Emperor Matthias by Aegidius Sadeler II
Emperor Matthias by Aegidius Sadeler II

Emperor Matthias

Emperor Matthias c1614 by Flemish Engraver Aegidius Sadeler II (1570 – 1629); the imperial engraver of Rudolf II, Matthias and Ferdinand II.

This is an extremely lavish engraving of the Coronation Emperor Matthias, with him situated in the center of the piece, surrounded by a wreath that contains the the faces of his predecessors on coins around him.

At the very top we see that the Heavens themselves are providing the Emperor with his earthly crown of jewels and gold, as five cherubs carry it along with his scepter down to earth along heavenly rays of light.

Below these heavenly creatures we see the three graces showering with coins of gold, flowers and fruit; and to the left and right of them are two female standard bearers sitting on the ledge of a huge architectural structure.

The one on the left that is partially nude, is looking down on the three graces carrying a flag over her left shoulder with the symbol of an eagle, and carrying in her right outstretched hand an arrow with a snake on it and vines that stretch down to the wreath.

The other standard bearer on the right is fully clothed and is carrying in her left hand a large flag that has symbol of a dragon on it and she is also holding in both hands vines that stretch down to the wreath; and behind her there is also some type of bird with a horse shoe in its mouth.

Below them on the second tier of the structure, to the left is a Pegasus looking skyward that is being controlled by a god Mercury, who’s armor is laying on the ledge; while on the right the goddess Minerva that is nude from the waist up, drives a shaft into the eye of the dragon of heresy, while another another goddess blows a horn behind her.

Just below the second tier in the middle is an eagle that has a sword in its right claw and that is resting its face on the blade; and on the final tier on the ground we see the people, from the poor to the rich merchants that makeup the class that support the Emperor.

In this last tier, which is the most chaotic we see the poor begging for help and giving floral offerings to the Emperor; we see demons being crushed under foot; we see the aristocracy paying homage to his coronation, we see armor on both the left and right sides on the ground, two large war drums in the background; and a metal cross plunged into a sphere, and in the middle a boy holding a sign about this momentous event.

Emperor Matthias is a remastered digital art old masters reproduction of a public domain image that is available as a canvas print online.

Information Below Derived From Wikipedia.org

Aegidius was part of the Sadeler family, which were the largest and probably the most successful of the Flemish engravers of the later 16th and 17th century that became the dominant Northern European printmakers; as both artist and publishers.

He was the son of Emmanuel de Sayeleer and the nephew of Aegidius I, Jan I en Raphael Sadeler; and was trained by his uncle Jan I; becoming a member of the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke in 1589.

He worked in Munich, Germany from about 1590 to 1593, then in Rome, Italy from 1593 to 1594 and then back to Munich from 1594 – 1597.

In 1597 he moved to Prague, Czech Republic where he decided to settle and became the imperial engraver to Rudolf II (1552 – 1612); and made paintings of the aristocracy as well as engravings of artwork from Bartholomeus Spranger (1546 – 1611), Roelant Savery (1576 – 1639), Hans von Aachen (1552 – 1615), Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527 – 1593), and sculptures by Giambologna (1529 – 1608) and Adriaen de Vries (1556 – 1626).

After the passing of Rudolf II, he would serve as the imperial engraver under both Emperors Matthias (1557 – 1619) and Ferdinand II (1578 – 1637).

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