Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence

Artist: Lucas Vorsterman I (Flemish, Zaltbommel 1595–1675 Antwerp)

Artist: After Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, Siegen 1577–1640 Antwerp)

Dedicatee: Lawrence Beyerlinck

Date: 1621

Medium: Engraving; second state of two (Hollstein)

Dimensions: Sheet (Trimmed): 15 3/8 × 10 7/8 in. (39 × 27.6 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1951

Accession Number: 51.501.7125


Having realized the potential profits to be made from reproductive engravings of his work, Rubens began to engage young printmakers from 1619 onward. Lucas Vorsterman, who had been practicing as an engraver from the age of twelve, was the first engraver to work for Rubens. In 1621, Vorsterman made this engraving, showing Rubens's painting of the Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence, which at the time was hanging in the Notre-Dame de la Chapelle in Brussels (now Alte Pinakothek, Munich). The engraving displays the painting in reverse. One of Rubens's assistants (possibly Anthony van Dyck) made the preparatory drawing for the print (see 61.88). The spectacular variations in light and dark tones, as well as the perfect mastering of the burin, make this one of Vorsterman's best prints.
Rubens dedicated this print to the Antwerp humanist and namesake of the saint, Laurentius Beyerlink.