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Barbara van den Broeck

(born c. 1558–60 in Antwerp)

The Last Judgement. Engraving after Crispijn van den Broeck. 40.7 x 29 cm. (1599). Hollstein 7 I (of II); The New Hollstein (in preparation) 152 I (of IV).

Barbara van den Broeck was the daughter of Crispijn van den Broeck, a prominent Romanist and a pupil of Frans Floris, who from 1559 onwards worked as a painter, draughtsman and engraver in Antwerp. Of the life and work of his daughter Barbara only little is known. She produced a small and very rare printed œuvre after inventions of her father, from whom she probably learned her trade, and signed her engravings "Barbara fecit" or "Barbara filia". Some of these reproductive engravings bear the address of the publisher Hendrick Hondius in The Hague, which suggests that they were edited posthumously.

The present depiction of the Last Judgement shows clearly how profoundly Crispijn’s painting was influenced by the Late Renaissance in Italy. The model for Barbara’s engraving was a preliminary drawing by her father, who produced various versions of the theme (see Edith Greindl, "Le Jugement Dernier de Crispin van den Broeck", Bulletin Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, 1964, p. 159–168). The iconographically and spatially complex composition is directly derived from Michelangelo’s prototype in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.Barbara’s engraving style is meticulous and technically sophisticated, while its sober faithfulness to the model reflects the tradition of the so-called Antwerp school, as represented by such reproductive engravers as Crispijn van den Broeck, Cornelis Cort and Philips Galle.

A superb, rich and contrasting early impression, with full margins. In the New Hollstein volume on Crispijn van den Broeck, which is in preparation, Ursula Mielke distinguishes four printing states. Our impression is a rare specimen of the first state: Before the change of the signature and before the address of Hondius (II), before the date 1649 (III) and before the address of Frederick de Widt (IV). Only two impressions of the present state are known to exist (Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen; Wien, Graphische Sammlung Albertina). Minor surface soiling in the margins, an unobtrusive printer’s crease in the lower left margin, otherwise in excellent condition.

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