Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Diana Scultori’s engraving, “Horatius Cocles Escaping into the River after Holding off the Enemy”, 1575–88

Diana Scultori (aka Diana Ghisi; Diana Mantovana) (1536–88)
“Horatius Cocles Escaping into the River after Holding off the Enemy”, 1575–88 (the attribution of these dates is based on the time when Scultori first began to sign her name “Diana”), after Giulio Romano’s (1499–1546) design for the Sala di Attilio Regolo, Casino della Grotta, Palazzo Te, Mantua. (See Paolo Bellini 1991, ‘L'opera incisa Adamo e Diana Scultori”, Vicenza, 1991, pp. 163-5.)

Engraving on laid paper trimmed along the platemark, first state (lifetime) impression.
Size: (sheet) 24.6 x 27.3 cm; (image borderline) 24.3 x 27 cm
Lettered with the artist’s name on the pillar of the bridge at lower left: “DIANA”
State i (of ii) before the addition of publisher’s address at lower right.

TIB 31 (15). 34 (447) (Walter L Strauss, Suzanne Boorsch & John Spike [Eds.] 1986, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 31, Abaris Books, New York, p. 274); Bartsch XV.447.34; Bellini 1991 2.I

Condition: near faultless lifetime impression trimmed along the plate mark. There are many notations by previous collectors (verso).

I am selling this exceptionally rare print by one of the historically significant women printmakers from the Renaissance (arguably the first person to copyright the design for a cap … admittedly a night cap) for AU$456 (currently US$340.96/EUR304.61/GBP265.37 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this lifetime impression in pristine condition of major print from the Renaissance era executed by one of the very few famous women printmakers of the time (and the first to have permission/”privilege” to sell her work under her own name), please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print is reserved pending confirmation about its purchase

If I were to compile a list of women artists from the Renaissance era, the name, Diana Scultori, would be at the top.

Arguably, Scultori’s most significant achievement is that she was the FIRST woman to be permitted to sell her work using her own name. Today the idea that artists sought permission to sell their work may seem odd. At the time, however, artists applied to the papal bureaucracy for such a “privilege” (i.e. copyright protection) to ensure that their designs were legally authorised and that other artists were not allowed to copy their work. Indeed, the penalty for any transgression of an artist’s privilege was harsh: “excommunication, a fine of 50 gold ducats, and seizure of all the contraband material” (see Evelyn Lincoln 2000, “The Invention of the Italian Printmaker”, Yale University Press, New Haven, pp. 123-4).

In terms of Scultori’s business acumen, Diana was very shrewd, in the sense that she changed her name according to who was in power and would benefit her career. For example, the name “Diana Ghisi” was adopted by Diana as the surname, “Ghisi”, linked her to the famous Mantuan engraver, Giorgio Ghisi—a misrepresentation of name that even the august Bartsch catalogue raisonné has failed to correct. Indeed, there are no documents from Diana’s lifetime where she ever uses her true surname, as the name “Scultori” was not useful in the marketplace.

As another example of shrewd business practices, Dana choice of portrayed subject matter and the inscribed dedications on some of her plates were clearly designed to advance her career. For instance, her first published engraving,Volute of a Composite Capital”, 1576, features not only a subject that would have appealed to her patron— Lord Claudio Gonzaga, the chief supervisor of the Mantuan court— because he wrote a book on the topic and that the print was larger than any other engraving of such a subject at the time, but the tone of the inscription is so unambiguously ingratiating:

“To the most illustrious Lord Claudio Gonzaga, Diana Mantuana. It is fitting that this labour of mine, having come to life under the rule of your most excellent house, receives new life under your lordship’s name, because now it enters the world favoured by you with the most ample privilege of the sanctity of Our Lord. Accept this then with a kind heart, and with it the service of my house in Rome …”

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Giacomo Maria Giovannini’s etching, “Two Statues of Hercules with the Lernaen Hydra and the Cretan Bull”, 1694

Giacomo Maria Giovannini (aka Jacomo Jouanninus) (1667–1717)
“Two Statues of Hercules with the Lernaen Hydra and the Cretan Bull”, 1694, published by Carlo Cesare Malvasia (1616–93) and edited by Marco Antonio Fabbri in “Il claustro di S. Michele in Bosco di Bologna: dipinto dal famoso Lodovico Carracci, e da altri eccellenti maestri uscita dalla sua scola” (The cloister of San Michele in Bosco in Bologna—painted by renowned Lodovico Carracci, and other excellent masters from his Academy) after the design by Lodovico Carracci (1555–1619).

Etching on laid paper with margins before lettering with publication details (i.e. a lifetime proof state before publication in Malvasia’s book) lined onto a conservator’s support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 40.5 x 27.3 cm; (plate) 37.8 x 22.5 cm; (image borderline) 36.4 x 21.6 cm
State i (of iii) before lettering with publication details in state ii and numbering in state iii.
TIB 43 (19). 39 (428) ((Walter L Strauss & John T Spike [Eds.] 1982, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 43, Abaris Books, New York, p. 307).

A copy of the 1694 publication in which this print is featured may be read or downloaded from  (note that this print features at the end of the book).

Condition: a crisp lifetime impression with proof-state faults (e.g. a scattering of ink on the upper-left edge of the plate and imperfect wiping of the plate resulting in a few losses to the background lines) with margins. There is a closed tear at the upper edge (addressed with a support sheet of fine washi paper) and light dustiness appropriate to the age of the print.

I am selling this exceptionally rare print showing two sculpted caryatids of Hercules posed with his club after defeating the Hydra and the Cretan Bull for AU$332 (currently US$249.11/EUR221.64/GBP191.96 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this graphically strong etching, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This is an extremely rare print. It is a lifetime impression before the plate was published as part of a series of 20 prints (including the frontispiece) purportedly showing scenes of St Benedict’s life based on frescoes executed in 1605 by Lodovico Carracci (and his Academy students) in the cloister of San Michele Monastery in Bosco (Bologna). I use the word “purportedly” as I must have missed the point of how this image of a pair of caryatids sculpted to represent the Labours of Hercules has a place in St Benedict’s life … unless they are saintly metaphors.

Leaving aside the symbolised meanings behind this arresting image of sculpted columns, I need to point out something exemplified in this print that every art student should know: there are no concaves in the silhouette edge of a figure. This may seem like a very obvious thing to say as the musculature of our bodies is all about the bulgy bits of muscle and fat. Nevertheless, note that in the silhouette edge of these sculptured Hercules that not a single concave can be found—only straight lines of tendons and convex shapes of muscles. 

Monday, 22 May 2017

Alexandre Calame’s etching, “Man resting by a stone wall”, 1840–50

Alexandre Calame (aka Alexandre Calam; Alexandre Calamy) (1810–64)
“Man resting by a stone wall”, 1840–50, from the series “Essais de gravure à l'eau forte par Alexandre Calame, I–IV”, 1838/1850, four sets of landscape etchings (45 in all).

Etching (with dot roulette) on chine collé on wove paper lined on a conservator’s support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 21.7 x 25.7 cm; (plate) 9.8 x 10.2 cm; (image borderline) 8.6 x 9.9 cm
Signed by the artist in the plate below the image borderline at right.

Calabi 1937, no. IV, 50 (Calabi, A., and A. Schreiber-Favre. "Les eaux-fortes et les lithographies d'Alexandre Calame " Die graphischen Kunste 2 [1937]: IV, 50); Daniela Laube Fine Art, Catalogue 6, 2009. no. 22.
See also the description of this print held by The National Gallery of Art and a scroll view of the other prints in the series:

Condition: crisp impression with generous margins in faultless condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, losses, stains, dirt or foxing). The print is laid onto a support sheet of fine washi paper.

I am selling this small and extremely beautiful etching by one of the most important of the Swiss landscape artists of the 19th century, for AU$134 (currently US$99.84/EUR89.40/GBP76.97 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this poetic image of a wooded landscape with the most minimal suggestion of a figure resting beside a road, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This evening I was hoping to post a handful of etchings by Calame, but my search to find them proved unsuccessful apart from this little nugget of visual poetry. Not that I am overly worried about my failure to find more Calame prints as this stunning etching exemplifies most of what I wished to discuss.

To give a context for why I like this print, I need to share my memory of being told as a youngster that when Constable painted trees he added dabs of white paint into their foliage to create the effect of light glimmering on water droplets on the leaves—a visual device referred to as “Constable’s snow.” This memory of Constable’s approach to giving the impression of sparkling light on leaves still plays on my mind and when I see other artist’s representations of trees I use Constable’s “solution” to representing the flickering light on foliage as a point of comparison.

In the case of Calame’s treatment of shimmering light on trees I think that he deserves a prize. To my eyes the foliage seems alive. Of course, Calame has not added snow-like specks of white like Constable did, but rather Calame has simulated the “look” of white dots to represent where light falls on the foliage mass using a woven matrix of curled marks and to represent the shadows he uses aligned parallel strokes.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Dominique Barrière’s etching, “Allegory of Good and Evil”, c.1660

Dominique Barrière (aka Dominique Barier) (c.1618–78)
“Allegory of Good and Evil”, c.1660

Etching (with some engraving) on fine laid paper lined onto a conservator’s support sheet and trimmed with thread margins.
Size: (sheet) 20.4 x 14.1 cm; (plate) 20.2 x 13.9 cm; (image borderline) 19.6 x 13.5 cm
Lettered within the image borderline: (upper edge at centre) “OMNE BONVM”; (on banner held by putti at upper left) “EX HIS ITVR AD ALTERVTRVM”: (on mountain at lower centre) “ELIGE”; (on top edge of abyss at lower centre) “OMNE MALVM”.
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) “Dominque Barriere delin. et sculp.”; (right) monogram of entwined letters: “DL[?]”
Robert-Dumesnil 6

Condition: Crisp, near faultless impression—the lower left corner is slightly shop soiled—laid onto a support sheet of fine washi paper and trimmed to thread margins.

I am selling this fascinating print with a layering of different spiritual zones, for AU$310 (currently US$231.10/EUR206.30/GBP177.32 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this exceptionally rare etching, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

Sadly, my understanding of Latin—especially when letters have evolved from the time when a “V” now means a “U”—nevertheless, thanks to Google translate and a great deal of guess work I feel as if I have deciphered the meaning of this complex image. If I am wrong I apologise but let me offer my reading of what could only be described as a thesis print.

Beginning at the top of the composition is written “OMNE BONVM” advising that “everything is good” in this heavenly cloud-laden space. Close examination of the figures in this upper zone reveals the Holy Trinity in the centre with angels and biblical luminaries (such as St John the Baptist on the right) giving their blessings.

Below this heavenly realm but still in a celestial sky punctuated with heavenly light are two putti figures holding an unravelled banner inscribed with the text: “EX HIS ITVR AD ALTERVTRVM.” To be honest, I struggled with finding a translation for these words but a meaning that may be close to the truth is that the text advises there is a choice “from one to another”—the “one” being heaven and the “other” being the abyss of hell.

Set further below the banner is the vast expanse of terra firma (solid ground). Here the temporal world of the here-and-now is beset with scenes of wars, farming, folk playing games and religious practices (such as processions and folk praying). In the centre of this melee is a mountain lettered with the single word: “ELIGE.” My understanding is that this word is like a command: Choose—choose either to rise to heaven or sink to hell.

The lowest zone in the composition is reserved for hell. This fiery abyss is signposted with the words, ““OMNE MALVM”, meaning everything bad”, which is the complement state for the heavenly state of “OMNE BONVM”—“everything is good”—displayed at the top of the composition.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Thomas Wijck’s etching, “Dancing Beggar”, 1631–77

Thomas Wijck (aka Thomas Wyck; Thomas Adriaensz Wijck) (1626–77)
“Dancing Beggar” (TIB title) (Le mendicant qui danse); “Blind Beggar Bumping a Pillar” (The Met title), 1631–77, from the series, “Scenes from the story of Lazarillo de Tormes.”

Etching with drypoint in dark brown ink on wove paper with thread margins.
Size: (sheet) 13.5 x 12.2 cm; (plate) 13.2 x 11.8 cm; (image borderline) 12.7 x 11.4 cm
Signed with the artist’s monogram (entwined “T” and “W”) on the column at lower left.
State iii (of iii)

TIB 5 (4). 11 (147) (Walter L Strauss & Franklin Robinson [Eds.] 1979, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 5, Abaris Books, New York, p. 164); Bartsch IV.147.11; Hollstein Dutch 11-2 (3); Weigel 1843 171.1.

See also the description of this print at the following museums: 

Condition: excellent late impression with narrow margins in pristine condition. There are mounting hinges and a handwritten address in ink from a past collector (verso).

I am selling this remarkable illustration from the 16th century novel, “The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes and of His Fortunes and Adversities”, for AU$133 (currently US$99.15/EUR88.51/GBP76.08 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing etching by one of the famous 17th century old masters, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

When I was researching the formal title of this print I was surprised to find so many attributed titles and none of which really captured the spirit of what is portrayed here. The title that I have chosen for this post, “Dancing Beggar”, extracted from “The Illustrated Bartsch” (1979) catalogue raisonné for this artist (see volume 5, p. 164), for example, is far from satisfactory and the description of the print by the British Museum seems to miss the point of the story it illustrates altogether:

“A blind beggar dancing around a pillar in the centre, holding a hat and a stick in his left hand and a cup in his right hand, being watched by bystanders, a barking dog to the right, fragments of classical columns in the foreground, the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli (?) and other buildings in the background …” (

This scene does show a beggar and so this aspect of the title is correct, but the beggar is blind and instead of dancing, the beggar is running after a young boy named Lazarillo to punish him for his trickery. Here, Lazarillo hides behind a column and calls out to the beggar with the aim—successfully accomplished it seems—of having the blind beggar collide with the column in his haste to punish the mischievous Lazarillo.

To give an insight into the relationship between the beggar and the young Lazarillo, the following extract from the novel by an unknown author—because the content of the novel was heretical at the time—“The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes and of His Fortunes and Adversities” (1554) may be helpful:

“One night while they are staying in Escalona, the blind man is roasting sausages and cooking a stew. He gives Lazaro some money and asks him to go fetch some wine. Lazaro takes the money, but before he goes to fetch the wine he steals a sausage from the fire and replaces it with a soggy turnip that had been fished out of the stew. Then, when he is out of sight, he eats the sausage and drinks the wine for himself. When Lazaro returns, the blind man is furious to have discovered his sausage is missing and he sticks his nose into Lazaro’s mouth to see if he can smell the meat, causing Lazaro to vomit on the blind man’s face.” (

Friday, 19 May 2017

Sebald Beham’s woodcuts from “The Apocalypse”, 1539

Sebald Beham (aka Hans Sebald Beham; Sebald Peham) (1500–50)
Two woodcut prints on the same leaf, 1539, from the series of twenty-six woodcuts showing subjects from “The Apocalypse” (Book of Revelation), book-illustrations printed together with Latin letterpress text, printed in Frankfurt by Christian Egenolph (1502–55).

(Recto) “An Angel Chains the Dragon” (TIB title), 1539
(Verso) “Destruction of the Beast” (TIB title), 1539

Woodcuts on laid paper with (partial) lines of accompanying Latin letterpress text and small margins.
Size: (sheet) 10.9 x 7.9 cm; (borderline of each plate) 6.8 x 7.12
TIB 15 (8). 116-[1] (233) (Walter L Strauss & Robert A Koch [Eds.] 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 15, Abaris Books, New York, pp.187–88); Bartsch 92-120; Dodgson 1903, 1911 I.440.3; Pauli 1901-11 855 & 856 ((Apocalypse)); Paisey 2002 22; (David Paisey 2002, Catalogue of German printed books to 1900”, London, BMP); F W H Hollstein 1954, “German engravings, etchings and woodcuts c.1400-1700”, Amsterdam, p.189.

Condition: an extremely rare leaf with excellent impressions on both sides and small margins.

I am selling this small and superb double-sided leaf of woodcuts by one of the most famous of the German Little Masters for AU$332 (currently US$247.41/EUR221.05/GBP190.04 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing these stunning woodblock illustrations by the great master, Hans Sebald Beham, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

These prints have been sold

In previous posts I have discussed Sebald Beham’s prints and so I will simply mention here that he is one of the most famous of the German printmakers in the early 1500s.

Presuming that I am not alone in having an extremely thin understanding about what is discussed in the “Book of Revelations” (aka, the “Revelation to John”; the “Apocalypse of John”; ”Apocalypse”; “The Revelation”; or simply, “Revelation”) for which these prints are illustrations, I have extracted some of the relevant text from the “World English Bible” (WEB) to give each illustration its context.

Regarding the print on the recto side, “An Angel Chains the Dragon”, this image illustrates the following verses from “Revelation: 20” (note that the first-person pronoun, “I”, refers to “John”):

“I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
2 He seized the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years,
3 and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were finished.”

Regarding the print on the verso side, “Destruction of the Beast”, this image illustrates the following verses from “Revelation: 19”:

11 “I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it is called Faithful and True. …
13 He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood. His name is called ‘The Word of God.’
14 The armies which are in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in white, pure, fine linen.
15 Out of his mouth proceeds a sharp, double-edged sword, that with it he should strike the nations. … [Note that this sword may be seen in the illustration protruding from the crowned figure on horseback on the left shown directly beneath the angel at the top of the image] …
19 I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him who sat on the horse, and against his army.
20 The beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked the signs in his sight, with which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur.
21 The rest were killed with the sword of him who sat on the horse, the sword which came out of his mouth. All the birds were filled with their flesh … [Note the flesh eating birds shown to the right of the angel]”

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Jan van de Velde II’s etching, “Wagon on a path in a mountainous river landscape”, 1616

Jan van de Velde II (c.1593–1641)
“Wagon on a path in a mountainous river landscape”, 1616, from the series of landscapes, “Amenissimae aliquot regiunculae” (Some very attractive regions). (See the description of this series offered by the Rijksmuseum shown below).

Etching on fine laid paper, trimmed along the image borderline and lined onto a conservator’s support sheet
Size: (sheet) 12.3 x 19.1 cm
Numbered: (upper right) “3”; (lower right) “9”

Hollstein Dutch 264-2 (2); Franken & van der Kellen 303-4 (4)
The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
“A man with a dog and a wagon on a dirt road along a river with a stone bridge. Left a building on a mountain. Ninth picture of the third part of an array of a total of sixty prints with landscapes, divided into five portions of each twelve prints. … Originally the first states of the prints formed a series consisting of two parts of 26 prints. The later states formed a series of five parts of each twelve prints.” (

Condition: crisp, well-printed impression, trimmed to the image borderline and laid upon a conservator’s support sheet. The sheet is in a clean/restored condition with thin areas that are only visible when the print is held up to the light.

I am selling this delicate and very beautiful etching for AU$284 (currently US$211.22/EUR190.02/GBP162.11 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this superb example of Dutch landscape etching by one of the greatest masters of the early 1600s, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

To set a context for this print in terms of its date of execution in 1616, Rembrandt’s first print had just been published in this same year by Johannes Pietersz. Beerendrecht (fl.1614–45). This may not seem very significant beyond being a coincidence. For me, however, the shared date reveals a rising spirit of the time to see value in the surrounding Dutch landscape—a fresh attitude arguably initiated in the paintings of Jan van de Velde II’s cousin, Esaias van de Velde (1587–1630) (see

From a personal standpoint, this etching is the work of a true master.  Note for example the way that the treatment of clouds has been codified into a system of straight horizontal lines and concentric curved lines to suggest cloud mass. Note also how the patterns of light and shade are arranged to connote spatial depth by use of dark tones and sharp tonal contrasts in the foreground leading ultimately to just the white of the paper to represent the pale infinity of distant sky.

Beyond the treatment and compositional arrangement of the landscape features, there is one other feature of this print which is remarkable—and indeed which makes most of Jan van de Velde’s prints remarkable: his skill and curious interest in making etchings that look like engravings. Van de Velde was so skilful in this pursuit that his famous set of prints designed as copybooks for calligraphers can mislead even the most astute viewer into believing that they are engravings when, in fact, they are etchings.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Jacob Kallenberg’s (aka Master IK) woodcut of standard bearers, 1545

Jacob Kallenberg (aka Monogrammist, Master IK) (c.1500–65)
(double-sided sheet of woodcut prints) “Standard Bearers with the Coat of Arms of Neuenburg am Rhein” (recto) and “Standard Bearers with the Coat of Arms of Düren” (verso)”, 1545, after Jacob Köbel (c.1462–1533), published in “Wappen des heiligen Roemischen Reich”, Frankfurt.

Woodcuts (recto and verso) on fine laid paper
Size: (sheet) 24.3 x 15.1 cm
Condition: richly inked impressions in superb (near pristine) condition for their age. The verso print (“Standard Bearers with the Coat of Arms of Düren”) has remnants of past mounting and a pencil inscription of the artist’s name (Jacob Kallenberg).

I am selling these recto and verso original woodcuts on the same page from the 16th century for a total cost of AU$160 (currently US$118.53/EUR106.58/GBP91.38 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this superb double-sided sheet of prints, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

These prints have been sold

This is my second listing of prints by Master IK featuring standard bearers and because my last listing was so long ago I’ve decided to reprint my earlier comments.
Artists become well-known for lots of different reasons and these reasons are not always strictly related to their artworks. With regard to Jacob Köbel, whose designs Jacob Kallenberg (aka Master IK) crafted into these woodcut prints, Köbel is fondly remembered by statisticians of foot measurements for his print “Determination of mean foot length”, published in “Geometrei” (1575, Frankfurt) and that is now featured on the cover of the 3rd edition of Siegmund Brandt’s “Data Analysis: Statistical and Computational Methods for Scientists and Engineers” (1998).

In the 16th century, however, the popularity of Kallenberg’s prints after Köbel’s designs rested more on their images of flags than foot measurements and—somewhat unnaturally—on the standard bearers themselves. Regarding my quip about the wave of deep admiration for standard bearers, I wish to point out that one of the commonly featured subjects in prints of standard bearers and soldiers generally were lost women. For example, one of Urs Graf’s (c.1485–1527) most celebrated prints, “Two Soldiers and a Woman with Death in a Tree” (1525), features a soldier-smitten woman tempting a pair of soldiers with her womanly charms. Another of Graf’s well-known prints of a similar genre is “Soldier with a Halberd and Prostitute” (1516).

From a personal viewpoint, these images have the breath of life and vigour in them. I love the way that the standards/flags billow around the figures holding them. Adding another dimension to the flutter of fabric is the low angle of view—a worm’s eye view (if worms had eyes)—that presents the figures as monumental specimens of manliness.