phillip Galle (1537-1612). In the background, Rebecca helps Jacob deceive his blind father Isaac into giving him the blessing that Isaac had intended for his older brother Esau. Image size: 154x88mm. Price: $600.
Jan II Collaert (Antwerp, 1561/62-1620), Leah (New Holl. 89 iii/iii, with the biblical citation). Engraving after Maarten de Vos, c. 1590-95. Plate 4 from a set of Celebrated Women of the Old Testament consisting of twenty engravings (plus frontispiece) by Jan II or Adrien Collaert and Carel van Mallery published in Antwerp by Phillip Galle (1537-1612). Jacob serves her father Laban for seven years in order to win Rachel, then discovers, the morning after the wedding that he had slept with Leah ("who was tender-eyed") instead and is forced to serve another seven years in order to wed Rachel. There is another engraving printed on the reverse, Rachel by Hans Collaert (Plate 5). Image size: 154x88mm. Price: SOLD.
Jan II Collaert (Antwerp, 1561/62-1620), Rachel (New Holl. de Vos 90 iii/iii, with the biblical citation). Engraving after Maarten de Vos, c. 1590-95. Plate 5 from a set of Celebrated Women of the Old Testament consisting of twenty engravings (plus frontispiece) by Jan II or Adrien Collaert and Carel van Mallery published in Antwerp by Phillip Galle (1537-1612). Rachel, "who was beautiful and well-favored," was jacob's first love but his second wife. Image size: 154x88mm. Price: $750.
Jan II Collaert (Antwerp, 1561/62-1620), Thamar (New Holl. de 91 iii/iii, with the biblical citation). Engraving after Maarten de Vos, c. 1590-95. Plate 6 from a set of Celebrated Women of the Old Testament consisting of twenty engravings (plus frontispiece) by Jan II or Adrien Collaert and Carel van Mallery published in Antwerp by Phillip Galle (1537-1612). The scene depicts Tamar trapping her father-in-law into keeping his promise to allow her to marry his youngest son after the deaths of his two older ones after their marriages to her by dressing as a prostitute and sleeping with him (see top left). Image size: 154x88mm. Price: $750
Jan II Collaert (Antwerp, 1561/62-1620), Maria, Sister of Aaron and Moses (New Holl. de 92 ii/iii, before the biblical citation). Engraving after Maarten de Vos, c. 1590-95. Plate 7 from a set of Celebrated Women of the Old Testament consisting of twenty engravings (plus frontispiece) by Jan II or Adrien Collaert and Carel van Mallery published in Antwerp by Phillip Galle (1537-1612). This engraving depicts the Song of Miriam from Exodus 15: 20-21: "Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women
went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them: 'Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.' ” Image size: 154x88mm. Price: $750
Jan II Collaert (Antwerp, 1561/62-1620), Rahab (New Holl. 93 iii/iii, with the biblical citation). Engraving after Maarten de Vos, c. 1590-95. Plate 8 from a set of Celebrated Women of the Old Testament consisting of twenty engravings (plus frontispiece) by Jan II or Adrien Collaert and Carel van Mallery published in Antwerp by Phillip Galle (1537-1612). There is another engraving printed on the reverse, Joshua by Abraham de Bruyn. Rahab is a prostitute in Jericho who protects Joshua's spies and keeps them from being discovered in return for being spared when Joshua takes the city. Image size: 154x88mm. Price: $700.
Jan II Collaert (Antwerp, 1561/62-1620), Debora (New Holl. 94 ii/iii, with the biblical citation). Engraving after Maarten de Vos, c. 1590-95. Plate 9 from a set of Celebrated Women of the Old Testament consisting of twenty engravings (plus frontispiece) by Jan II or Adrien Collaert and Carel van Mallery published in Antwerp by Phillip Galle (1537-1612). Debora was one of the judges of Isreal; Queen Elizabeth I of England was compared to Debora in the early years of her reign. Image size: 154x88mm. Price: SOLD.
Jan II Collaert (Antwerp, 1561/62-1620), Iahel (New Holl. 95 i/iii, before the cover-up of her breasts and before the biblical citation). Engraving after Maarten de Vos, c. 1590-95. Plate 10 from a set of Celebrated Women of the Old Testament consisting of twenty engravings (plus frontispiece) by Jan II or Adrien Collaert and Carel van Mallery published in Antwerp by Phillip Galle (1537-1612). Jael's acts are told in Judges 4: 18-22: "Jael came out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; have no fear.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. Then he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink; for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. He said to her, “Stand at the entrance of the tent, and if anybody comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’ ” But Jael wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, until it went down into the ground—he was lying fast asleep from weariness—and he died. Then, as Barak came in pursuit of Sisera, Jael went out to meet him, and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he went into her tent; and there was Sisera lying dead, with the tent peg in his temple. Image size: 154x88mm. Price: $900.
Jan II Collaert (Antwerp, 1561/62-1620), Iahel (New Holl. 95 iii/iii, with the biblical citation). Engraving after Maarten de Vos, c. 1590-95. Plate 10 from a set of Celebrated Women of the Old Testament consisting of twenty engravings (plus frontispiece) by Jan II or Adrien Collaert and Carel van Mallery published in Antwerp by Phillip Galle (1537-1612). Jael's acts are told in Judges 4: 18-22: "Jael came out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; have no fear.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. Then he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink; for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. He said to her, “Stand at the entrance of the tent, and if anybody comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’ ” But Jael wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, until it went down into the ground—he was lying fast asleep from weariness—and he died. Then, as Barak came in pursuit of Sisera, Jael went out to meet him, and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he went into her tent; and there was Sisera lying dead, with the tent peg in his temple. Image size: 154x88mm. Price: $600.
Jan II Collaert (Antwerp, 1561/62-1620), Mater Sampsonis (New Holl. 96 ii/iii, before the biblical citation). Engraving after Maarten de Vos, c. 1590-95. Plate 10 from a set of Celebrated Women of the Old Testament consisting of twenty engravings (plus frontispiece) by Jan II Collaert and published in Antwerp by Phillip Galle (1537-1612). Jael acts are told in Judges 4: 18-22: "Jael came out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; have no fear.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. Then he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink; for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. He said to her, “Stand at the entrance of the tent, and if anybody comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’ ” But Jael wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, until it went down into the ground—he was lying fast asleep from weariness—and he died. Then, as Barak came in pursuit
of Sisera, Jael went out to meet him, and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom
you are seeking.” So he went into her tent; and there was Sisera lying dead, with the tent peg in his temple Image size: 154x88mm. Price: $600.
Also of interest:

North Italian Illuminated Manuscript / Italian Old Master Drawings: An Overview / Italian School, 16th-Century Drawings
Michelangelo Buonarotti (After) / Raphael / Giulio Romano / Perino del Vaga / Marcantonio Raimondi / Parmigianino
Titian (after) / Andrea Schiavone / Tintoretto / Veronese / Taddeo Zuccaro / Federico Zuccaro / Alessandro Casolani
Jacopo Palma il Giovane / Cherubino Alberti / Luca Cambiaso / Annibale Carracci / Ludovico Carracci

Italian School, 17th-Century Drawings / Bolognese School / Giovanni Baglione / Matteo Rosselli / Ercole Bazzicaluva
Baldassare Franceschini called Il Volterrano / Pier Francesco Mazzuccelli, il Morazzone / Odoardo Fialetti / Simone Cantarini
Domenichino / Francesco Albani / Giovanni Lanfranco / Guercino / Pier Francesco Mola / Antonio Busca

Italian School Printmakers, 15th-17th Centuries: Venetian School, c. 1497 / Raphael School / Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio
Marcantonio Raimondi / The Master of the Die / Anea Vico / Agostino Veneziano / Nicholas Beatrizet
Michelangelo Buonarotti (After) / Giulio Bonasone / Giovanni Battista Franco /Girolamo Fagiuoli / Cherubino Alberti
Titian (after) / Tintoretto (after) / Parmigianino / Giorgio Ghisi / Diana Scultori / Annibale Carracci / Ludovico Carracci
Agostino Carracci / Simone Cantarini / Elisabetta Sirani / Gerolamo Scarsello

Netherlandish School, 15th-17th-Century Drawings / Flemish School, 17th-Century
Bernaert van Orley / Lucas van Leyden / Maarten de Vos / Jan Baptiste de Wael / Abraham Bloemaert
Peter Paul Rubens / Philipp Sadeler / Nicolaes Maes / Rembrandt School

Netherlandish Printmakers 16th-17th Centuries: Lucas van Leyden, Maarten van Heemskerck, Cornelis Cort
Philips Galle, Abraham de Bruyn, Hans (Jan) Collaert, Adriaen Collaert, Karel de Mallery, Theodore Galle, Hendrik Goltzius
Julius Goltzius, Jacob Matham, Jan Sanraedam, Maarten de Vos, Jan Sadeler, Aegidius Sadeler, Raphael Sadeler
Crispin de Passe, Magdalena de Passe, Wierix Brothers, Rembrandt, Rembrandt School, Jan Lievens, Jan Joris van Vliet,
Ferdinand Bol, Govert Flinck

German Drawings: Hans Sebald Beham / Virgil Solis / Hans von Aachen / Joseph Heinrich Roos
German 16th century printmakers: Heinrich Aldegrever, Jost Amman, Hans Sebald Beham, Hans Brosamer, Hans Burgkmair,
Lucas Cranach, Albrecht Durer, Albrecht Durer (After), Augstin Hirschvogel, Hans Holbein (After), Hopfer Family,
Monogrammist IS with the Shovel, Georg Pencz, Hans Schäufelein, Virgil Solis, Monogrammist W.S. (Wolfgang Stuber?).

French Drawings: Charles de La Fosse / Etienne Parrocel / François Boucher / Jean-François de Neufforge / Mouricault
French printmakers: Etienne Delaune / Rene Boyvin /Thomas de Leu / Jean Cousin the Younger / Jacques Callot
Abraham Bosse / Sebastien Bourdon / Claude Gelle "le Lorraine" / Jean LePautre
Claudine Bouzonnet Stella / Antonette Bouzonnet Stella / Gabriel Perelle

19th-Century Drawings / 20th-Century Drawings

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