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Pieter Serwouters

(1586 Antwerp – 1657 Amsterdam)

The Christian Soldier. Etching. 29.7 x 35.8 cm. 1614. Hollstein 10.

In his early years the Antwerp-born engraver, etcher and draughtsman, Pieter Serwouters, worked mainly after designs by David Vinckboons und Adriaen van de Venne. He also pro­duced a small number of very finely executed portrait engrav­ings after his own inventions as well as numerous title pages. Serwouters was active in Amsterdam from about 1622. The pre­sent very rare depiction of the miles christianus stems from his early period in Antwerp; the composition with its highly ori­ginal iconography is based on a design by David Vinckboons.

The valiant defender of the Christian faith occupies a pro­minent position on a finely faceted block of stone; above him hovers a little angel about to hand him a laurel wreath. The soldier is surrounded by personifications of worldly temptations; on the extreme right an amusingly bizarre-looking devil aims arrows at him. The scene has been rendered in a very detailed and refined etching technique. Serwouters obviously derives great pleasure from conveying the different textures, the details of the clothing and the numerous meaningful attributes. A detailed assessment of the substantial iconography is to be found in: B. Knipping, De Iconographie van de Contra-Refor­matie in de Nederlanden, Hilversum 1940 I, p. 124, II, p. 180; U. Krem­pel, “Die Krönung des Tugendhelden”, Peter Paul Rubens, Werk und Nachruhm, Augsburg 1981, p. 93. A superb, harmonious impression with wide margins. Slight traces of handling in the margins, otherwise in perfect condition.

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