Jeremias Falck

Jeremias Falck (born in 1609 in Gdansk, died 1677) was an engraver of the 17th century Baroque, born and active in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. He signed his works as Falck Polonus or Falck Gedanensis.

He made about 500 pieces, mostly portraits of Polish, biblical and allegorical scenes (although many engravings left unprinted), proving his ritual mastery. He created his type of engraved portrait – profile, in oval.

Born probably around 1610 in Danzig (Gdańsk), in the province of Polish Prussia, a part of Poland. Falck studied and worked with Wilhelm Hondius. In 1639 he moved to Paris, and in 1649 he became Royal Swedish engraver for Queen Christina in Sweden until 1654, when she became a Catholic. He then went to the Netherlands, where he engraved a portrait of Willem Blaeu, and to Germany. In 1662 in Hamburg he published 16 engravings of flowers and plants. He engraved the royals of the places he worked and he intermittently worked in Danzig.

In 1639 he left for Paris, where a series of engravings illustrated four seasons. In the years 1649-1654 he was employed as court rider of the Swedish Queen Krystyna, after her abdication was released from service by Charles Gustav.

Jeremias’ brother Hans Falck was as Messerschmidt (knife smith) at Neugarten, Danzig. In 1650 Jeremias’ marriage in Danzig is recorded and later Hans and his Catharine were recorded as witnesses to the birth of Jeremias’ child. A letter by Jeremias Falck from 1658 stated …ich habe eine geraume Zeit sehr grosse Schmerzen im rechten Arm (…that for a long time he has great pain in his right arm).

Prints to the illustrated catalog of the Gerard de Reynst collection, published in 1660, mainly religious ones, were created in Amsterdam. In 1662 in Hamburg he made a series of 16 engravings on botanical subjects depicting various species of flowers and plants.

He lived again in Danzig. Many of Falck’s engravings are based on portraits by Daniel Schultz and other painters. Falck’s work was admired and used by publisher Georg Forster, such as engraved illustrations for “Selenography” of Johannes Hevelius and “Orationes” of Jerzy Ossoliński, Great Crown Chancellor of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Falck lies buried in St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church. The 1890 book with dedication by the great-grandson Herman Eugen Falk thanks a number of Polish writers who collected works by Falck.

Of about three hundred portraits and pictures, which were personally inspected by J.C. Block for his book, nearly all works show J. Falck, sculp., but there are some that identify him as Swedish sculptor, when he was in salaried employment in Sweden. There are also listed about nine copper-etching Portrait Ovals mostly of Polish Bishops by Falck alone or with name: Dankert or Georg Förster (Georg Forster). These nine metal ovals are mounted on rectangles and the rectangles are inscribed with “Jeremias Falck Polonus”.

The mainstream of Falck’s works in Poland were copper plates according to portraits, most often by Daniel Schultz, the Younger. He collaborated in this field with the George Forster publishing house of Gdansk, illustrating the works he published there, including Heevil’s Selenography and Ossolinski’s Orationes, which still remain the subject of librarians and collectors.

Before his death he returned to his hometown of Gdansk, where he rested in the church of Sts. Peter and Paul.

His work was mostly signed by “Jeremias Falck Polonus”.

Arcus Gratiae et Pacis, triumphal gate with Atlas and Hercules, built in Gdańsk in honour of Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga.
Proserpine la nuict, Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga as Proserpina.
Old woman at the mirror, reproduction of a painting by Bernardo Strozzi.