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    Sale 5979

    Old Master, 19th Century and British Drawings and Watercolours

    9 July 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 598

    Nicolaus van der Horst (Antwerp circa 1598-1646 Brussels)

    The Vision of Constantine before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge

    Price Realised  

    Nicolaus van der Horst (Antwerp circa 1598-1646 Brussels)
    The Vision of Constantine before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge
    signed 'N. vander Horst. f' (below the borderline)
    black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash, black chalk framing lines
    7 7/8 x 5¼ in. (20 x 13.4 cm.); and a pen and brown ink landscape by a different hand, the latter unframed (2)


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    A pupil of Rubens, van der Horst travelled in Germany, Italy and France before settling in Brussels. In this drawing, showing the vision experienced by the Emperor Constantine before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD, he depicts not the Western cross, but the early Christian Chi-Ro sign, which was later adopted by Constantine for his military standard, accompanied by the Greek words 'en touto nika' ('in this you shall conquer'). No print of the composition by or after van der Horst is known.

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