Relief with the The Flight into Egypt and Miracles during the Journey (Matthew 2:13)

Low Countries I Possibly Antwerp
Renaissance I Last quarter of the 16th Century I Ca. 1590

Pear-wood I Carved in high relief
H. 19,6 cm. I W. 16,8 cm. (excl. base)


With Jan Dirven Works of Art I Eindhoven I The Netherlands;
Collection Dreesmann-Houtkooper I The Netherlands;
Thence by decent private collection I Breda I The Netherlands

Schuckman, Christiaan (1996). Hollstein’s Dutch & Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450-1700. Volume XLIV: Maarten De Vos. Rotterdam, p. 65, 263


This beautiful relief, probably carved in Antwerp, is based on a design by the influential Renaissance artist Maerten de Vos (Antwerp, 1532 – 1603). The original drawing is now in the collection of the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig (inv./ Z. 1086) and is dated shortly before 1579. The drawing was published in engraving by Johannes Sadeler I, as the eighth print of a twelve-part series on the birth and the first years of Christ. The series was published between 1579-1582 and the current sculpture probably originated shortly afterwards, ca. 1590.

The Flight the Holy Family to Egypt, here represented as Joseph on foot and Mary siting on a donkey with the Christ Child in her arms was, according to tradition, surrounded by miracles. At the top right in a chapel on a tree, a statue of a pegan god breaks in two. At the top left a group of accompanying Angels in the Heavens is depicted and trees bow down their branches in reverence to Christ.