Hendrick Goltzius (Dutch, 1558-1617)

Eer boven golt [Honor Above Gold], 1609

Eer boven golt [Honor Above Gold], 1609

Ink on paper 5 7/8 in. x 3 1/2 in. (14.9 cm x 8.9 cm)

Crocker Art Museum, E. B. Crocker Collection


  • One of the most skilled engravers in the history of the Netherlands, Hendrick Goltzius was born near Venlo and trained in the city of Cleves under Dirck Coornhert. When the latter opened a studio in Haarlem in 1577, the nineteen-year-old Goltzius accompanied him and settled there until his death forty years later, though he traveled to Italy in 1590–91. He collaborated with the Antwerp artist Philips Galle during his middle years and created a small number of paintings beginning in the 1590s. Goltzius’s technical skills and voracious intellect led him to become a leading proponent of humanist images in the Netherlands and a prolific Mannerist engraver.
    Goltzius’s personal device, seen in this drawing, derives from a Dutch and Italian tradition in which humanists encoded moral truths in symbols that learned audiences could decode for intellectual delight and instruction. Here, a laurel-crowned, classical bust representing Honor flies above a snake-entwined caduceus of Mercury, the god of invention, its base rising from a pot of gold coins. The pun on Goltzius’s name reappears in the inscription “Eer boven Golt.” (Honor above Gold), which glorifies the artist’s pursuit of public esteem over riches and self-interest.

Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.


Contact | Hours | Directions

216 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Become a Member


216 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

General Information: 916.808.7000
Admission Desk: 916.808.1184


Tue – Sun: 10 AM – 5 PM
Thu: 10 AM – 9 PM
Closed Mondays*, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day
*Open select Mondays
10 AM – 5 PM:
Presidents Day
Labor Day