This early 17th-century engraving by Johannes Valdor (c. 1570-1640) is after another engraving by Hieronymus Wierix (1553-1619).
When endless reams of colourful prints adorn the shelves of every homeware supplier from London to New York, it’s hard to comprehend the scarcity of a small original engraving produced over 400 years ago. Here, in this exquisitely incised image, Valdor creates a masterpiece. Each line precisely engraved into a smooth copper plate, gradually building up the gentle form of a Saint who symbolised sacrifice. It’s poignant that to craft such a piece, Valdor, too, would’ve given his life over to hone his skills.
Regardless of your religious beliefs, Francis of Assisi remains an inspiration. Born around 1181, he abandoned a lifestyle adorned with the trappings of wealth to devote his life to a greater cause. One of humility, simplicity and loving kindness. He holds a skull as a reminder of mortality, a ‘memento mori’ - ‘remember that you must die’. Riches are a temporary glory. Benevolence is permanent.
Held in a contemporary frame and glazed.
Works by Jean Valdor are held in numerous public collections including at the British Museum, the Met Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Medium: Engraving on hand-laid paper
Overall size: 8½” x 10” / 21cm x 26cm
Year of creation: c. 1600
Labels & Inscriptions: Humiliaut le in omnibus et coram Deo in uenit gratiam. He humbled himself in all things and came into favour before God.
Condition: Artwork presents well.