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The Creation of Dry Land and the Seas

Jan Muller (AKA Joannes Harmensz.Muller), Dutch, (1571–1628)
Hendrick Goltzius (AKA Hendrik Goltz; Hendrick Goltius), Dutch, (February 1558–January 1, 1617)

Creation date: ca. 1589
Creation place: Netherlands

Other Information

Type: Engraving
Medium and Support: Engraving
Credit Line: Gift of Norman Leitman and Todd Butler
Accession Number: 2004.164
Dimensions: 11 in. x 10 7/8 in. (27.94 cm x 27.62 cm)

Label Copy

Jan Muller was the son of Harmen Muller, a successful Amsterdam printer, engraver, and publisher, but he seems to have studied with Goltzius and made many prints after Goltzius’s designs. This example comes from a series of prints depicting the creation story from the Book of Genesis and shows the third day of creation, when God separated land and sea and created plants. God twists through the sky, while Land is pictured as a man sitting cross-legged on the ground with vegetation growing out of his head, and Sea as a woman reclining with shells in her hair and hand. The swirling clouds and figures are set in a circular frame that mimics the shape of the world. Treating a biblical story in an artistic language usually reserved for secular subjects, the composition is an entirely original take on the Genesis story.

Jan Muller
Netherlandish• 1571–1628
The Creation
of Dry Land and the Seas
(after Hendrick Goltzius)
Engraving • ca. 1589
And God said, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered
together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.”
—Genesis 1:9
Influenced by the Catholic Counter-Reformation, many
series of prints to come out of Goltzius’s workshop
portrayed Biblical narratives. The Creation of the World
series consisted of images representing each day of the
creation, including Day Three, illustrated here by allegorical
figures of the sort found in his mythological images.
Gift of Norman Leitman and Todd Butler, 2004.164
Last Updated: 5/13/2015


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Mannered Bodies San Diego Museum of Art , 4/3/2010 - 7/25/2010

Divine Desire: Printmaking, Mythology, and the Birth of the Baroque , 3/28/2015 - 6/30/2015


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Michael Brown, PhD and Niria E. Leyva-Gutiérrez. Divine Desire. Printmaking, Mythology, and the Birth of the Baroque San Diego Museum of Art, The. SOS Printing, 2015

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