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The Jesuit Collection in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Cologne

The rich collection once belonged to the teaching collection of the Gymnasium Tricoronatum and included an impressive 6,131 drawings and 19,244 prints. After the Jesuit order was abolished in 1773, the collection remained in Cologne, but was soon caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution. Still in 1794, the sheets were taken to Paris by the French revolutionary troops. Here the drawings went to the Cabinet des dessins of the Louvre and the prints to the Cabinet des estampes of the Bibliothèque Nationale, where they were stamped "col" ("Cologne"). When efforts were made to return them in 1815, Cologne received back the smaller part of the collection. Today it contains 523 drawings and 5,407 prints.



Graphics from the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Graphische Sammlung. Permanent loan from the Cologne Gymnasium and Foundation Fund. Formerly collection of the Cologne Jesuit College.

Left: Hans Burgkmair d. Ä. (1473–1531) Der heilige Lukas malt die Madonna, 1507 224 x 158 mm Holzschnitt, Inv. Nr. 30022.

Right: Hans Schäufelin (am Oberrhein um 1482/83 – 1539/40 Nördlingen) Heiliger Sebastian, 1519 Feder in Schwarz auf Vergé 286 x 187 mm Monogramm mit Schaufel und Jahreszahl „1519“ auf dem Erdhügel links, Inv. Z 124.

The Drawings

A few years ago, the drawings were scientifically processed under the direction of Thomas Ketelsen and presented in a selection of 90 sheets in the exhibition We - Faith - Art (24.4.-18.8.2019). The presentation showed German, Dutch and Italian drawings of the 16th to early 18th century, including works by Hans Schäufelein, Erhard Schön, Friedrich Sustris, Georg Beham (Pecham) and Christoph Jamnitzer, as well as sheets by Joachim Wtewael and Hans Speckaerts, Taddeo Zuccaro, Guglielmo Cortese, Giacomo Franco and Federico Zuccarri.

A catalog was published for the exhibition in the series Wallraf in Focus:

Wir·Glauben·Kunst. Bildermacht und Glaubensfragen. Meisterzeichnungen aus der Kölner-Jesuiten-Sammlung „Col.“, hrsg. von Thomas Ketelsen und Ricarda Hüpel mit Beiträgen von Iris Brahms, Karen Buttler, Mireille Cornelis, Thomas Ketesen, Claudia-Alexandra Schwaighofer und Michael Venator. Köln, 2019.


Alessio de Marchis (Naples 1684 - 1752 Perugia), attributed Classical ruins landscape with staffage, brush in reddish brown, reddish brown and gray wash, over preparatory drawing with black chalk, top, left and right black chalk border line, on vergé 135 x 204 mm Top right, stamped, with black ink: "Col.". Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Graphic Collection. On permanent loan from the Cologne Gymnasium and Foundation Fund. Formerly collection of the Cologne Jesuit College, Inv. Z 3174.


The prints

Since December 2020, the print collection of the Jesuit College has been digitally processed and is to be successively put online with images and details of works. This part of the Jesuit collection contains 16th and 17th century prints from Germany, the Netherlands, France and Italy. The prints returned to Cologne come in particular from those volumes in which exclusively representations with religious motifs were kept, which apparently met with only limited interest in the post-Napoleonic period. This part of the Jesuit collection was extensively studied by Dietmar Spengler in 2003:

Dietmar Spengler: „spiritualia et pictura“. Die graphische Sammlung des ehemaligen Jesuitenkollegs in Köln. Die Druckgraphik. Köln 2003.


Johann Bussemacher (ca.1580-1613) Ignatius of Loyola, copperplate engraving 354 x 265 mm. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Graphic Collection. On permanent loan from the Gymnasial und Stiftungsfonds. Formerly collection of the Cologne Jesuit College Inv. no. 17255