Sichem, van, family

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Van Sichem, a Roman Catholic family of Dutch artists, particularly engravers, who for four generations made and published a large number of engravings both as illustrations for books and as loose pictures. Christoffel van Sichem, called "de Oude" (1546-1624), of Amsterdam, who lived at Basel, Switzerland, for a few years, published at Amsterdam in 1606 a number of loose sheets, most of them drawn and engraved by himself, on which were pictured a number of "Anabaptists" such as Jan van Leyden, David Joris, and Bernt Knipperdolling. Beneath each picture was a biographical sketch. In 1608 these pictures, augmented with some new ones, were published in book form, entitled Historische Beschreibüng unnd abbildünge der fürnembste Haupt-Ketzer so . . . für Schwärmer unnd irrige gaister verbannt . . . seind, durch C.V.S.A., zu Amstelredam Bey Cornelis Niclausz, 1608. This book contains the following seventeen pictures: Bishop Arius, Lodewyck Hetzer, Johannes Hut, Johan Matthis von Haarlem, Johan Böckelsz von Leyden, Melchior Hoffman, Michael Servetus, Adam Pastor, David Görgen (that is, David Joris), Hendrick Niclaus, Balthasar Hubmor (that is, Hubmaier) von Fridberg, Herman Schoenmaker op 't Sant, Bernhard Knipperdollinck, Dietrich Schneyder Adamyt (see Dirck Janssen), Melchior Rinck, Thomas Muncer (that is, Müntzer), and Machomet den Aertsketter. All these pictures have a letterpress in the German language. Another Dutch edition with the same seventeen pictures is titled Historische beschrijvinge . . . (Amsterdam, 1608). The Latin version has the title Iconia et Historica descriptio praecipuorum haeresiarcharum . . . (Arnhem, 1609). There may have been other editions; as late as 1677 Het Tooneel der Hooft-Ketteren, bestaande in verscheyde Afbeeltsels van Valsche Propheten, Naackt-Loopers . . . in't Koper gesneden door C.V. Sichem appeared at Middelburg. This is an enlarged edition, containing in addition to the former seventeen pictures also pictures of Menno Simons (the familiar picture!), Doctor Faustus, Christoffel Wagenaar (Wagner), and Broer Cornelis van Dordrecht, "prediker tot Brugge" (that is, Cornelis Adriaensz).

Greuwel der vornehmsten Haupt-Ketzeren, so wohl Wiedertauffer als auch andern (Leiden, 1608), and its Dutch version, Grouwelen der voornaemster Hooft-ketteren, of which the first known edition was published 1623 at Leiden, contain a number of pictures, for which probably the van Sichem engravings were used, but they are all altered and aesthetically less satisfying; moreover the reviser did slovenly work. The person representing Thomas Müntzer, for instance, is the one who in the original van Sichem editions is indicated as Jan Matthijsz. The Dutch Grouwelen has only nine of the seventeen pictures.

The historical verisimilitude of the pictures by van Sichem is probably not too great, though it is possible, even probable, that the author occasionally used old pictures.


Catalogus der werken over de Doopsgezinden en hunne geschiedenis aanwezig in de bibliotheek der Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam. Amsterdam: J.H. de Bussy, 1919: 7 f, 248.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1890): 65-68; (1916): 37, 52-58.

Molhuysen, P. C. and P. J. Blok. Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, 10 vols. Leiden, 1911-1937: v. IX, 1023-28.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Sichem, van, family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 18 Sep 2018.,_van,_family&oldid=110916.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Sichem, van, family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 September 2018, from,_van,_family&oldid=110916.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 522. All rights reserved.

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