Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Adriaen van Ostade’s etching, “Village Festival under a Trellis”, c1653


Adriaen van Ostade (aka Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade) (1610–85)
“Village Festival under a Trellis” (La fête sous la treille), c1653

Note: the Institut Néerlandais, Fondation Custodia (Paris) holds a related pen drawing in brown ink over graphite with brown and grey wash that is in reverse to this etching.
The British Museum holds four different impressions of this print along with two copies (one by John Frederick Lewis and the other in reverse by David Deuchar); see: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=+S.1533

Etching on fine laid paper with margins.
Size: (sheet) 14.2 x 19.8 cm; (plate) 12.9 x 17.4 cm; (image borderline) 12.6 x 17.2 cm
Inscribed: (right of centre at the lower edge) “Av. ostade”
State iv (of vii).
Note: My attribution of this impression to state iv is because the borderline in state ii (as shown in TIB) and state iii (as shown in the BM) is fractured on the upper right. This impression is closest to the strengthening of the borderline of state iv (as shown in the BM). I do not believe that it is an impression from states v or vi (as shown in Phagan) because there is strengthening to the lines above the figure entering the doorway on the far right in these later states. Be mindful, however, that my conclusion is based solely on rather poor quality reproductions in books and I do not have access to original impressions from the different states for a thorough assessment.

TIB (1978) 1 47-II (379) (Walter L Strauss & Leonard J Slatkes [Eds.] 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 1, p. 358); Hollstein 47.IV; Godefroy (1994) 113

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Outside an inn with a crowd of peasants watching others dancing under a vine-covered trellis, a man standing above the crowd and playing a flute and drum.”

See also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.38996  and the exhibition catalogue edited by Patricia Phagan (1994), “Adrianen Van Ostade: Etchings of Peasant Life in Holland’s Golden Age”, Georgia Museum of Art, pp. 234–35.

Condition: an exceptionally rare and near faultless impression with small margins varying in width but approximately 1 cm. The sheet is in superb condition (i.e. there are no holes, folds, stains, abrasions or foxing on the recto side of the sheet but there are minor stains verso).

I am selling this museum quality etching by van Ostade—one of the most important of the masters from the Dutch Golden Age—that is also one of his masterworks, for the total cost of AU$389 (currently US$307.22/EUR260.40/GBP228.51 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this near perfect impression of an acknowledged masterpiece of 17th century, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


This is one of van Ostade’s masterworks of etching. What makes it an important print is not only that it documents a real-life moment in a rural dance from the mid-1600s by showing how everyday farm folk “kicked up their heels”, but it also links the early tradition set by Rembrandt of capturing sparkling light and luminous shadow with the shift to exploring gritty rural narratives by artists like Jan Steen and Cornelis Bega.





Monday, 25 September 2017

Étienne Delaune’s engraving, “Venus with Cupid between Four Burning Hearts”, c1560


Étienne Delaune (aka Stephanus) (c1518–83) Note: Delaune signed his prints “Stephanus” or “S. Goldsmith”, hence the inscription “STEPHAN[U]S” shown in the plate below the image borderline in at lower right.

“Venus with Cupid between Four Burning Hearts”, c1560 (but not later than 1572/73), plate five from the series of six plates of Roman deities, “Grotesques of Classical Divinities” (Harvard) or “Flat Decorations with Figures of gods in Frames of Grotesques” (Rijksmuseum).

(Note: the BM has the complete set of this series; see: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=Gg,4D.68. Regarding the attribution of a date for this print, according to the curator of the BM, the plate was executed before Delaune’s departure from France [1572/73])

Engraving on fine laid paper lined onto an early laid paper support sheet and trimmed along (or slightly within) the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 7.3 x 5.2 cm; (image borderline) 6.5 x 5 cm
Lifetime impression of the only state

Robert-Dumesnil 1835-71 IX.121.420 (A P F Robert-Dumesnil 1835, “Le Peintre-Graveur Français”, 11 vols.)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Grotesque print on dark ground, with Venus and Cupid, standing between burning hearts in the middle of an elaborate structure inhabited by various creatures” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1420384&partId=1&searchText=Delaune+venus+cupid&page=1)
See the Rijksmuseum for a description of this print: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.447936  
See also Irene Margaretha de Groot 1988, “Ornamentprenten in het Rijksprentenkabinet”, Rijksmuseum, p. 243, cat.nr. 562.4

Condition: crisp, lifetime impression trimmed along (or slightly within) the platemark and lined by an early conservator onto a support sheet of laid paper. The sheet is in excellent condition, but there is a replenished loss to the lower right corner and there are remnants of past mounting and pencil notes (verso).

I am selling this small and finely executed print for the total cost of AU$162 (currently US$128.82/EUR108.49/GBP95.38 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this miniature masterpiece showcasing Delaune’s 16th century interpretation of Roman ornament, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


Delaune’s prints need to be seen in their true size to fully appreciate how tiny they are. This print, for example, is only slightly larger than a matchbox. The size, however, only makes a viewer examine them like the small jewels that they are. Once the process of examining them with the mind “switched on” to really looking at what is shown in each image one’s jaw can drop very quickly.

In this little nugget of detail, for instance, I was surprised—shocked actually—to see demon-chaps towards the bottom of the image without pants and with wings that would never get them airborne in the act of farting! Awful and funny at the same time. Not only are they passing wind but they also seem to be holding the guts—or a string of eggs—extracted/passed from grimacing serpents disposed on both sides of the composition.

As one’s eye moves in on the depiction of a very graceful Venus at the centre of the composition another surprise awaits the scrutiny of sensitive folk: the little cupid on her right is engaged in a lewd activity with Venus' private parts … or is he simply protecting the Venus from our gaze? 

I guess that the real discovery after examining this wonderful print is realising that Delaune would have been a real party animal in his everyday life.







Sunday, 24 September 2017

Wenzel Hollar’s etching, “Head of a young man”, 1648


Wenzel Hollar (aka Wenceslaus Hollar; Václav Hollar) (1607–77)
“Head of a young man”, 1648, after a lost painting by Hans Holbein (the younger) (1497/8–1543)

Etching on wove paper.
Size: (sheet) 12 x 10.7 cm; (plate) 6.8 x 4.7 cm
Inscribed above the head: (left) “HHolbein inu;'; (right) “WHollar fecit / 1648.”
Nineteenth-century impression of the only state (?). I understand that there were three early editions published in Antwerp of the series of which this plate features—but without the creation of fresh states: 1645 (this edition may not have included this plate as it was executed in 1648), 1648, and 1666.

Pennington (2002) 1551; New Hollstein (German) 1013 (Hollar)

Richard Pennington (2002) offers the following description of this print in “A descriptive catalogue of the etched work of Wenceslaus Hollar 1607–1677”, Cambridge University Press:
“Bust, r. profile, of a clean-shaven young man with straight hair. He wears a soft, flat cap, the brim cut into panels, and a doublet with a slashed collar.” (p. 271)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Portrait bust of a young man in profile to right, wearing a soft cap with slashed brim and doublet with slashed collar; after Hans Holbein the Younger. 1648” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3491302&partId=1&searchText=hollar+1648&page=1)

Condition: well-printed impression with signs of wear to the plate on laid paper in pristine condition with generous margins (varying, but approximately 3 cms).

I am selling this exquisite etching by one of the greatest printmakers of history, Wenzel Hollar, reproducing a now lost painting by Hans Holbein (the younger)—an artist famous for his paintings of the court of Henry VIII (amongst others)—for the total cost of AU$98 (currently US$78.13/EUR65.36/GBP57.90 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this small and delicately executed Tudor period portrait, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


Although the whereabouts of the original painting by Holbein upon which this etching is based is unknown, there may be a very simple explanation to this puzzle, as revealed by Richard T Godfrey (1994) in “Wencelaus Hollar: A Bohemian Artist in England.” Godfrey points out that, as is the case with Hollar’s etched copies of Leonardo’s drawings (see the earlier post featuring one of these prints), Hollar “could show fidelity to his models” (i.e. precise line-by-line faithful copies of the original drawings by Leonardo), “…yet he would sometimes combine elements from several sheets to make a single etched design” (p. 13). In short, what I am proposing (without being privy to more information than is currently available) this portrait may be a concoction—a copy of a portrait by Holbein that never existed at all! Of course, I doubt that this is the case but it is a lovely thought and would resolve the question of whatever happened to Holbein’s portrait.



Engraving by an unidentified artist showing a scribe at work


Unidentified artist
“Scriba doctus in regno caelorum”, 16th century?

Illustration for the verse from Matthew 13:52: “And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’” (Ait autem illis: “Ideo omnis scriba doctus in regno caelorum similis est homini patri familias, qui profert de thesauro suo nova et vetera”.)

Engraving on early laid paper trimmed to the image borderline.
Size: (sheet) 9.4 x 4.9 cm
Lettered in the plate below the image: “Scriba doctus in regno caelorum.” (Transl. “Scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven.”)

See British Museum description of this small etching:

Condition: crisp impression, trimmed at the image borderline with a small restored loss at the lower right corner and age toning to the sheet.

I am selling this small engraving by an unidentified printmaker (see the British Museum’s description of this print, museum no. 1958,1006.2902) illustrating verse 13:52 from the Gospel of St Matthew concerning the value of scribes in disseminating knowledge, for the total cost of AU$88 (currently US$70.16/EUR58.69/GBP51.99 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this marvellous image of an early scribe with the clear symbolism of time in the form of a clock hanging above him on the wall, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


In terms of what sways me to propose the sixteenth century as a rough guide to the date of this print, my justification is all the style employed in rendering the image. For instance, the formatting of the composition seems credible for the 16th century in the sense that the scribe is set within the symmetry of an arched niche with decorative rosettes above the arch and the frame of the arch is rendered with the mechanical precision of horizontal parallel lines. Moreover, the stylistic conventions employed in the rendering of the illustration seems appropriate for the 16th century as exemplified by the use of dots within the parallel lines inscribed in the background, the elevated viewpoint and the flattening of pictorial space created by the “quick” gradation towards a darkened background.

If I were very knowledgeable about men’s fashion—which sadly I am not—I would speak with great precision about the distinctive attributes of the costume worn by the scribe. As my knowledge about such details is flimsy to say the least, I can only propose that the scribe “appears” be wearing an Elizabethan period outfit with the typical ruff around his neck and copotain-style hat with rounded brim and tall rounded crown.

(Note: if there are knowledgeable folk willing to offer advice about the period style of the chap’s outfit then my quest for an accurate attribution of the period will be complete.) 



Wenzel Hollar’s etching, “Elderly bald man looking down after Leonardo", 1648


Wenzel Hollar (aka Wenceslaus Hollar; Václav Hollar) (1607–77)
“Head and bare, sinewy neck of a bald man”, 1648, after a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) in the Royal Collection at Windsor (RL 19003 recto) from the series of “Caricatures and deformities after Leonardo” (Pennington, 2002, cat. nos. 1558–1610B)

Etching on wove paper.
Size: (sheet) 12.3 x 10.7 cm; (plate) 6.8 x 4.7 cm
Inscribed within the plate: “Leonardo / da Vinci inu: / WHollar fec. / 1648.”
Nineteenth-century impression of the only state (?). I understand that there were three early editions published in Antwerp of the series of which this plate features—but without the creation of fresh states: 1645 (this edition may not have included this plate as it was executed in 1648), 1648, and 1666.

Pennington (2002) 1578; New Hollstein (German) 1018 (Hollar)

Richard Pennington (2002) offers the following description of this print in “A descriptive catalogue of the etched work of Wenceslaus Hollar 1607–1677”, Cambridge University Press:
“Bust almost full face of bald elderly man looking down. He is clean-shaven and the bones and sinews of neck and chest are very prominent.” (p. 288)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Head and bare, sinewy neck of a bald man, directed to left, head tilted to look down; after Leonardo da Vinci. 1648” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3491378&partId=1&searchText=hollar+1648&page=1)

Condition: well-printed impression on laid paper with signs of wear to the plate. The sheet is in pristine condition with generous margins (varying in width but approximately 3 cms).

I am selling this exquisite etching by one of the greatest printmakers of history, Wenzel Hollar, reproducing a drawing by one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci, for the total cost of AU$98 (currently US$78.13/EUR65.36/GBP57.90 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this small and historically influential print that showcased Leonardo’s drawings to 17th century artists, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


What may come as surprise regarding this etching and others by Hollar after drawings by Leonardo is that—according to the distinguished writer, Sir Kenneth Clark, in “A catalogue of the drawings of Leonardo … at Windsor Castle, Cambridge”, 1935, the vol. of text, Appendix B, p. xlvii—the “drawings are so repulsive to us were yet the first of Leonardo’s drawings to be appreciated in the seventeen and eighteenth centuries” (Pennington 2002, p. 272). This view of these prints by Hollar is shared by Richard T Godfrey (1994) in "Wencelaus Hollar: A Bohemian Artist in England” who proposes that “Leonardo’s drawings of grotesque heads are not in the strict sense caricatures; nonetheless, through the intermediary of Hollar’s prints, they exerted enormous influence of the development of the caricature in England in the eighteenth century” (p. 100).



Saturday, 23 September 2017

Wenzel Hollar’s etching, “Woman with Pointed Black Head-dress”, 1648


Wenzel Hollar (aka Wenceslaus Hollar; Václav Hollar) (1607–77)
“Woman with Pointed Black Head-dress”, 1648, from the series of “Women’s Portraits in Ovals” (Pennington, 2002, cat. nos. 1725–31)

Etching on fine laid paper trimmed along (or slightly within) the plate mark.
Size: (sheet) 11.9 x 9.4 cm; (oval image borderline) 10.9 x 9 cm
Signed and dated outside oval at top right: “WHollar delineavuit / et fecit, 1648.”
Lifetime impression of the only state. (Note: Pennington advises that “Bor. [FA Borovsky] creates a second state from a supposed darkening of shadows under the chin—but erroneously.” [p. 288])

Pennington (2002) 1730; Parthey 1730; New Hollstein (German) 1025 (Hollar)

Richard Pennington (2002) offers the following description of this print in “A descriptive catalogue of the etched work of Wenceslaus Hollar 1607–1677”, Cambridge University Press:
“Bust, half l., eyes to front, in an oval, of a woman with fair hair hanging down on each side in ringlets and tied with black bows. She wears a dark cap on the back of her head, which tapers to a point on her forehead. A white shoulder wrap in three folds is held at her breast by a jewel inside a large black bow. Round her neck is a dark necklace from which hangs a cross.” (p. 288)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“A young woman with fair curly hair in ringlets, tied with black bows, shown nearly half-length to left, looking towards the viewer; wearing a small black kerchief on her head, necklace with cross pendant, white shoulder wrap fastened with jewel on bow, over dark laced bodice; in an oval, against dark background.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3491429&partId=1&searchText=hollar+1648&page=1)

Condition: richly inked, crisp, lifetime impression in superb condition. The print is trimmed along (or slightly within) the image borderline and there is a minor chip to the upper right corner. There are inscriptions from previous collectors and remnants of mounting hinges (verso).

I am selling this exquisite etching by one of the greatest printmakers of history exemplifying his skill to use almost unbelievably fine moulding stokes for the total cost of AU$223 (currently US$177.79/EUR148.72/GBP131.74 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this small and exceptionally rare treasure of a print, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This print has been sold


Hollar’s etchings are not only superb in terms of technical skill—a not surprising attribute given that he was apprenticed to the great Matthäus Merian (1593–1650)—but he was also a prolific printmaker with having executed over 2700 plates (this etching is number 1730 in his large oeuvre). Beyond his technical skill, Hollar is best remembered for chronicling 17th century England in terms of cityscapes and detailed renderings of buildings, but his expertise extends beyond such enterprises as he also created many portraits—such as this superb example—along with illustrations for books (including the Bible) and delicate studies of subjects like insects, plants, shells and women’s muffs.

The identity of the sitter of this portrait is not clear, nevertheless, according to Pennington (2002) the Burlington Fine Arts Club “identifies the portrait as that of the wife of Alexander Roelants … and says it is sometimes taken for Mary Beaumont, mother of the first duke of Buckingham” (p. 288). The earlier cataloguer of Hollar’s prints, Gustav Parthey, proposes that the sitter is the marchioness of Buckingham. To add further confusion, Pennington cites FA Borovsky in his book on Hollar (1898) as attributing the portrait—“unconvincingly” according to Pennington—to “Catherine Howard Grandchild to Tho. Earle of Arundel” (p. 289).






Thursday, 21 September 2017

Georg Pencz’s engraving, “Tactus” (Touch), c1544


Georg Pencz (c1500–50)
“Tactus” (Touch), c1544, Plate 5 from the series of five engravings, “The Five Senses”.

Engraving on laid paper trimmed along the image borderline with the text line, "SED ARANEA TACTU”, below the image borderline removed.
Size: 7.4 x 5.00 cm
Signed with the artist’s monogram, "PG", in the plate at upper centre and lettered "TACTUS" below the monogram.
Early impression (most likely a lifetime impression as there is no sign of wear to the plate)

TIB 16 (8) 109 (354) (Walter L Strauss & Jacob Bink et al [Eds.] 1980, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 16, p. 124); Landau 1978 108 (David Landau 1978, “Catalogo completo dell' opera grafica di Georg Pencz”, Milan); Hollstein 107 (F W H Hollstein 1954, “German engravings, etchings and woodcuts c.1400-1700”, Amsterdam); Bartsch VIII.355.109 (Adam Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna).
See also: Giulia Bartrum 1995, “German Renaissance Prints”, exh. cat., BM, London 1995, no.111e, p. 120.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Interior with a seated whole-length nude female figure weaving; a spider sitting in its web in the window at upper left; from a series of five engravings. c.1541” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1454209&partId=1&searchText=pencz+touch&page=1)

Condition: richly inked (lifetime?) impression in near faultless condition, trimmed along the image borderline and without the text line below. There are numerous inscriptions in pencil and ink and an ink stamp from previous collectors (verso).

I am selling this very small but exquisitely rendered engraving by one of the famous German Little Masters —the shared interest of the group in executing little prints is exemplified by this postage-stamp sized masterpiece—for the total cost of AU$400 (currently US$317.01/EUR265.02/GBP233.44 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this precious and exceptionally rare print that is the first visual expression in history of the sense of touch, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This print has been sold


At first I was a baffled by the symbolic relevance of the spider featured at the upper left of this print, after all the print should be expressing what the title proposes: the sense of touch. After thinking about what a spider “does” stretched out on its web, however, the mystery was not really a mystery at all. I quickly realised that spiders rely on their sense of touch to alert them to when a potential dinner has tangled itself in the spider’s web. So sensible! I now love the idea of a spider as a symbol of touch sensitivity. Indeed, I think that a spider may be the best choice of all to symbolise the sense of touch.

Pencz’s choice of a spider is interesting as this engraving and the other plates from the same series are the first prints to showcase the five senses. Curiously, after the publication of this engraving, the symbols of touch focused more on turtles, snails and the loom—the latter features in this print. To be honest, I think Pencz’s choice of the spider is perfect and the relevance of the turtle and snail to symbolise touch seems quite tenuous to me. I can vaguely perceive the relevance of the turtle as a symbol of touch, as the texture of its shell has tactile appeal, but I struggle with a snail as an appropriate symbol—but I admit that I have no idea about what goes on in a snail’s head regarding a sense of touch as it slimes its trail over surfaces.







Benigno Bossi’s etching with dot-roulette, “Front facing portrait of a young girl wearing a scarf and with her right hand raised to her chin”, 1783


Benigno Bossi (1727–92)
“Front facing portrait of a young girl wearing a scarf and with her right hand raised to her chin” (descriptive title), 1783 (dated in the plate), plate 37 from the series of 49 plates (including the frontispiece and antiporta), “Raccolta di teste inventate, disegnate e incise da B. Bossi” (Transl. “Collection of heads created, drawn, and engraved by Benigno Bossi”), published by Gioachino Bettalli and C Cont.a of Capello (as noted on the frontispiece).

Etching with dot-roulette in the crayon manner printed in sanguine coloured ink on laid paper
Size: (sheet) 12 x 10.4 cm; (plate) 6.6 x 6.8 cm; (image borderline) 5.6 x 6.2 cm
Inscribed: (upper right) “37”; (lower left) “Bossi In. f. 1783”

LeBlanc 64-103; see also 'The Mark J. Millard Architectural Collection: Italian and Spanish books, fifteenth through nineteenth centuries', National Gallery of Art, 2000, p.77f.

Condition: crisp and well-printed impression with generous margins (varying from 1.5 cm to 2.9 cm) and in marvellous condition with only a few faint marks.

I am selling this small and remarkably sensitive portrait—a true treasure—for the total cost of AU$123 (currently US$97.51/EUR81.92/GBP72.38 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this small masterpiece executed in 1783, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This etching, like the previous Bossi etching (Plate 28) that I discussed a few posts ago, is also a part of his “Raccolta di teste” series of 49 plates. Whereas the previous print was executed midway through his artistic career in 1773, and was interesting to examine from that viewpoint, this print (Plate 37) was executed ten years later and may be viewed as exemplifying his fully matured style.

From my reading of this later print, Bossi no longer employs the same the range of different strokes of his earlier print (viz. squiggles, return strokes and faux bold strokes). Instead, his choice of rendering style is typified by a consistent use of parallel contour lines disposed at the same distance apart from foreground to background. The effect of this treatment lends the appearance of a single artistic vision where the artist’s style is does not change with each subject portrayed, unlike the former print with its range of strokes that are selected according to the “needs” of the subject. In short, Bossi’s style has evolved from a mimetic approach to drawing designed to impress a viewer with technical dexterity to a style where technical considerations is subservient to personal expressive needs. 





Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Jan Harmensz Muller’s reproductive engraving (1615-20) of Lucas van Leyden’s, “The Bearing of the Cross” (1521)


Jan Harmensz Muller (aka Jan Muller; Jan Harmensz. Muller) (1571–1628)

“The Bearing of the Cross” (Le portement de croix), 1615-20, after Lucas van Leyden’s (aka Lucas de Leyda Hollandus; Luca Dolanda) (c1494–1533) plate 9 of the same subject dated 1521 from the series of 14 plates, “The Passion after Lucas van Leyden”.

Note the BM holds Muller’s series of prints, “The Passion after Lucas van Leyden”; see: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=1845,0809.944

Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed along or within the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 11.8 x 2.8 cm; (image borderline) 11.4 x 7.5 cm
Lettered with the letter "L" and date 1521 in lower right corner on a tablet

TIB (1981) 12 (7). 51-A (368) (p. 183); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 50.II (The Muller Dynasty [Jan Harmensz Muller]); Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 51 (Lucas van Leyden; copy); Bartsch III.279.50

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Christ carrying the cross; Christ at centre buckled to his knees under the weight of the cross as he walks to the right; Veronica kneels beside him to the left raising a cloth to wipe his face; St John and the Virgin Mary walk behind him and a crowd gathers beyond” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1487548&partId=1&searchText=leyden&page=5)

Condition: crisp and well-inked impression trimmed along or within the platemark, slightly aged-toned/yellowed with a chipped lower-left corner and attached at the top of the sheet to a support (wove) card.

I am selling this important engraving by one of the major Flemish old masters, Jan Harmensz Muller, reproducing in minute detail the engraving of the same subject by the almost legendary German printmaker, Lucas van Leyden, for the total cost of AU$430 (currently US$346.66/EUR288.77/GBP256.01 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this masterpiece of early 17th century reproductive engraving, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


Although I fully understand the mindset of some collectors who would never consider acquiring prints reproducing other artist’s artworks, but I do not share this prejudice. After all, I originally purchased this print by the great Flemish master printmaker, Jan Harmensz Muller, who reproduced line-by-line the engraving by the great German printmaker, Lucas van Leyden, who originally composed the image.

Mindful that such a choice to collect reproductive prints might be deemed an unusual passion, I thought I might try to explain very briefly why some—and I need to stress the word “SOME”—reproductive prints are worthy of respect and close examination. Regarding this print, for example, a cursory glance may not distinguish between van Leyden’s print and Muller’s copy. They are almost identical. Close examination, however, reveals that van Leyden’s print has the searching authenticity of an artist finding appropriate ways to render the portrayed subject matter in the scene, whereas Muller’s copy offers a pictorially resolved and visually lucid representation of the same forms. For instance, note the difference in the representation of contour strokes rendering the detail of the metal plate protecting the ear of the figure on the far right. In van Leyden’s print the strokes are slightly ambiguous—sketchy—in describing this polished piece of armour. In Muller’s hands the phrasing of the lines is more resolved giving a pictorially clear representation of the metal plate’s concave contours.

My way of looking at the difference between a masterwork of reproductive engraving (such as this print) and the original is all about the way that the reproductive printmaker “feels” form in each line and gives clarity to visual expression. The best way that I can explain what I mean by this curious comment is to compare the approach to drawing a chair using the principles of perspective and drawing the same chair based on the knowledge that someone should be able to sit in the chair. Both drawings may be of the same subject but the drawing executed with the notion that someone should be able to sit in the chair will be invested with that special magic of authenticity and clear communication.