© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

The dramatic style, elaborate iconography, and emotional gestures and facial expressions of this composition reflect the religious fervor of the Catholic reform in the southern Netherlands. Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, and other religious orders took the lead in propagating the spiritual renewal, commissioning artists like Rubens, Van Dyck, and Diepenbeeck to devise new visual imagery that celebrated saints and other historical figures who belonged to their orders. Here, the 14th-century Dominican Henry Suso ecstatically experiences a mystical union with his “bride,” Eternal Wisdom, while angels display instruments that Suso used to mortify his flesh. The design was certainly intended to serve as the model for an engraving, but no print after it has been found.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Abraham van Diepenbeeck, Flemish ('s-Hertogenbosch 1596 - 1675 Antwerp)
The Blessed Henry Suso Kneeling before Eternal Wisdom
Other Titles
Former Title: St. Dominic Kneeling Before a Personification of the Church
Work Type
17th century
Physical Descriptions
Black chalk, gray wash, brown ink and white opaque watercolor, incised, on cream antique laid paper, partial framing lines in brown and black ink
50.5 x 34.2 cm (19 7/8 x 13 7/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: left of the eye on the scepter, black chalk: [illegible numbers or letters]
  • inscription: lower right, black ink: A. V. Diapeinbeck
  • inscription: lower right, brown ink:: [two digits or letters, cut off]
  • inscription: verso, lower center, graphite, upside down: 3—2
  • watermark: None
  • inscription: upper left, around the head of the Virgin, black chalk, reversed: E T E R N I T A S;
  • inscription: on the chest of the saint, black chalk, reversed: IHS
Sir Charles Greville (L. 549, verso, lower left), by descent; to his nephew, George Guy, 4th Earl of Warwick (L. 2600, lower right), sold; [Christie’s, London, 20 May 1896, lot 106 (with two others)]; to Charles Fairfax Murray, London. Professor John Isaacs, London, sold; [Sotheby’s, London, 12 March 1963, lot 157 (with another)]; to Ralph Holland, Newcastle upon Tyne, sold; [Sotheby’s, London, 5 July 2013, lot 349, repr.]; to Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Richard Norton Memorial Fund, 2013.43.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Richard Norton Memorial Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Publication History

Stijn Alsteens, [Review] William W. Robinson, with Susan Anderson, "Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums", Master Drawings (Winter 2015), LIII, no. 4, pp. 531-534, p. 532, repr. p. 532 as fig. 2

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), pp. 22-23; cat. no. 23, pp. 94-97, repr. p. 95

Franklin Einspruch, Fuse Visual Art Review: A Pair of Drawing Shows at the Harvard Art Museums, The Arts Fuse ([e-journal], June 9, 2016), http://artsfuse.org/146319/fuse-visual-arts-review-a-pair-of-drawing-shows-at-the-harvard-art-museums/, accessed June 9, 2016

Exhibition History

Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

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