Adriaen COLLAERT: Blazon of the Antwerp Guild of St Luke - 1614
Engraving, 280 x 214 mm. New Hollstein 1687.
Superb impression printed on laid paper. In very good condition. Very slight vertical and horizontal central creases, similar to those on the RP-P-1981-114 impression of the Rijksmuseum. A tiny foxmark in the upper left corner. Good margins (sheet: 315 x 230 mm).
The engraving represents St Luke painting the Virgin and Child Christ. Patron saint of painters and sculptors, often represented as he is painting, Saint Luke gave his name to numerous Fine Arts academies and artists' guilds. In Antwerp, the Guild of St Luke welcomed many different trades related to the fine arts, as testified by the rich decorative border that frames Adriaen Collaert's engraving. One can see a painter's palette, a copperplate and several tools of the printmaker, an architect's instruments, a bookbinder's press, a frame-maker's tools, as well as musical instruments, coffers, ewers, books...
Adriaen Collaert had been accepted as a free-master of the Antwerp Guild of St Luke in 1580 and became its dean in 1597. The Antwerp Guild of St Luke was one of the oldest in Europe: it is first mentioned in 1382. Two centuries later, Antwerp had become a first-rate artistic hub and the Guild enjoyed a great reputation.
NB: the dimensions given in New Hollstein (270 x 205 mm) are different from those of our impression (280 x 214 mm). The latter dimensions are yet also the dimensions of the impression RP-P-1981-114 in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, which is the illustration chosen for this print in New Hollstein. What’s more, the authors of the New Hollstein volume quote an ‘exact copy, engraved much coarser’, whose dimensions are 284 x 213 mm and according to them the impression RP-P-1989-247 in the Rijksmuseum is one impression of this copy. But this impression seems to be perfectly identical to the other and the same scratches are visible on both. The text engraved bottom is different and includes Willem van Nieuwlandt’s motto and therefore dates back to 1620-1621 at the earliest. We suggest that there are two states, the first with a text starting with ‘Dry…’, the second with the text starting with ‘SINT’ LVCAS’.