29. Jan van Amstel

Jan van Amstel engraving

Signed ‘Hh ex.’ by Hendrick Hondius
Copy in reverse direction as Cock 1572 engraved Pictorum

20.1 x 12.3 cm

Transcription of Inscription [Lampsonius]:

Propria Belgarum laus est bene pingere rura :
     Ausoniorum, homines pingere, sine1 deos.
Nec mirum in capite Ausonius, sed Belga cerebrum
     Non temere in guava2 fertur habere manu.
Maluit ergo manus Jani bene pingere rura
     Quam caput, aut homines, aut male scire deos.

Translation of Inscription [Lampsonius]:

To Jan van Amstel, painter of Antwerp 3
The proper praise of Belgians is to paint fields well; that of Italians to paint men or gods.  Nor is it surprising: not without reason is the Italian said to have his brain in his head, [while] the Belgian [has his] in his active hand. Jan’s hand, then, preferred to paint fields well, than for his head to know poorly either men or gods.

Hollstein 1994 no.92

 Karel Van Mander’s biography of Jan van Amstel
 Grove Art Online biography

View the 1572 print
View both prints side by side










  1. sic. Lampsonius’ text in Pictorum aliquot celebrium Germaniae inferioris effigies reads “sive Deos”.Return to note reference
  2. sic. Lamponius’ text, cited above, reads ‘in gnava’.Return to note reference
  3. I am reading “sive” for “sine” in line 2, and “gnava” for “guava” in line 4.  Both corrections are from Lampsonius.Return to note reference