Christoffel Jegher

Susanna and the Elders

c. 1635
Susanna and the Elders is a collaborative work: Rubens “drew and published it” and the printmaker Jegher “engraved it,” meaning he carved the design into the wooden block from which this print was made. Rubens’ “privilege,” a warning that the law forbade copying the image, was also added. Rubens would have made a drawn or painted model which Jegher would translate into line, producing tone and volume by varying thickness and density. Its abstract visual language has different capabilities, and the tension between them was relished by Rubens and Jegher. While flesh, fabric and stone are rendered in carefully controlled lines, unifying the different materials, the falling water is sensitively described with looser, unstructured strokes. The choice of woodblock allowed for larger prints, and in size and impact, this work is comparable to a small painting made for a private collector.
Title
Susanna and the Elders
Date
c. 1635
Medium
Print
Materials
woodcut on ivory laid paper
Dimensions
43.7 x 57.5 cm
Nationality
Flemish
Credit line
Purchased 1999
Accession number
40099