JAN HARMENSZ. MULLER
1571 – Amsterdam – 1628
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The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian (after HANS VON AACHEN) ca. 1600
engraving; 526 x 345 mm
Hollstein 41; The New Hollstein 23 third state (of four)
Johann Konrad Ammann and Johann Jacob Ammann, Schaffhausen (Lugt 9);
the latter’s sale, second part, J.A.G. Weigel, Leipzig, October 28ff., 1840
[possibly King Friedrich August II of Saxony, Dresden (Lugt 971)]
Dr. Johan Catharinus Justus Bierens de Haan (Lugt 451e)
Boijmans Museum, Rotterdam (Lugt 288a and their duplicate stamp 700a)
Muller’s print reproduces – in reverse – Hans von Aachen’s altarpiece of 1594 that survives still in situ in the Jesuit church of St. Michael in Munich. Von Aachen (Cologne 1552–Prague 1615) had already worked for the Jesuits main church Il Gesu in Rome during his stay there in the second half of the 1570s. This contact probably led to the Munich commissions of which only the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian and a Crucifixion survived the bombing raids during World War II.
The print was executed at some point between 1596 and 1603/04. A
terminus ante quem is provided by Karl van Mander’s Schilderboek which was published in 1604 and mentions the print. Von Aachen had already been appointed court painter to Rudolf II in Prague in 1592 but this post did not require him to reside there. He only moved to Prague after his marriage to Regina di Lasso, daughter of the famous composer Orlando di Lasso, in Munich in July of 1596. The inspiration to commission this print might have come from Von Aachen’s Prague colleague Bartholomäus Spranger and in all likelihood he sent Muller a design drawing for the print only after having moved there. Another print by Muller after a design by Von Aachen is dated 1602 (The New Hollstein 61). Muller’s print was crucial for augmenting Van Aachen’s fame all over Europe and lead to a multitude of painted and engraved copies.