An extremely curious print, a photogravure copy of an engraving ca 1640 with the stories of the Beata Ida from Leuven [Roosendael Abbey (the abbey of the valley of roses)] who perished around 1300. The plate is impressed on modern paper that seems cotton based and has no chains. There is no available literature concerning this impression, nevertheless it reminds of the devotional production typical from the late Renaissance and beginning of the seventeenth century (Wierixes’ in particular). At center is Ida, kneeling on the ground with a church on the right background. The woman is crowned with spines and her hands show the signs of stigmata, even though her biography tells that these holy manifestations were invisible on he body. Sixteen other scenes are displayed all around the central piece, showing excerpts from the life of the woman. The scenes are numbered from 1 to 16 and are to be read clockwise from the bottom to the top. Each scene is accompanied by two lines of Latin text. At the bottom is the dedication of the print: ‘REVERENDAE ADMODUM ET RELIGIOSISSIMAE DOMINAE DOMINAE IOVANNAE EYEWERVEN SACRI Vallis Rosarum Cistercensium Virginum Deo Sacrarum Coenobij Abbatisa longe meritissimae Frater Chrijsostomus Henriquez in Horto Deiparae Virginis apud hispanos Monachus et Congregationis Hispanicae ordinis Cistercensis Historiographus generalis Hanc eiusdem Vallis insignem sanctitatis et puritatis rosam dicat et consecrat’.
It seems that the print was dedicated to Johanna Eyerven, possibly a nun – even abbesse – in the same convent where Ida lived, thus the Roosendael Abbey. The Abbey had a very difficult history. In the first half of the seventeenth century the place was plundered at least three times and the nuns (about thirty) had to flee to Mechelen to come back only around 1660s (see the very informative archeological study from 2010 by Davy Herremans (?), pp.77-80). In the dedication is mentioned also Brother Chrisostomus Henriquez, a Spanish monk that toured the archives of the Cistercian Abbeys in Belgium to publish the history of the order from 1616 to 1632, when he died.
Thus the dedication refers to two famous Cistercian, notably known for their work in copying (Ida) and publishing (Chrisostomus) books on the order. Therefore, Johanna must have been also active in the promotion of the order.
Published ca. 19th-20th century.
Heliogravure; plate mark: 382 x 275 mm, total: 471 x 370 mm; some light foxing on the margins; in great condition.
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