The Four Elements



Crispin de Passe (1565-1637), The Four Elements, the set of four engravings after drawings by Maarten de Vos (1532-1603),  c. 1600. References: Francken 1130-1133; Hollstein 524-7. Three impressions with an Eagle watermark, one with a Cross of Lorraine. In generally good condition (Aqua with margins, with slight discoloration, traces of a vertical fold; Terra trimmed just inside the platemark, a small repaired slit lower right; Aer with thread margins; Ignis with narrow margins, a central stain, small printer’s crease, tip of lower left corner made up. Approximately 8 x 8 1/4 inches.

Provenance: Claude-Augustin Mariette, 1687 (Lugt 1786, inscribed on Aqua)

Sold at Christie’s New York, 5/8/83, to current owner.

Very good impressions of these delightful images.

Maarten de Vos was a leading Antwerp painter and draftsman who adopted a mannerist idiom after traveling to Italy; Crispin de Passe was a talented engraver whose career was greatly assisted by his marriage to Magdalena de Bock, a niece (by marriage) of the prolific painter and designer Martin de Vos—the great majority of de Passe’s early prints follow designs by de Vos.   For a most readable work on the de Passe family print lovers are encouraged to read Ilja Veldman’s Crispijn de Passe and his Progeny.








Detail, from Fire