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Saenredam, J. - Parable of the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins - A8314

 Saenredam, J. - Parable of the ten virginsSaenredam, J. - Parable of the ten virgins
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Saenredam, J. - Parable of the ten virginsSaenredam, J. - Parable of the ten virgins
Move your mouse over image or click to enlarge

Saenredam, J. - Parable of the ten virginsSaenredam, J. - Parable of the ten virgins
Move your mouse over image or click to enlarge

Saenredam, J. - Parable of the ten virginsSaenredam, J. - Parable of the ten virgins
Move your mouse over image or click to enlarge

Saenredam, J. - Parable of the ten virginsSaenredam, J. - Parable of the ten virgins
Move your mouse over image or click to enlarge

Jan Saenredam
1565 Zaandam – Assendelft 1607

Parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13).

Series of 5 copper engravings, 1605/6, on handmade paper, No 3 with watermark: coat of arms with lilies and added HP (ligatured). Each c 26,1:36,6 cm. Associated with Theodor Schrevelius (author of Latin verses).

All prints numbered and with the address of Saenredam:

1. The five wise virgins are sitting together, reading the Holy Bible.
Lettered below, towards right "Joan, Saenredam / inue, sculp, et excudebat". Dated below centre "Ao. 1606" and numbered "I". Lettered in the lower margin with three columns of text, each three lines by "T Schrevelius".

2. The five foolish virgins are dancing with young men.
Lettered below, towards right "J. Saenredam fe." and numbered "2". Lettered in the lower margin with three columns of text, each three lines.

3. The five foolish virgins in the foreground, nearly naked, are wasting their oil for pleasure. The five wise one in the background are refilling their oil lamps.
Numbered below centre "3". Lettered in the upper part "J.Saenredam / fecit". Lettered in the lower margin with three columns of text, each three lines.

4. The five wise virgins are standing in a queue, holding their oil lamps, greeted by a man standing in a doorway.
Lettered below centre "J.Saenredam / fe, Ao, 1605" and numbered "4". Lettered in the lower margin with three columns of text, each three lines.

5. The five foolish virgins, holding their nearly gone out oil lamps, are standing in despair in front of a closed door. In the background the five wise virgins are getting more oil.
Lettered below towards centre "J. Saenredam fe" and numbered "5". Lettered in the lower margin with three columns of text, each three lines by "T Schrevelius".

Literature: Bartsch 2-6; Wurzbach 2-6 ; Hollstein 30, III (of III): with the address of Saenredam.

Very nice high-contrast impressions, trimmed close to the edge-line or with very small margins aroung the platemark.

A few smaller damages and tears are neatly restored, smoothed vertical folds.

Images showing this parable, one of five in the New Testament, are made in Christian art from the 4th century, but were most popular during the Middle Ages

Sculptures of the five wise and five unwise virgins can be seen at church portals from the 12th century onwards, e.g. at the cathedrals of Magdeburg, Strasbourg, Amiens, Bourges, Notre-Dame in Paris, Reims, Sens, Auxerre, and Laon

Subject of the parable is to get prepared for the kingdom of God by showing the difference between predestination and condemnation. The wise vergins symbolize the Christian soul turning virtuously towards God. The foolish virgins, who also have oil lamps but don't care to refill them, symbolize foolish desires and condemnation.

The artist depicting the parable shows attention to both parties equally, to the wise virgins who are prepared for the bridegroom as well as to the foolish one who act voluptuous and selfish.