Hans Rottenhammer - The rest on the flight into Egypt

Hans Rottenhammer - The rest on the flight into Egypt

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The rest on the flight into Egypt

Ca. 1595

Hans Rottenhammer (Munich after 1564 – Augsburg 1625)

Here, Joseph, Mary and their infant are taking a rest to break their flight into Egypt - this episode from Christ’s early life was a very popular subject. Nonetheless, the German artist Hans Rottenhammer has managed to give an exceedingly personal and original take on the scene, despite using the familiar ingredients. While Mary, relaxed, lies down to nurse her child, Joseph, with the help of two putti, prepares a meal on a cloth that has been spread out.

We know that this sheet was intended as a design for a print by the traces of incisions along the pen and ink lines. The style of drawing is reminiscent of some of the Flemish masters who worked in the second half of the sixteenth century, so it was attributed to Maerten de Vos (1532-1603), one of the most important draughtsmen designing for engravers in that period. With the recent rediscovery of Hans Rottenhammer’s internationally oriented oeuvre, all the pieces fell into place: thanks to the publication of a print by Hendrik van der Borcht (1583-1651/60) after this design, we can now ensure that one of the most delightful drawings is returned to this German master.

This drawing was studied for the AGORA Drawings on Web project.


Bibliographic description

Materials, technique and dimensions: pen and brown ink, brown wash, heightened with white gouache, over black chalk, incised for transfer. Frame lines in pen and brown ink, 181 x 244 mm

Inventory number: F 19262

Full description



Ms Plettinck, Antwerp; acquired in 1972 (as ‘M. de Vos’)


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