© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1953.38
People
Jacques de Gheyn II, Dutch (Antwerp, Netherlands 1565 - 1629 The Hague, Netherlands)
Title
The Women of Weinsberg
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
drawing
Date
1599
Culture
Dutch
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Brown ink and gray wash, incised, on white antique laid paper, framing line in brown ink
Dimensions
12.3 x 17.6 cm (4 13/16 x 6 15/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: lower right, brown ink: IDG [in ligature] heyn in 1599 [last digit indistinct]
  • inscription: verso, upper left, graphite: 409A [underlined]
  • inscription: verso, lower left, graphite: 7 /
  • inscription: verso, lower left, graphite: N.5600.-
  • collector's mark: verso, lower left, blue ink, stamp: L. 1962 (Neville D. Goldsmid)
  • collector's mark: verso, lower left, violet ink, stamp: L. 2020 (Juan Jorge Peoli)
  • inscription: former mount, brown ink: F. I. R. / FIR.
  • watermark: Cockatrice/gryphon/basilisk holding an arms of Basel with cross, HD, and three balls below; nearly identical to Tschudin 308 (House of Düring, probably Hans Düring II, Beuggen outside Basel, 1596)
Provenance
[P. H. van der Schley and D. du Pre, Amsterdam, 22 December 1817, lot F 24], bought in. [Roos, de Vries, and Brondgeest, Amsterdam, 1 March 1819, lot C45], sold; to Jean Bernard, Amsterdam; [De Vries, Brondgeest, Engelberts, and Roos, Amsterdam, 24 November 1834, lot K4] sold; to Lamberts. Perhaps Herman de Kat, Dordrecht (according to Peoli sale). Neville D. Goldsmid, The Hague (L. 1962, verso, lower left), sold; [Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 25-27 April 1876, lot 64]. Juan Jorge Peoli, New York (L. 2020, verso, lower left), sold; [American Art Galleries, New York, 7 May and following days, 1894, lot 293]. [Victor Spark, New York], sold; to Fogg Art Museum, 1953; William C. Heilman and Paul J. Sachs Birthday Anniversary Funds, 1953.38
Published Text
Catalogue
Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums
Authors
William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson
Publisher
Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016)

Catalogue entry no. 38 by William W. Robinson:

Jacques de Gheyn II collaborated with eminent Dutch political and military leaders (see 2011.512), scientists, and authors. While residing from 1595 through 1600 in the university city of Leiden, he drew or engraved portraits of several of Holland’s most prominent intellectuals and designed illustrations for some of their works.1

The Harvard drawing was the model for an engraving in a series depicting deeds of virtuous women, each of them hailed in eight lines of Dutch verse composed by the classical scholar and poet Daniël Heinsius (1580–1655) (Fig. 1).2 Zacharias Dolendo (c. 1573–c. 1601), De Gheyn’s pupil and assistant, incised the model to transfer the composition to the plate, and the image appears in reverse in the print, which, in the second state, credits De Gheyn with the invention of the series and Dolendo as its engraver.3 None of the eight prints in the set bear dates, but they were convincingly assigned by Jan Piet Filedt Kok to circa 1599.4 Heinsius settled in Leiden in 1598, and it is unlikely that he and De Gheyn met before then.5 Dolendo died in 1600 or shortly thereafter, so he must have finished the plates around the turn of the century—probably before De Gheyn left Leiden in 1601 or 1602 and ceased to work as an engraver and print publisher.6 Between 1598 and 1600, De Gheyn drew the title page and models for the twenty-four plates in Heinsius’s Emblemata Amatoria (Amsterdam, 1601),7 and it is reasonable to assume that they planned and carried out the series of virtuous women during the same period.

In the first state of the engravings, the text fields in the lower margins remained empty, and Heinsius’s verses were printed in letterpress on the versos of the sheets. Impressions of the first state were issued as a booklet in 1606 by the Amsterdam printmaker and publisher Jodocus Hondius, who added a title page and prologue.8 That De Gheyn abruptly gave up print publishing after 1601 probably accounts for the postponement of the series’ formal publication until 1606. In the second state, published after 1615 by Claes Jansz. Visscher, Heinsius’s texts were engraved in the margins beneath the images (see Fig. 1).9

Of the three surviving models for the prints, only the Harvard drawing bears a date.10 Although previously read as 1591, the last digit is surely a 9, in which the loop was drawn tightly and the ink bled into a solid shape.11 A date of 1599 falls within the period when De Gheyn and Heinsius both lived in Leiden and is supported by the drawing’s compelling similarity, in technique and style, to the artist’s designs for a series of engravings produced in that year, The Riding School or Exercise of Cavalry (Fig. 2).12 Further, the figure of Lucia in the second plate of the series of virtuous women closely resembles the female personification of Justice that De Gheyn designed in an engraving from about 1598.13

The legend of the Women of Weinsberg enjoyed a wave of popularity in art and literature in the Netherlands during the 1590s and the first decade of the seventeenth century.14 The fictional incident purportedly occurred in 1140 during the conflict between the Bavarian Welf and the Swabian Hohenstaufen dynasties for the right to succeed Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. Preparing to storm the besieged Welf stronghold of Weinsberg near Heilbronn in southwestern Germany, the Hohenstaufen king Conrad III agreed to allow the women of the town to flee safely, taking only what they could carry on their backs. When the women emerged carrying their husbands, Conrad, amused and awestruck by their cunning and virtue, allowed them to pass unharmed. The subject resonated particularly in Haarlem and Leiden, which had withstood brutal sieges by Spanish armies between 1572 and 1574.15

Notes

1 I. Q. van Regteren Altena, Jacques de Gheyn: Three Generations (The Hague, Boston, and London, 1983), vol. 1, pp. 40–72 and 76–81; Jan Piet Filedt Kok in Jan Piet Filedt Kok and Marjolein Leesberg, New Hollstein, De Gheyn Family, part 1, p. xxxi.

2 Zacharias Dolendo, after Jacques de Gheyn II, The Women of Weinsberg (Fig. 1). Engraving, second state. 143 × 176 mm. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, RP-P-BI-7118. See Filedt Kok and Leesberg, part 2, nos. 332–39, pp. 153–58 (the series). The engraving after the Harvard drawing is no. 332, p. 153, repr. p. 155. The second-state impression reproduced in Figure 1 includes Heinsius’s text in the lower margin. See note 9 for the text and translation.

3 The print after the Harvard drawing, the first plate in the series, bears in the second state the engraved text I. de Geijn inv. / Sach: Dolendo schulp / C J Visscher excude. This edition was published by Claes Jansz. Visscher after 1615; Filedt Kok and Leesberg, part 2, no. 332, p. 153. On Dolendo, see Filedt Kok in Filedt Kok and Leesberg, part 1, p. xxix.

4 Filedt Kok in Filedt Kok and Leesberg, part 1, p. xxix.

5 Heinsius lived in Franeker from 1596 to 1598, and moved in the latter year to Leiden; Nieuw Nederlandsch biografisch woordenboek, vol. 2, pp. 554–55.

6 Filedt Kok in Filedt Kok and Leesberg, part 1, pp. xxix–xxxi and xxxiv–xxxvi.

7 These plates were probably also engraved by Dolendo; Filedt Kok and Leesberg, part 2, nos. 301–21, pp. 143–52.

8 Daniël Heinsius, Spiegel vande doorluchtige, eerlicke, cloucke, deuchtsame ende verstandege vrouwen (Mirror of Illustrious, Honorable, Courageous, Virtuous, and Wise Women), Amsterdam 1606. Adriaan K. H Moerman, Daniel Heinsius, zijn “spiegel” en spiegeling in de literatuurgeschiedschrijving (Leiden, 1974), pp. 1–3, provides a census of copies of this rare work. A digitized version of a copy is available in the University Library in Ghent: http://books.google.com/books/about/Spiegel_van_de_doorluchtige_eerlicke_clo.html?id=y889AAAAcAAJ

9 Filedt Kok and Leesberg, part 2, nos. 332–39, pp. 153–58, reproduce the prints in the second state. Heinsius’s verses read, “De Keyser heeft de stadt, de Keyser heeft de wallen / Wy zyn in s’vyants wil end’ in zyn macht gevallen / Ons mannen gaen ter doot: en al haer vrome daet / En heeft haer nievers toe dan tot de doot ghebaet. Haer leven staet in ons: ons is wat toegelaeten / Soo wy dat wel besteen dat sal haer connen baeten / Een yeder wort ghejont al dat hy draeghen kan / Wy laeten hem ons ghoet, wy nemen onsen man” (The emperor has the city, the emperor has the walls / We are subject to the enemy’s will and his power / Our husbands go to the slaughter, and all their pious deeds / Gain them nothing but their deaths / Their lives depend on us: Something is allowed to us / So we can put it to good use and benefit them / Everyone is allowed all that she can carry / We leave them our goods, we take our men).

10 The model for Lucia, the second plate in the series, was sold at Christie’s, New York, 15 January 1992, lot 131; Van Regteren Altena, vol. 2, cat. II 276, p. 59, repr. vol. 3, plate 3. For the Lucia plate, see Filedt Kok and Leesberg, part 2, no. 333, p. 153, repr. p. 155; for the model, see idem, under no. 333, p. 153. The model for the final plate in the suite, The Fisherman’s Wife, was sold at Sotheby’s, London, 1 July 1991, lot 58. For The Fisherman’s Wife plate, see Filedt Kok and Leesberg, part 2, no. 339, p. 154, repr. p. 158; for the model, see idem, under no. 339, p. 154.

11 Compare the date 1599 in the watercolor of a flayed calf’s head, Van Regteren Altena, vol. 2, cat. II 837, p. 131, repr. vol. 3, p. 70, pl. 83. In a better reproduction in Richard J. Judson, The Drawings of Jacob de Gheyn II (New York, 1973), pl. 42, the ink of the second 9 has also bled, so the tight loop reads as a solid form.

12 Jacques de Gheyn II, A Cavalry Battle from the series Exercise of Cavalry or The Riding School (Fig. 2). Brown ink, gray wash, incised. 156 × 213 mm. Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, MB 1711; Yvonne Bleyerveld in Yvonne Bleyerveld, Albert J. Elen, Judith Niessen, et al., Netherlandish Drawings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam: Artists born before 1581 (Rotterdam, 2012), consulted 28 July 2014, cat. 70, pp. 206–7, repr.; Van Regteren Altena, vol. 2, cat. II 321, p. 64, repr. vol. 3, plate 70. For the series and the related drawings, see Filedt Kok and Leesberg, part 2, nos. 190–211, pp. 38–63, and Van Regteren Altena, vol. 1, pp. 54–55, vol. 2, cats. II 300–21, pp. 62–64, repr. vol. 3, pp. 60–64, plates 63–70. The numerals of the inscribed date 1599 on the Rotterdam drawing in Figure 2 resemble those on the Harvard sheet.

13 This observation was made by Van Regteren Altena, vol. 2, cat. II 197, p. 50, and under cat. II 276, p. 59; Van Regteren Altena attributed the engraving to Dolendo, but Jan Piet Filedt Kok assigns it to the workshop of Jacques de Gheyn II; Filedt Kok and Leesberg, part 1, no. 123, pp. 186, repr. p. 185. The reading of the date on the Harvard sheet as 1591, when Heinsius was eleven years old, has misled scholars to hypothesize that De Gheyn produced the series in the early 1590s for some other purpose and the texts by Heinsius were added later, and that the model for the Women of Weinsberg, and the one for Lucia, the second engraving in the series, predated the other designs and did not fit thematically with them; Moerman, pp. 53, 55, and 61–2; Van Regteren Altena, vol. 1, pp. 28 and 102, vol. 2, under cats. II 275–82, p. 59; Filedt Kok and Leesberg, part 2, p. 153. Van Regteren Altena (vol. 2, p. 59) implausibly maintained that the technique of the Harvard drawing and its figure types corroborated its dating to 1591.

14 Moerman, pp. 53–61.

15 Ibid., pp. 53–61. Moerman, pp. 56–57, noted that in 1600, the Leiden dramatist and historian Jacob Duym published a play based on the tale of the Women of Weinsberg in his collection Een spiegelboeck (Leiden, 1600), for which De Gheyn engraved the author’s portrait; see also Filedt Kok and Leesberg, part 2, no. 243, p. 101. The Leiden masters Isaac Claesz. van Swanenburg and Jan Cornelisz. van ’t Woudt produced paintings of the Women of Weinsberg. The painting by Van Swanenburg, datable to the first decade of the century, was sold at Sotheby’s, Amsterdam, 11 November 2008, lot 8. Van ’t Woudt’s picture is in the Stedelijk Museum de Lakenhal, Leiden, S 463, signed and dated 1603; Moerman, p. 57 (as dated 1602), repr. p. 54, fig. 13.

Figures
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, William C. Heilman and Paul J. Sachs Birthday Anniversary Funds
Accession Year
1953
Object Number
1953.38
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

“Accessions to American and Canadian Museums, April-June 1953", Art Quarterly (1953), vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 346-361, p. 353

Fogg Art Museum Annual Report, 1952-1953, 1953, p. 25

An Exhibition of Dutch and Flemish Drawings and Watercolors, checklist, Unpublished (1954), cat. no. 41, p. 10

Adriaan K. H. Moerman, Daniel Heinsius, zijn “spiegel” en spiegeling in de literatuurgeschiedschrijving, New Rhine (Leiden, 1974), pp. xviii, 53, 55, 60-62, 129, and 131, repr. p. 33, fig. 11

The Draughtsman at Work. Drawing in the Golden Century of Dutch Art, checklist (unpublished, 1980), no. 35

I. Q. van Regteren Altena, Jacques de Gheyn: Three Generations, M. Nijhoff Publishers (The Hague, Boston and London, 1983), vol. 1, pp. 28 and 102, vol. 2, cat. no. II 275, p. 59, repr. vol. 3, p. 38, pl. 4

Jan Piet Filedt Kok, "Jacques de Gheyn II: Engraver, Designer, and Publisher -- II, A Catalogue", Print Quarterly (December 1990), vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 370 - 396, under cat. no. 243, p. 394

Old Master Drawings, auct. cat., Sotheby & Co. (London, England, July 1, 1991), under lot 58, p. 49

Old Master Drawings, auct. cat., Christie's, New York (New York, January 15, 1992), under lot 131, p. 98

F. W. H. Hollstein, The New Hollstein : Dutch & Flemish etchings, engravings, and woodcuts, 1450-1700, Koninklijke van Poll, Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, and Sound + Vision Publishers (Roosendall, Rotterdam, and Ouderkerk aan den IJssel, 1993 - ongoing), vol. 9 (The De Gheyn Family, compiled by Jan Piet Filedt Kok and Marjolein Leesberg, 2000), part 1, p. xl (n. 52), and part 2, under no. 332, p. 153

William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016), cat. no. 38, pp. 139-141, repr. p. 140; watermark p. 376

Exhibition History

An Exhibition of Dutch and Flemish Drawings and Watercolors, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/01/1954 - 04/30/1954

The Draughtsman at Work. Drawing in the Golden Century of Dutch Art, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 11/21/1980 - 01/04/1981

Subjects and Contexts

Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu