An Islamic Prophet Appearing in the Courtyard of a Prison in Alexandria

Jan Goeree Dutch

Not on view

As one of the seventeenth century’s great seafaring nations, the Dutch were particularly interested in the exotic, even if their point of view rarely transcended that of their own culture. In this scene, a man appears in the courtyard of an Alexandrian prison, who is held to be a prophet by the Muslims surrounding him and in the foreground at left, while the Westerners in the background make fun of him. The drawing illustrates an episode (book 2, chapter 15) in the account of the travels of Michael Heberer, the "Westphalian Robinson", first published in Heidelberg in 1610 as Aegyptiaca servitus ("Egyptian slavery"). In 1706, the Leiden publisher Pieter van der Aa brought out an abridged Dutch translation, Ongelukkige voyagie van Michiel Heberer van Bretten door verscheyde gedeelten van Asia en Africa in het jaar 1582, en vervolgens ("The Unfortunate Voyage of Michael Heberer of Bretten Through Various Parts of Asia and Africa in the Year 1582 and After"), as part 19 in a series of 29 in-octavo volumes under the general title Naaukeurige versameling der gedenk-waardigste zee en land-reysen na Oost en West-Indiën ("Accurate collection of the most memorable voyages over sea and land to the East and West Indies"; Leiden 1706–1728). An unsigned engraving after the Museum’s drawing appears after p. 90 of the Ongelukkige voyagie, as indicated – possibly by the artist – in the drawing’s inscription at upper left. Both as printmakers and designers, the artists Caspar Luyken (son of the better-known Jan Luyken) and Jan Goeree were involved in producing the numerous illustrations for the Naaukeurige versameling. It is to the latter that the present drawing as well as the related print can be attributed. Several other drawings by him for Van der Aa’s project survive, including sheets in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and the Städel Museum, Frankfurt.

An Islamic Prophet Appearing in the Courtyard of a Prison in Alexandria, Jan Goeree (Dutch, Middelburg 1670–1731 Amsterdam), Pen and black ink, brush and gray wash, over a sketch in red chalk, incised for transfer; double framing lines in pen and brown ink, probably by the artist

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.